Friday, April 25, 2014

Is Non-violence Good for Trenton High School?

Daryl Brooks

Trenton. N.J.—Daryl Brooks is a native of Trenton, N.J., and has been engaged in the community for over a decade as an activist. Brooks desires for his city to implement and embrace non-violent teachings. He is convinced that the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King. Jr., can help change the culture of violence in the city.
Trenton, the capital city of New Jersey, is known for its famous pork roll and violence. Lately, the city has experienced multiple homicides.  According to the local newspaper, The Trentonian, police officers were called to the home of Florence Grayson, 54, who had suffered several stab wounds to her body. In a separate incident, Benjamin DaVilla Jr., 23, was murdered in a drive-by shooting. And recently, James Turner, 18, was shot in the head and died on the scene. All fatalities occurred in October 2012.
Brooks believes the younger generation is surrounded by a culture of violence. “They see violence in the street and they see war. Violence is a major part of their lives,” lamented Brooks. Brooks believes the youth’s immediate access to violent content via smartphones, and other handheld devices, can be a contributing factor in perpetuating the culture of violence.
He might have a point, according to Albert Bandura, Jordan Professor (Emeritus) of Social Sciences in Psychology at Stanford University. The American Psychological Association posted an article citing Bandura’s research on their website. “Later research has shown that viewing violent acts on TV and in the movies affects people in other negative ways,” suggests the research. Also, Bandura’s research reveals that the effects manifests in ways such as:
-Decreasing viewers’ concern about victims’ suffering.
-Decreasing viewers’ sensitivity to violent acts.
- Increasing the likelihood that viewers will emulate the aggressive acts depicted in the show   or movie. Young children are especially vulnerable to the effects of observed violence.
Bandura’s analysis can be observed at Trenton Central High School High. While waiting in the main office to speak to vice principal Penny Brit, administrators and security were summoned to the third floor to break up a fight.
Brit is no pushover. She demands excellence and does not make excuses for her students when they make bad decisions. However, despite the students’ violent reputation and low graduation rate she has hope. “I am for these students,” says Brit.
She also lives in the reality that violence is a major problem for the neighborhood and the school. She is trying to combat the problem with non-violent strategies, mostly enforced by the state’s Anti-Bullying initiative. This month is Anti-Bullying month and they’re using this opportunity to confront these social ills with an event called “Winter Meet and Greet.”
Brits understanding of the violence at Trenton High is the same as Brooks. Brit attributes the violence to lack of social skills. She believes this program will equip students with practical skills to handle aggression. “Our students need it in the worse way. I see the way our students communicate on a daily basis. They don’t have enough opportunities to practice appropriate communication with each other that doesn’t involve violence and suspicion,” said Britt.
However, Brooks doesn’t like anti-bullying programs. He thinks they’re limited in scope. “They aren’t giving teenagers the skill to deal with aggression. When there is an act of violence, to whom do they send the teenagers? “Disciplinarians,” Brooks said. He continues, “the tradition of non-violence teachings would equip the students to think critically in a time of crisis. Potentially, the teachings can help keep the violator’s and the violated both from harming each other. “
According to Brit, they are also taking an initiative to build a relationship between the school and parents.  The PTA has just received funding to partner with parents in diffusing anger in the home. Brit says she welcomes any program that is catered to helping the students and community.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Nun gets nearly 3 years in prison for nuke protest


An 84-year-old nun was sentenced Tuesday to nearly three years in prison for breaking into a nuclear weapons complex and defacing a bunker holding bomb-grade uranium, a demonstration that exposed serious security flaws at the Tennessee plant....
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Reported by Powell Gammill

Ex-Soldier Convicted of Killing Iraqi Family Dies

02-18-2014 AP

A former soldier convicted in 2009 of raping and killing a teenage Iraqi girl and using a shotgun to gun down her family died in an Arizona prison over the weekend in what officials suspect was a suicide....
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Reported by Powell Gammill

North Korea Abuses Human Rights: Tell Us Something We Don't Already Know


02-19-2014 http://www.huffingtonpost.com, Ivan Eland
Yet public criticism of its human rights record by international bodies, such as the United Nations, and individual states, such as the Unite States, usually causes North Korea to deny it, then fume, and then continue or escalate the abusive practices just to spite the international community.
And Kim Jong-un, the young ruler of North Korea, may be even more ruthless and erratic than his despotic father, Kim Jong-il, and grandfather, Kim Il-sung. Yet the almost 65-year U.S.-led effort to isolate this regime has failed--as also has the 55-year attempt to do the same with the Castro brothers in Cuba. In both cases, isn't it time to try alternatives to these "isolationist" policies?
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Reported by Freedomsphoenix Readerfour

U.K. authorities grill Edward Snowden’s lawyer at Heathrow Airport

02-19-2014 TechDirt



One of the most chilling moments so far in the Snowden saga was when Glenn Greenwald's partner David Miranda was held and interrogated for nine hours at London's Heathrow airport by the UK authorities, in a series of moves worthy of a tinpot dictatorship. And in case you thought that was a one-off, they've done it again -- this time, to Jesselyn Radack, a lawyer who represents Snowden and has spoken on his behalf several times. Here's what happened....
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Reported by Powell Gammill

NJ Port Authority probing whether officer drove Chris Christie ally through Bridgegate area


02-19-2014 .
.... A source close to the Port Authority Police Department told The Star-Ledger on Sunday that the probe will focus on reports that Michaels, a 15-year veteran of the department and a member of its GWB unit, chauffeured former Port Authority official David Wildstein through Fort Lee's traffic-congested streets on the first of four days of closures. Wildstein is the former Christie-backed Port Authority official who ordered the closure of two of three local-access lanes from Fort Lee to the bridge....
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Reported by Powell Gammill

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Daryl Brooks Successfully Resists the State’s Attempt to Silence Him

Daryl Mikell Brooks

I got a  call from my friend Daryl Brooks last week.  You may recall that he did time for a travesty of justice that I will not get into.  To this day he has denied the allegations.
He was paroled.  The parole board told him to admit guilt but he would not.  He was paroled anyway.  He has been living, more or less, in the Trenton area and has resumed his activist ways over the past few years.  He has run for various offices, including the US Senate, even though he had no money or party support.  He has continually pushed for Immigration reform, prison reform, oversight of the criminal justice system, and for conservative causes.  The local politicians want to be rid of him because he tells the truth to anyone who will listen.
During his most recent parole review the board again told him to admit to the “crime”.  He refused.  They then took action to revoke his parole.  New Jersey Parole Board employees arrested Brooks May 2012, they charged him with violating conditions of his parole, citing his failure to admit guilt during counseling the Board forced him to undertake a few years ago despite years of infraction-free parole.
Brook’s May arrest forced him to spend his rent money on bail resulting in his eviction.
In bashing Brooks for parole violation Board personnel also barred him from the Internet.
Well, last week Daryl won.
The court threw out the state’s attempt to put him back into prison.  In doing so they upheld the first and  fifth amendments and the rights of everyone to resist the state’s attempts to control us.
Daryl is not yet out of the woods.  He is do to be done with all of parole this year.  The New Jersey goons will be watching his every step.  No doubt the want to arrest him for littering or jay walking.
In the eyes of the state Daryl Brooks has several strikes against him:  he is a conservative, he is an activist, and he stands up for what is right rather than what is convenient.  He has demonstrated the courage of his conviction (no pun intended) and has provided an example that most of us should follow.
By George Hathaway