The First Amendment is Well and Truly Dead.

First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: “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.”

NYC Policeman reaches over barricade and pulls hair of female protester

From the New York Daily News: Wall Street protesters cuffed, pepper-sprayed during ‘inequality’ march

Hundreds of people carrying banners and chanting “shame, shame” walked between Zuccotti Park, near Wall St., and Union Square calling for changes to a financial system they say unjustly benefits the rich and harms the poor.

Somewhere between 80 and 100 protesters were arrested, and according the Occupy Wall Street website, some of them were held in a police van for more than an hour, including a man with a severe concussion. Back to the Daily News article:

Witnesses said they saw three stunned women collapse on the ground screaming after they were sprayed in the face.

A video posted on YouTube and shows uniformed officers had corralled the women using orange nets when two supervisors made a beeline for the women, and at least one suddenly sprayed the women before turning and quickly walking away.

Footage of other police altercations also circulated online, but it was unclear what caused the dramatic mood shift in an otherwise peaceful demonstration.

“I saw a girl get slammed on the ground. I turned around and started screaming,” said Chelsea Elliott, 25, from Greenpoint, Brooklyn, who said she was sprayed. “I turned around and a cop was coming … we were on the sidewalk and we weren’t doing anything illegal.”

It’s over folks. We live in a police state. The right of the people to “peaceably assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances” is no longer recognized by the powers that be. In the age of the Patriot Act, peaceful protest is no longer permitted. The government requires that groups have a permit before they can gather on the sidewalks of New York. Oh, and BTW, a number of people were arrested yesterday because they filmed incidents of police brutality.

Via Yves at Naked Capitalism, Amped Status reports that Twitter is now following the example of the corporate media in ignoring or blocking information about peaceful protests in the U.S.

On at least two occasions, Saturday September 17th and again on Thursday night, Twitter blocked #OccupyWallStreet from being featured as a top trending topic on their homepage. On both occasions, #OccupyWallStreet tweets were coming in more frequently than other top trending topics that they were featuring on their homepage.

This is blatant political censorship on the part of a company that has recently received a $400 million investment from JP Morgan Chase.

We demand a statement from Twitter on this act of politically motivated censorship.

It’s all very exciting when Egyptians or Libyans protest their governments, but when it happens here, well, the media pretends its not happening. So much for the First Amendment.

In an op-ed at The New York Times yesterday, Michael Kazin asks: Whatever Happened to the American Left?

America’s economic miseries continue, with unemployment still high and home sales stagnant or dropping. The gap between the wealthiest Americans and their fellow citizens is wider than it has been since the 1920s.

And yet, except for the demonstrations and energetic recall campaigns that roiled Wisconsin this year, unionists and other stern critics of corporate power and government cutbacks have failed to organize a serious movement against the people and policies that bungled the United States into recession.

Instead, the Tea Party rebellion — led by veteran conservative activists and bankrolled by billionaires — has compelled politicians from both parties to slash federal spending and defeat proposals to tax the rich and hold financiers accountable for their misdeeds. Partly as a consequence, Barack Obama’s tenure is starting to look less like the second coming of F.D.R. and more like a re-run of Jimmy Carter — although last week the president did sound a bit Rooseveltian when he proposed that millionaires should “pay their fair share in taxes, or we’re going to have to ask seniors to pay more for Medicare.”

I’m sure Kazin is a good guy–after all he is a co-editor of Dissent Magazine and wrote a book on the changes the American Left has accomplished. His op-ed is a fine historical article, but still, he does mention Wisconsin. It might have been nice if he had noticed that some young people are attempting to organize a peaceful protest on Wall Street and are being victimized by brutal NYC police for their efforts. Perhaps Kazin didn’t know about the NYC protests because of the media blackout.

At the Guardian UK, David Graeber had some kind words for the Wall Street protesters.

Why are people occupying Wall Street? Why has the occupation – despite the latest police crackdown – sent out sparks across America, within days, inspiring hundreds of people to send pizzas, money, equipment and, now, to start their own movements called OccupyChicago, OccupyFlorida, in OccupyDenver or OccupyLA?

There are obvious reasons. We are watching the beginnings of the defiant self-assertion of a new generation of Americans, a generation who are looking forward to finishing their education with no jobs, no future, but still saddled with enormous and unforgivable debt. Most, I found, were of working-class or otherwise modest backgrounds, kids who did exactly what they were told they should: studied, got into college, and are now not just being punished for it, but humiliated – faced with a life of being treated as deadbeats, moral reprobates.

Is it really surprising they would like to have a word with the financial magnates who stole their future?

I salute the young men and women from Occupy Wall Street who are fighting back as best they can against corporate-fascist law enforcement and the corporate-controlled media. I really hope it’s not too late for these young people to make a difference.

46 Comments on “The First Amendment is Well and Truly Dead.”

  1. Minkoff Minx says:

    BB, my guess is that this police brutality will go on without any comment from the WH.

  2. dakinikat says:

    It’s alive and well on the Breitbart website where full on racism is on display. Morgan Freeman was so right … go read the excerpts of the comments selection as displayed at LGF. It’s horrifying. I thought about posting an example, but I’m too stunned.

    Evidently free speech is only acceptable when it comes from right wing sources or corporate owned media shills.

    • Woman Voter says:

      Yes, that has been very distressing for me, as the Tea Party people can go to protests with guns on their hips, plenty of ammo and the police are thrilled, no problem. These young (one appeared to be a very young teen) and elderly women are penned like animals and then deliberately maced and offered no medical aid. If they had done that to me, they would provoke an asthma attack. Interestingly the policeman runs off and is busy texting and laughing, not even noticing he also maced three police people.

      Oh, the above comment in moderation is me, I left out a letter of my email address.

      • paper doll says:

        not even noticing he also maced three police people.

        Indeed…but I doubt he would care. Too busy updating his facebook wall with cool photos of maced women….hoorah!

      • Woman Voter says:

        The three appeared to have gotten the mist, not a direct in the face mace as the women did, but yes, he was busy chit chatting as if a frat boy bully. Not too impressive, considering these are the same kids tweeting about getting the 911 First Responders the care they needed as the insurance wouldn’t pay and Republicans wouldn’t approve the bill, while chanting ‘Constitution and holding their flag pins’.

  3. dakinikat says:

    The Raw Story
    via SusieMadrak
    Chris Hedges calls Occupy Wall Street “where the hope of America lies.”

  4. Beata says:

    The Wisconsin movement started with protests from teaching assistants at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. I would love to see the Occupy Wall Street movement grow to campuses across America. I’ll be watching the local student newspaper for possible future protests here.

    Warren for Senate. Organized protests against Wall Street. Signs of hope, indeed.

      • Woman Voter says:

        Today some union people stopped by the Live Stream and said other unions were going to join as they too had many of the same concerns.

      • Beata says:

        That’s excellent news about the unions, WV. Joining in solidarity with students, just as they did in WI. Forming grassroots leftist / liberal / progressive protest movements made up of various groups with common interests is the way forward, IMO. We have no leaders in Washington to guide or speak for us now.

        And thanks for keeping us updated with info and links. They are very much appreciated! Keep spreading the news – since the MSM isn’t.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Guess what? There’s a protest here in Muncie, IN tomorrow to save the Post Office!

  5. Tim says:

    I wonder if you could find examples of other amendments being broken in the name of big business.

    • dakinikat says:

      I’m sure we could. I’m still boggled by our president who issued an assassination order on a US citizen without the benefit of counsel, a trial, or anything and he used to teach constitutional law.

      9/11 has been used perversely to remove all kinds of our civil liberties and rights.

      There are now for profit prisons over here that undoubtedly subject folks to cruel treatment in the name of cost cutting. Their employed guards aren’t even safe.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Pretty much the whole bill of rights is gone now, except for the second amendment.

  6. The Rock says:

    What is going on in this country reminds me of what happened back home in 1986. Military rule had just been instituted and after a journalist was assasinated, the military ruler started removing the few rights that we had. Soldiers with instructions to shoot on sight patrolled during curfew (after 10pm). Schools became prisons. Village meetings were held under the strictest of secrecy. As bad as it was, nobody dared say anything negative against the government. At least not in public. The court system was corrupt and public executions went way up (Nigeria executes kids and we have never had a good investigative police force. There’s no telling how many youths died via the state). In fact, a cousin of mine was executed by firing squad for armed robbery. At the time of his arrest, he had never held a gun before.

    Granted, this is the most extreme case from a third world country, and to our credit, we have become a functioning (though exceedingly corrupt) democracy. That said, I am seeing many of the same things being withheld from the public here in a very subtle way that were blatantly withheld from us back home. The end result is always the same – oppression of a weaker segment of the populace….

    We are so f&*^%d…

    Hillary 2012

    • Beata says:

      I disagree. As shocking as these acts of police brutality are, the protests themselves are a such a positive sign of life! People are waking up. And through alternative sources – like this blog – the story is getting out. I fully expect the peaceful protests to grow as people express their outrage, not only at Wall Street, but also at the response of the NYPD.

      • The Rock says:

        I hope you are right. The sum total of all the things this government is putting us through in the name of what they call democracy is bleeding the contitution to death. What those cops did was against the law. They should be prosecuted. Period. Maybe by shining a light, like you said, using alternative media such as this blog, will stave off the suppression of our rights.

        As shocking as these acts of police brutality are, the protests themselves are a such a positive sign of life!

        Beata – from your lips to God’s ears….

        Hillary 2012

      • bostonboomer says:

        I hope you’re right too. I tend toward The Rock’s viewpoint, but something like this or the Wis. protests gets my hope up quickly. I don’t want to give up on our country.

  7. Woman Voter says:

    Black President, Double Standard: Why White Liberals Are Abandoning Obama
    Melissa Harris-Perry

    Electoral racism in its most naked, egregious and aggressive form is the unwillingness of white Americans to vote for a black candidate regardless of the candidate’s qualifications, ideology or party. This form of racism was a standard feature of American politics for much of the twentieth century. So far, Barack Obama has been involved in two elections that suggest that such racism is no longer operative. His re-election bid, however, may indicate that a more insidious form of racism has come to replace it.

    😯 Don’t know what to say…

    • dakinikat says:

      I read that last week and decided to put it in the morning post. She was walking it back a little on twitter earlier.

      • northwestrain says:

        I just finished reading the comments M H-P’s article — the majority were disgusted. She is the racist — many concluded.

        This one is representative of the comments to M H-P’s article”

        “First, is it at all possible that you missed a particularly insidious form of racism– pushing Obama into office without regard to his qualifications just so you could pat yourself on the back for being non-racist enough to vote for a black man? And the author’s suggestion that Obama’s performance is comparable to Clinton’s is imbecilic. I didn’t like Clinton, but I don’t recall unemployment being over 9% three years into his term. The fact that the author has pretenses to scholarship is absolutely embarassing.”

        M H-Ps article is badly written — pseudo-academic. Trying to write like an academic — putting on a show — but doing a bad job.

    • paper doll says:

      Why White Liberals Are Abandoning Obama

      It just couldn’t be his GOP cooties could it? No, it has to be the race thang. pleeeese white liberial would LOVe to vote for a AA man…that’s how Obie gathered them in the first time . If they are leaving him now , it’s cause they finally understood Mr, Deamboat is no liberial.
      The race pony won’t ride this time…the guilt tank is on empty

    • What an immature discussion on race and racism.

      Yes, O’s re-election bid will show that a very insidious form of racism has indeed arisen … from the first black president himself, telling black people not to “make him do it,” but to get out of their bunny slips and march for Obama ’12.

      Oh, and earth to Melissa Harris-Perry: Electoral racism didn’t just go poof overnight with Obama’s election, nor did institutional racism or racial prejudice. What O’s election revealed, among other things, is that overt racism has become a fringe position in American society to a noteworthy extent. A black man can and has been elected POTUS… But, what about a black woman senator? Indian American governor? Muslim American congressman? The insidious remnants of electoral racism never went anywhere…they aren’t suddenly disappearing and reappearing.

      • northwestrain says:

        How about Rick Perry’s Texas — Texas gets more Congressional Reps due in large part to the increase of Latino voters. So what does Texas do — redistrict to dilute the Latino increase in population.

        Or how about Chicago — AAs want to keep their districts and negate any increase in the Latino population. Some interesting quotes from the AAs trying to block Latinos political ambitions. Chicago Sun Times from two years ago.

        Shirley Chisholm said many times that she experienced more prejudice as a woman than as a black person. Now she would have made a fantastic President and she would have been ready from day one.

    • northwestrain says:

      It seems to be that this author is shouting “racism” — and she is blinded by the fact that the person 0bama is a very rotten manager and thus one of the worst presidents ever.

      She also managed to write one of the most unreadable dribble I’ve ever tried to read — and I used to read stacks of student papers.

      She ends with this piece of BS — “His {0bowma’s] record is, at the very least, comparable to that of President Clinton.” On WHAT planet has she been all this time???

      She is the racist.

  8. paper doll says:

    Footage of other police altercations also circulated online, but it was unclear what caused the dramatic mood shift in an otherwise peaceful demonstration

    Orders from HQ

    • northwestrain says:

      That’s my guess — that cop that did the spraying — sure looked like he was kissing ass and planning his promotion party.

  9. northwestrain says:

    Thank you BB for highlighting this abuse by NYC cops.

    As awful as the video is — and they way the media has been ignoring the protester — I believe that a tipping point will be reached. We the People have been ripped off by Wall Street and their puppets in Congress. The mostly young people who are supplying the largest numbers to this protest are really fighting for their lives. Already they are being called the “Lost” generation. But they they aren’t going to accept that throw away name.

    The media does indeed SUCK — big time. If the media notices it is only to make nasty remarks:

    • bostonboomer says:

      The young people SHOULD be doing it. We did it back in the ’60s. It’s time for them to step up. I’ll gladly support them, and maybe the baby boomer bashing will stop when they understand what we went through back then.