Funny how hypocrisy works. It’s okay to show Bush as Hitler, but not Obama as the Joker.
You can be threatened with arrest if you bring an Obama as the Joker poster to a Townhall meeting.
Well, it’s a new day. That was then, this is now.
THIS poster is not allowed to be displayed in public according to police who threatened to arrest a man who had this at a Townhall meeting.
Free speech is only afforded to Marxists and Leftists.
When the cop threatening to arrest the protester was told “I have free speech! This is America!” The cop replied “It ‘aint no more”.
Welcome to Hope and Change.
UPDATE: WND has more info on this story – notably that the Officer is NOT a policeman, but a school security guard.
6 responses to “Obama Cop Says “This Ain’t [your America] No More”
Federal lawsuit follows anti-Bush T-shirt arrests
By The Associated Press
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A couple arrested for wearing anti-Bush T-shirts to the president’s July 4 appearance at the West Virginia Capitol filed a federal lawsuit yesterday alleging their First Amendment rights were violated.
Nicole and Jeff Rank were removed from the event in handcuffs after revealing T-shirts with President Bush’s name crossed out on the front. Nicole Rank’s shirt had the words “Love America, Hate Bush” on the back and Jeff Rank’s had “Regime change starts at home” on the back.
Their lawsuit was filed in federal court in Charleston by American Civil Liberties Union attorneys. It names Gregory Jenkins, deputy assistant to the president and director of the White House Office of Presidential Advance, and W. Ralph Basham, director of the U.S. Secret Service, as defendants.
“What is at stake here transcends politics,” Jeff Rank said at a news conference at the Capitol. “What is at stake is the right of all Americans — Democrats, Republicans and Independents, all Americans — to peacefully voice their dissent to their government.”
He said although he and his wife had never participated in a political protest before, they believed the lawsuit was necessary because, “unless common citizens like ourselves are willing to stand and fight for their civil liberties, those very liberties our great nation was founded upon, ideals of freedom that keep us strong today, will wither and erode until they are gone forever.”
The couple wants a judge to declare unconstitutional any policy that led to their arrest. They also are seeking unspecified monetary damages for emotional harm they suffered.
Spokesmen for the Secret Service and the U.S. Department of Justice, to whom a White House spokesman directed questions, refused to comment. Both said their agencies did not comment on ongoing litigation.
Trespassing charges filed against the couple by Charleston police officers after they were removed from the event were later dismissed because a municipal judge determined city trespassing ordinances do not apply to Statehouse grounds. City Council and Mayor Danny Jones have publicly apologized to the Ranks.
Jones, a Republican, has said the police officers who arrested the Ranks were told to do so by Secret Service agents.
Charles Bopp, a spokesman for the Secret Service, had previously said his agency did not direct the arrests.
The ACLU filed a federal lawsuit last September against the Secret Service, seeking an injunction against the Bush administration for segregating protesters at his public appearances. The Secret Service agreed to stop the practice.
Bush’s appearance in West Virginia was an official visit and not a campaign event.
The lawsuit said the Ranks obtained free tickets to the July 4 event. Information they received with the tickets specified items they were not allowed to bring, such as coolers and lawn chairs, but did not say anything about clothing. Nicole Rank received an e-mail at work that said, “there is no specified dress code.”
Jeff Rank said he and his wife wore the T-shirts because, “When you see the president speak on TV he is usually shown surrounded by fervent supporters only. While we wanted to hear him out and while we wanted to see him in person, we did not want to be added to the tally of Bush supporters that day.”
They were not shouting or heckling, did not lie down in protest and did not resist arrest, Jeff Rank said.
While the Ranks were put in handcuffs, fingerprinted and spent two hours in jail, other people at the event who wore Bush campaign T-shirts and buttons were not bothered, said Andrew Schneider, the executive director of the ACLU in West Virginia.
“Presidents cannot be insulated from dissent,” Schneider said.
Although Nicole Rank, 30 and a registered Democrat, initially was dismissed from her job with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, she was rehired after the charges were dropped. She now is on an assignment in Richmond, Va.
The Ranks had been living in Corpus Christi, Texas, and were in West Virginia because of Nicole Rank’s FEMA assignment. They have since moved to Charleston. Jeff Rank, 29 and a registered Republican, is a math and science tutor at the University of Charleston.
What do you want to bet the ACLU is as silent as crickets about this fella’s rights?
Seen it time and again.
Since this guy wasn’t actually arrested I do wonder what law was broken here.
I also wonder if it’s true (as one of the gentlemen in this video alleges) that the right to free expression is treated differently on school property.
For example, can teenagers carry any kind of signs they want into this same building during the daytime? Or wear any kind of messages they like on their t-shirts during school?
If so, then the filmmaker was certainly the victim of a double-standard here, and should sue.
If you watch the video again, the security officer is the one with the double standard.
Because the printed signs from Union people in support of ObamaCare were okay to have according to this guard, the fact this guy had an unflattering picture of Obama was the reason the guard himself said he had to put the sign down.
The protester asked why it was that only his sign was being ordered down and not the union signs – and the guard said plainly “Because yours has a picture on it”.
Now – given that this was a PUBLIC event of a PUBLIC REPRESENTATIVE in a PUBLIC SCHOOL – who gives a rat’s ass that a school says the right of free expression is different on their property?
If a politician is going to have a meeting with constituents – then our rights to redress grievances is CONSTITUTIONAL and not subject to the kind of tyranny we see in this video.
End of sentence.
Well, you may not give a “rat’s ass” about the law but unfortunately the people who enforce and interpret these sorts of things tend to weigh legal precedent over blogger opinions.
That said, I really don’t know what the status was here – what state it was in, how the fact that it was security guard and not a cop, anything.
As far as I can tell however the following is typical of these sorts of cases – not as clear-cut as the case of the couple arrested and fired for wearing “No Bush” t-shirts, but still kind of interesting.
Loss for First Amendment
By Douglas Lee
Special to freedomforum.org
Sometimes, unfortunately, the price we pay for free speech is speech itself.
This price is especially high when the speech is “sponsored” by the government. Such sponsorship takes a variety of forms, including public meetings, private use of public property and public funding of programs and activities. In these public forums, the First Amendment prohibits the government from discriminating against speech because of its content.
The First Amendment thus presents government with two choices: it can either allow speech with which it disagrees or avoid opening the public forum at all. The first option is messy and often difficult. The second is clean and easy. That the government usually chooses the second option is hardly surprising.
These dynamics took center stage in Plano, Texas, recently, when the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals was asked to decide whether parents could sue school administrators for allegedly stifling public debate over a math curriculum. The court allowed the case to proceed but, in doing so, tacitly encouraged schools to limit public discussion of curriculum issues.
The case, Chiu v. Plano Independent School District, emanated from the district’s adoption of a new middle school math curriculum, the “Connected Math Program.” Several parents objected to the program, relying in part on the Texas Education Agency’s lukewarm endorsement of the curriculum.
Some of these parents decided to express their concerns about the program at “Parent’s Math Nights” the district had scheduled at the middle schools. The evening meetings were announced in the local newspaper and in fliers sent home with students. At each Math Night, teachers were scheduled to explain the curriculum, answer parent questions and meet informally with parents to discuss the progress of individual students.
At the first Math Night, a parent asked school officials for (and apparently received) permission to distribute copies of two articles critical of Connected Math and to circulate a petition requesting the district to delay implementation of the program until it was more fully evaluated. Shortly thereafter, however, the officials asked the parent to remove his literature from a table containing various pro-program articles, which he did.
The parent then began handing his materials to parents as they entered the meeting. The officials then approached the parent, told him he could not circulate his petition on school property and said he would be forced to leave if he did not cease distributing his articles.
The parent agreed to stop handing out his materials after the officials told him he could express his concerns about Connected Math after the district finished its presentation. After the meeting, however, the school officials refused to give the parent this opportunity.
At a second Math Night a week later, the school officials were even stricter. From the beginning, they told the parent he would not be able to distribute any articles or circulate his petition. Moreover, they said, he would not be allowed to display a poster informing parents that the district was not permitting him to hand out materials and inviting them to contact him after the meeting.
At a third Math Night several weeks later, another parent was similarly prevented from voicing his objections to the program.
These parents then filed suit in federal court, alleging that the school administrators’ actions violated the parents’ First Amendment rights. The administrators moved for summary judgment, arguing in part that they had not violated any established constitutional right and that, even if they had, their actions were reasonable and therefore protected.
The trial court denied the motion, holding that the parents, if their allegations were true, could establish an unreasonable violation of clear constitutional rights. On appeal, the 5th Circuit agreed, holding that questions about the purpose of Math Night precluded a pre-trial ruling in the administrators’ favor.
In its analysis of the First Amendment issues presented, the appellate court focused on the nature of the Math Night forum. The critical question, according to the court, was whether Math Night was a “limited” public forum or a “designated” one. If Math Night were a limited public forum, the court said, school officials could not silence speech solely because of its content. If Math Night were a designated public forum, however, the officials could control the agenda and the views expressed.
Faced with key evidentiary disputes the trial court had not resolved, the appellate court concluded it could not decide whether Math Night had been a limited or designated public forum. Key to this inquiry, the court said, was whether the officials had intended to allow an “open, yet structured” discussion of the math curriculum. If the district had intended to provide parents an opportunity to express their concerns, as the question and answer period suggested, it likely created a limited public forum.
If, on the other hand, Math Night was designed to educate parents about the new program rather than to discuss the overall math curriculum, the district likely created a designated public forum.
How the Math Night case ultimately will be decided is anyone’s guess. How the Plano Independent School District and other school districts handle similar issues in the future, however, is almost certain. At their next Math Night or Science Night or Social Studies Night, schools won’t leave any doubt about who is speaking and for what purpose. The agendas will be set in stone. The presentations will be lectures, not discussions. Neither questions nor dissent will be entertained.
The schools’ intent to create designated public forums thus will be clear — as will be the cost of doing so.
Douglas Lee is a partner in the Dixon, Ill., law firm of Ehrmann Gehlbach Badger & Lee and a legal correspondent for the First Amendment Center.
Clearly, the Rank Case shows that America has, if anything, become more tolerant of dissent since Bush left office.
Democracy demands a thoughtful and rigorous opposition, no matter who is in power. But 2when all you can see of an “opposition” is a bunch of whiny crackpots spinning ridiculous conspiracy theories, you may well drown out any serious debate. But in the end, you’re marganalizing the whole idea of opposition itself.