On Bannings and Losing Your 1st Amendment rights of speech and assembly

( – promoted by buhdydharma )

Recently a good friend here on teh toobz was banned from public discourse in a private setting, a limitation of his personal freedom of speech in a private place. Though he was offered reinstatement, he refused it on principle. He stood by his perinciple. He defended his freedom.

   Personally, I think the whole situation sucks.

But MUCH BIGGER than that was the Police State RIOT SQUADS brutal response to PROPERTY DAMAGE in Pittsburgh, PA this weekend, when protestors without Government permission to exercisize.

   This is my point.

   If you have to ASK PERMISSION to use your rights, you never really had that right in the first place.

    Protestors at the G20 meetings in Pittsburgh were not given permits to protest, despite their Constitutionally guaranteed 1st Amendment rights to freedom of assembly. They did it any way. Property was damaged. NO PEOPLE WERE HARMED BY THE PROTESTORS. And for that, the riot police were called in, and they used tear gas, sound guns and rubber bullets against the Protestors, whose greatest crime besides property damage was choosing to exercise a right they thought they had.

   The First Amendment.

   If they had been protesting IN FAVOR of Corporate Interests they would have be given permission to use those rights.

   And a right is NOTHING until you try to use it.

   The Corporatist State, led by the entire Republican party and most of the Democratic, would gladly reduce your righs to this.

1st Amendment – Right to $ = Free Speech

2nd Amendment – Right to bare arms.

3rd Amendment – Right to not shelter soldiers (pending future adjustments)

10th Amendment – State’s Rights (pending approval)

    Since the 2nd Amendment benefits the Gun Lobby and MIC it will NEVER be restricted despite all logic. Every other right we think we have is MEANINGLESS, if, when we try to use it, we find it isn’t really there.

    We have seen the astroturfed tea party protests that act against reform and in favor of Corporate interests. They NEVER get their permits denied, they NEVER are restricted to Free Speech Zones. They get PERMISSION, which makes them GOVERNMENT APPROVED PROTESTS, and thus GOVERNMENT APPROVED FRRE SPEECH.

    Doesn’t sound much like freedom, does it?

    So, what does this have to do with bannings on blogs?

    Well, when you blog on someone’s website you are not engaged in public speech, not if someone owns that website who is not you. In those instances you are a guest on their property, you are a sort of guest in their home, and if they do not like what you have to say they have the right to ask you to leave. That is all well and good if they run their home like an authoratarian dictatorship where their word is law, but, in the spirit of democracy that attitude does a disservice to free speech and the free exchange of ideas. If that host expresses the desire to have a BIG TENT of ideas, they are doing a disservice to their own interests by limiting the freedom of speech of other citizens and guests, who are their equals.

    But there is no reall equality there. It is private property, not public property. Different rules apply.

    So what happens when we can not use those same freedoms, such as freedom of assembly or speech in public places?

    Can we truly be free and enjoy freedoms if we can not even do so in public, excpet without permission to do so, and then with limitations as far as where it is permitted and acceptable to use those freedoms?

    If we do not have the full freedom of our rights, do we have any rights at all?

    I think not.

    And when others violate those rights (Take the 4th or 8th Amendments against illegal search and seizure or cruel and unusual punishment, for instance) and face NO PUNISHMENT for such violations, are they not above the law? Does the violation of rights without consequences not nullify the very idea of those rights existing in anything other name name or word only?

    If we as citizens are not equally free, are we free at all?

    By squelching unpopular speech in a private setting we do the same thing to our fellow citizens as those who deny rights to citizens in a public place. By limiting the free exchange of ideas in a private setting we are acting EXACTLY like those who would deny those same rights to you in a publiic setting. Is this what we want for our society? Is this how you create grassroots Democracy? How can one TAKE ON THE SYSTEM while doing it’s dirty work for it?


    To each and every reader I ask this question, If there is no equality under the law, can there be freedom? And that equality is not just for the freedom to your rights, but also in the equal consequences that comes when those rights are violated.

    And is banning someone from a private place because of unpopular or undesirable speech akin to doing so in a public place? If not, why? Speech is speech, yes? Or is Speech = to money?

    If we do not stand for our principles, do we stand for anything?

I leave the floor to you, in the spirit of Democracy.


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  2. I work at a hospital. The staff are not allowed to use their cell phones on patient care areas. Doesn’t that restrict their right to free speech?

    And yet if we allowed it everybody and his dog would be facebooking and calling their friends instead of taking care of patients. Never mind we don’t really want families to see the people taking care of their children yapping on cell phones.

    I am in favor of the workplace ban. So am I helping to suppress free speech or opting for a common sense restriction?

    I am not sure the analogy works for what you are talking about but there are plenty of instances in which private employers/entities restrict free speech.

    • Edger on September 26, 2009 at 18:39

    since this is sparked obviously by complaints about the situation at dKos, is that I think you would run into no admin opposition or ‘censorship’ posting this at dKos, because you are not directly discussing topics that they don’t want discussed there.

    As far as I am aware they have no rule against discussing their own admin policies publicly in diaries on their site.

    And doing so might very well result in an eventual change of heart by dKos, depending of course on the outcome of the conversation that follows in comments.

    Good essay, MoT.

    • triv33 on September 26, 2009 at 18:59

    but I just can’t resist…

    Right aren’t rights if someone can take them away, they’re privileges~George Carlin

    Great essay, MoT.

  3. if we even live in a democracy now. Perhaps we never did but the illusion was profound and now it is fading quickly.

  4. provided pens to put the protester’s, in it signaled to me that we have no right to assemble especially as this is a political event that’s purpose is supposedly open to the citizens expressly for selecting those that will represent we the people… the protesters were not going to be inside disrupting parliamentary procedures. At dkos it seems to be a parliamentary thing that strives to keep order in the community, so discussion can occur. When kos bans topics because they will reflect badly on the sites reputation you either leave or stay under the agreement you’ve made.

    I find this quite undemocratic and it encourages those that have no interest in a democratic agenda to run amuk and silence all opposition to free speech, outside the designated thoughts allowed. For the most part the community their vilifies protesters and people who use free speech, like Code Pink or Cindy Sheehan as they feel they hurt the mission, which they view narrowly as getting more assholes elected, and protecting the reputation of a corrupt political party’s version of reality.

    Kos does own it, and when you sign on your agreeing to the rules. Always seemed strange CT is banned but IP diaries like wildfires blase away unchecked. What bothers me about this is the fact that the ban is not because of parliamentary purposes but to support the reality based bs for being a serious place, that tows the line for the very entities it seeks to influence toward democracy, not supporting the intolerable status quo.        

    It seems to me that the crux of your question is what is private and what is public. Hard to say in our sick obsession and love of private property. I was horrified during the New Orleans tragedy at the coverage that seemed more concerned with ‘looting’ and private property then the survival of the victims. The G2 protesters and their treatment are different as the government is clearly stifling free speech and assembly selectively. Yes I too think that it is insane to have to get a permit to protest. The permission slips always seem to be issued for political purposes selectively.            

  5. I completely agree.

    Goddamnit, I hate it when people say only that in a comment, but GWB opened a Pandora’s box with all this shit. Not only is it becoming clear to me that President Obama doesn’t want to change it back to how it was before (or make it better even), but he actually endorses this crap.

    It’s sickening.

    Plus, I just got done watching the new Law and Order where Jack McCoy tries to prosecute members of the Bush administration and, much to his chargrin, Attorney General Holder stops the proceedings.

    Christ on a popsicle stick.

  6. As surely as the ice floes in the Arctic and Antarctic regions continue to shrink and seem destined to disappear altogether, public domains seem headed on the same trajectory.  For the past three decades, we have witnessed the ongoing conversion of the public trust into the greedy hands of the corporate state.  

    One of the guiding principles of our theocorpatocracy is that free speech does not exist in a private setting.  It would seem to follow that the locations where free speech can be practiced will continue to erode in direct proportion to each loss of the commons.

  7. 2nd Amendment – Right to bare arms.

    Right to bear (carry) arms (weaponry/guns).

    Over and out.

  8. Friends of mine who remain in PA (Pennslytukey)cant understand why I ran like hell to get out of there but this is a prime example of why.  Not that any other state wouldnt have acted with any less force but PA seems to go for the jugular pretty quickly.  

    Many years ago I new a guy in Lake Harmony who had his home searched illegally, the court order was for the house next door, anyway they found a pot plant.  When it went to court the judge said ‘Good Faith’ and convicted.  Fortunately the decision was overturned but its symptomatic of ‘Law and Order’ in PA.  Look at Loud Dobbs’ buddy Lou Barletta and his registration laws in Hazleton (again ruled unconstitutional) or zero tolerance in schools I’ve been told that in Sullivan Co. a county with one traffic light and around 5000 residents a significant number of high school kids are now ‘felons’ because of an overzealous DA.  And last for now how about the DA who’s decided that kids texting pics of themselves in bikinis are deviants and either need to plead and go to ‘retraining’ or have thier entire futures fucked by being put on Megans lists as sexual predators.

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