Fun At The Expense Of Killjoys

The Killjoy, in this case, would be the famously nutty homophobe or charlatan, (I’m not sure which), Reverend Fred Phelps of Topeka, Kansas and his extended family who cause people all over this nation to scratch their heads in disbelief, regardless of how they feel about gays.

The man who can bring a little light hearted fun to this ridiculous situation is, of course, John Steinbeck Award winning artist: Michael Moore. It seems that Fred Phelps has been sued for making a mockery out of one family’s solemn occasion; the funeral of their son.

Personally, I have believed for years that this was planned all along by Phelps and I also believe he wants to lose the lawsuit. Call me crazy, but also try to explain holding up signs like this at a soldiers funeral:

I can’t prove a thing and I don’t have any special intuition, but this whole thing smells to me and it’s going to absolutely reek if it results in the loss of one particle of this country’s precious freedom of speech. That’s what’s at stake. Moore also hopes the Supreme Court will do the obvious, and uphold this creep’s right to be a freak.

Now for the fun part!

Michael Moore followed Phelps around a few years back for a segment of his great DVD, “The Awful Truth”, and gives him a taste of his own medicine, but in a funny, rather then a hateful way:

UPDATE: In the comments section of this post I said this in response to a comment about caged protesters at political events:

Caged protesters should be the ones suing and having the high court deliberate, but I’ll bet you anything our stacked court would have turned down a case like that.

Turns out they DID turn down a case about free speech recently – without comment. Apparently you can’t even display a bumper sticker on your car without being ejected from a political event.

Emphasis mine:

In Tuesday’s free-speech case, Only Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor voted to hear the case of the Colorado woman, saying the Constitution does not permit public officials to punish people simply “for holding discordant views.”

And yet the Supremes are going to hear Fred Phelps’s case. And this was supposed to be a “fun” post.

  1. #1 by Larry Bergan on October 13, 2010 - 1:05 am

    If my theory about Phelps’s real reason for doing this stuff is right, Phelps won’t have a good reason continue this weird crusade whether he wins OR loses and that will be a good thing for the soldiers AND Americas sanity.

  2. #2 by Richard Warnick on October 13, 2010 - 9:28 am

    It’s really unfair that these idiots can turn someone’s private funeral into a freak show, but for political conventions and Presidential visits the powers that be set up an out-of-the-way cage for protesters and call it a “free speech zone.” America is a free speech zone.

  3. #3 by Larry Bergan on October 13, 2010 - 10:43 am

    Good point Richard!

    Caged protesters should be the ones suing and having the high court deliberate, but I’ll bet you anything our stacked court would have turned down a case like that.

  4. #4 by brewski on October 13, 2010 - 10:43 am

    The interesting story here will be how each justice votes. It could be 9-0 in favor of free speech. Or there could be some threading the needle for exceptions to free speech which already exist such as “fighting words”.

  5. #5 by cav on October 13, 2010 - 11:00 am

    It’s never been about free speach or the free market.Really. I’ll be cleaning unicorn poop off my lawn before I see a free market. And free speech – what blather we attend to. These people and the “Glenn Beck / Rush Limbaugh’ ilk are freak-show entertainment bent on diverting any thought from more creative possibilities than the PTB have in their pointy little heads. It’s about a black president, a female speaker of the house, a gay House Banking Committee chair, three women–two unmarried; the horror, the horror–on the Supreme Court. It’s about change, and the resistance to change. Its about calling mac-n-cheeze a ‘Great Melting Pot. It’s about self vs other, denying a common humanity, dehumanizing, delegitimizing; it’s about accumulating power for self and clients, and denying it to others.

    Long live Czars of all stripes!

  6. #6 by Larry Bergan on October 13, 2010 - 11:07 am

    It will, indeed, be interesting brewski.

  7. #7 by Larry Bergan on October 13, 2010 - 11:10 am


    If I were you, I’d demand the owner of the Unicorn clean his own darn poop off your lawn!

  8. #8 by Uncle Rico on October 13, 2010 - 11:34 am

    Fred Phelps sin is not protesting at soldiers’ funerals. His sin is brain-washing his inbred little offspring to trample on the flag. Quick, somebody call Orin!

  9. #9 by Uncle Rico on October 13, 2010 - 1:20 pm

    BTW, God must not hate Chilean miners. Bummer Fred.

  10. #10 by Larry Bergan on October 13, 2010 - 6:33 pm


    I would like to have you elaborate on this part of your comment please:

    Or there could be some threading the needle for exceptions to free speech which already exist such as “fighting words”.

    The only exception to free speech I’m aware of is the “yelling fire in a crowded theater” angle; which I think there’s a very good argument for.

    Did I miss something. Has there been a law passed somewhere which prohibits “fighting words”?

  11. #11 by Uncle Rico on October 13, 2010 - 7:27 pm

    Larry- see Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire. The facts of that case seem almost quaint measured by today’s standards.

  12. #12 by brewski on October 13, 2010 - 7:30 pm


    Good question. Yes, the freedom of speech is not without any limits. The courts have supported and accepted the following exceptions:

    1)Defamation: Defamation consists of a publication of a statement of alleged fact which is false and which harms the reputation of another person. Our right to freedom of expression is restricted when our expressions (whether a spoken slander or written libel) cause harm to the reputation of another person. The courts recognize that words can hurt us, for example, by harming our ability to earn a living (economic harm).

    2)Causing panic: The classic example of speech which is not protected by the First Amendment, because it causes panic, is falsely shouting “fire” in a crowded theater

    3)Fighting words: In the famous case of Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the First Amendment does not protect “fighting words — those which by their very utterance inflict injury or tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace.”

    4)Incitement to crime: It is a crime to incite someone else to commit a crime, and such speech is not protected by the First Amendment.

    5)Sedition: Although not without controversy, the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld statutes which prohibit the advocacy of unlawful conduct against the government or the violent overthrow of the government.

    6)Obscenity: In Miller v. California (413 U.S. 14 [1973]) the U.S. Supreme Court established a three-pronged test for obscenity prohibitions which would not violate the First Amendment: (a) whether the average person, applying contemporary community standards, would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest; (b) whether the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by the applicable state law; and (c) whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value.

    You can imagine, for example, that you can’t rely on the first amendment to stand in front of a kindergarten and yell “Fuck Fuck Fuck” at the top of your lungs. You can’t rely on the first amendment to stand in front of a mob with torches and pitchforks and yell “hey, let’s go lynch that N***** from the highest tree”. So, I think you can see that the limits which have been accepted do not limit anyone’s liberty, but they are intended to protect the public safety among other goals that seem to be accepted.

    The really shocking part is when some groups, on both the left and the right, have tossed the first amendment aside for their own narrow goals. I will grant that both sides are guilty of this. In my own experience, I have witnessed many learned people, including the Dean of Stanford’s Law School, argue that we need to limit free speech to fulfill the goal of creating a more supportive atmosphere to groups whose feelings might be hurt. This was even argued forcefully on PBS in a roundtable with participants from colleges across the country, so it was not like this was some fringe local event. Also shockingly, the lower courts upheld these limits on free speech back in the day when the court system was packed with pretty far left judges. Thankfully, after about 20 years of losing these cases, sanity was restored and those rules were finally tossed out.

    I have to say that it seems hard to imagine any successful way that this type of speech by these nuts could be limited without it being applied to other situations that would clearly limit our liberty. Under the “damaging harassment” argument which is being argued on behalf of the grieving parents, this seems like it would lead to potential limits on gays protesting Mormons at Temple Square, protesting various dictators and murderers who visit the UN, not to mention Tea Party activists protesting Harry Reid, or activists protesting Dick Armey.

    I am curious to see if this decision is not 9-0.

  13. #13 by Larry Bergan on October 13, 2010 - 9:36 pm

    Thanks brewski:

    I can see you’re onto this free speech thing. You have given me more then one court decision to explore.

    In the case of “Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire”, Uncle Rico beat you by 3 seconds. 🙂

  14. #14 by Larry Bergan on October 14, 2010 - 3:24 am

    Minutes. 🙂

  15. #15 by brewski on October 14, 2010 - 10:25 am

    I was busy typing.

  16. #16 by Dwight Sheldon Adams on October 14, 2010 - 11:08 am


    That’s stars of all stripes (and of three colors).


  17. #17 by Larry Bergan on October 14, 2010 - 8:31 pm


    Since you seem very passionate about this issue you have got to read my update – right after Moore’s video on this post.

    Are you still worried about those old courts you said were stacked by the Democrats. I’m starting to get really worried about this court decision!

  18. #18 by brewski on October 14, 2010 - 10:35 pm

    Excluding the woman at the Bush event seems pretty stupid, but I am not sure it would be unconstitutional. Having the right to free speech, such as Phelps does from outside the gates of a cemetery and often on the other side of a public street from the entrance to the cemetery, is not the same right as having access inside a specific event. Presidents screen attendees all the time at events, sometimes they do it well and sometimes they do it stupidly. The Bush case is hardly the only time any president has screened attendees.

  19. #19 by Larry Bergan on October 14, 2010 - 11:12 pm

    Honestly brewski:

    People with guns have been allowed to attend events close to Obama, but this woman was escorted out of an event when her bumper sticker didn’t even target Bush.

    Your defense of free speech seems weak and flaccid at this point.

  20. #20 by brewski on October 14, 2010 - 11:31 pm

    I knew you wouldn’t like that answer. It doesn’t matter if Obama does or not. It doesn’t matter if it is smart or not. It doesn’t matter if you and I like whether Bush screened or not. For he record I think it was stupid and chicken for Bush to do so. But being allowed inside a specific event is not a constitutional right. The 1st Amendment does not say

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances, or deny access inside any specifc event

    So I am sorry you don’t like what happened. I don’t like it either. But it isn’t unconstitutional.

  21. #21 by Larry Bergan on October 14, 2010 - 11:44 pm

    Bush is a chicken shit; on that we can agree, brewski!

    Either I dreamed this or I’m crazy, but I will swear to you that I saw Bush talking to an audience from behind a Plexiglas screen right after 911. That image has been completely purged from the “liberal” media.

    It looked like a stationary Pope mobile.

  22. #22 by Tiller on October 14, 2010 - 11:46 pm

    That is reek Larry, if you are referring to smell. Sh*t reeks, Obama wreaks havoc in Afghanistan for example.

  23. #23 by Larry Bergan on October 15, 2010 - 12:08 am


    Pretty cryptic dude!

  24. #24 by Tiller on October 15, 2010 - 9:13 am

    Pat Tiller here, person who calls himself Larry Bergan and seemingly has some kind of chip on his shoulder. Has it occurred to you that I could say the same thing about you and your name? You say you are some Larry Bergan, but for all I know your dog could be posting. How does it matter? As a top poster you bear the burden of literacy, if that matters to you. It is not as if this blog is any record of anything that important.

    Is it?

  25. #25 by Dwight Sheldon Adams on October 15, 2010 - 12:30 pm

    Pat Tiller has a name. It’s Glenn.

  26. #26 by Dwight Sheldon Adams on October 15, 2010 - 2:04 pm

    Glenn’s behavior turns himself into his own ad hominem attack. It’s like those nutjobs whose arguments are so absurd that they serve as their own straw-men. No exaggeration or misinterpretation required.

    Of course, this has the effect that he has to hide who he really is in order to be taken seriously, even when his argument makes some sense—which deception further impugns his credibility.

    And the world keeps spinning. . .


  27. #27 by Tiller on October 15, 2010 - 6:03 pm

    Quite a stretch there Dwight. Glenn is on the radio and TV, not here on this minor league blog.

  28. #28 by Tiller on October 15, 2010 - 6:11 pm

    Note above the 2 separate Dwight Sheldon Adams, one with a link, the other clearly created by someone nobody knows. Credibility anyone? I make no argument here whoever Dwight is, I merely point out a misspelled word. focusing on the politics here on site would be ridiculous.

    Happy Friday all.

  29. #29 by Larry Bergan on October 15, 2010 - 6:49 pm


    I owe you an apology! I did spell reek wrong and I stand corrected. It’s just that I have typed messages to trolls for so long sometimes I get confused.

    Thanks for the heads up.


  30. #30 by Larry Bergan on October 15, 2010 - 7:12 pm


    I’m not always the brightest bulb – obviously – but I would appreciate your thoughts on the merits of my post.

  31. #31 by Uncle Rico on October 15, 2010 - 8:26 pm

    Tiller: ….I would appreciate your thoughts on the merits of my post.


  32. #32 by Tiller on October 15, 2010 - 9:20 pm

    Why not? These side issues are not going to balance the budget. Are the religious folks nuts? Sure Ok. Is Moore a rich blowhard who often distorts facts for his own purposes? Sure.

    None of this will clear the outstanding 13 trillion, and 45 trillion in future unfunded liabilities. Nor will it stop our empire from bombing away, intervening. People have been this stupid from all angles for all time. It would great if people had a better grip on prioritizing. That covers the entire political spectrum. I see the social issues being brought forward as the cover for the ongoing ripoff. The more the populace dwells on these issues, the better those who actually control your lives like it. Ever wonder why this crap is even in the news?

    So you Larry entertaining yourself posting about killjoys? You are entitled. People are people after all.

  33. #33 by Larry Bergan on October 15, 2010 - 9:26 pm


    I misspelled a word and profusely apologized. Can you tell me what you think about my post or not?

  34. #34 by Tiller on October 15, 2010 - 9:30 pm

    You flatter me, I wish I had Beck’s money if not his bearing. There ya go Larry, it is right there.

  35. #35 by Larry Bergan on October 15, 2010 - 10:40 pm


    You reek.

  36. #36 by Tiller on October 15, 2010 - 11:27 pm

    Well Larry I reek in your opinion, yet it cannot compare to the unfounded dreaming of the progressive left the last 2 years that has wreaked havoc on the nation. I frankly attribute the failure to the inane fixation on social issues. Fiddling while Rome burns so to speak. They are distractions, if we cannot get a grip on the fire destroying our ways and means, the social issues will have nowhere to be. Didn’t glenn try to train you better?

    Progressives should have this thing in the bag yet the were tactically defunct. I am trying to think of rout in history that compares. Hmm. The destruction of the Boudiccea by Suetonius comes to mind, she had it all right on the moral issues but let her emotions and arrogance and desire for vengeance get the better of her. Suetonoius’ legion of 10,000 annihilated her army of some 90,000, he destroyed them against the wagons of the families of her army who had surrounded the battlefield to witness in glee the destruction of the Romans. Romans were Republicans Larry.

  37. #37 by Larry Bergan on October 15, 2010 - 11:42 pm


    You are an expert on historical failures, but what is your plan for success?

    I thought so.

  38. #38 by Tiller on October 16, 2010 - 12:23 am

    Suetonius was a tremendous success, it all depends on which side you claim, I don’t claim any, merely observing. The spending, the immigration issue which is a 3rd rail though progressives never have gotten it, and of course the endless wars of choice, and your guy owns Afghanistan now after pulling another Bush surge. Health care in the sleazy and corrupt manner it was passed. It has only been two years, it shouldn’t be that hard to follow.

    From what November might look like, you might be counting crows and ravens to determine how many of your apparent side get wiped out.

  39. #39 by Larry Bergan on October 16, 2010 - 12:32 am

    I’m waiting for your plan to success.

    Tic tic tic…

  40. #40 by Tiller on October 16, 2010 - 12:34 am

    The events occurred in 60 AD. Rome then continued to rule Britain until about 400 AD.

    A cautionary tale. Trying to find the date where the total defeat occurred after some swimming success early on. Can’t find it, but it could have been in November.

  41. #41 by Larry Bergan on October 16, 2010 - 12:42 am

    Still waiting…

  42. #42 by brewski on October 16, 2010 - 7:53 am

    Rome ruled England and not Britain. They built Hadrian’s Wall to protect themselves from the Pictish Scots.

  43. #43 by Tiller on October 16, 2010 - 11:36 am

    Indeed they ruled England, sorry for using the term to describe all of it. and they ruled over that area of Britain you refer to until they decided it wasn’t worth the trouble, and that is when Hadrian’s wall was built.

  44. #44 by Dwight Sheldon Adams on October 17, 2010 - 7:23 am


    Just exposing you and musing about why you do it.

    Fun stuff. Like watching someone who insists he hates balloons try over and over again to make a balloon giraffe.

    Having some fun at the expense of a killjoy.


  45. #45 by Tiller on October 17, 2010 - 10:44 am

    You seem to have to do this over and over in error, Glenn Beck doesn’t post here. In this you really just expose yourself, and the point is unknown. Within the clique of oneutah, it may seem clever, however to an outside reader, it is just a WTF.

  46. #46 by Dwight Sheldon Adams on October 17, 2010 - 11:23 am

    There’s no point in talking with you about it anymore (on this thread). I trust outside readers to figure out that you’re posting under a pseudonym based on what I already said. Besides, my point was to expose you for the benefit of the other regular posters.

    Purpose is a big part of credibility, Glenn (Hoefer). That’s why it’s important to know it’s you and that you’re just trying to jerk people around.

    I’m not sure you have any idea what you mean when you say that I “expose myself.” What’s there to expose? I have no veil (but that which we all have) and everything you say (with rare, pleasant exceptions) is an irrelevant distraction or a thinly-veiled provocation.

    You have yet to answer Larry, by the way.


    While I respect what Michael Moore is trying to do (at least in terms of his goal if not his method), I agree with what others have said regarding Phelps: Just ignore them. Avoid them. Don’t counterprotest. Don’t taunt. Just look away.

    The Phelps family operates a legal firm (which defends the Westboro Baptist Church, of course). Every time they are taken to court and win, they’re able to claim counseling fees from the claimant to pay their defense (themselves). Blatant provocation is a great way to make money and get cases.

    So I don’t know; maybe it’s a win-win for the Phelpses. If they win the case, they get dough for another crazy-trip. If they lose, they get publicity for their civil rights being trampled—they get to play the pariah for a day.

    And let me suggest: take what Glenn says for what it’s worth—very little, but still enough to pay attention to. He has no solutions, no offerings of hope or a positive end to. . .well, anything. Rather, I take the information he provides, adjust it according to the personality index (the degree to which I should take the source seriously), and put it to good use in what few ways it may benefit me and others. When he has something cogent to say, I thank him, and I consider it at length.

    Aside from that, he’s good for a laugh or for a little jest once in a while.


  47. #47 by Tiller on October 17, 2010 - 11:30 am

    Larry November will define what will occur. I think we are going to be spending a whole lot less money which is what the bankrupt have to accept as a solution to their spending problems the world around. We are in worse shape now than before despite all mentions of hope and change brought by our current leadership.

    Your method of gauging what is written by posters is what all people do. As windy as some of people’s comments are they can be never read.

  48. #48 by Tiller on October 17, 2010 - 11:37 am

    Larry a basic reversal of what I mentioned as why we are in the trouble we are in is the solution to the downward spiral we are in. This is what the next election will be about, and thereafter we will see what comes of limiting spending to what has been little effect.

  49. #49 by Larry Bergan on October 17, 2010 - 8:08 pm


    It would be great if we COULD ignore Phelps and most of the junk that gets on TV or in the newspaper. The Clinton scandal should have died in the Oval Office, but it was turned into the biggest show on earth and impossible to ignore.

    Phelps gets a soapbox and the lady who got yanked from Bush’s speech for the bumper sticker gets totally ignored. If I hadn’t heard it through the grapevine, I never would have found out about it.

  50. #50 by Dwight Sheldon Adams on October 18, 2010 - 9:03 am


    Well, there’s ignoring them (impossible, really), “ignoring them,” and falling into their trap. They want to be noticed. We can pretend to not notice them as easily as they can pretend to be righteous.


  51. #51 by Larry Bergan on October 18, 2010 - 6:31 pm


    You’re missing the point of my post. It is admittedly paranoid, but I put the picture of Phelps’s family holding up signs that have no explanation and are stark in their meaning.

    In my opinion, these people are not – as you say – “pretending to be righteous”. They are willfully trying to make a mockery of our most precious right to speak freely.

    You mustn’t ignore a Supreme Court case that will cripple our freedom of speech. The same court who denied our right to count the votes in Florida and the same court who gave corporations the right to spend unlimited, secret money in elections recently.

    They are currently on a spending spree, in case you haven’t noticed.

  52. #52 by Dwight Sheldon Adams on October 19, 2010 - 8:51 am


    Don’t get me wrong, the Supreme Court case should be given attention, because it can affect us. What I’m saying is that the Phelps group should never have been taken to court in the first place, and shouldn’t ever again. Let them make clowns of themselves. Don’t let them make a circus of our highest court.


  53. #53 by Dwight Sheldon Adams on October 19, 2010 - 8:53 am

    Easier said than done, of course. It’s hard to NOT react to these people.

  54. #54 by Larry Bergan on October 19, 2010 - 7:17 pm

    You’re probably right there. The soldier’s dad should have let it go, but things have gotten so strange these days he may be complicit somehow in wanting us to lose our rights.

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