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2000:  Laughing Sal
2001:  Orkney--Day #1
2002:  My Feng has Shui'd
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2004:  It was Beary, Beary Fun
2005:  It's All a Game
2006:  
Creatures of Habit


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Cousins Day, September

 

FREE SPEECH

20 September 2007

For those of you who can see YouTube videos, here is a different version of the tasing at the University of Florida.

This kid was obviously trying to provoke something, but was tasing the answer to it?  At no time does he appear violent. Kerry appears ready to answer his question. But the police grab him and warn him he's going to be tasered (which shoots 50,000 volts of electricity through your body).  You hear him ask them not to and say he didn't do anything but try to ask a question, yet they taser him anyway.  He was arrested for "resisting with violence" (which is not evident in the video) and he spent a night in jail.

There are so many things which bother me about this video, the biggest thing being that more and more free speech is being suppressed in this country and we are sighing and shrugging our shoulders and letting it happen.

Sally Field was blacked out for bringing out the subject of the war at the Emmys.  It's questionable whether "goddamn war" (which was what she said) would have caused the wrath of the FCC, but Fox blacked out the rest of her statement.  (Ray Romano was also blacked out for joking that his TV wife had "screwed " the TV "Frasier."  When is "screw," whether a crude term or not, something not permitted on network television?)

We never see any dissent at Bush rallies because audiences are hand picked.  (When was the last time you saw him speak to anybody that wasn't either military or veterans or military supporters?).

Both Republicans and Democrats set up a holding pen outside and far away from the convention centers for the last Presidential election where protesters could express their sentiments, unseen and unheard by media and delegates.

On New Year's Day this year, members of Code Pink were denied access to the Golden Gate bridge and were arrested for trespassing, though they had not set foot on the bridge (charges were later dropped).

A male member of Code Pink was tackled by 8 police officers while standing in line to get into the Petraeus hearings.  He was knocked to the ground and his ankle was broken.  Women have been tackled to the ground in the halls of Congress.  Medea Benjamin, one of the co-founders of Code Pink was removed from Congress for wearing a shirt with a row of quarter-sized (or smaller) peace symbols on it, with the word "peace" written under each symbol in different languages.  She was also ousted from a Hillary Clinton rally for wearing a shirt which said "Troops Out Now."  People from Code Pink have been banned from the halls of Congress for as much as six months and one woman was banned from the city of Washington, D.C. for a year for peaceful protest.

A few months ago a couple were ejected from a Bush event simply for wearing negative t-shirts.  One said "Regime change begins at home" and the other was the word "Bush" in a "no" sign.  They were handcuffed and arrested.

On Hardball the other night, Joe Conason of the New York Observer pointed out that during the last presidential campaign, nobody but Republicans were allowed into some Bush events.

The "advance manual" for Bush events reads "If demonstrators appear likely to cause only a political disruption, it is the advance person's responsibility to take appropriate action.  Rally  squads should be dispatched to surround and drown out demonstrators immediately."

In Iraq we are supposedly trying to help create a democratic society.  Free speech is an integral part of a democratic society, and one thing of which we have been fiercely proud in this country.  Yet we are letting it be taken from us and sitting silently without protest, because our protests are being silenced. 

Fox broadcast Bush's famous Petraeus speech the other night, but did not broadcast the Democratic response to it.  Part of its "fair and balanced" policy, I guess.

Where is our outrage?  Or are we so mind-numbed by 24 hour coverage of Paris Hilton's and OJ's arrests, or Brittney's latest antics that we just don't care any more?  Can we not see our wonderful democratic society being taken away from us, our precious freedoms destroyed before our eyes?

 

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