Fuck Your God

"Hey, you have your religion in my politics" "Hey, you have your politics in my religion" Two tastes that could be great, just NOT together. Let's discuss how religious zealots are ruining the spirit of the United States and trampling your rights for the sake of their own god.

Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States

"Chuck" currently resides in the Uptown neighborhood of Chicago. While he finds organized religion and their fanatics to be morally bankrupt and power hungry he also believes in the Constitution and our Bill of Rights which allow all of us to believe in any god we choose and the ability to worship in any manner our selves feel to be correct and good and right. So long as we respect others' rights to do so as well. The latter concept being foreign to most religious folk.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Are Bloggers' First Amendment Rights in Jeopardy?

This space is typically reserved for matters pertaining to organized religion and it's involvement in government; usually an attempt to protect the peoples government from the perversion of religion. Today, however, it is in defence of the people against government.

Let's start with the important fact: Digital media in the form of blogging on BLOGGER.COM, and other blogging sites, is under attack by the city of Chicago and private enterprise being employed by the city of Chicago and it's taxpayers. Your First Amendment rights are being threatened with oppression and censorship by intimidation and strong-arm techniques. The city of Chicago is seeking to stop the electronic media from expressing opinions, viewpoints, and factual information about the abuses of government upon it's electorate.

Your right to free speech is specified by The Declaration of Independence:

Amendment I
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Now for the background for this.

Helen Shiller is the alderman for the 46th ward of Chicago and has been for about 20 years. She originally ran on the platform of helping the poor and disenfranchised of the Uptown neighborhood on Chicago's north side. But after 20 years in position this area of the city is still overburdened with homelessness, the mentally ill, and poverty. Some of these being superlatives for the entire country. With minimal improvement in the standard of living for these folks in Uptown taxpaying citizens have been making attempts to remove her from office through legal election cycles to no avail.

Around the year 2000 she helped create a TIF district in the neighborhood. This stands for Tax Increment Financing and means that tax dollars will be siphoned off in this district for the improvement of the community. Noble? Should be. Ms. Shiller hooked up with a developer named Peter Holsten and worked up plans for a development on approximately six acres of land that had been owned by the Chicago Transit Authority. This development is called "Wilson Yard" after the CTA named space.

(this picture taken from http://www.aldermanshiller.com/. To the best of my knowledge this image is public domain.)

This image shows the finished development which is to be completed in 2010. The portion to the left of the Target store is housing. The community was told this would be mixed income property and elderly housing. We are now informed that it will be low income, very low income, and NO INCOME housing. None of this was agreed upon by the tax paying residents of Uptown nor were our views and opinions used in the development of this taxpayer financed housing project. The taxpayers in the neighborhood objected vehemently to this historically proven failure of a housing model, warehousing of poor people in tall and congested spaces similar to Cabrini Green in Chicago; Cabrini Green being the "ghetto" of JJ and his family as portrayed in "Good Times" from television.

When the neighborhood's redress of grievances went unheeded and our concerns were ignored by the alderman and the developer legal action was taken by the taxpayers in the form of a grassroots organization and a lawsuit against the city of Chicago and the developer. You can read all about the specifics of the lawsuit at Fix Wilson Yard.

A blogger also started posting information about this TIF problem and the tax abuse involved. This blog, Uptown Update, became a neighborhood sensation with many taxpaying citizens getting involved and expressing their opinions. They also added a button on the blog where you can donate to Fix Wilson Yard to raise money for the legal expense of the lawsuit.

These two entities have become quite the thorn in the sides of both Peter Holsten and Helen Shiller. As this lawsuit is against the city of Chicago it is their lawyers that are defending it, Peter, and Helen. Those lawyers are now attempting to violate the first amendment rights of free speech by issuing subpoenas against Uptown Update and other bloggers in what seems to be an intimidation tactic to stop this blogger from updating the electorate on these shenanigans. They have also subpoenaed other bloggers from reporting the news about this violation of the public trust.

Why is this important to you? Because if local government is able to lessen or censor your freedom of speech with this critique of government it will set a precedent for larger state government and up the ladder to federal government. Imagine what we would have if George W. Bush had this precedent in his arsenal. I'm sure you remember the uproar that occurred when he disallowed the images of dead soldiers from the Iraq war from being published. These things start small and seemingly inconsequential. Until it happens to you directly.

Now is your chance to prevent this from happening to you and support those to whom it IS happening. Visit Uptown Update daily, donate as much as you can and as often as you can to Fix Wilson Yard. These people are working very hard to protect your tax money and your first amendment rights. This is a landmark time in Chicago. With the United States in financial crisis and a downturn in revenue please don't let them spend what little we have on a lawsuit to diminish your rights. You have a right to be heard. You have a right to speak. You have a First Amendment Right!


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