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Saturday, May 2, 2015

Unraveling race, rioting, disproportionate rich: Jay Johnson connects pieces

Crime against society: Media shill for power elite
Editing, brief comment by
Carolyn Bennett

Media’s divide-and-shill masks sinister deeds. And considering Baltimore and similar incidents, Jay Johnson asks: “Will the riots lead to more people calling for the State to normalize the situation?  What role do media play in shaping the narrative?

Trayvon Martin in Florida, Eric Garner in New York, Michael Brown in Ohio, Freddie Gray in Baltimore—Media Tool of Distortion: repeat it often enough and…

Though all of these young men “had troubled pasts, the entire debate [focuses] on how the police interact with the public.” However, Johnson points out, what is happening in all of these cases is not happening to the public in general; it is happening to “a very specific group of people who happen to be poor and from a minority ethnic group and who live in a certain area.”

To smear any general group (the public, Americans, Russians, Muslims, Jews, a race of people, police departments) is to manipulate and distract from what is really going on.

Slanting, coloring, blow-drying, falsifying  

The media employ “catch-phrases and slogans.” They “manipulate imagery and audio” and employ “selective fact reporting” purposely leaving out information. Media shape the narrative, Johnson says, but toward what end?

Media's Case of Trayvon Martin

The repeated image of Martin, Johnson reports, was of a “young smiling preteen” but “in reality [Martin] was a nearly full-grown 17-year-old … [whose] Facebook pictures were anything but smiling.” Zimmerman was portrayed in a variety of images depending seemingly on the whim of the reporting organization.

Media's Case of Michael Brown

Again the repeated image was of a young Michael Brown but a different picture of Brown surfaces in results of a Google search.

But after all the media repetition and misleading images, “after the media trial and a grand jury” the result is a society divided, not better for the truth; “what really happened on that fateful day [of the Zimmerman-Martin encounter remains] unclear.”

From the Michael Brown case rose the “‘#handsup hashtag’” but “it is [also] unclear how [Brown] could have had his hands up since he was apparently shot in the back while running away.”

J
ohnson is not trying to suggest, nor would I, that these cases are not tragedies. Of course, they are tragedies all round. But he is suggesting that the public has been denied the true facts while the media employ tactics that distract and cover up other parties and forces.

Questionable online chatter, incitement re Missouri and Maryland cases

Johnson reports other sources’ discovery that 20 to 50 “social media accounts in Baltimore” (Maryland) were “tied to the peak period of violence in Ferguson” (Missouri) … suggesting “the presence of ‘professional protesters’ or anarchists’ taking advantage of Freddie Gray’s death to incite more violence.”

Agitators, professional provocateurs: Other sources, he reports, were questioning the appearance among Baltimore “rioters” of “six-foot tall white guys with bandannas over their faces” and speculating that these people were “professional provocateurs … trying to stir up young kids, make it look like [this is] right.”

Life imitating fiction: “The Purge”

A brief on this film says it is a set-in-the-future story of “a wealthy family held hostage for harboring the target of a murderous syndicate during a 12-hour period in which any and all crime is legalized.” The Purge, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2184339/

It seems that in the Baltimore case, the mayor decriminalized crime for her own sinister motives. After a weekend of rioting, police were called off on Monday. Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake is quoted saying — “…We also gave those who wished to destroy space to do that as well.”  Why would a mayor seemingly condone violence and destruction of her city?”The background on the mayor is interesting. Johnson points to infowars.com notes showing that

“‘Rawlings-Blake was one of three mayors who provided broad input into President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, which advocates the federalization of police departments across the country. … This could explain her inaction to stop the rioting when it began.
“‘By allowing it to spiral out of control, the mayor and her friends at the [US Department of Justice] could use the unrest to justify the expansion of federal power into local law enforcement, which would also allow her to receive more funding.’”

Cynically Sinister: Motivation Camouflaged: fear-mongering, federalization, militarization

Dialing for dollars: The Feds in the past few years have “given surplus military gear such as machine guns, drones, MRAPS (light tanks) to local, state and federal agencies.”

SWAT units, Johnson says, are now part of federal agencies such as the Department of Agriculture, the Railroad Retirement Board, the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Office of Personnel Management, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, even the Department of Education. Reportedly federal agencies such as the IRS and Social Security Administration, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (overseer of the National Weather Service) are purchasing ammunition and weaponry in bulk.

A
pparently, just as the FBI reportedly creates “terrorists” to arrest “terrorists”, and in so doing boost its budget and justify its existence; so too do government agencies in general create crime to combat crime.  

Fear mongering in domestic affairs as in US foreign affairs covers what is really going on and justifies force, violence, the militarization of municipalities.

Looking at underlying causes including the continuing collapse of the US economy, the criminally widening gulf into “third-world” inequality—largely because higher ups are essentially getting away with murder, robbing not only the nation’s wealth but the world’s wealth without putting back or investing in substantive and sustaining resources for human independence, advancement and uplift—the oppressive arm of militaries and weaponry are set loose on communities, as on underdeveloped countries, to protect power elites, the higher-ups and their partners, the ruling plutocracy and its plunder.
As voices and actions rise in resistance, the voice of the plutocracy demands “order”, that the State protect and preserve this cabal by military force. Jay Johnson question is, “Will Americans welcome with open arms the coming police state?

Sources and notes


“Will Americans Welcome the Coming Police State With Open Arms?” Jay Johnson [Connecting the Pieces], April 30-May 2, 2015, http://sputniknews.com/radio_connecting_the_pieces/20150430/1021566260.html

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A lifelong American writer and writer/activist (former academic and staffer with the U.S. government in Washington), Dr. Carolyn LaDelle Bennett is credentialed in education and print journalism and public affairs (PhD, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan; MA, The American University, Washington, DC). Her work concerns itself with news and current affairs, historical contexts, and ideas particularly related to acts and consequences of U.S. foreign relations, geopolitics, human rights, war and peace, and violence and nonviolence. Dr. Bennett is an internationalist and nonpartisan progressive personally concerned with society and the common good. An educator at heart, her career began with the U.S. Peace Corps, teaching in Sierra Leone, West Africa. Since then, she has authored several books and numerous current-affairs articles; her latest book: UNCONSCIONABLE: How The World Sees Us: World News, Alternative Views, Commentary on U.S. Foreign Relations; most thoughts, articles, edited work are posted at Bennett’s Study: http://todaysinsightnews.blogspot.com/ and on her Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/carolynladelle.bennett. http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/08UNCONSCIONABLE/prweb12131656.htm http://bookstore.xlibris.com/Products/SKU-000757788/UNCONSCIONABLE.aspx Her books are also available at independent bookstores in New York State: Lift Bridge in Brockport; Sundance in Geneseo; Dog Ears Bookstore and Literary Arts Center in Buffalo; Burlingham Books in Perry; The Bookworm in East Aurora

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Sunday, April 26, 2015

North American Disconnect from reality Endangers World—Ca. high school student sounds alarm


Apathy’s consequences are borne by the “less powerful…”
Excerpt and ending comment by 
Carolyn Bennett

From the mind of the young—HEAR! HEAR!

Responding to an international affairs, war and peace segment on last week’s “The Sunday Edition” with Michael Enright and Peace Studies Professor Paul Rogers, Heather Mitchell penned a message to Canadians which might equally have been addressed to their southern neighbors and their educational leaders and learners.   

Indented are Heather Mitchell’s words pegged to questions raised in the earlier program and the issue of endless western aggression in the Middle East: “How do we change? How do we get Canadians more politically involved? How do we return to a peacekeeping role, rather than acting as a U.S. WAR ally?” She writes:

As someone who has spent her entire life as part of the Canadian educational system, it is not surprising to me that Canadians are mostly indifferent when it comes to politics. Apart from being a generally wealthy and safe population, which in itself often leads to political disinterest, the most obvious problem to me is how devoid our public education system is of any sort of world issues, politics or current events discussion.
World issues  are
Domestic issues

From ages 5 to 18, the young people of Canada are being brought up in an environment largely devoid of any interaction with the rest of the world.

We are not graduating with strong political knowledge, awareness, or any value for activism. There is generally no space or time during the school day to discuss what’s in the news—what Canada is doing militarily, politically or socially, other world events, or even any current issues in our local communities.
  


The result is that young people are being raised with the idea that these are not important or necessary to learn about, an attitude I think has a high chance of carrying into their adult lives.

Along with the U.S., due to our power and wealth, we have the luxury of being apathetic citizens without dealing with the results. Largely, it seems to me, we export the consequences onto other, less powerful countries.

As a young person now beginning to enter adult life, and soon eligible to vote in the next federal election, I feel wholly unprepared to participate in Canadian politics. Judging by Canada’s abysmal youth voting numbers, I am not alone.

Hearing the announcement of our plans to bomb Syria was the last straw of my country acting in ways I do not endorse. I do not feel proud to be a Canadian, when I hear of our government acting this way.

However I feel lost and disconnected from any means of having my voice heard. I would be very interested in hearing how I, as a Canadian citizen, can learn more about my country. As high school students, I think our contact with reality and the outside world, is limited to the point of being dangerous.”

I know as much as anyone how hard it is to convince young people to learn anything they are not interested in. I want to figure out how we might be able to change the culture of our public schools from one of disconnected, theoretical, text-book learning, to one of participation, involvement, and interest in Canada and the world. [End quote]

W
ell said, wise words, critical warning to a sleeping, chronically distracted, sadly obliviously dangerously ignorant people of North America let loose upon the world.

Alone among global masses one cannot rise from an economic poverty imposed and perpetuated by inordinate power, armed power and wealth, such as that which rises from Western nations; it’s like a giant iron foot being placed on the necks of the vulnerable. But alone a people can surely rise from the poverty and destructiveness of deliberate ignorance.


Sources and notes

“Upper v. lower; Jihadi Town; Listener mail; The untold story of psychiatry; Reciting poetry,” The Sunday Edition April 26, 2015, http://www.cbc.ca/radio/thesundayedition/upper-v-lower-jihadi-town-listener-mail-the-untold-story-of-psychiatry-reciting-poetry-1.3045391

Last week The Sunday Edition’s Michael Enright spoke with University of Bradford (UK) Peace Studies Professor Paul Rogers about “Canada’s decision to embark on an expanded campaign against ‘ISIS,’” which involves Canada in “the intractable civil conflict and humanitarian disaster that is Syria.” Among the e-mail responses to that episode was one from Ottawa high school 12th-grader Heather Mitchell. On invitation from The Sunday Edition, she recorded her letter at the CBC studio in Ottawa.

Listener Mail, Sunday April 19, 2015, posted April 26, 2015, http://www.cbc.ca/radio/thesundayedition/borgen-armenian-genocide-listener-mail-robert-harris-on-the-great-american-songbook-1.3037372/listener-mail-1.3037516

William Thomas Gaddis, Jr. (December 29, 1922 – December 16, 1998) was an American novelist, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Gaddis

_______________________________________________

A lifelong American writer and writer/activist (former academic and staffer with the U.S. government in Washington), Dr. Carolyn LaDelle Bennett is credentialed in education and print journalism and public affairs (PhD, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan; MA, The American University, Washington, DC). Her work concerns itself with news and current affairs, historical contexts, and ideas particularly related to acts and consequences of U.S. foreign relations, geopolitics, human rights, war and peace, and violence and nonviolence. Dr. Bennett is an internationalist and nonpartisan progressive personally concerned with society and the common good. An educator at heart, her career began with the U.S. Peace Corps, teaching in Sierra Leone, West Africa. Since then, she has authored several books and numerous current-affairs articles; her latest book: UNCONSCIONABLE: How The World Sees Us: World News, Alternative Views, Commentary on U.S. Foreign Relations; most thoughts, articles, edited work are posted at Bennett’s Study: http://todaysinsightnews.blogspot.com/ and on her Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/carolynladelle.bennett. http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/08UNCONSCIONABLE/prweb12131656.htm http://bookstore.xlibris.com/Products/SKU-000757788/UNCONSCIONABLE.aspx Her books are also available at independent bookstores in New York State: Lift Bridge in Brockport; Sundance in Geneseo; Dog Ears Bookstore and Literary Arts Center in Buffalo; Burlingham Books in Perry; The Bookworm in East Aurora

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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

US Broken justice Milke case illustrates


Entrenched pattern: Reckless disregard for life
Editing, Commentary by Carolyn Bennett

I
 came across this story the other day at Spiegel Online and it haunts me as it should haunt you if for no other reason than because it brings to mind the ingrained brokenness in another US system that is long overdue for housecleaning and overall.

She is a daughter of Germany. She is also the daughter of a US veteran who disparaged her at court. In prison prisoners demeaned her; and a US injustice system robbed her of the better part of her life—all based on “too-easy evidence,” false testimony, and a deeply flawed, entrenched state and local judiciary and prosecutorial apparatus. This daughter of Germany came close to losing her life entirely.

For two decades in the US death-row system of perverted justice, Debra Jean Milke suffered immeasurable harm but one particular abuse was, in my view, unspeakably, sadistic. As described by Der Spiegel who interviewed her, the Arizona penal system placed Debra Milke “in solitary confinement for 22 years,” robbing her of much of her life and “… treated [her] like a monster, locked up in the labyrinth of the US justice system, a system in which the more you know about it, the less you understand.” But as final appeals were running their course in a slowly moving system—whose timing is itself torture, an added layer of injustice— she was repeatedly driven nearly out of her mind.

 Debra Milke described an offense that has to be the ultimate in cruelty, a calculated “dry run” toward state murder.

“They call it a ‘dry run,’ the test run for death—electric chair or lethal injection,” she said.

“As soon as an execution date has been set, you have to answer a lot of questions, which alone is enough to scare you to death: What happens to my body? Who gets my belongings?”

She said her “…cell was searched every evening to make sure I wasn’t hiding anything I could have used to kill myself.

“Then there was this doctor in a white coat tying off my right arm with a flexible tube and running his fingers along my elbow”, who said he was “‘checking to see how healthy your veins are.’”

Debra Milke had committed no crime yet an Arizona jury had found her guilty based on false testimony and no direct evidence. It took 22 years of a woman’s life on death row for one of the most influential US appellate courts, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit — the U.S. Federal court with appellate jurisdiction over the District of Arizona— to right a wrong.
The singular testimony that led to the Arizona jury’s conviction of Debra Milke was of a rogue police officer with his own rap sheet: “a long history of misconduct,” including “lying under oath.” Prosecutors had been aware of the “list of sins” attributable to Detective Armando Saldate Jr. but, the Spiegel article reported, they “concealed” his record from the Milke jury. But in discovery of the Ninth Circuit, “the judges listed many cases prior to Debra Milke’s trial in which Saldate had lied, used unorthodox methods to obtain confessions, broken the law and framed suspects.”

In one case, “Saldate obtained a confession from a man who was in the hospital with a fractured skull and couldn’t even remember his own name.” In another case, the detective reportedly had “interrogated a suspect who was on artificial respiration, was being given intravenous infusions and repeatedly lost consciousness; [yet] Saldate shook the seriously injured man in order to get him to talk.”

T
he court was outraged by such perversion of justice and behavior of those sworn to uphold law.  The judges called shame on the Phoenix Police Department and the detective’s supervisors for “having given free rein to a lawless cop to misbehave again and again, [thus] undermining the integrity of the system of justice they were sworn to uphold.…

Whose right to life?
‘No civilized system of justice should have to depend on such flimsy evidence, quite possibly tainted by dishonesty or overzealousness, to decide whether to take someone’s life or liberty.…’

A
 country that lays claim to a ridiculous notion of “exceptionalism” and whose leaders often lecture other countries on “human rights” has, as Spiegel rightly point out, “the largest prison population in the world” and right now almost “3,000 people” on death row—“waiting to be poisoned, gassed or hanged, or executed in the electric chair or by a firing squad.”
 
In a public-private system where prison turns a hefty profit, as war turns a hefty, often hidden profit—the innocent who come under America’s hand often “end up in prison and on death row,” or dead.

Debra Milke was innocent. But on January 18, 1991, an Arizona court sentenced her to death. Had the state gotten away with it, they would have executed her on January 29, 1998. She suffered miserably but thanks to a supportive German mother and an able defense team she was able to live and obtain a first stage of release, with ankle bracelet beginning on September 6, 2013, followed by a full release on March 23, 2015.
Current estimates of the number of inmates held in United States solitary confinement: minimum held at any given time 20,000 with estimates up to 80,000.
The United States of America is among the 18 percent or 36 member states of the United Nations that still uses the barbaric death penalty. [Wikipedia]
 I have often thought what a person never wants is to, in any way, come into the criminal justice system of the United States. But that is not enough, is it? The system itself—or rather the people running it, comprising, powering it all over the United States—must change.

For a people who never tire of telling other people how much they believe in the “right to life,” boasting of their “values” and how much they value life—their behavior, in matters domestic and foreign, directly contradicts their words. Their behavioral pattern exemplifies a devaluing of and disrespect for life—a reckless disregard for human life.


Sources and notes

“The American Nightmare: Debra Milke Recounts Life on Death Row” by Clemens Höges and Antje Windmann, translated from the German by Christopher Sultan, April 16, 2015, http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/Debra-milke-recalls-her-years-on-death-row-a-1027584.html

Debra Jean Milke (b. March 10, 1964, in Berlin, Germany) was a US citizen innocent of a crime but wrongly convicted of murder, placed on death, and after 22 years “exonerated.”

In 1990, Debra Milke was convicted of the murder (complicity in the murder) of her son Christopher Conan Milke. On September 6, 2013, she was released on bond (and wearing ankle bracelets). On March 23, 2015, the case was formally dismissed.

The wrongful conviction of Debra Milke “rested on the testimony of disgraced Phoenix police detective Armando Saldate.” Also convicted in the case were Roger Scott and Jim Styers, both sentenced to death; neither of these men testified at Milke’s trial. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Debra_Milke

9TH CIR.

Headquartered in San Francisco, California, the Ninth Circuit is the largest of the thirteen courts of appeals, with 29 active judgeships. The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (in case citations, 9th Cir.) is a U.S. Federal court with appellate jurisdiction over the district courts in the following districts:

District of Alaska
District of Arizona
Central District of California
Eastern District of California
Northern District of California
Southern District of California
District of Hawaii
District of Idaho
District of Montana
District of Nevada
District of Oregon
Eastern District of Washington
Western District of Washington

It also has appellate jurisdiction over the following territorial courts:
District of Guam
District of the Northern Mariana Islands
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Court_of_Appeals_for_the_Ninth_Circuit

Death Penalty 
  • Of the 195 independent states that are United Nations members or have UN observer status:
  •  
  • 103 (53%) have abolished it for all crimes; 6 (3%) have abolished, but retain it for exceptional or special circumstances (such as crimes committed in wartime);
  •  
  • 50 (26%) retain, but have not used it for at least 10 years or are under a moratorium;
  •  
  • 36 (18%) retain it in both law and practice. [Update: March 2015]

Current use of the Death Penalty

Afghanistan ·
 Bahamas ·
 Bangladesh ·
 Belarus ·
 Botswana ·
 China ·
 Cuba ·
 Egypt ·
 Guatemala ·
 India ·
 Indonesia ·
 Iran ·
 Iraq ·
 Japan ·
 Jordan ·
 North Korea ·
 South Korea ·
 Lebanon ·
 Malaysia ·
 Pakistan ·
 Russia ·
 Saudi Arabia ·
 Singapore ·
 Somalia ·
 Sri Lanka ·
 Syria ·
 Taiwan ·
 Tajikistan ·
 Thailand ·
 Tonga ·
 United Arab Emirates ·
 United States ·
 Vietnam ·
 Yemen


 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Use_of_capital_punishment_by_country

Death Row

“In the United States, prisoners may wait years before execution can be carried out due to the complex and time-consuming appeals procedures mandated in the jurisdiction. The time between sentencing and execution has increased relatively steadily between 1977 and 2010, including a 22% jump between 1989 and 1990 and a similar jump between 2008 and 2009. 

In 2010, a death row inmate waited an average of 178 months (or close to 15 years) between sentencing and execution. Nearly a quarter of deaths on death row in the U.S. are due to natural causes. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_row

Solitary Confinement use in United States

“In the US Federal Prison system, solitary confinement is known as the Special Housing Unit (SHU),[16] pronounced like ‘shoe’ (/ˈʃuː/). California's prison system also uses the abbreviation SHU, but it stands for Security Housing Units. In other states, it is known as the Special Management Unit (SMU).

“Current estimates of the number of inmates held in solitary confinement are difficult to determine, though generally the minimum held at any given time has been determined to be 20,000, with estimates as high as 80,000.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solitary_confinement#Solitary_confinement_in_the_United_States

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A lifelong American writer and writer/activist (former academic and staffer with the U.S. government in Washington), Dr. Carolyn LaDelle Bennett is credentialed in education and print journalism and public affairs (PhD, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan; MA, The American University, Washington, DC). Her work concerns itself with news and current affairs, historical contexts, and ideas particularly related to acts and consequences of U.S. foreign relations, geopolitics, human rights, war and peace, and violence and nonviolence. Dr. Bennett is an internationalist and nonpartisan progressive personally concerned with society and the common good. An educator at heart, her career began with the U.S. Peace Corps, teaching in Sierra Leone, West Africa. Since then, she has authored several books and numerous current-affairs articles; her latest book: UNCONSCIONABLE: How The World Sees Us: World News, Alternative Views, Commentary on U.S. Foreign Relations; most thoughts, articles, edited work are posted at Bennett’s Study: http://todaysinsightnews.blogspot.com/ and on her Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/carolynladelle.bennett. http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/08UNCONSCIONABLE/prweb12131656.htm http://bookstore.xlibris.com/Products/SKU-000757788/UNCONSCIONABLE.aspx Her books are also available at independent bookstores in New York State: Lift Bridge in Brockport; Sundance in Geneseo; Dog Ears Bookstore and Literary Arts Center in Buffalo; Burlingham Books in Perry; The Bookworm in East Aurora

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Monday, April 13, 2015

“First” is NOT qualification: an America that stands tall in the world must progress beyond narrow vision, incompetent leadership

COMPETENCE and Integrity COUNT: My response to today’s “Hillary” edition of Democracy Now 
By Carolyn Bennett

Tribal vision manifestly limited to superficialities of gender, party, hue, presumption and personality—enables what it claims to abhor: the status quo, simplemindedness, tyranny of oneness, regression.  

It is unfair, undemocratic and disingenuous to reduce qualification for the office of head of state to tribalism: gender, race, singular political party. In today’s discussion the Democracy Now program should not have excluded other candidates and potential candidates and political parties contending for the 2016 US presidency. Every election year, web pages are full of many different people contending for public office but who are silenced by mass media. This is undemocratic, on its face. No wonder the oblivious US public cannot see through the fog or beyond limited vision.  

 
W
hat about the Green Party, the Justice Party, the Socialist parties and their contenders?

Under the heading “Presidency 2016,” the organization Politics1, a non-partisan public service aimed at promoting fully informed decision-making by the American electorate, writes: “President [Barack] Obama is barred by constitutional term limits from seeking re-election in 2016.” And toward that election year, there is…

A large crowd of candidates likely competing for the Democratic and Republican nominations; plus LOTS of likely third party and independent P2016 hopefuls. 

So, if a person is running, or thinking of running—regardless of party, ballot status, or chances of winning”—Politics1 will list them: Incumbent party first followed by the main opposition party then third party candidates and finally independent and write-in hopefuls. http://www.politics1.com/p2016.htm

The site is worth looking into because, but not only because Hillary Clinton (P2016) is a mistake on every substantive level. She is unfit for purpose. 
  • She is carelessly under-educated and ill-informed on domestic affairs. 
  • She is carelessly reckless, arrogant and belligerent in international affairs. 
  • She’s a war monger, a creator of international incidents and needless death, an incompetent, and a cynical opportunist. 

  • Further, she is definitely neither “feminist” nor Eleanor Roosevelt, ER having given the world the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, HRC having been associated with assassination and engaged in gross global violations of human rights.
Incompetence and lack of integrity constitute weakness, a dangerous weakness, as was with the current US president, together or separately they negate any possibility of able and courageous leadership and, as character traits, they weaken the country as a whole, domestically and internationally.  
 
Though I understand the news peg taken from Clinton’s silly, almost-childish video over the weekend, Democracy Now’s limiting today’s program to Hillary-centering discussants and excluding NON-Dem-Repub contenders disserves the U.S. public. I am a supporter of Democracy Now but the narrow angle taken today is insulting to adult human intelligence.

It reduces and negates altogether deeply critical issues surrounding this extremely powerful and influential office to superficialities of gender and race and to a singular regressive Dem/Repub Party; as well as to a fear-driving status quo whereby any old “horse” will do who gathers the most oats, attracts boat loads of big money to buy pubic office (remains forever in the stable of big  benefactors)—instead of essential, DEMONSTRATED qualifications (not ideological bent), and courage to make important progressive strides in domestic and international affairs.

I
 REPEAT: Hillary Clinton is unfit on every level. And Americans should never again seat her or anyone who fails to meet wide-ranging essential criteria, demonstrated credentials, a progressive track record and character traits signifying able service in public office—either as US head of state or member of the legislature, and therefore the judiciary.

The cycle of inferior leadership steeped in nepotism, corruption, criminality, and incompetence must be broken if the USA is to build itself, its people, into a truly great nation, earn genuine respect at home and abroad, and stand tall for good in the world.


Notes

“Debate: Hillary Clinton Sounds Populist Tone, But Are Progressives Ready to Back Her in 2016?” In today’s edition of Democracy Now were host Amy Goodman together with discussants Joe Conason of the The National Memo and The Investigative Fund; Michelle Goldberg of The Nation magazine; Robert Scheer of Truthdig dot com; and Kshama Sawant of the Socialist Alternative organization, April 13, 2015, http://www.democracynow.org/2015/4/13/debate_hillary_clinton_sounds_populist_tone

One of the first political blog sites on the Internet and published as a non-partisan public service to promote fully informed decision-making by the American electorate, Politics1 was launched online in 1997. It is “one of the pioneering political blog and news sites and has drawn a sizable and devoted audience of political professionals, journalists, educators, and activists.” http://www.politics1.com/about.htm

Politics1: P2016, http://www.politics1.com/p2016.htm

“Whatever It Takes - Hillary Clinton’s Record of Support for War and Other Depravities” posted by Robert Barsocchini, 1:46 PM Friday, June 6, 2014
http://www.whateverittakeshillary.org/2014/06/terrorism.html
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A lifelong American writer and writer/activist (former academic and staffer with the U.S. government in Washington), Dr. Carolyn LaDelle Bennett is credentialed in education and print journalism and public affairs (PhD, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan; MA, The American University, Washington, DC). Her work concerns itself with news and current affairs, historical contexts, and ideas particularly related to acts and consequences of U.S. foreign relations, geopolitics, human rights, war and peace, and violence and nonviolence. Dr. Bennett is an internationalist and nonpartisan progressive personally concerned with society and the common good. An educator at heart, her career began with the U.S. Peace Corps, teaching in Sierra Leone, West Africa. Since then, she has authored several books and numerous current-affairs articles; her latest book: UNCONSCIONABLE: How The World Sees Us: World News, Alternative Views, Commentary on U.S. Foreign Relations; most thoughts, articles, edited work are posted at Bennett’s Study: http://todaysinsightnews.blogspot.com/ and on her Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/carolynladelle.bennett. http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/08UNCONSCIONABLE/prweb12131656.htm http://bookstore.xlibris.com/Products/SKU-000757788/UNCONSCIONABLE.aspx Her books are also available at independent bookstores in New York State: Lift Bridge in Brockport; Sundance in Geneseo; Dog Ears Bookstore and Literary Arts Center in Buffalo; Burlingham Books in Perry; The Bookworm in East Aurora

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Sunday, April 12, 2015

Stop cycle of Western-leader terrorizing, trafficking

We must prosecute human rights abusers, traffickers, war makers
By Carolyn Bennett
Leadership in the United States is simultaneously creating “terrorists”, arming “terrorists”, in oral speech refusing to talk to “terrorists”, and committing war on “terrorists”.  

The Western banking system or known enormous financial institutions, such the HSBC, are engaging in criminal laundering of drug money and are therefore participating in drug trafficking and likely the allied trade of human trafficking. Compounding and sustaining pervasive criminality are US political leaders’ executing and legislating it: on the one hand they bail out big banks when pyramid schemes bust and default ensues, and on the other hand they take big bank money (shoring up cycles of drug and people- trafficking) to feed their campaigns coffers, a lifetime in public office, and their high-living lifestyles.

While these leaders and their “partners” support drug production (consider US soldiers protecting lucrative poppy fields in Afghanistan), they are committing an endless “WAR ON DRUGS”; and, simultaneously, while deeply engaged in an incestuous affair with the violence industrial complex and creating “terrorists,” they are committing an endless global “WAR ON TERROR.”
I believe that any leader, any country whose leaders are involved in the ordering or participating directly or indirectly in the affairs of another country, violating others’ national sovereignty, waging violence against another country or its people, its lands and or institutions—should be arrested, led in chains, and prosecuted before an independent, international court.

And though I am not sure any more, given loss of credibility, that this court will be either the UN Court of Justice or the International Criminal Court in The Hague, I do believe that there must be recourse, there must be an ending to the global criminal and deliberate madness that, for too many years, has been perpetrated particularly by Western leaders against the world and its people.


Notes

Michael Enright’s conversation on this week’s The Sunday Edition with Paul Rogers, author of A War on Terror, Afghanistan and After and international security editor of the website openDemocracy, prompted my collected thoughts in the above essay.

Michael spoke with Professor Rogers of Peace Studies at the University of Bradford in the United Kingdom about what the West has typically gotten wrong in its military adventures in the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia, and what it could possibly do, to not make things worse.

Iraq is now in a desperate struggle against ISIS, and Libya has been torn apart by rival factions that were united only by their hatred of Gaddafi. They're just two examples of the unintended consequences of the West's enthusiasm for forcible regime change in the Middle East and its environs.

Yemen, now, has become inflamed by a violent uprising, but Syria - a case in which the West actually declined to get involved militarily - remains perhaps the biggest mess of all: hundreds of thousands of citizens killed by their own government or by one or another rebel groups and now ISIS. And millions more forced to flee to Syria's neighbours as refugees. Canada is embarking on an expanded campaign against ISIS that will take us into the intractable civil conflict and humanitarian disaster that is Syria.

“Does military intervention in the Middle East ever work?” Sunday April 12, 2015,
http://www.cbc.ca/radio/thesundayedition/valentina-tso-the-myth-of-military-intervention-online-namesake-writing-in-the-margins-being-responsible-1.3027812/does-military-intervention-in-the-middle-east-ever-work-1.3027866

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A lifelong American writer and writer/activist (former academic and staffer with the U.S. government in Washington), Dr. Carolyn LaDelle Bennett is credentialed in education and print journalism and public affairs (PhD, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan; MA, The American University, Washington, DC). Her work concerns itself with news and current affairs, historical contexts, and ideas particularly related to acts and consequences of U.S. foreign relations, geopolitics, human rights, war and peace, and violence and nonviolence. Dr. Bennett is an internationalist and nonpartisan progressive personally concerned with society and the common good. An educator at heart, her career began with the U.S. Peace Corps, teaching in Sierra Leone, West Africa. Since then, she has authored several books and numerous current-affairs articles; her latest book: UNCONSCIONABLE: How The World Sees Us: World News, Alternative Views, Commentary on U.S. Foreign Relations; most thoughts, articles, edited work are posted at Bennett’s Study: http://todaysinsightnews.blogspot.com/ and on her Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/carolynladelle.bennett. http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/08UNCONSCIONABLE/prweb12131656.htm http://bookstore.xlibris.com/Products/SKU-000757788/UNCONSCIONABLE.aspx Her books are also available at independent bookstores in New York State: Lift Bridge in Brockport; Sundance in Geneseo; Dog Ears Bookstore and Literary Arts Center in Buffalo; Burlingham Books in Perry; The Bookworm in East Aurora

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Monday, April 6, 2015

Reign of “legalized” torture, violence, injustice: America’s Ivy Leaguers

Framing
only trees
omits
Forest
Picture of horrendous injustice more pervasive than Bryan Stevenson’s domestic frame
Editing and comment by Carolyn Bennett

In an era in which the “leader of the free world” is a law graduate from America’s prestigious Ivy Leagues (Columbia University and Harvard Law School), a former instructor in constitutional law at another prestigious school (University of Chicago Law School), an “expert” in constitutional law, and a black man who, as head of state, finds no viable means of conducting foreign relations except violent means: belligerence, threats, name-calling, demonizing, armed drones, sanctions, and other lethal weaponry, prolonged and unspeakable violence on the ground; and when justice under law is denied all across the United States of America and not a word is spoken or hand raised or policy proposed to end chronic injustice in this (his) homeland—what other than violence can be expected in darkened halls of US “justice.”  
 
S
peaking today on Democracy Now Bryan A. Stevenson, another attorney, law professor at New York University School of Law, and founder and Executive Director of the (private, non-profit Alabama-headquartered) Equal Justice Initiative, said, in a limited framing of injustice, that lynching in the USA went underground and rose again in the death penalty.

In his limited framing pegged to an innocent client’s release from 30 hellish years on death row after having been served by incompetent counsel and having received an unfair trial, Stevenson said of domestic justice what is also true, and worse, of America’s level of relations with peoples of Asia and Africa:

‘We dehumanize people of color. We demonize them.
  

‘We said that they were different … [and] … dangerous [As if one equated or were synonymous with the other].


Think of all those Western missionaries and mercenaries abroad.

‘We said that we could own them [and] civilize them and the narrative of racial difference was never really confronted.’
  
“The Emancipation Proclamation didn’t deal with it,” Stevenson said; “the 13th Amendment [to the Constitution of the United States] didn’t deal with it. And we had decades of lynching—terrorism directed at African Americans—because that same presumption of ‘dangerousness’ and ‘guilt’” comforted people as they in the course of lynching committed unspeakable acts against other human beings.
 
T
hough he is right as far has it goes, we must think beyond this frame: Not only of Americans and what they have done to one another but of the same pattern of demonizing and murdering peoples of other countries.


There is no singular strain but a pervasive, all encompassing one. Think of all those countries: Vietnam, Japan, the Korea(s), Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria, Bahrain, Iraq, Iran, Somalia, Libya, Sudan, Congo, Nigeria, Lebanon, Gaza, Ukraine, and countless others whose people have been slaughtered, others maimed, made widows, made homeless and destitute, whose lands, institutions, livelihoods have been decimated by US bombs and other violence ordered by graduates of America’s most “finest” institutions of “higher learning.”

“There has never been a time in America when we have had more innocent people in jails and prisons,” Stevenson continued, yet we have failed to invest “in the defense function to protect people from wrongful convictions.” People caught in such a system, he said, are denied “a right to counsel; they cannot get to court.”

In this “free” and “brave” homeland, legal lynching made illegal morphed into a “modern-day death penalty,” Stevenson said. But the issue of ingrained character does not limit itself to either the USA or more narrowly the US South. Let us think wider than domestic United States.

T
hink of US barbarism in “Dark sites.” Think Abu Ghraib (US-occupied/ invaded/ sanctions-ravaged Iraq). Think Bagram (US- occupied/invaded Afghanistan). Think Guantanamo Bay (US-occupied Cuba), and other places—to some extent known to us—where US operatives and officials have darkened the image of and violated humanity. People are assassinated without due process of law, abducted without charge or counsel, imprisoned without privacy with counsel; tortured, constantly humiliated, force fed, some killed, some maimed, some forced into suicide, some made to rot in a prison cell for the rest of their lives. There is something not only inhumane, immoral and illegal but also insane about this—pathological all round. And it CANNOT be excluded from any serious discussion about justice.

“Evidence of racial bias is extreme and overwhelming,” Stevenson says of domestic USA; “yet we do nothing.”

We do nothing while horrendous crimes are committed against peoples and nations right across the globe. We say give us another Democrat or Republican, a black person or a woman or a god, whatever the tribal icon that lets us shirk our responsibility as citizen—let them (gender, race, party or god), do the work. Let this great nation continue to be led backwards by the same dastardly doers and deeds.
 
Stevenson is right.  We need to talk to one another. But we need to see fully and clearly; beyond narrow frames, to the world. We need to end our distraction and self-focusing; listen to “different” others, widen and deepen our discussion of a deadly strain within us that is doing great harm to the whole world of which are apart.


Notes

“‘They Couldn’t Take My Soul’: Anthony Ray Hinton on His Exoneration after 30 Years on Death Row,” Democracy Now, April 6, 2015, http://www.democracynow.org/2015/4/6/they_couldn_t_take_my_soul

http://www.democracynow.org/

Bryan A. Stevenson, http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Bryan_Stevenson&printable=yes

Barack Hussein Obama II, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barack_Obama


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A lifelong American writer and writer/activist (former academic and staffer with the U.S. government in Washington), Dr. Carolyn LaDelle Bennett is credentialed in education and print journalism and public affairs (PhD, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan; MA, The American University, Washington, DC). Her work concerns itself with news and current affairs, historical contexts, and ideas particularly related to acts and consequences of U.S. foreign relations, geopolitics, human rights, war and peace, and violence and nonviolence. Dr. Bennett is an internationalist and nonpartisan progressive personally concerned with society and the common good. An educator at heart, her career began with the U.S. Peace Corps, teaching in Sierra Leone, West Africa. Since then, she has authored several books and numerous current-affairs articles; her latest book: UNCONSCIONABLE: How The World Sees Us: World News, Alternative Views, Commentary on U.S. Foreign Relations; most thoughts, articles, edited work are posted at Bennett’s Study: http://todaysinsightnews.blogspot.com/ and on her Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/carolynladelle.bennett. http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/08UNCONSCIONABLE/prweb12131656.htm http://bookstore.xlibris.com/Products/SKU-000757788/UNCONSCIONABLE.aspx Her books are also available at independent bookstores in New York State: Lift Bridge in Brockport; Sundance in Geneseo; Dog Ears Bookstore and Literary Arts Center in Buffalo; Burlingham Books in Perry; The Bookworm in East Aurora

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