A Rubber Stamp Audience for a Rubber Stamp City Council?

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Statesman Richard Mell lectures others on proper decorum.
Andy Thayer

Yesterday two new proposed City Council rules were introduced aiming to force public attendees at City Council meetings to imitate the Yes Men who fill the council chambers.

The proposed rules, introduced by Aldermen Burke, Mell, Austin and Suarez, would prohibit "cheering, yelling, clapping, foot stomping, whistling, booing or jeering" – except, of course, when they want cheering, yelling, clapping, foot stomping, whistling, booing or jeering.

Because such applauding and carrying on is routinely done in favor of ceremonial resolutions and other measures favored by the Mayor and his rubber stamp City Council. This goes on at council meeting after council meeting, as patronage appendages laud the world's greatest mayor and his super duper good city council.

As Fran Spielman points out in today's Chicago Sun-Times, Alderman Mell is the same jackass who infamously "stood on his desk and shouted late into the night during the raucous session in which the Council named Ald. Eugene Sawyer acting mayor after the death of Harold Washington."

The problem, as we found out during council "debate" over Chicago's new sit-down-and-shut-up ordinances, is when opponents of the Mayor and his council hacks silently hold up signs showing opposition. Chicago Police attempted to take away our signs, saying they violated Council rules. We of course insisted that they cite the rule we were allegedly violating, thinking they were making it up. And surprise surprise, they were lying.

So now, imitating the worst of the stand-up-and-sit-down ordinances, the proposed rules would only permit those signs "with prior authorization from the presiding officer or chair," making Chicago council meetings the Western equivalent of Pyongyang rallies for our own Great Leader(s).

The proposed rule changes will be "debated" at the next meeting of the Council's "Committee on Committees, Rules and Ethics" (yeah, that's a real thigh-slapper). The Committee is chaired by the aforementioned great statesman Richard Mell. No information about the next meeting of the Committee is publicly available yet, but when it is, it should be posted here.

When we do find out when they meet, please, show up with signs opposing this crap. It may be one of the last times you're able to do so, as Emanuel and his buddies continue to junk our civil liberties in the run up to May's G8 and NATO summits, the meeting of the world's 1%.

Here is a copy of the proposed new rules.

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