Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Two-thirds of Ohio counties have destroyed or lost their 2004 presidential ballots and related election records, according to letters from county election officials to the Ohio Secretary of State, Jennifer Brunner.
The lost records violate Ohio law, which states federal election records must be kept for 22 months after Election Day, and a U.S. District Court order issued last September that the 2004 ballots be preserved while the court hears a civil rights lawsuit alleging voter suppression of African-American voters in Columbus.
The destruction of the election records also frustrates efforts by the media and historians to determine the accuracy of Ohio's 2004 vote count, because in county after county the key evidence needed to understand vote count anomalies apparently no longer exists.
"The extent of the destruction of records is consistent with the covering up of the fraud that we believe occurred in the presidential election," said Cliff Arnebeck, a Columbus attorney representing the King Lincoln Bronzeville Neighborhood Association, which filed voter suppression suit. "We're in the process of addressing where to go from here with the Ohio Attorney General's office."
"On the one hand, people will now say you can't prove the fraud," he said, "but the rule of law says that when evidence is destroyed it creates a presumption that the people who destroyed evidence did so because it would have proved the contention of the other side."
Missing Pretty White Woman Syndrome,Part One
Read it, then weep, then meditate on it.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Tamra Brennan of Sturgis, a member of the working committee that is organizing the encampment, said it should not be called or considered a protest action.
AJC.com: DURHAM, N.C. — Disgraced former prosecutor Mike Nifong acknowledged Thursday there is "no credible evidence" that three Duke lacrosse players committed any of the crimes he accused them of more than a year ago, offering for the first time a complete and unqualified apology.
"We all need to heal," Nifong said. "It is my hope we can start this process today."
Nifong's apology came as a judge began considering whether to hold the former Durham County district attorney in criminal contempt of court for his handling of the case.
Superior Court Judge W. Osmond Smith III has already concluded there is probable cause to believe Nifong "willfully and intentionally made false statements of material fact" to the court during a hearing in the case last fall. If he finds Nifong in contempt after an Aug. 30 hearing, the now-disbarred former prosecutor could face up to 30 days in jail.
The case started with a woman's allegations that she was raped at a March 2006 lacrosse team party where she was hired as a stripper. Nifong won indictments against three team members, but the charges were later dropped, and state Attorney General Roy Cooper went a step farther by declaring the three men innocent victims of Nifong's "tragic rush to accuse."
On Thursday, Nifong apologized.
Sunday, July 22, 2007
US goverment hacking into... your computer! | The News is NowPublic.com: "After running Vista for only a few days - with a complete love for the new platform the first sign of trouble erupted. I began noticing latency on my home network connection - so I booted my port sniffing software and networking tools to see what was happening.
[...]what has and IS trying to connect to my computer even in an idle state;
* DoD Network Information Center(Department of Defense)
* United Nations Development Program(Seems to correlate to the parent branch of the U.N.
* Halliburton Company(We all know these guys)
* Ministry of Defense Data Return Agent
* DOHS-Recon(traceroutes for this address provided nothing, suspected blocks on traceroute. Many of us who are monitoring this situation have suspected the acronym stands for the Department of Homeland Security*Reconnaissance?*. This is merely a guess, but an educated one at that.)"
Saturday, July 21, 2007
By Bill Quigley
03 July, 2007Countercurrents.org
In a small still mostly segregated section of rural Louisiana, an all white jury heard a series of white witnesses called by a white prosecutor testify in a courtroom overseen by a white judge in a trial of a fight at the local high school where a white student who had been making racial taunts was hit by black students. The fight was the culmination of a series of racial incidents starting when whites responded to black students sitting under the “white tree” at their school by hanging three nooses from the tree. The white jury and white prosecutor and all white supporters of the white victim were all on one side of the courtroom. The black defendant, 17 year old Mychal Bell, and his supporters were on the other. The jury quickly convicted Mychal Bell of two felonies - aggravated battery and conspiracy to commit aggravated battery. Bell, who was a 16 year old sophomore football star at the time he was arrested, faces up to 22 years in prison. Five other black youthsawait similar trials on attempted second degree murder and conspiracy charges.
Yes, you read that correctly. The rest of the story, which is being reported across the world in papers in China, France and England, is just as chilling.
The trouble started under “the white tree” in front of Jena High School. The “white tree” is where the white students, 80% of the student body, would always sit during school breaks.
In September 2006, a black student at Jena high school asked permission from school administrators to sit under the “white tree.” School officials advised them to sit wherever they wanted. They did.The next day, three nooses, in the school colors, were hanging from the “white tree.” The message was clear. “Those nooses meant the KKK, they meant ‘Niggers, we’re going to kill you, we’re going to hang you till you die,’” Casteptla Bailey, mom of one of the students, told the London Observer.
The Jena high school principal found that three white students were responsible and recommended expulsion. The white superintendent of schools over-ruled the principal and gave the students a three day suspension saying that the nooses were just a youthful stunt. “Adolescents play pranks,” the superintendent told the Chicago Tribune, “I don’t think it was a threat against anybody.”
The African-American community was hurt and upset. “Hanging those nooses was a hate crime, plain and simple,” according to Tracy Bowens, mother of students at Jena High.
But blacks in this area of Louisiana have little political power. The ten person all-male government of the parish has one African-American member. The nine member all-male school board has one African American member. (A phone caller to the local school board trying to find out the racial makeup of the school board was told there was one “colored” member of the board). There is one black police officer in Jena and two black public school teachers.
Jena, with a population of less than 3000, is the largest town in and parish (county) seat of LaSalle Parish, Louisiana. There are about 350 African Americans in the town. LaSalle has a population of just over 14,000 people - 12% African-American.
This is solid Bush and David Duke Country - GWB won LaSalle Parish 4 to 1 in the last two elections; Duke carried a majority of the white vote when he ran for Governor of Louisiana. Families earn about 60% of the national average. The Census Bureau reports that less than 10% of the businesses in LaSalle Parish are black owned.
Jena is the site of the infamous Juvenile Correctional Center for Youth that was forced to close its doors in 2000, only two years after opening, due to widespread brutality and racism including the choking of juveniles by guards after the youth met with a lawyer. The U.S. Department of Justice sued the private prison amid complaints that guards paid inmates to fight each other and laughed when teens tried to commit suicide.
Black students decided to resist and organized a sit-in under the “white tree” at the school to protest the light suspensions given to the noose-hanging white students.
The white District Attorney then came to Jena High with law enforcement officers to address a school assembly. According to testimony in a later motion in court, the DA reportedly threatened the black protesting students saying that if they didn't stop making a fuss about this "innocent prank… I can be your best friend or your worst enemy. I can take away your lives with a stroke of my pen." The school was put on lockdown for the rest of the week.
Racial tensions remained high throughout the fall.
On the night of Thursday November 30, 2006, a still unsolved fire burned down the main academic building of Jena High School.
On Friday night, December 1, a black student who showed up at a white party was beaten by whites. On Saturday, December 2, a young white man pulled out a shotgun in a confrontation with young black men at the Gotta Go convenience store outside Jena before the men wrestled it away from him. The black men who took the shotgun away were later arrested, no charges were filed against the white man.
On Monday, December 4, at Jena High, a white student – who allegedly had been making racial taunts, including calling African American students “niggers” while supporting the students who hung the nooses and who beat up the black student at the off-campus party – was knocked down, punched and kicked by black students. The white victim was taken to the hospital treated and released. He attended a social function that evening.
Six black Jena students were arrested and charged with attempted second degree murder. All six were expelled from school.
The six charged were: 17-year-old Robert Bailey Junior whose bail was set at $138,000; 17-year-old Theo Shaw - bail $130,000; 18-year-old Carwin Jones – bail $100,000; 17-year-old Bryant Purvis – bail $70,000; 16 year old Mychal Bell, a sophomore in high school who was charged as an adult and for whom bail was set at $90,000; and a still unidentified minor.
Many of the young men, who came to be known as the Jena 6, stayed in jail for months. Few families could afford bond or private attorneys.
Mychal Bell remained in jail from December 2006 until his trial because his family was unable to post the $90,000 bond. Theo Shaw has also remained in jail. Several of the other defendants remained in jail for months until their families could raise sufficient money to put up bonds.
The Chicago Tribune wrote a powerful story headlined “Racial Demons Rear Heads.” The London Observer wrote: “Jena is gaining national notoriety as an example of the new ‘stealth’ racism, showing how lightly sleep the demons of racial prejudice in America’s Deep South, even in the year that a black man, Barak Obama, is a serious candidate for the White House.” The British Broadcasting Company aired a TV special report “Race Hate in Louisiana 2007.”
The Jena 6 and their families were put under substantial pressure to plead guilty. Mychal Bell was reported to have been leaning towards pleading guilty right up until his trial when he decided he would not plead guilty to a felony.
When it finally came, the trial of Mychal Bell was swift. Bell was represented by an appointed public defender.
On the morning of the trial, the DA reduced the charges from attempted second degree murder to second degree aggravated battery and conspiracy. Aggravated battery in Louisiana law demands the attack be with a dangerous weapon. The dangerous weapon? The prosecutor was allowed to argue to the jury that the tennis shoes worn by Bell could be considered a dangerous weapon used by “the gang of black boys” who beat the white victim.
Most shocking of all, when the pool of potential jurors was summoned, fifty people appeared – every single one white.
The LaSalle Parish clerk defended the all white group to the Alexandria Louisiana Town Talk newspaper saying that the jury pool was selected by computer. “The venire [panel of prospective jurors] is color blind. The idea is for the list to truly reflect the racial makeup of the community, but the system does not take race into factor.” Officials said they had summoned 150 people, but these were the only people who showed up.
The all-white jury which was finally chosen included two people friendly with the District Attorney, a relative of one of the witnesses and several others who were friends of prosecution witnesses.
Bell’s parents, Melissa Bell and Marcus Jones, were not even allowed to attend the trial despite their objections, because they were listed as potential witnesses. The white victim, though a witness, was allowed to stay in the courtroom. The parents, who had been widely quoted in the media as critics of the process, were also told they could no longer speak to the media as long as the trial was in session. Marcus Jones had told the media “It’s all about those nooses” and declared the charges racially motivated.
Other supporters who planned a demonstration in support of Bell were ordered by the court not to do so near the courthouse or anywhere the judge would see them.
The prosecutor called 17 witnesses - eleven white students, three white teachers, and two white nurses. Some said they saw Bell kick the victim, others said they did not see him do anything. The white victim testified that he did not know if Bell hit him or not.
The Chicago Tribune reported the public defender did not challenge the all-white jury pool, put on no evidence and called no witnesses. The public defender told the Alexandria Town talk after resting his case without calling any witnesses that he knew he would be second-guessed by many but was confident that the jury would return a verdict of not guilty. “I don’t believe race is an issue in this trial…I think I have a fair and impartial jury…”
The jury deliberated for less than three hours and found Mychal Bell guilty on the maximum possible charges of aggravated second degree battery and conspiracy. He faces up to a maximum of 22 years in prison.
The public defender told the press afterwards, “I feel I put on the best defense that I could.” Responding to criticism of not putting on any witnesses, the attorney said “why open the door for further accusations? I did the best I could for my client, Mychal Bell.”
At a rally in front of the courthouse the next day, Alan Bean, a Texas minister and leader of the Friends of Justice, said “I have seen a lot of trials in my time. And I have never seen a more distressing miscarriage of justice than what happened in LaSalle Parish yesterday.” Khadijah Rashad of Lafayette Louisiana described the trial as a “modern day lynching.”
For full story, please click here.
This is horrible miscarriage of justice of recent times. People say there's no racism today. This story proves otherwise
Friday, July 20, 2007
19 July Vigil in Cologne on Gay and Lesbian Victims of the Ayatollah Regime in Iran | The News is NowPublic.com
By The Plain Dealer. 02 Jul 2007-->
When Jaquis Cox vanished, Nancy Grace paid no attention. When Gloria Walker went missing, Greta Van Susteren never came.
But when Jessie Davis disappeared, the cable news divas leaped on the story.
It fit a narrative consistently covered in the national media - the suspicious disappearance of a young, attractive, white woman. Local TV stations and newspapers, too, devoted loads of space to the story.
She was nine months pregnant. She struggled in her home. Her 2-year-old son, left alone for more than a day, uttered haunting statements like, “Mommy’s in rug.” Her boyfriend, a married police officer, was a suspect who was eventually charged in her death.
For days, the saga twisted, with an unrelated newborn found on a Wooster doorstep and a marijuana garden unearthed by a search party.
“It’s so predictable, it’s embarrassing,” said Kelly McBride, an ethics expert at the Poynter Institute, a media studies organization. “With 24-hour cable news networks, followed up by the Internet product that updates every seven minutes to every hour, there is an appetite for the unfolding story, with incremental updates.”
With such stories, cable news ratings “go through the roof,” said WEWS Channel 5 News Director Steve Hyvonen, who worked for four years at MSNBC.
That’s big, since the three main cable news networks lost 8 percent of primetime viewers last year, according to the Project for Excellence in Journalism.
“Crimes that are solved immediately don’t tend to make national news,” McBride said. “It tends to be the mystery. It plays on the fear.”
But it also depends on the victim. Some go missing, and no one notices Jaquis Cox, a black 13-year-old, went missing June 20 in Cleveland’s Glenville neighborhood.
No media seemed to notice.
Three days later, Cleveland City Council sent a news release, prompting local television last Sunday to cover the disappearance, said Councilwoman Sabra Pierce Scott, who helped with the search.
“They’re more concerned about white women and children than they are about black,” Scott said.
Jaquis came home that night. He said he was kidnapped, locked in a basement and assaulted, said police Lt. Thomas Stacho. Police are investigating.
Gloria Walker, a 46-year-old black grandmother, was last seen May 20, when she left her Cleveland home in a 1996 Lumina.
Her family, whose pleas never made national news, has been searching ever since.
Walker is one of nearly 51,000 missing American adults, according to the FBI’s National Crime Information Center. Almost none garnered the household-name status of Laci Peterson, Natalee Holloway and Chandra Levy.
“We’re all glad that Jessie got that kind of attention,” said Judy Martin, founder of Survivors/Victims of Tragedy, a Euclid organization that helps families who have lost loved ones through violent deaths. “But so should the next person - blue, green, purple, I don’t care.”
Thousands, if not millions, followed the search when Davis disappeared from her home June 14. The Stark County Sheriff’s Office resembled an RV camp, with satellite TV trucks, awnings and folding lawn chairs.
It’s not as simple as black and white.
Missing black women, such as Stepha Henry in South Florida and LaToyia Figueroa in Philadelphia, have been featured on cable news. But when Jennifer Kathleen Nielsen, a pregnant white woman, was found dead behind a North Carolina gas station on June 14 (the day before Davis was reported missing), cable news barely mentioned it.
In general, though, white women better fit the “damsel in distress” profiles that media believe sells, the Poynter Institute’s McBride said. She thinks it’s indefensible.
Most of the people running news organizations are white, she said. People are inherently prejudiced, presuming that if victims are not white, they are somehow involved in their own disappearance, perhaps by making themselves vulnerable. And news organizations assume the audience is white and middle class.
“We ignore huge numbers . . . of murders committed against marginalized people - prostitutes, drug addicts, minorities, gays,” said Jack Levin, director of the Brudnick Center on Violence at Northeastern University. “When it happens to a white, attractive, middle-class woman who lives in the suburbs, it is very frightening because it’s taken personally.”
That threat, that negative fascination, Levin said, is key to understanding the intense coverage.
On a local level, it’s different, McBride said. Local news executives defend their coverage.
The Plain Dealer and Cleveland TV stations said they concentrated on the story simply because it was newsworthy.
The newspaper prominently covered the Davis story on its front page June 19, a day after hundreds of people had scoured Stark County for her.
Clearly, Davis had not run away, said Plain Dealer Managing Editor Tom O’Hara. Bleach was poured on the carpet, Davis’ comforter was missing, and her 2-year-old was wandering the house alone.
“It would be stupid not to cover this aggressively,” O’Hara said, adding that cable news’ interest made that even more apparent.
Myriad viewers identified with the story, said Rita Andolsen, acting news director at WKYC Channel 3.
The station began coverage June 15, the day Davis’ mother reported her missing, after receiving a request for help, Andolsen said. With thousands searching for Davis, it became a story of community support.
“If this were a book, a mystery novel, you probably wouldn’t believe it,” said Hyvonen, the news director at Channel 5.
The story, he said, would have been just as intriguing if Davis were Hispanic or black.
Reports of other missing people, such as Cox and Walker, depend on whether police treat the disappearance as a crime, Hyvonen said.
The Plain Dealer, too, takes its direction from how police treat missing people. Reporters must be cautious and gather enough information to know a crime has occurred.
“A lot of missing persons, as we know, ran away,” O’Hara said. “There could be a lot of non-newsworthy reasons that people are missing.”
But that’s where Survivors/Victims of Tragedy wants change. Martin envisions photos of missing people shown on local television two or three times a day so people could spot them.
“Having the picture shown is definitely hope,” she said. “A family should not have to fight so hard.”
– By Laura Johnston
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Monday, July 16, 2007
ONA MOVE! This is an alert to all of our supporters that the guards at SCI-Cambridge Springs, where our sisters are housed, are starting trouble.
Our sister, Janet Africa, was stopped by a male guard who said he wanted to pat search her. Janet informed him that it's against our belief to have a man feeling on her body and that she wanted the option of having a female guard search her as provided by prison policy.
She was taken to a female prison guard named Dover who became beligerant and told janet that she wasn't special and wasn't getting any special treatment. Dover then told the male guard to take Janet back where he got her from and go ahead and search her. Janet start putting some information on the guards when another guard came to see what all the commotion was about.
Dover then tells him that he should give Janet a misconduct and put her in the hole.. This was obviously a set-up from the beginning because all of those prison officials know who MOVE people are and know our policy about male guards searching our women."
Fast-tracking of Cape York welfare reforms 'politically driven' - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
Philip Martin says there are profound problems with implementing the reforms and policy makers are forgetting about the effects of radical change on Indigenous people."
During our recent three month Native Lens Workshop at Muckleshoot, we attended a number of teen gatherings, talking groups and family health meetings. We listened to the youth as they voiced their concerns about issues negatively impacting their lives. They expressed concerns not only about the immediate situations happening on the rez but also how distressing it is to always see the news, newspapers, media making violence especially domestic violence look cool or glamorous. Some of the girls felt that the media was directly responsible for so many people staying in bad relationships because all the negative hype makes the abusive situation seem normal!"
The discussion was interesting enough that I wanted to learn more about it. The treaty continues in place, but was recently the source of controversy.
In March 2007, the Cherokee Nation put forth an amendment to its constitution. The amendment called for the removal of freedmen from the rolls of tribal membership, which would result in the loss of voting rights and recognition as a distinct group affiliated with the Cherokee Nation.
The motive appears to be the creation of an all-Indian tribe."
That debate was further complicated by a claim by the Iraqi prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki, that Iraqi security forces were ready to take over and the US could leave whenever it wanted."
In a statement issued in London, Survival International said the men were arrested in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve during June and early July, and they had been scheduled to appear in court last week."
Saturday, July 14, 2007
Thousands See Former First Lady's Casket
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
- The Angryindian
I was at first glance quite pleased with myself when I scanned my morning newsfeeds to discover that an American African entertainment blog took note of how blogs of colour are reaching readers and helping shape opinions on issues that affect the African community as a whole. I even experienced a brief rush of accomplishment and righteous vindication amongst my peers in cyberspace for my efforts as an autonomous and non-partisan newsblogger and Indigenist activist.
But it was short-lived. Reality set in after my second sip of honeyed fennel tea that while the author of the post was quite correct in his estimation of the growing power of “Black” bloggers, the fact that such an article needed to be written at all shows just how segregated the Internet really is.
On the whole, cyberspace is just as “White” as the physical day-to-day world we are all guided to accept as the only empirical reality. The culture and direction of the Internet without question operates solely within the paradigms of European-centred control and management. Created initially by the U.S. Military and used chiefly by scientists for rapid transmission of peer data, the Internet has since the mid-80’s grown-up into a gigantic sensory-overload capitalist’s dream universe that reflects more about people and society than many of us care to admit.
Take an hour and rift through the user-uploaded clips on YouTube or the ever expanding myriad of forums, blogs and websites and you are likely to come across something we are told young Euroamericans have supposedly learned to overcome: racism. YouTube and Craigslist in particular have been cited for their overwhelming White racist commentary in response to videos and current news and social events. Openly racist sites such as Jewwatch.com garner more than 1 million hits a month. Neo-Nazi sites abound the web and don’t seem to be receding. In fact, interest in such material has increased according to some sources as much as 400% since 2000 and the first Bush coup d'état in Florida that illegally removed thousands of American African male voters from their state elections register.
Not to say that their isn’t loads of questionable material available on the Internet, (such as pornography accounting for more than 80% of web traffic which says a lot more about people than it does about the genre) but the Internet simply reflects those that created it, maintained it, expanded it and currently control all the means of production and utilisation of the technology.
Even in the 21st century, most non-European homes in the First, Second and Third worlds still do not have PC’s let alone ISP service. It simply remains out of the financial reach of many minorities due to the usual culprits, economic marginalisation and under-education to the use and benefits of the technology. Amongst those that do have access, far too many of them spend more time downloading entertainment than pursuing political, educational or cultural knowledge. And again, even this highly generalised deconstruction I have offered still only amounts to less than 20% of all Internet usage globally.
This explains why the Daily Kos can enjoy such high ratings and acclaim among activists of various stripes while non-European political commentary blogs such as my own (Intelligentaindigena Novajoservo) are not read by much more than those uniquely concerned with very specific issues. My blog focuses on matters that concern worldwide Aboriginal genocide, political power and racial issues that impact everybody. But if discussing race and First Nations subjects in America candidly is just about impossible in the general public discourse, it is for all practical purposes a deliberate drag through the valley of indifference in cyberspace.
White people simply aren’t interested enough in Brown folks to engage us as anything other than entertainment fodder or the hyper-sexualised fantasies of historical White racist guilt. Their apathetic readership and support for Black/Brown bloggers proves this and arguments as to the legitimacy of this argument ca be verified by the Internet logs of no-European bloggers that do good work, yet are ignored by those who comprise the bulk of the Internet reading audience. In a world where print media is on a downward slide to oblivion, this is a very important issue.
Like my ancestral mentor James Baldwin, I believe everybody has a story. We all have something to say from a perspective all our own. African people are no less human than any other man, woman or child on this planet, yet we are constantly placed into positions where our humanity is challenged for no other reason than our otherness. And like Baldwin, many of us who have the ability to upload our observations of the Europocentric empire from the inside do so with one foot in the White world while tip-toeing in the territories where we really come from. Our commentary is biting, accurate and damming of what has been euphorically described as the wide, wonderful world of Europeanization brought to us by way of a necessary and on-going genocide and the institution of a racial/ethnic hierarchy that favours the fair of skin and cultural vanity. We are the faces of colonialism and genocide and we articulate the angst and antagonism of our endurance with an accent of “otherness,” in a vernacular that burns Euro-supremacist eyes and ears to a cinder.
Hence the delicate yet consistently applied apathy of White weblog readers towards bloggers of colour despite the qualitative content of their websites.
Who wants to read about socio-political issues that they might feel responsible for addressing when they could be reading about scandalous professional socialite- harlot Paris Hilton’s brush with the reality of the L.A. County lockup? Poor White and minority women go to prison and go missing everyday but it’s always more disturbing when it happens to someone they regard as representative of the “Master race”. The other paradigms of humanity simply do not calculate interest, compassion or respect.
Still doubt my assessment? Ask your nearest Palestinian, Iraqi or Afro-refugee from Katrina bashed Louisiana. Darfurians could tell you themselves, but many of them are dying from preventable conditions made worse by European and Euro-colonial unresponsiveness to human suffering. And they said it would never happen again.
Without the axiomatic “free exchange of ideas” mantra of the free-market PR gangsters applied to the Internet, the only ideas that will germinate will be White ideas in a world overwhelmingly populated by those or various hues and convictions other than White, or Eurocentric. Are those that control the levers of socio-political power fearful of letting “The market decide” in cyberspace, or are we just afraid to call a spade a spade and admit that the Internet is just the new Apartheid, Jetsons style.
- The Angryindian
Sunday, July 08, 2007
Thursday, July 05, 2007
If you are a customer, tough. Manufacturers may go back to barring retailers from underselling the price a manufacturer wants. If you are a mere taypayer, tough again. You are barred from challenging government expenditures on faith-based programs as possible violations of church-state separation.
If you are convicted of a crime and your lawyer files your appeal three days late, too bad -- even though the lawyer filed on the date the judge (mistakenly) directed. Justice David Souter, in dissent, put it plainly: 'It is intolerable for the judicial system to treat people this way.'
If you suffer a troubled pregnancy, sorry. Lawmakers may bar you from the medically safest abortion. Women's health no longer governs abortion issues. Expect a festival of harassing legislation next year in the manner of the ban on 'partial-birth abortion' -- a term made up for political purposes -- which the court endorsed."
Every year on The Fourth, I wonder what people are celebrating. That is, the ones who give it any thought at all beyond its being a day off. The celebrants have no sense of irony.
If it's all about freedom, then oughtn't we at least have more respect for the word than to associate it with the condition to which we've been reduced? Let's face it, the average American just accepts the following: "We are Americans, ergo we are free." End of discussion. He contemplates how bad things are around the world, and that is sufficient for him to conclude that things are just fine here in America. Contradict him at your peril.
What the rest of the world prefers to tolerate is a pretty poor standard by which to gauge our liberty, and I'd like to propose a better one. It is this: Are our rights respected? Are we allowed to own ourselves and our justly acquired property? Ask this of our theoretical free American and he's likely to insist his rights are just fine, thank you. He'll often invite us to love it or leave it.
Given the sorry state of government schooling, I can't say I'm surprised. But is it asking too much that people should understand the meaning of words thrown around so casually?
A right is something one may do without getting anyone's permission, and if government has any legitimate purpose at all, it is protecting our rights. It has no other legitimate reason for existing. When governments go beyond that, they become as much a criminal as the mugger who takes your watch, or the trespasser who invades your property. Nothing about this is rocket science.
But this is way too much theorizing for most folks. Their eyes glaze over. Enjoying their barbecue and ball game tells them all they need to know, and that it just couldn't be better here.
In fact, Americans are so thoroughly policed, monitored, and regulated they can scarcely conceive it being otherwise. No aspect of their lives escapes the government's attention and control, and they have no rights at all, only privileges. By a stupendous act of doublethink they believe they are free.
A short list should suffice to raise serious questions in the mind of our theoretically free American.
# Correa Denounces Destabilization Plan
Those proposals were made by Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa to the National Higher Education Council, which is in charge of drawing up a draft for the new Constitution.
Correa considers the Assembly important and historical for the country, and its success 'will depend on the people s support to achieve significant changes.' 'If citizens elect the same politicians as on September 30, the nation will remain in the same situation it was before January 15 last year, with rising prices of electricity, water, privatizations, and the handing over of sovereignty to foreign powers,' said Correa.
He said the country has to go from a pseudo representative democracy to a participatory democracy, to elect legislators by district, so that each region of the country has its own representatives."
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
What's the 4th of July To Me? captures all the sentiments I had regarding America's hypocrisy towards the least of all citizens. Please read the article at:
Your view of America won't be the same after reading this searing essay. At Rachel's Tavern, she discusses racial segregation in housing that is still with us today and is not going away soon. Please read that article as well.