December 20, 2008 archive

Declaration pushed at UN for inclusive universal human rights

Last week was the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Born from the horrors of WWII,  all the members of the UN stood together to clearly define basic human rights. Through the years it has become the widely accepted as the universal agreement for human rights and is the most translated document in the world, found 360 different languages.

The UDHR is not a binding treaty, however it does enumerate human rights as stipulated in the UN Charter, which is binding on all UN members and has become an important part of international law. It also stands as the foundation for two additional UN Pacts which are binding, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights.

Unfortunately all human beings hasn’t been all inclusive. Follow me below the fold for this stunning and historic move by members of the United Nations.

Doing Time

cross posted from The Dream Antilles


As the holidays approach, I turn as I do every year to focus on those who are incarcerated. This isn’t the result of the religious injunction in Matthew 25:44 about visiting those in prison.  It’s because my business is to defend people charged with serious crimes, and I’m painfully aware that when the defense doesn’t work, and it often doesn’t, the client pays with what the Thirteenth Amendment blandly calls “involuntary servitude.”  That means being a slave of the state.  For a long time.  A time measured in years.  And it’s as bad as it sounds.

Friday Night at 8: Spiritual Things

I looked up the etymology of torture, it’s from the French, and among other descriptions I noticed the word “twisting.”

Try to put aside for just a brief moment any outrage, fear, anger, any high emotion that automatically occurs when the subject of torture, and more specifically, institutionalized torture a’la Yoo/Cheney, etc. comes to mind.

Just for a brief moment.

Twisting.  For some reason that makes me think of someone taking a beautiful sacred mesa and brutally mining it so that it is utterly destroyed.

I recently read a wild book by Whitley Streiber, 2012, a Philip K. Dickian paranoia trip with some interesting notions, one being that there are monster people (somewhat lizard like but who can mimic human beings if necessary) who want to enslave our souls and the sacred spots on the planet were put there to keep the monsters’ giant “lenses” from working and stealing every human’s soul with a weird sparkly light that when poured over a person basically turns them into a zombie.

Well, that’s a terrible review, but I found the notion interesting in the sense that we have sacred places on our planet for a real reason, not just some mumbo jumbo hooie or sentimental “tree hugging’ motive.  Winter Rabbit, among others, has enlightened me to the reality of why human beings need sacred spaces.  And Streiber just gave a jazzed up high tech paranoid illustration of that in his book.  But for me, the conclusion is the same.  Sacred places, the word “sacred” itself, is a part of our human condition, and can be a very instructive teacher if we open ourselves to learn.  I’m sure all of us here have experienced the sacred, but the word itself is either laughed at or “twisted” by fundamentalists of every stripe into something awful.

When we raze mountaintops and destroy sacred spaces, we are twisting something valuable into something not only useless but dangerous and toxic.

Buffalo Party

Oh give me a home…

by mimabanta (flickr creative commons)

Buffalo Soldier – Bob Marley

Buffalo Gals – Bruce Springsteen

Buffalo Stance – Neneh Cherry

The New School and Republic Windows and Doors…what can we learn?

This commentary original to All Over the Board:

Are the victories achieved by Republic Windows and Doors and the New School worthy of monumental status in the coming years, or are they blips on the radar screen of the republic, soon to be forgotten much as yesterday’s mosquito bite?  In the long term, the positioning of these direct actions will depend upon us.  Can, no…will we take what is able to be learned by the actions and build upon them?

Ringing the Mighty Cowbell of Rageohol

Good goddamn, these new-presidency-birth-pangs sure are pretty fucking loud, aren’t they? I don’t know about the rest of you, but I thought I was finished for the year-it’s way, way, way past my politically-psychic bedtime-and I’ve been looking for a nice quiet place to lie down ever since Election Day, but no, the infant Obama administration and its erstwhile supporters on the “far left” have both robbed me of my sweet repose. Everyone seems to be swilling the sour grapes of Rageohol this winter, but as the whole world collapses around us all yet again, we still can’t seem to admit that Teh Rage is our precious cause of and solution to All of Life’s Problems.

The Price of Silence [music video]

One World – Human Rights

WASHINGTON, Dec 19 ( – As the world celebrates the 60th birthday of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights this month, a new music video is circulating on the Internet, bringing together 16 of the world’s top musicians — some of whom have fled oppressive regimes — in a rousing musical plea to world leaders to guarantee human rights for all.

There’s abit more, with backlinks at the top link.  

Friday Philosophy: Stories at the Inn

By the end of the night we are expecting 5 to 7 inches of snow with a quarter of an inch of ice on top.  And my sinus is roaring in protest.  So the best I can do here is hope for something resembling coherence.

This morning there was a request by jlms qkw that we share A Few of our Favorite Things:

My favorite things are freedom from tyranny, especially the tyranny of the majority, the freedom to be Other, the liberty to be happy and at peace with myself.

But my most favorite thing is the ability to speak up for others who have not been as fortunate as I.

There are a lot of people who are less fortunate than I.  I cannot stand idly by while they don’t have the freedoms I have.

So I use the only weapon to fight for them that I have, which are my words.

Come on in and sit by the fireplace awhile.

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