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Stand your ground Dzhokar Tsarnaev

23 Jul

by Evan Zenobia

Among the many controversies that erupted over the last few weeks, two really stand out to me because, together, they really say a lot about the state of American justice.

The first is about the acquittal of child-killer George Zimmerman. A Florida jury stacked with gated-community white women found that Zimmerman, who went after the 17 year-old Trayvon Martin with a loaded gun against police instructions was cleared of all charges. And even though a 911 call recording shows that Martin screamed in distress for 30 seconds before Zimmerman pulled the trigger, the media is still busy painting him as a tragic hero, cheering for his acquittal, slandering Martin, and insisting that he was merely a noble and principled neighbourhood watcher who, at worst made a mistake and at best was a victim in his virtuous cause.

The second controversy surrounds the appearance of suspected Boston bomber Dzhokar Tsarnaev’s sexy headshot on the cover of Rolling Stone. All sorts of public personalities lashed out in indignant outrage, calling the cover insensitive and offensive and whining that the magazine inappropriately glorified.

Despite the outcry, the Rolling Stone story, as Scott’s Written Words illustrates concisely, amounts to little more than outright character assassination. Rolling Stone isn’t alone in this attitude. Many icons on the American left such as Bill Maher and Lawrence O’Donnell have joined in assuming Tsarnaev’s guilt.

And here’s what’s wrong with this picture.

We KNOW that Zimmerman killed Martin. We know he decided to stalk Martin, and we know he shot him. Of course, they didn’t shut down an entire city to hunt Zimmerman down and put him in a coma. But the right-wing media won’t stop lionizing him, going so far as to float out a story about some post-trial heroics on his part.

But in Tsarnaev’s case, the evidence is much more threadbare. He is an accused terrorist. He has pleaded not guilty. Now, there’s this whole principle called innocent until proven guilty, and it’s only served as a cornerstone of Western civilization. Yet the media doesn’t care. They’ve decided he’s guilty. Judge, jury and executioner, and they’re not even pretending he has the right, nevermind the chance, to make his case.

Good job America. Good fucking job. Killing Black kids is fine, and immigrants get character assassination in lieu of basic legal rights. Way to go.

But hey, maybe Tsarnaev could just use the stand your ground defense.

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Sun News sounds white angst alarm bells

22 Jul

By Qalina Tileli

Gatineau—Yup.

On their website’s front page, Sun News features, just below pathetic excuse for a Top Story covering the birth of Kate Middleton’s kid, the lovely article “White men absent in Ontario Liberal ad.

Writes the articles author, Sue-Ann Levy: “Evidently Wynne’s Ontario does not include white males, unless they are a former union head and now the Liberal candidate for London West, Ken Coran. Or any other teacher union leader for that matter.”

There’s really no reason to summarize or analyze the article. The title is an attention-grabber cynically crafted to stir the most immature, navel-gazing and self-pitying emotions of Sun News’ base of entitled white male troglodytes.

Just ask them, and they’ll assure you that the cabal of feminists, immigrants and the unions for good measure are conspiring to turn white men into second-class citizens by… well, they’re never quite clear how reverse-racism/sexism is disenfranchising the most privileged sector of society

Don’t expect reason from this lot.

It’s just worth having on record how low Sun News is willing to sink to ensure an audience.

By the memory of Trayvon

15 Jul

By Evan Zenobia

As my open palms into fists clench
Volts surge up my spine
My nose tastes a foul stench
Because the savage will be just fine

Another Black kid left dead in the street
Today the court proclaims
His murderer shall henceforth walk free
To his victim falls the blame

No matter his family’s tears
For the numbers are too great
Of bullies with racist fears
Who slaughter out of hate

But it’s not enough to murder a child
Not for these racist pigs
Who slander his name with media smiles
And the legal system rig

For in terror lives the Black nation
Oppressed by agents of rot
Repressed from rising over their station
As the police take their shots

We should lock up these murderous louts
But allow that the system won’t
For every Trayvon we hear about
There’s a hundred more we don’t

But for the call of rights
And for the blood of the youth
We must take up the fight
In the name of the truth

But tighter again my fists clench
Up and down my spine surge volts
From the white man power must be wrenched
Let begin the glorious revolt!

No justice for Trayvon? Then no peace for racists!

14 Jul

1003088_10151704433528189_1375605588_nBy Evan Zenobia

Trayvon Martin’s killer, wannabe cop vigilante George Zimmerman, has been found not guilty. Evidently, killing Black kids isn’t a crime.

Not in America. Oh, but firing warning shots at an violently abusive husband can get you 20 years.

In case you’re not aware, there is a huge racist dimension to this.

Because Trayvon Martin was Black, Zimmerman decided to stalk him through his own neighbourhood. Because Martin was Black, his murderer went after him against police instructions to ignore him. And, because he was Black, it was more than a month before Zimmerman was arrested.

Oh, and Fox News and Sun News and other right-wing media figures were oh-so-quick to defend Zimmerman, to call Martin out for his seditious and threatening hoodie, and to denounce with theatrical indignation the word “cracker” as a vicious slur.

Because, in America, being Black means you don’t have human rights. Being Black means you and your family never have a shot at justice. For every Trayvon Martin we hear about, there’s a hundred we don’t hear about. Being Black means living in perpetual fear that the police and vigilantes are always prepared to accost you, stalk you, humiliate you, beat you and even kill you, for no other reason than that you are Black.

And every time, these racist pigs get away with it.

But, of course, the moment Black people rise up to express their indignation at the egregious human rights violations against them, the media is always prepped to point and scream about how violent Black people are.

It’s high time these pigs stop getting away with it. Let our hopes and wishes be with the Martin family. Let us hope for no more killings.

But should there be riots, I really hope it shocks white America into shaping the fuck up.

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Egyptian Revolution 2.0

7 Jul

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Gamal Abdel Nasser, and his reaction to the second president to fall in two years in Egypt

March for healthy food

27 May

OTTAWA—Hundreds packed Parliament Hill on Saturday as part of the global 25 May March Against Monsanto event, demanding measures to curb the domination of Monsanto and other GMO companies over agriculture and food production.

The rally attracted a mass of people, young and old, francophone and Anglophone, farmers, lawyers, teachers and scientists. Chants of “Hell no, GMOs,” and “food for people, not for profit,” rang out over the crowd as demonstrators waved placards reading “We are not your petri dish, Monsanto,” and “label it”.

Positions on GMOs (genetically modified organisms) ranged from outright bans and boycotts of Monsanto and other GMO products to calls demanding that GMO foods be labeled for consumer awareness.

Monsanto and similar companies genetically engineer seeds by literally tampering with the genetic sequences of seed cells, removing certain genetic information and replacing it with new information, producing an organism with profoundly different traits from its natural, unmodified counterparts. These seeds of marketed as an alternative to pesticides that yield greater harvests and resist pests.

However, recent studies confirm that GMOs actually don’t produce higher yields. Nor do they cut down on the levels of pesticide needed.

Worse than that, GMOs have been linked to cancer, Parkinson’s, autism, and a host of other diseases which have exploded in frequency in recent years. Monsanto pesticides have also been linked to the dramatic decline in the world’s bee and butterfly populations.

To top it all off, Monsanto has reaped billions in profit from selling their toxins and flooding consumer markets with their mutant crops. With these billions they have lobbied to ensure protections against labeling and restrictions, and have catapulted their own loyalists to powerful steering positions in major agencies in the United States, such as the FDA and EPA.

The Monsanto opponents on the Hill are driven by a sense of profound indignation, angered by the arrogance of a company which controls the food supply, tampers with it and infiltrates the very agencies originally designed to protect the health and choices of citizens. They stand and proudly denounce GMOs, Monsanto, and all the underhanded manoeuvres  that they consider crimes against the environment and humanity. 

What Attack Ads Mean

16 May

By Evan Zenobia

OTTAWA—Imagine a regime that sets precedents in secrecy and closed-door activities. Imagine a regime that cracks down on free speech and represses dissent so much that members of the ruling party are afraid to deviate from the party line. And imagine a vast propaganda campaign that pours millions of public funds into glorifying the government and smearing the opposition.

Welcome to Canada, boys and girls! I’m going to let that just sink in for a moment.

That’s right, citizens. The Harper Government is dumping millions of your taxes into stroking Stephen Harper’s ego and bullying his enemies. And this most recent series of attacks on Liberal leader Justin Trudeau are just the tip of the iceberg.

Since the repression hit, the Harper Government has been shoving “Canada’s Economic Action Plan,” in your face. On your TV, on the radio, on the bus, the regime is hard at work trying to convince you that King Stephen is pro-active on the economy, and that he even has a plan that involves anything more than subordinating the entire country to Alberta’s oil industry. All on your dime, of course. Lots and lots of your dimes. The Canada’s Economic Action Plan media blitz cost tax payers 21 million dollars from 2011 to 2012 alone.

Though wasteful, such propaganda is not nearly as disturbing as Harper attack ads. The attacks on Justin Trudeau, though particularly pathetic and shallow, are not new. Throughout his reign, Harper bombarded the airwaves with smears against Stephane Dion, Michael Ignatieff, Gilles Duceppe, Jack Layton, Bob Rae, Thomas Mulcair and now Justin Trudeau.

There’s two questions we need to ask. 1) Is it appropriate to run these attack ads? and 2) what is Stephen Harper afraid of?

1)      It is one thing to release attack ads during an actual election season. Smearing opposition leaders three to four years away from an election, on the other hand, is the stuff of unabashed third world dictators. The latest commercial, which juxtaposes images of Justin Trudeau posing for his charity boxing match with images of Stephen Harper pretending to be human heroically running the economy, is particularly reminiscent of fascist propaganda that seeks to glamorize strongmen while smearing any challengers as traitors. At your expense, this immature behavior is unacceptable.

2)      These ad campaigns, along with the new Tory blitz to reform Canada’ history education curriculum, show a profound distrust of the public on the part of the Harper Government. Harper clearly believes that his credentials don’t stand up on their own, and that without sixth-grade gossip-inspired smear campaigns, citizens will dump him the way he dumped Kyoto and the gun registry.

Stephen Harper is an immature bully. He attacks people he doesn’t like on the most shallow of grounds, and hey, if it doesn’t work and he ends up losing, who cares? “Screw you guys, I’m going prorogue!”

Grow up, Stephen.

The Maple Rag

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