Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Is the Demander and Thief REALLY Threatened by a T-SHIRT?

Why does the following story from Truthout about Cindy Sheehan not surprise me? This after all, the same President who has surrounded himself with yes men; who stages political rallies under the Orwellian titles of public meetings; and who packs his audiences with pre-screened allies.

Someone should tell the would be Gestapo officer in the above story that the American President is not a Fuhrer who deserves shielding from criticism and protest. The last I knew, a shirt with letters on it is a far cry from a gun or a dagger. Unless someone rewrote the United States Constitution, the President of the United States is not above criticism and protest. And yet, we have a woman being dragged off in hand cuffs because the Powers That Be have decided that the American President should be shielded from any kind of dissent, political or otherwise.

I'm sorry, but this President and his inner circle of goons, bullies, and con men need a remedial course in American Civics. Unless someone rewrote the American Constitution, the American people have a Constitutional right to express themselves.

Maybe they've heard of the provision that makes freedom of speech possible. It's called The First Amendment of The United States Constitution and it reads like this:

"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 to peaceably assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

Now, just where in the First Amendment does it say that the President shall be shielded from criticism? Just where in the hell does it say that the President, who is nothing more than an elected servant (and only a temporary one at that), should never be questioned by the people who he has been elected to serve?

To hell with beforehand screenings and separate areas for peaceful protesting. As I read the First Amendment I don't see any of that. I don't see a provision which says a gold star mother can be arrested because she wore a T-shirt which might be offensive (read politically embarrassing) to a sitting Pretender. I don't see a provision that says the American people have no right to offend a fraudulently elected Demander and Thief who can't tolerate dissent.

Beyond offering the Bush Administration and its wild-eyed supporters a remedial course in American Civics I would suggest that the following addendum to the First American. Or, if you prefer, an entirely new Amendment which would put this issue to bed forever.

If our elected servants want to hold political rallies, then they should hold political rallies and stop calling then "town hall meetings" or "listening sessions," or "public events." If they want to have a political rally that is their right to do so, but the minute they open their mouths and claim that their meeting is a public event, screening should be limited to security purposes and security purposes alone.

And if the politicians, elected servants, don't get this, then they should retire to a country where their repressive, Anti-American practices can be accepted without the bass element of hypocrisy.


Lily said...

I have respect and admiration for Cindy Sheehan, and they just did whatever they could do to make sure she was not 'present' for the cameras, etc. No surprise..

Rhino-itall said...

actually, it is against the law to protest in the capitol building. you can't have a silent protest, you can't wear a t-shirt, nothing. You conveniently leave out the fact that a woman wearing a support the troops t-shirt was also ejected. She was the wife of a republican rep. Also, a woman was removed during clinton impeachment hearings for a anti-clinton t-shirt. cindy sheehan is an idiot. She disgraces herself, her family, and especially the memory of her son (who reenlisted to go back to Iraq) with her foolish actions. she is a disgrace.

Lily said...

So the standing up, sitting down, applause, antics... all are forms of expression. But only dissent is unlawful?
Had it been a tattoo, then what? Would they have painted her? Had it been an arm band, or a lapel pin so many of them were wearing- also illegal?
Because another person was ejected for the same thing only demonstrates the way they prepared for the inevitable toss of Ms Sheehan quite effectively where the simpleton demographic is concerned.

Rachel said...

Great post, Love!

Rhino missed the entire focus of the post. Laws like this should be shreaded and recycled as compost. Our elected officials are our servants. Self-serving laws such as this should be challenged in the judicial system and thrown out as the politically correct bastardizations that they really are. There is no right for an elected official to never face criticism. And if they don't get that then someone should tell them that the United States government is based more on the Constitution and The Federalist Papsers and not that dog eared copy of Mein Kampf which seems to be the Republican play book these days.

There is no Constitutional provision which says that elected officials have a right to be issolated from differing opinions. I have real concerns about the motives and goals of people who place the egos of our elected servants above freedom of expression.

Rhino-itall said...

Actually rachel i didn't miss the point. The rules of house decorum exist for a reason. Congress barely gets anything done now, imagine if we allowed every crackpot in the country to protest whenever they wanted.....and if Sheehan or republican free wants to fight for First Amendment rights, she or you might want to stand up for The Respect Life Ministry of the Oakland Diocese of the Roman Catholic Church. The group paid to put up billboards on BART that ask the question, "Abortion: Have we gone too far?" Abortion-rights activists defaced and tore down billboards -- squelching the message of a dissenting voice in the Bay Area. Suzanne ''Sam'' Joi, a member of Code Pink,(linked to your friend lily) which has hosted many Sheehan events, told The Chronicle: ''I couldn't believe BART would allow something like this. Why are they doing this?''

Free speech? Sheehan should take a look at how her buddy Chavez treats dissidents. As Jackson Diehl reported in The Washington Post last year, the Chavez-controlled legislature passed new media laws that included this choice provision: "Anyone who offends with his words or in writing or in any other way disrespects the president of the republic or whomever is fulfilling his duties will be punished with prison of six to 30 months if the offense is serious, and half of that if it is light."

Dissidents who stand up to Chavez are courageous. They risk time in a Venezuelan prison. Californians who bash Bush on the war risk being hailed as local heroes and appearing on cable news.
And what about the gold star mothers who are in favor of the Iraq war? why haven't we heard their stories?
No i didn't miss the focus rachel. i just wish you guys would come up with something valid rather than the tired old Bush is a Nazi crap.

Rachel said...

One more thing.

Another individual was removed from the chamber that night. She was a Republican who had been wearing a "WE SUPPORT THE TROOPS" T-Shirt. How typical of the right wingers to support foolish, repressive laws which silence their own free expression. Although it must be said that the Republican was only asked to leave while Cindy Sheehan was dragged out in cuffs. I won't even mention how the cap police now admit that they were probably a little too extreme with all of this.

Can you say DUHHH?

Rhino-itall said...

oh rachel, so simple and silly, but i've come to expect that from this blog. As if anybody here cares, the time manner place restrictions on free speech in legislative halls is frequently described as a limited forum or limited purpose forum. I can’t recall which one it is off hand, but based on the number of First Amendment experts posting around here I’m sure somebody has the answer at their fingertips. Legislatures generally have the ability to limit the topics of discussion and debate on the floor and in the gallery of their meeting places. If your local school board wants to discuss textbooks, they can expressly discriminate against you for attempting to voice your anti-abortion or pro-choice message – they can even tell you to shut up before you try to voice it, and have you removed for being a disorderly presence. They can greatly constrict your ability to speak out, usually in the interest of the smooth operation of government. Or would you prefer chaos?

Rachel said...

RE: Congress barely gets anything done now

And just whose problem is that?

Thanks for admitting that Republicans are so anal-retentive that they can't even get along with their own kind. The fact that you now control the Congress, the Presidency, and the courts, but still can't get anything done only tells me that you and your ilk are great at running misinformation campaigns but don't know to rule once you get into power.

On the other hand, it might just be that the Founding Fathers did NOT want an effient government. You know as well as I do that the Senate was supposed to be the more deliberative body, designed to put the breaks on the over-heated passions which the Founders knew would break out in the House of Reps.

So, kiddo, just what are are you asing for? The power and efficiency to "make the trains run on time? Shall we discuss that problem with fascism that you claim you don't have?

Moreover, I make frequent trips to Great Britain where I visit the English branch of my family. As a matter of fact I have traveled throughout most of Europe and I can tell you this: the British Parliament is one of the meanest governmental bodies on the face of the earth. They yell, they scream, they boo, they whistle, and they interrupt. It is not always a pretty sight. Under the same system, The British Prime Minister is required, by law, to appear (on a regular basis) before Parliament where the opposition savages him without mercy or restraint during a prolonged question and answer session. And guess what. The British Parliament STILL manages to keep the government up and running. I know, I know, the United States and Great Britain operate under two different systems, but let's not forget that we now have a virtual parliamentry system in which the GOP controls both the Presidency and the Legislative Branch.

So if the government isn't running as smoothly as you would like, you might want to examine the warped psychology of your elected servants and stop throwing out meaningless distractions which have nothing to do with the topic at hand.

I won't even speak to the red herring you threw out about Chavez. We're talking about Bush and his merry band of goons,
and I am not going to let you wiggle and change topics as you see fit.

In closing I shall bring the topic back to Trevor's originial point. Protecting elected servants from deserved criticism is no reason to crush freedom of expression. If other countries can tolerate a little friction and still get things done, there's no reason why we can't embrace the First Amendment and do the same.

Rachel said...

You're comparing apples and oranges. Of course there has to be a reasonable limit placed on the amount of time that it takes to debate an issue. We're arguing about content.

As for your remarks about school boards, I know well what school boards are capable of. School boards come and go, new members arrive and and leave on a regular basis. Some are viritually libertarian in their approach to parental and public input. Others are closed-minded debating societies. The object, in my opinion, is to encourage more of the former while we discourage more of the latter. And to be specific, we're talking about forms of expression on clothing (i.e. T-shirts). By the way. you didn't answer Lily's point. Should we exclude people with permanent tattoos? Temporary tattoos? Hats? Headbands? Scarves? I really don't see how some arbitrary "dress code" will affect the length of the debate. While I was a teacher I really didn't care what my students wore as long as they applied themselves to the educational task at hand.

T think Brandon has you guys pegged to a T. You never really argue the issue. You argue because you like to argue. You offer up past sins as an excuse to continue whatever sins you find convenient to defend at the time.

And what really amuses me about people like you is that you are either so dishonest or so stupid that you either don't care or don't know what you're saying.

Kiddo, don't ever call me silly. Trust me. I am one of the most serious-minded people you will ever encounter. Think of me as a firm but fair disciplinarian. During my stint as a high school music teacher I dealt with tougher and nastier thugs than you, and I can tell you this--you're a babe in the cradle compared to some of the delinquents who I've straightened out in the past.

And now, if you will excuse me, I have better things to do. I already have three children of my own to take care of, and I really don't want to waste the afternoon on a fourth child named Rhino.

I'll call one of my team mates. I'm sure someone wll be willing to come out and play with you while I do something more constructive with my time like spending time my the triplets or preparing Trevor's supper.

Have a nice day, kiddo; and don't forget to grow up once your 'nads and your voice drop.


Rhino-itall said...

First of all, if you thought i was being nasty, you took it the wrong way. i was being condescending. there's a difference.

now, the chavez reference was due to the topic being about free speech, and cindy sheehan. i thought the reference was right on point. You won't respond because you can't. it is typical hypocrisy from the left.

i will respond to sins as they come haven't mentioned any in this post. i mention the fact that others have been removed only to rebut your ridiculous assertion that sheehans removal was partisan. there is no sin to respond to, there was nothing done that was out of the ordinary. during the clinton impeachment hearings someone with an anti clinton tshirt was removed. BECAUSE IT'S AGAINST THE RULES. the cap police have been very consistent.

Are you so naive that you think it's only republican congress that barely gets anything done?????

LILLY DIDN'T MAKE ANY POINTS, she could just as well have asked what if someone brought in a unicorn with them? the rules are the rules.

I've seen the british parlaiment on c-span. very entertaining. but not relevent to this discussion. I've seen those aisan parlaiments too,(can't remember which country) they have fist fights and hit each other with their shoes, should we consider that?

i will always argue the issue, and i have. you have not. nor has light or anyone else. it's all just name calling from your side. no facts whatsoever. what is your argument? what is your assertion? you are saying that sheehan was ejected for partisan political reasons.i am saying she was ejected for breaking the rules. I am right, you are wrong. i cite examples you call bush a nazi. tell me who is arguing the facts here and who is not?

if you're scared, just say so. don't use the kids as an excuse.

Rhino-itall said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Rachel said...

First things first. This may come as a surprise to those of you who don't have children, BUT kids need to be fed and cared for. When I said that I had to fix the evening meal, I meant that I had to fix the evening meal. Believe it or not, there are still people out who actually cook from scratch, and that actually calls for a little prep time. So cut the crap, little Rhino.

Secondly, I am not in a position to influence Mister Chavez. Perhaps you might have noticed. He is the President of Venezuela and I am a citizen of the United States. There are limits as to what I can do to affect his behavior, althought it does strike me that both Chavez and Bush have a penchant for media manipulation.

Thirdly, you might be interested to know that one of our members left a Catholic congregation after the pairsh priest drove his car through the front window of a Women's Health Care clinic. Don't worry. I won't remind you about the right wing nut cakes who were blowing up aborition clinics and murdering doctors who perform abortions. Which reminds me. We were talking about peaceful dissent as mentioned in the Constitution, not violent acts. Again, let's try to stay on topic. (Isn't this fun?)

Fourth,You're all over the map, calling the relevant irrelevant the irrelevant relevant, but you never really want to talk about that homicidal sociopath who you and your fellow Republicans selected to office. Well, child, we DO want to talk about him, and we shall continue to talk about him--whether you like the idea or not.

So, I'll catch yah later kiddo. Have a good night.

Ta Ta


PS. Sorry I didn't invite you over for din din last night, but I figured the two of us were already stuffed after chewing each others asses out.

Ta Ta


Lily said...

I notice that Rhino and many others like him/her sing the same song over and over, with little to offer in the end beyond "because the rules are the rules, thats why!'...
If we never challenged rules, we would have segregation. Women would not vote. Children would work in mines instead of going to school...and so on. Its ridiculous to have the crux of your position (when you're done with your tangential thoughts)rest on "because those are the rules".

You don't decide the parameters of dialogue, and the relevance of a point.
Your posturing is emboldened by the fact that in this type of forum, you can easily pick and choose what to address and what to conveniently ignore. The fact is, that you cannot speak to the fact that 'wardrobe' is not very clearly defined where dissent is concerned. You write as though there are laws: "Thou shalt not wear t shirts". Ridiculous! Law and policy are matters of fluid debate, partly because of the dissent intended by our country's 'founding' design.

As Rachel stated, we PAY for these people and the buildings that house their arrogance. They work for us, and we have the right to be critical of their performance. We have lost track of that, and we need to remind them that their corrupt ways are unnacceptable. They are not there to serve themselves. Their inefficiency has more to do with time spent in self promotion versus actual work. And did you ever meet with their reps and aides? They don't even know the contents of half the legislation.

Didn't republicans used to be the party of fiscal conservativism, accountability, small government? Their own members don't even undertand those planks anymore...

Rhino-itall said...

Hey i didn't read all of the responses, however when i re-read my own i realized that it was somewhat disrespectful. Most of you know thats not my style on here. I usually only attack my own blogmates like that. So i apologize for that.

Rhino-itall said...

yes lily, that used to be the republican party, however they have lost their way domestically. The president has not vetoed any spending ever, and the congress continues to spend our money like big government dems. I respond to everything that i feel is worth responding to, i'm not posturing. You say that the rules should be changed, i addressed that. i know how they do things in other parts of the world, i think we do it better. The president is not required to give a big speech to congress or to the country for the state of the union. In fact before FDR, there was no state of the union address. The president is only required to report to congress. It can be in written form or it can be a closed door meeting etc. The president gives the speech as a courtesy. Once again i say, the rules are the rules. there was no partisan action there, the rules are there for a reason. You and cindy sheehan don't have to agree with the rules, but you must follow them.

Karen said...

Karen here. This will probably come out somewhat garbled. I wrote the damned thing in microsoft works and it always messes up when I copy and paste it into commentary, But here she goes...

Rhino does make an interesting point about the State of the Union. Jefferson
merely had a print version sent to the Congress and let it go at that. If I remember
correctly, WIlson was the first president to turn it into a spoken address before the
United States Congress. The next transformation came in the 1960s when Johnson
decided to turn the whole thing into a not ready for prime time event and the
Republicans demanded equal time for a response. At that point the State of the
Union took on a function that the Founders never could have anticipated: a free,
overglorified townhall meeting. . In a way I can understand why politicans would
be afraid of dissentinmg expressions on their home turf. With the cameras cutting
back and forth between the presdident, Congress, and spectators, the politicans
wouldn't be the only ones exposed to dissenting speech, the American people would
see it too. So in effect this is attempt by our servants to both, avoid public
criticism and to censor tidbits of dissenting expression.

Ideally speaking, we live in (or are supposed to live in) a representative system in
which we have the freedom of expression to challenge and change the rules (perhaps
even the system itself if the need requires). And if there were ever a series of rules
which need changing it is the series of rules which protect our leaders from their
employers and from public criticism.

Contrary to the belief of some people, our leaders are not idols or Gods. They are
flesh and blood human beings who are prone to the same failings as the rest of us.
Considering the fact that we trust them with so much power is it really asking too
much that they be made to look at their own inadequacies on their own turf? We're
paying their salaries; we’re paying for their security; we're paying for the
maintenance and upkeep of the damned buildings. Is it really asking to much to
allow peaceful dissent within the chamber that we are working so hard to maintain?
I really don’t think so. Indeed, I would go so far as to suggest that if they're
offended or frightened by a few words on a T-shirt then they're in the wrong
profession. They should get a job where they don't have to face the public and
aren't required to face criticism.

I’ll admit that our system is good, but there’s always room for improvement and
this is one area in which improvement is clearly called for.

Rhino-itall said...

Karen i dont think they should be protected from criticism, i'm saying that this is not the forum. It is a show, and by the way, it's a big event. i dont' think tshirts are proper attire.

Daniel Gallagher said...

For a truly revealing State of the Union Address, we should dispense with the podium and require all elected officials and guests to appear in the nude. If they choose to wear tattoos they couldn't be thrown out because the human skin is a required human organ, although I'm sure a few individuals would be open to skinning certain guests and Congressional members alive. But that's a topic for another place and time.

As a side benefit(????) we would see our elected officials in all their....glory(?) as they laugh, shake, and applaud. Now there ARE risks. Some indviduals might try to hide their naughty bits behind brief cases, newspapers, and postage stamps, but we could always ban those items (the briefcases. newspapers and postage stamps--not the naughty bits). And, as an extra added bonus, the country would probably be so traumatized by the sight of their flabby, overweight officials jiggling like bowls od semi-set Jello that they wouldn't vote for another incumbent for at least another forty to sixty years.

Rhino-itall said...

well, that would be good, except i think that a lot of very attractive women, and sexy rhino's like myself would get elected to office. chicks dig me....

Daniel Gallagher said...

Yeah, but I'm hotter and i tend to attract both genders.

Rhino-itall said...

both genders? ......oh you get the jews too huh.... that's cool.