This Is What Tyranny Looks Like

From Common Dreams:  http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/05/23-4

by Carl Gibson
Published on Wednesday, May 23, 2012 by Common Dreams

Remember when police beat Tea Party activists with batons, raided homes without warrants, unjustly arrested and strip-searched Tea Party protesters, or attacked and intimidated journalists covering Tea Party rallies?

Me neither. But then again, the Tea Party took to the streets in favor of higher profits and less regulations for the richest 1 percent, whose ranks they hope to but will never join. The media is more than happy to inflate their crowd estimates, and police are more than happy to let pro-status quo protests take to the streets undisturbed. The Tea Party has since phased out street protests to take over a major political party and make it bend to their every radical whim.

While it hasn’t yet taken over a major party, the Occupy movement has successfully exposed the oppressive fascist police state that has reared its ugly head in the past year. If you want to see what tyranny looks like, consider what happened to the estimated 75,000 protesters who took on the military-industrial complex at last weekend’s NATO summit in Chicago, after the mayor revoked protesters’ attempts to lawfully assemble.

-A night before protests even begun, the Chicago Police Department raided an activist’s home and arrested several on unproven allegations of terrorist activity, all without a valid warrant.

-At the front of a police line surrounding a NATO gathering, police suddenly start beating unarmed protesters with batons in an eerie video resembling police at Egypt’s Tahrir Square.

-While covering the protests, credentialed journalists are attacked by police who use bicycles as weapons.

Continue reading at:  http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/05/23-4

Posted in Civil Rights, Class War, Constitutional Rights, Fascism, Globalization, Hard Times, Police Abuse, Police State. Comments Off on This Is What Tyranny Looks Like

Illinois: Antibullying Bill Rejected From Fears of Being Too Pro-Gay

From The Advocate:  http://www.advocate.com/society/education/2012/05/23/illinois-antibullying-bill-rejected-fears-being-too-progay

BY Michelle Garcia
May 23 2012

Illinois legislators rejected an antibullying bill after conservatives expressed fears that the proposed law was too “pro-homosexual.”

The initiative, which would have held school administrators more accountable for handling bullying incidents and preventing harassment, fell one vote short of passing in the state Senate on Tuesday, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

“There are some programs that are just against bullying in general,” Sen. Kyle McCarter said in the article. “Some of them tend to have an agenda of being pro-homosexual.”

Complete article at:  http://www.advocate.com/society/education/2012/05/23/illinois-antibullying-bill-rejected-fears-being-too-progay

Obama’s “Mission Accomplished”

From Ted Rall:   http://www.rall.com/rallblog/2011/12/15/syndicated-column-obamas-mission-accomplished

Posted by Ted Rall
December 15th, 2011

Wars and Prisons Move, Wars and Torture Never Ends

Most Americans—68 percent—oppose the war against Iraq, according to a November 2011 CNN poll. So it’s smart politics for President Obama to take credit for withdrawing U.S. troops.

As it often is, the Associated Press’ coverage was slyly subversive: “This, in essence, is Obama’s mission accomplished: Getting out of Iraq as promised under solid enough circumstances and making sure to remind voters that he did what he said.”

Obama’s 2008 campaign began by speaking out against the war in Iraq. (Aggression in Afghanistan, on the other hand, was not only desirable but ought to be expanded.) However, actions never matched his words. On vote after vote in the U.S. Senate Obama supported the war. Every time.

As president, Obama has claimed credit for a December 2011 withdrawal deadline negotiated by his predecessor George W. Bush—a timeline he wanted to protract. If the Iraqi government hadn’t refused to extend immunity from prosecution to U.S. forces, this month’s withdrawal would not have happened.

“Today I can report that, as promised, the rest of our troops in Iraq will come home by the end of the year. After nearly nine years, America’s war in Iraq will be over,” Obama bragged reporters on October 24th.

The UK Guardian noted: “But he had already announced this earlier this year, and the real significance today was in the failure of Obama, in spite of the cost to the U.S. in dollars and deaths, to persuade the Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki to allow one or more American bases to be kept in the country.”

Continue reading at:   http://www.rall.com/rallblog/2011/12/15/syndicated-column-obamas-mission-accomplished

Posted in Constitutional Rights, Human Rights, Uncategorized. Comments Off on Obama’s “Mission Accomplished”

Congressional Tyranny, White House Surrender

From Common Dreams:   http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/12/15-0

by Ralph Nader
Published on Thursday, December 15, 2011 by CommonDreams.org

Paraphrasing Shakespeare, something is rotten in the state of Capitol Hill. A majority of Congress is just about to put the finishing touches on an amendment to the military budget authorization legislation that will finish off some critical American rights under our Constitution.

Here is how two retired 4 star marine generals, Charles C. Krulak and Joseph P. Hoar, described in the New York Times the stripmining of your freedom to resist tyranny in urging a veto by President Obama:

“One provision would authorize the military to indefinitely detain without charge people suspected of involvement with terrorism, including United States citizens apprehended on American soil. Due process would be a thing of the past….

“A second provision would mandate military custody for most terrorism suspects. It would force on the military responsibilities it hasn’t sought”…. “for domestic law enforcement….”

“A third provision would further extend a ban on transfers from Guantanamo, ensuring that this morally and financially expensive symbol of detainee abuse will remain open well into the future.”

All of Obama’s leading military and security officials oppose this codification of the ultimate Big Brother power. Imagine allowing the government to deny people accused of involvement with terrorism (undefined), including U.S. citizens arrested within the United States, the right to a trial by jury. Imagine allowing indefinite imprisonment for those accused without even proffering charges against them. Goodbye 5th and 6th Amendments.

Continue reading at:   http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/12/15-0

Posted in Civil Rights, Constitutional Rights, Fascism, Human Rights. Comments Off on Congressional Tyranny, White House Surrender

There Goes the Republic

From Truth Dig:  http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/there_goes_the_republic_20111214/

By Robert Scheer
Posted on Dec 15, 2011

Once again the gods of war have united our Congress like nothing else. Unable to agree on the minimal spending necessary to save our economy, schools, medical system or infrastructure, the cowards who mislead us have retreated to the irrationalities of what George Washington in his farewell address condemned as “pretended patriotism.”

The defense authorization bill that Congress passed and President Obama had threatened to veto will soon become law, a fact that should be met with public outrage. Human Rights Watch Executive Director Kenneth Roth, responding to Obama’s craven collapse on the bill’s most controversial provision, said, “By signing this defense spending bill, President Obama will go down in history as the president who enshrined indefinite detention without trial in U.S. law.” On Wednesday, White House press secretary Jay Carney claimed “the most recent changes give the president additional discretion in determining how the law will be implemented, consistent with our values and the rule of law, which are at the heart of our country’s strength.”

What rubbish, coming from a president who taught constitutional law. The point is not to hock our civil liberty to the discretion of the president, but rather to guarantee our freedoms even if a Dick Cheney or Newt Gingrich should attain the highest office.

Sadly, this flagrant subversion of the constitutionally guaranteed right to due process of law was opposed in the Senate by only seven senators, including libertarian Republican Rand Paul and progressive Independent Bernie Sanders.

That onerous provision of the defense budget bill, much discussed on the Internet but far less so in the mass media, assumes a permanent war against terrorism that extends the battlefield to our homeland. It reeks of a militarized state that threatens the foundations of our republican form of government.

Continue reading at:   http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/there_goes_the_republic_20111214/

Illinois Debtors Thrown In Jail: Lisa Madigan Working To Stop Debt Collector Arrest Warrants

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/12/illinois-debtors-thrown-i_n_1144093.html

First Posted: 12/12/11

Some Illinois residents struggling to pay off their debt have yet another thing to worry about: getting thrown in jail.

As WBEZ reports, creditors in the state have figured out ways around laws that prevent them from putting debtors in jail, and the number of people being issued arrest warrants linked to unpaid bills is growing. Collection agencies can reportedly file a lawsuit requiring a court appearance, and if the defendant doesn’t show up for their hearing, an arrest warrant can be issued.

The practice has been happening more often in a stagnant economy, and Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan wants to do something about it.

“We can no longer allow debt collectors to pervert the courts,” Madigan told the Wall Street Journal, adding that some victims of this practice were thrown in jail without knowing that they were being sued due to misleading or sloppy paperwork submitted to the court by debt collectors.

NPR spoke to one Illinois woman who was shocked to learn that a warrant was out for her arrest:

Continue reading at:   http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/12/illinois-debtors-thrown-i_n_1144093.html

Posted in Austerity, Civil Rights, Class War, Constitutional Rights, Corporate Abuse, Economic Issues, Fascism, Hard Times. Comments Off on Illinois Debtors Thrown In Jail: Lisa Madigan Working To Stop Debt Collector Arrest Warrants

A Forgotten Fight for Suffrage

From The New York Time Op-Ed: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/25/opinion/25stansell.html?ref=opinion

By CHRISTINE STANSELL
Published: August 24, 2010

LOOKING back on the adoption of the 19th Amendment 90 years ago Thursday — the largest act of enfranchisement in our history — it can be hard to see what the fuss was about. We’re inclined to assume that the passage of women’s suffrage (even the term is old-fashioned) was inevitable, a change whose time had come. After all, voting is now business as usual for women. And although women are still poorly represented in Congress, there are influential female senators and representatives, and prominent women occupy governors’ and mayors’ offices and legislative seats in every part of the United States.

Yet entrenched opposition nationwide sidelined the suffrage movement for decades in the 19th century. By 1920, antagonism remained in the South, and was strong enough to come close to blocking ratification.

Proposals for giving women the vote had been around since the first convention for women’s rights in Seneca Falls, N.Y., in 1848. At the end of the Civil War, eager abolitionists urged Congress to enfranchise both the former slaves and women, black and white. The 14th Amendment opened the possibility, with its generous language about citizenship, equal protection and due process.

But, at that time, women’s suffrage was still unthinkable to anyone but radical abolitionists. Since the nation’s founding, Americans considered women to be, by nature, creatures of the home, under the care and authority of men. They had no need for the vote; their husbands represented them to the state and voted for them. So, in the 14th Amendment’s second section, Republicans inserted the word “male,” prohibiting the denial of voting rights to “any of the male inhabitants” of the states.

Continue reading at: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/25/opinion/25stansell.html?ref=opinion

Posted in Constitutional Rights, Feminist, Gender, History, Human Rights, Politics, Sexism, Social Justice, Unequal Treatment. Comments Off on A Forgotten Fight for Suffrage