The difference

How can these U.N. troublemakers not see the difference? In other countries, they’re protesting against unemployment, political corruption and control by an oligarchy, and their goverment is repressing them with military tactics. Here, they’re… just malcontents! Yeah, that’s it:

WASHINGTON — Federal officials have yet to respond to two United Nations human rights envoys who formally requested that the U.S. government protect Occupy protesters against excessive force by law enforcement officials.

In a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the two envoys called on U.S. officials to “explain the behavior of police departments that violently disbanded some Occupy protests last fall” and expressed concern that excessive use of force “could have been related to [the protesters’] dissenting views, criticisms of economic policies, and their legitimate work in the defense of human rights and fundamental freedoms.”

The envoys also reminded the U.S. government of its international obligations to “take all necessary measures to guarantee that the rights and freedoms of all peaceful protesters be respected.”

The letter, from Frank La Rue, who serves as the U.N. special rapporteur for the protection of free expression, and Maina Kiai, the special rapporteur for freedom of peaceful assembly, was sent in December 2011.

It was publicly released last week in connection with the 20th annual U.N. Human Rights Council meeting, which started Monday and at which both rapporteurs — independent experts sent out to investigate human rights problems around the world — will make their annual reports.

The U.S. government has not answered the letter. A State Department spokeswoman told HuffPost that “the U.S. will be replying,” but she couldn’t say when or how. “We do not comment on the substance of diplomatic correspondence,” she said.

Dimon in the rough

What a bastard:

Earlier today, following JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon’s testimony in front of the House Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Committee regarding his company’s recent massive banking loss, Adriana Vasquez, a janitor who cleans the JP Morgan Chase tower in Houston, Texas confronted him with a simple question: “Despite making billions last year, why do you deny the people cleaning your buildings a living wage?”

Dimon evaded Adriana’s question but told her to “call his office” to arrange a meeting.

Each night, Vasquez cleans 24 bathrooms across 11 floors in the JP Morgan Chase tower in downtown Houston. “I work hard each and every day scrubbing 24 bathrooms just to support my children, to keep food on the table and a roof over my head – but it still isn’t enough,” explained Vasquez. “I traveled to Washington, DC to confront Jamie Dimon because it is not acceptable that while he makes billions, he denies the people cleaning his buildings a living wage.”

Primary care

So the strange primary care physician I had down the block has closed down his practice, which saved me the trouble of leaving. My chiro says nobody knows why he’s leaving; I said I wondered if he was going to jail, and the chiro looked at me. “No, really, he was convicted of assault,” I told him. I looked it up; he’d maced a couple of teenage boys who’d thrown a landscaping sign on his lawn.

I picked my medical records up last week. Now what? My neighborhood is not exactly known for attracting top medical talent.

Coincidentally, I had my acupuncture appointment the next day, and my acupuncturist started raving about the bright young doctor who’d recently moved into the area. So I got a business card, made an appointment and I see her tomorrow. Yay!

Such a doofus

Mitt Romney has discovered our local brand of convenience store. Hey Mittens, it’s not “Wawa’s” – it’s Wawa. As in, I’m going to Wawa, do you want anything? We do not use the possessive. What a tin ear he has. No, it’s not very important. Just illustrative of his awkwardness!

Plus, he’s a liar. The post office change of address card is… a postcard.

Gun-toting felon uses “stand your ground” defense, twice…..

I am pretty sure that this was an unintended outcome of the “stand your ground” law in Florida. Tavarious China Smith is from Manatee County in Florida. He sold drugs to undercover cops and had a pending warrant. He was a convicted felon in possession of a firearm.

He has also been able to use the “stand your ground” defense twice.

On two occasions, more than two years apart, he committed homicides but was not charged thanks to provisions of Florida’s “stand your ground” law. Smith claimed self-defense in both cases and prosecutors agreed. He never faced a judge or jury for fatally shooting Nikita Williams, 18, in February 2008 in a drug-related incident or Breon Mitchell, Williams’ 23-year-old half-brother, in December 2010.

Smith’s only punishment stemmed from using a gun to kill Mitchell. Since he was by then a felon, convicted on drug charges, Smith wasn’t allowed to carry the Ruger .357 Magnum he used to shoot Mitchell outside a Palmetto nightclub in 2010. In January, a federal judge in Tampa sent Smith to prison after he pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm….

Arthur Brown is the assistant state attorney in Manatee County who reviewed both of Smith’s homicides and declined to prosecute Smith in the Mitchell case. He said both were clear-cut cases of self-defense and that provisions of the “stand your ground” law only strengthened Smith’s claims.

Smith is serving seven years for the gun possession charge.

Marissa Alexander is serving 20 years for a warning shot after a physical altercation with her estranged husband. She had never been arrested before this incident.

Alexander’s case was prosecuted by Angela Corey, the Florida State’s Attorney who is also prosecuting George Zimmerman. Alexander was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and because she discharged a firearm during the incident, the case fell under Florida’s “10-20-life” law, enacted in 1999, which mandates a 20-year sentence for use of a gun during the commission of certain crimes.

Corey initially offered Alexander a three year deal if she pleaded guilty to aggravated assault, but according to CBS affiliate WTEV, Alexander did not believe she had done anything wrong, and rejected the plea. Her bet did not pay off: the jury in the case returned a guilty verdict in less than 15 minutes.

OK. Yes, I do beleive there should be some kind of review of “stand your ground” and “10-20-life” laws.

Something just isn’t right with all this.



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