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Oppression – Wikipedia

Oppression is the prolonged, unjust treatment or control of people by others. In the past, the definition of oppression was limited to tyranny by a ruling group, but overtime it has transformed because governments are not the only people who oppress. Today, oppression could also mean denying people language, education, and other opportunities that might make them become fully human in both mind and body.”[1] This is seen throughout history through the actions of Hitler and Mussolini in Europe, King George III in the United Kingdom and the Thirteen Colonies (the predecessor of the United States of America), and today by observing the actions of people such as Kim Jong-un in North Korea and Bashar al-Assad in Syria. Although these leaders are separated by nearly fifty years and a few centuries, both are “governmental regimes that deprive people of at least some of their human rights.[2]

Today, oppression can be seen in the social, institutionalized, and economic spheres across the world. Social oppression can be observed in the form of gendered, class, racial, and sexual oppression. The relationship of social oppression is one of dominance and subordination, in which one party has the ability to maintain its advantage relative over another party.[3] Institutionalized oppression is when “established laws, customs, and practices systematically reflect and produce inequities based on ones membership in targeted social identity groups.”[4]

Social oppression is the socially supported mistreatment and exploitation of a group of individuals.[5] Social oppression is based on power dynamics and an individual’s social location in society. Social location, as defined by Lynn Weber, is “an individual’s or a group’s social ‘place’ in the race, class, gender and sexuality hierarchies, as well as in other critical social hierarchies such as age, ethnicity, and nation.”[6][pageneeded] An individual’s social location determines how one will be perceived by others in the whole of society. It maintains three faces of power: the power to design or manipulate the rules, to win the game through force or competition, and the ability to write history.[7]

To delve into the first social hierarchy, racial oppression is burdening a specific race with unjust or cruel restraints or impositions. Racial oppression may be social, systematic, institutionalized, or internalized. Social forms of racial oppression include exploitation and mistreatment that is socially supported.[8] United States history consists of five primary forms of racial oppression including genocide and geographical displacement, slavery, second-class citizenship, non-citizen labor, and diffuse racial discrimination.[9] The first primary form of racial oppressiongenocide and geographical displacementrefers to 19th century Western European settlers coming to North America and wanting the indigenous populations land. Many indigenous people, commonly known today as Native Americans, were relocated to Indian Reservations and killed during wars fought over land. The second form of racial oppression, slavery, refers to Africans being the property of white Americans. Racial oppression throughout North America, particularly in the south, was not something that was part of the social environment in which they lived; it was a significant part of daily life and routines. The third primary form of racial oppression, second-class citizenship, refers to some categories of citizens having fewer rights than others. Second-class citizenship became a pivotal form of racial oppression in the United States following the Civil War. The fourth form of racial oppression in American history refers to the linkage of race and legal citizenship status. During the middle of the 19th century, some categories of immigrants, such as Mexicans and Chinese, were denied legal access to citizenship status. The last primary form of racial oppression in American history is diffuse discrimination. This form of racial oppression refers to discriminatory actions that are not directly backed by the legal powers of the state. This can include employers not hiring or promoting someone on the basis of race, landlords only renting to people of certain racial groups and salespeople treating customers differently based on race. Even after the civil rights legislation abolishing segregation, racial discrimination is still a reality in the United States. According to Robert Blauner, author of Racial Oppression in America, Blauner states, Fundamental to my perspective is the notion that racial groups and racial oppression are central features of the American social dynamic.[9]

The second social hierarchy, class oppression, also referred to as classism, can be defined as prejudice and discrimination based on social class.[10] Class is a social ranking based on income, wealth, education, status, and power. A class is a large group of people who share similar economic or social positions based on their income, wealth, property ownership, job status, education, skills, and power in the economic and political sphere. The most commonly used class identities include: upper class, middle class, working class, and poor class. Most people in the United States 80% to 90% in some surveys identify as middle class. Class is also experienced differently depending on race, gender, and ethnic backgrounds. Class oppression of the poor and working class can lead to deprivation of basic needs and a feeling of inferiority to higher-class people and shame towards ones traditional class or ethnic heritage. In the United States, class has become racialized leaving the greater percentage of people of color living in poverty.[11] Since class oppression is universal among the majority class in American society, it at times can seem invisible, however, it is a relevant issue that many suffer from.

Social oppression permeates much deeper than an imbalance in power. It is attributed to the injustice that occurs when one social group is subordinated while another is privileged, and oppression is maintained by a variety of different mechanisms including social norms, stereotypes, and institutional rules.[12] As an outcome of these societal views, social oppression exists and thrives through social groups.These ideologies surrounding the dominant group have a direct negative effect on oppressed races, classes, genders, and sexualities that dont identify with the dominate group.

Many political theorists, including Weber, argue that oppression persists because most individuals fail to recognize it; that is, discrimination is often not visible to those who are not in the midst of it. These inequalities further perpetuate themselves because those oppressed rarely have access to resources that would allow them to escape their maltreatment. This can lead to internalized oppression, in which subordinate groups essentially give up the fight to access equality and accept their fate as a non-dominant group.[13]

Delving further into social oppression on both a macro and micro level, Black feminist Patricia Hill Collins discusses her “matrix of domination”.[14] The matrix of domination discusses the interrelated nature of four domains of power, including the structural, disciplinary, hegemonic, and interpersonal domains. Each of these spheres work to sustain current inequalities that are faced by minority groups. The structural, disciplinary and hegemonic domains all operate on a macro level, and deal with issues of social oppression such as education, the judicial/criminal justice system, and elements of power and control, respectively. The interpersonal domain is guided by perceptions due to the spheres in the matrix of domination, and therefore plays out in everyday life.

The interpersonal domain is situated within the perspective of standpoint theory. Standpoint theory deals with an individual’s social location in that each person will have a very different perspective based on where they are positioned in society. For instance, a White male, living in America will have a very different take on an issue such as abortion than that of a Black female, living in Africa. Each will have different knowledge claims and experiences that will have shaped how they perceive abortion. From an oppression viewpoint, standpoint theory proves to be quite pertinent. Oftentimes certain aspects of society, and the knowledge that they hold, are kept suppressed because they are viewed as inferior points of view. Gendered oppression is born through gender norms that have been adopted by society. Throughout history, the majority of cultures believe that the gender norms constitute masculinity as being the dominant gender while femininity being the oppressed. The gendered power differences allow specific groups to thrive in society at the expense of others. Many have argued that cultural practices concerning gender norms of child care, housework, appearance, and career impose an unfair burden on women and as such are oppressive. According to feminist Barbara Cattunar, women have always been subjected to many forms of oppression, backed up by religious texts which insist upon womens inferiority and subjugation. Femininity has always been looked down upon perpetuated by socially constructed stereotypes, which has affected womens societal status and opportunity. In current society sources like the media further, impose gendered oppression as they shape societal views and ideals on each gender. Female roles in pop- culture are being objectified and sexualized, which as a result, degrades the female gender. The development of feminism is the outcome of gendered oppression and has brought a lot of awareness to the issue. Along with females other groups that do not identify with the dominant masculine, male gender are also subjected to oppression. These groups include the transgender community and gender-nonconformists.

The dominant societal views surrounding masculinity have formed a sexuality hierarchy oppressing individuals who do not comply with the social phenomenon of heteronormity. Heteronormity suggests that anyone who does not identify with the heterosexual status is painted as different or abnormal by society. The patriarchal hierarchies are fundamental to the analysis of sexuality. The dominant group oppresses those who identify with the non-hetero sexuality status that is prevalent in the current patriarchal system. The oppression faced by the lesbian, gay, and bisexual community comes out of the societal views points attributed to the nuclear family in a capitalist society. Social actions by the oppressed groups like the 1970s Gay Liberation movement have come about in order to evoke change for the oppressed groups. While progress has been made there is still a lot of discrimination and inequality faced by the oppressed groups.

“Institutional Oppression occurs when established laws, customs, and practices systemically reflect and produce inequities based on one’s membership in targeted social identity groups. If oppressive consequences accrue to institutional laws, customs, or practices, the institution is oppressive whether or not the individuals maintaining those practices have oppressive intentions.”[15]

Institutionalized oppression allows for government systems and its employees to systematically favor specific groups of people based upon group identity. Dating back to colonization, the United States implemented the institution of slavery where African Americans were brought to the United States to be a source of free labor to expand the cotton and tobacco industry.[16] Implementing these systems by the United States government was justified through religious grounding where servants [were] bought and established as inheritable property.[16]

Although the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth amendments freed African Americans, gave them citizenship, and provided them the right to vote, institutions such as police departments continue to instill oppressive systems against minorities. Police departments train their officers to profile individuals based upon their racial heritage and exert excess force in order to restrain them. Racial profiling and police brutality are employed to control a population thought to be undesirable, undeserving, and under punished by established law.[17] In both situations, police officers rely on legal authority to exonerate their extralegal use of force; both respond to perceived threats and fears aroused by out-groups, especially but not exclusively racial minorities.[17] For example, blacks are: approximately four times more likely to be targeted for police use of force than their white counterparts; arrested and convicted for drug-related criminal activities at higher rates than their overall representation in the U.S. population; and are more likely to fear unlawful and harsh treatment by law enforcement officials.[16] The International Association of Chiefs of Police collected data from police departments between the years 1995 and 2000 and found that 83% of incidents involving use-of-force against subjects of different races than the officer executing force involved a white officer and a black subject.[16]

Institutionalized oppression is not only experienced by people of racial minorities, but also affects those of the LGBT community. Oppression of the LGBT community in the United States dates back to President Eisenhowers presidency where he passed the Executive Order No. 10450 in April 1953 which permitted non-binary sexual behaviors to be investigated by federal security programs.[18] As a response to this order, More than 800 federal employees resigned or were terminated in the two years following because their files linked them in some way with homosexuality.[18]

Oppression of the LGBT community continues today through religious systems and their justifications of discrimination based upon their own religious freedom. States such as Arizona and Kansas passed laws in 2014 giving religious-based businesses the right to refuse service to LGBT customers.[19] The proposal of Employment Non-Discrimination Act (EDNA) offers full protection of LGBT workers from job discrimination; however, the act does not offer protection against religious-based corporations and businesses, ultimately allowing the LGBT community to be discriminated against in environments such as churches and religious-based hospitals.[19] The LGBT community is further oppressed by the United States government with the passage of the First-Amendment Defense Act which states, Protecting religious freedom from Government intrusion is a Government interest of the highest order.[20] This act essentially allows for institutions of any kindschools, businesses, hospitalsto deny service to people based upon their sexuality because it goes against a religious belief.

The term economic oppression changes in meaning and significance over time, depending on its contextual application. In todays context, economic oppression may take several forms, including but not limited to: the practice of bonded labour in some parts of India, serfdom, forced labour, low wages, denial of equal opportunity, practicing employment discrimination, and economic discrimination based on sex, nationality, race, and religion.[21]

Ann Cudd describes the main forces of economic oppression as oppressive economic systems and direct and indirect forces. Even though capitalism and socialism are not inherently oppressive, they lend themselves to oppression in characteristic ways.”[22] She defines direct forces of economic oppression as restrictions on opportunities that are applied from the outside on the oppressed, including enslavement, segregation, employment discrimination, group-based harassment, opportunity inequality, neocolonialism, and governmental corruption. This allows for a dominant social group to maintain and maximize its wealth through the intentional exploitation of economically inferior subordinates. In indirect forces (also known as oppression by choice), the oppressed are co-opted into making individual choices that add to their own oppression. The oppressed are faced with the decision of choosing to go against their social good, and even against their own good. If they choose otherwise, they have to choose against their interests, which may lead to resentment.[22]

An example of direct forces of economic oppression is employment discrimination in the form of the gender pay gap. Restrictions on women’s access to and participation in the workforce like the wage gap is an inequality most identified with industrialized nations with nominal equal opportunity laws; legal and cultural restrictions on access to education and jobs, inequities most identified with developing nations; and unequal access to capital, variable but identified as a difficulty in both industrialized and developing nations.[23] In the United States, the median weekly earnings for women were 82 percent of the median weekly earnings for men in 2016.[24] Some argue women are prevented from achieving complete gender equality in the workplace because of the ideal-worker norm, which defines the committed worker as someone who works full-time and full force for forty years straight, a situation designed for the male sex.[23] Women, in contrast, are still expected to fulfill the caretaker role and take time off for domestic needs such as pregnancy and ill family members, preventing them from conforming to the ideal-worker norm. With the current norm in place, women are forced to juggle full-time jobs and family care at home.[25] Others believe that this difference in wage earnings is likely due to the supply and demand for women in the market because of family obligations.[26] Eber and Weichselbaumer argue that over time, raw wage differentials worldwide have fallen substantially. Most of this decrease is due to better labor market endowments of females.”[27]

Indirect economic oppression is exemplified when workers perform labor abroad to support their families. For outsourced employees, working abroad gives them little to no bargaining power with not only their employers but with immigration authorities. They could be forced to accept low wages and work in poor living conditions. And by working abroad, outsourced employees contribute to the industry of foreign countries instead of their own. Veltman and Piper describe the effects of outsourcing on female laborers abroad:

By deciding to work abroad, laborers are reinforcing the forces of economic oppression that presented them with such poor options.”[22]

Resistance to oppression has been linked to a moral obligation, an act deemed necessary for the preservation of self and society.[29] Still, resistance to oppression has been largely overlooked in terms of the amount of research and number of studies completed on the topic, and therefore, is often largely misinterpreted as lawlessness, belligerence, envy, or laziness.”[30] Over the last two centuries, resistance movements have risen that specifically aim to oppose, analyze, and counter various types of oppression, as well as to increase public awareness and support of groups who have been marginalized and disadvantaged by systematic oppression. Late 20th century resistance movements such as Liberation Theology and Anarchism set the stage for mass critiques of and resistance to forms of social and institutionalized oppression that have been subtly enforced and reinforced over time. Resistance movements of the 21st century have furthered the missions of activists across the world, and movements such as Liberalism, Black Lives Matter (related: Blue Lives Matter, All Lives Matter) and Feminism (related: Meninism) are some of the most prominent examples of resistance to oppression today.

Liberalism represents a relatively inclusive political philosophy and worldview, and a growing opposition to more conservative perspectives. Classical liberal ideologies consist of political decentralization, separation of church and state, freedom of immigration, cultural and religious tolerance, and the privatization of education systems.[31] Liberalisms main tenets are liberty, equality, and tolerance, which, in many ways, laid the foundation for movements against oppression. Now, Liberalism is much more than a political ideology; it is a personal outlook on life, encouraging the widespread progression toward social, political, and cultural equality before the law.

Black Lives Matter is a politically charged activist movement that has taken hold in many countries across the world. The Black Lives Matter movement is a later iteration of the black liberation movement, which can be largely traced back to the extensive beating of Rodney King, an African-American taxi driver, by the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) on March 3, 1991. This incident, videotaped by a conveniently located observer (George Holliday), resulted in the raised awareness of unjust police brutality against African American individuals, and began the era of modern surveillance by civilians, as well as the intersection of videotaping and resistance to police abuse.[32] The Black Lives Matter movement was formally reignited by the murder of Trayvon Martin in March 2012. After Martin was fatally shot by George Zimmerman, who was initially found to be innocent of manslaughter, activists took to the street in defense of Martins name, as well as in defense of African-Americans who have been systematically oppressed and abused by law enforcement. Today, the Black Lives Matter movement demands an end to the disproportionate killing of black people by law-enforcement…and seeks to root out white supremacy wherever it lives.[33] Efforts have been made in the form of protest, the seeking of updated local and state legislation, and even social media hashtags. As Black Lives Matter spread across the world, people reacted in one of two ways: they either met the movement with resistance, as exemplified by the origination of the Blue Lives Matter and All Lives Matter movements, or they acknowledged and recognized the movements goals and initiatives, as well as how the mistreatment of African-Americans permeated society in a number of ways. Due to the nature of oppression, resistance movements often incorporate intersectionality, and the Black Lives Matter movement in particular is no exception. Its widespread recognition and advancement has proved beneficial to the advancement of other social justice movements, namely Feminism, through the empowerment and activism of Black feminists.[34]

Although a relatively modern form of resistance, Feminisms origins can be traced back to the events leading up to the introduction of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) in 1923. While the ERA was created to address the need for equal protection under the law between men and women in the workplace, it spurred increased feminism that has come to represent the search for equal opportunity and respect for women in patriarchal societies, across all social, cultural, and political spheres.[35] Demonstrations and marches have been a popular medium of support, with the January 21, 2017 Womens Marchs replication in major cities across the world drawing tens of thousands of supporters.[36] Feminists main talking points consist of womens reproductive rights, the closing of the pay gap between men and women, the Glass Ceiling and workplace discrimination, and the intersectionality of Feminism with other major issues such as African-American rights, immigration freedoms, and gun violence. Another popular movement has arisen which initially undermined the efforts of feminist thinkers, known as Meninism. However, the Meninisms initial mockery of Feminism has become a channel through which to voice concerns about the equally unrealistic standards that men are held to in modern society.[37]

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Oppression – Wikipedia

Government Oppression | Prometheism.net – Part 32

Right and Left, Protection, Oppression, and Liberty are all directly interrelated, and are in turn a function of what can be termed Government Intervention, or more simply, How Much Government.

The traditional Right-Wing government allows people the rich and powerful to impose upon others by providing insufficient protection through insufficient Intervention.

Left-Wing government allows government to impose upon people beyond simple protection, thus creating a condition of oppression through excessive Intervention.

The degree of Government Intervention also affects liberty. If protection and government intervention is insufficient, people are able to impose upon one another, so the overall liberty is not maximized. On the other hand, excessive government intervention results in oppression, thus once again, the overall liberty is not maximized.

The amount of government intervention required to maximize liberty and to provide full protection for all citizens from imposition without creating oppression can be defined with the utmost accuracy.

Throughout most of our political history government has pursued a policy of laisser-faire or minimal intervention in the affairs of society, thus permitting those with superior forces of personality, intelligence and wealth to increase their well-being by diminishing that of others.

Insufficient government intervention permits citizens to harm and exploit one another. That is the essence of Right Wing Conservatism. Under this regime freedom is increased for the stronger elements of society but decreased for the weaker members; hence the overall liberty is not maximized.

The Socialist reaction gave government, or the State, considerably greater powers of intervention designed to help the poor by preventing exploitation and readjusting the balance of wealth.

But excessive government initiates exploitation and oppression by the State. That is the essence of Left Wing Socialism. Under this regime liberty is increased by government protection, but it is then decreased as government goes beyond the point of protection and creates interference, leading to oppression. Again, liberty is not maximized.

Liberty is maximized when government offers full protection, but without moving into oppression.

It thus becomes clear that the significant factor in government policy, and the liberty it produces, is the Degree of Government Intervention.

The Government Intervention Scale

The Degree of Government Intervention can be shown as a simple straight-line scale, calibrated from Zero to One Hundred Percent.

Let us first establish the two extremes at each end of the scale.

At one end of the Scale we have Zero Percent Government Intervention, which means that government quite simply does nothing at all. Government is to all intents and purposes non-existent. The result is anarchy in its pure sense of being without leader, (an arkhos in Greek). In this condition everyone is free to do whatever they like; but this also includes the freedom to limit or eliminate the freedom of others. Liberty, in the sense of a disciplined freedom resulting in a safe and ordered society, could not be said to exist under this regime.

At the other end of the Scale we have One Hundred Percent Government Intervention. Here we find total government control over every aspect of life. This is the kind of environment visualized by authors such as Huxley and Orwell, who attempted to highlight the dangers of allowing government to become oppressive. Here we find ourselves in the sinister world of Total Control, of citizens directed in their every move and every thought by an ever-watchful Big Brother. Clearly, liberty does not thrive here either.

Fortunately most of us experience neither anarchy in the sense of zero government, nor the total oppression of one hundred percent government. But these two positions provide clear end-points as reference positions.

While there is little current example of zero government, many of the ex-socialist-bloc countries swung over to the opposite extreme in the confusion following perestroika, with a low degree of practical government resulting in black markets, widespread corruption, and the control of production and commerce in the cities moving from the State into the hands of Mafia-style gangs. It might still appear to the citizens of Russias major cities that Government Intervention is almost at Zero, a condition which to many may seem infinitely worse than the old Communist days, the memory softened now by time.

More familiar to Western countries is the Low Degree of, say, a nominal 25% Government Intervention. This is represented by the term Laisser-faire, meaning literally let people get on with it.

Low Intervention, or Laisser-faire

The first exponent of Laisser-faire was Francis Quesnay, physician to Louis XV, who came to the conclusion that government was a necessary evil which should interfere as little as possible with individual freedom.

The pioneering thought of Quesnay was developed into one of the most powerful doctrines in the history of ideas by Adam Smith, Professor of Moral Philosophy at the University of Glasgow, whose work The Wealth of Nations (published in 1776) became the gospel of the system of national liberty for the next century in western political and economic thought.

Familiar with the works of Quesnay, Smith built a more solid basis for his attack on government, updated now to reflect the shift of emphasis from land to industry which was concurrently unfolding.

Smith held that the source of a nations wealth is labor. The increase in a nations wealth therefore depends on making labor more efficient, which in turn is achieved by enhancing the investment of capital, developing specialization and mass production, and promoting the free flow of goods and materials in international trade.

To give full play to this complicated but natural and vital operation, the whole process must remain free from artificial restrictions of government.

This thesis was undoubtedly proposed as a constructive scientific-economic blueprint for the general growth, welfare and benefit of society as a whole, and in theory at least it is difficult to argue against it.

But in production and commerce, as in all aspects of inter-human relationships, there is always opportunity for infringement of liberty, for some to gain through others loss.

And as the industrial revolution unfolded it would become clear that infringement of liberty in industry could be taken to, and indeed well beyond, levels which were unacceptable to anyone with knowledge and a modicum of social conscience.

Though Adam Smith saw benefit for all, in practice it would be the 19th century owners of capital, production equipment and factory premises who would benefit, to the detriment and impoverishment of those in the weaker position: their employees, the ex-hand-weavers now displaced by machines and clamoring for work at any price to ward off starvation. Women and children were paid a meager wage for long hours of concentrated work tending the machines which were dangerous, unguarded, and caused frequent accidents for which there was neither care nor compensation.

And the law was predictably slow to act in their defense. The bankers, investors and industrialists, being either in power or influential in the formulation of government policy, naturally supported a system which gave them a free rein to take advantage of their superior position. Laisser-faire for them was every bit as rewarding as Adam Smith had promised.

But at the same time it was becoming clear to reformers both in and out of government that while accepting the basic doctrine of liberty, an increase in government intervention was necessary to protect workers and improve their lot.

The movement for reform by legislation in England began with the Factory Acts which between 1833 and 1845 succeeded in limiting the work of children under eleven years of age to nine hours a day and of women to twelve hours. These Acts prohibited the employment of children in mines, and for the first time provided general rules for the health and safety of all workers.

So it was that Government Intervention began steadily to increase, with the justifiable aim of eliminating some of the more blatant opportunities for citizen to infringe the liberties of fellow citizen.

But the pace of reform was too slow for the newly awakening, increasingly organized and motivated working classes. And the pendulum of Government Intervention was to swing over to the other extreme: to socialism and communism, which represented a much higher degree of Intervention than most reformers would ever have visualized.

High Intervention, or Socialism/Communism

Under Socialism and Communism we enter the higher realms of Government Intervention, say a nominal 75%, where an increase in the power of government and the State is actively pursued.

Place everything in the hands of the State, the Socialists urged, and the State will take good care of us all.

Set against the Victorian backdrop of widespread poverty, ignorance, ill-health and malnutrition, coupled with a concurrently growing sense of conscience and the need for reform, socialism appeared to offer the answer. Only a few there were who could foresee the implications of high and ever-increasing State control.

One such visionary was British author Herbert Spencer, who wrote, back in 1884:

There is an increasing tendency for administrative compulsion and restraints. The increasing power of the State is accompanied by a decreasing power of the rest of society to resist its further growth and control.

The multiplication of careers opened by a developing bureaucracy tempts members of the classes who regulate it to favor its extension, as adding to the chances of safe and respectable employment for their relatives.

The people at large, led to look on benefits received through public agencies as gratis benefits, have their hopes continually excited by the prospects of more.

Thus, influences of various kinds conspire to increase State action, and decrease individual action. The numerous socialistic changes already made by Act of parliament, joined with the numerous others about to be made, will soon be all merged in State-socialism, swallowed in the vast wave which they have little by little raised.

Spencers words have proved prophetically correct in the light, not only of State oppression in the former Soviet Union and its satellite socialist countries, but also in the light of attitudes, demands for social programs, high taxes and budget deficits in the West.

Nations and their governments have thus far succeeded in creating and experiencing two kinds of political environment: enslavement of man by man, and government oppression. Enslavement of man by man, resulting in slavery, feudalism and industrial poverty, gave way at the turn of the 20th century to socialism and communism, which tended to create government oppression a reduction in personal liberties combined with the secrecy, arrogance and lack of financial discipline so familiar today.

The two conditions or policies of laisser-faire and socialism, Right and Left, and their relationship with Government Intervention, may be simply summarized.

Enslavement, exploitation and imposition exercised by citizens over fellow citizens result from a Low Degree of Government Intervention, or Laisser-faire, which permits Imposition by citizens upon one another.

Oppression, government intrusion, State takeover of business, or Socialism-Communism, result from a High Degree of Government Intervention, which creates Imposition by Government.

Where do we find Maximum Liberty?

Liberty is certainly not maximized at Zero Percent Government Intervention. At Zero Percent Intervention there is no government or legal protection of liberty whatsoever. This is anarchy. Many examples of this can be seen at the present time in the countries of central Africa and even, to a lesser extent, in some of the ex-Soviet states.

As we move away from this condition of lawlessness, proceeding up the Intervention Scale, a gradual increase in Government Intervention provides basic law, order and personal safety, followed as we progress farther up the scale by more sophisticated forms of protection such as consumer, employee and environmental protection.

How far should we continue to increase Government Intervention?

The Right-wing definition of Liberty as minimum Government Intervention has always been a powerful argument, enhanced today in the light of both the experience and the demise of Soviet socialism. Just as innocence until proved guilty, or Presumption of Innocence, is a cornerstone of the English judicial tradition, so too does the Anglo-American concept of law recognize what may be called the Presumption of Liberty, the concept that we should all be free unless there is a very good reason for the law to limit that freedom.

And what constitutes a very good reason for the law to limit freedom? Another very old-established precept of English Common Law provides an answer: it is entirely reasonable for the law to limit or to forbid an action if that action is harmful to others.

Bearing this principle in mind, we continue to increase Government Intervention gradually until we reach the point at which there is sufficient Government Intervention to ensure full protection of each and every individuals liberty from infringement by others in any way. We reach the point where Government Intervention is sufficient to ensure that there is no opportunity for any individual to impose upon, exploit, harm or in any way infringe the liberty of any others.

We have in fact reached the halfway mark on the Scale, represented by 50% Government Intervention.

Under a regime of 50% Government Intervention there would be no opportunity whatsoever for one individual or class or group to harm or enslave or to infringe the liberty of any others.

At this point we have achieved one side of liberty. As we make the final move from 49% to the 50% mark, we have succeeded in eliminating all infringement of liberty by defending the citizen against any and all forms of injury or imposition by other citizens.

But now we must guard against going any further, which would lead us into oppression.

We have already defined the 50% mark as being the precise degree of Government Intervention necessary to prevent any and all infringements of liberty between citizens. So if we increase Intervention any further government can only begin producing laws which are not strictly in the protection of liberty, and are therefore intrusive and ultimately oppressive.

As Government Intervention increases beyond 50% a progressive reduction of Liberty immediately begins. Governments are frequently tempted to make laws regulating personal private conduct for our own good. There may be evidence to show that seatbelts save lives; but when government legislates their use for our own personal protection it is taking the first step down the road to oppression.

At 50% Intervention, government must protect employees and consumers from commercial irresponsibility. But when government takes upon itself all commerce and industry it is denying individuals the exercise of their natural enterprise and initiative. Apart from the reduction of commercial liberty, this also has disastrous effects on national prosperity, a fact which became the major cause of the collapse of Soviet socialism in 1990.

The degree of Government Intervention which will produce Maximum Liberty can be clearly and precisely established:

Under a policy of 50% Intervention, government prevents individuals from imposing their will and judgments upon one another, but initiates no further imposition.

50% Government Intervention neither permits nor creates Infringement of Liberty. Government intervenes promptly when, but only when the law is required to protect a clearly identifiable infringement of liberty.

If there is any opportunity for any citizen to infringe the liberty of any other citizen, if any citizen suffers infringement of liberty to any degree or in any way at the hands of any other citizen, then Government is exercising not 50%, but 49% or some lower degree of Intervention.

Government is permitting a degree of injury and exploitation, of self-enhancement at the expense of others.

On the other hand, if Government issues any law, order or directive which is not clearly and solely in defense of an identifiable liberty from imposition by others, then Government is exercising not 50%, but 51% or some higher degree of Intervention.

Government is initiating some degree of State oppression.

The ability to define the seemingly diverse elements and options of Right and Left, Laisser-faire and Socialism-Communism, of Protection and Oppression on the single common scale of Government Intervention allows us also to define the related degrees of Liberty.

Liberty is maximized when the degree of Government Intervention is 50%: no less, and no more.

At 50% Intervention there is no Infringement of Liberty either by citizen, or by the State; there is neither Exploitation nor Oppression; the general Liberty is maximized.

The Degree of Government Intervention necessary to maximize liberty can thus be identified with a precision which any citizen can readily comprehend, and when necessary, defend.

A government basing its day-to-day legislation on such a clearly definable policy would lose the ability, presently enjoyed by governments of any shade of opinion to act arbitrarily. Government would be operating under such a precisely defined policy that it would become an interpreter of policy, rather than an originator of arbitrary law. This would radically alter the legislative process and the relationship between government and citizen. Government functionaries and departments become answerable to a Principle, their actions easily verifiable by any alert citizen. Citizens are governed, neither by dictator nor majority, but by a Principle which guarantees maximum protection, minimal or zero oppression, and maximum overall liberty.

The Principle of Liberty offers a new direction in politics, based on universality not class interest. DOWNLOAD THE BOOK

If any man, any woman, acquires or is granted power over any other or others, this will not may, but most surely and certainly will lead to abuse, misuse and corruption.

The only Power that is competent and can be trusted to regulate the affairs of community and society is the Power of Principle, the Principle that in the pursuit of self-improvement and the exercise of liberty, no-one should injure or exploit others.

This Principle of Liberty is neutral and impersonal. It is a shield, protecting from injury, preventing injury.

Legislators hold no arbitrary or discretionary power. They are simply Interpreters, applying the Principle in terms of everyday events and actions. The process of Interpretation is clearly delineated and circumscribed. If there is Injury, there must be Protection. If there is no Injury, then there is neither cause nor justification for the interference of law.

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Protection, Oppression, and Liberty: How Much Government?

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Government Oppression | Prometheism.net – Part 32

Thinking Constitutionally About Charlottesville – HuffPost

Violence: Throwing a bomb through the window of an abortion clinic certainly expresses an opinion, but is not protected by the First Amendment. No brainer.

Imminent violence:A lynch mob marching toward a jail, torches and noose in hand, chanting, to seize a suspect, is certainly expressing an opinion, but the march can be curbed before it reaches the suspect without violating the First Amendment.

Fear of violence:Anti-war protesters marching peacefully, if provocatively, through a city street have a First Amendment right to do so, and cannot be curbed because of a fear that others offended by their speech might attack them or because of a fear that counter-demonstrators will lead to violence between the two groups. That fear cannot constitutionally justify a government ban of the demonstration.

Instead, it is the responsibility of the police to protect the demonstrators against violence, not use the fear of violence to ban the demonstration.

And if there is a likelihood of violence between demonstrators and counterdemonstrators, the police must take reasonable steps toward keeping them apart. As the noted civil rights lawyer Norman Siegel, himself a veteran of many such cases, recently wrote:

To prevent violence, local and state police, and if necessary, the National Guard, need to be trained to separate hostile groups. If need be, you separate them with police officers standing between them or creating First Amendment zones (with wooden or metal barriers if necessary) for each group.

But in Charlottesville, he concluded, video footage and reported personal observations reveal that the lesson of separation was not adhered to adequately.

In the Declaration of Independence, the founders of this country announced a then-new purpose of government: to protect the rights of citizens. To secure these rights, the Declaration said, is the reason why governments are instituted… In Charlottesville, the government failed to secure those rights.

In Charlottesville, however, there was one more highly volatile circumstance: one side in the dispute was ostentatiously armed, carrying dangerous and intimidating weapons. Should that make a difference in how and whether free speech rights are protected?

In a curious step-back from its traditional defense of free speech rights, the ACLU national office has now announced that it may no longer defend the free speech rights of people who carry guns to a demonstration. This is a curious announcement, in part because there is no pending request for such representation, and in part because the death and injuries in Charlottesville were causednot by a gun being fired but by an automobile driven murderouslyinto the crowd of anti-racist demonstrators. And this murderous act was likely enabled in part by the failure of the police to create barriers. Will the ACLU now not defend the free speech rights of people who drive their cars to demonstrations? Or take steps to require the police to be more protective in volatile situations?

But more importantly, the ACLUs announcement is a serious step-back from theBrandenburgstandard, which for nearly a half-century has delivered precisely the sort of free-speech protection the ACLU has sought for its entire history. Are we now to go back to fear of violence as a legitimate justification for allowing the government to prohibit speech it doesnt like?

Because guns are not the only source of violence, and once fear of guns can justify speech restrictions, what other fears will? Fear of cars? Fear of clubs? Fear of knives? Fear of fists? Has the ACLU Board changed its longstanding policy, or was this an impromptu reaction by the staff unable to resist the hostility its free speech cases often provoke? (And maybe concerned about losing donors.)

Moreover, carrying guns as a show of force, is not unprecedented. The Black Panthers did it in the 60s, without the ACLU as I recall ever issuing a pre-emptive statement saying it would never represent them on First Amendment grounds if they carried guns. Carrying guns is threatening, but carrying guns does not necessarily imply using them. Again, the weapon of death in Charlottesville turned out to be a car, not a gun. And people who did not drive that car, regardless of what they carried, cannot be judged to have been responsible for that death.

What can be, and should be, constitutionally curbed is imminent violence, not the fear of violence that leaves the government free to speculate. Which brings us to the second Supreme Court case worth thinking about in this context, a case calledHeller, decided in 2008.

Until theHellerdecision, the Second Amendment had always been held not to confer anindividualright but rather to protect the right ofstatesto raise and maintain state militias as a protection against federal government oppression. Individuals had constitutional rights to own and possess arms only in that context. That is in my view unquestionably right historically. But in 2008, inHeller, Justice Antonin Scalia, the oracle of original intent, abandoned and twisted it to lead the Court to a 5-4 decision, which held for the first time that the Second Amendment conferred a right to bear arms upon individuals,even if not affiliated with any state-regulated militia.

And although the case only ruled that there was a constitutional right of individuals to keep handguns and other firearms for private usein their own homes,theHellerdecision has encouraged the spread of open carry outside the home.

I believeHellerhas no more validity than theDred Scottdecision, which denied all rights to blacks, did in 1857, or theBradwelldecision, which denied the rights of women to practice law, did in 1873. But we are stuck with it for now as those alive in 1857 and 1873 were for a time stuck with theDred ScottandBradwelldecisions. But that doesnt mean we have to agree withHeller, nor does it necessarily mean that a law reasonably regulating open carry would not be upheld by the Supreme Court, even underHeller.

So to summarize:

1. I do not recall the ACLU, back in the 60s, taking the position that the mere brandishing of guns by Black Panthers, without more, disqualified them from being represented by the ACLU in otherwise legitimate free speech cases. So why now, other than different political sympathies? Whats the content-neutral legal principle here?

2. Violence can obviously be curbed. No-brainer. So can imminent violence under the Supreme CourtsBrandenburgdecision. But just brandishing weapons, without more, is not violence any more than hanging someone in effigy is a real hanging. I believe open carry can and should be legally restrained, and not only in the context of First Amendment activity. But once courts allow thefearof violence, without more, to curb expression, it is a very slippery slope.

In 1969, Quaker students in Iowa were prevented from wearing black armbands to protest the war in Vietnam because school principals believed they would provoke or lead to violence. That was upheld until the Supreme Court struck it down, ruling that fear of violence, without more, was not enough. I know armbands are not guns, but fear of violence is not violence, either.

3. As Norman Siegel wrote, it is always the responsibility of the government, utilizing local police or the national guard, to protect peaceful protesters when they are threatened by thugs, whether the thugs have guns or not. That was what the government should have done when the Freedom Riders protesting segregated busing were assaulted by white mobs in the South in 1961, and when civil rights activists marching across the Selma bridge in 1965

were assaulted instead of protected by law enforcement officials, and when anti-war demonstrators were assaulted by hard-hats in NYC in 1970, while the police stood aside.

To secure these rights, the Declaration of Independence announced, is why governments are instituted. If that is to be taken seriously, then the police must be obligated to protect demonstrators, not repress them, especially in volatile situations.

4. And finally: What happened in Charlottesville was not the fault of protesters who did not engage in violence. It was the fault of those who became violent, and the fault of the government that did not adequately prepare for and protect against that possibility.

Let us not allow constitutional standards we fought to establish for so long, and which protect all of our rights to free speech, become an unintended casualty of what happened in Charlottesville. Because the erosion of free speech rights would be a victory for those who oppose liberty and equality.

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Thinking Constitutionally About Charlottesville – HuffPost

Robert E. Lee Was The Richard Spencer Of His Time – HuffPost

I am no different than most Americans. I was taught what most Americans are taught about the Civil War and about its heroes. I was taught to believe that there were heroes on both sides of the Civil War. Chief among those heroes were men like General Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, and Stonewall Jackson, who we were taught were great, valiant, and noble men who served honorably in a difficult time. They were honorable gentlemen who just happened to disagree on the issues. Yes, the main issue at question was the nations peculiar institution of slavery, but for men like Lee it was largely an issue of federalism and states rights. They were so venerated in my high school textbooks that I might have almost inferred that if I were in their shoes, I would have similarly fought, and similarly acted as a matter of conscience.

And you know what? Maybe, just maybe, if my grandparents and parents had not been sharecroppers on cotton plantations in Jim Crows South Carolina and Georgia, I would have been tempted to believe this whitewashed and perverted version of history. Or maybe if I didnt witness firsthand the aftermath of Nixons and then Reagans attempt to galvanize and then weaponize the same racial fears of white people into a Southern Strategy and a so-called War on Drugs, I would have been sympathetic to these arguments. Maybe, just maybe if my high school AP History teacher didnt show us how D.W. Griffiths racist propaganda film, Birth of a Nation, gave rise to the KKK throughout the country and was endorsed by President Woodrow Wilson during the exact time frame in which most Confederate monuments were erected, perhaps I would have believed what they wanted me to believe about the Civil War. But I knew better.

Of course, my history books wanted me to believe that Robert E. Lee was a complicated saint of a man who was forced to lead the Confederate army for the sake of his beloved Virginia. Yet what was Virginias stated reason for secession?

In its ordinance of secession, the state of Virginia argued that they seceded because the Federal Government, having perverted said powers, not only to the injury of the people of Virginia, but to the oppression of the Southern Slaveholding States. Thats right. You read that correctly. Virginia and the ten other states who literally kidnapped, sold, bred, and enslaved humans charged that they were being oppressed by the federal government to end their barbarous enterprise. And white folks across America have tried to argue that the dismantling of the idolatry of white supremacy is their oppression ever since. As has been stated eloquently by others, when you have only known a brutal and barbaric power, even equality feels like oppression.

So no. Robert E. Lee was no gentleman. Robert E. Lee was no hero. As far as Im concerned, Robert E Lee was the Richard Spencer of his time. Like Richard Spencer, he was educated at the finest schools, clean cut and polished. Like Richard Spencer, he perceived of himself to be a noble, honorable man. Like Richard Spencer, he bought into a narrative that he was somehow a champion against white oppression and victimization.

How did this gentleman, Robert E. Lee, behave, when the humans he owned tried to pursue their God-given right to freedom? This gentleman had them beat like cattle or whipped them himself, as The Atlantic recently reported. And when faced with the possibility of serving alongside his West Point classmates who sided with the Union or fighting to defend white supremacy, this gentleman led an insurrection against his homeland leading to the death of over 600,000 people, the bloodiest single war ever on our soil. And what did gentlemen like Robert E. Lee lead men into bloody battle to defend? White supremacy, plain and simple.

Yet today we have a president who on a Monday condemns white supremacy while reading scripted remarks, then condemns both sides when a neo-Nazi claims the life of Heather Heyer. By Friday though, he laments the removal of beautiful statues and monuments dedicated to those who died to defend white supremacy. Then of course today he announces that he will send 4,000 more troops to Afghanistan,hoping that we will all just forget about it and move on.

Yet moving on, is precisely how we got here. Moving on is how 81 percent of evangelical Christians voted for a man who has brought out the very worst of this countrys demons of racism, sexism, ableism, xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia and protectionism. Moving on is precisely how it is 2017 and we are still living with the very real threat of white supremacist fueled domestic terrorism in America. Moving on is precisely how we have managed to sanitize, normalize, and ritualize the legacy of white supremacy in our city squares and on a college campus in Charlottesville. Each time we tell ourselves to move on we turn a blind eye to the reality not only of our countrys racist past but to its racist and monstrous present. We lie to ourselves to suggest otherwise.

Its time for us to finally face the truth in our country. Only through confronting difficult truths can we hear the cries of our neighbors for justice, truly repent, and chart a way forward to redress the iniquities of our past and present. Richard Spencer and his clean cut, khaki band of white supremacists impersonating real gentlemen may be the tiki torch bearers of racial hatred today. However, the truth is that they carry a torch that was passed on to them by the clean cut gentlemen of a stubbornly persistent era of our nations gruesome past. They gathered at that monument of Robert E. Lee to remind us all that Robert E. Lee was the Richard Spencer of his time.

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Robert E. Lee Was The Richard Spencer Of His Time – HuffPost

Why ESPN and Robert Lee are right – Lincoln Journal Star

In the testosterone-laced world of sports, sometimes your name means everything. Think not? I’ve seen men beaten by mobs just for having the gall to scream out “let’s go Cowboys” at an Eagles game. Think of all the racial epithets we’ve heard, of how one football player, Colin Kaepernick, silently taking a knee during the national anthem in personal protest of injustice in America has divided the nation.

We want to pretend that sports are a safe sanctuary from the world’s ugly problems, but that has always been a farce. Truth is, not even the glorious game of football can keep America’s toxic culture of bigotry, hate and violence at bay. It’s just too heavy a burden.

So imagine if you’re scheduled to be the announcer for ESPN’s livestream of the University of Virginia’s season-opener football game against William and Mary in a few weeks and your name is Robert Lee. But you have watched, along with the world, as thousands of torch-wielding, white supremacists screaming hate-filled chants marched around the UVA campus and rallied all their hate at the foot of a statue bearing your name: Robert Lee. A monument the city had voted to remove under state objections. Well, it’s not unreasonable, even though you are Asian-American, that you and your employer may have some concerns.

“This wasn’t about offending anyone. It was about the reasonable possibility that because of his name he would be subjected to memes and jokes and who knows what else. Think about it. Robert Lee comes to town to do a game in Charlottesville,” ESPN said in a statement that was tweeted late Tuesday night. “No politically correct efforts. No race issues. Just trying to be supportive of a young guy who felt it best to avoid the potential zoo.” It was a mutual decision, the network says, to switch Lee to the Youngstown State versus Pittsburgh game that same day.

Nope, not unreasonable at all. Not in today’s America. Not when we just witnessed heavily armed, swastika-wearing protesters who believe in white supremacy clashing in the streets with counterprotesters, who believed just as passionately that all people are created equal. Not when one woman is dead and dozens more injured because they had the audacity to stand up to the failed notion of white supremacy. Not when a statue, or a team name, or a presidential tweet can incite racial tensions and violence.

No matter that Robert Lee is Asian-American and his name has nothing to do with the Confederacy or slavery. It seems unreasonable, ignorant and downright ridiculous to associate his name in any way with the Confederate general. Still, nothing we’ve witnessed in Charlottesville, or since, has been reasonable or intelligent.

Nothing we’ve seen in Charlottesville or other cities and towns where these types of protests and counterprotests have sprung up could be called reasonable. It’s disgusting. Killing one another, fighting, chanting Nazi slogans and counterslogans. Still, it continues. We continue.

As racial tensions over police brutality, immigration and other issues have flared over the past several years in our nation, these statues have become lightning rods symbolizing oppression, hate and the whitewashing of history for many of us, myself included. Others insist these monuments, of which there are dozens across the nation, are a symbol of Southern pride, an important part of American history.

The top headlines from JournalStar.com. Delivered at 11 a.m. Monday-Friday.

Right. If that were the case, wouldn’t we also have numerous statues of Malcolm X, Marcus Garvey or Harriet Tubman and countless others who fought for freedom and equality standing proudly outside government buildings, dotting college campuses? Just getting a national monument to Martin Luther King Jr. took decades.

Long before the Charlottesville riots, municipalities had begun to remove these Confederate monuments on public property, citing safety issues. And those efforts have increased since Charlottesville. From Baltimore to Brooklyn to Texas, these statues are toppling amid protest.

While this national conversation continues, ESPN decided to avoid evoking the chaos during a live broadcast. Robert Lee decided he just wanted to do his job, which is to broadcast a livestream of a college football game. As one ESPN executive told me Wednesday:

“Let’s not go to the zoo if we don’t have to go to the zoo.”

Good call. Life is crazy enough already.

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Why ESPN and Robert Lee are right – Lincoln Journal Star

COLUMN: We need to learn from the past – Cody Enterprise

I recently heard a young man, who by coincidence has an incredible amount of influence and power in our government, say we dont need to read books or look at history.

The topic he was discussing when he uttered this statement was Mideast peace. His influence and power is not the result of education or experience; it was granted by virtue of who he married.

Sadly, this statement wasnt a surprise. But, it did get me thinking about history, books and critical thinking, among other things.

I recently attended a high school reunion. During that visit down memory lane I contacted a professor I had during junior college. His specialty was history. He is still living, in relatively good health, and had a wonderful memory and agile intellect at 87 years young.

He told me he remembered me, and proceeded to tell a few tales that I had forgotten but he had remembered. We had a wonderful time catching up and I got the long overdue opportunity to let him know that he had a positive impact on a young student. He opened the door for me to history, how it impacts the present and the future. He influenced where I went to college. He was excellent at imparting the necessity and skills of how and why critical thinking is so important. It really is becoming a lost art.

We continue to face the same issues many civilizations before have navigated, some with success, some with success yet to come. We are privileged to have a plethora of historical experts and data available to show us what happens with dictatorial regimes, nuclear fallout, the oppression of a minority culture, slavery, greed, monarchical governments, oppression, famine, deadly disease outbreaks, prejudice, apathy, fear, military might. We see the many social, economic, religious, military, cultural influences that merge to create a watershed event that upends existing structure. We can study them to understand why and how events and situations coalesce to bring a world to near catastrophe or elevate a world to reach for the moon and the stars.

Caesar, Napolean, the Pharaohs, the houses of the Plantagenents to the Tudors to the Windsors, rise of Nazism and Leninism, end of slavery, Teddy and Franklin D, Lincoln, and other vast historical people and events shaped where we are today. Were living with the social influences of Socrates, Plato, More, Bacon, Hobbes.

We can enjoy the beauty created by Monet , Da Vinci, Bosch, Raphael. Were recipients of the mathematical and exploratory discoveries of Columbus, Cabot, Galilei. Shakespeare can still stir the imagination.

We can try and understand history, but it doesnt mean well learn from it. We know that religious battles, segregation, one group oppressing or discriminating against another rarely ends well in the long run. Yet, these traits and behaviors are alive and well, and unfortunately thriving. We cant help ourselves. Human frailty seems to keep the inherent battles going, even when we know better. We cant seem to get out of our own way.

Some may think history isnt relevant, but isnt amazing how often we repeat it.

Originally posted here:

COLUMN: We need to learn from the past – Cody Enterprise

Reject attempts to restore oppression – Daily Nation

Sunday August 20 2017 In Summary

Attacks on independent voices, intimidation and intolerance are clear signs of a country steadily and systematically sliding towards authoritarianism and dictatorship.

Events of the past week have thrown us back to the dark days of the oppressive Kanu regime and are a notice to Kenyans to keep vigil and guard against a relapse to that era.

The government launched a crackdown on human rights organisations as it sought to deregister the Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) and Africa Centre for Open Governance (Africog).

The two groups have been vocal against governmental excesses and were reportedly keen to file a petition against President Uhuru Kenyattas re-election.

But the States move was met with public outrage, forcing acting Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi to intervene and suspend the clampdown.

On Sunday, human rights activist and lawyer Maina Kiai was detained at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi, en route to the Czech Republic in an apparent continuation of the onslaught on the independent voices.

He had to call Immigration Director Gordon Kihalangwa to intercede to enable him to travel.

Notably, this was just few days after Electoral and Boundaries Commission official Roselyn Akombe was also detained and stopped from travelling to the US and had to seek the assistance of the American embassy before she could be allowed to proceed.

The pattern is worrying and Kenyans have to be alarmed. It is particularly disconcerting that this is happening in this day and age; when the country is operating under a progressive Constitution with an elaborate Bill of Rights.

It took blood and sweat to remove the despotic regime. Many lives were lost, limbs battered and property destroyed.

Those sacrifices were not in vain, and anyone seeking to return us there must be resisted.

Those in authority must live to the reality that times have changed. We abhor and condemn this emerging trend of intolerance and suppression. Attempts to intimidate independent voices to acquiescence are doomed and unacceptable.

Both the National Assembly and the Senate to sit next Thursday.

Electoral commission waiting for National Assembly speaker to declare the seat vacant.

Continued here:

Reject attempts to restore oppression – Daily Nation

Heyl: Pennsylvania Fireworks Law A Total Dud – Patch.com


Patch.com
Heyl: Pennsylvania Fireworks Law A Total Dud
Patch.com
Unfortunately, all Pennsylvanians find themselves in that position thanks to the type of government oppression that led to the day we're about to celebrate. Don't blow up when you hear this, but folks from neighboring states can buy anything they want

and more »

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Heyl: Pennsylvania Fireworks Law A Total Dud – Patch.com

Power Finance Corporation pulled up by NCLT for filing case against Shree Maheshwar Hydel Power Corporation – Financial Express

The judge said in his order that PFC, and other nominee directors, sought protection from the tribunal as they were wary of being prosecuted by government agencies. (Reuters)

State-owned Power Finance Corporation (PFC) has been pulled up by the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) in Ahmedabad for filing a case against Shree Maheshwar Hydel Power Corporation, earlier promoted by Mukul Kasliwal. The judge said in his order that PFC, and other nominee directors, sought protection from the tribunal as they were wary of being prosecuted by government agencies.

The case was filed under section 241-242 of the Companies Act which states that a person can seek relief from the NCLT if affairs of a company have been or are being conducted in a manner prejudicial to public interest or in a manner prejudicial or oppressive to him or any other member or members or in a manner prejudicial to the interests of the company.

On scanning of the prayers it goes to show that there is any amount of apprehension in the mind of PFC and other nominee directors that they will be prosecuted by one or the other agency of the government and therefore they must seek protection of the tribunal which they thought can be achieved by making allegations of oppression and mismanagement against the respondents, the judge wrote in his order. He added that, PFC, in order to escape penal actions under the Companies Act, intends to use this tribunal in the guise of oppression and mismanagement.

It was reported that the government had ordered an inquiry into the project after lenders took management control in January, 2016. The judge said the failure to repay debt or to infuse equity does not amount to acts of oppression. He added that the allegation of siphoning funds is vague and there is no material to substantiate the same. The consortium of lenders led by PFC has invested close to Rs 2,560 crore in the firm in the form of debt and equity. Lenders to the project had issued a loan recall notice dated January 5, 2016, and a notice for invocation of pledge was issued on May 19 the same year.

Maheshwar dam was planned as part of the Narmada Valley Development Project and the Madhya Pradesh State Electricity Board was assigned the responsibility of building the dam in 1989. The Narmada Valley Development Project entails construction of 30 large and 135 medium-sized dams in the Narmada Valley. The estimated project cost has escalated from Rs 1,565 crore in December, 1996 to Rs 4,400 crore in March, 2012.

Subsequently, on May 2, 2015, a report of the high-level committee constituted by the Madhya Pradesh government suggested a couple of possible scenarios to revive the project. Scenario one involved the promoters arranging additional equity of Rs 600 crore and debt of Rs 1,100 crore,while another scenario sought cancellation of the existing power purchasing agreement (PPA).

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Power Finance Corporation pulled up by NCLT for filing case against Shree Maheshwar Hydel Power Corporation – Financial Express

Nigeria: What And How To Restructure By Remi Oyeyemi – SaharaReporters.com

The issue of restructuring this unfortunate country called Nigeria is once again on the front burner. Restructuring remains one of the promises made by the APC and President Mohammadu Buhari that they have refused to fulfill. In fact, at all levels of the APC as an administration and political party, restructuring is being denied.

Before then, former President Goodluck Jonathan organized a National Conference to discuss this issue. The recommendations of the Conference, even though not perfect, has been thrown into the trash by President Buhari and his goons. This ought to have been the starting point to save Nigeria from perdition.

However, many of us seem not to have an understanding of what to restructure. The itemized issues below are not exhaustive in any way. The suggestions also are not written in stone. The bodywork could still be tampered with in terms of details. But the highlighted issues must be dealt with, honestly, sincerely and genuinely to build trust, sense of belonging and save Nigeria, if we all think we still need the country.

THE POLICE – There is urgent need to give control of the police to the localities. The Political Units (PUs) should have their own police side by side with Local Government, City or Township Police Forces. This would make oppression more difficult and reduce abuse of power and usage. It would democratize law enforcement and facilitate citizen involvement. It would also enhance security, effectiveness, and efficiency. The argument of abuse no longer holds water since we are all witnesses to the constant abuse of the police by the unitary Federal Government.

EDUCATION – The Federal Government has no business in formulating and controlling the educational system. The Elementary Education is absolutely for the control of local people to create a social foundation via curricula for their children. Such curricula shall, as agreed to by the locals, be imbued with their desired philosophical world view. Same goes with secondary, high schools or grammar schools.

“Government”, communities and private entities can compete to have universities, colleges, polytechnics and other forms of post-secondary institutions.

I put “government” in quotes because the FEDERAL government should be totally out of business of owing universities, controlling admissions, appointing Chancellors and Vice Chancellors among others. The Federal Government shall not and must not have any scintilla of power or responsibility in determining admission policies or criteria for such in all post-secondary institutions.

It should be made UNLAWFUL and ILLEGAL for FederalGovernment to interfere in the internal affairs of post-secondary institutions of which the most important is admission policies and contents of teaching. The Senate Council of such institutions should be given controls and powers subject to the internal democratic control of members.

HEALTH – All health policies and infrastructure management shall be an exclusive responsibility of the PUs. The Federal Government shall not have any power to interfere in such matters, no matter how remote. Any arm of Federal Government that has Health issues as its concerns, shall be related to the PUs purely on an advisory basis and shall have no power whatsoever to compel any PU against its will.

AGRICULTURE – The Federal Government shall not have any power directly or indirectly to determine agricultural policies in the PUs. This shall be an exclusive responsibility of the locals and their PUs. There shall be no Federal Ministry of Agriculture under any disguise for that matter. It shall be unconstitutional to use the common purse for agricultural development in any PU to the detriment of other PUs.

TRANSPORTATION – There shall no longer be any road within the borders of the PUs designated as FEDERAL ROADS. The PUs shall have the full power to develop it’s road infrastructures without let or hindrance. Airlines, Railways, Waterways, and other forms of transportation shall be the exclusive management and administration of the PUs. The international laws guiding transportation of all genre would be adopted to guide transportation relationship between the PUs.

RESOURCE CONTROL – The political units (PUs) should have total control of its resources of all kinds whether on the ground, under the ground or in the sky. Each PU must be free to determine the exploitation or otherwise of such resources. Each PU should and must be free to enter into local and international agreement on how to manage it’s resources. Such PUs should determine its taxes and rates of importation to as well as exportation from its territory. All the resources must be deployed to the development and progress of the PUs as determined by its people. All the PUs that are constituent units must agree at a percentage of their resources not lower than 2.5 and not greater than 5.00 percent as contributions to the Federal Government. The percentage, when agreed upon must be uniform and not discriminatory.

ECONOMY – The management of the economy of the PUs would follow the same format as in the management of the resources in relation to the Federal Government. Each PU shall determine its own economic policies and have its own CENTRAL BANK to protect it against hostile action by an antagonistic, vindictive, quarrelous and envious Federal Government. Each PU would decide its economic relationship with other PUs or other Nations of the world as well as international bodies.

TAXES – The Federal Government shall not and must not have the power to tax any citizen or PU. A situation where VAT or Value Added Tax on liquor, for example, is taken from Oyo State to support Kano State that hates such is an injustice. The Federal Government shall and must solely depend on the mandatory 5 maximum contribution from the PUs.

TRADE AND COMMERCE – All regulations and rules that govern ethics, practices of commerce and trade shall be jointly put in place by the Federal Government and the PUs. Where there is a conflict of rules, the PUs shall have the final say or superior authority. Each PU shall not need or require the Federal Government’s approval or authority to enter into bi – lateral or multi – lateral trade deals with any country or international bodies in the world. The PU shall have the freedom to determine what is in their best interest and pursue such without let or hindrance.

THE ARMED FORCES – Each PU should and must have as well as total control its armed forces and it’s security apparatuses. Each PU would determine the extent and size of its Army, Navy and Airforce as it deems fit. It shall be able to decide how they are trained and how much is expended on them.

Each PU shall have its own security apparatuses and determines the welfare packages, emoluments, promotions, training of its personnel.

At the Federal level, there would be a Military Advisory Council (MAC) which duties shall remain advisory in capacity. It’s decisions would not be binding except by persuasion. MAC shall advise whether Nigeria can go to war or not. Such advice shall be unanimously accepted and or agreed to through persuasion alone and not by force.

Each PU shall decide its own contribution to the war effort as it deems fit and according to its capacity and resources. A PU may be able to opt out of a war effort if it’s leadership decides so at any point in time.

IMMIGRATION – This shall be a joint responsibility of both the Federal Government and the PUs. Where there is conflict in matters of immigration, the PUs shall have the FINAL SAY as determined by its policies and its leadership. As we have in ECOWAS, free movement within the PUs would be encouraged since it would still be the same country, but with an agreed form of identification to check crimes and protect security concerns.

BORDER CONTROL – This is expected to be under immigration. But I decided to focus on it separately in lieu of our experiences. Each PU shall have the final say on who and how people enter into, move around, work and live within its borders. It shall have the unrestrained power to expel or jail anyone that breaks it’s rules, regulations, and laws.

DIPLOMACY – As we had it after Independence in 1960, each PU shall and MUST have the right to engage in international relations and choose which countries it wants to have embassies and ambassadors.

JUDICIARY – The final arbiter of and for justice shall be within the judicial set up of each PU. Each PU shall design and operate it’s unique judicial system. At the Federal level, all PUs must agree on the structural set up of the National Court to hear cases of dispute among PUs. The structure shall not have the power to interfere in the internal judicial structure of the PUs. Judges on the Federal Courts shall not be permanent and should be on ad hoc or case by case basis. The judges at Federal level shall not earn any remunerations since they would be representing their PUs at such time. They shall not sit on more than one or two cases at most in a lifetime. In a situation of conflict between two PUs, the Federal Court shall hear such case and determine it. But such case must be subject to appeal to International Court and a clause approving this would be enshrined in the new Constitution.

POLITICAL UNITS (PUs) – It is my view that PUs should be determined based on linguistic demarcations and not on artificial regions. There are 376 languages spoken in Nigeria. Some would complain that this would be too many. But it is my view that the distinct characters of all the units be maintained. Where necessary, referendum, under the principle of SELF DETERMINATION could and should be held by any unit to decide which other units they want to be grouped with for purposes of viability. If a country of just 93,000 (Seychelles) can survive, a constituent unit of the same population or less would survive. No PU, no matter how big or small shall have the right, no matter how infinitesimal, no matter how it is defined, to decide the destiny of others as to how and where they are grouped.

To ensure equality of responsibility and opportunity among all constituent units or PUs, the mono – camera National Assembly would have 376 members which would be far fewer than the present size of 469 members in the bi-Camera Assembly. This would mean a representative each from all the linguistic units constituting Nigeria, regardless of size in population or land mass.

The members shall be totally on a Part-time basis and without remunerations. Their membership of this Assembly shall be purely on a patriotic commitment basis. It shall not sit more than 21 days in a row and more than four times in a year. Its enactments shall be purely advisory and subject to review and acceptability by the Assemblies of the PUs.

The internal political structure of each PU shall be its sole responsibility without any interference whatsoever from any outside influence.

HOW TO RESTRUCTURE – The modality of carrying out the restructuring must be based on equality of all constituent units regardless of population size or land mass. This would mean that a CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY of 376 members representing each ethnic nationalities would meet to discuss matters of common interest in relation to the continued existence of Nigeria.In the course of focusing on itemized issues above and others that might come up, they would unwittingly but consciously construct the framework for a new Constitution to be approved back home in the PUs.

Any PU that disapproves or disagrees with the new Constitution should be allowed to reconsider and review it’s decision or be allowed to form its own country. Regardless, the new Constitution must include a clause that allows a referendum in any ethnic nationality that seeks to leave the Union to do so as long as it is the wish of the majority of its citizens.

The operating principles of and for the RESTRUCTURING are and should be self-determination, freedom from oppression, equity, justice, balance, sense of equal belonging and equality in all ramifications. This piece is without any prejudice to my hope, dream, and aspiration for the Odu Nation. This is because any discussion about a country, Nation – State or a Nation is ultimately about a people. The prime motive of and for my agitation for the coming Great Yoruba Nation is the well being of my Yoruba people.

It must be understood that on the tough and rough path to FREEDOM of the Yoruba people, their survival and well-being must be the constant and consistent denominator. This piece is purposed by that denominator.

“In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility I welcome it. – John F. Kennedy, in his Inaugural Address January 20, 1961

Please follow me on Twitter: @OyeyemiRemi

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Nigeria: What And How To Restructure By Remi Oyeyemi – SaharaReporters.com

A Path To Justice In South Sudan – gurtong

“Proposed justice measures in South Sudan including the Hybrid Court can be pursued despite disruptions in the implementation of the peace agreement”.

July 1, 2017

The lack of political will by South Sudanese leaders to implement the ARCSS, however, has left the transition process in shambles. Fighting continues and has spread to every region of the country, humanitarian access remains severely obstructed despite an estimated 4 million refugees and displaced South Sudanese since 2013, famine has taken hold, and most of the genuine opposition has had to flee the country due to the governments oppression of civil society, journalists, and any form of dissent. Despite these conditions, the lack of an alternative peacebuilding framework perpetuates the commonly held notion that ARCSS continues to provide the only path for moving forward in South Sudan.

The element of ARCSS that many South Sudanese are most reluctant to lose is Chapter Von transitional justice, accountability, reconciliation, and healingand with it the institution of a hybrid court that offers some hope for justice and an end to impunity in the country. Often overlooked in this supposed tradeoff is that the key accountability measures negotiated into the ARCSS can be retained even outside the Agreement.

The State of the ARCSS

Almost since the moment the ARCSS was adopted in August 2015, the parties have refused to honor ceasefire commitments. South Sudans president, Salva Kiir, famously signed the ARCSS with reservations detailed in a list of complaints and qualifications. While rejected by the ARCSSs international signatories from the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the African Union (AU), and the troika (the United States, Norway, and the United Kingdom), the regime nonetheless proceeded to implement many of these reservations, without meaningful international reaction. These and other measures undertaken by the regime have consequently rendered the ARCSS, the term of which was to extend to May 2018, inoperable. Among others, these include:

The failure to demilitarize Juba or pursue any meaningful reform of the security sector

The unilateral replacement of opposition leader and First Vice-President of the TGoNU, Riek Machar

Harassment and obstruction of ceasefire monitors

Interference with the activities of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission established to monitor the implementation of ARCSS

Despite these and many other violations, the GOSS regularly affirms the ARCSS as the blueprint for finding lasting peace, even as it continues to prosecute and expand the war.

From a political perspective, it is difficult to see how a national dialogue that excludes the main opposition and rebel movement opposed to the government and conducted in an environment of severe insecurity and humanitarian crisis can deliberate and prescribe how the conflict should be resolved.

The Fate of Accountability Institutions

What implications do these actions have for accountability for crimes and human rights violations committed since December 2013 that were to be addressed under ARCSS? In fact, the survival of the hybrid court, the Commission on Truth, Reconciliation, and Healing, and the Reparations Authority are not contingent upon the ARCSS but have a basis of their own outside the peace agreement.

Final Report of the AU Commission of Inquiry (COI) on South Sudan:

Second, while negotiating the ARCSS, IGAD mediators were fully aware of the COIs work on accountability and essentially aligned its recommendations with the COIs findings on the subject. Indeed, the ARCSS process was guided by the understanding that individuals found responsible for human rights violations in the COI would be prohibited from participating in the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU). This guidance was contained in the signed (protocol?) by IGAD heads of state and governments (including Salva Kiir) on August 25, 2014. That part of the protocol was never applied, however, in part because Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement-in-Opposition (SPLM-IO) did not sign the protocol.

However, Article 4(h) also provides a legal anchor for a wider range of interventions, including the creation of a judicial body to prosecute those that commit these crimes.

The legal reasoning applies with equal force to the AUs role under Article 4(h) of the Constitutive Act of the AU. In the case of Hissne Habr, the AU requested that Senegal prosecute the former Chadian dictator for torture and crimes against humanity because the AU lacked the means to do so, although it had the authority. Nonetheless, the AU subsequently played a critical role in staging the trial that culminated in a conviction.

The ARCSS process was guided by the understanding that individuals found responsible for human rights violations in the COI would be prohibited from participating in the Transitional Government of National Unity.

Having delegated the peacebuilding responsibilities to IGAD, the AU is well within its authority to take up the entire process itself, if it deems warranted. This includes elements of accountability, transitional justice, and reconciliation as articulated in the ARCSS.

In sum, while much remains to be done to get the political process in South Sudan back on track, the ARCSSs Chapter V institutions on transitional justice, accountability, and reconciliationincluding the hybrid courthave a firm legal grounding outside the ARCSS should the AU wish to pursue them.

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A Path To Justice In South Sudan – gurtong

Hired By The Government, Fired By The Society: Being Transgender In India – MensXP.com

A few weeks ago, news of the Kerala government providing jobs to 21 transgender people in the Kochi metro made headlines. We all lauded the government’s attempt to include the trans community into mainstream society and give them a chance to lead a normal life. Sitting behind our computer desks dreamily looking at the horizon from our windows, we felt sufficiently satisfied India is moving forward, change is happening, the government is taking the right measures towards creating an inclusive society.

(C) BBC

But we somehow never wondered about the happily ever after’. Out of the 21 transgender people hired by Kochi Metro, 9 resigned within the first month. The reason: they couldn’t find accommodation as no house-owner was ready to rent them a flat.

One 9 June 2015, the appointment of Manabi Bandopadhyay as India’s first transgender college principal made headlines. The progressive move was hailed as a gamechanger. But after a year and a half, Manobi resigned due to non-cooperation from a section of colleagues and students, and tremendous mental pressure due to the harrassment.

(C) ET

“All of my colleagues went against me. Some of the students went against me. I tried to bring back discipline and an atmosphere of education in the college. Most probably, that is why they went against me. I always got co-operation from the local administration, but never got it from my colleagues and students,” she had told media.

“I feel tired due to the agitation and gherao by the students and teachers. I faced a lot of legal notices from their end. I had come to this college with new hopes and dreams but I was defeated…,” she also said.

(C) Reuters (Image for representational purpose only)

Even after repeated efforts by NGOs and now the government, change is too slow to come. Change has to happen at a grassroot level at the level of ideology, at the level of mindset. We don’t live in isolation; we are not just our jobs; we thrive in a society on the basis of an identity an identity that is normalized on a routine basis. It is normalized when we step out of the house and buy vegetables, it is normalized when we sit amongst colleagues and have lunch.

These regular validations of a normalized identity aren’t afforded to the transgender community they are perceived as different than what we have created as the normal’. Our heterosexual identities are validated every moment we spend in the public eye while theirs is questioned with every routine action they take.

Of course, the job grants is a great step towards giving them better opportunities, but along with it, there is an equally dire need to see that those very jobs don’t become another platform for oppression and discrimination.

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Hired By The Government, Fired By The Society: Being Transgender In India – MensXP.com

The Oppression of the Rohingya in Burma Continues – Paste Magazine

The Rohingya are still being persecuted by their country. Although the government of Myanmar has taken a step back from most blatant and flagrant public persecutions, the unjust oppression of these people continues apace. Their schools are destroyed, they are slandered and denied from every corner. Now the far-right Hindu nationalists of India threaten them with death.

Three days ago, an alleged Rohingya paramilitary group attacked two Burmese villagers on two separate occasions. The government of Myanmar is on high alert. There is a chance that the national authorities will use this occasion to injure or kill many Rohingya under the cover of crackdown and reprisal. The government has a long history of using the actions of a few Rohingya to devastate the rest. As Reuters reminds us,

Rohingya insurgents attacked Myanmar border guard posts in October, provoking a military crackdown in which hundreds were killed, more than 1,000 houses burned down and some 75,000 Rohingya Muslims forced to flee to Bangladesh.

A BRIEF HISTORY

The Rohingya are a Muslim minority in the country of Myanmar, formerly Burma. The country is liberalizing, but slowly. And the same authoritarian prejudices obtain. The hateful strain is still there. Bit by bit, the state has been stripping away rights from the Muslims of Myanmar. Until the rest of the world intervened, the Rohingya were well on their way to becoming entirely stateless in every senseas in, their right to live would be questioned too.

The Rohingya are considered illegal immigrants by the authorities of Myanmarthe offshoot of migrants who came into the nation in 1948 and 1971. Scholars and the Rohingya disagree, of course. There are 1.3 million of these people, mostly in the Rakhine state. 100,000 of them live in camps where they are kept by the authorities. Slave labor and execution are used under Burmese rule. In 2009, a UN spokeswoman described the Rohingya as probably the most friendless people in the world.

It is odd, that the government of Myanmar is so sure that the Rohingya are newcomers. After all, there have been Muslims in Rakhine since the 15th century. Which is more likely: that all the Rohingya lie, or that the government finds some explanations more convenient? Governments have even been known to dissemble, from time to time.

About that October attack on the police forts. What most commentators miss about the Rohingya is this was not an even contest. The officials say that Arsa, an armed Rohingya resistance movement, is a terrorist cell. Violence is never the answer, and it is not excused on behalf of the Rohingya, but what did the Burmese expect? Grind people down into the dirt, and some of them will act out unjustly. The Rohingya are mercilessly hassled under the sanction of law. Desperation is their lot. Myanmar is a Buddhist-majority country, and the monks and other leaders of that countryincluding the State Counselor herself, the much-celebrated Aung San Suu Kyiseem to delight in marginalizing them.

Cardinal Charles Maung Bo of Yangon has spoken of their plight:

I am not an expert in politics or international law, said Cardinal Bo. I am moved by human suffering The enormous suffering of the population of Rakhine is one of my great concerns. Cardinal Bo said that the government of Myanmar to move away from position that do not favor peace and to work with the international community to investigate the crimes reported by the UN in a truly independent manner that leads to justice.

RECENTLY

Pick any week, and theres some new incident displaying the indifference of Myanmar to its Muslim citizens. On the second of June, Myanmar charged three Muslim men for holding Ramadan prayers in the street. Forget for a moment the oddity of arresting people for practicing their religion. This happened because a larger crowd of about fifty Muslims were worshiping on a road in Yangon (formerly known as Rangoon). Why were they praying in the street? Why, because ultra-nationalist Buddhist mob shut down the local madrassah.

Two officers tried to stop AFP journalists from filming when they visited one of the madrasas on Friday. Its our mosque as well as our school. We dont know when it will be reopened, Khin Soe, a local resident in his 50s, said as he set off to pray in another part of town.

And these bigotries are not limited to Myanmar alone. India supports its share of nastiness. Thanks to Myanmars crimes, tens of thousands of Rohingya have fled abroad, citizens of nowhere. Many of them end in Bangladesh. Quite a few of them live India now. Some of these Rohingya took sanctuary in Jammu City five years ago. Most of them work as unskilled laborers. But the ruling government of India does not want them there. According to TRT World,

… circumstances turned unpleasant soon after the Hindu far-right Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won Indias national elections in 2014 and formed the government in India, replacing a secular Congress Party. … The citys trade union has echoed [a conservative politicians] demand and allegedly threatened to kill Rohingyas if they dont clear the area soon. Several billboards have sprung up across the city. Some of them read: Wake up Jammu. Rohingyas and Bangladeshis. Quit Jammu. And the others carry a rallying cry to unite and save the history, culture and identity of [the] Dogras.

Muhammad Younis, a Rohingya, is forty-one. He lives in a hut, and works as a construction worker in the city.

Witnessing this growing hostility, Younis is unable to sleep at night. There are 1,200 Rohingya families living in the city and they are feeling equally vulnerable. We are not living illegally here, Younis says. We have the UNHCR cards. How can these parties threaten us when we have gone through all the legal formalities?

The UN, according to Al-Jazeera, has appointed a three-member team to investigate alleged abuses by security forces against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar. This is not enough. The UN acknowledges this:

Minorities all over the world are facing persecution. The situation of the Rohingya community in Myanmar is especially deplorable because they face the risk of a genocide, Indira Jaising, heading the UN mission, told Al Jazeera by telephone.

Awareness of their lot must be made public, and these facts must repeated over and over again. World Refugee Day was on June 20th. We must do better than merely recognizing their pain. The Rohingya are suffering, and their fate stands on the edge of a knife. A moment, a volatile impulse by the government, and they could be wiped away. We must do more, do better, and do it soon.

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The Oppression of the Rohingya in Burma Continues – Paste Magazine

‘On behalf of the Government of Canada, I wish you and your loved ones a very happy Canada Day’ – BarrieToday

NEWS RELEASE

PRIME MINISTER JUSTIN TRUDEAU ************************* Today, we celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation. We come together as Canadians to celebrate the achievements of our great country, reflect on our past and present, and look boldly toward our future.

Canadas story stretches back long before Confederation, to the first people who worked, loved, and built their lives here, and to those who came here centuries later in search of a better life for their families. In 1867, the vision of Sir George-tienne Cartier and Sir John A. Macdonald, among others, gave rise to Confederation an early union, and one of the moments that have come to define Canada.

In the 150 years since, we have continued to grow and define ourselves as a country. We fought valiantly in two world wars, built the infrastructure that would connect us, and enshrined our dearest values equality, diversity, freedom of the individual, and two official languages in theCharter of Rights and Freedoms. These moments, and many others, shaped Canada into the extraordinary country it is today prosperous, generous, and proud.

At the heart of Canadas story are millions of ordinary people doing extraordinary things. They exemplify what it means to be Canadian: ambitious aspirations, leadership driven by compassion, and the courage to dream boldly. Whether we were born here or have chosen Canada as our home, this is who we are.

Ours is a land of Indigenous Peoples, settlers, and newcomers, and our diversity has always been at the core of our success. Canadas history is built on countless instances of people uniting across their differences to work and thrive together. We express ourselves in French, English, and hundreds of other languages, we practice many faiths, we experience life through different cultures, and yet we are one country. Today, as has been the case for centuries, we are strong not in spite of our differences, but because of them.

As we mark Canada 150, we also recognize that for many, today is not an occasion for celebration. Indigenous Peoples in this country have faced oppression for centuries. As a society, we must acknowledge and apologize for past wrongs, and chart a path forward for the next 150 years one in which we continue to build our nation-to-nation, Inuit-Crown, and government-to-government relationship with the First Nations, Inuit, and Mtis Nation.

Our efforts toward reconciliation reflect a deep Canadian tradition the belief that better is always possible. Our job now is to ensure every Canadian has a real and fair chance at success. We must create the right conditions so that the middle class, and those working hard to join it, can build a better life for themselves and their families.

Great promise and responsibility await Canada. As we look ahead to the next 150 years, we will continue to rise to the most pressing challenges we face, climate change among the first ones. We will meet these challenges the way we always have with hard work, determination, and hope.

On the 150th anniversary of Confederation, we celebrate the millions of Canadians who have come together to make our country the strong, prosperous, and open place it is today.On behalf of the Government of Canada, I wish you and your loved ones a very happy Canada Day.

*************************

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‘On behalf of the Government of Canada, I wish you and your loved ones a very happy Canada Day’ – BarrieToday

Glowing hearts in Canada Day citizenship ceremony at Government … – Times Colonist

Hina Charania blew a kiss to the cloudless sky.

A moment earlier, cheers broke out at Government House in Victoria as 152 new Canadians from 33 countries were granted citizenship.

Charania, who is from Pakistan, said the kiss was a commemoration to God and to her late father.

I hope hes watching, she said. This means liberty. I feel free. I feel like I have a voice and Im heard.

Menghan Zhang, who came to Canada from China 13 years ago, was met by her friend Valerie Desmarais when she arrived at Government House for the special ceremony commemorating Canadas 150th birthday.

Her red blazer and cream dress were a perfect match for the red rose Desmarais pinned to her lapel.

Im just so happy for Menghan so I wanted to come and help her celebrate, said Desmarais.

Its been such a long journey, said Zhang.

But today is very special. Its the beginning of a new journey for sure. Im so in love with Canada. I love everything the people are friendly for sure, peaceful and nice environment.

Journalist David Bly was watching his wife receive her Canadian citizenship.

I look at the people who have fled violence and oppression and its quite touching, said Bly.

Nesrin Rashid Kadours husband Arif, who arrived in Canada from Syria four years ago, is one of many who fled violence.

Its a big deal, said Rashid Kadour, holding their son Nehad by the hand. Arifs just happy that he feels safe. He loves Canada so much. Were all very excited, especially the 150 celebration. Hes just happy to be part of it.

Jacqueline Dorgan arrived on her bike and looked at the rows of white chairs wrapped in bows of red bunting.

It just makes you cry, Dorgan said. Look at the mix of people, the diversity of people in those seats.

The ceremony began with First Nations song. It ended with 152 newly glowing hearts.

ldickson@timescolonist.com

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Glowing hearts in Canada Day citizenship ceremony at Government … – Times Colonist

At Tel Aviv’s White Night party, asylum seekers look to connect – The Times of Israel

Amid the street parties, light shows and dance music of Tel Avivs annual White Night events, several African women heated coffee over coals and arranged colorful hand-sewn baskets on a table alongside posh Rothschild Boulevard.

They are members of the Kuchinate Collective, a group of women who fled their home countries in Africa to seek asylum in Israel. The group aims to economically empower the women by sewing and selling colorful cloth baskets, said Diddy Mymin Kahn, one of the founders of the collective. Creating art and connecting with each other and the public is also therapeutic for the women, many of whom suffered trauma before fleeing their countries and during their journey to Israel, Kahn said.

White Night in Tel Aviv, held on Thursday into the wee hours Friday morning, is an all-night, yearly event featuring street parties, art installations and music performances across the city, and was a good opportunity for the group to connect, Kahn said.

We want people to know us, we want people to meet asylum seekers. We want them to know about the plight of asylum seekers and we want to meet the public, Kahn said.

Kuchinate means to crochet in Tigrinya, the language spoken in Eritrea. Most of the women in the collective are from the East African nation as well as from South Sudan and Ethiopia. They fled violence, government oppression and genocide in their home countries to seek asylum in Israel.

It was hard in Eritrea. There are problems between Ethiopia and Eritrea. You have to go to the army, theres no democracy, said Abadit, a member of the collective from Eritrea who arrived in Israel seven years ago.

Israel is home to about 45,000 asylum seekers, almost all from Eritrea and South Sudan, according to ASSAF, the Aid Organization for Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Israel. The vast majority of African migrants living in Israel claim asylum-seeker status, but the state has recognized almost none of their claims since they began arriving in the mid-2000s. Israel contends most of the migrants who are currently in Israel came seeking new economic opportunities, not because they were fleeing danger at home.

Kahn, originally from South Africa, co-founded the collective with South African artist Natasha Miller Gutman in 2011. Kahn is a clinical psychologist with a background in treating trauma. Many of the women experienced trauma before arriving in Israel, including the notorious torture camps in the Sinai where refugees were held for ransom and abused by Bedouin traffickers. The collective empowers the women financially, socially and psychologically, said Kahn, who manages the group with the Eritrean nun Sister Azezet Habtezghi Kidane, who Kahn calls the spiritual mother of the refugee community.

Passersby drink Ethiopian coffee prepared by members of the Kuchinate Collective during Tel Avivs annual White Night celebrations, June 29, 2017. (Luke Tress/Times of Israel)

It all came out of a desire to help the women that were in a state of survival, that came from a culturally very different milieu, where their understanding of what helps someone whose being a bad situation, that is to say, Western therapy, was not something that was very obvious to them, Kahn said.

The group started with five women and a small grant from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Now, over 90 women are involved.

Selling the hand-woven baskets also generates income for the women, many of whom are struggling financially, Abadit said, in Hebrew, while selling baskets at the event. She and her three children were once thrown out of their apartment when they could not come up with their rent money, she said.

There are people from Africa, they have problems, they have kids. Not everyone can work, said Abadit, who declined to give her last name out of privacy concerns and who said she earns about 500 to 600 NIS ($145-175) a month selling baskets. Its not enough but theres nothing we can do, she said.

Israels government also recently instituted a tax on asylum seekers and their employers. The state deducts 20% of the workers salaries, and 16% from their employers. The workers can collect the money only if they leave the country. As an employer, the law applies to the collective, putting them in a desperate financial situation, Kahn said.

African migrants protest against the Deposit Law in Tel Aviv, June 10, 2017. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

Thursday nights events, with crowds of Israelis thronging the streets, provided an opportunity to make up for the lost income. White Night, a play on the Hebrew expression laila lavan, meaning a night with no sleep, and Tel Avivs epithet, the White City, is a night-long celebration across the city featuring events organized by the municipality, which invited the collective to participate and provided funding. It was part of a larger effort organized by south Tel Avivians, called Outlets, to connect the center of the city to their area with a trail of music performances, food, video and light installations leading from Rothschild Boulevard to the derelict area surrounding the Central Bus Station.

Kuchinate Collective members set up their table, stools and coffee pot on Betzalel Yafe Street, just off of luxurious Rothschild Boulevard, between the city center and the working class south Tel Aviv neighborhoods where the women live. The group served Ethiopian coffee in small ceramic cups and sold baskets to passersby. The Yatana Band, Eritreans from the nearby neighborhood of Neve Shaanan, played music next to the coffee circle.

Baskets handwoven by members of the Kuchinate Collective for sale during Tel Avivs White Night celebrations, June 29, 2017. (Luke Tress/Times of Israel)

Its normally kind of north Tel Avivian, Kahn said of White Night. It doesnt involve the periphery of Tel Aviv, south Tel Aviv. Its more centered in these more classy areas and the municipality wanted to bring a bit of south Tel Aviv here, the reality of south Tel Aviv here, she said.

Events like White Night and visits to the groups offices on Har Zion Street in south Tel Aviv can help change the public perception of asylum seekers in Israel, Kahn said.

Its making these people that are very often invisible in Israeli society visible and not just visible, but elevated in a kind of way, dignified, she said.

A member of the Kuchinate Collective prepares Ethiopian coffee during Tel Aviv’s White Night celebrations, June 29, 2017. (Luke Tress/Times of Israel)

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At Tel Aviv’s White Night party, asylum seekers look to connect – The Times of Israel

Lord, I Believe: The time to celebrate many freedoms – The Daily News Online

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Freedom. July 4th, Independence Day. Our nation takes this special opportunity every summer to celebrate freedom. We are proud of the freedoms we have preserved for the citizens of our nation. Freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom to own property, freedom to vote, freedom to make choices for ourselves and travel where we want, and all kinds of other freedoms. Some freedoms are formal and protected by our government. Some freedoms are more subtle and are agreed on by our society. We live in the land of the free.

Freedom is something that Christians should know something about. There is a very important and powerful freedom that we enjoy beyond all our other freedoms in the United States. While our freedom from tyranny and the oppression of a distant government was won for us by the blood of our soldiers and patriots, Christians know that another set of freedoms was won for us by the blood of Jesus Christ. The battle He won has won our freedom from sin, death and the devil. This takes us beyond the peace we enjoy in our nation to a peace that fills our hearts and minds.

34 Jesus replied, I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. 35 Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:34-36 (NIV)

While we celebrate our freedom from the yoke of Britain in 1776, We should realize that there is still a yoke enslaving many in our nation. We are trapped in the chains of sin, under the control of Satan with no hope of freedom until Jesus sets us free. Jesus paid for that freedom 2,000 years ago by giving His life on a cross in our place. And He offers all the sweet peace of that freedom to everyone who puts their trust in Him. As people who trustingly follow Jesus, we have a lot to celebrate. Our freedom from sin and from the devils control gives us a whole new life to live and enjoy. No more fear or guilt or punishment or torture. We have been set free to live as free citizens of the kingdom of our God.

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1 (NIV)

So celebrate and enjoy your freedoms, your freedoms as citizens of the United States of America and your freedoms as a rescued child of God. Use your freedom to share the love that you have experienced from Jesus with other citizens who havent discovered His love yet. Use your freedom in Christ to help free those who are still living in slavery to sin and the devil. Offer them the healing love of Jesus. Let His sacrifice break their chains. Then celebrate freedom together, sweet freedom.

You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. Galatians 5:13 (NIV)

See more here:

Lord, I Believe: The time to celebrate many freedoms – The Daily News Online

Michael Carr: A government for the people – Vallejo Times Herald

Im not an expert on American history and any examples in here may well be inaccurate and not strictly chronological, but they are used to illustrate an overall point of view. The fundamentals of the Constitution were to promote life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The Bill of Rights stipulated that Congress may not make rules to take away freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, the right to bear arms, the right to form peaceful assemblies, or to take away lives or freedom of property unfairly.

All of this was justifiable given the religious persecution and government oppression that the early colonists struggled to escape from. According to Kris Kristofferson, freedoms just another word for nothing left to lose. But I believe our unbridled freedom has lost us a lot, particularly as it relates to moral and ethical standards and concern for our fellow man.

So what have we done with this freedom?

We saw a land with enormous potential from sea to shining sea. We went west in a spirit of free enterprise. We cut down forests, tilled the soil and fenced the land to establish farms and ranches. We imported cheap Chinese labor to build our railroads. In the scramble to establish the biggest piece of the pie, we denied the American Indians their freedom and denied untold numbers of Africans their freedom. Our manifest destiny spread across the continent to the Pacific Ocean and when the dust cleared, we had denied Mexico about one-third of its territory, including nearly all of present-day California, Utah, Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico.

Then, ironically, we imported cheap Mexican labor to cultivate our crops which they still do today for below minimum wages, while suffering the stigma of illegal immigrants. It took a civil war to grant African Americans a euphemism for freedom. The Native Americans still struggle to protect their sacred grounds and eke out an existence on barren reservations.

Gold in California and oil in Pennsylvania encouraged more free enterprise, more scrambling for the good life, and the rise of monolithic companies generating vast wealth for a privileged few. By the time anti-trust laws were established the damage was already done. Now we work for companies that continually reduce employee benefits and pensions to increase profits. We are encouraged to secure our futures by investing in 401ks that depend on ever increasing shareholder value that, paradoxically, depend to some extent on cutting more benefits and services. Demands to increase shareholder value encourage unscrupulous corporations and banks to sell bogus investments, derivatives and mortgages without underlying asset value.

The point is that we became so involved in our freedom of choice and entrepreneurial wealth creation that we are now all complicit in this mess by closing our eyes to the truths of inequality and the social consequences. Weve ignored the shifts in policy that continue to create a bigger and bigger gap between the haves and the have-nots. Weve watched as the government gave tax breaks to the rich, cut programs to the poor, and refused to raise the minimum wage. In 2015, 43.1 million people lived in poverty with the highest poverty rate among blacks and Hispanics. Approximately 15.3 million, or 21 percent, of all children under the age of 18 were in families living in poverty. We are the only country in the civilized world that does not provide universal healthcare to its people. Even communist Cuba provides free healthcare and education. We have created a vicious cycle in which the underprivileged, social injustice and the government deficit continue to grow while the middle class hangs on to its fast fading dreams of the good life. With a growing population and diminishing resources we continue to strive for an ever more elusive piece of the pie and create social unrest in the process. Is it any wonder that drugs and crime increase in impoverished inner cities and immigrant communities?

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It was Plato who said that democracy would not work because, given a choice, the average person chooses what pleases him rather than what is good for him. I happen to believe in democracy but I think our two-party system creates a situation where the majority tends to get what is good for them but not necessarily good for society. We the people put these people in power and have watched as politicians strive to retain power by pandering to whatever is popular. As a social conscience develops in the majority we vote Democrat. As government spending and taxes are increased to pay for social programs we sense a reduction in our standard of living and government intrusion on our freedom of choice. So the majority turns to the Republicans for tax breaks and curtailment of government regulations. The results are good for the party in power but not necessarily good for society as a whole. Increasingly over the last decade, the polarization between the parties, the inability to compromise, and the vetoing of the opposing partys agenda, has lead to a legislative stalemate and an exacerbation of societal problems.

When I became a United States citizen in 2011, I had high hopes that under President Obama we would begin to see the social changes outlined in his book, The Audacity of Hope, come to fruition. Instead the intransigence of the Republican Party and its avowed intention to obstruct his agenda has lead us where we are today. Enter Donald J. Trump, who cashed in on the Washington stalemate by vowing to drain the swamp and make America great again. His ultra right-wing agenda might make a proportion of Americans richer and the country more powerful. But by declaring war on immigrants, curtailing the freedom of the press, criticizing the judiciary, appointing right-wing judges, creating cabinet posts for his family, and surrounding himself with not so veiled white supremacists, he has all the trappings of an autocrat and is disliked, or even hated, by a majority of the country. This will further exacerbate the already volatile situation existing with the underprivileged and we should be wary of some form of revolution.

Perhaps there is no simple solution but perhaps it is time to sacrifice some of our personal freedom for what is good for society. As Obama once stated to Oprah Winfrey, We are all connected as one people and our mutual obligations have to express themselves not only in our families, not only in our churches, synagogues, and mosques, but in our government, too. If we can come up with a bipartisan commission to investigate something as serious as the links between Trump campaign advisers and the Russian government, why cant we employ a bipartisan commission to resolve other issues of national importance like health care and the judiciary? Instead of endless partisan scrambling for votes and changing voting rules to suit the situation, we should recognize that only by true bipartisanship can we be sure that government is of the people, by the people and for all the people.

If we must retain a two-party system, why not get rid of the electoral college and appoint a Democrat and a Republican from each state in both the House and the Senate? Admittedly that would have the potential for more stalemate but if legislation is to get passed at least it would force an element of compromise. As for the president, election should be by a simple majority of voters.

Michael Carr/Vallejo

Read the rest here:

Michael Carr: A government for the people – Vallejo Times Herald

Government gets rules for treatment of suspected illegal foreigners – Times LIVE

The Legal Resources Centre has welcomed a Constitutional Court judgment handed down on Thursday which held that the detention of alleged or suspected illegal foreigners without prompt judicial intervention was unconstitutional.

The LRC represented the People Against Poverty Oppression and Poverty (PASSOP) as a friend of the court.

The case involved the procedures and safeguards governing the detention of people suspected of being illegal foreigners under the Immigration Act. The High Court had declared sections 34(1)(b) and (d) of the Act constitutionally invalid. The Constitutional Court upheld the declarations of constitutional invalidity.

Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR) had challenged these sections because the Act does not require that a detained person be automatically brought before a court within 48 hours in order for the court to confirm the lawfulness of their detention which is the case for other detained people.

The LHR also argued that while the Act envisages a warrant being obtained from a Magistrates Court for the continued detention of the suspected illegal foreigner the Department of Home Affairs interpreted this in a way that meant that the detained person did not have to appear in person before the Magistrate concerned.

PASSOP supported LHRs arguments challenging these sections of the Act.

“We are pleased that the court embraced the constitutional considerations. We welcome the judgment as a vindication of constitutional principles and human rights for everyone in South Africa including foreigners whose dignity and liberty must be respected by the state” the LRC said.

See more here:

Government gets rules for treatment of suspected illegal foreigners – Times LIVE

Syed Salahuddin declared global terrorist: Kashmiri separatists to protest against US move tomorrow – Firstpost

Srinagar: Kashmiri separatists and another organisation United Jihad Council (UJC) based in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir on Thursday called for protests after Friday’s prayers against the US decision to declare Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin as a “global terrorist”.

Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani. Reuters

Chairman of the Hurriyat Conference Syed Ali Shah Geelani, head of moderate Hurriyat Conference Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and JKLF chief Yasin Malik said protests will also be held against the “illegal and arbitrary” arrests and detention of the separatist leaders, activists and youth and raids being conducted across the valley.

“This unjustified move (of declaring Salahuddin as global terrorist) by the US government to appease the Government of India and their (US) silence regarding the oppression and human rights situation in Kashmir, is not acceptable to the people of Kashmir who will strongly protest against it across the valley post Friday prayers tomorrow,” the separatists said in a statement.

The separatist leaders expressed “deep regret and dismay over the complete silence by the US over the brutal oppression in Kashmir and failure to initiate any serious steps towards the resolution of the Kashmir dispute and for restoration of lasting peace and stability in the highly volatile region”.

UJC, a conglomerate of over a dozen militant groups active in the valley, also called for protests after Friday prayers against the US government’s decision against its chief.

In a statement issued here, the UJC said, “the people of Kashmir reject the US decision and will hold demonstrations tomorrow to convey a message to the outside world that their struggle will continue till the achievement of the goal.”

Meanwhile, High Court Bar Association also denounced the US decision and said “Salahuddin is a symbol of resistance movement and the US decision will have no impact on the indigenous and legitimate struggle of the people of Kashmir.”

See more here:

Syed Salahuddin declared global terrorist: Kashmiri separatists to protest against US move tomorrow – Firstpost


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