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June 13, 2013 — The New York Civil Liberties Union and the law firm of Bergstein & Ullrich, LLP today filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of a driver who got a speeding ticket in the Catskills town of Liberty and ended up arrested and prosecuted under New York’s aggravated harassment statute for exercising his right to free speech and expressing his dissatisfaction with the ticket. The driver was prosecuted after writing expletives on the ticket payment form and crossing out the town’s name of “Liberty” and replacing it with “Tyranny.”
Connecticut resident Willian Barboza, 22, was pulled over for speeding in the Sullivan County Town of Liberty in May 2012. He pleaded guilty by mail, and when he paid his fine expressed his frustration by scratching out “Liberty” and replacing it with “Tyranny” and writing “fuck your shitty town bitches” on the payment form. His payment was rejected, and he was instead ordered to travel the two hours from his home to make a court appearance. At that October 2012 court hearing, a judge berated Barboza about his language, and he was handcuffed and arrested for violating the state “aggravated harassment” statute. He was booked, fingerprinted, handcuffed to a bench and forced to pay $200 bail.
…But threats, new in kind or degree, constantly arise.
Of these, I mention two only.
A vital element in keeping the peace is our military establishment. Our arms must be mighty, ready for instant action, so that no potential aggressor may be tempted to risk his own destruction.
Our military organization today bears little relation to that known by any of my predecessors in peacetime, or indeed by the fighting men of World War II or Korea.
Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.
This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence – economic, political, even spiritual – is felt in every city, every Statehouse, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.
In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.
We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.
Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades.
In this revolution, research has become central, it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.
Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.
The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present – and is gravely to be regarded.
Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite. …
|—||President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s farewell address to the nation(January 17th, 1961)|