Archive for the ‘Human Rights’ category

Virginia

October 2, 2013

I watched an interesting hour of TeeVee this morning.  It was about what Mildred and Richard Loving had to endure as a married couple in Virginia in 1958.  Wikipedia has it here.

Also, in Virginia, at the same time, this happened.

It was either the spring or summer of 1961.  I was in the U.S. Navy, stationed on a ship in Norfolk, Virginia.  Mrs. Chief and I had only been married a few months and were living in Navy housing in Norfolk.  Mrs. Chief was eighteen years old when this happened.

Mrs. Chief was friends with a neighbor couple who were black.  Johnny Mae invited Mrs. Chief to go to a movie on base, at the base theatre.  Johnny Mae’s husband drove them to the base and they were to take a Norfolk city bus home, public transportation.

After the movie, when they got on the bus, Johnny Mae walked to the back of the bus, past the “color line.”  Mrs. Chief followed Johnny Mae.

Johnny May insisted that Mrs. Chief sit in the front of the bus with the white folk.  Mrs. Chief refused to move and rode back to Navy housing sitting in the back of the bus with her friend.

I have always been so proud of my wife’s actions that day.

Skin Color

July 13, 2013

We can talk about the immigration bill or about the Zimmerman trial in Florida or most any other multi-ethnic item in the public venue, except professional basketball, and one side is always peopled by older, white guys.

Why is that ? ?

And we can talk about women’s health care and all the so-called abortion bills being enacted in states that have a Republican governor and a Republican dominated legislature.  These legislators always older, white men ? ?

Why is that ? ?

I, the Chief, am an older (72 years old), white (both of my parents predecessors came from the British Isles) guy, yet I feel that Trayvon Martin was murdered and that if abortion is so wrong, why not provide some form of contraception so fewer women will get pregnant?

Actually, I feel that abortion is such a personal decision that I have no say on the subject, because I never could have gotten pregnant.

In my opinion, these “older, white guy” legislators are unable to cope with the huge change taking place in our country and doing everything they can to turn back the clock.  They need to stop all the people of color from voting.  If that were to happen (not likely) then the “white men” would attempt to browbeat the white women into not voting.

Older white men would win in that case but the rest of us would lose, big time.

Hypocrite

July 2, 2013

I understand that some folks are against “social welfare” programs, that is programs that help those in need and are funded by general revenues.

And I suppose most of those folks think of SNAP or Medicaid when they think of welfare.

And how many of those folks have subscriptions to a private fire company ? ?  They don’t ?  Wow ! !  You mean you rely on the local fire house that is funded by the taxpayer when your house/garage/field is on fire.  

There is a word for that – hypocrite.

If You Missed It

July 2, 2013

From Steve Benen at The Maddow Blog

With Ohio’s state budget awaiting Gov. John Kasich’s (R) signature over the weekend, many in the state hoped the Republican governor would have the courage to eliminate sweeping new restrictions on reproductive rights, added to the budget with minimal debate, before he signed it into law.

That did not happen.

Gov. John Kasich last night vetoed language attempting to block him from moving forward with Medicaid expansion, but did not touch any of the anti-abortion language before signing the new two-year, $62 billion state budget.

The budget takes effect today, the first day of the new fiscal year.

The above video shows Kasich completing the budget process last night — surrounded, incidentally, by middle-aged white men — and was published online by Ohio Capital Blog.

As Rachel explained on Friday night’s show, everything about these new measures in the Buckeye State is quite jarring. For one thing, this was a budget bill, not legislation intended to address women’s health and/or abortion. For another, these provisions were added as amendments to the budget at the last minute, without debate, and without hearings in which lawmakers could hear, or even consider, the effects on those who’ll suffer as a result of the new policies.

And the policies themselves are nothing short of breathtaking in their scope:

* Rape crisis centers will operate under a state-imposed gag order — rape-crisis counselors will face new restrictions when telling impregnated rape victims that they can legally terminate their pregnancy.

* The budget effectively defunds Planned Parenthood clinics in the state.

* There’s a provision to require women seeking legal abortions to undergo a state-mandated, medically-unnecessary ultrasound — even if women don’t want one, and if their doctor doesn’t recommend one. Ohio Republicans proudly declared they want to put themselves between patients and their physicians, prescribing specific procedures for no medical reason.

* Women will also be required to pay for state-mandated, medically-unnecessary ultrasounds they do not want and their doctors do not think they need.

* Physicians will be legally required to deliver a Republican-written speech to women seeking legal abortions. Whether the doctor believes what’s in the script, or even wants to say those words to his or her patient, has been deemed irrelevant.

* Clinics that provide abortion services will be required to have transfer agreements with local hospitals, and then bans public hospitals from establishing those agreements, all in the hopes of shutting the clinics down.

* And Republican policymakers in the state decided to redefine the words “pregnancy” and “fetus” in state law — the budget decides that a woman is pregnant even before a fertilized egg is implanted in the uterine lining. The effect of this policy may prevent a woman from using an IUD in the state of Ohio.

Kasich has a line-item veto power, and could have signed the budget without these new measures. But he chose instead to leave these provisions intact, signing the budget, shaking a few hands, and then quickly leaving the room before anyone could ask him any questions.

I live in Ohio.  But beyond that, I am ashamed that human beings, like Kasich and the Repub legisators, in Ohio can act so cowardly.

I vote exclusively for Democrats.

This Is Scary Beyond Belief

February 5, 2013

The “white paper” memo obtained by Michael Isikoff laying out the Obama administration’s targeted assassination policy, by which the POTUS has given the government permission to kill any American, on U.S. soil or not, without due process:

A confidential Justice Department memo concludes that the U.S. government can order the killing of American citizens if they are believed to be “senior operational leaders” of al-Qaida or “an associated force” — even if there is no intelligence indicating they are engaged in an active plot to attack the U.S.

The 16-page memo, a copy of which was obtained by NBC News, provides new details about the legal reasoning behind one of the Obama administration’s most secretive and controversial polices: its dramatically increased use of drone strikes against al-Qaida suspects abroad, including those aimed at American citizens, such as the  September 2011 strike in Yemen that killed alleged al-Qaida operatives Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan. Both were U.S. citizens who had never been indicted by the U.S. government nor charged with any crimes.

Conor Friedersdorf has the entire 16-page memo at the bottom of a post in which he asks why Pres. Obama kept it a secret from the American people:

On reading the unredacted document, ask yourself, why wasn’t this released to the public by the Obama Administration? Which part of its legal reasoning could jeopardize national security in any way? Since it reveals no national-security secrets, what possible justification could there be for willfully keeping its contents from Americans, who have a compelling interest in understanding, scrutinizing and debating the legal framework that surrounds extrajudicial killing?

And what is that legal framework?

The paper states that the US government can kill its own citizens overseas if:

(1) An informed, high level-official of the U.S. government has determined that the targeted individual poses an imminent threat of violent attack against the United States.

(2) Capture is infeasible, and the United States continues to monitor whether capture becomes feasible; and

(3) the operation would be conducted in a manner consistent with applicable law of war principles.

The reality is even worse than this “legal” framework makes it sound. It turns out the Obama administration defines key terms very loosely:

When the paper says “imminent threat of violent attack against the United States,” however, “imminent” means something other than what you might expect. All it means is that the executive branch of the US government must make a secret, unilateral determination that the person it wants to kill is a member of a terrorist organization: “The condition that an operational leader present an ‘imminent’ threat of violent attack against the United States does not require the United States to have clear evidence that a specific attack on U.S. persons will take place in the immediate future,” the paper notes. Not since the torture memos themselves have we seen such a bald defiance of what words actually mean. In the white paper, the government explains its broad definition of “imminent threat” by arguing that delaying a targeted killing “until preparations for an attack are concluded, would not allow the United States sufficient time to defend itself.”

As for “feasibility of capture,” after the memo gets through with all the “but ifs,” the conditions under which capture would be feasible are essentially nonexistent:

Regarding the feasibility of capture, capture would not be feasible if it could not be physically effectuated during the relevant window of opportunity or if the relevant country were to decline to consent to a capture operation. Other factors such as undue risk to U.S. personnel conducting a potential capture operation also could be relevant. Feasibility would be a highly fact-specific and potentially time-sensitive inquiry.

 

This Is Too Important

October 3, 2011

Here is the Link.  Here is the full text

Declaration of the Occupation of New York City

THIS DOCUMENT WAS ACCEPTED BY THE NYC GENERAL ASSEMBLY ON SEPTEMBER 29, 2011

As we gather together in solidarity to express a feeling of mass injustice, we must not lose sight of what brought us together. We write so that all people who feel wronged by the corporate forces of the world can know that we are your allies.

As one people, united, we acknowledge the reality: that the future of the human race requires the cooperation of its members; that our system must protect our rights, and upon corruption of that system, it is up to the individuals to protect their own rights, and those of their neighbors; that a democratic government derives its just power from the people, but corporations do not seek consent to extract wealth from the people and the Earth; and that no true democracy is attainable when the process is determined by economic power. We come to you at a time when corporations, which place profit over people, self-interest over justice, and oppression over equality, run our governments. We have peaceably assembled here, as is our right, to let these facts be known.

They have taken our houses through an illegal foreclosure process, despite not having the original mortgage.
They have taken bailouts from taxpayers with impunity, and continue to give Executives exorbitant bonuses.
They have perpetuated inequality and discrimination in the workplace based on age, the color of one’s skin, sex, gender identity and sexual orientation.
They have poisoned the food supply through negligence, and undermined the farming system through monopolization.
They have profited off of the torture, confinement, and cruel treatment of countless animals, and actively hide these practices.
They have continuously sought to strip employees of the right to negotiate for better pay and safer working conditions.
They have held students hostage with tens of thousands of dollars of debt on education, which is itself a human right.
They have consistently outsourced labor and used that outsourcing as leverage to cut workers’ healthcare and pay.
They have influenced the courts to achieve the same rights as people, with none of the culpability or responsibility.
They have spent millions of dollars on legal teams that look for ways to get them out of contracts in regards to health insurance.
They have sold our privacy as a commodity.
They have used the military and police force to prevent freedom of the press. They have deliberately declined to recall faulty products endangering lives in pursuit of profit.
They determine economic policy, despite the catastrophic failures their policies have produced and continue to produce.
They have donated large sums of money to politicians, who are responsible for regulating them.
They continue to block alternate forms of energy to keep us dependent on oil.
They continue to block generic forms of medicine that could save people’s lives or provide relief in order to protect investments that have already turned a substantial profit.
They have purposely covered up oil spills, accidents, faulty bookkeeping, and inactive ingredients in pursuit of profit.
They purposefully keep people misinformed and fearful through their control of the media.
They have accepted private contracts to murder prisoners even when presented with serious doubts about their guilt.
They have perpetuated colonialism at home and abroad. They have participated in the torture and murder of innocent civilians overseas.
They continue to create weapons of mass destruction in order to receive government contracts. *

To the people of the world,

We, the New York City General Assembly occupying Wall Street in Liberty Square, urge you to assert your power.

Exercise your right to peaceably assemble; occupy public space; create a process to address the problems we face, and generate solutions accessible to everyone.

To all communities that take action and form groups in the spirit of direct democracy, we offer support, documentation, and all of the resources at our disposal.

Join us and make your voices heard!

*These grievances are not all-inclusive.

Conscience and Integrity Still Have Their Price

March 13, 2011

P.J. Crowley has resigned his position as State Department spokesperson after his answer to a reporter’s question about Pfc. Bradley Manning’s treatment caused heads in the Pentagon and White House to explode:

(more…)

Bastille Day

August 14, 2010

221 yeas ago, the French citizenry stormed the infamous French prison in Paris, the Bastille.

In the wake of the 11 July dismissal of Jacques Necker, the people of Paris, fearful that they and their representatives would be attacked by the royal military, and seeking to gain ammunition and gunpowder for the general populace, stormed the Bastille, a fortress-prison in Paris which had often held people jailed on the basis of lettres de cachet, arbitrary royal indictments that could not be appealed. Besides holding a large cache of ammunition and gunpowder, the Bastille had been known for holding political prisoners whose writings had displeased the royal government, and was thus a symbol of the absolutism of the monarchy. As it happened, at the time of the siege in July 1789 there were only seven inmates, none of great political significance.

[ snip ]

The storming of the Bastille was more important as a rallying point and symbolic act of rebellion than a practical act of defiance.

Piracy

May 31, 2010

(Update below)

When a ship is boarded in international waters, as happened here, it is called piracy.

And this might be called provocation.

These actions are not in any way in Israel’s best interest.  During the last half of the last century, Israel’s big-brother protector was the dominant world power.  Now, that former pre-eminent world power is one of several world powers, seeing as the U.S. squandered several trillions fighting useless wars in south central Asia.

Regardless of the number of nukes Israel has in her arsenal, there is no guarantee that the U.S./Israel/Europe will be on the winning side in World War 3.

Update: From GlennGreenwald’s 3rd update of today’s post:

One of the ships attacked by Israeli belonged to a Turkish aid organization, and it’s been reported that among the dead are at least two Turks.  Turkey today “warned that further supply vessels will be sent to Gaza, escorted by the Turkish Navy.” Among other things, Turkey is a NATO member with increasing tensions with Israel.  Amidst worldwide protests aimed at Israel and possible internal unrest if (as has been reported) Israeli Arab leaders were among the wounded or dead, it’s possible this incident could produce some serious unforeseen consequences for the Israelis.

Guilty – Part 2

January 29, 2010

The story on Yahoo News has this

The jury deliberated for just 37 minutes before finding Scott Roeder, 51, of Kansas City, Mo., guilty of premeditated, first-degree murder for putting a gun to the forehead of Dr. George Tiller on May 31 and pulling the trigger.

I have been on two juries, one criminal, the other civil.  Based on my experience: The 37 minutes must mean that the jury was unanimous and only needed to be polled once.  The first fifteen to twenty minutes in the jury room is taken up with administrative overhead and miscellaneous BS.  And once they reach a decision and send a note to the judge via the bailiff another 3 – 5 minutes have elapsed.

Just in case you were wondering.


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