Tag Archives | Activism

Jimmy Carter’s Blood-Drenched Legacy

Randy von Liski (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Randy von Liski (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Matt Peppe writes at CounterPunch:

A few days ago former President Jimmy Carter announced that he has cancer and it is spreading. While it would be premature to assume this spells the end for the 90-year-old, it does present an opportunity to take stock of the tenure of a President who, like the current occupant of the White House, entered office with a promise to respect human rights, but failed miserably when given the opportunity to do so.

Carter just last month published a memoir about his “Full Life.” Others have begun to look back at his four years as President. David Macaray, writing in CounterPunch on 8/14/15, noted that despite his reputation as a President so hapless his fellow Democrats tried to knock him off in a primary, “a closer look shows that Carter accomplished some fairly important things during his single term in office – things that, given the near-paralytic gridlock that defines today’s politics, seem all the more impressive in hindsight.”

Macaray lists 10 accomplishments which were, indeed, impressive.

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Revolutionary Potential: Default En Masse

$alt BlogAn op-ed in the New York Times from June, entitled “Why I Defaulted on My Student Loans,” features a picture of a bank-note burning like a draft-card in the Vietnam days. The story begins atomized as the author, Lee Siegel, recalls taking out his first student loan along with his parents at the age of 17, to be met with ‘congratulations,’ from the banker, “as if I had just won some kind of award rather than signed away my young life.”

Soon after, the author was faced with a decision. He could give up on his dreams of being a writer to pursue a life of quiet desperation, working a shit job for shit pay to pay off his massive student debt. Or he could default. The author says, “I could take what I had been led to believe was both the morally and legally reprehensible step of defaulting on my student loans, which was the only way I could survive without wasting my life in a job that had nothing to do with my particular usefulness to society.”

They decided on the latter noting that “It struck me as absurd that one could amass crippling debt as a result, not of drug addiction or reckless borrowing and spending, but of going to college.” As a result of this absurdity “having opened a new life to me beyond my modest origins, the education system was now going to call in its chits and prevent me from pursuing that new life, simply because I had the misfortune of coming from modest origins.”

As a result, Siegel notes that “The banks that made them have all gone under.… Read the rest

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Vibrant online communities? Or cesspools of abuse? Have comments had their day?

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via BBC:

Vibrant online communities? Or cesspools of abuse? Have comments had their day?

The debate about comment sections on news sites is often as divisive as the comments themselves. Recently outlets such as The Verge and The Daily Dothave closed their comments sections because they’ve become too hard to manage. And they’re far from alone. Moderating comments is a full-time job (or several full-time jobs) at many news organisations. Officiating comments on a BBC News story requires knowledge of more than a dozen different disqualifying categories. Alongside shouting, swearing and incivility, comment sections can also attract racism and sexism. BBC Trending recently found evidence of the latter when looking at live streaming app Periscope.

That’s the downside. But it’s also worth remembering that many news organisations – including the BBC – have used comments sections to make real connections with audiences, find stories, and turn what was once a one-way street into a multi-headed conversation.

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The Future of Work: We Have Been Here Before

Nana B Agyei (CC BY 2.0)

Nana B Agyei (CC BY 2.0)

Paul Saffo via Pacific Standard:

The latest entry in a special project in which business and labor leaders, social scientists, technology visionaries, activists, and journalists weigh in on the most consequential changes in the workplace.

This is not the first time society has fretted over the impact of ever-smarter machines on jobs and work—and not the first time we have overreacted. In the Depression-beset 1930s, labor Jeremiahs warned that robots would decimate American factory jobs. Three decades later, mid-1960s prognosticators offered a hopeful silver lining to an otherwise apocalyptic assessment of automation’s dark cloud: the displacement of work and workers would usher in a new “leisure society.”

Reality stubbornly ignored 1930s and 1960s expectations. The robots of extravagant imagination never arrived. There was ample job turbulence but as Keynes forecast in 1930, machines created more jobs than they destroyed. Boosted by a World War, unemployment dropped from a high of 25 percent in 1933 to under two percent in 1944.

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Human Rights Organisation Calls for Decriminalizing Prostitution

el-toro (CC BY 2.0)

el-toro (CC BY 2.0)

Michaela Whitton via antimedia:

(ANTIMEDIAUnited Kingdom —Amnesty International is facing an intense backlash after announcing its intention to adopt a policy supporting the decriminalization of sex work. The organisation’s recently released “Draft Policy on Sex Work” will be considered at Amnesty’s main decision making forum, the International Council Meeting (ICM), in Dublin later this week.

The policy essentially endorses the full decriminalization of the sex industry, including the legalisation of pimps, brothels and the purchase of sex. It also acknowledges that Amnesty’s position on trafficking and the criminalisation of forced prostitution has not changed.

Within 24 hours of the proposed policy being announced, an international grassroots campaign was launched urging Amnesty to stand with those exploited in the sex trade. A wave of scathing criticism and dismay was unleashed by an array of human rights groups, celebrities, and organisations.

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Capitalism-Loving Disease: Xinjiang’s hidden HIV epidemic

Raising community awareness of HIV/AIDS in China, 2006. Photo: AusAID via Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australia

Raising community awareness of HIV/AIDS in China, 2006. Photo: AusAID via Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australia

Casey Halter via Hopes&Fears:

Last January, one of Western China’s foremost HIV/AIDS advocates was arrested by the People’s Republic of China on charges of “endangering state security.” Human rights activists say no one has heard from—or about—him ever since.

The man who disappeared was Akbar Imin, one of the country’s 11-15 million Muslim Uyghur minorities, a Turkic-speaking ethnic population located on the fringes of secular Chinese society. Born in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region in China’s far Northwest, Imin had been working since 2009 for the PRC government’s Development Research Center in Beijing, tasked with gearing up drug abuse and HIV/AIDS prevention strategies among Uyghur migrants in the nation’s capital up until he was thrown in jail.

Official reports about Akbar Imin’s detainment didn’t even come out until two full months after his arrest, Greg Fay, project manager at the Washington D.C.-based Uyghur Human Rights Project, told Hopes&Fears.

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42 Years Later, Officers Charged for Murder of Defiant Chilean Folk Singer

"Víctor Jara" by Source. Licensed under Fair use of copyrighted material in the context of Víctor Jara">Fair use via Wikipedia.

Víctor Jara” by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia.

This post originally appeared on Common Dreams. To see more of Sarah Lazare’s articles, go here.

More than four decades after the Chilean military tortured and killed beloved folk singer, playwright, and social activist Victor Jara during the coup of General Augusto Pinochet, former officers allegedly involved in the murder are finally facing charges.

Judge Miguel Vázquez Plaza on Wednesday announced homicide and kidnapping charges against 10 former military officers, including former lieutenant Pedro Barrientos Nuñez, a resident of Florida who is seeking to avoid extradition to Chile. Four of the people indicted have already turned themselves in, and arrests are expected to follow.

Charges were also levied Wednesday for the slaying of Littre Quiroga Carvajal, former military police chief.

Jara’s widow, Joan Turner Jara, told reporters that the development offers a “message of hope,” but she went further, saying “we’re pushing forward in demanding justice for Victor with the hope that justice will follow for everyone.”

Over 40,000 people were tortured, murdered, or held as political prisoners during Pinochet’s dictatorship, which lasted for decades and was backed by the United States.

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White House Rejects Petition to Pardon Snowden

A petition calling for clemency for NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden was denied on Tuesday. (Photo: August Kelm/flickr/cc)

A petition calling for clemency for NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden was denied on Tuesday. (Photo: August Kelm/flickr/cc)

This article originally appeared on Common Dreams. See more of Nadia Prupis’ articles here.

The White House on Tuesday formally rejected a ‘We the People’ petition to pardon Edward Snowden, the National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower who has been living in exile since exposing the U.S. government’s invasive spying operation in 2013.

More than 167,000 people signed the petition urging the government to grant him clemency, stating in their petition that Snowden is “a national hero … [who] should be immediately issued a full, free, and absolute pardon for any crimes he has committed or may have committed related to blowing the whistle on secret NSA surveillance programs.”

Not only will Snowden not be pardoned, the Obama administration said, he should face criminal charges for his actions.

“Mr. Snowden’s dangerous decision to steal and disclose classified information had severe consequences for the security of our country and the people who work day in and day out to protect it,” Lisa Monaco, adviser to President Barack Obama on homeland security and counter-terrorism, said in a statement on Tuesday.

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