A lot of people wrote to me about a certain story, so here's the deal:
"Rueters" was deliberately misspelled, and there are no "Grannies for Peace", "Doris MacInshaw", "Michael Brunell-Stevens", or "Gamma Force" division at the Department of Homeland Security.
The paramilitary name and the brown shirt of the law enforcement officer, as well as the entire story itself, were intended to highlight just how far we've come down the road to fascism. It's a sad truth that, with the current occupants of the White House, such an outrageous event is even remotely credible -- A LOT OF PEOPLE BELIEVED IT WAS TRUE AND WANTED TO FIND OUT MORE -- AND WITH GOOD REASON.
In fact, the REAL STORY ISN'T THAT MUCH OF A DEPARTURE:
The woman in the picture is an incredibly courageous American patriot named Betty Brassell. At 75, she's actually one of the younger members of Grandmothers for Peace. Last week, 17 members of the group, some as old as 91 (!), went to an Armed Forces Recruiting Center wearing pictures of their children and grandchildren serving in Iraq on strings around their necks and offering to enlist in place of young men and women being sent to Iraq.
When they were naturally refused, they staged a sit-in, and were arrested at Times Square in New York. According to police testimony, they didn't entirely block access to the recruiting center, which, according to their lawyer, Norman Seigel, means their arrest was illegal and in violation of their First Amendment rights to peaceably assemble.
The Manhattan DA is calling the case simple disorderly conduct, but Siegel told the judge they are exercising their First Amendment rights to peaceably assemble, hoping "to alert an apathetic public". The DA offered a plea bargain to dismiss all charges provided the grannies didn't engage in similar activities for six months, But the women insisted on a court appearance, hoping to use the witness stand to very publicly protest the war.
"We are at a very important point in the history of our country," 87-year-old Molly Klopot said. "It is our responsibility as patriots not to be silent."
If convicted, each of the women could be fined $250 and sent to jail for 15 days. Are they prepared to do the time? Absolutely, said one of the younger defendants, Jenny Heinz, 61. "A number of us have made a decision that we will not accept fines or community service."
Of course, a guilty verdict would have to come first. Then Judge Ross, 46, would have to decide if sending some women nearly twice his age to the slammer is really how he wants to be remembered.
You can read the original stories here and here.
Going to jail for your principles takes even more guts than slapping a Marine sergeant with a purse, I'd hazard. Here's a salute to some incredible American patriots. May they serve as an example to us all.
Quotes of the Day:
"Don't regard yourself as a guardian of freedom unless you respect and preserve the rights of people you disagree with..."
--Gerard K. O'Neill
"Democracies become dictatorships if we do not listen to the voice of the people."
--Tom Van Meurs
"Criticism in time of war is essential to the maintenance of any kind of democratic government."
"May we never confuse honest dissent with disloyal subversion."
--Dwight D. Eisenhower
"Suspicion must always fall on those who attempt to silence their opponents."
"I love America more than any other country in the world and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually."
"Before the war is ended, the war party assumes the divine right to denounce and silence all opposition to war as unpatriotic and cowardly."
--Senator Robert M. La Follette