Andrew Napolitano’s op-ed for Fox News is a great history lesson of the Nixon administration’s and the Obama administration’s attempts to suppress political speech. It’s today’s must reading. Here’s Judge Napolitano’s illustration of how the Nixon administration suppressed speech:

Classic examples of “chilling” occurred in the 1970s, when FBI agents and U.S. Army soldiers, in business suits with badges displayed or in full uniform, showed up at anti-war rallies and proceeded to photograph and tape record protesters. When an umbrella group of protesters sued the government, the Supreme Court dismissed the case, ruling that the protesters lacked standing, meaning, because they could not show that they were actually harmed, they could not invoke the federal courts for redress.

Here’s what Judge Napolitano highlighted about the Obama administration’s attempt to suppress political speech:

So, what has the Obama administration done to stifle, or chill, the words of its detractors? For starters, it has subpoenaed the emails and home telephone records of journalists who have either challenged it or exposed its dark secrets. Among those journalists are James Risen of The New York Times and my colleague and friend James Rosen of Fox News. This is more personal than the NSA spying on everyone, because a subpoena is an announcement that a specific person’s words or effects have been targeted by the government, and that person continues to remain in the government’s crosshairs until it decides to let go.

This necessitates hiring legal counsel and paying legal fees. Yet, the targeting of Risen and Rosen was not because the feds alleged that they broke the law, there were no such allegations. Rather, the feds wanted to see their sources and their means of acquiring information. What journalist could perform his work with the feds watching? The reason we have a First Amendment is to assure that no journalist would need to endure that.

To his credit, Rosen hasn’t stopped asking tough questions while reporting on the touchiest of subjects. Though there’s no question that Mr. Rosen and his family have felt pressured by the government, Mr. Rosen has continued doing his job.

I suspect that that’s due in large part to his bosses, Roger Ailes and Rupert Murdoch, have told him that they have his back. Further, I’m certain that his co-workers, people like Bret Baier, Brit Hume, Megyn Kelly, Greta van Susteren, Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity and Fox’s correspondents, have showed him that they’ve got his back, too.

The point is that people can withstand a tyrannical administration’s attempts to chill political speech if a) they’re suppported by their colleagues and b) they’re willing to show that administration that they won’t be intimidated.

That’s the lesson in this tyranny. There’s nothing that’ll send a stronger message to a tyrant than saying that you can’t be intimidated. Admittedly, that’s easier said than done. Still, the rewards can be tremendous and the respect gained from colleagues immense. It’s what’s needed in stopping a bully like this:

Two weeks ago, a notorious pot stirrer in Norfolk, Neb., built a mock outhouse, put it on a truck and drove the truck with permission in a local Fourth of July parade. In front of the outhouse, he placed a mannequin that he claimed looked like himself, and on the outhouse, he posted a sign that stated: “Obama Presidential Library.”

Some thought this was crude, and some thought it was funny; yet it is fully protected speech. It is protected because satire and opinion about public figures are absolutely protected, as well as is all criticism of the government. Yet, the Department of Justice has sent a team to investigate this event because a local official called it racist. Such an allegation by a public official and such a federal investigation are chilling. The reason we have a First Amendment is to ensure that the government stays out of investigating speech.

There’s no question that President Obama and his chief henchman bristled when they saw this. President Obama has the thinnest skin of any American president in my lifetime. It’s one thing to not like it when people poke fun at you. It’s quite another to start a federal investigation when someone pokes fun at the president.

President Obama’s history has been to eliminate his political opponents whenever possible. When that isn’t possible, he’s resorted to Gestapo-like tactic. Threats and intimidation are definitely part of his ‘weaponry.’

The most indespensible tool in fights like this, again, is to show people you’re willing to stand up to their bullying tactics. Another great tool is to get people rallying around you. That’ happened in Rosen’s case. What hasn’t happened, though, is that Democrats haven’t shown they’ve got the integrity required to stand up to a thug in their own party.

The whole purpose of the First Amendment is to permit, encourage and even foment open, wide, robust debate about the policies and personnel of the government. That amendment presumes that individuals, not the government, will decide what language to read and hear. Because of that amendment, the marketplace of ideas, not the government, will determine which criticisms will sink in and sting and which will fall by the wayside and be forgotten.

This is one of those times when the best defense is a great offense. Nothing stops a bully as quickly as giving them a bloody nose or taking out their knee. That’ll send the message that you’re prepared for battle. That, more than anything else, will give a bully pause.

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