Archive for the ‘human rights’ Category

decriminalizing drug use

October 8, 2009

The United States’ current version of their War on Drugs fails miserably because the problem of drug abuse is a health issue. Categorizing an illness as a crime makes the situation worse by introducing unnecessary problems. Instead of policy posturing to demonstrate a “get tough” approach on drugs, the US should get smart and reform laws to resemble those in countries like Portugal.

The current administration has indicated they’re open to change. However, simply making arrests a “low priority” doesn’t go nearly far enough. Decriminalization will coax more citizens suffering from addiction to seek treatment. As well, non-enforcement indicates a corruption of the law itself. If enforcement causes problems, the solution isn’t to ignore the law but to change it, so that its existence is just and beneficial to society.


economist “empathy”

September 14, 2009

Shikha Dalmia on U.S. health care reform:

[Obama] would of course ban insurance companies from denying coverage to those with pre-existing conditions–tantamount to forcing fire insurance companies to write coverage on a burning building

Not quite. The health of one’s body is not equivalent to the strength of a building’s infrastructure. Criticizing public plans for health care is like shooting fish in a barrel when one’s premise is that basic human needs are on par with any other economic widget. Of course, if the empathy of the U.S. people weren’t overshadowed by the mainstream media and heartless private interests, a single payer proposal wouldn’t have been pushed into obscurity.

iraqi gays tortured and killed

August 17, 2009

Sadrist Sheik Ammar al-Saadi would like to distance himself from the murderers. He denies involvement in the killings. He states that he and other clerics “only urged people to stop practicing homosexuality”. Here al-Saadi is blind to the fact that his general attitude forms the platform from which the killers justify their actions. While holding such beliefs regarding homosexuality is not (and should not be) against the law, society’s sane must work to expose such dangerous bigotry through education. These views stimulate conflict and suffering for many.

i HAD to OPIne

March 11, 2009

Nate Anderson at Ars has an article labeling the drafted “HADOPI” law as “anti-P2P”, but it’s much worse. The law not only attacks p2p activities of the wired citizenry, but threatens to cut computer users off from Internet access entirely. If citizens are perceived to be sharing unauthorized works, a 3-strikes-you’re-censored response would take effect. While it’s impossible to imagine any justified trade-off in this approach, what’s proposed is insulting:

In return, French DVDs will appear a couple of months closer to their theatrical release date and music and movie groups will have to drop much of their DRM. Global music trade group IFPI thinks this is a wonderful trade-off.

So in exchange for Global Business Interests at the expense of freedom, digitized French works will be released sooner and stripped of the already ineffective technical restrictions known as DRM. If that isn’t une escroquerie, what is? “Wonderful trade-off” indeed. Beyond the imbalanced nature of this “deal” are other disasterous consequences. The law would require

home Internet users to install certain approved security software and to secure their networks.

Want to create a community of Internet users that share a public commons of bandwidth? Too bad. Doing so would prevent the recording industry from spying on your activity to peg you a “pirate”. Here, the “secure network” doublethink is language of Orwellian stature. It’s no wonder too, why ISPs might wish to support this measure. A legal measure preventing the sharing of bandwidth only serves their interests.

Finally, the insanity of this law is revealed through the handling of users who seek to share information using public wireless access points. To protect corporate media’s 20th-century business modelthe artists, this perceived problem will be taken care of using a “solution” that’s “simple”:

such hotspots would offer only a “white list” of approved websites.

Since the ability to spy on you is lost at the coffee shop or local library, the technology itself shall be declared guilty in advance and on your behalf. Vive la censure!

abortion: when does life begin?

January 25, 2009

This post by Daniel Florien links to a revealing video where anti-abortionists are perplexed by the question: If abortion were against the law, what should be the penalty for those convicted?

In the comments, an anonymous person counters this with, “HOW TO STUMP AN ABORTIONIST WITH JUST ONE QUESTION – When does [human] life begin?” Though I’m one who supports the legalization of abortion, I don’t find this question difficult to answer:

My response:

Life begins sometime during fertilization. I don’t know when exactly…but sometime in the middle of that process. Clearly, at the very start of fertilization, life has yet to begin. But life has started once the fertilization process has ended.

The value/significance of life is dependent upon mental development. If a human life has yet to become a person, I don’t see any problem with the mother exercising her right to destroy it. Clearly, an embryo/fetus is not a person and therefore, abortion rights should be protected. On the other hand, personhood begins sometime soon after birth. But because personhood is an emergent process that occurs over time (like life during fertilization), we cannot determine *exactly* when personhood begins. Therefore, society should play it safe and simply make infanticide illegal.

Main Street recovery

September 26, 2008

Though American democrats settled on mediocrity by choosing Obama, they could temper that choice by spreading this (authored by the candidate they, IMO, should have chosen).

the AFA is driving me insane

August 25, 2008

First, their homophobia made me feel as though my moral duty was to eat at McDonalds. Now, they compel me to buy cheesy Hallmark cards. Can’t I buy a break here?

Quick, someone tell Mark Shuttleworth to announce Canonical’s support of gay marriage. If Apple or Microsoft beat him to it and the AFA gets wind, that could be my noose.