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Justin Amash
Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI)
One way Republicans have found of dealing with the bad press and hostility they've faced in public meetings over their highly unpopular budget plan has been what's actually a pretty typical Republican response: censorship. They've clamped down on reporters and citizen journalists, barring them from recording the events.

In Michigan, they've taken it up a notch, courtesy of Tea Party control freaks who not only banned a group of senior citizens and reporters, but called security on them at an event with Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI).

Rep. Justin Amash held a townhall meeting sponsored by a Tea Party group on Saturday sponsored by a Tea Party group, but a group of senior citizens and two reporters — including this one — were denied entry to the event.

The traditional purpose of a townhall meeting is for an elected official to meet with his constituents in public, giving the people a chance to ask questions and engage in dialogue with their representatives. But neither the organizers nor Amash apparently wanted to hear from or speak to a group of concerned senior citizens — even at a time when the fate of Medicare is being debated in Congress.

About eight senior citizens arrived at the Prince Conference Center on the Calvin College campus for a chance to question Amash concerning his voting record in regards to eliminating Medicare.

Once barred from attending the event, the seniors stood out in the parking lot where they were taking questions from this reporter and Tanya Somanader of Think Progress, the two members of the media who were denied access. Eventually, six security guards arrived on the scene and said that both the seniors and the reporters had to leave.

The seniors involved said that they had received telephoned invitations to the meeting, and were under the impression that it was a public town hall. Once turned away, a handful of them stood on the sidewalk outside the venue discussing the event, Amash, and the questions they wanted to ask him. At this point, someone inside sicced security on them. That security team was obviously less than convinced of the threat from these seniors and reporters.

ThinkProgress's Tanya Somanader has more:
According to security, the people who called them said the seniors had thrown things at the Tea Party organizers....

According to multiple members inside, no objects were ever thrown. When asked, the conference center staff said they did not call security — indicating that the Tea Party asked security to move the constituents away from the building....

Attendees at the event, however, told ThinkProgress they were surprised reporters were not allowed in. One attendee went back inside to inform Amash that reporters were waiting in the lobby. However, according to Tea Party member Paul Meyer, the organization appointed him to keep reporters out, even after the event was over as we were considered a “security issue.”

After further questioning, security was summoned for a second time. According to the guards, the call again came from Tea Party organizers.

When leaving the event, one attendee stopped to tell ThinkProgress how Amash was a politician of principle. In singing his praises, she told ThinkProgress that “he is a big proponent of transparency.”

A big proponent of transparency, maybe, but not of opposition or tough questions. Which, again, is the Republican way.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Tue May 24, 2011 at 04:40 PM PDT.

Also republished by ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement.

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