Tag Archives | Human Rights

Tin Foil Hats

Tin Foil

High noon:
I’m coming up on a red at 7th, heading west on Market. The Tenderloin.

There’s an empty Yellow just ahead of me at the light and an historic F line street car just letting off on the platform to our left. As the passengers pour out onto the island dividing the two westbound lanes here, I note one dude  – a bit frantic – check out Yellow, and then come running back to me. Dunno why dude would be getting off a train and then immediately try to hail a cab, or why he didn’t go for the empty Yellow in front, but I wave him in…

Although a bit edgy, a skinny 30-ish Pryor is wearing a clean white T nicely tucked-in that complements his chocolate skin, stylish jeans, and a large diamond earring in his left ear – presumably fake, he seems like he may be rational.… Read the rest

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It’s Time to Tell the Truth About Human Rights

Recently several human rights groups have documented that the US State Department has upgraded the status of some countries, notably Malaysia and Cuba, regarding human trafficking in order to improve diplomatic relations with those countries. Human trafficking, which is modern day slavery, is the illegal buying and selling of people, typically for forced labor or forced prostitution. According to news reports, some diplomats privately say that human rights workers are naive “purists” and should recognize that diplomatic interests properly outweigh human rights interests.

625px-Les_Mortels_sont_égaux,_ce_n'est_pas_la_naissance_c'est_la_seule_vertu_qui_fait_la_différence

As a human rights worker, I know it is vitally important to tell the truth about human rights and not to falsify official reports about human rights in order to achieve diplomatic goals.

Human rights workers are rarely “purists.” They fight a lonely battle, often knowing there is little they can do in the offending country and knowing that “good” countries such as the US often will choose to elevate diplomatic goals over human rights goals.… Read the rest

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The Evidence Keeps Pouring In: Capitalism Just Isn’t Working

G20 April 1st

To followers of Ayn Rand and Ronald Reagan, and to all the business people who despise government, ‘community’ is a form of ‘communism.’ Even taking the train is too communal for them. Americans have been led to believe that only individuals matter, that every person should fend for him/herself, that “winner-take-all” is the ultimate goal, and that the winners have no responsibility to others.

To the capitalist, everything is a potential market. Education, health care, even the right to water. But with every market failure it becomes more clear that basic human rights can’t be bought and sold like cars and cell phones. The pursuit of profit, when essential needs are part of the product, means that not everyone will be able to pay the price. Some will be denied those essential needs.

Global Failures

Capitalism hasn’t been able to control runaway global inequality. For every $1.00 owned by the world’s richest 1% in 2011, they now own $1.27.… Read the rest

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The Verdict is in: Guess Who’s The Worst President in US History?

Mark Rain (CC BY 2.0)

Mark Rain (CC BY 2.0)

Jeff61b via HubPages:

Americans of all stripes love to debate which president was best or worst. This is a subject that is too important to rely on opinion polls, which are skewed by individual bias and political views. While It’s difficult to rate how good or bad any president may have been in comparison to another, a careful look at the facts shows one president failed in virtually every aspect of the job to a degree unrivaled by any other.

When you review the facts below and consider his impact on our economy, foreign policy, and domestic policy, by almost any standard, it’s difficult to find any president who did more harm and left the country in worse shape than George W. Bush.

At the same time that Bush was leaving office with a 28% job approval rating, 61% of historians rated George W. Bush’s presidency as the worst in history.

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GOP’s Favorite Socialist Program Lost $8.5 Trillion And Will Bankrupt America

Pentagon
Rmuse via Politics USA:

For several years, if not decades, Republicans have, and still do, claim that any American who is not anti-government, anti-taxation, anti-women’s rights, anti-immigration, anti-theocracy, and anti-democracy is a raving socialist. Yesterday Ted Cruzaccused Hillary Clinton of being a “wild-eyed socialist” who will do serious damage to America, and it is so typical for a Republican to use that term because they know most Americans are ignorant of what socialism entails. Socialism is simply “an economic and political system where all major industries are owned and controlled by the government rather than by individual companies or people, or a societal system in which there is no private property.” Obviously, neither Hillary Clinton, nor any Democrat supports or advocates for socialism, including SenatorBernie Sanders who claims to be a democratic socialist. In fact, democratic socialism isa political ideology involving a combination of political democracy with government ownership and control of all major industries.

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Taking (Recreational) Drugs Is A Human Right

It seems an impossibly progressive stance for a group of politicians to take, but in the UK some very high profile people are pushing for the use of drugs to be recognized as a human right. From the Independent:

Taking drugs is a human right, according to a cross-party group of MPs and peers who want to legalise the possession, purchase and growing of drugs.

Addiction, Gluttony - Day 149 of Project 365

The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Drug Policy Reform want to use human rights legislation to decriminalise drug use, claiming the “blanket prohibition” drug policy approach has failed.

In a new report it suggests that Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which outlines rights to “private and family life”, could be used by defendants caught with illegal drugs.

It says drug laws needed to “reflect the supremacy of human rights conventions” and suggests that as long as drug taking does not harm others, it should not be a criminal offence.

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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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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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UN Report Card Gives US ‘Failing Grade’ on Human Rights

"These low grades suggest the U.S. has a long way to go before it is in compliance with international law," said Faiza Patel of the Brennan Center for Justice. (Photo: amboo who?/flickr/cc)

“These low grades suggest the U.S. has a long way to go before it is in compliance with international law,” said Faiza Patel of the Brennan Center for Justice. (Photo: amboo who?/flickr/cc)

This post was originally published on Common Dreams. See more of Sarah Lazare’s articles here.

A United Nations committee of independent monitors this week released a damningassessment of human rights in the United States, showing an overall dismal performance on issues from Guantanamo Bay detentions to mass surveillance to accountability for past atrocities—earning what the U.S. Human Rights Network called a “failing grade.”

The United Nations Human Rights Committee’s investigation was one of a handful of periodic reviews aimed at evaluating countries that have ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights established in 1976. In particular, the assessment measured U.S. implementation of the committee’s recommendations for improving the country’s human rights record.… Read the rest

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