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Defending the First Amendment on Capitol Hill

I know how to intentionally risk political arrest. I've done it many times before, though not in the past ten years.

(My most recent political arrest was in June 2003, when -- while studying for the bar exam after graduating from Stanford Law School -- I helped blockade the Bechtel headquarters in San Francisco to protest the company's seizure and privatization of water in Iraq in the initial months following the invasion that spring. Here's a photo that USA Today ran on June 19 of me kicking rhymes while getting handcuffed).

That was in 2003. When I went to Capitol Hill for a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing this February 26, I had no intention of seeking arrest.

I specifically chose not to interrupt or disrupt the hearing -- yet found myself detained afterwards, anyway. All I did was ask a crucial question of vital public interst that no Senators have demonstrated the independence to raise themselves.

I could go on about shooting the messenger (i.e., the irony of leaving in handcuffs after asking a question about corruption, while the officials whose criminal actions have gone unpunished continue to walk free with taxpayer funded paychecks), but I particularly want to focus here on the circumstances surrounding my unlawful arrest.

Arrested for asking questions about corruption

I'd been back in DC for less than 14 hours before I found myself standing up in a Senate hearing chamber to ask Director of National Intelligence James Clapper a question that somehow never came up during his appearance before the Senate Armed Services Committee. 

Artist-activists from Ai Wei Wei to Alli McCracken

My visit to the phenomenal @Large exhibit on Alcatraz, envisioned and remotely coordinated by Chinese dissident artist Ai Wei Wei, came on the heels of a mid-life crisis. The timing could not have been more poignant.

Defending the #BlackLivesMatter movement from Washington

My latest writing, Police Violence? Body Cams Are No Solution, appeared on Truthout today. It presents my concerns with proposals for police body cameras, explaining how they could ultimately become a vehicle to extend mass surveillance and entrench mass incarceration without advancing either accountability or even transparency.

As I explain in the article:

Challenging the legitimacy of 3 letter agencies

Acronym TV featured me in an extended interview alongside Kevin Zeese focused on NSA surveillance but also ranging well beyond it. The interview concludes (and opens with a preview of) a live performance of my new dance song, "NSA vs. USA,"

Hedges v. Obama: The Supreme Court digs its head deeper into the sand

I published an article today, "Hedges v. Obama: The Supreme Court digs its head deeper into the sand," examining the Supreme Court's refusal to consider an appeal challenging the government's authority to indefinitely detain Americans without trial. It was cross-posted at Huffington Post and FireDogLake.

History beyond the headlines on C-SPAN

Around April 28, C-SPAN aired archival footage from an event at which I spoke on February 21 at the University of the District of Columbia exploring "The Life and Assassination of Malcolm X." My comments (from 1:29-1:46 of the original complete clip) were wide-ranging, addressing history, secrecy, corruption, and freedom of thought. Video of my remarks before the Q&A are posted on the C-SPAN site (from which I unfortunately can't embed).

VIDEO from my 1/23 performance & panel in Berkeley, CA

Last Thursday offered some of my most memorable highlights of the new year so far. In addition to sharing a microphone with some of my most esteemed personal heroes, I had a chance to kick my newest rhyme for about 500 people attending live, plus another 1,000 tuning in via live stream. High quality video of the entire panel, including my latest rhyme (starting at 1:22), is posted on YouTube.

Dueling judicial rulings on NSA Spying, and why they don’t matter

I published an article this morning about a pair of recent "Dueling judicial rulings on NSA spying, and why they don't matter" on the People's Blog for the Constitution and FireDogLake, as well as Huffington Post

Beyond the NSA: other agencies spy on you, too

Today, Truthout published my writing about domestic surveillance by agencies beyond the NSA, focusing on the FBI. The People's Blog for the Constitution posted an extended version with links to further background, and a second part in the series explores other agencies beyond even the NSA and FBI.

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