This is a transcript of Joe Vecchio's daily "Cup O' Joe Report" podcast, availaible via "screaming audio" here and posted with the permission of the author.
Earlier this week, activist Cindy Sheehan was arrested for wearing a T-Shirt to the State Of The Union address that announced the number of dead American soldiers and asked "How many more?". She was taken away in handcuffs and forced to sit in a cell. It's an experience she probably never thought she'd have when her son enlisted in the military. The wife of a Republican Congressman was also tossed out for wearing an "inflammatory" shirt, though she wasn't arrested like Ms. Sheehan was. All her shirt said was something like "Support The Troops" but I guess to the paranoid maniacs running the government now, it was best not to take any chances.
There are, and always have been, reasonable limits to free speech, but theoretically those limits should only involve issues of words that can cause immediate danger: yelling fire!
in a crowded theater is the example most commonly used. But when it comes to political dissent, the only apparent danger is to the people whose policies made the protests necessary in the first place. Years ago, long before film or television, protesters were simply beaten with clubs and dispersed. Now, they're downplayed and ridiculed in the corporate media, or locked up in "free speech zones" that look remarkably like prison camps.
"Free Speech" is an illusion, and just because I and millions of others haven't been arrested for speaking out is only because we're still powerless to change things. People who are percieved as real threats to the corporate status quo, the ones who can really make a difference, are often killed outright. I wish things were different, but that's just the way it is. At least for now.
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