Food For Continued Thought…

Given what we are seeing from the Trump administration the following article by Yousef Munayyer , written in 2015 and published in The New York Times seems especially pertinent today. But maybe it’s just me?

Freedom of speech does not mean freedom from its consequences. The ideal of freedom of speech is one well worth defending but it can only be guaranteed in a perfect world and sadly, as we have seen throughout 2014 and in the early days of 2015, our world is far from perfect.

The heinous attacks and murders in Paris are the responsibility of the killers alone. Freedom of speech, however, is upheld by certain rules and laws in our society and governments and there is always going to be a minority who refuse to play by the rules. This reality means that merely having a public profile and expressing views on contentious issues can put one at risk.

Should writers and artists be able to express themselves in any way they choose even if it is provocative and offensive? Sure, but they should also expect that provocative expressions will provoke and what exactly it provokes is impossible to know.

Each writer, artist and publisher must decide for themselves which risks they are willing to take. Those who died in Paris knowingly took a risk and died. Did they expect that? I don’t know. Did they deserve that? Certainly not! Could they have avoided such provocations? Yes. But should they have?

My writing often focuses on Palestinian rights and you might be able to imagine the hate mail I get. Every unfamiliar letter, package or knock at the door I receive raises a troubling question in my mind; what if this is one I shouldn’t open? I live with that question as do countless people every day who write publicly on emotional issues. The hope is that the contentious convictions you espouse are ones that are truly worth taking on risks for.

For me, freedom and equality for Palestinians is worth taking on risks to espouse. Gratuitous insults at venerated religious figures and others employing sometimes racist and disparaging images is not, simply because it adds nothing of any value to the public discourse. I am well aware that the staff of Charlie Hebdo believed otherwise, and paid the ultimate price for it.

It must also be noted that there is a hypocritical tension around free expression in France, where Islamophobic speech is protected and yet Muslims cannot dress freely in certain public spaces.

I respect the right of Charlie Hebdo to express what they want while simultaneously having no respect for most of the distasteful content they produced. If only more people could see that these two views are not mutually exclusive we would be in a better place. Unfortunately, we are not there yet.

Trump Again Deflecting Responsibility, The Normal For His Lordship…

Weeks after a U.S. Navy SEAL was killed in a covert mission in Yemen, Trump has resisted accepting responsibility for authorizing the mission and the subsequent death of Senior Chief Petty Officer William “Ryan” Owens.

In an interview with Fox News that aired Tuesday morning, Trump said the mission “was started before I got here.”

He noted that the operation was something his generals “were looking at for a long time doing.”

“This was something that was, you know, just — they wanted to do,” Trump said. “ And they came to see me and they explained what they wanted to do, the generals, who are very respected.”

“And they lost Ryan,” Trump continued.

Owen is the first U.S. service member killed in the line of duty during Trump’s administration.

Isn’t this exactly what we have come to expect from Trump. Because he is the greatest, most successful, and He ALWAYS wins (in his own narcissistic mind) he can’t bear any responsibility for a bad decision or failure.

See te rest of the story BELOW THE FOLD.

Just As We Thought, Sessions On he Move… Watch Prison Population Rise…

Red alert. AG Sessions signals return to tougher stance on crime, including federal marijuana laws. Can you see the WOC (war on crime) and the WOD (war on drugs) again rapidly escalating an already ridiculously high prison population?

Must be the good old USA has the highest criminal citizenry in the world. Or, maybe we’re simply the nation who enjoys criminalizing sh*t that really just isn’t criminal?

You be the judge.

Donald Trump’s attorney general said Tuesday the Justice Department will limit its use of a tactic employed aggressively under President Obama — suing police departments for violating the civil rights of minorities.

“We need, so far as we can, to help police departments get better, not diminish their effectiveness. And I’m afraid we’ve done some of that,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

“So we’re going to try to pull back on this,” he told a meeting of the nation’s state attorneys general in Washington.

Sessions said such a move would not be “wrong or insensitive to civil rights or human rights.” Instead, he said people in poor and minority communities must feel free from the threat of violent crime, which will require more effective policing with help from the federal government.


“We need to return to the ideas that got us here, the ideas that reduce crime and stay on it. Maybe we got a bit overconfident when we’ve seen the crime rate decline so steadily for so long,” he said.


On Monday, Sessions said he is reviewing the Justice Department’s current policy toward enforcing federal law that prohibits possession of marijuana, but has made no decision about whether to get tougher.

His opposition to legalization is well known, and he emphasized it during an informal gathering of reporters . “I don’t think America will be a better place when more people, especially young people, smoke pot.”

States, he said, can pass their own laws on possession as they choose, “but it remains a violation of federal law.”

Full article BELOW THE FOLD