More Sanctions Threatened Against Fiji

I don’t get the point of sanctions. The people of Fiji are the ones who will suffer and not the illegal regime of Bainimarama. Sanctions are merely soft-diplomacy hard on the people of a country. The United Nations had sanctions against Iraq for more than a decade while Saddam Hussein grew stronger in power. It finally took military force to overthrow him.

South Pacific leaders may impose further sanctions against Fiji’s military regime next week including suspending it from the regional grouping over its failure to restore democratic rule, New Zealand’s leader said Tuesday.

Regional leaders could consider toughening their stance against Fiji’s military ruler Commodore Frank Bainimarama at a special meeting Tuesday next week to discuss the coup-prone nation, Prime Minister John Key said.

Bainimarama said earlier Tuesday he would not attend the South Pacific Forum meeting seen as an important gathering to pressure Bainimarama to restore democracy because of flooding last week that killed 11 people and displaced thousands.

“The last thing I want to do is move away from here at this time,” Bainimarama said in a statement, asking the meeting be delayed so he could personally attend at a later date.

Key said he was disappointed Bainimarama would not attend the meeting and said it was clear that Bainimarama, who seized power in a 2006 coup, had ruled out calling elections anytime this year.

“Ultimately, Pacific leaders need to consider what sanctions they want to put on Fiji and that will be obviously dominating the discussions” at the leaders’ meeting in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, Key said.

He did not elaborate, though he said suspending Fiji from the 16-member forum the region’s leading trade and diplomatic bloc was one option. No nation has been suspended in the group’s more than 30-year history.

In December the Commonwealth a grouping of 53 former British colonies also threatened to suspend Fiji, which has suffered four military coups since 1987.

Bainimarama pledged in 2007 to hold elections by April 2009, but has consistently backed away from that commitment. He says Fiji’s electoral system must be changed and corruption rooted out of public life before elections can be called.

Source: Associated Press Worldstream

Video Commentary: LGBT reactions to Barack Obama and Prop 8 in San Francisco

“I believe all communities need to be held accountable for their homophobia and transphobia. I want to acknowledge the suffering and hardship that the passage of Proposition 8 has caused for LGBT couples and families. But, while the media casts blame on communities of color for the failure of civil rights for LGBT people, it is imperative that we struggle against the logic that tells us that struggles for LGBT civil rights and racial justice are separate, and that we examine our strategies for advancing LGBT civil rights and gay marriage and, in particular, look at places where LGBT communities have failed to align our struggles for civil rights with ongoing struggles for racial justice.” – Adele

Read the blog here.

This is a great video and I am sure the first of many on documenting the abomination that is Prop 8 with the election of Barack Obama and the mixed reactions from the LGBT community on these two historic events.

It's the Revenge of Farm Animals!

The Nov 4 elections were truly historic and momentous.

The country has spoken for change.

In California, farm animals now have more rights and people who want to marry someone they love have fewer rights.

By a vote of 63%, California decided to allow all egg-producing chickens more room to spread their wings. At the same time, voters eliminated the rights of same-sex couples to marriage, (a group that is vegan and vegetarian in larger comparative percentages than the heterosexual population).

Prop 2 requires that all farm animals “for all or the majority of any day” not be confined in a way that prevents it from lying down, standing up, turning around or extending its limbs without touching another animal or an enclosure such as a cage or stall. Those requirements target battery caged layers, stalled sows in both gestation and, apparently, farrowing and stalled veal calves. The requirements become effective in 2015. The law carries criminal penalties including fines and jail terms for violators.

Talk about karma. Maybe I should have listened to all my vegan and vegetarian friends and stopped eating chicken. I love animals, I am pro-environment, a tree-hugger even, but eating chicken is something that has carried over from another country, another culture. It is nonetheless, the only meat I eat and in rather limited amounts. It wasn’t enough.

The chickens got their revenge. Now every time I take a bite, I will think of how California voted to give the chickens more freedom while restricting my freedom.

There is one essential difference — the chickens cannot litigate for their rights. We can litigate for our rights (for now), so fear not, we will prevail!

The Petition for Writ of Mandate and Injunctive Relief filed on November 5, 2008 in the California Supreme Court is Strauss v. Horton, Action No. S168047

P.S. Kudos to Yes on 2.

Wtf Hollywood ! Analyzing the Proposition 8 Vote

Around 10 pm last night, when the Prop. 8 votes trickled in, I already knew we had lost this time.

Reason? Los Angeles was struggling quite early on with the ‘No on 8’ losing by more than 7 percentage points. We would never win without Los Angeles.

Kelly Picks a Fight over at OurChart:

Los Angeles County ended up in a 50-50 tie, but the hard data gives Yes 21,000 more ticks. WeHo? Silver Lake? What the hell happened down there? Santa Barbara County went for No with 53%! Mendocino, Humboldt, Sonoma, Marin, Alameda, San Mateo and San Francisco counties all topped 60% on the No side, but L.A. couldn’t even get over the 50% mark?!? That’s embarrassing.

Did West Hollywood forget to vote? Or was it too busy out campaigning for Obama in Philadelphia and other battleground states when it should have poured more time and money into the No on 8 campaign?

61% of California voted for the ‘first’ black President but 52% voted to eliminate basic civil rights.

That is a problem.

Don’t get me started on the 75% African-American women, 54% Latino male, 52% Latino female vote in favor of Prop. 8. It hurts when we spend our time fighting for civil and equal rights for ALL, only to not have that ‘favor’ returned. A certain racial gender gap seems to have developing on this issue – 53% of white women voted against the ban whereas 75% of African-American women voted for it. Whether or not that can be attributed to the lies by the ‘Yes on 8’ campaign is uncertain.

There are significant changes from 2000 when majorities of all racial, ethnic and income groups supported the ban.

In 2000, 4,579,386 (61.2%) voted for a gay marriage ban in California while 2,897,689 (38.8%) voted against it.

The numbers are still pouring in but 8 years later, last night, 5,163,908 (52%) voted for the ban whereas 4,760,336 (48%) voted against it.

Mad props to the Asian-American community for giving us a 51% vote against Prop 8. It’s a community that has often disappointed me in the past. Hopefully, I can say that I am proud to be Asian Indian and that we stand against discrimination.

We also won majorly with the first-time (62% against 8 ) and youth voters (61%) and lost majorly among the elderly voters, 61% of whom voted for the Proposition (similar to Prop 22 in 2000). That gives us hope. The arc of justice is bending on our side–a lot of bigots have their one foot in the grave.

The key is education60% of post-graduates voted against the ban whereas only 44% of high school graduates (only) and 43% of those in college or dropouts opposed the measure. This also correlates well with income levels — obviously the higher your education level, the more your income. So people earning over 100K were more likely to oppose the ban while low-income voters were more likely to support it.

We can only move forward and hope to change the 2-4% deficit in our favor come the next elections.

I know a lot of progressives, including myself, believe that marriage should be unconstitutional for everyone. But like I have already noted, political ideology is not a reason to deny a particular social group their civil rights. This constitutional ban along with the ones in Arizona and Florida and 26 other states, serves to perpetuate ‘separate but (un)equal’ in American society, and we must ALWAYS vote against that.

This is not over.

Attorney General Jerry Brown insists that the 18,000 couples wedded between May 15 and Nov 4 are still legally married in California and he will fight to keep that intact.

San Francisco City Attorney is already mounting a legal challenge to Prop 8. A 64-page suit has been filed with the CA Supreme Court.

See a listing of Anti-Prop 8 rallies tonight.

Only in America – Convicted Felon Senator Ted Stevens Winning Re-Election

…whilst two people in love are denied the right to marry in California, Florida and Arizona.

…whilst affirmative action is overturned in Nebraska

84-year old Senator Ted Stevens from Alaska—the longest serving Republican in the Senate—was found guilty of seven felony counts less than two weeks ago but is still leading in his bid for re-election by less than 400 votes.

His future depends on some 40,000 absentee ballots yet to be counted in Alaska.

Senator Stevens refused to back down despite calls from both Barack Obama and John McCain. He still considers himself above the law, gets to keep his pension and vote for himself, and will become the first convicted felon to serve in the Senate if re-elected.

Lets get this one ‘straight’ (no pun intended). A convicted felon can serve in the United States Senate, but same-sex couples are constitutionally ineligible to marry in 29 states across America (California, Florida and Arizona were added to the list of 26 last night). Is something wrong with this picture?

This is not the America I envisioned and I dearly hope that this is not Barack Obama’s America.