Tag Archives: free speech

Fargo police officers and firefighters packed the Fargo City Hall Monday night, May 20, to listen to a debate over increases for the employees of the two departments. Barry Amundson / The Forum

Cops Wearing Their Taxpayer-Issued Uniforms for Political Purposes Is Not Protected Speech

Cops Wearing Their Taxpayer-Issued Uniforms for Political Purposes Is Not Protected Speech

Earlier this week I was critical of members of the Fargo Police Department for showing up en masse, and in uniform, to a meeting of the Fargo City Commission at which a pay raise for the cops was being decided. Today Waylon Hedegaard, head of the North Dakota chapter of the AFL-CIO, accuses me wanting to suppress

Plain Talk: Jussie Smollett and Privilege, Plus North Dakota’s New Law Holding Anti-Pipeline Zealots Accountable

On today’s Plain Talk, Jussie Smollett got away with something in Chicago. What does that mean for our notions about privilege in America? Also, state Senator Janne Myrdal (R-Edinburg) talks about her bill, now sitting on Governor Doug Burgum’s desk, which aims to hold political zealots who vandalize or impede critical infrastructure like pipelines accountable.

Protest organizer Kristen Kelsch hold a sign and chants across the street from the State Capitol in Bismarck during a demonstration against the Dakota Access Pipeline in 2016. Bismarck Tribune photo

Holding Political Extremists Accountable for Violence and Vandalism Is Not an Effort to “Chill Speech”

The ACLU opposes SB2044, a bill which clarifies law around tampering with critical infrastructure like power plants or pipelines and ups the penalties for doing so, and for the life of me I can’t figure out why. According to the organization the bill is an assault on protected speech. They said, on the occasion of

Ben Tucker, who farms near St. Thomas, N.D., is one of many private citizens who bring ideas to the Legislature and seek help from lawmakers and Legislative Council staff to guide them through the legislative process. Diane Newberry / North Dakota Newspaper Association

This Is the Sort of Citizen Activist Measure 1 Will Hurt

Over the weekend reporter Diane Newberry from the North Dakota Newspaper Association had a very interesting report about citizen-driven politics at the state Legislature, focusing on an activist named Ben Tucker who has been working on the expansion of Medicaid benefits. Tucker is from St. Thomas, and his lobbying activities at the Legislature are backed

Speaker of the House Rep. Lawrence Klemin, R-Bismarck Mike McCleary / Bismarck Tribune

Lawmakers Introduce Resolution Ordering Study Into Whether It’s “Necessary” or “Desirable” to Implement Ethics Ballot Measure

“Measure 1 is actually so poorly written that it would institute a host of new restrictions and regulations on political speech and advocacy that would violate the First Amendment rights of all citizens.” That’s what the ACLU said about the “ethics” ballot measure last year, before voters approved it at the ballot box. Those sort

Were the Covington Boys Asking for It?

Yesterday during my weekly appearance on the Jay Thomas Show on WDAY AM970 we discussed the controversy of those Covington High School students who attend the March for Life in Washington D.C. and ended up being accused of harassing and intimidating a Native American activist. Only upon closer scrutiny, which few journalists waited for, it

Valve Turner Michael Foster

ACLU Calls North Dakota Bill Targeting Meddling With “Critical Infrastructure” Unconstitutional

Back in 2016, during the heights of the #NoDAPL protests against the Dakota Access Pipelines, a group of left wing activists calling themselves “valve turners” broke into pipeline facilities and, well, turned some valves. One of the valves turned was in North Dakota, along TransCanda’s Keystone line. This was a spectacularly stupid thing to do.

Podcast: Catholics Say Measure 1 Might Make Churches Report on Donations to Collection Plates

Christopher Dodson is the executive director of the North Dakota Catholic Conference. His organization opposes Measure 1, the so-called “ethics” or “anti-corruption” ballot measure, and part of the argument he made to me on the radio show was interesting. He noted that the measure (full text here) requires any organization spending more than $200 on

Print Column: Don’t Take My Word for It, ACLU Says Measure 1 Is an Affront to Free Speech

MINOT, N.D.—Last month I wrote in this column that Measure 1, the so-called “anti-corruption” amendment put on the November ballot thanks to professional petitioners paid mostly by a group of Hollywood celebrities, was an affront to the First Amendment. The left-wing supporters of the measure scoffed when I made that argument. I saw feedback to

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