Isn’t ironic how the most obscene violators of human rights try portray themselves as victims? E.G. In recent days, two dictators facing the wrath of their people, Muammar Gadhafi and Bashar Assad, have described the rebels challenging their rule as “roving gangs of thugs and criminals.”
In our own country, Presidential candidates who lack the wit to handle the queries of the media have banned the press from interviewing them or stopped them from asking questions “off topic.”
When the paranoid, bigoted words of a Dr. Laura or a Glen Beck came back to haunt them, their defense is, “the politically correct left is trying to censor conservative Americans.” When right-wing politicians are embarrassed by their own statements, policies or nonsensical rants, it now standard practice to employ the conservative get out of jail card, “the media has a liberal bias.”
Conservative Republican Steve Chabot of Cincinnati has taken right-wing authoritarianism to new heights. On August 22nd, Chabot held a town-hall meeting for his constituents. Knowing that many of his constituents were angry with him for voting to do away with Medicare, not creating any new jobs while voting against increasing the debt ceiling, the Congressman ordered Cincinnati policemen in the room to confiscate all cameras, cell phones and recording devices -except for those being used by accredited members of the media.
So much for freedom of speech.
So much for freedom to protest or dissent.
So much for respect for private property.
So much respecting the role of law enforcement and not misusing them the way dictators for centuries have, to abrogate the civil rights of citizens acting within their rights!
Fortunately for all Americans in general and people at that town hall meeting who had their cameras, cell phones and recording devices taken away by policemen who, “were only following orders,” a Federal Appeals Court in Boston has ruled:
“It is firmly established that the First Amendment’s aegis extends further than the text’s proscription on laws “abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press,” and encompasses a range of conduct related to the gathering and dissemination of information. …… “The filming of government officials engaged in their duties in a public place, including police officers performing their responsibilities, fits comfortably within these principles. Gathering information about government officials in a form that can readily be disseminated to others serves a cardinal First Amendment interest in protecting and promoting “the free discussion of governmental affairs.” Mills v. Alabama, 384 U.S. 214, 218 (1966).
But then, what does First Amendment rights have to do with anyone or anything when you are engaged in a holy crusade to promote sacred conservative political objectives and social values? Can I have a God Bless America please?
Frightening videos of what happened at Chabot’s town hall meeting below; this really took place in America?