Sunday, January 29, 2006


Ebony, a magazine for the African American Market, was founded by John H. Johnson and has been published since the 1945. Mr. Johnson, the visionary publisher of the monthly issues of Ebony magazine and the weekly issues of Jet magazines, also founded Johnson Skin and Hair Products, Fashion Fair Cosmetics and Ebony Fashion fair. He was the first African American to appear on the Forbes 500 Rich List, and had a fortune estimated at close to $16 Billion. He died on August 8, 2005 at the age of 87. A portion of of Chicago’s famed Michigan Avenue, where corporate offices are located, has since been renamed John H. Johnson Avenue. Mr. Johnson will be greatly missed.

One of the co-editors, Hans Massaquoi, wrote an autobiography about his life in Nazi Germany as a black boy. The book is entitled, “Destined to Witness,” and has been on the top of the bestseller list of the German weekly Der Spiegel for many months. It is a “must-read” item for all Americans.
Ebony consistently has eye-catching covers. This is what first caught my attention. I was drawn to it. Ebony’s covers feature raving beauties like Halle Berry; Studs like Denzel Washington and Jamie Foxx; or graphic pictures of current news events – like the war in Iraq. The magazine covers a variety of interesting topics: cover stories; book reviews; travel guides; and beauty, styles, and fashions. The Magazine gives readers up-to-date info on the music and entertainment scene and showcases new African American talent. The news, sports, and events sections are detailed and cover reports not found in other mediums.
The magazine is truly high quality and sophisticated. It is informative, educational, and entertaining. The quality of the magazines’ paper is so great that I save many copies and either re-read them or trade them with others. It is a magazine that I can relate to. It was the first magazine where major corporations featured African American models in their advertisements. This was a visual aid that made advertisements appear realistic. The magazine has a constant upbeat with sharp, detailed pictures – similar to the photographic visuals displayed in the old “Life and Look” magazines that Time Warner now owns.
The entertainment section is full of useful information and they have amazing success stories of African American stars. These celebrities willingly open up their homes and their hearts to these Ebony interviewers. Their stories are inspirational and uplifting. They give me, as well other African Americans, a needed psychic boost. I am very impressed with this magazine would recommend it to everyone. This magazine is now online and can be viewed at:

Saturday, January 28, 2006

CENSORSHIP: Still Alive Worldwide!

Censorship is a word of many meanings. In its broadest sense it refers to the suppression of information, ideas, or artistic expression by anyone, whether it be government officials, church authorities, private pressure groups, speakers, writers, or artists themselves. It may take place at any point in time, whether before an utterance occurs, prior to its widespread circulation, or by punishment of communicators after dissemination of their messages, so as to deter others from like expression. In its narrower and more legalistic sense, censorship means only the prevention by official government action of the circulation of messages already produced.

Thus writers who "censor" themselves before putting words on paper for fear of failing to sell their work, are not engaging in censorship in this narrower sense, nor are those who boycott sponsors of disliked television shows. Yet all of these restraints have the effect of limiting the diversity that would otherwise be available in the marketplace of ideas; and so may be considered censorship in its broadest sense.
There are almost as many justifications offered for the suppression of communication as there are would-be censors, but the root of the motivation is always the same. It is a fear that the expression, if not curtailed, will do harm to individuals in the expressers audience or to society as a whole. Thus so-called obscene material is attacked because it is feared that it will corrupt personal morality and lead to deviant sexual acts.
School textbooks and library materials are sought to be purged by groups who fear that they may inculcate subversive values in children. Information concerning national security is controlled by government, with particular severity in wartime; for fear that its revelation may aid an enemy. In the judicial system, pretrial publicity about a crime may jeopardize a fair trial. Publication of personal information by police (such as the names of rape victims) or by the press (such as one's sexual preferences) may seriously intrude on one's right to privacy. The fear of such consequences, real or imagined, is what drives the censorial impulse.
Censorship has been practiced in both the narrower and the broader senses on every continent. It has been practiced since the beginning of organized cultures. Those societies which have been most confident in their principles and confident of the loyalty of their members have allowed the greatest freedom from censorship, simply because they have been the least fearful of the consequences of dissent. In societies whose values have not been fully accepted by their people or whose leadership rests on shaky foundations, the heaviest hand of censorship has fallen.
The relative prevalence of censorship is one of the features that has most distinguished autocratic from democratic societies and is most obvious in the censorship practiced today in nations such as Albania, Iran, Korea Cuba, China, and many other non-democratic nations. Nevertheless, even in the freest of nations, including the United States, some forms of censorship exist. For a documented, detailed description of worldwide censorships by date; geographic location; type of censorship; and reason for censorship, visit The File Room's website at: . Civilized societies, organized centuries ago, still have not evolved enough to trust the intellect of its individual members. Yes, Censorship is still alive worldwide!
Other Links:
The File Room
The American Library Association
Vandergrift University
Worldwide Censorship

OPRAH'S BOOK CLUB: The Impact of Scandals!

Non-fiction books, novels, biographies, or articles – are they really written as non-fiction material full of factual information … or are they just as infotainment literature. James Fry wrote and published his memoir entitled “A Million Little Pieces.” This book was herald as a great non-fiction autobiography.

However, what ever is done in the dark, will one day come into the light – what ever lies covered, will become uncovered. Investigators found many discrepancies between the factual, documented events that actually occurred and the events recorded as true in James Frey’s autobiography.
When Mr. Frey was first confronted, he flatly denied the allegations. Oprah, who could be considered the “mother of the rapid success for this book,” defended him and the book on national television – as any mother would defend their child.
Hit with an overwhelming amount of evidence, Oprah soon changed her tune. She publicly denounced her allegiance to Mr. Frey and his book, and publicly stated to Mr. Frey that he was lying and proclaimed his as a fraud. Oprah, feeling duped and ashamed, publicly apologized to her fans and supporters.
In all of the attention focused on James Frey and his book "A Million Little Pieces" in recent weeks, two main characters in the drama — Mr. Frey's literary agent and the book's editor — have largely escaped scrutiny. However, thanks to the honesty of Oprah and her nationally televised apologetic, rebuttal of Mr. Fry and his book, these people are now under investigation.
Beyond Frey, and his publishers, stories of suffering may themselves take a fall. Frey's saga comes at a time when the work, and even the identities, of such alleged hard-luck authors as J.T. Leroy and Nasdijj have been questioned. St. Martin's Press recently added a disclaimer to an upcoming book by Augusten Burroughs, another memoirist who has been challenged. Do you remember the saying "believe none of what you hear and only half of what you see?" Well, now we must also believe none of what we read... until it has been verified.
This type of fraudulent behavior is not just restricted to authors… it also extends to other types of artists. For example Rap artists have been lying for years and making millions while doing it. On several occasions, their lyrical lies have divided the country, neighborhoods, and even families. Their lyrical lies have injured and endangered many innocent people. Their lyrical lies have been the underlying factor of many murders. Tupac Shakor and Biggie Smalls, two of the greatest rap artists ever to record, were both murdered as a direct result of lyrical lies. Their lies divided national fans into East Coast and West Coast. Even after their deaths, this division can still be felt.
Today, rap artists like 50 Cent, keep a division among fans by promoting vicious lies and perpetrating the gangster-tough image to their audiences. These lies place innocent fans and others in physical danger. 50 cent has actually been shot several times on several occasions – even on stage during a performance. Now he is convinced that he is invincible. Rap artists with fraudulent lyrics are just like Mr. Frey with his fraudulent autobiography.
Writers of Non-fiction books, articles, and musical lyrics, who consciously lie about events, themselves, and/or others, are just perpetrating imposters who pretend to be someone other than themselves. They steal bits and pieces from other people’s lives and proudly pronounce that those stolen moments in time truly belong to them. They are nothing but “Want-To-Be’s” – they want to be someone other than themselves.
Chicago Tribune
Hollywood Defamer
Black Entertainment

Friday, January 27, 2006

ALTERNATIVE MEDIAS – Advertisers Are Trying To Screw It Up!!!

One of the latest effects of media demassification has been the creation of an alternative media. As Paul Joseph Watson and Alex Jones says, "alternative media amplifies as the mainstream media declines." They further state, "This is directly due to the burgeoning power of the alternative media and the declining influence of the established media." Their article blames biased journalism and the emergence of obtrusive, over zealous advertisers for that media’s failure.

There is nothing wrong with reporting the news written by alternative journalist via the internet or through flyers because you really can't make an intelligent choice if you've only heard one opinion. There are various websites which offer a variety of alternative news, local events, and sports. Some of these sites are very interesting and have stories that the mainstream mediums never report. A few of these sites are listed below.
However, advertisers have flooded the internet, telecommunications, and our postal service with unwanted advertisements. Advertisers who produce their own alternative medias and carry their messages to potential customers by mail and telemarketers really irk me. Their junk mail and telemarketing messages intrude on my privacy. Here are a few tips on dealing with these unwanted intrusions:
1.) When a telemarketer calls you, these three little words will resolve that problem and help eliminate those unwanted calls... "Hold On, Please..." Saying this, while putting down your phone and walking off (instead of hanging-up immediately) will make each telemarketing call so much more time-consuming that company sales will grind to a halt. Then when you eventually hear the phone company's "beep-beep-beep" tone, you know it's time to go back and hang up your handset, which has efficiently completed its task. If everyone would do this, those three little words could possibly eliminate telephone soliciting altogether.
2.) Have you ever gotten annoying phone calls with no one on the other end? This is a telemarketing technique where a machine makes phone calls and records the time of day when a person answers the phone. This technique is used to determine the best time of day for a "real" sales person to call back and get someone at home. After answering, if there is no one there, immediately start hitting the # button on the phone six or seven times as quickly as possible. This confuses the machine that dialed the call and it kicks your number out of their system.
3.) When you get "ads" enclosed with your phone or utility bill, return these "ads" with your payment. Let the sending companies throw their own junk mail away. When you get those "pre-approved" letters in the mail for everything from credit cards to 2nd mortgages and similar type junk, do not throw away the return envelope. Most of these letters come with postage-paid return envelopes. It costs these companies more than the regular 39 cents postage "if and when" they receive them back. It costs these companies nothing if you throw them away! Their business postage was around 50 cents before the last increase and the postage is according to the weight. Since the postage is according to the weight and chargable to these intruding companies, why not get rid of some of your other junk mail by putting it in these cool little, postage-paid return envelopes. Send an ad for your local chimney cleaner to Telephone, Electric or Gas Company. Send a pizza coupon to American Express or Citibank. If you didn't get anything else that day, then just send them their blank application back! (If you want to remain anonymous, just make sure your name isn't on anything you send them.) You can even send the envelope back empty if you want to just to keep them guessing! Eventually, the banks and credit card companies will begin getting their own junkmail back. This will let these intrusive companies know what it's like to get lots of junk mail and best of all ,they're paying for it...Twice! This will also help keep our postal service busy since they are saying that e-mail is cutting into postal business profits and contributes to increase postage costs.
The alternative media is by no means perfect but these tips and good alternative journalism should make it near perfect… and prevent advertisers from screwing this new media up!!!
Other “Alternative Media” Links:
Other “I Hate Junk Mail” Links:

MEDIA CONGLOMERATION: Does It Serve The Public's Best Interest?

Media conglomeration happens when large media corporations buy up smaller media companies and convert them into subsidiaries. These small media companies are usually struggling financially and are not economically solvent. Without financial assistance, many of these small media companies could not continue to operate and would eventually cease to exist. These small financially troubled media companies are blindly lured under the seemly protective umbrella of the large media corporations. The federal government sees no violation in anti-trust laws, but congress is investigating. A blog posted by Bill Densmore writes, “One of our best-kept secrets is the degree to which a handful of huge corporations control the flow of information in the United States.” In his blog, ANTITRUST: Sanders -- Media conglomeration can't be ignored by Congress, he further explains how congress is reacting to Anti-trust allegations.
Even though parent corporations infuse cash into their small new subsidiaries; utilize other subsidiaries for packaging and marketing; and open up global markets, conglomeration affects the diversity of media messages. The quality of the media content will decline and the uniqueness of the media message is lost. There is a sameness that becomes universal throughout the conglomeration. There is also corporate instability where corporations, in order to raise cash, sell off subsidiaries that are unprofitable. So does Media Conglomeration really serve the public's best interests?

Thursday, January 26, 2006

DRUG COURTS -- Alternative Sentencing -- Does It Really Work?

In recent years, arrests for drug related offenses have more than doubled. Many judges have observed a rise in repeat offenders – noting that traditional methods of dealing with addicts, such as strict probation or mandatory imprisonment, did not attack the fundamental problem of addiction. The traditional criminal justice system was treating the symptoms and not addressing the problems. An alternative court had to be created to meet the correctional, rehabilitative needs of an ever-growing, drug-infested society. With drug-related crime skyrocketing, coupled with the ever-increasing costs of incarcerating prisoners, alternative courts have become a necessity.
Drug Courts are a Community-based programs and must involve various sectors of the community if it is to succeed. The establishment of drug courts throughout the United States is part of an on-going effort to combat the ever-rising number of drug related crimes within our communities. Drug courts work by recognizing that unless substance abuse ends, fines and/or jail time are unlikely to prevent future criminal activity. As a long-term solution to crime, drug courts concentrate their energy in eliminating drug addiction through frequent random drug testing and intensive court supervision. Drug courts differ from traditional methods of adjudication not only in their methodology and ideology, but also in their results. Drug courts are intended to reduce the recidivism of drug-related offenders by eliminating their drug-additive habits. By combining court-ordered and court-monitored treatments with court-ordered sanctions and rewards, drug courts are effectively reducing crime and are rehabilitating non-violent offenders at a higher rate and at a substantially lower cost than the traditional criminal justice system. The APA ONLINE – Monitor on Psychology, says “Drug and mental health courts give certain offenders what they really need: treatment.” Their complete report can be found at .
Under the traditional criminal justice system, court involvement generally does not take place unless a probation violation has been reported. However, drug courts take a more active role in the supervision of defendants. Defendants undergo court-supervised weekly random drug testing, have mandatory weekly court-evaluation appearances, and are required to attend regular treatment sessions. The level of court supervision is much higher than that of traditional treatments. Drug court participants exhibit a substantially lower rate of recidivism than participants of the traditional criminal justice system.
Qualified drug court defendants enter a guilty plea for their charges which is held in abeyance. This deferred plea and corresponding sentence is put on hold while the defendant is enrolled in the drug court program. Upon completion of the program, the guilty plea is withdrawn, charges are dismissed, and all records pertaining to the charge are expunged. If however, the offender does not complete the program, sentencing commences and imprisonment is imposed. Eligibility for drug court varies from state to state.
A study conducted in St. Louis, Missouri claims that, “Benefits outweigh additional costs of drug court.” Oklahoma City’s KFOR Channel 4 News reported in 2005 that, “A new study suggests that drug abusers sent to drug courts for treatment instead of to prison often earn more money and draw less welfare than abusers who are given probation.” More details on this news breaking event can be found at: .
There are three basic kinds of drug courts: adult criminal, dependency, and juvenile. Adult criminal drug courts focuses upon individual adult offenders charged with felony drug crimes. Dependency drug courts hear cases where the state has alleged abuse or neglect on the part of the parent. These drug courts acknowledge that neglect is more than likely a product of drug addiction. Parents are held accountable for their behavior and monitored treatment with a focus on recovery is ordered, so that the family can be reunited. Juvenile drug courts are aimed specifically at first or second time juvenile offenders. Requirements of juvenile drug courts include sixty hours of community service, written essays on the dangers of drug use, and intensive court supervision.
Opponents to the drug courts cite a series of non-defendable reasons for its elimination. They inaccurately claim the drug courts are not cost effective. They also incorrectly claim judges exercise to much judicial discretion and distribute an unequal share of court supervision among participants. They make unproven allegations of racial bias and dispense unfounded accusations that political and economical favoritism is an essential ingredient for the successful program completion of many drug court graduates. They assert that these drug courts were not established by any legislature and therefore are illegal. They argue that – in violation of their constitutional rights – defendants are coerced into treatment and enter drug court programs under duress. Jeffrey McMurray of The Associated Press reported at that, “The Justice Department cannot gauge the success of drug courts because it no longer collects data on repeat offenders.”
These opponents fail to see the infectiveness and the overall expense of continuing with their outdated “crime control perspective” ideology. Drug Courts were created with a focus on the “rehabilitation perspective” ideology and are administered by combining the ideologies of the “due process perspective,” “nonintervention perspective,” and the “justice perspective.” In the war on drugs, with its high social costs, multiple perspectives of criminal justice are necessary and must be utilized. Larry Siegel & Joseph Senna discuss these various criminal justice ideologies in detail on pages 22-29 of their textbook: Introduction To Criminal Justice (Publish by :Thomson Wadsworth; 10 Davis Drive-Belmont, Cal.: 2005).The U.S. Department of Justice (National Institute of Justice Data Resource Program) affirms it has been statistically proven that drug courts do work and provide enumerable benefits to its community. Drug courts reduce tax payers incarceration costs; lowers recidivism for drug-related crimes; it strengthens the economy by rehabilitating offenders so that they may enter or re-enter the work force as productive tax-paying employees; It promotes unification of families separated by drug addiction; and by rehabilitating drug addicted females, it reduces the number of drug addicted babies. Drug courts are indeed a win-win situation. So, let’s stop punishing ourselves and start treating these offenders.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

MEDIA CONGLOMERATION -- Does It Serve the public Best Interests?

Media conglomeration happens when large media corporations buy up smaller media companies and convert them into subsidiaries. These small media companies are usually struggling financially and are not economically solvent. Without financial assistance, many of these small media companies could not continue to operate and would eventually cease to exist. These small financially troubled media companies are blindly lured under the seemly protective umbrella of the large media corporations. The federal government sees no violation in anti-trust laws, but congress is investigating. See: ANTITRUST: Sanders -- Media conglomeration can't be ignored by Congress
Even though parent corporations infuse cash into their small new subsidiaries; utilize other subsidiaries for packaging and marketing; and open up global markets, conglomeration affects the diversity of media messages. The quality of the media content will decline and the uniqueness of the media message is lost. There is a sameness that becomes universal throughout the conglomeration. There is also corporate instability where corporations, in order to raise cash, sell off subsidiaries that are unprofitable.


Media Conglomeration Gone Wrong

Media Conglomeration is so Passe.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

EMINENT DOMAIN -- Written in Dedication and Appreciation of the Mistreated, Displaced American Indians

Despite the pleas by an alliance of tax-hungry municipalities and land-hungry developers to do nothing, legislators across the country are quickly moving to fix their abysmal eminent domain laws. The problem of eminent domain abuse was highlighted by the U.S. Supreme Court’s dreadful decision in “Kelo v. City of New London”, which gave governments the green light to take your home or business – and give it to a politically connected private developer because that developer might be able to produce more taxes and more jobs off of your land.
White America now faces what the American Indians faced in the 1800s, but with far less severity. The cries of the American Indian were not heard. No one heard their cry for justice when they when they forced onto the “Trail of Tears.” Now white America claims their pleas to the courts and the legislators are falling on deaf ears. When will Americans learn that we are all just a snapshot in a much larger picture and there is no noise, no sound, or no cry that can be heard… until someone listens?

Monday, January 16, 2006

Release The Hounds!: The Death Penalty

Release The Hounds!: The Death Penalty
please read : Death penalty -- Should It Be Banned in the United States?

JUNETEENTH -- Now That We Are Free … What Are We Going To Do?

During the 1800s, communication over vast areas was minimal and extremely slow. There were no telephones, telegraphs, radios, or televisions – these items had not been invented. Everyone could not read or write (especially slaves). The majority of communications were relayed through word-of-mouth. News of great importance had to carried or verified by individuals who were trustworthy or had some authority.
On January 1, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation which freed all slaves located in the rebellious states. Due to the lack of the ability to quickly transmit vitally important information over vast distances, coupled with a strong resistance of many white Southerners to receive, accept, or just a blatant refusal to obey this revealing news – caused many rural or isolated areas within the United States to be delayed in hearing this proclamation. The Emancipation Proclamation had little or no effect on Texans because of its remote location and the minimal number of Union troops used to enforce this new Executive order. Galveston, Texas was a far southwestern, predominately-rural area which was controlled by the Confederacy. June 19, 1965, two and half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued, Union troops – led by Major General Gordon Granger – arrived in Galveston. The Union troops were strong enough to overcome and influence all resistance. General Granger informed the residents of the proclamation and pronounced, under General Order Number 3, that all slaves were free. Slaves were immediately given rights and rights of property. Reactions to this insightful and heart-lifting news range pure shock to extreme jubilation.
Slaves and the nation now faced a new and more difficult problem. “Now that we are free… what are we going to do? Uneducated -- with no money and no property, how are we going to survive? What is freedom? Slavery is the only life we know, what else can we do?” These questions and many more were pondered by the slaves. More importantly, now that the Civil War was over, these questions were also pondered by government officials and their answers would continue to haunt this country for decades.
Many slaves remained in Texas and established employer/employee relationships with their former slave owners. Other slaves immediately left Texas fearing a withdrawal of this offer. These fleeing slaves migrated into neighboring states such as Louisiana, Arkansas, and Oklahoma, while others headed up North because it represented an illusion of true freedom. June 19, 1865 was celebrated as freedom day for slaves.
The lack of African American history and culture taught in public school systems are attributed to the decline of June 19th celebrations throughout most of the North There has, however, been a resurgence of celebrations for this reverent day. There is a growing and healthy interest from many communities and organizations throughout the country.
Today, June 19th or Juneteenth – as it has been coined – represents a day of recounting memories of the emancipated slave. It is celebrated as a time for reassuring one another; for praying and giving thanks; and for gathering with the remaining or distant family members. Music, ethnic food, games, picnics, and dress are part of the annual festivities. Juneteenth is indeed a celebration of African American freedom and encourages self-development, ethnic-empowerment, and respect for all cultures. It has taken on greater national interest on a global perspective, so that the world knows that the events of 1865 are not forgotten. Today, however, the same questions of the slaves in 1865 are still being asked by many confused African Americans, “Now that we are free… what are we going to do?”

MIRANDA WARNINGS -- Do We Really Need Them?

“You have the right to remain silent and need not answer any questions. You have the right to consult with an attorney before and during any questioning. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed and provided for you at no cost to you. If you decide to answer any questions, anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. Do you understand these rights?”
On June 13, 1966, The United States Supreme Court announced its landmark decision of Miranda vs. Arizona which brought about drastic changes in law enforcement interrogation techniques. It was designed to make law enforcement officials more professional in their pursuit of credible confessions by advising suspects of their Fifth Amendment rights. Before Miranda, Fifth Amendment rights were never self-executing and always had to be initiated or invoked by the suspect – “pleading the Fifth.”
There are many Americans, mostly those associated with law enforcement, who believe the Miranda requirements hamper police investigations and often allow guilty perpetrators to go free because of technicalities. They also believe the mere absence of informing potential suspects of their Fifth Amendment rights should not exclude the “voluntary” confessions or evidence extracted through law enforcement’s intensive interrogation process. These individuals were possibly descendants of proponents for the ancient “Spanish Inquisitions” or the “Salem Witch Hunts.” The opponents to this ruling applied extensive pressure to the United States Congress; and in 1968, Congress passed a law circumventing the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Miranda vs. Arizona.
For thirty-one years, the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Miranda was never challenged and this new 1966 law was never enforced. The United States Justice Department believed the new 1966 law to be unconstitutional. However, in 1999, a lower federal appellate court, the 4th Circuit, invoked this law and reversed a decision of its lower federal court. That action forced this Fifth Amendment issue back to the United States Supreme Court and placed it in the hands of America’s true rulers – the U.S. Supreme Court Justices.
In an effort to create a “more perfect union,” the United States Supreme Court was established by the U.S. Constitution in 1789. Various other lower level federal courts were also established by the U.S. Congress – but the U.S. Supreme Court is the highest federal court in the United States. Decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court are final and may not be appealed to any other body – their jurisdiction is nationwide. However, the U.S. Supreme Court itself may, at a later date, overturn and reverse a prior ruling. It holds both original and appellate jurisdiction.
The United States Constitution was designed to provide a strong flexible national government that met the needs of the republic, but protected the guaranteed rights of its citizens. It created a balance between society’s need for order and an individual’s right to freedom. To achieve these ends, the architects of this Constitution created three separate, independent, and co-equal branches of government. Each branch was endowed with its own unique and distinct powers. The Legislative Branch was charged with making the laws and the Executive Branch was charged with enforcing those laws. The Judicial Branch, having the most complex role in this system, must interpret those laws by invalidating legislation or executive actions which in its considered judgment is in conflict with the U.S. Constitution.
The power of “judicial review” has given the Judicial Branch a crucial responsibility in assuring individuals rights while preserving and maintaining a “living constitution.” In addition to the power of “judicial review,” courts now practice “judicial activism” or “legislating from the bench.” It is the act of replacing an impartial interpretation of an existing law with the judge’s personal feelings about what the law should be.
Many times these rulings can be contrary to popular opinion – but revolve around issues concerning the equal protection clause, due process rights, and the right to privacy. Bench legislation is called “Decrees.” Decrees can be anything from mandatory jail population limits to hiring practice quotas. U.S. Supreme Court Decrees become the laws throughout the nation without any action from the United States Congress. The U.S. Supreme Court uses the Executive Branch to enforce these Decrees.
Critics believe this to be a subversion of the democratic process – an unreasonable concentration of power in the hands of a privileged few. However, others see it as a way of preventing a “Tyranny of the Majority,” which is viewed as worse than the “Tyranny” of the few judges. As the final arbitrators of the law, U.S. Supreme Court Justices function as the guardians and interpreters of the U.S. Constitution. They are charged with the heavy responsibility of ensuring equal justice and due process under the law to all Americans.
Whatever the case, their decisions are final and become the law of the land, governing the entire United States. Appointed for life, U.S. Supreme Court Justices are the true rulers of the American people.
In June of 2000, the U.S. Supreme reaffirmed the Miranda rights and issued the following Decree:
“1. The prosecution may not use statements, whether exculpatory or inculpatory, stemming from questioning initiated by law enforcement officers after a person has been taken into custody or otherwise deprived of his freedom of action in any significant way, unless it demonstrates the use of procedural safeguards effective to secure the Fifth Amendment's privilege against self-incrimination. Pp. 444-491.
(a) The atmosphere and environment of incommunicado interrogation as it exists today is inherently intimidating and works to undermine the privilege against self-incrimination. Unless adequate preventive measures are taken to dispel the compulsion inherent in custodial surroundings, no statement obtained from the defendant can truly be the product of his free choice. Pp. 445-458.
(b) The privilege against self-incrimination, which has had a long and expansive historical development, is the essential mainstay of our adversary system and guarantees to the individual the "right to remain silent unless he chooses to speak in the unfettered exercise of his own will," during a period of custodial interrogation
[384 U.S. 436, 437] as well as in the courts or during the course of other official investigations. Pp. 458-465.
(c) The decision in Escobedo v. Illinois,
378 U.S. 478 , stressed the need for protective devices to make the process of police interrogation conform to the dictates of the privilege. Pp. 465-466. (d) In the absence of other effective measures the following procedures to safeguard the Fifth Amendment privilege must be observed: The person in custody must, prior to interrogation, be clearly informed that he has the right to remain silent, and that anything he says will be used against him in court; he must be clearly informed that he has the right to consult with a lawyer and to have the lawyer with him during interrogation, and that, if he is indigent, a lawyer will be appointed to represent him. Pp. 467-473.
(e) If the individual indicates, prior to or during questioning, that he wishes to remain silent, the interrogation must cease; if he states that he wants an attorney, the questioning must cease until an attorney is present. Pp. 473-474.
(f) Where an interrogation is conducted without the presence of an attorney and a statement is taken, a heavy burden rests on the Government to demonstrate that the defendant knowingly and intelligently waived his right to counsel. P. 475.
(g) Where the individual answers some questions during incustody interrogation he has not waived his privilege and may invoke his right to remain silent thereafter. Pp. 475-476.
(h) The warnings required and the waiver needed are, in the absence of a fully effective equivalent, prerequisites to the admissibility of any statement, inculpatory or exculpatory, made by a defendant. Pp. 476-477.

2. The limitations on the interrogation process required for the protection of the individual's constitutional rights should not cause an undue interference with a proper system of law enforcement, as demonstrated by the procedures of the FBI and the safeguards afforded in other jurisdictions. Pp. 479-491.

3. In each of these cases the statements were obtained under circumstances that did not meet constitutional standards for protection of the privilege against self-incrimination. Pp. 491-499.

With a 7 to 2 vote, the nations highest court refused to discard its 1966 Miranda ruling and replace it with a less stringent federal law that allows voluntary confessions without Miranda warnings. Miranda and all its progenies will continue to govern the admissibility of evidence obtained during custodial interrogation in both the state and federal courts. This decision is hoped to prevent police coercion and misconduct once suspects have been taken into custody for questioning. This decision sends a clear message – so there can be no doubt – that Fifth Amendment rights are also available outside courtroom proceedings; and serve to protect people, in all types of settings in which their freedom of action is curtailed in any significant way, from being compelled to incriminate themselves.
Once again our true rulers diligently performed their duties and protected the guaranteed rights of all Americans. They firmly reiterated that the legal principals established in the Bill of Rights, on fairness and due process – must be upheld at all costs, even if it means that a patently guilty person is freed. Preserving our fore-fathers’ ideals of equal justice and due process of law takes precedence over the need to punish the guilty.


“We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
In an effort to create a “more perfect union,” the United States Supreme Court was established by the U.S. Constitution in 1789. Various other lower level federal courts were also established by the U.S. Congress – but the U.S. Supreme Court is the highest federal court in the United States. Decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court are final and may not be appealed to any other body – their jurisdiction is nationwide. However, the U.S. Supreme Court itself may, at a later date, overturn and reverse a prior ruling. It holds both original and appellate jurisdiction.
The U.S. Supreme Court Justices are nominated by the President of the United States and each must be confirmed for that position with the “advice and consent” of the U.S. Senate. Federal Justice Appointments are for life and as long they continue with “good behavior,” they can only be removed by resigning or by Congress through the impeachment process. The U.S Supreme Court consists of the Chief Justice and such a number of Associate Justices as may be fixed by the U.S. Congress. Over the years, there have been a varied number of Associate Justices. Currently, the number of U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justices is fixed at eight. The U.S. Constitution does not explicitly establish any qualifications for U.S. Supreme Court Justices. However, U.S. Presidents usually nominate individuals with prior legal experience. U.S. Supreme Court nominees are evaluated by the American Bar Association but their opinions bind neither the President nor U.S. Senate – however, these opinions are generally taken into account.
The confirmation and ultimate selection process, conducted by the U.S. Senate, is merely a stringent form of interviewing. All nominees are subjected to a rigorous and vigorous interrogation of their background and views on matters of constitutional judicial prudence with their most personal and private thoughts put under public scrutiny. These nominees retain the right to answer only those questions they feel are relevant to the position they are seeking and may refuse to answer any and all questions that are too subjective or requiring answers related to their personal viewpoints. Even if this process may seem unfair to the nominee, it is extremely necessary if we are to continue the deep commitment of the American people to the Rule of Law and to constitutional government. As the final arbitrator of the law, successful nominees will function as the guardians and interpreters of the U.S. Constitution. They will be charged with the responsibility of ensuring equal justice under the law to all Americans.
The United States Constitution was designed to provide a strong flexible national government that met the needs of the republic, but protected the guaranteed rights of its citizens. It created a balance between society’s need for order and an individual’s right to freedom. To achieve these ends, the architects of this Constitution created three separate, independent, and coequal branches of government. Each branch was endowed with its own unique and distinct powers. The Legislative Branch was charged with making the laws and the Executive Branch was charged with enforcing those laws. The Judicial Branch, having the most complex role in this system, must interpret those laws by invalidating legislation or executive actions which in its considered judgment is in conflict with the U.S. Constitution. The power of “judicial review” has given the Judicial Branch a crucial responsibility in assuring individuals rights while preserving and maintaining a “living Constitution.”
In addition to the power of “judicial review,” courts now practice “judicial activism” or “legislating from the bench.” It is the act of replacing an impartial interpretation of an existing law with the judge’s personal feelings about what the law should be. Judicial Activism is usually one of the following acts: interpreting a state or national constitution with personal liberties that are not explicitly stated within the law; overturning or refusing to overturn an existing law that is in disagreement or agreement with personal or political leanings; establishing a legal principal or right which is not written in the law; failing to adhere to a precedent; or ruling in a way that prescribes public policy.
Many times these rulings can be contrary to popular opinion – but revolve around issues concerning the equal protection clause, due process rights, and the right to privacy. Bench legislation is called “Decrees.” Decrees can be anything from mandatory jail population limits to hiring practice quotas. U.S. Supreme Court Decrees become the laws throughout the nation without any action from the United States Congress. The U.S. Supreme Court uses the Executive Branch to enforce these Decrees. Critics believe this to be a subversion of the democratic process – an unreasonable concentration of power in the hands of a privileged few. However, others see it as a way of preventing a “Tyranny of the Majority,” which is viewed as worse than the “tyranny” of the few judges. Therefore, the selection of potential judges must be handled with the utmost care and a detailed public analysis of each Supreme Court nominee, regardless of their privacy rights, must be completed. Understanding the individual’s ideology is essential in confirming a nominee for appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court because, contrary to popular belief, U.S. Supreme Court Justices are America’s real rulers.

Friday, January 13, 2006

DARE TO BE FREE -- A Tribute To Martin Luther King, Jr.-- As African Americans Emerge Into the 21st Century

August 28, 1963, Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., voiced his dream – a dream that echoed around the world. His eloquent words of hope for a brighter future in an almost perfect utopia burned its message in the hearts of all Americans, stirred up our emotions, and vibrated the walls of our souls. Whites and Blacks alike were affected by this dream that “…one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal’…” No one familiar with the insufferable conditions of the not-so-distant past can doubt that African Americans are much better off today than they were twenty to thirty years ago; however, the improvement was gradual and uneven – and now some elements may even have deteriorated. The dream remains more a goal than a reality.
Entering the twenty-first century, African Americans were still battling the tragic but enduring effects of pervasive racism and degrading slavery. Racism, with its corrosive and bitter social perversions, remained alive as a malignant cancer, sometimes disguised as benevolence. Having passed the apex of its global dominance, European colonialism left behind an aftermath of seriously distorted values, self-alienation, cultural debasement, and confused identity.
Although slavery in the United States officially ended in the late nineteenth century, it has a lingering impact on the descendants of its victims. Many African Americans, never being personally afflicted with the robes of slavery, still suffer from aborted initiative, ruptured lineage (both literal and figurative), generalized cultural bastardization, and destroyed self-image.
African Americans today desperately need to regain control over the presentation, discussion, and interpretation of their own experiences, cultural imperatives, and their lives. There is clearly a series of problems that must be addressed and surmounted if African Americans are to recover the sense of positive identity necessary for their psychological wholeness – and for genuine, cogent, and authentic cultural expression.
By having their individual identities stolen, African Americans also face a waning of identity as a distinct community and the resulting loss of a clear appreciation for African American common interests. Even though the majority of African Americans do live – and have always lived – in communities that are overwhelmingly populated by African Americans, they too often and too completely confuse African American interests with the surrounding Eurocentric cultural. As an assimilated cultural, we often imitate and emulate European cultural; and neglect our own. We admire their heroes and undermine our own. Phillis Wheatley’s testament “On Being Brought from Africa to America,” says it best, “…[African Americans] sometimes see themselves through the eyes of others, even though that view is contradicted by their own objective condition.
Today, many African Americans have no higher ambition than the acquisition of luxury goods as individual markers of prestige and privilege. Many African Americans have prized individual success over collective advancement and thereby underdeveloped our communities. Many African Americans also undermine – perhaps even destroy – the development of our youth by their failure to foster coherent social values that reward those who direct energy toward collective growth.
In this era of internationalism, African Americans are still prone to cling to national, (and even more so, local neighborhood identities), without fully grasping the need to adopt a larger, global identity derived not just from common historical and cultural roots but also from similar economic and political yokes. African Americans must learn to see themselves as an aggregate of vital communities with particular national experiences subsumed within a unified global African population.
It is extremely important that African Americans remember that all people have lineages that give them a sense of place, a mark in geography, and a body of shared experiences over a specific time period. African American heritage is a complex set of factors that include African cultural. From this fact comes an inner need to know, acknowledge, and extend both their direct and symbolic legacies. The features of African American culture are self-validating, requiring no external sanctions or acceptance. Bill Russell, the former great basketball star, stated in his book, Go Up For Glory, that on his first trip to Africa he was “…confronted with deep emotional feelings of returning to a homeland.” When asked why he was there, he answered without even thinking, “I came here because I believe that somewhere in Africa is my ancestral home. I came here because I am drawn here, like any man, drawn to seek the land of my ancestors.” After being misquoted by the white American press as to why he went to Africa, he clarified his position by stating, “…I understand that the [American] Irish are proud of Ireland, the [American] Italians are proud of Italy, the [American] Jews are proud of Israel. Just like them, I am proud of my ancestral home – West Africa.” Therefore, culture is the African Americans’ most essential source of identity. It is their garment against the wind, the core testament of their own humanity.
One of the consequences of slavery was the loss of a sense of ownership on one’s own self. The question of manhood – a frequent theme in African American literature and history – is profoundly related to this issue. It often gives vocal and visual evidence of itself through assertive and sometimes violent reactions to oppressive confrontations, belittling encounters, and humiliating situations. Accepting the existential challenge of being – of owning one’s own self, empowers African American men and women to refuse to cower in the face of indifference, threats, and assaults. It encourages them to dare to be free – dare to use their own talents to interpret their own experiences from their own perspectives.
In the face of controversy – threats – physical punishment – and even death, the ancestors of African Americans did not deter nor detour from daring to be free. The African Americans of today are the recipients of a glorious legacy left by brave African American heroes who dared to be free, the likes of Fredrick Douglas; W.E.B. DuBois; Booker T. Washington; Malcolm X; Martin Luther King, Jr.; and countless others. In each era of African American history, the torch of freedom was passed down and handed to various individuals who, in the face of extreme adversity, bravely dared to be free. In the twentieth century, this torch was handled by many individuals.
The dream of Martin Luther King, Jr. is still a dream and not a reality for millions of African Americans. There are individuals, organizations, and institutions determined to kill his dream and destroy the hope of African Americans: that freedom’s bell will ring in the hearts and minds of all Americans; and that equality will be the American lifestyle.
As we approach the first decade in the twenty-first this freedom torch must be passed on to our African American youth. The time for preparations is now. As long as prejudice and racism exist, this race for freedom and equality is not over. Who will be our new leaders? Who will bravely pick up the torch passed down by former freedom fighters and entered this relay race for freedom and equality – a race not won by the swiftest but by those who endure? Who will take the torch? Will you dare to be free?


Terrorism is the systematic use of violence to create a general climate of fear within a given population and thereby bring about a particular objective. In many cases, the terrorists are seeking more than one objective and may also have agendas that are hidden from public scrutiny. All terrorist groups have the same basic ideology: “the end justifies the means.” Simply put, terrorist groups will pursue their goals using any and all methods possible with no consideration of the moral consequences. Their actions are justified as necessary evils.
Islamic Arabs are not the only terrorist and extremists operating in the Middle East. Kach and Kahane Chai are two American-trained Israeli organizations that have used terrorism to achieve their objectives of expanding Jewish rule, control, and religious culture across the West Bank; and expelling the resident Palestinians. Although the Israeli terrorist groups have not received the same media attention from the American and European press that the Islamic terrorist groups have received, the Kach and the Kahane Chai, never-the-less, are just as active. Many other splinter groups have formed; but all still fall under the direction, guidance, and financial influence of these major factions.
Martin David Kahane was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, in1932. His Hebrew name was Meir Kahane. As a teenager, he joined a quasi-military group that was affiliated with the “Revisionist Zionist” movement. This movement wanted Jewish state occupation in all of the presently British-ruled Palestine. In 1968, Rabbi Kahane, who was previously trained as a lawyer and a rabbi, formed the Jewish Defense League (JDL). This militant group advocated and promoted Jewish vigilantism and urged American Jews to arm themselves under the slogan “every Jew a 22.” The JDL was initially organized to combat African American anti-Semitism, but later increased the scope of their objectives and targeted bigger institutions.
Attorney Rabbi Kahane immigrated to Israel in 1971. He took his “Jewish-power” philosophy to the Israeli scene and formed the terrorist group Kach, endorsing it with the ideology of using “terror against terror,” which would be represented by the Hebrew acronym “TNT.” He advocated the formation of a “worldwide Jewish anti-terror group” that would be organized, aided, and operated in exactly the same manner as Islamic Arab terrorist. Financial aide was not only to be solicited from private individuals, but from various corporations and governments. In 1984, Kahane was elected to Israel’s parliament.
Under Kahane’s direction, many innocent Islamic Arabs were murdered, beaten, kidnapped and tortured. Many Islamic Arab Mosques were utterly desecrated and destroyed. Arab schools were bombed, killing hundred’s of innocent children. In some instances, foreigners and Christians were killed with the Islamic Arabs. There were other bombings, grenade throwing, shootings, and arson-related fires. Each incident was justified as a retaliatory strike.
Kahane increased the scope of his objective to include the removal or extermination of neighboring sovereign Islamic Arab states. He fought tooth-and-nail against any peace efforts with neighboring Islamic Arab countries. His genocidal ideology spread quickly throughout Israel, with staunch supporters located in Europe and the United States. In November 1990, Kahane was assassinated in New York City by an Islamic Arab.
Amid the squabbling that arose in the Kach after Kahane’s death, Kahane’s son, Benjamin or as in the Hebrew tongue – Binyamin, became the leader of a splinter group called Kahane Chai (Kahane Lives). Binyamin was killed by an Islamic Arab on the disputed Israeli occupied West Bank in December 2000. The differences between the Kach and the Kahane Chai revolved around personal conflicts, not ideology, and those differences have almost completely eroded since the death of Binyamin.
The Kach and the Kahane Chai have a large following in Israel and many sympathizing supporters throughout Europe and the United States. Various intelligence surveillances have estimated their following to be in the thousands. Recent reports show the Kach and the Kahane Chai having an overlapping core membership of committed high-level government supporters positioned in strategic locations throughout the world. Many of their fund-raising constituents have been arrested for a variety of felonious criminal activity, including counterfeiting, drug trafficking and money-laundering.
The Kach and the Kahane Chai are now classified as terrorists and their type of terrorism can be considered one of the most dangerous. It represents multiple forms of contemporary terrorism ideologies. It has the “Revolutionary Terrorism” ideology by aiming to replace existing governments with a regime that have political and religious views acceptable to them. It has the “Political Terrorism” ideology by engaging in a campaign of violence designed to destroy those who are in opposition to their social, political, cultural, and religious ideologies. It has the “Caused-Based Terrorism” ideology by directing their activities against individuals and governments of whom they object to on social, cultural, and religious grounds. With its illegal fund-raising techniques, it also has the “Criminal Terrorism” ideology. This ideology is suspected as their hidden agenda, known only to the groups’ top level officials.
Many Europeans and Americans are in agreement with the “eye-for-an-eye” tactics of the Kach and Kahane Chai, and revere them as anti-terrorists. However, terrorism and anti-terrorism are both inherently evil. There is little difference between the ideology of terrorism and the ideology of anti-terrorism when innocent lives become the ponds sacrificed to obtain an objective…

JAPANESE INTERNMENT CAMPS -- Just another American violation of an ethnic group's human and civil rights

Throughout the history of the United States, Americans have been juggling the immortal words of human and civil rights with the demands of national interests and national security. These sacred rights, which were declared irrevocable in the Declaration of Independence and guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution, have often been denied or curtailed to various individuals or ethnic groups under the guise of national security or national interests.
Americans, sedated and lulled to sleep within the comforts of their everyday-life and wrapped in an unsuspecting blanket of tranquility, are easily transformed into vengeful, fault-seeking mobs when traumatic events strike them. Individuals, families, or entire ethnic groups are easily singled out as the perpetrators of an act committed by others of within that ethnic group. This stereotyping, created by mass hysteria and national panic, has forced government leaders on many occasions to deny or curtail human and civil rights to various ethnic groups.
Minority ethnic groups of color are usually the groups that are preyed upon. There have been cases where white ethnic groups faced similar treatment. The Irish, Russian, Polish, Scottish, French, Slovak, Italian and other European ethnic groups were all victims of some type of limited discrimination and had their rights suspended, curtailed, or denied.
However, of all the ethnic groups who were treated unfairly and denied their guaranteed constitutional rights, the American Indian and the African American have suffered the most and received the harshest treatment.
African Americans came to this nation involuntarily and have suffered and endured indescribable human degradations; and yet, they have bravely fought in every American war. Their proven valor in battle left their loyalty to this nation unquestioned. However, national interests outweighed the nations’ need to provide, insure, and protect human and civil rights for African Americans. For over four-hundred years African Americans suffered humiliating and excruciating indignities. Although promised forty acres and a mule, no formal or informal apology was ever made and no reparations (not even the forty acres and the mule) were ever given to African Americans.
American Indians suffered a similar fate. Under the guise of national security and national interests – treaties were negated, Indian lands were seized, and forced evacuations of tribes to permanent reservations were ordered. Those early reservations were horrendous and the treatment of American Indians by whites was inhumane. The apathy and indifference to the plight of this ethnic group by government officials were clearly displayed by the constant denial or curtailment of their civil rights in favor of national and local interests. Those atrocities continued throughout the nineteenth century and into the twentieth century.
Other ethnic groups of color, such as the Hispanics and Latinos, have also been discriminated against and denied their constitutional rights. They have been victims of vast indignities and injustice. Under public pressure and to preserve national interests, government officials strengthened immigration laws and instituted language barriers to further restrict these ethnic groups. Many Americans still vehemently resist any formation of a bilingual nation; and when overhearing a conversation in a foreign tongue, they become highly suspicious and insist that English be the only American spoken language.
On December 7, 1941, without warning, Japan attacked the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. This surprised-bombing attack destroyed much of the American Pacific Naval Fleet that was stationed there. Americans throughout the nation were stunned and appalled. American tranquility had been disrupted and hysteria spread quickly throughout the entire country.
Within hours, FBI agents (many without evidence or search warrants) went house to house and rounded up 1,212 American Japanese citizens. Those illegally seized Americans, including prominent leaders of the Japanese communities, were all taken to an unknown location, interrogated, and treated as prisoners of war.
Anti-Japanese sentiments throughout the nation were fueled by west coast farmers who competed against cheap Japanese labor. On February 4, 1942, under increasing pressure from a growing number of anti-Japanese activist groups, the U.S. Army defined twelve areas where Japanese Americans were restricted and ordered to observe a strict curfew.
Presidential Order No. 9066 was issued on February 19, 1942, prohibiting all Japanese Americans from residing on the west coast; and on March 18, 1942, President Roosevelt signed Executive order 9102 for the formation of ten internment camps and the immediate transfer of Japanese Americans to these camps. These U.S. internment camps were overcrowded and provided poor living conditions.
Protests by Japanese Americans, of the constitutional legality for this forced evacuation, fell upon deaf ears. Two cases, claiming violations of the fourth, fifth, and sixth amendments, were heard by the U.S. Supreme Court. The Court denied their petitions using the logic that the need for national security outweighed their constitutional rights. Japanese Americans, like the American Indians and the African Americans, were also denied the equal protection clause guaranteed them in the U.S. Constitution.
In 1945, President Roosevelt rescinded his executive order and in 1946, most of the internment camps were disassembled. Even though these Japanese Americans were allowed to return home, many faced a number of hostile attacks and received no relief from law enforcement officials.
On January 2, 1945, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the detention internment camps were unconstitutional and in 1948, President Harry Truman signed the Japanese Evacuation Claims Act of $131 million dollars for evacuation claims. With the 1988 Civil Liberties Act, the United States officially and formally apologized. This act also provided for $20,000 dollars to each living survivor of the camps or if deceased, the money would then go to the spouse or children.
After World War II, the threat of Communism became the dominant issue. Fear spread quickly throughout the nation and many Americans, who were suspected (with little or no proof) of being communist sympathizers, were subjected to public ridicule, congressional inquiries, and denied all due process protections.
During the 1960, civil unrest erupted with race riots and anti-war hysteria. Civil rights were again curtailed while Marshall Law and vigilante justice ruled American cities. Curfews and other restrictions were ordered by government officials. To avoid total anarchy, the government rescinded its orders and began to address the nation’s domestic issues. Other flairs of civil unrest continued throughout the 1970s, and 1980s with similar curtailments of rights.
In the 1990s, the U.S. began its War on Drugs and War on Gang Violence. During this campaign many individuals found that they were stripped of their rights. Racial profiling and police brutality became a common practice among law enforcement officials. Minority-ethnic groups became the target of this governmental abuse. Justice and due process had taken a backseat to national and local security interests.
On September 11, 2001, the United States faced a new enemy. Terrorist attacks within our borders – once again – disturbed the American tranquility. This attack renewed America’s fears of vulnerability. Distrust and dislike of any Arab, American or otherwise, was immediately formulated in the minds of many Americans throughout the nation.
Widespread panic and hysteria forced government officials to create the Department of Homeland Security and implement new national-security measures which curtailed many of our basic civil rights. Many Arab Americans were detained in holding camps, interrogated, beaten, and denied their rights under the old familiar guise of national security.
Miekel Kruchief, the Soviet Premier during the 1960s, said, “Americans do not have to fear being attacked from the outside, for we will bury you from within.” His observations and words will prove correct if we continue to let physiological differences promote fear and distrust; and blind us from the principals that this great nation was founded upon.
In order to avoid eminent self-destruction, all Americans must take a stand for justice; and recognize and learn from the mistakes of the past. Fear triggers our stereotyping distrusts, prejudices, and hatreds – and by succumbing to this fear – we will become our own worst enemy.
We can never fully right the wrongs of the past or erase the painful memories, but we can resolve to rectify the injustices of today and uphold the rights of all Americans. We can insist that, from this moment on, this nation will live up to the full measure of its creed, “…one nation, under God, with liberty, and justice for all.” By insuring, preserving, and protecting the constitutional rights for all Americans, we will never again hear any ethnic group cry out, “Is this justice… or just us?

PROSTITUTION -- Should It Be Legalized in the United States?

The United States of America is a country founded on the principal that all citizens are free, equal, and possess the inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. These bold principles are the foundation of the U.S. Constitution and provide guarantees for each citizen to absolute freedom of choice in all aspects of their life.
However, in reality, even our most cherished freedoms must be limited in the interests of maintaining public order and balancing the equal rights of other citizens. The process of maintaining equilibrium for an individual’s rights against the rights of other citizens is often difficult. Nowhere is this balancing act more complex than in the personal and intimate realm of sexuality. When the private realm of sexuality becomes public, as it does with prostitution, the conflict is complicated by notions of public decency, public health, and social mores. Prostitution is a profession that has existed throughout human history and has been a social problem since the dawn of human civilization.
Arguments against the legalization of prostitution are most commonly based on the harm principle and supplemented by the offense principle. Social concepts of legal paternalism, coupled with moralistic views, further complicate the issue. Simply put, prostitution is socially and morally condemned in our culture. Many of the social harms, supposedly created by prostitution, are overruled with the application of an individual’s unimpeachable, guaranteed constitutional rights of liberty and the rights to pursue happiness.
Clearly, there is harm connected with prostitution. However, it is equally clear that the harm is not due to prostitution per se – but to the conditions in which it operates, including the current legal structure and societal condemnation. The greatest harm done to both prostitutes and society is: the coercion of prostitutes to perform sex acts against their will; the denial of the prostitutes’ guaranteed constitutional rights; and most importantly, the prostitutes lack of social acceptance.
The greatest obstacle to legalization of prostitution is social acceptance. Many theologians have privately and publicly condemned prostitution based on their own individual, ethically-religious ideologies. The Islamic-Judea-Christian hierarchies are in direct opposition to any efforts of legalizing prostitution. These religious leaders are convinced that the legalization of prostitution would eventually transform society into a modern-day Sodom and Gomorrah and begat its eminent destruction. These rabbis, priests, elders, and ministers have persuaded many in their congregations to emulate their ideologies.
As the self-appointed representatives of society’s moral and ethical conscience, these socially-esteemed, religious-icons – with the support of their followers – have influenced anti-prostitution legislation, judicial decisions in prostitution cases, and have even influenced the intensity in which law enforcement officials investigate prostitution offenses. These sanctimoniously-religious fanatics have turned “mala in prohibita” crimes into “mala in se” crimes. Studies have shown where law enforcement officials have pursued prostitution investigations with far more vigor than other more serious felonies.
It is obvious that prostitution is not the unmitigated-evil, sexual-enslavement, sexual-deviancy, or felonious-heinous crime that opponents classify it as. It is an institution that serves a social need and encompasses the entire spectrum of gender, race, religion, age, marital, and economic status.
While it is true that there is some risk of disease in prostitution, the risk can be minimized more efficiently in a legal environment than in an illegal one. If legalized, health-care plans, that are cost supplemented by the government, should be made available to prostitutes. Prostitutes would be required to obtain a regularly-scheduled medical examination to continue working in that profession. Mandated screenings for early identification of sexually-transmitted diseases would be a major part of this health plan. Law enforcement officials, as well as potential customers, could demand to see a government-issued, medical-clearance card when interacting with a legalized prostitute.
The majority of harms caused by prostitution are related to the street walkers and to the pimps that prey on them. Carefully-crafted legalization would give prostitutes the right to ply their trade in a safe environment, off the streets, without pimps, and by their own choice. Legalization provides the prostitute with the legal protection from abuse that every American citizen wants and deserves.
Another major concern of opponents to legalization is the thousands of underage prostitutes. This group of prostitutes consists primarily of teenagers, largely runaways and throwaways, who are forced into prostitution in order to survive. Rather than arresting and harassing the teenage prostitute, laws should be enacted condemning those who force or coerce teens into prostitution.
Legalization of prostitution must be done carefully – with the needs of the prostitute, the customer, and society kept in mind. Society must not just only legalize prostitution – it also must accept it and respect it as a profession. This action would not create a degenerate society, as some would claim, but would create a healthy society that honors its commitment to personal freedom and dignity.
Finally, if prostitution is legalized, it would prove economically advantageous. It would eliminate the burdensome law enforcement, judicial, and incarceration costs associated with prostitution. Prostitution would become a viable and professional entity in society. Prostitutions’ unreported incomes would legally now become reportable, taxable incomes. As the famous rap artist, Snoop Dogg so articulately, linguistically and figuratively stated, “B**ches get laid and played… but hoes get paid.”*

DEATH PENALTY --Should It Be Banned in the United States?

The American Judicial System was designed to impose sanctions on individuals who violated the laws created to protect society and its members. It was hoped that these sanctions would not only punish the criminal but also serve as a deterrent to other potential criminals. Many Americans believed: the more severe the punishment, the less likely the crime would be committed. However, contrary to that popular belief, statistics have shown just the opposite. In the case of homicides, even with the imposition of the death penalty, murder rates have increased.
People murder for a variety of spontaneous reasons – and under many different circumstances. They murder for financial, economic, and political gains. They murder for love or the lack thereof. People commit murder during domestic disputes when passions are inflamed, and they commit murder when under the influence of alcohol or addiction to other drugs.
Some people are just suicidal and commit murder while attempting to take their own lives. Other people are self-destructive psychopaths who have little regard for human life and believe they deserve to die. They want to be arrested and executed. There are also mentally ill or brain-damaged individuals who experience periods of rage and occasionally kill. These people are unable to accept responsibility for their actions. With the exception of professional hit men, very few people are in a rational frame of mind when they commit murder. Therefore, it may be hopeless to expect any form of punishment to act as a deterrent.
The method of capital executions varies from state to state. Death penalties have been enforced by firing squads, hangings, electric chairs, and gas chambers. With these methods, condemned inmates suffer unimaginable, torturous pain during their final moments. Some suffer more than their alleged victims.
Some Americans consider the brief sufferings of condemned inmates as merely insufficient justice for the victim and the victim’s family. They feel that their sufferings should have been longer and more intense in order to emulate their victims' pain.
Other Americans think these execution methods constitute cruel and unusual punishment. Anti-death penalty advocates and human rights activists have organized various demonstrations to persuade legislators that the death penalty is inhumane. They have staged protests at various penal institutions throughout the nation and have forced many states to adopt a more humane procedure for administering the death penalty. Most states have now instated lethal injections as their system of execution.
Americans have long debated the issue of capital punishment and the use of the death penalty. Capital punishment has gained increased public support because of the mounting fear of crime and the manipulation of the death penalty issue by politicians for their own political agendas. Many Americans have pro or con arguments centered on various religious factors. Those who favor Old Testament – Judaic, Mosaic, or Islamic Law, usually are proponents of capital punishment. Americans following the teachings of Christ and the New Testament tend to be opposed to the death penalty.
Now there are legitimate concerns of the rationality and justification of capital punishment which have also divided the nation. Both sides have delivered interesting and important factual points. These debates revolve around issues of racial bias, execution of the mentally ill or mentally retarded; and execution of child criminals.
However, both pro-death penalty and anti-death penalty advocates share this same belief: executing an innocent person is wrong. If one person out of a hundred executed is later proven innocent – then the executioner; the investigating police; the prosecutor; the judge; the jury; the pro-death penalty supporters; and all those who stood silent and displayed indifference to the death-penalty issue, are all guilty of murder. Although no formal charges or sanctions may be imposed, the guilt is, never-the-less, assessed.
Shakespeare said, “To err is human.” All humans make mistakes. No one is perfect. Many innocent people have been sent to prison – but because of newly discovered evidence or uncovered errors of identification, they were freed. These innocent inmates, after serving years of incarceration, were finally vindicated and released. They were able to return home to their families and friends. They were able to try to pick up the pieces of their lives and begin a new. However, life for the executed innocent inmate was over.
The execution of innocent inmates is becoming more and more prevalent. The irrelevant issue, of whether or not society has inflated the number of innocent inmate executions, is mute. If only one inmate is executed and later proven innocent, there is still an injustice to be rectified because the system is flawed. There can be no doubt that taking the life of any innocent person is murder, whether the act be committed by an assailant or the legal system designed to protect the innocent.
Now the question arises as to how to insure that no innocent person is ever executed through our imperfect judicial system. The answer is simple and requires no debate. In order to prevent indecisive juror pondering and; eliminate the non-correctable and inaccurate judgments rendered in capital offenses and; to remove the murderer-guilt stigma from our society, then the death penalty must be abolished and replaced with alternative sentencing. If we do not abolish the death penalty, it will not matter whether we were dead right in imposing the death sentence on a convicted murderer or; whether we later find out that the inmate was innocent and we were dead wrong – because dead right and dead wrong… are both dead.