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In order to keep up with the nature of free, spirited debate, I wanted to place the chat feature at the top of the homepage. This ensures people can come here and share their views on anything they wish and not have it be related to any specific discussion. Here, people can share ideas, links, and views "unmoderated" and an their own pace. To me, this makes The Elephant in the Room blog truly a place for debate.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

May Day OWS Protests: Freedom of Speech Gone Too Far?

I don't support the Occupy Wall Street movement... not one bit. I honestly don't think they have any clue about what they're protesting. It seems they live their world in a fantasy land, and when challenged for facts, they can rarely give you the "meat and potatoes" behind their positions. I believe they rant and chant because they want attention, and because it feels good to appear to be part of a "cause." I believe they are entitled, "gimme, gimme, gimme" loons who have no clue how finance, economics, labor, Wall Street, and everything of the like work and coexist.

That being said, I completely defend and support their right to peaceably assemble and protest. PEACEABLY is the key. This post is not about the who, what, when, where, or why OWS is protesting; it's about the how. To start off, The First Amendment, our most sacred amendment states:

"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."

It's as simple as that. It also shouldn't be news to anyone. But sometimes, the right to free speech and peaceably assemble it gets taken too far. 

The First Amendment certainly comes with limitations. Just as you cannot yell "fire" in a movie theater, or make threats against the President, a citizen's ability to protest is also limited. Why am I writing about this? Well, the following link is one of many I have seen about OWS' "May Day" protests, and already, I can see that OWS doesn't plan on sticking within the realm of their Constitutionally-protected freedoms:

Let's be clear: If OWS wants to promote "Anti-Capitalist" ideas... fine! If they want to "show the 99% that the 1% matter"... fine! If they want to walk out of work, school, etc... fine! Don't prevent the innocent, apathetic, and non-involved from going about their lives in a normal fashion. OWS claims "the system isn't working for the 99%" and while I completely disagree with this notion, they have the right to protest... for THEM, not for me.

While OWS has the right to protest; I have the right to not have my life affected by it. OWS has the right to march and rally LEGALLY and PEACEFULLY; I have the right not to have my normal movement altered. OWS can protest peacefully in public parks, but if they don't obtain permits to march through main roads (so that police can protect them, protect viewers, and help create detours), they are crossing the line. OWS can march up and down public sidewalks, but they cannot form human chains at the front doors of private buildings to prevent employees from entering their office. They think all their protesting is helping us become aware of the "atrocities of the 1%," but in reality, all it is doing is preventing people from moving about freely. If I was walking into employer's office, and one person stood at the door and prevented me from entering, he would be removed for unlawfully detaining me. Why would this be okay if it was done by 100 people? It's not. I have the right to move about freely, and I have the right to enter my workplace as I see fit.

In addition to blocking subways, roads, public workplace entrances, ports and forming human chains, OWS has routinely turned to violence:

Where is the Constitutionally guaranteed freedom to cause harm and destruction? OWS can disagree with corporations, capitalism, the government, republicans, and anything they want. But they lose constitutional protection with they harm people, destroy property, and interrupt the lives of the non-involved for the sake of their protest. I certainly hope that "May Day" protesters and the non-involveds can both carry out their day's objectives without interruption and without interrupting the "other side," but based on what I've seen from OWS, I don't really think that's going to happen.

What do you think? Support for or against OWS aside, what do you think of these kind of protests? Are they warranted? Legal? Illegal? Please share your opinions below.


  1. Perfect analysis. They don't speak for me, so they should get out of the way. I'm not saying they can't protest, just don't bother me.

  2. This article is true. there are no two ways about it.

  3. it took this much to write this? all i have to say is yup.

  4. Im proud of everyone taking part in OWS! They are truly amazing and great citizens.

    With that said the very small group of people inciting violence need to be removed so the majority of protesters can peacefully protest.

    A Majority of OWS protests have been peaceful and lawful and I hope this summer the 99% can stand and show the world that we will not be taken advantage of and we will not allow our governments to be bought by corporations!

    WE R THE 99%!

    1. How are the 99% being taken advantage of? Is this against their will?

      Do you have cited proof that "governments are bought by corporations?

      Looking forward to hearing it. Thanks!

    2. Bank Bailouts

      Citizens United

    3. You stated a thesis... a position you believe in: the "99%" are being taken advantage of and, "governments are bought by corporations."

      Rather than chant 4 words for your response, can you insightfully show how "bank bailouts" and/or Citizens United (I'm assuming you mean the Supreme Court ruling) actually back your thesis/positions?

    4. Seriously dude. You chant this shit, but you really, deep down, have no idea, do you. You have no understanding of any of the things you are talking about, but you claim great connections between things. You don't understand a bail out, a credit default swap, the supreme court, nothing. But you think if you just chant two things you truly don't understand, you make a point?

    5. Actually i stated "we will not be taken advantage of and we will not allow our governments to be bought by corporations"

      your quote is not correct

    6. Anna some things don't take an essay to explain both the bank bailouts and the citizens united ruling both speak for themselves and don't require me to write an essay to explain.

      If you don't understand those two things I have no interest in explaining them to u sorry.

    7. Loyal - I couldn't disagree with you more.

      This, in my opinion, is the problem with the current state of politics and why this divide keeps happening. Your comment:

      "Anna some things don't take an essay to explain both the bank bailouts and the citizens united ruling both speak for themselves and don't require me to write an essay to explain.

      If you don't understand those two things I have no interest in explaining them to u sorry."

      I'm sorry, is awful. You made a claim. You've been asked for proof. Your response is, "it's true because I say it's true" is nothing close to proof. How in the world would you expect people to believe what you believe if you can't even give them evidence.

      If I came to you and said, "Peyton Manning is the best quarterback ever..." you might say, "hmmm I don't know... what are you basing that on?"

      If I wanted to you see my opinion, I would probably give you some stats, some information about his playing style, his Super Bowl victory, etc. I would never say, "well, he is the best because he is." That's just ludicrous.

      Yes, you are right. I misquoted you. Your quote implies that the "99%" ARE being taken advantage of by the "1%". Is this the case?

      Again, do you have some proof behind your claims?

    8. And no, it doesn't take an essay... perhaps some simple... "I believe this... and here is my proof and the connection between them."

      But yes, you made the claim. The onus is on you, the maker of that claim to stand by it... or be prepared for people to say it's invalid.

    9. LME just stop dude, you are arguing just to argue.... its sad...

      We have both agreed the bailouts should never have taken place in a free market.

      We both know that the citizens united ruling allows corporations to funnel unlimited funds into politics.

      What else needs to be said?

      Are you arguing that those 2 statements are wrong?

    10. Actually no, I'm not "arguing just to argue." Frankly, I'm a little tired of people who just chant things without having the proof to back it up. It's getting really, really old. I would much rather people be adults and say, "this is what I believe, and here is why I believe it." Anyone can do what you do. Here I can make the claim: There is a giant pot of gold at the center of the earth. I say it's true; it's true.

      What I asked for was very simple: can you connect the two things YOU said to the positions YOU believe.

      Yes, I have agreed bailout should NOT have happened in the free market. You are 100% correct. Again, going back to what I'm looking for; how does that show either:

      The "99%" is being taken advantage of by the 1% OR the government is run by corporations. I agree they should not have happened... I do not agree with the connection you're trying to make. So, I ask for you to prove it. It's not that hard.

      Citizens United protects the First Amendment and does NOT allow for a government to step in and tell private citizens, a group of citizens (union or corporation) how it must spend it's own money. The funny thing about it, libertarian groups AND Ron Paul support the Supreme Court in its Citizens United ruling. That's what Citizens United is. AGAIN, how does that BACK YOUR THESIS?

      You seem to just blurt these out. All I'm asking for is the connection to show how it backs what you believe.

  5. LME don't feed the troll. This kid couldn't prove what he was talking about if he read it out of a book. I'm pretty sick of this too. He just says "citizens united" and "bailouts" and expects us to go "oh I see." He is a child. Leave him alone. Until he can step up to the plate and tell us why he thinks what he does, just let him take his little hat and go play with is little toys. I liked him, but I lost all respect for him when he starts talking this shit and doesn't have the brains, knowledge or nuts to back it up.

  6. so you are not arguing those to points thank you... Glad we got that out of the way.

    but you are saying:

    1.) Corporations being "bailed out" by our government does not mean that those corporations our taking advantage of our government and by doing so are not taking advantage of the citizens of this country......

    ok we can agree to disagree,
    (i find it amusing you hold low income earners responsible for "taking advantage" of the government via food stamps ect. and by doing so "take advantage" of other people but dont apply that same thinking to corporations)

    2.)Citizens United - you dont even argue my point lol, u just re word it and instead of saying yes you are right corporations can now influence the government more you just say they have the right to influence the government lol

    Again we can agree to disagree. I love mr paul but we disagree on this topic. I dont think that corporations have a RIGHT to pour as much money as they want into politics.

  7. 1. I am saying that you have not shown a connection that somehow when the government bailed out corporations, whether auto or financial, the corporations are now controlling the people. Can you somehow show this connection?

    2. With Citizens United, I merely stated the facts of the case. Again, I've now asked at least 3 times, how does this back your position that;

    The "99%" are being taken advantage of and, "governments are bought by corporations."

    Where is the connection?

    1. Also, did you vote in the new poll?

    2. no i have not read the law so i did not want to vote on it

    3. But you comment on and name drop citizens united when you didn't read and clearly don't understand that?

    4. anna what have i said that would indicate i don't understand the citizens united ruling. Please point out something i said that was incorrect. Id love to know what it was.

  8. Good afternoon Loyal Watcher and LME.

    Loyal Watcher, are you OK with unions pouring money into politics? I also see your disdain for the bank bailouts; do you feel the same way about the bailout of GM?

    1. 1.)
      No i am not ok with unions pouring money into politics as LME stated that ruling allowed them to pour more money into the system aswell. I think only a person (who has a heartbeat) should be able to donate money to politics and i think even then there should be a limit to how much a single person can donate.

      In a perfect world politicians would not be able to receive any donations and would be given the same amount of resources to compete.

      This country should be governed by votes not by money.

      No i am not ok with government getting involved in a business in any way except to protect consumers, protect property, or to invest in strategic technology and or resources.

    2. Only a person? Many corporations are owned by a single person. So are you suggesting the federal government restrict the rights of that one person?

      But in the next breath you say that they should be given money, and the same amount of money and resources? From where? Where would it come from?

      The country is governed by votes. No matter how much money a Super PAC or a candidate spends, it still comes down to votes. Are you and Rken saying that Super PACs are dangerous because they spend too much money and the average American is just too dumb to resist the brainwashing?

      2. Except to protect consumers? Who gets that power/decision? THE GOVERNMENT. It's still too much power. You claim to love the markets but you don't want them to work. You need to make up your mind. YOu are in favor of some government power, but what you describe is too much.

      Just as LME said, I'm still waiting for you to connect these to how the 1% is controlled and enslaved by the 99% and how corporations bought the government. You do realize you said this right? Are you ever going to tie it all together?

    3. "connect these to how the 1% is controlled and enslaved by the 99% and how corporations bought the government. You do realize you said this right?"

      please let me know were i said that i never said ether of those things............

    4. "You claim to love the markets but you don't want them to work" please sight were i stated i do not want the markets to work. I never stated that

  9. Regarding Citizen’s United:

    People are already ‘told how much money they can donate’ under current laws.

    “Federal law restricts how much individuals and organizations may contribute to political campaigns, political parties, and other FEC-regulated organizations. Corporations and unions are barred from donating money directly to candidates or national party committees.”

    More on the limits are easily researchable.

    Donating to PACs are a way around this, but PACs require full-disclosure of contribution sources and also still have limits on donations and on how closely they can work with a campaign.

    Super PACs do not require full-disclosure, do not have any limits, and the supposed trade-off for this level of blatant deregulation is that the Super PACs are supposed to be completely independent entities to anything related to a candidates campaign. No association whatsoever. But that is obviously not what is happening.

    One of the major Super PACs just received a $10m, completely anonymous donation. This is $10m that will be used to help influence the election for the POTUS, that we have no idea where is from. It could be from a communist group in China for all we know. Unlikely? Sure, of course, but the point stands it’s possible.

    Super PACs are dangerous, and serve no true benefit to our election process.

  10. Anna: "Are you and Rken saying that Super PACs are dangerous because they spend too much money and the average American is just too dumb to resist the brainwashing?"

    First, myself and LW are arguing different points. Not really accurate to categorize us together.

    Second, while that’s not exactly how I would paraphrase my point… yes, that is a real concern. It's called propaganda, and to deny it exists is silly. You don't even need to know history to see how significantly it has been exploited in the past, because it's still happening in the present.

    Is it flawless? No. Does it work on everyone? No. But could it effect an election? Yes. Especially close elections. And certainly way more than voter fraud.

    That seems to be a shared concern among people on this blog too, no? I mean, you can't go on defaming the 'liberal media', 'liberal MSM', etc, propaganda machines and then in the same breath laugh at the idea that surrounding a population with one primary point of view would influence their ideas.

    And the fact of the matter is, consistently throughout the past several elections the candidate that spends the most money is more likely to perform the best (through both primaries and presidential); with very few exceptions.

    All of which is reinforced by the fact that this is very clearly an issue that we have recognized and taken steps to avoid through our legislation (we already have campaign contribution limits). The issue exists, there is no debating it. The only debate is whether the issue still exists for ‘independent PACs.’ I believe calling the Super PACs of this election 'independent' is a farce to say the least. Feel free to explain otherwise.

  11. The Elephant just pooped in the room again.

    Don't sweat it Loyal Watcher. I really dig your vibe and agree. In fact, I don't HAVE to agree.

    People are entitled to opinions but not facts. You provide basic logic. The blowhearts on this blog just want to be jerks.

    1. You know what's funny? You're right. People are absolutely entitled to their opinions. I've never said they weren't. In fact, this blog is devoted to people expressing their opinions.

      But how many times do I have to say it? People express opinions because they want their views to be heard, and possibly understood. What better way to get people to know YOUR side than to say WHAT you believe, and most importantly, WHY you believe it. You can have an opinion all you want... that's great. But if you express it, expect people to ask for clarification. You can give it to them, or you don't have to. If you don't, expect them to not believe or to even invalidate what you think. If you do share your reasoning, the listener might just agree with you. Have you ever thought about that?

      So instead of coming in here, talking childish things about The Elephant pooping in the room, ignoring the basic fact that yes, adults should say what they believe AND be able to give a reason for it, why not actually participate. If you have views, share them. We won't stop you. Back them up, too. If not, you might just not look that smart... which, based on your continued childish comments, I'm sorry to say, but nothing personal... you don't appear to be.

  12. Hi All,

    I've watched and researched these OWS people since July of last year, when AdBuster(Canadian ANTI-capitalist website)first initiated this 'movement.' Today, if you go to the Van Jones 'Rebuild the American Dream' or or Occupy websites you'll find the OWS 'sponsors' listed. These are ALL socialist, communist and/or far-left leaning organizations. Research THOSE and you'll find the unions - and George Soros.

    I get into tiffs with OWSers over Citizen's United all the time. Corporations, just like unions, are comprised of people. Both entities have access to lots and lots of money. If ONE is allowed to donate(anonymously or not)ALL should. The SCOTUS agreed.

    I'm fine with repealing CU... WHEN contributions from UNIONS are disallowed as well. These are two sides of the same coin.

    What Loyalty Watcher talks about re: no one should donate/all donations should be equal - is something I've seen/heard from OWSers... they feel the GOVERNMENT should fund elections. Really? Like the government has such a GREAT track record in the arena of 'fairness' in how it spends OUR money ... sorry, no thanks. Besides, in case you haven't noticed - we're already pushing 16 Trillion in DEBT.

    OWS is severely split on issues. Their agenda covers everything from 'corporate greed' to 'immigrants rights' to 'natural foods' and everything in between. To them - everything they WANT is a RIGHT - and should be paid for - by ANYONE other than themselves.

    They've been spoon-fed this 'the rich don't pay their fair share' and 'gre-e-edy corporations' nonsense; they've been lead to believe that they're 'entitled' to whatever it is they WANT - today, on the backs of the taxpayer.

    I ask, 'What happens when we run out of 'rich' people and corporations to soak?' *crickets*

    Disturbingly, their new rally call is 'a-anti-anticapitalista' - and when I ask 'And just WHAT do you propose to replace our current system with?' more *crickets*

    Here's my take. There IS NO 99% - and no 1%. We are ALL Americans.

    Your rights END where MINE begin.

    1. Repealing Citizen's United would effect Union and Corporate donors exactly the same. One isn't benefited more than the other by it.

      And both would still be able to donate to candidates, they just wouldn't be able to do it anonymously. That's the main difference here.

    2. I think we all know that (legal or not) donors on both sides have contributed money to candidates anonymously for decades.

      The big stink started when the SCOTUS upheld CU. The Dems/unions got their knickers in a twist because the playing field, for once, became somewhat leveled between the parties.

      The Democrat candidates receive FREE and for the most part FAVORABLE coverage on ALL of the MSM news networks. No matter what your affiliation, all you need to do is watch these stations to come to the conclusion that this is a FACT.

      CU is non-partisan... but due to the fact that the unions have ALWAYS spent their members' money(with or without their consent)almost exclusively on Democrats, I'd be willing to bet that it does work a bit more favor of the Republican candidates.

      And thereby hangs the tale... although Dems beat the drum for 'fairness' they're historically not all that great at 'playing fair.'

    3. Contributing anonymously and past limits is illegal by penalty of federal law, as we all are seeing in the John Edwards case where he may be sentenced to up to 30 years.

      Corruption exists of course, on both sides, but that doesn’t mean that we throw our hands up and not try to prevent it.

      CU doesn't level any kind of playing field between the parties? If anything, it has contributed to allowing Obama to break all records in fundraising.

      I mean, if you want to be completely truthful about it, if anything I see it helping Democrats more. Democrats receive donations from unions, corporations, other nations and individuals. Republicans don't typically receive donations from unions (for obvious reasons), don't receive as much from other nations (GOP foreign policy tends to be more aggressive), and are about equal in corporate and individual donations.

      But the difference now is that CU allows these donations to be anonymous. Wouldn’t you like to know if Obama or Mitt received a $50m campaign donation from China nationalists? CU says, too bad.

  13. Edwards is only in 'trouble' b/c he used his 'illegal' funds 'inappropriately' - AND got CAUGHT.

    It's all to easy to find ways to misdirect the sources of funding. By the time the PowersThatBe track down whatever 'irregularities' that occurred, the election's over and the courts say, 'Oh well. The 'people' decided. So sad, so sorry' - and AG Holder? He's just w-a-ay too busy - suing the States and dodging Congress to be bothered with trivial pursuits of election/campaign/ donation/voting fraud/misbehavior.

    So, if I were a 'rich' donor - I'd much prefer NOT to have my business(es) become a target for the left's inevitable hate/smear campaigns (or maybe like the 'Preezy of the United Steezy', HIMSELF, inflaming the 'base' by attacking REGULAR, non-mainstream, PRIVATE citizens!)SIMPLY because of my political positions.

    But that's just my opinion - AND the SCOTUS's - for now, anyway.