Archive for the ‘Liberty’ Category

ID Laws – Israel Teaches Arizona A Lesson

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Thousands of Palestinians living in the West Bank may soon be evicted or face criminal charges by Israeli authorities, the Israeli daily Haaretz has said.

An amendment to an Israeli military order on “preventing infiltration” could soon stipulate that residents of the West Bank without ID cards may now need one issued by the occupying authorities.

Anyone without such a document could either be expelled or jailed.

Haaretz said the new order would likely be used first against Palestinians in the West Bank with Gaza ID cards and the foreign spouses of Palestinians living in the territory.

Al Jazeera’s Jacky Rowland explains.


Written by Aaron Nee

May 26, 2010 at 9:45 pm

From Guantanamo to Palau

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This video is not new but I’ve only just been introduced to it thanks to my friendship with folks from Witness Against Torture who, among other things, do advocacy and demonstrations on behalf of Guantanamo detainees.  This segment from a British news show, Dateline, addresses the temporary resettlement in Palau of several Uighur men who had been imprisoned at Guantanamo for the last eight years.  There are interviews with the men, shots of their first opportunity to cook, discussion of the pressure from China that keeps these men from reaching their hoped for destination (Australia), etc.  I found the account is particularly poignant when watched in light of the following  words from an attorney, “These men have never committed any terrorist acts…never had any terrorist training…”

Written by amynee

May 4, 2010 at 6:37 am

Don’t Tell Glenn Beck

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Proposal for a fifth Socialist International on Znet –

What is the socialist international?

Proposal for a participatory Socialist International –

Written by Aaron Nee

April 7, 2010 at 7:12 pm

Patent This!

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The subject of patents copyrights, trademarks etc. is a subject I find fascinating.  The concept of protecting an idea makes a good deal of sense to me while at the same time seeming absurd to the extreme.  What in fact is an idea and what rights does one have to an idea?  Making laws about something as philosophically slippery as ideas is bound to lead to trouble and abuse.  Bellow are two examples of US patent claims that belong in the Onion and yet are sadly real.

At there is a report on Global Findability, Inc. suing over the use of a fictional alien code in the film Knowing.  The code, a string of numbers, represents a time, place and event apparently in a similar fashion to Global Finability, Inc.’s patent.  It is not clear if the patent includes using aliens as the transmitter.

Even more offensive is US Patent Number 6368227 , an actual patented method of swinging on a swing.  The method patented is a way of swinging that most children in America have probably used independent of anyone teaching them.  The following is from the US Patent Office’s online database.

I claim:

1. A method of swinging on a swing, the method comprising the steps of:

a) suspending a seat for supporting a user between only two chains that are hung from a tree branch;

b) positioning a user on the seat so that the user is facing a direction perpendicular to the tree branch;

c) having the user pull alternately on one chain to induce movement of the user and the swing toward one side, and then on the other chain to induce movement of the user and the swing toward the other side; and

d) repeating step c) to create side-to-side swinging motion, relative to the user, that is parallel to the tree branch.

2. The method of claim 1, wherein the method is practiced independently by the user to create the side-to-side motion from an initial dead stop.

3. The method of claim 1, wherein the method further comprises the step of:

e) inducing a component of forward and back motion into the swinging motion, resulting in a swinging path that is generally shaped as an oval.

4. The method of claim 3, wherein the magnitude of the component of forward and back motion is less than the component of side-to-side motion.

Written by Aaron Nee

March 26, 2010 at 2:08 am

The Politics of Homosexuality

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At a Princeton Lecture event Andrew Sullivan,  author and former editor of The New Republic, reprised his article, “The Polotics of Homosexuality”.  The Nation called Sullivan’s article “the most influential article of the decade on gay rights.” Sullivan has written numerous popular books and articles on the subject of homosexuality and gay rights.  As a very thoughtful, articulate, openly gay, Roman Catholic conservative, Andrew brings an interesting perspective to the contemporary conversation on homosexuality.

The lecture is well worth a listen.

The Real Adam Smith and Public Education As Propaganda

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No diet of reading is complete without a little Chomsky sprinkled in there. I recently came across an interview in which he gives a “soundbite” presentation of some of the ideas that he has repeatedly covered.

In particular, the interview touches on Chomsky’s assertion that the popular understanding of Adam Smith is a blatent distortion of what the author of Wealth Of Nations really believed. “Everybody reads the first paragraph of The Wealth of Nations where he talks about how wonderful the division of labor is. But not many people get to the point hundreds of pages later, where he says that division of labor will destroy human beings and turn people into creatures as stupid and ignorant as it is possible for a human being to be. And therefore in any civilized society the government is going to have to take some measures to prevent division of labor from proceeding to its limits.”

In the last third of the interview, Chomsky shares his views on mass education and its propaganda aims. “Mass education was designed to turn independent farmers into docile, passive tools of production… Emerson once said something about how we’re educating them to keep them from our throats. If you don’t educate them, what we call “education,” they’re going to take control — “they” being what Alexander Hamilton called the “great beast,” namely the people. The anti-democratic thrust of opinion in what are called democratic societies is really ferocious. And for good reason. Because the freer the society gets, the more dangerous the great beast becomes and the more you have to be careful to cage it somehow.”

So, if you are in the mood for some poking and prodding at established norms, check out the rest of the interview.

Written by Aaron Nee

March 10, 2010 at 2:32 am

Keeping the Peace

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I found this person’s blog post, “Beyond the Election,” interesting. It was sent to me by a woman from my church.  There is definitely a non-violent action slant to it, I believe the person is associated with either Christian Peacemakers or Pax Christi.   However, the writer (I don’t even know if Gene is a man or a woman!) expresses some ideas that can apply to any organization or individual.  Those ideas mainly have to do with the notion that, while we may enjoy a government in which we have a remarkable degree of influence over who “leads,” our greater power lies in our day to day actions, our choices and an awareness of their consequences, the thoughts and beliefs we express and the manner in which we deliver our message, who we support and how, and so on.

Written by amynee

November 6, 2008 at 11:53 pm