Last week while speaking at the LGBT for Hillary Gala in New York City, Hillary Clinton called out some Trump supporters saying that half of Trump’s supporters belong in a “basket of deplorables.” She was pointing out in her speech that Trump’s supporters were “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic.” The next day, after criticism from …
Tag: freedom of speech
Sep 15 2016
Jan 13 2011
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Dec 23 2010
Dr. Olivier De Shutter, United Nations Envoy, warns that China’s ability to feed its population is waning:
He told the Guardian his main concern was the decline of soil quality in China because of excessive use of fertilisers, pollution and drought. He noted that 37% of the nation’s territory was degraded and 8.2m hectares (20.7m acres) of arable land has been lost since 1997 to cities, industrial parks, natural disasters and forestry programmes.
With climate change expected to increase price volatility and cut agricultural productivity by 5% to 10% by 2030, De Schutter said it was essential for China to wean itself off fossil-fuel intensive farming and adopt more sustainable agricultural techniques, including organic production, and to make even better use of its two great strengths: a huge strategic grain reserve and a large rural population.
He also cautioned against a shift towards industrial-scale farming, which increases economic competitiveness at the cost of natural productivity. “Small-scale farming is more efficient in its use of natural resources. I believe China can show that it is successful in feeding a very large population. ” However, he acknowledged that this may prove difficult in the future as more of China’s 200million farmers move to the cities.
Unfortunately the article in the Guardian UK did not mention the fact that China’s mega- hydro power projects like the Three Gorges Dam are also contributing to massive amounts of loss of the best farmland in the now flooded valleys above the dam site – 62,000 acres – which also forced the resettlement of over a million rural people. http://www.arch.mcgill.ca/prof…
People who buck the Chinese government and organize protesters over deadly food don’t do so well in authoritarian regimes. Zhao Lianhai, who complained about melamine contaminated milk formulas, that made 300,000 sick and killed at least 6 babies, was thrown in jail in 2009, convicted and sentenced to two and a half years in prison in November for “inciting social disorder.” see HuffPo http://www.huffingtonpost.com/… Zhao’s son was one of the toddlers who became ill with kidney stones after drinking the bad milk. Melamine was the same chemical that was implicated in the 2006 – 2007 American pet food safety scandal and recall, which sickened and killed thousands of cats, when it was used to adulterate imported wheat gluten, and spread from an importer – distributor in Las Vegas, ChemNutra, to all over the country. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T… Ground up melamine powder, a by product of coal processing normally used in plastics like laminated flooring, was added not only to increase the volume but to fool the tests done for “protein” content.
What did Zhao do to warrant Chinese jail time while trying to save sick babies ?
he organized a gathering of a dozen parents of sick children at a restaurant, held a paper sign in front of a court and factory involved in the scandal as a protest, and gave media interviews in a public place.
“I’m concerned this will have a chilling effect on consumers who want to complain,” he said. “You cannot protect the right to food without the right to freedom of expression and organisation.”
Jul 13 2010
Is a Foreign Government Interfering with OUR OWN CITIZENS on our own soil?!
Or is this a Dispersant Cover Up story ? WDSU channel 6 News/ Fired BP Contractor talks to Adam Dillon 7/11/10
Scott Walker of WDSU News: ” During our visit to a Grand Isle beach in June (on the 11th) to see clean up workers, a WDSU photographer and I blocked from getting with in a hundred yards of them. (This was the infamous Talon security people who are threatening journalists, bloggers, and regular folk down in the Gulf )
Adam Dillon, who was fired from BP, was a cleanup contractor from North Carolina, now talks to WDSU.com. ”
more video transcript:
Dillon: …. after the way BP treated me, I am telling you now, you deserved an answer.
Scott Walker of WDSU News: Shortly after our beach run in, Dillon was promoted. Now he says he was fired because he was seen as a threat to his superiors.
Dillon: I Became a liability to their operation up there because of the info I found out
News: Does BP have anything to hide ? Something other than the cleanup effort going on here ?
Dillon: I saw something when I was out there. I took pictures of something. I brought it to the attention of the command structure. And, Whatever I took pictures of, 12 hours later, I was gone.
News: he believes those photos showed equations related to the used of dispersants used on the oil in the Gulf. While Dillon has harsh words for those in charge and questions, he is just as quick to credit the thousands of workers who are working hard to clean up our shores.
Dillon: At the command center, I worked with some really great people. I worked w/ some great hardworking individuals in there. but the bottom line it’s just about the money. There are some very cutthroat individuals in there they are not worried about cleaning up the spill, as is.
News: this former special ops soldier says lost all faith in BP
Dillon: I will never have loyalty to this company. (BP) I will always have loyalty to my country and my country comes first. What this company is doing to my country is wrong.
News: No comment from BP, Will attempt to reach out to those in charge. More coming Monday in my interview with Dillon, where he tells me, He was confined and interrogated almost an hour.
This is an excerpt of the last part of the video
Adam Dillon, quote: “What this company is doing to my country is wrong.”
Dec 06 2008
cross posted from The Dream Antilles
Another sign of the end of the world. The venerable f-word is not to be uttered in certain courtrooms in Cincinnati in its participle form. Under any circumstances. Those who say it no matter to whom get 6 months. WTF?
The Enquirer reports:
For the second day in a row, Judge Robert Ruehlman threw someone in jail and cited him for contempt for cussing in the courtroom.
It was an accused gang member Wednesday. On Thursday, it was a private attorney in a non-criminal case.
And what, prey tell, were these cusses?
Brautigam, who is an attorney but isn’t licensed in Ohio, asked Ruehlman for more time to file documents. Ruehlman gave it to him.
As Koenig and Brautigam turned to walk away from the judge, Brautigam called Koenig “a (bleeping) liar.”
“He used the famous F-word,” Koenig said. “(Ruehlman) asked Mr. Brautigam if he said that.”
Brautigam admitted he had and had directed it at Koenig.
Ruehlman cited Brautigam for contempt and sent him to jail for six months.
The word was not directed at the judge. It was directed at opposing counsel. Apparently it was overheard by the judge. No matter. 6 months.
The judge decided the sentence should be 6 months because he gave somebody else 6 months for cussing. WTF? 6 months in jail for the F-word as an adjective? OK. What was the previous offense that set the bar so high?
Jamel Sechrest was before Ruehlman in a Wednesday hearing with four other accused members of the “Taliband,” a gang police say has terrorized Northside and its residents by selling drugs and committing other crimes.
Sechrest, unhappy at having to wait until Feb. 2 for a trial – and sitting in jail until then – muttered “That’s (bleeping) bull (bleep).”
“You don’t say bull (bleep) in the courtroom,” Ruehlman told Sechrest before citing him for contempt, sentencing him to six months in jail.
Sechrest it turns out said this to the judge. He did not say it to his lawyer and that was not overheard. Isn’t that different from the lawyer’s remark to opposing counsel? Evidently not.
If you’re trying to understand this, here’s the apparent rule of law in this particular Cincinnati Courtroom: say the F-word participle as an adjective in any context to anyone, 6 months. If the modified noun is a bad word, you apparently don’t get extra time for the noun. I have no idea what you get if you invoke the F-word as a verb or an imperative.
I doubt the lawyer will spend the time in jail. He’ll appeal and manage to be bailed pending a decision on his appeal. The alleged Taliband member is, I think, just plain stuck.
This is all very interesting in light of the old US Supreme Court decision in Cohen v. California, 403 US 15 (1971). Young Mr. Cohen had a jacket on his lap while he was in a courtroom in the LA County courthouse. When he left the courtroom but was still in the halls of justice, he put the jacket on. The problem was that it said, “Fuck the Draft” on the back. He was arrested and charged with a crime. Said the US Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision striking down the conviction
“[A]bsent a more particularized and compelling reason for its actions the State may not, consistently with the First and Fourteenth Amendments, make the simple public display of this single four-letter expletive a criminal offense.”
Likewise, its utterance? In his majority decision, Justice Harlan wrote, “One man’s vulgarity is another’s lyric.” (A lyrical aside: Ah for that Supreme Court, alack, alack, alack, how they are missed.)
Meanwhile back in Cincinatti, we’re all treated to another sign of the end of the world. The F participle has become so powerful, that you can be incarcerated simply for saying it. George Carlin and Lenny Bruce were apparently right. Some words, in particularly the F-word used in its participle form, keep their power because we nonsensically both censure and censor their use.
And then we have the learned judge. When he discovered that his initial sentence to the alleged gang banger was too harsh, he doesn’t amend the first sentence to make it fair. No. That would show weakness? Or rationality? Instead, he just goes ahead and gives the too stringent sentence to somebody else. He makes the crime fit the punishment. Does that solve the problem with the first sentence? No, it does not. It replicates and magnifies it. It’s the end of the world.
May 12 2008
First, breaking news this morning. There has been a 7.8 earthquake in China that has left four schoolchildren and one adult dead:
Chinese President Hu Jintao has called for “all-out” efforts to rescue victims of an earthquake measuring 7.8 that has hit south-western China.
The quake struck 92km (57 miles) north-west of Sichuan’s provincial capital, Chengdu, at 1428 (0628 GMT).
The children were killed, and more than 100 others injured, when primary school buildings collapsed in the Chongqing area, a large municipality near Sichuan province, Xinhua added.
Another person is reported to have died when a water tower collapsed in the city of Mianyang, in Santai County.
The Bangkok Post gives further details of the magnitude of the quake:
Government and local officials said the quake struck at 2:28pm local time (1:28pm in Thailand) in Wenchuan county, Sichuan province. It was felt in cities hundreds of kilometres away, including Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong, in addition to Bangkok.
“Major tremors” were felt by residents of cities closer to the epicentre, including Sichuan’s capital, Chengdu, and nearby Chongqing, the official news agency Xinhua said.
(Meanwhile in Myanmar below.- ek)
May 09 2008
cross posted from The Dream Antilles
La Bloguera Yoani Sanchez
A Cuban woman who gained worldwide acclaim for a blog that offers stinging criticism of the Communist regime was honored Wednesday with a Spanish journalism award – in absentia.
Cuban authorities did not approve Yoani Sanchez’s request to travel to Madrid for the award ceremony. But the 32-year-old woman was still able to make some points.
“Nothing of what I have written in these 13 months speaks as loudly as my absence from this ceremony,” Sanchez said in a tape recording.
She said the fact she had to address the group through a recording was “the clearest evidence of the defenselessness of the Cuban people with respect to the state.”
Meanwhile, her blog receives more than 1 million hits a month (my blog receives less than 1 thousand). And it continues to voice opposition to repression in Cuba. It’s gotten some attention from Andrew Sullivan, but in general, there hasn’t been much of an uproar, or support in Blogtopia for her right to travel or for her right to express herself without being penalized or calling for her to be allowed to leave Cuba long enough to visit Spain.
Why is that? What exactly does it take to have bloggers advocate for freedom of expression across the entire Internet? When are we going to understand the connections between all of us in the typing class? When are we going to support freedom of speech, even if we don’t agree with the politics or content of what is being written?
I’m asking because I remember Martin Niemoeller.
May 06 2008
First, please take a moment to reflect on the cyclone in Burma, which the AP estimates has killed over 14,000 people. The military junta in Burma has been roundly criticized for failing to enact an early warning system that could have saved lives:
The government had apparently taken few efforts to prepare for the storm, which came bearing down on the country from the Bay of Bengal late Friday. Weather warnings broadcast on television would have been largely useless for the worst-hit rural areas where electricity supply is spotty and television a rarity.
“The government misled people,” said Thin Thin, a grocery story owner in Yangon. “They could have warned us about the severity of the coming cyclone so we could be better prepared.”
Some in Yangon complained that the 400,000-strong military was only clearing streets where the ruling elite resided but leaving residents, including Buddhist monks, to cope on their own in most other areas.
The AP reports that the UN and aid organizations are mobilizing supplies, and that the EU has committed $3 million in humanitarian aid, the Chinese government stands ready with $1 million in cash and supplies, and the US is giving an intial $250,000 in aid with more to come if a disaster team is allowed inside the country.
UPDATE The BBC is now reporting that the death toll has reached 22,000:
The death toll from Burma’s devastating cyclone has now risen to more than 22,000, state media say.
Some 41,000 people were also missing, three days after Cyclone Nargis hit the country on Saturday, state radio said.
Apr 21 2008
There is still no word regarding the whereabouts of Jamyang Kyi, the Tibetan journalist, singer and author who has been detained by Chinese authorities according to her husband:
Her husband, Lamao Jia, told The Associated Press she was first detained on April 1 and has not been seen since April 7. He said he didn’t know who had taken his wife into custody.
Described as “apolitical”, Jamyang Kyi focuses on the issues of Tibetan culture and women’s rights. This YouTube gives on a flavor of the type of creative work she produces:
Reporters Without Borders has issued a statement calling on the European Union to intercede on her behalf: http://www.rsf.org/article.php…
While Jamyang Kyi uses the language of song to try to build cultural understanding, Duke University student Grace Wang, from Qingdao, China, attempted to use the language of reconciliation and understanding to bridge the gap between pro-Tibet and pro-China groups on campus.
She is now the victim of a vicious online attack for speaking out.
Apr 17 2008
Non-cooperation is directed not against men but against measures. It is not directed against the Governors, but against the system they administer. The roots of non-cooperation lie not in hatred but in justice, if not in love. —Mahatma Gandhi
Two thousand protesters staged a rival torch relay to protest the arrival of the Olympic torch in New Delhi: