Posts tagged First Amendment
Posts tagged First Amendment
#OccupyWallStreetMovies is a tag mostly mocking the Occupy Wall Street movement. It’s trending, yet #OccupyWallStreet is generating quite a bit more traffic. So, who’s shocked Twitter is censoring the #OccupyWallStreet hashtag from trending?
If you are legitimately shocked, you haven’t been paying attention.
JP Morgan Chase has invested over $400 million in Twitter this year, and $4.6 million in the NYPD just a few months ago. Interesting coincidence, no?
In a disturbing scene from today’s “Occupy Wall Street” protests, a group of peaceful female protesters were rounded up in an orange-colored mesh pen by police and subsequently sprayed with mace without any provocation.
In spite of multiple reported incidents of possible police violence, major media outlets seem to be content to let the protests go by completely unreported, following the same “who-cares” attitude they have taken toward recent revelations that the NYPD has violated the Constitutional rights of American citizens by spying on them as possible terrorists and enemies of the state despite a complete absence of evidence of any crimes.
This is absolutely disturbing. Penning people up to mace them is police brutality. Period. What will it take to get the mainstream media to pay attention? If you follow the #OccupyWallStreet, you’ll find out that at least 80 were arrested today. AP and Wall Street Journal mentioned the arrests briefly today.
As the protests against corporate greed and the "occupation" of the Financial District continues for a third day, at least seven demonstrators have been arrested. According to Bloomberg News, two were arrested for trying to enter a Bank of America building, another for jumping a police barrier, and four more for “wearing masks in violation of a law that bars two or more participants from doing so.” This law dates back to 1845 in the Anti-Rent era—a time when a wealthy few owned feudal-esque leases to maintain control of tenants. Absolutely nothinglike today!
According to a Time’s Up! volunteer, one of the four arrested on mask charges was actually nabbed for “writing with chalk on the sidewalk,” and we’re told a police captain actually “leaped forward” over the barricade to arrest that demonstrator, who explains that he was arrested because he “placed his hand” on a barricade and didn’t have time to move away after a verbal warning. CityRoom confirms that their photographer did not witness the man attempting to jump the barricade. The NYPD maintains he did.
The anti-mask statute was passed as a response to the actions of rabble-rousing renters, seeking to prevent “distress sales” of their property by their landlords, dressing up as “Indians” to protect their rights and property. N.Y. Penal Law § 240.35(4) cropped back up in the news 11 years ago, when the KKK petitioned to wear masks protesting in the city. They were prohibited from doing so because of the statute, and sued. The USDC for the Southern District of New York sided with the KKK, and ruled the law unconstitutional, but not before protesters were arrested in 2002 for the same offense.
However, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, which included current Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, reversed that ruling in 2004, noting that because the KKK was already wearing a hood and robe, “the expressive force of the mask is, therefore, redundant.” The judges also noted that the “individual’s right to speech must always be balanced against the state’s interest in safety, and its right to regulate conduct that it legitimately considers potentially dangerous.”
Around 70 signs were reportedly stolen overnight by the NYPD as they maintained 24-hour surveillance of the area, which is being occupied by demonstrators in tents and sleeping bags.
I hope those arrested challenge their arrests on First Amendment grounds. This law seems to be constitutionally specious at best. If you’re arrested, attempt to document and/or remember everything. Then, call 212-679-6018 for the National Lawyer’s Guild, or 212-607-3300 for the ACLU. Write these numbers on your arm in sharpie.
I stand in solidarity with those occupying Wall Street. Stay strong.
Estoy en solidaridad con las personas que ocupan Wall Street. Por favor mantenga fuerte en la actualidad.
Thursday’s No Justice No BART protest–which shut down Powell Street Station in San Francisco–turned into an ugly attack on free speech and freedom of the press when BART police arrested over 30 people, over a dozen of whom are reported to be journalists, including student journalists from San Francisco State University and the Chronicle’s Vivian Ho. Ho and others were cited for interfering with transit.Protesters and the press stayed outside the platform areas of the station; No Justice No BART had called for the demonstration to take place in front of the fare gates.
Also on hand, the Department of Homeland Security.
BART police cited the local ABC and CBS news crews reporting on the protests, and some journalists had their San Francisco Police Department-issued credentials confiscated by the SFPD, who aided the BART cops.
Here’s what happens when people join with Anonymous and say that enough is enough. No justice, no peace. Keep the protests rolling.
This states very clearly that not only is it a right of citizens to record public officials, but makes the case that such activity should be actually encouraged to maintain democracy. Without our First Amendment we are nothing. Having an elected official that you cannot petition or that you cannot have First Amendment rights when around is like being a sports player and hiring an agent who you have never met and will never talk to.
But perhaps we deserve it. I mean, how did we become so complacent as a nation that the majority of people have little to no understanding of the First Amendment? We have decades of unconstitutional policies and we must all stand up across the country to protect our Freedom of Speech.
Read the decision here. At today’s #opBART protests in San Francisco, protesters reported being told to not film police because it’s illegal. I refer you to the court’s decision, which is quite a big deal.
GOP Congressmen Put Constituents Who Asked Tough Questions On A “Watch List”
By Marie Diamond on Aug 26, 2011 at 2:50 pm
In recent weeks GOP congressmen have resorted to all sorts of underhanded schemes to avoid interacting with their angry constituents back home over August recess. Now two Republican freshmen, Reps. Daniel Webster (R-FL) and Tim Griffin (R-AZ), are taking this trend one step further, using disturbing intimidation tactics and “watch lists" to discourage constituents from asking them questions.
In April, ThinkProgress reported from Webster’s home district about a town hall where he faced a barrage of criticism for defending his support for tax breaks for the rich and the Medicare-ending Paul Ryan budget. One of the constituents ThinkProgress interviewed, Tamecka Pierce, ended up as #5 on the “Watch List.”
So disagree with them and get your face and info distributed? This is disgusting and a little bit terrifying. Further, who cares if there are paid activists in attendance? Does that mean they don’t have the First Amendment right to ask a question at a public venue? The amount of effort put into the flyer, with the photos and research, is ridiculous. I would like to know if the staffers were paid with federal money to run opposition research on activists. <sarcasm> This isn’t COINTELPRO v. 2.0 - leave that to the FBI </sarcasm>.
This serves to do nothing more than have a chilling effect on freedom of speech and on holding elected officials responsible to their constituents. Shame on any media outlet that enables this charade.
And damn. I have a message to those bitching about #opBART protesters keeping them from getting home:
At least you get to go home. Those killed unlawfully by BART police in San Francisco will never again be so lucky as to go to any kind of home.
I stand with those in San Francisco peacefully supporting the right to free speech and assembly. I stand with the right of people in San Francisco to ride public transportation to ride transit without fear of being killed by a trigger-happy cop who claims not to know the difference between a firearm and a taser.
For future reference, here’s the taser and gun compared:
Police officers are required to carry the Tasers on their belt on the opposite side of their firearms. The department-issued firearm is a Sig-Sauer 40-caliber which weighs nearly three times as much as the department-issued Taser X26. It is also two inches taller.
Huh. Seems tough to get confused. Anyhow, why the need to shoot an unarmed, handcuffed man in the back with a taser?
So I stand with #opBART and others fighting against a police state. If you’re in or near San Francisco, I hope you will too, every Monday at the Civic Center station at 5 p.m.
After today’s protests, and arrests of peaceful protesters, here’s my suggestion:
And the winner of the “Worst Constitutional Argument of the Week” Award is… KEVIN A. LEHMANN for his argument that Muslims in America have no First Amendment rights. And yes, he cites European multiculturalism and professional hatemonger Geert Wilders. Lehmann might as well cite Anders Behring Brevik’s manifesto. I wish I were joking.
America faces a grave threat from Islam. Muslims are infiltrating our country in droves and they’re doing it under the guise of “Constitutional Protection.” And like England, if we don’t stand our ground now, it will be too late. Muslims are cunning, crafty and clever. They’re using our ignorance of the understanding of our own Constitution against us, and they are clandestinely and methodically spreading their tentacles in a quiet and unassuming manner.
Federal, state, and local governments on the other hand won’t acknowledge the imminent threat. They incorrectly claim that Muslims have “Constitutional Rights” to come here, proselytize people, build mosques, and implement shariah in their communities and in the public square. They’re dead wrong! And by and large, Islam is getting away with it just like they have in Europe. Only unlike Europe, and in Great Britain in particular, it’s not too late to stem the tide, but we have to act now. Time is not on our side. In fact, this may come as a shock, but there are more mosques being built on American soil than Christian churches. We are already well under way to being Islamized.
To understand Islam is to understand sharia. The religion of Islam is nothing short of a totalitarian political, economic, military, social and legal system that’s camouflaged in religious garb. Their mandate (not objective) is to incorporate our country into a global Islamic caliphate.
Sadly, they are making serious inroads towards their tyrannical mandate because America is not resisting. We are all that stands between freedom and a worldwide Islamic caliphate. The United States of America is the world’s last bastion of hope.
And that’s not the worst of it. The rest of the article is quite similar to the Know-Nothing Party’s platform. This Islamophobia is not unique in that it was Jews, Catholics, Jesuits, Masons, etc. at various points in history.
In fact, in the excerpt, replace references to Muslims with Catholics. Congratulations - you’ve successfully joined the Know-Nothings!
Abraham Lincoln wrote:
"I am not a Know-Nothing. That is certain. How could I be? How can any one who abhors the oppression of negroes, be in favor of degrading classes of white people? Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that ‘all men are created equal.’ We now practically read it ‘all men are created equal, except negroes.’ When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read ‘all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and catholics.’ When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty — to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be take pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy [sic].” - Letter to Joshua F. Speed August 24, 1855
Don’t believe me? Check out their party platform.
This Seems Kind Of Wrong of the Day: Cell phone service was temporarily suspended in several Bay Area Rapid Transit stations to prevent protesters from communicating with each other, according to BART police Lt. Andy Alkire.
Word that members of “No Justice No BART” would be protesting the shooting death of Charles Hill by a BART police officer reached BART’s media relations department, which asked wireless providers to shut off service at four downtown San Francisco stations to prevent “disruptive activities.” A similar protest on July 11th delayed trains for hours during the evening commute.
“Paid areas of BART stations are reserved for ticketed passengers who are boarding, exiting or waiting for BART cars and trains, or for authorized BART personnel,” BART said in a statement explaining their actions. “No person shall conduct or participate in assemblies or demonstrations or engage in other expressive activities in the paid areas of BART stations, including BART cars and trains and BART station platforms.”
Alkire called the service disruption “a great tool to utilize for this specific purpose.”
Charles Hill, a heavily intoxicated 45-year-old transient, was shot and killed by a BART police officer who claimed Hill was threatening him with knives. According to witness testimony, Hill was not running or lunging as the two officers who intercepted him reported.
CCTV footage released by BART does not appear to verify either version of the story.
You know what? It is fucking terrifying to me that police can just shut down cell phone service if there are riots or whatever around.
what i don’t understand is how they are allowed to consciously inhibit the right to assemble in peaceful protest. it’s unconstitutional. this is not a riot. these people are protesting what they consider to be an injustice, the same way that people did sit-ins at restaurants that didn’t allow african americans in the south. THIS IS OUR GODDAMN CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT.
this is getting way too fucking orwellian for my taste.
I dunno, without justifying the actions of their transit cops (why do transit cops have guns, anyway? They have them here and I think that is completely unnecessary, and if they changed protocol, they’d hardly be needed), I’d be happy if the people controlling the transit were able to intercept a riot or protest by shutting off cellphone reception. I have a big problem with protests and so on when they interfere and negatively impact the daily lives of the people around them. I think it’s selfish and foolish and that is one reason why I would never consider myself an activist. And I don’t know about the Bay Area, but where I live the transit is privately owned, if that’s the case with BART, I don’t think there’s anything “Orwellian” about trying to keep their system moving for the people it serves. Have your fucking protest elsewhere if you must, where it doesn’t prevent people from safely commuting.
And now all you young kids can see what a “conservative asshole” I truly am.
Don’t protest if it impedes my daily life? Uh, no. One of the points of a protest is for it to be visible. If it’s disrupting transit, that’s rather visible. Further, that (ideally) gets people thinking about their cause, particularly because they’re going so far to impede the normal flow of daily activity. I have news for you - shutting down cell phone service is pretty disruptive to daily life for people in and around the area.
When Martin Luther King, Jr. wanted to march through Alabama, two of the arguments against it was that the march would impede roadways and stress infrastructure, and that violence could potentially happen. The authorities said he could march somewhere else. A judge ruled against those arguments, allowing the march to take place. I’m not comparing these folks to the Selma marchers, but there’s some parallels to the arguments used by detractors. This is a public entity, attempting to stop demonstrators and disrupting private communication services, simply because they’re inconvenient and ‘could’ potentially lead to a dangerous situation or violence.
BART is not privately owned. However, they claim that they made areas available for “expressive activity” and the service interruption was only in the “paid areas.” I somehow doubt that. If this could be used here, imagine how else it could be used.
Rightwing activists and propagandists James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles,employees of con-artist and propagandist Andrew Breitbart, may not use the First Amendment as an excuse for breaking the law in California, according to a federal judge’s ruling this week.
Judge M. James Lorenz rejected the defendants’ argument and motion for summary judgment in federal court, as part of the civil lawsuit filed against them by former San Diego ACORN worker Juan Carlos Vera.
Basically, in California, you can’t tape a meeting, etc. if both parties agree it would be confidential. This is what these two did, and the judge said the First Amendment does not allow them to break the law.
Andrew Shirvell “repeatedly violated office policies, engaged in borderline stalking behavior and inappropriately used state resources,” Cox said.
The lawyer for Chris Armstrong, the university’s student body president, lauded the decision by Cox to axe Shirvell.
"It’s inexplicable — he knows nothing about Chris," attorney Deborah Gordon said on CNN’s "AC 360" about Shirvell, who claimed that Armstrong was a "racist, elitist liar" and "privileged pervert."
"We’re very gratified that justice was done … and, for the time, Shirvell is going to be held responsible," Gordon said.
Shirvell’s lawyer, Philip J. Thomas, acknowledged his client’s termination to CNN but did not comment further. He told the Detroit Free Press that his client was “devastated” by Cox’s announcement, claiming that Shirvell’s bosses gave him positive reviews and knew of his activities outside work.
"This smells political to me," Thomas told the newspaper. "There’s been a tremendous piling-on against Andrew. The liberal media started this tempest in a teapot."
Gordon responded by telling CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Monday night that she felt it was “pathetic and lame for (Shirvell) to be whining about being bullied.”
In late September, Cox defended Shirvell’s authoring of a blog titled “Chris Armstrong Watch” that railed against the college senior and sociology major.
"Here in America, we have this thing called the First Amendment, which allows people to express what they think and engage in political and social speech," Cox told CNN. "He’s clearly a bully … but is that protected under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution? Yes."
But in Monday’s announcement, Cox said he concluded that Shirvell’s dismissal was warranted due to actions “unbecoming a state employee” that went beyond the blog.
Cox said he wasn’t firing Shirvell for “exercising … First Amendment rights, (however) unpopular (the) positions might be,” but for persistent and personal harassment.
According to Cox, Shirvell showed up at Armstrong’s home three times — including once at 1:30 a.m. Cox said that this early morning visit, especially, showed that Shirvell was intent on harassing Armstrong, not just exercising his right to free speech
I vigorously defend the First Amendment, but damn, it’s about time for this asshat to get canned.
Just when you thought Christine O’Donnell, the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in Delaware, could do nothing further to top herself, she does.
At a Tuesday morning debate with her Democratic rival Chris Coons, she appeared to be aggressively ignorant of the fact that the First Amendment requires the separation of church and state.
Making matters worse, the audience was actually filled with people with presumably more than a passing familiarity with the Constitution: law professors and students.
"Where in the Constitution is the separation of church and state?" O’Donnell asked him. When Coons responded that the First Amendment bars Congress from making laws respecting the establishment of religion, O’Donnell asked: "You’re telling me that’s in the First Amendment?"
From NPR…my brain is literally broken. I know this is all over the place, but damn. It takes willful ignorance to pull this one off, kids.
Another lesson for a Saturday
I understand this quote more than I ever thought I would