Tag Archives | rights

10 Good Things About the Year 2014

(Photo: Daniel Arauz/flickr/cc)

(Photo: Daniel Arauz/flickr/cc)

Medea Benjamin writes at Common Dreams:

It’s been a year of fervent activism on police accountability, living wages, climate change, personal freedoms, immigrant rights, an open internet and diplomacy over war. The electoral beating the Democrats received has prompted both the Administration and some spineless congresspeople to realize that support for progressive issues could reinvigorate their base —a realization that has already led to Obama’s executive action on immigration and the opening to Cuba.

So here are some of the 2014 highlights.

1. Uprising for police accountability. The movement for police accountability has swept the nation, spawning brilliant new leaders from communities most affected, giving a voice to the families who have lost loved ones and opening people’s eyes to the militarization of our police forces. It is an organic, grassroots movement destined to have a transformative impact on the struggle for racial equality. Keep an eye out in 2015 for CODEPINK’s campaign to demilitarize the police, Communities Organize to Demilitarize Enforcement.

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Apple ‘failing to protect Chinese factory workers’

via BBC:

Poor treatment of workers in Chinese factories which make Apple products has been discovered by an undercover BBC Panorama investigation.

Filming on an iPhone 6 production line showed Apple’s promises to protect workers were routinely broken.

It found standards on workers’ hours, ID cards, dormitories, work meetings and juvenile workers were being breached at the Pegatron factories.

Apple said it strongly disagreed with the programme’s conclusions.

Exhausted workers were filmed falling asleep on their 12-hour shifts at the Pegatron factories on the outskirts of Shanghai.

One undercover reporter, working in a factory making parts for Apple computers, had to work 18 days in a row despite repeated requests for a day off.

Another reporter, whose longest shift was 16 hours, said: “Every time I got back to the dormitories, I wouldn’t want to move.

“Even if I was hungry I wouldn’t want to get up to eat. I just wanted to lie down and rest.

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Voting-rights groups challenge electoral purges

Vox Efx (CC BY 2.0)

Vox Efx (CC BY 2.0)

This was sent to us via the Disinfo Contact Page with the following introduction:

Greg Palast has reported on a scheme to disenfranchise potentially tens of thousands of voters via a tool called Interstate Crosscheck that targets mostly minority voters.

via Al Jazeera America:

GREENSBORO, N.C. — As control of the U.S. Senate hangs in the balance, voting-rights activists are preparing for a fight over the removal of suspected fraudulent voters and nowhere more so than the Southern battleground states of Georgia and North Carolina. They are responding to a six-month investigation published last week by Al Jazeera America, which revealed that millions of voters are at risk of being removed from the rolls in 27 states participating in the Interstate Crosscheck program, a voter-fraud detection system.

Using open-records requests, Al Jazeera America obtained the previously confidential Crosscheck lists of 2.1 million voters potentially accused of casting ballots in two different states in the same election, a crime punishable by 2 to 10 years in prison.

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How Economic and Social Rights Disappeared from the United States

 democapitol (CC BY 2.0)

democapitol (CC BY 2.0)

via Dissident Voice:

Several years ago the Occupy movement captured the imagination of an American public disillusioned with the country’s socioeconomic system, which had failed to provide them with a standard of living commensurate with wealth of the richest country in the history of the world. Occupy provided a forum for average citizens to express their dissatisfaction with the status quo, and created a framework to view what was happening in society as a class war waged by the 1% against the 99%.

Many economic and social goals were proposed such as a living wage, free higher education, and single-payer health care system, to name a few. While many would consider those all worthy goals in the public interest, none have been implemented by the federal government.  It is striking that in the 21st century it is even necessary to have this debate in the United States.

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Humans, Chimps and Why We Need Personhood for All

Not Tommy the Chimp. By Tambako The Jaguar via Flickr (CC by-nd 2.0)

Not Tommy the Chimp.
By Tambako The Jaguar via Flickr (CC by-nd 2.0)

via Time:

We accord rights to babies, the profoundly disabled and elderly people with dementia. Is Tommy the ape that different?

Advocates of animal rights are eagerly awaiting the results of a case brought before a New York state appellate court in Albany earlier this month that will decide if a chimpanzee named Tommy is a person. The judge’s decision may be handed down at any time between late October and December. If, in the eyes of the law, 26-year-old ape Tommy is deemed a person, he will be released from the small cage where he is kept in isolation by his owner near Gloversville, New York, and sent to an ape sanctuary in Florida.

Tommy would then become the world’s first non-human animal to be legally granted personhood.

The idea behind the court case, argued on October 8th by lawyer Steven Wise of the Nonhuman Rights Project, rests upon Tommy’s right to determine what happens to his own life.

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Electronic Frontier Foundation: Know Your Rights

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via EFF:

Your computer, phone, and other digital devices hold vast amounts of personal information about you and your family. This sensitive data is worth protecting from prying eyes, including those of the government.

EFF has designed this guide to help you understand your rights if officers try to search the data stored on your computer or portable electronic device, or seize it for further examination somewhere else. Keep in mind that the Fourth Amendment is the minimum standard, and your specific state may have stronger protections.

Read More.

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Should We Have the Right Not to Work?

This is the logo used for egalitarian/ equality beliefs. Similar to the well known anarchy "A", a capital "E" inscribed in a circle is used in political imagery to show a belief in the equality of different types of people.

This is the logo used for egalitarian/ equality beliefs. Similar to the well known anarchy “A”, a capital “E” inscribed in a circle is used in political imagery to show a belief in the equality of different types of people.

John Danaher examines Andrew Levine’s argument that the right not to work “is entailed by the fundamental principles of liberal egalitarianism.”

via Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technology:

Voltaire once said that “work saves a man from three great evils: boredom, vice and need.” Many people endorse this sentiment. Indeed, the ability to seek and secure paid employment is often viewed as an essential part of a well-lived life. Those who do not work are reminded of the fact. They are said to be missing out on a valuable and fulfilling human experience. The sentiment is so pervasive that some of the foundational documents of international human rights law — including the UN Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR Art.

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Why The Law Won’t Save Us From The Police State

whistleblowersVia Salon, Chase Madar on the limits of a legalistic outlook:

Law remains our litmus test. Very often the mightiest anathema we can muster for something we oppose is that it’s “illegal” or, even worse, “unconstitutional.” One of the first reasons given for the Iraq War’s wrongness is it’s “illegality”; today, the mass surveillance is denounced as “unconstitutional.”

These condemnations pack all the fierce visceral impact of Ned Flanders trying to curse. Would the Iraq War have been redeemed by a permission slip from the UN Security Council? Were the sanctions against Iraq, which killed hundreds of thousands, okay because they were in conformance with the UN charter? And even if the NSA surveillance is ruled unconstitutional is this really the problem with it? And what if the courts determine, as is entirely possible, that the NSA surveillance is legally permissible?

We urgently need to remind ourselves that “lawfulness” is never an indicator of wisdom, efficacy, prudence, or even justice.

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How To See Your NSA Or FBI File

your nsa or fbi file

Truth be told, it may be disappointing not to have an FBI file. Daily Kos writes:

Have you ever Tweeted a politically subversive message, attended a protest, or signed an oppositional petition? If so, you may have a dedicated file on you kept by the FBI and/or the NSA.

With a simple Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, any U.S. citizen can obtain one’s NSA or FBI file, if such a file exists.

getmyfbifile.com will, free of charge, generate the necessary forms for you already filled out. Of course, you can also do this directly through the NSA or FBI if you are worried about providing personal information to an independent site.

While an appropriate level of cynicism may be warranted concerning the transparency one should expect from such a request – should your file be substantial – it is the law that your complete file be provided to you. It is your right to know this information.

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