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London 2012 Olympics: The Staging Ground for the Coming Police State? PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Guest Commentaries
Written by John W. Whitehead   
Wednesday, 01 August 2012 13:25

“As London prepares to throw the world a $14-billion party, it seems fair to ask the question: What does it get out of the bargain?” asks the Christian Science Monitor in a recent story on the 2012 Summer Olympics. “Salt Lake got to show that its Mormon community was open to the world,” observes journalist Mark Sappenfield. “Turin got to show that it was not the Detroit of Europe. China got to give the world a glimpse of the superpower-to-be. And Vancouver got to show the world that Canadians are not, in fact, Americans.”

And what is London showing the world? Sappenfield suggests that London is showing off its new ultramodern and efficient infrastructure, but if the security for the 2012 Olympics is anything to go by, it would seem that London is really showing the world how easy it is to make the move to a police state without much opposition from the populace.

 
The Corporate Takeover of America: A Government of the Elites, by the Bureaucrats, and for the Corporations PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Guest Commentaries
Written by John W. Whitehead   
Wednesday, 11 July 2012 13:05

By definition, these are closed-door meetings that are part of long-term relationships between the state’s highest officials and for-profit corporations. There is exactly nothing like that for citizens. This is entrenched, institutionalized, specialized access to political power in exchange for very modest contributions.” – Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, a citizen lobbying and advocacy group

For four days, from July 12 thourgh 15, America’s governors – hosted by Virginia’s Bob McDonnell – will gather in Williamsburg, Virginia, for the National Governors Association’s (NGA) annual summer meeting. While there, the governors and their staffs will be “treated to amusement parks, historical sites, championship golf courses, five-star dining, an al fresco concert, and a rousing fireworks finale,” much of it paid for by corporations eager to spend time with the nation’s most powerful government chief executives.

Among those footing the bill for the powwow, reports the Associated Press (AP), are “Procter & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson, and Northrop Grumman, the ubiquitous government and defense contractor that holds the largest state contract in Virginia history for a partnership to operate the state’s vast centralized information-technology system.” While the annual meeting is not open to the public, it is open to members of the NGA’s Corporate Fellows Program, whose roster is a who’s-who list of corporate America and whose mission is ostensibly to “promote the exchange of information between the private sector and governors and stimulate discussion among the Corporate Fellows on emerging trends and factors affecting both business and government.”

 
Everyday People and the American Revolution PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Guest Commentaries
Written by John W. Whitehead   
Tuesday, 03 July 2012 08:50

We elevate the events of the American Revolution to near-mythic status all too often and forget that the real revolutionaries were people just like you and me. Caught up in the drama of Red Coats marching, muskets exploding, and flags waving in the night, we lose sight of the enduring significance of the Revolution and what makes it relevant to our world today. Those revolutionaries, by and large, were neither agitators nor hotheads. They were not looking for trouble or trying to start a fight. Like many today, they were simply trying to make it from one day to another, a task that was increasingly difficult as Britain’s rule became more and more oppressive.

 
Justice on the Rocks: The Demise of the People’s Court PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Guest Commentaries
Written by John W. Whitehead   
Thursday, 14 June 2012 05:44
Presidents come and go, but the Supreme Court goes on forever.” – William Howard Taft

When I was in law school, what gave me the impetus to become a civil-liberties attorney was seeing firsthand how much good could be done through the justice system. Those were the years of the Warren Court (1953-1969), when Earl Warren helmed the U.S. Supreme Court as chief justice, alongside such luminaries as William J. Brennan Jr., William O. Douglas, Hugo Black, Felix Frankfurter, and Thurgood Marshall.

The Warren Court handed down rulings that were instrumental in shoring up critical legal safeguards against government abuse and discrimination. Without the Warren Court, there would be no Miranda warnings, no desegregation of the schools, and no civil-rights protections for indigents. Yet more than any single ruling, what Warren and his colleagues did best was embody what the Supreme Court should always be – an institution established to intervene and protect the people against the government and its agents when they overstep their bounds.

That is no longer the case. In recent years, especially under the leadership of Chief Justice John Roberts, sound judgment and justice have largely taken a back seat to legalism, statism, and elitism, while preserving the rights of the people has been de-prioritized and made to play second fiddle to both governmental and corporate interests – a trend that has not gone unnoticed by the American people. In fact, a recent New York Times/CBS News poll found that just 44 percent of Americans approve of the job the Supreme Court is doing, while 75 percent say the justices’ decisions are sometimes influenced by their personal or political views.

 
Help Fulfill Mwalimu’s Dream of Clean Water PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Guest Commentaries
Written by Deb Bowen   
Monday, 11 June 2012 09:46

Mwalimu William Karisa and author Deb BowenSeventeen-year-old Mwalimu William Karisa, a Kenyan exchange student in Davenport, won’t need luggage to carry a gift home to Africa. He is taking clean drinking water for his village.

Mwalimu lives with hosts Mark and Dawn Thompson and attended Davenport West High School, where he’s been on the soccer and cross-country teams. He said the idea of team spirit was new to him.

Last fall, a man originally from Kenya visited West High School, and the two Africans met. Mwalimu shared his village’s need for drinking water with Pastor Joshua Ngao of Fishers of Men Ministries. Joshua understood that Mwalimu’s greatest needs at home were basic and agreed to help him raise funds needed to dig a well for his village, Mariango.

In December, Mwalimu explained his family’s situation to his hosts, his exchange-student coordinator, and his fellow exchange students. At times he couldn’t make eye contact when explaining that his mother walks four miles in extreme heat – many times twice a day – to collect drinking water. He also said he contracted malaria four times in his life, and many children in his village die from waterborne disease.

 
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