Independent Investigation of Sri Lanka Atrocities


 

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Tasha Manoranjan
Advocacy Director
People for Equality and Relief in Lanka
www.pearlaction.org

For Immediate Release: February 13, 2013

Tamil Groups Welcome UN Rights Chief’s Call For
Independent International Investigation in Sri Lanka
London/Toronto/Washington D.C.
The British Tamils Forum, the Canadian Tamil Congress, and United States Tamil Political Action Council acknowledge the Report by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, which emanates from United Nations Human Rights Council Resolution 19/2. While welcoming High Commissioner Navanethem Pillay’s continuous commitment to human rights in Sri Lanka, the use of the Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) as a framework against which to measure progress is a grave mistake. The LLRC’s fundamental and well-documented flaws preclude its position as the authoritative institution regarding accountability in Sri Lanka.
   High Commissioner Navanethem Pillay reaffirmed: “her long-standing call for an independent and credible international investigation into alleged violations of international human rights and humanitarian law, which could also monitor any domestic accountability process.” The strength of the High Commissioner’s recommendations underscores the seriousness of the human rights situation, and adds to the volume of credible reports undertaken by the United Nations, including the Secretary Generals Panel of Experts Report and the UN Internal Review on the failings of the UN in Sri Lanka.
   “The evidence is mounting, and the reports are repetitive: Sri Lanka cannot evade international scrutiny by seeking more time and space. The Human Rights Council should therefore implement the recommendations of the High Commissioner, by resolving to establish a Commission of Inquiry at the forthcoming session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva,” stated Dr. Yaso Natkunam, spokesperson for the United States Tamil Political Action Council.
   “The High Commissioner’s report contextualizes the failure of the Sri Lankan government to meaningfully address its breaches of international human rights and humanitarian law,” concluded Dr. Natkunam. “This report is a strong step forward, and demands stronger, more progressive action on Sri Lanka. It can, and must be used as an opportunity to bring about a more constructive resolution on Sri Lanka based on the principles of accountability, reconciliation, and human rights.”
   The British Tamils Forum, the Canadian Tamil Congress, and United States Tamil Political Action Council are Tamil organizations operating in the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States respectively.
For Media Inquiries, please contact:
BTF, United Kingdom – 44 79 27 02 3912
CTC, Canada – 905 781 7034
USTPAC, United States – 202 595 3123

 


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This blog is #19 for 2012!


 

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2012 Top Criminal Justice BlogsJust learned that I ranked #19 of the top 30 Criminal Justice blogs at this website:

http://www.top-criminal-justice-schools.net/top-30-criminal-justice-blogs-of-2012

Also, I’m quickly closing in on 500,000 pages hits.  At November 30, it had taken me from 2006 to get to 400,000, so here’s a big thank you to all my readers because hitting half-a-million in so short a time since then is a major adrenalin rush for a self-admitted “intensity junkie.”

Site Statistics

Unique Pages Served: 20806  Total Sessions: 213955                       Total Page Hits: 496478

You won’t be able to find my most recent piece, The Fed’s Vendetta Against Aaron Swartz, because that’s published in Counter Punch’s February 12, 2013 email edition: CounterPunch Vol. 20 No. 2a Digital Exclusive.  In it’s pages, you see exclusive comments from my friends Neil Broom and Kevin Mitnick.  Neil of the Technical Resource Center of Atlanta, Georgia currently serves on the Ethical Standards Committee of the International Society of Forensic Computer Examiners (ISFCE) and the National Leadership Assembly of the American Society of Digital Forensics & eDiscovery (ASDFED). Additionally he is the past Chairman of the Digital Evidence Subcommittee for the International Association for Identification (IAI) and has been a Professional Member of the National Speakers Association.  Kevin was once dubbed the most wanted hacker in the world when he led the Feds on a wild ghost chase until they caught him and threw him in solitary confinement.  He’s now a computer security professional.

Counter Punch is well worth the subscription price of $35.00/year for the email edition, so check out the website at:  http://www.counterpunch.org/

 

 

 


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Chris Dorner: Please surrender, I have a team ready to assist


 

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CHRIS DORNER, please surrender. I’ll help you. I have a team ready to assist.

This is real. It is not just a publicity stunt and yes I know it’s dangerous, but having been shot at over the years by everybody from the Nazi Party to the Jewish Defense League and having been threatened in the last few years by a Hungarian Mafia crime family and the Jerusalem Network of the Israeli Mafia, I’m used to danger even though I’m quite realistically afraid.

I’ve done this once before when I took a couple of bank robbers in a high publicity case into custody and turned them over to the FBI so I know the drill. Once may not seem like a lot of experience, but then this is a rare kind of event so it’s not like anybody in the private sector that you can trust has any experience at this.

You’ve probably never heard of me before but just Google me and you’ll understand why you can trust me and trust my judgment. Amongst other things, I’ve been a private investigator since 1979 and licensed since 1983. I served an unprecedented seven (7) terms as Chair of the Board of the California Association of Licensed Investigators (CALI), the world’s largest private eye organization, more than twice as long as anybody ever served as President or Chair. I’m currently a Criminal Justice Columnist for Counter Punch Magazine and a Commentator for Black Talk Radio network.

I have put together a team to effect a surrender to insure that you (and all of us) stay alive—hopefully. I have two other private investigators lined up (one ex-LAPD and one ex-Secret Service) and two reporters ready to assist.

There are numerous ways to reach me:

Tel: 213.787.5476

Fax: 310.618.1950

pi@janbtucker.com

http://www.janbtucker.com

AIM: janbtucker

Twitter: janbtucker

Facebook: Jan B. Tucker

Myspace: Jan B. Tucker


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Chris Dorner isn’t just ranting


 

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Clickable links for the below article:

1.  http://janbtucker.com/blog/2012/09/01/lapds-gift-to-ms-13-defense/

2.  http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displaycode?section=gov&group=03001-04000&file=3300-3313

3.  http://janbtucker.com/blog/2012/12/23/gun-enthusiasts-employed-by-la-schools/

Manifesto analysis_001Manifesto analysis_002Manifesto analysis_003Manifesto analysis_004


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News Release on Alzheimers Research from Keck-USC


 

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 7, 2013

For Information Contact:

Nadine M. Diaz, M.S.W.
University of Southern California
Memory & Aging Center 
California Alzheimer's Disease Center (State-CADC)
Alzheimer's Disease Research Center (Federal-ADRC)
1520 San Pablo Street HCCII Suite 3000
Los Angeles, CA 90033
Center (323) 442-7600
Direct (323) 442-7603
Fax (323) 442-7601
Website: www.usc.edu/memory

USC clinical trial examines how safe natural alternatives to estrogen affect menopause-related hot flashes and memory loss



LOS ANGELES — Physicians and neuroscientists at the University of Southern California (USC) are enrolling female volunteers into a National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded clinical trial studying the effects of
a nutraceutical product (a nutritional supplement that is not a drug) that consists of three phytoestrogens, which are a group of naturally occurring compounds that resemble the estrogen hormone in humans but come from plants.natural on menopause-related hot flashes and memory loss. Sponsored by the Keck School of Medicine of USC <http://uschealthmediarelations.cmail2.com/t/j-l-yulittl-jhiruiijd-v/> and USC School of Pharmacy <http://uschealthmediarelations.cmail2.com/t/j-l-yulittl-jhiruiijd-e/> , the clinical trial will examine how healthy peri- and post-menopausal women tolerate a nutritional supplement called phytoSERM.

PhytoSERMs are a food supplement that contain three different phytoestrogens: daidzen, genistein and equol. Phytoestrogens are naturally occurring compounds derived from plants and function like the primary female sex hormone—estrogen.

Lon S. Schneider <http://uschealthmediarelations.cmail2.com/t/j-l-yulittl-jhiruiijd-s/> , M.D., director of the USC Alzheimer’s Disease Research and Clinical Center <http://uschealthmediarelations.cmail2.com/t/j-l-yulittl-jhiruiijd-g/> at the Keck School, is principal investigator of the clinical trial, which seeks to determine whether PhytoSERMs are a potential treatment for hot flashes and whether they may prevent or improve age-related memory loss.

“Extensive pre-clinical research by Dr. Roberta Brinton at the USC School of Pharmacy shows that the PhytoSERMs’ formulation targets an estrogen receptor sub-type that improves mitochondrial metabolism and memory function in animals,” Schneider said.

Hot flashes, or momentary sensations of heat that may be accompanied by flushing or sweating, are a common symptom experienced by women prior to and during the early phases of menopause. Some women may also experience a rapid heart rate or chills. Hormone changes during the aging process and declining levels of estrogen contribute to the symptoms.

The clinical trial is looking for 78 healthy women for a 16-week randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. That means that half of the women in the study will receive the phytoSERM supplement, while the other half will receive a placebo but neither the participant nor the researcher will know who receives what until the study’s conclusion. To be eligible, women should be between 48-58 years of age and have experienced age-related memory loss and hot flashes.  They should not be utilizing hormone replacement therapy. Selected volunteers will not receive any compensation for participation in the clinical trial.

The study is being conducted at the Memory and Aging Center <http://uschealthmediarelations.cmail2.com/t/j-l-yulittl-jhiruiijd-w/> of the Keck School of Medicine of USC. For more information or to volunteer, please contact recruitment and retention coordinator Nadine Diaz, M.S.W. at (323) 442-5775 or ndiaz@usc.edu.

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Same Page Coalition Endorsements LA Mayor et al


 

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Rls 2-6-13_001Rls 2-6-13_002Cindy MontanezMiss Revolutionaries Perry-Garcetti


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NLLAC on Immigration Action


 

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J.B. Tucker & Associates

News Release 

P.O. Box 433 Torrance CA 90508-0433 Tel: 213.787.5476 pr@janbtucker.com

 Criminal Justice Columnist, Counter Punch Magazine; Commentator, Black Talk Radio; Public relations guru”Los Angeles Times 1996; Former 1st Vice President, LA Newspaper Guild; Member, CWA Local 39521, Pacific Media Workers Guild

 For Immediate Release: January 29, 2013

For Information: Jan B. Tucker (as above); Angel Luevano, Natl VP, NLLAC (925) 813-2547.

 NLLAC Says Time to Wait & See “Came & Went” on Immigration Action

Reacting to the announcement by a group of eight Democratic and Republican Senators of a bipartisan framework for “immigration reform” the National League of Latin American Citizens (NLLAC) is saying that “the release of a four page framework means that we’re nowhere near to legislation, that we are still supposed to wait and see what the real details are—and of course the Diablo is in the details—and frankly, the time to wait and see already came and went a long time ago. Ya Basta!”

 Jaime Martinez, National President of the NLLAC, described the elements of the proposal, depending on the details that are apparently not even worked out as “in some respects better than nothing and in other respects potentially worse. We have long said that immigration action must provide a pathway to citizenship and which takes into consideration families, whether the families are here or not. We will not be short-changed and the current proposal by the Senate would not even have been made if not for the Latino vote and our decades of grassroots action demanding change—actions which must continue with increased vigor.” As reported by the Associated Press, the elements of the Senators’ plan have been summarized as:

  •  Creating a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants already here, contingent upon securing the border and better tracking of people here on visas.
  • Reforming the legal immigration system, including awarding green cards to immigrants who obtain advanced degrees in science, math, technology or engineering from an American university.

  • Creating an effective employment verification system to ensure that employers do not hire illegal immigrants.
  • Allowing more low-skill workers into the country and allowing employers to hire immigrants if they can demonstrate they couldn’t recruit a U.S. citizen; and establishing an agricultural worker program.

 Shortly after its formation, the NLLAC adopted national goals proposed in a leaflet by the California League of Latin American Citizens (CALLAC) which the group charged are not addressed:

Recognition of the need to redress grievances of the special status of Mexicans and people of Mexican origin in the context of the conquest of Mexican territory in an unjust war, the unlawful ethnic cleansing of 2 million people including 1.2 million United States citizens in the 1930s, and continual US interference in the internal affairs of Mexico

 Recognition and respect for the rights of indigenous Native Americans in the context of their conquest, de facto attempted genocide and negotiated peace treaties.

 Far reaching proposals for immigration action have been put forth by two (2) of the State Directors of NLLAC which they contend address the underlying systemic economic, cultural, and international legal issues which “an American unilateralist approach to immigration” would ignore.

Pennsylvania League of Latin American Citizens (PALLAC) State Director Ruben Botello, has long proposed an “American Union” which would emulate the European Union (EU). In a 2011 article on the subject, Botello wrote that:

Instead of band-aid approaches to the immigration problems its sovereignties face, this region of the world needs an American Union (AU) similar to the European Union (EU) that helped end the serious conflicts and hostilities between the EU’s member nations that led to World War II.

 CALLAC State Director Jan B. Tucker has pushed for invocation of Article XXI of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo as a means to legitimize the process of immigration action and to place it within the multilateral context of the legal relationship between the United States of America, the United States of Mexico, and of the treaty rights of Native American tribes, many of whom assert the sovereign authority to make their own immigration rules for Mexican and other immigrants. According to Tucker, Article XXI provides for a bilateral commission or third-nation neutral arbitration for issues between the United States and Mexico.

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Same Page Coalition Interviews Candidates Saturday


 

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J.B. Tucker & Associates

News Release P.O. Box 433 Torrance CA 90508-0433  pr@janbtucker.com

 Criminal Justice Columnist, Counter Punch Magazine; Commentator, Black Talk Radio; Public relations guru”Los Angeles Times 1996; Former 1st Vice President, LA Newspaper Guild; Member, CWA Local 39521, Pacific Media Workers Guild

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 1-24-13

Same Page Coalition to Interview Mayoral Candidates

The Same Page/Misma Pagina Coalition will conduct its oral interviews with the four leading candidates for Los Angeles Mayor on Saturday, January 26, 2013 along with a City Council candidate and two candidates for City Controller. Candidates already endorsed by participating organizations include State Assembly Member Bob Blumenfield (running for City Council in the 3rd District), incumbent Nancy Pearlman for re-election to the Los Angeles Community College Board of Trustees (Office No. 6), and Maria G. Cano for Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education (6th District).

 The coalition organizations’ endorsements are well-sought prizes in local elections. The coalition consists of the San Fernando Valley/Northeast Los Angeles Chapter of the National Organization for Women (SFV/NELA NOW), California League of Latin American Citizens, United For Education Coalition, Miss Revolutionaries, and the Bring Hollywood Home Foundation. These groups use a joint questionnaire and joint oral interview process and then each group makes its own endorsement decision. If the organizational picks are unanimous, then the Same Page Coalition makes a collective group endorsement. Two other organizations, Todos Unidos and the California LULAC Institute which are 501(c)(3) non-profits participate in the vetting process for voter education only and do not endorse.

 A poll taken by a State Assembly member in 2006 showed that San Fernando Valley voters had the highest regard for endorsements of the SFV/NELA NOW chapter out of all SFV groups that make candidate endorsements. The group attributes this to their strict non-partisanship and its organizational conflict of interest policy for participants in the candidate vetting process.

 In 2012, the coalition made only two endorsements and batted 1,000 in its picks: Rep. Brad Sherman in the 30th Congressional District over fellow congress member Howard Berman and Democrat Steve Fox’s upset win in the “safe-Republican” 36th Assembly District. This election season the coalition chose not to solicit candidates to apply for its endorsement and has limited its consideration to candidates who sought to enter the process on their own. The Bring Hollywood Home Foundaton, which has already made an endorsement in the Mayoral race, will not participate in the coalition’s vetting of Mayoral candidates but will take part in the process for other races.

 -30-


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Before they come for you stand up for the Roma


 

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Roma women

Roma women

The Roma people, also known as Gypsies, are about 14% of the population of Eastern Europe and have practically no representation in parliaments or governmental institutions.  Descendants of people from Northwest India who speak a Sanskrit based language, they are the only major non-white group in Eastern Europe and they are persecuted almost everywhere they live.  In Serbia and the Czech Republic Roma have been beaten to death.  In one Czech town some years ago local authorities literally walled off the Roma community in a medieval ghetto.

Martin NiemollerToday in Hungary racists are coming for the Roma.  As Martin Niemoller warned:

First they came for the Communists, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Communist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me–and there was no one left to speak for me.

Journalist Zsolt Bayer, friend of right wing Prime Minister Viktor Orban

Journalist Zsolt Bayer, friend of right wing Prime Minister Viktor Orban

Today’s Associated Press dispatch From Hungary carries a warning and an opportunity to oppose racism:

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — Hungarian civic groups are calling on companies to pull their ads from a newspaper that published a column in which a member of the governing Fidesz party made gravely disparaging remarks about the country’s Roma minority.

The appeal from Amnesty International Hungary, the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union, and 21 other groups, including several advocating for the rights of Gypsies — or Roma, as they are also called — said the companies should boycott the Magyar Hirlap newspaper until it “most resolutely condemns” the Jan. 5 column by journalist Zsolt Bayer in which he wrote that “a significant part of the Roma … are animals and they behave like animals.”

Among the companies petitioned by the civic groups are Vodafone, FedEx, IKEA, Proctor and Gamble, and Hungarian State Railways.

So, let’s stop these degenerate racists while they are coming for the Roma and don’t wait until they come for you.  Here is how to contact Vodafone, IKEA, Proctor & Gamble, and Fedex to tell them to boycott Magyar Hirlap:

http://pg.custhelp.com/app/ask/session/L3NpZC9IWHhNbFZnbA%3D%3D

 Customer_Care@ushelp.ikea.com

mediarelations@fedex.com

 https://www.expolink.co.uk/whistleblowing-hotline/reporting/?option=com_sortsurvey&lang=en-EN

Enter: vodaphone (when you go to the above link)

 

 


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The President’s Speech & My Random Observations


 

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Vice President Biden, Mr. Chief Justice, Members of the United States Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow citizens:

Imagine yourself as an African American girl seeing this scene and how different it is from past inaugurations

Imagine yourself as an African American girl seeing this scene and how different it is from past inaugurations

Each time we gather to inaugurate a president, we bear witness to the enduring strength of our Constitution. We affirm the promise of our democracy. We recall that what binds this nation together is not the colors of our skin or the tenets of our faith or the origins of our names. What makes us exceptional – what makes us American – is our allegiance to an idea, articulated in a declaration made more than two centuries ago:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Today we continue a never-ending journey, to bridge the meaning of those words with the realities of our time. For history tells us that while these truths may be self-evident, they have never been self-executing; that while freedom is a gift from God, it must be secured by His people here on Earth. The patriots of 1776 did not fight to replace the tyranny of a king with the privileges of a few or the rule of a mob. They gave to us a Republic, a government of, and by, and for the people, entrusting each generation to keep safe our founding creed.

For more than two hundred years, we have.

Imagine killing with or being killed by a Civil War Sword

Imagine killing with or being killed by a Civil War Sword

Through blood drawn by lash and blood drawn by sword, we learned that no union founded on the principles of liberty and equality could survive half-slave and half-free. We made ourselves anew, and vowed to move forward together.

Together, we determined that a modern economy requires railroads and highways to speed travel and commerce; schools and colleges to train our workers.

Together, we discovered that a free market only thrives when there are rules to ensure competition and fair play.

Together, we resolved that a great nation must care for the vulnerable, and protect its people from life’s worst hazards and misfortune.

Through it all, we have never relinquished our skepticism of central authority, nor have we succumbed to the fiction that all society’s ills can be cured through government alone. Our celebration of initiative and enterprise; our insistence on hard work and personal responsibility, are constants in our character.

Collective ActionBut we have always understood that when times change, so must we; that fidelity to our founding principles requires new responses to new challenges; that preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action. For the American people can no more meet the demands of today’s world by acting alone than American soldiers could have met the forces of fascism or communism with muskets and militias. No single person can train all the math and science teachers we’ll need to equip our children for the future, or build the roads and networks and research labs that will bring new jobs and businesses to our shores. Now, more than ever, we must do these things together, as one nation, and one people.

This generation of Americans has been tested by crises that steeled our resolve and proved our resilience. A decade of war is now ending. An economic recovery has begun. America’s possibilities are limitless, for we possess all the qualities that this world without boundaries demands: youth and drive; diversity and openness; an endless capacity for risk and a gift for reinvention. My fellow Americans, we are made for this moment, and we will seize it – so long as we seize it together.

Dr. Benjamin Spock

Dr. Benjamin Spock with Julia Suzanne Weber

For we, the people, understand that our country cannot succeed when a shrinking few do very well and a growing many barely make it. We believe that America’s prosperity must rest upon the broad shoulders of a rising middle class. We know that America thrives when every person can find independence and pride in their work; when the wages of honest labor liberate families from the brink of hardship. We are true to our creed when a little girl born into the bleakest poverty knows that she has the same chance to succeed as anybody else, because she is an American, she is free, and she is equal, not just in the eyes of God but also in our own.

We understand that outworn programs are inadequate to the needs of our time. We must harness new ideas and technology to remake our government, revamp our tax code, reform our schools, and empower our citizens with the skills they need to work harder, learn more, and reach higher. But while the means will change, our purpose endures: a nation that rewards the effort and determination of every single American. That is what this moment requires. That is what will give real meaning to our creed.

We, the people, still believe that every citizen deserves a basic measure of security and dignity. We must make the hard choices to reduce the cost of health care and the size of our deficit. But we reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future. For we remember the lessons of our past, when twilight years were spent in poverty, and parents of a child with a disability had nowhere to turn. We do not believe that in this country, freedom is reserved for the lucky, or happiness for the few. We recognize that no matter how responsibly we live our lives, any one of us, at any time, may face a job loss, or a sudden illness, or a home swept away in a terrible storm. The commitments we make to each other – through Medicare, and Medicaid, and Social Security – these things do not sap our initiative; they strengthen us. They do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great.

Ask Not-KennedyWe, the people, still believe that our obligations as Americans are not just to ourselves, but to all posterity. We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations. Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms.

Quoth Richard Milhous Nixon

Quoth Richard Milhous Nixon

The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult. But America cannot resist this transition; we must lead it. We cannot cede to other nations the technology that will power new jobs and new industries – we must claim its promise. That is how we will maintain our economic vitality and our national treasure – our forests and waterways; our croplands and snowcapped peaks. That is how we will preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God. That’s what will lend meaning to the creed our fathers once declared.

We, the people, still believe that enduring security and lasting peace do not require perpetual war. Our brave men and women in uniform, tempered by the flames of battle, are unmatched in skill and courage. Our citizens, seared by the memory of those we have lost, know too well the price that is paid for liberty. The knowledge of their sacrifice will keep us forever vigilant against those who would do us harm. But we are also heirs to those who won the peace and not just the war, who turned sworn enemies into the surest of friends, and we must carry those lessons into this time as well.

We will defend our people and uphold our values through strength of arms and rule of law. We will show the courage to try and resolve our differences with other nations peacefully – not because we are naïve about the dangers we face, but because engagement can more durably lift suspicion and fear. America will remain the anchor of strong alliances in every corner of the globe; and we will renew those institutions that extend our capacity to manage crisis abroad, for no one has a greater stake in a peaceful world than its most powerful nation. We will support democracy from Asia to Africa; from the Americas to the Middle East, because our interests and our conscience compel us to act on behalf of those who long for freedom. And we must be a source of hope to the poor, the sick, the marginalized, the victims of prejudice – not out of mere charity, but because peace in our time requires the constant advance of those principles that our common creed describes: tolerance and opportunity; human dignity and justice.

StonewallWe, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths – that all of us are created equal – is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall; just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great Mall, to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone; to hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth.

It is now our generation’s task to carry on what those pioneers began. For our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers, and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts. Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law – for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well. Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote. Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity; until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country. Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for, and cherished, and always safe from harm.

That is our generation’s task – to make these words, these rights, these values – of Life, and Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness – real for every American. Being true to our founding documents does not require us to agree on every contour of life; it does not mean we will all define liberty in exactly the same way, or follow the same precise path to happiness. Progress does not compel us to settle centuries-long debates about the role of government for all time – but it does require us to act in our time.

For now decisions are upon us, and we cannot afford delay. We cannot mistake absolutism for principle, or substitute spectacle for politics, or treat name-calling as reasoned debate. We must act, knowing that our work will be imperfect. We must act, knowing that today’s victories will be only partial, and that it will be up to those who stand here in four years, and forty years, and four hundred years hence to advance the timeless spirit once conferred to us in a spare Philadelphia hall.

They are the words of citizens, and they represent our greatest hope.

You and I, as citizens, have the power to set this country’s course.

You and I, as citizens, have the obligation to shape the debates of our time – not only with the votes we cast, but with the voices we lift in defense of our most ancient values and enduring ideals.

Let each of us now embrace, with solemn duty and awesome joy, what is our lasting birthright. With common effort and common purpose, with passion and dedication, let us answer the call of history, and carry into an uncertain future that precious light of freedom.

Thank you, God Bless you, and may He forever bless these United States of America.

****************

Words may show a man’s wit, actions his meaning.”–Benjamin Franklin.

…blood drawn by sword…  This phrase of the President gives me pause and reminds me of Phil Ochs (who I think was some kind of distant cousin), who sang in “I ain’t a marchin’ anymore,”

Oh I marched to the battle of New Orleans

At the end of the early British war

The young land started growing

The young blood started flowing

But I ain’t marchin’ anymore

For I’ve killed my share of Indians

In a thousand different fights

I was there at the Little Big Horn

I heard many men lying I saw many more dying

But I ain’t marchin’ anymore

chorus)

It’s always the old to lead us to the war

It’s always the young to fall

Now look at all we’ve won with the saber and the gun

Tell me is it worth it all

For I stole California from the Mexican land

Fought in the bloody Civil War

Yes I even killed my brothers

And so many others But I ain’t marchin’ anymore

For I marched to the battles of the German trench

In a war that was bound to end all wars

Oh I must have killed a million men

And now they want me back again

But I ain’t marchin’ anymore

(chorus)

For I flew the final mission in the Japanese sky

Set off the mighty mushroom roar

When I saw the cities burning I knew that I was learning

That I ain’t marchin’ anymore

Now the labor leader’s screamin’

when they close the missile plants,

United Fruit screams at the Cuban shore,

Call it “Peace” or call it “Treason,”

Call it “Love” or call it “Reason,”

But I ain’t marchin’ any more,

No I ain’t marchin’ any more

It is however, just as true, that some words are actions in and of themselves because they can change peoples’ minds and make them take action.  Take the President’s statement that “preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action.”  There is nothing new about that statement, yet it remains profound and elevated coming from the mouth of an incumbent President.  The use of the term “collective action” is loaded with history.  It is as profound as the endorsement of collective action inherent in President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s statement that “If I were a worker in a factory, the first thing I would do would be to join a union.”  It is reminiscent of the sentiments of the National Labor Relations Act (the “Wagner Act”) and of Section 923 of the California Labor Code which states this state’s public policy on the right of workers to engage in collective action:

Negotiation of terms and conditions of labor should result from voluntary agreement between employer and employees. Governmental authority has permitted and encouraged employers to organize in the corporate and other forms of capital control. In dealing with such employers, the individual unorganized worker is helpless to exercise actual liberty of contract and to protect his freedom of labor, and thereby to obtain acceptable terms and conditions of employment. Therefore it is necessary that the individual workman have full freedom of association, self-organization, and designation of representatives of his own choosing, to negotiate the terms and conditions of his employment, and that he shall be free from the interference, restraint, or coercion of employers of labor, or their agents, in the designation of such representatives or in self-organization or in other concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection.

Ben Spock of the Peace & Freedom Party, more committed to the next generation than to the next election

Ben Spock of the Peace & Freedom Party, more committed to the next generation than to the next election

Dr. Ben Spock was one of the most open minded people of great intellect that I have ever known.  He did not resist legitimate opposition to his ideas, he welcomed the criticism and very often, he was motivated by it to change.  Having come under attack for the sexism of his former works on baby and child care and rearing, he took the critique to heart and he changed and helped to change America in the process.

Ben had a monthly column in Redbook.  Recognizing the basic truth that most babies are girls, he thereafter never referred to a baby as “he” but as “she.”  He helped change the sexist language that people of my age grew up with and helped to change the mental images that sexist language places in our minds.  So, fast forward to the President’s speech:

We are true to our creed when a little girl born into the bleakest poverty knows that she has the same chance to succeed as anybody else, because she is an American, she is free, and she is equal…

That language continues the work of Ben Spock to change our perceptions in the spirit of his 1972 Presidential campaign slogan, “More committed to the next generation than to the next election” (later ripped off by Ronald Reagan).

As quoted above, John Fitzgerald Kennedy and Richard Milhous Nixon had two different and yet not mutually exclusive concepts of the people’s role in the United States of America.  President Obama has posed a challenge for the people as:

We, the people, still believe that our obligations as Americans are not just to ourselves, but to all posterity….

That challenge, whether by doing for one’s country as Kennedy put it, or by doing for yourself as Nixon would have it, is still very much about our posterity, our offspring, the generations to follow us.  Will we leave them peace and prosperity, or war, want and environmental degradation?

“….just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall…”  Put yourself in the place of a Gay boy or a Lesbian girl growing up in America or anywhere in the world.  The President of the United States has just endorsed and commemorated self-defense against unjust authority, an act of outright rebellion against the police forces of a nation who at that time, in 1969, were used to criminalize people because of the sexual orientation that they were born with.  That is a very profound concept.

Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity; until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country.

This is where it comes full circle.  On immigration and every other issue, what will the President do now.  How will his actions show his meaning.  Will he continue to deport more people than anytime since the 1930s or will he do something reasonable and positive to insure that America remains true to the words of Emma Lazarus on the Statue of Liberty:

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame

With conquering limbs astride from land to land;

Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand

A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame

Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name

Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand

Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command

The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame,

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she

With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

by Emma Lazarus,  “The New Collossus,” New York City, 1883

If I had my druthers, we would implement the sentiments of Emma Lazarus’s poem, with the heartfelt sympathy to immigrants expressed by Buffie Sainte-Marie:

I am proud, I am proud, I am proud of my forefathers
And I sing about their courage,
For they spoke a foreign language and they labored with their hands
The same way you do, my friends.  

So welcome, welcome, emigrante, to my country, welcome home.
Welcome, welcome, emigrante, to the country that I love.


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