Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Broader Recognition Of Human Rights Violations, At Last?

Recently the United Nations Human Rights division had harsh words for the United States Of America.  Among the issues raised; the moral and legal failures of local, state, and federal government.  Not only failing to protect the rights of the poor, but also noting the explicit and intentional abuse of the rights of the poor.

Perhaps as public relations spin, there have been echoes amongst the organizations that receive payment to speak for the poor, as well as some of the government agencies that have been slumbering for so long.  Whatever the reasons and motives, it is encouraging to see terms like human rights being used more widely, when addressing the systemic and chronic persecution of the poor and homeless.

Here are some recent examples, via the National Law Center On Homelessness And Poverty website (apparently the NLCHP is bringing a Constitutional challenge against the camping ban in Boise, Idaho!)...


Criminalizing Homelessness is Costly, Ineffective, and Infringes on Human Rights
http://usich.gov/blog/criminalizing-homelessness

From Wrongs to Rights: The Case for Homeless Bills of Rights Legislation
http://www.nlchp.org/HBoR_Press_Release_04_15_2014.pdf

3 Reasons to Address Homelessness as a Human Rights Issue
http://usich.gov/blog/3-reasons-to-address-homelessness-as-a-human-rights-issue

U.N. Human Rights Committee Calls U.S. Criminalization of Homelessness "Cruel, Inhuman, and Degrading"
http://www.nlchp.org/U.N._Human_Rights_Committee_Calls_U.S._Criminalization_of_Homelessness_Cruel,_Inhuman,_and_Degrading.pdf

Friday, September 27, 2013

Arresting Abusive Tyranny: Beyond Political Brands

Results matter.  Results matter more than political brands.  Results matter more than the currently fashionable factions embedded in any given system of governance.  Why is the evaluation of governance not based on results, instead of stereotypes or obscene selfishness?  In my opinion, the focus of evaluation should include those who suffer, for it is those suffering that need assistance, those suffering that need relief, those suffering that need to alter their systems of government.

Has political science failed, as an intellectual discipline?  Is brand loyalty driving the lack of well known (and used) concepts and terminology?  Political debates rarely cover results in detail.  Results over time, as societies under brand influence evolve, and ignorable failure modes become ignorable no longer.

Why is accountability for results so rare, often late, and brutal?

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Is an "Emergency Homeless Response" how it begins?

The City Council of Columbia, South Carolina has put their fears into writing. Unanimously, they also codified their fears in law. Businesses are encouraged to report perpetrators.

I actually have some respect for their explicit bigotry. It will be interesting to see if their attempt will stand in court. Surely other cities are watching, waiting to see what happens (similar to the wait to see how eminent domain plays out in Richmond, California), preparing similar efforts (ask TBSC).

What did Columbia, South Carolina make illegal? Being downtown. Yeah, that is it, just being downtown. If accused, and refusing to go to the holding area, jail is the solution. Once at the holding area, permission is required to leave, and returning downtown is not allowed. Their police chief seems troubled, possibly because he might be the fall guy, should the effort run into legal trouble.

Illegal to be downtown, you ask? Why??? All it takes it being the 'wrong race'. No, just kidding. All it takes is being the 'wrong religion'. No, just kidding. All it takes is being the 'wrong gender'. No, just kidding. All it takes is being the 'wrong sexual preference'. No, just kidding. All it takes is being the 'wrong political party'. No, just kidding. All it takes it being homeless. No kidding.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

On The Agreement To End Hostilities

In mid-2012, after the appeal was completely blocked by the judiciary (for the 647(e) 'lodging' conviction, for the PeaceCamp2010 sleeping ban protest (AKA the 1st case)), I was (re)incarcerated.  After the standard few days of being held in general population, I was moved to the medium/minimum security facility in Watsonville, next to the garbage dump, to serve the remaining portion of my sentence.  While there, someone told me they had heard rumors of an announcement, about an "Agreement To End Hostilities", coming from the Pelican Bay SHU facility.

The next time Ed (the lawyer) visited me, I asked him to find out about the announcement, and if he found it, to mail a copy to me.  I also asked him to mail it to me as a person (not a lawyer).  Why?  Because I wanted to be sure the mail was opened and read!  If Ed sent it as a lawyer, they might not open and read it.  I wanted to avoid being persecuted later, for having 'contraband' (for various reasons, possession of various publications and documents are verboten, while incarcerated).

Soon, the mail arrived; opened and (presumably) read, probably unaltered.  So I read it.  As I read the announcement, I was struck by the unity of the message, a "mutual agreement on behalf of all racial groups".  The word that made me smile the most was "obstructionists".

Immediately, I started to show it to others, including shot callers.  Some were as impressed as I, others questioned the authenticity of the document (something I could not attempt to verify, because I was incarcerated, without access to the internet).

The announcement called for unity in SHU, Ad-Seg, General Population, and County Jails.  The announcement called for peaceful protest activity/noncooperation e.g. hunger strike, no labor, etc.  Of course I was interested!  The October 10, 2012 deadline was days away.  I wondered if people would try to settle business, before the deadline.  I wondered if unity would hold, because anyone 'misbehaving' at Watsonville would probably be sent back to the jail downtown (there are fewer 'privileges' there).  I wondered if word would make it out to County Jails before the deadline.  Apparently it didn't, because October 10th came and went, without any noticeable change.

And soon thereafter, I was woken up and told I was being released.  This was surprising, because my official release date was the end of October.  So I asked the guard if there was a mistake.  He said no.  I asked again (there was someone standing nearby, who said 'shut up and go before they change their minds').  The guard made a call, confirming that there wasn't a mistake.  I asked if I would have to return, if there was a mistake.  The guard said no.  Cool.  I gave away my commissary and books, and left.

Ever since then, I have wondered why I was released early.  Was it because they miscalculated my remaining time (a common mistake)?  Was it because they needed the space (the California prison/jail crowding decision stills threatens the system)?  Was it because of my (slight) activism after receiving the 'Agreement To End Hostilities' announcement?  I may never know.  But, if I return to the system, it seems unlikely that I will be returning to medium/minimum Watsonville, because I am likely to support the agreement, along with the 30,000 others, hunger striking right now.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Unfashionable Defiance

Why is sleep a crime?  It is difficult to get an answer, from anyone.  It is much easier to get a conviction (sentenced to 6 months and then sentenced to 2 years).  The appellate court refuses to hear arguments.  So sleep is still illegal.  A fundamental human need remains a crime.

Recently someone dared, using chalk, to write things like "No Thanks, Big Banks" on the sidewalk in front of Bank Of America.  Upset about the big bank bailouts, he expressed himself, and was taken to trial.  The threat of 13 years, if convicted, seemed to wake a lot of people up.  Now that the chalkist has been acquitted, those people will probably return to sleep.  Meanwhile, those suffering from predatory foreclosure continue to join those that face jail time, for the act of sleeping.

In Detroit, The Empowerment Plan is helping by making coats that are also sleeping bags.  This too is very fashionable.  But the difficult question remains unanswered, even among fans of The Empowerment Plan; why is sleep illegal?  In Santa Cruz, wearing such a coat/sleeping bag could result in a ticket, because using a blanket to keep warm at night, even if awake, is also a crime.  You think I am kidding?  I am not kidding.  I have received that very ticket.

Do you have an answer for that inconvenience question?  Do you know anyone that has an answer for that question?

I don't care if it is unfashionable.  I am going to keep asking.

Monday, June 24, 2013

What will PeaceCamp2013 be?

The PeaceCamp 'brand' is not mine, but no one else has done anything with it this year, so I was thinking of doing a PeaceCamp2013.

The PeaceCamp2010 protest existed for 3 months, starting on July 4th, 2010.  PeaceCamp2011 and PeaceCamp2012 were very short, only a few days each, before and after New Years.  The resulting sentence was longer (2 years) than the sentence for PeaceCamp2010 (6 months).  For PeaceCamp2013, one of the considerations (for me) is that 2 year sentence, currently suspended.  If I do ANYTHING in California, I might be given a ticket, which might lead to a review of the suspended sentence, which could mean jail, immediately.

As I understand why @rabite, briefly tweeting from prison, was silenced (prison security, because some people call hits, while down), I wouldn't expect to have a public voice for very long, after returning to jail.  So, instead, I am thinking of doing a virtual protest, this time.  With iconography (a #LegalizeDreaming motif, similar to the pepper spraying cop), protesting the criminalization of sleep by sleeping at pertinent locations (City Hall, California Legislature, Congress, Whitehouse, UN, Statue Of Liberty, etc).

I've been told that July 2nd is the 'real' Constitution day, bureaucratic delays pushed it to July 4th.  So I am thinking of starting the protest on July 2nd, this year.

There is another, bigger protest, that will be starting on July 4th, and their protest will likely drown out mine.  And I probably won't have artwork ready by July 2nd, so there might not be much to drown out.

Although, in a way, PeaceCamp2013 has already started.  Memes are handy, that way...

Update on the 2nd case.

Ed, the lawyer, filed some procedural stuff (Petition For Writ Of Review).

Details can be found on his blog. fullspectrumdemocracy.org

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Appellate Closing Brief For The Second Case

The following is a converted copy of the Appellate Closing Brief, for the 2nd case, that Ed recently filed. Ed will be appearing in court, on my behalf, before a panel of Santa Cruz judges. The judges will be reviewing the appeal request and, if it flows like last time (the 1st case, 6 months served, writ of habeas rumored to be in progress), the judges will make snide remarks and then pass the paperwork on to the California Appellate court, 6th Circuit, in San Jose.

I'm told the review hearing will be tomorrow, March 21st, at 4pm, in department 3 of the Santa Cruz courthouse. I'm told supporters will be there. Sadly, I will not be there, mostly because my #1 fan does not want me to go near Santa Cruz county (I am respecting her wish), because there is a 2 year suspended sentence (this case) polluting my life. A sentence that could be de-suspended by any new charges, for any reason, real or fabricated. So I won't be present at the hearing, in the physical sense.

If you want to read the closing brief, click on read more below. If you want to read the initial appeal filing for the 2nd case or the prosecutorial reply brief they are also a click away.

If you are looking for real justice, like prosecution of Wall Street gangsters, or that LIBOR heist, or Blackwater violating sovereignty, or the removal of that torture memo perp from the 9th Circuit, well, there don't seem to be URLs for that kind of thing. No, not yet.