Tag Archives | Civil Rights

Ron Paul And The Liberty Of Bullies

Ron PaulPaul Rosenberg writes in Al Jazeera:

On January 12, a great blow was struck against freedom, if you subscribe to the philosophy of Ron Paul. The Ohio Civil Rights Commission voted 4-0 to uphold its earlier finding that a Cincinnati landlord, Jamie Hein, had discriminated against a ten-year-old biracial girl by posting a “White Only” sign in June 2011, aimed at keeping her out of a swimming pool. According to Paul’s worldview, this was a grave and terrible blow to the white landlord’s liberty. The girl’s white father, however, sees things a bit differently.

“My initial reaction to seeing the sign was of shock, disgust and outrage,” the girl’s father, Michael Gunn, said in brief comments the day the final decision was announced. The family quickly moved away, in order to protect their daughter from exposure to such humiliating bigotry – but they also filed the lawsuit.

According to Ron Paul’s view of “liberty”, they were right to move, but wrong to sue.

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The Wind that Shakes the Parley: Police Voice Concerns about Being Used to Stifle Legitimate Protest

Ray LewisThis past week has tacked on more examples of politicians using law enforcement to stifle dissent among unsatisfied constituents.  NY’s Mayor Bloomberg, for instance, was quoted referring to the NYPD as his “own army”.  “But other facets of this story have been developing behind the scenes.  Could Operation SHIELD and Ray Lewis raise the “wind that shakes the parley”?  Chris Faraone writes in the Boston Phoenix:

As Occupy camps from coast to coast face evictions — and in many cases have already been pushed out of parks and plazas like so much human trash — it’s clear that the institutional response to the movement is escalating dangerously. Likewise, relations between police and activists seem to be deteriorating, as non-violent protesters continue to be arrested almost daily.

But as tensions build between Occupiers and Big Brother, what’s also true is that individual officers are increasingly concerned about their role in combating Occupy.

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Calling Out The Police For Hiding Their Nameplates

The California Penal Code states that uniformed police officers must wear "a badge, nameplate, or other device which bears clearly...the identification number or name of the officer". Feel free to remind the police of this when they forget:
Officer Hargraves of the Oakland Police Department is called out by a citizen journalist for covering his name tag with a strip of black electrical tape. Police lieutenant Hu removes the tape while the camera rolls. The issue of "anonymous police" remains a serious problem. This is especially true for "riot police" who wear dark anonymous uniforms while firing rubber bullets, tear gas canisters and flash-bang grenades into the crowd.
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Happy Bloomsday, America!

Hand drawing of Bloom by Joyce

Hand drawing of Bloom by Joyce

June 16th is the annual celebration of Leopold Bloom’s doomed wanderings through Dublin in 1904, as chronicled in James Joyce’s classic novel “Ulysses”.  And in the 21st century, reality finally catches up with and overtakes fiction.

In 1921 a U.S. court banned Ulysses on the grounds that some of its graphic depictions of nudity and sexuality constituted pornography under the Postal Code. And while that decision was reversed in 1933 by a judge who could only have failed today’s more rigorous selection processes for illiteracy and cretinism, the private sector came to the rescue of public morals when Apple banned an online illustrated version from its iStore last year.

However, that victory had an even shorter half-life. A couple months later, presumably realizing that it would lose it’s investment completely if it maintained the ban, and that nobody would likely access anything remotely smacking of literary merit anyway, Apple decided to give it a go after all.… Read the rest

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“Herr Prösser?!!”: The Madison Uprising to Shift Gears on April 5th

>Click Here<The madness surrounding Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s efforts to destroy trade unionism continues apace, but outsiders are likely to be deceived into thinking momentum of the Madison Uprising has been dissipated from its previous well-defined orbit. They couldn’t be more wrong and the turnout for Wisconsin’s April 5th supreme court contest between Prosser (R) and Kloppenburg (D) will prove that.

Current reports from Madison consistently describe a hard core of about one to two dozen protestors haunting the capitol building these days. Some Right Wing supporters of the union-busting tactics have publicly taken courage from this decrease since March 11th, when Walker signed the contententious bill. That, however, would be to focus on the hole, rather than the doughnut, so to speak.

While massive 100+ person rallies like those that continued for 3+ weeks in the capitol building are hugely important for gathering momentum and mobilizing latent energies, they really only represent the tip of an ungodly horror being whipped up for Walker and his supporters in places where it will do some real damage — the home districts of Republican legislators. … Read the rest

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The Push To Suppress Young Adult Voting

3003066074_6b9c74fdd6Ever heard baby boomers bemoan young people’s lack of political engagement? Well, some feel the opposite.

William O’Brien, the newly-minted speaker of the state House in New Hampshire, is peeved that college students are able to vote: “Foolish…Voting as a liberal. That’s what kids do.” They lack “life experience,” and “they just vote their feelings.”

State Republican lawmakers across the country share O’Brien’s sentiment. In disregard of the Twenty-Sixth Amendment, they are mounting a concerted and sustained push to reduce young adults’ voting rights, the Washington Post reports:

New Hampshire’s new Republican state House speaker is pretty clear about what he thinks of college kids and how they vote. They’re “foolish,” Speaker William O’Brien said in a recent speech to a tea party group.

“Voting as a liberal. That’s what kids do,” he added, his comments taped by a state Democratic Party staffer and posted on YouTube. Students lack “life experience,” and “they just vote their feelings.”

New Hampshire House Republicans are pushing for new laws that would prohibit many college students from voting in the state – and effectively keep some from voting at all.

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The Muslim ‘Radicalization’ Myth Debunked

Justin Elliot at Salon.com talks with the author of a report from the Brennan Center for Justice on the difference between Peter King’s hysterical homeland security hearings and actual work to combat terrorism:

When Rep. Peter King’s controversial hearing on Muslim “radicalization” finally convened on Thursday, members of Congress had the opportunity to take some good shots at each other, and the relatives of two Americans who became extremists gave emotional testimony about their experiences.

What the hearing did not feature was any serious, evidence-based consideration of the actual issue of so-called homegrown terrorism by Muslim Americans.

King and other Republicans spent a lot of time going after the Muslim group CAIR and defending themselves from Democratic complaints that the hearing was bigoted. As TPM put it: “Peter King Hearing Focuses On Whether Peter King Hearing Was a Good Idea.”

As it turns out, there is rigorous academic work being done on the “radicalization” issue.

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What If They Held A Civil War And The Military Didn’t Show Up?

Civil War And Military Didn't ComeI’m sure you’ve already heard the news:  Between roughtly 4:00pm and 6:30pm last night, Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald stripped the union-busting provisions of Wisconsin’s notorious “Budget Repair Bill” into a stand-alone bill, which as an allegedly non-fiscal bill required a much smaller quorum to floor, and forcibly destroyed trade unionism in the state.

A vote in the assembly is scheduled for 11:00am local time today 10th March, but nobody seriously expects any significant defection within the heavy Republican majority.

Upon learning of the coup d’état, crowds rushed and occupied the capitol building in violation of Walker’s Department of Administration restrictions.  See video here.

Although exempted from the draconian provisions of the bill, it’s been clear for weeks that the police and their unions know that it is only a matter of time and opportunity until Walker attempts to destroy their political voice as well.

Clearly the next round of conflict will surround injunctions and constitutional challenges to this extraordinary bill, which surely will be legion. … Read the rest

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Still Waters Run Deep: Phase 2 Of The Madison Uprising

The ScreamThe differences between Madison, Wisconsin and Tripoli, Libya should be obvious. The fact that Madison hasn’t floated away on a crimson tide of gore should be encouraging—horrors on that atavistic scale happen only where there exists not even the nominal right to redress majoritarian excesses through protest.

The contrast to America’s experience of 1968 is positive as well; I remind you that movement flamed out prematurely due to inexperience and lack of discipline. The image created in my mind by this phase of the Madison Uprising is more like that evoked by Edvard Munch’s “The Scream”—the silent edge of a rising shout.

The crowds in Madison seem to have leveled out at a steady 30,000-40,000 per day, according to most reports.  That is still a pretty freakin’ huge # when put into context of the relatively sparse population of this section of Wisconsin and personal commitments being made by protesters in order to attend, in terms of time and money. … Read the rest

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