Friday, September 14, 2018

Trump Administration Attacking Freedom of Speech Again

Oh, is it a day that ends in Y?

But seriously, this is a pretty bad one.

Good question!

The headline is misleading, however. A tax suggests a small amount of money paid per protest. In reality, the Trump Administration wants to stick protest organizers with the entire bill for anything and everything the government might decide to do to protect, contain, or obstruct a protest, and anything they could imagine might be damaged by protests, including the grass people walked on.

Last month, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced the administration’s radical, anti-democratic rewriting of regulations governing free speech and demonstrations on public lands under federal jurisdiction in Washington. Under the proposal, which is open to public comment, the National Park Service (NPS) would charge protesters “event management” costs. This would include the cost of barricades and fencing erected at the discretion of police, the salaries of personnel deployed to monitor the protest, trash removal and sanitation charges, permit application charges and costs assessed on “harm to turf” — the effects of engaging in free speech on grass, as if our public green spaces are for ornamental viewing.

Keep in mind that we as the public already pay for all of these things. Public fencing and barricades, police, trash removal, maintaining public parks - those are all things that our tax dollars are meant to pay for. Protests are a part of any healthy society. We pay to make sure those can happen and for the cleanup via our tax dollars. Handing protest organizers a bill is just billing them twice in a clear and blatant attempt to stop protests before they begin. This could not be a more clear violation of the First Amendment right to protest.

And if they don't want to pay for police to be at a protest, that's fine by me, by the way. All cops do is impede and/or attack protesters, unless those protesters are white supremacists.

This will definitely be challenged in court, and I'd like to say it will definitely be struck down, but you never know. I'm also surprised that this happened last month and I'm only hearing about it now, but then again, almost anything could get buried under all the other shit this administration is trying to pull. Yet the very fact that they're trying to pull this should be enough to convince anyone that Trump and his lackeys are a bunch of fascists.

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