Obama introduces 'Our Stripes,' 'O' replaces stars

The official Barack Obama campaign is selling a new American flag print, with the Obama campaign logo replacing the field of stars representing the United States.

Designed by artists Ross Bruggink and Dan Olson, the Obama campaign calls it "Our Stripes."

It took two people to design that?

Give Hugo Chavez some credit.  When he redesigned the Venezuelan flag to represent his socialist views, even he wasn't narcissistic enough to put himself on it.

Urban Outfitters hawks shirt honoring mass murderer

An Open Letter to Urban Outfitters Regarding their Che Guevara Merchandise

September 19, 2012

Ted Marlow
CEO, Urban Outfitters
30 Industrial Park Blvd.
Trenton, SC 29847

Dear Mr. Marlow,

The Human Rights Foundation recently became aware of the sale of merchandise at Urban Outfitters emblazoned with the image of communist leader Che Guevara, at times accompanied by the word "revoluciĆ³n." As a nonprofit organization dedicated to the defense of human rights, we would like to bring your attention to Guevara's bloody and anti-democratic legacy.

Although Guevara's image has appeared on countless items for purchase over the last few decades as a symbol of change for the better, Guevara's actual record is that of a brutal tyrant who suppressed individual freedom in Cuba and murdered those who challenged his worldview.

Che Guevara
A romanticized poster of Che Guevara currently for sale on the Urban Outfitters website
Guevara undoubtedly played a key role in the overthrow of the dictatorial Batista regime in January of 1959. However, despite promises of a new democratic government, within a few months he and Fidel Castro had designed and installed a full-blown police state that deprived the overwhelming majority of Cuban citizens of democracy and human rights.

From 1959 to 1960, the new government carried out summary executions of at least 1,118 people by firing squad. Guevara himself presided over the notorious La CabaƱa prison, where hundreds of the executions took place. For comparison's sake, the Batista regime was responsible for 747 noncombatant deaths between 1952 and 1959. The Cuban revolution under the direction of Guevara also saw the rise of forced labor camps which gave way a few years later to full-scale concentration camps. These were filled with dissidents, homosexuals, Jehovah's Witnesses, Afro-Cuban priests, and anyone else who had committed "crimes" against the new moral revolution.

Despite the mountain of evidence for these abuses, much of which comes directly from Guevara's own meticulous journals, popular culture still largely views him as a revolutionary of the people. Urban Outfitters is certainly not the only company to take advantage of Guevara's fame to sell merchandise.

We urge you to consider that the image of Guevara represents tyranny and repression for the millions of people who have suffered under communism. Fifty-three years after Guevara's rise to power, Cuba is still ruled by the Communist party, while all alternative political parties and dissenting civil society groups are outlawed. Any expression of dissent is considered a subversive act, a free press does not exist, and the government regularly imprisons those who speak out. Mr. Marlow, the Cuban government of today, a legacy of Guevara, is the most repressive regime in the Western hemisphere.

These facts forced Polish lawmakers to recently propose a ban on t-shirts with Guevara's image, as part of a previous law banning fascist and totalitarian propaganda. HRF does not advocate the banning of an image--no matter how offensive. Freedom of expression is a human right, and of course Urban Outfitters is free to choose how to design its merchandise.

However, HRF does question the motives of Urban Outfitters in lionizing a murderer who did not even make an attempt to hide his bloody ideology. In a speech in front of the United Nations in 1964, Guevara proudly admitted that "yes, we have executed, we are executing, we will continue to execute." He boasted of murdering Eutimio Guerra, bragging in his diary how he "ended the problem with a .32 caliber pistol, in the right side of his brain." He believed in doing anything it took to achieve "the greater good" he envisioned for Cuba--including nuclear annihilation of the United States.

During the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, Guevara favored engaging in nuclear war to "build a better world." After the crisis was averted he lamented Soviet inaction, stating that if the missiles had been under Cuban control, he would have fired them. There is evidence that Guevara was involved in a November 1962 terrorist plot to use 1,200 pounds of TNT to blow up Macy's, Gimbels, Bloomingdale's, and Grand Central Station on the day after Thanksgiving, the busiest shopping day of the year. "At every stage of his adult life," one historian noted of Guevara, "his megalomania manifested itself in the predatory urge to take over other people's lives and property, and to abolish their free will."

Is this really someone that Urban Outfitters wants to emblazon and celebrate on its products?
For the sake of the 1.47 billion people still living under the yoke of communist rule, for the sake of the thousands who perished in the Cuban revolution, and for the sake of the 11 million Cubans who still endure a totalitarian system, we hope Urban Outfitters will reconsider its marketing strategy and set a moral example for the apparel industry.

Sincerely yours,

Thor Halvorssen
Human Rights Foundation

Stockman warns Kountze ISD to stop banning religion

Former U.S. Congressman Steve Stockman, the Republican nominee for the U.S. House in the 36th District, warned the Kountze Independent School District Wednesday to listen to citizens and restore the right of religious expression at school events.  Stockman is organizing citizen opposition to the ban on religion.

“I will not allow school officials to ban religion like we’re in San Francisco or something.  The First Amendment is clear.  Government officials cannot legally ban religion.  Kountze ISD is setting itself up for an expensive courtroom loss,” warned Stockman.

“I am consulting with constitutional experts to see what legal action may be taken against Kountze ISD.  Banning religion is a direct assault on our founding principles.  This is East Texas, not San Francisco.  The superintendent can either overturn his ban on religion, or pack his bags,” said Stockman.

School administrators banned run-through banners at football games that display religious messages, after receiving one complaint about a banner that paraphrased the Bible.

While government-directed religious expression is legally troublesome, religious expression by students themselves is protected by the First Amendment.

“We can’t allow one bully to strip thousands of citizens of a constitutionally-protected right to engage in religious expression,” said Stockman.  “The superintendent cowered to the East Coast ACLU liberals.”

Stockman is urging citizens, specially those in the Kountze ISD, to contact the school board at 409-246-3352 and smathews@kountzeisd.org to urge administrators to overturn the speech ban.  Kountze is in the 36th Congressional District.

“Congress’ job is to protect citizens from abuse by government officials. If school administrators will not repeal the ban, we will repeal the administrators,” said Stockman.