Thursday, February 9, 2017

Dissent Being Outlawed

They've tried it before, many times, and failed.  But they never had an all-authoritarian government and judiciary to support them before.

For example, in North Dakota, they are considering a law that would decriminalize…wait for it…"accidentally" running over protesters. From KTLA:
Rep. Keith Kempenich introduced the bill, which states that if a driver "unintentionally" causes injury or death to someone blocking traffic on a roadway, then the driver will not be liable for damages. Kempenich said he was spurred to act after Dakota Access Pipeline protesters last year moved to block public roadways, scaring some of his constituents. "It turned from a protest to basically terrorism on the roadways, and the bill got introduced for people to be able to drive down the roads without fear of running into somebody and having to be liable for them," he told CNN.
What kind of a mind comes up with this? Presumably, if he'd been in Selma in 1965, Representative Kempenich would have run down those terrorists on the Edmund Pettus Bridge because they were keeping him from getting to the Piggly Wiggly. The problem is that there's a kind of fever for suppressing dissent out in the states that has been unleashed with the inauguration of an authoritarian president.

In Minnesota, a proposed law would increase the penalties for public protest on a highway, and another proposed law would force any protester convicted of illegal assembly or public nuisance to recoup the police expenses for monitoring the demonstration. In Indiana, they're pushing a similar bill, as The Indianapolis Star reports.
An Indiana lawmaker says disturbing newscasts of chaotic and sometimes violent protests across the U.S. helped lead him to propose a bill that would direct police to use "any means necessary" to breakup mass gatherings that block traffic.
Any means, Gracie? Boy, this must be a real problem.
When asked, Tomes could not cite specific instances where protesters prevented or delayed an emergency response.
But…but…scary newscasts!
But he said he's seen troubling scenes on the nightly news and thinks people are overcomplicating the issue. "People get off track and get off on sidebars on this. It's just to get the streets opened up for traffic flow, for emergency personnel, for commerce — that's all," said Tomes, who added that he thinks protesters should get a permit if they want to block-off a street. As written, the bill would give authorities 15 minutes to "dispatch all available law enforcement officers" after receiving a report of 10 or more people illegally blocking traffic "with directions to use any means necessary to clear the roads."
But leave it to the newly insane state of North Carolina to come up with a new law dedicated merely to the protection of delicate fee-fees. The News Observer tells the tale.
The proposed legislation would "make it a crime to threaten, intimidate, or retaliate against a present or former North Carolina official in the course of, or on account of, the performance of his or her duties," Bishop said. "Because lines are being crossed," Bishop, a Republican who represents the 39th District in the North Carolina Senate, wrote in an email from his Senate campaign account.
And who is brother Bishop? Glad you asked.
Bishop was one of the sponsors of House Bill 2, or "the bathroom bill" which McCrory signed into law. The bill was criticized for nullifying local non-discrimination ordinances statewide, directing transgender people to use restrooms and locker rooms matching the gender on their birth certificate in government-owned buildings and initially revoking the right to sue in state court for discrimination.
Which, it should be said, is the reason that people are so upset with McCrory in the first place. Nevertheless, Bishop is soldiering on.
Bishop said such behavior should come with a five-year prison sentence and said he'll introduce the legislation to make it so in North Carolina, similar to an ordinance in the District of Columbia. "So should it be in North Carolina," he wrote. "This is dangerous. Jim Hunt, Bev Purdue and other governors never faced riotous mobs in their post-service, private lives, without personal security." Bishop said he also will urge his fellow legislators "to take other appropriate steps to guarantee the personal safety of Gov. McCrory by all means necessary."
These are going to be hard days for public protest and, if things keep up the way they're going, there are going to be more and more public protests. I genuinely fear for the safety of the protesters at the Standing Rock camp. But, more than that, I'm afraid that too many people don't understand the purpose of public protest anymore. We're going to have to remember that there is no provision in the Constitution providing for freedom of convenience.
Thus, someone's "right" to make money (enumerated in the Bill of Rights somewhere?) would be considered superior to another's exercising 1st Amendment rights, both according to state law and Ericksen's values. If the protesters carried guns, it would become a 2nd Amendment issue and a different matter altogether. Ericksen was Donald Trump's deputy campaign director in Washington.

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