Monday, November 14, 2011

Defending the Ancien Regime

I'm glad that hyper-tweeter 'blogdiva' (Liza Sabater) made the point early on the morning of Nov. 14, as Oakland was cleared out by a multi-city police force, that the raid was as much a product of President Obama and DHS head Janet Napolitano, as of the multicultural, ostensibly liberal government of Oakland. Whenever multiple jurisdictions are involved, you can be sure that DHS law enforcement funds are involved, and likely the regional Joint Terrorism Task Forces are involved as well.
When you come right down to it, the federal government perceives the continued presence of semi-permanent encampments in multiple cities as a threat to the public order - and there are always enough "Black Bloc" provocateurs in many cities to give that perception some validity. I won't go so far as Liza to say that DHS considers Occupy as "low-level terrorism", but the feds certainly give cities plenty of tactical riot funds to make park-clearance a major goal.

What is to be done? A phalanx of judges in Nashville, including some rather conservative ones, have slapped down the governor of Tennessee and the state police for clearing public squares, saying that political encampments are themselves a protected form of free speech. Why not extend that argument to multiple cities with a class action lawsuit against those municipalities who are quick to ban protests? I'm thinking Albany, Atlanta, Austin, Berkeley, Chapel Hill, Denver, Nashville, Oakland, Portland, St. Louis, Salt Lake City... hmm, the list is getting long. Notice how many cities with "liberal" governments are listed? Arguments for public safety appeal to conservatives and liberals alike. Maybe it's time to initiate an economic boycott against these cities and others.

On Thursday night, I'm on a panel at Colorado College called "What if there were no Bill of Rights?" I'll argue that most Americans shy away from the Bill of Rights if it interferes with their entertainment bubble. And those in political office at municipal, county, or state level, even if they are liberal Democrats, are quick to eradicate free expression when a special event comes to town, like a G20 meeting or political party convention -- raiding organizing spaces, banning the wearing of bandanas within city limits, etc. Judges in locales like St. Paul, Minn. have fined city governments for suspending Constitutional rights on "emergency" grounds, when they know full well their temporary laws will not pass Constitutional muster. Maybe it's time to get serious on the punitive fines for such cities.

(On another topic, I spoke on a panel about the changing role of automated warfare and what it meant for the veteran. Here 'tis.)

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