Archive for June, 2007

Corporations Win One in Wisconsin

Wednesday, June 27th, 2007

In Federal Election Commission vs. Wisconsin Right to Life Inc. the US Supreme Court ruled that the publicity arms of corporations and unions have a right to spend their money criticizing political candidates by name, even right up to the time of the election. So the rich get better leverage on the opinions of the demos. Its only right, argued the court. Best allow any doubt to err on the side of freedom of speech. That would be freedom of speech to all beings, personal or corporate.

Corporations are considered to be persons under the law, when it comes to factoring out which Constitutional rights they are deemed to have. In that sense, corporations are equal to normal human being type persons. It is only that they happen to be very much richer. So when government protects the microphone (as it were) of very much richer “persons”, government is protecting a very much bigger microphone. That is a very much bigger job, of course. All of us little, human being type persons are pretty small, comparatively speaking.

Smallness is one method used by the this Court to help determine what abuses of governmental powers are important to deal with.

Justice Roberts said that the phrase “bong Hits for Jesus” is cryptic, but could “reasonably” be construed to advocate illegal drug use. School administrations are now free to go after any student speech, in school or out of school, that can “reasonably” be construed to advocate any illegal activity. This is not a decision affirming freedom. Rather, it affirms censorship and governmental intrusion into speech — even religion and works of art. The fascist gene complex stirs, blinks, and looks around for breakfast. Kick the usurpers out while we still can. Don’t count on the Cowardly Congress (US 110th) to do it. This is a wakeup call to the best and brightest students. Freedom needs you. The empire builders want to shut you up. What are you going to do when the draft comes, and it is illegal to advise others to resist it? What are you going to do when opposing war is “reasonably” construed as giving aid and comfort to the enemy? Your ideas will be put in jail, and you along with them. (We could use a law that forbids fascist rulings from the bench.)

They have judged the speech to be non-political and non-religious, and that if it had been either then they would have decided the other way. Yet the student said he made it nonsensical for the precise reason of proving the political point that he could say whatever he wished. It was political speech, yet the court determined that it was not political speech, and therefore the school could regulate it how it saw fit.

The authoritarian element wishes to control. The topic of speech must qualify itself to be one of the acceptable modes: political or religious speech. In a free country, where people – including students – had personal freedom, within the realm of the spoken and printed word, the focus would be on prohibited modes, rather than on permitted modes. Violent and disruptive modes of speech are disallowed. But within the realm of non-violent and non-disruptive modes of communication, the content of communication would be free.

Understanding this distinction is, in my estimation, absolutely essential to any recovery we may yet achieve from the depredations recently and currently being heaped upon our American democratic institutions.

“Bong Hits” is hardly the most important issue going around these days, with us being in the midst a truly evil war, our Constitution having been savaged by the Administration, and our Congress prostrate and spineless. But what is the demos to do? There is doubt it will manage to wake itself from its habitual stupor. Even if it does, how can it possibly organize itself, with both major political parties mired in graft and corruption?

Bonnie and Sara stop a tank

Monday, June 11th, 2007

The picture is clear. The tank was stopped. There were a handful of police bicycles stopped, too. In front of the tank. There is no doubt that the tank was stopped.

I had received the press packet a few hours before the Parade of Roses event in Portland. It was the 150th anniversary.

And a tank. The Army thinks that people will see tanks as more friendly if they see them more often, on the streets. Like in parades, for example.

There are really only two different basic reasons why there would be anyone in the tank to drive it in the first place:

First reason would be that some relative youth had figured out the basic conflict of existence, and determined that the proper place to confront it was driving that tank.

The second reason would be that someone else had induced that same relative youth to be there driving it.

That is the complete universe of possibilities as to why that relative youth would be driving that tank. Either way, we have a problem.

The actions of Bonnie, Sara, and the handful of police bicycles with their officers, are all derivatives of the actions of the driver of the tank.

Many may think that the tank itself is prior, even before its driver. I refuse to quibble about that. But Bonnie and Sara were there to stop the tank, and they wouldn’t have been there without the tank. Whether the tank might have been there without the driver, I cannot say.

Personally, I do not think the tank looks good on city streets. I do not think that it looks good anywhere. banned in Uzbekistan

Thursday, June 7th, 2007

I received an email inquiry from a foreign embassy in Tashkent, asking why the Schema-Root Uzbekistan page did not contain any Uzbekistan news.

And so I was eager myself to know why it did not.

But when I looked at the page, it was full of Uzbekistan news.

I explained in my email answer that I could not reproduce the problem. I asked for a brief description of the page he was seeing, and noted that the Uzbekistan page has a map of Uzbekistan in it upper right corner.

I received another email in reply. It said that the page now has a large “X” where the map used to be, and that he thought the source of the problem was at his internet service provider. He enclosed the newsfeed that he was getting – and, sure enough, there was no Uzbekistan news there.

I imagine his email is being read, too.

I think a good method for combating such censorship might be to simply have more websites and blogs devoting attention to Uzbekistan.

And, by-the-way, Bush’s erstwhile collaboration with Uzbekistan puts the lie to any claim that he invaded Iraq to help make the region more democratic.