Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Rewriting the Constitution?

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.

Anti Federalism:

Opposition to the ratification of the Constitution was partly based on the Constitution's lack of adequate guarantees for civil liberties. To provide such guarantees, the First Amendment (along with the rest of the Bill of Rights) was submitted to the states for ratification on September 25, 1789, and adopted on December 15, 1791.

Free speech zones

Free speech zones are areas set aside in public places for political activists to exercise their right of freedom of speech as an exercise of what is commonly called "TPM" or "time, place, manner" regulation of speech. Free speech zones are set up by theSecret Service who scout locations near which the president is to pass or speak. Officials may target those displaying signs and escort them to the free speech zones before and during the event. Protesters who refuse to go to free speech zones could be arrested and charged with trespassingdisorderly conduct, and resisting arrest. In 2003, a seldom-used federal law was brought up that says that "willfully and knowingly to enter or remain in any posted, cordoned off, or otherwise restricted area of a building or grounds where the President or other person protected by the Secret Service is or will be temporarily visiting" is a crime.  (My comment: Ahhh the Bush 2 era).

See photo of what was dubbed "Freedom Cages". The designated so-called "Free Speech Zones"were located several blocks away from the venue protesters were wanting to get their message  to. 
You'd halfway expect this @ the Republican Natl. convention, but this was done at the Democratic Natl. convention. 

The United States constitution explicitly provides for 'the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances'" in the First Amendment.

The First Amendment of the Constitution* does not have asterisks that state:

* Some restrictions apply. 
* Limited to posted hours of operation of local park municipalities. 
* The right to peaceably assemble cannot involve tents & sleeping bags.
* Politicians have the option to send in riot police to disassemble the crowd, and use brutal force.

NY daily news reports:
"Retired Supreme Court Judge Karen Smith can’t believe what she saw this week. At the urging of her son, who joined the Zuccotti Park protests weeks ago, Smith had volunteered to be a legal observer in case of mass arrests.
She received a text message early Tuesday that a bust was imminent, so she got to Zuccotti around 1:30 a.m. As she exited the subway at Broadway and Dey St., she met a wall of cops in riot gear who were preventing people from getting anywhere near the park.
“There was a black woman standing next to me,” Smith said. “She kept frantically telling the cops her daughter was in park and she wanted to make sure the girl was okay.”
“All of a sudden, a cop takes his baton and cracks her in the head,” Smith said. “She hadn’t done a thing. Then they started chasing people down the street.”
Smith’s efforts to get police to recognize her as a legal observer proved futile. Likewise, several reporters who were arrested while covering the protest found their press credentials worthless.
Our mayor repeatedly says he is a defender of free speech. But the First Amendment, Bloomberg notes, “does not protect the use of tents and sleeping bags to take over a public space.” Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Michael Stallman bought the mayor’s argument and ruled in the city’s favor.
Amazingly, even as cops cleared Zuccotti Park of the rebel tent camp, other tent structures, complete with generators, were going up at other parks, with City Hall’s blessing.
At Union Square Park, for example, rows of tents have already been erected for the annual holiday market so vendors can sell their trinkets through Christmas.
A second tent market will soon spring to life at Central Park near Columbus Circle. Pay the city rent, and tents are fine. But tents and generators so people can protest Wall Street greed? That’s an unhealthy idea that requires immediate police action."

This is a slippery slope we are on my friends.
Once it is allowed to start making random interpretations of the Constitution, backed up with baton, tear gas, pepper spray wielding, riot geared police, we have lost so much more than park space in NYC, Portland Oregon & Oakland CA. (Not to mention Atlanta, Dallas etc).We are losing the right to peacefully assemble & free speech. 


nonnie9999 said...

there needs to be a serious investigation into police tactics and mayors who order them to beat up people who have done nothing wrong. of course,congress is too busy trying to shut down planned parenthood and reaffirming the motto of the u.s. to be bothered with the trashing of the first amendment. that one doesn't count anyway. only the second amendment is important.

Fran said...

Whew! That & giving the budget axe to essential low income programs, like housing & winter heating bill assistance.
Can't believe they just threw away people's personal belongings in NYC because they could not bother to give notice. Looks like *freedom of the press* got stomped on too. Damn.