Posts Tagged ‘Civil Rights’

la_ca_1021_selma

Louis Proyect at Counterpunch:

Why Selma Matters Now More Than Ever

900-680x453

Undercover agent pulls gun on protesters and photographer during Oakland protest of police killings

Freelance reporter Courtney Harrop has Storified a series of eyewitness posts from protesters and journalists who witnessed the undercover agent’s activity, which reportedly included encouraging protesters to loot and commit other crimes, before the agents were outed.

f1e9c0df-7e40-46b7-be3f-412a7f26563c-620x372

Civil rights marchers in Washington DC set to protest against police killings

selma-movie

Opens Christmas Day:

Looks very powerful.

cuffs

Creeping fascism found some steroids…

Wisc. Police Come To Man’s Home, Arrest Him For Calling Them Racists On Facebook

Smith then received a call from officers, who wanted to know if he had posted the comment. Smith replied that he had posted the Facebook message, and that he had meant it.

That night, officers arrested him at his home in Arena. He was charged with disorderly conduct and unlawful use of computerized communications.

NSA-INNOCENT-USERS

 

Expanding surveillance of everyone gets some much needed scrutiny at the Washington Post and Daily News. Yes they are a rogue agency operating completely outside the Constitution. So when is someone going to do something about it?

 

Julian Assange

Wikileaks founder: ‘All of us have to do something’

“The NSA has grown to be a rogue agency. It has grown to be unfettered … the ability to surveil everyone on the planet is almost there, and arguably will be there within a few years. And that’s led to a huge transfer of power from the people who are surveilled upon, to those who control the surveillance complex.”

 

tpp

This corporatocracy is going to replace national governance with tribunals, secret evidence and the elimination of human rights.  Global police state is what they want…

Wikileaks Release: Secret TPP Treaty. Text of Negotiated Draft of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Intellectual Property Rights Chapter

“The longest section of the Chapter – ’Enforcement’ – is devoted to detailing new policing measures, with far-reaching implications for individual rights, civil liberties, publishers, internet service providers and internet privacy, as well as for the creative, intellectual, biological and environmental commons. Particular measures proposed include supranational litigation tribunals to which sovereign national courts are expected to defer, but which have no human rights safeguards. The TPP IP Chapter states that these courts can conduct hearings with secret evidence. The IP Chapter also replicates many of the surveillance and enforcement provisions from the shelved SOPA and ACTA treaties.”

aclu

ACLU Strongly Supports Sensenbrenner-Leahy Bill Reforming NSA Surveillance Authorities
USA Freedom Act Would Limit NSA Spying

October 29, 2013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: 212-549-2666, media@dcaclu.org

WASHINGTON – A bipartisan reform bill to rein in the National Security Agency’s bulk collection, analysis, and storage of Americans’ electronic communications was introduced in both the Senate and the House of Representatives today. The American Civil Liberties Union strongly supports the bill, which is sponsored by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), one of the original authors of the Patriot Act.

“The last five months have proven that the NSA cannot be trusted with the surveillance authorities they have been given by a secret court without the knowledge or approval of the American people,” said Michelle Richardson, legislative counsel at the ACLU’s Washington Legislative Office. “The only way to stop the NSA’s collect-it-all mentality is for Congress to pass legislation that prohibits the intelligence community from engaging in the dragnet surveillance of Americans’ communications. The legislation introduced today by Sen. Leahy and Rep. Sensenbrenner is a true reform bill that rejects the false and dangerous notion that privacy and our fundamental freedoms are incompatible with security.”

The bill, The USA FREEDOM Act, would enact the following core reforms to NSA surveillance authorities:

  • It would end the bulk collection of Americans’ records shared with third parties and put reasonable limits on Patriot Act powers targeted at people in the U.S. The new restrictions would apply not only to phone records collected under Section 215 of the Patriot Act, but national security letters and pen registers that have also been abused.
  • It would amend the 2008 FISA Amendments Act to require court orders before the government could use American information collected during foreign intelligence operations.
  • It would increase transparency by allowing communications providers to disclose the number of surveillance orders they receive, mandate the government publish how many people are subject to surveillance orders, and make public significant FISA Court opinions since July 2003.
  • It would create a public advocate that could advise the secret surveillance court in certain cases.

The bill pulls language together from the many House and Senate bills introduced over the last several months by members of both parties.

“The bulk collection of Americans’ phone records is an extraordinary and intrusive power government should not have,” said Richardson. “This legislation rightly shuts the program down and provides additional protections to ensure the government doesn’t engage in the bulk collection of any other records. Proposals described by the Intelligence Committees would only make the current situation worse by entrenching privacy-busting practices. Congress should focus on reforms like Sensenbrenner-Leahy.”

The bicameral legislation has attracted prominent, bipartisan support.

In the Senate, 16 bipartisan cosponsors include Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Mark Udall (D-Colo.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.).

In the House, more than 70 bipartisan cosponsors include Reps. John Conyers (D-Mich.), Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), Hank Johnson (D-Ga.), Ami Bera (D-Calif.), Mike Quigley (D-Ill.), Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), John Mica (R-Fla.), Justin Amash (R-Mich.), Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), and Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.).

The ACLU has also filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the NSA’s bulk collection of Americans’ call records. Oral argument has been set for Nov. 1. For more on ACLU vs. Clapper: aclu.org/national-security/aclu-v-clapper-challenge-nsa-mass-phone-call-tracking

More information on the ACLU’s work rolling back NSA spying can be accessed at:
aclu.org/time-rein-surveillance-state-0

MV5BMTIyMTMzNzIyNV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMjM1NDk0MQ@@._V1._SX289_SY423_
Dr. J.’s Commentary: Hairspray: We’ve Come so Far; We Have So Far to Go

by Steven Jonas

Hairspray is a movie that can be taken on a number of levels, your choice. It’s a funny, sassy, heartwarming old-style Hollywood movie musical about teenage life in Baltimore, circa 1962. It’s about actors like Christopher Walken, John Travolta, Queen Latifah, and Michelle Pfeiffer playing against type (and doing it marvelously well). It’s about a classic Hollywood “discovery,” the previously unknown high school senior, an aspiring actress from Great Neck, NY, Nikki Blonsky, delivering a drop-dead performance as the lead, Tracy Turnblad. It’s about terrific singing and dancing all designed to make you feel oh-so-good while you’re watching it.

At the next level, the social issue of obesity is prevalent, how it affects the lives of so many Americans in so many different ways. John Travolta in a fat suit playing Tracy’s mom shows how socially crippling it can be. Tracy, also obese, shows how one can overcome the prejudice our society has against overweight people, even as it encourages overweight (much more now through the role of the food industry than back then, but back then too). Tracy says “I’m happy with myself. I can do tons of stuff, and if you don’t like me because I’m fat, that’s your issue, not mine.”

The next level is classically political. The movie shows very starkly just how the nation was beginning for the first time to deal with race-relations and the coming desegregation, in a former Border State city, Baltimore. A highly popular afternoon teenage TV show that features high-powered singing and dancing by and for teens is totally and consciously segregated. It’s an all-white show, with one “Negro Day” a month. In Tracy’s high school, when she is sent to detention for some minor infraction in the classroom, virtually everyone else there is African-American. It is in that setting that Tracy, who can already dance, is introduced to the coming wave of African-American popular dancing that is about to burst into the mainstream for the first time.

Tracy, who looks entirely different from all the other white kids on the show, somehow manages to win a dance contest and get a slot on it for herself. But by then, she has already been taken by the black dancing and is beginning to spend time with and work her way into the culture. She eventually proclaims that the show should be integrated and, with Queen Latifah who plays the entertainer-leader of the black kids, she is in the leadership of a street march and demonstration that eventually leads to just that eventuality. For a Hollywood movie, this one has an unusual amount of bare-bones, yes, that-is-what-it-was-like, politics in it. The progressive forces are the good guys. The police and the station management are the bad guys (and boy does Michelle Pfeiffer do a marvelous job of playing a bad guy). And the movie ends with the triumph of integration over prejudice, at least circa 1962.

The next level on which one can view the movie and its lessons is not nearly so happy. This is one that is encapsulated in a line from the movie’s climactic musical number: “We’ve come so far; we have so far to go.” Indeed we do, in terms of race relations in our country. The issue is not on the movie’s agenda in any way. But the line does make the politically conscious person think, right to the present. Are things better than in 1962? Of course they are, in many areas of discrimination. Are things worse? Oh yes they are, in the political arena. During the 1960s, it seemed that political racism was on the way out, that George Wallace would be its last howl of un-reason. And then came Nixon and the Southern Strategy that has defined the modern Republican Party.

Race prejudice and its political usage is what defines the Southern Strategy, and defined the Nixonian Republicans into the Reagan Era. Starting with Reagan’s capitulation to the Christian Right, the modern Bush-Cheney-Rove Republican has taken prejudice to a much broader level and made it into their party’s political foundation. Race is there, of course, in the judicial nominations that led to the recent Roberts Court decision that said racism is for communities to decide, through their democratically elected representatives. And racism is there in the conscious campaign started by Ashcroft to use the “Justice” Department to suppress black voting, under the cover of “dealing with election fraud as mandated by the Civil Rights Act (sic, and sick).” But these folks have taken the political use of prejudice to a whole new level.

Just consider: the political exploitation of prejudice against homosexuals simply because of who they are, not anything they have done; the political exploitation of prejudice against those of us (in this case, the majority of the population) who believe life begins at the time of viability, and the drive to criminalize our belief; the political exploitation of prejudice against Hispanics through the whole so-called “illegal immigration crisis”; the political exploitation of a prejudice these people are building from the ground up: Islamophobia; the political exploitation of prejudice against anyone who is labeled a “liberal,” because as Ann Coulter/Sean Hannity/Rush Limbaugh/Bill O’Reilly say out in the open and the party’s leadership says in code words, “liberals” are traitors, and, it so happens, the penalty in this country for treason is death.

Yes, the modern Republican Party has reached new depths. If the Democrats don’t begin to take it on directly on this issue of the political use of prejudice, and soon, it will very likely, very quickly get to be too late. Yes indeed, “We’ve come so far; we have so far to go.”

Steven Jonas, MD, MPH is a Professor of Preventive Medicine at Stony Brook University (NY), a weekly contributing author for The Political Junkies, and contributing editor for The Moving Planet Blog.

Free-Your-Mind

New corporate news protection law seeks to leave bloggers and freelancers dangling in the breeze.  Particularly Wikileaks will remain a target, and so will independent bloggers across the spectrum, such as yours truly.

The Hill:

Media giants put multimillion-dollar lobbying muscle behind shield law

The question of who would receive the additional legal protections as a “covered journalist” has become a contentious point, with bloggers and lawmakers taking umbrage at the idea of the government deciding who is and isn’t a legitimate reporter.

During the markup of the Senate bill, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said the committee had entered “dangerous territory” by drawing lines between who does, or does not, qualify for protection.

“It seems to me the First Amendment protects the activity, not the employment status of the person engaging in it,” Cruz said.

It’s not often I agree with republican congressmen.  But since Obama has openly turned to fascism and the sponsoring of terrorists, you take what you can get.

 

MLK-MORE-THAN-A-DREAM copy

 

Beyond Vietnam

Text

 

“But they asked, and rightly so, “What about Vietnam?” They asked if our own nation wasn’t using massive doses of violence to solve its problems, to bring about the changes it wanted. Their questions hit home, and I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today: my own government. For the sake of those boys, for the sake of this government, for the sake of the hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent.”

“The Vietnamese people proclaimed their own independence in 1954—in 1945 rather—after a combined French and Japanese occupation and before the communist revolution in China. They were led by Ho Chi Minh. Even though they quoted the American Declaration of Independence in their own document of freedom, we refused to recognize them. Instead, we decided to support France in its reconquest of her former colony. Our government felt then that the Vietnamese people were not ready for independence, and we again fell victim to the deadly Western arrogance that has poisoned the international atmosphere for so long.”