The PC Implosion Continues

by matttbastard

You know, I like to say that hypocrisy is synonymous (and, conveniently, alliterative) with ‘Harper’. Apparently (and, again, conveniently) hypocrisy also shares its namesake with ‘Hillier’. Forget pitbulls; someone really, really needs to start handing out muzzles to PC candidates (including the top dog).

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Jim Crow ‘Justice’, Contemporary Racism(s) and ‘Discovering’ a Travesty

by matttbastard

x-posted @ Comments From Left Field

UPDATE 09.14: A state appellate court has thrown out the battery conviction of one of the Jena 6, 16 year old Mychal Bell. Bell had been charged as an adult and could have faced up to 15 years in prison. The DA still has the option to refile juvenile charges. More to come.

UPDATE 09.15: More from Garlin II and AP

So (white) people have finally ‘discovered’ the Jena Six. Congrats, have a (chocolate) cookie, etc. I guess now that Amy Goodman is on the case, we can hopefully expect the A-listers to finally put some serious bandwidth into the matter (to be fair, at least Amy was covering this back in, er, July, as were BoingBoing and Kottke).

Better late than never, I suppose.

But I don’t want to turn this subject into round 69 (my lucky number) of ‘where are the bloggers of colour’? (answer: right fucking here, like we’ve always been.)

Like The Angry Black Woman, I have held back on writing about this subject now, because articulating my thoughts beyond blind rage has been something of a trial (bitter pun intended). Part of me feels loathe to finally do so [at Comments From Left Field], not because of my fellow bloggers; rather, I am wary of the sort of push-back that may result from posting at a site where unapologetic racists (or those in heavy denial) almost certainly lurk in the background. But fuck it – sometimes you gotta bust the barn doors wide open and let the Palominos run wild, goddamn the fucking unavoidable consequences and potential assault by virtual Night Riders.

Fuck all y’all and the horses, etc.

I’m not going to go through the specifics; many others (eg, Carmen D. of All About Race, along with others listed in the links above and many, many more) have busted their butts doing the heavy lifting already. They are the ones who deserve the attention.

What I find most revealing in this incident is the ongoing post-slavery hangover the US (and, to a different extent, Canada) is still recovering from. We tend to (willfully) forget that segregation ended little more than 40 years ago, in some areas less than that. Other relatively recent events such as Jasper and Katrina have forced us to open our eyes, violently ripped open thinly healed scars (not to mention nor minimize the sting from relative paper cuts perpetuated by the likes of Michael Richards and Don Imus).

We’. By that I mean ‘white people’.

‘We’ (as in ‘people of colour’) don’t share the luxury, the privilege, the soft bigotry of colour blindness; as Paul Kivel notes, “[u]ltimately, this disclaimer prevents us from taking responsibility for challenging racism because we believe that people who see color are the problem.”

To me, there is little at the moment that better illustrates the lie of colour blindness and the divisiveness still wrought by racial animosity than the ordeal the Jena Six and their families have gone through. The continued cycle of hatred, mistrust, and violence that has brought us to this point in history began generations ago; the fact that the circle remains unbroken to this day should serve as a stark warning to all of us, regardless of colour, creed, or political allegiance. Sure, things are better than they were in the days following slavery: Jim Crow, segregation, protest marches and water cannons; but contemporary racisms (plural) belie the notion that the here and now has achieved some mythical ideal.

If we–we–are truly ‘all in this together’, than we need to stop trying to pretend that racism is an antiquated problem, that incremental, sideways change equals a panacea. Acknowledging there is still a problem–and, consequently, initiating a dialogue–is only the first step, but it’s a vital one if momentum is to build. Because otherwise there will be more Jenas, more scars, and more paper cuts; we will keep feigning surprise at having to repeatedly attempt to untie the Gordian knot of race.

September 20th, the day Mychal Bell is scheduled to be sentenced, over 2000 members and supporters of Color of Change will be headed to Jena, LA to protest in solidarity with Mychal. If I could join them in more than spirit, I would. Until then, I will lend moral (and financial) support by purchasing a t-shirt.

I suggest y’all do the same, or, if possible, make the journey in person (if the spirit–the forward momentum of first steps–moves you).

Related: via Kevin @ Slant Truth, more ways to get involved:

Friends of Justice

Jena Six Petition from Color of Change

Jena Six Petition

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All Your Communications Are Belong To Us

by matttbastard

x-posted @ Comments From Left Field

Via pogge: Canada’s government appears to be just as scornful of civil liberties as that of our southerly neighbours. CBC News reports on a document it has obtained, detailing a consultation process undertaken by the Conservative government to see “how law enforcement and national security agencies can gain lawful access to [telephone and internet] customers’ information.” ‘Lawful access’ without first obtaining a court order:

The information would include names, addresses, land and cellphone numbers, as well as additional mobile phone identification, such as a device serial number and a subscriber identity module (SIM) card number.

The consultation also seeks input on access to e-mail addresses and IP addresses. An IP address is a number that can be used to identify a computer’s location.

The document says the objective of the consultation is to provide law enforcement and national security agencies with the ability to obtain the information while protecting the privacy of Canadians.

The document says that under current processes, enforcement agencies have been experiencing difficulties in gaining the information from telecommunications service providers, some of which have been demanding a court-issued warrant before turning over the data.

“If the custodian of the information is not co-operative when a request for such information is made, law enforcement agencies may have no means to compel the production of information pertaining to the customer,” the document says. “This poses a problem in some contexts.

However, the Tories haven’t exactly been allowing much daylight to illuminate their efforts to circumvent the rule of law enable law enforcement agencies to efficiently and expediently obtain sensitive information “while protecting the privacy of Canadians” – to the justifiable consternation of many Canadian privacy advocates:

Michael Geist, chair of internet and e-commerce law at the University of Ottawa, said the process is not being conducted publicly as two previous consultations have been, in 2002 and in 2005.

The consultation has not been published in the Canada Gazette, where such documents are normally publicized, or on the agencies’ websites.

Interested parties have been given until Sept. 27 to submit their comments, which is a short consultation time, Geist said. Several organizations and individuals contacted by only received their documents this week.

More pointedly, a number of parties that took part in the previous consultations, including privacy and civil liberty advocates — and even some telecommunication service providers — have not been made aware of the discussion, he said.

“It’s really disturbing particularly in light of the fact that they’ve had two prior consultations on lawful access in the past, so it’s not as if they don’t know the parties that are engaged on this issue,” Geist said.


Canada’s move is in contrast to one by the United States, where last week a federal judge overturned a part of the Patriot Act that allowed the Federal Bureau of Investigation to secretly obtain personal records about customers from internet providers, phone companies, banks, libraries and other businesses without a court’s permission.

As is to be expected when dirty laundry (or a stench reminiscent of that which on occasion permeates Denmark) is unexpectedly aired, the government has quickly backpedaled. A spokesperson from Public Safety Canada now claims that the Tories were “not trying to keep the consultation secret and would post the document on the internet” today and that “[t]the deadline for submissions would also be extended, although no decision on a date has been made yet.” [Update: Michael Geist reports that the consultation is now online, with a new submission deadline set for October 12, 2007]

pogge calls bullshit:

No, they’re not trying to keep it secret, exactly. They’ve just tried to keep it as quiet as possible in the hopes that no one would notice until it was too late. Because, as the article points out, Canadian law enforcement agencies are asking for powers that go beyond even what their American counterparts have. And it appears that the game is being rigged to give them what they want.

As an aside, The Briefing makes the observation that “[t]he proposed changes effectively mirror the previous Liberal government’s “lawful access” bill that died on the Commons floor when the last election was called. Along with compelling service providers to provide information to police upon request the “lawful acces[s]” bill had also called on them to implement technologies to allow the government to intercept internet traffic.” As Geist noted earlier this year in his blog, (opposition) Liberal MP Marlene Jennings tried to resurrect “lawful access” this past March in the form of a private members bill.

Proving once again that, Blue or Red, the political elites in Ottawa have about as much respect for the privacy and liberty of the citizenry as their counterparts in Washington, London or Canberra do.

Update: Mentarch has compiled an exhaustive round-up of coverage, well worth your perusal.

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Showing Their True Faces

by matttbastard

Jesus – the Tories really do appear to be once again cribbing from the GOP playbook. Of course, IMO this is all pure byelection pandering from the involved parties to xenophobic fears of the Quebecois electorate (Jesus, even the NDP!) Still, one can easily see how visions of convenient disenfranchisement could be dancing through their market-lovin’, equality hatin’ heads.

Canadian democracy must be another one of those ‘socialist schemes’ Harper hates so much.

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