In a shameful and terrible scene reminiscent of police attacks against civil rights advocates and union busting of the 1920’s, the Dakota Access pipeline company dispatched its “goon squad” which unleashed attack dogs and pepper spray, injuring several Native American protesters. What began as a peaceful protest deteriorated into a new and shameful moment in today’s America, symbolized quite fittingly with images of Native Americans’ blood in the teeth of Corporate America’s attack dogs. Continue reading “Native Americans Protesting Pipeline Attacked By “Goon Squad” Using Dogs And Pepper Spray”→
In April 2013 our host published an article featuring Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson had sued Barronelle Stutzman, the owner of Arlene’s Flowers and Gifts after she had refused to provide flowers for a gay wedding.
Washington’s consumer protection act bars discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation AG Ferguson sought a $2000 penalty for each violation and to end the business’ allegedly discriminatory practices. The case garnered considerable attention in both the state and nationally in which the religious rights of business owners do not necessarily comport in some cases with antidiscrimination statutes which require equal services be provided for all customers.
Three weeks ago, we featured an article describing the plight of dozens of academics who faced arrest after signing a peace petition. These advocates were declared enemies of the Republic of Turkey. Now President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s government will put on trial a Turkish professor who placed onto an exam questions referencing PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan.
Ankara University professor Resat Baris Unlu faces charges for spreading “terrorist propaganda” after presenting his students a question comparing two documents written by the founder of the proscribed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) who is currently serving a life sentence.
With all constituencies reporting, the Irish citizenry approved a constitutional amendment recognizing gay marriage: Yes 1,201,607; No 734,300.
The Constitution of Ireland permits amendment only by popular vote. A vote of the people for such amendments can provide more legitimacy and acceptance by the public and judging by the margin gay marriage will probably gain acceptance more readily. Nevertheless it does not necessarily engender full acceptance of such partnerships as over seven hundred thousand voters chose otherwise. Some institutions in Irish society will struggle to come to terms with the new direction Ireland is pursuing.
On Friday Irish Citizens went to the polls to vote by referendum on a constitutional amendment allowing same-sex marriage. If passed Ireland will join nineteen other nation states who have legalized such marriages and will be the first to enact the petition by popular referendum.
The topic of the referendum garnered such strong interest it is expected that a large percentage of Ireland’s 3.2 million registered voters will go to the polls. In fact, reportedly, unexpectedly high numbers returned home at their personal expense to cast votes.
Fifty years ago today, the course of American history changed. It was changed by a few carloads of haters, with law enforcement officers complicit. Murder, pure and simple. It was June 16, 1964 that the Mount Zion Methodist Church was burned to the ground by arsonists. The church offended the Ku Klux Klan because it housed a Freedom School. This was a part of the educational program designed to help black Mississippians register to vote. The attack on the church was not a sneak arson in the wee hours. In fact, Klan members assaulted and beat several African Americans present at the church. Then they set the church on fire, burning it to the ground.
Intelligence gathered later by legitimate law enforcement discovered that the Neshoba County church was not chosen by accident. The attack on the church and the people inside was designed to lure more CORE (Congress Of Racial Equality) volunteers to the area. The Klan was interested in one worker in particular, Michael Schwerner. He had attracted interest as a target, aside from being Jewish, because he had helped with a boycott of Mississippi stores, his Freedom Summer activities, and of course helping set up Freedom Schools around the state. The carefully planned trap worked. Continue reading “Mississippi Burning, 50th Anniversary of a Crime That Nearly Went Unpunished.”→
On this day in 1892 Homer Plessy was arrested for refusing to leave his seat in the “whites-only” car of a train. The resulting court case, which Plessy lost, generated one of the most disgraceful decisions the Supreme Court of the United States ever made.
On June 7, 1892 thirty year old Homer A. Plessy boarded a train in New Orleans. A short time later, Plessy was arrested and removed from the train at Press and Royal streets by a private detective with arrest powers. The detective had actually been hired by the Comité des Citoyens (Citizens’ Committee of New Orleans), a civil rights group of which Plessy was a member. They were challenging Louisiana’s 1890 separate-car law.
June 30th, 2014 will mark a significant change in nomenclature and status for same sex couples who had previously registered their domestic partnership starting in 2012. After this date, these couples’ status will change automatically to “married.” This presents an opportunity to become married without the administrative overhead of now filing for a marriage license. Couples after June 30th who enter into a union will be considered married.
A controversy is developing in Cornwallis, Washington where residents of a neighborhood bordering the army’s Joint Base Lewis McChord (JBLM) say the city council’s latest ordinance is yet another example of an overreaching government.
During the Christmas recess the mayor called a midnight city council meeting, with no public notice, and reportedly of all places in a Seattle pub. After seven exhausting hours the council voted 5 to 4 to enact a law that was purportedly intended to ease the severe traffic jams along Interstate 5 which runs through JBLM. But these intentions some believe were not so benevolent.
The law allocated nine tracts of park land to build high density housing for military personnel and their families. The land is just west of the Berkeley Bridge and soldiers going to and from the base would not need to use I-5. However the land is platted within the realm of the Lafayette neighborhood and its homeowner’s association. Residents angrily objected to their former park being taken over by the city, and in response turned to a relatively unknown civil rights advocacy group, the No Quartering Association, (NQA) to seek redress for the city violating the Third Amendment’s prohibition of quartering soldiers in citizens’ homes. Unfortunately for them, the worst was yet to come. Continue reading “Homeowner’s Association Targeted After Supporting Pro-Third Amendment Group”→
Shezanne Cassim of Woodbury, MN returned home from the United Arab Emirates after spending nine months in prison in Dubai for posting a documentary-style video, titled “Ultimate Combat System: The Deadly Satwa Gs,” which is set in the Satwa district of Dubai. It opens with text saying the video is fictional and is not intended to offend. The video pokes fun at Dubai youth who style themselves like “gangstas” and shows fictional “combat” training that includes throwing a sandal and using a mobile phone to call for help. Authorities evidently took great exception to this expression, arrested Cassim and later placed him into a maximum security prison. The arrest took place in April of 2013 and it was months before he and several co-defendants were informed of the charges. A state controlled newspaper stated he was accused of defaming the country’s image abroad. Cassim’s supporters stated he was eventually convicted of violating a 2012 Cybercrimes law prohibiting challenging of authorities. Continue reading “U.S. Citizen Released From U.A.E Prison After Conviction For Posting Satire Online”→