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September – Week 1 Summary

03 Sep

August 28, 2011

  • Its that time again, politicians are holding town hall meetings where constituents come to complain to a prospective candidate and find out what said candidate plans to do to make them happy. Which is to say, they’ll say they’ll do anything but totally go back on their word once they get in office. At any rate, in some recent town halls across the country, the hosts have been banning and/or confiscating cameras of any kind. The most recent example was in Ohio, at a town hall event hosted by Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Ohio). A spokesman claimed that the policy was put in place to ensure the privacy of the voters who attended the meetings. Um, its a public place and therefore they should expect there might be a chance of themselves being photographed. Its more likely that Chabot has seen his fair share of YouTube videos of politicians sticking their feet in their mouths after saying something stupid. When coupled with the recent trend of the police arresting citizens filming them while doing their work, someone needs to keep them honest, you start to wonder if those in power are conveniently forgetting about the Constitution to cover their butts, they’ve seen their comrades lose their jobs for excessive force, racism, etc. all because an innocent bystander with a camera caught it all. Well it sounds like some justice is finally being served. A recent Federal Appeals court ruling has stated that members of Congress who confiscate citizens’ cell phones or cameras and do not allow filming at town halls are, in fact, violating their constituents First Amendment rights. People have the First Amendment right to film government officials in public while they are carrying out their duties. By the sound of that statement, it seems that that should cover filming of law enforcement as well. (Full story on Politicus USA)

August 29, 2011
  • The Center for American Progress, after some incredibly in-depth research, published a paper entitled, “Fear, Inc. The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America.” This paper is incredibly long, 138 pages to be exact, but even in the first couple of pages shines a light on a very sad and pathetic aspect of America, the supposed home of the free (unless you’re of the Islamic faith). The Islamophobia network was funded by more than $40 million over the course of 10 years. This funding was from incredibly honest and wholesome sounding organizations such as Anchorage Charitable Fund and William Rosenwald Family Fund, adds some legitimacy to the movement doesn’t it. Five men were responsible for the false information that was fed to the world including a member of Jihad Watch and Stop Islamization of America and Investigative Project on Terrorism. These “experts” would travel the country and work with or testify before state legislatures calling for bans on the nonexisting threat of Sharia law in America and proclaiming that the vast majority of mosques in our country harbor Islamist terrorists or sympathizers. When you get to the point of the timeline referred to as the “Islamophobia echo chamber,” you start to see names that are easily recognizable. Fox News, Washington Times, Christian Broadcast Network, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Michele Bachmann, and the American Family Association. These are just a few of the people, media, and organizations that take the lies and spread them, whilst adding a level of legitimacy to them. The paper goes on to describe the effect that this movement’s lies have had on our nation. These lies have lead to our fellow Islamic citizens to be harmed, emotionally and physically. This effect is only enhanced by the 49% of Americans that hold an unfavorable view of Islam, nearly 10% more than October of 2002. Mind boggling considering that no Islamic extremist attacks have occurred during that time while the frequency of Islamic hate speech has increased throughout the various media and political outlets. Welcome to America, unless your a Christian GTFO. (Full document)
  • An appeals court has ruled that filming police officers while on duty is not only legal but protected by the 1st and 4th Amendments of the Constitution. Only a few weeks ago a Massachusetts police officer, Michael Sedergren, was trying to get criminal wiretapping charges brought against a woman who filmed some police officers beating a guy. But that wasn’t the event that caused this ruling, Simon Glik, used his camera phone to film police using excessive force, officers asked Glik to discontinue his recording. Once Glik refused they then asked if his phone was recording audio, when he responded to the affirmative they arrested him stating that the recording of audio violated the state’s wiretap laws. Then, just for funsies, they added disturbing the peace and aiding in the escape of a prisoner to the list of charges. Shortly after, someone must have realized the shitstorm they were about to step into and dropped the charges entirely. Too little, too late, Glik then filed a complaint with Internal Affairs who tried to simply ignore him. What a poor decision that was, Glik then filed a lawsuit against the officers who arrested him as well as the City of Boston in federal court for violating his 1st and 4th Amendment rights. Thankfully, the courts agreed. Bear in mind, this is a federal ruling, so while these events transpired in Massachusetts the ruling applies throughout the entire country. As citizens it is our duty to ensure that our government and law enforcement officials aren’t abusing their powers, filming them in the midst of these violations is one of the most reliable ways to do that. And it’s comforting to know that the courts feel the same way. (Full story on TechDirt)
  • Wikileaks released a State Department diplomatic cable indicating that US forces executed an innocent man, four women, two children and three infants. The MNF were approaching a house while doing late night raids to search for insurgants in Iraq, shots were supposedly fired from the home at which point the forces entered the home, handcuffed everyone inside and summarily shot them all in the head. Upon the completion of this execution, a US airstrike was launched on the house, in the hopes of destroying evidence, however, autopsies that were later carried out still revealed that the bodies had been shot in the head and handcuffed. This isn’t the first time something like this has happened either. A similar event occurred in February within Afghanistan where two civilian men exited the home to inquire why they had been surrounded, they were subsequently shot followed by three female relatives, two of which were pregnant. That time they didn’t call in an airstrike, they instead tried lying, claiming that the men were insurgents and that the women had already been executed when they entered the home, a result of an honor killing. These false statements were corroborated by the Pentagon itself who, following investigation, retracted the story and issued an apology. Is this how you successfully fight terrorism? By killing innocent civilians, you’re doing nothing but empowering the terrorists and justifying their cause. What the hell are we still doing in Iraq anyhow. (Full story on Antiwar)
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Posted by on September 3, 2011 in Weekly Summary

 

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