Remember: Bush is defending our freedoms against terrorists


Derek Zeanah
December 29, 2003, 10:46 PM
From James Bovard.

Originally posted here (
December 15, 2003 issue
Copyright © 2003 The American Conservative

“Free-Speech Zone”

The administration quarantines dissent.

By James Bovard

On Dec. 6, 2001, Attorney General John Ashcroft informed the Senate Judiciary Committee, “To those who scare peace-loving people with phantoms of lost liberty … your tactics only aid terrorists, for they erode our national unity and … give ammunition to America’s enemies.” Some commentators feared that Ashcroft’s statement, which was vetted beforehand by top lawyers at the Justice Department, signaled that this White House would take a far more hostile view towards opponents than did recent presidents. And indeed, some Bush administration policies indicate that Ashcroft’s comment was not a mere throwaway line.

When Bush travels around the United States, the Secret Service visits the location ahead of time and orders local police to set up “free speech zones” or “protest zones” where people opposed to Bush policies (and sometimes sign-carrying supporters) are quarantined. These zones routinely succeed in keeping protesters out of presidential sight and outside the view of media covering the event.

When Bush came to the Pittsburgh area on Labor Day 2002, 65-year-old retired steel worker Bill Neel was there to greet him with a sign proclaiming, “The Bush family must surely love the poor, they made so many of us.” The local police, at the Secret Service’s behest, set up a “designated free-speech zone” on a baseball field surrounded by a chain-link fence a third of a mile from the location of Bush’s speech. The police cleared the path of the motorcade of all critical signs, though folks with pro-Bush signs were permitted to line the president’s path. Neel refused to go to the designated area and was arrested for disorderly conduct; the police also confiscated his sign. Neel later commented, “As far as I’m concerned, the whole country is a free speech zone. If the Bush administration has its way, anyone who criticizes them will be out of sight and out of mind.”

At Neel’s trial, police detective John Ianachione testified that the Secret Service told local police to confine “people that were there making a statement pretty much against the president and his views” in a so-called free speech area. Paul Wolf, one of the top officials in the Allegheny County Police Department, told Salon that the Secret Service “come in and do a site survey, and say, ‘Here’s a place where the people can be, and we’d like to have any protesters put in a place that is able to be secured.’” Pennsylvania district judge Shirley Rowe Trkula threw out the disorderly conduct charge against Neel, declaring, “I believe this is America. Whatever happened to ‘I don’t agree with you, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it’?”

Similar suppressions have occurred during Bush visits to Florida. A recent St. Petersburg Times editorial noted, “At a Bush rally at Legends Field in 2001, three demonstrators—two of whom were grandmothers—were arrested for holding up small handwritten protest signs outside the designated zone. And last year, seven protesters were arrested when Bush came to a rally at the USF Sun Dome. They had refused to be cordoned off into a protest zone hundreds of yards from the entrance to the Dome.” One of the arrested protesters was a 62-year-old man holding up a sign, “War is good business. Invest your sons.” The seven were charged with trespassing, “obstructing without violence and disorderly conduct.”

Police have repressed protesters during several Bush visits to the St. Louis area as well. When Bush visited on Jan. 22, 2003, 150 people carrying signs were shunted far away from the main action and effectively quarantined. Denise Lieberman of the ACLU of Eastern Missouri commented, “No one could see them from the street. In addition, the media were not allowed to talk to them. The police would not allow any media inside the protest area and wouldn’t allow any of the protesters out of the protest zone to talk to the media.” When Bush stopped by a Boeing plant to talk to workers, Christine Mains and her five-year-old daughter disobeyed orders to move to a small protest area far from the action. Police arrested Mains and took her and her crying daughter away in separate squad cars.

The Justice Department is now prosecuting Brett Bursey, who was arrested for holding a “No War for Oil” sign at a Bush visit to Columbia, S.C. Local police, acting under Secret Service orders, established a “free speech zone” half a mile from where Bush would speak. Bursey was standing amid hundreds of people carrying signs praising the president. Police told Bursey to remove himself to the “free speech zone.”

Bursey refused and was arrested. Bursey said that he asked the policeman if “it was the content of my sign, and he said, ‘Yes, sir, it’s the content of your sign that’s the problem.’” Bursey stated that he had already moved 200 yards from where Bush was supposed to speak. Bursey later complained, “The problem was, the restricted area kept moving. It was wherever I happened to be standing.”

Bursey was charged with trespassing. Five months later, the charge was dropped because South Carolina law prohibits arresting people for trespassing on public property. But the Justice Department—in the person of U.S. Attorney Strom Thurmond Jr.—quickly jumped in, charging Bursey with violating a rarely enforced federal law regarding “entering a restricted area around the President of the United States.” If convicted, Bursey faces a six-month trip up the river and a $5000 fine. Federal magistrate Bristow Marchant denied Bursey’s request for a jury trial because his violation is categorized as a “petty offense.” Some observers believe that the feds are seeking to set a precedent in a conservative state such as South Carolina that could then be used against protesters nationwide.

Bursey’s trial took place on Nov. 12 and 13. His lawyers sought the Secret Service documents they believed would lay out the official policies on restricting critical speech at presidential visits. The Bush administration sought to block all access to the documents, but Marchant ruled that the lawyers could have limited access. Bursey sought to subpoena John Ashcroft and Karl Rove to testify. Bursey lawyer Lewis Pitts declared, “We intend to find out from Mr. Ashcroft why and how the decision to prosecute Mr. Bursey was reached.” The magistrate refused, however, to enforce the subpoenas. Secret Service agent Holly Abel testified at the trial that Bursey was told to move to the “free speech zone” but refused to co-operate. Magistrate Marchant is expected to issue his decision in December.

The feds have offered some bizarre rationales for hog-tying protesters. Secret Service agent Brian Marr explained to National Public Radio, “These individuals may be so involved with trying to shout their support or non-support that inadvertently they may walk out into the motorcade route and be injured. And that is really the reason why we set these places up, so we can make sure that they have the right of free speech, but, two, we want to be sure that they are able to go home at the end of the evening and not be injured in any way.” Except for having their constitutional rights shredded.

Marr’s comments are a mockery of this country’s rich heritage of vigorous protests. Somehow, all of a sudden, after George W. Bush became president people became so stupid that federal agents had to cage them to prevent them from walking out in front of speeding vehicles.

The ACLU, along with several other organizations, is suing the Secret Service for what it charges is a pattern-and-practice of suppressing protesters at Bush events in Arizona, California, Connecticut, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, Texas, and elsewhere. The ACLU’s Witold Walczak said of the protesters, “The individuals we are talking about didn’t pose a security threat; they posed a political threat.”

The Secret Service is duty-bound to protect the president. But it is ludicrous to presume that would-be terrorists are lunkheaded enough to carry anti-Bush signs when carrying pro-Bush signs would give them much closer access. And even a policy of removing all people carrying signs—as has happened in some demonstrations—is pointless, since potential attackers would simply avoid carrying signs. Presuming that terrorists are as unimaginative and predictable as the average federal bureaucrat is not a recipe for presidential longevity.

The Bush administration’s anti-protester bias proved embarrassing for two American allies with long traditions of raucous free speech, resulting in some of the most repressive restrictions in memory in free countries. When Bush visited Australia in October, Sydney Morning Herald columnist Mark Riley observed, “The basic right of freedom of speech will adopt a new interpretation during the Canberra visits this week by the US President, George Bush, and his Chinese counterpart, Hu Jintao. Protesters will be free to speak as much as they like just as long as they can’t be heard.” Demonstrators were shunted to an area away from the Federal Parliament building and prohibited from using any public address system in the area.

For Bush’s recent visit to London, the White House demanded that British police ban all protest marches, close down the center of the city, and impose a “virtual three day shutdown of central London in a bid to foil disruption of the visit by anti-war protesters,” according to Britain’s Evening Standard. But instead of a “free speech zone”—as such areas are labeled in the U.S.—the Bush administration demanded an “exclusion zone” to protect Bush from protesters’ messages.

Such unprecedented restrictions did not inhibit Bush from portraying himself as a champion of freedom during his visit. In a speech at Whitehall on Nov. 19, Bush hyped the “forward strategy of freedom” and declared, “We seek the advance of freedom and the peace that freedom brings.” Regarding the protesters, Bush sought to turn the issue into a joke: “I’ve been here only a short time, but I’ve noticed that the tradition of free speech—exercised with enthusiasm—is alive and well here in London. We have that at home, too. They now have that right in Baghdad, as well.”

Attempts to suppress protesters become more disturbing in light of the Homeland Security Department’s recommendation that local police departments view critics of the war on terrorism as potential terrorists. In a May 2003 terrorist advisory, the Homeland Security Department warned local law enforcement agencies to keep an eye on anyone who “expressed dislike of attitudes and decisions of the U.S. government.” If police vigorously followed this advice, millions of Americans could be added to the official lists of “suspected terrorists.”

Protesters have claimed that police have assaulted them during demonstrations in New York, Washington, and elsewhere. Film footage of a February New York antiwar rally showed what looked like a policeman on horseback charging into peaceful aged Leftists. The neoconservative New York Sun suggested in February 2003 that the New York Police Department “send two witnesses along for each participant [in an antiwar demonstration], with an eye toward preserving at least the possibility of an eventual treason prosecution” since all the demonstrators were guilty of “giving, at the very least, comfort to Saddam Hussein.”

One of the most violent government responses to an antiwar protest occurred when local police and the federally funded California Anti-Terrorism Task Force fired rubber bullets and tear gas at peaceful protesters and innocent bystanders at the port of Oakland, injuring a number of people. When the police attack sparked a geyser of media criticism, Mike van Winkle, the spokesman for the California Anti-Terrorism Information Center told the Oakland Tribune, “You can make an easy kind of a link that, if you have a protest group protesting a war where the cause that’s being fought against is international terrorism, you might have terrorism at that protest. You can almost argue that a protest against that is a terrorist act.” Van Winkle justified classifying protesters like terrorists: “I’ve heard terrorism described as anything that is violent or has an economic impact, and shutting down a port certainly would have some economic impact. Terrorism isn’t just bombs going off and killing people.”

Such aggressive tactics become more ominous in the light of the Bush administration’s advocacy, in its Patriot II draft legislation, of nullifying all judicial consent decrees restricting state and local police from spying on those groups who may oppose government policies.

On May 30, 2002, Ashcroft effectively abolished restrictions on FBI surveillance of Americans’ everyday lives first imposed in 1976. One FBI internal newsletter encouraged FBI agents to conduct more interviews with antiwar activists “for plenty of reasons, chief of which it will enhance the paranoia endemic in such circles and will further service to get the point across that there is an FBI agent behind every mailbox.” The FBI took a shotgun approach towards protesters partly because of the FBI’s “belief that dissident speech and association should be prevented because they were incipient steps towards the possible ultimate commission of act which might be criminal,” according to a Senate report.

On Nov. 23 news broke that the FBI is now actively conducting surveillance of antiwar demonstrators—supposedly to “blunt potential violence by extremist elements,” according to a Reuters interview with a federal law enforcement official. Given the FBI’s expansive defintion of “potential violence” in the past, this is a net that could catch almost any group or individual who falls into official disfavor.

The FBI is also urging local police to report suspicious activity by protesters to the Joint Terrorism Task Force, which is run by the FBI. If local police take the hint and start pouring in the dirt, the JTTF could soon be building a “Total Information Awareness”-lite database on those antiwar groups and activists.

If the FBI publicly admits that it is surveilling antiwar groups and urging local police to send in information on protestors, how far might the feds go? It took over a decade after the first big antiwar protests in the 1960s before the American people learned the extent of FBI efforts to suppress and subvert public opposition to the Vietnam War. Is the FBI now considering a similar order to field offices as the one it sent in 1968, telling them to gather information illustrating the “scurrilous and depraved nature of many of the characters, activities habits, and living conditions representative of New Left adherents”—but this time focused on those who oppose Bush’s Brave New World?

Is the administration seeking to stifle domestic criticism? Absolutely. Is it carrying out a war on dissent? Probably not—yet. But the trend lines in federal attacks on freedom of speech should raise grave concerns to anyone worried about the First Amendment or about how a future liberal Democratic president such as Hillary Clinton might exploit the precedents that Bush is setting.Just remember, the terrorists want our freedoms.

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December 29, 2003, 10:57 PM
Well, that whole thing seems to jive real well with the fascist's campaign finance law. :cuss:

December 29, 2003, 11:38 PM
Similar techniques were in use when Al Gore campaigned in Michigan's U.P.
Pro 2nd and logging protestors were kept well away from the building where Gore spoke.
I didn't hear anyone complaining now complaining then.

Clinton had the Secret Service arrest people who yelled at him while he was jogging, or at rallies.
It barely got a mention outside conservative talk radio.

December 30, 2003, 12:06 AM
If the author was any more biased in his/her position I would suspect it was written as a joint effort by Hillary, Kennedy, Schumer, Dashell (spelling?), and the rest of the DNC.

It fits their MO of opinion generated by fear, hatred, and mistrust. (Black vs, White, Old vs. Young, Rich vs. Poor, America vs. Corp. America etc..

Makes me sick :rolleyes:

Jeff White
December 30, 2003, 12:06 AM
ACP230 is right. This was standard procedure in the Clinton Administration. Conservatives were outraged. I remember Rush Limbaugh showing clips of protesters being arrested at Clinton speaking events and then showing clips of similar hecklers and protester harrassing Bush the 1st and Reagan. We were outraged then...we need to be just as outraged now :fire:


December 30, 2003, 12:14 AM

sounds like yet another law which was void from the day it was enacted.

I'll choose to ignore the 'free speech zones ' should I ever encounter them... why would anyone protest where they were told to by the authority they are protesting against? Kind of defeats the purpose.

stay free.

Derek Zeanah
December 30, 2003, 12:47 AM
If the author was any more biased in his/her position I would suspect it was written as a joint effort by Hillary, Kennedy, Schumer, Dashell (spelling?), and the rest of the DNC. I dare you to peruse one of his books in a bookstore, library, wherever.

I don't know that I've ever seen a more scathing (and well-documented) criticism of Clinton's approach to, well, anything, than Bovard's book(s).

Ol' boy ain't liberal, he's just pro-freedom and anti-statist. Sorry if you're backing a guy that supports the kind of behavior that attracts Bovard's attention.

Here ( is the one you're probably most familiar with. Also worthwhile are this one (, and this one ( (ignore the last if you can't handle some criticism of the way the WOT is being waged.)

(Note also that in my world, "he must be a liberal and therefore biased" doesn't come close to justifying the behavior listed here. Do you think it actually happened this way? If so, is that right and proper for Bush to do it? The 1st amendment says Congress shall pass no law...abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. Does that make it ok for the executive branch to do it by decree?)

To all: Clinton did it, and it was yet another thing that we expected from an administration as rotten as that one was. It seems that half of the posters here view Bush Jr as "our guy," and as one who can do no wrong. Or at least, only does wrong as a political maneuver. Or, well, only when those damn liberals make him, because he loves the constitution almost as much as he loves us.

Hint: it might not be that way in real life. The guys in power just might be a serious threat to freedom in this country,

December 30, 2003, 02:23 AM
"It seems that half of the posters here view Bush Jr as "our guy," and as one who can do no wrong. Or at least, only does wrong as a political maneuver."

Bush was certainly a better choice than Al Gore for our Second Amendment freedoms. I like his 'can do''s just some of the things his administration selects as "to do" which disturb us.

That's about all that needs to be said about the decay of the political process in the U.S.:eek:

Choose between the bad guy and the slightly less bad guy?:confused:

"The guys in power just might be a serious threat to freedom in this country,"

And the "Gore team" would have been different, under the same circumstances, how?

Things are not going well for freedom in Mudville these days....:scrutiny:

December 30, 2003, 02:36 AM
Don't get me wrong, I'm not backing that type of Governmental behavior. And certainly not implying James Bovard is a liberal. I have 2 of his books at on the shelf next to me, I know better.

My point is the article does little to balance the abuse of the Secret service with information supporting a real threat (small and large) to the President by extremist protesters. In a perfect world there would be no such threat and protesters would be allowed to share the stage with the President in harmony. But in the real world the threat is real and needs to be addressed.

I feel he could have done a much better job if he acknowledged that threat and found fault with the Secret Service based on unreasonable restrictions (which may have existed), was able to point them out and offer a solution not just criticism and warnings by the handful.

In a perfect world we would all respect each other and disagree in nothing but a peaceful way. In the real world America would loose a President a week if we allowed unrestricted access to our President due to free speech issues. I’d love to exercise my freedom of speech in the Oval Office once in a while, but the President has much better things to do than listen to me, and those who wish him harm would like to exercise their free speech within harms distance of the President for evil reasons.

Abuse is never acceptable by anybody, especially our Government. But Mr. Bovard needs to offer solutions along with criticism. Clinton wouldn't have lasted a week if extremists on the right had free access to him, and Bush won't last a week if the extreme left have access to him. Terrorists will win this war if we don’t find a way to find them in time and stop them before it’s too late.

What the Government is doing (in destroying the Constitution and abusing power) is wrong, and we can all agree on that. But the Dems are notorious for screaming bloody murder and pointing fingers without offering new and realistic solutions to the problem. And Mr. Bovard does just that in that article. How would he protect the president? How would he streamline the search for Terrorists in the US? How would he conduct surveillance operations? And how could he do all this without violating the rights of the people or abuse power? How would he do it and still make the President and the people feel safe (and really be safe)?

Truth is he can't without the American people (and the government) being willing to accept the limitations of a restricted Federal Government. And the American people (in general) aren't mature enough for that (in general). I'm not saying Mr. Bovard is a liberal, but he sure seems to get support and express himself the same way (except he has legitimate reasons).

I’m interested in both honest problems (which Mr. Bovard describes) and honest solutions (which he does not). His Bias is in seeing problems everywhere and not seeing the problems he creates by not having a solution or researching potential cures to the problem. He will soon find himself surrounded by people who are mad a He11, and support him to the end, but only create another problem by demanding answers without offering any.

Just my opinion.

Best regards and happy New Year to all,

December 30, 2003, 06:20 AM
Wanna understand what an anti-Bush protester feels like?

Try voicing a conservative or Christian idea at any American university. Or in Hollywood.

Plenty of shame to go all around, but it's not as if the Bush critics don't have a voice.

December 30, 2003, 07:14 AM
When you attempt to define security by what a sign is saying you do not have security except against extremely stupid people. ( yes if they sign says "I will attack the president" you can justifably detain/arrest them that sign could be considered a threat)

This is not a question of security because instead of arresting the protesters they could have searched them and if they felt concerned stand by them.

The continued legal harrasment is obscene ! Refusing someone a jury trial when they could be sent to jail for 6 months is a signe that the you country you live in is seriously flawed .

This is outrageous ! :fire: :banghead:

/free speech zone/


/free speech zone/

It was wrong when done on behalf of Clinton, Bush, Gore or any other political figure.


December 30, 2003, 07:49 AM
Do you really believe the country is seriously flawed because of the actions of a few? The entire country? I just don't see it.


December 30, 2003, 08:49 AM
In the real world America would loose a President a week if we allowed unrestricted access to our President due to free speech issues.

Sure, because those assassins would be too dumb to carry a pro-Bush sign or a little American flag, the Secret Service rounds up the little old ladies and grandpas with the 'No Blood For Oil' signs and puts them in the "Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind" zone. :scrutiny:

Bear in mind that I think the very idea of toting a 'No Blood For Oil' sign is a sure sign of a shallow and knee-jerk grasp of foreign policy, but I seriously doubt that you're going to find the professional hitman or would-be Al-Qaeda martyr by looking for someone lugging a protest sign around. :uhoh:

December 30, 2003, 08:56 AM
and I do think it dishonors Bush to handle demonstrators this way. But I confess having a hard time feeling sorry for them. It's no different from what the Left does every day, in countless places, at work, in schools, in church, in government.

A pox on anyone who won't let people criticize him. And a double pox on those who routinely stifle their opponents and cry foul when someone looks cross-eyed at themselves.

Sean Smith
December 30, 2003, 09:19 AM

Ashcroft is just a creepy SOB.

December 30, 2003, 11:41 AM
Not surprising....the legal concept of the 'buffer zone' has been around for many a year, and it's no wonder they initiate one around the president.

I'm not exactly keen on how it's being done (specifically targeting dissenters), but this kind of 'viewpoint based injunction' has been held Constitutional for almost 10 years at the least. To borrow and paraphrase from a USSC decision:

"Given the focus of the picketing on 'the president and his staff', the narrowness of the confines around 'his retinue', the fact that protesters could still be seen and heard from the 'sectioned area'...the buffer zone around 'the president and his retinue/motorcade', on balance, burdens no more speech than necessary to accomplish the governmental interests in protecting 'the president' and facilitating an orderly traffic flow on the street."

December 30, 2003, 12:44 PM
On Dec. 6, 2001, Attorney General John Ashcroft informed the Senate Judiciary Committee, “To those who scare peace-loving people with phantoms of lost liberty … your tactics only aid terrorists, for they erode our national unity and … give ammunition to America’s enemies.”

Orwell couldn't have written it any better....:fire:

December 30, 2003, 12:54 PM
Might still be true no matter who said it. I think the operative word is 'scare' - not discuss, debate or reason, but scare. As in scaremonger. You know the kind. They run about shouting "THE SKY IS FALLING, THE SKY IS FALLING", when all about them can plainly see it is not.


December 30, 2003, 01:16 PM
Do you really believe the country is seriously flawed because of the actions of a few? The entire country?

When it is the head of the country that is using unconstitutional laws the actions of a few do matter.

Suppresing of free speech, not violent, disorderly or threatining is WRONG.
Wrong when the Replicans do it, wrong when the Democrats do it.

As for the USSC they have never made a bad decision or one that they had to change. Right:rolleyes:


December 30, 2003, 01:18 PM
"Do you really believe the country is seriously flawed because of the actions of a few? The entire country? I just don't see it.

Yes, the country IS seriously flawed. But not because of the few or their actions. It is because we allow this sort of thing to continue.
We are afraid to risk our homes, our jobs or our reputations by taking an active stand on this sort of thing. What we forget, as we reach in the 'fridge for another beer, is that by giving in to these unconstitutional decrees, we place our children and grandchildren in much greater danger.

The primary purpose of government is to govern. A government will do whatever it deems necessary to accomplish that goal. Stalin "sacrificed" twenty million farmers so that he could nationalize their farms. Our government sacrifices the Constitution to "protect" us from ourselves and we permit it to happen.

Government is like an unruly child. It will push the limits as far as possible and then push some more. It is up to us, the overly permissive parents, to set limits and then punish when our "child" exceeds the boundaries we have set. Until we are willing to take that step, the unruly child will be master of the house.

Next year we have a general election. We voters hope to send a message to Washington that will cause the government to change it's ways. We hoped to do that last time too-- and the time before that and the time before that and... You get the idea. Someone has said that doing the same thing over and over and hoping for different results is the definition of insanity. Has anyone else noticed that voting booths have soft walls?

December 30, 2003, 02:30 PM
Similar techniques were in use when Al Gore campaigned in Michigan's U.P.
Pro 2nd and logging protestors were kept well away from the building where Gore spoke.
I didn't hear anyone complaining now complaining then.

Clinton had the Secret Service arrest people who yelled at him while he was jogging, or at rallies.
It barely got a mention outside conservative talk radio.

Thanks, ACP.

If these liberal "protestors" didn't have such a predilection for violence, (and quite a long track record of it to boot) such measures wouldn't be necessary.

December 30, 2003, 03:52 PM
Yeah Drjones, anyone who disagrees with Bush must be so prone to violence the BoRs doesn't apply to them. :scrutiny:

December 30, 2003, 04:32 PM
I see no problem in NOT allowing a (minority) group of bozos from ruining an event...seems like a local republican got sued for allegedly doing just that at some kind of Democrat rally???

It seems to me that giving them a place where they can stand and make their lame-a$$ point without ruining the event for everyone else is a great idea....far nicer than arresting them.

And I agree with Mr. the extent that we show a lack of unity we embolden our enemies.

The bad guys are envisioning another Vietnam...where we back down because of public opinion...

IMHO...we invaded Iraq because we needed to stand up to one bully....simply to prove to the rest of them that we were not to be trifled with...

rock jock
December 30, 2003, 05:18 PM
they erode our national unity and … give ammunition to America’s enemies
This is very true. Russia loved the hippie war protestors in the '60s and used to fund the groups that helped organize them. The vitriolic hate they helped foster resulted in the seriously weakened military in the 70's and put our nation at risk. Today, many of the largest anti-US/anti-Bush protests are funded and organized by socialist groups or those with ties to Islamic extremists. Ignoring this fact is no different than ignoring the potential for abuses on the part of the govt. Both are legitimate threats. Protestors today should be allowed equal access to the President, but I think some kind screening for weapons/explosives might be in order. At the very least, if protestors become violent like many of the leftists/anarchists typically do, the Secret Service should pummel them into dog meat.

December 30, 2003, 05:30 PM is an analogy.

You go to a concert.....a performer that you really enjoy...but he/she wears furs...real furs...

So a bunch of PETA protestors show up and scream loud that you can't hear the performance.....they refuse to shut up.

They paid for their they have a right to be there.....but should they be allowed to ruin the performance for the people that came to listen...rather than protest????

I mean..I may get all patriotic in a movie and feel like standing up and reciting the pledge of allegiance or sing the national anthem........but I would expect to be removed....(possibly pummeled by the crowd)

And if I went back again I might expect to be seated in a far corner..if I was allowed in at all.

What always slew me was those "Town Meetings" Clinton had...these were supposedly for the exchange of ideas...not just a speech ....and they wouldn't let anyone in that might ask "awkward" questions

Don Gwinn
December 30, 2003, 05:42 PM
Obiwan, no offense, but comparing a Bush speech to an entertainment event is probably not going to turn out the way you envisioned it. ;)

December 30, 2003, 05:52 PM
If you say so...I actually like the Analogy

Going somewhere to hear someone speak/perform...and some a$$h0le$ ruining it.

But I suppose don't have a lot of use for protestors of any kind.

Want a "down on Bush rally"...then hold one....

Don't be surprised if he doesn't attend.

Malone LaVeigh
December 30, 2003, 06:15 PM
IMHO...we invaded Iraq because we needed to stand up to one bullyYeah, it's good the 98-lb weakling finally got up the courage to stand up to that big ol' bully. Good thing we risked the dime to send off to George W Atlas. :rolleyes:

December 30, 2003, 06:17 PM
Yeah Drjones, anyone who disagrees with Bush must be so prone to violence the BoRs doesn't apply to them.

Please don't make me dig up links to the violent anti-"war" "protests" that happened in SF, as well as other places.

These liberal "protestors" have a very long and well-documented track-record of using violence.

Keeping them away from the president is just prudent.

And I think Obiwan's analogy is pretty good, but here's a better one;

This situation is no different than letting a convicted child molester with a long and well-documented record into a daycare center.

December 30, 2003, 06:33 PM
How hard would it be to make a sign that flipped over, or otherwise had some way of changing the message real quick ....?

From "Pro-Bush" to "Protest" etc.

December 30, 2003, 09:20 PM
The real argument here is whether there is a justifiable cause to remove the "protestors" to a "free speech zone" for security reasons. I say there is not.

Our enemies aren't exactly stupid. But we are if we think a bunch of senior citizens with placards protesting a specific foreign policy decision are the ulitmate imminent threat and danger to the President that they are treated like.

December 30, 2003, 10:22 PM
And I agree with Mr. the extent that we show a lack of unity we embolden our enemies.

Then you don't understand the meaning of the First Amendment or what makes the United States of America a bastion of freedom.

We CAN disagree about how to solve a problem. We CAN speak in public about those disagreements. We don't have to limit our expression to the "official party line" like our Cold War opponent nations did. And, even when we don't agree, we can still get things done.

What EMBOLDENS our enemies is when their actions or threats cause our government to supress those opinions and discussions and drastically change our way of life. That's how they know that their actions--or implied threats--are making a difference.

Remember, the Taliban didn't allow opposition protests, either...;)

December 30, 2003, 11:20 PM
But we are if we think a bunch of senior citizens with placards protesting a specific foreign policy decision are the ulitmate imminent threat and danger to the President that they are treated like.

OK, this is the second time I've seen this said.

Who ever said the protestors are senior citizens?

Sure, there are a bunch of old, rotten hippies who are too stupid or whacked out on LSD flashbacks to know that the 60's are looooong gone, but most of the protestors out there that I've ever seen are anything but seniors. I'd say 90%+ in the 18-30 range.

Not like it matters...saddam would qualify for the senior discount at Denny's, yet he managed to kill a lot of people...

Jeff White
December 30, 2003, 11:27 PM
My friends...the constitution must protect everyone equally. If it was an outrage for demonstrators and hecklers to be arrested, detained or moved out of sight during the Clinton administration...It must be an outrage of equal proportion during the Bush administration. There used to be free speech in this country. Sadly congress voted to limit it, the president signed it and the supreme court said it's legal. :(


December 31, 2003, 10:26 AM
I understand the Constitution and our freedoms just fine.

I have no problem with people peacefully protesting whatever they want.

I happen to think that there is a time and a place for it however.

I have a little problem with people being so rude as to interrupt someone elses party:D

So I have no problem with those people being segregated....they get to make their point without ruining the experience for those that showed up for a positive reason.

I have a real problem with people that take advantage of their freedoms, since they tend to screw things up for the rest of us.

I tend to tune out the raving lunatics anyway

I also didn't ask anyone to change their opinions...and I fully support making your displeasure known...

But that can be done while still presenting a united front to our enemies!

There is no REQUIREMENT to exercise your first amendment rights.

You also have a right to act like an adult :D

December 31, 2003, 10:40 AM
Obiwan: how is holding a sign not supportive of Bush being "disruptive?"

Drjones: Please don't make me dig up links to the violent anti-"government" actions committed by young black men in every inner city in America.

These young black "gang bangers" have a very long and well-documented track-record of using violence.

Keeping them away from the president is just prudent.

And if you can't see the difference between someone holding a sign that doesn't say what you want it to and someone raping a child then I'd suggest you might need to reconsider your values. Suppressing dissent is the hallmark of totalitarian states. I guess it's ok to crush the BoR's as long as it only applies to those we don't like, huh?

December 31, 2003, 11:32 AM
How many of you have heard of the MOB effect. It's when otherwise well intentioned people become swept into frenzy when they begin to feed off the emotions of others around them. It culminates in riots and mass disorder like the city riots that happen when a city professional sports team wins a national championship. Does it happen all of the time, NO. But it is a real security consurn for the Secret Service, YES. I'll ask again, is it worth the risk to the President to allow access to him at all costs?

If the secret service arrives and sees protesters standing on the corner waving signs and that's it they don't get messed with. If on the other hand they are seen being forceful in their position and generating an environment that has the potential to escalate, the Secret Service has a responsibility to separate them. Lets face it even the president doesn't have enough security to protect him from a mob, and then there is the issue of potential harm to anybody in the area if something does happen.

Again I'm not suggesting people should be dragged away just because they disagree. And I've seen plenty of protesters at Bush events on the news and in person so it's not like it's a blanket policy to haul off protesters and violate their rights every time bush is in town. (Don't lie to me and suggest it happens all of the time!)

So a good question is, why does it happen some of the time and not others? Or why were these people targeted and not others.

Is it possible their actions brought this upon themselves and there is something we're not being told? It wouldn’t be the first time we've only been told the parts of the situation we are intended to hear and not the rest of the story. I'm not saying this is the case, but the truth is we just don't know for sure.

Not a Flame on anybody. I'll be the first to agree with the outrage once I know for sure.

December 31, 2003, 11:32 AM
"how is holding a sign not supportive of Bush being "disruptive"

If that is all they do I have no problem...and if that was all that ever happened, there would not be an issue...

But if I was holding up a "Dean Sucks" sign, I would understand if they wanted me to stand "over there"

As I said...a few ruin it for everyone!

The MOB effect is a real concern....go watch a little league game if you don't believe me!

I saw anti-war protestors set up across the street from a group supporting our troops....

To be fair, it was probably not their sole aim to show a lack of support for our troops, but their timing and positioning kind of sucked.

When the majority of the passing motorists started Honking for the troops and Booing the anti-war group ....the anti war group got ugly...

Which didn't improve their standing..

With the liberal media being what it is, protestors should not have to crash someone elses party to make their point.

Often times it seems they resort to that tactic to hide how pitfully few their numbers are....

They are kind of like terrorists in that they resort to disruptive tactics in order to be noticed.

Now....please....let the record show that I did not equate ALL protestors to being terrorists:rolleyes:

December 31, 2003, 11:36 AM the way...if you can't differentiate between "supressing dissent" and asking people to behave may need a larger size tinfoil hat:neener:

December 31, 2003, 12:01 PM
Forcing people to stand in a designated place a significant distance from the event under threat of arrest seems a little more than "asking people to behave themselves."

December 31, 2003, 12:36 PM
I guess where we differ is that I feel that allowing nobody to dissent under penalty of death/incarceration would be supression.

But telling someone that is/may be disruptive to "stand over there" while still being able/allowed to dissent (as long as he/she behaves) is more about aesthetics.

I guess it really boils down to geography....

Wanta be all negative....hold your own rally!

If nobody shows up...well.......maybe your opinion is not really valued.

I come to that conclusion a lot


December 31, 2003, 12:53 PM
My understanding is that the 1st Amendment gives you the right to get up on your soapbox and speak your mind. It does not require that I, or the government, give you a soapbox. (For the younger crowd, soap used to come in wooden crates and people would stand on them to be better seen and heard.)

In addition, you can't put your soapbox just anywhere you like - not in traffic, not in front of the stage during the 4th of July concert at the city park while everyone is listening to the band, not in a public school, not in a public courtroom, and not in a lot of other places, too.

What's amazing to me is that some people think they have a right to be disruptive.

I remember the '60s(insert joke here) and sort of admired the folks that would protest, take their lumps and not whine about it. Sue maybe, but not complain to anyone and everyone who would listen.

Time's change I guess.


December 31, 2003, 01:05 PM
But telling someone that is/may be disruptive to "stand over there" while still being able/allowed to dissent (as long as he/she behaves) is more about aesthetics.

"Oppression is in the eye of the beholder"? Oh-kaaaay...:rolleyes:

If it were being done by a private citizen on private property, I would be more understanding. But when it's an elected representative of our CONSTITUTIONAL government (remember what they swear to in their oath?), then I have a problem w/ the segregation of opposing points of view.

Safety is one thing. The elimination of opposing points of view for a camera op is something far more sinister...:uhoh:

December 31, 2003, 01:30 PM
It doesn't happen all of the time.

December 31, 2003, 02:11 PM
"It doesn't happen all of the time."

It doesn't have to. Just often enough that the sheeple become used to "the other guy" getting pushed around.

Of course, when their turn comes...

December 31, 2003, 02:48 PM
Nor does it happen just because of government abuse. Sometimes it is the result of real problems with the people who suffer for their actions.

Like I said earlier, there is no way of knowing one way or the other on this one.

Why were these people singled out?

How come there are Presidential visits where the protesters are left alone and some where they are asked / ordered to move.

There is no blanket policy in place, and without knowing all the facts we can't know why this happened.

If there is wrong doing than by all means lets give it to them. If we don't know and give it to them anyway; we are the ones who are out of line.

Stop being controlled by your emotional response and get the facts, all of them!

If/when we know it wasn't warranted than you and I can stand together in agreement. But I won't allow my emotions to get the better of me,

January 1, 2004, 01:30 AM
USA PATRIOT Act as Passed by Congress - HR 3162 (Oct. 25, 2001)

Repeal the USA Patriot Act

This is the first in a six-part series of articles on the USA Patriot Act: “Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism.”

USA Patriot Act powers prompt second look

Secret court subpoenas, examinations of bookstore records, revised immigration policies and other uses of sweeping new powers have some Senate Democrats taking a new critical look at the USA Patriot Act, enacted in the aftermath of Sept. 11.

… Viet Dinh (, the former assistant attorney general for the Office of Legal Policy at the Justice Department. He helped draft the Patriot Act …

In May 2001, with the appointment of Assistant Attorney General Viet D. Dinh ([/url), Attorney General John Ashcroft restored the name of the office as the Office of Legal Policy and confirmed its principal policy role within the Department.

A Chilly Response to 'Patriot II'

Unlike its hastily passed predecessor, the Justice Department's wide-ranging follow-up to the Patriot Act of 2001 is already facing intense scrutiny, just days after a civil rights group posted a leaked version of the legislation on its website.

The legislation, nicknamed Patriot II, would broadly expand the government's surveillance and detention powers. Among other measures, it calls for the creation of a terrorist DNA database and allows the attorney general to revoke citizenship of those who provide “material support” to terrorist groups.

Privacy advocates said the bill “gutted the Fourth Amendment,” while prominent Democratic senators, including Patrick Leahy, ranking Democratic member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, immediately chastised the administration for its secrecy.,1283,57636,00.html

Patriot Act II Resurrected?

Congress may consider a bill that not only expands the government's wiretapping and investigative powers but also would link low-level drug dealing to terrorism and ban a traditional form of Middle Eastern banking.

The draft legislation -- titled the Vital Interdiction of Criminal Terrorist Organizations Act of 2003, or Victory Act -- includes significant portions of the so-called Patriot Act II, which faced broad opposition from conservatives and liberals alike and embarrassed the Justice Department when it was leaked to the press in February.

The Victory Act also seems to be an attempt to merge the war on terrorism and the war on drugs into a single campaign. It includes a raft of provisions increasing the government's ability to investigate, wiretap, prosecute and incarcerate money launderers, fugitives, "narco-terrorists" and nonviolent drug dealers. The bill also outlaws hawalas, the informal and documentless money transferring systems widely used in the Middle East, India and parts of Asia.

A June 27 draft of the bill, authored by Sen. Orrin Hatch ( (R-Utah) and co-sponsored by four fellow Republicans on the Judiciary Committee, has been circulating in Washington, D.C.,1283,60129,00.html

… link to a draft of the Victory Act ( (89 pages, pdf) …

With a Whisper, not a Bang | Bush signs parts of Patriot Act II into law — stealthily

January 1, 2004, 12:25 PM
W4RMA- Now you are hiding you "link posts" in others???

The soap box analogy was very good!

The public property thing keeps rearing its ugly head here.

Remember...the White house is public property too...and I can't visit anywhere...any time....

Don Gwinn
January 1, 2004, 12:36 PM
Obiwan, parades, public speeches, and even rallies are NOT "someone's party." You make it sound like bush is having drunks thrown out of his wedding reception.

January 1, 2004, 12:43 PM
Clinton had the Secret Service arrest people who yelled at him while he was jogging, or at rallies.
As I recall, it was worse than that. I believe there was one woman who would repeatedly show up with protest signs when Clinton was jogging, that found herself (coincidentally) called before the IRS for an audit :scrutiny: (she wasn't the only one to experience that, either). That said, I find this article pretty disturbing, especially since it's written by a conservative who supports 2nd Amendment issues. geegee

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