The Daily GRRR! - Jan. 19, 2015 - Your “Ugh, Monday Morning” Edition

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Welcome back to SoundFM! You are now listening to The Daily GRRR! on the air every weekday morning from 9-10 a.m. here at 100.3fm, CKMS in Waterloo, Ontario, and SoundFM.ca on the web. This is Kathryn and I’ll be your host on this Monday morning show for January 19th, 2015.

As always, we are broadcasting from the heart of the Haldimand Tract, the occupied Grand River Territory of the Six Nations, which we continue to recognize as Haudenosaunee land.

The Daily GRRR! is a project of the Grand River Media Collective and is supported by the Community Radio Fund of Canada and CKMS.

We will begin today with headlines:
The Daily GRRR!
HEADLINES for Jan. 19, 2015
1. U.S. Supreme Court will rule on same-sex marriage rights once and for all
2. Anonymous targets Montreal police for mistreatment of city’s homeless
3. Former cop sues Baltimore PD for abuse after “snitching” on corruption
4. #BlackLivesMatter activists build solidarity bonds with trip to Palestine
5. Canada continues to back Gaza military siege amid growing BDS movement
6. Oscar nods shamefully preview the whitest Academy Awards since 1998

1. U.S. Supreme Court will rule on same-sex marriage rights once and for all

As reported by The Huffington Post, the U.S. Supreme Court may rule once and for all this year whether the constitutional guarantee of equal protection under the law gives same-sex American couples the right to marry and have their unions recognized nationwide. The Supreme Court will likely rule on the issue by June of this year, and the court said it would specifically address two questions: Does the 14th Amendment require a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex? And does the 14th Amendment require a state to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-state? The decision to take up the case returns the justices to a path that began in 2013, when the high court struck down parts of the Defense of Marriage Act, ruling 5-4 that key provisions of the 1996 law that banned the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages were unconstitutional.

Since then, and based largely on the decision in the DOMA case, federal courts around the country began striking down same-sex marriage bans in several states. By October 2014, when the Supreme Court rejected appeals from five states that wanted to bar gay marriage, every federal appeals court that had addressed the issue had held same-sex marriage bans unconstitutional. However, a 2-1 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit that upheld bans on same-sex marriage in Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky and Tennessee is the reason that the U.S. Supreme court is finally going to rule on the issue once and for all. It’s about time, too, as the addition of Florida earlier this month raised the U.S. total to 36 states (plus the District of Columbia) that now allow gay marriage. The Supreme Court's decision to take up the case is expected to extend marriage rights to the remaining 14 states.

2. Anonymous targets Montreal police for mistreatment of city’s homeless

As reported by Vice.com, members of the hacktivist collective Anonymous have launched new protests in reaction to the dismantling of a homeless camp at Viger Square in downtown Montreal as part of a project they started last year dubbed #OpSafeWinterMTL. The group has executed one distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack against the Montreal police and members are calling for a permanent moratorium on police winter raids of homeless encampments. On January 7, without warning and in the middle of a cold snap—when temperatures had dropped under -30 degrees Celsius during the night—city crews bulldozed the encampment while Montreal cops watched. Last week, in an interview with the CBC, Montreal police spokesman Laurent Gingras argued that it's a matter "of cleanliness, of public health," and that the City had mostly collected garbage and soiled needles. But in the words of one man who had been camping at the site for about three months, "There was some good stuff in there," and CBC's footage from the dismantling clearly shows bulldozers piling up mattresses, blankets, pillows and sleeping bags.

"This is all they have," an Anonymous activist told VICE, outraged at how the Montreal government destroyed and confiscated all their belongings—including winter gear provided by Op Safe Winter Montreal activists on December 23. "This has nothing to do with public health, it has to do with aesthetics. What's actually a hazard is still on the floor," the activist explained, pointing out that used syringes were still lying around in a corner of the destroyed encampment site. The encampment is located in the lower downtown area, right across the street from the construction site for a new university building and half a kilometre away from City Hall and the tourist-friendly district of Old Montreal—leading some to believe that the camp's removal had more to do with optics than public health and safety. "The encampment was tolerated for a long time," another Anonymous activist added, saying there was no reason to dismantle it in the middle of winter. In response to the city's raid on the homeless encampment, Anonymous launched a call for an occupation of the site and threatened the city of Montreal with attacks on its cyber infrastructure.

3. Former cop sues Baltimore PD for abuse after “snitching” on corruption

As reported by Counter Current News, Detective Joseph Crystal of the Baltimore Police Department says that he was targeted by other officers for trying to root out corruption. “If you snitch, your career is done,” one officer told him. He eventually became public enemy No. 1 inside the Baltimore Police Department, but before that, he was considered a rising star in law enforcement and, for him, “Being a cop… was a dream come true.” But that naively happy blue bubble was burst after he came forward to report the 2011 beating of a drug suspect by another officer. His testimony helped to secure convictions against the officer who beat the suspect and the sergeant who helped, and after that Crystal says that there was a systemic pattern of abuse against him by other officers which went so far as to endanger his life on the job: "Multiple times I called for back up and nobody came to back me up, in dangerous situations,” he said. “Nobody from my squad would ride with me because I talked about what happened. I had a sargeant call me and threaten me at my house and tell me I better pray I'm not the star witness. Somebody placed a dead rat on mine and my wife's car, and it just went on from there...I ended up making the decision to leave the police department." Now, Crystal is suing the Baltimore Police Department for failing to protect him from retaliation after he outed the bad cops in his department. So if that’s what they’ll do to one of their own, a young white male office who’s trying to do the right thing, just imagine what they’d be willing and capable of doing to someone who’s not white, who’s not male, and who’s never worn the uniform.

4. Canada continues to back Gaza military siege amid growing BDS movement

As reported by Rabble.ca, although the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza isn't an international political focus point right now, the crisis persists and deepens week-by-week, with almost daily Israeli violations of the unstable summer ceasefire and a military siege that creates the political, geographical and military conditions for another full blown crisis in the near future. In real human terms, the crisis in Gaza has never gone away and the UN's "Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism" has been described as a failure by people working on the ground, as only two per cent of the $5.4 billion pledged reconstruction aid has actually been delivered to Gaza. As Oxfam has said, "Only a full opening of all crossings to people and goods, including exports will enable Palestinian civilians in Gaza to restore their economy and escape the poverty the blockade has entrenched. The international community must press Israel for the blockade to be fully lifted, rather than only eased."

Canada continues to fully support the Israeli siege on Gaza and more generally the colonial military occupation of Palestinian lands. Just last month Canadian and Israeli officials jointly boycotted a United Nations conference in Geneva, looking at the issue of Israeli settlements, illegal under international law and also according to Canada's official policy. By extension, Conservative Foreign Minister John Baird stated at the time, that "we believe the Israelis are capable of investigating matters surrounding the events that took place in Gaza in the summer of 2014." So according to Canada today, a military force and country accused of war crimes within the UN should investigate itself? Really? Palestinians in Ramallah clearly thought this as absurd as we do, where dozens of protesters reportedly threw eggs and shoes at Conservative Foreign Minister John Baird during his visit to the Occupied West Bank this past weekend. Cheers, Palestine!

5. #BlackLivesMatter activists build solidarity bonds with trip to Palestine

As reported by Electronic Intifada, a group of activists, artists, musicians and journalists on the frontlines of the struggle against racist policing in the United States traveled to Palestine earlier this month to build on the growing bonds of solidarity between the Black American and Palestinian liberation struggles, which have intensified since last year’s uprising in Ferguson, Missouri. The historic delegation — which included lead organizers from Dream Defenders, Black Lives Matter, Black Youth Project 100 and Hands Up United — spent ten days linking up with Palestinian activists, and the group witnessed first-hand what it means to live under Israeli occupation and apartheid.

Since returning to the US, the group has released a powerful video of a flash mob demonstration it staged in Nazareth — a major city in historic Palestine — in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle against Israeli settler colonialism. “We came here to Palestine to stand in love and revolutionary struggle with our brothers and sisters,” says journalist Marc Lamont Hill, kicking off the demonstration. He continues: “We come to a land that has been stolen by greed and destroyed by hate. We come here and we learn laws that have been cosigned in ink but written in the blood of the innocent. And we stand next to people who continue to courageously struggle and resist the occupation, people who continue to dream and fight for freedom. From Ferguson to Palestine the struggle for freedom continues.”

6. Oscar nods shamefully preview the whitest Academy Awards since 1998

As reported by Jezebel.com and The Huffington Post, Thursday morning brought the Oscar nominations, and although it's gotten huge praise from critics and audiences alike, the civil rights film Selma received few nominations, and director Ava DuVernay did not become the first black woman to be nominated for best director. With zero acting nominations for that film ~ or any other people of colour in any other films ~ 2015 will be the worst year for diversity in Hollywood since the 70th annual ceremony back in ’98, which was the last whiteout for acting nominations (let alone wins) at the Academy Awards.

This is especially troubling when you consider that last year's Oscars was a banner year, with a Best Supporting Actress award for Lupita Nyong'o and Steve McQueen taking home the Best Picture title as producer for "12 Years a Slave." "Selma" is nominated in that category this year, so we may have a victory for Ava DuVernay's film, but that nod ~ and another "Selma" nomination for Best Original Song ~ hardly counts as redemption here. As Chris Rock wrote in his blistering essay for The Hollywood Reporter on the race problem in today’s still overwhelmingly white film industry, there are still far too few people of colour being recognized, but at least one non-white person has been nominated each year in the four acting categories since the last whitest Oscars ever, nearly two decades ago. Even that meagre run is over now though, and the calls for viewers to boycott the televised Oscars broadcast on February 22 have already begun.

Midway Music: Bile Rising by Compassion Gorilla

Feature: ”Hollywood’s political ignorance: What Cosby, “Selma” & Hebdo reveal about white liberal consciousness” by Dr. Brittney Cooper (co-founder of the Crunk Feminist Collective) for Salon.com
http://www.salon.com/2015/01/14/hollywoods_political_deafness_what_cosby...

The Daily GRRR! is on weekdays from 9-10am on 100.3fm CKMS in Waterloo, Ontario, and http://soundfm.ca on the web.

The Daily GRRR! is a project of the Grand River Media Collective and is supported by the Community Radio Fund of Canada and CKMS.

Closing Song: Killing God by Comrade Black

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