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Ear to the Ground

Savage Not Welcome in Britain

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Posted on May 5, 2009
Savage
portland.indymedia.org

Savage fires back: “So who else will be banned—all the people who listen to my show, 10 million people? Should they also not go to Britain?”

Along with the many other potential drawbacks that may ensue from striking an ultra-conservative pose in public, it would appear that radio “personality” Michael Savage’s travel possibilities are now limited in the greater U.K. region as a result of his on-air shtick.

SF Gate:

On Tuesday, British Home Secretary Jacqui Smith published the names of 16 of 22 people banned from the country since October for allegedly fostering extremism or hatred. Along with Savage, who has called the Quran, the Muslim holy book, “a book of hate,” Muslim extremists, jailed Russian gang members and a militant Israeli settler were banned. Smith cited “public interest” reasons for not disclosing six of the names.

Since 2005, the United Kingdom has excluded 101 people for “unacceptable behavior, including animal rights extremists, right-to-life, homophobe and far-right extremists, as well as those who advocate hatred and violence in support of their religious beliefs,” Robin Newmann, spokesman for the British consulate in San Francisco, said by e-mail Tuesday. In 2008, he said, Smith “introduced new measures that favored excluding people who have spread hatred.”

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By Sepharad, May 6, 2009 at 9:18 pm Link to this comment

Free speech has to be an absolute or it’s nothing. Any white supremecist can set up a hate-line in the U.S. and we civil liberties freaks (self-inclusion intended) will defend it. If the hate speech incites violence against a specific person or group, then the FBI is allowed to hang about and tap phones and insert undercover agents so the actual violence can be aborted before anyone gets hurt—this is how they broke the back of the 20th-century KKK. Not for what they SAID, but for what they DID.

A country seeking to keep someone peddling violence from entering their country and endangering the citizenry should be able to do that, but it’s a slippery slope. (Not everyone on the Brit list simply spoke; that Israeli settler attended a non-official military training camp and did not do it to join the IDF; Hezbollah’s Samir Katar was greeted like a rock star in Syria and Lebanon when he was let out of an Israeli jail in some exchange, even though he’d murdered a family including a 4-year-old girl. If a criminal hasn’t gone through a company’s justice system and served a sentence, that country should probably be able to deny him entrance. Israel wouldn’t take in Meyer Lansky, despite his big bucks.

I cannot, however, imagine anyone excluding Pablo Neruda from anything. Magnificent poet.

ardee, Savage isn’t the worst of our SF Bay neighbors. There is Bechtel’s Cap Weinberger and George Schultz, and the usual “let’s have a profitable war” suspects, and a whole mess of international super-rich, with and without titles, many of whom enjoy the view from Pacific Heights, or Berkeley Hills or ... etc.

hippie4ever, why did you abandon Europe and return to the U.S.?

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By Karim, May 6, 2009 at 5:35 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“That is difficult if not impossible to project”

Really?

“What the heck do we have nuclear weapons for? What are tactical nuclear weapons for but to wipe out an enemy? The enemy lives there—kill them and their families, and show them that the terror they inflict on the West will come home to roost and will be inflicted on them.”

“What is the societal benefit of bringing in throwbacks, some of whom are no doubt terrorists, and some of whom are gonna produce children who will become terrorists?”

“Right now, even people sitting on the fence would like George Bush to drop a nuclear weapon on an Arab country. They don’t even care which one it would be. I can guarantee you—I don’t need to go to Mr. Schmuck. Zogby and ask him his opinion. I don’t need anyone’s opinion. I’ll give you my opinion, because I got a better stethoscope than those fools. It’s one man’s opinion based upon my own analysis. The most—I tell you right now—the largest percentage of Americans would like to see a nuclear weapon dropped on a major Arab capital. They don’t even care which one. They’d like an indiscriminate use of a nuclear weapon. They want this over with. One thing people cannot live with, which is an undefined, limitless conflict, which is what we have now. They can’t take it. They want this war over with, and they want it ended like the war against Japan. They’d like Big Boy dropped on one of the little cities over there. They don’t care where. They don’t care any more. The American people have had it up to here with this garbage.”

“In fact, Christianity has been one of the great salvations on planet Earth. It’s what’s necessary in the Middle East. Others have written about it, I think these people need to be forcibly converted to Christianity but I’ll get here a little later, I’ll move up to that. It’s the only thing that can probably turn them into human beings.”

“Smallpox in a blanket, which the U.S. Army gave to the Cherokee Indians on their long march to the West, was nothing compared to what I’d like to see done to these people, just so you understand that I’m not going to be too intellectual about my analysis here in terms of what I would recommend, what Doc Savage recommends as an antidote to this kind of poison coming out of the Middle East from these non-humans.”

Still think I am more dangerous for not “respecting” the right to free speech for this savage?

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By Karim, May 6, 2009 at 5:06 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

No, what I propose is not at all dangerous. In fact it is being enforced every day, in your schools, your work, you universities.You also censor yourself in your dealings with other people.People censor themselves, because of personal ethics or because of social pressure. Sometimes that is a bad thing but very often it is also good thing. Many Europeans have enshrined hate speech laws. Are they on the path to dictatorhships? On the contrary. They are civil societies, with high degrees of tolerance and personal freedom. Freedom of speech has never and will never mean the right to call for the murder, destruction and torture of another people because of different ethnic, religious, or political affiliation. To claim any different is quiet fanatic considering the fact that this precious freedom of speech is missing where it really matters.Information and politics are being turned into junk entertainment. Journalists mostly act as the messengers of power. People are loosing tenure because of their views on Israel. Thas is where the fight should be. To call Savages incitement against Muslims, liberals and gays an opinion is simply a travesty of the truth. It is poison to the open society.

Unlimited tolerance must lead to the dissapearance of tolerance.
Karl Popper, The Open society and its enemies.

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By Shenonymous, May 6, 2009 at 3:24 pm Link to this comment

So sorry omop to have sounded pontifical, I guess that is often my style.  My background frailties.  You are right that the British have as much right to their beliefs as I have of mine.  However, me thinks the British in this case is a department of security who had not taken any poll of the British people at all.  They are judge and jury of how to interpret freedom of speech, and they have interpreted for the people.  Ahmenidjad most certainly has the right to say whatever he wants to.  Even if he were to visit the US, where freedom of speech is a holy right.  Americans have not been shy to say what might sound contemptuous of Iran, however, quite unlike Iran where things said against the government could and has cost people their lives.  We have to listen, of course, and prepare for any “real” violence, but must not overreact to demagoguery.  We must be more ready to counterpoint anything that strikes us as morally wrong.

While I am not a huge of a fan of Voltaire, I do agree with the sentiment that all are entitled to freedom of speech, and I will qualify it, as I already have, unless it is seditious.  If the speech incites, as well it could and has, violence then that is criminal and is not really exercising free speech but is then violating others rights and freedoms.  The contest between those two freedoms always comes down on the side of those who would suffer damage. 

While hatred is doubtless a pathway to discrimination, harassment, and violence, and here seems to be no doubt it can also be a psychological draft for serious criminal acts such that it may justify making laws that protect victims, there is no guarantee that it will end up that way.  But speech has to cross the line into acts.  That is difficult if not impossible to project.  The downside of limiting even hate speech is that there is no way to decide to what degree of vitriol it is.  Who decides?  Different people have different standards.  It is relative like it or not.  Laws that say if a person’s hate speech did in fact incite violence, then that is a clear fact. It is a clear standard.  If it is there simply as a protective then it has entered a gray area and dangerous to free speech. I admit it is debatable, obviously from this forum, but I always uphold the right to free speech.  Many hateful things have been said of me, and my character, in fact. I have never reported it and always defended my beliefs logically and verbally.  That does not mean it will not happen again, and I would again respond, yet I feel those who express their hatred for me have that right.  I only regret that they have to resort to name-calling rather than contest my ideas.  I always see it as weakness of mind on their part.

Thomas Paine’s call to guard against oppression is ironic and did not refer to freedom of speech as he was vocally and in writing preaching sedition and is the most responsible man for the Revolutionary War than any of the others.  He was a criminal in England’s mind.  Perhaps an intent reading of his doctrines and writings would make that clear.  The oppression of which he speaks was that of the English King.  Though I think it is a travesty, as I think he was the first patriot, he was so defiled that to this day there is no statuary of him in Washington D.C.

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By ardee, May 6, 2009 at 2:59 pm Link to this comment

By Karim, May 6 at 8:35 am #
(Unregistered commenter)

He has every right to be what he wants, not to say what he wants.

..............................................

Not only are you very, very wrong but what you propose is about a million times more dangerous than what Savage blathers on the air.  I guess its time to re-quote an old and well known citing from my favorite revolutionary:

“He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemies from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.”
Thomas Paine

Think hard about this I beseech you.

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By omop, May 6, 2009 at 2:22 pm Link to this comment

Shenonemous.

Your pontifical defense of Michael Weiner’s rights in no way is more defining than the fact that the British have as much right to their beliefs as you may have.

Unless of course you apply “your standards” to defending what ever Ahmedijenad of Iran is purported to have said.

The Voltarian edict of ” I disapporve of what you say but will defend your right say…” is fine if applied by everyone everywhere… In Gaza, Tel Aviv, Kieve, Beijing, London, the Bronx, East LA>, etc, etc,.

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By Shenonymous, May 6, 2009 at 1:41 pm Link to this comment

When an erosion of freedom of speech begins with any ban, unless it is sedition to overthrow a government, banning anyone for political sentiments will eventually erode your own freedoms, make no mistake about it.  It is the slipperiest slope imaginable.  It is pernicious.  That is the nature of fascism.  Fascism can occur on the right as well as the fanatical left. Savage was not in any way suppressing any one else’s freedom.  You who call for limiting Savage’s speech, and travel rights, regardless of how despicable his opinions are, would not censure the Islamists who are calling for the UN via a resolution to outlaw criticism of violent practices in the name of their religion, would you?!  One wonders just how many listen to Savage’s vitriolic broadcasts, and what kind of people they are anyway?  Who exactly did Savage incite to violence against Muslims?  This is a claim without any substance.  While he is not welcome around my personal space either, either, I have the right to move or to ask him to move should he try (how absurd since we all know he won’t!). Now that he has been catapulted into the international limelight, it is without a doubt his audience will grow exponentially, thanks to the stupidity of England.  His messages of hate will now reach the ears of anyone waiting to hear them. 

England rescinded an invitation to Geert Wilders who lectures against dangerous the practices of militant Islamists, and did the same truncation of “welcome” to Muslim-convert Cat Stevens, and there was no conscionable reason to do that either. (Ironically Stevens is making an entertainment comeback after a long hiatus). England’s sense of freedoms is narrow without a doubt.  Not a place for those who find freedom of speech sacred. 

The universal value of freedom of speech is the most basic freedom humans have for without that, humans are relegated to the realm of nothing.  If anyone says anything that smacks of hate, opponents have equal right to counterspeak! The USA saw what happened under Joseph McCarthy, and now similar mindless sentiments are being applauded.

Unbelievable, since we are always on opposite sides, I agree with Fadel Abdallah’s assessment and Folktruther, who says it succinctly and correctly

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By Lester Shepherd, May 6, 2009 at 1:38 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

All you people who say he has a right to freedom of speech are stupid assholes.  Hate ain’t allowed in free speech.  He should be put in jail and forceably shut up because he is a dangerous free market murderous criminal.

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By Mfrog, May 6, 2009 at 1:32 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Let me get this right…we are supposed to allow this hate monger to say anything he wants to on air because that is covered under free speach….but you can not swear on tv because someone might be offended?

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By Crimes of the State Blog, May 6, 2009 at 12:31 pm Link to this comment

“Michael Savage” is on that short list of fascist media propagandists who should be investigated for war crimes, for their record of inciting violence (war) against other nations and peoples (Muslims).

A precedent was set in international law that propagandists who incite violence can be prosecuted for war crimes.  Savage would surely qualify.

He’s not welcome around me either.

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By tomack, May 6, 2009 at 11:27 am Link to this comment

I forgot to add that Britain, as well as other Euro countries, Norway, Sweden, etc., prohibit Hate Speech of various categories. Or speech that may incite violence. 

Jacqui Smith’s exact quote was: “If people have so clearly overstepped the mark in terms of the way not just that they are talking but the sort of attitudes that they are expressing to the extent that we think that this is likely to cause or have the potential to cause violence or inter-community tension in this country, then actually I think the right thing is not to let them into the country in the first place. Not to open the stable door then try to close it later.”

Many U.S. Universities have tried to prohibit Hate Speech, but almost every case is lost due to Freedom of Speech. Which I agree with. In America. I also believe that other countries who do not allow hate speech are culturally ahead of us—if only slightly.

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By GB, May 6, 2009 at 11:15 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This idiot spewed hate and helped demonize Muslims when cheney and bush were using that trumped up hate to illegally attack another nation killing a million innocent citizens of varying religions. It’s ironic that because of this many innocent muslims were denied their rights in our democracy and now savage, who lives up to his last name, is denied rights in a democracy. What goes around comes around. How’s that religion for you right wing red necks?

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By tomack, May 6, 2009 at 11:07 am Link to this comment

Folktruther—yes, in America…evidently not in Britain. Sure, he can “move” to wherever he wants, but then getting in is another matter.

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By Sodium, May 6, 2009 at 10:22 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Purple Girl has right on this one. I totally agree with her assessment.

~ Freedom of speech is fine,as long as it is done in an opened debate available to all who are interested in the subject matter being debated.

~ Michael Savage and his ilk use Freedom of Speech for Hate Speeches while they know that they are in complete control. They can cut you off quickly,if you attempt to challange their Hate Speeches and divisiveness. They are in complete control. The audience has no chance,whatsoever,to truly challange
their hatred. This is a one-way street Freedom of Speech,meaning: what is mine is mine and what is yours is also mine,whether you like it or not.

~ It is true that the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees the individual right for a Free Speech,but not the manner in which some anchors of the radio-talk-shows and some anchors of TV shows use it for divisiveness and hatred. The framers of the Constitution did not mean to use Freedom of Speech in such an ugly manner that instigated divisiveness and hatred amongst the citizens of the country.

~ Freedom is wonderful,as long as one’s freedom is not used to suppress another one’s freedom. The moment you allow your freedom to step all over me to hurt me or bully me,your freedom is no longer freedom: It is dictatorship and fascism that must be defeated.

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By hippie4ever, May 6, 2009 at 8:42 am Link to this comment

I knew Savage when he was young and he was an easygoing, liberal guy. He was a neighbour & we had coffee a few times. This was in the early 1980s. That’s showbiz for you, I guess, and natural for someone without a soul, but he’s no threat to the U.K. When I entered London I was detained for several hours in a small room that looked suspiciously like a jail cell. What did I do? What did they find in my pockets? Nothing.

The TORTURE scandel had just broken & the Brits were pissed off at Americans in general, & then I had to arrive—timing is everything & it can make or break you. Yes I was hungover but not as badly as the Brits who smelled like they had spent the night inside a brewery. Phew, I can recall the stench like yesterday’s visit to SOMA where every alleyway is a toilet. At least potheads like me bathe.

The Brit official who detained me was a twit & a bully & made up lies. He said I had insulted him but I had said nothing except “hello”. After I was finally cleared by a more reasonable, albeit arrogant senior official, I left their precious country they think so much of, and visited Ireland where the people were nicer, and the countryside stunningly beautiful.

The Irish were not surprised by my maltreatment by the English. They wouldn’t be, would they?

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By "G"utless "W"itless Hitler, May 6, 2009 at 8:22 am Link to this comment

The whole freedom-of-speech tack might hold water if the moneyed interests hadn’t de facto done away with it for most of us already through their control of media.  We all have the freedom to speak, but very few of us have the privilege of being heard.  Savage is a useful distraction employed by the wealthy to distract us from the class war they’ve been waging for decades.  A War on Christmas by any other name…

It’ll take blood, folks, to solve this problem.

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By Folktruther, May 6, 2009 at 8:18 am Link to this comment

No, Tomack, Fadel, is right.  Freedom of speech includes the right of freedom of movement.

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By "G"utless "W"itless Hitler, May 6, 2009 at 7:55 am Link to this comment

Savage is a whiny twat who’s now cashing in on the fact that he wasn’t invited to the party.

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By tomack, May 6, 2009 at 7:42 am Link to this comment

Fadel, as you say, Britain does have their own versions of Savage—some equally savage—all the more reason they don’t need another. And I’m not sure his American Right to Free Speech applies in every port of call.

PG makes a good point whether or not his Personal Right is at issue here, as opposed to his Corporate radio Character.

Either way, he’s already a member of our family so we have to let him in—like that unwanted relative that caller id was invented for, but he’s not a member of their family.

It’s not about rights here, it’s about someone else’s baggage. Maybe they feel they have enough of their own.

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By Purple Girl, May 6, 2009 at 7:20 am Link to this comment

Freedom of speech was intended to assure every Americna the right to express themselves, but did not take into grant that right to brick and mortar entities- thus the broad casting corp who provides such people as Rush and Savage a megaphone are not protected under the Constitution.
If you want to stand in th epublic square and shout you twisted doctrine You are free to do so- because the general public in that area has the right to lob verbal tomatos at you. However when protected by the exclusiveness of a studio- such freedoms are not afforded the general public. Phone lines are screened. So true access to voicing opinions is negated.
Instead of going after the sociopaths with the microphone, we should be going after the ones who not only porvidde the microphone, but the protective fortress.Much like the Free Market, the realm of unfettered free speech will be a leveler. Those who are subject to real dialogue will have to defend themselves in a open debate in the ‘village square’.those that can not stand up to the Free debate will be proven weak and fall by the wayside from the exposure that their agruemnt has no validity.
Free Speech was designed ‘for the people and By the people’- Living breathing individuals in a back and forth dichotomy, not for instituitonal enities who have the ablity to construct protective Ivory Towers to make the debate one sided
The cosntitutional Right does not protect Corps nor their hired isolated ‘Talent’.Nor was it meant to be a right of those who act as part of a group entity, like those who hold public office. Tehy can say what they want at Cocktail parties,but they are not legally able to broadcast it as an ‘authority’ or representativeof an Institution, because the institution does not possess such a right, it’s not a citizen.

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By Karim, May 6, 2009 at 7:11 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

under no circumstances should freedom of thought, expression and speech be restricted

I am sorry, I never knew Savage had a thought. Is it really a matter of opinion when you send money to soldiers who butchered Iraqi civilians?When you call for harm against your fellow citizens? Dont start with that under no circumstance nonsense. Thats pure hypocricy. We humans subject ourselves to innumerable cases of “censorship” everyday and if we wouldnt communal life would be impossible.

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By Fadel Abdallah, May 6, 2009 at 6:59 am Link to this comment

Well, Savage is certainly a hateful bigot, and in his case his name says it all about him as the uncivilized bigoted savage he is. So you can’t find a more fitting adjective to describe him than his own name.

Having said this, the British authorities are also wrong, for two wrongs don’t make a right. Freedom of expression and speech is too precious to be restricted and suppressed on account of one or a hundred persons who might abuse it.

Another point is that this kind of censorship is normally done selectively and is hypocritically double standards in nature. If it’s done with fairness across the board, then all Israeli leaders and many American ones should be censored for all the bigotry and hate speech they have said about other religions and ethnic or political minorities. 

I know for fact that all nations, including Britain, have their own O’Reilly’s, Hannity’s, Limbaugh’s and Savage’s who are certainly the scum of the earth or the rabid barking dogs that they are. However, under no circumstances should freedom of thought, expression and speech be restricted on account of their filthy mouths.

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By Karim, May 6, 2009 at 6:48 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

tomack,
Your idea of democracy, real and imagined,is seriously fucked up.

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By tomack, May 6, 2009 at 6:45 am Link to this comment

Yes, he has every right to act any way he wants, anywhere he wants—at least anywhere a Democracy resides. But turnabout is fair play, so they have every right to keep him out because they find him offensive. You see, this isn’t about rights, this is about whether or not to invite someone into your home. I wouldn’t invite him into my home, and I’m happy to see they won’t invite him into theirs.

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By omop, May 6, 2009 at 5:56 am Link to this comment

Hypocrites…..its not only acceptable… its mandatory not to mention, talk, discuss and/or “question” the Holocaust…but

To deny some foul mouthed individual like Savage travel to the UK ....why the man has rights to be what he is and say what ever he wants…...

Hugo Chavez is a thug Si. Avigdor Lieberman is thug No!!!!!

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By Karim, May 6, 2009 at 5:35 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“he has every right to be such”

Oh really, calling for the nuking of a random arab capital and fantasizing about beating up Muslims with baseball bats, misogony, homophobia, rascism and the psychotic targeting of immigrants,feminists and liberals are all in in his right? There is a difference between being and saying. He has every right to be what he wants, not to say what he wants.At least not publicly. This freedom of speech thing for every radio mini-hitler is utter bull, seeing the real censorship and limitations in your main stream media. In a liberal democracy the protection of minorities should be more important then the rantings of a delusional, pyschotic, idiotic and grandiose fascist.

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William W. Wexler's avatar

By William W. Wexler, May 6, 2009 at 5:03 am Link to this comment

ardee…

You pretty much said what I was going to post but I’ll add the following…

What a fragile nation the British government must believe they have become if they can’t withstand the lunatic rantings of Michael Weiner “Savage”.  Next thing you know they’ll be banning Teletubbies because they don’t want their kids to catch The Gay.

-Wexler

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By ardee, May 6, 2009 at 3:37 am Link to this comment

I am chagrined to note Savage a Bay Area resident, there goes the neighborhood.

I am equally upset to find that banning folks from traveling to a supposedly democratic nation because of their use of the right to free speech is not only in effect but accepted. Savage might be an ass, he might also be just like O’Reilly, Hannity and Limbaugh in his ‘get really rich by saying crap’ style, but he has every right to be such.

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