Tag Archives: ACLU

El Paso County Democrats fight against local party leadership to UNDO THE COUP

Undo the CoupRita’s form response to the MOVEON.ORG FORM LETTER “Thanks so much for going to a Platform Meeting to urge that Al Gore’s energy challenge be part of the Democratic Party’s issue platform!”

Hi Noah:
Please note a correction. I did not go to a “Platform Meeting”, rather I am having one on Tuesday night, July 29. At that meeting, we will allow attendees to list and prioritize issues, and we’ll send results to both the DNC and directly to Obama Headquarters in Chicago.

One of the main reasons for this approach is that a group of us (I was one of a group of eight or nine) was elected as a Platform Committee at the El Paso County Democratic Assembly. The entire assembly elected us, choosing from a number of nominees. Open nominations occurred.

Within days, the local party had unseated and disbanded us, refusing even to allow those of us publicly elected to even know the names and contact information of the others elected. That same day, elected delegates and alternates had stood in the cold for hours, waiting to be allowed into the assembly, only (as I witnessed and signed an affidavit regarding) to be intimidated and turned away at the door by a former NSA man and recent head of the ACLU in this fair, fascist city of ours.

Soooo… such is life in our no longer a democracy city, county, state and nation. Goggle “Colorado Springs St. Patrick’s Day Parade 2007 police brutality” for an eyeful.

I am in the process of documenting numerous instances of violations of civil rights by elected and appointed officials and so called supporters of the progressive movement here in the last couple of years, including the arrest of two peace demonstrators at the recent Colorado State Democratic Convention, and the attempted arrest eight days ago of four people of peace as we (yes, I was among them) were leaving from a brief meeting on a public easement in front of the building that houses Pikes Peak Justice and Peace, an organization with a new chair of the board who asked the police to cite us for trespass.

So yes, we will certainly be considering Al G ore’s excellent proposals. One planned attendee has already stated to me that he considers renewable energy sources vital, and wants to end reliance on coal and new strip and other types of coal mining.

But our emphasis may well turn first in priorities to ways and means of “Undoing the Coup” in what was once a democratic nation, i.e. supporting and cooperating in Rep. Dennis Kucinich’s proposed congressional investigation into the activities/surveillance/infiltration of police and others. We will also be considering various ways and means of insuring that the vote be legitimately counted and recorded, etc.

Hope MoveOn can and will continue its great work and support all the vital “UNDO THE COUP” efforts that are needed so desperately. Thanks many times over for all you do and have done.

-Rita Ague

$6.55 an hour? Oh, whoopee…

BonusNotice how all the big guys look out after themselves. They got themselves a ‘bailout’ of several tens of billions of dollars over at Fannie Mae’s and Freddie’s houses, and it will be paid to them from much of the work of all those who, today, will get a big boost up to $6.55 an hour! More than that would be socialism they say. Federal Minimum Wage to Increase to $6.55 on July 24

What cons these business men are, because people believe them with their idiotic nonsense justifying their own largess at others expense, too. Their looting of the National Treasury is never called socialism at all. And it’s not. It’s just pure thievery and real socialism is not thievery at all, like what the American business community practices daily. Real socialism is nothing more than helping out the less fortunate in society, instead of helping out the more fortunate in their robberies of the rest of us.

ACLU added to the terrorist watch list

ACLU calls for probe of DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff (an Israeli citizen) over ‘terrorist’ watch list. Chertoff responds that the ACLU has been added to the terrorist watch list…

Hope for liberty, prepare for theocratic dictatorship?

The filthy-rich are just like us, except they don’t pay taxes.

Radical Islamists denouncing terrorism? This is one you’ll never read about in the American Military Industrial Complex controlled “news” media!

Bush’s “appeasement” of Iran continues…

Excerpts from Thomas McCullock’s notes July 17, thomasmc.com.

I want more change in the White House than just skin color!

Barack Obama is proving himself to be little more than Joe Lieberman in blackface. Oy gevalt. Cowardly Dems in the Senate (Led by Obama the Coward) passed FISA, out of fear that big meanie Bush might say something bad about them if they didn’t. As if he won’t, anyway. Duh! [detail]

As much as I dislike Hillary Clinton, at least she had the decency to vote against it.

John W. McCain didn’t even bother to show up for the vote

The ACLU has announced it will fight the unconstitutional law in court.

Civil Liberties? WHAT civil liberties??? Bush kills Civil Liberties Board.

Time to put on your jack boots and Seig Hiel! US military to monitor internet to quell dissent.

Standing up for the truth. SC state employee quits rather than lower flag for toxic Senator Jesse Helms.

Ted Kennedy, who is battling brain cancer, surprised the Senate by showing up to vote on the Medicaid bill yesterday.

The screwing of America. Food manufactures quietly shrinking product sizes, while keeping same packaging and prices.

Marriage equality. MA Senate to consider repealing law that prevents gays from other states from marrying there.

Phil Graham has a mental slowdown, and calls USA a nation of whiners for caring that the GOP has destroyed the economy. If only we’d just focus on how much better off the filthy-rich are, and forget about everyone else.

Life imitates art. Paradise, CA — subject of the Eagles song The LastResort, and inspiration for the Showtime series Weeds — evacuated for wildfire. “Somebody laid the mountains low, while the town got high.”

Excerpts from Thomas McCullock’s notes July 10, thomasmc.com.

Judi Bari’s gentle lesson in nonviolence

A couple years ago some Colorado Springs activist organizations had a chance to host a public screening of a documentary about Judi Bari and her posthumus court victory against the FBI. It turned out the Feds had planted the bomb with which they tried to discredit her, and kill her too. Judi recovered but died of cancer before she could hear a jury award 4.4 million dollars for the FBI’s trying to rob her and the Earth First movement of their First Amendment voice.

Well, the locals activists hadn’t yet seen the documentary, or hadn’t understood the headlines, and so remembered Judi according to the FBI’s slander. The locals thought Judi Bari might be a poor example for nonviolence advocates and they all but scuttled the event.

Utah Phillips recalls driving with Judi Bari the day before the bomb struck, and recounts this advice she offered him about why she believed in nonviolence.

Judi Bari on nonviolence, as told to Utah Phillips

Talking about the non-violence,
Judy Barry said: The man,
and I mean THE MAN,
can escalate the violence
from a cop on the beat with a handgun
all the way up to a hydrogen bomb
and everything in between.
He’s always saying “come up that road,
come up that road of armed struggle
because I own that road.
Come up that road and it’ll kill you.”

We don’t use that road. She said
You got to take a road he doesn’t own,
a road he doesn’t know anything about,
that road of non-violence, of nonviolent direct action.

Nonviolence is not a tactic, it’s not a strategy,
it is a way of life, it is a practical, practical necessity.

Dry Run at the State Convention

Police riot shieldsCOLORADO SPRINGS- Interviewers kept asking me ahead of time if the local Colorado Democratic State Convention was going to be a dry run for groups planning something big at the national convention in August. Their curiosity might have been piqued by the mention of PROTEST COLORADO on Michael Moore’s list of “more fun with dry runs” leading to the DNC. I told them I was aware of no such plans, but it became clear to me today that the news reporters had been on to something. There WAS a dry run in the works, and it was being carried out by law enforcement.

I was arrested at 7:05AM Saturday, through no planning of my own. There was confusion over where the First Amendment applied and where it did not. There was a “FREE SPEECH ZONE” which shared a police-tape demarcated area with a “BOOSTER ZONE” for those whose speech was regulated by the Democratic Party. Which part was which was not universally understood by either the public or many of the police officers. Police commanders alluded to previously agreed perimeters, while we asserted what we understood had been decided. Calling in a supervisor led not to a discussion but to the barking of orders, our mouths agape. The police seized upon the chance to arrest, process and hold us, until our opportunity to be heard had passed. We were mighty confused at the time, but in retrospect the police maneuver was carried out like clockwork.

It seems to be my habit to be blind sided by heavy handed authority. But I hope this does not detract from the principal dynamic at play. I am an ordinary American citizen, with an ordinary citizen’s right to express myself. Even playing within the post-911 limitations placed on our civil liberties, abiding by a “free speech zone,” my right to participate in our democracy is being muted by a false authoritarian concern for public safety.

DELAY AND RELOCATION
Particularly indicative of the police strategy was what they did with Peter and I after our arrest. We were taken across the street to the Quail Lake Loop El Paso County Sheriff substation where we were booked and cited first for obstruction, then for trespass. Forms and fingerprints were completed twice amid pleasant conversation and clarification of the “free speech zone” boundaries. We were informed that we would be free to return to the convention grounds, but that a subsequent breach of the rules would be treated with more severity. Then, instead of releasing us there, or at the nearby Sand Creek police station, an order was received to deliver us to the northern-most police substation in the city 15 miles away. Peter and I were dropped off in the parking lot of the Falcon Substation at Academy Blvd and Briargate, and only then was my cellphone returned with which I could try to arrange a ride. By the time we were able to return to our friends and vehicles at the convention, the 7-10am demonstration was passed.

SET UP?
Several weeks beforehand the CSPD had conducted public meetings for citizens to hear about the convention security measures. I attended none of these meetings, but gained a general understanding from a symposium held by the ACLU attended by a CSPD representative. Another CSPD commander turned up on Tuesday May 12 at the monthly ACLU board meeting to apprise our members again of the city’s plans. It was here we learned that there were two “Free Speech Zones” to be made available to the public. Of particular interest were the now graciously added grassy almond shaped areas adjacent the main steps to the World Arena. From this briefing it was decided to relocate our banners to those parts, as they afforded visibility to all delegates attending the convention, not just those coming from the hotels along Geyser Drive.

On Saturday we discovered that those spots were not being offered to us. And this was the source of the confusion. Despite being reminded that a roomful of ACLU members and lawyers had witnessed what the convention organizers had purportedly offered to be public areas, the police held steadfast that no such close-up access would be given. There would have been no confusion on Saturday if an advance agreement from either side had not been presumed. There would have been less disappointment on our part if an area accorded free speech rights had not been perceived to have been withdrawn.

PROTEST BY FOREKNOWLEDGE OF PERMISSION ONLY
The application of a Free Speech Zone was almost farcical. Police Officers stood at the edge of the World Arena property checking for credentials. Helpers beside them called down the line, warning that no one without credentials would be allowed unto the property. When it came my turn to be asked, I answered that I had none. They were already telling me I could not enter when I was able to get a question in edgewise. I asked: “what about the Free Speech Zone?” They answered: “Oh, you’re here for the Free Speech Zone” and they waved me through. Without a description of where it was, or that it did not extend to the limit of the police tape. An ordinary public would not have known to ask to enter the area, nor about its limits.
Police tape extended toward but did not include areas 8 and 9

FREEDOM OF SPEECH
Of course there would be no problem at all if we hadn’t collectively relinquished the principle of Freedom of Speech. Why has it become so critical to public safety to shield people from each other’s speech? It used to be Sticks and Stones from which we needed police protection.

SURVEILLANCE
The extent of the security measures were leading all to believe that a personage of important political stature would be paying the convention a visit. By five in the morning all the street corners were manned by multiple motorcycle patrolmen. Suited men in dark SUVs were conducting security sweeps into the wooded hillside. Traffic signs on the interstate were warning drivers not to stop or slow along the shoulder. Police vehicles of all stripes were patrolling the parking lots, junior policemen were positioned in pickup trucks hauling coolers full of bottled water. When we arrived at the parking lot, unmarked vehicles converged upon us but exchanged information with each other without having to get out to address us.

Later in the day, Mark and I returned to the Free Speech Zone so that he could videotape my account of what had happened. Another of our party watched as men atop the roof of the Hampton Inn followed us though spotting scopes and pointed what appeared to be parabolic listening devices in our direction. None of which could be considered excessive for security precautions at such an event, although pretty clearly our protests have shown themselves to be of little threat. It would seem the purpose of the exercise Saturday was to get in some practice.

ACLU opposes the illegal government group punishment of Eldorado parents

“While we acknowledge that Judge Walthers’ task may be unprecedented in Texas judicial history, we question whether the current proceedings adequately protect the fundamental rights of the mothers and children of the FLDS,” said Terri Burke, executive director of the ACLU of Texas, in a statement.

While the ACLU “deplores” crimes against children, Burke said that “constitutional rights that all Americans rely upon and cherish – that we are secure in our homes, that we may worship as we please and hold our places of worship sacred, and that we may be with our children absent evidence of imminent danger – have been threatened” by the state’s actions.

Lisa Graybill, legal director for the ACLU of Texas, said officials may have violated the U.S. Constitution and state laws in how they conducted the raid and the subsequent custody hearing.

“The government must ensure that each mother and each child in its custody receives due process of law in determining the placement of the children and other matters regarding the children’s care,” she said in the statement.

————————————————————————————-
And still there are no criminal charges brought against any of the parents for supposedly abusing their children as the press has alleged for almost 2 weeks now! Shame on the State of Texas and US Federal Government.

We Americans are innocent until proven guilty no more it certainly seems…

Manitou Springs tribute to my mother

Lifetime achievement awardMANITOU SPRINGS- (Last night my mother Kathy Verlo was awarded a lifetime achievement award by the Open Space activists at the Manitou City Council. I was overcome by their gracious tribute. Here are the notes I prepared in thanks.)
 
I’d like to thank you so much for this recognition of my mother, and assure you that my father very much wanted to be here today. He intended to be here, but inadvertently scheduled a trip, and as an afterthought realized the conflict. He asked me to relay his gratitude and apology.

It is actually fitting that my father is missing this meeting by being away on a trip, because travel was always a bone of contention he shared with my mother. They both liked to maintain their connections around the world, but my mother’s sense of obligation to the local community was very strong, and when she served on the city council, her responsibilities became more regimented. When my father would propose an idea for a trip, my mother would agree, so long as she could be back to Manitou by the next Tuesday City Council meeting. This posed an interesting challenge for their travels. Sometimes Mom would have to return early, often she would not go along at all. So it is hardly a coincidence that after her death, my father has been away with more frequency.

I relate this detail about my mother, not to reflect on her dedication to this city, but to illustrate the determination she showed to make a difference, and the effort she knew it required. I can imagine that all of you serving on the council right now know full well this task. I’m sure a number of you are very reluctant to miss a single meeting, less the interests of opposing parties take advantage of your absence. This was how my mother was able to hold steadfast to the ideals she believed in. This was the strategy required to stand firm against the development of areas now celebrated as open space. She lost plenty of battles, but with a great deal of help from you, won some important ones, and that’s why we are here today.

Now… in Kathy’s spirit, I would like to divert my remarks for a moment. I’ll confess straight off I’m barely brave enough to do it without this preamble, but I’d like to take advantage of this podium to address an important issue, and I hope some of you recognize this as vintage Kathy. No matter the occasion, it was never about my mother, but about what could be accomplished with each given opportunity. You could be discussing last week’s flier, but at the same time, she would be handing you another flier.

I have to rush from this meeting, to another scheduled at the same time, the annual meeting of the ACLU, where we are discussing free speech and the limitations being considered at the State Democratic Convention to be held in Colorado Springs in May. There are plenty of issues to protest, relative to what neither major party is doing, and I hope any or all of you seize this chance to advocate for your particular concerns when the state delegates arrive to put together their party platform.

As well, I’ve passed out fliers to many of you already about an event happening this Sunday at Colorado College, related to KRCC 91.5 on the radio. Amy Goodman, of the news show Democracy Now, is paying a visit, and will speak about the current state of the nation at 3 o’clock on Sunday. Please come. We worked very hard to bring Democracy Now to KRCC, my mother included, but they’ve put the show in a terribly unpopular time-slot, 7pm weekdays. Are you able to listen to Amy Goodman at that time? Undoubtedly not. In fact, she’s on right now, and we are attending a meeting. One of many.

Democracy Now is a wildly popular news program, wherever it’s carried. Many people stream it off the internet, and it keeps everyone so much better informed than the usual corporate media sources, including NPR. Public radio listeners think they are well served by NPR until they hear Amy Goodman, and then they become just sick about how they are being betrayed by corporate spin.

We have to spread that sickness to as many people as possible. If we can convince KRCC to reschedule Democracy Now to the morning drive hour, many more people will, not by accident, become immediately better acquainted with world events. There will be no more uncritical interviews with only government spokesmen or think-tanks to hear “the surge is working” or to keep placing a question mark after “global warming.”

If more of your friends and neighbors get to hear more than the corporate-interest-only news, you won’t have to do as much proselytizing yourself. You will more readily find agreement on issues that benefit our community. Like the environment, and health care, and social inequity, and peace. Instead of the media diverting us with issues like Free-Tibet, more of us will question “hey, is the CIA behind the unrest in Tibet?” Fewer of us might advocate for militarized intervention to Save-Darfur if we are asking “hey, is this about our oil companies fighting with China over who gets their hands on the Sudan?” The list goes on.

The opportunity Democracy Now presents is an urgent one. All of you, I know, have interests in bettering our community and in particular issues you’d like to become better understood. Your biggest hurdle is an uniformed public, and your biggest adversary by far is the media which keeps them that way. We can seize hold of that media, locally, by making it more responsive to the people. Like any enterprise, there will be so much less to do later, if we do more now. Please come on Sunday and lobby KRCC to do this for the community.

I’m going to make this same appeal tonight to the ACLU folk, and other ensuing gatherings this week, so I hope we can bring some real support this weekend.

I impose on you like this with the full confidence that my mother would support this plea, as she was fully supportive of every of my efforts –like any good mother, and so I should add– in particular those that advocated for the benefit of all.

I thank you for this opportunity. I apologize if I’ve taken undue advantage, but in the spirit of my mother I remind you –and you know this– the struggle lives on. Thank you on behalf of my father, and my sisters. As much as my mother would have quickly turned to re-gift this award to the nearest person in the room who she considered more deserving or perhaps someone who she suspected would grow by the encouragement, I accept it on behalf of her family. Your recognition of my mother really does mean a great deal to us.

ACLU annual meeting and Spring Forum

Tuesday, April 15, 7 PM, Slocum Hall, Colorado College. SPRING FORUM: THE COLORADO PARTY CONVENTIONS: PROTECTING FREE SPEECH & PUBLIC SAFETY. Main speaker: Taylor Pendergrass, staff attorney Colorado ACLU; with Jan Martin, Colorado Springs City Council; Bill Sulzman, local activist leader; Steve Liebowitz, Deputy Chief of Police; Dennis Apuan, Vice-Chair, El Paso County Democratic Party; and moderator Clara Anne McKenna, Colorado Springs ACLU. Once again, will audience participation be limited to 3×5 cards selected and screened only by Clara?

Join the Clorox Club!

Join the Clorox Club and bleach America Green! I wonder if this is now seen as a ‘Green investment’ nowadays? Some Clorox company products do now get the Sierra Club endorsement, that’s for sure. Sierra Club Launches Partnership with Clorox’s new Green Works Line

I’m looking for the Sierra Club to now partner with the National Rifle Association, Smith and Wesson, and the Pentagon to come up with a Child Safe GI Joe National Park Ranger with gun (to protect the park boundaries from rowdy visitors that want to harm Bambi). What about it, Carl Pope (long time head of Sierra Club)? Got a deal in the works yet with these Green friendly folk? Bang-bang.

Seriously though, is partnering with toxic producers really the way to go about trying to save the envionment? You get your Big Mac and your salad both!???

Actually the real result is that your ‘environmental organization’ begins to partner to block government regulation that would outlaw or heavily regulate the production of toxic products. That’s the result of having a Cloroxenvironment Club out there. Just stop sending money to the Sierra Club until it gets its act together? That might be never at this point? They’ve been bought out.

Test your candidate on civil liberties

Tonight, instead of hearing a Wal-mart exec explain how Saving People Money Helps Everyone On Earth Live Better TM, stop by another CC venue to see the ACLU Winter Forum. The event in Slocum Commons is scheduled to be a candidate forum where regional representatives of the presidential candidates will respond to ACLU concerns about the abuse of power by the office of the executive. A good idea, on paper.

THE ISSUES BEING: Congressional Suspension of Habeas Corpus for Detainees, Indefinite Detention Without Arrest, Trial, Legal Representation or Judicial Forum, Surveillance of Domestic U.S. Citizens, Rendition, Torture, Abuse of Executive Power, i.e. Separation of Powers, Signing Statements, etc, The Patriot Act, and more.

I’m not sure whether the representatives would be able to get beyond how they think their bosses would respond. It’s hard to imagine each will not agree that all American Civil Liberties must be protected, keeping our security in mind, yada yada yada; as opposed to salivating openly at the chance to get into power and abuse every executive advantage like your predecessors.

The only hope I see for a discussion is for a Green Party spokesman for Cynthia McKinney to clarify what the corporate candidates have already revealed about themselves based on their actions and affiliations.

And now of course with Ralph Nader stepping in to mix things up, there’s the chance to hear what an independent might lend by way of outrage. Have the McKinney and Nader camps been invited?

Bleeding Hearted Liberals running small check-list businesses make my heart bleed

All around America there are bleeding hearted liberals running small businesses… small social service businesses. As a general rule, too, liberals don’t run businesses very well. They’re too damn dumbly soft and sweet, that’s why. So we can begin to understand why all these ‘reform groups’ (like the local area’s Pikes Peak Justice and Peace Commission.. for just one example) don’t make much profit for the people they claim to be serving (even as they keep them out in droves from their social advocacy groups, run as small ‘businesses’).

Here is the type of thing I am talking about,

…from an article appearing in The Nation…
‘Check off the boxes, copy the paragraph from two years ago, mail it in. As an election year approaches, I again face the piles of questionnaires that progressive organizations use to evaluate public officials. Environmentalists, feminists, campaign finance reformers, housing advocates and labor unions have all come to rely on these lists of our positions–often on issues that never even come up for a vote. It should come as no surprise that, for the most part, all we get out of this cumbersome process is a long line of “checklist liberals” who answer correctly but do little to advance the progressive causes that underlie the questionnaires.’

The rest of this article can be found on the liberal’s very own Nation Magazine at Transforming the Liberal Checklist

OK, OK! So the rest of the article is not very good, much like the liberal organizations themselves, and The Nation Magazine is not very good, either. It was still a good and insightful first paragraph of an article at least!

And the commentary reminded me of all those fund raising letters, free stamps with animal pictures on them, and ‘surveys’ to find out my learned opinions, etc. Reminds me of all the wasted time sitting in meetings where bleeding hearted liberals talk about running THEIR small businesses. You see? The bleeding hearted liberals are most always the ‘owners’ of small socially aware businesses calling themselves community’ groups, which these groups having small office staffs then try to run the group like it was a church or tiny corner store of some sort.

Yes, the small office staff always begin to behave as if they were real owners of the store, much in the same way that some convenience store minimum wage workers will try to stop a robber of some sort or other, by risking their own lives over pennies that supposedly belong to the stock owners instead. These small would be owners can snarl and bite quite hard if given an opportunity to do so. They often overpower the petty ‘robbers’ of their unit with their forceful indignations than can border on madness of sorts. Some times they get popped for being so dimwitted, too.

So what to do about all the PEACE and GREEN and SOCIAL JUSTICE groups’ ‘leaders’ acting in our name? They operate much as the Democratic Party does, which is to impede rather than progress the people forward.

The runners of these small businesses calling themselves ‘peace and justice’ outfits, most often see themselves not as an elected group of leaders for exploited workers struggling for justice and peace, but as a group of independent networkers and business operators, forcefully headed for making more profit for their own personal businesses, the social groups. They spend more time being angry at any of the lower levels of the ‘co-ops’ managed by themselves than at the power elites that cause the social injustice they are supposedly fighting against. When angered by the lower elements, their faces can become quite bulldog-like.

Recently a certain word has come into great popularity with this sort of manager owner of social cause… that word being the word SUSTAINABILITY. Why so popular this word, and with these people? It is because it strikes a chord with the small manager/owner and his small manager/owner mindset. They want to know if their small business is SUSTAINABLE and if their position as head of the operation is SUSTAINABLE most of all? SUSTAINABILITY is their biggest goal of them all. And now of course, corporate America wants to help them become SUSTAINABLE.

This sort of group run as a small business with paid staff who think themselves owners is a very huge impediment to any real social action taking place. The main technique of ‘the owners’ who are salaried is simply to eat up other people’s time. They know that they can out last them in energy by simply doing this, and can come out on top when actual decisions are to be made. In other words, they are well positioned to stifle.

Like owners of any corporation, ‘the owners’ of supposed social groups get paid real money for their time while the volunteers do not. Is this the model of a social action group that will get things done? Most certainly not. Unfortunately though, it is the model structure for liberals and their do-nothing liberalism everywhere today in America…. small groups with a paid ‘leader’ or two, spouting ‘good things’, and doing next to nothing besides appearing to be seeminglygood people.

At the recent meeting of the executive board of the Pikes Peak Justice and Peace Commission, it was totally noticeable that nobody there had anything of a working class background. In fact, the idea of justice for workers is totally absent from this group with ‘justice’ in its name. Being so church-like, this group throws the word in as if it were a bone to the lower classes so next to being sweet dogs in the eyes of these nice people. They were about as working class in composition as the ACLU is!… to give an idea of what the meeting was actually like. Nobody was ‘angry’, just sad. Or happy when seemingly a crumb from real power is thrown in their direction. And at this meeting it had been.

The City of Colorado Springs was going to let the group march in the St Pat’s Day Parade! All Hallelujah, Jesus! But that is about more than this little essay can talk about for the time being. Just let it be said, that liberals running small businesses that should be action groups make my heart bleed. Bleeding hearted liberals make poor businessmen and the conservative business men will tear them to part. Antiwar groups should not be run like they are small businesses. Probably enough said at this point.

Verizon hardhats are actually NSA posse

Verizon listening
Verizon thinks it’s a selling point that you’ve got hundreds of hardhats listening in on your conversation. Though the team is pitched as the tech support which is keeping you networked, I guess the commercials can’t avoid the humorous Verizon dude smirking at what he’s overhearing. Interesting truth in advertising. Are we supposed to think what happens with Can You Hear Me Now Dude stays with Can You Hear Me Now Dude?
 
Congress is deliberating about indemnifying these guys if litigious Americans ever find out Verizon & freinds are forwarding eavesdropped calls unto the security agencies.

This week’s ACLU forum discussed the increased surveillance by our government. Loring Wirbel gave specifics about the NSA’s activities. Forget where calls originate, or to where. Everything is being recorded. We may not be parsing it all, but it’s all getting collected. Every single call, every internet query. We know cell phones can be used to record ambient noise even when they’re not on talk.

Who’s against the goddamn A.C.L.U.?

Who does not like the ACLU?
Do a Google image search for ACLU and you get an almost unanimous gaggle of hateful yahoos cursing the ACLU. You’d think the American Civil Liberties Union was made up of a bunch of commie traitors.
 
Come on! The ACLU defended Rush Limbaugh’s keeping his medical records from law enforcement officers eager to nail him on his Oxycontin Hillbilly Heroine habit. They defend the right of white supremacists and Nazis to march in public. What does the ACLU do which upsets you?!
 
The only people with a legitimate gripe against the ACLU are prickish totalitarians who do not want YOU to have claim to rights, arms or voice. You’re more afraid to retain your right to remain an American Idiot.

Maybe when environmentalists set their sights on NASCAR for setting a gas-guzzling, dick-centric bad example, the ACLU might be your best only hope.

When your teenager gets pregnant, and you want to force her to keep the baby to term, who’s going to keep social services from interfering with your authority? It’ll be the ACLU.

If you want to go on beating your wife or molesting your children, and value keeping it private from the police, you have the ACLU to thank.

I only wish I believed my own rhetoric

Marie argues with Officer Paladino
Freedom to express oneself, to think independently, was the lure that led the masses to our shores. Safety from abusive and intrusive government is the dream that continues to draw people to our borders. Our military men and women are in Iraq and elsewhere fighting for these same principles on behalf of those who cannot battle tyranny alone. Yet here in Colorado Springs, where so many are at great personal risk because of American ideology, we do not recognize the basic Constitutional freedoms of our own citizens.

It was a private parade, you say. The police were just following the orders of John O’Donnell, the parade organizer. Those people had no right to be there. What a load of garbage. The city was a partner in the St. Patrick’s Day parade. They blocked off public streets and used public resources. For the city and the CSPD to hide behind another organization’s insurance policy is not only cowardly, it is un-Constitutional. The ACLU won a recent case in Hawaii, wherein a “private” parade sought to exclude a particular group from marching. The conclusion: government entities can not shield themselves, nor take directives, from private citizens using public resources. The rest of the country seems to understand this.

In any case, the excessive force used by several of the policemen called to the scene is absolutely indefensible. Miscommunication, fear of public safety, parade crashing. None excuse what ensued. Not for a minute. Today it was peace activists; tomorrow it will be someone else. This type of unchecked abuse of power is a terrifying thing to witness. The lack of accountability by the CSPD illustrates that this thug behavior is tolerated, perhaps encouraged. If they are willing to behave that way in the presence of hundreds of spectators, can you imagine the treatment of those less visible? Are they taught to leave their humanity at the door when they don their uniforms and guns?

While I appreciate the attempts made by John Weiss to reconcile the community, his call to the activists to drop the threat of a civil suit is wrong. Where the people have no voice the court system is the next step. A hung jury in so simple a case shows that we are a town that is not as freedom-loving as our local daily newspaper professes. Perhaps, as in Hawaii, a higher court will possess greater wisdom. It is the next peaceful step in our cherished democratic process. The checks and balances built into the Constitution provide a measure of hope.

If there is no relief to be found by those who have sworn to defend the Constitution, then we will have to take to the streets. Systemic change is always resisted by those in power. If the populace had not banded together in the past to demand its rights, women would not vote, blacks and whites would be segregated, workers would toil in dangerous conditions, children would be chattel.

We should not live in fear of our local government, they should fear and respect us. They are public servants. We are a country of the people, by the people, for the people. We will not rest until our government, including those on Capitol Hill, abides by the Bill of Rights. Don’t mistake quiet acquiescence for peace. It is a reaction to oppression.

What the peace marchers need is not a call to lay down, but the rising up of their fellow citizens. They call for peace. Let the rest of us support them with a call for justice. As Thoreau said in Civil Disobedience, “Cast your whole vote, not a strip of paper merely, but your whole influence.” It is time for every concerned citizen to help stop the rampant abuse of power in our city and beyond. Without liberty and justice, there will never be peace. Here, there or anywhere.

The J&P fails to argue its case in court

For weeks now, I have had a sense of impeding doom as the Pikes Peak Justice and Peace Commission has consistently failed to adequately argue the case of the Saint Patrick’s Day Seven police attack in the court of public opinion. The issue of how the city used its police force in a brutal manner to suppress the citizens right to express their opinions in public was not put forth in a strong manner, but rather increasingly was replaced with a love fest with the police chief, orchestrated by a religious pacifist contingent that only has seeked to underline its eternal commitment to turning the other cheek.

This meek and defeatist attitude about defending antiwar speech has now been extended into the court room, as the St Pat’s Day 7 seem headed towards losing their criminal case. They have allowed the ACLU lawyer to not argue their issues for them, all the while watching like meek sheep before the slaughter. So far, the desire to have their day in court has been taken away from them by their own lawyer!

Instead of arguing that the police acted in an unreasonable manner and with undue force, the attorney for the defense has said that the police were in an untenable situation, absolving them of any responsibility for what happened. What an astounding weak defense, as the St Pat’s Day 7 lawyer has absolved the city and its police force of all blame for the attack on his own defendants! Instead, he has confined the defense to only insisting that the ‘volunteers’ for the city contracted organizer of the event, John O’Donnell, had acted in an untrained and indisciplined manner, and that John O’Donnell himself had seemingly tried to cover up that fact.

But where is the obvious here? Did the police have to follow orders from the city contracted parade organizers without being obligated to use any of their own discretion? No they did not, but that is not being argued in the court by the defense lawyer. He just cedes the issue entirely, though it seems rather obvious that a little bit of police initiated discussion would have gone a long way before pulling out the heavy use of physical police force. Instead, he has weakly allowed the gloating cops involved to just act like it was their natural right to have attacked his defendants in they way that they did! And that the defendants probably brought about their own problems…

This case has also always centered on the role of John O’Donnell, and whether or not the City of Colorado Springs would be allowed to divorce itself entirely away from its relationship with him. Because neither the defense lawyer nor the Justice and Peace Center has made the slightest effort to expose this man’s incestuous relationship as city organizer of pro-military events for the city, they have allowed the man to posture as an innocent private person solely concerned with the ‘security’ of parade participants, and not as a suppressor of one point of political view to the favor of cheerleading the other political point of view, which is the pro-war point of view.

He has done this through consistent backing from the city government with tax monies taken from all the citizenry. This should all along have been the main defense argument, both in and out of court. Instead, in all cases, both the defense lawyer and many in the J&P have referred to him as being ‘good people.’ In fact, he is practically a paid employee of the City of Colorado Springs, who directs their police force even though a ‘private’ citizen and not a police official, and organizes major city events under the complete guidance of city government. And an official who suppresses free speech against war that he finds objectionable while allowing pro-military views to proliferate.

The J&P has not been arguing its case before the court in the trial, and has been weak at doing so in general. Today is going to be the last day of the trial, and hopefully the jurors can see through the obscurantist trial proceedings to understanding the real issues not being discussed there. And upon doing that, that they can find the defendants not guilty??? That is now a big ‘IF’.

Unfortunately, the defense lawyer has let a scenario be presented where it appears natural that when the police say jump, that the defendants should have jumped through the hoops IMMEDIATELY. And that by not doing so was in fact, only their way of blocking the parade route,which is what they, in fact, are charged with doing. In short, the St Pat’s Day 7 are seemingly being hung by their own lawyer.

PS- I had thought not to write any more here but am doing so now because of the importance of this trial event. I think it’s important that a true picture be presented of what is now transpiring in court here on this particular blog.

Day in court for police brutality

The recent CS Independent update on the St Patrick’s Day Seven left the unfortunate impression that police brutality has become a less significant component of the events that day. In reality our lawyer wants his defendants to answer for our guiltless actions without demeaning ourselves making counter accusations of excessive force.

While the upcoming trial concerns only the specific accusation that we seven intended to obstruct the parade that day, in fact the actions of the accused were most certainly influenced by the repressive manner of the police. If our lawyer is unable to raise the issue of the unnecessary violence, the attempted humiliation, the illegal physical coercion and reckless injury at our trial this week, a remedy will most certainly require further legal action.

The CSPD learned nothing from their misdeeds at the 2003 anti-war protest. Now that people recognize my face from the parade incident, I find myself besieged by accounts of police brutalization of the city’s homeless and less fortunate.

If the Saint Patrick’s Day Seven are making too much fuss for your taste, please consider that it has less to do with our treatment suffered at the hands of the police. We stand for all Americans who expect their civil liberties to be respected, particularly those who may not have a parade audience in broad daylight to insure they will be treated with civility. Somehow we must impress upon the CSPD to adopt a culture of respect for the dignity of all the people it serves.

The ACLU has chosen to defend us because the police should not conduct themselves as if they have the license to curb free speech and inhibit the freedom to assemble. And certainly not by means of force.

Cowards

ACLU PR problemI approached my fellow board members at the ACLU to add their organization’s name to the list of cosponsors of the upcoming PPJPC social event: Give Peace a Dance. They turned it down.
 
Do I bite my thumb at them?

The American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado Springs stands only for the civil liberties of Americans. Yes, this would exclude non-citizens, guest workers or refugees, not to mention world citizens. Where does this leave populations under American occupation, whose welfare is our responsibility according to the Geneva Conventions?

(Actually, the Bill of Rights applies to anyone on American soil, citizens and non-citizens. And laws of war dictate that such protections are also owed to people under occupation. I don’t care if you are not concerned about your fellow human beings, you’re bound by law to care for the victims of our war. Do you have any particular affinity for the principles of the ACLU in the first place?)

My colleagues’ rationale? The ACLU should not dilute their focus, nor offend their conservative base, by speaking up against war, in this casethe deprivation of rights of millions which illegal US actions have wrought.

If the Justice and Peace were to have any allies, to my mind the ACLU would be a likely candidate. Unfortunately the peace movement in Colorado Springs is not gathering momentum through the coordinate efforts of organizations. This city is still vastly overpopulated with people who may know the right thing to do, but who aren’t up to the task of doing it.

They are cowards. There will always be an excuse, won’t there? It’s hard to argue with a man who wants to run from the lion, but this isn’t about our own self-preservation is it? The only way to stop this lion is to keep marching. That is our only hope that it might someday stop attacking others. I don’t think it takes any courage to do the right thing. To do the wrong thing, for lack even of knowing what to do, is cowardice.

My efforts to persuade the ACLU were heavy handed and condescending, I wish I could have spoken otherwise. I called their excuses morally bankrupt. So why stop now? These do-gooders may be wrapped in the fog of Bush’s war, but they’re not stupid. They’re cowards.

A glimmer of light

In my post, The Madness of King George, I wrote about the recently approved changes to FISA. I won’t reiterate here.
 
The ACLU, God bless ’em, has mobilized quickly to contest the constitutionality of the proposed changes. Please sign their
petition and make your opinion known. I understand this is a bit like tax planning….boring at the time, but rewarding in the end. Do it. Please. Congress needs to know that we are watching. And we won’t stand for their capitulation any longer.
 
George is the cowboy. We are the Indians. Isn’t it time to revise history? Give us back our land, you mother fuckers.

Seriously, Eric, about the bumper sticker

Saying “At least Nixon had the decency to RESIGN”.

It sounds like a do-able proposition. Price them low enough to be affordable, but high enough to cover your costs and a profit margin. Even us hippies have to eat sometimes, and the landlord gets uptight when you don’t toss him some bread from time to time (at random intervals like every 30 days, 31 days, 28 days, that kind of random)

Also ask the ACLU people if the fact that none of the cops filed an Official Pig Report on St Paddy’s day, actually that day, about anybody hitting them at all ever, could invalidate the so called “evidence” offered by those bootlicking, suck-ass “good citizens” that it happened.

Witnesses to the St Patricks Day arrests

Colorado Springs hillbillies
If you were a witness to the parade events on March 17 this year, please contact the PPJPC if you haven’t already. The CSPD has amassed two 3-ring binders full of accounts from their sympathizers which attest to the peace participants striking the officers with their banners and otherwise resisting arrest. Missed, it seems, by any of the bystander videos. If you wish to shed an altogether different light on the scene, please call the PPJPC or the ACLU and they can put you in touch with the defense lawyers.

US Military Spy on Hundreds of Antiwar Demos

The Pentagon spied on hundreds of antiwar demos says the ACLU. Unfortunately, many activists in the proPeace crowd (and even the ACLU itself) seem to act as if they cannot draw the logical conclusions from this and act accordingly. Instead of helping publicize this reality of police and military surveillance and disruption of Peace proponents and their activism, they act as if doing so might be a hindrance and derailment of the Antiwar Movement! Therefore they run from the fight when it gets down and dirty. Isn’t that sad?

Without battling on behalf of those that might very well be the direct victims of this surveillance and rather instead acting as if they are chickens with their heads cut off who can’t come to the defense of those vilified without cause, is not helpful but harmful to the Antiwar Movement.

We must show solidarity with people when they are attacked and found supposedly guilty without due process. We must act forcefully on behalf of these people. Otherwise, we are accepting of the reality of those that want to make the whole world into one enlarged Guantanamo, where allegations need not ever be proven, but simply accepted as given fact by authority.

Activism without Solidarity is empty of content. The US military spy on hundreds of thousands of us, and we should not act as if the harm that falls upon some of us for our activism merely has innocently fallen out of the sky. If you know this, then work as if those peace activists that have been slandered are in fact innocent until proven guilty. If you do not, then in fact you are working with the saboteurs of The Movement For Peace, and not against them.

St Patrick’s Day Six plus One

Get a lawyer! Get a lawyer! Yes, go get a lawyer! In days gone past, people would shout, ‘Get a witch doc, he will intervene for you with the Gods!’ Well, us Justice and Peace folk got a lawyer for the St Patrick’s Day Seven, and we seem just as credulous as the most primitive of people about this magician playing against the legal Gods on behalf of those criminally charged.

No need to stay together, the lawyer says. Split into two! And get another lawyer, two. Two, three, many lawyers! I’ve seen folk meekly following the worst guidance of doctors many a time before, but now I guess I will get to see pro-peace people hypnotized by their legal, uh friend, the lawyer.

Eric seems to have accepted the advice to split The Seven into Six plus One, and so has the Six. Solidarity now thrown out the wind. This is now a legal issue and stand still.

It seems, we will stand still until the court rules against The One in favor of the city and its police, that the city government had assault people who tried to walk against the Pentagon. Gone is the issue of how John O’Donnell is mere front man for how the city issues permits and tries to stifle all but Pentagon led (and fed) parades, air shows, and assemblies in this city. No counter social issues Now! It’s divisive! Eric misled the poor city of Colorado Springs. Guilty as charged. Now stay out of any parade.

What is typical here, is how this decision to split the case was made not by our group discussion, but by a lawyer or two in our midst. And perhaps a publisher, too. In fact, most of the Justice and Peace still have yet to hear about how there will be two trials, not one. So sez the lawyer and we shall follow and do. All fall down. We got the lawyer, and he will be our downfall. How often this happens when Movement activists fold up, and allow themselves to be led by the nose by ‘legal specialists’. Deals and decisions get made in secret, and input of commoners get wiped out.

Such faith! To oppose the guidance of our legal counselor would be ‘inappropriate’, they would say? Of course, what was once a political matter that needed the mobilizing of public support, has now been turned into a hidden away, private court matter with all the rules to be followed of a legal system that allows Guantanamo to happen. People who still believe in following the rules of a democracy that doesn’t really exist, also seem to be content following the rules of a legal system that only exists in skeletal remains, too.

It looks bad in the days ahead for the St Patrick’s Day Six plus One. Shaking hands and hugging the police by the ACLU (as done at their recent annual meeting) will lead to defeat in the court room, but good relations between wanna-be power brokers and power. Lawyers most often get the people beat, not saved. A ‘good lawyer’ gets the Six saved, the One beat, and the Movement down the drain. And for that, he will be thanked.

That’s the better scenario. The worst, is well worse. Solidarity would do better.

Numb skulls awarding peace prizes

Two weeks ago I wrote about a CIA funded Otpor spokesperson in town talking to local pacifists of Gandhi and nonviolence and how supposedly that had overthrown Milosevic in Yugoslavia instead of the US and NATO bombs rained down on his country. Then last week I wrote about a NM Department of Tourism run ‘peace’ festival in Albuquerque funded to the tune of $450,000. Sappy ‘peace’ rhetoric run by the Chamber of Commerce basically. This week I guess the focus has to be on the Australian ‘Sidney Peace Prize‘.

This one just blows me away, too! The prize was awarded to none other than Hans Blix, which is the most absurd award of a peace prize since Henry Kissinger was given the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1973! We truly live in an Orwellian world these days when initiators of wars are so often given prizes by people spouting pacifist ideology.

Hans Blix was the guy who set up all the lies about Saddam Hussein and Iraq having WOMD that Bush and his Democratic and Republican Party enablers used to launch the invasion and occupation of Iraq. No way he deserves a peace prize, and actually he might better be executed as a war criminal instead. Without his personal act as wrench-er up of the propaganda, hysteria, and panic, the world public would never have gone along much as they did with initially supporting the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq.

This is just one more example of how pacifist beliefs and desires by much of the public can often be distorted into its opposite by simplistic twists of illogic. Then we get numb skulls awarding peace prizes to war criminals like Hans Blix and Henry Kissinger.

PS- I am still trying to get over how the local ACLU cut off audience questioning of CS police chief Richard ‘Liars’ Myers last week. The ACLU organizers required that all questions be vetted and then read by one person alone to the audience. Because of this, the annual meeting of the ACLU turned into a hug and handshake fest with the cops. Shameful. If the city of Colorado Springs had tried to do this sort of stunt at the city council meeting we would all have gotten peeved off. But instead, the audience silently sat by while the police chief fed them a long sermon of crap. And then many of the crowd applauded just that! Sometimes some amongst the ‘peace’ crowd can make one wanna cry with their innocence and naivete.