You’re Free to Speak Until A Cop Says You’re Not

Jim Scarantino writes a moving account of his personal experience with the heavy-handed, repressive assault of APD on free-speaking citizens opposed to a senseless, unnecessary war. A war which at least a few of those same cops must agree now was a mistake. The spirit of the nation — thirsty for blood and brooking no dissent — was alive and on horseback just a few weeks ago. If we’re fighting ourselves on the streets of America, what exactly did fighting “them over there” accomplish? mjh

Note: Photos are from 2003 issues of the Alibi.

alibi . september 27 – october 3, 2007

The Real Side: Déjà Vu Not All Over Again City Hall tackles police misconduct against peace protesters By Jim Scarantino

I’d come from work, still dressed in a business suit. I didn’t know then that undercover police officers had slipped in among us. But I did sense trouble coming when suddenly the cars disappeared. To prevent motorists from reading our signs, police blocked traffic on Central. Down the street I saw troops of police assembling and what looked like a SWAT van. I decided it was time to go. I headed for my car with sign in hand.

I didn’t get very far before a young police officer stepped across my path and pointed a shotgun in my face. He was terrified and shaking. I’ve always wondered what had been planted in his brain to make him view a man in a suit displaying a plea for peace sign as a threat justifying leveling his gun at my head.

After what seemed a very long time, the officer let me go. When I got home, television news was showing children inside the Frontier washing tear gas from their eyes. Out in the street police in riot gear waded into the group of people who didn’t want Americans dying in Iraq. It didn’t look like my Albuquerque. It didn’t look like America out there on Central that night.

When I learned how this month Albuquerque police harassed and intimidated peace protestors outside Kirtland Air Force Base, I thought, “Here we go again.” Mounted officers in battle gear forced their way through fragile women leaning on walkers, mothers with strollers, even people in wheelchairs. An officer ticketed only cars with pro-peace bumper stickers. Another officer drove down Gibson shouting over his speaker “Go Bush!” Police hurled insults at the group. A protester was handcuffed and locked in a patrol car, windows closed, in full sun, for more than an hour. His offense, committed only after he had been seized, seems to be kicking out a window so he could breathe.

Jeanne Pahls of Stop the War Machine, a sponsor of the event, says the organization has conducted more than 30 other protests since 2002 without a single act of violence or criminal conduct by protesters. So why the show of force by APD against grandmothers, children and the disabled?

Once again, it didn’t look like America on the streets of Albuquerque.

– – – – –

mjh’s Weblog Entry – 03/25/2003: “Operation Slackened-jaw”
Regarding the encounter between police and demonstrators that turned violent on Thursday, 3/20/03, city councilor Sally Mayer said, “I think we need to thank the police for behaving as well as they did.”

See also mjh’s Weblog Entry – 03/29/2003: “alibi on APD” for more links on this topic.

Hear! Hear!

ABQjournal Opinion: Letters to the Editor

Look Back to 2002 For Vile Advertising

    EXCUSE ME all you politicians objecting to the Gen. David Petraeus ad. Did any of you object to one of the most vile ads of all time— Georgia Sen. Max Cleland, a triple amputee Vietnam veteran, whose opponent in a 2002 campaign ad placed his photo between images of Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein?

It’s Not Unpatriotic To Oppose the War

    WHILE I personally don’t agree with the “betray us” ad, I find it laughable that the Republicans are so outraged and injured by it. This is the exact same tactic that was used to smear one of their own in 2000, Sen. John McCain— a Vietnam POW— and also Sen. John Kerry in 2004— both decorated veterans!

    Calling into question the patriotism of good, decent, patriotic Americans simply because they want to end the slaughter of our young men and women is reprehensible. Yet the Republicans continue to self-righteously accuse anyone who does not blindly and mindlessly agree with this president’s hysteria of being unpatriotic. I think their outrage comes more from the fact that this extreme left organization has taken a page straight from the Republican National Committee’s play book of dirty politics and used it brilliantly. Getting a taste of their own bitter medicine has left Republicans reeling. They don’t like it, but since they perfected the art, perhaps they should get used to it. …

    But with organizations like now willing to mix-it-up with them, this election cycle promises to leave no mud pie left unthrown.


This Week’s WTF?!

ABQjournal Business: Letters to Outlook

Of course, we’re not taxed enough

    Further proof that people in government have lost their minds is the unapologetic call for a plastics tax by a Santa Fe city councilor.

    Yeah, like we’re not being taxed enough as it is.

    I don’t when it happened, but there’s been a complete takeover of government in this state by a bunch of bossy, busybody, (and to use the old Saturday Night Live term) anal-retentive environmentalists who worry over what we eat, what we wear, what we drive, what we smoke, and what we think.

    Using the phony crisis of environmental warming and the new green idiocy, we’re being forced to jump through every conceivable hoop these fools dream up. Couldn’t they get together and buy a life so they could get out of ours?

    About the only solution I see is a state law that demands that for every tax anybody raises, an equal amount be cut from government spending and from taxes to curtail this continually growing socialist monster that’s eating its way into our lives.

    Either that or the people in New Mexico are so stupid they deserve to have every dollar and every freedom they have taken away from them.

    Clyde J. Aragon

Speechless [updated]

Faculty works toward preserving languages by Jeremy Hunt, Daily Lobo [update]

Every two weeks, one of the world’s 7,000 languages becomes extinct.

UNM faculty is working to keep American Indian languages alive in New Mexico and trying to establish a center to help preserve them.

“The issue of language maintenance is not just some academic exercise,” said Christine Sims, a professor in the language literacy and sociocultural department. “These indigenous languages are spoken nowhere else in the world.” …

Sims said there are about 20 indigenous languages still spoken in New Mexico, and they are in danger of extinction.

Of those languages, there are three spoken only by older adults in the communities, including the Mescalero and Jicarilla pueblos, Sims said.

When a language dies, so does the culture and identity of the people who speak it, she said.

“The challenge, for the rest of us, is how do we make sure that doesn’t
happen?” she said. “These languages can’t be revitalized from any one
other source except within their community.”

The only way to
keep the languages alive is to have older generations encourage and
teach the youth to speak it, said Melissa Axelrod, a linguistics
professor who works with the Nambé tribe.

“A lot of people think
all pueblo languages are the same, but they’re completely different,”
she said. “We have this incredible, exciting diversity in New Mexico.”
– – – – –

AP: Saving endangered languages – News by Randolph E. Schmid

While there are an estimated 7,000 languages spoken around the world
today, one of them dies out about every two weeks, according to
linguistic experts struggling to save at least some of them.

hotspots where languages are most endangered were listed Tuesday in a
briefing by the Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages and
the National Geographic Society.

In addition to northern
Australia, eastern Siberia and Oklahoma and the U.S. Southwest, many
native languages are endangered in South America – Ecuador, Colombia,
Peru, Brazil and Bolivia – as well as the area including British
Columbia, and the states of Washington and Oregon.

Losing languages means losing knowledge, says K. David Harrison, an assistant professor of linguistics at Swarthmore College.

we lose a language, we lose centuries of human thinking about time,
seasons, sea creatures, reindeer, edible flowers, mathematics,
landscapes, myths, music, the unknown and the everyday.”

As many as half of the current languages have never been written down, he estimated.

means, if the last speaker of many of these vanished tomorrow, the
language would be lost because there is no dictionary, no literature,
no text of any kind, he said. …

Harrison said that the 83 most widely spoken languages account for
about 80 percent of the world’s population while the 3,500 smallest
languages account for just 0.2 percent of the world’s people. Languages
are more endangered than plant and animal species, he said.

Vanishing Languages Identified – By Rick Weiss, Washington Post Staff Writer

While previous analyses have focused on individual languages that have just one or a few surviving speakers, Harrison and his colleagues took a geographic approach, identifying where in the world languages are disappearing fastest. Oklahoma
and nearby areas of the American Southwest, it turns out, have an
extremely rich linguistic fabric because of the many Native American
tribes that were corralled there in the 1800s.

Today those
languages are disappearing by the month, and with them a treasure trove
of ecological insights, culinary and medicinal secrets and complex
cultural histories, including mythologies that can teach a lot about
universal human fears and aspirations, Harrison said.

“It may
seem frivolous, but mythological traditions are attempts to make sense
of the universe, and the different ways that the human mind has tried
to grapple with the unknown and the unknowable are of scientific
interest,” he said. …

Language can reveal a lot about how a culture organizes information.
In the Paraguayan Lengua language, for example, the word “11” means
literally “arrived at the foot, one,” meaning “counted 10 fingers plus
one toe.” The word for “20” means “finished the feet.”

In Siberia’s Nivkh language, each number can be said 26 ways, depending on what is being counted.

Iraq Is Good Business for Friends of Duhbya

Michael A. Fletcher – Iraq Oil Deal Gets Everybody’s Attention –

By Michael A. Fletcher
Monday, September 24, 2007; Page A17

The oil deal signed between Hunt Oil and the government in Iraq’s Kurdish region earlier this month has raised eyebrows, in no small part because it appears to undercut President Bush’s hope that Iraq could draft national legislation to share revenue from the country’s vast oil reserves. Making the deal more curious is that it was crafted by one of the administration’s staunchest supporters, Ray Hunt.

Hunt, chief executive of the Dallas-based company, has been a major fundraiser and contributor to Bush’s presidential campaigns. He also serves on the president’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, putting him close to the latest information developed by the nation’s intelligence agencies. [mjh: Why the hell is an oil man and Bush buddy on the FIAB, except for his own profit?]

If Hunt is signing regional oil deals in Iraq, critics ask, what does
he know about the prospects for a long-stalled national oil law that
others don’t?

Cost of War

War Costing $720 Million Each Day, Group Says –

War Costing $720 Million Each Day, Group Says
By Kari Lydersen, Washington Post Staff Writer

CHICAGO, Sept. 21 — The money spent on one day of the Iraq war could buy homes for almost 6,500 families or health care for 423,529 children, or could outfit 1.27 million homes with renewable electricity, according to the American Friends Service Committee, which displayed those statistics on large banners in cities nationwide Thursday and Friday.

The war is costing $720 million a day or $500,000 a minute, according to the group’s analysis of the work of Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph E. Stiglitz and Harvard public finance lecturer Linda J. Bilmes.

The Party of Honor

GOP Congressman From Illinois Won’t Run in 2008
By Carla K. Johnson
Associated Press

JOLIET, Ill., Sept. 21 — Rep. Jerry Weller (R-Ill.), facing questions about his ethics, announced Friday that he will not seek an eighth term.

“I need to give my family the time needed to be a full-time dad and full-time husband,” Weller said during a Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce luncheon. “I’m 50 years old; I’ve given half of my life to public service.” …

Weller is among 13 congressmen who were recently served subpoenas to testify for the defense in a case against a contractor accused of bribing imprisoned former congressman Randy “Duke” Cunningham (R-Calif.).

Seven other House Republicans have announced that they will step down at the end of this Congress’s term.