The City of New York, the New York Police Department, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and several large corporations including JPMorgan Chase have repeatedly violated the constitutional rights of Occupy Wall Street protesters, according to a wide-ranging federal lawsuit filed on Monday morning.
Occupy Wall Street victims of pepper-spray cop Anthony Bologna, September 24, 2011. The NYPD made false arrests and violated free- speech rights of protestors and journalists last year, according to a complaint filed today in a Manhattan federal court.
Four New York City Councilors – Letitia James, Melissa Mark-Viverito, Ydanis Rodriguez and Jumaane Williams – filed the civil rights lawsuit alleging that city police used excessive force and violated free speech rights as part of its crackdown on protesters. Also joining the suit as plaintiffs are a local Democratic Party official, freelance journalists, and Occupy activists.
“This unlawful conduct has been undertaken with the intention of obstructing, chilling, deterring and retaliating against (the) plaintiffs for engaging in constitutionally protected protest activity,” the lawsuit alleges.
The City Council members are calling for an independent monitor to review all of the more than 2,000 OWS-related arrests and further explore the city’s decision to temporarily close Zuccotti Park and other public spaces during the protests. The suit also seeks unspecified damages.
I don’t know what to make of Chris Hedges. His social critiques often seem to lead to dead ends — to the conclusion that we might as well jump off a cliff and be done with it. But he’s a serious Occupy Wall Street supporter, and here and there in his gloom-ridden sermons are passages that make perfect sense:
The conflation of technological advancement with human progress leads to self-worship. Reason makes possible the calculations, science and technological advances of industrial civilization, but reason does not connect us with the forces of life. A society that loses the capacity for the sacred, that lacks the power of human imagination, that cannot practice empathy, ultimately ensures its own destruction. The Native Americans understood there are powers and forces we can never control and must honor. They knew, as did the ancient Greeks, that hubris is the deadliest curse of the human race. This is a lesson that we will probably have to learn for ourselves at the cost of tremendous suffering.
Yes, this is premature, but Mitt Romney seems more and more like a gift from the gods to the Barack Obama re-election campaign. The quarter-billion-dollar man is tone deaf but he keeps braying, and each of his pronouncements seem more out of tune with the national mood than the last. More here.
I’d like to think Rick Perry has proven himself to be too much of a wing nut even for most Texans, but his crusade against women will continue to draw support down there despite this decision:
Texas Governor Rick Perry (R) was rebuked by a federal court on Monday for his decision to withdraw all Medicare funds from the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), in a move that triggered a showdown with the federal government amid an election season already fraught with gender politics.
The ruling, issued by Judge Lee Yeakel in Austin, will preserve Medicaid Women’s Health Program funding for PPFA clinics across the state, ensuring over 130,000 lower income women will continue to receive reproductive health care services. While Yeakel’s ruling is only a temporary injunction, it prevents Texas from shutting off the funds in the near term until the full trial can get underway later this summer.
In his ruling, Judge Yeakel wrote that PPFA’s arguments against the state of Texas “demonstrated a substantial likelihood of success,” and noted that “the current unrebutted record reflects that Plaintiffs neither perform abortion nor counsel women participating in the Women’s Health Program to seek abortions.”
The only business more obscene than the privatized-prisons racket is the outright sale of slaves, which America’s southern states were forced to quit more than a century-and-a-half ago. From The Raw Story:
The United Methodist Task Force on Immigration held a rally in Tampa over the weekend to protest against the growing private prison system in the United States.
“Is this an immigration rally or is this a prison rally? It is a justice rally,” Bishop Minerva Carcano said.
More than 500 people gathered to protest the private prison industry, which has lead to the mass incarceration of immigrants and minorities, according to the United Methodist News Service.
Private prisons are associated with heightened levels of violence toward prisoners and have limited incentives to reduce future crime, according to a report by the American Civil Liberties Union.
“The perverse incentives to maximize profits and cut corners — even at the expense of safety and decent conditions — may contribute to an unacceptable level of danger in private prisons,” the report stated.
In February, the private prison company Corrections Corporation of America offered buy state-operated prisons in 48 states. States that accept the deal would have pay CCA to operate the prisons for at least 20 years and keep the prisons at least 90 percent full.