Socialism Art Nature
whoa. CNN? i am shocked.

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Hundreds of people have been killed while defending the environment and land rights around the world, international monitors said in a report released Tuesday, highlighting what they called a culture of impunity surrounding the deaths.

At least 908 people were killed in 35 countries from 2002 to 2013 during disputes over industrial logging, mining, and land rights – with Latin America and Asia-Pacific being particularly hard-hit – according to the study from Global Witness, a London-based nongovernmental organization that says it works to expose economic networks behind conflict, corruption and environmental destruction.

Only 10 people have ever been convicted over the hundreds of deaths, the report said.

The rate of such deaths has risen sharply – with an average of two activists killed each week – over the past four years as competition for the world’s natural resources has accelerated, Global Witness said in the report titled “Deadly Environment.”


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Words of wisdom from a friend on the nationalism surrounding the Boston Marathon bombing memorial

“America will never, ever, ever stand down. We are Boston. We are America. We respond, we endure, we overcome and we own the finish line”. –Joe Biden

One of the greatest casualties of the Marathon bombing is that people forget that despite its provincial name, the Boston Marathon was a major international event, one of the few really internationalist events that existed in this city. That has all changed now. It’s now smothered in American flags and checkpoints and racism. You end up forgetting that a Chinese student was one of the dead, that Muslims had been among the first responders, that a Saudi man had to endure injuries from the bombing, followed by interrogations from the FBI, followed by a barrage of Islamophobia, and defamation from the media, with no recompense or apologies. And no Biden, America has never owned that finish line. As far as I can remember, it has always been Africans who owned it, every year.

“Flags are bits of colored cloth that governments use first to shrink-wrap people’s minds & then as ceremonial shrouds to bury the dead” – Arundhati Roy


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Next week will see two wrenching anniversaries one day apart. One will receive a great deal more coverage than the other.

… Today, in Fenway Park, the Army has used the postmarathon Boston Strong narrative of recovery and community to aid their recruitment efforts. As the blog WMTC discussed, the many screens of Fenway Park now show ads that blare, “There’s Strong And Then There’s Army Strong!” The message could not be clearer: there is Boston Strong, there is Army Strong and one is only as, well, strong as the other. If you want to keep Boston strong and prevent more bombings, you better join up and make sure than the Army is strong as well. There are no ads to suggest that maybe occupying countries, sending in armed drones and conducting dirty wars in remote lands will create conditions that bring the war back to the United States.


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RAASON “LIL B” SHAW was chased down and shot to death by Chicago police on March 29 in the Woodlawn neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side.

The police claim the shooting was justified. They say Shaw was seen participating in a suspected drug transaction. When officers confronted him, he fled the scene. Police claim they cornered him in the gangway between two buildings, and Shaw drew .40 caliber Glock handgun, with an extended magazine and laser sight attachment, and pointed it at the officers who then opened fire.

But the more than 100 people who gathered in protest afterward near the site of the killing contradict the police version of events—and residents of Woodlawn, a working class and poor Black neighborhood located a few blocks west of the esteemed University of Chicago, confirm that there are many reasons to be suspicious of another CPD claim that their officers acted in self-defense when they killed another African American youth.

Friends of Shaw say he didn’t have a weapon on him at the time he was confronted. Woodlawn resident Tony Smith, who lives a block away from where Shaw was killed, said a street dealer wouldn’t be likely to have a weapon and drugs on him at the same time. Even if he did, Smith said, it’s even less likely that a street dealer would possess a sophisticated weapon like the one police claim they found at the scene.

Shaw’s friends told reporters he was shot seven times in the back—which also casts doubt on the cops’ story that Shaw pointed a weapon at the officers chasing him.

Other residents doubt the CPD’s claim that officers witnessed a supposed “hand-to-hand narcotics transaction.” According to Woodlawn natives, police use any physical contact between pedestrians as an excuse to move in. “You can’t even pass a cigarette to somebody without the police jumping on you,” said one resident.

Shaw’s family members told reporters he probably ran because he knew he was wanted a for missing a court date on a misdemeanor criminal trespass charge. Shamika Jordan, who hired Shaw to clean out foreclosed houses, told ABC News: “He had a troubled past, but he was trying to get his life together. He had started working. Comes to work every day on time. I had no complaints about him.”


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The shooting of a young Black man in Austin, Texas, is part of a larger pattern of police violence and misconduct, writes Karen Domínguez Burke.

JAWHARI SMITH has been released from the hospital after being shot in the face and the shoulder on March 18 by a 17-year veteran of the Austin Police Department.

Although he has not been charged with any crime, Smith’s family was barred by police from being able to see him at Breckenridge Hospital, because police insisted he was in their custody. He did not have a lawyer present during his stay in intensive care.

That afternoon, Smith and his girlfriend, Rickia Hunt, were having an argument outside of a relative’s apartment when the police were called. Sgt. Greg White would end up shooting at Jawhari at least three times according to police—five times, according to witnesses. Two shots hit Smith, one in the shoulder and one in the jaw.

White claims that Jawhari had a semiautomatic BB gun and that he instructed Jawhari to drop it. White says that he opened fire when Jawhari refused to drop the weapon and appeared to be raising it.

In defense of White, Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo told reporters:

The suspect had a semi-automatic pistol in his hand. When the sergeant sees it, he sees him put it behind his back, allegedly, and then put it back forward. The suspect at one point yells it’s a B.B. gun. The sergeant ordered the suspect several times to drop the weapon. The suspect did not comply. The sergeant, in fear for his life, fired several rounds.

Not surprisingly, Rickia Hunt and other witnesses have a very different story. According to Hunt, Jawhari told the officer the gun was a toy and threw it aside. She says that he was also beginning to kneel down in compliance with White’s orders when the officer started shooting. The fact that Jawhari has not yet been charged with any crime would seem to add credibility to Hunt’s version of events.

Jawhari’s cousin, Traeshina Williams, pointed out that White didn’t even try to use his Taser. She told Austin’s Fox News, “The simple fact that someone can be shot in the face…We need our police force to be re-trained. What is the point of having a Taser?”

As Fox News pointed out, Traeshina Williams is also related to Sophia King, a mentally ill woman who was fatally shot by an Austin police officer in 2002. “Federal investigators found the officer did not violate the law and had to use deadly force to save the life of a housing authority employee, who was being threatened by King with a butcher knife,” reported Fox.

But as Traeshina Williams pointed out, “One of the witnesses said that [Jawhari] didn’t have a weapon, so when they produce this weapon, then…let us know. The same incident happened with Sophia when they claimed she had a weapon and they shot her in the back.”


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CeCe McDonald is an African American trans woman from Minneapolis who was arrested, convicted and imprisoned for the “crime” of defending herself against a racist, transphobic assault. CeCe was charged with two counts of murder and faced spending the remainder of her life behind bars, but her determination to keep fighting back and the support of a strong campaign to raise awareness about the case and demand her release pressured prosecutors to offer a plea deal, and then an early release. On January 13, after serving 17 months in a men’s prison, CeCe was finally released.

In this interview, CeCe talked to Keegan O’Brien about her ordeal—and the struggles she intends to keep fighting now that her long-awaited freedom has been won.

… OF ALL the groups in the LGBTQ community, trans women experience the highest rates of violence, incarceration, unemployment and violence. Can you talk to me about why this is and what needs to happen for this to change?

I THINK a lot of it has to do with ignorance. What people don’t know, they fear. I also think our society tries to dehumanize us and demoralize us and delegitimize us as trans women.

Given all of this, it’s easy to see why people want to discriminate against us, and don’t want to take us seriously or see us as people. I’ve been to so many interviews and job fairs where I can tell, just by the way the person is looking at me, that they aren’t going to hire me—because of the way I look and who I am.

That tends to put trans women in these predicaments where they feel like they can only do what society is saying is available to them, or what they know best. That’s why so many trans women end up getting involved in sex work or drug dealing. Especially when you have no money, people tend to get involved in these kinds of things. Our society keeps putting women and trans women in these positions that are dangerous. It’s all connected to how our society dismisses trans women and tells people that we’re less then human.

We’re starting to see more strong and influential trans women role models in our society. They’re showing us that we don’t need to fall into these stereotypes, and it’s possible for trans women to become a doctor or a lawyer or whatever. At the end of the day, the most important thing is that we need to start showing people that we’re human, too. We deserve to be able to work and go to school and all the things that any other human being would want.


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Blowing the Whistle on Campus Rape | Ms. Magazine

During her second weekend as a freshman on a California campus, Kerri accepted an offer from Mitch, a popular senior who held student office, to walk her back to her dorm from an off-campus party. When they reached Kerri’s room, Mitch raped her.

A few months later, Kerri—who had not reported the assault—learned that Mitch had raped yet another woman after walking her home from a party. And the previous year, the university had found him responsible for a prior sexual crime. His punishment? Watch a 23-minute educational video on sexual violence and write a two-page reflection paper.

This is a true story (with names and identifying details altered), and similar ones are unspooling on virtually every college campus across the U.S. According to the 2007 Campus Sexual Assault Study [PDF] funded by the National Institute of Justice,at least 1 in 5 women will experience a rape or an attempted rape at some point during college, and 90 percent of these rapes will be perpetrated by acquaintances. However, only 12 percent of college rape survivors will report their experience to law enforcement authorities.

That low percentage is no surprise. We have heard hundreds of eerily similar stories from survivors about how their schools “manage” this problem: Investigations and disciplinary reviews are bungled; only light sanctions are administered; and schools lack support services for those who have been victimized. Many schools discourage official reports through onerous reporting processes and not-so-subtle victim-blaming. Like the administrator who asked Amherst College’s Angie Epifano, “Are you sure it was rape?” …


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With the Supreme Court due to decide on the constitutionality of a Massachusetts law, Madeline Burrows looks at clinic “buffer zones” and the fight for reproductive rights.

"IT’S A slaughterhouse in there! You’ll regret this all your life!"

A group of anti-abortion activists are huddled outside of Planned Parenthood. Some are praying. Others are approaching women as they enter the clinic.

"Don’t be the mother of a dead baby."

A busload of high school students from a nearby Catholic high school stand nearby, holding signs that read, “Women do regret abortion.”

Then, as if the preceding statements weren’t traumatic enough, a priest yells out at a woman entering the clinic “Happy Mother’s Day!”

This is a typical day outside an abortion clinic in 2014. As clinic escort and pro-choice activist Paul Valette describes, “Many sidewalk counselors will continue to shout at patients who have entered the private property, until they enter the building, and sometimes continue to shout at the closed doors.”

Valette has volunteered as a clinic escort since he retired from the U.S. Army in the mid-1990s. While the more aggressive era of anti-abortion tactics—like blockading clinic entrances, gluing locks and chaining themselves to doors—was largely over when he began volunteering at the Washington, D.C., area clinic nearly 20 years ago, the chaotic, intimidating and emotionally manipulative environment created by anti-abortion protesters remains the same.

He described the scene:

When patients arrive by car, [anti-abortion protesters] will often stand next to the car, making it difficult for the patient to exit the vehicle. On one occasion, a female anti-abortion protester—about 70 years old, but tall and sturdy-looking—stood in a position where it was impossible for the patient to open the door. And they routinely attempt to slide leaflets into the car through the windows.

Sometimes, protesters go even further.

"On one occasion, a patient arrived by cab. She opened the door, then leaned back away from the door, still inside the cab, to pay the drivers," Valette said. An elderly male anti-abortion protester then "entered the cab and began talking to the woman," pleading with her not to go inside for her scheduled procedure.

 … In the pages of the New York Times, anti-abortion protesters like McCullen become “sidewalk counselors” who merely want to engage patients in polite conversations, and give women facing unplanned pregnancies their full range of choices.

USA Today’s Mary Ann Glendon, for example, portrayed McCullen as a compassionate victim of an outrageous attack on free speech:

Unfortunately, Massachusetts has relegated McCullen to the margins. She is now often forced to call out her compassionate and loving message from behind lines painted on the ground, like a child put in the corner for bad behavior…Moreover, the lines suggest to incoming women that McCullen and persons like her are somehow dangerous or suspicious.

In Glendon’s view, it is the faint yellow lines of a buffer zone and not anti-abortion protesters themselves who create a sense of danger outside of abortion clinics.


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Ugh. This makes me nauseous. The systematic dehumanization of people with disabilities in this country continues unabated; warehoused in prison-like institutions despite having committed no crime at all; brutalized and abused by police, guards, and institution officials; sterilized, doped, and murdered. One could easily be forgiven for mistakenly thinking this story came from the 19th rather than the 21st century.

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At Bridgewater State Hospital one May evening in 2009, Lisa Brown felt certain something terrible had happened to her son. Just a few minutes earlier, she’d been sitting with Joshua Messier in the visiting room at the state’s prison for the mentally ill, worrying that he was on the verge of another schizophrenic attack. Messier’s sometimes-violent outbursts in a private psychiatric ward had landed him, much to his mother’s dismay, in the medium-security prison even though he had not been convicted of a crime.

… In a sequence caught on surveillance video, two of the guards had pushed down hard on Messier’s back as he sat in handcuffs and leg irons on the bed, forcing his chest toward his knees. The tactic, sometimes called “suitcasing,” is banned in Massachusetts prisons because it can cause suffocation, especially for those like Joshua Messier, who had grown overweight from taking antipsychotic medications.

A state medical examiner called Messier’s death a homicide, concluding that his heart stopped during the guards’ effort to strap him down. The autopsy also found injuries consistent with a beating, including internal bleeding on Messier’s brain, and blunt force injuries to his neck, torso, arms, and legs.

Yet, nearly five years after his death, no one at Bridgewater State Hospital has been prosecuted or even punished, and all but one of the guards still works for the Department of Correction. Officially, the department maintains that no excessive force was used and that everything the guards and nurses did that night was “done in accordance with standard procedure.”

In response to questions from the Globe, Cruz’s office said he dropped the case after medical examiner Mindy J. Hull could not identify a specific moment in the videotape when the guards caused Messier’s death. Cruz’s office said Hull retracted her finding of “homicide,” asserting that Messier was responsible for his own death.

“In her opinion, it was the conduct of Joshua Messier in fighting and maintaining the struggle against the guards that caused his extremely agitated state, and ultimately his death,” according to a two-page statement from the Plymouth district attorney’s office.

Today, Messier’s father and mother — Kevin Messier and Lisa Brown — are pursuing a civil lawsuit against nine guards, two nurses, Bridgewater State Hospital, and the Department of Correction, hoping to learn more about what happened to their son and perhaps save other psychiatric patients from a similar fate. Indeed, were it not for their lawsuit, Messier’s death might have been forgotten by everyone but his family.

“They need to be held accountable,” said Lisa Brown, who has become an advocate for the mentally ill in the years since her son died. The guards and others responsible should also be prosecuted, she added, “so that what happened to Joshua never happens to anyone else.” There is a six-year time limit on filing manslaughter or involuntary manslaughter charges in Massachusetts.

Messier’s death raises broader questions about the role of Bridgewater State Hospital in caring for the mentally ill in Massachusetts. The prison has faced criticism for decades about excessive use of physical restraints and inadequate training of the guards. An inmate died there in 1997 after he was left face down in handcuffs, leading to a private settlement with the man’s family. And, in 2003, administrators promised to rely less on seclusion and physical restraints in order for Bridgewater to win accreditation as a behavioral health care provider….


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Today would have been Jordan Davis’ 19th birthday, but instead we mourn the loss of his life, and are in awe at the lack of value placed on black bodies in a system that claims it was designed to serve and protect. Our hearts go out to the Davis family and community of supporters. The fight is not over. —> http://cnn.it/1lXdbvA

Today would have been Jordan Davis’ 19th birthday, but instead we mourn the loss of his life, and are in awe at the lack of value placed on black bodies in a system that claims it was designed to serve and protect. Our hearts go out to the Davis family and community of supporters. The fight is not over. —> http://cnn.it/1lXdbvA


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It’s fucking bad enough that Florida has yet again sanctioned the vigilante lynching of unarmed innocent Black youth at the hands of a racist White scumbag.

But how fucking dare the NY Times run this article with a headline which categorically asserts that the case was about a dispute over “loud music.” This reflects an editorial decision on the part of the Times to advance as fact the absurd notion that the murder was not a product of racist hate, but rather a non-racial clash over the volume of a car stereo. But even the killer admitted that it was not simply loud music he was opposed to, but the “thug music” emanating loudly from a car filled with Black youths.

When mainstream liberal media like the New York Times fail to explicitly call such racist acts of barbaric violence by their true name, it only provides cover for such racist violence to continue under the ruse of euphemism.

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