Friday, June 28, 2013


From RT courtesy of a facebook friend:

California man faces 13 years in jail for scribbling anti-bank messages in chalk

Jeff Olson, the 40-year-old man who is being prosecuted for scrawling anti-megabank messages on sidewalks in water-soluble chalk last year now faces a 13-year jail sentence. A judge has barred his attorney from mentioning freedom of speech during trial.

According to the San Diego Reader, which reported on Tuesday that a judge had opted to prevent Olson’s attorney from "mentioning the First Amendment, free speech, free expression, public forum, expressive conduct, or political speech during the trial,” Olson must now stand trial for on 13 counts of vandalism.

In addition to possibly spending years in jail, Olson will also be held liable for fines of up to $13,000 over the anti-big-bank slogans that were left using washable children's chalk on a sidewalk outside of three San Diego, California branches of Bank of America, the massive conglomerate that received $45 billion in interest-free loans from the US government in 2008-2009 in a bid to keep it solvent after bad bets went south. 

More here

And from Think Progress, courtesy of another facebook friend:

Man Chalks Pro-Health Care Message On Sidewalk, 
Gets Arrested For Writing ‘Derogatory Remark’

A health care activist in Pennsylvania was arrested Wednesday night for writing a message in sidewalk chalk protesting the governor’s decision to block health care for 700,000 residents in the state.


At one point, health care activist AJ Marin was arrested for writing a message to Corbett in chalk on the sidewalk: “Governor Corbett has health insurance, we should too.” According to the citation, Marin was charged with disorderly conduct for writing a “derogatory remark about the governor on the sidewalk.”

More here.

To the best of my knowledge, it is not illegal to write in chalk on a sidewalk.  Otherwise, we'd be booking kids who play hopscotch.  I mean, I could be wrong about this, but thirteen years and a $13k fine for doing so?  I think not.  Clearly, this is, in both cases, about what was written in chalk, not the writing itself.  That is, vandalism laws are being used to bust people for expressing what are apparently thought-crimes, criticizing massive banks and Republican governors.

Let there be no doubt that the judicial apparatus does not exist to do justice.  Instead, it exists to do the will of powerful and privileged elites.  The cops and courts only pretend to be on our side.  But they're not.  They never have been.  And as the plutocrats who run everything squeeze more and more blood from the stone that is the United States, it will become ever more obvious.

This really is fucked up, but also not too terribly surprising.