Archive for January, 2012

” … At a preliminary hearing on October 31, a large turnout of Native  supporters lined the halls of the courthouse and protested outside to demand  justice for Dawson, who has become a symbol in the Fresno Native community of  the long history of violent crimes perpetrated against people of color. … ‘The Justice for Patty Dawson Committee learned that the owner of the vehicle  Dawson was driving has KKK tattoos on his back,’ said Gloria Hernandez, a local  activist and police watchdog who is helping to mobilize support for Dawson. … “

By Valerie Taliman

Indian Country/January 20, 2012

[UPDATED, JANUARY 20, LINK ADDED TO ORIGINAL STORY IN FIRST GRAPH AND  VIDEO ADDED AT END] FRESNO, Calif. – Despite two preliminary hearings,  Fresno District Attorney Elizabeth Egan has not yet included hate crimes in the  felonious assault case against Jennifer Davette Fraser, who attacked and beat  Patty Dawson, a Navajo and Apache nurse, on a city street in Clovis last June, then fled the scene of the  crime.

After considerable pressure from local activists, the Fresno County Sheriff  finally arrested Fraser, 27, in September – four months after the attack – though witnesses had given police a license plate number the day of the  assault.

Fraser was charged with felonious assault, defined under California law as “an attack on another individual in which the attacker uses a dangerous weapon  and seeks to cause serious harm but stops short of an attempt to kill the  victim.” Her two male accomplices have not been arrested and police have not  released their names.

At a preliminary hearing on October 31, a large turnout of Native  supporters lined the halls of the courthouse and protested outside to demand  justice for Dawson, who has become a symbol in the Fresno Native community of  the long history of violent crimes perpetrated against people of color.

Several reservations and private Native allotment land surround Fresno, and  the main health clinic that serves Native Americans is in Clovis, putting local  people in danger of harassment, threats and violence.

It is well known locally that numerous white supremacists movements have been  active in Fresno and the adjacent town of Clovis since the 1980s including  the Ku Klux Klan, Aryan Nations, Aryan Terror Brigade, Bay Area National  Anarchists and Blood and Honour America Division, among others.

California is home to 68 active hate groups, more than another other state,  according to the Southern Poverty Law Center’s recent report, The Year in Hate & Extremism.

“The Justice for Patty Dawson Committee learned that the owner of the vehicle  Dawson was driving has KKK tattoos on his back,” said Gloria Hernandez, a local  activist and police watchdog who is helping to mobilize support for Dawson. “We  demand that the Fresno County District Attorney punish all the parties  responsible for this crime and treat them like gang members. Kidnapping charges  should be added for pulling Dawson out of her vehicle.

Hernandez said there are many active white hate groups in Fresno County  including the California Skin Heads, Holy Nation of Odin, the Creativity  Alliance and Vinland Folk Resistance. “We deal with their racism and violence  everyday, and we need law enforcement and the District Attorney to address this  matter immediately.”

At an October 31 preliminary hearing, Fraser’s court-appointed attorney told  the judge that Fraser should not be charged with a hate crime against Dawson  because Fraser had “recently learned she was part Native American.”

Fraser had no proof of her claim to Indian ancestry, and was given a  continuance to provide proper documentation at the next hearing.  Native  activists who filled the courtroom immediately denounced Fraser’s claim, saying  it was clearly a stall tactic to escape justice.

By the time the November 28 preliminary hearing occurred, Fraser was visibly  pregnant and told the judge that she was “having a baby that afternoon” and  needed another continuance on the case.  She did not provide proof of  Native ancestry, and was granted another continuance until January 23, 2012 in  Fresno District Court.

The Justice for Patty Dawson Committee is demanding that the U.S. Department  of Justice work aggressively to prevent hate crimes, and to prosecute and punish  the perpetrators to the full extent of the law.

“We cannot let them go unpunished and demand that the Fresno County District  Attorney punish all the parties responsible for this crime, treat them like you  would other gang members,” said Hernandez. “Kidnapping charges should be added  for pulling her out of her vehicle.”

No thorough investigation

Dawson and her family retraced the route she drove that day trying to flee  her attackers, and showed Indian Country Today Media Network the actual  site of the attack at an intersection where numerous businesses have  surveillance cameras mounted that should have captured the incident.

However, when several people from the Justice for Patty Dawson Committee  visited the businesses to inquire about footage from cameras, they were told  police had not questioned them or requested videotape.

“The police didn’t take a statement from me at the scene because I was  unconscious when they found me,” said Dawson. “Later I tried to give them a  statement and explained that I was traumatized so I couldn’t remember every  detail.  When I spoke with them, they kept asking what I did to provoke the  attack and that’s when I worried that they were not going to fully investigate  this fairly.”

Two weeks ago, Dawson, her family and Hernandez met with officials from the  Fresno District Attorney’s office and were told that police were relying on the  Fresno Sheriff’s report, Dawson’s brief statement to them, and two witnesses who  saw the attack.

However, police will not share any information about the witnesses or provide  copies of statements to Dawson. She is in the process of hiring an attorney once  adequate funds can be raised to help her file a civil case against Fraser.

“This is so unfair,” she said. “There are cameras that captured the attack  and people who saw it, but we can’t convince the DA that this was a hate crime.  They told me that since I couldn’t hear or remember what the attackers were  screaming at me when they chased me, that there is not enough evidence that this  was racially motivated.”

Meanwhile, Navajo Nation Vice President Rex Lee Jim has offered to intervene  and write a strong letter to the DA. Jim, a longtime human rights advocate who  helped negotiate the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous  Peoples, said this type of violence is all too common in border towns  surrounding Native communities.

“One of the outcomes of these negotiations was to create the Navajo Nation  Human Rights Commission,” Jim said. “The commission is addressing Navajo race  relations with towns and cities that border the Navajo Nation, and this is a  good example of how tribes can work to reduce racism and violence against our  people.

Article 2 of the U.N. Declaration states that “Indigenous Peoples and  individuals are free and equal to all other peoples and individuals and have the  right to be free from any kind of discrimination, in the exercise of their  rights, in particular that based on their indigenous origin or identity.”

“We want our Navajo people to feel that they’re safe when they are traveling  anywhere in the world,” Jim said. “We want them to feel that the Navajo Nation  supports them. We have to take a stand against the growing racism in this  country and we support justice for Patty Dawson.”

At the next hearing on January 23, 2011, the judge will determine if the case  will go forward based on the findings of the District Attorney.

“This is not just about me,” said Dawson. “This happens to many of our people  and I feel like it’s my responsibility to speak up to stop the violence against  our women and children.”

Here Patty Dawson explains what she recalls happened when she was attacked to ICTMN:

By Alex Constantine 

Since the jingoistic Tea Party this way came, National Public Radio has given the angry “patriots” periodic, unquestioning promo spots, tsked a few corporate sponsors and the occasional “extremist”-  a ubiquitous media euphemism for “fascist” – but has pretended not to know of the darkest strains of this toxic beverage, as if perpetually searching for words to describe it.

White supremacy isn’t an issue at NPR.

But just look at the “public” network’s toxic corporate funding: John M. Olin, the Bradley and Sloan Foundations, a slue of intelligence/ultra-con funding conduits, almost without exception. Funds for state propaganda from the American Enterprise Institute, the Heritage Foundation, on and on, affect us, an onslaught of “conservative” mental progamming that nearly rivals the smirky blather of Fox News.

“What does the Party – or Parties – believe in?” asks a perky morning NPR voice – but no clear answers are forthcoming. Neither are serious criticisms found elsewhere in the media, ranking legislative candidate ties to neo-Nazis, ties of their financiers to the ultra-con Birch Society.

Instead, even Robert Scheer, generally trusted by his liberal listeners, seemingly hasn’t heard of all that, and has voiced his support of the Tea Party repeatedly because he shares “their anger at the banks.” So he gives them a plug. He goes so far as to praise Ron Paul. (And Scheer’s unabashed admiration of Reagan leaves one with no choice but to write him off as hopelessly myopic.) The neo-Nazi and Bircher connections are waved away as inconvenient distractions – “over on the left,” Bob Scheer admires them, anyways.

The public radio network has been the Tea Party’s national soapbox, a place to get away with “astroturf” claims unchallenged, to hide behind “Constitution” and “small government” … and never explain what those code-words for fascism mean exactly to the wealthy, “grass-roots” constituents of the far-right Tea Party.

Yet conservative media commentators – in a ploy intended to drive the media to the right –  grind their molars endlessly over “liberal bias” at NPR.

A UCLA Study Found NPR to be “to the Right of the Washington Post” (Once Published by CIA propaganda recruit Phil Graham … Until he Shot Himself in te Head because He Believed the CIA was trying to Kill Him … )

Excerpt: “All Programs Considered,” by Bill McKibben, New York Review of Books, November 11, 2010

It seems churlish to criticize even mildly the flagship public radio news shows—their reliable excellence deserves lavish praise. In recent years, though, it’s started becoming clearer that, for all their polish, the big shows like All Things Considered suffer from some of the same constraints that plague other parts of elite American journalism. They aim for a careful political balance—one academic study found their list of guests slightly to the right of The Washington Post, and “approximately equal to those of Time, Newsweek, and US News and World Report. That’s not a particularly interesting place to be, and it may explain why, especially in the Bush years, many left-of-center listeners defected to Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now!, a highly professional but ideologically engaged daily hour on the Pacifica network. ….

Allegations of elitism and the status quo

A 2004 study published by Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting found a solid conservative bias at National Public Radio. ‘NPR’s guestlist shows the radio service relies on the same elite and influential sources that dominate mainstream commercial news, and falls short of reflecting the diversity of the American public.”

UW survey: CNN, NPR spread Tea Party’s message

By John Gastil

Conservatives decry “National Liberal Radio” or, more plausibly, the leftward slant of MSNBC, whereas liberals mock the “fair and balanced” moniker of Fox News. 

The first year of the Tea Party movement … represents a new and vocally conservative actor that might tempt different media outlets to cover it in ways that reflect underlying biases. 

To test for such prejudice, the University of Washington undergraduate students in my Political Deliberation course created a series of content analytic categories that they applied to a representative sampling of 55 news articles from April 2009 to April 2010. … Extracted from the websites of Fox News, NPR, and CNN, this sample is small, but some of its findings are striking. At the very least, a careful look at these articles suggests interesting differences—and surprising similarities—in how these outlets have covered the Tea Party. … Students calculated the number of lines in each article that suggested how the Tea Party was affecting each party, and from this, I calculated a simple index from minus 10 to plus 10 to measure the Tea Party’s impact. 

On balance, CNNs reporting suggested that the Tea Party would hurt the GOP a little (-5) but have no effect on the Democrats. NPR suggested it could hurt both parties (-6 for GOP, -4 for Dems), and Fox News’ reporting suggested it would be a net benefit for the GOP (+5) and devastating for the Dems (-10). 

Next, consider how the media report on the general public’s sentiments toward the Tea Party. To date, every poll conducted has shown divided public opinion, with many Americans supporting the Tea Party and many others opposing it. Nonetheless, every one of the media outlets was more likely to include text indicating public support for the Tea Party than text indicating public opposition. NPR and Fox had roughly equal numbers, with three-quarters of their articles mentioning public support compared to only two-thirds noting opposition, whereas CNN devoted relatively few lines to either sentiment. 

NPR stood out compared to CNN and Fox as the most likely to include in its stories the voices of ordinary citizens, along with Tea Party participants and organizers. NPR also showed the clearest imbalance in sourcing. These articles quoted seven Republicans for every Democrat. …

NPR [showed] the clearest imbalance in sourcing. …  A quarter of the articles included Tea Party organizers compared to almost none featuring anti-Tea Party citizen demonstrators or activists. 


Citing comments dating to the Nixon administration, the FAIR report said, “That NPR harbors a liberal bias is an article of faith among many conservatives.” However, it added, “Despite the commonness of such claims, little evidence has ever been presented for a left bias at NPR.”

NPR spokeswoman Jenny Lawhorn responded, “This is America – any group has the right to criticize our coverage. That said, there are obviously a lot of intelligent people out there who listen to NPR day after day and think we’re fair and in-depth in our approach.”

By Andrew Bashi

In These Times, Jan 19, 2012

As civil libertarians gear up for a nation-wide day of action against the National Defense Authorization Act of 2011 (NDAA) on February 3, efforts against the law are already underway at the local and state levels.

Last month, El Paso County, Colo. became the first local government to pass a resolution condemning the law. Home of the U.S. Air Force Academy, El Paso County’s Board of County Commissioners unanimously approved the “Resolution to Preserve Habeas Corpus and Civil Liberties,” explicitly opposing Sections 1031 and 1032 of the law. These sections contain provisions that allow the military to arrest, indefinitely detain and deny a trial or day in court to anyone–including a U.S. citizen–accused of a “belligerent act” or any terror-related offenses.

A State Representative in Rhode Island plans to introduce a similar resolution in opposition to provisions in the law.

President Obama signed the NDAA into law on December 31, 2011. The law may deal a deathly blow to the constitutional rights of Americans, including the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee of due process and the Sixth Amendment rights to challenge evidence and confront one’s accusers.

According to Shahid Buttar, Executive Director of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee (BORDC), several localities across the country are already considering moves similiar to El Paso County’s.

BORDC has begun coordinating and assisting grassroots efforts in communities across the country that aim to push back against the newly passed law. “The NDAA may have passed, but grassroots opportunities abound to restore due process and the right to trial,” said Buttar in an e-mail exchange with In These Times. The organization has already begun providing a series of resources to grassroots organizers including a draft model resolution, suggested talking points and action models and support for those coordinating local campaigns.

In other states, campaigns are underway to oust the law’s supporters. Citizens in Montana have launched a recall campaign targeting both of their Senators, Max Baucus and Jonathan Tester, for their votes in support of the new law.

The vague implications of the law are especially disturbing for many activists as the “terrorist” label is applied ever more widely by the United States and its allies. Last month, a memo drafted by the London police titled “Terrorism/Extremism update for the City of London Business Community” was leaked to the public. Dated December 2, 2011, the document lists Occupy London as a potential domestic terrorism threat alongside the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia (FARC) and al-Qaeda.

In the U.S., laws such as the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA), currently being challenged on Constitutional grounds by the Center for Constitutional Rights, as well as several recent Supreme Court decisions, have cast an extraordinarily broad net for what may be labelled terrorist activity.

As a result, the NDAA has produced anxiety across the political spectrum as Occupiers and Tea Partiers alike continue to organize against it.

Eric Engleman, Bloomberg News

Jan. 18 (Bloomberg) — Internet companies led by Google Inc.  are using their online clout to stoke opposition to Hollywood-backed anti-piracy  measures in the U.S. Congress that they say will encourage censorship and chill  innovation.

Google, owner of the world’s most popular search engine,  placed a link on its home page today opposing the House and Senate bills,  joining protests by Wikipedia and other websites. Google had about 400 million  daily U.S. searches in December, according to Internet measurement firm comScore  Inc., dwarfing the 111 million viewers of last year’s Super Bowl game.

Public criticism led by Google, Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc.  slowed an initial “smooth glide to passage” for the anti- piracy measures  supported by the entertainment industry, Rogan Kersh, an associate dean at New  York University’s Wagner School who conducts research on lobbying, said in an  interview.

“Google and Facebook and Twitter are part of our daily lives  in a way that most of us find very appealing,” Kersh said. “These are sexy  brands. If you’re a member of Congress, you don’t want to be on the wrong side  of the social media and new media darlings of America.”

Google typically devotes its home page to displaying its own  services, not taking stands on legislation, and the “Google” icon is often used  to commemorate historical events. Today, the icon is covered by a black  rectangle, and the home page links to a website that asks visitors to sign an  online petition urging Congress to reject the legislation.

Wikipedia Shutdown

Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia run by a nonprofit  organization where users contribute entries, is shutting the English version of  its website for 24 hours to protest the measures. Today, that page is blacked  out and carries a message saying that the bills “could fatally damage the free  and open Internet.”

Microsoft Corp., the world’s largest software maker, said in a  statement yesterday that it opposes the House measure as currently drafted. The  company said it doesn’t plan to shut down its online services in protest.

The Stop Online Piracy Act in the House and the Protect IP Act  in the Senate are backed by the movie and music industries as a means to crack  down on the sale of counterfeit goods by non-U.S. websites. Hollywood studios  want lawmakers to ensure that Internet companies such as Google share  responsibility for curbing the distribution of pirated material.

The so-called blackout day to protest anti-piracy legislation  is “abuse of power given the freedoms these companies enjoy in the marketplace  today,” Christopher Dodd, chairman of the Motion Picture Association of America,  said in an e-mailed statement yesterday.

‘Incite Their Users’

“It’s a dangerous and troubling development when the platforms  that serve as gateways to information intentionally skew the facts to incite  their users in order to further their corporate interests,” said Dodd, a  Connecticut Democrat who served three decades in the Senate.

News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch called Google a “piracy  leader” in a Jan. 14 post on Twitter, saying that it streams movies for free and  sells advertisements around them. A day later he wrote in his Twitter account  that Google is a “great company doing many exciting things. Only one complaint,  and it’s important.”

Miranda Higham, a News Corp. spokeswoman, declined to  comment.

Samantha Smith, a Google spokeswoman, said the company  respects copyright. “Last year we took down 5 million infringing Web pages from  our search results,” she said in an e-mail yesterday.

‘Radioactive Brand’

Murdoch represents a “radioactive” brand and his comments are  “terrible timing” for supporters of the anti-piracy legislation, Kersh of New  York University said.

“As supervisor of a media empire that is best known at present  for hacking into people’s personal phone accounts, this is not someone you want  arguing for more government involvement in the lives of the public,” Kersh  said.

The Senate is scheduled to hold a procedural vote Jan. 24 to  see whether there is enough support to begin debate on its version of the  legislation bill.

Read more:

Hindustan Times, January 16, 2012

Adolf Hitler stole the idea for the iconic Volkswagen Beetle car from a Jewish engineer and had his name written out of history, a historian has said in a new book.

The Nazi leader has always been given credit for sketching out the early concept for the Beetle during a meeting with car designer Ferdinand Porsche in 1935. His idea for the Volkswagen – or “people’s car” – is seen as one of the only “worthwhile” achievements of the dictator, the Daily Mail reported.

Now, historian Paul Schilperoord has written a book titled The Extraordinary Life of Josef Ganz on the Jewish engineer to be behind the Volkswagen.

Hitler said in his design that his vehicle would have four seats, an air-cooled engine and cost no more than 1,000 Reichsmarks, the currency of Germany till 1948. Three years before Hitler described his idea to Porsche, Ganz was actually driving a car he had designed called the “Maikaefer” — or “May Bug”. Hitler’s price also matched the price Ganz said his car would cost. Ganz’s lightweight, low-riding vehicle looked similar to the Beetle that was later developed by Porsche.

Ganz had reportedly been exploring the idea for an affordable car since 1928 and made many drawings of a Beetle-like vehicle. Hitler saw the May Bug at a car show in 1933 and made similar sketches. Within days of the meeting between Hitler and Porsche in 1935, Ganz was in trouble with the Gestapo or Nazi secret service.

The journalist-inventor left for Switzerland and later died in Australia in 1967. His name is not mentioned in the Volkswagen’s corporate history nor in the Story of Volkswagen exhibition in Wolfsburg.

“So many things were the same in Hitler’s sketches. Hitler definitely saw his prototype and I’m quite sure he must have read Ganz’s magazine,” Schilperoord said.

“It’s quite clear Ganz had a big influence on how the idea was developed by the Nazis. Ferdinand Porsche drove Ganz’s prototype in 1931. I found a lot of evidence that all similar rear engines in the 1930s can be traced to Ganz,” he said. “Even the price was the same. Porsche said that doing this for 1,000 Reichsmarks was not possible but was forced to make it happen by the Nazis,” he said.

By Alex Constantine

Dsc00685Ventana means “window”—but no guidebook published explains why inhabitants chose the name. The key to the mystery lies in local legends. The Native Americans who lived here believed their spirits drifted to the distant Pacific horizon and basked in scarlet dusks. The spectacular jutting coastline of Big Sur stretches out from forests of redwood and cedar, and a spiritual sensation is so pronounced here that many writers who settled here have strived to describe it. Tourists are drawn to the crags of Andrew Molera Beach and Point Lobos, but venture into the forests of the Santa Lucia Mountains and find brooding, fog-wrapped peaks, lush golden meadows, redwoods rising into the clouds — a window with a view of another world.

Car Blaze Nearly Brings Down Hollywood, CA Clothing Store

By Alex Constantine – Originally Posted December 8, 2011

I was at the Starbucks on Melrose Ave. this evening, about 6:00 pm, stepped out to the back alley for a wifi break, and couldn’t help noticing that a white Mustang in a carport nearby was on fire.

The blaze escalated quickly and I crept behind the vehicle to snap this photo. A moment after I turned away, the gas line exploded. I scurried behind a wooden fence.

Fire trucks arrived a couple of minutes later, about the time a column of fire shot upwards and the car port ceiling caught fire.

The blaze was extinguished moments before it could spread to the adjacent clothing shop at the corner of Melrose and Curson Ave. There were no injuries.