Friday, June 1, 2018

STOP CENSORSHIP VIA UNJUST SHAMING


STOP CENSORSHIP VIA UNJUST SHAMING
by Angela Smith, HEAL National Coordinator/Co-Founder

I wasn't going to write about this today.  I cooled down last night and when I woke up, decided I didn't need to write about this topic.  I was angry, and am still quite annoyed, with the hysteria around Roseanne's tweets and Drake's "blackface" protest picture from 2007.  Then, I watched the #HarryandKelly FocusTV interview with Sean Stone at https://vimeo.com/272665411/comments and became irritated again with Kelly's need to "#metoo" Sean for no legitimate reason.

I had planned to throw a bunch of important quotes from artists down in this rant as a sort of gauntlet.  But, I think I'll stick to my own thoughts and leave it at that. 

Art should make you think and feel.  It should inspire and enlighten.  It should shed light on the truth and help you see things from a different perspective.  Free expression and speech, should not be shamed into conforming to any expectation and certainly should never be silenced.

First, I didn't see Roseanne Barr's tweet about Valerie Jarrett.  I only heard about it.  But, I know Roseanne's work and know for a fact that she is not a racist, homophobe, nor bigot.  So, I think she may have made a comparison between a character from "Planet of the Apes", an evolved chimpanzee played by a white woman (I'm pretty sure is British) and Valerie Jarrett, a politically public figure.  I think Roseanne is so not racist that she didn't even consider the optics of the tweet or that it might offend some people who don't know her and/or don't wish to bother to try to understand what she meant before freaking out like a CRYBABY and shaming her into silencing herself. 

I find it more disgusting that people would react and publicly shame a beloved comedian out of their own ignorance than take a moment to understand or try to understand what was being said with the message and by the messenger.  George W. Bush was compared to a chimpanzee all over the place.  Bill Maher has repeatedly called Donald Trump an orangutan.  I think we need to move beyond historical interpretations of commentary and at least try to understand what someone is saying before labeling them a bigot, sexist, racist, or demanding they be permanently shamed into silence.  I find it far more frightening that people would actively demand the silence of others who are honestly communicating, even if crudely at times, than any work of art, public statement, or moment of open and free self expression.

In addition, Drake's "blackface" stunt was a protest against how he felt he was being treated as a black entertainer by the industry.  I don't understand how people can flip out and go off because they don't like Drake's artistic expression and protest.  Maybe it was meant to make you uncomfortable.  Maybe it was meant as a commentary of how the industry treats people, particularly minorities.  I love the uncensored video of "Puttin on the Ritz" by Taco.  See: https://youtu.be/OG3PnQ3tgzY.  Now, if you watch that video, you will see it is a commentary on class disparities, homelessness, and the grand illusion of wealth and high society juxtaposed to how minorities and poor people are treated by that same crowd.  But, you will see a couple of people dancing in "blackface".  And, it is a social commentary and art.  Maybe you can't handle art and should just shut the fuck up if you happen upon an artist you don't understand.  If you can't control your reactions and inquire and try to understand before attacking the artist or speaker, then you are the fucking problem.  Seriously!

Now, Sean Stone said nothing inappropriate and I think Lauren should have acknowledged that and defended Sean rather than thanking Kelly for defending her when nothing offensive was said or done.  And, Lauren should dress more conservatively if she wants to avoid sexually explicit comments.  You can't dress like you "give it away" and then act offended when someone thinks you are a bit loose.  Regardless, Sean didn't even say anything offensive.  I watched the entire interview twice.  His comments were taken out of context and he was dressed appropriately while others were not.

If someone says something that shocks or surprises you, take a moment to consider what they've said from the best possible perspective.  That's called listening with love.  If you are not coming from a place of love, keep your mouth shut.  With love, if there is confusion or misunderstanding, you can respectfully ask for clarification or an explanation.  This may satisfy you and help you appreciate the free speech and expression of others.  If not, you are in the fucking USA and people fucking have the right to fucking say what's on their mind.  All you do with your fucking shaming is destroy the first amendment and drive everyone crazy with your bullshit social controls rather than actually work to solve real problems like modern slavery, exploitation, homelessness, and hunger.  Save your outrage for real issues.  If you want respect, respect others enough to hear them out before shaming anyone.  Otherwise, fuck you.
 

 

Friday, May 18, 2018

Alternative Theory on JFK Assassination

Alternative Theory on JFK Assassination
by Angela Smith, HEAL National Coordinator/Co-Founder

John F. Kennedy had an affair with Marilyn Monroe.[1]  Marilyn Monroe was a genius who appreciated intelligence, but, was treated like a whore by the industry.  On a list she made on a lark regarding which celebrities she found sexiest, she included Albert Einstein.[2]

Monroe had talent for drama and comedy.  She was diverse and poetic in her actions and movements.  Her love life was filled with turmoil likely because everyone was attracted to her, but, didn't really want to know her.  She looked for love and found only lust sometimes disguised by flattery.

Kennedy, having taken advantage of her to an extent, was afraid that the truth would come out and there would be a scandal.  It is likely that the RAND Corporation or some similar outfit had her killed to silence her and avoid any scandal involving infidelity in the "Camelot" administration.

The Central Intelligence Agency, horrified by the loss of America's sweetheart, decided it was unacceptable to assassinate such a beautiful artist to keep up appearances and avoid a scandal of one's own making as a result of moral turpitude.  So, they arranged to have Kennedy killed so he could ironically maintain his illusion of grandeur while avoiding his sex scandal becoming the basis of his memorial in time. 

Now, this is just a theory.  But, I think it is as plausible as any other.  And, perhaps the CIA was trying to help and achieve justice for the loss of an American icon.  Or, you could just conclude this belongs in the annals of Mad Magazine.


[1] https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/10/28/jfk-files-fbi-warns-robert-kennedy-book-alleging-affair-marilyn-monroe/809992001/
[2] http://www.neatorama.com/2012/09/04/14-Things-You-May-Not-Have-Known-About-Marilyn-Monroe/

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

HEAL No Longer Supports Ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child


HEAL No Longer Supports Ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child
by Angela Smith, HEAL National Coordinator/Co-Founder (revised: January 14th, 2018)

The HEAL Team read the preamble and many articles making wonderful claims about the impact the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child would have for American children and children around the globe.  We believed it to be a step in the right direction for protecting children from harm and providing a framework by which children would be afforded rights and protections not currently provided.  We believed that the phrases in the Convention text, "Recognizing that the child, for the full and harmonious development of his or her personality, should grow up in a family environment, in an atmosphere of happiness, love and understanding...Considering that the child should be fully prepared to live an individual life in society, and brought up in the spirit of the ideals proclaimed in the Charter of the United Nations, and in particular in the spirit of peace, dignity, tolerance, freedom, equality and solidarity..."[1] meant that children would be afforded and mandated the right of children to grow up in a family environment.  However, the remainder of the UN Convention establishes a near mandate for institutionalizing children, something HEAL opposes vehemently.

HEAL opposes any international, federal, or local law that provides for the establishment and funding of institutional "care" for children.  Even the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) states that institutionalization is never better for a child than being in a family environment.[2]  But, language throughout the Convention states, "States Parties shall render appropriate assistance to parents and legal guardians in the performance of their child-rearing responsibilities and shall ensure the development of institutions, facilities and services for the care of children.... States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to ensure that children of working parents have the right to benefit from child-care services and facilities for which they are eligible... No part of the present article or article 28 shall be construed so as to interfere with the liberty of individuals and bodies to establish and direct educational institutions... States Parties shall seek to promote the establishment of laws, procedures, authorities and institutions specifically applicable to children alleged as, accused of, or recognized as having infringed the penal law..."[3]  And, for this reason HEAL cannot endorse and does not wish to see the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child ratified by the US at this time.  It needs significant amendment before we would consider supporting it in the future.

People reading this may not understand the full context we are working from at HEAL.  Take for example the fact that in Massachusetts, the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC), which the public and likely you understand to provide Head Start, Pre-School, and other supports for pre-K children, is responsible for licensing (and sometimes funding placements) programs like Chamberlain International School.  Chamberlain is one of many facilities on the HEAL watch-list for exploitation and abuse and you can learn more about it at www.heal-online.org/chamberlain.htm.  So, when we read that the UN wants more funding and power granted to EEC which you may erroneously believe is solely about educational opportunities for pre-K children, we recognize that, at least in the US, this would mean providing institutional "care" like that found at Chamberlain for even more children.  And, this is something we cannot and will never endorse.  In addition, the US already fails to regulate and establish standards for K-12 private schools (including boarding schools) and that the vast majority of States do not regulate these facilities at all, either due to conflicts of interest or simple State policy.  In addition, many of these private residential "schools" (including those identified as "ranches" or providing "work therapy") force their captives to perform labor under threat of deprivation or abuse.  There is no mention regarding coerced labor either in the convention.  And, as stated, exploitation does not appear to be used interchangeably with "forced labor" in similar UN Conventions and therefore should not be assumed to imply inclusion in the definition of exploitation in the Convention on the Rights of the Child. 

There is not one mention in the Convention on prohibiting child labor or providing children the right to not be forced into labor.  The Convention does state that children must be protected from exploitation, including sexual and economic/labor-based exploitation.[4]  However, there is no prohibition of "forced labor" and no mention of preventing "slavery".  You can assume whatever you wish, but, without specifying a prohibition, it seems seriously lacking and provides more loopholes for exploitation and modern slavery.  This is a major issue any international convention on children's rights should prioritize.  There is not one mention that children have the right to be raised in their communities and away from segregated congregate care.  In fact, segregation is not even referenced in the Convention.  Segregation is a major issue that adversely affects children in the US and around the globe.  The Convention does not address this major issue. 

The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is very explicit in Article 27 protecting individuals with disabilities specifically from slavery, servitude, and forced/compulsory labor.  Source:  http://www.un.org/disabilities/documents/convention/convoptprot-e.pdf (p. 21).  That same Convention (Article 19, page 15) also specifically states that disabled persons have the right to integration in their society and to be free from segregation.   And, those sections are separate from the statements in that convention regarding exploitation, violence, and abuse.  So, one must conclude that for the purposes of such Conventions, the definition and prohibition of slavery/forced labor as well as the right to be free from segregation is separate from the protection from exploitation.  The fact that prohibiting forced labor/slavery in the Convention of the Rights of the Child is omitted raises serious concerns for HEAL. 

HEAL sees the two greatest threats to children and youth in the US as segregation and forced labor/modern slavery.  These are likely the two issues globally most in need of redress.  And, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child fails miserably to establish firm rules to protect children and youth from both.

HEAL has updated our legislative request (see: www.healreport.tv/heallegislativerequest.pdf)  to remove the portion requesting that the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child be ratified by the US Senate.  Given that it appears to harm children more than help them and fails to address significant issues and abuses affecting children and youth globally, we cannot support it.

Our legislative request is subject to revision and while our volunteers do our best to investigate all matters before taking a position, we did fail to thoroughly examine the Convention before endorsing it.  We ask that if you find error or fault with any statement or position we take and you believe any statement or endorsement has been made ignorantly or in contradiction to our stated mission to stop institutionalized abuse of children and youth (which for us includes stopping the institutionalization of children and youth), please contact us at info@heal-online.org to let us know.  We will make immediate all necessary corrections.
 
HEAL no longer endorses the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and we suggest others reconsider their support of the Convention given its failures to address child labor, wrongful institutionalization, forced/compulsory labor, and other issues while practically mandating a system in which all of these violations are likely to continue unabated.



[1] http://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/CRC.aspx
[2] http://www.unicef.org/cambodia/12681_23295.html