Journalist under criminal charges for filming Katrina evacuees

A journalist and a TV producer working on a piece about Katrina refugees have been charged with the crime of videotaping a “critical national security structure” in Louisiana… Palast Charged with Journalism in the First Degree:

On August 22, for LinkTV and Democracy Now! we videotaped the thousands of Katrina evacuees still held behind a barbed wire in a trailer park encampment a hundred miles from New Orleans. It’s been a year since the hurricane and 73,000 POW’s (Prisoners of W) are still in this aluminum ghetto in the middle of nowhere. One resident, Pamela Lewis said, “It is a prison set-up” — except there are no home furloughs for these inmates because they no longer have homes.
To give a sense of the full flavor and smell of the place, we wanted to show that this human parking lot, with kids and elderly, is nearly adjacent to the Exxon Oil refinery, the nation’s second largest, a chemical-belching behemoth.
So we filmed it. Without Big Brother’s authorization. Uh, oh. Apparently, the broadcast of these stinking smokestacks tipped off Osama that, if his assassins pose as poor Black folk, they can get a cramped Airstream right next to a “critical infrastructure” asset.
So now Matt and I have a “criminal complaint” lodged against us with the feds.

Dectective Pananepinto, in justifying our impending bust, said, “If you remember, a lot of people were killed on 9/11.”
Yes, Detective, I remember that very well: my office was in the World Trade Center. Lucky for me, I was out of town that day. It was not a lucky day for 3,000 others.
Yes, I remember “a lot” of people were killed. So I have this suggestion, Detective — and you can pass it on to Mr. Bush: Go and find the people who killed them.

Continue ReadingJournalist under criminal charges for filming Katrina evacuees

Fear Itself

From Kung Fu Monkey, via Masson’s Blog:

FDR: Oh, I’m sorry, was wiping out our entire Pacific fleet supposed to intimidate us? We have nothing to fear but fear itself, and right now we’re coming to kick your ass with brand new destroyers riveted by waitresses. How’s that going to feel?
CHURCHILL: Yeah, you keep bombing us. We’ll be in the pub, flipping you off. I’m slapping Rolls-Royce engines into untested flying coffins to knock you out of the skies, and then I’m sending angry Welshmen to burn your country from the Rhine to the Polish border.
U.S. NOW: BE AFRAID!! Oh God, the Brown Bad people could strike any moment! They could strike … NOW!! AHHHH. Okay, how about .. NOW!! AAGAGAHAHAHHAG! Quick, do whatever we tell you, and believe whatever we tell you, or YOU WILL BE KILLED BY BROWN PEOPLE!! PUT DOWN THAT SIPPY CUP!!

Read the whole thing from Kung Fu Monkey, because it’s funny, and smart. I love monkeys. They are so cool.

Continue ReadingFear Itself

Random Acts of Freedom

It’s been a tough year for Americans. We’ve endured one of the worst events in our nation’s history — the stealing of an election by a man who didn’t win the office. We’ve also had to deal with a terrible terrorist attack on our own shores… something we never imagined could happen. And since then, the liberties we’ve enjoyed as American citizens have been systematically dismantled under the guise of "Homeland Security." Now more than ever (oops, that’s a cliché, isn’t it?) celebrating our Independence Day is very important.


In celebration of the Fourth of July this year, why not do something other than just shooting off fireworks? Why not do something that truly says, "I’m a free human being living in the United States of America, and I believe in the founding principle of my country: Liberty!"

Do something (anything) to exercise one of the freedoms guaranteed to you in the most important document that belongs to our country–the Bill of Rights (reprinted here for you to peruse).

Removing God From Your Money

Also, Here’s something you COULD do. I’m not saying I do this, but you could do it, if you wanted…. Considering the recent hullabaloo about the unconstitutionality of the phrase "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance, a number of people on both sides of the issue have pointed out that we celebrate God on our money with "In God We Trust." The religious right wants you to believe that our founding fathers were responsible for including references to God on our currency and in other government institutions, but the reality is that this happened during the red scare in the 1950’s. Prior to 1956, our national motto was "E Pluribus Unum" (Out of Many, One), not "In God We Trust."

Take any bill of currency, find the phrase "In God We Trust" and cross out the word "God." Yep, cross it right out. He’s not supposed to be here anyway. (See Amendment I below.) Then, above the word "God" write in the word "Freedom" or the word "Liberty."

Is this illegal? Is defacing money against the law? Only if you deface the money in such a way and with the intent that it can’t be recirculated. If you tear it, cut it up, make it unreadable or in some way that it cannot be used any longer. Simply crossing out the "God" on your money doesn’t make it impossible to pass on to someone else. In fact, that’s really the point, isn’t it? Passing it on to someone else so they see it and spend it, too. Writing on money is just an expression of the First Amendment.

However, there are some cases where federal officials have harassed people who defaced money and otherwise threatened or intimidated them. Which is why I personally am not defacing any money. No siree.
"Not enough" you say? This is too small to make a difference? Well here are some other suggestions for things you can do to protest the erosion of your basic freedoms.

  1. Register to vote
  2. 2. Contact your elected officials
  3. 3. Donate money to your political party of choice
  4. 4. Check out other non-violent protests and use them as a model.
Continue ReadingRandom Acts of Freedom

The Bill of Rights

The first ten amendments to the constitution — and the most important document that America owns because it’s the document that makes our country unlike any other and the best country in the world.

Note: The following text is a transcription of the first 10 amendments to the Constitution in their original form. These amendments were ratified December 15, 1791, and form what is known as the “Bill of Rights.”

Amendment I
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Amendment II
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Amendment III
No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Amendment IV
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Amendment V
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Amendment VI
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

Amendment VII
In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Amendment VIII
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Amendment IX
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Amendment X
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Continue ReadingThe Bill of Rights