Free Speech in America

Saturday, August 30th, 2008

Zoned off far away so none of the politicians can actually hear you. Outnumbered by cops 2-1. Pepper spray or arrest await anyone who objects.

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40 Responses to “Free Speech in America”

  1. #1 |  Jonathan Hohensee | 

    As much as I hate the militarization of the police, Zombietime over at LGF gave a REALLY different story of what happened that day.
    [link would go here if it wasn’t for the spam guard]

  2. #2 |  Talking of free speech… « Muse Free | 

    […] (Hat Tip: The Agitator) […]

  3. #3 |  Marty | 

    I’ve been poking around zombietime and can’t find info. Can you help, Jonathan?

  4. #4 |  jwh | 

    Let’s see…..they called themselves “Recreate 68″…….what did they expect the cops to do…..?

  5. #5 |  This Is State Control » Boztopia.com | 

    […] it’s just my inner Radley Balko coming out, but these are the same types of Gestapo tactics used with increasing frequency and with […]

  6. #6 |  Andrew | 

    As much as I hate the militarization of the police, Zombietime over at LGF gave a REALLY different story of what happened that day.
    [link would go here if it wasn’t for the spam guard]

    Excuse me if I don’t trust a word that comes from any of the loons over at LGF.

  7. #7 |  Jonathan Hohensee | 

    Marty-it’s at Little Green Footballs

  8. #8 |  Andrew Williams | 

    You are free to do as they tell you! You are free to do as they tell you!

    Excuse me while I kiss the sky…

  9. #9 |  Buck B. | 

    That’s nothing compared to what they’re doing in Minnesota.

    http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2008/08/30/police_raids/index.html

  10. #10 |  mgordon | 

    Dammit, the world needs more of Alex Jones screaming “9-11 was an inside job” on a bullhorn for hours on end.

  11. #11 |  Marty | 

    thanks for the link, Buck.

  12. #12 |  Les | 

    Like most party loyalists (be it Republican, Democrat, or Communist), folks like jwh and the regulars at LGF are perfectly happy to have an authoritarian government that violently controls dissent, as long as it’s the kind of dissent they disapprove of. They take comfort knowing that an all-powerful government is willing to ignore due process and jail, or even kill, innocent people, as long as it’s nobody they can call friend or family.

  13. #13 |  Jonathan Hohensee, posting drunk | 

    …on most cases I stand up for the dissenters (including that whole Cirtical Mass kid getting shoved) but I figure that ever now and then I can have lee-way to sell out my beliefs, I mean it doesn’t matter one way or other what I stand for, right?
    No one ever gives a shit for a liberterian narrative.
    So I kinda look the other way when it comes to communistis who want to violently fuck shitup and inturrupt a fundraiser and throw urine at peope.

  14. #14 |  Honeyko | 

    Alex Jones is a fucking bonehead….and a useful litmus-test for discovering whom else is a fucking bonehead.

    Kinda like David Duke, without the sheets.

  15. #15 |  cb | 

    Zoned off far away so none of the politicians can actually hear you.

    Ignoring the possible non-private-event distinctions (because I have no idea how the conventions work that way), people don’t have an obligation to listen to anybody. Protestors can even be evicted away from regular store-fronts if they’re blocking the way physically or by threat of violence.

    I don’t see what harm keeping them away from the convention does if they’re allowed to speak their mind (making the assumption that’s what they’re really doing), assemble at least on private property, and notify or plan with interested parties.

    Pepper spray or arrest await anyone who objects.

    If you take the photo’s caption at face value, that’s a bit too paramilitary for me. Though I don’t understand spraying a crowd because it’s there, neither do I understand trying to recreate 1968 (except as a way to grow the police state, which seems to be many leftists’ goals).

  16. #16 |  Packratt | 

    About those raids in Minneapolis and St.Paul, apparently the police also decided to use the same warrants to raid houses where police misconduct activists and journalists are staying as well.

    Members of I-Witness and the home of local Communities Against Police Brutality were both raided and searched and several of the members of I-Witness were detained. Police did not comment on what they were looking for at those raids, by the way.

    Wonder if they would have gone after Radley if he went up there too?

  17. #17 |  Les | 

    Though I don’t understand spraying a crowd because it’s there, neither do I understand trying to recreate 1968 (except as a way to grow the police state, which seems to be many leftists’ goals).

    I don’t think it’s a matter of left or right. Most folks who think of themselves as “on the right” support the war on drugs, the PATRIOT act, the FISA bill, the suspension of habeas corpus, among other things which require a vast expansion of the police state. Left or right, Joe Biden or Dick Cheney, authoritarians are basically the same.

  18. #18 |  Lee In China | 

    Freedom of Speech, Just Watch What You Say…

    One of the main criticisms of the Beijing Olympics was China's intolerant attitude towards political dissent. The government claimed that anyone who wished to stage a protest had to first file a request with the police. The police subsequently den…

  19. #19 |  Lee In China | 

    I live in Beijing. I was at the Olympics. I never saw ANYTHING remotely that brazen. It’s shit like this that makes me ashamed to be an American. We love to wave the flag of free speech, but when we don;t live up to the standards that we claim to uphold then we’re no better than the communist Chinese.

    At least they admit they don’t permit freedom of speech or assembly. The US, apparently, doesn’t seem to have that same degree of honesty.

  20. #20 |  Col. Hogan | 

    “Let’s see…..they called themselves “Recreate 68?…….what did they expect the cops to do…..?”

    I expect the cops to follow the letter and spirit of the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights.

  21. #21 |  Cynical In CA | 

    Just a little bit of re-write for Honeyko:

    “[In my opinion] Alex Jones is a fucking bonehead….and a useful litmus-test for discovering whom else is [in my opinion] a fucking bonehead.

    [In my opinion] Kinda like David Duke, without the sheets.”

    There, now those statements are incontestably true.

    Ad hominems reveal infinitely more about the one who argues than the target of his venom.

  22. #22 |  Christopher Monnier | 

    The raids in St. Paul (and Minneapolis?) are really atrocious. Raids on drug users at least have the pretense of being about the illegality of drug use; but raids on people for holding particular political views?!? That’s straight out of the Soviet Union or China.

  23. #23 |  Cynical In CA | 

    “I expect the cops to follow the letter and spirit of the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights.”

    That’s EXACTLY what they were doing!

    The Constitution of the U.S. is composed of words, all of which must be interpreted. There is no objective interpretation, only the interpretation that the ultimate authority hands down to the peonage.

    One may have one’s own view of the Constitution, but if that view does not mesh with the establishment’s view, then one is shit-out-of-luck. Such is the state of things in 21st Century Amerika, and so it has been since 1788.

    Interesting fact: Rhode Island was the last state to ratify the Constitution. Holding out after 9 of the 13 states had already ratified, Rhode Island was threatened with naval blockade and invasion by the other states should it not immediately ratify. There’s your precious Constitution for you!

  24. #24 |  Les | 

    One may have one’s own view of the Constitution, but if that view does not mesh with the establishment’s view, then one is shit-out-of-luck. Such is the state of things in 21st Century Amerika, and so it has been since 1788.

    This is far too simplistic and ignores a great deal of history. “The Establishment” is made up of individuals who have a variety of opinions and viewpoints regarding the Constitution. That’s why we don’t live in a completely totalitarian state. If the above was true, no one would prevail against the state, ever.

  25. #25 |  Cynical In CA | 

    “If the above was true, no one would prevail against the state, ever.”

    Fair enough. Provide me an example of someone prevailing against the state.

    Understand, however, that winning a case in a State court means that one had to play by the State’s rules and was judged by a member of the State to have a valid argument that was in the State’s favor. FWIW, I won’t accept an example of this as valid.

    I guess what we’re looking for is someone who fought the State on his own terms, beat the State, and then was free to live out his life without ever being interfered with by the State.

    That should be a daunting task, but I’m all ears. I am all for figuring out ways to blunt State power, but I am extremely skeptical of playing the State’s games.

  26. #26 |  Cynical In CA | 

    “That’s why we don’t live in a completely totalitarian state.”

    I disagree. We do live in a completely totalitarian state. Ronald Neff described America as “a polite totalitarianism.” I’d say that’s dead-on. There is simply no meaningful way for the individual to resist the State other than opting out of society completely. Even if one were able to pull this off and live any kind of a life at greater than subsistence level, this still leaves the polite totalitarianism intact — the State goes on as if nothing happened.

    Perhaps you could explain what an incomplete totalitarian state is and how in substance, not superficiality, it differs from a completely totalitarian state.

  27. #27 |  cb | 

    “There is simply no meaningful way for the individual to resist the State other than opting out of society completely.”

    As I understand it, some places don’t give that option (while remaining under their jurisdiction). And while not having that option and having only that option and nowhere in between aren’t good, it doesn’t rise to the level of “technically true, even if it’s wrong” of Harry Reid’s conception of income tax as “voluntary” (by which I assume he meant that income itself is voluntary, which is saying a completely different thing).

    On the other hand, this sort of thing: http://eureferendum.blogspot.com/2008/08/cutting-their-own-throats.html sounds, like a commenter there mentioned, like it belongs under the heading of “Everything within the state”.

  28. #28 |  albatross | 

    Cynical:

    Millions of times a year, people buy and sell drugs, hire prostitutes, download music and porn, and gamble in direct violation of the laws. Many people do this for their whole life, and rarely if ever have any major trouble come of it. That sounds like defying the state to me.

    You seem to be visualizing some kind of war ending in truce with the state. That pretty much can’t happen, since a state that accepts such truces will get cut to pieces. So what really happens is that either people prevail against the expressed wishes of the state’s management by simply doing what they do out of sight, or by finding some other power center that compels obedience of the state. For example, you can (people have done it) win a legal battle or a political battle with the state, and end up eventually being left alone. For example, a great many homeschoolers are teaching their kids at home because the political battle was fought and won that allowed them to do so.

  29. #29 |  Les | 

    I guess what we’re looking for is someone who fought the State on his own terms, beat the State, and then was free to live out his life without ever being interfered with by the State.

    Well, actually that’s what you’re looking for and albatross has made an excellent point of how that happens all the time.

    Perhaps you could explain what an incomplete totalitarian state is and how in substance, not superficiality, it differs from a completely totalitarian state.

    The fact that, in this country, A) citizens are not allowed treat their bodies as belonging to them and many innocent people are imprisoned for a variety of reasons, combined with the fact that B) citizens are allowed to accuse the government of real and unreal crimes, means that we live in an incomplete or semi-totalitarian state. A completely totalitarian state exists in places like China, Cuba, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and North Korea, where “A” is the case and “B” is not.

  30. #30 |  Meowlin | 

    “it’s just my inner Radley Balko coming out, but these are the same types of Gestapo tactics used with increasing frequency ”

    Think about the upcoming switch to all-digital TV too. They say it’s in order to free up frequencies for emergency personnel communications, and also it will allow more entertainment (pacification?) channels for us to watch. And it’ll accomplish both of those things. But the real reason is to free up more frequencies for them to watch US.

    – M. \”/

  31. #31 |  Lee In China | 

    Just to put a little perspective on this photo, imagine if these officers had been Chinese riot police surrounding a group of Tibet protesters at the Olympics. The international outrage would have been deafening. This photo would have been on the front page of every newspaper in the world.

    China, a country which has no freedom of speech, doesn’t allow people to speak freely and this sparks outrage. America, a country where the freedom of speech is guaranteed in writing, does exactly the same thing and nobody gives a fiddler’s fart.

    Pathetic, isn’t it?

  32. #32 |  Anonymous | 

    Lee In China: “imagine if these officers had been Chinese riot police surrounding a group of Tibet protesters at the Olympics.”

    They paid people not to be there, and they paid other people to be there, and behaving well under penalty of who knows what. I don’t think I’m engaging in hyperbole when I say that they run the country like an organized crime syndicate.

    But the trains run on time!

  33. #33 |  Cynical in CA | 

    cb,

    “As I understand it, some places don’t give that option (while remaining under their jurisdiction). And while not having that option and having only that option and nowhere in between aren’t good, it doesn’t rise to the level of “technically true, even if it’s wrong” of Harry Reid’s conception of income tax as “voluntary” (by which I assume he meant that income itself is voluntary, which is saying a completely different thing).”

    By living completely outside the state, I’m talking about going off into the wilderness, to the most remote place imaginable where the state might just not care to find you. It is probably impossible to do this within the normal jurisdiction of the state, unless one accepts albatross’s version that doing whatever one wants in quiet defiance of the state counts. I contest this view, because one is always at risk of the state bringing down the hammer. So one lives on the edge of a precipice. which is not the same as living outside the state.

    As for Harry Reid’s definition of voluntary, I’m not sure what he believes, he may or may not be an idiot and think that the income tax is truly voluntary, but I think that reasonable people can agree that it is voluntary to the extent that you can try to game the system and may have a slim chance of getting away with it. Heckuva risk IMO. And there’s always that pesky gun they point at your head. No thanks.

  34. #34 |  Cynical in CA | 

    Albatross,

    “You seem to be visualizing some kind of war ending in truce with the state…. For example, you can (people have done it) win a legal battle or a political battle with the state, and end up eventually being left alone.”

    I’m not really visualizing anything. I accept the inevitability and permanence of the state. I believe the only way an individual can live free of the state is to renounce society completely and live in the wilderness as a hermit.

    As for winning legal battles with the state, as I wrote, the battles are fought in state courts by state rules with state judges and juries. Any “victory” one achieves must be harmonized with state interests or the victories would never occur. This includes homeschooling. The state has simply found it politically expedient to allow this one infinitesimal example of “freedom.” There are other examples, but what remains is the polite totalitarianism — within the state, only state-tolerated behavior will be permitted. Call it anything you want, but please don’t call it freedom.

    Emma Goldmann said, “If voting could change anything, it would be illegal.”

    I add my own observation: “If NOT voting could change anything, it would be illegal.”

    Both statements are absolutely true. Therefore, change in the statist system is impossible.

  35. #35 |  Cynical in CA | 

    Les,

    We can agree to disagree. But I see no FUNDAMENTAL differences between the U.S. and the other regimes you mention. There are superficial differences, but you are only explaining the difference in the lengths of leashes.

    A leash is a leash.

  36. #36 |  Cynical in CA | 

    Anonymous,

    “I don’t think I’m engaging in hyperbole when I say that they run the country like an organized crime syndicate.”

    Let me assure you, you are most certainly not exaggerating.

    But be fair — it’s no different in the U.S. or any other state.

    States = Sophisticated organized crime syndicates

  37. #37 |  Les | 

    Cynical, I suspect we agree more than we disagree. And maybe in the future, after huge shifts in cultural dispositions have come and gone, true anarchy will exist somewhere again. But for us, and most everyone before us, all we can do is find as much happiness and satisfaction as we can, while passing on our hopes and ideals, despite the boots on our necks.

  38. #38 |  Jimi G | 

    Well, Les, on your last post, I can meet you all the way. I agree 100%. I only try to destroy fairy tales that mask reality.

    In fairness, this story broke today:

    Government Backs Down on “Legal Weed”

    9/2/2008

    Vaune Dillmann took on federal regulators this year when they ordered his Mt. Shasta Brewing Co. in the Northern California town of Weed to stop topping beer bottles with caps bearing the play on words, ‘Try Legal Weed.’ …Now, facing a storm of bad publicity and the prospect of a drawn-out court battle, authorities at the federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau have quietly reversed course.” (Los Angeles Times, Tuesday)

    “A man takes on the government … and wins.” Sheldon Richman, FEE

    Now, remember, this is a “victory” won by playing by the state’s rules. The state will still tax Dillman’s business, consumers of his product will pay that tax, Dillman will pay income tax on his profits, etc. That money will be used to advance the state. There’s no guarantee he won’t be prosecuted in the future on this same issue.

    The state ALWAYS wins once you play their game.

  39. #39 |  Militarized Policing | Think Tank West | 

    […] Radley Balko looks at police actions in Denver.  […]

  40. #40 |  Jerry | 

    This is funny. Talking about free speech in China. Just tonight I tried to send an e-mail to President Putin of Russia and and the website would not allow me to send the the e-mail. I suspect there was US government involvement. Until I can send e-mail to anyone about anything, I won’t worry a bit about China.

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