Cheap Valor

The hits just keep on coming. Not satisfied with smacking the individual states around, those wacky SCOTUS judges decided the military needs some “judicial activism”, just to let them know who’s boss. Hence we now have The Stolen Valor Act, deemed unconstitutional, allowing any gutless douche bag to lie about actually having a pair of balls and exhibiting same on the battlefield:

The Supreme Court struck down the Stolen Valor Act today, saying that the First Amendment defends a person’s right to lie — even if that person is lying about awards and medals won through military service.

The case started in 2007 when California man Xavier Alvarez was convicted under the Stolen Valor Act of 2006 — federal legislation that made it illegal for people to claim to have won or to wear military medals or ribbons they did not earn. Alvarez had publicly claimed to have won the country’s highest military award, the Medal of Honor, but was later revealed to have never served in the military at all.

I understand the free expression angle on this, akin to not criminalizing the burning of American Flags, but this one I am having a hard time with. The SVA in it’s original form made perfect sense to me, namely, that there are things in life you don’t lie about, period. We honor the bravest of the brave with certain accolades and awards that are sacrosanct, their actions are deserving of a certain respect that others don’t get, and those accomplishments are protected. Those entering this particular arena without the proper credentials are not only exposed, but they pay an awful penalty, in memory of the real heroes. But now SCOTUS tells us that the accomplishment is not protected, that any loud mouth pussy can lie about this sacred act, and get away with it. I don’t like it.

In its 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court justices said today that as written, the act is too broad and ignores whether the liar is trying to materially gain anything through his or her false statement, which would be more akin to fraud.

Why does the gain have to be “material”? The simple fact that the lie was told reveals some gain that is pursued by the liar. Whether on a job resume, at the public gathering to curry favor, gratitude or an enhanced esteem, or even to facilitate fornicating with some pick up, the pretense is false.

The government’s argument talked about the harm incurred by telling this lie, and here is where I think the justices had an easy out. One of the free speech exceptions is defamation , this lie damages the reputation of every single legitimate MOH winner. The other angle of “fraud” I think is equally valid. There is no incident that I can think of where the telling of this lie was not intended to enhance his station or better his situation, but whatever gains he received from the telling of that lie was gained fraudulently.

I remember when the story of that POS Xavier Alvarez first surfaced, you can hear the offending words come out of his mouth here. This dumb shit didn’t realize that there is an easy accessible database of all MOH winner’s.

The original penalty given to Alvaraz was in my mind appropriate:

three years probation, a $5,000 fine and community service

But added to that, I would have had Alvarez write to every living MOH recipient (and the families of those passed) apologizing to each of them for stealing a small bit of their own valor.

I always thought that military heroism was worth protecting, a minority opinion?

Comments are closed.

  1. CM

    Simple solution – impose a heavy tax on all medal winners. Provide a rebate mechanism whereby if you’re on their records as having actually won those medals, you get a 100% tax rebate.

    Kinda related….heard an interview on the radio with the author of a new book on Tania Head. Fascinating. Especially how the media fell for it for so long without doing any basic research.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alicia_Esteve_Head
    http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/13/the-brief-return-of-the-woman-who-wasnt-there/

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  2. Hal_10000

    I’m with the court on this one. The best response to free speech is more free speech. Name and shame the shit out of those who lie about their military service.

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  3. ryansparx

    I’m with Hal. Just because it is morally wrong does not mean it should be legislated against. Ganging up on the slimy douchebags is the easiest way to prime the government power pump and practically nobody will ever resist that urge. That is and always has been the essential gateway drug to full-on Nannystatism.

    “At first they came for the gutless douches, but I said nothing, for I was not a gutless douche… yada yada etc etc… we all know how this goes… nobody left to speak for me.”

    Not to imply that we aren’t already balls-deep into Nannystatism or anything, of course! But that doesn’t mean that we should jump naked onto the writhing pile in this one particular instance just cuz it feels oh so good.

    Speaking as a former Marine, I can tell you that neither I, nor any of my brothers, need any government assistance in humiliating these asshats.

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  4. ryansparx

    Simple solution – impose a heavy tax on all medal winners. Provide a rebate mechanism whereby if you’re on their records as having actually won those medals, you get a 100% tax rebate.

    I’m totally not going to touch the fact that CM’s first impulse solution to a moral or social problem involves increasing taxes. Someone else can take a swing at that one, I’m just gonna let it pass over the plate, unmolested. I’ll just give the benefit of the doubt and assume that it was a Freudian Keynesian slip :)

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  5. Seattle Outcast

    Finding people that lie about military service is pretty fucking easy. I’ve met a couple of fake SEALs, and my sister married an asshole that told such 007 stories about his secret exploits in Vietnam that he should have quit selling drugs and starting writing Mack Bolan novels.

    Generally speaking, these people are really fucking easy to spot, the fake SEALs in particular.

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  6. CM

    I’ll just give the benefit of the doubt and assume that it was a Freudian Keynesian slip :)

    ;-) Or a Friday afternoon post. I thought it was at least mildly amusing….

    Totally agree that no laws are required for this sort of thing. If they start using it to engage in fraud, then do them for fraud.

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  7. sahrab

    The SVA in it’s original form made perfect sense to me, namely, that there are things in life you don’t lie about, period.

    Morally reprehensible doesnt make it illegal.

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  8. georgebalella

    Military medals mean nothing to me. The republicans successfully proved that when they swift boated John Kerry and the Purple Heart. Apparently anyone can get a medal and an AWOL stateside National Guardsmen is better than a Combat Viet Nam Vet. And since Corporations are people and money is speech this all seems pretty consistent.

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  9. richtaylor365 *

    Totally agree that no laws are required for this sort of thing. If they start using it to engage in fraud, then do them for fraud.

    That was the angle I was pursuing. Much like the differentiation between petty theft and grand theft, committing a fraud wrt stolen valor should up the ante due to the seriousness of the fraud committed. The existing criminal codes are rife with examples of a committed act being considered more serious under certain circumstances. Hate crimes are a perfect example. Although I hate the very existence of hate crimes and think they should be done away with, other examples fit the bill.

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  10. ryansparx

    Military medals mean nothing to me. The republicans successfully proved that when they swift boated John Kerry and the Purple Heart. Apparently anyone can get a medal and an AWOL stateside National Guardsmen is better than a Combat Viet Nam Vet. And since Corporations are people and money is speech this all seems pretty consistent.

    You flat-out cannot make this shit up. It’s as if every byte of information funneled through the MSNBC server farm became self-aware and stormed the internet to wage a progressive Jihad.

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  11. Technomad

    I would say that the behavior that the Stolen Valor Act was trying to stop comes under the headings of “Fraud,” “Misrepresentation,” and possibly even “Identity Theft.”

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  12. blameme

    Military medals mean nothing to me.

    Probably because you’ve been nothing but a sniveling weasel your whole life and are jealous of those brave enough to earn them – so, they mean “nothing” to you.

    I hope your cowardice and jealousy isn’t propagated somehow. Surely there is no woman with low enough self esteem to allow you to “plant your seed.”

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