asymmetricinfo Megan McArdle
Progressive protesters demonstrate against conservatives' exercise of first amendment rights to peaceably assemble. http://bit.ly/fjHSvz
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Dear me, what on earth can be going on? What are those nasty progressives doing now to destroy the Constitution?
Twenty-five protesters were arrested in Rancho Mirage, California today, at a protest in front of the Rancho Las Palmas resort, site of the “Billionaire’s Caucus,” an annual meeting put on by the Koch Brothers and other corporate entities and conservative movement operators.
Riverside Sheriff’s deputy Melissa Nieburger said that the sheriff’s department did have contacts with protest organizers, which included the California Courage Campaign, CREDO, MoveOn.org, 350.org, the California Nurses Association, United Domestic Workers of America and the main sponsor, the good-government group Common Cause, prior to the event, and that they were aware that some protesters would seek to be arrested for trespassing. She would not guarantee that all 25 who were arrested were part of that coordinated operation. The police, who wore riot gear, batons and helmets, did put the arrested into plastic handcuffs. Nieburger described them as “passive restraints.” They were being processed at press time, and Nieburger would not say whether they would be released or would spend the night at the jail in Indio.
Nieburger estimated between 800 and 1,000 activists at the “Uncloak the Kochs” event. Event organizers chartered buses from several locations around Southern California and claimed 1,500 people signed up for those buses, on top of any local activists who attended. It appeared from the ground that well over 1,000 protesters were there.
It seems they are using their First Amendment rights to peaceably assemble, to protest the Koch brothers' funding of attempts to end regulation of their polluting industries. The protesters are not demonstrating against the right of the Koches et al to assemble; McArdle is just doing damage control to make her husband's benefactors seem like innocent victims.
The protesters generally decried the Koch Brothers’ influence over American democracy, in particular their use of the Citizens United ruling to spend corporate money in elections. Koch Industries’ funding of climate denialism and other conservative causes was on the minds of the protesters as well.
The Koches have every right to meet with their operatives, of course, just like the left has every right to protest their actions. The Koches and their friends, safely ensconced behind the walls of the luxury resort and a line of riot police to protect them from anything that would offend their eyes or ears, are scarcely being intimidated from the exercise of their Constitutional right to assemble.
It's strange that when tea-baggers assemble to protest it's a good thing but when liberals do it it's some kind of anti-Constitutional act. But the tea-baggers are being supported by the Koches, so there's a mystical kind of synergy to it all--if a corporation does something it's okay, but if a private citizen does it it's not.