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Category Archives: Politics

Greedy Antidote David Banks Hotspoting the worse Hoods Education

David Banks Eagles Academy “In the STATE of New York over 70% of the inmates for the entire New York STATE correctional system come from 7 specific New York CITY neighborhoods alone…even within the hoods themselves there are concentrated areas and blocks that are essentially the prison pipeline. the resources need to targeted.. you can’t have a global response… and be effective. You can have record dramatic declines in crime. And you can get in front of the curve.”

Eagle Academy Foundation
http://eagleacademyfoundation.com/
The Eagle Academy Foundation empowers at-risk inner city young men to become academic achievers, engaged citizens, and responsible men by providing quality education resources and proven effective community-based initiatives to address the shortfalls in public education to effectively educate them.

Greedy Antidote Dr Jeffrey Brenner Hotspoting health care

http://www.camdenhealth.org

The Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers was created with the overarching mission to improve the health status of all Camden residents, by increasing the capacity, quality, and access of care in the city.

Unlike many service and social organizations in the city, the Coalition does not provide long-term services to patients, but rather focuses on creating solutions from the providers and health systems side of care. With this in mind, the Coalition embodies the following core principles:

The Coalition is a facilitator of discussion and strategy design among healthcare providers and services, rather than a program in itself. We seek to improve coordination among the various points of care and service that exist in the city and affect more efficient access to these resources for Camden residents.
Strategizing and plan development cannot be adequately implemented without fluid systems of communication. Efficiency of care – especially across specialties and institutions – can be easily impeded by a simple breakdown of communication. Often, this system needs to be in place before strategies are even set in place.
No single organization or health system has enough resources to solve a citywide problem. Solutions require collaboration among all stakeholders to provide the adequate support for implementation.
Initiatives need to be data-driven in order to direct the most effective strategies and to understand where to dedicate resources. Data must also be utilized to appropriately evaluate project activities.
While seed funding and demonstration projects can help determine need, the organization and the initiatives it pursues must be sustainable in order to affect and expect long-term outcomes.

House Homeland Security Committee held a hearing titled “Turning Spy Satellites on the Homeland: the Privacy and Civil Liberties Implications of the National Applications Office.” Witnesses testified about plans by the Department of Homeland Security to open a new office called the National Applications Office (NAO) charged with civil and domestic intelligence gathering. The NAO would facilitate access to satellite imagery for domestic work such as tracking hurricane damage, monitoring climate change, and creating topographical maps but also would be the conduit for all requests for domestic use of spy satellite information – including information destined for emergency response, border control and law enforcement agencies.

C-SPAN

http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/200849-1

 

http://www.c-spanvideo.org/videoLibrary/assets/swf/CSPANPlayer.swf?pid=200849-1

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From Wall Street Journal

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704657304575539872944767984.html

Imagine if a leader within the tea party movement were able to persuade its members to establish a third political party. Imagine he succeeded—overwhelmingly—and that as their leader he stood a real chance of winning the presidency. Then imagine that in anticipation of his electoral victory, the Democrats and Republicans quickly modified an existing antidiscrimination law so that he could be convicted for statements he made on the campaign trail.

All of this seems impossible in a 21st-century liberal democracy. But it is exactly what is happening in Holland to Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders.

Mr. Wilders came onto the political scene in September 2004 when he broke from the Liberal Party to found the Freedom Party. He did this partly as a response to Turkey’s bid to join the European Union, and also in reaction to the rise of political Islam in the Netherlands.

No one has ever accused Mr. Wilders of being diplomatic. He’s famously compared the Quran to “Mein Kampf” and described it as a “fascist book,” he’s called Muhammad “the devil,” and he’s proposed policies—such as banning the construction of mosques and taxing women who wear the burqa—to halt further Islamification.

A

t first, Mr. Wilders was dismissed as a far right-wing extremist. But since splitting from the Liberal Party six years ago, his star has only risen. In the national elections held in November 2006, his party won nine seats in parliament. When the Dutch government fell again this year, June elections saw his party take 24 seats in the 150-seat body.

This has spooked Dutch parliamentarians, particularly those wedded to multiculturalism. That’s why, in the fall of 2009, they modified Article 137C and 137D of the Penal Code to make it possible for far-left organizations to take Mr. Wilders to court on grounds of “inciting hatred” against Muslims.

Article 137C of the penal code now states that anyone “who publicly, verbally or in writing or image, deliberately expresses himself in anyway insulting of a group of people because of their race, their religion or belief . . . will be punished with a prison sentence of at the most one year or a fine of third category.” It continues: “If the offense is committed by a person who makes it his profession or habit, or by two or more people in association, a prison sentence of at the most two years or a fine of fourth category will be imposed.”

And so since Oct. 4, Mr. Wilders has filed into court to defend himself in this blasphemy trial. If he loses—and the chances are high, given that the presiding judges haven’t been subtle about their bias against him—he will face fines or time in jail. (When Mr. Wilders said he would not speak at the trial, Judge Jan Moors accused him of being “good at making statements, but then avoiding the discussion” they provoke.)

How is it possible that a mature European liberal democracy is prosecuting an elected member of parliament for his political opinions on the most pressing issue of the day—namely, Islamic fundamentalism? There are three main reasons.

First, there is the matter of traditional politicians’ discomfort with Mr. Wilders. Historically, the Netherlands has insisted on the idea of “consensus.” Though on paper this means compromise, in practice it has meant conformity of thought and a refusal to rock the boat on controversial issues.

No issue has tested this comfortable consensus more than the ascent of Islam, first presented by immigrants from Morocco and Turkey in the 1960s and 1970s, and then by asylum-seekers and refugees from various Muslim countries beginning in the 1990s. Most elites responded by preaching “tolerance.” Give Muslim immigrants benefits and wait until they voluntarily integrate, their argument goes. Even if that process would take generations—even when it became apparent that some Muslims practiced female genital mutilation and honor killings, and imams openly urged their congregations to reject Dutch culture and law—citizens were not to criticize Islam.

A growing segment of the population—including Mr. Wilders and me, when I was a member of parliament from 2003 to 2006—doubted this facile and dangerous idea of “tolerance.” This upset politicians, professors, journalists and other opinion-makers who tried to make us untouchables.

There were exceptions: Brave people in media, business and even in the military supported me politically, often behind the scenes. Still, I eventually left the country due to a combination of frustration with the campaign of ostracism and the extreme threats I faced from Islamists who wanted to kill me. Mr. Wilders, however, endured.

The second reason Mr. Wilders is on trial is the electoral power of Muslims in the Netherlands’ four major cities. During local elections in March 2006, Muslim immigrants for the first time acted as an unofficial power bloc that could make or break a major Dutch party.

The supposed victims of Dutch discrimination were now a force to reckon with. Thus, major parties including Labor and the Christian Democrats—dominant since World War II—now support policies like increased immigration from Muslim countries and welfare benefits for Muslim voters. And they turn a blind eye to the implementation of informal Shariah law, particularly concerning the treatment of women.

Third, there are the efforts of countries in the Organization of the Islamic Conference to silence the European debate about Islam. One strategy used by the 57 OIC countries is to treat Muslim immigrants to Europe as satellite communities by establishing Muslim cultural organizations, mosques and Islamic centers, and by insisting on dual citizenship. Their other strategy is to pressure international organizations and the European Union to adopt resolutions to punish anyone who engages in “hate speech” against religion. The bill used to prosecute Mr. Wilders is the national version of what OIC diplomats peddle at the U.N. and EU.

The implications of this trial are enormous. In the short term, it could bring the simmering tensions between Holland’s approximately one million Muslims and the 1.4 million voters who elected Mr. Wilders to a boil. The Netherlands has seen its share of Islamist violence before and could well see violent confrontations again.

On a more fundamental level, this trial—even if Mr. Wilders wins—could silence the brave critics of radical Islam. The West is in a war of ideas against political Islam. If free speech is not protected in Europe, we’re already losing.

Ms. Ali, a former member of the Dutch parliament, is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and the author of “Nomad: From Islam to America—A Personal Journey through the Clash of Civilizations” (Free Press, 2010).

 

From Reason Mag

http://reason.com/blog/2009/01/30/limiting-free-speech-in-hollan

Limiting Free Speech in Holland

| January 30, 2009

A muddled piece from Ian Buruma in today’s The New York Times, arguing, as far as I can make out, that anti-Islam Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders, recently charged with incitement after comparing the Koran to Mein Kampf, should not be defended because he is a boorish racist who doesn’t himself believe in free speech. And while Buruma, a Dutch citizen, rightfully criticizes the hypocrisies of Wilders (as I did here and here), he spends little time debating the morality and efficacy of the statutes under which he is being charged. As Buruma points out, Dutch law forbids speech that “deliberately insults people on the grounds of their race, religion, beliefs or sexual orientation.” (The race, religion, and sexual orientation stuff is pretty standard in European hate crime law, but I was unaware that in the Netherlands it’s apparently against the law to “insult” someone’s “beliefs.”)

Comparing a book that billions hold sacred to Hitler’s murderous tract is more than an exercise in literary criticism; it suggests that those who believe in the Koran are like Nazis, and an all-out war against them would be justified. This kind of thinking, presumably, is what the Dutch law court is seeking to check.

One of the misconceptions that muddle the West’s debate over Islam and free speech is the idea that people should be totally free to insult. Free speech is never that absolute. Even – or perhaps especially – in America, where citizens are protected by the First Amendment, there are certain words and opinions that no civilized person would utter, and others that open the speaker to civil charges.

This does not mean that religious beliefs should be above criticism. And sometimes criticism will be taken as an insult where none is intended. In that case the critic should get the benefit of the doubt. Likening the Koran to “Mein Kampf” would not seem to fall into that category.

If Mr. Wilders were to confine his remarks to those Muslims who do harm freedom of speech by using violence against critics and apostates, he would have a valid point.

So it is a “misconception” that “people should be totally free to insult?” Well why not, in a few brief sentences, explain just how a democratic country should establish limits on free expression? But instead, Buruma ends his piece with a typically mealy-mouthed declaration that he’s “not so sure” that the charges against Wilders strike a blow for democracy, though he is clearly less concerned with the European compulsion to prosecute thought criminals than he is with the potential elevation of Wilders to martyr status.

Buruma, who last year called Ayaan Hirsi Ali an “enlightenment fundamentalist,” wants us to know that he believes in freedom, largely disagrees with the prosecution of Wilders (though he doesn’t register any objection to the Dutch hate crimes law), and thinks that the “boundaries” to free expression are trespassed when a minority group is judged to have been offended. In other words, it’s unclear just what he believes (other than his reading of Wilders as an Islamophobic troglodyte).

If Buruma agrees with Dutch ideas of free speech “boundaries,” he should come out and say it. Instead, he offers a robust denunciation of Wilders’ reductive view of Islam (how brave!) and entirely avoids the question that matters: Where does a democratic country get off dragging controversial politicians before the court?

Bonus quote: Gerard Spong, the lawyer who filed the charges, said that managing to successfully instigate court proceedings against Wilders is his “finest hour.” “The American President Barack Obama said ‘we are free in diversity’ but you can’t have diversity if you brand one group as extremists,” he told reporters.

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from

http://www.blacknews.com/news/black_mother_jailed_sending_kids_white_school101.shtml

By Dr. Boyce Watkins

Black Mother Jailed

Nationwide (January 26, 2011) — An Ohio mother of two was sentenced to 10 days in jail and placed on three years probation after sending her kids to a school district in which they did not live. Kelly Williams-Bolar was sentenced by Judge Patricia Cosgrove on Tuesday and will begin serving her sentence immediately.

The jury deliberated for seven hours and the courtroom was packed as the sentence was handed down. She was convicted on two counts of tampering with court records after registering her two girls as living with Williams Bolar’s father when they actually lived with her. The family lived in the housing projects in Akron, Ohio, and the father’s address was in nearby Copley Township.

Additionally, Williams-Bolar’s father, Edward L. Williams, was charged with a fourth-degree felony of grand theft, in which he and his daughter are charged with defrauding the school system for two years of educational services for their girls. The court determined that sending their children to the wrong school was worth $30,500 in tuition.

When I read about this case, a few thoughts went through my mind. First, it’s clear that the court is trying to make Kelly Williams-Bolar into an example. Even the judge in the case, Patricia Cosgrove, said that her sentence was appropriate ”so that others who think they might defraud the school system perhaps will think twice.”

Secondly, it’s interesting how courts find it convenient to make someone into an example when they happen to be poor and black. I’d love to see how they prosecute wealthy white women who commit the same offense. Oh, I forgot: Most wealthy white women don’t have to send their kids to the schools located near the projects.

Third, I’m not sure why the court is treating this law-abiding mom like a thug who ran into a building with a shotgun and robbed the district of $30,000. Instead, they could simply subtract the amount it costs for her kids to go to the second school from the amount that would be spent for them to attend the first one. I’m sure the difference would still be substantial, since American educational apartheid dictates that schools in poorer neighborhoods are of significantly less quality than other schools. The racial divisions within American schools are nothing less than a blatant and consistent human rights violation and should certainly be treated as such.

A final interesting blow by Judge Cosgrove that reflects the experience of marginalized African Americans in the criminal justice system relates to Williams-Bolar’s quest to obtain a teaching degree. The single mother was in school studying to become a teacher so that she could create a better life for her girls. But that won’t happen for her family now, given that the judge has all but shut the door on her chance to fulfill her dream:

”Because of the felony conviction, you will not be allowed to get your teaching degree under Ohio law as it stands today,” the judge said. ”The court’s taking into consideration that is also a punishment that you will have to serve.”

This case is a textbook example of everything that remains racially wrong with America’s educational, economic and criminal justice systems. Let’s start from the top: Had Ms. Williams-Bolar been white, she likely would never have been prosecuted for this crime in the first place (I’d love for them to show me a white woman in that area who’s gone to jail for the same crime). She also is statistically not as likely to be living in a housing project with the need to break an unjust law in order to create a better life for her daughters. Being black is also correlated with the fact that Williams-Bolar likely didn’t have the resources to hire the kinds of attorneys who could get her out of this mess (since the average black family’s wealth is roughly 1/10 that of white families). Finally, economic inequality is impactful here because that’s the reason that Williams-Bolar’s school district likely has fewer resources than the school she chose for her kids. In other words, black people have been historically robbed of our economic opportunities, leading to a two-tiered reality that we are then imprisoned for attempting to alleviate. That, my friends, is American Racism 101.

This case is also an example of how racial-inequality created during slavery and Jim Crow continues to cripple our nation to this day. There is no logical reason on earth why this mother of two should be dehumanized by going to jail and be left permanently marginalized from future economic and educational opportunities. Even if you believe in the laws that keep poor kids trapped in underperforming schools, the idea that this woman should be sent to jail for demanding educational access is simply ridiculous.

Dr. Boyce Watkins is a social commentator, and a scholar in residence in the entrepreneurship and innovation unit at Syracuse University. Read his blog at http://drboycespeaks.blogspot.com

Clinton Plays Russian Roulette With Justice 

By Yvonne Ridley

December 29, 2010

 

Information Clearing House— I wonder if Hillary Clinton really believes in the pompous invective that shoots from her lips with the rapidity of machine gun fire. 

We had a classic example of it just the other day when she let rip in her grating, robotic monotones over a Moscow court’s decision to jail an oil tycoon.

To be fair to Clinton, she was not alone. There was a whole gaggle of disapproving foreign ministers who poured forth their ridiculous brand of Western arrogance which has poisoned the international atmosphere for far too long.

The US Secretary of State said Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s conviction raised “serious questions about selective prosecution and about the rule of law being overshadowed by political considerations”.

Although Khodorkovsky, 47, and his business partner, Platon Lebedev, 54, were found guilty of theft and money laundering by a Moscow court, critics like Clinton say the trial constitutes revenge for the tycoon’s questioning of a state monopoly on oil pipelines and propping up political parties that oppose the Kremlin.

Clinton’s censure was echoed by politicians in Britain and Germany, and Catherine Ashton, the EU foreign policy chief, urged Moscow to “respect its international commitments in the field of human rights and the rule of law”.

Now while it may appear to be quite touching to see all these Western leaders express their outrage over a trial involving the one-time richest and most powerful man in Russia’s oil and gas industry, you have to ask where were these moral guardians when other unjust legal decisions were being made in US courts, for example?

So why have the Americans and Europeans rushed to make very public and official statements so quickly on a matter of oil and gas, in another country not in their sway or control? Okay, so it is a rhetorical question!

But shouldn’t Clinton put a sock in it? The USA is still squatting in Cuba overseeing the continuing festering mess caused by one of the biggest boil’s on the face of human rights – yes, Guantanamo is approaching a decade of incarcerating men without charge or trial. At least Khodorkovsky had his day in an open court and can appeal.

Instead of sticking her nose in to other countries’ judicial processes, perhaps the US Secretary of State would care to look into her own backyard and tell us why one of her soldiers was given a mere nine month sentence earlier this month after shooting unarmed civilians in Afghanistan?

And after he’s served his sentence US army medic Robert Stevens can still remain in the army, ruled the military hearing. His defence was that he and other soldiers were purely acting on orders from a squad leader during a patrol in March in Kandahar.

Five of the 12 soldiers named in the case are accused of premeditated murder in the most serious prosecution of atrocities by US military personnel since the war began in late 2001. Some even collected severed fingers and other human remains from the Afghan dead as war trophies before taking photos with the corpses.

By comparison, just a few months earlier, Dr Aafia Siddiqui, was given 86 years for attempting to shoot US soldiers … the alleged incident happened while she was in US custody, in Afghanistan. She didn’t shoot anyone although she WAS shot at point blank range by the soldiers. The critically injured Pakistani citizen was then renditioned for a trial in New York. The hearing was judged to be illegal and out of US jurisdiction by many international lawyers.

Did Clinton have anything to say about that? Did any of the foreign ministers in the West raise these issues on any public platform anywhere in the world? Again, it’s a rhetorical question.

Of course a few poorly trained US Army grunts, scores of innocent Afghans, nearly 200 Arab men in Cuba and one female academic from Pakistan are pretty small fry compared to an oil rich tycoon who doesn’t like Vladamir Putin.

But being poor is not a crime.

Exactly how would the Obama Administration have reacted if Russian President Dmitry Medvedev criticized the lack of even handedness in the US judicial system and demanded Dr Aafia Siddiqui be repatriated? What would be the response if Medvedev called an international press conference and demanded to know why 174 men are still being held in Guantanamo without charge or trial?

 

 

Just for the record the US judicial system imposes life sentences for serious tax avoidance and laundering of criminally-received income – crimes for which the Russian tycoon has been found guilty. Sentencing will not take place until Moscow trial judge, Viktor Danilkin, finishes reading his 250-page verdict, which could take several days.

In her comments Clinton said the case had a “negative impact on Russia’s reputation for fulfilling its international human rights obligations and improving its investment climate”.

How on earth can anyone treat the US Secretary of State seriously when she comes out with this sort of pot, kettle, black rhetoric? This from a nation which is morally and financially bankrupt, a country which introduced words like rendition and water-boarding into common day usage.

My advice to Clinton is do not lecture anyone about human rights and legal issues until you clean up your own backyard. In fact the next time she decides to open her mouth perhaps one of her aides can do us all a favour and ram in a slice of humble pie.

British journalist Yvonne Ridley is the European President of the International Muslim Women’s Union as well as being a patron of Cageprisoners. She is also a presenter of The Agenda and co-presenter of the Rattansi and Ridley show for Press TV