But back to Red China's tyrants...the link above actually points to the website of Ethan Zuckerman, whom many of us here in Manila just met -- with the most salutary of effects -- during the Free Expression in Asian Cyberspace Conference last week. He's associated with Harvard University Law School's Berkman Center for Internet and Society and his most excellent technical presentation on Internet filtering and censorship in China and elsewhere is to be found at the FEAC Conference proceedings, complete with pod- and videocasts too. The issue is repression of freedom of speech and expression in China and revolves around the arrest and disappearance of Chinese documentary film-maker Hao Wu--
Hao Wu (Chinese name:呉皓 “Wu Hao”), a Chinese documentary filmmaker who lived in the U.S. between 1992 and 2004, was detained by the Beijing division of China’s State Security Bureau on the afternoon of Wednesday, Febuary 22, 2006. On that afternoon, Hao had met in Beijing with a congregation of a Christian church not recognized by the Chinese government, as part of the filming of his next documentary.Many local bloggers also had the pleasure last week of meeting REBECCA MACKINNON of Harvard University's Global Voices Online. Ms. MacKinnon is a former CNN broadcast journalist turned blogger with long and extensive experience in China, fluent in Mandarin and quite knowledgeable with the territory. Indeed, some of us first met her at IBLOG2, the conference at UP Law School a week ago today. Much valuable information has been transmitted to the Southeast Asian blogosphere through her presentations at both recent conferences here in Manila. The Chinese film-maker Hao Wu is a Global Voices Online's China editor and his case is only one of many in China.
For an overview of the status of press freedom in Asia, lookup the presentation of Rapporteurs Sans Frontieres at the FEAC conference last week.
IMMIGRATION IN AMERICA But since we are speaking today of noteworthing Filipinos who are making their mark far away from the homeland archipelago, here is email from RODEL RODIS, President of the San Francisco City School Board, and like Michelle Malkin, also a great Filipino-American patriot, who however, may differ strongly with Michelle Malkin on the issue of immigration in America. I give way to Rodel today to say his piece about a certain piece of legislation in the U.S. that may be of deep interest to many Filipinos and Filipino-Americans. Rodel doesn't think criminalizing the TNT's is a good idea...
RODEL RODIS: "HR 4437 will criminalize the 12 million undocumented immigrants in the US. Once the bill passes and becomes law, there will instantly be 12 million new felons in the United States.Rodel Rodis is also published by the Philippines News in San Francisco and the Philippine Daily Inquirer INQ7.net online edition in Manila. That Left-Right divide in America is really opening up...
As it stands today, "unlawful presence" in the United States is not considered a crime but rather a civil violation of US immigration laws. When illegal immigrants are apprehended only by agents of the US Department of Homeland Security, they are placed in deportation or “removal” proceedings, which are civil, not criminal, in nature. If they have no affirmative relief available, they are deported back to their home countries.
Under the Sensenbrenner bill, however, these same undocumented immigrants can be arrested by any federal, state or local authorities and handed over to the feds where they will then be charged in federal court (because it would be a federal offense, not a state crime) with being in unlawful presence in the US.
The US Constitution will provide these 12 million accused felons with certain rights that apply to all people in the US, regardless of whether they are US citizens or accused “illegal aliens”.
For example, they will be entitled to be presumed innocent until proven guilty as, after all, some of them may have been born here or are the beneficiaries of approved visa petitions. Unlike in civil deportation proceedings, they will be provided with free legal counsel if they cannot afford one. Under the famous Gideon’s Law, indigent criminal defendants are provided with taxpayer-paid federal public defenders. Because it is a criminal charge, the defendants are also entitled to a trial by jury.
How many federal courtrooms, judges (which require confirmation by the US Senate), prosecutors, defense counsel, bailiffs, court reporters, jurors will be needed to prosecute 12 million defendants?
According to the US Department of Justice, there are currently 2,135,901 prisoners held all over the United States in federal, state and local jails. US authorities will have to provide more prisons to house an additional 12 million felons, six times the current capacity, who, if found guilty, will be required to serve time in jail before being deported. More prisons will require more prison guards, food and inmate clothing.
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger estimates that the cost of enforcing the Sensenbrenner bill would be 500 billion dollars a year (which is larger than the annual budget for US defense). California spends $31,000 a year to house, feed and guard each inmate. One million inmates would cost $31-B a year. Twelve million inmates would cost about $400-B. Fortunately for the Governator, it will not be California’s problem because they would be federal inmates.
The 12 million new felons would not include another 50 million relatives, friends and co-workers who would also be charged with aiding and abetting the felons. This would include the Catholic Church which has gone on the record as stating that it will continue to help the poor and the sick and the needy, even if they don’t have legal papers.
Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony has announced that Catholic priests are obligated to disobey such a law because Pope John Paul II and other popes have taught that nations with resources have a moral obligation to accommodate people fleeing persecution or economic hardship - regardless of legal status.
Besides, about 30 percent of the nearly 65 million U.S. Catholics are Hispanic, including about 6 million "undocumented" Mexicans. And there are at least 500,000 Filipinos “illegals” (“TNTs”) who are also mostly Catholic.
And what would happen to California’s $65-B a year agricultural industry? Who would pick the grapes, the lettuce and tomatoes? Americans will have to be willing to pay $20 for one tomato to defray the high costs of hiring Americans to work the agricultural fields. Prices will skyrocket and taxes will hit the roof.
President Bush may reluctantly be compelled to rescind the huge tax cuts he gave to his rich friends and campaign donors just to pay for some of the enormous costs that would come with the passage of the Sensenbrenner Bill.
OSAMA BIN LADEN TAPE STIRS THE INFIDELS Another A-lister in the blogosphere, Filipino-Australian editor of Pajamas Media, Richard Fernandez, (Wretchard of the Belmont Club: Emanations from a Cave) weighs in on the recent audio tape message from Osama bin Laden. Wretchard notes the fact that OBL includes in his anti-Western rant the issue of those Danish Mohammed cartoons, on which Philippine Commentary did many posts. For example, Bitter Herbs and Purple Flowers and Global Jihad Against Journalists?
Author and Readers of Philippine Commentary explored and debated the civil rights dimensions of the Mohammed Cartoons issue in several posts:
On the Separation of Church and Press
The Responsible Journalism of Conrado de Quiros
Democracy Saves Religions From Each Other
Alert readers will note the breadth of the political spectrum -- from Right to Left -- that supports freedom and democracy all over the world, both online and not.
Nothing unites -- or divides -- the global blogosphere than these transcendental issues of freedom, democracy and religion! Rely on Philippine Commentary to keep them in focus and close to heart.
Hat Tip to Lord Dracula for the Heads Up: Supreme Court Decision on Calibrated Pre-emptive Response is up on their Beta Web Site.