Benjamin Melançon's blog

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It's the day before Yom Kippur and i've had two pretzels.

Plan? Plan!

Oh, and wine. Celebrating that is live!!!

The Uncertainties of the Aftermath of Genocide: The New York Times Makes the Case for Passivity

Like its dictator-nailing subtitle, “Granito” often feels in its certitude like an inversion of vintage neoconservatism.


How to Nail a Dictator

Opens on Wednesday in Manhattan.

Directed by Pamela Yates; edited by Peter Kinoy; produced by Paco de Onís; released by Skylight Pictures. At the IFC Center, 323 Avenue of the Americas, at Third Street, Greenwich Village. In English and Spanish, with English subtitles. Running time: 1 hour 43 minutes. This film is not rated.

Hero you haven't heard of to be sent to jail

Tim DeChristopher put in the winning bid in a federal auction of oil and gas on 150,000 acres of public lands. Without any money. “I wasn’t motivated to protect land. I wouldn’t go to jail to protect land. I’m primarily motivated to protect human beings. This is about climate justice. We must move away from fossil fuels and create a world with clean energy for sure, but not continue corporate exploitation through the banner of green energy, a world where people have the power, not corporations. It is about equality and justice.”

15 Minutes to Live: the story that has to be written

Gwen Bell – 15 Minutes to Live
"We are afraid of truth, afraid of fortune, afraid of death, and afraid of each other. Our age yields no great and perfect persons." – Ralph Waldo Emerson

You just discovered you have fifteen minutes to live.
1. Set a timer for fifteen minutes.
2. Write the story that has to be written.

Dear person, every person, any person,

In an entire decade we couldn't manage to hold a trial?

I've missed most news coverage, but i heard that Obama said "justice has been done" with our military's extra-judicial killing of Osama bin Laden. This is disconcerting given the lack of judicial process in this instance and the broader contempt for rule of law and legal process exhibited by the Obama administration and its predecessor. Not that i consider courts to be the only legitimate arbiters of the broad concept of justice, but when it's the president of my country talking about the crime of mass murder...

The McDonald's Tax

Research the hell out of the costs born by society due to the way McDonald's does business:
- unhealthy food, cost of health care, lost productivity
- trash produced
- environmental destruction where cows graze, such as Amazon destruction
- loss/degredation of the local water table due to the parking lot
- contribution to global warming due to traffic
- underpayment of employees

One or two volunteers stand outside each of the 15,000 McDonald's 24/7 (or quickly learn when the busiest times are) and cheerfully ask people to pay a tax on their purchase to reflect its true cost.

On War and Peace, and the right of people to support one over the other

People who peacefully broke into a high-security military compound to object to the insane nuclear arsenal there (for submarine-launchable Trident missiles) are being sent to prison for this non-violent civil disobedience, possibly for the rest of their lives, as we are talking about months in prison for a couple people in their 80s.

It was an a very stupid and evil decision by the government to prosecute and ask for lengthy prison terms. For shame.

The reactionaries are right. Enough with the talk of "social justice"

I googled "where did the term social justice come from" and all that's on the first page is the reactionary establishments campaign to make people think it is a bad thing (seriously, the Heritage Foundation is openly out to get the phrase).

I'd just wanted to know when and who had thought it was a good idea to artificially separate (and prefer) the vague and wishy-washy social justice from the harder and clearer concepts of racial justice, economic justice, environmental justice, and, you know, justice.

A Portrait in Cowardice: Judge Denies Citizen Rights because to Exercise Rights would cause a Spectacle

José Padilla was held without charge, a blatant violation of the U.S. constitution, for three and a half years. (Ultimately he was charged and convicted with conspiring to kill, maim, and torture— the government dropped all charges that might require physical evidence including the dirty bomb claim that was pretty much constant in the media, but the flimsiness of his conviction is not the issue here. His right to justice for the three and a half years he was denied any legal process is the issue.)

The only moral monopoly

The only moral monopoly is one controlled by the people, democratically. If your business model is monopoly, expect to be taken over.

[tweeted that]

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