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Category Archives: Government Oppression

Stubble burning: HC restrains Punjab, Haryana from imposing fine on farmers – Hindustan Times

Posted: September 20, 2019 at 3:42 am

citiesUpdated: Sep 20, 2019 01:29 IST

The Punjab and Haryana high court on Thursday restrained the Punjab and Haryana governments from imposing fine on farmers for stubble burning.

The high court bench of justice RN Raina, while passing the order, also roped in Haryana Agriculture University, Hisar, and Punjab Agriculture University, Ludhiana, to suggest measures to deal with the problem of stubble burning. The notice has been issued to the Centre as well to suggest remedial measures. Detailed order is awaited.

Both the governments have been asked to not to make any recovery of compensation from farmers for stubble burning, petitioners lawyer Charanpal Singh Bagri said after the hearing. The petition has been referred to chief justice requesting to treat the matter as a public interest litigation. During the hearing, the bench of justice RN Raina observed that while farmers are committing suicides, the governments are making recovery of fines from them without discharging its duty.

The court was hearing a petition filed by Bharti Kissan Union, a Ludhiana based pressure group, in 2017. In this petition, the union has sought directions for adequate compensation per acre to the farmers as they have been restrained from burning paddy straw, stubble and residue by various orders of the state governments. As per petitioner, those farmers, who burn paddy straw, are fined from 2500 to 15,000 and criminal action is initiated. Besides, red entry is entered in the revenue record, which result in farmers facing difficulties in availing welfare schemes. State policy is thus resulting in oppression of the farmers and discouraging them from paddy cultivation, Bagri had told court, adding that from time to time, this court has directed the state to take proactive measures by providing affordable and readily available solutions to save farming community, however, government has not been able to help farmers.

First Published:Sep 20, 2019 01:29 IST

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Quote of the Day: Constitution Day –

Posted: at 3:42 am

Pro [from Federalist No. 10]:

The influence of factious leaders may kindle a flame within their particular States, but will be unable to spread a general conflagration through the other States. A religious sect may degenerate into a political faction in a part of the Confederacy; but the variety of sects dispersed over the entire face of it must secure the national councils against any danger from that source. A rage for paper money, for an abolition of debts, for an equal division of property, or for any other improper or wicked project, will be less apt to pervade the whole body of the Union than a particular member of it; in the same proportion as such a malady is more likely to taint a particular county or district, than an entire State.

In the extent and proper structure of the Union, therefore, we behold a republican remedy for the diseases most incident to republican government. And according to the degree of pleasure and pride we feel in being republicans, ought to be our zeal in cherishing the spirit and supporting the character of Federalists.

Con [from Anti-federalist No. 7]:

The Congresss having power without control-to borrow money on the credit of the United States; their having power to appoint their own salaries, and their being paid out of the treasury of the United States, thereby, in some measure, rendering them independent of the individual states; their being judges of the qualification and election of their own members, by which means they can get men to suit any purpose; together with Col. Masons wise and judicious objections-are grievances, the very idea of which is enough to make every honest citizen exclaim in the language of Cato, 0 Liberty, 0 my country! Our present constitution, with a few additional powers to Congress, seems better calculated to preserve the rights and defend the liberties of our citizens, than the one proposed, without proper amendments.


What then may we expect if the new constitution be adopted as it now stands? The great will struggle for power, honor and wealth; the poor become a prey to avarice, insolence and oppression. And while some are studying to supplant their neighbors, and others striving to keep their stations, one villain will wink at the oppression of another, the people be fleeced, and the public business neglected. From despotism and tyranny good Lord deliver us.

From Congress, the Presidency, and the Supreme Court, you would never know that there was a real debate about the framing of the basic rules, by which we are supposedly governed. Before the several states ratified the base document, USA 2.0 if you will, there was actually a robust, substantive debate. After the Constitutional Convention, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison wrote a series of nominally anonymous essays, broadsheets, pamphlets, to make the case for ratification. Another group of writers, operating under other noms de plume, vigorously contested the claims made by the new constitutions advocates. It turns out that the side, later styled the Anti-federalists by the winners, were prescient in their concerns about the whole enterprise, especially the effectively unconstrained third branch, the judiciary.

From the two quotes offered here, you can see the broad outlines of the two positions, and how both were right, at least in part. Look within the four corners of the Constitution, as submitted to the original 13 states, and you will find an implicit acknowledgment that there are no perfect human institutions. Hence both the separation of powers, the checks and balances, and the built-in processes to amend the Constitution, as a supermajority of the states deem necessary. The Framers of the Constitution, as distinct from the Founders who pledged their lives and sacred honor in signing the Declaration of Independence, mainly approached their task with a tragic, mostly a biblical, view of human beings and their creations. See the famous quote in Federalist No. 51:

If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.

So, how are we doing? Consider the school handout offered by the Census Bureau for Constitution Day, painting a picture with a few numbers. Among those numbers:

Collecting Taxes

About $6.23 [$147 in 2016 dollars] The amount of state and local government taxes collected per person in 1880.

About $4,951The amount of state and local government taxes collected per person in 2016.

Note that these are not federal tax dollars, but the real growth in the scope of state and local government. In part, federal taxes could not be compared across the same interval as per person because the federal income tax was not ratified until 1913. This points to all of us, collectively, voting over and over again for more and more government at every level, in contradiction to the basic assumptions expressed by both sides of the debate back in 1787-1789. We may truly get the government for which we vote!

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Othering the Hungarian Opposition – Visegrad Insight

Posted: at 3:42 am

At his inauguration two years ago, Hungarian President Jnos der warnedthat there was a dramatic deterioration in the quality of political public discourse. If this continues, the Fidesz supported der said, [it] can destroy everything that we built up since 1990.

A studyconducted in 2017 found that 43 per cent of Hungarians blame Viktor Orbn, Fidesz, the government and government-linked media outlets for the decay of quality of public discourse. Earlier this year, the Association of Christian Intellectuals wrotein a press release that national public discourse has become increasingly rough, including public figures using vulgar and obscene expressions.

So far, all these warnings have been fruitless. Following the 2018 elections, one Fidesz minister replied to critics that democracy is a race, and consolidation is absurd. The European Parliament (EP) elections and the upcoming municipal elections have been a sufficient motivation for not holding back the well-oiled campaign machine.

The build-up and operation of this media machine is well documented. More importantly, a confrontational stance towards other parties is also a time-tested tool of Fidesz. The most consistent representative of this style is Zsolt Bayer, a proud founder of Fidesz, publicist, and writer.

In 2013, Bayer suggestedthat a large proportion of the Roma are not suitable for living among humans. In 2017, when talking about activists who protested against a law targeting NGOs, he saidthat if these, or their kind appear in the Parliament again () then you must drag them out on their snot and blood.

While Bayer was and still is one of the loudest pro-government voices spreading such violent narratives, pro-government circles have frequently been pushing similar opinions.

Opposition MEPs in the European Parliament, who are not voting in favour of Fidesz candidates, are attacked in a vocabulary that fits better for a civil war than for peacetime. In an opinion piece that appeared on Pesti Srcok, a government-linked online outlet, Pilhl Tams equated the opposition with spy agencies on the payroll of foreigners, representing the interests of large Western powers.

Tams: [They] are also not part of the Hungarian opposition, as they are not the opposition, but an enemy not only of the Hungarian government but the Hungarian nation, all of us.

In the last sentence of the article, Tamssuggested that the appropriate response is to treat them as enemies. To protect ourselves, all means are allowed.

The usage of such narratives is delegated to government-linked media outlets, to drum up voter support. However, Fidesz members are also prone to use demeaning tropes. The most prevalent example is the discourse around the Soros plan.

The discourse revolves around an international network of Soros-funded organisations that plan to flood Europe with migrants. This has become the main narrative of Fidesz communication since 2015.

As Viktor Orbn put it in a speech, Fidesz is fighting opposition candidates who are actually not candidates of political parties but of George Soros. This militant rhetoric dehumanises the opposition and dismisses them as anonymous chess pieces.

All these narratives have shared characteristics, which point to a similar process. Edward W. Said once demonstrated how the people of the East were conceptualised as the Other, something less than human, which in turn contributed to a colonial project and to the oppression of countless people.

The examples above show how in todays Hungary, a similar project is being implemented not only by government-linked media outlets, but also by elected representatives of the governing party. This othering of the opposition in Hungary has led to immense division among Hungarians. It can reach such a level of alienation that (constructive) dialogue will become unimaginable.

Faceless enemies

However, the opposition parties also share part of the blame. There were instances when media outlets not associated with the government, but also the opposition itself, engaged in a sinister tit-for-tat competition with government officials; both sides have tried to see who could dehumanise the others supporters more.

Greater partisan discourse in the Hungarian media has undermined information sovereignty, which is one explanation why Radio Free Europeis set to resume in the country.

Nevertheless, the burden of responsibility is not equal. The centralised nature of the Fidesz portfolio of media outlets and the consistent way in which the government drums up negative emotions, makes the situation imbalanced. Moreover, the government is failing to deliverequal chances for all media actors, and utilises public funds for partisan campaigning.

Given the continuous campaign-mode of Fidesz, the trenches of party politics will only become deeper. This until the opposing camps only see faceless enemies, and no longer fellow citizens on the other side.

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Israel, China, Saudi Arabia: Your Thursday Briefing – The New York Times

Posted: at 3:42 am

(Want to get this briefing by email? Heres the sign-up.)

Good morning.

Were decoding Israeli election results and taking a closer look at Chinas Twitter trolls. Weve also got a story about a chef who turns dim sum dough into art.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo used the strongest terms yet from an American official to describe the strikes on Saudi oil facilities, and said that the U.S. was working to build a coalition to deter further attacks.

He made the remarks after arriving in Saudi Arabia for an emergency meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Saudi Arabia, for its part, showed what it described as debris from the site of the attack, which it attributed to Iran, but didnt specify how it plans to respond.

President Trump played down the possibility of another American military engagement in the Middle East. He instead ordered new sanctions, but gave no details.

Related: Mr. Trump selected Robert OBrien, the State Departments chief hostage negotiator, to replace John Bolton as his national security adviser. Mr. OBrien has previously worked for Mr. Bolton and has cited his hawkish views.

The center-left Blue and White party, led by the former army chief Benny Gantz, seemed to come out just ahead of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahus Likud party. And the Joint List of Arab parties performed better than expected.

The murky outcome itself represents a setback for Mr. Netanyahu, the countrys longest-serving leader, who had failed to form a government after elections in April. Here are other takeaways from the election.

Whats next: In a few days, President Reuven Rivlin will give the mandate to form a government to the candidate with the best chance of forming a viable coalition. If projections hold, that opportunity could fall to Mr. Gantz.

Last month, the company took down nearly 1,000 accounts that it said were part of a Chinese disinformation campaign to undermine the antigovernment demonstrations in Hong Kong.

It was the first time that an American technology giant had attributed such an effort to the Chinese government. The Times worked with several researchers to analyze how the campaign worked and found that it lacked the sophistication of Russias disinformation efforts during the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Details: Many of the accounts posted messages that matched, word for word, others that Twitter had deleted, or posted messages at exactly 12 and 42 minutes past the hour, indicating an automated effort.

Perspective: While social media has made it easier to build mass movements, like the one in Hong Kong, it has made it harder to translate the sentiment into real change, argues our columnist Thomas Friedman. These modern movements are crowdsourced but also crowd-enforced, he writes, and thats intimidating for anyone who wants to make a deal.

The U.S. Federal Reserve cut rates by a quarter percentage point, the second time since late July, and suggested it was prepared to do more if the economy showed continued signs of weakness.

But the rate cut did little to appease President Trump, who has been pushing the central bank to take a bigger step and cut rates to zero, or even into negative territory.

A growing number of officials expect one more reduction in the coming months, based on economic projections released on Wednesday.

Another angle: Oil shocks, autoworkers on strike, political pressure on the Fed at first glance, this economic era seems similar to one in the 1970s. But there are a few big differences that are crucial to understanding the world economy in 2019.

A filmmaker, Miki Dezaki, set out to examine why a small group of conservatives continues to deny the countrys wartime atrocities, particularly the sexual enslavement of so-called comfort women, pictured above. The people he interviewed have reaches at the highest levels of the Japanese government, shaping the countrys cultural, political and social narrative.

Now, five of them are suing Mr. Dezaki for defamation.

The Philippines: President Rodrigo Duterte appeared to admit in a speech this week that he ordered an assassination attempt on a politician last year. A spokesman said he had misspoken.

Myanmar: Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the countrys civilian leader and a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, could face prosecution for crimes against humanity stemming from the militarys brutal oppression of Rohingya Muslims.

Climate: The Trump administration is expected to revoke Californias authority to set auto emissions rules that are stricter than federal standards, part of a broader effort to weaken regulations that address climate change.

Snapshot: Above, a miniature scene from ancient China created by chef Joe Ng out of dim sum dough. The dough is steamed, plunged into boiling water, tinted with artists paint and left overnight to dry. Then Mr. Ng, considered one of the best Chinese chefs in the West, begins assembling his figurines, pressing one layer of dough at a time around a toothpick base.

Cook: Comfort is a cup of tea and a slice of apple skillet cake with salted caramel frosting.

Watch: Midnight Traveler documents a refugee familys search for safety. At its best, our film critic writes, it reminds you that those of us with homes make choices every day that affect the lives of others.

Read: In Red at the Bone, a new novel from Jacqueline Woodson, an unplanned pregnancy ripples through three generations of a Brooklyn family.

Listen: Trapcorridos tales of love, bandits, heroes and gangsters are a sensation in California and Mexico.

Smarter Living: Medical emergencies on airplanes are rare, but they do happen. If youre taking the kids on a flight, pediatricians have some advice: Keep childrens medications in your carry-on, and dont seat them on the aisle, where heavy bags could fall.

And many day care centers have guidelines for pink eye that dont follow the latest medical advice. Heres what parents should know.

Pack heavy items close to your back. Use both shoulder straps. And carry no more than 10 percent of your weight.

These are some of the ABCs of school backpacks from the American Occupational Therapy Association, which declared yesterday to be National School Backpack Awareness Day.

(Dont laugh the group also has ergonomic advice for toting purses, briefcases and suitcases.)

The first lightweight nylon backpacks appeared around 1967, designed by JanSport and Gerry Outdoors for use by hikers and, uh, backpackers. Soon, college kids started to adopt them. By the 1980s, backpack companies were making them specifically for textbooks.

The packs filtered down through the grades and around the world, replacing the book straps, satchels and schoolbags of earlier eras as an indelible part of a students identity.

Thats it for this briefing. See you next time.


Thank youTo Mark Josephson and Eleanor Stanford for the break from the news. Victoria Shannon, on the briefings team, wrote todays Back Story. You can reach the team at

P.S. Were listening to The Daily. Our latest episode is the first of a two-part series about a new book about Harvey Weinstein by two Times reporters. Heres our Mini Crossword, and a clue: Claus subordinates (five letters). You can find all our puzzles here. The Timess Travel section has introduced a new column, Tripped Up, that offers advice on how to resolve travel disasters.

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The Madness of Crowds by Douglas Murray review a rightwing diatribe – The Guardian

Posted: at 3:42 am

Being stuck in a culture war is a bit like being a driver stuck in a traffic jam. From within ones own car, the absurdity and injustice of the situation is abundantly plain. Other drivers can be seen cutting in, changing lanes excessively, and getting worked up. Roadworks appear needlessly restrictive. Why are there so many cars on the road anyway? Horns begin to honk. There is one question that few drivers ever consider: what is my own contribution to this quagmire?

Psychoanalysts refer to the process of splitting, where the self is unable to cope with its good and bad qualities simultaneously, and so splits the bad ones off and attributes them to other people. The result is an exaggerated sense of ones own virtue and innocence, but an equally exaggerated sense of the selfishness and corruption of others. We are all guilty of this from time to time, rarely more so than on social media, where the world can appear perfectly split into goodies and baddies. Populism and culture warriors exploit this aspect of human psychology, reinforcing the comforting (but ultimately harmful) feeling that any conflict in the world is their fault not ours.

The left is not averse to playing this game. Why did the financial crisis occur? Because bankers and Blairites are bad, selfish people. Apart from anything else, this makes for woeful social science. But the right plays it more dangerously. Where the left spies moral depravity in centres of wealth and power (which, as we know, can produce antisemitic conspiracy theories), the right sees it among newcomers, intellectuals and the already marginalised. The potential political implications of this dont need spelling out.

In The Madness of Crowds, Douglas Murray sets out to explain why societies are now so characterised by conflict. In public and in private, both online and off, people are behaving in ways that are increasingly irrational, feverish, herd-like and simply unpleasant. The daily news cycle is filled with the consequences. Yet while we see the symptoms everywhere, we do not see the causes.

Few would fail to recognise this as a starting point. MPs and journalists are being harassed and threatened simply for doing their jobs. A university was recently forced out of Hungary by the government. The Home Office is growing increasingly anxious about the threat of far-right extremists cooperating across Europe. But there is not so much as a sniff of these trends in The Madness of Crowds. Instead, Murray organises his material into four themes: Gay, Gender, Race and Trans. You can see where this is heading.

Murrays stock in trade is a tone of genteel civility. He writes gracefully and wittily, in keeping with his demeanour as a clubbable conservative, who simply wishes we could all just muddle through a little better. While never over-egging it, he proffers a kindly Christian gospel of love and forgiveness, which he believes might rid us of the political and cultural toxins that have so polluted our lives. Scratch beneath the surface, though, and his account of recent history is clear: authorised by leftwing academics, minority groups have been concocting conflict and hatred out of thin air, polluting an otherwise harmonious society, for their own gratification.

Murray is quick to celebrate struggles for racial, sexual and gay equality, but he's adamant they have now been settled

His narrative is roughly as follows. The decline of ideologies at the end of the 20th century created a vacuum of meaning, which was waiting to be filled. This coincided with the birth of a whole range of critical cultural theories, producing fields of gender studies, race studies and queer studies. Most damagingly of all, for Murray, was the rise of intersectional feminism, which assumes that different types of oppression (especially racial and patriarchal) tend to intersect and reinforce one another.

The bitter irony, as far as Murray is concerned, is that these new theories of oppression arose at the precise moment in human history when actual racism, sexism and homophobia had evaporated. Suddenly after most of us had hoped it had become a non-issue everything seemed to have become about race, he writes. This seems to bug him more than anything else: Among the many depressing aspects of recent years, the most troubling is the ease with which race has returned as an issue.

History, therefore, is much as his fellow neoconservative Francis Fukuyama brashly described it in 1989: ended. Or rather, it could have ended, if it werent for troublemaking intellectuals and activists. Murray is quick to celebrate past struggles for racial, sexual and gay equality, but he is adamant that they have now been settled. Questions persist regarding the nature of sex, sexuality and innate ability (what belongs to our physical hardware and what to our cultural software, as he puts it), but these are far better handled by biologists than political thinkers. The problem, as he sees it, is that malicious, fraudulent and resentful forces emerging from universities have refused to accept that justice has now been delivered.

The acclaimed gender theorist Judith Butler is held up as a malignant fraud who hides behind the complexity of her prose. The entire venture of social science is deemed corrupted by its insidious fixation on oppression. Murray turns to recent hoax articles that were published in the academic journal Cogent Social Sciences (a prank that he describes as one of the most beautiful things to happen in recent years) as evidence that social and cultural theory is all a sham. The reader is assured falsely that this is all a vast Marxist project, aimed at sowing dissatisfaction and discord.

Murray presumably knows that Michel Foucault was not a Marxist, but its important to his branch of conservatism that this is brushed over. The M word serves as a coded way of tying together the humanities, Marx himself and (with a small leap of imagination) the Gulag. The fact that it is now illegal to teach gender studies in Hungary, as decreed by Viktor Orbn (favourite intellectual: Douglas Murray), poses questions as to where the real threat to liberty is coming from. But you wont find any discussion of that in The Madness of Crowds.

We learn that the doctrine of intersectionality has now swept the world, even becoming embedded in the search algorithms written in Silicon Valley. Why? Because tech workers have decided to stick it to people towards whom they feel angry. Its for this reason, apparently, that Google image search throws up a disproportionate number of black faces. Intersectionality is being force-fed to people, encouraging them to seek revenge on white men, and that is why there is so much conflict.

Murray has no shortage of examples and anecdotes to back this up, many gleaned from the US. But its notable that they nearly all operate at the level of discourse, and mostly in the media and social media. Its not difficult to come up with absurd cases of social justice warriors saying stupid and hypocritical things online, especially when the Daily Mail appears to have an entire desk dedicated to unearthing them.

And there are plenty of well-known cases of people being shamed and sacked for things theyve said, many of which are unfair and sadistic. One critique of this would be that the logic of public relations and credit rating has now infiltrated every corner of our lives, such that we are constantly having to consider the effects of our words on our reputations. Another is that a global Marxist conspiracy has duped people into a fantasy of their own oppression. I know which I find more plausible.

Whenever Murray strays too close to any actual oppression (as opposed to the controversies surrounding it), he quickly veers away. His chapter on gender refers to the MeToo claims against Harvey Weinstein, but never to Weinstein or the power structures he built. His chapter on race (the longest in the book) makes no reference to one of the most controversial campaigns in recent US history, Black Lives Matter, presumably because its impossible to discuss without acknowledging what prompted it: black men being gunned down by police officers.

Anger is ultimately a mystery to Murray, seeming to emanate spontaneously from his political and ideological foes. He can come up with no better explanation for it than that bad people enjoy it, that their desire is not to heal but to divide, not to placate but to inflame. And yet when an author goes to such great lengths to assure you that others are degraded, and that we white, male conservatives simply want to live in harmony, you have to wonder whom much of this anger truly belongs to.

Nervous States: How Feeling Took Over the World by William Davies is out in paperback from Vintage. The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race and Identity is published by Bloomsbury (20). To order a copy go to or call 0330 333 6846. Free UK p&p over 15, online orders only. Phone orders min p&p of 1.99.

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HRC Submits 10K+ Comments on Trump’s Attack on LGBTQ Workers – Human Rights Campaign

Posted: at 3:42 am

Today, HRC announced that it submitted more than 10,000 public comments against the Trump-Pence administrations proposed regulation that would gut nondiscrimination protections--including for LGBTQ people--by adding religious exemptions to President Obamas 2014 executive order that prohibits discrimination in hiring by federal contractors on the basis of both sexual orientation and gender identity in addition to the original nondiscrimination protections outlined in Executive Order 11246.

With this proposed regulation, the Trump-Pence administration is seeking to gut existing protections for LGBTQ people, women and religious minorities, and we cannot stand idly by, said HRC President Alphonso David. This regulation, which directly contradicts Trumps earlier promise, is a broad and sweeping effort to implement a license to discriminate against people on the basis of their gender identity and sexual orientation. The American people recognize the danger of this proposal, which is why more than 10,000 people have submitted public comments opposing this regulation in less than a month. Everyone deserves a workplace free from discrimination. The Trump-Pence administration needs to withdraw this proposed regulation and stop these attacks on LGBTQ people.

In his first month in office, President Trump promised to maintain the Obama EO:

President Donald J. Trump is determined to protect the rights of all Americans, including the LGBTQ community. President Trump continues to be respectful and supportive of LGBTQ rights, just as he was throughout the election. The President is proud to have been the first-ever GOP nominee to mention the LGBTQ community in his nomination acceptance speech, pledging then to protect the community from violence and oppression. The executive order signed in 2014, which protects employees from anti-LGBTQ workplace discrimination while working for federal contractors, will remain intact at the direction of President Donald J. Trump.

In July 2014, President Obama signed an executive order amending EO 11246 to provide nondiscrimination protections to LGBTQ employees of federal contractors by prohibiting companies that contract with the federal government from discriminating in employment based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Last month, the Department of Labors Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) announced a notice of proposed federal rulemaking that lays out OFCCPs intention not to enforce nondiscrimination requirements if a contactor claims that it is acting in accord with religious tenets which will negatively impact LGBTQ people, women and religious minorities. The proposal cherry picks federal court decisions, relies upon language not contained in the majority opinions, and blatantly changes the context and meaning of case law to justify the changes to existing regulations.

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Joy Reid: White Christian Men Would Use Apartheid to Keep Power – Washington Free Beacon

Posted: at 3:42 am

MSNBC host Joy Reid said Tuesday that white Christian men in America are "increasingly open" about their willingness to enact apartheid to ensure their control of the government.

In a clip flagged by Grabien editor Tom Elliott, Reid argued "wealthy white Christian men" are inspired by South Africa's past oppression of its nonwhite population. At an American Federation of Teachers event titled "In Defense of American Democracy," featuring former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, Reid spoke on a panel about how "fragile" democracy is.

"Democracy is extremely fragile, and multiracial democracy is so fragile we're practically the only one that's pulled it off," she said, noting how her father grew up in the Congo, which had "a system of minority rule based on tribe."

She said America has a similar problem because it has "a very determined minorityin this case, wealthy white men and wealthy white Christian men and Christian Americans who are of the fundamentalist variety."

She said those men, who support President Donald Trump as an "avatar" for their movement, are happy to use South Africa's infamous system of racial oppression to "maintain power forever."

"If they have to pull the South Africa model to maintain power forever they will do it, and they're not afraid of it, and they're increasingly open about it," she continued. "Donald Trump is merely the avatar for this, he didn't create it. He simply benefited from it, and I think the sooner that the majority, the actual numerical majority in this country, figures that out and stops treating these elections as just foregone conclusions that you can fix it with just a simple election and that it will be free and fair, the sooner that we will wake up and actually have majority rule in this country."

At AFT's event, Hillary Clinton spoke about dangers to democracy, including Russia and voter suppression. Putting some of the blame onto the Supreme Court's Shelby County v. Holder ruling, Clinton said no longer having "the protection of the Voting Rights Act" contributed to her loss to Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election.

Clinton went on to allege a vast array of measures, including voter ID requirements, constituted voter suppression. Reid has made similar claimsabout the Supreme Court supposedly gutting the Voting Rights Act, and recently championed Stacey Abrams, who has claimed the Georgia gubernatorial election was stolen from her, in spite of evidence to the contrary.

Reid has also come under fire for failing to provide evidence of her claim that hackers created a series of fake posts on her blog to discredit her. The posts, which were up for years on her blog "The Reid Report," contained homophobic language, 9/11 conspiracy theories, and other inflammatory material. She apologized but also alleged some of the posts were the product of "hackers" and called for a federal investigation. She later dropped the call for an investigation.

Paul Crookston is the deputy war room director at the Washington Free Beacon. He was previously a Collegiate Network fellow at National Review. A 2016 graduate of Gordon College in Wenham, Mass., he served as the managing editor of the Tartan campus newspaper. He is originally from Tampa, Fla., but he still roots for Dads Ohio teams. His Twitter handle is @P_Crookston. He can be reached at

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The continuing struggles of India’s ‘unseen people’ – La Croix International

Posted: at 3:42 am

They are the 'lowest of the low' but one priest is demanding they be brought in from the cold

Indian washerman washes clothes at a traditional laundry. (Photo by EPA/PIYAL ADHIKARY MaxPPP)

Santhi Polur was beaten up for bathing regularly, cleaning her children and doing her hair. The attack didn't come from her enemies it came from people of her own lower caste because they believed she was offending their lifestyle.

Her community, considered the lowest of the outcastes in India's southern Tamil Nadu state, even serves Dalit people the former untouchables outside the caste system as their barbers, cleaners and undertakers.

"That makes their social status the worst," says Salesian Father Arul Valan, who has been working with them for the past 17 years. "They are the Dalit of the Dalit people. Until some time back they were not even allowed to go out and walk in the daylight."

If touching a Dalit person was considered polluting for the higher caste, even seeing a member of this community was considered polluting, said the priest.

Indian laws now prohibit the concept of "untouchability" in any form but caste-based discrimination continues. In some villages "these people can't even walk out in the main street during the daytime," he added.

Some of them move to big cities to escape the oppression and accept menial jobs like selling vegetables or snacks on sidewalks. But if they return to their community, officially called Puthirai Vannar, they are forced to once again accept the discriminative system.

That was the case with Shanti. She grew up in Bangalore and went to school there but after getting married she became part of the outcaste life in her village of Pazhyannur in Thiruvannamalai district, 100 miles southwest of the state capital Chennai.

The neighbours "even objected me doing my hair. They said: we are lower caste. You should be equal with us," she said.

The state has 450,000 such people, of whom about "40 percent are Christians and they are slowly coming out of discrimination," said Father Valan.

"They are a tiny minority" in Tamil Nadu's population of 72 million and "therefore, politically and socially, they are neglected. No one bothers about their wretched lives," the priest said.

They are spread throughout the state but only "two or three families live on the outskirts of each Dalit village," the priest said. In reality, they are not seen in society at all.

Most of these people, also known as Thurumba, spend their time washing the clothes of Dalit people and live outside the village limits in huts, without owning any land of their own.

When a Dalit villager needs someone to wash their clothes and do other menial tasks, a family from this community is bought and shown a piece of land to build a hut where they start living. Each Dalit village traditionally had at least one such family, known locally as "Oorukku-oru-kudi" ("the one family for the village.")

They also do traditional commoners' jobs like washing dead bodies, washing the clothes of Dalit girls when they reach puberty, and carrying torches during the procession of the deities.

Traditionally they were merely remunerated by being given food, mostly leftovers, which they were only given after begging for it at night. Nowadays most are paid, but even now in some villages, some still have to beg at night to be paid in return for their work, the priest said.

Father Valan, along with Gonzaga Sister Alphonse (of the Franciscan Sisters of St. Aloysius Gonzaga) launched the Thurumbar Liberation Movement (TLM) in 2003 to bring them into the social mainstream.

"The biggest challenge is that the community has no official identity," he said. "In different parts of the state, they are considered different caste communities."

In some areas, the government registers them as Adi Dravider (the original Dravidian people), a larger group which includes several lower-caste communities, who together form 18 percent of the state's population.

"Some would argue that being counted as part of a larger community is better because it will help end their oppressive existence," Father Valan said. "But that can happen only in paper and not in real life. Caste discrimination is a living reality."

Social security benefits intended by the state to be paid to lower-caste people are denied to Christians among them because the state government says Christians have no caste system and is not therefore eligible.

"The government fails to understand that changing your religion doesn't bring about any chance in your social situation," the priest added.

His movement demands that each Thurumba family be given a small amount of money to build a home, plus five acres of land to cultivate and earn a living. He also wants the government to fund the education of the community's children to pave the way for their eventual liberation.

"The government is yet to react positively to the demands," he admitted. "But our fight will go on until the discrimination is ended."


The continuing struggles of India's 'unseen people' - La Croix International

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Justin Welby has apologised for Amritsar. But Britain still won’t face the reality of empire – The Guardian

Posted: at 3:42 am

It was a remarkable sight: the archbishop of Canterbury, clad in purple, prostrating himself before the memorial to the Amritsar massacre. And his act of public penitence, on Tuesday, has once again thrust this colonial atrocity into the public limelight, 100 years after it took place. Justin Welbys heartfelt apology provided a stark contrast to the mealy-mouthed politics that have so far characterised the centenary commemorations. The Amritsar massacre remains one of the most notorious acts of brutality in the history of the British empire. On 13 April 1919, colonial troops under the command of Brigadier General Reginald Dyer opened fire on a large unarmed gathering of Indian civilians at Jallianwala Bagh in order to quell what was incorrectly believed to be an imminent uprising. The shooting lasted 10 minutes, leaving between 500 and 600 people dead and at least three times as many wounded. The massacre permanently alienated most Indian nationalists, including Gandhi, who in 1920 for the first time called for outright independence from Britain. Months after the massacre, CF Andrews, a Christian priest and close friend of Gandhi, helped interview survivors and gather evidence for the independent inquiry into the events. As he described it, Each act has been in very truth an act of penance, of atonement, an act of reparation for my country.

Nothing could be more damaging to the myth of British exceptionalism than having to publicly apologise for the Raj

Back in the UK, though, opinion was bitterly divided. Conservatives rallied to Dyers defence; Winston Churchill, who was then secretary of state for war, denounced the officers actions while claiming the massacre was an isolated incident. The colonial authorities in India later paid compensation to the relatives of the victims, yet the British government has never formally apologised for the massacre. Queen Elizabeth visited Jallianwala Bagh in 1997, followed by David Cameron in 2013; both of them studiously avoided apologising. And while Theresa May expressed deep regret about the massacre, earlier this year, she didnt go as far as actually saying sorry.

In India, the UKs failure to apologise remains deeply contentious. A number of public figures, including the politician and author Shashi Tharoor, have demanded more than just the usual expressions of regret. While an apology might be personally significant to the descendants of the victims, for most Indians the massacre stands in for the oppression of the British Raj at a more general level. The call for an apology is therefore not simply about the occurrences of 13 April 1919, but about British rule in India over the course of 200 years. The issue cuts to the very heart of what it means to be a former colonised nation and until the legacies of empire are at the very least acknowledged, it remains a stumbling block in the relationship between the two countries.

The British governments refusal to seriously contemplate an apology for the events of 1919 is part of a wider problem: an unwillingness to reassess the history of the empire. While Tony Blair did say sorry for the UKs role in slavery, in 2007, such declarations have been few and far between. For those of a nostalgic persuasion, the moral demands from former colonies to acknowledge the real consequences of imperialism are perceived as personal attacks. And nothing could be more damaging to the myth of British exceptionalism than having to publicly apologise for the Raj, the proverbial jewel in the crown. That explains why, even today, many in the UK still prefer to think of the Amritsar massacre as a singular event for which a rogue officer alone was responsible.

The archbishop of Canterbury is not a politician; he made it very clear that he was acting in a religious capacity. And while some will find his apology insufficient, it is nevertheless significant that it was unqualified. The image of the archbishop flat on the ground is so much more poignant for echoing the infamous crawling order in 1919, which forced Indian men to crawl at bayonet point. One only has to recall Boris Johnson reciting Kipling in Myanmar to recognise that we will never get this kind of meaningful apology from a British politician.

Kim Wagner is professor of global and imperial history at Queen Mary, University of London. He is the author of Amritsar 1919: An Empire of Fear and the Making of a Massacre

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Justin Welby has apologised for Amritsar. But Britain still won't face the reality of empire - The Guardian

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Herstory: 11 Haitian Women to Celebrate During Hispanic Heritage Month – Remezcla

Posted: at 3:42 am

Without the Haitian Revolution, there would be no Latin America today. Although Haiti was central to the creation of Latin American states, the fight for abolition of slavery and regional liberty from colonial oppression, few of those who consider themselves Latinx today know the role Haiti played in helping them overthrow the chains of Spanish oppression.

Haitians liberated Dominicans from slavery in 1801 and again in 1822 to unite the island and form the only free Black republic and a haven for runaways from across the region, despite the constant threats in a sea of slave-owning nations. Haiti supplied Santo Domingo with troops and weapons to win their independence from Spain in 1865 after they were re-colonized once again. Haitians provided Simn Bolvar with weapons, military strategists and veterans from Haitis revolution as well as a safe haven, with the promise that Bolvar would free the enslaved Africans of South America once the nations were liberated a promise he broke.

Haitian women have also been instrumental in shaping womens rights movements around the region as well as on the frontlines of our struggle for equal rights and liberation, both literally and figuratively. By acknowledging the role of Haitian women today, we hope to acknowledge the role that all Black women continue to play in our collective liberation throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.

Originally from the Kingdom of Dahomey (currently Benin), Adbaraya Toya was a midwife, a warrior of the Dahomey Amazons a healer and one of the women who sat on Dahomeys council. She was abducted and enslaved in Saint-Domingue (modern-day Haiti), where she was renamed Victoria Montou. She secretly began training others in the art of war, including one of Haitis founding fathers, Jean Jacques Dessalines.

She taught him and many others how to fight in hand-to-hand combat and how to wield a knife. She commanded her own brigade in the Haitian war of independence. To honor her contributions, she was honored with a state funeral in 1805.

Ccile Fatiman was the daughter of an enslaved African woman and a white Frenchmen, thought to be the prince of Corsica. Her father sold her and her mother to a plantation in Saint Domingue, while history remains unsure as to where her brothers were sold to.

Ccile was a mambo, a Vodou high priestess, whose primary responsibility was maintaining the rituals and relationship between the spirits and the community. She traveled in the darkness of the night, from one plantation to another, to persuade both those enslaved and the maroons to attend a secret meeting in the forest, known as Bois Caman. This Vodou ceremony encompassed both a religious ritual and a meeting to plan the uprising against slavery that became known as the Haitian Revolution. Not only was Ccile instrumental in the creation of Haiti, she later became first lady after marrying President Louis Michel Pierrot, a former soldier in the Haitian Revolution.

Suzanne Sanit Belair was a young free woman of color from LArtibonite, Haiti. In 1796, she married Charles Belair Haitian revolutionary leader Toussaint Louvertures nephew. Despite not being enslaved, she and her husband fought side by side in the Haitian army to help others gain their freedom from the French. She eventually earned the title of lieutenant.

Captured by the French in 1802, she didnt kneel or have her eyes covered when she was executed. Instead, she stood tall and looked the executioner in the eye and shouted to the people, Liberty, no to slavery! before her death.

Haitian suffragist and womens rights advocate Alice Garoute helped form a book club that quickly turned into a political organization because of US military occupation. The book club raised money and sent a delegation to Washington, D.C. to demand that the US military stop sexually assaulting Haitian women as a way to inflict terror on the community. Congress was unresponsive, but the group earned W.E.B. DuBois and the NAACPs support.

When she died in 1950, she asked that flowers not be placed on her grave until all Haitian women were granted the right to vote, which happened seven years later.

Journalist, human rights activist and feminist movement leader Yvonne Hakim-Rimpel co-founded the Womens League of Social Action, the countrys first feminist organization, in 1934. She went on to create Lescale, the first feminist Haitian newspaper.

The biweekly paper denounced the fraudulent elections that brought Franois Duvalier to power, something that made her a target of his brutal regime. Men invaded her home in January 1958, dragging her and her daughters out. She was tortured, raped and left for dead in a ditch. Rather than remain silent, she bravely encouraged the Womens League to publish a letter of protest signed by 36 women, becoming a symbol of the resistance. The Duvalier regime remained undeterred, and four years after being attacked, she was dragged to the notorious Fort Dimanche prison and forced to denounce her accusations against the government in order to quell international criticism.

Ertha Pascal-Trouillot was the provisional President of Haiti from1990 to1991, making her the first woman in Haitis history to hold that office. Moments after the chief of the army pledged his support for her presidency, Mrs. Pascal-Trouillot declared that she had accepted this heavy task in the name of Haitian women.

She received her law degree from the cole de Droit des Gonaves, and eventually became the first woman justice of the Supreme Court of Haiti.

One of the most important female writers of the 21st century, Maryse Vieux-Chauvets novel, Amour, colre, folie, is a feminist perspective of life under the Duvalier dictatorship. Although the book was published abroad, the regime banned it, fearing a social uprising and Vieux-Chauvet was forced into exile.

In 1973, the still-exiled Chauvet met an untimely death in New York, in total obscurity. Finally, in 2005, her novel was reissued and published for the first time in the 21st century. The work was translated in 2009, which introduced Chauvet to an English-speaking audience for the first time.

Catherine Flon, goddaughter of founding father Dessalines, served her country as a nurse during the revolution. Shes most remembered, however, for sewing the first Haitian flag.

In May 1803, Dessaline ripped the tricolor French flag discarding the white stripe and had Flon stitch together the remaining parts horizontally to create the first version of our flag. Initially believed to represent the Black and mixed-raced people of Haiti, scholars now believe the blue and red are an homage to Vodou.

Author Edwidge Danticat can be credited with bringing the beauty, complexity and pain of Haiti and its diaspora to a 21st century English-speaking audience, allowing the world to acknowledge the nation and its people beyond stereotypes and banal reporting. Born in Port-au-Prince in 1969, she lived in Haiti without her parents, who had fled Duvaliers regime. In 1981, she was reunited with them and her youngest siblings in Brooklyn.

Danticats books include The Farming of Bones, an American Book Award winner; Breath, Eyes, Memory, an Oprahs Book Club selection; and Krik? Krak!, also a National Book Award finalist. Shes also a 2018 Neustadt International Prize for Literature winner and the recipient of a MacArthur Genius grant.

She has also been an advocate for the rights of Haitian immigrants in the U.S. and the D.R.

Marleine Bastien is the founder and executive director of Family Action Network Movement, an important group that provides desperately needed assistance to Haitian women and their families in Miami. A tireless advocate for the Haitian community, Bastiens been at the forefront of issues, such as addressing the devastating impact of prolonged detention at Guantanamo had on Haitian children in 1995, the passage of The Haitian Immigration Refugee Fairness Act of 1998 and the ongoing fight for Temporary Protected Status and comprehensive immigration reform.

While Puerto Rican and Hong Kong protests have captivated the world, a year ago, Haitian youth launched a sophisticated social media campaign. The first-of-its-kind initiative culminated into year-long protests aiming to change the face of Haitian politics forever.

PetroCaribe, a petroleum program between Venezuela and number of Caribbean and Latin American countries, loaned the Haitian government money for social development programs and infrastructure at a low 1% interest rate. A senatorial commission released in 2017 found that $1.7 billion of these funds were misused.

Since Gilbert Mirambeau launched the #PetroCaribeChallenge asking where the money went, women including Emmanuela Douyon, Pascale Solages, Galle Bien-Aim, Patricia Camilien and more from all over Haiti have pushed the government for accountability, sparking a change in the culture of corruption and impunity in Haitian politics.

The protestors got a governmental audit of the funds, which showed embezzlement happened at the highest levels of government, implicating Haitian President Jovenel Moise. The group is now calling for his resignation and have put forward sophisticated proposals for a new vision for Haiti.

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Herstory: 11 Haitian Women to Celebrate During Hispanic Heritage Month - Remezcla

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