Why Is Eritrea In The News?

Eritrea is near the horn of Africa, on the Red Sea. It is situated across the Red Sea from the Gulf States, such as Saudi Arabia.

Many people are currently fleeing Eritrea, and many are trying to get to Europe aboard “smuggling boats.” The U.N. is looking into the matter.

“The number fleeing such a small country – estimated at 5,000 people each month – is forcing the outside world to take notice,” Mike Smith, Chairperson of the Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in Eritrea, told the 29th session of the U.N. Human Rights Council, which is meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.

“Eritrea’s dire human rights situation can no longer be ignored,” Mr. Smith said. “Imagine the impact of this uncertainty on young Eritreans who lose all control over their own futures. Is it any wonder that Eritreans – most of them young people – are the second largest nationality after Syrians to resort to seaborne smugglers to cross the Mediterranean to Europe?”

5,000 people per month is a huge percentage of the population.  According to indexmundi.com, about 6.4 million people live in Eritrea.  The population increased from 3.2 million to 6.4 million between 1990 and 2014, and there are a lot of young people. The birth rate is 4.7 children.

Eritrean society is heterogeneous, and there are nine recognized ethnic groups according to the government of Eritrea, writes Wikipedia.

The number of Eritreans fleeing their country reached more than 400,000, and has nearly doubled over the past six years, according to the UN refugee agency.

A U.N. commission report said that “systematic, widespread and gross human rights violations have been and are being committed in Eritrea under the authority of the Government. Some of these violations may constitute crimes against humanity.”

Mr. Smith told the Council that after more than two decades of independence, the dream of a democratic Eritrea now seems more distant than ever.

“Instead of a country ruled by law and good governance, the Eritrea we see today is marked by repression and fear,” Smith said. “Since independence, ultimate power in Eritrea has remained largely in the hands of one man and one party. Those in control often rule arbitrarily and act with impunity… The Eritrean people have no say in governance and little control over many aspects of their own lives.”

The report notes that Eritrea has never held free elections, has no independent judiciary, arbitrary arrest is common – often ordered by anyone with de facto authority, with tens of thousands of Eritreans being imprisoned, often without charge and for indeterminate periods, writes http://www.un.org.

In addition, the Government has subjected much of the population to open-ended national service, either in the army or through the civil service, often for years in harsh and inhumane conditions.

Denied access to Eritrea, U.N. Commission members conducted interviews with some 550 witnesses in eight countries and received 160 written submissions. On 9 June, the Eritrean Foreign Ministry issued a statement describing the Commission’s findings as “an attack, not so much on the Government, but on a civilized people and society who cherish human values and dignity.”

In response to that charge, Mr. Smith said: “With respect, we The Commission are recording the voices of real Eritrean people as articulated in the 550 testimonies and 160 submissions received. We also reflect the silenced voice of the majority of Eritreans who have never been able to elect their own representatives in national, free, fair and democratic elections…”

http://news.yahoo.com/un-expert-seeks-eritrea-probe-over-crimes-against-143313387.html

http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=51239#.VY12EvlVikp

http://www.indexmundi.com/eritrea/demographics_profile.html

How Do GOP Candidates Feel About The Confederate Battle Flag?

The website Vox created a graphic to describe how the Republican presidential candidates feel about the Confederate battle flag.  The graphic shows the choices “remove the flag now” vs. “states rights.”

http://www.vox.com/2015/6/23/8828215/Confederate-flag-states-rights

What Is The Gun Rights Lawsuit Peruta v. San Diego?

What is Peruta v. San Diego?

Peruta v. County of San Diego is a federal lawsuit that seeks to overturn California’s system of issuing concealed-weapon permits.

Wikipedia:

“Under San Diego’s policy, a ‘typical’ responsible, law-abiding citizen in San Diego County cannot bear arms in public for self-defense” because by San Diego’s definition, typical citizens fearing for their personal safety cannot ‘”distinguish [themselves] from the mainstream'” and receive concealed carry permits. (Peruta v. San Diego (9th Cir, 02-13-14) p. 54.)

Wikipedia states that California does not allow the open carry of firearms whether loaded or unloaded. (Cal. Pen. Code §§ 25850, 26155.) “Thus, the court found San Diego County’s restrictive policy in combination with California’s denial of open carry ultimately resulted in the destruction of the typical law-abiding, responsible citizen’s right to bear arms in any manner in public, thereby violating the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution. Unless overridden, the decision will force California to become a shall-issue state in regards to concealed carry permits.”

This website – OK, Fine – takes no sides on the Peruta v. San Diego case.  This article is for informational purposes only.

Edward Peruta is the lead plaintiff in Peruta v. (County of) San Diego.

In 2008, Peruta applied for a “concealed carry” permit to carry gun in San Diego, where he spends part of the year living in his 40-foot Country Coach mobile home.  He told the county sheriff’s office that he needed a gun for self-defense in his RV and while doing his job as a legal investigator and spot-news videographer who sells shots of crime scenes and accidents to media outlets.

The sheriff’s office denied his application and appeal, finding that he wasn’t a San Diego resident and could not demonstrate any specific threats to his safety.

Peruta has gun permits in Connecticut, Florida, and Utah, and he took the denial as a challenge.  “I asked him where the hell he thought he came from. He asked me what I meant. And I said, ‘Is there a federal court in this town?’ And the rest is history.”

Peruta, now in his 60’s,  has lived an unorthodox life which includes a long list of legal scuffles, unemployment, a brief and turbulent stint as a police officer, and involvement in a securities-fraud case.

Peruta’s refusal to take no for an answer has gained him a reputation in his home state of Connecticut as a thorn in the sides of bureaucrats and a liberator of public information over the years, writes Mother Jones magazines.

Currently, the state’s police chiefs and sheriffs may require applicants to show “good cause” for carrying a concealed gun in public, writes Mother Jones magazine. Such discretion is applied arbitrarily and violates the Second Amendment, according to Peruta and his legal team, which is backed by the NRA.

That argument swayed two judges on the 9th Circuit Court, who ruled in Peruta’s favor in February. For a moment, it seemed that California would join the 37 “shall issue” states that issue concealed-carry permits to anyone who meets basic requirements such as a background check. Then California Attorney General Kamala Harris successfully petitioned the court to reconsider the ruling “en banc.”

(An “en banc” session is a session where a case is heard before all the judges of a court – in other words, before the entire bench – rather than by a panel selected from them, according to Wikipedia).

Next Tuesday – June 16th –  an 11-judge panel in San Francisco will hear oral arguments in the case.

Sources state that both sides of the gun debate are watching Peruta intently. “If the California permitting system were struck down, that could be the difference between tens of thousands of people and a million or more people carrying in public,” predicts Mike McLively, a staff attorney at the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, which has filed an amicus brief in support of the current law.

Gene Hoffman, chairman of the Calguns Foundation is sponsoring a similar case that will be heard alongside Peruta’s.  He expects the Supreme Court to step in after the 9th rules: “I think they’re going to take this case whatever direction it goes.”

The NRA has said Peruta “presents an opportunity for the Supreme Court to settle some Second Amendment issues that desperately need resolving.”

What triggered Peruta’s case, writes Mother Jones, is what has set off a lot of his challenges over the years: A public official telling him he couldn’t have what he believed he was entitled to by law.

“I am who I am,” Peruta says. “People know there’s usually a hurricane comin’ if they step on my rights.”

(Updated article)

Tuesday: Supreme Court To Hear Arguments On Gay Marriage

Chief Justice John Roberts, who shocked conservatives nearly three years ago by providing a pivotal vote to uphold Obamacare, will again face a historic judicial decision, states CNN.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in a case that could decide whether gay and lesbian couples nationwide have the constitutional right to marry.  The question at the core of the Obergefell v. Hodges case is very important, and is one that is already helping to shape the 2016 presidential race.

‘Agenda 21’ Bill Rejected In Montana

An Agenda 21 bill was rejected in Montana by lawmakers this week, according to The Inquisitr.

For years, critics of “Agenda 21” have seen it as evil, ranging from bad policy to an erosion of national sovereignty to a sign of one-world totalitarian government grounded in radical principles of environmentalism and socialism, according to KXLF.com.

Wikipedia:

“The United States is a signatory country to Agenda 21, but because Agenda 21 is a legally non-binding statement of intent and not a treaty, the United States Senate was not required to hold a formal debate or vote on it. It is therefore not considered to be law under Article Six of the United States Constitution.

According to NBCmontana.com:  “Agenda 21 is a non-binding resolution, signed by Republican President George H.W. Bush in 1992, urging nations to conserve open land and steer development toward more populous areas. Some conservatives across the country see Agenda 21 as an indication of a United Nations takeover.”

The Montana Agenda 21 bill was sponsored by Sun River Republican Randy Pinocci.

It failed with a vote of 59 to 41. Representative Pinocci reportedly feels that the anti-Agenda 21 bill would have protected Montana residents’ property rights and would have rejected the United Nations sustainable development initiative.

Those who voted in opposition to the Agenda 21 bill in Montana largely felt that the U.N. sustainable development plan is merely a “list of recommendations regarding smart growth.”

They added that no citizens have yet come forward to complain that the plan has been pushed upon them or caused them problems at the local level.

Previously, Missouri and Kansas actually passed legislation regarding Agenda 21:


TYT Network

More here.

The ‘Last Meal:’ A Grotesque Tradition?

Death Row inmates who are next in line for execution typically get a “last meal” just prior to the execution – perhaps to savor their last moments as they look forward to their impending death?

The first woman scheduled to be executed in Georgia since 1945 placed an order for her last meal earlier this week, according to the Huffington Post.

PHOTO: Georgia death row inmate Kelly Renee Gissendaner is pictured in an undated image from the Georgia Department of Corrections.

Kelly Renee Gissendaner has been on death row since 2008 after being convicted of a plot to murder her husband. She’s set to die by lethal injection on Feb. 25.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Gissendaner’s meal is also seemingly grotesque:

…cornbread, buttermilk, two [Burger King] Whoppers with cheese and all the trimmings, two large orders of French fries, cherry vanilla ice cream, popcorn and lemonade. She also wants a salad with boiled eggs, tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, carrots and cheese to be topped with Paul Newman buttermilk dressing.

GOP Launches Full Assault On Reproductive Rights: Are Democrats The Underdogs?

31 of the 50 governors are Republicans. 69 out of the 99 state legislative bodies (Houses and Senates) are Republican dominated.

The state legislators have been able to expedite one of their top policy priorities – restricting access to abortion – given the historic gains they made in last year’s midterm elections, according to the Huffington Post.

State lawmakers have raced to file bills concerning all aspects of the procedure. As of last week, lawmakers have introduced more than 100 bills regulating abortion in more than half of all states, according to data from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.”


TYT Network

‘I Will Not Comply’ Rally: ‘If You Want To Own A Bazooka, You Can Own A Bazooka’

Above, Sam Wilson, carrying a rifle on his back, waits on the Capitol grounds to address the crowd.According to the Seattle Times, in a bizarre role reversal, organizers of the “I Will Not Comply” pro-gun rally in Olympia Washington on Saturday, December 13th blamed events like the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting in Connecticut on people trying to regulate firearms.

Demonstrators denounced a law expanding gun-purchase background checks that was approved last month by Washington voters.

Initiative 594, which voters passed by a 19-point margin, expands background checks to people buying firearms in private sales or exchanging them in a transfer.

Since the 1990s, federal law has mandated background checks for people buying guns through licensed dealers at gun shops, but not for private sales at gun shows or similar events.

School shootings around the country have spurred tighter gun laws, some enacted by state legislators, or in the case of I-594, by popular vote.

In a strange twist of logic, rally organizer Gavin Seim blamed events like the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting in Connecticut on people trying to regulate firearms.

When he spoke to the crowd, he said, “The people that are trying to take our guns are the ones that are causing events where children and families and people are lost,” said Seim, who ran unsuccessfully this year for U.S. Congress.

Washington State Patrol put the crowd at about 1,000 people; Seim estimated 1,500.

While on stage, Seim burned his state concealed-weapons permit and advocated that people should buy tanks and bazookas if they wanted them.

“If you want to own a bazooka, you can own a bazooka,” Seim said to cheers.

The crowd ranged from people with concerns over I-594’s language about unlawful gun transfers to others who thought it was a step toward gun registration.  Still others saw the law as an indication of America coming under the sway of a United Nations plan to strip the country of its freedoms.

Others said they worried that I-594 was a symptom of a larger sort of creeping government overreach.  “My rights are being infringed…,” said attendee Robert Henry.

Apparently, Robert’s right to own a Bazooka is being infringed…

North Carolina Removes Voting Sites From College Campuses

Apparently, North Carolina has removed early-voting sites from some college campuses.

Some of the largest college campuses in the state will not host early voting sites for the fall election.

The Huffington Post states:

“The Republican-dominated North Carolina State Board of Elections, among other efforts, has sought to remove an early-voting location from the campus of Appalachian State University…”

According to the newspaper The State:
“The issue raised the ire of students and voting advocacy groups, and a lawsuit was brought over the removal of a site from Appalachian State University. On Wednesday, after an N.C. Court of Appeals decision, the State Board of Elections added a voting site at ASU. Minutes later, the state Supreme Court said it was sending the case to the Appeals Court to review.”

Below is a video about it with Cenk Uygur.  One point that Uygur also brings up is the clever way that Fox News seems to bring on women to criticize women, blacks to criticize blacks, and Latinos to criticize Latinos.

http://www.thestate.com/2014/10/23/3763163_nc-election-law-eliminates-early.html?rh=1#storylink=cpy