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Democratic staffer is pulled off the campaign trail for safety

Allen West and Joe Miller: Thugs of a Feather

The Joe Miller arrest of a reporter by his private militia on the campaign trail is rightfully garnering national headlines. Meanwhile, down in Florida, he-man GOP tea party House candidate Allen West is acting every bit as thuggish, perhaps more so.

Video out today shows Allen West in a public park urging his supporters to eject a Democratic videographer. His supporters, some wearing patches identifying themselves as gang members of a South Florida coalition of motorcycle clubs associated with the Outlaws, surround the tracker at West's urging and violently force him out of the public park.

Here's the report from the local NBC affiliate:

And here's the video from the tracker's camera as he was bullied out of the public park:

Comparing the West video to the Joe Miller video reveals striking similarities in behavior and mindset. Here's the Joe Miller video showing his goon squad dealing with some reporters in a public school hallway as the handcuff incident was unfolding:

First, we have conservative candidates for public office utilizing socialized public spaces and arrogantly treating the public areas as private property.

Next we have thuggish goon squads serving as security details for these candidates. The goons are well practiced in their thuggery - in fact, the tactics are reminiscent of high school bullies, so these jerks have been practicing ever since before they dropped out. They are just walking in the park or innocently moving down the hall and "Oh noes!!" someone touched them! The goons are simply defending themselves against agressive individuals who are attacking them as they walk casually along in a large intimidating group.

The goons have been sicced on victims who are simply and legally doing their jobs. The bullies are unleashed to suppress the free exchange of information and ideas. This un-American suppression of political speech borders on terrorism.

The candidates who control these violent cretins are quick to defend them - "I was never more amazed by how members of the Outlaws guarded me," says Allen West. Joe Miller is still making shit up about "irrational bloggers" to justify the false imprisonment of a reporter. Maybe I can update this story when his story stabilizes.

The Democratic staffer who took the Allen West video above has been removed from the campaign trail for his own safety. For those of you who didn't watch, at the end of the video, the thugs have forced the staffer away from the West event in a public park and back to the staffer's car in the parking lot. One of the assailants is seen and heard using a cel phone to run the tag of the victim and obtain name and address information - very easy to access for those who rule through intimidation and fear, and reminiscent of the rightwing online bullies who seek out and publish personal information - "Gee, that's a nice house you have there. And a nice family. And a nice life. Sure would be a shame if anything happened to it..."

It's not just in Alaska and Florida either. In Texas, Republicans are joking about shooting Democratic candidates. "Man up" has become the new emasculating rallying cry(also embraced by Allen West.) Paladino seeks to dehumanize teh gay even as youth suicides increase. A Georgia lawmaker defends "shoot to kill" as a valid immigration solution. Dog whistles for violence continue under the radar.

We cannot stand down now. It is imperative that we beat these thugs at the polls. When they lose, they will be pissed. If they win, they will be in charge.

Ron Klein is essentially tied with Allen West. Alan Grayson is running neck and neck with Daniel Webster.Joe Garcia can beat David Rivera. It's all gonna come down to GOTV. So...

NOTHING is over until WE decide it is. Let's get going...

Ron Klein
Find your Florida Early Voting Location
Progress Florida Voter Guide
Fair Districts Florida
Alan Grayson
Joe Garcia
Kendrick Meek
Alex Sink

(update - edited title for clarity; update 2 - fixed typo in title)

Originally posted to BlogWood on Mon Oct 18, 2010 at 09:05 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  When the going gets tough... n/t (28+ / 0-)

    Damn straight I'm Union. I climb poles and fix cable to unclog the tubes that bring you the internets. You're Welcome.

    by norwood on Mon Oct 18, 2010 at 09:03:59 PM PDT

    •  I don't mean to rain on your outrage (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lostboyjim

      or to defend thugs anywhere.  There is, however, a pattern I've been seeing in the diaries and comments about these type of incidents.  Many people seem to think that it is enough to say, "It's a public park!" or "It's a public school!" or "It's open to the public!"

      Public spaces are routinely rented out for private events.  In Alaska, the permit is referred to as an exclusive use permit.  That means that the permittee has paid money for the right to make the public space "private."  In other words, the permittee has the right to exclude others from the public space for the time  period listed on the permit.

      I assume most localities grant permits for families and organizations to use parks for picnics and parties.  If you paid for such a permit and were having a family reunion, what would you do if a bunch of Hell's Angels crashed the party?  I suspect you would ask them to leave, and you would have every right to do so.  You may have to call the police, and you would have every right to do so.

      I don't know any of the facts about this case, because I have never lived in Florida and you have not stated whether Allen West had a permit.  You merely state that it was a public park, as if that answers the question.  It does not.

      In Miller's case in Anchorage, I am very aware of the Anchorage School District's policies.  I have rented out school gyms on a regular basis and I know that they do not allow any person or organization to used their facilities without paying for a permit.  Having a permit, Miller had every right to ask anyone to leave for no reason at all or for any reason not prohibited by the anti-discrimination laws.  That does not excuse the behavior of his goon squad, but it is a point that people at least should be aware of.

      Finally, it matters not that the event was open to the public.  Virtually every store in the country is open to the public, but you can be sure that they have the right to ask people to leave, as long as it is not for a prohibited reason, such as age, sex, religion or national origin.

      I think, therefore I am. I feel, therefore I am a Democrat.

      by Endangered Alaskan Dem on Mon Oct 18, 2010 at 10:52:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Um, they had only rented the pavilion (7+ / 0-)

        The videographer was standing outside of the rented area filming when he was accosted and forced to leave. He was occupying a public space in a public park - not a rented area.

        If you had bothered to watch the video before concern trolling for the thugs, you would have known this.

        In the Miller case, did Miller rent the entire school, or just the gym? Did Miller have any right to have an unlicensed security person handcuff a citizen? The event was not advertised as private. No names taken at the door.  No credentials issued for press. I could go on.

        In the West case, does renting a small part of a park give West the right to sic his goons on someone in another part of the park?

        Why are you defending thugs? You are absolutely wrong on this.

        Damn straight I'm Union. I climb poles and fix cable to unclog the tubes that bring you the internets. You're Welcome.

        by norwood on Mon Oct 18, 2010 at 11:08:21 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  did you listen to the West video? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        norwood, homogenius, FiredUpInCA

        That is some serious intimidation these people used. The videographer was brave, but these people ran roughshod over him, and he ceded rights that I doubt he was legally required to. Agree/disagree?

        nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect

        by erratic on Mon Oct 18, 2010 at 11:28:34 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  This is the new normal (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        norwood, homogenius, reddbierd, erratic

        Public spaces are routinely rented out for private events.  In Alaska, the permit is referred to as an exclusive use permit.  That means that the permittee has paid money for the right to make the public space "private."  In other words, the permittee has the right to exclude others from the public space for the time  period listed on the permit.

        I assume most localities grant permits for families and organizations to use parks for picnics and parties.  If you paid for such a permit and were having a family reunion, what would you do if a bunch of Hell's Angels crashed the party?  I suspect you would ask them to leave, and you would have every right to do so.  You may have to call the police, and you would have every right to do so.

        With all due respect, just because you can have someone in America intimidated or handcuffed because they attended your event doesn't mean you should, particularly if you are running to represent your state and all its inhabitants.

        Legally you can call the police on anyone begging outside of a 7-11. Legally you can trump up a nuisance into an assault.

        But should you? Is that what America is supposed to be now? A free-for-all where we citizen arrest and get restraining orders and carry guns to political rallies because its within our legal right, to do so?

        That's a sick vision for a free country.

        •  True, but that's not the rhetoric here (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Endangered Alaskan Dem

          With all due respect, just because you can have someone in America intimidated or handcuffed because they attended your event doesn't mean you should, particularly if you are running to represent your state and all its inhabitants.

          Very very true.   But the rhetoric here, and on the Miller diaries, is calling for criminal charges to be brought.  Not to mention the cries of Nazi Germany rearing it's head here in River City!  

          It might be nice to find out what his permit allowed him to do before we say he broke a law...

          Minority rights should never be subject to majority vote.

          by lostboyjim on Mon Oct 18, 2010 at 11:49:16 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I seriously doubt he had a permit (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            devtob, high5, erratic, FiredUpInCA

            To sic his biker gang on anyone for any reason anywhere.

            Renting a pavilion in no way implies any right to exert violent control over an entire public park.

            But maybe we should give them the benefit of the doubt and just let them beat the living shit out of us. Just in case they do have a permit for that.

            Damn straight I'm Union. I climb poles and fix cable to unclog the tubes that bring you the internets. You're Welcome.

            by norwood on Mon Oct 18, 2010 at 11:56:26 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  where in this diary did you see a request (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            norwood, FiredUpInCA

            that criminal charges be brought? Or references to Nazi Germany? If you have an issue with a comment, why aren't you replying to that comment, instead of accusing this diary of rhetoric it doesn't actually contain?

            nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect

            by erratic on Mon Oct 18, 2010 at 11:57:50 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Here's your examples (0+ / 0-)

              As I said above, "AND OTHER MILLER DIARIES".  There were 3 up at once yesterday when this hit, Godwin's Law was invoked in all of them.
              Specifically (in another diary):
              http://www.dailykos.com/...

              Note that when I complain of Godwin's Law, I get slammed down by those who continue to insist that yes we are indeed entering Nazi Germany, right here in River City.  Below in this very diary:

              ...Nazism has come to America and it's symbol is an elephant.

              How are these thugs in their gang colors any different from the Brown Shirts?  I despair for our country.

              As for requests for charges being filed, the appear in the other Miller Diary.  Search for "Charges".

              Minority rights should never be subject to majority vote.

              by lostboyjim on Tue Oct 19, 2010 at 03:01:02 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  Is there a difference? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        devtob

        When a public park is used, a permit is purchased and an invitation is issued to the public, at what point can the event revert to "private"?

        As you stated, the permit makes a part of the park such as the shelter their private area, but, just as with that family reunion, the noisy obnoxious folks in the rest of the park are not under obligation to observe the permitted's privacy.

        Now, please address how walking the individual to the parking lot fits into this "privacy" scenario.

        Who had the police power to "run a tag"? In Florida cops get fired for this.

        "A functioning Democracy must defy economic interests of the elites on behalf of citizens" Christopher Hedges Econ 3.50&Soc. 5.79

        by wmc418 on Tue Oct 19, 2010 at 04:42:39 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  You have and have not a point. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        norwood

        I cannot speak for unique Alaska policy but in general to make an event in a public facility actually private in the sense you seem to be thinking you must have an authorized form of formal access control. Certainly if a theater group rents a school auditorium and sells tickets if and as allowed by school policy they have real control of the space. Same with an event "By Invitation Only" with invitations checked at the door.

        The same level of control is unlikely to apply if the event is advertised by the sponsor as "Public Invited" at which the event takes on much more a public event in a public space character. Sure, a disruptive member of the public might be evicted, but you sure won't likely get a court to agree if the eviction is based on the content of a question asked when others are allowed questions. There is also a big difference in private security and police being involved. There would be much less risk of personal liability, for the event sponsors and security people themselves, if a duly appointed police officer were involved at the start. Private security opens a door for some serious liability than normally has none of the shield provided to public officials within the scope of their duties.

        As for public parks? You got a permit for a part of the park that is it. Unless the disruption of your event reaches the standard of public disorder normally bringing police attention in a public park you've got damn little legal right to extend your permit to other areas. This is a big mistake some make on the National Mall where they seem to think their permit for a particular area gives some license to extend their evern to tourists and other users or even the entire city. Wrong! In fact, if your permit is for the Lincoln Memorial steps and you step onto the nearby streets you are in Metro Police jurisdiction, not NPS.

        As for the bikers invading a family picnic in a pavilion? Bullshit! Even the bikers would have a case if they were evicted or harassed for simply photographing the pavilion or people in it from the public spaces of the park.

        The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

        by pelagicray on Tue Oct 19, 2010 at 06:07:24 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Start posting guerilla flyers at GOP events. (11+ / 0-)

    WARNING! This candidate's policy against being asked unauthorized questions will be strictly enforced. Violators will be handcuffed and forcibly removed from the event. THIS IS NOT A PUBLIC MEETING. You have been so informed.

  •  And when we fight back, WE'RE the ones (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chimpy, erratic, amk for obama, yawnimawke

    who get villified.  Nazism has come to America and it's symbol is an elephant.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White

    by zenbassoon on Mon Oct 18, 2010 at 09:23:31 PM PDT

  •  I have a question (9+ / 0-)

    Why pay these goons the courtesy of pixelating their faces and the other identifying marks/patches on their colors?   It's a public park - if they're caught on camera behaving badly, then show the world their identities.  Let 'em squeal and whine about it as much as they want - it only keeps their behavior in the news.

  •  Hope lots of people see this. (9+ / 0-)

    Some Re-thug took a run at me last week. Wilted when I stood up to him.

    This space for rent!

    by Danno11 on Mon Oct 18, 2010 at 09:51:43 PM PDT

  •  tip's & rec'd; hope more people see this! nt (6+ / 0-)

    Earth: Mostly harmless ~ The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (revised entry)

    by yawnimawke on Mon Oct 18, 2010 at 10:29:43 PM PDT

  •  I just posted this diary in the overnight (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    norwood, devtob, erratic

    open thread hoping to get more eyes for you. This story needs to get out there. The beckster has been talking about us being the ones that would be violent, when we all knew they would be the ones that would pull this brownshirt bs. I hope this diary gets the traffic it deserves.

    Earth: Mostly harmless ~ The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (revised entry)

    by yawnimawke on Mon Oct 18, 2010 at 10:37:08 PM PDT

  •  Any public figure who's that freaked out about (5+ / 0-)

    his public speeches being taped isn't fit to hold office.
    I've played music at an annual event for the last ten years for the Oregon Veteran's Motorcycle Association. They look like these guys, but these sons of bitches in the video aren't fit to carry their helmets for them. The guys I played for are raising money to help wounded veterans get hooked up with services. These losers in the video need to be arrested for menacing. I served in the military, as well as many of my friends, and I'm telling you that the oath these guys took had nothing to do with bullying a defenseless kid with a video camera.

    "The kid in the combat gear is dead because the men in the suits failed."-me

    by porchdog1961 on Mon Oct 18, 2010 at 10:57:30 PM PDT

  •  I think in the Florida case more background (0+ / 0-)

    on the relevent history of this election race is needed. What is going on with these candidates? What is each charging the other with, and what have been the responses from the other party?

    Rightly or wrongly this sets the tone for the rest of the campaign.

    We hear something about a Social Security number. What is the rest of the story on that? That the Florida Democratic Party did...? What is the rest of the story on that?

    •  Nothing justifies this behavior (0+ / 0-)

      Regardless of the "tone" of the campaign.

      Obviously, you know the story behind the SSN - the Dem party included West's SSN on a mailer by mistake. Apologies have been made. No one except for West and his minions are suggesting that this was anything other than an unfortunate error on the part of the Dem. Party.

      Well, I guess YOU are suggesting something else.

      Apparently you and the motorcycle gang members all feel that a printing error justifies violence. You are all full of shit.

      Damn straight I'm Union. I climb poles and fix cable to unclog the tubes that bring you the internets. You're Welcome.

      by norwood on Tue Oct 19, 2010 at 08:33:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't get the SSN issue. (0+ / 0-)

        What does it matter, the SSN? How did the Dems get West's SNN anyway? Is there nothing more to the story? There must be more to this story.

        I am not in the motorcycle gang and I didn't see any violence in this video. If there is some violence I suggest getting the video to a lawyer for an opinion. I am not a lawyer.

  •  Might get interesting if some on our side engaged (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    norwood, devtob

    off duty police as "security" for their reporting, particularly after getting and with legal advice from an attorney. The handcuffs might go the other way right quickly.

    The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

    by pelagicray on Tue Oct 19, 2010 at 06:10:04 AM PDT

  •  why blur their faces? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    norwood

    the thugs were in a public space with no expectation of privacy.

    George Bush is Living proof of the axiom "Never send a boy to do a man's job" E -2.25 S -4.10

    by nathguy on Tue Oct 19, 2010 at 07:53:53 AM PDT

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