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Suppressing Free Speech
March 29, 2005 11:30 AM   Subscribe

Suppressing Free Speech
On "...Monday, March 28, the Secret Service called three everyday people into their offices to discuss why we were kicked out of a presidential event in Denver last week where Bush promoted his plan to privatize Social Security. What they revealed to us and our lawyer was fascinating.

There we were - three people who had personally picked up tickets from Republican Congressman Bob Beauprez's office and went to a presidential event. But as we entered, we were told that we had been 'ID'ed' and were warned that any disruption would get us arrested. After being seated in the audience we were forcibly removed before the President arrived, even though we had not been disruptive. We were shocked when told that this presidential event was a "private event" and were commanded to leave....The Secret Service revealed that we were 'ID'ed' when local Republican staffers saw a bumper sticker on the car we drove which said 'No More Blood For Oil.'" Related Associated Press story.
posted by ericb (143 comments total)

 
"The Secret Service had nothing to do with that," said Lon Garner, special agent in charge of the Secret Service office in Denver. "We are very sensitive to the First Amendment and general assembly rights as protected by the Constitution."

Hum, which is why they had photos of local (non-violent) activists posted when Bush came through Duluth last year, not to mention searching and confiscating certian library books from those that lined the route, not to mention those *ahem* "free speech zones", you may be free to assemble but nowhere near dear leader.
posted by edgeways at 11:38 AM on March 29, 2005


It seems that the Secret Service is beginning to look less like professional Treasury Dept. enforcers, and more like, say, the Praetorian Guard of Roman days -- who were loyal to an emperor more than to the empire.

I mean, it's not exactly the first time that people report questionable actions by agents.
posted by clevershark at 11:42 AM on March 29, 2005


Why does this country seem like Maoist China these days. . . Hmmmmmmm . . .
posted by mk1gti at 11:44 AM on March 29, 2005


This is behaviour befitting the very regimes Bush labels the "Axis of Evil". It reminds me of Iraq's staged election in which Saddam received over 95% of the popular vote.

This is a shameful president and a disgraceful administration.
posted by hardcoreUFO at 11:44 AM on March 29, 2005


i saw this on kos earlier and thought about posting it to one of my course blogs. upon considering this i had two immediately reactions: 1) students would think that the post was in some way partisan and 2) students would think to themselves "this is crazy but i'm sure the democrats did the same thing when they were in office". is there any way to talk about how messed up this is without being sucked into the black hole of the left/right?
posted by jmccw at 11:45 AM on March 29, 2005


Is there really any hope that anything will be done about this?

That said, I hope these people kick up as big a fuss as they can.
posted by orange swan at 11:45 AM on March 29, 2005


This has been going on for a while. There are other incidents, but I really don't feel like compiling them all myself.
posted by john at 11:48 AM on March 29, 2005


the only thing that seems valid to look into is the possibility of obtaining tickets for the event under false pretenses. I mean, would a republican give tickets to a presidential event if they were anti-war?
posted by clavdivs at 11:49 AM on March 29, 2005


> This is a shameful president and a disgraceful administration.

*Noise of hardcoreUFO beeing dragged out*
posted by NewBornHippy at 11:52 AM on March 29, 2005


the only thing that seems valid to look into is the possibility of obtaining tickets for the event under false pretenses.

well, that's what makes it so absurd. the secret service bans people with t-shirts and signs, as though people who really wanted to hurt the President would bother publicize themselves like that. the lack of democratic process here is staggering, but somehow they get away with it.
posted by frufry at 11:59 AM on March 29, 2005


jmccw -
I think talking about the "free speech zones" might be one way to do it. I know both sides used them, (I believe) the Repubs more so then the Dems, but it is a non-partisen becasue it was used by both "sides". Is it freedom to associate, if you are consigned to an area where the purpose of association is greatly dimished?
posted by edgeways at 11:59 AM on March 29, 2005


All I can hope is that history is nowhere near as kind to ShrubCo's regime as the media has been thus far. His criminality and corruption will be the subject of many, many books.

I hope he himself writes one during his long stay in prison.

But then, what are the chances that indictments will even be brought against him? Much less stick?
posted by fenriq at 12:03 PM on March 29, 2005


The problem with the whole concept of the "free speech zones" is the clear and unmistakeable implication that speech is not free outside that small, rigidly-defined, far-away zone.

The Founding Fathers would be absolutely pissed to hear about such a thing, then think that evidently authorities in our times just don't "get it".
posted by clevershark at 12:03 PM on March 29, 2005


Unfortunately this isn't even newsfilter because this isn't even news. I wish it were, but this just seems to be par for the course these days.
posted by OmieWise at 12:03 PM on March 29, 2005


hardcoreUFO: "It reminds me of Iraq's staged election in which Saddam received over 95% of the popular vote."

By "over 95%", I hope you mean one hundred percent.
posted by Plutor at 12:04 PM on March 29, 2005


Well, 100% > 95% :-)
posted by clevershark at 12:08 PM on March 29, 2005


I knew someone was going to say that.
posted by Plutor at 12:14 PM on March 29, 2005


In typical Mefi fashion, it's "Bush is free speech crusher!!!!" "Let's Bush bash!" Blah, blah, blah...

Bigger picture: this happens with EVERY administration; both sides suck and they control the game/rules. Stop playing into the laughing hands by playing sides.



In other news, UAW probits military members supporting !their preferred candidate from parking on their property...
posted by ayukna at 12:14 PM on March 29, 2005


Every administration? evidence?
posted by john at 12:26 PM on March 29, 2005


2) students would think to themselves "this is crazy but i'm sure the democrats did the same thing when they were in office". is there any way to talk about how messed up this is without being sucked into the black hole of the left/right?

I think the issue here is that I recall Clinton using federal law enforcement against the anti-NAFTA/WTO left.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 12:27 PM on March 29, 2005


Garner said the group appeared confused as to who asked them to leave and declined to release further details, citing an ongoing investigation.

I find myself in the incredibly awkward (for me) position of having to seem to defend the current administration, which I dislike, but here goes.

The Secret Service has a difficult job to do and by most accounts they are a very professional agency. These folks were asked to leave the rally by somebody, but they ain't sure who.

Moral of the story: When you are at a sort of political gathering, and you have a legitimate ticket provided by your local Republican congress person, ask to see the ID of the person who asks you to leave. There is no way that the Secret Service is gonna throw you out for having some anti-Bush bumper sticker on your car. That was some party hack.
posted by fixedgear at 12:29 PM on March 29, 2005


You might be on to something fixedgear, they may have been told to leave by someone who did not actually have authority to do so.
posted by orange swan at 12:31 PM on March 29, 2005


ayukna wrote: Stop playing into the laughing hands by playing sides.

How is citing a specific case of abuse of authority "playing sides"? Do you realize you just did exactly what this post from jmccw predicted:

"and 2) students would think to themselves "this is crazy but i'm sure the democrats did the same thing when they were in office". is there any way to talk about how messed up this is without being sucked into the black hole of the left/right?"

jmccw: Apparently, no there's not.

And to make matters worse, the world has apparently officially decided that nothing has ever been better or worse than it is right now, and anyone who ever suggests otherwise is just a whiner or a sore loser... After all, there are really only ever two possible positions, right? The winning one and the losing one? Just like in a football game?
posted by all-seeing eye dog at 12:32 PM on March 29, 2005


I think the situation is ridiculous, but I have to agree with fixedgear. They should have calmly asked to see the person who had asked them to leave, and made them explain why they were being excluded from a public gathering. I mean, I can't really fault the people for being so shocked that they didn't do anything, but the action fixedgear and I describe is perfectly reasonable and cannot be refused - or if it is, THEN there is cause for alarm.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 12:36 PM on March 29, 2005


they may have been told to leave by someone who did not actually have authority to do so.

Interesting theory, but why then would the Secret Service have called the people later to explain? and how would they have known whom to call? or how they were ID'd?

The "we didn't do it" story answers nothing and merely raises further questions.
posted by clevershark at 12:39 PM on March 29, 2005


There is no way that the Secret Service is gonna throw you out for having some anti-Bush bumper sticker on your car. That was some party hack.

I don't know. I think you have too much faith in people's sense of duty and commitment to principles like professional integrity. I guarantee you, SS agents will do whatever they think their superiors want them to do, just like any other professionals. Just my two cents.
posted by all-seeing eye dog at 12:41 PM on March 29, 2005


to me, a more important difference between this recent ejection, and similar removals/loyalty oath signing last year, is that previously this happened at bush campaign stops. although ejecting audience members is distasteful (and in a just world, self-defeating), a campaign stop could be somewhat construed as a private event for the candidate, giving them carte blanche to accept and reject whomever they saw fit. as pointed out on talking points memo, these latest rallies for social security reform are taxpayer funded. removing taxpayers from a taxpayer funded rally should be answered with several lawsuits and a pointed call to one's congressional representatives, i should think.
posted by acid freaking on the kitty at 12:47 PM on March 29, 2005


/me wonders when people will understand that free speech doesn't have anything remotely to do with the concept that people should be able to say anything, anywhere they want.
posted by dios at 12:48 PM on March 29, 2005


I also wonder why we assume this person's version of the events to be true. After all, this person is a poster at Kos, and I think we can assume, therefore, that he was anti-Bush and wasn't there for supporting reasons. Yet, we are to assume that he *really* didn't do anything at all. It seems more likely to me that these people did something that indicates they were there to be disruptive. Since the First Amendment doesn't give anyone the right to be disruptive whenever they want, I really don't understand why this is surprising or considered a big deal.
posted by dios at 12:53 PM on March 29, 2005


Really dios? What DOES "free speech" mean then? Pray tell!
posted by clevershark at 12:53 PM on March 29, 2005


and wasn't there for supporting reasons.

Why are taxpayers footing the bill for Republican party faithful events?
posted by Armitage Shanks at 12:56 PM on March 29, 2005


/me thinks dios is a quisling who would excuse any behavior from his favorite crooks.
posted by sonofsamiam at 12:59 PM on March 29, 2005


dios, I also wonder why some people don't bother to read the 1st Amendment:

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.

You notice that part about peaceable assembly and redress for grievances? As acid freaking on the kitty notes, these are taxpayer funded events.

Yours is the typical dodge that disgusts me among modern Americans. It doesn't matter whether you are right or left, whether this is Clinton or Bush, this is quite clearly a violation of the First Amendment.

And most Americans just shrug, or write it off as partisan whining. Great. We truly do deserve the government we get.
posted by teece at 1:05 PM on March 29, 2005


Well, lets go back a bit. We have the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798 from Adams, the Espionage and Sedition Acts from Wilson, and the Truman/McCarthy mess. All with varied degrees of reasonablity justified in times of war (cold or otherwise), but limited to a degree.

None seemed to curtail participation in public events or curb free speech that did not pertain to any sort of military action.

Not that that wasn't tried before under Reagan. While under the guise of "anti-terrorism" legislation, it made "nonviolent acts as sending school books to Nicaragua, or voicing support for a negotiated settlement in El Salvador" criminal. Thankfully, it wasn't passed.

I would agree that all the attacks on WTO protestors were bad, but that seems to be the only thing and I'm not a fan of Clinton anyway. However, it can be argued that due to certain extremists that began acting like vandals, the use of repressive force is different from "pre-emptive" removal of people.
posted by john at 1:06 PM on March 29, 2005


Was the stage set for this when courts (SCOTUS?) ruled that buffer zones around abortion clinics were acceptable? Despite being firmly pro-choice, I'm of mixed feelings about that ruling.

I think it's okay to set a security perimeter within public space, as long as said perimeter is determined entirely by distance to the potential target of violence, and not by camera angles.

Dios, how about: "free speech should mean that you can say anything not likely to cause imminent riot or death in any public space."
posted by BrotherCaine at 1:06 PM on March 29, 2005


Looks like the usual "it's those hippies' fault for not supporting the President" story from dios...
posted by clevershark at 1:08 PM on March 29, 2005


clevershark,
There are plenty of restrictions on speech. Such as time, place and manner restrictions on protests to name just a few. Or hate crime legislation. Or decency ordinances. Furthermore, the right of speech is reciprocal: though you may have the right to freedom of speech, you don't have the right to force people to hear your speech or to shout down someone.

I don't know any (rational) person (even free speech absolutists like Justice Black) that suggests free speech means "say anything, anywhere you want."

You notice that part about peaceable assembly and redress for grievances? As acid freaking on the kitty notes, these are taxpayer funded events.
I really think you need to do some research on first amendment law if you think that you have the right to crash a public presentation and yell whatever you want. Your right to "petition the government for a redress of grievances" doesn't include that.

I really find it odd that so many people don't understand the contours of their most basic rights.
posted by dios at 1:09 PM on March 29, 2005


Looks like the usual "it's those hippies' fault for not supporting the President" story from dios...
posted by clevershark at 1:08 PM PST on March 29


You can try to burn me with strawmen, or you can try to engage me on the level of substance. You decide.
posted by dios at 1:11 PM on March 29, 2005


really think you need to do some research on first amendment law if you think that you have the right to crash a public presentation and yell whatever you want.
Ah, the cretinous "make stuff up" argument. Where did this happen, exactly?

I don't know any (rational) person (even free speech absolutists like Justice Black) that suggests free speech means "say anything, anywhere you want."
No one has ever suggested any such thing, at least in this thread.

I really find it odd that so many people don't understand the contours of their most basic rights.
I find it disgusting that you voluntarily argue against your own rights.

You can try to burn me with strawmen
You have got to be kidding. You float some made-up theory that these people were indeed being disruptive (which I'll believe if you ever present some evidence to that effect) and then cry that people are setting you up as as a strawman?
posted by sonofsamiam at 1:14 PM on March 29, 2005


What the acid kitty said:

a campaign stop could be somewhat construed as a private event for the candidate, giving them carte blanche to accept and reject whomever they saw fit. as pointed out on talking points memo, these latest rallies for social security reform are taxpayer funded. removing taxpayers from a taxpayer funded rally should be answered with several lawsuits and a pointed call to one's congressional representatives, i should think.
posted by destro at 1:19 PM on March 29, 2005


sonofsamiam: Can we agree that this isn't a first amendment issue? Can we agree that the issue is whether these people were perceived as potentional problems or disruptions? Because once we get to that question, the only remaning question is to what extent do we believe this person that he was innocent there. I happen to not believe him, but that is a matter of perspective.

But this is clearly not a free speech issue. If this person was there to "speak," then he was there to distract. And a person doesn't have the absolut right to speech at any place and any time. If he wasn't there to speak, then he wasn't deprived of any free speech right.

removing taxpayers from a taxpayer funded rally should be answered with several lawsuits and a pointed call to one's congressional representatives, i should think.
posted by destro at 1:19 PM PST on March 29

Lawsuits? For what? A state law claim? What is the person's damages? A 1983 claim? What civil right was taken?
posted by dios at 1:22 PM on March 29, 2005


Regardless of the cause or the agent, the First Amendment is dead. The rest of the Bill of Rights is severely ill, and not expected to survive. There is nothing you or I can do to change this. Get used to it.
posted by bshock at 1:23 PM on March 29, 2005


As acid freaking on the kitty notes

Is it me, or is this a "Pootie-Tang" reference? Because if it is, you're my favorite person today.
posted by davejay at 1:23 PM on March 29, 2005


dios: the bumper sticker is the explanation they were given as to why they were expelled. Similar things have happened with buttons, t-shirts, etc. at Bush rallies.

This is a free-speech issue.
posted by sonofsamiam at 1:29 PM on March 29, 2005


You can try to burn me with strawmen, or you can try to engage me on the level of substance. You decide.

I think the reason that you are being jumped on is that for every outrage mentioned here that is allegedly perpetrated by the administration, you tend to arrive in a thread and justify it wholesale rather than beginning with a simple acknowledgement of "if this is true, it is bad." Many of those who do not support the president have been frustrated by the unwillingness of his supporters to so much as admit that anything wrong has ever been done by him or his administration.
posted by norm at 1:33 PM on March 29, 2005


the First Amendment is dead. The rest of the Bill of Rights is severely ill, and not expected to survive. There is nothing you or I can do to change this. Get used to it.
posted by bshock at 1:23 PM PST on March 29


With all due respect, this is an incredibly myopic and silly view. You really need to get a sense of perspective if you think you don't have freedom of speech or that the Bill of Rights is dead. It shows a fundamental misunderstanding of both the nature of rights and just how much liberty you do in fact have.

dios: the bumper sticker is the explanation they were given as to why they were expelled. This is a free-speech issue.
posted by sonofsamiam at 1:29 PM PST on March 29

1. You are assuming that this person is telling the complete truth. I don't know why you assume he is telling the truth when he is obviously a severe partisan and would have motivation to make up such a story (get buzz on DKos, and not-so-suprisingly, a cross-link to Metafilter).

2. You assume he lost his freedom of speech for having the bumper sticker, but he clearly didn't lose the right to have speak with is bumper sticker. The fact he has the bumper sticker indicates he does have the right to speak. Furthermore, you still haven't provided me with any basis at all that supports this assertion that freedom of speech includes the right to attend a rally and make a political point. It must clearly does not.
posted by dios at 1:37 PM on March 29, 2005


Whether it's happened before or no, Bush is making this into an art form.

But it's also backfiring on him. Anyone else wonder why his "bamboozlepalooza" tour of the U.S. to tout his Social Security "plan" is faltering so badly? Because they only let the True Believers (tm) into the events, so he winds up preaching to the choir at each and every stop.

That ain't exactly the way to win over the undecided...
posted by kgasmart at 1:37 PM on March 29, 2005


That ain't exactly the way to win over the undecided

I think the results of the last couple of elections show that it is unnecessary to win over the undecided.
posted by norm at 1:41 PM on March 29, 2005


It seems to me that the "logic of prevention" doesn't only apply to phantom terrorists, but also to phantom disruptive protesters ?

I also wonder why we assume this person's version of the events to be true. After all, this person is a poster at Kos, and I think we can assume, therefore, that he was anti-Bush and wasn't there for supporting reasons.

Well I think posters at Free Republic could as well be at a democratic convention wearing a "Clinton sucks donkey balls sweat" tshirts or maybe they're there to listen to what is being said. I wouldn't even pay attention because who cares about Clinton sucking anything, if what he's saying makes sense ? Hell who cares about what oppositors are saying , why is it so dangerous ?

Could it be that somebody in the Bush propaganda machine didn't even _like_ the concept of "dissent" and considered anything that didn't read "that is right" or "you're the one" or anything propaganda deems appropriate ?

It sounds soooo much of advertisement strategy in which you have

1. a public who always applauds (hell they're often paid to)
2. nobody dissents
3. everything is unrealistically perfect

Sounds much like Church praying...you're not supposed to disturb...mmhh, okay..but the whole country isn't a Chuch and that wasn't a religious function either..and even if it was I may choose to be disrispectful and disoebey let me bear the consequences.

Dios: Furthermore, you still haven't provided me with any basis at all that supports this assertion that freedom of speech includes the right to attend a rally and make a political point. It must clearly does not.

That's begging the question, you tell me what are the limit of freedom of speech and why you support the limits and in which occasions.
posted by elpapacito at 1:42 PM on March 29, 2005


It is an amusing irony that this Social Security idiosy has gone so far that they've even privatized the town hall meetings.
posted by fleacircus at 1:43 PM on March 29, 2005


Alright, I wasn't going to take this up, but...

Can we agree that this isn't a first amendment issue? Can we agree that the issue is whether these people were perceived as potentional problems or disruptions?

Actually, I don't think we can.

You want the issue to be "were they perceived as potential problems or disruptions", but this is a distraction.

Based on eyewitness testimony, we know that they WERE in fact perceived as potential problems/disruptions based entirely on the bumper sticker one had on their car. The bumper sticker itself is undeniably free speech.

So the issue is really this: "were their rights violated when they were ejected from this taxpayer-funded event based solely on the free speech expressed on that one bumper sticker?"

A simple question.

You also said this:

But this is clearly not a free speech issue. If this person was there to "speak," then he was there to distract.

Now you're just trying to muddy the issue, I suspect, as the "Free speech" being argued here is the bumper sticker. The people in question weren't attending to speak; they had already spoken by displaying their bumper sticker. Solely on the basis of this, they were ejected from a taxpayer-funded event.

And so we go back to the real issue, as stated above. As I said, a simple question.

So here's my answer to the simple question: I believe that since (as stated by the secret service in this account) the persons in question were punished solely for the display of their bumper sticker, and as the punishment involved the use of government officials to eject these persons from a taxpayer-funded event, this was a clear abuse of their right to free speech.

In order to argue that it was not, you have to provide some evidence that (a) it was reasonable to assume the people in question were a danger to the president (the secret service already denied this), or (b) the people in question were ejected for reasons other than the bumper sticker (the secret service already denied this).

Or, you could provide evidence that this account is made-up, or grossly exaggerated, or somesuch. Some evidence other than your personal feelings, or that one of the persons was a "poster on Kos" -- because I could just as easily discount everything you say as a lie based purely on your posting to MetaFilter. After all, MetaFilter is full of liberals. Or would that be unfair?
posted by davejay at 1:44 PM on March 29, 2005


dios wrote: the issue is whether these people were perceived as potentional [sic] problems or disruptions

Ah, yes - the Minority Report approach to policing public assemblies. Exactly what Mill was getting at. Not only can you not yell "Fire!" in a crowded theatre, you can't be perceived by some random official who doesn't identify himself as a peace officer as looking like you might be the sort of person who might yell "Fire!" in a crowded theatre.

Another victory for lovers of freedom everywhere.
posted by gompa at 1:44 PM on March 29, 2005


I think the reason that you are being jumped on is that for every outrage mentioned here that is allegedly perpetrated by the administration, you tend to arrive in a thread and justify it wholesale rather than beginning with a simple acknowledgement of "if this is true, it is bad." posted by norm at 1:33 PM PST on March 29

Well, I wouldn't bother if the histrionics weren't so pathetic. In those threads in which "arrive to justify it," it usually has to do with people taking certain events and blowing them out of proportion or making over-inflated hysterical assertions. So, for instance, in this thread, someone takes an unsubstantiated report from an extreme partisan site and start to bemoan how we lost our freedom of speech. Well, for one, there is no reason to believe this person at all. And secondly, the cry for our lost rights is myopic and silly. Just like every "the end is nigh" hyper-partisan melodrama that occurs when any news story breaks.

If I ever saw a measured response to something here on Metafilter, then I wouldn't feel it necessary to add some perspective. But when people who either (a) don't know the contours of first amedment jurisprudce or (b) ignore their knowledge in order try to make a political point based on a post on Kos, it screams for the need for someone to say, "Why should we believe him? What right do think is at stake.?"
posted by dios at 1:46 PM on March 29, 2005


Follow-up: you said this eyewitness is unreliable because they are partisan. Does this mean we have to limit all testimony regarding specific events to the uninterested and ill-informed? I mean, we CAN, but people like that don't go to political rallies. The only people at that event (and others like it) are people with opinions. That would mean nobody's eyewitness accounts of these events would be valid. So they should all be ignored.

Oh. Wait. I think I get it now. Ah.
posted by davejay at 1:48 PM on March 29, 2005


And... *swish* dios ignores every point directed at him.

You fail debate class, dios.
posted by sonofsamiam at 1:50 PM on March 29, 2005


"What right do think is at stake.?" (sic)

Well, have you ever removed a bumper sticker? It's a pain in the ass. So in this case, here's what's at stake: in order to attend a political rally for George W. Bush, I personally must make sure my car, person and belongings are completely devoid of any speech critical of the current administration.

That means my wife, whose car was covered in such bumper stickers for a few years, would have to ask herself this question: "if I express my opinion on my car via bumper stickers, I will be disqualifying myself from attenting a political rally. Which one do I want to do more, speak my opinion publicly or attend a taxpayer-funded political event?" She also has to be careful that the clothes she wears to the event will pass muster.

When did these become questions we Americans should be asking ourselves?

And what happens if the political rally is in my neighborhood, and one of the people working the event lives near me and knows my lawn had signs promoting Kerry during the election, and on the basis of THAT (I walked to this event, no bumper stickers in sight) I was turned away from the rally?
posted by davejay at 1:56 PM on March 29, 2005


Davejay, you are saying that they had a bumper sticker, so the fact they had one indicates they have "freedom of speech." What are now saying is that they should have the right to speak without reprecussions. So you are adding to the right that people should be able to say whatever they want with reprecussions. That view does not comport with First Amendment jurisprudence. Try saying that you want to kill the president if you think it does.

As to my point regarding the believability of the Kos poster: that, as I said, is a matter of opinion. But I wouldn't believe a first hand account of a Kos poster re: Bush any more than I would believe a first hand account of a Freeper re: Hillary. They just aren't reliable sources, in my opinion.

And... *swish* dios ignores every point directed at him.
posted by sonofsamiam at 1:50 PM PST on March 29


What point did I ignore? I didn't intend to skip any argument.

Is there any way you can behave like a decent person during a substantive dialogue? Or do you have to persist in acting like a prick?
posted by dios at 1:57 PM on March 29, 2005


Goo. Spelling mistakes. My bad.
posted by dios at 1:58 PM on March 29, 2005


first amedment jurisprudce--Dios, lay off the crack.
posted by bardic at 1:58 PM on March 29, 2005


do you have to persist in acting like a prick?
Sorry. I'm going to bow out, because I am too irked to be polite to you.
posted by sonofsamiam at 2:06 PM on March 29, 2005


Davejay, you are saying that they had a bumper sticker, so the fact they had one indicates they have "freedom of speech."

If I put a bumper sticker on my car that says "No Blood For Oil" and I am put in jail, but the car still displays the bumper sticker, do I have free speech? Of course not; free speech is taken away NOT in the moment of speaking, but in the moment we are punished for our speech. As these people were when ejected from the rally.

What are now saying is that they should have the right to speak without reprecussions...Try saying that you want to kill the president if you think it does.

Saying that you want to kill the president is against the law. Saying "No Blood For Oil" is not. You're not a fool; you don't think these are the same things. Stop pretending you do.

(now, to go back a bit)

Davejay, you are saying that they had a bumper sticker, so the fact they had one indicates they have "freedom of speech." What are now saying is that they should have the right to speak without reprecussions.

Everyone in this country has the right to speak without government-enforced reprecussions, except in those cases where the speech in question is against the law (slander, libel, threats against the president, "Fire!" in a crowded theater).

There. I couldn't be more clear. I now anticipate you will change the subject.
posted by davejay at 2:06 PM on March 29, 2005


dios: dude please take additional time to review your statements as there's a lot of rethoric in there.

1. Well, for one, there is no reason to believe this person at all. Fine, there is no reason NOT to believe this person at all. You spend time pointing out that report comes from a well know partisan source..but even if it came from Free Republic , that wouldn't imply that the report is false. It seems to me you're attacking the source (Kos in this occasion) lacking other argument to attack the report or prove it false.

Indeed if for instance I posted the story

"Bush saves a crashing bus by stopping it"

on Free Republic..we'd probably have your opposite, but equivalent counterpart crying out that it was on Free Republic, therefore it's not reliable. That just wouldn't prove the story to be true or to be false.

2.The cry for our lost rights is myopic and silly And your not crying is equally as myopic and silly ?

3. But when people who either (a) don't know the contours of first amedment jurisprudce or (b) ignore their knowledge in order try to make a political point based on a post on Kos, it screams for the need for someone to say, "Why should we believe him? What right do think is at stake.?"

I applaud your resolve in exposing political points, but so far all you have exposed is your suspicions, all apparently based on the fact that the source article is KOS. May I suggest a more profiteable route, that of exposing your knowledge about the first amendment jurisprudence and a batch of links to relevant documents ? That would surely score you credibility points among the ones who care and would also allow you to enlighten the readers of Mefi.

Much better then getting a "u treacherous French LOL" of Freerep, I guess ?
posted by elpapacito at 2:07 PM on March 29, 2005


dios, that was a very good non-reply. You completely ignored the very solid points being raised by DaveJay, and instead segued off into something completely different. Avoid uncomfortable topics, attack irrelevancies that can be perceived as weak spots. Classic debate tactics: all heat and noise, no actual light.

Bush's policy of suppressing speech he doesn't like is extremely well-documented, and has been carried to extremes that no President before has ever attempted. Why do you have so much trouble admitting that this, very simply, is wrong?
posted by Malor at 2:08 PM on March 29, 2005


Shorter dios:

Furthermore, the right of speech is reciprocal: though you may have the right to freedom of speech, you don't have the right to force people to hear your speech or to shout down someone attend a speech in a car sporting a dissenting bumper sticker.
posted by soyjoy at 2:09 PM on March 29, 2005


Davejay, that reminds me of a story a buddy used to tell me about the miltary. The way his superiors put it to him was "you have the right to free speech, you just have to be willing to accept the consequences." (ie, the brig, demotions, what have you.) Classic double speak.

If you can be punished for doing something, then you weren't free to do it. Duh.
posted by Malor at 2:10 PM on March 29, 2005


Dios. What davejay is saying is that political opinions expressed outside of a taxpayer funded event lead to certain taxpayers being deemed inelligible to attend the event.

You are free to say what you want, but when it comes to receiving the benefits of your tax dollars, well, then, you best be careful what you say about whom.

What is that then, if it is not an attempt to limit the range of acceptable political speach?
posted by Freen at 2:16 PM on March 29, 2005


you don't have the right to attend a speech in a car sporting a dissenting bumper sticker.

There's a law against this? I'd love to see it. What's it called?

Seriously, though, you don't have the right to force people to look at the bumper sticker, but there's no law preventing you from parking the car at a rally.

If there were, the huge pro-life billboard trucks that cruise the 405 freeway with 12-foot pictures of aborted fetuses would be against the law. But they're not, last I checked. Correct me if I'm wrong.

[on preview]

If you can be punished for doing something, then you weren't free to do it. Duh.

Indeed. The fact that this is painfully obvious to us means it is also painfully obvious to those who refuse to admit it, which means they're trying to manipulate the discussion to make this less obvious.
posted by davejay at 2:17 PM on March 29, 2005


Freen, there you go again, summing things up concisely and accurately. How dare you! ;)

(S)He knows what I said, though. I actually suspect that Dios is a debate instructor keeping his skills sharp. Seriously.
posted by davejay at 2:18 PM on March 29, 2005


Davejay has no email so I am just posting to express my admiration of his First Amendment analysis.

Dios: By your analysis, since a bumper sticker that says "No Blood for Oil" on a car outside a public rally is not constitutionally protected speech, would it be correct to assume that you are of the opinion that a jacket worn inside the public rally that said, oh, "Fuck the War" would also not be constitutionally protected speech?
posted by jennyb at 2:21 PM on March 29, 2005


The Secret Service has been doing this kind of thing since at least 1990.
posted by armage at 2:22 PM on March 29, 2005


Indeed, and the sooner it stops the better.

As someone noted above, the fact that something bad happened in the past, or is happening elsewhere does not in any way shape or form excuse the fact that it is happening here and now.
posted by Freen at 2:25 PM on March 29, 2005


Dios instigated an instance of limiting my speech right here on metatalk.

I have only one simple question for dios (God? heh!):

How much are you paid to shill here? (and do it so badly) More that Gannon I hope.

Dios: Pepsi Blue for Dubya.
posted by nofundy at 2:36 PM on March 29, 2005


What are now saying is that they should have the right to speak without reprecussions.

This is the classic winger line these days. This is the justification for trying to strip Ward Churchill of his job - hey, free speech has ramifications.

In other words, if you dare to speak up, we are going to do everything in our power to destroy you, so if you have any skeletons whatsoever in your closed, better keep your mouth shut.

But America=land of the free. Whoopee!
posted by kgasmart at 2:36 PM on March 29, 2005


jennyb, It would be constitutionally protected speech. That is, you couldn't go to jail for it. In fact, the Supreme Court held that a guy couldn't be arrested for wearing a shirt which said "Fuck the Draft", but he could be excluded from places because he was wearing the shirt (The opinion is great when one judge pointed out that one couldn't actually copulate with the draft, therefore it was symbolic). And you have the freedom to put a "No Blood for Oil" bumper sticker on your car. As this person did. But, you don't have the right to speak anywhere and any place at any time. There are time, place and manner restrictions on protests. There are obscenity laws. There are content restrictions about what can be said. There are freedom of association rights which give the right to exclude. And there is no right to be disruptive. I don't care how you cast it. A person cannot just get up in the middle of a speech and start yelling things. They will be removed. The freedom of speech doesn't protect such behavior.

Which brings me back to a point that I made many posts ago which was dismissed out of hand: the issue is whether these guards were correct in how they viewed these people. If they were threats or appeared to be problematic, then there is reason to have them removed. If they weren't a danger, then it might have been unfortunate. But you also don't have a right to attend every event that is paid for by tax dollars. If you think you do, then try to break into the Supreme Court---it is funded by tax dollars.

That they removed only because of a bumper sticker is an unsupported allegation which I choose to disbelieve given the source.
posted by dios at 2:37 PM on March 29, 2005


The larger issue here isn't even about the first amendment or any specific laws or rights, it is a question of ethos: the Bush administration is unwilling to listen to opposing viewpoints and uses government professional employees to enforce its partisan goals. This threatens several things, from the cherished American tradition of at least tolerating dissent to the use of merit rather than loyalty for most government jobs.

The reaction to events like this* is often "histrionics" because it is clear to even casual observers that the administration wants to dictate policy rather than seeking an honest debate about it, and that is more a sign of an authoritarian government than a democratic republic.

*Let's be clear, this probably happened. This is hardly the first time an event like this was claimed to have happen, and is not out of character for the administration. So can we agree to not pretend this is some unlikely random occurrence?
posted by norm at 2:37 PM on March 29, 2005


Dios, your scepticism about the accuracy of the description of the event, and perhaps even whether the event occured is warranted, but up until a point.

Karen Bauer and Leslie Weise at least deserve the beneift of the doubt. They have made a public statement, and without evidence to the contrary, we have no reason to disbeleive them. I hope their story is a fabrication, but as it stands, I really have no good reason to disbeleive them. Also, your point about the origin of the story, Apparently, markos was emailed the letter from Karen Bauer and Leslie Weise. Their associationg with Dailykos.org is limited to simply email. They are not regular posters, nor can we know for sure if they are even regular readers.

The issue of the origin of the story is a moot point anyway, as i have said above, without evidence to the contrary, we have to discuss the issue with the details we have, knowing as well that there is little other corroboration except the AP article, which is a fairly sustantial and well referenced article.

That is the epistemological facts of the matter. As it stands, I think that they bear relatively little significance to the subject of the article, and the debate at hand.

Your statements concerning the relative applicability of the first amendment to this particular case are highly problematic, as has been repeatedly explained by numerous other people, davejay etc.

Dios, You are pointing to hypothetical future activities as grounds for expulsion based on prior speech. Sounds like thought police to me.
posted by Freen at 2:39 PM on March 29, 2005


They had tickets, dude.
posted by Freen at 2:41 PM on March 29, 2005


"That they removed only because of a bumper sticker is an unsupported allegation which I choose to disbelieve given the source."

But A) there've been other, similar allegations ("Young Democrats" at Arizona); and B) this is a verified and well-known practice for the people who organize Bush events. In the case of the campaign, there's the argument that it's private. In these cases, however, it is an official US government, public event where someone is excluded solely on the basis of political speech (under which circumstances the 1st does apply). Not on the basis that they're a threat.

It's really a stretch to take such a skeptical stance on this. So much so, I think it's obviously partisan of you. If there were just this one allegation, and not a history of these practices by these very same people, I'd be a lot more sympathetic to your argument.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 2:43 PM on March 29, 2005


norm, I want to congratulate you for being the only person (except jennyb) who has been willing to engage in a dialogue in a constructive and respectful manner. Would that the other people here could be so mature.

As to the substance of your post: you have a point about not endearing to opposing viewpoints. Though you have to consider that one might not be ignoring opposing viewpoints all the time; it is possible that one knows what the opposing side has to say, and just doesn't agree. I think Bush has been too dogmatic. But the really neat thing about this country is that we have regular elections. And if his dogmatism is unpopular, then he will get voted out. As it were, the majority of Americans just voted to approve his viewpoint. That we do have the ability to vote people out of office is why the analogies to totalitarianism are so completely myopic.

And I can agree that it is not a random occurrence that people are removed from places because they are there to be disruptive. And I have no problem with that. Just as I hope that someone wouldn't stand up in the middle of a movie and just start lecturing me about oil lest they be forcibly removed, nor do I have a problem with people being removed during a speech. The people there are there for a speech; it was not set up for a debate.
posted by dios at 2:47 PM on March 29, 2005


Plus, "No blood for oil" Isn't a threat. It can in no way be construed as any type of "speach action" like a threat, or yelling fire in a crowded theater, or inciting violence.

If their bumpersticker said " I love to disrupt political rallies!" Then you might be on to something.

As it stands, you are in support of denying lawfull entrance to a taxpayer funded evenst based on prior unrelated speach.

Think about how the world would be if that was the law of the land. Most people wouldn't be able to participate in tax payer funded events, as most people i know have at one time or another said something rather unsavory about the government or government representatives.
posted by Freen at 2:47 PM on March 29, 2005


Here is a radical thought: We must disband the Secret Service.

Our Presidents should be disposable. After all, ideally, they should just be one of us schmucky citizens.

Off a president? Hey, no problem. We got a whole country of potential Presidents. Isn't THAT how it's supposed to work? We shouldn't have so much invested in one man. It's so stupid. philosophically AND strategically.

Why should the president be any more special than the rest of us? Ok. Sure. He should have access to more secure facilities and perhaps half a dozen private body guards. But other than than that he should rely on the same LEO mechanism as the rest of us. And he should not have his own private fucking army that he can use to bully citizens and make his political life Nerf coated. Fuck that.

If people want to kill the President so badly, then maybe he actually is doing something wrong. Maybe the sword of Damocles would be a good thing?

I despise seeing the Presidential motorcade 75 cars long with the SS pushing back protestors and handing out fucking flags and shit. Where are we? Chili? We may as well call him Generalissimo or El'Presidente for fuck sake.
posted by tkchrist at 2:52 PM on March 29, 2005


Chile
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 2:55 PM on March 29, 2005


E_B- there are time, place and manner restriction on speech. Just because something is "taxpayer funded," doesn't mean that it is free reign for taxpayers to go bonkers.

I conceded in one of my first posts in this thread that the issue should be whether the Secret Service was too over-bearing in who they asked to leave. They probably shouldn't have asked anyone to leave until they were actually the problem. But I stand by first point: this is not a freedom of speech issue. Or, at least, these people were not deprived of their freedom of speech. It may very well be inappropriate for the Secret Service to view all potential opponents as disruptive, but that is a criticism of the policies of the Secret Service. But regardless of the fault in their discretion, this does not in any way implicate freedom of speech. These people were not arrested for what they said. They are free to say "No Blood for Oil" all they want to. But there are restrictions on the time, place and manor if they want to make their political protest. The first amendment guarentees the right of people to be able to articulate lawful thoughts. It does not guarentee an open-ended platform from which to articulate those thoughts.
posted by dios at 2:55 PM on March 29, 2005


Well, they are metaphors. You argument that because we can vote, analogies likening the US to Totalitarian states are myopic and incorrect reveals a distinct misunderstanding of the concept of analogy and metaphor.

You would be correct if it was claimed that the US is a totalitarian state. But that isn't the claim. The claim is that such tactics are SIMILAR to those used by totalitarian states.
Don't be deliberately obtuse.

How do you know that they were there to be disruptive? Can you read their minds, or do you assume that anyone with a "no blood for oil" bumper sticker goes to taxpayer funded events in an attempt to be disruptive? That sounds like the thought police to me.

tkchrist: That is one of the worst ideas I have ever heard in my entire life. However, I think impeachment should be a much more viable, and utilized public policy option.
posted by Freen at 3:00 PM on March 29, 2005


Those people were not removed from the event because they were trying to speak AT the event. They were removed because they had spoken, in the form of a bumpersticker BEFORE the event. Someone, somehow made the absurd cognitive leap that dios is attempting to justify that because someone has in the past disagreed with one policy of a particular administration, and expressed that disagreement in a totally non-disruptive manner, they will undoubtably attempt to disrupt an event about a totally different policy, an therefore, despite the fact that they helped fund the event, and had tickets to attend the event we cannot allow them to do so because we suspect that they might be disruptive in a manner that does not support the policy being propounded at the event.

Dios, that is a scary idea. I'll say it once again, do you really want to universalize this type of behavior? Have you thought about the consequences if this was the norm?
posted by Freen at 3:06 PM on March 29, 2005


"E_B- there are time, place and manner restriction on speech. Just because something is 'taxpayer funded,' doesn't mean that it is free reign for taxpayers to go bonkers."

I understand that better than you think.

"But regardless of the fault in their discretion, this does not in any way implicate freedom of speech. These people were not arrested for what they said."

No one has claimed to have been arrested. The Arizona student wasn't arrested. If these claims are true—and my point is that there's good reasons to think they are—then this is only about political speech. In those stark terms, SCOTUS would have to rule against the admin. That's why A) the person who told their story about being prohibited from the Kerry campaign rally were told it was because of the long wood handle on the sign, and later that it was because it was indoors, because those were plausible non-Constitutionally protected reasons to exclude them; and B) in the Kerry case it really was the Secret Service but in these two (or more) reported cases, it was not the Secret Service. The Secret Service knows better.

"The first amendment guarentees the right of people to be able to articulate lawful thoughts. It does not guarentee an open-ended platform from which to articulate those thoughts."

Yes, dios, I am aware of this, and probably so are the other commenters.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 3:07 PM on March 29, 2005


That they removed only because of a bumper sticker is an unsupported allegation which I choose to disbelieve given the source.

Trying to discuss this must be like an athiest trying to have a discussion with a Christian about God, yes? You don't believe it actually happened, therefore it's not a discussion about anything -real-, just a theoretical construct. Which explains your liberal use of strawmen. Under that context, your approach to this argument makes sense.

norm, I want to congratulate you for being the only person (except jennyb) who has been willing to engage in a dialogue in a constructive and respectful manner. Would that the other people here could be so mature.

Do you define "constructive and respectful" to mean "did not directly disagree with me"? If not, you've just been exceptionally disrespectful to many of the people in this forum, including myself.

nor do I have a problem with people being removed during a speech. The people there are there for a speech; it was not set up for a debate.

Quickly back to the original topic: the people in question weren't there to debate, either. They were peacefully attending the speech. They didn't bring "no blood for oil" signs into the speech; they left their car in the parking lot. They weren't asked to cover their bumper sticker, or remove their car from the parking lot: they were asked to leave altogether.

Oops, forgot. You don't believe their account anyway. Nevermind.


posted by davejay at 3:08 PM on March 29, 2005


In reply to dios's reply to me, since on preview a lot has happened in here:

Yes, I'm familiar with the case and it's where I got my example. The places from which someone wearing such a shirt could be excluded are limited by that decision to another person's private home:

While this Court has recognized that government may properly act in many situations to prohibit intrusion into the privacy of the home of unwelcome views and ideas which cannot be totally banned from the public dialogue, e. g., Rowan v. Post Office Dept., 397 U.S. 728 (1970), we have at the same time consistently stressed that "we are often 'captives' outside the sanctuary of the home and subject to objectionable speech." Id., at 738. The ability of government, consonant with the Constitution, to shut off discourse solely to protect others from hearing it is, in other words, dependent upon a showing that substantial privacy interests are being invaded in an essentially intolerable manner. Any broader view of this authority would effectively empower a majority to silence dissidents simply as a matter of personal predilections. (Emphasis mine.)

Because this was a public rally, there was no substantial privacy interest here and therefore, this rally is not the type of situation where one could be constitutionally prevented from entering based on a shirt or a bumper sticker. I would even go so far as to argue that based on Terminello v. Chicago, a public political rally given in support of a contentious and controversial issue is exactly the type of situation where someone should be not only able to but encouraged to express dissent.

You say that there is no right to "disrupt" a speech and from what you've said, it seems like you mean "heckling." The law is actually not settled on that matter. In re Kay held that a person does have a constitutional right to disrupt a meeting as long as the disruption doesn't substantially interfere with the meeting, but that's only one decision. There is no settled law on whether one can disrupt a meeting by heckling or shouting an opposing view.

But I also see that you're saying that you don't believe that the bumper sticker was all there is to it, so arguing the actual constitutionality of the issue is pretty pointless until we can agree on the facts. I think I could glean your answer from what you've posted on preview, but just for kicks, if the facts really are as presented, would you say that it is unconstitutional to bar three men from a public political rally on the basis of a bumper sticker?
posted by jennyb at 3:10 PM on March 29, 2005


i love how dios is pretending to be all reasonable but then throws in all his crazy grammar and misspellings -- reminds me of that damon wayans skit about false erudition.

"well, see, the gravitivity of the so-called "right" of free speech is offset, vis a vis the clitorosity of the so-called "rights" structularity, per se."
posted by Hat Maui at 3:10 PM on March 29, 2005


(obviously, that last part shouldn't have been italicized. bad html karma.)

Also:

Don't be deliberately obtuse

But that's what Dios is short for: DelIberately ObtuSe. Heh.

/couldn't resist, since my posts are all disrepectful anyway
posted by davejay at 3:10 PM on March 29, 2005


Note, that I, among others, have been totally ignoring the particular problem of how it is that it was discovered that they had such a bumpersticker. That, in and of itself, is highly problematic as well.

Why and how were ticket holders being vetted for political orientation in the first place?
posted by Freen at 3:11 PM on March 29, 2005


Any broader view of this authority would effectively empower a majority to silence dissidents simply as a matter of personal predilections.

Nice find. Things like this reassure me that for the most part sanity in our judicial system still prevails. So, unless people want to debate whether or not the court was correct in their decision, we're left with arguing over whether this actually happened or not.

And continuing to be disrespectful, of course.

Now that Dios has liberated me from the burden of being constructive and respectful, I'm really having a grand time over here
posted by davejay at 3:14 PM on March 29, 2005


Why does this country seem like Maoist China these days

Must be all the dissenters being rounded up and executed.
posted by kindall at 3:17 PM on March 29, 2005


You can try to burn me with strawmen, or you can try to engage me on the level of substance. You decide.

You're the one who asserted that these people were there to make trouble (and hence my rebuke). Please don't try and pass off your strawmen attacks to others, dios. It makes you look like an idiot.
posted by clevershark at 3:17 PM on March 29, 2005


Freen, excellent point. We have more to discuss after all! Assuming this actually happened (emphasis added to keep Dios off my back) the implication is that patrons were being screened in such a way that individuals could be connected with their cars. I could write for hours about that, but I won't.

Instead, I'll focus on something else that this implies: they profiled them by their car, therefore they could have stopped them from entering in the first place. Why wait? Why let them in, then remove them?

I can think of many theoretical possibilities, but I have late lunch to get. Have fun discussing, see you in the next thread.
posted by davejay at 3:22 PM on March 29, 2005


I hope dios is getting paid to vomit forth the neocon agenda on Metafilter. It'd be a shame for him to lose out on benefits enjoyed by Armstrong Williams and James Gannon/Guckert.
posted by clevershark at 3:24 PM on March 29, 2005


kindall, if you allow dissenters to be rounded up and detained, as is routine for the Bush administration in all his appearances, you have already agreed in principle to Maoist practices -- the difference is only quantitative -- the duration of the detention -- not qualitative.
posted by George_Spiggott at 3:43 PM on March 29, 2005


" I hope dios is getting paid to vomit forth the neocon agenda on Metafilter."

I missed the part where dios wrote about foreign policy. Was that in this thread?
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 3:46 PM on March 29, 2005


/me wonders when people will understand that free speech doesn't have anything remotely to do with the concept that people should be able to say anything, anywhere they want

Do your knuckles drag on the ground when you walk? Just curious. I thought you were perhaps growing up a bit, that perhaps you were growing beyond trolling. But this doesn't sound like this is the case.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 4:02 PM on March 29, 2005


mk1gti wrote: Why does this country seem like Maoist China these days?

kindall wrote: Must be all the dissenters being rounded up and executed.

Nah. I think it's just that, basically, our girls just want to have fun.
posted by gigawhat? at 4:02 PM on March 29, 2005


gigawhat? wins!
posted by Floydd at 4:45 PM on March 29, 2005


Dios, I want you to repeat one line, which you can either agree with or disagree with:

I, dios ____agree ____ disagree that the republican party should get to pick who can and can't attend a taxpayer funded event.

I await your response.
posted by Space Coyote at 5:08 PM on March 29, 2005


Bigger picture: this happens with EVERY administration; both sides suck and they control the game/rules.

That's tu quoque, one of the logical fallacies, and merits no further response.
posted by spazzm at 5:16 PM on March 29, 2005


dios, your point that freedom of speech has restrictions is true - and nobody is disputing that. This is not the issue though, as these individuals were not removed for speaking at the event, they were removed for speaking in the past, in the form of a bumper sticker on a car which was parked elsewhere.

It's not the equivalent of wearing an anti-Bush t-shirt, it's the equivalent of owning an anti-Bush t-shirt leaving it in your car instead of wearing it. These individuals were not removed for being disruptive, they were removed for thought crime.
posted by mek at 5:36 PM on March 29, 2005


tkchrist: That is one of the worst ideas I have ever heard in my entire life.

No. I've had FAR worse ideas. But you say that NOW. I'll ask you how you feel about that during the second Rove administration. If we are permitted to do things anymore.
posted by tkchrist at 5:36 PM on March 29, 2005


Dios, I want you to repeat one line, which you can either agree with or disagree with:

I, dios ____agree ____ disagree that the republican party should get to pick who can and can't attend a taxpayer funded event.

I await your response.
posted by Space Coyote at 8:08 PM EST on March 29 [!]


Perfect.

I too await a response.
posted by darkmatter at 5:41 PM on March 29, 2005


tkchrist, of course we'll be permitted to do things, just like dios' version of free speech... of course, when you actually -do- whatever -thing- it is you're talking about, you have to accept that your family will be murdered. I mean, come on. You think the constitution gives you some kind of open-ended rights to just DO whatever you want without reprecussions?

Geez... if only you people were as smart as I am. I'd also like to say jurisprudence. Jurisprudence.
posted by odinsdream at 5:44 PM on March 29, 2005


These individuals were not removed for being disruptive, they were removed for thought crime.

Exactly. Do the words "prior restraint" ring a bell here, dios?
posted by Vidiot at 5:49 PM on March 29, 2005


Or do you have to persist in acting like a prick?
posted by dios


Hello, pot? It's the kettle for you. Line one.
posted by Vidiot at 5:50 PM on March 29, 2005


We're in serious danger of becoming dios-filter. I say we stop talking about it until it starts behaving again. There's no reason to let a troll derail every thread.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 6:16 PM on March 29, 2005


(Purposely not talking about dios)

Is it just me, or does every damn sound bite I've ever heard from a public speech that contains Pressie B's words end with the beginning of an audience whoop or cheer?

Every bite! It happens often enough that I can't help but think they're edited to end that way. Does the White House edit these, or do the news shows do it? (Most all of the instances of this I've noticed have been on NPR.)

Anyone else noticed this?
posted by JHarris at 6:32 PM on March 29, 2005


Yes, I've noticed that too, JH. It reminds me of the old Soviet days, without the Ukrainian folk music and children with flowers.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 6:44 PM on March 29, 2005


Pressie B?
posted by jaronson at 7:31 PM on March 29, 2005


I just heard they weren't Secret Service but private security people dressed up to look like Secret Service--is this so? It seems the planners of these taxpayer-funded events hire rent-a-cops, dress them up to look like Secret Service agents and then have them boot people who don't seem Bush-true.
posted by amberglow at 7:35 PM on March 29, 2005


Davejay, you are saying that they had a bumper sticker, so the fact they had one indicates they have "freedom of speech." What are now saying is that they should have the right to speak without reprecussions. So you are adding to the right that people should be able to say whatever they want with reprecussions. That view does not comport with First Amendment jurisprudence. Try saying that you want to kill the president if you think it does.

That's about the most idiotic thing I've read on MetaFilter in a long time. What an embarrassing thing to have written, dios.
posted by squirrel at 7:41 PM on March 29, 2005


Young, like Bauer and lawyer Leslie Weise, 39, is a member of the Denver Progressives, a political activist group. He said the three had T-shirts underneath their business attire that read, "Stop the Lies" and they had talked about exposing them during Bush's visit. He said they had scrapped the plan by the time they arrived at the museum.
They planned to disrupt the event! Score one for the good guys.
posted by drscroogemcduck at 10:38 PM on March 29, 2005


They planned to disrupt the event! Score one for the good guys.

Thank god those deadly t-shirts that they'd already decided not to expose were intercepted!

If you have that much to fear from a few words on a t-shirt, dr. mcduck, perhaps you might try asking yourself why.
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:54 PM on March 29, 2005


-These individuals were not removed for being disruptive, they were removed for thought crime.
-Exactly. Do the words "prior restraint" ring a bell here


Real sorry I got here late on this one. I read the whole thread prior to making a response (something some folks apparently don't do) - just waiting to hear those magic words.

I thought someone would have said a priori first.

Ah well, most all the good points have been made.(Many unaddressed.
One thing I'd like to comment on though - far from getting used to not crying for our lost rights, some of us would give our lives (or take them) for those freedoms.
Considering the blood already spent for them, I would think we'd be even more emphatic.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:06 PM on March 29, 2005


norm, I want to congratulate you for being the only person (except jennyb) who has been willing to engage in a dialogue in a constructive and respectful manner. Would that the other people here could be so mature.

Nothing fazes a zealot! Cos would you look at this comment by Kindall:

Why does this country seem like Maoist China these days

Must be all the dissenters being rounded up and executed.


The main man, the antagonist of this thread, the pivot upon all threadly debate, are the opinions now of one dios. He is the one arguing that everyone else must recognize that George W. Bush enjoys the right of freedom of speech too. Right. Of course he has that liberty. So do I. So do the Colorado attendees.

This is why "freedom of speech" was written into our Constitution. Why, you ask, is that? Because the founding fathers recognized that tyranny could only be held at bay by a properly empowered citizenship. Henceforth, no matter how disruptive you might find the fact that people unlike yourself exist and don't agree with you, well, here we are! The secret service has no jurisdiction over a citizen who wishes to see his elected representative and possesses no feasible way of intending harm. None.

That they do have this jurisdiction simply means the office of the president has grown too powerful.

You'd think with all these Activist Judges out there this would have been impossible in the first place. Cos you know, it's a liberal tyranny out there.

Kindall etc, do you see what you've sunk to defending via your inane caveats of wisdom?

"Must be all the dissenters being rounded up and executed."

You need to face the fact that there is a sentiment among many of your peers that they in fact could be "rounded up" one day. Are they all idiots? Or do we just kill the idiots when they get out of hand?

You do see your connundrum there right kindall? You cannot fake tyranny. It is or it isn't. You tell me, is it possible there are cassandras among us who see the fomenting organized exclusion and hatred being something we might want to get worried about before we find ourselves swept up with the flow?
posted by crasspastor at 11:43 PM on March 29, 2005


By "flow" I mean, the concerted effort to take human spontaneity out of everything. Do we want to cease having our politicians be spontaneous? Do we want to accept that when politicians seem spontaneous, it's usually when it's the most glaring scandal ever? WTF? How can we as a republic, made up of people, thrive in this 24X7 barrage of horseshit that calls itself news?

This is news! The president of the United States is directly responsible for exclusion of some citizens from his appearances. What is wrong with that? American fucking democracy isn't the Oprah Winfrey show, with its guests booked months in advance. It's realtime and real life. Bushco is going for the "months booked in advance" set. This is a simple marketing ploy. Anything that interrupts, as of now is a ripple in the Bush Matrix. Infomercial producers don't pay people to masturbate in the crowd.

I'm only sayin' it could get worse. Where you'll have your televised executions and so on. How far really, are we from living that dys-reality? Bull testicles have been being eaten in prime time for over three years now. Do the goddamn math.
posted by crasspastor at 11:59 PM on March 29, 2005


So, all I've got to do to break up one of these little shindigs is to plant a few strategic bumper stickers? Hell, they wouldn't even have to be all that obviously partisan. Heck, a lot of the Faithful might even voluntarily apply a "Protect Our Civil Liberties" sticker for lack of knowing any better.
posted by Skwirl at 3:49 AM on March 30, 2005


Skwirl writes "Heck, a lot of the Faithful might even voluntarily apply a 'Protect Our Civil Liberties' sticker for lack of knowing any better."


But, they know that "Civil" means bad news.

Like in "Civil war" or "Civil Rights", to them "civil" is always an indication that decent Christian American white men are going to lose something, like their states' rights, or their agricultural equipment, or their right to a crime-free and orderly society, or in the case of the American Civil Liberties Union, their freedom to glorify their God in court houses and public schools.
posted by orthogonality at 4:14 AM on March 30, 2005


Bigger picture: this happens with EVERY administration

son, you are talking shit. go sit in the corner until you dry behind the ears.
posted by quonsar at 5:06 AM on March 30, 2005


they've even privatized the town hall meetings.

you calling those farces town hall meetings plays right into the strategy. you want to see some yelling and disorder, go to a real town hall meeting.
posted by quonsar at 5:14 AM on March 30, 2005


I hope dios is getting paid to vomit forth the neocon agenda on Metafilter

no, dios is a classic troll. on mefi, people drop the word troll on anything they don't agree with, thus the original meaning has been diluted. dios is a classic troll, and amusing himself greatly. he arrives, casts, and blammo, he has a line full of wriggling, squirming fish who'll snap at anything.
posted by quonsar at 5:26 AM on March 30, 2005


Hey, speaking of Oprah, anybody want to speculate about what it would look like if, say, a couple of people with a pro-Bush bumper sticker were removed from her audience, and then they called, oh, I don't know, Bill O'Reilly to bitch about it?
posted by aaronetc at 5:53 AM on March 30, 2005


BTW, the Washington Post has picked up the story as well. (registration or bugmenot required)
posted by terrapin at 6:25 AM on March 30, 2005


Bigger picture: this happens with EVERY administration

I was so pissed off, I forgot to comment. I used to protest everything as a twenty-something. There was generally a tacit understanding for organizers. We'll put you where the cameras can see you, if you don't disrupt the speech.

I protested the last years of the Reagan administration, the Bush administration, and sporadically through the Clinton administration. I was at most every public appearance in Wisconsin grinding my axe. I was never treated badly by the local GOP and DNC officials in the counties where I lived. I actually got a Christmas card one year.

Throughout my early adult life, there was a code of conduct. Sure people swore at you when you picketed-- that's nothing new-- but there was a recognition that dissent was tolerated providing it wasn't unreasonable.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 6:53 AM on March 30, 2005


Another step toward the dismantling of US democracy.

I've said it before, I'll say it again: civil war within our lifetimes.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:20 AM on March 30, 2005


I think fff is wrong, but I also think gesamtkunstwerk is right (not that I could have any basis to contradict his report of his personal experience). There is something qualitatively different about this administration, and it's scary. They act as if they are not constrained in any way. Not Congress, not the courts, not public opinion, not the rule of law. Some of them may like power for its own sake and they think they can get away with this. Others may think that they are so right, and the enemies they are fighting are so wrong, that they are not constrained by these things as previous adminstrations were. Both those things are scary.

Where I disagree with fff is that I don't think these folks are going to get away with this much longer. So that sort of scenario for a "civil war" is not likely. I do think that the religious right will eventually realize that they're not going to win the battle in American culture, and once they do they'll become more militant, more extreme, and probably violent. Unless we herd them all into one region (and we typically think this is true of the South, but, really, they're everywhere), this won't result in civil war. It will result in civil unrest from a minority population.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 5:47 PM on March 30, 2005


I'm fairly certain the people of Yugoslavia didn't think Milosevic was going to get away with what he was doing for much longer... but the bastard did, and it eventually brought the country to its knees.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:27 PM on March 30, 2005


I've joined this thread a little late, but Dios:
I think Bush has been too dogmatic. But the really neat thing about this country is that we have regular elections. And if his dogmatism is unpopular, then he will get voted out. As it were, the majority of Americans just voted to approve his viewpoint. That we do have the ability to vote people out of office is why the analogies to totalitarianism are so completely myopic.

Don't you mean "the majority of Americans who turned up vote and were lucky enough to have their votes counted as they intended, barely managed to reelect him"?
Given the extraordinary level of problems and evidence of outright corruption in the development of the 'modern' US voting system, feeling assured that we can vote him and his kind out at any time is, to borrow your phrase 'myopic and silly'. Don't forget that Nazi Germany started out democratic but got past that by inflating the threat of religious fanatic terrorism, selling themselves as a wholesome christian party and merging the administration with corporate interests. No doubt some people defended Hitler in spite of his dogmatism by referring to the principles of democracy.

(And please remember that "Godwin's law" is a thought-stopper which prevents us learning from history.)
posted by arjuna at 11:25 PM on March 30, 2005


"civil war within our lifetimes"

Bad for business
posted by fullerine at 2:01 AM on March 31, 2005


How about ecological and economic collapse in our lifetimes. Bush can take us there in style...
posted by arjuna at 6:03 AM on March 31, 2005


First hand account of the incident.

Via Kuro5hin

Paging Dios, thread #40802
posted by Freen at 11:17 AM on March 31, 2005


Nothing fazes a zealot! Cos would you look at this comment by Kindall:

I'm a moderate, hence my snark aimed at the utterly over-the-top comparison of the United States to Maoist China, but nice try.
posted by kindall at 2:01 PM on March 31, 2005


Wake-up call, kindall: supporting this president is not a moderate position. Moderate is as moderate does.
posted by squirrel at 8:27 PM on March 31, 2005


Hey, look! Another moderate!
posted by squirrel at 8:41 PM on March 31, 2005


kindall writes "I'm a moderate, hence my snark aimed at the utterly over-the-top comparison of the United States to Maoist China, but nice try."

John Danforth's no moderate. He's a pro-life conservative, an Episcopal minister, a former Republican Senator form Missouri, and George W. Bush's last ambassador to the United Nations. Not a liberal. Not a moderate. A conservative. Yet he wrote yesterday,
The historic principles of the Republican Party offer America its best hope for a prosperous and secure future. Our current fixation on a religious agenda has turned us in the wrong direction. It is time for Republicans to rediscover our roots.
squirrel is right: "Wake-up call, kindall: supporting this president is not a moderate position."
posted by orthogonality at 8:47 PM on March 31, 2005


Indeed. There is nothing this president does that is in the best interests of the majority population of citizens.

Only a few percent of the population of the USA is seeing significant increases in personal wealth: the richest are growing far richer, everyone else no so much.

Most of the US resource base -- that area not owned by personal citizens -- is owned by massive corporations, which act as single super-powerful citizens that place wealth above all other considerations, like environment, health, safety, and compassion.

The country is controlled by and works in the best interest of corporate economics, to the detriment of personal best interests.

It is a system that is duty-bound to drive the majority population into commercial servitude at the lowest possible economic costs, so as to drive the greatest possible amount of economic benefit from that population.

All other factors come second to maximizing this particular ratio. Workers must be healthy, but only so healthy so as to be economically productive. The air must be clean, but only so much as we can get away with. The jobsite must be safe, but only if it's cheap to make it safe, otherwise we bend the rules.

Supporting this president is to support a worker-slave society in which corporate economics triumphs personal happiness.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:50 PM on March 31, 2005


Oh, and that's only one of this President's flaws. The other big one is, of course, how he uses his religion to suppress the majority population.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm all for suppressing the majority population, at least in terms of driver licensing and taxation to provide full public healthcare. Stuff that provides positive overall benefit to the majority population.

But this religion thing, it's supposed to be separate from government. That's what makes our American nations distinct from Britain, where the head of their nation once started his own church and forced it upon the entire population. That's what makes us distinct from North Korea, where the head of their nation has not only started his own cult of personality, has also forced it upon his entire nation.

The faith of this President is one which is duty-bound to drive the majority population into a religion, so as to enforce a set of rules and regulations unique to their personal belief system.

All other factors come second to making sure everyone believes in the set of rules and regulations this religious tribe supports. Citizens should get health care, but not so much as to interfere with production of more citizens. Citizens must be of a certain religion, but only so much as it is Christian. The citizens must have freedom of life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness, but only so long as it fits the rules and regulations set out in a particular religious text.

Supporting this president is to support a religiously-ruled society in which conservative evangelist religion triumphs over personal liberty.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:02 PM on March 31, 2005


and goddamn if I don't feel that I've expressed those problems well. tell me that what I wrote isn't exactly what needs to be told over and over to the public! the religious right does not have a majority of the population on its side at this point, and it is imperative that it never get one.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:04 PM on March 31, 2005


[Listen my children and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five;
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.]

posted by five fresh fish at 9:05 PM on March 31, 2005


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