Monday, March 28, 2016

Respect for Those Defending Human Rights Needed - Updated!

It just seems as though there always seems to be something more atrocious coming along in the news.  It's been reported that Florence Hartmann, journalist who exposed that war crimes' evidence was withheld.has been jailed.  She was actually convicted of contempt of court for revealing the war crimes tribunal at The Hague withheld evidence of war crimes by Serbs from the Court of Justice.  And get this: she didn't actually reveal the contents of the documents: just the fact they had been withheld.  The story is here.

And now she is in solitary, until at least after the Easter holiday. Here is an even more recent report.  We must pray that when the holiday ends, her situation can be resolved in a satisfactory manner. This is shameful conduct by what it supposed to be a guardian of international justice.  All over the world there seems to be so little regard for real journalism, real respect for human rights and for those fighting for them.

Some folks linked to criticism of the Chinese pres. Xi Jinping have been detained or disappeared:
detained Chinese journalist      and family members disappeared

In Sudan female activists and journalists defending human rights have been abused.  Human Rights Watch has a story and did a detailed report.

Two Turkish journalists are facing a closed door trial for "divulging state secrets," etc.  The move has drawn harsh criticism.  Read the Guardian report, and you can also read two other linked, related stories that may be of interest.

A prominent Bahraini activist has been jailed and allegedly tortured.  I also found this interview with his also courageous wife.

And that is just SOME of what is going on.  And methinks we should be VERY VIGILANT here in the U. S..  Already there has been surveilling and harassment of protesters.  Whistleblowers seem to bet few real protections, and true investigative journalism is rare.  We need to be aware of the potential for abuse and stand together to protect civil liberties, human rights here at home (and elsewhere), the right to dissent and peacefully protest, and our freedoms and rights that are supposedly Constitutional.  We really need to realize how precious they are and work to safeguard them.


Florence Hartmann has been released!  Wonderful development although she shouldn't have been punished in the first place.

And in another outrage, some activists in Angola have been sentenced to jail for the crime of:  READIING!

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Privacy Word Cloud

Inspired by the panel of Edward Snowden, Glenn Greenwald, and Noam Chomsky very recently at Univ. Ariz. (Snowden by video link, of course), I have made the following privacy word cloud.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Hall of Shame 2

Not feeling very optimistic yet.  But feeling cynical enough to do another edition of  "Hall of Shame."  I hereby present the following exhibits:
  • Intolerance Division: Rebbecca Bradley, a WI Supreme Court Justice.  She wrote some extremely intolerant remarks about LGBTQ people when she was a student.  Now, admittedly it was, what, 24 years ago now, and people can (hopefully) grow out of such mindsets. But understand that folks are rightly going to be skeptical, at least.
  • Prosecutorial Hubris Division: Kelly Siegler.  After watching the CBS "48 Hours" show on 'Playing by the Rules,' I was totally put off by her blase attitude about giving the defense drips and drops --- and saying still that she gave the defense of David Temple (convicted of murdering his wife, Belinda) 'all he was entitled to.'  But the appeals judge, Judge Gist (who seems to be hard on defendants generally) recommended he be given a new trial, citing 36 points of info the defense should have been given.  Of course the judge, the former prosecutor who looked into the case, and the defense, all of them were wrong but her.  I wanted to find out if the series she was on, "Cold Justice" on TNT would be back or not (hadn't seen or heard anything for some time).  I haven't seen definitely whether or not it has been cancelled, but I did find this:  the show has been sued - twice!  Now I'm all for putting bad folks away but not a) at the expense of a really fair trial and b) not if they're not actually guilty. You readers can decide for yourselves in this case, but I would agree with Judge Gist that a new trial is in order here.  
  • Insensitive Racism Division:  Joe's Crab Shack Restaurant in Roseville. MN, where a very racist photo was found embedded on a table.  While the chain apologized and the offending table removed from that restaurant, according to the article, there have been reports of other racist images at other restaurants in the chain in other states.  WHY, in 2016, now are we still going trough this?
  • Islamophobic and Misogynistic Division:  The  French Embassy in Wash. D. C..  Saima Ashraf-Hassan said she was harassed at her job there because of her religion, and also that when she informed her supervisor she was pregnant, she was fired.  She sued.  A judge ruled in her favor, although the embassy is still fighting the ruling.
  • Intolerance Division (again!): Missouri Republicans. They seem to be intent on passing anti-gay legislation.  Can't they learn that treating some as SECOND CLASS CITIZENS IS WRONG?
  • Let's Criminalize the Homeless Division:  LA and its City Council.  They are forcing folks from tiny houses a good-hearted Elvis Summers builds for them.  Believe it or not, other cities have had success dealing with homelessness with tiny houses or other innovative housing solutions.  Unfortunately, there have also been places where homelessness is being criminalized.  Bless Mr. Summers who vows to keep up his activism! 
  • The Nasty, Dangerous, Nutjob Egomaniac Division:  You know who.  I hate to give him any more "coverage" here, but if there's one person who still needs to be convinced how awful and dangerous he is, I guess I should include a few links.  The furor over the violence at his rallies, his absolute refusal to take any responsibility, his wanting protesters to be beaten up is absolutely sickening to ANYONE of any good will at all.  First read an excellent article by Robert Mackey at The Intercept.  Then please read Lucia Graves' story at The Guardian.  She has some first-hand perspective on the way the press has been treated by this campaign and what is says about the "candidate."  Then, for a sample of what he has been saying in the wake of this mess here's something from NPR News.  It also covers reactions from other candidates.  Yes, the others SHOULD contemn him, in no uncertain terms, as should we all.  Oh, yes: he supports torture as well.  Although he finally did say he'd abide by laws, a Congressman noted he didn't yet specifically disavow torture.  From the article: The lead Democratic member of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Adam Schiff of California, said that while Trump "has now said he would obey the law, he has yet to specifically disavow torture or killing the families of our enemies."    Schiff also noted that these are war crimes! There should be no place for this type of total disrespect for : protest and dissent, Freedom of the Press, and treating other human beings with a degree of civility and humanity.  He has stoked "anger" and refuses to see the problems with the mob mentality that's floating around.  This needs to be totally rejected by ALL!
 So there's another edition of our "Hall of Shame."  Would love to have some comments or suggestions.  Would really love some encouragement here.  So - let me hear from some of you.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Anyone There? Any Hope Out There?

Hello.  Is anyone out there?  Really.  Are there any humans actually reading this?  

It's been discouraging lately.  The political climate is so bad.  I hate having the news on now or going to news sites.  How can people go for such bigotry?  Come on, you all know what and who I'm talking about.  And I feel the dangers posed by this are real.

That along with threats to privacy, human rights and civil rights, the refugee crisis, climate crisis, GMO's and other stuff like legal system abuses, it seems there's hardly been any good news around.  I actually have a more hopeful blog post ready to go, but I just couldn't face posting it. Right after I wrote it, I just didn't feel it and still don't.  I've never been so cynical or so very concerned about our country and even the world as I am now.  I know there have been some bad times in the past, but there is just so much potential now for things to get so much worse than we can hardly imagine.

I just don't know what the upshot will be.  I've usually been an optimistic person.  but the way things are now, it's harder and harder to feel any of that.

So.  Anyone reading?  Any hope?