Freedom Isn’t Free It’s $65 A Day

… and proof of $1 million in liability insurance.

That is the new rule for exercising your Constitutionally-protected right of free speech at Nashville’s Legislative Plaza. The Haslam Administration has unabashedly changed the rules at the 11th hour in an effort to crush the Occupy Nashville protest. And yes, it’s an astonishingly blatant government overreach from our so-called “small government” Republican governor. Wake up and smell the hypocrisy:

The state curfew bans anybody from being on the plaza from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. Protests would be allowed by permit between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Those permits would cost $65 a day and groups would also be required to buy $1 million in liability insurance coverage.

An ACLU spokesperson said they are monitoring the situation and are drafting a lawsuit. Changing the rules in the middle of a protest to crush that protest “raises constitutional questions,” they say. Yes, I think so.

So at around 3 a.m. this morning the protestors were arrested. This morning a judge ruled there was no probable cause for the arrests and ordered everyone released.

I just wonder where all of those Teanuts so in love with our Constitution are? This isn’t the first time our baby-faced Republican governor has crushed a civil right. Back in June he signed a law making it a crime to display or transmit “distressing images” online. He’s blocked our access to the courts with his “tort reform.” We have our new Tennessee Voter ID law, which stands ready to disenfranchise thousands of people who don’t meet the state’s arbitrary Voter ID requirement (gun permit yes! Student ID, no!) Once again, these “small government” Republicans show themselves to be hypocrites, perfectly happy to let the government’s long arm reach in and silence a protest they don’t agree with, but calling it gross overreach when we try to protect our air and water.

These chickens will be coming home to roost for years to come. Tennessee will be paying for this in some unexpected ways, methinks.

And I want to raise some awareness about the people participating in Occupy Nashville. It’s not all DFH’s and college kids. Let’s give some mad props to 71-year-old Rip Patton:

“If you don’t hear from me, call the city jail,” 71-year-old Rip Patton told his friends. A veteran of the civil rights struggle, Patton was one of the students who braved arrest and worse to desegregate Nashville’s lunch counters and to bring voting rights to blacks in the Deep South as one of the Freedom Riders.

More on Rip Patton here. And thank you to The Tennessean for taking the time to interview this social justice veteran. It’s a great interview.

[UPDATE]:

Occupy Nashville is baaaaaack….

[UPDATE] 2:

You can’t possibly get more conservative than Bill Hobbs: he was, after all, once the spokesperson for the Tennessee Republican Party. And yet, I’m getting the warm fuzzies reading his Twitter stream.

When even Bill Hobbs agrees the Haslam Administration has overreached and is stifling dissent, you know you’re talking about an issue that is way beyond partisanship.

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10 Comments

Filed under Bill Haslam, free speech, Nashville protest

10 responses to “Freedom Isn’t Free It’s $65 A Day

  1. arguingwithsignposts

    “The state curfew bans anybody from being on the plaza from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. Protests would be allowed by permit between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.”
    The curfew thing can kind of be justified, but 9-4 protests? really? How does anyone say that with a straight face?

  2. The idea that you need a permit to protest is outrageous. It’s something I heard Naomi Klein mention in an interview, that they’re not outright banning dissent but chinking away at it by putting up barriers: you need a permit, you need proof of liability insurance, you need to abide by certain rules.

    That’s the absolute OPPOSITE of dissent.

  3. James Pope

    It’s going to be interesting when things get so bad that the guillotines get dusted off.

  4. I was reading a few of the “letters” over at the recently formed, “We are the 53%” blog.

    One of them, in particular, caught my eye. It was written by a guy who says his wife is not going to be able to pay off his student loans for 12 years, because they pay $80,000 a year in taxes. He doesn’t specify whether those taxes are personal, business or what. He does say that his wife is a doctor and ran up $180K in student loans for med school. I wonder how he would feel if they all of a sudden stopped bringing in enough money to make the monthly nut and lost their house and everything else losable to the same group of people who shrugged off several trillion dollars worth of personal responsibility

    • I dunno, it’s easy to throw some stuff out there on the ‘net but I’m calling bullshit. Someone who owes $80,000 a year in taxes can’t pay off their student loans? I mean, do the math there. That’s someone who earns a large salary. But yeah, maybe he’s not talking income taxes, he’s talking something else. Still, as we know from Joe The Plumber and all the rest, hyperbolic statements of the oppressive hand of taxation tend to not have anything behind them when one starts doing a little digging. And it wouldn’t be the first time someone lied on that “we are the 53%” website!

  5. Randy

    Is there some sort of strange symmetry occurring here or should I just double up on my meds? i.e. Now that there are no people to work in the chicken processing plants the chickens seem more likely to come home to roost.

    Silliness aside thanks to Mr. Patton and all the protesters for standing( and speaking) up for me.

  6. Min

    My church did its annual Civil War Peace Pilgrimage last Saturday, and we met Mr. Patton in the Civil Rights Room at the downtown library. A truly wonderful man.

    And it is doubly appalling that something like this would happen in a state whose very nickname derives from its willingness to send its young men to fight and die for the cause of freedom.

  7. John Weiss

    We should drop the term ‘Republican’, substituting the term ‘authoritarian’. The modern Republican doesn’t look anything like Republicans of a couple of generations ago. Or maybe ‘crazy authoritarian’.

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