TRAINS, CAMERAS AND THE CONSTITUTION

It was Labor Day in 2009 when I became aware of just how bad things have gotten in the US.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think I’ve been naïve.  I’ve been a student of free speech and the political landscape of the US since high school, but Labor Day was the first time I have come into contact with a violation of my civil rights in a very real way.

Our office had a loaner 5D Mark II, and I took it for the weekend for a test drive.  I’ve had a fascination with the Houston light rail since they started laying track, and shooting it with the 5D seemed like the thing to do.  So my friend and I were standing on the platform when an angry homeless guy came up to us and starts harassing us for change.  I look to my right, and there was a Metro Police Car.  I waved at him hoping he would keep this guy moving who was now becoming belligerent.  I’m usually not so nervous in these situations, however, I did have $3500.00 worth of camera  strapped around my neck.  The cop yelled out something:  ”NO PICTURES OF THE TRAIN!”

Could he actually be serious?  After several calls to the Houston Metro Police Department, I come to find he was.  However, it seems there is no law on the books prohibiting photography of a train.  Nevertheless, Homeland Security has endowed local police departments nationwide with violating the first amendment rights of would be train photographers by harassing them and/or detaining them.

When I hung up the phone, I knew for the first time, I wasn’t dealing with some rogue cop or an over zealous police captain, I was dealing with the New American Police State.  The kind of police state they warned us about in speeches on Veteran’s Day when I was in elementary school.

It turns out, my experience isn’t unique in any fashion, except I might have gotten off easy.  Last February in New York,  Robert S. Taylor of Brooklyn was taking photos for fun in a subway station. Police saw him and cited him for unauthorized photography, even though the crime doesn’t actually exist.  Taylor states that charge was dropped, however, they also charged him disorderly conduct.  Ironically, Taylor works for MTA.  He was off duty at the time. More recently, on the other side of the country in California, Andrew Cichowski was taking pictures of the Diridon train station in San José.

I was taking a picture of the barbed wire fence, I heard someone shout “TURN AROUND SLOWLY!” I said “excuse me?” confusedly, and then slowly turned around. To my surprise, two police officers were staring at me. They asked what I was “suspiciously photographing industrial stuff for…” After about 30 minutes, they realized I wasn’t some sort of strange train terrorist, but were still asking me questions. A third officer and third and fourth squad car then arrived. Eventually, they copied the entire contents of my CF card to their police laptop and two flash drives, I told them they could have a copy of the photos as long as they didn’t sell any of them. They smiled and promised not to.  Aside from this being a terribly obnoxious waste of time, it was an interesting experience, and I’m now very likely on some sort of terrorist watch list for being a suspicious photographer…

Just today, someone posted the image at the top of this article which is a sign on a train in Chicago.  It asks citizens to call 911 if they see any suspicious behavior, and it explicitly lists photography and video as one of those suspicious activities.  So where does this leave free citizens who wish to maintain their Constitutional rights?  It leaves us with the burden of asserting ourselves I’m afraid.

Sometimes, the only way to keep a right is by exercising that right.  Therefore, take pictures whenever possible of everything possible, especially of trains, planes and buses.  We must report any police officers, security guards or other so-called officials who attempt to infringe upon our rights to their superiors and watch dog groups such as the ACLU.  Become locally active in photography groups in your area and most importantly, talk about these issues.  Post your experiences online using blogs and social media.  Above all, write your mayor, congressman and senators and tell them if they are incapable of stopping these attacks on our civil rights, we will elect someone who will.

The bottom line, there is now a real threat to the rights of free citizens everywhere, and no one is going to rescue you.  If you want to enjoy the freedom to use your camera when and where you want, you’re going to have to fight.  It’s up to you.

Other sites to check out:
http://tinyurl.com/nopicsinca

http://tinyurl.com/nopicsinny

http://carlosmiller.com/

http://www.nycphotorights.com/

http://tinyurl.com/nopicsintx

Advertisements

THE FINAL WORD ON LEO GOLD AND THE KPFT SCANDAL

I finally finished the video, documenting the issue with KFPT and Leo Gold.  You may remember:

 “In a curt manner Gold hung up with the man and then entered into a tirade that the man was a sneak, and some how called his show to slip in false and dangerous information that could harm his listeners — as if they didn’t have the ability to decide for themselves.  I was totally thrown, because this level of disrespect is outside my experience with KPFT.”

You can check out more in my earlier blog entries below.  Please post comments and tell me what you think of the video.

https://comeandtakeittv.wordpress.com/2009/10/23/letter-to-kpfts-leo-gold-of-the-new-capital-show/

THE LIES, DECIET & DISINFORMATION OF KPFT

The following video is the final response to what began as a question of fairness that developed into an investigation of the integrity of the Pacifica radio…

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about "THE LIES, DECIET & DISINFORMATION OF …", posted with vodpod

SAY NO TO LEO AND KPFT! THE BOYCOTT RAGES ON!

LEO GOLD-001 JPG

These are just some of the words from Leo Gold from 10/22/09.

This is my membership renewal from the Pacifica Foundation.  On it, it reads:

“When you renew your membership to KPFT you help us to promote peace through everything we do by presenting news, music and VIEWPOINTS that help us to understand more about our world and the people around us, because understanding creates compassion, and compassion creates peace. ”

What has taken place over the past three weeks has not been the rantings of some rogue radio announcer spewing his hatred for all those who don’t see eye to eye with him.  No, every word that Leo Gold said has been backed up by the staff at KPFT and therefore by Pacifica.  They back him up, they support him, and they endorse him.

For these reasons, I will not be taking part in something “special”, and I ask you to stand with me in opposition to this hypocrisy by boycotting KPFT and Pacifica.  The terms of this boycott are simple.

Do not renew your memberships or make any financial restitution for KPFT or Pacifica until such time a time that they regain their integrity and make peace the priority for not only those they agree with, but especially for those with whom they disagree.

BOYCOTT THE BS   — NO MONEY FOR KPFT!!!

CALL KPFT AND TELL THEM HOW YOU FEEL:

713-526-5738

THE BOYCOTT IS WORKING!!!

The boycott we called for against KPFT is working! I’m told by an inside source working (volunteering) for radio station KPFT 90.1 in Houston, are readily falling short of their financial goals. We’re getting to them now! Please continue to call KPFT and issue an IOU pledge of support that you promise to pay if Leo Gold is removed from the airwaves. Our actions are working, please check this website for more information soon.

Ernesto’s Little Ploy

kpftglobe“Radio for Peace…if we agree with you!”

More from Ernesto, Program Director of KPFT:

Leo has expressed to you interest in discussing this issue on air. While I know you’ve written of Leo being ‘backed into a corner’ by your posting, I tend to agree with him that your efforts and feedback are of value. Thank you.

My response:

I’d be happy to make an appointment to come to the station and discuss this with Leo, yourself and anyone else face to face and on the air. Please let me know what time you would like me to be there.

I’ve only brought attention to a larger issue here Ernesto.  Let’s not forget so many issues have started because of one thing and then moved to larger issues.  The whole of the civil rights movement wasn’t about Rosa Parks having to give up her seat on the bus, however, it was the spark that lit a fire exposing a great many other injustices and larger issues.

There are lies by admission and lies by omission. Ernesto, you’re guilty of both but mostly the latter.   My initial question, which for whatever reason, you failed to transcribe was why Leo treated the caller with such disrespect.  If you don’t have the awareness to see that an injury was made to Sonny’s respect, then I doubt there is anything I can say to affect any positive changed in your flawed way of thinking.  So the correct thing for KPFT to say is:  Radio for peace, unless we don’t agree with you, then the gloves are off! How do you expect to be an agent for peace and have such contempt for others who don’t believe the same as you?

Ernesto, you’re in a dangerous position right now, because you are of the mindset that you can do no wrong.  History is filled with evil despots who in their own minds thought they were doing the right thing, and like you, they were experts in the art of pontificating their righteousness to the unsuspecting masses.  I’m sure in their own delusional state they believed they were on the side of right, and I’m sure that’s what you think as well.  I’m only here to let you know, you’re mistaken, and you need to wake up.

Dear Leo, we have no misunderstanding…

leogold headshot smkpftglobe

This is Mr. Gold’s latest attempt to spin his hateful comments into love after reading my blog.  Here’s what he had to say:

“No.  You misunderstand the nature of things yet again.  YOU are generating the publicity by posting inflammatory notes (“KPFT HATES ALEX JONES”) on Jones websites.  You enjoy the inflammation; I get the publicity.  My note above speaks for itself and is in contrast to your portrayal of it.”  — Leo Gold

How could I be misconstruing things?  I’m quoting you verbatim.  These are your words, not mine.  In regards to your reaction, it is both cowardly and arrogant.  You make assertions and assumptions about members of the KPFT listening audience who pay you the respect of listening to your show and what do they get in return?  You label them as Conspiracy Theorists, and you do so in a very dangerous and very public way on KPFT in the middle of the day.

To ad further injury, you hang up on them first so you can tell them off without the threat of having to give any explanation for your assertions.  Then you have the temerity to do some half-assed damage control and sneak an email to me on the side merely because the GM of the station told you to, and I can’t help wondering if his swift action to the situation isn’t motivated by the pending fundraiser next week.  Let’s face it, you didn’t do it out the goodness of your heart.  You did it only because you were backed into a corner.

“Given that, I recommend that you stand down right now. But if not, that’s ok too, as http://www.facebook.com/l/a0199;newcapitalshow.com hits are way up and people are emailing like crazy that they loved yesterday’s show.” –Leo Gold

So I guess no press is bad press eh Leo..?  It seems you’re going to use this public relations blunder as a publicity franchise for yourself and for those at Pacifica.  So if I understand you correctly, you propose to capitalize on this love fest by deferring our little conversation until next week.  So the star attraction of your plea for dollars will be tar and feathering the crazy during during KPFT’s telethon.  So what’s the solution?   Do we continue to create a spotlight by giving patronage to your Facebook page so you can increase your stable of “friends” and ascend to the glorious position of Houston’s intellectually elite..?  No thanks Leo.  I’ve got a better idea…

To all the 9/11 Truthers, Patriots, Conspiracy Theorist, and so called “Nut Jobs” — I would like to suggest a course of action.  Stop being treated like a second class citizen.

The answer here is simple.  If you were outraged by Leo Gold’s comments, if you are tired of these one trick pony liberals with a lot nerve and a little bit of education labeling you as crazy  because you know the truth, then I ask you to take a stand.  I’m asking you, the conspiracy theorist, nut jobs who aren’t afraid to admit it, I want you to put your money where your mouth is and boycott the KPFT fund-raiser planned for next week.

As truthers, it’s time for us to ascend to the level of respect and dignity true patriots deserve.  These people have no intention of treating you with respect unless they have to.  Let’s make them.  It’s bad enough we as the truth movement endure petty ridicule from the likes of Geraldo or the ghouls on Fox and friends, but do we really have to take it from whiner like Leo Gold and his little two hour a week rant of superiority?  Now is the time to put and end to the sarcasm and heckling by a halfway house for so-called intellectual elitist and second-rate journalists.

If you reward institutions like Pacifica who ridicule you and therefore conceal the real truth, if you give them your ears, your time and God forbid, your money, then you are of the same disorganized thinking of a battered house wife.  Her husband beats her, screams at her and deprives her, yet she’s the first one to come to his defense when he’s in hand cuffs.  Cast off this slave mentality.   Walk tall, and claim your birthright as a citizen of the United States.

The answer here is simple.  Don’t give money to KPFT next week.  If you planned to make a donation, don’t.  Instead  support the institutions of truth where you are fed intellectually, like your local 9/11 truth movement, Ron Paul, Alex Jones David Eik.  Support those people who drape banners over the freeway bridges saying 9/11 was an inside job.  Support your local pastors, teachers or business men who have bravely taken a stand and have been held up to ridicule by two bit puppets and pin heads like Leo Gold.

NEXT WEEK, SAY NO CASH FOR PACIFICA!  NO MORE MONEY FOR KPFT!

CALL KPFT AT 713-526-5738