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Author Topic: Bye-bye Right to protest?  (Read 1913 times)

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Offline Callie Del NoireTopic starter

Bye-bye Right to protest?
« on: March 05, 2012, 12:26:48 PM »
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/03/05/1071191/-Congress-No-Means-NO

I'm still reading through the law and I'm not quite sure if the article has the truth of what is being said. Can someone better at reading bureaucrat translate this for me? IT SOUNDS like they are curtailing the ability for people to protest, but I'm not sure.

Offline Serephino

Re: Bye-bye Right to protest?
« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2012, 12:43:48 PM »
That's what it looks like to me.  It says no one can go onto government ground and disrupt government business.  This includes the homes of government officials too.  They consider protests very disruptive.   

Offline Callie Del NoireTopic starter

Re: Bye-bye Right to protest?
« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2012, 12:49:01 PM »
That's what it looks like to me.  It says no one can go onto government ground and disrupt government business.  This includes the homes of government officials too.  They consider protests very disruptive.   


The reason I ask.. is there is a difference between protesting at .. say.. Washington Monument, Congress, and doing something at the Navy Observatory, Inner grounds of teh Pentagon, ect.

Offline Beguile's Mistress

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Re: Bye-bye Right to protest?
« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2012, 01:32:11 PM »
First Amendment - Freedom of Speech

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.



I believe the operative words here are "the right of the people peaceably to assemble."   Protests and demonstrations that interfere with the business of the government and the personal lives of individuals and their families are being called into question.

Those who demonstrate outside business and places like Planned Parenthood are often given their permits contingent on the protesters maintaining a specific distance from the establishment and protesters that would demonstrate outside the homes of the business owners, etc. could be arrested for disturbing the peace.

The bill doesn't appear to be infringing on the right to protest but is governing the site where the protest may or may not take place.

Offline Serephino

Re: Bye-bye Right to protest?
« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2012, 01:39:23 PM »
They included the homes of government officials, and any place anyone being protected by the Secret Service is currently at, so no, it doesn't seem like they just mean places like the pentagon.  It pretty much means that if President Obama goes to some kind of function at a hotel or something, you can not be disruptive anywhere on hotel property (aka protest him).

I'm not sure about the Washington Monument, unless someone is giving a speech, then that would be a definite no-no.  It looks like they don't want protestors where government officials can see them or have to deal with them. 

Unfortunately, they can call pretty much anything disruptive.  I remember that one video of people being dragged out of a state legislature building for simply videotaping it.  The Republicans claimed having a video camera on them was disruptive. 

Offline Trieste

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Re: Bye-bye Right to protest?
« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2012, 04:00:01 PM »
I was looking at this last night, actually, trying to pick out what's going on with it. The intent seems to be to prevent protesters from shutting down the downtown areas of cities or shutting down ports (I think it was in Oakland that protesters shut down the entire port for an afternoon, but I'm not positive). And that is understandable; we have the right to speak and peaceably assemble but shutting down a town hall for a day or closing a port doesn't seem to me like a peaceable assembly.

However, if Congress is hoping it'll take the wind out of OWS's sails, I believe that end will not be accomplished. Occupy protesters have been going steadily all through the (admittedly mild) winter and will only start to stir up more as the weather gets warmer and colleges let out for summer recess. Occupy protesters have been pepper sprayed, arrested, raided, and generally discouraged for months now. I think that this law will be ineffective in dampening Occupy activity, so if that is the intent then I guess it will be a failure.

Then again, the intent may simply be to prevent someone from using the cover of a protest to try to assassinate Obama, Romney, Santorum, etc.

Offline Callie Del NoireTopic starter

Re: Bye-bye Right to protest?
« Reply #6 on: March 05, 2012, 04:02:20 PM »
I was looking at this last night, actually, trying to pick out what's going on with it. The intent seems to be to prevent protesters from shutting down the downtown areas of cities or shutting down ports (I think it was in Oakland that protesters shut down the entire port for an afternoon, but I'm not positive). And that is understandable; we have the right to speak and peaceably assemble but shutting down a town hall for a day or closing a port doesn't seem to me like a peaceable assembly.

However, if Congress is hoping it'll take the wind out of OWS's sails, I believe that end will not be accomplished. Occupy protesters have been going steadily all through the (admittedly mild) winter and will only start to stir up more as the weather gets warmer and colleges let out for summer recess. Occupy protesters have been pepper sprayed, arrested, raided, and generally discouraged for months now. I think that this law will be ineffective in dampening Occupy activity, so if that is the intent then I guess it will be a failure.

Then again, the intent may simply be to prevent someone from using the cover of a protest to try to assassinate Obama, Romney, Santorum, etc.

I got this gut feeling the Spring is going to be nasty (protest wise)

Offline Caela

Re: Bye-bye Right to protest?
« Reply #7 on: March 05, 2012, 04:35:14 PM »
Giving it a cursory look, it looks like it's not meant so much to entirely stop protests, but to keep protestors from stopping the conduct of business and government. So they can still protest, but they can't protest in a spot that will stop people from being able to get in/out of buildings and shut them down.

I very much agree with people's right to protest, but I also agree that no business or town should also be able to be held hostage by people deciding to block access to buildings and services. I may change my mind when I dig deeper, but on the surface this seems like a good compromise.

Offline SilentScreams

Re: Bye-bye Right to protest?
« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2012, 04:48:57 PM »
The first amendment forbids government from passing legislation that infringes on a citizens right to free assembly and free speech. The "right" to protest is not a right but an extension of those two, actual, rights.

The statute does not infringe on your right to protest. It ensures that your right to protest does not infringe on any other person's right to go about their daily activities unmolested. A protest inside a courthouse, or a crowd blocking the steps or doors to a business or office is illegal not because the speech is banned but because what the protesters are doing infringes on other people's rights.

The statute refers to increasing the buffer zone around secret service proctees. This is a good thing. The secret service is hugely overtaxed and having to monitor potential disruptions from protesters detracts from their true role as, essentially, human shields for whomever they are assigned to. It's absurd to claim that this would detract in a meaningful way from protesting. The number of people who receive a secret service detail is very small. The list includes people like the president, the vice president, the speaker of the house, the chief justice, and the front runners in a presidential election. Aside from them and their family immediate family members other everyone else in government is protected by some combination of Capital Police (inside DC), local police (home districts), or the FBI if there is some compelling reason (such as serious death threats) for them to do so.

It was only a few months ago that Romney, having already received a secret service detail, was showered with glitter at a campaign rally. Regardless of your personal political beliefs of Romney it isn't hard to see why someone getting close enough to any presidential front runner, close enough to throw things, is a bad idea.

As far as private residences go, why should anyone have the right to protest at my house, where I live? I have rights, as do my neighbors, as property owners. Protesting at somebodies house is an infringement of the rights of property owners because it may mean that the owner cannot enjoy her property in her normal fashion.

« Last Edit: March 05, 2012, 04:51:35 PM by SilentScreams »

Offline Callie Del NoireTopic starter

Re: Bye-bye Right to protest?
« Reply #9 on: March 05, 2012, 05:05:56 PM »
I agree.. physical actions like the glitter are dangerous in that it could have easily been lye.

And I agree that private residents need some respect, but I think that the open language of the bill could be twisted too easily.

And when I say repect and private residents I'm thinking about Paparazzi as well.

Offline SilentScreams

Re: Bye-bye Right to protest?
« Reply #10 on: March 05, 2012, 06:48:02 PM »
I agree.

It can be used for abuse and it's written like the usual good idea that is written to write something and turns out poorly.

Everyone's rights need to be protected. The conflict arises when one person's exercise of her rights infringes on another person's exercise of their rights. That is what needs to be guarded against.

I remember when people camped out in the street by Ken Starr's house. It was unfortunate that that was allowed to happen. Those people infringed on not only his rights but on those of his neighbors as well. It wasn't only their fault. The police that had to be there to watch for nonsense, the media that was there to cover it all, all any one did in that situation was infringe on the rights of the home owners, and that's wrong.

Likewise preventing people from going to work is wrong because it infringes on their rights. Whatever your beliefs, until the shooting starts you have to respect the rights of others, especially as they go about their daily business.

The glitter thing, I think, was a real wake up call to the secret service. Like you pointed out, had that been lye it would have been a real problem. You won't ever be able to eliminate all the threats when a protectee is in public but limiting those threats is, and should, be done. The last thing any of us needs, regardless of political belief, is an assassination.

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Re: Bye-bye Right to protest?
« Reply #11 on: March 17, 2012, 10:16:24 AM »
     I haven't read the thing yet, but from the discussion so far it sounds rather like covering what the police have been doing around political conventions.  They may seal off blocks and blocks around the key speakers, and do all sorts of previously dubious-to-unacceptable things to prevent protests near the delegate hotels.  Keeping protestors (anyone with a political shirt or sign) out of nearby subways, selectively searching bags, demanding that no one stand in place by a hotel, tossing the nets on everyone on the street if a few dozen are biking through...

     So, I'm still growling about the RNC in 2004.  The New York courts ruled, in part at the time, and more extensively in later years, that many such police actions were actually beyond the law.  From the preceding, it sounds like someone is setting out to make some of that stuff passable.

Offline Ortega Maximo

Re: Bye-bye Right to protest?
« Reply #12 on: March 17, 2012, 02:01:21 PM »
I would venture that the Civil Rights Movement would not have been as successful if they had followed rules like these.  People can ignore sign-waving and chanting... they cannot ignore non-violent protests that actually inconvenience people (sit-downs, human chains, etc...) 

Offline Callie Del NoireTopic starter

Re: Bye-bye Right to protest?
« Reply #13 on: March 17, 2012, 02:07:43 PM »
I would venture that the Civil Rights Movement would not have been as successful if they had followed rules like these.  People can ignore sign-waving and chanting... they cannot ignore non-violent protests that actually inconvenience people (sit-downs, human chains, etc...)

Yeah.. Sit ins and such would have been quickly and heavily dealt with back then by rules like this. Of course the sheer numbers of cases would have gotten it to the courts quicker and something would have gotten overturned at some point.

Offline Etah dna Evol

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Re: Bye-bye Right to protest?
« Reply #14 on: April 30, 2012, 12:42:28 AM »
Beguile's Mistress, and SilentScreams are right on point about this. A lawful assembly is not lawful unless you are legally allowed to be at that location. If the property manager asks a group to leave and they do not, then they are trespassing. If your trespassing it is not a lawful assembly and an unlawful assembly by definition is a riot.

I would venture that the Civil Rights Movement would not have been as successful if they had followed rules like these.  People can ignore sign-waving and chanting... they cannot ignore non-violent protests that actually inconvenience people (sit-downs, human chains, etc...)

Part of civil disobedience was knowing you were going to get arrested. Dr. King was arrested dozens of times, mostly for trespassing. Occupy kids need to realize they if they are engaging in civil disobedience it is not a lawful assembly and they can and will be arrested. But the OWS types have it in their head that they are untouchable.

Yeah.. Sit ins and such would have been quickly and heavily dealt with back then by rules like this. Of course the sheer numbers of cases would have gotten it to the courts quicker and something would have gotten overturned at some point.

Sit ins always were dealt with. Trespassing is trespassing. If your trying to make a statement, getting arrested is half the point.

Offline Callie Del NoireTopic starter

Re: Bye-bye Right to protest?
« Reply #15 on: April 30, 2012, 12:48:24 AM »


Part of civil disobedience was knowing you were going to get arrested. Dr. King was arrested dozens of times, mostly for trespassing. Occupy kids need to realize they if they are engaging in civil disobedience it is not a lawful assembly and they can and will be arrested. But the OWS types have it in their head that they are untouchable.

Sit ins always were dealt with. Trespassing is trespassing. If your trying to make a statement, getting arrested is half the point.

Problem is.. even folks not involved are getting maced and slammed around by the cops. Add in that it's a FELONY in some areas to tape police in any media format and we're losing some of our liberties.

Offline Etah dna Evol

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Re: Bye-bye Right to protest?
« Reply #16 on: April 30, 2012, 01:31:22 PM »
Problem is.. even folks not involved are getting maced and slammed around by the cops. Add in that it's a FELONY in some areas to tape police in any media format and we're losing some of our liberties.

As far as who is involved and who is uninvolved, that is often more complicated than it should be. I also think there is a lack of basic education in escalation of force, among the general populace. People seem to assume that you need to do something very extreme in order to cause a physical response from the Police. This is not true. Assault doesn't require you actually do anything. It is attempt coupled with ability and its open to interpretation. etc.

Taping police is illegal in some areas, because it is illegal period. California for instance, is one of 17 states in which all parties must agree to be recorded. So if you're using your phone to record a police officer OR ANYBODY ELSE, it is not only inadmissible in court but also a crime in and of itself. The reasoning for this is the 5th Amendments right to privacy.

I also have a problem with the way Occupy Kids use recording of police officers. By recording the action, and not the events that led up to it, videos can make any police officer seem unreasonable. Excessive use of force is a real and serious problem and we donít need to try and create events. By exaggerating a real problem with viable solutions, we create a boogeyman with no viable solutions.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2012, 01:35:46 PM by Etah dna Evol »

Offline Callie Del NoireTopic starter

Re: Bye-bye Right to protest?
« Reply #17 on: April 30, 2012, 02:18:52 PM »

Taping police is illegal in some areas, because it is illegal period. California for instance, is one of 17 states in which all parties must agree to be recorded. So if you're using your phone to record a police officer OR ANYBODY ELSE, it is not only inadmissible in court but also a crime in and of itself. The reasoning for this is the 5th Amendments right to privacy.

I also have a problem with the way Occupy Kids use recording of police officers. By recording the action, and not the events that led up to it, videos can make any police officer seem unreasonable. Excessive use of force is a real and serious problem and we donít need to try and create events. By exaggerating a real problem with viable solutions, we create a boogeyman with no viable solutions.

Yet, at the same time it's ILLEGAL to tape officers in the commission of their public duty, it's OKAY for them to tape you? Sorry I'm of the belief what is good for the goose is good for the gander. You deprive the public AND the media of this ability to monitor the authorities you set dangerous precedents.

I suppose that you find it also okay for the state legislature of Wisconsin, in direct contravention of their OWN STATE LAWS, to ban the peaceful taping of public debate on the state house?

Open government is the best way to monitor and safe guard our freedom. That means the media, and yes.. even the public, should be able to record authorities in their duties.



Offline Etah dna Evol

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Re: Bye-bye Right to protest?
« Reply #18 on: April 30, 2012, 02:28:07 PM »
I suppose that you find it also okay for the state legislature of Wisconsin, in direct contravention of their OWN STATE LAWS, to ban the peaceful taping of public debate on the state house?

I only seem conservative here because the crowd is excessively liberal. Among conservatives I am seen as a very liberal person. The closest thing to my political beliefs in the modern day is Libertarians but I hate that party, so I'll just stick with being a Democratic Republican. Liberals hate the Federal government but want it to run everything, conservatives love the Federal government but don't want it to run anything. I hate the Federal government and don't want it to run anything lol

Quote
Open government is the best way to monitor and safe guard our freedom. That means the media, and yes.. even the public, should be able to record authorities in their duties.

I believe in transparency but I don't believe in the idea that nothing is secret.

Offline Zakharra

Re: Bye-bye Right to protest?
« Reply #19 on: April 30, 2012, 02:42:32 PM »
 If they can tape us and use it as evidence in court, we should damned well be able to tape them and have it be usable as evidence in court too. As Callie said, it sets a very dangerous precedent if only the 'law' can do the taping. That means they can be caught on tape, and it will not be considered as evidence because it wasn't an official that did the taping.

 That's definitely a double standard.

Offline Callie Del NoireTopic starter

Re: Bye-bye Right to protest?
« Reply #20 on: April 30, 2012, 02:57:21 PM »
I only seem conservative here because the crowd is excessively liberal. Among conservatives I am seen as a very liberal person. The closest thing to my political beliefs in the modern day is Libertarians but I hate that party, so I'll just stick with being a Democratic Republican. Liberals hate the Federal government but want it to run everything, conservatives love the Federal government but don't want it to run anything. I hate the Federal government and don't want it to run anything lol

I believe in transparency but I don't believe in the idea that nothing is secret.

I believe in 'right sizing' .. down sizing is not a cure all. We had FIVE major domestic airlines plus PanAM in the 70s before 'deregulation' let wolves like Frank Lorenzo completely loot pillage and burn a vital industry. Not ONE of those companies is the same company that it was before deregulation. I would go far to say that the names were bought by others. Who benefited. The Airlines? Not really, I suspect a lot of the changes they were still reeling from 20 years after the blood letting of the 80s is what nearly KILLED them after 9/11.

The repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act by Nancy Pelosi AND Newt Gingrich led directly to a rabid feeding frenzy as the legal firewall between investment and commercial banks dropped. That led to massive, and ill considered, mergers and the centralization of a LOT of our banking industry. Add in Cronyism that let the toxic mortgage bonds being passed around wall street for several YEARS before the hot potato finally dropped out and killed the housing market. Even now, with everyone admitting there was fraud..there is no charges, fines or a single conspirator charged. FYI.. both Pelosi and Gingrich have admitted it was a mistake.

All the rampant deregulation and  'downsizing' have done is empower the crony network into milking the markets and government for all they are worth. Bonuses increased, profits up, and fuck the common tax payer. Gordon Gecko rules wallstreet. Business Ethics is a joke. I'm sure that Mark Twain would much more pithy and blunt statements to the corruption.

Capitalism is a good system..so long as everyone has the same chance and plays by the same rules. Which we're not doing anymore.

Add in such lovely decisions as Citizen's United vs FEC overturning a century of campaign finance reform and we're totally screwed right now. If John Q. Public doesn't speak what happens next. Some of the more conservative right seen no problem with muzzling unions, talk about disbanding the department of labor and/or OSHA. 'Downsizing bloated government' is their claim.

I've done a LOT of physical labor in service and my family has connections to the history of labor issues in places like the Kentucky Miners.. the textile industry and other spots. I grew up seeing people who had missing fingers, limbs because safety was 'secondary' to the bottom line. Right now I see 'downsizing' government as an attempt to roll back a century of safety regulations for workers AND consumers.

Do you know it's ILLEGAL to speak out against the meatpacking industry in some states? By following these laws, John Updike would have been SUED for truthfully telling his findings in The Jungle.

Too many of the GOP and Libertarian parties see 'downsizing' as good without considering it. I got a wallflower's view of the GOP's actions on the state level when my older brother, a much more conservative man, ran for state office. As far as I can tell he, in the party leadership eyes anyway, had two sins. He was willing to think for himself, and he wasn't 'their boy'. He was the younger generation and the leaders like staying where they are. We got an older generation of leaders who have run the parties on various levels who don't want to give up. THAT is why social conservatism is on the upswing and the Tea Party idiots were willng to sell themselves to get into office.


What does this have to do with the right to protest? More and more I see the right to assemble, protest and air one's greivances more and more curtailed. While the ability to make the average person's dollar means less and less in the light of UNLIMITED corporate 'persons' being able to spend with little or no regulation or oversight.

You might not realize it.. but the GOP Primary saw more money being spent than the ENTIRE 2000 election. Primaries AND election. And the majority of that money came from something like 60 people in the country. We're talking around 70% of the finances and an even larger segment of the SuperPACs funds.

We're being bought, thanks to the Supreme Court, and our ways to speak out matter less and less as more and more rules are enacted. I find it a bit ironic that the same venues and outlets the Tea Party used in 08 are now being closed off, regulated and restricted by the same people the Tea Party supported into office.

If one side can speak out.. the other should be allowed as well.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2012, 03:17:03 PM by Callie Del Noire »

Offline Rhapsody

Re: Bye-bye Right to protest?
« Reply #21 on: May 01, 2012, 09:36:36 PM »
On the surface, it seems to be targeting violent, loud, disruptive protests that tends to denigrate from the issues at hand. A closer reading (from a complete layman, I have only self-training in politics, as well as a healthy dose of cynicism) seems to indicate that there's a lot of ambiguity around the phrase "impedes or disrupts" that could lead to a wide-brush interpretation removing the rights of five people to quietly stand in a corner with signs as well as the five people lobbing toilet paper and shouting obscenities at government offices.

Hell, a peaceful sit-in where everyone's behaving themselves, just sitting quietly as is their right to protest a perceived injustice, could be considered "impediment", depending on where they're sitting.

Offline SilentScreams

Re: Bye-bye Right to protest?
« Reply #22 on: May 02, 2012, 02:45:37 PM »
Quick note on use of force.

Police training is not where it used to be. After 9/11 the influx of federal money into local departments have allowed the police across the country to arm themselves in ways previously impossible or only reserved for big city departments. Of course, those big cities have been able to get even more stuff because of the money they have received (Bloomberg, for instance, now having the equivalent of a company of heavy infantry at his disposal).

The problem is two fold. They buy more "toys" which they then find justification to use because they are "cool". And training does not reflect their new found capabilities.

The use of pepper spray or OC is viewed as a panacea. It practically doesn't count as a use of force because it has no lasting side effects. I've been exposed seven or eight times myself (some through training, some through cross exposure, some through being on the receiving end). It suck. But....the hyperventilating isn't a result of the spray, its the panic that the spray causes. In addition, the active ingredient is capsicum. Capsicum is the natural oils that make hot food hot.  Like with hot food, the more you are exposed, the less it effects you. It also doesn't matter if you are sprayed a lot or a little, the heat of the exposure doesn't change based on the amount you are exposed to. It's organic, it's cheap, and it does debilitate someone who isn't used to it or has never been exposed.

As a result it's looked at as the go to tool. Instead of physically restraining someone you spray them. It's safer for both people involved to be sprayed then to go hands on. Since it is safe and non chemical its classified as a low level use of force. Hence, it has become the go to tool of officers. Rather then being taught how to talk to people officers are now taught how to spray people.

That goes hand in hand with the idea that we can't videotape them. That's crazy. We have these super-troopers running around with thousands worth of gadgets, guns, toys, and armor who think they are bad ass soldiers on the street who have a pathetically limited understanding of laws (federal and local) and we can't watch them to make sure they aren't engaged in abusive behavior? That's asinine.

The police need to be reigned in and the government always needs to be watched. After all, WE PAY THEIR SALARIES. The arguments that exsist that we shouldn't tape them, shouldn't watch them are absurd. They need to be watched. People should not put their trust in the police, many of them are young kids with way too many tools and not enough legal training. The idea that we should trust these people and not watch and/or tape them is crazy.