Tag Archives: poor-

Duterte militarises the war on drugs in the Philippines – World Socialist Web Site

Posted: February 13, 2017 at 9:50 am

By Dante Pastrana 13 February 2017

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte earlier this month ordered the suspension of police involvement in his brutal war on drugs that has left thousands dead throughout the country. All units of the Anti-Illegal Drug Group of the Philippine National Police (PNP) were ordered dissolved and the PNPs Operation Tokhang (Knock and Plead), a campaign of house visits and intimidation of those accused of illegal drug activity, was put on hold.

The pullback of the police by no means indicates the end of Dutertes war. It portends an even greater escalation. Vowing to continue the offensive until the end of his term, Duterte called on the military to take the front line. This will widen and deepen the violence being inflicted on the working class and the poor.

Duterte is not only militarising his war on the poor, conducted on the pretext of the anti-drug crusade. He has also moved to resurrect the hated Philippine Constabulary, the military apparatus of domestic repression, created by the United States during its colonial rule in the country and used by former President Ferdinand Marcos to implement martial law.

Duterte is proposing to make this section of the military responsible for continuing the program of state-sanctioned vigilante killings. This is a marked development in Dutertes own rapid drive toward dictatorial power and direct military rule.

The sidelining of the Philippine police followed the exposure last month of police involvement in the abduction and murder of Jee Ick Joo, a South Korean businessman. Jee was seized last October from his home in Angeles city, two hours from Manila, the countrys capital, by a PNP Anti-Illegal Drug Group unit under the guise of an anti-illegal drug operation.

On the same day, Jee was brought to Camp Crame, the PNP national headquarters, where he was strangled. The unit demanded and received $US100,000 in ransom for the by-then deceased Jee, and then, even more brazenly, demanded an additional ransom of nearly $100,000 more.

Three other South Koreans have since come forward claiming that they have also been accused of illegal drug activity by police, detained, beaten up and forced to cough up large sums of money for their release.

The toll of the war on drugs has been horrendous. Since Dutertes assumption of office, 7,080 people have been killedof that number, 2,555 by the police and 4,525 by death squads. Underscoring the intimate connection between the police and the death squads, following Dutertes orders, extrajudicial killings dropped sharply, from over 30 deaths a day to one a day.

On January 31, Amnesty International released a report on its latest investigation into the killings. Entitled, If you are poor you are killed: Extrajudicial Executions in the Philippines War on Drugs, the report states:

Police officers routinely bust down doors in the middle of the night and then kill in cold blood unarmed people suspected of using or selling drugs. In several cases documented by Amnesty International, witnesses described alleged drug offenders yelling they would surrender, at times while on their knees or in another compliant position.

They were still gunned down. To cover their tracks, police officers appear often to plant evidence and falsify incident reports.

According to the report, the killings have engendered an economy of death, where the police and the death squads are provided financial incentives for each death. It states:

A police officer with more than a decade of experience on the force, and who currently conducts operations as part of an anti-illegal drugs unit in Metro Manila, told Amnesty International that there are significant under-the-table payments for encounters in which alleged drug offenders are killed.

This source said the police are paid by the encounter The amount ranges from 8,000 pesos ($US161) to 15,000 pesos ($302) That amount is per head. So if the operation is against four people, thats 32,000 pesos ($644) Were paid in cash, secretly, by headquarters Theres no incentive for arresting. Were not paid anything.

In addition, Amnesty International recounts strong evidence of state authorities paying off assassins to carry out drug-related killings. Two individuals paid to kill alleged drug offenders told Amnesty International that their boss is an active duty police officer; they reported receiving around 10,000 pesos ($201) per killing.

The Amnesty report points to the class character of the war on drugs. Those killed are overwhelmingly from the urban poor. Many were unemployed and lived in informal settlements or squatter communities.

The killings mean further misery for already impoverished families, at times compounded by police officers stealing from them during crime scene investigations. A woman whose husband was killed said the police took goods she sold on commission, money she set aside for the electric bill, and even new shoes she bought for her child.

The targeting of the poor is no accident. Intensifying inequality is fuelling deep social tensions and unrest, with brutal repression the only answer of the Filipino ruling class.

The more than a decade of economic growth recorded for the Philippines has been built on the backs of the working class and the poor. In 2014, out of a population of 100 million, 50 people held over $74.2 billion in assets, equivalent to 25.7 percent of the 2014 gross domestic product. Their wealth increased $8.45 billion from the previous year, cornering 51 percent of economic growth for 2014.

This obscene level of wealth is a product of the export of cheap labour around the world and the brutal exploitation of even cheaper labour locally. Over 2.4 million workers are abroad as overseas contract workers, joining more than 8 million Filipino economic migrants. These overseas Filipinos, enduring long hours, low wages and few chances to visit family, sent back $29.1 billion last year.

Meanwhile, in the Philippines, the minimum daily wage in Manila is barely $10 and in the provinces, as low as $5 a day.

While huge wealth is being accumulating at one end of the social scale, more than 26 million people are living below the poverty threshold of a monthly income of $184. Of these, more than 12 million people are living in extreme poverty on less than $128 a month and could not even meet their basic food needs.

Amid growing social inequality and massive poverty, the Philippine ruling class is preparing to use the state apparatus and associated vigilantes to intimidate and suppress any opposition by the working class and the poor. That is the significance of Dutertes anti-drug war and his assumption of increasingly draconian powers.

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Duterte militarises the war on drugs in the Philippines – World Socialist Web Site

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Athletes For Human Rights, Peace And Inclusion – Huffington Post

Posted: February 11, 2017 at 7:40 am

“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!” Statue of Liberty (Emma Lazarus, 1883)

This inscription has long served as a welcoming call to the refugee seeking shelter. Many authors and artists have used these words to serve as a comforting ballad which illustrates the care extended to the poorest of the poor and the weakest of the weak — the last, the least, the lost. We expect our artistic community — poets, film directors, painters, singers — to make such statements.

But making statements such as these is not reserved to the artistry of the stage or the canvas. Athletes, too, have an important voice, an essential perspective and critical understanding of solidarity, friendship and love. And athletes need not be expected to ask permission to support, to be loud, to share and to engage.

Through the experience of participating in sports, athletes develop the skills to advocate for human rights, peace and inclusion. The lessons learned and the values essential for success in sports are also applicable when speaking up as advocates and allies for social justice.

Athletes cannot, need not, stay silent. They can choose to be leaders in the social justice movement. The voices and the platforms of athletes at the professional, Olympic, collegiate and scholastic sport levels are essential and necessary for addressing racism, sexism, ableism, homophobia, islamaphobia and all forms of discrimination and prejudice.

“Leaders have to give clear and decisive leadership towards a world of tolerance and respect for difference, and an uncompromising commitment to peaceful solutions of conflicts and disputes.” ~ Nelson Mandela (1999)

The time is now for athletes to wear the uniforms of global citizens. Athletes can now act as inclusion ambassadors. Athletes can now speak truth to power. Athletes can now advocate for freedom of speech. Athletes can now become allies. Athletes can now support human rights.

People need not suffer the pain of exclusion, stigmas and labels. Excluding others and creating borders are unconscionable affronts to human dignity. We do not want this as athletes, we do not want this in sport. We do not want this in our world.

We need waves of athletes advocating for human rights, peace, justice and inclusion to circle our locker-rooms, our stadiums, and our local and global communities. Athletes need to have active and ongoing places at the table to address human rights in and through sport. Athletes also need the support of sport administrators, fans, and sponsors to uplift them and their message of inclusion.

Athletes around the world have been called off the bench, off the sidelines and into the starting line-ups as advocates for inclusivity, justice and humanity. Athletes can become living examples of the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, who said we must remain vigilant “until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

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Connecticut Moves to Restrict the Second Amendment to Rich People – National Review

Posted: February 10, 2017 at 2:51 am

In Connecticut, Governor Malloy is moving to increase the cost of a firearms permit. The New Haven Register reports:

Gun owners will see huge increases in permit fees that would raise millions of dollars to help the state combat its two-year, $3.6 billion deficit.

As part of his budget, Malloy is proposing to increase the state portion of the pistol permit fee from $70 to $300. He also is proposing the cost of the initial 5-year pistol permit fee from $140 to $370.

The increase in fees for gun owners will bring in another $9 million to the state annually, according to the governors budget estimates.

Additionally, Malloy is proposing to increase background check fees from its current $50 to $75.

If he is successful, that will set the cost of a first-time gun permit at $445, and the cost of renewal at $300.

Although I strongly disagree with it, I understand the intellectual case in favor of pistol permits per se especially in states such as Connecticut, where a permit acts as a one-time permission slip to do everything associated with guns (buy, own, carry, etc.). In the view of the gun-control movement, the permitting system serves to weed out those who are disqualified from ownership, as well as to ensure that the police know who is carrying and who is not. Because the system is open to abuse, leads to situations such as Carol Bownes, and seems to have no positive effect in comparison with similar states that dont issue permits (see Vermont and Maine), I strongly oppose it. But I can at least acknowledge the argument. Guns are dangerous weapons. Its not inherently unreasonable to want some regulation, nor, if a permitting system is to exist, to ask users to cover their costs.

I cannot, however, understand the argument in favor of high fees for pistol permits.If the case for permits is to distinguish between the law-abiding and the criminal, the case for high fees is to distinguish between the rich and the poor. In and of itself, that is disgusting. But applied to a constitutionally enumerated right that has been routinely recognized as such by the Supreme Court? Thats pitchfork time. And to come from the Democratic party, which views itself as being on the side of the poor, and which is institutionally opposed to voter identification laws on the grounds that one should not have to pay or be inconvenienced in order to vote? Thats just too much. (Why isnt this a poll tax or Jim Crow? And you cant answer, because I choose not to accept that the Second Amendment exists.)I understand that Governor Malloy doesnt like guns. But I also dont care. The law is the law. He doesnt get to edit the Bill of Rights.

The best case that can be made is that Malloy is trying to balance the budget on the backs of those whose behavior he dislikes. In a vacuum, this would be unpleasant. But when the behavior in question is legally protected, it is an outrage. Make no mistake: This isnt about covering user costs;its not about safety; and its not about Newtown. Its about astate government being willing to restrict a core individual rightbecause it happens to dislike its scope. I can only hope that the state Senate now split evenly between Democrats and Republicans puts the kibosh on the idea post haste.

Connecticut Moves to Restrict the Second Amendment to Rich People – National Review

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The US Government's Oppression of the Poor, Homeless

Posted: June 17, 2016 at 5:04 am

By Rev. Rebecca

The United States is far from being a “righteous” nation. Many people do not realize how much we as a nation oppress the poor, weak, homeless, and strangers among us. Additionally, most Americans are willfully ignorant to the oppression we cause overseas in poor nations with our consumeristic, capitalistic, and wealthy lifestyles.

Many of our laws are set up to favor the middle and upper classes and oppress the lower and homeless classes in the United States. I believe our nation is very guilty of the Old Testament prophetic charges against nations who oppress the poor and orphaned. Having worked for years with homeless children and youth (most of whom are homeless because they were abandoned or abused severely), I have seen the way our nation’s laws oppress them.

For example, it is illegal in many US cities to be homeless. This means, as a homeless person, you can be arrested for any reason anywhere, simply because you have no home address. This gives businesses and anyone the right to call the police and have a homeless person removed or arrested simply for being somewhere they don’t want them to be (even because you don’t like how they smell!). This includes all public and private places. Most middle and upper class folks have absolutely no sense of their human rights being taken away to such a radical degree…they can’t even fathom it.

For people who think that “homeless shelters” are the answer, please understand that most all shelters are only open at night and there are only enough shelters to house a very small percentage of homeless on any given night. This means the majority of homeless have to go “somewhere” to sleep/keep warm but are always in danger of being berated, removed, or arrested simply for being there. I could recount for days the stories of homeless youths who tried to hide in parks or buildings because they were so exhausted and in need of sleep, only to be berated, beaten, or arrested for sleeping in a public/private locations. They are treated as less than human beings simply because they are homeless. There is nowhere for them to go.

Another law which is common in most US cities outlaws sitting or “loitering” on sidewalks in the city. Spokane, WA is a city who enforces this law diligently. Do you know the purpose of the law? It is to primarily to prevent homeless youths from sitting or panhandling on the sidewalks (panhandling is illegal). However, most homeless youths have no other way of getting food and money (and nowhere else to go during the day)…they have to go somewhere and so they go where the people are to seek aid. However, businesses complain that it is bad for business to have homeless around and suburban shoppers complain that they don’t like “seeing” homeless youth…so this law is enacted. However, I can assure you that if you are dressed well, this law will never be enforced. Middle and upper class youth wearing the latest from the Gap will never be berated, beaten, or arrested for sitting on the sidewalks. But if you look homeless, you will. I have witnessed police and security kick and beat homeless youths for sitting on the sidewalk on numerous occasions. Having homeless around is “bad” for commercial industries and apparently insults middle and upper class sensibilities. Just because I was with homeless youths, police have threatened to beat me too. This is not uncommon…this happens in some form in every US city and goes totally unnoticed. Sadly, our nation does not look out for the poor and orphaned.

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The US Government’s Oppression of the Poor, Homeless

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Introduction to Bitcoin Wei Lu & Daniel Cousens – Video

Posted: March 11, 2015 at 7:48 am

Introduction to Bitcoin Wei Lu Daniel Cousens
Wei Lu http://twitter.com/luweidewei https://github.com/weilu Daniel Cousens https://github.com/dcousens https://twitter.com/dcousens Apologies for the poor …

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Introduction to Bitcoin Wei Lu & Daniel Cousens – Video

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Yogscast Complete Pack ~ Ep 1 – Video

Posted: January 1, 2015 at 7:44 am

Yogscast Complete Pack ~ Ep 1
Hello and welcome to a new series with me TheDucksterGaming! In this series we will be creating a fully functioning space station holiday resort! P.S. Sorry for the poor audio quality, I will…

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Marshall J. Brown, reporter and Second Amendment advocate

Posted: November 29, 2014 at 10:50 am

Feb. 28, 1936 Oct. 10, 2014

Marshall J. Brown, a former Buffalo Courier-Express reporter and advocate of the right to bear arms, died Friday at his 63-acre gentlemans farm in Colden after an extended battle with multiple system atrophy, a neurological disease. He was 78.

The native of the Bronx came from a newspaper family, with his father, Max, and two uncles, all editors at United Press International.

Marsh was a feisty, hard-nosed old-time newsman, like one of the characters youd see in an old movie like The Front Page, said Buffalo News reporter Dan Herbeck, who worked with Mr. Brown at Buffalo Police Headquarters in the late 1970s and early 1980s. He carried a gun when he was on the job, sometimes beat the police to crime scenes. On more than one occasion, he conducted his own investigations and helped the police solve crimes.

Herbeck said he will never forget the time he and Mr. Brown in 1982 both police reporters for Buffalos two competing newspapers decided to go out and have lunch together. They were walking toward a small diner when a waitress came running outside, spattered with blood and screaming, Help, he killed Ellie!

Marsh grabbed his gun out of the holster and we went running inside. This poor waitress was on the floor, bleeding to death, Herbeck recalled. A mental patient who had recently been released from a psychiatric center had jumped over the counter, grabbed a knife and began stabbing this poor woman. Then he ran out of the place. Marsh and I ran outside, looking for the guy, but he was long gone. The police came and we told them what happened.

Mr. Browns first newspaper job was at age 17 as a copyboy at the New York Herald Tribune. After earning a journalism degree at New York University, he joined the Lockport Union-Sun & Journal where he worked as a reporter, photographer and darkroom technician.

An avid outdoorsman, he also wrote a column called Bait n Bullets in Lockport.

In 1961 he joined the staff of the Courier-Express and covered a number of sensational cases, including the .22 caliber killer case and many organized crime murders. Mr. Brown won a number of awards from the Associated Press, but was most proud of his James Madison Award from the Second Amendment Foundation.

When the Courier folded in 1982, he went to South Africa for a month where he hunted big game. He also hunted in Mexico, Greece, Denmark and Canada. He held an Open Water Scuba Diver rating and dove in the Caribbean and the Red Sea. He was an ardent sailor and fisherman.,

Marshall J. Brown, reporter and Second Amendment advocate

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Rand Pauls audacious new sham: A phony religious epiphany

Posted: February 21, 2014 at 7:41 pm

Evidently sensing that the Republican Party may be in some kind of crisis, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., argued at a recent fundraiser that the GOP should embrace the tenets of his pet political philosophy, libertarianism. But Paul didnt just suggest a conversion from long-held Republican values to libertarian ones; rather he tried to make the case that libertarian values are already consonant with the moral systems that underpin many foundational Republican positions. One of his main rhetorical goals was, therefore, making Christianity and libertarianism seem compatible, to attract traditionally Christian GOP supporters to libertarian ideas.

Even leaving aside the bizarre gesture of pure convenience to Christianity, which seems to have been brought in here as a post-hoc rhetorical flourish to do little more than sweeten the libertarian pot, Paul didnt make a great case for the actual compatibility of Christianity and libertarianism.

Libertarian and liberty doesnt mean libertine, Paul claimed at the gala for the American Principles Project, referring to the tendency of libertarians to prefer government not intervene in various spheres of life, often including the realms of marriage, contraception and abortion. Paul was unclear as to whether he believes the state should have a role in the regulation of marriage and abortion, saying instead, rather cryptically, that Freedom needs tradition to give it its balance and its stability, its sense of family and community, but tradition needs freedom to invigorate it and give it spirit and excitement.

If what Paul intends to say here is that Christianity and libertarianism are amenable to one another because Christianity provides the moral compass libertarianism doesnt have that is, that one can protect marriage and defend against oft-objected to practices like abortion through the selective reference to Christian values by otherwise libertarian political agents the question is: Why would someone with such a commitment to Christianity ever commit themselves to a political philosophy without a similar commitment?

That libertarianism needs the moral framework of a separate philosophy imported into it to prevent it from becoming, as Paul put it, libertinism only indicates that libertarianism itself does not begin from the moral framework of Christianity. Instead, it requires that Christian ethics be tucked into it after the fact, if theres anywhere for them to fit. GOP Christians tempted by Pauls proselytizing should ask themselves this: If libertarianism arises out of a wholly separate ethical framework than Christianity, what authority underlies that framework, and why should they, Christians, respond to it? Moreover, why make oneself beholden to a philosophy that uses Christianity as a mere instrument to support itself morally, rather than one that responds to Christianity as its ultimate and final ethical authority?

When it came to the difficulties Paul had in making his Christo-libertarian case, this was only the tip of the iceberg. In arguing for his oft-cited policies of prison and sentencing reform, he said, As Christians who believe in forgiveness, noting that overly long sentences and penalties such as felon disenfranchisement violate that principle and harm those who deserve a second chance. Here, Paul seems right on the money: The reality for Christians is that the guiltiest are those most in need of mercy and forgiveness, and our current justice system promotes neither value, resulting in the unnecessary destruction of so many lives and communities.

Yet Pauls reasoning here doesnt stand up to the scrutiny of consistent application, which weakens his claim that libertarianism and Christianity are well-committed philosophies. Hes willing, for example, to have mercy on those guilty of crimes by reducing prison sentences, returning felons the right to vote, and doing away with mandatory minimum sentences. This all fits well with Christs call for service to the least of these outsiders, criminals, the poor, the hungry, the sick. But what does Paul imagine in terms of shaping the state to show mercy to people in those other categories? What provisions should the state make for, say, the sick and the poor?

In these arenas, Pauls interest in mercy and the justice of the Gospel seems to mysteriously dry up.

Consider his policy on the delivery of healthcare, as described to a group of University of Louisville medical students in 2013: I think we as physicians have an obligation. As Christians, we have an obligation I really believe that, and its a deep-held belief But I dont think you have a right to my labor. You dont have a right to anyone elses labor. Pauls gambit here was to define healthcare not as a right but as something altogether different and unenforceable. Of course, no one proposes any healthcare policy that would force doctors to labor, only those that would offer doctors money to work, a system under which they already presumably operate; in universal healthcare plans, the payment would just come from a different source than insurance companies or individuals. But Paul is clear: While physicians might have some kind of vague moral obligation to lend a hand to the poor, the state should not, in his view, legitimize that duty by expanding universal healthcare to all. Why the state should exemplify and extend Christian forgiveness and mercy to the criminal but not the ill is anyones guess.

The same curious hesitance toward outreach applies to Pauls policies on poverty. His solution for aiding the impoverished in America? Economic freedom zones, or areas targeted for tax decreases and other incentives to create jobs and generate wealth. Unfortunately for Paul, this hands-off approach to reducing poverty has been tried, tested and proven to fail, featuring no significant difference in economic growth or job creation inside the enterprise zones from the surrounding area.

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Rand Pauls audacious new sham: A phony religious epiphany

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Segment from Free Speech TV: Pay Day Lenders-A Tax on the Poor – Video

Posted: January 26, 2014 at 2:49 am

Segment from Free Speech TV: Pay Day Lenders-A Tax on the Poor
In this segment on Free Speech TV's “Ring of Fire” program, Howard L. Nations, a nationally renowned trial lawyer, discusses how the payday lending industry …

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Ron Paul: Government hurts the poor – Video

Posted: January 5, 2014 at 8:42 pm

Ron Paul: Government hurts the poor
Ron Paul discusses government policies and their detriment to the people they are “designed” to help.

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Ron Paul: Government hurts the poor – Video

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