Trump pardons former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WASHINGTON POST)

(ONE RACIST PARDONS ANOTHER?)(trs)

Trump pardons former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio

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Why Trump’s presidential pardon of Arpaio is controversial
President Trump pardoned former Maricopa County, Ariz., sheriff Joe Arpaio Aug. 25. Here’s what you need to know.(Patrick Martin/The Washington Post)
 August 25 at 10:52 PM
President Trump on Friday pardoned former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio — a move that keeps one of his staunchest political allies out of jail and will likely cheer his conservative base, which supports both men’s hard-line views on illegal immigration.The unusual pardon — coming less than a month after Arpaio was convicted, and before his planned October sentencing — will further anger the president’s critics and is likely to worsen the president’s already tense relationship with the judicial branch, which he has repeatedly criticized.

A pardon is perhaps the only way to make Arpaio — a longtime county sheriff who gained national fame and notoriety for his aggressive pursuit of undocumented immigrants — a more polarizing figure than he already is.

The decision on Arpaio is the latest chapter in a line of historically controversial pardons granted by presidents — rare but not unprecedented uses of power that draw fire for being politically or personally motivated. ­Legal experts have compared an Arpaio pardon to the one President George H.W. Bush granted to former defense secretary Caspar Weinberger in 1992 over the Iran-contra affair, or the one President Clinton granted to fugitive financier Marc Rich in 2001.

In this Dec. 18, 2013, photo, then-Maricopa County (Ariz.) Sheriff Joe Arpaio speaks at a news conference in Phoenix. President Trump has pardoned the former sheriff following his conviction for criminal contempt of court for intentionally disobeying a judge’s order in an immigration case. (Ross D. Franklin/AP)

But Arpaio’s pardon — the first of the Trump presidency — is a rarity among rarities. In recent decades, presidents have tended to issue controversial pardons at the end of their terms, not the beginning. The move raises questions about how often the president might pardon other political figures — and for what types of offenses.

In a statement announcing the pardon, Trump made no mention of Arpaio’s offense — criminal contempt of court — but praised his past military service.

“Arpaio’s life and career, which began at the age of 18 when he enlisted in the military after the outbreak of the Korean War, exemplify selfless public service,” Trump said. “Throughout his time as Sheriff, Arpaio continued his life’s work of protecting the public from the scourges of crime and illegal immigration.

“Sheriff Joe Arpaio is now eighty-five years old, and after more than fifty years of admirable service to our Nation, he is worthy candidate for a Presidential pardon,” the statement continued.

Arpaio’s lawyer, Jack Wilenchik, said simply: “Justice has been done.’’

In a tweet, Arpaio thanked the president “for seeing my conviction for what it is: a political witch hunt by holdovers in the Obama justice department!’’

Arpaio told the Associated Press that he appreciates the president’s action and will always stand by him. He said he will speak more about the matter next week.

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What you need to know about former Maricopa County sheriff Joe Arpaio
Joe Arpaio’s illegal-immigration crackdown made him a polarizing figure and an early ally of President Trump. (Meg Kelly/The Washington Post)

The sheriff’s critics spent years trying to stop the police practices that Arpaio sanctioned and that they charge were discriminatory and abusive; in recent weeks, they had vociferously objected to the pardon that Trump repeatedly hinted was coming.

A deputy legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union called the pardon “a presidential endorsement of racism.’’

“Trump has chosen lawlessness over justice, division over unity, hurt over healing,’’ said Cecillia Wang, the ACLU official. “Once again, the president has acted in support of illegal, failed immigration enforcement practices that target people of color and have been struck down by the courts.’’

The president traveled this week to Phoenix, where he suggested at a rally that he was on the verge of pardoning Arpaio, but said he would not do it that night because it would be “controversial.’’

Earlier this month, the president told Fox News he was “seriously considering’’ a pardon for Arpaio, who was convicted last month of criminal contempt for ignoring a federal judge’s order to stop detaining people because he merely suspected them of being undocumented immigrants.

Trump called Arpaio a “great American patriot” who had “done a lot in the fight against illegal immigration. . . . He has protected people from crimes and saved lives. He doesn’t deserve to be treated this way.”

Trump’s pardon came late on a Friday night, at a time when much of the country was focused on a Category 4 hurricane bearing down on Texas.

The reaction among advocates and Democrats was swift.

“President Trump is a coward. He waited until a Friday evening, as a hurricane hits, to pardon a racist ex-sheriff,” said Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.), who represents Phoenix. “Trump should at least have the decency to explain to the American public why he is undermining our justice system.”

Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) also accused the president of “using the cover of the storm to pardon a man who violated a court’s order.”

Normally, pardon applications are submitted to the Justice Department, where they are scrutinized over a period of months before recommendations are made to the White House. Some applicants wait years to find out whether they will receive pardons or clemency.

Arpaio’s pardon came much faster, and it was not subject to a Justice Department review, according to officials.

Arpaio’s sentencing was scheduled for Oct. 5, and he had faced up to six months in prison.

Vanita Gupta, chief executive of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, said the president has “yet again damaged himself, the rule of law, and our country tonight. This pardon sends a dangerous message that a law enforcement officer who abused his position of power and defied a court order can simply be excused by a president who himself clearly does not respect the rule of law.’’

Arpaio’s lawyer has maintained that the prosecution of Arpaio was a political vendetta against a foe of the Obama administration and that therefore the political act of a pardon was a fair and just way to end the case.

Arpaio, the former sheriff of Maricopa County, Ariz., has long been an advocate for Trump and spoke in support of him at the Republican National Convention in July 2016. The men seem to have the same views on illegal immigrants and the use of harsh tactics against criminals or suspected criminals. Arpaio is well known in part for forcing his inmates to wear pink underwear and sleep outdoors in his Tent City Jail.

The legal saga surrounding Arpaio dates back years. In 2011, as part of a lawsuit, the then-sheriff was enjoined by U.S. District Judge G. Murray Snow from detaining people he thought to be illegal immigrants, when they were not charged with any other crime. Prosecutors alleged that Arpaio continued to do so, and last year, the Justice Department decided to pursue a criminal contempt-of-court case against him.

Critics said that his policy of detaining people on mere suspicion was racist and illegal, and that his refusal to honor a court’s order to stop was brazen. Arpaio’s lawyers argued that the judge’s order enjoining their client’s conduct was “not clear,” and they suggested that Arpaio was merely doing what others do routinely: turning over those in the country illegally to the U.S. Border Patrol.

Both Of The White House’s ‘Business Boards’ Dump Trump Because Of His Racist Views

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WASHINGTON POST)

 

Trump’s business advisory councils disband as chief executives repudiate president over Charlottesville views

 August 16 at 1:24 PM

President Trump, with Senior Advisor Jared Kurshner, left, and Kenneth Frazier, Merck & Co., right, meets with manufacturing CEOs at the White House in February. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post)

President Trump’s relationship with the American business community suffered a major setback on Wednesday as the president was forced to shut down his major business advisory councils after corporate leaders repudiated his comments on the violence in Charlottesville this weekend.

Trump announced the disbanding of the two councils — the Strategy & Policy Forum and the Manufacturing Council, which hosted many of the top corporate leaders in America — amid a growing uproar by chief executives furious over Trump’s decision to equate the actions of white supremacists and protesters in remarks Tuesday at Trump Tower.

But those groups had already decided to dissolve on their own earlier in the day, a person familiar with the process said. JP Morgan Chase chief executive Jamie Dimon, a member of the “Strategy & Policy Forum,” told employees in a note on Wednesday that his group decided to disband following Trump’s bizarre press conference on Tuesday, in which he appeared to show sympathy for some of the people who marched alongside the neo-Nazis and white supremacists in Charlottesville.

“Constructive economic and regulatory policies are not enough and will not matter if we do not address the divisions in our country,” Dimon wrote his employees. ”It is a leader’s role, in business or government, to bring people together, not tear them apart.

Earlier Wednesday, the CEOs of Campbell Soup and the conglomerate 3M resigned from the manufacturing council. “Racism and murder are unequivocally reprehensible and are not morally equivalent to anything else that happened in Charlottesville,” Campbell Soup chief executive Denise Morrison said. “I believe the president should have been — and still needs to be — unambiguous on that point.”

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6 CEOs who have distanced themselves from Trump
Kenneth C. Frazier, chief executive of Merck, is the latest CEO to resign from one of the president’s advisory councils. Here are six CEOs who have distanced themselves from the president. (Taylor Turner/The Washington Post)

General Electric chairman Jeff Immelt, who was also on the manufacturing advisory group, made a similar argument, saying in a statement that he had decided to resign after finding Trump’s comments on Tuesday “deeply troubling.”

“The Committee I joined had the intention to foster policies that promote American manufacturing and growth,” he said. “However, given the ongoing tone of the discussion, I no longer feel that this Council can accomplish these goals.”

As the number of resignations swelled, Trump announced on Twitter Wednesday afternoon that he’d shut down the councils. “Rather than putting pressure on the businesspeople of the Manufacturing Council & Strategy & Policy Forum. I am ending both,” he wrote.

The dissolution of the councils was a remarkable moment for Trump, who has made his corporate experience and ability to leverage America’s business potential as one of his chief credentials. It also marks a rapid descent for a president who has alternatively praised and attacked the decisions of corporate leaders, sometimes making unverified or false claims, and whose policy choices on issues like immigration and climate change have been criticized as anti-business.

Many corporate leaders have still stayed close to the White House, in hopes that having a voice at the table was better than none at all, and with an eye toward winning favor as Washington eyed changes to the tax code and infrastructure spending that could be worth trillions.

But Trump’s insistence that blame fell on “many sides” for the violence that occurred in Charlottesville over the weekend, which included the alleged killing of a woman by a white supremacist driving a car into a crowd of protesters, seemed to push many chief executives to reconsider their relationship.

Merck chief executive Ken Frazier, one of the few African Americans represented among the business leaders advising Trump, was the first to resign from the manufacturing council. Trump lashed out at the decision, alleging that Merck was boosting drug prices and therefore a bad corporate actor.

The decision to disband the councils offered the companies a chance to sever ties as one and not leave any firm isolated by an individual decision. Some appeared willing to wait it out on Monday and earlier Tuesday as the White House was in clean-up mode, but his press conference at Trump Tower on Tuesday afternoon proved to be a breaking point.

Johnson & Johnson chief executive Alex Gorsky, who had previously said he would remain on the manufacturing council in order to have a voice at the table, announced Trump’s latest remarks were not sustainable. “The President’s most recent statements equating those who are motivated by race-based hate with those who stand up against hatred is unacceptable and has changed our decision to participate in the White House Manufacturing Advisory Council,” Gorsky said.

 

Louisiana Police Officer Sues Black Lives Matter Leaders Over Baton Rouge Shooting

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME.COM)

Louisiana Police Officer Sues Black Lives Matter Leaders Over Baton Rouge Shooting

Jul 07, 2017

A Louisiana police officer who was wounded in a Baton Rouge shooting last year that left three officers dead sued Black Lives Matter leaders on Friday, claiming they incited violence that prompted the attack.

Filed in a U.S. district court in Louisiana, the lawsuit names DeRay McKessonand four other leaders from Black Lives Matter as defendants and seeks at least $75,000 in damages, Reuters reports.

The attack on the police officers occurred last July, amid protests in Baton Rouge over the death of Alton Sterling, a black man who was killed by police.

Black Lives Matter leaders have denied their movement calls for violence against police officers, Reuters reports.

Gavin Long, the black gunman who killed the Baton Rouge police officers and was later killed at the scene, was targeting police and had a history of making violent and incendiary posts online.

The unnamed officer who filed the lawsuit was one of three officers injured in the shooting. The lawsuit comes on the one-year anniversary of a sniper attack in Dallas, in which five police officers were killed during a demonstration against police shootings of black men.

Rise of Hard-liners Alarms Moderates in Indonesia

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

World

Rise of Hard-liners Alarms Moderates in Indonesia

Protesters take to the streets in Jakarta on April 28 to demonstrate against outgoing Jakarta governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama. (Goh Chai Hin/AFP via Getty Images)

Jakarta, Indonesia- In¬mid-February, Muhammad al-Khaththath, leader of the hard-line Muslim Community Forum, held court on the top floor of a Jakarta fast-food joint. With key deputies gathered around, he explained the direction in which he hoped to push relatively secular, democratic Indonesia.

Sharia would become the law of the land, non-Muslims would lose their leadership posts and thieves, in accordance with Islamic law, would have their hands lopped off, he said. He also criticized Joko Widodo, Indonesia’s pluralist president.

Widodo “isn’t a liberal Muslim,” Khaththath said. “He’s a Muslim who doesn’t get it.”

Six weeks later, Khaththath was detained on treason charges, accused of plotting a coup. But in an April 19 runoff election for governor of Jakarta, his preferred candidate, fellow Muslim Anies Baswedan, defeated the Christian incumbent, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, after a campaign laden with religious overtones.

Since then, hard-line Islamist groups have gained stature; their ability to mobilize huge crowds was considered crucial to securing Baswedan’s lopsided victory. But a strong backlash also has emerged, led by moderate Muslims who worry that conservative Islamists are wrecking Indonesia’s tradition of religious tolerance.

Khaththath had taken over as the leader of a powerful protest movement against Purnama, a Widodo ally, in the months leading up to the gubernatorial election, after the previous leader was summoned by police on pornography charges.

But police came for Khaththath in late March, escorting him from his hotel room to the detention facility where he remains. A few weeks later, on the eve of the election, Khaththath managed to send a letter to his supporters.

“From my detention room, I tap on the sky door,” Khaththath wrote. He hoped the tap would be felt by “every Muslim heart” and would persuade the faithful to “choose a Muslim governor.”

Not every Muslim heart felt the tap, but enough did to secure a clean victory for Baswedan. The high-stakes election campaign was marked by the largest conservative rallies in generations, as well as by intensifying — and controversial — legal efforts by the Indonesian government to rein in the hard-line groups’ leadership.

Now that the election is over, many moderate Muslim leaders say they are treating it as a wake-up call about the growing power of Indonesian hard-line organizations and the need to take stern action to stop them.

“I am not worried about the candidates who won,” said Sidarto Danusobroto, a former speaker of the Senate and key adviser to the president. “I am worried about the groups that supported them — the Islamic Defenders Front and Hizbut Tahrir.”

“Islam is different from how the Islamic Defenders Front portrays it,” said Mohammad Nuruzzaman, head of strategic research for Ansor, a moderate Muslim youth movement that has been working with the police to break up hard-line Muslim gatherings.

In one of a number of efforts in the past few weeks to curb extremists, police officials and nationalist groups in the central Javanese town of Semarang prevented the Islamic Defenders Front from opening a branch.

“We have a tolerant city,” said Iwan Santoso, a representative from the Red and White, a group that takes its name from the colors of the Indonesian flag. “We don’t want students to be instigated.”

This past week, police in East Java, apparently acting at the urging of moderate Muslims or nationalists, shut down a planned university event featuring Felix Siauw, a Chinese Indonesian convert to Islam who has become a major hard-line preacher. In a Web video subsequently uploaded to his Facebook page, Siauw said, “We should have a nation of laws, and the laws should apply to all.”

But moderate Muslim and civil society groups increasingly are calling for bans on organizations that push for the creation of a caliphate. Nuruzzaman, of Ansor, compared such organizations to the Indonesian Communist Party, a boogeyman from Indonesia’s past.

“The goal of Communists and those who support the caliphate are similar — both want all countries in the world to be run under one system,” he said.

Last Tuesday, police announced that they were reviewing the legality of Hizbut Tahrir because of the international Islamist group’s embrace of a global caliphate. Muhammad Ismail ¬Yusanto, a spokesman for Hizbut Tahrir here, protested that its goal of establishing a caliphate does not violate the Indonesian constitution.

“All we do is convey Islam’s teachings,” he said in an interview. Besides, he argued, the constitution can be amended.

Hizbut Tahrir is banned in many countries around the world, including Germany, China, Egypt and numerous other Arab states. But it has operated for nearly 20 years in democratic Indonesia.

Some rights activists oppose banning the group. Andreas Harsono, Indonesia representative of Human Rights Watch, said that although Hizbut Tahrir’s ideology is deeply discriminatory — toward women, LGBT people and minority faiths — that does not mean the organization should be shut down.

“It is not illegal to say, ‘I want to discriminate against women,’ ” he argued, acknowledging that the case is “complicated.”

More worrying to Harsono are the Indonesian government’s efforts to pursue radical religious leaders for alleged offenses unrelated to their Islamist activism, or on exaggerated charges. Habib Rizieq, perhaps the nation’s most powerful hard-line figure, was brought in for questioning by police over pornographic images he is alleged to have exchanged with a woman who is not his wife, while Khaththath was charged with trying to organize a coup.

“It’s very concerning,” said Harsono, who said he knows of no evidence that Khaththath was plotting the violent overthrow of the government.

Marcus Mietzner, an associate professor at Australian National University, expressed concern that heavy-handed charges would harm Indonesia’s democracy.

“What they should not do is arbitrarily throw criminal charges at individual leaders that are either excessive, like the treason accusation, or unrelated, as the pornography case,” he wrote in an email. “This, in turn, will only increase the sense of victimization among conservative Muslims.”

That already appears to be happening. Achmad Sofyan, a Khaththath deputy who was also investigated by police, said: “It isn’t fair. The case was engineered.”

Mietzner suggested that the government has legal ways to handle hard-line groups but has opted for different tactics in part to avoid a messy public debate. If the state prosecuted these groups, “it would have to argue in front of the courts why Islam should not be Indonesia’s primary legal-political foundation,” he wrote.

For Nuruzzaman, it is crucial to oppose the hard-liners, whatever the difficulties.

“We don’t want the government to take repressive measures,” he said. Nonetheless, “we have to confront them.”

The Washington Post

Jakarta Indonesia’s Muslim’s Make Tomorrows Election About Religion And Race, Not Issues

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

(CNN) Indonesia’s capital is on edge one day before a vote that has become a test of tolerance in the world’s most populous majority-Muslim nation.

The incumbent governor of Jakarta, Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama, an ethnic Chinese Christian, is facing a challenge by a Muslim former government minister backed by hard-line religious groups.
“There’s been quite a lot at stake, mostly because of how the election has been framed, (not) issues about how Jakarta will be run itself but rather questions of identity politics,” Ian Wilson, research fellow at Australia’s Murdoch University Asia Research Center, told CNN.
Tensions have risen since the first round of voting on February 15, when Ahok came in first with almost 43% of the vote, just ahead of former Education and Culture Minister Anies Baswedan.
Religious groups determined to see Baswedan take the governorship have been accused of stoking religious discord in the city ahead of the second round, analysts say, a startling turn in a country with a secular constitution and a long tradition of pluralism.
“I think a lot of Chinese Jakartans are feeling anxious about what will happen regardless of the outcome,” Wilson said.

Anies Baswedan (2L) and his running mate pray during an event in Jakarta on March 4.

Mass protests against Ahok

Tensions began to build in November 2016 after Ahok made comments during a campaign speech, which were interpreted by some as an insult to the Quran and Islam.
Now Ahok is on trial for blasphemy and Islamic conservative groups are pushing hard against him. In March, during the campaign, large crowds of thousands of protestors massed in Jakarta’s streets to call for his imprisonment.
“(The vote) is being framed in these semi-apocalyptic terms — that if Baswedan loses it means this infidel, conspiratorial Chinese group will be in power and it will be a disaster,” Wilson said.
While Baswedan himself has taken a step back from the aggressive rhetoric of the first half of the campaign, analysts say, conservative Islamic groups have picked up the slack.

Jakarta's Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, also known as Ahok, inside the courtroom during his blasphemy trial on April 11.

“There was this grandma who died and she voted for Ahok and she was (reportedly) denied Muslim funeral rights,” Tobias Basuki, a researcher at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, an Indonesian think tank, told CNN.
“(Islamist groups) are using a lot of very blatant religious messages. Very blatant. There are various messages showing people … making oaths in communities saying you cannot vote for a non-Muslim and so on.”
With polls showing a tight race between the two candidates and religious tensions running high, both camps have reasons to be anxious.
Wilson said there is a possibility things may descend into violence.

Thousands of Indonesian Muslims protest against Ahok on March 31 in Jakarta.

Anies for president?

It isn’t just religious tolerance that’s at stake though.
The eyes of Indonesia’s national leaders are fixed on the vote as well, and who will be in the powerful position of Jakarta governor during the next national election in 2019.
Ahok is an ally of Indonesian President Joko Widodo, also known as Jokowi — in fact, he was his running mate during Widodo’s own successful run for the governorship in 2012.
After Widodo’s 2012 win quickly led to a successful run for the presidency in 2014, Indonesian political insiders now see the Jakarta governorship as a step to the highest office in the land.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo (R) with Anies Baswedan (L) at the presidential palace in Jakarta on October 24, 2014.

A Baswedan win will be seen as a major blow to Jokowi.
“It would be a major political win for (former 2014 presidential candidate) Prabowo Subianto, who has been very transparent in his support for Anies,” Wilson said.
Whether Baswedan runs for the presidency in 2019, or supports a second run by Prabowo, Basuki said a win by the former minister in Jakarta would embolden Islamic groups.
“If Anies (is elected), the peddling of influence by these Islamic groups will be greater, and use of religion will be much more in vogue in local elections heading towards the 2019 vote,” he said.

Jakarta’s poor turn on Ahok

But despite the high religious and racial tensions in the Jakarta governor race, they aren’t the only reason Ahok is in trouble.
Greg Fealy, an associate professor in Australian National University’s Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs, told CNN in February Ahok’s blunt, combative style of governing put a lot of Jakartans off.
“He’s a very combative, outspoken, reckless kind of character who has achieved a lot for Jakarta, but he’s a character who has created a lot of antipathy toward him,” he said.

Ahok flanked by his wife Veronica (R) and son Nicholas (L) show off their first-round ballot papers in Jakarta on February 15.

Not only that, but a lot of the poor Jakartans who voted for the joint Widodo/Ahok ticket in 2012 in hopes of a new style of government have been the target of large-scale evictions under the governor’s administration.
“They have very specific material grievances against the governor, they feel there was a betrayal of a political contract … I think that magnified feelings of injustice against those neighborhoods,” Wilson said.

Outrage In Vietnam Over United Airlines Treatment Of 69 yr Old Vietnamese Born Doctor

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF REUTERS)

By Mai Nguyen | HANOI

Outrage spread to Vietnam on Wednesday over United Airlines’ handling of a passenger dragged from his seat after it emerged that the 69-year-old U.S. doctor was Vietnamese by birth.

Although United Airlines has no direct flights to Vietnam, there were widespread calls on social media for a boycott after video showed a bloodied David Dao being yanked out of the plane by airport security on Sunday to make way for United employees.

The ire in Vietnam grew quickly after it was reported that Dao’s origins were not in the Southeast Asian country’s old enemy, China, as many had at first assumed.

Vietnamese also fumed at allegations over Dao’s past reported in the United States as irrelevant and possibly racist.

“Watching this makes my blood boil, I’ll never fly United Airlines,” commented Anh Trang Khuya on Facebook, the most widely used social media platform in Vietnam.

Nguyen Khac Huy wrote: “Boycott United!!! This is excessive! Let’s be loving and united, Vietnamese people!”

There was no immediate comment from the government or in state media.

Video showing Dao being pulled from United Airlines Flight 3411 at Chicago O’Hare International Airport on Sunday went viral and the worldwide backlash hit the airline’s share price and prompted an apology from the company chief executive.

Kentucky’s medical board website shows that a doctor David Dao graduated in 1974 in Ho Chi Minh City – then known as Saigon and the capital of U.S.-backed South Vietnam before its defeat and the reunification of Vietnam under communist rule a year later.

Around that time, Dao left for the United States, according to U.S. media and Vietnamese websites.

Vietnamese media said that Dao was also a songwriter and crooner of soulful ballads – including one about the memory of rain falling in Saigon.

Reports in U.S. media of an offence that had led to Dao losing his medical license in 2003 were dismissed in Vietnam as a probable smear campaign.

“Dr. Dao didn’t do anything wrong on that flight and that’s the main thing,” wrote Clarence Dung Taylor in a post that had more than 4,000 likes.

The attitude to the case shifted dramatically in Vietnam once it was reported that Dao was not from China – an ancient enemy with which Vietnam continues to have a maritime dispute over the South China Sea.

When initial reports had suggested the man being dragged from the plane was Chinese, some Vietnamese had posted strongly unsympathetic comments about him.

“So funny,” wrote Bui Nguyen Trong Nghia. “Now they know he’s Vietnamese, most people stand up to advocate. Whether it’s Vietnamese or Chinese, there’ll be discrimination as we’re Asian.”

(Writing by Matthew Tostevin; Editing by Robert Birsel)

India: Murders Hide Behind Religion And The Holy Cow

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES)

Rise of gau rakshaks: Don’t hide behind euphemisms, this is murder, writes Barkha Dutt

COLUMNS Updated: Apr 08, 2017 08:09 IST

Gau Rakshak

As the list of people murdered by ‘gau rakshaks’ continues to rise, it is time to call murder by its name, instead of cloaking it in euphemisms such as manhandling and vigilantism. (Nitin Kanotra / HT Photo)

End the euphemisms. Call it by its name- Murder. Not manhandling. Not vigilantism. And stop saying, ‘gau- rakshaks,’ please.The men who dragged Pehlu Khan out of his vehicle on the Alwar highway in Rajasthan, flung him on the roadside and lynched him so brutally that he died four days later, are not ‘protectors’, self- appointed or otherwise; they are not even ordinary criminals. They are thugs, who driven by blind religious prejudice, and emboldened by an environment that will justify the perpetrator instead of standing with the victim, brazenly killed an innocent man.

It didn’t matter that Pehlu Khan, a trader from Haryana, pleaded with his assaulters that the cattle he was transporting was with legal documentation and had been purchased at a fair in Jaipur. Quite frankly, even if he were a cow-smuggler it was no one’s business but that of the state police to enforce the law. That the Rajasthan home minister- the man who is meant to be a custodian of the law- sees “two sides” to a singular horrific truth is what is frightening.

Read more

In the India of 2017, we are asked to see these murderous mobs as men whose intent is pure and ennobling, even if their actions are not. In the noisy debates over ‘cow-protectionism’, we gloss over the fact that it is Indian Muslims and, in some cases Dalits, who are being repeatedly targeted. And that bigotry, and not some misguided sacred zeal, is the subtext that ties all the attacks together. The lynch mobs count on two things – the ifs and buts ambivalence of government response as illustrated in the rationalisations of Rajasthan’s home minister and our short, fickle memory that is either too numbed or too distracted to stay focused on the issue.

We have already moved on from Mohammad Akhlaq who was killed in Uttar Pradesh over rumours that there was beef in his house and whose son, a corporal in the air force continued to believe his country would grant him justice. And I can confidently wager that not too many people would even know, leave alone remember, who Majloom Ansari and Inayatullah Imtiaz Khan are. In March 2016 they were found hanging from a tree in a Jharkhand village, their hands tied together by the nylon chords used to hold cattle. Imtiaz was only 12 years old. A school-going child, he was accompanying Ansari to a cattle fair in the hope of making a few extra bucks for his family. Later it emerged that Ansari had been threatened just a few days earlier by a gang of extortionists who asked him for a 20,000 rupee bribe money to ferry his oxen. The National Commission of Minorities team that investigated the killing reported a “brazen communal bias” in the police handling of the lynching and said that complaints by Muslim traders against the so called cow-protections groups had been ignored. A few months later the Jharkhand Chief Minister declared that “If India is your country; the cow is your mother.” But no mother would allow murder in her name.

If we barely remember Ansari and Khan, we didn’t even pay marginal attention to the death of Zaid Ahmed Bhat, a young man in his twenties who died in a Delhi hospital after being attacked with petrol bombs on the highway in Udhampur, Jammu & Kashmir. His body was unable to recover from the 60% burns the flames had inflicted. And once again the rumours of cow slaughter turned out to be unfounded.

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Now Pehlu Khan joins this growing list of (forgotten) victims. His murder will occupy the news cycle till another story bumps it off. He will be a talking point in Parliament till the next deal has to be negotiated between the government and the opposition. There will be outrage and analysis; we will tell you how cow hide is used in other parts of our life, from leather to musical instruments. The opposition will urge the Prime Minister to break his silence and make a statement. He may even do so, as he did in 2016 after four Dalits were flogged in Gujarat. Back then, he eviscerated what he called the ‘gau-rakhshak business” underlining that nearly 80% were “anti-social” elements hiding under the cover of cow protection. Yet, several BJP leaders of Uttar Pradesh had rallied behind those accused in the Dadri lynching, demanding punishment for Akhlaq’s family instead for eating beef. The opposition outbursts will be replete with hypocrisies as well. (After Dadri, Congress leader Digvijaya Singh boasted that the Congress had banned cow slaughter in 24 states and was even open to a debate around a nationwide ban). And the BJP will fulminate in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Gujarat- where a law was just passed on life imprisonment for cow slaughter- but reject any idea of a beef ban in the north-east where it is looking to expand its political presence.

Soon enough the debate will go off the front pages and the prime time headlines and we will all get on with our lives. Till the next murder. In the meantime, the ‘cow’ards will thrive. This has become the New Normal.

Barkha Dutt is an award-winning journalist and author

The views expressed are personal

Iowa Congressman Steve King Blasted For Making ‘Racists’ Comments

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF USA NEWS)

Rep. Steve King blasted for “our civilization” tweet

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) sparked controversy on Sunday for a tweet that expressed support for the far-right Dutch politician Geert Wilders. Time
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U.S. Rep. Steve King, an Iowa Republican who last July said white Christians have contributed more to Western civilization than any other “subgroup,” on Sunday found himself again the subject of criticism, this time for saying that Muslim children are preventing “our civilization” from being restored.

King, who was retweeting a message endorsing Geert Wilders, a far-right candidate for Dutch prime minister, said Wilders “understands that culture and demographics are our destiny. We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies.”

The original tweet, from the anti-European Union Voice of Europe, media organization, displays a cartoon with an image of Wilders plugging a hole in a wall labeled “Western Civilization.” Nearby, bearded protesters hold signs that say, “Infidels, Know Your Limits” and “Freedom of Speech Go To Hell.”

The caption reads: “Hundreds of Islamists shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Wilders is right for over 10 years.”

King was on the receiving end of criticism from both sides of the political spectrum.

Conservative columnist Bill Kristol tweeted, “Is it worth making the obvious point that what American history has been about is ‘restoring’ ourselves with ‘somebody else’s babies?'”

Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean called King “a total ignoramus and no one takes him seriously. He does give off good quotes to outrage people though.”

In a pair of tweets endorsing King’s tweet, former Ku Klux Klan Imperial Wizard David Duke said that if Americans were considering moving, “sanity reigns supreme in Iowa’s 4th congressional district,” in the state’s northwest area, which King represents.

The Washington Post last month noted that while just 64% of the U.S. population is white and non-Hispanic, nearly 89% of Iowa’s population describe themselves that way.

Duke on Sunday also tweeted, simply: “GOD BLESS STEVE KING!!! #TruthRISING”

King has often made provocative comments about “civilization” and what he perceives as a declining role in its development for white Christians.

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Meeting last September with Wilders and another anti-immigrant politician, Frauke Petry of Germany, King tweeted a photo with the caption, “Cultural suicide by demographic transformation must end.”

During the Republican National Convention in July, King created an uproar by asserting that white people have contributed more to the advancement of human civilization than any other “sub-group of people.”

Last September, King spoke out against silent protests by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, calling them “activism that’s sympathetic to ISIS.”

The often strident Wilders is sometimes referred to as the “Dutch Trump.” He earned the nickname not just for his love of extreme comments — he has tweeted about “left wing elitist losers,” among others — but also for explicit anti-Muslim views. Wilders has called for the Koran to be banned, and his party’s platform calls for prohibiting new mosques, which he compares to “Nazi Temples.” He has also proposed closing Dutch borders and making “the Netherlands ours again,” The Post reported.

Like Trump, Wilders also sports an outrageous blonde hairdo and is married to a woman of Eastern European descent.

Polls for the Netherlands’ March 15 election have shown Wilders in a close race with incumbent Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

Follow Greg Toppo on Twitter: @gtoppo

Kansas Shooter’s Actions Cannot And Do Not Speak For How Vast Majority Of Americans Believe

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES NEWS)

Kansas shooter’s actions cannot and do not speak for US

WORLD Updated: Feb 26, 2017 07:05 IST

Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
Hindustan Times, Washington

Kansas

Srinivas Kuchibhotla (right) with his wife Sunayana Dumala in Iowa. Kuchibhotla was shot at a bar in Olathe, Kansas.(AP File)

Sri Srinivasan’s family moved to Kansas when he was only four. He grew up a basketball fanatic, going to the same high school as a future star of the sport. And eventually went on to become the first Indian-American judge of a court of appeals, roughly like India’s high court, and was a top contender for a vacancy that fell open on the US supreme court bench in 2016, which would have been historic in many ways — as the first Indian-American, the first Asian-American and the first Hindu American named justice to the highest court in the country.Judge Srinivasan, as he is called, grew up in Lawrence, a 30-minute drive from Olathe, where an apparently inebriated US navy veteran killed Srinivas Kuchibotla, an IT engineer from Hyderabad, past Wednesday mistaking him for a Middle-Easterner, and telling him to “get out of my country”. Investigators are still trying to determine the exact motives of the shooter, Adam Purinton, but he will not be the first American to feel that way about people from the Middle-East, specially after the September 11, 2001 attacks.

But does the shooting make the United States less of a destination for anyone with dreams of making it big as Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO from Hyderabad, Sunder Pichai, Google CEO from further south Chennai, or Vinod Khosla, co-founder of Sun Microsystems from Delhi? Less safe? After all, how could a drink at a bar with a colleague after work end so badly?

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Is President Donald Trump’s America any less safe? While condemning the killings, the White House has dismissed any links to the president’s rhetorics as has been suggested by some, but there are worries and concerns arising out of a surge in ethnic, religious and racial tensions in the aftermath of his election.

But Purinton cannot, and does not speak for Kansas or the United States. Judge Srinivasan has never complained about racial slights he or his family might have faced growing up in Kansas and local news publications had covered his elevation to the appeals court and his possible move to the Supreme Court with unrestrained pride.

Adam Purinton of Olathe, Kansas, who shot Indian engineer Srinivas Kuchibhotla. (REUTERS)

He was one of them, and they wanted to celebrate his achievements as they would of anyone else. He might have, as all immigrants, faced stereotyping — Indians are mocked, often by Indian comics — for nodding their head excessively as they listen; their accent, and they may have all faced one time or another intended or unintended slights.

Things can get worse, and have gotten worse for some. Balbir Singh Sandhu, an immigrant from Punjab, became the first victim of the backlash after the September 9, 2001, terrorist attack. He was shot dead at his gas station in Arizona by a man who mistook him for a Middle-Easterner. Six men and women were gunned down by a white supremacist an attack on a Wisconsin gurudwara in 2013. But Sandhu’s relatives chose to stay, and so have those of Wisconsin victims.

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And it may not be pointed out to those feeling uncertain, don’t forget Ian Gillort, the Kansas man who was shot by Purinton trying to save Kuchibotla and his colleague Alok Madasani. “No, it’s not like that,” Grillot said in a vide about being hailed as a hero. “I was just doing what anyone should have done for another human being. It’s not about where he was from or his ethnicity. We’re all humans. I just felt I did what was naturally right to do.” His sister has said he wishes he could have done more.

It is reasonable to feel unsafe and insecure after every such incident, but, as a young immigrant from India, said Friday, “People back home must realize the US is no less safe today than it was yesterday or the day before, or tomorrow.”

52 Years Ago Today Black Muslim Malcolm X Was Assassinated By Black Muslims

 

When Malcolm X was murdered on February 21st 1965 I was only 8 1/2 years old and I had only heard of his name a couple of times, I am guessing it was from the evening news that my Dad used to watch with Walter Cronkite. I was a poor southern white boy living in an area where I do not remember anyone but other white folks were living. People were so dirt poor around there that news from the ‘outside’ world seemed to matter very little. The first time I ever even realized that there was an ‘outside’ world was when the NSA (my personal belief) murdered President Kennedy in November of 1963, I was in second grade at that time. What little I had heard of Malcolm X was that he was a Black man who was very racist against White folks and that he preached a lot of hate and favored violence, that is about all I knew of the man. I do not recall hearing anything at all about him being a Muslim until I was in about 9th grade, quite honestly at that time I had no idea what a Muslim even was. Once I started hearing his name mentioned I remember I started reading what material I could find on him, to get a jest of who the man was.

 

Now I am no expert on the man and I do not claim to have known his mind, all I can go on is the opinions I have formed through what others have written about him. I do remember hearing about his murder on the evening news, at that time the act of murder was quite new to me. Outside of President Kennedy I don’t believe I had ever heard of anyone being murdered. I have learned from reading an article from his daughter about the evening he was shot dead in front of her how her Dad was standing at a podium when three men came into the room shooting toward her Dad and I remember still of hurting for this young girl. She said that the first shot that was fired hit her Dad and he fell straight backwards onto the floor, evidently the first shot killed him instantly. How does a child ever get such a scene out of their mind?

 

By what I have learned about the life and times of Malcolm X was that he was quite the radical spouting hate toward White folks and demanding equality for Black folks by ‘any means necessary’, including violence. His doctrine at the time was one that I am sure scared a lot of White folks and just downright angered many more. He was not a man in the mold of Doctor Martin Luther King Jr who preached peaceful resistance for obtaining equality through morality. Not long before Mr. X was killed he took a tour of the Arab Nations and when he returned to the States his message had mellowed out, he was not preaching hate anymore. To me one of the things that is sad about the whole issue is that when his message turned to peaceful resistance he was murdered because of that change in philosophy. You see the Black Muslim men who murdered him did so because he had been their poster boy for hate and violence so when he changed his ideals on how to obtain equal rights for America’s Black Folks, they murdered him.  I am glad that the evil men who pulled the trigger on him were also Black or there would have been even more innocent people killed here in this country, all because of racism. Malcolm X was killed in 1965, Dr. King in 1968, I can’t help but wonder what each man would think of the America of today.

This blog, trouthtroubles.com is owned, written, and operated by oldpoet56. All articles, posts, and materials found here, except for those that I have pressed here from someone else’s blog for the purpose of showing off their work, are under copyright and this website must be credited if my articles are re-blogged, pressed, or shared.

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