Saturday, January 28, 2006
Worshipful Transcendental Eminent Authorities Of The Domain
Servitor: City Manager, City Manager, the peasants are revolting!No, it's true. The city of St Pete Beach, Florida is filing suit against five citizens who are circulating a petition asking that the "redevelopment plan" be put to a vote. Can a mere irrelevant footnote to US History such as the First Amendment stand in the way of Worshipful Transcendental Eminent Authorities of the Domain?
City Manager: I'll say, they're perfectly disgusting!
Servitor: With all due respect, Your Worshipful Transcendental Eminent Authority of the Domain, this is serious! They are collecting signatures on a petition asking that the redevelopment plan be put to a vote. The five ringleaders are asking as citizens for "the right to vote on changes for our city so it is for the betterment of our entire community not a few select developers and land owners."
City Manager: This shall not stand! Call out the police chief! Call out the firemen! Call out [cue Darth Vader theme] the lawyers! We will file suit against these traitorous vipers this very day!
You be the judge:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or 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.Shrinkwrapped wrote about free speech and liberals just the other day:
Most people do not like to be criticized. It hurts our feelings when it is accurate and it infuriates us when it is unfair. Most authority figures do not like to be challenged. ... This is human nature, not likely to change any time soon.I'd say this is a pretty direct attack against the First Amendment. I'd say it's happening everywhere in the States. It's not just liberals doing it; petty officialdom prefers a docile lot of serfs so that they can largely direct their resources to negotiating with the big money boys. See also No Oil For Pacifists, and his latest roundup on the Alito nomination. I think Carl's quotes show why a psychoanalyst would be brooding about free speech. A "the right group should win" legal system equates to feudalism.
When we bring these tendencies into the political arena, where people often feel passionately about their positions, the tendency to hear disagreement as criticism and the tendency to react to criticism, real and imagined, with anger and resentment, is exponentially increased. Throughout history the first move of most tyrants, as soon as they consolidated their power, was to institute censorship of the press. While such a direct assault on our free speech rights is unlikely here, the greater danger exists of an incremental erosion of free speech rights under the guise of liberal good intentions.
The Center for Individual Rights handled at least some of these cases. It has been a long hard legal fight to get private developers to stop suing private citizens using the HUD regulations.
You might want to see the latest in the Travis Compton case. This stuff would make the average citizen's hair stand on end. A private developer who wanted bond funding for a HUD-approved project in Fresno sued councilmen for voting against bond funding and private citizens for petitioning the council against funding the project.
The tactic used in the St Petes Beach case looks like an extension of the legal tactic used in such those cases. Again, it is often the development companies who are using such provisions in law. $30 million in public funds makes it a cheap avenue for them. Think Pelosi, Pelosi, Pelosi.
Free speech is absolutely under attack in a myriad of ways.
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