Our Right to Peaceable Assemble is Gone

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Our Right to Peaceable Assemble is Gone

Postby KeithE » Fri May 23, 2014 6:52 pm

Revealed: Gov't Used Fusion Centers to Spy on Occupy

"The U.S. Fusion Centers are using their vast counter-terrorism resources to target the domestic social justice movement as a criminal or terrorist enterprise," PCJF Executive Director Mara Verheyden-Hilliard stated. "This is an abuse of power and corruption of democracy."


The First Amendment to the Constitution says:

The First Amendment (Amendment I) to the United States Constitution prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances.
It was adopted on December 15, 1791, as one of the ten amendments that constitute the Bill of Rights.

3 Months in Prison for Altercation
Sure it is a she said/he said case, but since when does that result in the conviction for one party but not the other (for sexual assault no less according to her account). Her crime was flinging her arm backward and elbowing the cop’s eye, according to the he said version.

According to McMillan's supporters, what followed was a trial riddled with injustice, in which Zweibel showed repeated favoritism towards the prosecution. Zweibel imposed a gag order on McMillan's lawyers, excluded key physical evidence, and ruled that information about Bovell's past violent behavior, and violence the night of McMillan's arrest, was not relevant to the case.

Upon her guilty verdict, McMillan was denied bail and immediately sent to Rikers Island, where she is currently detained.

Travesty of justice.
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Re: Our Right to Peaceable Assemble is Gone

Postby William Thornton » Fri May 23, 2014 8:13 pm

Hooey. Cause célèbre...here we go.

So, in a jury of 8 WOMEN and 4 men the defense couldn't generate reasonable doubt in a single one?
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Re: Our Right to Peaceable Assemble is Gone

Postby KeithE » Sat May 24, 2014 9:26 am

William Thornton wrote:Hooey. Cause célèbre...here we go.

So, in a jury of 8 WOMEN and 4 men the defense couldn't generate reasonable doubt in a single one?

Let’s us get bogged down talking about this one case. Those interested can get a cross-section of facts/images/opinions on that case at: McMillan Bovell Google.

Assembly (mostly peaceable) are increasingly occurring (Moral Mondays, Tea Party, Fast Food Workers, Guns Rights, etc.).

What disturbs me is that peaceable protests (of whatever viewpoint) are being watched by our terrorist surveillance apparatus (with even Pentagon participation) as documented:
Revealed: Gov't Used Fusion Centers to Spy on Occupy
Underlying Report
Please read the report and scan the documents down the right side of the report as evidence.

Conclusion From Report:
The new Fusion Center documents demonstrate the workings of a self-perpetuating Surveillance-Industrial Complex. In the name of fighting terrorism, and with ever-regular admonitions to the American public that these institutions must be given a blank check in the name of national security, a limitless funding stream flows from the American people into the pockets of those who profit and benefit from this system. These documents reveal what our money is being wasted on and, critically, how it is being used in derogation of our fundamental rights and liberties.

The people of the United States do not want to live as a nation under constant surveillance, targeted by government counterterrorism and intelligence agencies when they engage in the exercise of basic rights to free speech. The American people have the right and ability to decide the nature of the society in which they live. We are calling on elected officials to defend the Constitution and democratic rights by defunding and ending the Fusion Centers.

I don’t think we need to be closing these Fusion Centers but neither do I think they should be targeting social justice movements or any protest movements.

The New Media is not portraying these movements fairly. Read (abstract only, report costs $38) From Protests to Agenda: Description Bias in Media Coverage of Protest Events in Washington DC.
In days gone by such issues were given enormous media attention until some sort of resolution was achieved (e.g. Civil Rights Movement, Watergate).

I have more to say, but what do you all think?
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Re: Our Right to Peaceable Assemble is Gone

Postby Sandy » Sat May 24, 2014 9:37 am

Fusion Centers. The legacy of America's worst President ever, George W. Bush.

Having to keep track of terrorists is a dilemma in a constitutional Republic. But then, so is civil disobedience. There are a lot of extremist right wingers running around threatening government overthrow, calling for marches on Washington and holding small towns in Nevada hostage because they don't want to pay bills that they agreed to by contract, money owed to those of us who pay taxes. How do you keep order, keep people safe, and guarantee free speech and expression, and prevent another 9-11?
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Re: Our Right to Peaceable Assemble is Gone

Postby William Thornton » Sat May 24, 2014 9:41 am

You used the case, one that went before a jury of peers with the result that not one of the twelve had any reasonable doubts about the activist's guilt. You are welcome to delete that portion if you wish for it not to be discussed.
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Re: Our Right to Peaceable Assemble is Gone

Postby KeithE » Sat May 24, 2014 10:56 am

William Thornton wrote:You used the case, one that went before a jury of peers with the result that not one of the twelve had any reasonable doubts about the activist's guilt. You are welcome to delete that portion if you wish for it not to be discussed.

I started reading more about her case and her trial and could have bombarded ya’ll with information of a tainted trial/sentencing process and jury reaction (after the trial) to the evidence withheld and sentencing, but I didn’t want to get sidetracked on that one event. I’ll let those interested (if any) follow the google trail I left. Another spitting contest with you is not what I’m after.
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Re: Our Right to Peaceable Assemble is Gone

Postby William Thornton » Sat May 24, 2014 11:18 am

No expectoration from me, just pointing out the cause célèbre nature of your case as contrasted to the facts.
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Re: Our Right to Peaceable Assemble is Gone

Postby KeithE » Mon May 26, 2014 7:32 am

Sandy wrote:Fusion Centers. The legacy of America's worst President ever, George W. Bush.

Having to keep track of terrorists is a dilemma in a constitutional Republic. But then, so is civil disobedience. There are a lot of extremist right wingers running around threatening government overthrow, calling for marches on Washington and holding small towns in Nevada hostage because they don't want to pay bills that they agreed to by contract, money owed to those of us who pay taxes. How do you keep order, keep people safe, and guarantee free speech and expression, and prevent another 9-11?


It is a difficult issue.

Personally I favor keeping the Fusion Centers (collect it all) for value in criminal manners as well as terrorism (I would include school shootings or any planned violence in the definition of “terrorsim”). This could take away email/phone messaging as a means of coordinating crime (be it violent terrorism or other illegal activity).

But there has to be strong checks and balances applied to keep unwarranted snooping and disclosure to legitimate matters (e.g. not to get dirt on a politician or opponent ala Watergate or suppress peaceable protests as the 1st Amendment protects).

Specifically I would propose an expanded court system (demanded to be quick reaction and available 24/7) with two but separate functions:

Search Permission: Duly authorized police or investigation agency (e.g FBI, IGs, GAO) or media makes application to perform data mining on a person or group with reasons given for the suspicion of criminal/terroristic activity (much like a warrant functions for physical search of property, we need ability to see evidence in electronic storage). Staging what is planned as peaceable protest assemblies is not criminal or terrorism as it seems to be assumed according to the lead off link in this post. Now if someone plans some violence in that protestation, cops should be at least on the watch for such and if warranted pre-emptively detain the perpetrator. Too often the police themselves start the violence thinking it their duty. But I recognize the difficulty in those situations. Both sides must error on the side of keeping things peaceful.

Disclosure Permission: If incriminating evidence is found, the nature of that evidence should also be reviewed by a separate court (also available 24/7) and they have the responsibility to authorized disclosure and to state who may use such disclosures (requesting organization all the way up to the public via the media).

Side benefit: More high paid employment on a socially valuable endeavor (I envision thousands of new judges) would help stimulate the economy. Piketty calls such use of money “regalitory” (police, fire fighters, court systems included) and that traditionally has been about 10% of "national income” since 1800. This might make it 11% of national income. If it stems criminality it will be worth it.

Some Questions:

Can a court system ever be "quick reacting" is a legitimate concern? We wont know unless we try. Technology can help.

Couldn’t criminals just meet privately to coordinate criminal activity? Sure but we take away one a big means in that coordination.

This would not curtail crime dreamt up in a single person’s mind. Sure but many criminal activities are joint endeavors especially corporate crime and records of a single person’s activity can be used in prosecution.

Any other thoughts?
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Re: Our Right to Peaceable Assemble is Gone

Postby KeithE » Mon May 26, 2014 4:55 pm

One other thought - I am very concerned that the right to assemble has been curtailed in the last 20-30 years and the media is not regularly publicizing the points of view of valid protestations. If it is mentioned once, it is then forgotten soon after that, creating the need for more pressing protests perhaps blocking entrances to businesses to get attention.

None of you have other thoughts on these matters?
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