Views in brief

Punished for protecting my son

I WAS sentenced to 100 days in jail for not forcing my teenage son to visit his absent, "allegedly" abusive father. You can read about some of my case online. I'm still trying to get it all posted.

I almost don't know where to start. The details have become exhausting! I'm a stay-at-home mom to three boys from Charlotte, N.C. I have a 15-year-old son who has been raised by my husband since he was a baby. There is a 12-year-old court order for visitation in place for the biological father, but he's never exercised it.

Last year, the father contacted my husband and me wanting to visit his son more regularly. We offered to accommodate his requests, but after his demands became unworkable, we turned to the family court system for help.

My teenage son does not want to see his father, who has a long history of absence and domestic violence. We were essentially asking the court and the father for a reunification plan with counseling. What I received from Judge David Emerson was a 100-day jail sentence for "denying visitation" to the father.

I'm not just writing because I was sentenced to jail. I'm writing because I'm scared of what the father, his crazy attorney and Judge Emerson might do if my case goes "unchecked" or unnoticed by the public. The father has requested that I be immediately incarcerated. My attorney says most of their filings are legal.

I need attention brought to the case so that this court has some accountability. Otherwise, I'm seriously concerned about the outcome.

Please visit my Facebook page. I can get you all the court documents so you can see (I hate saying this because I'm really not a "conspiracy theorist" person) but I need the media to see how the court is allowing this man to use the court to abuse, lie and prosecute me.
Terri Baker, from the Internet

Will Obama deliver in his second term?

IN RESPONSE to "Election Day winners and losers": Those left-of-center Americans who had opted to vote for a "lesser evil" than the bigger evil in the shape of Mitt Romney have some ground to celebrate after Obama's re-election. In fact, anything was possible; Romney could have also found his way to the White House. The American political system is deeply flawed and has become more moldy and outdated. It does not represent the hopes and aspirations of the American people any longer.

The presidential election itself is a contest in which Big Money talks and imposes its decisions on the masses. Actual problems facing the superpower that has hegemony over a large part of humanity and many regions of the world are brushed aside, and a diversionary picture is put before the electorate that produces much sound, but signifies nothing. Big gala shows and rallies make the whole thing look comical, like a cheap advertisement. That's not what democracy is about--and it's not justified to hide the concerns of millions of ordinary men and women and their economic and social hardships.

President Obama in his first term proved to be a true representative of the American military-industrial complex. He picked up where Bush had left off. He also extended the Afghan war of aggression into Pakistan and, in a most cowardly fashion, has been conducting the killings of Pakistani "militants" by drone attack. The people of Pakistan and other places who become victims of such assassinations have no means at their disposal to combat the advanced technological robots that kill them at his orders.

Now the question is: Will he continue his policy of such killings and disregard international law and the Geneva Conventions? Like Bush and Condoleezza Rice, Obama's foreign policy in the Middle East has been a total charade. Has he any sense of moral responsibility towards the Palestinian people, who are still under occupation of Israel and its cruel policies? Without American military and financial support, Israel couldn't have carried out the occupation or oppression of a captive population.

These things are not a secret and certainly President Obama is well aware of all these things. Now he has a new four-year term of office. Will he be able to change the course of his foreign policy, or will he continue to do what he has done during the last four years? Only time will tell. But he has some opportunity to show respect to international law, the Geneva Conventions and to stop the illegal killing of people in foreign countries. He can also advance the cause of peace in the Middle East, not by reiterating the American mantra about the "security of Israel," but by standing for the legitimate rights of the Palestinians under Israeli occupation and oppression.

We will judge president for his actions, not his words. Let's hope his words and actions match from now on. The oppressed and victimized people and nations at the hands of U.S. imperialism and its allies will be truly glad if Obama shows resolute courage to stand for what is right, and not military might.
Nasir Khan, Oslo, Norway

How Wal-Mart grinds its workers down

IN RESPONSE to "Standing up to make Wal-Mart respect us": I, too, am a Wal-Mart associate, and at the store I work at, things are getting worse every day. There is a sense that if you even utter the word "union," then you are a bad person.

I never really liked the ideas of unions. I grew up in a town that is now hardly a town because the people working in the unionized factories themselves became greedy and wanted more then they really honestly deserved. However, I do believe in fair rights for employees, safe working conditions and better treatment by employers.

I have been yelled at by my managers, belittled and forced to do jobs I am not really able to preform due to a birth defect--but that I do because I am told that, if I don't do the job, I can leave. One "boss" pulls everyone off of our floor to unload and pull the trucks, and on Black Friday, another pulled me to unload a grocery truck, leaving me alone. That's not just wrong, it's dangerous.

The majority of Wal-Mart associates like myself do not stand up because we are worried about losing our jobs. We were told in the days leading up to Thanksgiving that if we called in, walked out or didn't show up, we were going to be fired. I need the money I make, the little that it is (less than a $1000 a month) in order to pay my house payment, put food on the table and keep the electric on. I have no other provider, it is left to me and me alone!

Keep up the fight for workers' rights--make Robert Owen proud!
Callie, Waynesburg, Ky.