Tag Archives | Human Rights

Utopia Through Digital Cooperation, Bitcoin and a Little Bit of Gin. Featuring Jeffrey Tucker

PIC: Philafrenzy (PD)

PIC: Philafrenzy (PD)

Via Midwest Real

“You can look at the historical trajectory.  From a technological point of view, we’ve gone to ever-more aggregated collectives… And now, in the last 15 years we’ve seen this great innovation of open source distributed networks and peer-to-peer relationships that distribute power equally… Bitcoin fits into this because it’s the ultimate peer-to-peer monetary system.  You don’t have to depend on some powerful third party… You just take the power on your own and possess it and own it and control your life, and that’s what we all want.” – Jeffrey Tucker

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Nearly 1,000 Workers Have Already Died Building Qatar’s World Cup Infastructure

qatarOur global sporting championship has a higher blood toll than the Hunger Games. Via the Smithsonian:

In 2022, Qatar will host the World Cup. Since 2012, about 900 workers have died while working on infrastructure in Qatar, in a building boom anticipating the World Cup.

A report by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) says that if conditions don’t get any better, by the time the World Cup kicks off, at least 4,000 migrant workers will have died on the job. For comparison, only six workers have died during construction for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil that starts this summer.

Workers described forced labour in 50C (122F) heat, employers who retain salaries for several months and passports making it impossible for them to leave and being denied free drinking water. The investigation found sickness is endemic among workers living in overcrowded and insanitary conditions and hunger has been reported.

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Overpopulation Is Not the Problem

Malthus cautioned law makers on the effects of...

Malthus cautioned law makers on the effects of poverty reduction policies. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) (PD)

Adhering to the apocalyptic overpopulation narrative  has proven to encourage human rights atrocities. It has the effect of dragging anchor on social progress and innovation. To move forward, I feel it is in all of our best interests to weigh anchor, sail out to the horizon, and throw Malthus overboard on the way. What say you, disinfonauts?

via The New York Times

MANY scientists believe that by transforming the earth’s natural landscapes, we are undermining the very life support systems that sustain us. Like bacteria in a petri dish, our exploding numbers are reaching the limits of a finite planet, with dire consequences. Disaster looms as humans exceed the earth’s natural carrying capacity. Clearly, this could not be sustainable.

This is nonsense. Even today, I hear some of my scientific colleagues repeat these and similar claims — often unchallenged.

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New Mexico Woman Billed $5,000 After Horrific 6-Hour Cavity Search At U.S. Border

borderPerhaps most horrifying is that a hospital and its medical staff actively went along with this. The El Paso Times reports:

In a federal lawsuit filed Wednesday in El Paso by the American Civil Liberties Union, a 54-year-old New Mexico woman claims that she underwent a brutal six-hour full-body cavity search by federal officers that included anal and vaginal probes that made her feel like an “animal.”

The woman also is suing University Medical Center, where while handcuffed she was forced to have an observed bowel movement, was X-rayed, had a speculum exam, vaginal exam and had a CT scan. The suit claims the hospital then gave her the $5,000 bill. Despite the six-hour search at the [border] and then later at UMC, no drugs were found.

The search took place when the woman was coming back from seeing a family friend, whom she calls “uncle” and tries to visit once a month.

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Bank Tellers Rely On Public Assistance, Too

If you think working for a bank is a  good idea, because a bank is a lucrative business, a business which is responsible for handing out the currency that keeps the economy running, the people working, and the masses fed, then why are bank tellers in the same boat as fast food workers and Wal-Mart employees?

VIA CBS Money Watch

Taxpayers spend $899 million annually in state and federal benefits to support bank tellers and their families, according to a new report from The Committee for Better Banks.

One-third of bank tellers receive some sort of public assistance, ranging from Medicaid to food stamps, the financial industry employee advocacy group found, citing research from the University of California-Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education. In New York state, almost 40 percent of bank tellers and their family members are enrolled in public assistance programs, costing the state and federal governments $112 million in benefits.

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America’s Plan to Kill Online Privacy Rights Everywhere

Dilma Roussef graffitiThe United States of America is shaping up as the evil totalitarian state of the 21st Century if this report from Foreign Policy‘s The Cable is correct:

The United States and its key intelligence allies are quietly working behind the scenes to kneecap a mounting movement in the United Nations to promote a universal human right to online privacy, according to diplomatic sources and an internal American government document obtained by The Cable.

The diplomatic battle is playing out in an obscure U.N. General Assembly committee that is considering a proposal by Brazil and Germany to place constraints on unchecked internet surveillance by the National Security Agency and other foreign intelligence services. American representatives have made it clear that they won’t tolerate such checks on their global surveillance network. The stakes are high, particularly in Washington — which is seeking to contain an international backlash against NSA spying – and in Brasilia, where Brazilian President Dilma Roussef is personally involved in monitoring the U.N.

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Why Snowden’s Passport Matters

Gov-us_passportWhen the State Department revoked Edward Snowden’s passport four months ago, the move was a reprisal from a surveillance-and-warfare state that operates largely in the shadows. Top officials in Washington were furious. Snowden had suddenly exposed what couldn’t stand the light of day, blowing the cover of the world’s Biggest Brother.

Cancelation of the passport wasn’t just an effort to prevent the whistleblower from getting to a country that might grant political asylum. It was also a declaration that the U.S. government can nullify the right to travel just as surely as it can nullify the right to privacy.

“Although I am convicted of nothing,” Snowden said in a July 1 statement after a week at a Moscow airport terminal, the U.S. government “has unilaterally revoked my passport, leaving me a stateless person. Without any judicial order, the administration now seeks to stop me exercising a basic right. A right that belongs to everybody.… Read the rest

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Saudi Arabia’s Brutal ‘Anti-Witchcraft Unit’

saudiThe Atlantic on the Saudi government squad which arrests hundreds of people (many of them low-paid foreign workers) on charges of witchcraft, punishable by long prison sentences or even death:

The campaign of persecution has shown no signs of fizzling. In May, two Asian maids were sentenced to 1,000 lashings and 10 years in prison after their bosses claimed that they had suffered from their magic. Just a few weeks ago, Saudi newspapers began running the image of an Indonesian maid being pursued on accusations that she produced a spell that made her male boss’s family subject to fainting and epileptic fits.

The Saudi government’s obsession with the criminalization of the dark arts reached a new level in 2009, when it created and formalized a special “Anti-Witchcraft Unit” to educate the public about the evils of sorcery, investigate alleged witches, neutralize their cursed paraphernalia, and disarm their spells. Saudi citizens are also urged to use a hotline on the CPVPV website to report any magical misdeeds to local officials.

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The Baby and the Baath Water

syria-attack475-2_2In a piece for the BBC, Adam Curtis gives short history of American intervention in Syria, consisting largely of misguided attempts to foster democracy via military coup. In my opinion, this is essential context as we debate further involvement in that country:

What is happening in Syria feels like one of the last gasps of the age of the military dictators. An old way of running the world is still desperately trying to cling to power, but the underlying feeling in the west is that somehow Assad’s archaic and cruel military rule will inevitably collapse and Syrians will move forward into a democratic age.

That may, or may not, happen, but what is extraordinary is that we have been here before. Between 1947 and 1949 an odd group of idealists and hard realists in the American government set out to intervene in Syria. Their aim was to liberate the Syrian people from a corrupt autocratic elite – and allow true democracy to flourish.… Read the rest

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