Tag Archives: music

Former Attorney General Ramsey Clark to Honor Civil Rights leader Amelia Boynton Robinson

On Saturday, September 19th, former United States Attorney General William Ramsey Clark will speak at the Free & Equal Election Foundation’s United We Stand Festival to honor recently deceased civil rights leader Amelia Boynton Robinson.

Clark is well known for his work as a socially conscious lawyer and activist who served under President John F. Kennedy and President Lyndon B. Johnson. Following the attacks of 9/11, Clark openly called for the impeachment of George W. Bush, founding the organization “VoteToImpeach”. Throughout Bush’s presidency, Clark attempted to get the U.S. House of Representatives to bring articles of impeachment against Bush. In August 2002, Clark held a press conference demanding that Bush not attack Iraq in pursuit of Saddam Hussein.

Once Bush left office, Clark turned VoteToImpeach into IndictBushNow.org, an effort to hold members of the Bush administration responsible for the launch of the War on Terror. In fact, as recently as June, Clark joined a lawsuit against members of the Bush administration for their role in the invasion of Iraq. The group behind the lawsuit is asking the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to review the class action suit on grounds that the U.S.-led war was an illegal act of aggression in violation of international guidelines as defined by the Nuremberg Tribunal after World War II.

Clark will now be joining the United We Stand festival as the keynote speaker honoring Amelia Boynton Robinson, who was scheduled to speak before she passed away on August 26, 2015.

The former Attorney General was a recipient of the 1992 Gandhi Peace Award, and the Peace Abbey Courage of Conscience Award for his commitment to civil rights.

Originally launched in May 2014, the second annual United We Stand Festival will take place at the Belasco Theater in Los Angeles on September 19 from 5-10 pm PST. The 2014 event was seen as a success, bringing together musicians Immortal Technique, Cappadonna & U-God of Wu-Tang Clan; comedian Lee Camp; activists Sean Stone, Jill Stein, Foster Gamble (Thrive), Nick Bernabe (March Against Monsanto), Richard Gage (Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth); journalists Abby Martin, Ben Swann, Amber Lyon, Maytha Alhassen, Luke Rudkowski, Mnar Muhawesh and many more.

The 2015 event will kickoff a series of open presidential debates for 2016 presented by the Free and Equal Elections Foundation. The festival will be broadcast worldwide by FreeAndEqual.org.

Free and Equal hopes that the event’s momentum will help inspire people to run for office targeting the Congressional races in 2016. Free & Equal Elections will also launch an open source “Election Assistant” Database. This “Election Assistant” Database will be accessible to all and provide information on every candidate.

The organization aims to bring together a range of speakers on topics including fighting against the Patriot Act, NDAA, NSA, endless warfare, the war on drugs, pollution, election fraud, drones, GMOs, police brutality, and the attack on net neutrality.

“By creating an event that combines the most socially-conscious elements of activism, music, and journalism we are allowing concerned citizens to be a part of a much needed conversation about the failures of our political process and, most importantly, possible solutions,” Free and Equal founder Christina Tobin told Truth In Media. Tobin says she hopes the event can contribute to the broad awakening taking place around the United States.

The UWSF 2015 will feature Ramsey Clark as the keynote speaker, as well as Green Party’s 2012 Presidential Candidate Dr. Jill Stein, Lynne Lyman of Drug Policy Alliance, Professor Griff from Public Enemy; conscious reggae artist Spragga Benz; Alexander McCobin, Co-Founder and President of Students for Liberty; author Daniel Pinchbeck; former Judge and Vice Presidential candidate Jim Gray; and a host of other musicians, artists, activists and thinkers from around the country. (Full Disclosure: I will be speaking at the event as well.)

Is the internet protected by the First Amendment? The Supreme Court will decide

The Supreme Court is set to hear a case which could settle if the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of speech extends to the internet and social media.

The case is Elonis vs. United States, where Anthony Elonis will argue posts he made on Facebook were made in jest and not meant to be taken seriously.  Elonis was previously convicted by a federal court for these posts, saying they were of a threatening nature and therefore not protected.

All of the posts in question were viewed by Elonis’ ex-wife who said she felt threatened by them and by Elonis.

One such post reads, according to the Huffington Post, “There’s one way to love you but a thousand ways to kill you. I’m not going to rest until your body is a mess, soaked in blood and dying from all the little cuts.”

The LA Times also says other posts made by Elonis mentioned killing an FBI agent, as well as massacring a kindergarten class.  Elonis testified his posts were never meant to frighten anyone, and he also said his posts were a spontaneous form of expression similar to rap lyrics.

John Elwood, Elonis’ attorney, told CNN he agreed the posts were cathartic for Elonis.  “There’s a reason why all these graphic songs were written when Eminem wrote these things and he hasn’t been prosecuted for a felony for writing these songs which are virtually indistinguishable about his ex-wife,” said Elwood.

Solicitor General Donald Verrilli Jr. is representing the government in the case and disagrees, saying, “A bomb threat that appears to be serious is equally harmful regardless of the speaker’s private state of mind.”

The Justice Department weighed in on the situation saying no matter what the speaker believes about his comments, if someone feels threatened by the comments, those comments are not protected speech.

Some civil liberties groups such as the ACLU, are siding with Elonis, saying “A statute that proscribes speech without regard to the speaker’s intended meaning runs the risk of punishing protected First Amendment expression simply because it is crudely or zealously expressed.”

Arguments from both sides will begin Monday.