The Young Turks: Cenk, Ben Mankiewicz and Brett Erlich discuss troubling reports that the Department of Justice tapped Fox News reporter James Rosen’s phone line – and his parents’. Cenk says the journalist wiretapping is the only actual scandal going on right now (as opposed to the IRS audits and Benghazi). But because Fox News flips out over everything, it’s hard to separate the wheat from the chaff on the rare occasion that they’re right about something.
“Part of the problem is that Fox News cries wolf so much that once they have a legitimate argument… you’ve lost a little credibility,” Cenk says.
I'm not sure when, or if, Fox News ever had a legitimate argument -- or credibility -- but they do cry wolf rather often.
On Friday, Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) posthumously awarded internet activist Aaron Swartz the American Library Association’s (ALA) 2013 James Madison Award during the 15th Annual Freedom of Information Day in Washington, D.C. According to the American Library Association, “Swartz will receive the award for his dedication to promoting and protecting public access to research and government information.
“Aaron loved libraries. I remember how excited he was to get library privileges at Harvard and be able to use the Widener library there. I know he would have been humbled and honored to receive this award. We thank you,” said Robert Swartz, Aaron’s father in reaction to the award. “Aaron's goal was to make knowledge freely available to everyone and we can all further his legacy by making this happen.”
Before his suicide in January, Swartz was a co-founder of Demand Progress, an advocacy group that organizes people to take action on civil liberties and government reform issues. Swartz was also a leader in the national campaign to prevent the passing of the Stop Online Piracy Act, a bill that would have diminished critical online legal protections.
Swartz was revered as a gifted computer programmer long before he became a public activist. He helped to develop the web feed format RSS, the website framework web.py and the social news website Reddit. As a teenager, Swartz designed the code layer for the Creative Commons licenses.
Join us and pack the court on February 6 at 10:00 am, 40 Foley Square, Room 1005. This is a critical step in our case, Hedges v. Obama, and the stakes are high. We need your presence in court to show that Americans care about their civil rights.
Join us in solidarity and support of the named plaintiffs Chris Hedges, Daniel Ellsberg, Noam Chomsky, Brigitta Jónsdóttir, Jennifer “Tangerine” Bolen, Kai Wargalla, and Alexa O’Brien who are challenging the indefinite detention provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act, NDAA, before the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals.
The court is located on 40 Foley Square, NY, NY in room 1505 on the 15th floor. All are welcome.
On Wednesday, December 12th, members of (de)Occupy Honolulu filed a lawsuit against the City & County of Honolulu, Wesley Chun (Director & Chief Engineer of Department of Facilities Maintenance), Trish Morikawa (County Housing Coordinator), and Sergeant Larry Santos (Honolulu Police Department), over deprivation of civil rights during raids on the encampment, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawai`i. On Monday, December 17th, a Temporary Restraining Order has been issued, until the Preliminary Injunction hearing in a month, dealing with raids of Thomas Square. All defendants have either quit their jobs or retired since the last raid at Thomas Square, the day before Thanksgiving.
The lawsuit focus on the city & county’s abuse of Ordinance 10-29 (AKA Bill 39), which limits the use of sidewalks after pushing (de)Occupy to the sidewalk, and Ordinance 11-029 (AKA Bill 54), which allows the Department of Facility Maintenance, Housing, Parks, and HPD to traumatize, steal, and brutalize the vulnerable houseless population
Since the (de)Occupy camp was established on November 5, 2011, the movement has been fighting against Ordinance 11-029, which was used as a tool to repress freedom of speech within hours of being signed into law. City ordinances like Bill 39 and Bill 54 criminalize the houseless. The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals stated in Tony Lavan v. City of Los Angeles, “For many of us, the loss of our personal effects may pose a minor inconvenience. However, . . . the loss can be devastating for the homeless.”
Attorneys representing the family of Ernest Duenez Jr. on Wednesday released dash cam video of a fatal police shooting, in which the 34-year-old man was shot to death by police.
Police in Manteca, California had attempted to arrest Duenez last year for violating his parole. Duenez, who was considered armed and dangerous, was shot eleven times after exiting a pick-up truck that had pulled up to his home.
Officer John Moody said Duenez advanced towards him armed with a knife, despite orders not to move. Moody fired 13 rounds in 4.2 seconds, striking Duenez several times. Duenez's wife can be seen coming out of the house and screaming after her husband is shot.
Oakland civil rights attorney John Burris, who represented the family of Oscar Grant in another high-profile police shooting case, claims that Duenez was unarmed and had caught his foot in a seatbeat shortly before being shot.
Update: 7:45pm EST: Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has reportedly signed the controversial bill banning mandatory union membership Tuesday night. As anger escalated among the estimated 10,000 protesters in Lansing, police donning riot gear arrived with pepper spray, which was used on at least one activist. Police also arrested two demonstrators, and surrounded the Romney State Office Building.
A few photos, and I'll have much more later...
Civil disobedience inside the Capitol rotunda earlier Tuesday.
An amazing crowd in Lansing right now, as the march to the State Capitol building is about to begin! I'm sure there are thousands, but I sure couldn't make a guess from here in the heart of it all beyond that. So many people from outside Michigan here to stand with us in solidarity -- it's truly touching -- thank-you all! A few notes before I'm off:
For anyone wishing to donate pizza to everyone protesting at the Michigan Capitol building, please contact Cottage Inn Pizza at (517) 267-9000 and they will see to it that your order is donated to the hungry, winter warriors.
Email from Progress Michigan (517-999-3646):
"We’re opening our office as a pit stop during the rally tomorrow. If you’re in town, join us at 115 W. Allegan, Floor 7 (above the Biggby), to get warm, grab some hot cocoa, recharge your phone, log onto free WI-FI, and make a quick bathroom break."
Twenty-five people, most of them U.S. military veterans, were arrested while laying flowers at a war memorial in New York City Oct. 7. They were engaged in a peaceful vigil to honor those killed and wounded in war and to oppose the U.S. war in Afghanistan as it entered its 12th year.
The vigil was held at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Plaza in lower Manhattan and began with a program of music and speakers including Vietnam veteran Bishop George Packard, Pulitzer Prize-winning war correspondent Chris Hedges, and Iraq combat veteran Jenny Pacanowski. At 8:30, the protesters began reading the names of the New York soldiers killed in Vietnam who are commemorated at the plaza and the military dead in Afghanistan and Iraq.
At 10:15 pm, the police informed the group that the park was officially closed and that if they remained they would be arrested. Many chose to continue reading names and laying flowers until they were handcuffed and taken away. One of the arrestees was Word War II Army combat veteran, Jay Wenk, 85, from Woodstock, NY.
The veterans had four aims:
Demand an end to the 11-year war in Afghanistan
Demand an end to all U.S. wars of aggression
Remember all those killed and wounded by war
Stand up for our right, and duty, to assemble and organize
Photojournalist, poet and Vietnam veteran Mike Hastie was the first arrested, after appealing to police not to force the veterans out of the war memorial: “This is a sad day. I was a medic in Vietnam. I watched soldiers commit suicide. I had soldiers’ brains all over my lap. How can you do this? How can you arrest me for being at a war memorial?”
New York City has distanced itself from a high-ranking police official accused of firing pepper spray at Occupy Wall Street protesters, taking the unusual step of declining to defend him in a civil lawsuit over the incident.
The decision means Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna also could be personally liable for financial damages that may arise out of the suit, said lawyers familiar with similar civil-rights claims.
The 29-year veteran has asked a judge to reverse the city. "He wasn't doing this as Anthony Bologna, mister. He was doing this as Anthony Bologna, deputy inspector, NYPD," said his lawyer, Louis La Pietra. Mr. Bologna's union, the Captains Endowment Association, is now covering the cost of his defense.
On September 24, 2011, Bologna used pepper spray on Occupy Wall Street protesters (All young women) that were held behind orange netting. Bologna's lawyer claims Bologna didn't intend to spray the women and he expects to argue that the video doesn't show the "context" in which the deputy inspector's actions unfolded.
I think we got the context just fine. Young girl coraled standing crying along at the edge of the net, big bad white shirt with a can of pepper spray sees easy target. But, Tony Bologna's version ought to be interesting, even if it does smell to high heaven.
It will be interesting to see how willing the police will be to brutally attack protesters in the future now that they know the city will abandon them when it comes time to go to court.
Video: A young girl suffers a seizure after NYPD raid Zuccotti Park on March 17, 2012.
A new report by the Protest and Assembly Rights Project, which includes civil liberties experts from law clinics at NYU, Fordham, Harvard, and Stanford, has determined what anyone paying attention already knows: The NYPD went way overboard with seemingly random protesters, and media personnel (Even innocent bystanders in multiple instances) during Occupy Wall Street. But the group's findings, compiled in Suppressing Protest: Human Rights Violations in the U.S. Response to Occupy Wall Street, detail many incidents beyond the extreme few that got the most media play, counting 130 examples of extreme force in all, on top of "a complex mapping of protest suppression."
Most of the police misconduct cited in the report comes from video footage, reputable journalists, legal observers, and firsthand accounts from authors of the study. Here are but a few:
One widely reported incident occurred on March 17, when a woman appeared to suffer a
seizure when arrested. Numerous videos show her convulsing on the ground while handcuffed. One witness described feeling “dumbfounded” as he watched her head bang against the ground repeatedly as officers did nothing; he said that he called out repeatedly for the officers to place something under head. Individuals on the scene who said that they were EMTs and offered to assist were not permitted to do so by police. Estimates varied asto the length of time it took for an ambulance to arrive, ranging from 15 to 20 minutes.
While the general legal obligation of officers to secure timely medical assistance is clear, this obligation is heightened where officers plan a major and aggressive law-enforcement operation to a large number of protesters from an area.
This injury I don't recall hearing about at all:
Then on May 30, during a student march, a member of the Research Team witnessed a particularly violent arrest. A protester was observed lying on the ground, with a number of officers standing near. The protester stated that his shoulder had just been dislocated; the officers stated that they had called an ambulance, and were not going to handcuff the protester because of his injury. However, moments later, a second group of officers rushed in and aggressively handcuffed the protester. He screamed out in pain repeatedly and told the officers about his injury, asking them to be gentle. The officers responded by stating the he was “a liar,” and they repeatedly intentionally pushed and pulled his injured shoulder. When EMTs did subsequently arrive, they inspected his shoulder, immediately removed the handcuffs, and put him in an ambulance for treatment. The individual’s lawyer later stated that the protester in fact had suffered a broken clavicle, an extremely painful and serious injury.
There's also a section on weapons use, including batons, scooters, and pepper spray, which was used in seven separate cases, according to the report.
The report concludes that the department could possibly use an inspector general (as has been suggested repeatedly) and maybe even a city review of the police tactics used throughout the protests. If not, the report suggests that the Department of Justice might be interested in their findings. However, thus far, there's been "near-complete impunity for alleged abuses."
On Friday, June 22nd, the Alameda District Attorney dropped the remaining obstructing arrest charge against Robert Ovetz, Ph.D., a community college professor arrested observing the January 28th Occupy Oakland march. Oakland Police were videotaped beating Ovetz after arresting him. Ovetz was appearing for a trial readiness conference in Superior Court when prosecutors asked the judge to dismiss the case. He was among nearly 400 marchers corralled and arrested without being ordered to disperse in front of the YMCA. After being punched in the face by police and having his glasses broken Ovetz was violently thrown to the ground, and struck with a baton on the ground. Ovetz’s attorney Matthew Siroka is now preparing a federal lawsuit for the violation of his civil rights and the use of excessive force by OPD officer Martin.
The remaining charge dropped by the DA was “obstructing delaying or resisting an officer in the course of his duties,” a misdemeanor under California Penal Code section 148. Ovetz was initially charged with two felonies and a misdemeanor and jailed for 3 days.
Ovetz repeatedly informed the officers that he was not resisting arrest and did everything they instructed him to do, but was nonetheless beaten violently. Officers threw him to the ground and OPD officer Martin hit him with a baton twice. Ovetz suffered severe bruising on his body as well as injuries to his face, jaw and two teeth. Ovetz was taken to the emergency room for his injuries. The above video shows Ovetz being beaten while being thrown down and lying on the ground. His bike was also thrown to the ground and damaged and his glasses were broken.
Ovetz was observing the Occupy Oakland effort to turn an empty building into a community center. He is writing a book into why protest movements turn violent.
OPD gave the media Ovetz’ mug shot and charged him with felony assault on a police officer to cover their own violent crimes as part of an effort to discredit the Occupy Wall Street movement. Ovetz intends to file suit in order to clear his name and hold OPD accountable.
Ovetz is also demanding that all media outlets that used his mug shot and printed inaccurate information regarding his arrest remove his photograph, and/or correct their reports.