Thursday, October 27, 2011

Governor Bill Haslam, State of Tennessee to crackdown on free assembly, free speech tonight at 10:00

Yesterday evening a little after 5:30 an email notice went out from the Occupy Wall Street (Nashville chapter) protesters warning:

Occupy Nashville has been told it must vacate Legislative Plaza druing the nights starting at 8pm tomorrow (Thursday, 10/27), although they had earlier agreed that Occupy Nashville had 1st Amendment rights to stay there.

Rooftop photo, taken this afternoon, of "unsafe" Legislative Plaza
Today Republican Governor Bill Haslam announced to the news media that OWS protesters have until 10:00p to vacate the Plaza, a public space. The Governor has instituted an unprecedented 10p-6a curfew rationalizing "criminal activity and deteriorating sanitary conditions" as appropriate causes. Haslam declared an "occupied" Legislative Plaza as "unsafe for the protestors, state employees and everyone who works, lives and enjoys downtown." A local micro-blogger responded by tweeting that a small group of dissenters has caused Governor Haslam to overreach and declare a state of emergency.

It is clear from the photo of the protesters above that they are more of an annoyance to the chamber of commerce than a threat to the public. While I have questioned protesters' decision to occupy Legislative Plaza for other reasons, it is obvious to me that Bill Haslam and his GOP cohort are using the occasion of other crackdowns around the country to make a rag-tag group disappear. You had to know that unconstitutional suppression was coming because Tennessee's wealthy, political elite are tired of tolerating the unwashed and the uppity. This curfew and permitting process are designed to destroy the dissent of people who are already shut out of the halls of power.

UPDATE: Here's a photo from a visit I made to the Occupy Nashville camp a couple of weekends ago. There were not many campers around, but their ambitious democratic declaration was posted on modest cardboard at the camp entrance.


  1. I closed down Tootsie's last Friday with a handful of friends in town for Vanderbilt Homecoming.

    When we stepped outside and looked down Broadway, there were several hundred people linig the sidewalks, many of them inebriated, loudly hailing cabs. Homeless people were asking for money. The street stunk of beer and cigarette smoke. The sidewalks were littered with cups, wrappers and crumpled flyers.

    It was all bordering on chaos.

    Where was Gov. Haslam that night? Asleep at the wheel?

  2. Occupy Tootsie's!

  3. In addition to having the protesters arrested this morning, Governor Haslam has pushed his agenda of discrimination throughout his brief tenure in office from shooting down Nashville's anti-discrimination laws to creating the bill banning the use of the word "gay" in public schools. He's railroading civil liberties to the extent of making it illegal to upload a "potentially offensive image" to the internet this year. I addressed our Governor's antics with a visual commentary of him and his wife on my artist's blog at Drop by and let me know how you feel about our rights being infringed upon.

  4. Can you grab his buddies Karl Dean and Rich Riebeling while you're at it? Haslam is is a Bozo (Howdy Doody, like you said, and sort of just a retard), but Riebeling is a crook. Have you seen HBO's Boardwalk? Riebeling is one of the sick crooks in that show (the guy who whips himself out of guilt). Dean is just one of his retards. Time to call them all out. How much money have they paid to consultants? The only reason Dean pays consultants is to distance himself from any decisions when he is questioned while running for governeor. Riebeling is his Willa Wonka.(Inviting children into the candy-shop).