Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Denver Residents, Alleging First Amendment Rights Were Violated, Sue White House Event Planners

Denver residents Leslie Weise and Alex Young allege in a lawsuit filed this week that their First Amendment rights were violated when they were removed from a March 21 "town hall meeting" with President Bush, because of a bumper sticker on their car.

It's the latest battle over First Amendment rights. The question, argued in several different cases around the country, is simply: Do Americans have the right to dissent? Do Americans have the right to attend political events if there's a chance they will dissent?

First Amendment issues have popped up around the country over the past year. A Wisconsin man was arrested last year for holding up a sign as a presidential motorcade drove by. A married couple was removed from a Bush event last summer in West Virginia after revealing anti-Bush T-shirts. A Utah man was visited last fall by the Secret Service for an anti-Bush bumper sticker on his car.

This spring, the Secret Service sent agents to investigate a college art gallery exhibit of mock postage stamps, one depicting Bush with a gun pointed at his head. And just last month, a Washington State woman was kicked off a Southwest Airlines flight for wearing an anti-Bush t-shirt.

It makes me think of a speech given by Michael Douglas' character, President Andrew Shepherd, at the end of the 1995 film, The American President:

DOUGLAS: America isn't easy. America is advanced citizenship. You've got to want it bad, because it's gonna put up a fight. It's gonna say, "You want free speech? Let's see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil who is standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours.

I doubt that movie gets played much at the current White House. This is, after all, an administration that stages events -- like the Orwellian-named "town hall meetings" -- with pre-screened audiences signing loyalty oaths.


The Colorado suit was filed Monday by the American Civil Liberties Union against White House event staffers Michael Casper and Jay Klinkerman. It accuses Casper and Klinkerman of detaining Weise and Young and ejecting them from the event at the direction of federal officials.

After the event, the Secret Service told Young and Weise they were ejected because of "No more blood for oil" bumper sticker on their car, the suit says.

Weiss and Young say they had tickets to the event discussing Social Security and had no intention of disrupting it.

"He's the president of all Americans. He should feel comfortable talking to all of us," Weise told the Denver Post.

Weise's words are simiilar to those offered by Jeff Rank, one half of the married couple arrested last July in West Virginia after revealing T-shirts at a Bush event with Bush's name crossed out on the front. The shirt worn by Jeff's wife, Nicole, had the words "Love America, Hate Bush" on the back and Jeff Rank's had "Regime change starts at home" on the back.

"What is at stake here transcends politics," Jeff Rank said. "What is at stake is the right of all Americans — Democrats, Republicans and Independents, all Americans — to peacefully voice their dissent to their government."


Anonymous ...of J.Temperance said...

Yeah and the Bush bastard is running around the world telling OTHER countries that they need to allow "freedom of speech"..."freedom of the press"..."religious freedom"..."be more democratic"

Fucking hypocrite. Do it in your OWN country first you waste of human skin.

4:00 PM  
Anonymous Erika said...

Bush doesn't do dissent

12:34 AM  
Anonymous FormerRepublican said...

Bush boy only likes cronies and syncophants. All others should line up for the death camps.

This is certainly not the America I remember. Chimpy boy has turned it into a Stalinist state. I keep expecting the Bush SS to show up at my door and take me off to Guantanamo.

12:34 AM  
Anonymous niyad said...

what the freepers cannot explain to me is WHY they, who are supposedly
anti-government, uber-patriots, etc, are standing by silently, or, even more disgusting, with loud approval, as this country becomes more and more fascist. and when you point this out to them, they whine and say, "but this isn't fascism--that is something else entirely"

12:35 AM  
Anonymous FormerRepublican said...

They make every excuse in the book for why they're supporting something despicable. In the end, there really isn't any excuse except ignorance, stupidity, and sometimes conspiracy.

12:35 AM  
Anonymous ...of J.Temperance said...

Yes and the question is WHY does Junior NEED loyalty oaths, when he supposed to be SUCH a fan of freedom of speech and freedom of expression?

Of course, this particular point is completely lost on the Repukes and their little mediawhoring lapdogs.

12:42 AM  
Anonymous FormerRepublican said...

I would argue that the administration is directly to blame in all cases.

Why? Because they actively encourage - and I'd even say demand - ideological lockstep. Think it's an accident that BushCo have been rallying the 'puke troops with 'bad liberal this' and 'bad liberal that'? It's to increase the intolerance for a liberal point of view. This has gone to an extreme, encouraged and endorsed by the administration.

Bush and his pals aren't innocent in this - even if they weren't directly involved. Propaganda works. And it doesn't make the agents behind the propaganda innocent.

10:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is the same Bush that a newly-disclosed Downing Street memo reveals wanted to bomb an Arab news agency, until Blair stopped him.
We have a president that does not believe in our basic tenents of our government freedom of speech and freedom of press. Impeach this dangerous hypocrite now.

4:18 PM  

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