Saturday, May 06, 2017

20.8 - For the Record: Desiree Fairooz convicted of laughing

For the Record: Desiree Fairooz convicted of laughing

[Note: Due to time constraints, of the following, only the one about Desiree Fairooz appeared on the show as broadcast.]

Next, it's For the Record, where we cover a few items very quickly just to make sure they get mentioned.

So, For the Record: You surely recall the flap over the size of the crowd for TheRump's inauguration, a crowd he claimed was just like you know the absolute bigliest ever - only to almost immediately have someone in the National Park Service send out on the agency's Twitter account a side-by-side comparison of TheRump 2017 versus Barack Obama 2009.

Through an FOIA request, CBS News was able to report on May 2 that TheRump was directly and personally involved in agency efforts to find out who did it, efforts which included tracing the IP addresses to an certain ISP and checking all National Park Service social media points of contact in that area. They never did find the person.

For the Record: That's not the only such example, either. Another, even worse case because it didn't even involve an agency account, involved the attempts by the US Customs and Border Protection, part of the Department for the Protection of The Fatherland, to unmask the owner of a private Twitter account run by someone claiming to be an employee of the agency who was critical of TheRump's harsh immigration policies. Customs and Border Protection actually served Twitter with a summons demanding to know the name of the account holder.

Twitter, to its credit, responded by suing the CBP and the Department, forcing them to back off.

And it now develops that the agency's conduct was so bad that the Department's Office of the Inspector General has launched an internal investigation into the attempt, citing the possibilities of improper actions and abuse of authority. Inspector General John Roth added that his office is "also reviewing potential broader misuse of summons authority" by the Department.

Desiree Fairooz being arrested
For the Record: Back in January, Desiree Fairooz, an activist with Code Pink, was in the rear of the audience for the confirmation hearing on Jeff Sessions for attorney general. When Sen. Richard Shelby claimed that Sessions has an "extensive record of treating all Americans equally under the law," Fairooz laughed. Which, considering how nonsensical that claim is, is a natural reaction.

She was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct intended to "impede, disrupt, and disturb" congressional proceedings and with "parading" in the Capitol, evidently because she held up a sign while she was being dragged out.

The laugh was a one-off and indeed is barely audible on the C-SPAN video of the hearing; there are coughs that are louder. Shelby didn't even pause in his statement.

Despite that, on May 3 she was convicted by a jury on both charges and now faces a year in prison and a $2000 fine. For laughing. For spontaneously laughing at an absurdity. For failing to pretend that Jeff Sessions, who in 1986 was thought too racist to be a federal judge, has an "extensive record of treating all Americans equally under the law." For failing to be able to let the lie pass unnoticed. For laughing at the lies.

Finally, For the Record: Speaking of Code Pink, the group says that since April 17, over 1,500 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails have been on a hunger strike to demand basic human rights and dignity, including proper medical care, family visits, an end to the use of solitary confinement, and an end to administrative detention, where Palestinian prisoners are held without charge or trial.

Since the strike began, others have joined, bringing the total number of hunger strikers to 1,700.

The Israeli response has not been to has not been to accede to this call for a level of treatment prisoners should expect in any civilized nation but to try to break the strike, putting the leaders in isolation, further restricting family visits, and threatening ongoing punishments.

There are calls for the US Embassy in Tel Aviv to urge the Israelis to give a positive response to the hunger strikers goals.

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