About Benjamin Melançon

Student-on-hold, ex-stocker and failed union agitator, ex-white-collar consultant and now co-founder and developer at Agaric Design Collective, making web sites with open source free software.

My Narcosphere intro.

Contact me.


Benjamin Melançon's Comments

NYC Police Breaking Up Occupy Wall Street Under False Pretext of Cleaning
Oct 14 2011 - 12:54pm
Drug war laws used for dreadful revenge against justice activist
Apr 5 2011 - 6:22am
East Harlem Victory Against Multinational Landlord
Oct 22 2009 - 3:43am
Tough Odds in Costa Rica Mediation
Jul 10 2009 - 5:24am
Coup and Me Against the World
Jul 3 2009 - 10:53am

If Drugs Were Legal, My Friend Would Be Alive Today

If drugs were legal, my friend Andrew would not have died Sunday night.

This was not my first reaction. My first reaction was unfocused rage (which itself seems to be a coping method when faced with overwhelming sadness).

Photographs from Guatemala's Civil War: Book Kickstarter

This is the only book of photographs that covers Guatemala’s brutal war. It is important to make it accessible in towns that need it most and for people who will use it for teaching the history of Guatemala’s armed conflict.


Brutal Consequences of a Dirty Lie Hit Home in Oakland

The city government of Oakland, California, destroyed an entire community -- two weeks old but a truer community than many in the city, founded on the Constitutional right to assemble and petition for redress of grievances -- on the pretext that improving sanitary conditions required violence against people and destruction of property.

NYC Police Breaking Up Occupy Wall Street Under False Pretext of Cleaning

I've spent a few nights and parts of days at Zuccotti Park and a large number of the broad range of people there have stepped up to clean the place constantly.  The ground is swept and washed, all trash is picked up, old cardboard is moved out, you name it, there's a committee or an individual taking responsibility for it.
The official right-wing echo chamber line (going by the presumption that repetition by Tea Party organizations and Republican politicians means it was handed down from Karl Rove) is that the occupiers are litterers.  This is simp

Drug war laws used for dreadful revenge against justice activist

Civil rights activist Catrina Wallace, who received national attention for her role in organizing protests around the Jena Six case, was convicted today of three counts of distribution of a controlled substance. Wallace, who is 30, became an activist after her brother, Robert Bailey, was arrested and charged with attempted murder for a school fight. Bailey and five others later became known as the Jena Six. Their case eventually brought 50,000 people on a march through the town of Jena, and as a result of the public pressure the six young men were eventually freed. The six young men are all now in college or - in the case of the youngest - on their way.

Read: Jena Six Activist Convicted, Faces Decades in Prison

And more, also from a person from the Louisiana Justice Institute

In Peru massive police attack on non-violent indigenous protesters blockading roads in protest of FTA

From a Quixote Center announcement:

At dawn on Friday, June 5th, 600 Peruvian police in helicopters and on foot opened fire on thousands of peaceful indigenous protesters blocking a road near Bagua in the Peruvian Amazon. Conservative estimates indicate that 60 indigenous and police have been killed.   Police are accused of burning indigenous bodies, throwing them in the river and removing wounded from the hospital to hide the real number of casualties.

For two months, over 30,000 indigenous have sustained nonviolent protests along the roads and waterways of the Amazon.  These protests are in response to a series of Presidential decrees issued under the U.S.-Peru FTA implementation law that violate indigenous rights and open the way for an unprecedented expansion of new transnational petroleum, mining, logging and mono-cropping in the Amazon rainforest.

Rainforest Action Network asks for letters to the Peruvian president, Alan Garcia.

Below are some photographs of the attack from Amazon Watch (CAUTION: graphic images). Very high quality versions of these photos can be obtained from a link in AmazonWatch's report and press release on the attack.

Oppression of dissent during the two party pageantry, and dissent itself, ignored by mainstream, liberals

Police use of unnecessary force reframes public discussion away from critical analysis of the way things are run now, Legba Carrefour reports (republished on Douglas Rushkoff's blog). As part of this there has been an apparent targeting of media and support groups. Carrefour writes that police set up:

Barack Obama speaks to UNITY Journalists of Color Convention [RAW NOTES]

This is a reporter's notebook in the real sense-- raw notes, to be turned into an article next time I have Internet.


Environmental conservation in the forests of Petén, Guatemala, must address people's needs also

Officials and NGO representatives from the Guatemalan state of Petén flew to the capital "for an impromptu meeting with President Álvaro Colóm, who is unveilling a proposal that he says will promote forest conservation on a grand scale," Michael Stoll reports from Guatemala.

When Frames Go Bad: My Apology to NYT Reporter Jens Erik Gould

[This piece is cross-posted from PBS.org Mediashift / Knight Foundation blog, Idealab, as a follow-up to an article there which I based on polls reported at Narco News predicting a reform win in the Venezuelan Constitutional referendum.]

A previous post of mine  had an inflammatory headline unjustified by the text: "Lies about Venezuela:  If NYT.com ran Related Content".

I was guilty of looking at Jens Erik Gould's article, "Venezuela's Fateful Choice," through a frame: that major media  coverage overwhelmingly seeks to portray the Venezuelan government as illegitimate and bad.  My own view (frame) that the New York Times has that overall frame overrode a good analysis of the article.  I apologize specifically to the reporter.  Gould's article, while (despite the headline) primarily about accusations that the Venezuelan government lacks financial transparency, was not by itself part of the anti-democratic, pro-elite frame which I accuse the New York Times of employing against Venezuela.  (Broadly, this frame or lens is applied by major U.S. media against the world.)

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