Cheney and Free Speech

Discussion in 'Politics & Religion' started by Avid_Consumer, Oct 9, 2006.

  1. http://www.progressive.org/mag_mc100406

    Criticizing Cheney to His Face Is Assault?
    By Matthew Rothschild

    October 4, 2006

    Steve Howards says he used to fantasize about what he’d say to President Bush or Vice President Cheney if he ever got the chance.

    That opportunity arrived on June 16, the same day he says he read about U.S. fatalities in Iraq reaching 2,500.

    Howards says he was taking two of his kids to their Suzuki piano camp in Beaver Creek, Colorado. They were walking across the outdoor public mall area when all of a sudden he saw Cheney there.

    “I didn’t even know he was in town,” Howards says. “He was walking through the area shaking hands. Initially, I walked past him. Then I said to myself, ‘I can’t in good conscience let this opportunity pass by.’ So I approached him, I got about two feet away, and I said in a very calm tone of voice, ‘Your policies in Iraq are reprehensible.’ And then I walked away.”

    Howards says he knew the Administration has a “history of making problems” for people who protest its policies, so he wanted to leave off at that.

    But the Secret Service did not take kindly to his comment.“About ten minutes later, I came back through the mall with my eight-year-old son in tow,” Howards recalls, “and this Secret Service man came out of the shadows, and his exact words were, ‘Did you assault the Vice President?’ ”

    Here’s how Howards says he responded: “No, but I did tell Mr. Cheney the way I felt about the war in Iraq, and if Mr. Cheney wants to be shielded from public criticism, he should avoid public places. If exercising my constitutional rights to free speech is against the law, then you should arrest me.”

    Which is just what the agent, Virgil D. “Gus” Reichle Jr, proceeded to do.

    “He grabbed me and cuffed my hands behind my back in the presence of my eight-year-old son and told me I was being charged with assault of the Vice President,”Howards recalls.

    He says he told the agent, “I can’t abandon my eight-year-old son in a public mall.”

    According to Howards, Reichle responded: “We’ll call Social Services.” Before that could happen, however, “my son ran away and found my wife,” who was nearby, Howards says.

    “First of all, I was scared,” Howard recalls. “They wouldn’t tell my wife where they were taking me. Second of all, I was incredulous this could be happening in the United States of America. This is what I read about happening in Tiananmen Square. They hauled me away to Eagle County jail and kept me with my hands cuffed behind my back for three hours.”

    At the jail, the charge against him was reduced to harassment, he says, and he was released on $500 bond. The Eagle County DA’s office eventually dropped that charge.

    On October 3, Howards sued Reichle for depriving him of his First Amendment right of free speech and his Fourth Amendment right to be protected from illegal seizure.

    Howards and his attorney, David Lane, have not demanded a specific dollar amount.

    “We will go to trial and let a Colorado jury decide what type of damages are appropriate,” says Howards. “This isn’t about anything I did. This about what I said. There is a frontal assault occurring on our constitutional right to free speech. We brought this suit because of our belief that this Administration’s attempt to suppress free speech is a greater threat to the long-term integrity of this nation than ten Osama bin Ladens.”

    Reichle did not return my call for comment. Nor did he respond to The New York Times in its article on this incident.

    Lon Garner, special agent in charge at the Secret Service’s Denver office, says he has “no reaction” to the lawsuit. “It’s in litigation,” he says. “We have no comment.”

    Before his encounter with Cheney, Howards says he had a clean record.

    “I was never arrested before,” he says. “I don’t have so much as a speeding ticket.”
     
  2. cheney is an embarrassment to all true conservatives like myself. his attitude towards free speech is appalling and anyone that says differently should be arrested.
     
  3. I'd like to see a video of this incident. I watched a bunch of thugs attack a Minuteman spokesman who was giving a speech at Columbia University, then they went on talk shows on cable and claimed they were the ones who were assaulted. Moonbats can have very odd ways of viewing situations. I suspect this guy did a little more than approach the VP and say that he didn't like his policies.
     
  4. i know someone who was personally front and center on the minuteman side, and as he described it to me, the protesters walked up with a sign, rude, albeit peacefully, and the minuteman guys stormed the stage

    it's interesting aaa that you approach the issue in the article with a bias against free speech. it seems like time and time again you prioritize your partisan orientation above your own rights, commonly held american values, etc. anything to accomplish that partisan jab no matter the cost...

    admit it, you are radical right. think that over every time you drop the moonbat slur because it says more about you than anyone else
     
  5. Sure thats what happened, never mind the fact there were only three minutemen in the entire building. Get it through your head the liberal left does not believe in free speech or peaceful debate. They believe they are so morally pure " as if smoking pot, not bathing, and playing hacky-sack make you pure" that they can use whatever means to achieve their end.
     
  6. I think you'll find that I value free speech very highly. It's why I have problems with speech codes, hate speech laws, restrictions on political speech and the like. If this guy did what he claimed, ie approached Cheney peacefully and stated his disapproval, then clearly he should not have been arrested. That's the kind of storm trooper tactics that the Clinton White House engaged in. Personally, I find it hard to believe that Cheney would take that approach, and with only this guy's word as to what happened, I am skeptical.

    Maybe you are the one with such a partisan orientation that you confuse a reluctance to believe unsupported allegations made during campaign season with a bias against free speech. Why don't we withhold judgment until the facts come out?

    As for the Columbia inicdent, I saw a video of it. A mob rushed the stage with a huge banner and dozens of illegal immigration advocates jumped up and started shouting. It was total chaos, and I think the Minuteman guys were prudent to fear an attack. It is disgraceful that the campus police didn't arrest those who disrupted the speech, disturbed the peace and fomented a violent confrontation. Instead they apparently escorted the speaker out, effectively handing a victory to the protestors.

    I'm curious since you felt the need to criticize me as anti-free speech, why you would attempt to defend a bunch of thugs who shut down a lawful speaker?
     
  7. look guy, i know the minuteman that ripped the sign in half. take my word for it

    lol geez

    the rest of ur babble there is ridiculous generalization. 'the liberal left' ... so what you're saying is that half the country doesn't believe in free speech and smokes pot while playing hackey sack. mkay.
     
  8. Wow you know both the protesters and the minutemen, you just know everyone don't you. Quit making shit-up. I never said half the country smokes pot, the liberal left is less than 5% of the population and even the Democrats run from them at election time.
     
  9. i just see a pattern on your part where whenever these questions come up, you instantly side with the right wing partisan pov, regardless of the issue. the cheney arrest article as well as an nyt article today on the incident both seem to point to it being a simple free speech issue, not an assault. the secret service likely would have commented if there were any evidence to the contrary. the co district attorney also wanted to drop the case saying they thought there was an assault initially but found it was just free speech

    wrt the minuteman thing, i'm just working off of what my friend told me that night, and a short video that unfortunately didn't show the entirety of the incident. i don't even side with the protesters there. if anything my advice to my friend was to address these issues within the republican party itself since it's his own leadership that necessitates the minutemen. did the protesters get violent first? maybe they did but that's not how it was described to me

    in general, i think we should all be firmly agreed to give free speech rights the benefit of the doubt
     
  10. you misread me man. i said he was on the minuteman side. say whatever you want, ur dead wrong here. it's a smaller world than you think when you come out of the woods

    just try and avoid the sweeping partisan generalizations .. unless you want to intentionally identify as a radical
     
    #10     Oct 9, 2006