Plagiarism is a lot like making a double post.
March 7, 2005 5:41 PM   Subscribe

Oops. (Wash. Post Login/ Bugmenot) Jim Gibbons seems to have stolen most of his lefty-baiting, righty-rousing rambling from another crazy Republican. This is good for people who want to get rid of the guy.
posted by PhatLobley (20 comments total)
It's not theft. It's copyright infringement. /kidding
posted by AlexReynolds at 5:45 PM on March 7, 2005

Your ideas are intriguing to me and I wish to subscribe to your blog.
posted by NickDouglas at 5:50 PM on March 7, 2005

"I say we tell those liberal, tree-hugging, Birkenstock-wearing, hippie, tie-dyed liberals to go make their movies and their music and whine somewhere else."

When do we start picking sides for Civil War II: The Bludgeoning?
posted by underer at 6:02 PM on March 7, 2005

Still kind of odd, though, that despite the run of the mill "birkenstock wearing liberal" baiting he did, the WaPo writer called it great fire-breathing stuff, surely one of Gibbons's greatest, most thoughtful addresses.
posted by psmealey at 6:03 PM on March 7, 2005

Plagiarism aside, can you really get away with saying any inflammatory thing you want (i.e. planting seeds about "offing" liberals), so long as you make some piss-ant apology after the fact?

I mean, why can an elected official make statements about wanting to willfully bring harm against US citizens, when a US citizen publicly insinuating that harm should be brought against members of the electorate would likely bring Secret Service (or the like) pounding at the door?

I'm all for free speech, I'm just curious about what seems to be a double standard, as well as the point at which inciteful words can be construed as "hate-speech". Seems like a lot of these angry-rich-white-men skirt that line on a regular basis.

Damn, I'm SO set for secession...

(ps. sorry for the weird sentence construction... I'm too tired for grammar)
posted by numlok at 6:36 PM on March 7, 2005

Dude NickDouglas why you gotta be derailing a thread like that. I'm getting sick and tired of people snarking on posts just because they feel like they and they alone are arbiters of what mefi should be. Flag it, if enough people flag it, it will disappear. Make love not hate....

that said Jim Gibbons is obviously a tool, and its good to see even the republican party wants to run someone against him.
posted by sourbrew at 6:37 PM on March 7, 2005

I thought Birkenstock had gone out of business until my girlfriend corrected me. Apparently hippies still wear those things.
posted by snsranch at 7:07 PM on March 7, 2005

I wonder how much a good quality pair of Earth shoes would go for on Ebay?
posted by kablam at 7:46 PM on March 7, 2005

numlok, basically the answer boils down to legislators being utterly immune from defamation claims--even for knowingly and maliciously spreading libelous horseshit--as long as they remember to stand in the right spot when they spout off.

...[A]lmost all courts recognize an absolute privilege to defame by any participant in a judicial proceeding, so long as there is some reasonable relationship between the statement and the subject matter of the legal proceeding. This privilege covers utterances not only by the litigants, but their counsel, witnesses giving testimony, the judge and the jury. The statement, of course, must be made inside the courtroom during a judicial proceeding.

...[A]n absolute privilege exists for statements made by federal and state legislators while on the floor of their legislatures or in committee sessions of that legislature. The most notorious example of the abuse of this privilege was the Army-McCarthy Hearings in 1954.... The "naming of names" always took place in a committee meeting or on the floor of the Senate, where the absolute privilege against defamation was available. ...[T]he legislative privilege does not require the statements uttered to be germane or relevant to any other matter....

There is also an absolute privilege afforded to top rank, "cabinet" or department head level, or other top-level policy-making officials in the executive branches of government, both federal and state. The privilege can be lost, however, if, as in the courts, the statements have no reasonable relevancy to the public official's duties or the scope of his office.

A related absolute privilege...protects radio and television stations and other electronic mass media... Because broadcasters and cablecasters were compelled by law to provide equal opportunities to all opposing candidates for the same public office as was initially provided to the first candidate, the Supreme Court held that the stations could not be held liable for defamatory utterances made by such opposing candidates, even if made with absolute malice.

posted by nakedcodemonkey at 8:42 PM on March 7, 2005

(defamation obviously not being precisely the same as hate speech, but the point is he's got a lot of latitude to talk smack from the legislature floor)

The plagiarizism, on the other hand...I'm not aware of immunity for that. Congress has been awfully willing to pass laws that keep on extending copyright, and that can impose felony penalties for infringement. He'd better hope that his colleague truly is in a forgiving mood.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 8:51 PM on March 7, 2005

MeTa, via NickDouglas' comment above.
posted by mediareport at 9:16 PM on March 7, 2005

Thanks, that was interesting. It actually seems pretty reasonable, since it's supposed to allow courts and legislators to do their duties without interruption, though obviously abuse does occur.
posted by Sangermaine at 9:41 PM on March 7, 2005

Clarification: This is a damn good post, and I didn't mean to hijack. Explanation on MeTa.
posted by NickDouglas at 10:36 PM on March 7, 2005

The speech could just have well been lifted from freeperland or powerline or littlegreensnotballs as from an Alabama politician.
Standard issue stuff.
Remember Poppy Bush and his "Marin county hot-tubbing ..." statement?
Hate inciting speech is a powerful weapon in the wingnut arsenal.
Pretend to be the persecuted and oppressed and then find a group to blame, even when you're the majority in the political process. Instead of "hippies" it just as well could be blacks, could be homosexuals, could be Jews, could be females, could be Muslims, just pick some group to blame for all of society's ills and go after them with teeth gnashing and saliva slinging.
We see it here on MeFi often enough so it should be easily recognizable to regular readers.
posted by nofundy at 4:56 AM on March 8, 2005

Instead of "hippies" it just as well could be blacks, could be homosexuals, could be Jews, could be females, could be Muslims, just pick some group to blame for all of society's ills and go after them with teeth gnashing and saliva slinging.

..or Republicans and Fundamentalists, even?

just saying.
posted by jonmc at 6:28 AM on March 8, 2005

Yes, could be jonmc.
That is a fair thing to say.
Although I would add such is more the exception rather than the rule.
Could be an attack on Christmas and the Easter bunny too.
Or pancakes!
Oh, wait, O'Reilly's already done the Christmas thing so I'm too late!
Look out Easter bunny, you're way too libertine looking, especially with that pancake on your head!
posted by nofundy at 6:48 AM on March 8, 2005

Yes, could be jonmc.
That is a fair thing to say.

Well, there's a great old word (bible-derived even) for this practice, and it's infected all realms of American politics to an alarming degree. True enough, right now, the bellowing from the right is more disturbing, simply because they happen to be the ones in power. But, that's subject to change. Human nature isn't neccessarily.

AFAIC, not a whole lot is gonna change until every last on us in this world, accepts responsiblity (and blame) for the state of the world, since, frankly, we all share in it.
posted by jonmc at 6:57 AM on March 8, 2005

Man, wouldn't it be cool if everybody accepted responsibility for the state of the world. I think scapegoating is pretty much standard political discourse today. Everybody acts like they're doing their damndest to make the world a better place, but the other side, be it Republicans, Democrats, hippies, or tyrannical regimes, won't let them.
I also think it's natural to think this way to some degree. Everybody thinks they're in the right (otherwise they wouldn't think what they do), even us who say that everybody should take responsibility for the state of the world. The world would be a better place if those scapegoating jerks would just think like we do.
posted by PhatLobley at 7:33 AM on March 8, 2005

Everybody thinks they're in the right (otherwise they wouldn't think what they do)

i disagree, phats.

i think there are some people who know that what they're doing is wrong, but figure they can get it away with it b/c they're more powerful than those who oppose them.

i think there are some people who know that what they're doing is wrong, but figure if they weren't doing it to other people, those other people would be doing it to them, so they may as well strike first.

i think there are some people who know that what they're doing is wrong, and enjoy it simply for that reason.

the most dangerous people, however, are those who are convinced that (a) what they're doing is right; (b) the only way to do right is the way they're doing it; and that (c) anyone who so much as questions them, let alone actively opposes them, is wrong, wrong, WRONG.
posted by lord_wolf at 9:35 AM on March 8, 2005

Point taken, lord_wolf. Not everybody believes that what they're doing is right in the sense of making the world a better place. And that's the definition of "right" I was pretty much going with above.
However, if you change the definition of the word, people do always do what they think is right. They might know that they're hurting the world, but using the rationalizations you noted above, convince themselves that what they're doing is right on some level, even if that level is only their own sadistic enjoyment of their actions.
I think there are a lot of people who fit into that last, scary category. I suppose my previous comment was meant to point that out. Not only about politicians, but also about us idealistic world-savers.
posted by PhatLobley at 11:20 AM on March 8, 2005

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