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Civil Rights

Is Edward Snowden good or bad for America?

by on Nov.02, 2013, under Posts>Opinions>Politics>Civil Rights>Posts>Opinions>Politics>Ethics>Posts>Opinions>Ethics>Human Decency

First of all, he is neither the only one nor the first one who fights against NSA spying. Others have been fighting against it for years. However, sometimes you just have to break the law to get the press to report about and thus start a public debate over an issue that others have been fighting over for years. How many people have been protesting NSA warrantless wiretapping in the past decade?

What about his revelation to the world of NSA’s spying on people in other countries and other governments? Would you rather see the US as a friend or foe of other people and other governments? If you prefer to be friends with other people and other governments, then don’t do to others what you do not want to be done to yourself. I think what Edward Snowden has done will change the US to her advantage, stop her from going over the cliff. Would you rather losing friends after being found not being really friendly to your friends? Actions speak louder than words. Don’t expect to betray your friends and not being found out later.

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No Indefinite Detention without Trial

by on Feb.14, 2012, under Posts>Opinions>Politics>Civil Rights>Posts>Opinions>Politics>World Affairs>Human Rights

I am not sure why it has taken me so long to write about this. But it is better late than never.

What the US government has been doing in the “War on Terror” keeps reminding me of what the French did to my mother’s family. And there seems to be no end to it.

Indefinite detention without trial is a universal problem in a lawless world. If America prides herself as a nation of laws, indefinite detention without trial should not be allowed at all, no matter whether it is done to US citizens, legal residents, undocumented immigrants, foreigners, “terrorists”, or enemy combatants.

I don’t know how many laws the US government has broken in the “War on Terror”. And not many voters are concerned with it. I think for the US to be a real nation of laws, the basic in International laws and the US Constitution has to be taught in middle school and high school.

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Letter from Erik Peterson on Troy Davis case

by on Aug.27, 2010, under Posts>Opinions>Politics>Civil Rights

I got the following message from Erik Peterson, a member of “Save Troy Davis” Facebook group. I could not find a way to share the message with others. So I am posting it here to share.

———————————————

Hello All,

The relative silence here, during Davis’ hearing, is now over. Thanks to everyone who never stopped working. For those of us who did, now’s the time to start again.

Please help flood the various media wires with the news and your thoughtful, concise objections. Keep up your work.

This is a piece I’ll be sending wherever I can, links are at the bottom.

——————————- The Background

In October of 2008, as Sentaor Obama readied to take the ballot, the campaign to save Troy Davis from Georgia’s death chamber was spiking – again. Whatever species of fear and nostalgia pump through a person on the eve of their execution, Troy discovered them for the first time in 2007, coming within 24 hours of his scheduled killing by the state of Georgia. It would begin Troy’s familiarity with pending death that desperately few in America ever experience. In September, 14 months later, two hours stood between him and Georgia’s most lethal cocktail. One month after that, his third appointment with the State Executioner was suspended – this time with three days remaining – and that stay expired in May of 2009.

Facing four execution dates in 2 years, Troy Davis received a rarely granted evidentiary hearing by the U.S. Supreme Court last summer – not a new trial, but a hearing where Davis would be presumed guilty, and the burden of proof on the defense. Amnesty International, Democracy Now, and the various agencies around the world watching Troy’s case, received and reported news last Tuesday that Georgia Federal District Judge William Moore Jr did not see evidence of “clearly established innocence” and set Davis back on the trajectory of execution for the fifth time.

Davis’ placement on death row came by the alleged killing of Mark McPhail, a white off-duty Georgian police officer, in 1989. The trial’s legacy is dominated by its comprehensive lack of physical evidence tying Davis to the killing, and the recantation of testimony by 7 of 9 of its non-police witnesses since the trial.

————————–The Discussion

In October 2008, the Amnesty Int’l chapters at Saint John’s University and the College of Saint Benedict joined 200,000 other people around the world – including figures like Desmond Tutu, Pope Benedict, and Jimmy Carter – in calling for Davis’ clemency.

I spoke to multiple newspapers around the twin cities about Davis’ trail. None were interested. One editor asked me to point out the hook. Where is the bait for interest? What does a Georgian man have to do with Minnesotan readers?

Its a strange thing to be asked for rationale with regard to why I don’t want innocent people executed by our government – purportedly, the most successful democracy in the history of the world. To articulate why Minnesotans should care if citizens in Georgia are executed despite profound doubt over their guilt seems like retrograde motion to the tables of Sunday school, and 9th grade Civics lessons on the functionality of a federalist republic. But I went there anyway.

The system itching to execute Troy Davis in Georgia is the same system which presides over me in Denver, over my brother in Seattle, over that editor in St Paul. Legally, to say nothing of morally, he is our neighbor. We cannot afford to let the question be, should we care about executing the Other when the reality is we’re executing our Own. Troy’s case testifies to the primitive character of capital punishment in America: either we take the system to be infallible, or we’re all willing to stomach the execution of innocent Americans. There is no third reality to choose. At this moment, Troy Davis represents the body We condemned to death in the river, and upon reexaminging his innocence, we’re fighting to pull him out of a judicial current that may prove stronger than our efforts.

America has lost herself if she’s absent in the hour of her son’s unjust execution. This conversation is not one on the legitimacy of capital punishment, though certainly a footnote in that story. This is the narrative of deadly inertia, an inability within ourselves to go back and rectify our mistake once its been made. In his evidentiary hearing, four witnesses from Davis’ original trial testified that they’d lied, that under coercion or fear of repercussion, they’d given up Troy for a crime they didn’t see him commit. The only non-police witness that maintains his testimony – excluding the testimony of Sylvester Coles, the chief alternate suspect – maintains inconsisent testimony. Originally he told police that he could only say for sure the color of the shooter’s clothing and that he wouldn’t recognize the shooter if he saw him again, “accept for his clothes.” Two years after that statement to the police, he pointed out Troy Davis in the courtroom.

America struggles with her identity endlessly, but without doubt, the American conception of justice – as trumpeted by our Declaration of Independence and our Bill of Rights – grounds that identity. The rule of law that we exalt wells from an interest in the liberation of people from the failures of government. One such failure goes like this: the enormity of government cannot slow itself to attend to the plight of one citizen. And so we hope and strive for systematic change in the interests of all people. Death row affords no convenience like this slow hope, and without the intervention of the people, its wrongly-sentenced inmates are killed under the banner of justice while the bureaucracy of law – not our concept of justice – presides.

Troy Davis needs a commute of his sentence by the Geogian Governor, the Georgian Board of Paroles and Pardons or the President of the United States. But first he needs (enough of) the American public to recognize his struggle as theirs too.

Amnesty USA’s Coverage of the Hearing
http://blog.amnestyusa.org/deathpenalty/speak-out-for-troy-davis/

Amnesty International’s 2009 Report on Troy Davis
http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/AMR51/069/2009/en/71011b30-0b83-4a23-932b-2fc205546d1c/amr510692009en.pdf

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Why conservatives should oppose Arizona’s immigration law

by on May.30, 2010, under Posts>Opinions>Politics>Civil Rights>Posts>Opinions>Politics>Immigration & Globalization>Immigration>Immigration Reform

Republican House Representative Connie Mack said it best the reason why the Arizona immigration law SB1070 should be opposed in the article “Why conservatives should oppose Arizona’s immigration law” on washingtonpost.com.

“This law clearly challenges citizens’ freedoms, and it does so by putting some Americans at risk of losing their freedoms while others stand little or no chance of being affected.”

“During World War II, … this country put Japanese Americans in detention camps. … We did so under the guise that we were at war and in crisis. But it is precisely at such times that we must take extra measures to safeguard our rights, our freedoms and our nation. Instead, America took away the constitutional rights of citizens — a shameful overreach of the government.”

“The Arizona immigration law reminds us of how fear and distrust can lead to bad laws and even more government overreach into the private sector and our private lives.”

“… trampling on the rights of some Americans to protect the majority conflicts with the values our nation was founded upon.”

“Our Constitution protects individual freedoms and liberties. Nowhere does this document speak of protecting the majority over the minority. Anger about the economy, increased crime and security concerns are fueling this law, not constitutional principles.”

“Conservatives’ most important responsibility is to remember to protect freedom, liberty and the rights of every citizen. The Arizona immigration law doesn’t do that, and that’s why I oppose it.” – I hope that those who claim to be conservatives understand this.

“As the wise saying goes, he who sacrifices freedom for security ends up with neither.”

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Arizona Governor has neither intelligence nor common sense

by on Apr.23, 2010, under Posts>Opinions>Politics>Civil Rights>Posts>Opinions>Politics>Immigration & Globalization>Immigration>Immigration Reform

How can any governor thinks that there can be a law like the one the Arizona Governor just signed today? Can police take actions against anyone based purely on prejudice? Other than prejudice, what can guide Arizona police on how to decide who to stop and ask for proof of citizenship or legal residency?

How does the Arizona Governor think that she can come up to a person and tell him that he “looks illegal” without offending that person? Or, does she not know that people can be offended by being told that they “look illegal”? And, does she think that there is a group of people who deserve to be harassed just for “looking illegal”? Does she not know that by laws, people can not be bothered just for looking certain ways?

Also, how can she be sure that this law will help root out illegal immigrants if a large number of people will not be questioned because they “don’t look illegal”?

By passing such a law, she is making it more of a crime to “look illegal” than to be illegal.

Comment: I guess this guy was suspected to be illegal because of his accent. I recently met a man who was born and raised in New York but has a foreign accent. He told me that his parents immigrated from Europe and that he spoke their language, not English, until he went to school, and so he always has an accent.

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Is Google Impartial?

by on Feb.23, 2010, under Posts>Opinions>Politics>Civil Rights

Google is complaining about China’s censorship. But is Google impartial to begin with? Google has complete control over which websites get seen more. Their search results are not “organic” as most people think. Their search results can be very different from time to time. And I am not able to tell why there can be such big differences in search results from time to time. For example, one of my websites used to rank third in the search result on Google for a rather popular keyword, and ranked in the top five on Google for many other keywords. But for a period of time, that website was completely gone from Google search results. You could not find it by entering any keyword, not even by entering the name of the website. You could only find it by entering the domain name itself. Now Google has included that website in their search results again. But its ranking on Google is now so low – number 60th or so – it is almost never seen again on Google. All of these happened even though nothing on the website was ever changed at any point in time.

How can anyone be sure that Google is not controlling their search results?

I consider Google’s domination of Internet search a serious threat to freedom of information and freedom of speech.

By the way, I don’t know why I have the feeling of being used by Google. Google used that website of mine to get a lot of Internet users to use Google to find what they looked for with certain keywords. And after some time, these keywords became what these users used to find my website. Now when these same users use these same keywords to look for my website, they find other websites instead. It may sound unreasonable to have this kind of suspicion. But I just have it.

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The Government’s Abuse of the Parents of “Balloon Boy”

by on Dec.24, 2009, under Posts>Opinions>Politics>Civil Rights>Posts>Opinions>Society>Crimes>Posts>Opinions>Politics>Ethics

Just because someone has done something wrong or committed a crime does not mean that that person can be abused. But that is what happens a lot of time. People often disrespect someone who has been condemned for some reason, even if it is not a very serious reason. And once they disrespect someone, they abuse them.

“Balloon Boy” parents Richard and Mayumi Heene should pay for the government’s financial losses resulting from their hoax. But they should be allowed to make money to pay for it even if it means that they have to write a book or offer TV interviews about their hoax. Some people may want to know why they did what they did and what their experience was. They may profit from something that has caused harm to other people. But they are going to pay for all the harm they did to other people.

By the way, some people think that Richard and Mayumi Heene abuse their children. I don’t see any of that. One, they did not instruct their children to lie. That was why the boy told the truth and we got to know the truth. Two, they did not jeopardize their children’s safety by really letting the boy trapped in the balloon to make it real. Three, they let them explore nature to learn more about nature and technologies. I would love to have that kind of opportunities growing up. I don’t understand why people accused them of abusing their children.

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CIA Agents Convicted of Torture

by on Nov.05, 2009, under Posts>Opinions>Politics>Civil Rights

“This country may be unwilling to prosecute torturers, but the Italians are not.  On Wednesday an Italian judge convicted 23 Americans for the abduction and torture of a Muslim cleric in Milan.  The case, the first ever to challenge the United States practice of rendition, has the possibility of creating real problems for the Obama administration.” – Read the whole article “CIA Agents Convicted of Torture” on care2.com.

I have a feeling that the CIA agents in this case acted like gang members. They would do whatever their bosses asked them to do. They had as little idea of the rights of the person they kidnapped as the young men in the Richmond gang rape had of the rights of the gang rape victim.

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The Stupidity of the Gates Arrest

by on Jul.25, 2009, under Posts>Opinions>Politics>Civil Rights

Nobody explains why the arrest of professor Gates is stupid better than Lawrence O’Donnell. Please read his article on time.com here: Viewpoint: The Stupidity of the Gates Arrest.

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