Law and Disorder Radio

Archives for February, 2014


Law and Disorder February 24, 2014


Law and Disorder February 17, 2014


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Jury Trial Begins for Occupy Wall Street’s Cecily McMillan

Cecily McMillan faces 7 years in prison after being beaten by the New York Police that left her unconscious at an event marking the 6 month anniversary of the occupation in Zuccotti Park. The Occupy Wall Street activist is charged with felony assault on a police officer a Class D felony in New York. In the course of her arrest McMillan sustained bruised ribs, a seizure and numerous cuts across her body. McMillan was a political organizer and activists speculate that’s why the prosecutor is seeking the full penalty.

Attorney Marty Stolar:

  • Cecily is indicted which is somewhat unusual in the Occupy Wall Street cases. There are only 2 serious felonies that made it through the indictment process, Cecily’s is one of them.
  • She’s accused of assault in the second degree. She’s accused of assaulting a police officer with intent to disrupt his ability to perform his official duties. She wacked him in the face with her elbow and left a good sized mouse under his left eye, causing him substantial pain and also to miss some work.
  • The circumstances however under which she delivered the blow to his cheekbone are what the trial is about.
  • Cecily is not the kind of person who would assault a police officer just for the hell of it.
  • The police at midnight decided to clear the park of all the people who were there to celebrate the anniversary. Cecily was there not necessarily to celebrate the anniversary but to meet somebody to continue her pub crawling on St Patrick’s day being a McMillan when Cecily is grabbed from behind on her right breast and jerked upwards and she reacts, her arms go up in the air, her elbows go up, and that’s when her elbow and that’s when the elbow makes contact with the officer’s cheekbone.
  • At that point Cecily is knocked down to the ground hits her head on the sidewalk and really has no memory of what has occurred until she wakes up somewhat later in a hospital.
  • All of sudden she realizes she’s got bruises all over her body. She’s got a bruised rib, cuts all over her back, bumps on her head, she really has no idea how they occurred.
  • Cecily for whatever reason was singled out to be prosecuted for a felony and they didn’t offer her a decent plea in the case.
  • The officer lost a couple days of work, he was back on the job, his vision was not impaired.

Guest – Attorney Marty Stolar is a criminal defense lawyer and former president of the New York chapter of the National Lawyers Guild.

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Fair Sentencing Of Youth Campaign

Here on Law and Disorder we’ve been covering the issue of children being sentenced to prison for life without parole for an offense committed during adolescence. The United States was the only country in the world to mete out life without parole to juveniles. But, in the last few years, the United States Supreme Court acted to curb the use of mandatory life sentences for juveniles. It accepted the argument that children, even those who are convicted of murder deserve a chance at redemption. However most state courts are not following the spirit of the recent Supreme Court decision. In Florida, which is the number one state that puts children in prison for life without the possibility of parole, several lawsuits have been brought accusing the state of handing out massive sentences in non-homicide cases that they basically amount to life without parole.

Jody Kent Lavy:

  • The youths were involved in homicide cases, Human Rights Watch estimates that 25 percent of those individuals were convicted of felony murder meaning they were the primary perpetrator or they were there at the time the crime was committed but weren’t the trigger men.
  • The majority of them 60 percent had no prior record.
  • This most extreme sentence has been imposed on people we could not define as our most serious offenders.
  • June of 2012 the Miller v Alabama decision was issued which struck down mandatory life without parole sentences for children.
  • Each of these cases the court has relied on a growing body of research that really articulate the fundamental differences between children and adults.
  • We know that the vast majority of them tend to grow out of any criminal behavior.
  • The court has said we can’t impose these most extreme sentences on our children.
  • The court has said that children are constitutionally different when it comes to sentencing.
  • Two thirds of the people serving these sentences are concentrated in just five states.
  • In Pennsylvania the state that leads the nation in this practice there are 500 serving this sentence.
  • Back in the 1990s there was this theory known as the super-predator theory that there was going to be this juvenile crime wave.
  • The super-predator theory has since been dis-proven by the criminologists who were even the authors.
  • We now have an opportunity to be really mindful and careful about how we implement policies at the state level that hold young people accountable for serious crimes.
  • Some legislatures have abolished life without parole altogether, Wyoming, Texas, Delaware among them. Some states have reacted in imposing the next available harshest sentence.
  • The Mendota Juvenile Treatment Center in Wisconsin.

Guest – Jody Kent Lavy, director of the Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth, the organization calls on states to reconsider mandatory terms dispensed before the Miller ruling.

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CSPAN Book Club Video – Imagine: Living In A Socialist U.S.A.

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Law and Disorder February 10, 2014


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Goliath: Life and Loathing In Greater Israel: Max Blumenthal

Operation Cast Lead in 2008, is a starting point in the book Goliath: Life and Loathing In Greater Israel where award winning journalist and author Max Blumenthal shows the reader how a right wing government in Israel rose to power.  His book takes hard look at Israeli authoritarian politics through a cross section of interviews from the homes of Palestinian activists to the political leaders behind the organized assault against civil liberties.  Max gives readers a rare look into Israeli society that many will not write about.

Max Blumenthal:

  • The first title was Master Race Democracy.
  • Of course Israel is always portrayed in our media as this plucky little David surrounded by the Arab Goliath. Of course our reality is 180 degrees different.
  • Matzpen warned that this would happen, they took a full page ad in Harretz saying we will become a police state and a nation of murderers.
  • That’s where I come in to show that all of their darkest prophecies have been fulfilled and realized.
  • I take you through Israeli society and through the key institutions of Israeli life to show how its playing out.
  • From my time in Jerusalem where an anti miscegenation movement is burgeoning in the streets of Israel, leading mob attacks on young Palestinian men who are accused of making passes at Jewish women to the convention at the Jerusalem Ramada where key state Rabbis sit on a panel before right-wing settlers, including settler vigilantes leaders of the anti miscegenation movement defend a book, a guide on how and when its permissible to kill non-jews. A guide to genocide which is being distributed in Israeli Army units.
  • Avigdor Lieberman is the man that basically promised to transfer 100s of thousands of Palestinians. He’s a rising force in Israeli society. It’s the youth whose hearts and minds they command.
  • I take you into the Knesset to meet the younger legislators and the rising stars in Lieberman’s party and Netanhayu’s party who are far to the right of Netanyahu. Netanyahu really just commands the hollow center of Israeli politics.
  • Rotem was great because he and other hard core right wingers have this whole philosophy of being dugri or straight. There was nothing I could say to shake him. He looks at me coming in at just another pathetic Jewish liberal who doesn’t really get what it takes to prevent a second holocaust and that’s what he said his goal was.
  • It’s completely different from talking to a Republican in the United States who has to pander to some kind of civil rights sensibility.
  • That’s another thing reviewers missed about my book is that I analyzed these key votes on major anti-democratic laws going back to 2009. Laws like the Nakba Law which basically criminalized observance of Palestine dispossession in 2008. Laws like the Acceptance to Community Law which legitimizes racial and religious discrimination for communities of under 500.
  • These are laws that strip off the veneer of democracy and expose apartheid for what it is.
  • It’s the right-wing that has captured the heart of Israeli society because they have the dynamism, they’re driving the agenda forward. (using a simple mantra – “finish 48”)
  • In 1948 and actually starting in 1947, 750 thousand Palestinian Arabs were expelled to allow the creation of a Jewish state with a Jewish demographic majority, but many stayed behind. 20 percent of the state of Israel is non-Jewish Palestinian.
  • They view Palestinian citizens of Israel increasingly as a fifth column, as a trojan horse for the Arab world, for Arab nationalism and Islamism.
  • In order to become a citizen of Israel you have swear loyalty to the Jewish state and that applies to Palestinians in east Jerusalem.
  • You will meet the people who are trying to push back inside Jewish-Israeli society on the pages of my book because they were my roommates, my friends. They took me to the flashpoints of ethnic cleansing and conflict.
  • I would number 700 or less active left wingers who are actively leveling their bodies against the occupation and apartheid.
  • The writings on the wall for these activists that there is very little room for them left in Israeli society.
  • What they’ve (leftists in Israel) done is call to the outside. They’re calling to us. They organized around the boycott from within committee and they’re signing letters asking performers not to come to Israel. They’re signing letters calling on Americans to boycott their country.
  • That is really where the activism of the radical left wing Israelis is going.
  • The Jewish National Fund is supposed to operate within the Green Line only and is probably the leading Jewish non-profit in the world. It receives the most donations from diaspora Jews in the world.
  • Steven Harper the Prime Minister of Canada recently spoke at one of their banquets. They’ve paid Bill Clinton hundreds of thousands to speak at their banquets.
  • They are also the premier organization linked to the Israeli government involved in ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.
  • It’s something we talk about a lot. How Zionism is trying to capture Judaism and change what it means to be a Jew and declare us to be who are not only not Zionists but object to this redefinition of Judaism and cast us out and declare us to be anathema.
  • You can see it in my video Feeling the Hate where I go to the heart of Jerusalem and meet American Jews from around the country and they line up around my camera the night before Barack Obama’s historic address in Cairo.
  • Zionism is attracting those who are magnetized by the kind of bellicose identity that it requires and is repelling anyone who has any liberal sensibility or at least throwing them into a moral crisis.
  • I showed up as # 9 on Simon Weisenthal Center’s list of anti-Israel, anti-semites and they called me an anti-semitic Jew, not even a self-hating Jew but a Jew who hates Jews.
  • I was tied with Alice Walker by the way.
  • They literally count the calorie of each Gaza resident with complex mathematical formulas.
  • Barack Obama has never challenged the idea of holding 1.8 million under siege because they possess the wrong ethnicity.
  • When a situation like this is taking place and expanding as Jeff Halper from the Israeli Committee Against Home Demolitions says into a “global Gaza” where the techniques that have been used to control people in the Gaza Strip are literally being exported because Israel is the only country that has the ability to basically lab test such a regime of domination.
  • That’s very appealing to people in the United States, the Department of Homeland Security, to private prison companies like CCA.
  • Twitter – @maxblumenthal

Guest – Max Blumenthal,  an award-winning journalist and bestselling author whose articles and video documentaries have appeared in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Daily Beast, The Nation, The Guardian, The Independent Film Channel, The Huffington Post, Salon, Al Jazeera English and many other publications. He is a former Puffin Foundation Writing Fellow for The Nation Institute. His book, Republican Gomorrah: Inside The Movement That Shattered The Party, is a New York Times and Los Angeles Times bestseller.

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Law and Disorder February 3, 2014


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Imagine: Living in a Socialist USA

We continue to discuss the essays within the anthology Imagine: Living In A Socialist U.S.A. assembled and edited by our own co-host Michael Steven Smith, his wife Debby and Frances Goldin. Some of the most prominent activists, artists and experts have given their perspective about how the United States could exist as a socialist society. We’re joined today by Harriet Fraad, a hypnotherapist & psychotherapist in Manhattan. She is a contributor to the book with her essay Emotional and Sexual Life in a Socialist America written with Tess Fraad Wolff. Professor Rick Wolff joins us as well, we talk with him about his essay in the book titled The Shape of A Post-Capitalist Future.

Professor Rick Wolff:

  • The willingness to ask the question. Can we do better than capitalism is what was the unifying theme across all these audiences. (regarding recent speaking tour)  I think it should give encouragement and heart to everybody listening to this program, to understand how profoundly the wind has changed culturally, and ideologically and philosophically in the United States.
  • Capitalism is generating its own critics, its own opponents at a breath taking rate.
  • The way to get those people to rethink what socialism means is to revive parts of socialism that have gotten lost over the last century but I think now need to be put in the foreground.
  • That’s how its going to change your daily life.
  • What I concentrated on in the article is what would it mean if the place where people spend most of their adult life – at work – five out of seven days, best hours of each of those five days, you’re in your work place.
  • Let’s talk about what socialism would mean differently from the way capitalism organizes it.
  • In a capitalist workplace what most Americans have to face is that its a stunningly undemocratic arrangement.
  • How about we democratize the work place? How about we bring democracy to the place it should have been introduced first in our society’s history, if we’re democratic, rather than last.
  • That the workers should decide in assemblies, what to produce, how to produce, where to produce and what to do with the profits that after all, all the workers helped to produce.
  • The major source of inequality of wealth is how businesses their net income. Their profits. Who gets them?
  • They give their top official 200 hundred million dollar bonus packages, 50 million dollar bonus packages and what they don’t give to their top executives they pay out in dividends to their shareholders.
  • 5 percent of the shareholders own 80 percent of the shares. If you distribute to shareholders, to distributing to unequal distributions of wealth.
  • Socialists want those decisions to made democratically, by all the workers.
  • If the workers together made the decision on how to distribute the profits they all helped to produce, you think they would give millions of dollars to a few top executives, while everybody else has to borrow money to send their kid to college.
  • I want people to imagine how much better life would be if you handled the organization and the decision making in the enterprises of this society.
  • This isolation that Harriet spoke of so movingly is catastrophic politically as long as we all act individually. We have to face and recognize that there are millions of people that want to go beyond capitalism.
  • The first order of business is to bring them together in union and solidarity. They can have an impact on this society far beyond what they can achieve individually.
  • I also work at being honest in not knowing how best to get people to be together and function together.
  • If we could begin to mobilize. . .its important to understand that many of the ideas in this book are already majority points of view.
  • When you go to work for another person in a capitalist system, an employer, and you sit down and you work out what you will do and you also work out what that employer will pay you.
  • You know that the following is true. The only reason that employer will ever give you 20 dollars an hour is that during that hour, your brains and your muscles produce more than 20 dollars worth of stuff for that employer to sell. The employer will only give you 20 if he gets from you more than 20.
  • That is a fundamentally unequal relationship.

Guest – Rick Wolff is Professor of Economics Emeritus, University of Massachusetts, Amherst where he taught economics from 1973 to 2008. He is currently a Visiting Professor in the Graduate Program in International Affairs of the New School University, New York City and directs the website Democracy At Work. Rick hosts the syndicated radio show Economic Update broadcast out of WBAI 99.5 FM.

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Dr. Harriet Fraad:

  • For most people, what they’re aware of is, unemployment is crushing their future or their present but they’re unaware that its crushing their personal lives as well.
  • The first thing about capitalism is that what matters is profit.
  • In order to profit, companies have outsourced American’s livings. From everything to manufacturing to accounting where you could fax the materials over to India where they speak English or law in terms of writing a brief, can be outsourced.
  • People have been utterly looted in their personal lives because of only being a cipher on a profit ledger, not a person.
  • 80 percent of the jobs that were lost during the recession were “male” jobs, in manufacturing, or construction which is often prefab or farmed out or jobs that require physical strength, that’s not really required anymore.
  • There are two basis for male identity in the United States. One of them is having bread earner role and the other is having a loyal sexual partner and wife, and they’re both out the window.
  • 70 percent of divorces are now initiated by women. Women are refusing to get married in the first place.
  • Men are being rejected by women and by jobs.
  • A lot of manhood has to do with pride, which in the United States has been replaced by shame. Shame is something the Republicans try to cultivate in anyone who doesn’t have money.
  • The shame of not being a real person cause you can’t go out and buy stuff.
  • The shame in not being able to support a wife and children. Shame easily leads to violence.
  • Men have been rejected and are furious and don’t understand that its capitalism that has disempowered them.
  • Americans don’t have the benefits of after school care, quality, free health care.
  • People are disempowered and confused. Women don’t want to take care of men who won’t be able to support them and still demand full emotional and sexual services as well as child care.
  • The biggest increase in married couples are couples that don’t have children. The biggest increase in households are single person households. People are alone.
  • If you’re poor and alone, you can hang out at the mall and get arrested.
  • People haven’t made the connection. Hey, honey its capitalism, nothing personal.
  • They feel its their personal loss, which is why Americans which are 6 percent of the population of the world take 60 percent of the psych drugs.
  • Porn which is often impersonal and degrading to women – hetero porn, is the way kids get sex education here. Porn is so profitable.
  • The whole idea that the most important thing is connection is a socialist value. It’s all of us together. What we have is our majority and our connection that keeps this world going, rather than capitalists and their money to which we should all pay and obey.
  • Americans at the point where they know this is an unjust system but they’re not quite at the point where they can say, and I will do something about it.
  • You need to be willing to join with other people. That’s the primary thing.

Guest – Dr. Harriet Fraad, a hypnotherapist & psychotherapist in Manhattan. She is a contributor to the book with her essay Emotional and Sexual Life in a Socialist America written with Tess Fraad Wolff.

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Imagine: Living in a Socialist USA

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