March 15, 2012
By Ryan W. McMaken
“The Republican elite are afraid of Ron Paul. Why would they be intimidating his delegates if they weren’t so scared of his message?” –KTRN
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March 13, 2012
GOP Intimidation of Ron Paul Delegates
Posted by Ryan W. McMaken on March 13, 2012 12:28 AM
In some places, such as Maine and Minnesota, Ron Paul is likely to outperform the straw polls in terms of proportion of delegates won. As Lew Rockwell has noted, here and here, Ron Paul activists are sometimes able to take control of the local machines.
Sometimes, however, the opposite apparently happens. As The Washington Times reported on March 10th, Paul actually underperformed his vote tally in Wyoming with local caucuses over the weekend.
If you’ve ever been a Ron Paul delegate, you know that the GOP central committees will employ every trick in the book to avoid having to seat Ron Paul delegates. They will freely ignore their own bylaws, apply rules in such a manner as to only exclude Paul delegates, and will liberally employ intimidation tactics through verbal abuse, and even physical manhandling of delegates.
In the end, if everything else fails, they’ll attempt to get you to switch your vote by begging you to be a “team player” and by claiming that Romney is electable and that your dissent will keep Obama in power.
They did it in 2008, and some Ron Paul delegates switched their vote to the “electable” John McCain at the national convention, as I noted here.
I described my own delegate experience in 2008 here. Trust me, they’ll do everything they can to intimidate, harass, or just plain exclude you.
The video shows what is probably a fairly typical experience for many delegates:
January 11, 2012
By PF Louis
With all the bad news about Monsanto and other corporations who create and promote GMOs, here’s a couple of good news items from the last couple of years to relieve some doom and gloom. Hopefully, these victories against GMO companies, one by an individual farmer in Canada, the other by a large rice collective in the USA, will inspire others to hold their ground.
Normally, bully Monsanto sues small independent farmers, forcing them to pay fees for GMO plants that grew from various sources of GMO contamination, not by the farmer’s choice. But the expense and mental strain of lengthy legal procedures against a wealthy corporation with soulless attorneys is too much to bear. So many settle rather than go bankrupt with Monsanto seizing the farm.
A feisty Canadian commercial canola farmer, Percy Schmeiser, started his fight against Monsanto’s intimidation tactics in 1998. This is not a promotion of canola, but the story of a farmer who has used, saved, and developed his own seeds on his own land for over 40 years, and his David versus Goliath struggle.
After discovering his crops had been contaminated with GMO seeds from neighboring farms and passing Monsanto trucks, he was sued by Monsanto for patent infringement. Monsanto has been in the business of intimidating farmers with a similar fate by suing them for patent infringement after their fields were contaminated from GMO farms.
This intimidation and harassment has either bankrupted farmers or forced them into signing onto Monsanto’s seed plan. Big bully companies use lawsuits to financially destroy small businesses even if there is no actual violation. Schmeiser and his wife, both approaching 70, decided to fight it out on principle.
Patent law says there is no violation if a patented product is not used or stolen. After some back and forth court battles and appeals over ten years, Percy won. Monsanto agreed to settle out of court by paying for cleaning up Percy’s farm and not issue a gag order (customary with settlements), which enables Percy to continue touring with his message of resisting GMO and corporate intimidation. The agreement also left Monsanto liable for any recontamination of Percy’s farm.
Sometimes when a big guy goes after a trouble maker, the trouble maker gets it big. In April 2011, Riceland Foods won a major case against Bayer Crop Science in the Arkansas State Court System. The case involved contamination from an experimental, unapproved GM rice, Liberty Link. Its function is withstanding unlimited use of Bayer’s herbicide Liberty.
June 7, 2010
By David Gutierrez
A hospital trust where conditions were so bad that more than 1,000 patients may have died due to negligence actively tried to stop employees from raising concerns about patient safety, according to an inquiry conducted by the British Health Department.
“Staff have known about the problems on the wards for many years, but there has been no means by which they can bring them up,” said a health official close to the inquiry. “Those who have tried to do so have been shot down. Some have been ordered to withdraw or hide their allegations.”
One egregious case occurred following the death of John Moore-Robinson, a 20-year-old who was admitted to the hospital following a mountain bike accident in April 2006. He was discharged with painkillers and died less than 24 hours later from a ruptured spleen that health workers had failed to detect.
In his report on the incident, consultant Ivan Phair concluded that, “The premature death of Mr. Moore-Robinson in my opinion was an avoidable situation. I feel that an independent expert would criticize the management afforded to him by the staff. There is a high probability that the level of care delivered to Mr. Moore-Robinson was negligent.”
The hospital’s head of services, Kate Levy, then wrote to Phair asking him to remove these comments from his report in order to avoid “further distress to the family and adverse publicity.” Phair’s report was not included in data presented to the inquest following the death.
Another consultant, Pradip Singh, told the inquiry that he and several coworkers had complained to superiors about staff cuts and the ensuing reduction in standards of care. They were either ignored or ostracized as troublemakers.
According to Singh, the hospital suffers from a “palpable culture of intimidation.” Data submitted to the inquiry note that the hospital’s written policy on whistleblowers actively discourages employees from raising concerns.
March 31, 2010
By Joseph Schuman
Late on the night of Jan. 7, Mexican newspaper reporter Valentin Valdés Espinosa was driving through downtown Saltillo in the north of the country when his car was intercepted by two SUVs. The men inside forced Valdés and a colleague into one of the SUVs and drove away.
The next morning, Valdés’ body was found at the nearby Motel Marbella. He had been tortured, bound and shot several times, the Committee to Protect Journalists reports. Valdés had recently been part of a team reporting for the local paper, the Zócalo de Saltillo, on a massive army raid at the motel and the drug cartel it targeted. A handwritten note with his body said, “This is going to happen to those who don’t understand. The message is for everyone.”
Valdés was the victim of a growing trend of violence against journalists far from the war zones once perceived as the biggest danger to reporters. Last year, according to a UNESCO report released today, a record number of journalists were killed worldwide.
There were 77 journalists murdered last year, up from 48 in 2008, and the killings of journalists are more often taking place in countries that are officially at peace.
“There is increasing evidence of acts of violence against media professionals in many parts of the world, in particular deliberate attacks by those who do not wish journalists to investigate and reveal information of public interest,” the UNESCO report said. “The killing of journalists is just the tip of the iceberg. Media professionals face many other forms of threats such as intimidation, kidnappings, harassment and physical assaults.”
While the numerical spike last year can mostly be attributed to an ambush in the Philippines that claimed the lives of 30 journalists in one day, the numbers also show that the killing of local journalists is on the rise even as the deaths of war correspondents has been abating in recent years and violence has subsided in Iraq.
At least 80 percent of the 125 murders of journalists in 2008 and 2009 targeted reporters who were trying to uncover and report “information of public interest,” UNESCO said.
At a time when newspapers have been declining in the U.S. and other industrialized countries, UNESCO also noted that print media continued to take a frontline role reporting from dangerous areas. Among the journalists murdered, just 26 percent worked for television, 16 percent for radio and only a few for news agencies and online sites.
Following the Philippines, Mexico had the biggest rise in journalist murders, with 11 in 2008 and 2009, largely due to the drug-related violence that claimed the life of Valdés. The number of journalists killed in Pakistan rose to six from just two in the previous two-year period, and journalist murders in Russia jumped to seven from three.