Thursday, September 27, 2018

Common Dreams:
"Ten years after the behavior of over-leveraged and fraudulent banks created a global financial disaster that resulted in hundreds of billions of dollars in losses; a multi-trillion bailout using public money; and millions of people losing their homes to foreclosure, but saw not one high-level financial executive go to jail, a man in Florida has been sentenced to a 20-year prison term for stealing $600 worth of cigarettes from a local convenience store.

According to the Associated Press, 'Robert Spellman, 48, received the lengthy sentence after a jury in Pensacola convicted him of burglary and grand theft last month.' 

As the Pensacola News Journal reports:
'He went into the Circle K in the 200 block of West Cervantes Street and took 10 cartons of cigarettes from a locked manager's office in the stock room. He was found nearby, matched a description of the suspect, was wearing the same clothing and had the cigarettes, according to the State Attorney's Office. ...' "

-->Sometimes the most egregious examples of our dysfunctional criminal justice system comes down to stories like this. Black man gets 20 years; white, rich men rob millions without penalty. The NYT was not interested and didn't cover it. 


Electronic Intifada:
"The Trump administration’s top civil rights enforcer at the US Department of Education wanted students who did nothing but hold a noisy protest in support of Palestinian rights to be criminally prosecuted.

Kenneth Marcus was captured on camera during a September 2016 meeting with an undercover reporter working on Al Jazeera’s explosive documentary about the US Israel lobby ....

The above video obtained by The Electronic Intifada is the latest excerpt to leak from the documentary. It shows Marcus speaking to the undercover reporter.
At the time, Marcus was director of the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, an Israel lobby group unaffiliated with Brandeis University. The Brandeis Center specializes in lawfare – the use of legal proceedings to harass and silence Israel’s critics."

-->A truly disturbing story of how the government and a top university work together to deny freedom of expression on campus. The NYT covered part of this story, but omitted Brandeis University or any mention of the Al Jazeera’s censored documentary. 


Common Dreams:
"With wealthy corporations, state legislatures, and the federal government finding new ways to challenge Americans' right to protest, several nonprofit groups have banded together to fight back on behalf of those facing legal jeopardy for peacefully blocking pipelines or using civil disobedience to resist other fossil projects and destructive policies.

The 'Protect the Protest' initiative was established this month by 20 non-profit groups—including the ACLU, the International Corporate Accountability Roundtable (ICAR), and Amnesty International—in response to lawsuits commonly filed by large companies against protesters with the goal of taking advantage of the power imbalance and exhausting activists' resources, forcing them to end their actions against the corporations.

In addition to the broader goal of 'defending dissent,' the coalition will put a focus on advising demonstrators and groups on how to avoid and handle that legal tactic known as a 'strategic lawsuit against public participation,' or SLAPP."

-->The US mainstream media doesn't care much about student free speech rights on campuses. In fact, quite the opposite. This story didn't make it into the NYT or any other media outlets.

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