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John Day, Oregon had their first of two, town hall meetings, this morning, over the Aryan Nations intent to begin a compound in their town. If you weren’t able to see the live feed, but can watch video on your computer, click the UStream link HERE.

A second meeting will be held tonight. Check HERE for info.

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Prisons, asylums, pedophiles, crooks, other felons who have completed “rehabilitation” (Whatever that might mean these days.) halfway houses, shelters: proximity to all these can change a home’s value.

I have a home. I have thought about what it might mean if someone with a criminal past takes up residence nearby. Call me a bleeding heart liberal, but confronted with the idea of these folks next door, I am undisturbed. People who have completed their sentence should be entitled to reenter the public stream. If I learned that some of these folks were still more dangerous than my other neighbors, I would become alert, but I would jump to the arguments of improper rehabilitation, inadequate understanding of the nature of human behavior, like that in pedophiles, poverty, pain, inadequate upbringing and subsequent failure of personal accountability. However, under the existing law they were entitled to try and begin anew. Rather, existing law should be rewritten to better address failures of rehabilitation, and rehabilitation, itself, should be changed.

I have great difficulty however, with the idea of a group of people moving into my neighborhood who are unrepentantly dedicated to the twin propositions of hatred and separatism. Since I choose to embrace the diversity of humanity, and I am a woman, I am a co-habitator and enemy of such groups; worthy therefore, of shooting, or maybe worse, since the bullet may have more value than me. It’s a personal conundrum, that the price of diversity means enmity, and that I would choose restriction for those who would shoot me as some form of first amendment rights, but have not yet done so. This is how I feel, and I am unable to reconcile it.

Consider then, Oregon, one of my favorite places, the home of relatives, and my husband’s childhood. Now, it is true that Eastern and Southern Oregon tends to the more conservative side. There are, as well, there are other rightist themes about. WorldNetDaily is alive and well in Roseburg. As a nest for right wing rabid bats, certain areas have found themselves over the years to be dripping in guano. Yet, it is no small thing when an Idaho Chapter of the Aryan Nations announces their intent to locate to John Day, Oregon.

From the perspective of a Californian, I also don’t like the idea that in a national emergency, Highway 395, the main backdoor road riding the spine of California and dipping into Reno, could be subject to the bottleneck of survivalist separatist antics of a racist group like the Aryan Nations. It smacks of the bad side of the TV series “Jericho”.

So though I have avoided it, finally today, I joined Facebook. HERE is why.

Don’t let this happen, John Day!!!  John Day is too beautiful a place to drip in guano.

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It’s a world sprung anew. Even as we tweet away, others are watching. Transparency will be even more important – it’s time to end the Patriot Act. Only if we are vigilant about our rights, and work to be part of the legal architecture that builds around our new forms of communication, will those rights be upheld. It’s up to us.

Twitter Tapping

Published: December 12, 2009

The government is increasingly monitoring Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites for tax delinquents, copyright infringers and political protesters. A public interest group has filed a lawsuit to learn more about this monitoring, in the hope of starting a national discussion and modifying privacy laws as necessary for the online era.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/13/opinion/13sun2.html?src=tptw

I drove through Pecos once in 2006. It was in the evening, we were late, and my family, in the back of the RV was hot and already tired of the trip from SF to Leander, where my older daughter lived. There might have been three other cars on the road with me. A man was out on the main road with a big bunch of gorgeous looking cantaloupes – a tired man. His eyes bored right into mine as I passed. I hated myself even as I was doing it, but I passed him and his cantaloupes by.

Later, in the real estate news I saw homes going for next to nothing.  I saw a hundred acre farm, it could have been that tired old man’s, flat and plowed, with water and a home, for sale for less than most RV’s. Desperation builds desperate lives. Profit based prisons sprout and grow is such places. They are a disease of human nature preying on the desperate and less than equal. They do not provide equal protection under the law, as I think of it. They do not profit society. They profit people like those running the Vanguard Group and Geo Corporation and Wackenhut.

A Death in Texas

Profits, poverty, and immigration converge

Tom Barry

The Reeves County Detention Complex burns on the morning of February 2, 2009.

County Clerk Dianne Florez noticed it first. Plumes of smoke were rising outside the small West Texas town of Pecos. “The prison is burning again,” she announced.

About a month and a half before, on December 12, 2008, inmates had rioted to protest the death of one of their own, Jesus Manuel Galindo, 32. When Galindo’s body was removed from the prison in what looked to them like a large black trash bag, they set fire to the recreational center and occupied the exercise yard overnight. Using smuggled cell phones, they told worried family members and the media about poor medical care in the prison and described the treatment of Galindo, who had been in solitary confinement since mid-November. During that time, fellow inmates and his mother, who called the prison nearly every day, had warned authorities that Galindo needed daily medication for epilepsy and was suffering from severe seizures in the “security housing unit,” which the inmates call the “hole.”

http://bostonreview.net/BR34.6/barry.php

As the article below states, in fact, civil rights have been warred against since the law’s inception in 1964 – essentially how long our country has been leading off to the right. Human rights, that include equality by sex, were never achieved, even though some rights have been eked out law by law. It will take years to put us back on the path. The time to start is NOW and this looks like a start.

Civil Rights Division To Clean Up After 8 Years of Bush

Posted Wed, 12/09/2009 – 07:08

“Bush packed the Civil Rights Division with right-wing lawyers and administrators determined to erase even the most elementary gains made by minorities.”

The Obama administration has accomplished one solid achievement that may go down in the history books as at least a partial reversal of fortune for racial minorities in the United States. For eight long years, the Bush administration waged vicious political warfare against the very concept of civil rights, as we had come to understand it in America. Equal protection under the law became a dead letter in the U.S. Justice Department, whose Civil Rights Division was transformed into a bulwark of white male supremacy and petty reaction….]

http://www.blackagendareport.com/?q=content/civil-rights-division-clean-after-8-years-bush

A settlement from a Democratic administration, and for the individuals who fought for their rights:

Tribal Justice News

[Attorney General Holder, Secretary Salazar Announce Settlement of Cobell Lawsuit on Indian Trust Management (AG) 
On Dec. 8, 2009, Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced a settlement of the long-running and highly contentious Cobell class-action lawsuit regarding the U.S. government’s trust management and accounting of over three hundred thousand individual American Indian trust accounts…



http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2009/December/09-ag-1312.html
…]

http://nativetimes.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2740:tribal-justice-news&catid=55&Itemid=31

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Today’s installment of the continuing saga of H.R. 3950.

We left off on the 8th with the tabling of the Nelson amendment. In fact,  three additional events occurred on the 8th. The first two items were introduced to the floor but have not been acted upon. They are: The Dorgan modified amendment and a motion by Senator Crapo to commit the bill to the Committee on Finance. The third item was acted upon, and a unanimous agreement was reached to devote a specified time to debate.

(As it reads below, the “Pending” Reid amendment refers to the approved amendment, which ordered  H.R. 3950 to lie on the table and changed it from the home ownership bill to the health reform bill. It is now the bill around which all action is occurring.)

On December 8th the Daily Digest reported the following:

Pending:

Reid Amendment No. 2786, in the nature of a substitute.

Page S12648

Dorgan Modified Amendment No. 2793 (to Amendment No. 2786), to provide for the importation of prescription drugs.

Pages S12685-88

Crapo motion to commit the bill to the Committee on Finance, with instructions.

Page S12685

A unanimous-consent-time agreement was reached providing for further consideration of the bill at approximately 9:30 a.m., on Wednesday, December 9, 2009, and that following any remarks of the Chair and Ranking Member of the Committee on Finance, or their designees, for up to 10 minutes each, the next two hours be for debate only, with the time equally divided and controlled between the two Leaders or their designees, with Senators permitted to speak for up to 10 minutes each; the Republicans controlling the first 30 minutes, and the Majority controlling the second 30 minutes; with the remaining time equally divided and used in alternating fashion; provided further, that no amendments are in order during this time.

Page S12742

Measures Considered:

Service Members Home Ownership Tax Act–Agreement: Senate continued consideration of H.R. 3590, to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to modify the first-time homebuyers credit in the case of members of the Armed Forces and certain other Federal employees, taking action on the following amendments proposed thereto:

Pages S12745-99

On December 9th the Daily Digest reported the following:

Pending:

Reid Amendment No. 2786, in the nature of a substitute.

Page S12745

Dorgan Modified Amendment No. 2793 (to Amendment No. 2786), to provide for the importation of prescription drugs.

Pages S12745, S12753-99

Crapo motion to commit the bill to the Committee on Finance, with instructions.

Page S12745

A unanimous-consent-time agreement was reached providing for further consideration of the bill at approximately 10 a.m., on Thursday, December 10, 2009, that following Leader remarks the time until 1 p.m., be for debate only and equally divided, with the time until 11 a.m. controlled between the two Leaders, or their designees; with the remaining time until 1 p.m. controlled in alternating 30-minute blocks of time with the Majority controlling the first block and the Republicans controlling the next block.

Page S12833

As you may have figured out these two days look pretty much identical, except the page numbers are different. That’s where all the rhetoric in the Senate Chamber is occurring. The Daily Digest is recording them. It truly is remarkable that so many mostly men can spend so much time exhorting, day in and day out.

If you want to see what they are saying go HERE.

Look to the right under Floor Schedule and click on the link that says Daily Digest. Scroll down to the part that says:

[Service Members Home Ownership Tax Act–Agreement:  Senate continued consideration of H.R. 3590, to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to modify the first-time homebuyers credit in the case of members of the Armed Forces and certain other Federal employees, taking action on the following amendments proposed thereto:

Pages S12745-99]

Click on “Pages s12745-99”.

That takes you to:

Pages S12745-S12799

1 . HEALTH CARE: IMPACT ON SMALL BUSINESS — (Senate – December 09, 2009)

2 . RESERVATION OF LEADER TIME — (Senate – December 09, 2009)

3 . SERVICE MEMBERS HOME OWNERSHIP TAX ACT OF 2009 — (Senate – December 09, 2009)

4 . RECESS — (Senate – December 09, 2009)

5 . SERVICEMEMBERS HOME OWNERSHIP TAX ACT OF 2009–Continued — (Senate – December 09, 2009)

6 . MORNING BUSINESS — (Senate – December 09, 2009)

7 . CLIMATE CHANGE — (Senate – December 09, 2009)

#1, 3 and 5 are the debate indexes. Check them out. For example Senator Graham is on page s12791, and talks about Obama’s mandate to have the debate on C-Span for transparency. He does some finger pointing at Senator Reid’s announcement that Democrats have been working off camera to reach the “broad Consensus” reported yesterday in the media.

Senator McConnell, earlier in the day on page s12744, essentially threatens the Democrats with the recent election in New Jersey:

There is a new development. Just yesterday–just yesterday in my home State–there was a special election for the State senate. Why would that be worthy of commentary on the Senate floor? Let me describe the situation. It is a 3-to-1 Democratic district. Because of State issues, the Democratic State administration was intensely interested in winning that seat. They spent $1 million cumulatively–the candidate, the Democratic State party, and an outside interest group–in support of the Democrat–$1 million on one side of a State senate race in a rural area of my State.

On the other side was a Republican candidate, who was outspent 5 to 1–outspent 5 to 1 in a 3-to-1 Democratic district. The Republican candidate for the State senate won by 12 points. How did that happen? He had one message–one message: oppose the Reid bill, oppose what PELOSI is doing, oppose what the Democrats in Washington are doing.

And on it goes. By the way, the number of proposed amendments to this bill now submitted for review is up to THREE HUNDRED AND TWENTY SEVEN!!!

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Embrace Diversity, End Discrimination

The focus of this year’s Human Rights Day, 10 December, is Non-discrimination.

Today a special event was to be held, at 1:15 EST in the Trustee Council Chamber, at UN Headquarters, in New York, in recognition of Human Rights Day. It is to include a panel discussion on race, poverty and power, in relationship to development. It will be opened by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who synopsized this year’s focus recently as:

“Discrimination targets individuals and groups that are vulnerable to attack: the disabled, women and girls, the poor, migrants, minorities, and all those who are perceived as different.

… But these victims of discrimination are not alone. The United Nations is standing with them, committed to defending the rights of all, and particularly the most vulnerable.  That is our identity and our mission.”

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Often repeated, Hillary Rodham Clinton, then First Lady said in 1995; Women’s rights are human rights and human rights are women’s rights, once and for all”. It bears repeating until reality matches truth. At the US State Dept. Dr. Esther Brimmer took note of the fact that the US has finally joined the Human rights Council in her speech HERE.

“Commit, Act and Demand: You Can End Violence against Women”

The Center for Women’s Global Leadership at Rutgers (CWGL) will cosponsor with MADRE, a discussion tonight at 7:00 PM EST. entitled “Sex Workers Rights are Human Rights”. For more information contact; www.madre.org.

The 16 days campaign sponsored by CWGL, has highlighted 16 global partners that represent commitment and dedication in the struggle to end violence against women. They have description links to all the highlighted partners HERE.

Seven were also noted in an earlier Grab and Keel post HERE.

Directorate of Gender Affairs – ANTIGUA and BARBUDA

On November 25 the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, the Honourable W. Baldwin Spencer, made note of their efforts to eliminate violence to women in his speech HERE.

In part, he said that the Dr. The Honourable Jacqui Quinn-Leandro, who is The Minister of Education, Sports, Youth and Gender Affairs, is guiding activities for the 16 days which are “aimed at mobilizing all well-thinking persons to play our part in bringing an end to violence against women”.

One example of these island activities was the march dedicated to increasing awareness and accountability among men, held on November 25th.

The Women’s Council for Domestic & Family Violence Services (WCDFVS or (WA) – AUSTRALIA

The Women’s Council states that it: [..was established in 1977 and now represents 54 Women’s Refuges and domestic and family violence services in Western Australia….]

They set forth their Strategic Plan 2008 – 2011

The key objectives of the WCDFVS Strategic Plan 2008 – 2011 are to:

Strengthen our unified voice on domestic and family violence issues;

Maintain the WCDFVS as an independent, viable and credible organization;

Improve the access of women and children to Women’s Refuges, Safe Houses and services which seek to deal with the effects of domestic and family violence;

Provide leadership in the area of domestic and family violence issues to key stakeholders and the community;

Increase the community awareness of the incidence, effects and responses to domestic and family violence;

Collaborate with key stakeholders in the development of policies, legislation and programs which impact on women and children experiencing domestic and family violence; and

Ensure access and equity for all members in rural and remote locations.

United Women Banja Luka – BOSNIA and HERZEGOVINA

United Women, based in Banja Luka, says it best themselves:

by Aleksandra Petric

[When United Women Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina started activities in 1996, the issue of violence against women was largely ignored by official authorities at all levels. Rape in a marriage was not recognized as criminal act. There were no legislative and public policy documents in BiH that would protect women from violence at home and in public sphere. We opened Center for Legal and Psychosocial Assistance for Women and the first SOS Telephone for Women and Girls Victims of Violence in our region…]

Women’s Action for Change (WAC) – FIJI

WAC’s partner IWDA, stated in May 2009: […The abrogation of Fiji’s Constitution and Declaration of Emergency will directly impact the economic, social and political environment for all people living in Fiji, extending the underlying uncertainty, division and fear that are legacies of four coups in 20 years. …]

In September of this year, Fiji was suspended from the Commonwealth of Nations over Commodore Frank Bainimarama’s refusal to hold elections by 21010.

Despite the State’s difficulties, WAC just sent a message to Copenhagen 15, asking for commitments to reduce Carbon dioxide emissions to 350 ppm. They are concerned that small island states will be unable to survive global warming. WAC is fighting for family, the future and their children’s future.

Women Won’t Wait – INTERNATIONAL

In their bio, they say:

[Women Won’t Wait” is an international coalition of organizations and networks working to promote women’s health and human rights in the struggle to address HIV and AIDS and end all forms of violence against women and girls.

“Women Won’t Wait” seeks to speed up effective responses to the linkages of violence against all women and girls and the spread of HIV….]

WWW works in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean and North America. Most of their campaigns were begun in 2007 and few in 2008. In the United States they have formed the following:

Formation of the Women of Colour United (WOCU) Coalition for the Elimination of VAW and HIV&AID

Women of Color United

[Founded on April 1st 2007, Women of Color United is a network of (Latin American, Native American/American Indian, Asian and Pacific Islander American, Arab-American/Middle Eastern American and African American) individuals and organizations that brings together constituencies of over 50,000 women nationwide. WOCU individuals and member organizations include survivors of violence, women living with HIV&AIDS, violence against women (VAW) survivor groups and service agencies, HIV & AIDS service and advocacy organizations, immigrant and Diaspora groups, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, sororities, and other women’s groups..]

MEGEN – KENYA

Their site is currently listed as under construction. Originally set up as a project within FEMNET to work with men, they are in the process setting up their own office. Xy OnLine, a directory of groups and publications dedicated to gender politics published a downloadable article Oct. 8, 2009, in regards to the MEGEN as seen in their description below:

MEGEN (Men for Gender Equality Now)

Defying the Odds: Lessons learnt from Men for Gender Equality Now (Kenya)

Thu, 08 Oct 2009 – 08:57 | MEGEN (Men for Gender Equality Now)

Categories:

MEGEN activists share their personal experiences as individuals and as Changemakers. While writing their stories, the activists were asked to reflect on their own change processes: what sparked their activism around gender and violence? And how has the MEGEN platform been helpful in this process? The publication also includes short briefs on the work of the project, highlighting the challenges, successes and lessons learnt in different program areas. In the process of developing this booklet, many people have been of great help; the dedicated MEGEN activists who shared some of their life experiences in their own writing, the then MEGEN Project Coordinator Kennedy Odhiambo Otina and other FEMNET staff members and MEGEN teams.

KAFA: Enough violence and Exploitation– LEBANON

KAFA is a non-profit, non-political and non-confessional organization whose goal is to; “Contribute to the eradication of all sorts of gender based violence and exploitation of women and children and the realization of all their rights”.

They focus on gender based violence, child molestation and trafficking. They have a hot line, and work from the premise of UN Security Resolution 1325., offering downloads, doing advocacy, awareness raising and victim support.

BAOBAB for Women’s Human Rights – NIGERIA

From 1996, BAOBAB has evolved from a group of assorted ad hoc parties into a full sized agency. On December 2nd, their newsletter says following event took place:

[As part of its campaign to mark the 2009 “16 Days against Gender Based Violence” campaign, the BAOBAB team with its network of “Men against Violence against Women ” in the lead, took the advocacy to the streets! While in a particular popular area of Lagos known for its busy commercial bus activities-called ‘Oshodi’, the team shared anti-gender based violence messages with the crowd – heightened with the aid of their traditional talking drums! ‘Ohhh’ was the almost unsaid expression on their faces as they appreciated the fact that men are now in the fore-front of advocating the end of violence against women. And…guess what? The BAOBAB led network of men ran out of the IEC anti gender-based materials as the demand for them was so overwhelming! However, this ‘minor crisis’ of IEC material shortage did not deter the team, who carried on with their verbal messages and talking drums. The team captured some of the comments by the men on the streets:..

Rutgers University, Human Rights House – UNITED STATES

Rutgers organized a coffeehouse event to bring attention to the 16 days campaign and gender violence. Spokeswoman Christina Doonan said:

[…By bringing together poets, musicians, dancers and artists for an evening of entertainment dubbed “Justice and Java: Expressions Against Gender Violence,” our goal is to draw spectators from the university community and also members of the broader local community in New Brunswick, New Jersey.  Our two primary goals are to engage in consciousness-raising and to raise funds for a local women’s shelter. Taking advantage of our opportunity to have an audience, we will provide our viewers and listeners with information about the various forms of gender violence, its prevalence, and the resources available locally for those who have encountered it, or know someone who has.  Given the fact that university campuses are sites of increased risk for gender violence, we feel that this campaign is a particularly important human rights issue here at Rutgers”….]

The Advocates for Human Rights – UNITED STATES

For more than 25 years, the Advocates for Human Rights has worked to help humans fully realize their rights in the United States and around the world. They offer legal, education and training, and other forms of activism. In the United States, their support several projects including:

*  Death Penalty Project

* Immigrant Rights

* Post-9/11 Project

* US Compliance with International Treaties (Shadow Reporting)

* Women’s Human Rights

* Human Rights in the US Toolkits

On the International front their most recent activity is the release, December 7th, of a new report entitled: “Human Rights in Ethiopia: Through the Eyes of the Oromo Diaspora”. It will be available for the upcoming United Nations, Human Rights Council review of Ethiopia’s compliance with its human rights obligations.

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