October 2017 Archives

/2017/10/AP_17062067229114.jpgThere is no First Amendment right to speak on a college campus, notes Robert C. Post at Vox. The special academic freedom that members of the university community enjoy requires judgment on the merit of ideas, independent of a public discourse where everybody's opinion is equal (actually, they're not). "There are in fact many areas of our social life where we expect persons to act with competence, and where the law properly defers to accepted bodies of knowledge" says Post. "Universities can and must engage in content discrimination all the time.

"Universities exist to serve the twin missions of education and the creation of knowledge," he continues. "Universities hire and tenure faculty based on the quality of their ideas. Universities grade and evaluate students based on the quality of their ideas. The purpose of universities is to teach students how to discriminate between better and worse ideas, as well as to determine what we know on the basis of our best possible ideas... Although the First Amendment makes no such distinction, it is important for any university that seeks to encourage both rational dialogue and the mastery of ideas, however strange and off-putting [does]."

"I am slowly slipping away and no one notices," writes hunger striker Khalid Qassim. Falsely imprisoned for 15 years, the Guantanamo prisoner has been reduced to pleading for his life:  

Some will say I brought the pain on myself. But how can that be? I did not ask to be brought here. I did not do anything that justified being kidnapped and hauled half way around the world. It is true that there have been times when I thought I would be better off dead. This was the only peaceful way I thought I could protest. What I really want, for me and for the other men here, is justice. Certainly, I never wanted to die in the pain I'm now in.

#FastForJustice: Hunger strike on behalf of prisoners 

Reprieve founder Clive Stafford Smith hopes to persuade strikers "to eat a bit of food while we take over from them -- just so we can keep them alive until a federal judge can end this madness:

"Five detainees at Guantanamo Bay are starving to death. Under an arbitrary new practice brought in by the Trump administration, hunger strikers are reportedly being denied access to basic medical care and left to starve. Two of our clients, Ahmed and Khalid, are hunger striking with a simple demand - give us fair trials, or release us. They have not eaten since September 20th, and the authorities are withholding medical treatment.

"If Ahmed, Khalid and the other detainees continue their hunger strike under these conditions, they are at serious risk of organ failure or death. We need to raise the alarm about what's happening and demand urgent medical help for the hunger strikers, so that they don't waste away in vain. If the world won't pay attention to their hunger strike, maybe they'll pay attention to ours.

"We're asking our supporters to join in a solidarity hunger strike with the detainees. This isn't the first time we've organized a hunger strike - in 2013, hundreds joined our hunger strike to support Shaker Aamer and helped give him the strength to continue until his eventual release. It only takes a small number of dedicated people to make enough noise and make a difference. We've done it before and we can do it again.

"If we take up their cause, we can their save lives. We hope that by hunger striking on their behalf, we can convince Ahmed and Khalid to pause their own strike while keeping their principles intact.

"If you'd like to pledge to fast for 24 hours in solidarity with the detainees, just fill in this form and choose a day that's convenient for you. Your name will then be added to our calendar of fasters."

This Nightmare Must End: The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!

"Torture works," insists Trump. Guantanamo stays open. Illegal torture including waterboarding is being re-approved. Trump plans to bring back the CIA "black sites."

It's been said that you can judge a society by how it treats its prisoners

Investigative journalist David Neiwert has been documenting the emergence of the United States as a bona fide torture state for over a decade. "The appearance of legal torture as part of the American landscape is a profound change, and certainly signals the approach of the totalitarian state, though it may not herald its actual arrival," he wrote back in 2006. "And considering that a right-wing regime is involved, discussing the specter of fascism is not only appropriate but necessary."

Torture is a key component of fascist pathology, and a clear warning sign of a governmental, even constitutional, crisis. Which the Trump/Pence regime seems determined to spark, if we let it. 

"Fascism, if it returns, will do so not simply because of a rousing leader, but because of his timid accomplices," warned Samantha Power in a book review of Anatomy of Fascism by Robert Paxton. It is up to us, people with conscience, to deny accommodation to a fascist America.  

So Much for the 25th Amendment

"Unless Trump leaves office voluntarily, the only mechanism for his lawful removal is found in section 4 of that amendment. It's a doozy," writes Truthout columnist William Rivers Pitt.

"To make use of it, the vice president and a majority of the Cabinet must tell Congress the president is unable to perform the duties of his office. The president can challenge this and immediately retain his powers, but if the vice president and the Cabinet reaffirm their claim of presidential incapacity, the matter goes to Congress for what amounts to a trial. For removal, both the House and the Senate have to agree with the vice president and the Cabinet by a two-thirds majority in each chamber."

We cannot try to 'wait things out' for the next election. We must seize this moment in history to create a political situation in which the illegitimate leaders of a fascist administration are driven from office.

Citing activist Mario Savio's 1964 Sit-in Address on the Steps of Sproul Hall, Pitt summons us to end the nightmare of the Trump/Pense regime: "We are stopping the machine until this is fixed."

Join Refuse Fascism in the streets on November 4 and beyond. In San Francisco, gather 3pm, Union Square. In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America!

U.S. Out of Afghanistan


16 years, thousands dead and no clear end in sight

"The United States' war against the people of Afghanistan is now the longest foreign war in this country's history," notes Cassia Laham of People's Opposition to War, Imperialism, and Racism (POWIR). "U.S. bombs do not bring peace or justice, only death and destruction. Our troops have no place in Afghanistan." Donald Trump appeared to agree with that assessment during his campaign for president, twittering "Let's get out!" But his "new" war strategy calls for a surge of thousands more troops to Afghanistan, with additional pressure on Pakistan.


"The Pentagon's record in Afghanistan provides iron-clad evidence that war does not work," says Gar Smith of Environmentalists Against War. "Nor does provocation and endless escalation. It's all a con to maintain the profits of the U.S. munitions and weapons industries."  

"Trump also emboldens the war machine here in the U.S. against Black and Brown people and immigrants," adds No to War Call to Action, "by fanning white supremacy and xenophobia and continuing the militarization of the police and ICE to incite racially-motivated violence and justify repression, including mass incarceration and mass deportations. U.S. wars of aggression and militarism abroad go hand-in-hand with increased state repression and militarization of the police state here at home.

"Trump's new escalation comes at a time when there is no end in sight to the continuous wars, including drone and mercenary warfare, throughout the region and when he is threatening military action against Venezuela, North Korea, Russia, Iran and other countries."

Tell Donald Trump: End the Wars, Close Overseas Military Bases, and Ground the Drones. TROOPS OUT NOW!

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This page is an archive of entries from October 2017 listed from newest to oldest.

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