By Stanford Matthews
Blog @ MoreWhat.com
There is some question as to whether or not the Scranton PA city council is being fair about the amount of time members of the public are allowed to speak to the council during meetings. One quote from the council expressed no complaints had been received. The ACLU, of course, says they have received many complaints. Another one of those he said she said situations that may require more time for information to surface.
ACLU takes closer look at City Council meetings
BY STACY BROWN
When Scranton City Council introduced new security measures at a meeting earlier this year, limiting the number of people permitted into chambers, several residents were left standing in the cold.
One of them was the president of the Northeast Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, and the experience only adds to the group’s criticism of how council treats the public.
Under most circumstances this is the type of story that once would have been most people’s guess at what the ACLU does. Working to ensure access and defending basic rights for the general public. The ACLU’s reputation or the public perception of the ACLU has changed over time. Defending pedophilia may have contributed to public concern. Having more concern for the rights of federal law breaking illegal aliens over an American citizen’s right to protect and defend the country may have also soured public sentiment.
The Scranton council story raises some questions due to the lack of information out so far. Whether any complaints were submitted to the council or not, it seems strange that the many complaints claimed by the ACLU were not handled differently. Rather than first sending ACLU members to monitor the council meetings, why did the ACLU quote in this article not mention suggesting complainants should address the council on the matter? Why did the ACLU not mention contacting the council on behalf of the complainants? Instead, the first reports indicate the ACLU sent ‘spies’ and are waving the litigation card on what should be a simple matter to resolve.
Another good example of the ACLU exposing their bias involves legislation on indecency proposed in the US Senate. While legislating social norms or morality has often been the subject of debate, the ACLU first describes their position as a defense of speech and parents being the proper managers of what their children view. Again, rather than using that free speech and equal access they claim to defend, they prepare for a legal challenge and quote court decisions when entering the discussion and raising debate on the subject would be most people’s first choice. Do they have to make a federal case out of it? Would it not be simpler and more appropriate to engage the process prior to initiating their usual tactics?
ACLU Objects to Rockefeller’s Indecency Legislation; Bill Treads on the First Amendment (7/18/2007)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 18, 2007
Washington, DC – The American Civil Liberties Union said today that indecency legislation, slated for markup in the Senate Commerce Committee tomorrow, violates the First Amendment. Recently introduced by Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), S.1780 would attempt to regulate “indecent” television programming by instituting a Federal Communications Commission policy that a single word or image could be considered “indecent.”
“Senator Rockefeller’s proposed legislation would replace parents with Uncle Sam. It borders on the ridiculous to think that our government should determine what is and is not ‘decent’ and substitute its judgment for that of America’s parents.” said Caroline Fredrickson, director of the ACLU Legislative Office. “This bill could have serious and damaging effects on the First Amendment.”
And the last example of the ACLU’s common practice and philosophy requires no explanation. It does serve as a reminder of what cases they prefer. It is reasonable that there are individuals whose civil rights have been violated and that there are a wide variety of cases. The ACLU’s self-imposed caseload appears quite narrow. What could be the reason for that?
ACLU Fights Sex Offender Ordinance
POSTED: 12:23 pm EDT July 18, 2007
JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. — The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana filed a suit challenging Jeffersonville’s sex offender ordinance on behalf of a Clarksville man who was denied an exemption to the law.
The law prohibits convicted sex offenders from entering public parks.
A city council’s action to manage meetings, a Senator’s effort to clean up the airwaves and a community’s effort to limit the risk posed by sex offenders draws attention from the ACLU. Do they offer anything of substance to these situations or are they simply applying their worn out arguments to advance the ACLU agenda? If they are so concerned about what is right it is time they entered the discussion as an advocate not an adversary. The automatic choice to be on the opposing side and never seeking a solution for the common good runs counter to their claim of defending civil liberty. The people on the other side of their position are entitled to civil liberty also. Arguing that freedom, rights or constitutional guarantees are denied to their chosen victim makes victims of everyone else.
Civil includes a meaning referring to ‘ordinary citizens’ and liberty includes ‘autonomy’ and ‘immunity from arbitrary exercise of authority’. For an organization with both of those words in the name, it is regularly guilty of exercsing arbitrary use of its authority to intimidate ordinary citizens with the threat of litigation. It is incumbent upon the ACLU to examine their activities from someone else’s perspective. But then their sham would be exposed by their own hand and that will never happen.