May 31, 2006

Crushing of Dissent - Minneapolis-Style

Via "Minneapolis Upside Down", we see that Minneapolis City Councilman Don Samuels and mayor R.T. Rybak favor free speech.

Well, the right kind of free speech, anyway...:

Samuels in particular emerged as an unapologetic opponent of unsupervised free speech . Rybak made clear his desire to censor cable access television. If Republicans had spewed this bilge, Democrats would come unglued, crying out against the assault on civil liberties. [And Twin Cities leftybloggers would snark as if their lives depended on it. - Ed]

Mark these words from Herr Samuels:

. . .While I do value our freedoms. . . there are some of them that our community has not demonstrated the responsibility to bear. . . and. . .one, for me, would be certain freedoms within this new electronic category which has been as lethal as the guns that are pervasive on our streets. . . . I don't think that we have demonstrated the capability to deal with this freedom, neither by the ones who perpetrate it as weapons or by the ones of us who are called upon to oversee the responsible utilization of these media.

Until that day comes, and until, personally speaking, I . . . cease to be a victim of the irresponsible use and incapacity to supervise the freedoms that are now brought to us by these incredible advances in technology, I will have to vote against--and again, again, and again--until we demonstrate responsibility and supervising capability for our new freedom.

The writer, Loosestife, adds some details:
A little context is in order here. Samuels clearly still smarts from the nasty election tussle that he went through in order to defeat Natalie Johnson-Lee for the 5th Ward seat he now holds. Samuels was not without fault in that fight, but "Pain is the eye of the beholder," as Mr. Samuels' new friend "Tough-Love" Tim Pawlenty has said.

If one watches the broadcast of this City Council learns that Samuels is wielding his own privileged free speech as a weapon against civil libertarian 10th Ward representative Ralph Remington, who persisted in calling the Don on his bullshit.

This is a feud to watch--the complaint against Samuels, and the source of the "unbridled" free speech at his expense has been his insensitivity to African-Americans. Will African-American Remington and Jamaican immigrant Samuels play out some of the antagonisms still smoldering from the 5th Ward race?

Samuels speech set up comments by the Mayor wherein he makes clear his wish to rein in the free speech of City supported cable access--in the name of protecting his buddy, Samuels.

In classic management stylee, Rybak first says that "we" (meaning management) haven't done our job and then attacks the " people who run that television" for not doing their job in "fixing" the unbridled free speech of cable access programming. I can tell you from experience that there is more to come. Bosses don't talk this way without intending to f**k with the designated underlings. If you support public access television, start sending your notes to Mr. Rybak now.

For starters - if you support public access TV as a venue for free speech, you are insane; CATV exists by government charter, and is phenomenally prone to interference - and, if my days at Saint Paul Cable Access were any guide, are driven by an agenda that is fundamentally friendly to the likes of Rybak in the first place. Blogs remain the only genuinely, reliably independent grassroots media.

But forget that for now. There's a key principle at stake here; two powerful agents of Minneapolis' DFL-dominated one-party system (shaddap, Greens; you're not different enough in terms of end-effect from Minnepolis DFlers for it to count) have expressed a hostility to free, open speech.

If you live in Minneapolis, are you going to stand for this?

Posted by Mitch at May 31, 2006 07:47 AM | TrackBack

Does this mean they're going to start censoring Wayne's World? The horror!
Seriously, the fact that Samuels finds dissent "as lethal as the guns that are pervasive on our streets" is rather telling. R.T and Co. are totally incapable of doing anything about them, but a TV station? Hey, it's a stationary target.
I wonder if they have a set of guidelines to measure speech for responsibility?

Liberal Nazis.

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