Silsbee Texas: Apologists for Rapists

A girl was raped in the Texas town of Silsbee by a student athlete.  Since the rape, she has been ordered to “lay low”, kicked off the cheerleading squad for refusing to cheer (when ordered by superintendent Richard Bain Jr) for her rapist.  The community turned against her, supporting the rapist (and his accomplice), calling her a slut, and a bitch (one cowardly family even going so far as to put their 2 year old up to the task) and even threatening her life.  The Supreme Court of the US has shown brazen moral bankruptcy in refusing to hear her free speech case (rape victims don’t rate as high on their priority list as corporations seeking to influence elections).  As a result she now owes school district $45,000 in legal fees.  (You can donate directly here, or commission comic art with all proceeds going to help pay the fees here (via)).  Trigger Warning: Full Details Here.

While it is worth calling attention to the heroic actions of the two young men who broke down the door (putting an end to the attack) and even attempted to chase down and confront her attackers (in one case succeeding), on the whole the town of Silsbee and its citizens have shown themselves to be the very worst sort of people.  There is a vile rotting husk of flesh where there ought to be a heart, and their actions epitomize so much of what is deeply wrong with our country.  They need to be taught a lesson in morality.

I’m not sure what form that lesson ought to take, whether a boycott will have any meaning for instance.  Given the campaign of shame and harassment aimed at this young woman, I think it only appropriate to respond – legally – in kind.  Below the fold is contact information.  For the superintendent of schools.  For city hall.  A link to a google search with a list of Churches.  Call the superintendent and let him know what kind of person he is.  Call city hall and let them know their town is no longer the home of “Tiger Pride”, their new public face is “Rapist Pride”.  Call the churches and ask ministers and priests to work their thoughts on rape into their sermons.  Clearly communicate both what you think of the people you call, the community at large, and what it is their moral responsibility to do: Regardless of their court victory, the school district owes the rape survivor and her family an apology – and to absolve them of any responsibility for paying the district’s legal fees.

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Outlaw Arbitration

The recent Supreme Court decision against arbitration was yet another victory for corporations over the rights of citizens.  The case was decided along partisan lines, with Republican nominated justices providing the majority pro-corporate opinion.

It is time we fight back.

Arbitration is, in essence privatized justice where the legal ball is always in the corporation’s court.  It is essentially being forced on consumers in a manner strangely reminiscent of price fixing and collusion.  This will not stand.  We live in a time where corporate rule has led directly to the entirely preventable disasters in Japan and in the Gulf of Mexico.  They have been granted ever more power to directly influence our government with their massive financial resources.  This is not about drawing a line in the sand.  It is about recognizing that corporations now have far more say in our system of government than we do, and resolving to fight back any way we can.

One way to fight back would be to campaign to outlaw arbitration.  We need a coordinated, grassroots campaign to provide consistent and compelling communications to convey how arbitration puts citizens at risk while allowing corporations to get away with crimes.  We need legislation prohibiting the use of arbitration clauses to lock consumers into a lopsided means of conflict resolution.

Call your legislator today.  Let’s outlaw arbitration and snatch this victory back from the jaws of SCOTUS.

Supreme Court OK’s Torture

This man was tortured by our government.

Our Supreme Court ruled that because our government claimed what it did was “secret”, his case against the government could be thrown out.

After man was tortured, he came seeking justice. Justice stood silent:

Without comment, the justices let stand an appeals court ruling that the state secrets privilege, a judicially created doctrine that the Bush administration has invoked to win dismissal of lawsuits that touch on issues of national security, protected the government’s actions from court review. In refusing to take up the case, the justices declined a chance to elaborate on the privilege for the first time in more than 50 years.

The declined more than a chance to talk about the state secrets privilege. They have allowed the government a defense that can be used to protect it from any number of challenges. They have given the government the key to our rights as human beings.

Our security is not worth becoming a cruel and violent empire. The Supreme Court has made a disastrous mistake, and shown a weakness of ethics that will hurt this country, and the world, for years to come.

Understanding Integration

As soon as the SCOTUS decision came down, you knew there would be a great deal of debate over it. Rightly so. Conservatives have been whining about reverse discrimination since it first became clear integration was here to stay. Now that its been rolled back by the courts, the anti-immigration argument is again on display as an exemplar of ignorance (Amanda, emphasis mine):

From reader has_te, this article about how much whites underestimate the problem of racism shines some light onto why some white people, particularly the gullible swing voters types and not the ones who vigorously defend rolling back Brown v. the Board of Education on blogs, might not understand why racism is still a very real problem.

That one fundamental fact is at the center of the debate over affirmative action and race-based admission policies.  On the pro-integration side of things, here is the argument:

  1. Educational opportunity is not equally present.
  2. It should be.
  3. To get to a point where it is equally present, we need to even the playing field.

On the anti-integration side of things, the argument has evolved from:

  • Black people shouldn’t have the same opportunities

To:

  • Black people finally have the same opportunities

To make their argument, segregationists argue that because everything is hunky-dory when it comes to race and education, all integrationists are doing is discriminating based on race.  This is patently false.  Integration and affirmative action act to attempt to bring educational opportunity to more people over time.

Another means to the same end would be use affirmative action to regulate resources allocated to schools.  In other words, if lack of access to quality education is really the issue driving the arguments against integration, why not address the problem of a limited resource?