Institutional Islamophobia discussed

From Kim Brown Show on 6/14/13

http://www.thekimbrownshow.com/2/2013/06/tkbs-podcast-june-14-2013-audio/

Is JP Morgan Chase arbitrarily closing bank accounts of Muslim and Arab Americans on the basis of religion?  That’s what the Michigan chapter of the Council of American Islamic Relations wants the Treasury Department to find out.  They filed a federal complaint, alleging JP Morgan Chase offered curt notice to dozens of Muslims and Muslim-owned businesses before telling those customers to withdraw their funds from those accounts.  Dawud Walid is the Executive Director of CAIR in Michigan and he breaks down what is happening to his constituents.

Another GOP abortion bill, another squandered moment

http://blogs.detroitnews.com/politics/2013/06/18/another-gop-abortion-bill-another-squander/

JUN 18, 2013, 3:30 PM 

Another GOP abortion bill, another squandered moment

  • BY Republican national leadership still has not learned its lesson from last year’s defeat in pushing social legislation in Congress.

    This week, the House is to vote on pro-life legislation that will ban abortions past the 20 week mark. Though the bill may make it out of the House, it does not have a chance before the Senate – much less a presidential veto if it did.

    To be clear, I’m not in favor of abortions past the 20 week mark – except in where women face serious health problems (including potential death). I am, however, in favor of bi-partisan legislation that can fix the socio-economic mess that our country faces at this crucial moment. The votes simply are not there on this issue, which gives the appearance that the GOP is blowing smoke on an unwinnable issue.

    Less than one week ago, a Gallup poll found that Congress’ approval rating is at an all-time low – only 10 percent of Americans have confidence in the House and Senate. Instead of seizing the moment and focusing on the economy, national deficits, and the erosion of civil liberties, Republican legislators are making the ill-advised move to jump deeper into culture war politics.

    If the GOP does not re-focus, they will continue to lose even more support during the 2014 election cycle. Stop the grandstanding, and submit legislation that has a chance of actually passing to improve our country.

NSA snooping erodes American values

My discussion on yesterday’s “Hard Knock Radio” Pacifica Radio from California with DJ Davey D.

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http://blogs.detroitnews.com/politics/2013/06/11/broad-nsa-snooping-erodes-american-values/

JUN 11, 2013, 9:30 AM 

NSA snooping erodes American value

BY 

Recent revelations that the National Security Agency (NSA) and FBI have been involved in widespread collection of Verizon customers phone records – as well as communications from nine internet providers – has sent shockwaves across the country.Programs which started under the guise of counterterrorism during the Bush administration have mushroomed past simple information gathering on potential threats to mass collection of data on citizens.

“You can’t have 100 percent security, and then have 100 percent privacy,”  says President Obama, a defender and advancer of such programs, in defending broad government snooping. He also used the word “inconvenience” regarding the government having access to our private e-mails, pictures and Skype conversations.

The primary characteristic that separates free societies from totalitarian ones is that citizens need not worry if their governments are monitoring their every move without predication of criminal behavior.

The framers of the Constitution had foresight in this matter.

The Fourth Amendment was written to protect us from unreasonable searches and seizures unless probable causes exist.  It’s this principle of freedom that differentiates our legal framework from other nations.  Sadly, we are witnessing a steady erosion of these freedoms in the name of security.

Congressman Mike Rogers, R-Michigan, says a single attack was thwarted due to this obtuse collection of phone records.  I wish Rogers would share this information, so we can access the validity of this statement.  The fundamental question is: Are we as Americans willing to live in the land of the Orwellian in the name of feeling more secure?  East Germany was a very secure country from extremist attacks, and North Korea is likewise today.  No one that I know, however, is willing to live in such conditions for the sake of feeling secure.

Congressman Justin Amash, R-Michigan, wrote a bipartisan Congressional member letter to the heads of the NSA and FBI seeking questions regarding this broad information gathering given that the legal statute for such is confined to foreign intelligence purposes, not domestic.  Amash and other Congressmen should push for hearings into the scope and legality of such activities by the NSA and FBI.

“Those who give up their liberty for more security neither deserve liberty nor security,”  Benjamin Franklin famously stated.

We have real threats that face our nation, but the erosion of our freedoms is a greater threat to our national soul than any enemy, foreign or domestic.

I hope that our discussions on this issue in the coming weeks can be focused on the nature of contemporary government surveillance and the costs both fiscally and constitutionally to our republic.  Long conversations about NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden – and if certain papers should have released info on NSA and FBI mass data collection – are distractions from the real issues.

 

Changing mascots would be positive step forward

http://blogs.detroitnews.com/politics/2013/06/06/changing-schools-mascots-would-be-step-forward/

JUN 6, 2013, 5:05 AM

BY 

The U.S. Department of Education’s (DOE) decision to affirm the right of public schools to have offensive Native American mascots sends the wrong message to children, who should be learning about ethnic sensitivity.

The Michigan Department of Civil Rights in February filed a complaint with DOE citing 35 schools in our state that use racially offensive names and images of Native Americans as mascots.  Moreover, the complaint also stated that such mascots negatively affect both Native American students’ self-esteem as well as non-Natives who see stereotypes reinforced.

I’m not in favor of professional teams using such mascots as the Washington Redskins, either. However, private teams are businesses – unlike taxpayer-funded public schools.

Would you cringe if you heard a school mascot being called the Darkies with a teenager in black-face?  I would hope so.  Names like the Redskins are no different to Native Americans.

It’s a reductionist argument to dismiss Native Americans’ concerns regarding racist mascots by saying that public schools across the country have mascots such as the Cavaliers or Pirates that depict white males. That the societal status quo has no problem with these mascots is not a valid reason to ignore the sensitivities of a minority.  Moreover,   Native Americans, who have suffered ethnic cleansing and discrimination since the founding of America, have the moral right to complain about humiliating imagery.

The history of race in our nation and its contemporary effects are still the most difficult conversations in America.

I suggest that those 35 schools heed the concerns of the Native American community, the NAACP, the American Psychological Association and others by voluntarily changing their mascots even though DOE is not forcing them to do so.  It would be a good lesson for our children that, even though we as a nation commit wrongs, we can have the courage to admit them and move forward in more positive directions.