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Bloomberg: Free Speech & Free Assembly Are "Privileges"

From Tuesday's Newsday:

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, already under fire for his tough stance against anti-GOP protest groups, Monday suggested that First Amendment rights of free speech and free assembly are "privileges" that could be lost if abused... "People who avail themselves of the opportunity to express themselves ... they will not abuse that privilege," he said at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. "Because if we start to abuse our privileges, then we lose them, and nobody wants that."

The mayor's comments drew immediate criticism from protest groups and came amid reports that federal agents and city police have been questioning activists, monitoring Web sites and dropping in unannounced on organizational meetings. "The right to protest is not nor has it ever been a privilege -- it is a constitutionally protected right that everybody in this country enjoys," said Leslie Cagan, head of United for Peace and Justice, which has locked horns with the city over its attempt to stage a 250,000-person protest in Central Park. "I have no idea what he's talking about. I'm completely flabbergasted." More

August 16, 2004 | Permalink

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Posted by: *** | Aug 17, 2004 2:33:01 AM

Wow. That last post was full of such hatred and animosity that it encourages me to protest the RNC. I wasn't going to, but seeing that type of hate and bigotry tells me who republicans really stand for: hate mongers.

Posted by: M Critz | Aug 17, 2004 5:22:56 AM

Ironically, Bloomberg's most vocal critics are his own cops and firefigthers. Hippies indeed. :)

Posted by: Billy O'Connor | Aug 17, 2004 7:27:11 AM

What a farce! These asses claim that THEIR right to freedom of speech has been violated even while they plan to impede the RNC's right to freedom of speech by shutting down it's websites. I guess they figure that freedom of expression is only for those who agree with them. FDR has probably scrambled all his bones to dust rolling over in his grave. I can't imagine ANYONE voting for a man that applied for a purple heart because he blew his own ass full of rice because he couldn't throw a hand grenade far enough to not produce self inflicted wounds, or one who would claim the same for a scratch, again self inflicted, that the Doc could treat with a bandaid. It it is amazing that Democrats would select another professional class liar as candidate for President. Wasn't Clinton enough?

Posted by: Daniel Roach | Aug 17, 2004 5:51:35 PM

Those are privileges that can be taken away. You say everyone has them. What about people in prison? They don't have those rights. If you abuse your rights, people have the right to restrict them.

Posted by: S.. | Aug 17, 2004 10:13:58 PM

to s.

we can argue about what rights prisoners do or don't deserve later, but prisoners are individuals who have comitted individual crimes. protesters are a group of loosely affiliated individuals and organizations. taking away an entire groups' rights because of the actions of a few individuals is called "collective punishment." it is considered a human rights violation. what bloomberg is saying, pure and simple, is that if we get in the way of the machine, we will be treated as criminals, and broken logic like "criminals deserve to have their rights taken away" will be bandied about in order to mask the fact that he is doing something any eight-year-old could tell you makes no sense, because any eight-year-old knows that this is the same strategy that school teachers use on disruptive classes: "Well, because of Billy, none of you can play outside today. Bad Billy."

To Daniel Roach:

Disrupting the RNC would be unfair if me and the Republican Party had equal access to the public debate -- and if the Republicans were coming here to express themselves and not to tell blatant lies engineered to deprive me of my rights. The Republicans control much of the media; the establishment Liberals control the rest. Neither has my best interests at heart. I control my arms, legs, and a magic marker or two. Would tying my hands behind my back make this a fair fight?

The republicans want to draft me into wars i don't believe in, keep my gay friends from getting married, deny my lady friends the right to birth control and abortions, suppress AIDS research that might save my dying friends, cut unemployment benefits that might help my poor friends, cut education spending that would help my friends' kids, force me to pay high payroll taxes to subsidize military spending and corporate welfare, send me to jail to work off my debts, and ultimately deny me the right to make a living unless I join the army or go to work for a big corporation.

Most of all they want to keep me out of the public debate, because if i were in the public debate, i would point out the obvious fact that their agenda is a crock of shit that hurts people i love and is killing my planet. So I am damn well going to disrupt them. This is not about their "rights." This is about self-defense. Their party is a machine. Machines do not have rights. I am a human being. I have the right to my self-expression. I have an obligation to myself to go outside and throw rocks at this giant.

But don't worry. It's so big it won't feel a thing.

So both of you, don't dangle this moral equivalence at me. What sounds to you like logic sounds to me like the garbled excretions of a broken mind. Blacks are not as free as whites. The poor are not as free as the rich. Wars are fought for resources, not for values. The earth is dying. Bush is lying. There is no such thing as Santa Claus, but there is such thing as Class.

So wake up, already. Grow up, already.

much love
johnny

Posted by: johnny | Aug 18, 2004 12:47:21 PM

The police and firemen's unions are company unions. As soon as they get what they want -- sayonara.
Back to watercannon and truncheons.

Don't support them -- but let them know that if they formally support The Revolution, they will then be accepted as brothers!
;)

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