Burque Media spoke with the snickering supervillain and her partner in crime as they drove home to Virginia after Desiree Fairooz was convicted of disrupting the confirmation hearing in D.C. for Trump’s hard right attorney general, Jeff Sessions.
By Tom O’Connell
ALBUQUERQUE, May 6, 2017 — The First Amendment couldn’t catch a break this week. In fact, that sacred but pesky protection keeps getting its ass handed to it. Americans’ freedom boners stand proudly erect as Trump’s White House rolls out one shitty freedom-boning policy after another, and legislators around the country pass laws putting protesters at risk of being arrested or run down by freedumb-loving super-patriots.
Let’s look at the most recent assaults this week on a basic right that millions of good decent hard-working Americans handed over with a nostalgic but weary sigh to a cabal of rich guys in suits who then started kicking it to death.
- The Federal Communications Commission is investigating late-night talk uncle Stephen Colbert’s horrifying attack on decency when he joked about Trump being Putin’s on-demand sex receptacle. “The only thing your mouth is good at is being Vladimir Putin’s cock holster,” said Colbert on Monday night’s show.
- Protesters in Oklahoma who take on oil and gas pipelines could be targeted by two new bills that increase penalties for protesters who are found to have illegally trespassed on property that contains a “critical infrastructure facility.” Any organization found to have supported illegal trespassers could be fined up to $1 million.
- The North Carolina House passed a bill that basically encourages drivers to take out protesters with their Confederate-flag-festooned pickup trucks.
And then there’s venerable protest group Code Pink’s Desiree Fairooz, who was convicted in federal court Wednesday of disorderly conduct and parading or demonstrating on Capitol grounds. During the confirmation hearing for new Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Trump’s handpicked far-right goon who would like to see all pot users doing hard time, Fairooz burst out laughing. Then Capitol cops dragged her out of the room.
Fairooz was arrested and charged along with two coconspirators dressed in mock KKK robes and hoods, Tighe Barry and Fairooz’s domestic partner, Lenny Bianchi.
Burque Media reached out to Fairooz and Bianchi on Wednesday as the pair drove home to their dog in Bluemont, Virginia, after being convicted of crimes against the state.
Burque Media: What kind of sentence do you expect?
Lenny Bianchi: We’re hoping the judge will vacate the verdict. That could be a long shot. If that doesn’t succeed, we’re hoping the judge will be fairly lenient due to the charges. No one was harmed, no disturbance was caused. So we’re hoping we get like 60 days’ probation or something. We’re hopeful, but the ultimate outcome could be 12 months in prison.
I was made an example.
Did they charge you because you laughed, or was that just an excuse to arrest you?
Desiree Fairooz: I truly believe the rookie Capitol cop Katherine Coronado, who initiated my arrest, was unfamiliar with the fact it was a subjective situation. Every hearing is different depending on the chairperson’s tolerance for noise or colorful activities in the area. I’ve been in areas where we stood for hours in the hearing room holding up a banner or sign and wearing costumes, and we were totally ignored the entire time. And then the other extreme like this situation, where I was hauled out, I believe, because I laughed a few minutes after my codefendants were arrested. I think [Coronado] was trying to clear the Code Pink group before the hearing started. I think I was made an example.
Bianchi: The Capitol police obviously felt that her laughter was some kind of violation sufficient to have her removed from the room and arrested. And the prosecution made the case that it was indeed the laughter that caused the disruption of Congress. The other charge, parading, the way they addressed that in the trial was that as they were dragging her out, she was objecting and asking why she was being removed…. That was the evidence to support the charge of parading on Capitol grounds, although she wasn’t parading in any sense of the word, she was being paraded by the police, if anything, against her will.
Why is our federal government spending so many resources to prosecute you?
Fairooz: Oh my gosh, it’s so petty, it’s just pathetic. It’s such a waste of tax dollars when you consider all the employees of the courts that were involved.
We view ourselves as sacrificial lambs.
How have the proceedings affected you both?
Bianchi: Each time we had to go to court, which is six or seven times, we’ve had to make arrangements for our dog, drive an hour and a half in, make overnight accommodations because we didn’t want to get stuck in traffic in the morning and then have a warrant out for us. In a sense, we view ourselves as sacrificial lambs. Even if we have to go serve jail time, if it serves to awaken millions more people, then it was well worth it.
So why are you putting yourselves at risk?
Fairooz: You just don’t know what could happen under a Jeff Sessions Department of Justice. This is not just one issue. Jeff Sessions as attorney general is going to affect just about every contentious political issue facing the country right now. That’s why we felt it was so important. I hope people will feel inspired to stand up and speak out in their hometowns. They don’t have to come to D.C. They can stand up for peace and justice anywhere.
True patriots will be willing to make sacrifices.
Do you have any advice for the Albuquerque protest community?
Bianchi: What I would say to activists in Albuquerque or anywhere is that now, especially, is a time that we have to be strong, and that true patriots will be willing to make sacrifices that they have to to preserve freedom for the majority.
Fairooz: We just want everyone to know who’s paying attention to this story that we can’t effect change all alone. We do need to be connected so activists in Albuquerque and other towns should not get disheartened if they should get arrested or inconvenienced, or have someone say something terrible about them, because of the actions they’re taking for peace and justice. Just know that we’re in this together, and to keep up the struggle. Stay strong.
Any final thoughts?
Bianchi: Extend our greetings to the activists in Albuquerque.
Fairooz: Tell them they are welcome to visit us in Bluemont [Virginia], and we’ll take them to D.C. if they want.
Thanks, Desiree and Lenny, and good luck.