So much for justice

So much for justice

Anudist
Anudist

November 6th, 2005, 4:02 am #1

Judge rules topless protest at Capitol could bring arrests

Saturday, November 5, 2005


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(11-05) 11:19 PST SACRAMENTO, (AP) --


Women who planned to protest topless at the state Capitol Monday can be busted if they go ahead with their bare-chested demonstration, a federal judge said.


U.S. District Judge Garland E. Burrell ruled Friday that "there is no First Amendment right to bare breasts on the grounds of the state Capitol."


To draw attention to their views, members of the Mendocino-based group Breasts Not Bombs have demonstrated topless without incident in the San Francisco Bay area and at an anti-war rally in Washington, D.C..


In this case, their protest is aimed at initiatives backed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Tuesday's special election ballot.


But the California Highway Patrol said nudity is banned at the state Capitol and threatened arrests, warning that anyone arrested might have to permanently register with the state as a sex offender.


The group asked Burrell to block arrests, saying demonstrating bare-chested is part of their protest.


"We feel what we are doing is harmless," Sherry Glaser said after the ruling. "It's a demonstration of what freedom is, what peace is, what liberty is."


State officials have been consistent in their enforcement. They threatened to arrest a member of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals whose bare body was painted to look like a cat, as well as gay rights protesters who wore transparent pants and pasties. Those demonstrators complied, but a man who stripped to protest a marijuana arrest was hauled off to jail.


The state argued that topless women at the Capitol could snarl traffic, expose visiting children to nudity and tempt sex offenders.


Breasts Not Bombs has a permit for its protest, and members were considering over the weekend whether it was worth risking arrest during the demonstration.



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Bob
Bob

November 7th, 2005, 2:12 am #2

with the "breast freedom" movement is not whether women wear or don't wear bras. My position is that we should all (in USA) abide more by the wishes of the majority. If the majority of citizens in a given community or state object to exposing women's breasts in public, then I think the women (and men) in that locale should respect that and behave accordingly. If they (the voters) distinguish between a male breast and a female breast, then I think that should be accepted by topless advocates as "the will of the people has spoken".

Exceptions would be (I think) with indoor clubs (including strip clubs, or social clubs) that are known to allow bare breasts -- if you don't want to see that, don't go in. I also would have no objection to private resorts or beaches that allow topless (or bottomless) activity, so long as the situation is truly private and you don't have people (including children) innocently walking into the topless/bottomless setting. It should be a situation where anyone exposed to such nudity had a reasonable expectation that this would occur and chose to expose themselves (as adults) to that environment. So be it.

On the other hand, if a majority of voters were OK with nudity, in specific public settings, so be it. In that regard, breast freedom advocates can try to "educate" the masses. Just don't fuss if the majority still chooses to disagree.

As for the alleged health benefits of bra-lessness, I think women with small-to-medium breasts can dress in a manner that conceals the fact that they are sans-bra. More endowed women would likely have more difficulty, but if they dressed with layers of clothing or with jackets fastened in front, they could probably still go braless without anyone being too alarmed about it.

The question is: Do some women deliberately push the envelope by choosing to dress in a fashion in which everyone is going to know that they are braless (bouncing, etc.)? Then, if some one objects, I think it was the braless woman who pushed the issue, not the person who saw and objected.
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Nat
Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

November 7th, 2005, 2:31 am #3

I'm old enough to remember when the "majority" of the people in the south wanted blacks to sit in the back of buses, attend separate inferior schools, refused admittance to many restaurants and denied the right to vote. But since the "majority" of the people wanted it that way- you think it should have stayed that way? Or is it better for everyone to have equal rights, regardless of race or gender?
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meredith
meredith

November 7th, 2005, 2:51 am #4

The rights guaranteed in the Bill of Rights are not subject to majority vote and much of the Bill of Rights is on the books to protect minorities who are not necessarily popular. We should all recognize that we will be with the majority on some issues and not on others. Insuring the rights of minorities protects all of us.
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Nat
Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

November 7th, 2005, 3:13 am #5

That's right- our founding fathers were very concern about the rights of minorities because this country was founded largely by people who left England because of religious persecution by the majority there.
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Boreas
Boreas

November 7th, 2005, 4:48 am #6

with the "breast freedom" movement is not whether women wear or don't wear bras. My position is that we should all (in USA) abide more by the wishes of the majority. If the majority of citizens in a given community or state object to exposing women's breasts in public, then I think the women (and men) in that locale should respect that and behave accordingly. If they (the voters) distinguish between a male breast and a female breast, then I think that should be accepted by topless advocates as "the will of the people has spoken".

Exceptions would be (I think) with indoor clubs (including strip clubs, or social clubs) that are known to allow bare breasts -- if you don't want to see that, don't go in. I also would have no objection to private resorts or beaches that allow topless (or bottomless) activity, so long as the situation is truly private and you don't have people (including children) innocently walking into the topless/bottomless setting. It should be a situation where anyone exposed to such nudity had a reasonable expectation that this would occur and chose to expose themselves (as adults) to that environment. So be it.

On the other hand, if a majority of voters were OK with nudity, in specific public settings, so be it. In that regard, breast freedom advocates can try to "educate" the masses. Just don't fuss if the majority still chooses to disagree.

As for the alleged health benefits of bra-lessness, I think women with small-to-medium breasts can dress in a manner that conceals the fact that they are sans-bra. More endowed women would likely have more difficulty, but if they dressed with layers of clothing or with jackets fastened in front, they could probably still go braless without anyone being too alarmed about it.

The question is: Do some women deliberately push the envelope by choosing to dress in a fashion in which everyone is going to know that they are braless (bouncing, etc.)? Then, if some one objects, I think it was the braless woman who pushed the issue, not the person who saw and objected.
I have to agree with Nat and Meredith, about minority vs majority rights.

I have a question for you since you were quite articulate about your view. What exactly is the danger in seeing a naked breast or naked person? I just don't get it. I think that the protest "Breasts not Bombs" is quite brilliant in many ways. Mostly it exposes the absolute silliness of America's fear that nudity in it various forms is somehow dangerous, yet you allow guns and violence to flourish. In fact, it seems to be glorified. I truly do not understand that thinking. Hopefully that protest will get people talking about this issue.

Can you explain to me why nudity/bare breasts are dangerous and guns/wars/violence is okay?

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peter
peter

November 7th, 2005, 12:06 pm #7

I would have to say that the obvious answer would be that the wars and violence add to the concept of male superiority and control where as the freedom of breasts is something that males really are at a loss to control and in fact fear the loss of the control.
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Boreas
Boreas

November 7th, 2005, 2:50 pm #8

Oh Peter, I do like that answer! It seems you were awake during your psych and sociology classes!

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John Bayko
John Bayko

November 7th, 2005, 6:27 pm #9

I would have to say that the obvious answer would be that the wars and violence add to the concept of male superiority and control where as the freedom of breasts is something that males really are at a loss to control and in fact fear the loss of the control.
There is also the fact that most military involvement carried out by the U.S has been immensely profitable. The only exceptions have been a few ideologically driven wars which resulted in overcommitment (Iraq[1], Vietnam, Korea - discussion on whether each was justified is omitted). In fact, a very large chunk of U.S territory itself was seized and occupied through war with Mexico.

Freedom in is not often profitable in a general sense, so there is little incentive - less in a profit driven culture like the U.S than elsewhere. It's particularly unprofitable in a polarized culture - news and entertainment risks offending or alienating up to half the audience, since there is little overlap. As a result, it must become particularly bland, except for a few situations where popularity with a single side is enough (such as "The Daily Show", or "American Dad" as examples of overt modern satire in the U.S, and FOX News and Micheal Moore's documentaries as one sided information coverage).

Those exceptions only exist because a particularly brilliant creative talent somehow poked through (in the case of Seth Macfarlane, it took years after "Familly Guy" was cancelled before audience demand brought it back and gave him the freedom to add "American Dad"). Since most such entertainment and news in the U.S is very poor quality, they can't afford the alienation of half the audience. This means that freedom is actually counter-productive.

To add to that is the desire and push towards conformity in the U.S. It exists in most cultures, but the U.S is one of the few industrialized countries in which it's seen as acceptable to use force to threaten people (and other nations, on occasion) into conformity. To be more specific, there is an "envelope" within which Americans typically feel anything is acceptable, but outside of which it is not just unacceptable, but a threat to that envelope (the boundaries differ for individuals, but like-minded individuals tend to cluster and reinforce their thoughts, as those in this forum do). In the case where "freedom" is a "threat", it becomes acceptable or desirable to use force to supress that threat ("threat" is the giant justification for so many American actions and attitudes, even when the threats are imaginary).

Since war is force against "threats", it is acceptable, while "freedom" is a "threat", and is unacceptable.

On a tangent, David Brin (Libertarian party member and SF author) pointed out that most U.S television and movies which deal with the subject are actually anti-conformist. The main character of almost all action movies is some individual who, if needed, fights the system to "get justice" (contrast this with the U.K's James Bond, who gets full support from the government - the "boys" often show up at the end storming the secret hideout). The problem with that assertion is that in these shows, "the system" is an artificial construct, and "the principles" which the main character fights for are the conventional, accepted American values. It's quite a marvelous brainwashing system (probably not meant as brainwashing - it's just the type of storytelling that makes Americans "feel good" because it's a triumph of "American values" against a "values threat", as discussed above).

So freedom is only okay if it's the "right kind" of freedom. Change is a "threat", so any new freedoms (breasts, gays, etc.) are not okay.

Much of this harkens back to the days of ancient Greece. There's a lot of comparison of the U.S with the Roman Empire, and looking for evidence of collapse (good luck - it took the better part of a millenium before Bizantium finally fell). However, there are parallels with ancient Greece, a prosperous "democracy" (if you weren't a slave, or woman). Around 400-300 B.C when Greece was at its height, but concerned about Greek society. The culture became structured with the aim of preserving the status quo (greatness of Greece), with songs and entertainment considered a key part of shaping society, influencing the youth in particular to grow up to be proper citizens. To such an extent that playing the wrong songs, or introducing new instruments was illegal, as it could corrupt the youth. Indeed, the philosopher Socrates was found guilty of currupting the youth just by discussing ideas with them, and was sentenced to death.

Does the phrase "the danger to children" sound familiar?

Greece became so stagnant introverted in its quest for cultural self-preservation that it was soon conquered by the Macedonians, and later the Romans.

Modern nations don't conquere other nations these days (the U.S being the exception), so it's unlikely that a band of Canadians will overrun the U.S as it collapses under its cultural paranoia. But there will be some sort of shakeup as U.S attitudes fall behind the rest of the world's, with the social upheaval (poverty, alienation, etc.) that accompanies that sort of ignoring of problems in preference for maintaining the status quo (France and England, as well as many other European countries, has been neglecting immigrant populations for a while, and now has Islamic suicide bombers in London and riots in Paris to contend with).

The U.S may find the disruption a little less violent when the time comes, but there is a danger if the political institutions (particularly, the Republican party) changes from a representation of the people (as it is supposed to be) to an instrument aimed at influencing or controlling the population, and actively supressing dissent. Much of the increasingly strident conservatism is a knee-jerk reaction to the growing tide of more liberal attitudes which are sweeping much of the U.S. In a sense, the growing right-wing militancy is a symptom of their weakening influence in society as a whole - a circling of the wagons, as it were, and trying to arm themselves with power to fight the tide.

They will fail, ultimately, simply because the world is moving that way, and the pressure is enormous. Even China is seeing a crisis - last year there were an estimated 70,000 pro-democracy demonstrations (actually, anti-government demonstrations, as they oppose particular government actions, but democratic in the sense that they want the government, in whatever form, to be more responsive to the people). Years ago, the Chinese government saw that a centrally planned economy, while efficient for large projects, simply cannot react to changes in technology, economy, markets, and so on as well as a decentralized, free-market economy, and so embarked on a capitalism-under-communism program which has been very successful so far. The problem, from the government's view, is that large numbers of people who used to be dependent on the government for jobs, now work for private companies, which means that they are now free to speak out against the government (whereas, before, they would be fired and forced into poverty, with no replacement job available).

China has a choice - choke under government control (which didn't work for the past half century - Mao's "Great Leap Forward" nearly ruined the country), or face the growing independence of the population as capitalism drives the economy into the modern world and the wealth that goes with it - with the risk of a social and political upheaval that could threaten the government's survival if it cannot adapt.

The United States conservative forces face a similar choice. If they fight the changes with force (by controlling authority), chances are it will become violent in much the same way as in the 1960s and 1970s. But not likely worse than that. On the other hand, they could just acknowledge that freedom is a good thing, and enter the modern world.

[1] Iraq remains a money fountain for certain very influential parties close to the current administration, so may not be an exception yet. However, the effect on the U.S economy and quality of life has become distinctly negative (discussion of the effect on Iraq quality of life omitted).
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meredith
meredith

November 7th, 2005, 10:55 pm #10

I am cynical about a lot of what Bush does and I think he had no clue what he would be getting into with the invasion of Iraq, but I am not so cynical as to think that he went into Iraq to make money for Halliburton or any of his other associates. Maybe getting even with Saddam, or insuring a plentiful oil supply, or converting Middle Easterners to democracy, which might result in his being remembered as a great president, or all of the above, but not just to get a few extra bucks for his buddies.
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