Saturday, December 29, 2007

Muslim Woman Convicted of a Thought-Crime in the UK

At Mother's, they put out this newspaper at the restaurant called "Epoch Times," I think they're based in the UK, though I'm not certain. This article was in the edition I read today.

By Stephen Jones
Epoch Times UK Staff
Civil Rights groups have welcomed a court's decision to free a Muslim woman convicted of what they say amounts to a 'thought crime'.

Samina Malik, who called herself the "lyrical terrorist" after writing poetry praising suicide bombers, walked free of the Old Bailey last Thursday after gaining a nine month suspended sentence for possessing extremist literature.

While working as a shop assistant in stationer WHSmith, the 23-year-old of Southall, London, scribbled on the back of till rolls poems such as "Kafirs your time will come soon, and no one will save you from your doom".

Malik was the first woman to be convicted under Section 58 of the Terrorism Act, which states that: "A person commits an offence if he collects or makes a record of information of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism."

Although she was found guilty of the offence last Wednesday, she was said to be not guilty of the more serious offence of possessing articles for terrorist purposes.

In her defence, Malik said: "This does not mean I wanted to convert my words into actions. This is a meaningless poem and that is all it ever was. To partake in something and to write about something are two different things."

Deputy President of writers' group, English PEN, Lisa Appignanesi, said: "A prison sentence for Samina Malik would have a chilling effect on every British citizen's right to express themselves fully and freely.

"This in turn would have a knock-on effect for citizens of other countries, whose governments look to the UK for leadership on such issues.

"To make a felon of a girl dreaming and writing behind a bookshop counter would have Byron and Shelley turning in their graves."

Director of the libertarian group, Jonathan Heawood, added: "Her worst crimes are against prosody and a fitting response would be to send her on a creative writing workshop."

As well as the extremist poems, police also found in Malik's house documents on a computer relating to terrorism, including: the al-Qaeda Manual, the Terrorists Handbook, the Mujahideen Poisons Handbook, a manual for a Dragunov Sniper Rifle, the Firearms and RPG handbook, and a document called "How to win hand to hand fighting".

Defending her in court, John Burton said Malik's offences showed "a significant degree of immaturity" and she had behaved more like a rebellious teenager than a young woman in her 20s.

Although she faced up to 10 years in jail, she was given a suspended sentence, meaning she does not need to serve time in prison unless found guilty of another offence.

Assistant Secretary-General of the Muslim Council of Britain, Inayat Bunglawala, welcomed the judge's decision.

He said: "If the police believed that Samina may have constituted a threat to society then they could surely have placed her under surveillance and waited until they had uncovered some actual terror-related activity as opposed to just downloading stuff from the internet.

"Instead, given the wide-ranging powers they now enjoy under section 58 of the Terrorism Act 2000 they were able to prosecute Samina for a thought crime." Read more!

Friday, December 28, 2007

A Friendly Reminder

The United States' embargo against Cuba has been in place for 46 years. After the Soviet Union's fall in '89-'92, The United Nations has ANNUALLY condemned the embargo. It stands only now as the means by which Cuba is made an example of economic collapse for any vulnerable nation that actively stands against U.S. foreign policy and oligarchical capitalism.

In the U.N.'s World Food Program, it costs 19 cents to feed a child for a day.

Nineteen cents.

20,000 children die of hunger every day. 20 will have died by the time you're done reading this.

One minute of war in Iraq would feed 2,000,000 children for a day.
One day of war in Iraq would feed 8,000,000 children for a year.

There are an estimated 800 million hungry human beings in the world. Three to four months of war in Iraq would feed them all.

(The following are the views and opinions of this author and not necessarily those of others associated with this blog...though I do hope so)

Let's count the number of wars that the United States has engaged itself in in the last half-century. How many people--LIVES! THESE ARE HUMAN BEINGS. THEY SMILE AND CRY LIKE YOU. THEY HAVE THEIR OWN LIVES. THEIR OWN LIVES!--how many of them could the wealthiest and most prosperous nation in history have fed, clothed, sheltered, and educated? And why in God's name would that nation want to do that in the first place?...

we are, after all, our brothers' keepers, are we not? The oligarchy that controls this nation politically, economically, and militarily claim it to be so through their professed beliefs in Judeo-Christian theology. Wolves in sheep's clothing. This nation claims vague ideals of 'democracy,' 'freedom,' and 'JUSTICE' only for the benefit of wealthy families and multinational corporations who have been protected by a military-industrial complex since the end of World War II; and that military-industrial complex is protected and ensured by a voting population of apathetic and feebleminded consumers, forced into fear by their government, with attention-spans long enough to hate this or that candidate or this or that policy based soley on unfounded and ethically and socially illogical premises propagated by this same oligarchical elite. It's not about dominating one group of people or another, it's about a few groups of people grabbing as much money as they can from the dead bodies of their own brothers and sisters. And granted, there are people who do their part to help through complex and simple means alike, but it sickens me to think that all the people, myself included, who recognize this and have yet to leave or take themselves off of the grid are tacitly complying with this hatred and greed. But how in the name of Peace is anyone going to solve anything by leaving??? Look at us, Ulysses between a rock and a hard place.

Jesus must be gouging his eyes out on his crown of thorns.

End Post. Read more!

Something Shiny Amidst The Muck and Mire?

I've heard more good than bad about Edwards.
But that is just me...

Behind the Edwards Surge: Right Message at the Right Time
By John Nichols
The Nation

Wednesday 26 December 2007

Much was made of Illinois Senator Barack Obama's superb speech to a huge crowd of Iowa Democrats at the mid-November Jefferson-Jackson Day dinner in Des Moines. Without a doubt, it helped to propel Obama ahead of New York Senator Hillary Clinton in polls conducted in the weeks after the event.

But Obama's speech in November may not turn out to be the definitional statement of the fight for Iowa.

What could turn out to be the most critical comment of the campaign came from John Edwards in the last debate between the Democratic contenders - and the former senator from North Carolina may well claim the caucus-night victory that is the reward for delivering the right message at the right time.

It wasn't a great rhetorical flourish. It wasn't even a new statement. Rather, it was a particularly pointed and effective restatement of the core anti-corporate message of his campaign.
But it came precisely when Iowa Democrats were getting serious about the caucuses. And it gave Edwards the boost he needed to get back in the competition - and, he is, very much in the competition now.


No serious observer of the December 13 debate in Des Moines doubted that the standout performance, and the standout message, was that of Edwards.

Indeed, undecided voters assembled in focus groups that watched the debate for the major television networks rated Edwards off the charts. That's going to help the 2004 Democratic nominee for vice president as the Iowa caucuses approach. Despite the intense focus on the campaigns of New York Sen. Hillary Clinton and Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, most polls suggest that Edwards is very much in the running in Iowa. And rightly so.

To a far greater extent than Obama or Clinton, Edwards has struck at the heart of issues that should matter most in the race to replace not just George W. Bush, but the Bush agenda of corporate giveaways, job-crushing free trade deals, war profiteering in Iraq, and subprime mortgage profiteering in Indiana, Idaho, Illinois and, yes, Iowa.

Edwards summed up his increasingly aggressive and powerful anti-corporate themes with a declaration: "What makes America America is at stake: jobs, the middle class, health care, preserving the environment in the world for future generations.

"But all those things are at risk. And why are they at risk? Because of corporate power and corporate greed in Washington, D.C. And we have to take them on. You can't make a deal with them. You can't hope that they're going to go away. You have to actually be willing to fight. And I want every caucus-goer to know I've been fighting these people and winning my entire life. And if we do this together, rise up together, we can actually make absolutely certain, starting here in Iowa, that we make this country better than we left it."

But the former senator's most effective statement at the Des Moines Register debate on Thursday was one that reflected his deep level of engagement with working people in the upper Midwest, an engagement born of long months spent in Iowa and neighboring states - at a time when Clinton and Obama were spending considerably more time fighting over who had better relations with the media moguls on Hollywood's A-list and in the suites of Manhattan's mortgage manipulators.

Edwards got to know workers in Iowa. He stood with them in their struggles.

Turning a broad question about human rights toward the specific issue of trade policy, the former senator said that human rights, human needs and human values "should be central to our trade policy."

"But," he added, "if you look at what's happened with American trade policy, look at what America got: Big corporations made a lot of money, are continuing to make a lot of money in China. But what did America get in return? We got millions of dangerous Chinese toys. We lost millions of jobs.

"And right here in Iowa, the Maytag plant in Newton closed. A guy named Doug Bishop, who I got to know very well, had worked in that plant, and his family had worked in that plant literally for generations. And his job is now gone. The same thing, by the way, happened in the plant that my father worked in when I was growing up. It is so important that we stop allowing these corporate powers and corporate profits to run America's policy, whether it's trade policy, how we engage with China. This is not good for America. It's not good for American jobs. And it's not good for working people in this country."

That's an issue Edwards has taken far, far more seriously than his opponents in what is now a three-way race in Iowa. And that seriousness has benefitted the former senator.

Remembering the workers who have been battered by the failed trade policies of the Clinton and Bush administrations matters. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, both supporters of recent trade agreements, have never connected on the same level. Edwards, who once had a shaky record on these issues but has come to be a passionate proponent of fair trade, comes across as the candidate who gets it. That's why he won the debate in Des Moines. That's why every serious survey that has been conducted in recent days shows him within striking distance of the Iowa win that once was assumed to be Clinton's for the taking and that was then supposed to be Obama's.

No one who is watching the rapid evolution of this race is any longer counting Edwards out in Iowa - or in the rest of a yet-to-be-defined race for the Democratic nomination.
Read more!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Blood Pressure Elevation

All I really wanted for Christmas was for O'Reilly to be banished from planet Earth. But a new camera will do.

Read more!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

200th Post!

"Something of the sort has already been described for the self-actualizing person. Everything now comes of its own accord, pouring out, without will, effortlessly, purposelessly. He acts now totally and without deficiency, not homeostatically or need-reductively, not to avoid pain or displeasure or death, not for the sake of a goal further on in the future, not for any end other than itself. His behavior and experience becomes per se, and self-validating, end-behavior and end-experience, rather than means-behavior or means-experience. At this level, I have called the person godlike because most gods have been considered to have no needs or wants, no deficiencies, nothing lacking, to be gratified in all things. The characteristics and especially actions of the “highest,” “best” gods have then been deduced as based upon not-wanting."
--Abraham H. Maslow
"Toward a Psychology of Being", 3rd Edition, Page 121 Read more!