Remember when … during the Bush years … how dissent was hushed up?

by on August 25, 2009 · 28 comments

in Civil Rights, Media, Peace Movement, War and Peace

The pendulum just might hit us in the ass

by Aaryn Belfer / The Women’s Colony / Originally posted Aug 18, 2009

Remember the “free speech zones” of the last eight years? Remember how, during George W. Bush’s 2006 State of the Union, Cindy Sheehan, mother of slain American soldier Casey Sheehan, was arrested for her t-shirt that read “2,242 Dead. How many more?” Remember the many vetted crowds and the systematic hushing-up of dissenting voices? Oh how quaint! How innocent! How carefree those times in our democracy! Just the thought of those halcyon days makes me want to jump in the air and kick my heels together.

During eight years of Bush, progressives and those on the left (and, after a while, many in the center too) protested vigorously, passionately, determinedly, and-whoa, get this!-peacefully. But seven meager months into the Obama administration, and right-wing extremists are talking secession, fabricating lies to induce fear and are stockpiling ammunition. They are apoplectic and want you to know it. Are you frightened? You should be.

For the third time in one week, American Terrorists armed with handguns and weapons designed not to kill but to obliterate an enemy (there would be no deer pelt to hang on the cabin wall if you use this tool for hunting), have been permitted to attend protests in close proximity to where our President was speaking.

At an event in Arizona on Monday, there were a reported dozen of them. These Hestonistas happen to be cowards (all but one have refused to give their names to the media), but they strut around all puffed up and indignant, all Big Man On Campus, grumbling about their few remaining freedoms.

For the remainder of this article, go here.

Aaryn Belfer is a writer by night and a columnist for San Diego City Beat.

{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

Doug Porter August 19, 2009 at 11:00 am

watch this video as a wingnutter screams “heil hitler” at an isreali man talking about national health care.


jon August 19, 2009 at 11:35 am

These people are hateful, malicious and really starting to show their true colors like in this video. Shame on that woman, and shame on all the regressive town hall whackos trying to derail civil public discussion. Cindy Sheehan was arrested for wearing a t-shirt that protested the war, but these clowns are showing up with swastika posters and assault rifles and nobody is doing anything about it!!! WTF??? Bush and Co. used to have something like “free-speech zones” where protesters were herded into. Maybe the Dems can have a similar system and call them psych-ward zones.

At least some brave, smart representatives are standing up for themselves and us, and starting to fight back against hate speech and lunacy…


jon August 19, 2009 at 12:02 pm

Speaking about “remembering when….” I am old enough to recall the Timothy Mcveigh bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma. That kook had all the same irrational fears about gov’t tyranny that these town hall folks are bringing to the table. This is dangerous territory. He killed 168 innocent people including children in a day care center because he thought the government was going to take his guns away. Something to think about….


Mac August 19, 2009 at 12:04 pm

Jonny Boy

What’s wrong? You lefties aren’t getting your socialism through as easy as you thought, huh? You have the most Marxist President in the history of this Nation, who had to lie to the electorate to get there. Now, my friend, the electorate is only exercising its first ammendment rights. You do not like it because for the first time in recent history, the people of the United States of America are finally proving to everyone that their voice is stronger than the Senate, House, and the President combined. Oh, not to mention stronger than the big three Leftie organizations of ABC, CBS, and NBC. Study our constitution and maybe you guys will finally get it!


Mac August 19, 2009 at 12:09 pm


You should be ashamed of yourself!!! No smarts in you in your helmet! It’s Acorn and SEIU that are paying people with public money $11/hr plus (posted on Craigslist) to disrupt people’s freedom to speek and to protect their liberties.


doug porter August 19, 2009 at 2:43 pm

well, well, i see the right wing has found its way onto our humble little blog.
okay gang, before you go all ballistic on our visitors, remember that two wrongs don’t make a right…
other than that, all i have to say is WTF?


mr fresh August 19, 2009 at 2:51 pm

SEIU and Acorn are obviously not paying as much (okay, it’s not really true that they’re paying for demonstrators, but work with me here) as the insurance company lobbyists:
from associated press—
WASHINGTON — Rose and Zine Hosein have stand-up jobs — and get paid $15 an hour for it. They’ve also learned that being a line-stander is tougher than being a bystander.
The 60-something couple has the ultimate niche occupation in Washington’s influence economy, holding places in line for lobbyists outside crowded congressional hearing rooms. They bring folding chairs, coffee and patience to a job regarded by some about as highly as the influence brokers who hire them.
Their days can start before 3 a.m., leaving them to wait — sometimes outdoors — for six or more hours. They take off after turning over their spot in line to their customers, and the hearing-room doors swing open. Finding elbow room is up to them.
In Washington, where access often equals action, lobbyists consider it crucial to attend congressional hearings or similar meetings in person. It’s here that they can speak directly with key lawmakers and their staff during breaks or after the hearing. They can also see who else is in the audience and pick up subtle hints about how a lawmaker may be leaning on a subject critical to their clients.


jon August 19, 2009 at 3:13 pm

The only thing that irritates me more than Mac’s ignorance is the “Jonny Boy” address. Oooh….that gets under my skin. His delusional right-wing, Fox news watchin, Limbaugh blowin’ ideology scares me, but isn’t worth arguing about. These people are unrealistic and blinded by perceived injustices that simply don’t exist. Where were you with your nazi posters and first amendment rights protest when Bush and Co. were starting an illegal war under false pretenses, selling America to the highest bidding foreign oil company, wire tapping Americans and herding dissenters into fenced off camps? Instead you would rather protest the possibilty to provide healthcare for your fellow citizens, and just label it socialism and carry guns to town hall meetings rather than come up with some actual IDEAS??? Don’t talk to me about first amendment rights you goon.


jon August 19, 2009 at 3:43 pm

oops. Sorry Doug. I went ballistic prior to reading your comment. My bad. Maybe I could’ve left out the Limbaugh-blowin’ reference.


bodysurferbob August 19, 2009 at 3:53 pm

i wonder if the ultra-rightists will hang out here – they’re sooo out-numbered. they do have their own websites – man, you should see some of them – over the edge.

some are calling for this “beeg” march on washington dc in mid-Sept.

i call them “ultra-righties” or something because there are people on “the right” that don’t like nazis either. there are, believe it or not, people who are republicans who didn’t like bush & cheney & rove & crew. they’re not the pseudo-christian extremists who disrupt these events.


Molly August 19, 2009 at 3:58 pm

Max – I guess I must respond: first, thanks for coming onto this progressive blog. As the previous writer said, you’re way out-numbered and if you decide to continue to comment here, you’re welcome (I think) as long as you remain civil and seriously discuss these issues – as opposed to being troll-like, trying to intentionally provoke people with extreme statements, etc.

First, Obama is way not a socialist and is not a Marxist. He’s not even progressive, although, yes, I believe, he is a liberal. These differences can matter, but they’re not what we’re talking about now.


Molly August 19, 2009 at 4:05 pm

To Max, continuing … Obama was a community organizer, that’s true, and my hat is off to anyone who got their degree that way. The school of hard knocks, and Chicago to boot.

But Obama is on the left, objectively speaking. He may or probably does not view himself as a leftist. (These terms have no meaning if we disagree over what they mean – ).

Leftists, social-democrats, progressives, socialists, anarchists, greens, trade-unionists, gay rights fighters, feminists, – many support Obama because we do have hope that he can at least usher in a liberal period – after the near-fatal eight years of George W Bush. He was the first real anti-war candidate that had a good chance of winning, and he won over the anti-war movement early on.

I’d have to say that Franklin Roosevelt was more “leftist” or “liberal” than Obama. Abe Lincoln was also – he helped free the slaves and dismantle the slave system that was destroying America. Tom Jefferson was pretty far left too, even though he too owned slaves. Hell, some say George Washington was leftist!


annagrace August 19, 2009 at 6:08 pm

Mac- what are you afraid of?


jon August 19, 2009 at 8:36 pm

mac, I apologize for calling you a goon. You really riled me up there for a second and I lost my cool. Thank you Molly and Anna for replying with cooler heads and teaching me a lesson. I believe you love this country as much as any of us, we just have very different views on the way things are and the direction we are heading as a society. So, I promise to tone it down a little if you do, and perhaps we can all have a meaningful discussion on this topic rather than calling each other names. So, to echo Anna’s poignant question…what exactly are you afraid of?


annagrace August 19, 2009 at 8:54 pm

So here’s the deal Mac- you can’t leave a turd in the soup and walk away. That’s not how we do it here. This is your opportunity to tell us what has changed for you since Barack Obama became our president. I am utterly sincere in my request. We are a group of people of good will, decent, and as patriotic as they come and we are listening….


Dave Gilbert August 20, 2009 at 10:30 am

…..rabble rabble rabble rabble…I feel sorry for those who buy into the hate & fear propaganda…rabble rabble rabble rabble….


Danny Morales August 20, 2009 at 11:18 am

HEY MAC! I know Marxists, I count Marxists as some of my friends, let me tell you, President OBama is no Marxist!-Lets play TROLL BASEBALL!


Editor August 20, 2009 at 3:28 pm

Okay, everyone. The person Mac has not appeared for 27 hours. Let’s give it a rest.


Danny Morales August 20, 2009 at 4:13 pm

How come when I wanna organize a game of TROLL BASEBALL its time to give it a rest?… Huh?Huh?Huh?…


Brian August 21, 2009 at 4:00 pm

With respect to the original topic… I guess I look at this way:

Previous administration: expression in conflict with administration suppressed.

Current administration: expression in conflict with the administration runs rampant.

Analysis: +1 for current administration.

Unpopular expression is the most important to protect. People should be allowed to spout whatever views they want. Even if they are mean and nasty in the process. If you disagree with them, just let them go. If they’re big enough assholes, they’ll just destroy their own credibility.


Brian August 21, 2009 at 4:04 pm


Your post:
“Speaking about “remembering when….” I am old enough to recall the Timothy Mcveigh bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma. That kook had all the same irrational fears about gov’t tyranny that these town hall folks are bringing to the table. This is dangerous territory. He killed 168 innocent people including children in a day care center because he thought the government was going to take his guns away. Something to think about….”

Believe that the government is large and oppressive and believing it’s okay to slaughter innocents are two distinct ideas. Many communist leaders over time have brought about many deaths on the path to power. Regardless, I wouldn’t suggest that just because someone believes in communism that they’re by definition dangerous or violent.


Molly August 21, 2009 at 4:59 pm

Hey Brian, I wasn’t meaning to attack your literary knowledge, it’s just that I found your comments here “many communist leaders over time have brought about many deaths on the path to power” not well grounded in the universal knowledge that I am aware of. If you are talking about Stalin and Pol Pot, then we have to talk about who or what is a communist. They certainly were not. If you read the Communist Manifesto you can see for yourself. That’s all I’m saying.

Otherwise, explain yourself.


Brian August 21, 2009 at 5:05 pm

“self-indentified communists” then.

My intent was to separate violence from communist ideals. Much as you are, apparently, offended by the association of Stalin with communism, I’m offended by the association of Timothy McVeigh to ideals I may hold.


Molly August 21, 2009 at 5:06 pm

All right then. What are the ideas that you hold?


Brian August 21, 2009 at 5:13 pm

Well, to be most succinct: limited government. I self-identify as a “little l” libertarian.

We could spend hours discussing various issues and their nuances and what I may think of them (and, naturally, those thoughts change… and hopefully mature :P over time). But, I try to build my beliefs on the base that folks have three basic rights: life, liberty & property. If we wanted to get esoteric about things we could distill them all down to liberty. I believe the role of government is to protect those three rights. I believe that liberty means I can do anything I want so long as I’m not infringing upon any of those three rights of another.

So, there’s a base for ya. Guess I’m not so good at being mysterious. I was hoping to make snide comments on here for awhile before revealing anything I actually believed. :P


jon August 21, 2009 at 6:00 pm

Okay, perhaps I generalize somewhat. I’m not saying everyone who supports second amendment rights and thinks the government is too large is the next Timothy McVeigh. Rather the type that feel it’s perfectly acceptable to bring loaded assault weapons to a presidential speech in order to show their support for their 2nd amendment rights and (in my opinion) irrational fear of tyranny could be the next Tim Mcveigh. Is that a little better? My point is not to insult you or compare you to a mass murderer for what you believe. Just to show that there are some radical factions of what you believe that will not and should not be taken seriously if they resort to such intimidating tactics. Yes…I firmly believe most citizens feel intimidated by a guy walking around a presidential appearance with a loaded rifle.

On the other hand, if I went to a gun show, or NRA meeting as some random visitor recently pointed out on a separate post, I would not be as intimidated because it would be expected. I would know what I was getting myself into, and it would feel appropriate.

I ended that post with, “something to think about.” That was meant for me as well… I’m glad you thought about it, and encouraged me to think deeper about it as well.

Lastly, I want to say, I really appreciate your angle on the “expression of conflict with administration” post above. That’s something that is easily overlooked by the recent town-hollers.


jon August 21, 2009 at 6:31 pm

This was written in 2002 by NY Time columnist Thomas L. Friedman. I’m reading one of his books now and this was a feature column. I felt like I had to share it because 7 years later, it rings truer than ever, and it’s also a light, entertaining read…I’m changing the channel now. Have a great weekend everyone…


Jon Quate August 21, 2009 at 8:20 pm

Hey Maccy boy here’s one lefty that hopes you never come back. Your statements are flat out stupid, wrong and uneducated, and your rants are worthless dribble taking up space that could be used for someone to have an intelligent discourse. You have every right to spout your nonsense here, and play the game of being a troll attempting to get a reaction from the liberals here, and I have every right to think you’re an asshole, and to trash you, so come as often as you want so I can laugh at your stupidity. I promise not to try and inform you or change your mind, I’ll just sit back and let your words show how stupid and easily led by talk radio you are.


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