Posts Tagged ‘human’

Make Cops Wear Cameras

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

Imagine if cops had to wear cameras where the video is streamed to a public database. How would they act with an unblinking and unbiased witness forever leaving them open to the people’s scrutiny?

Here’s my prediction: there would be less abuse of power. Police misconduct happens when they know they can get away with it. But under and ever-present eye to watch them, they’ll find it much harder to abuse the authority they’ve been entrusted with. (more…)

Israel Assassinating Iranian Civilians – US Officials

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

Israel has been orchestrating targeted assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists. Wow! There’s been rumors for some time, but now it’s confirmed by US officials, via NBC news.

Arming and training terrorist groups? For shame, Israel.

Last week, the US military drew a line, saying military support for Israel is most definitely conditional. Now, with this new leak, it appears the US may be throwing Israel under the bus.

Good! Not to hate on any non-extremist Israeli citizens, but the State of Israel has been committing egregious human rights violations for far too long. The sooner the international community drops support for the terror-sponsoring nation of Israel, the better our world will be.

Corporations Seeking Immunity for Rape, Torture, Genocide

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

Imagine what can happen when international corporations are no longer liable for committing heinous crimes against humanity. It’s a scary premise for any entity, let alone some of the world’s most influential and vehemently greedy institutions.

Yet that is precisely what is being ruled on right now in the US, where a split decision is due to be settled in the Supreme Court.

The case centers around Shell Oil subsidiaries that colluded with the Nigerian government to torture and execute individuals protesting against the companies’ oil exploration. Plaintiffs filed suit in a US district court under the Alien Tort Statute, which empowers federal courts to hear cases by “an alien” bringing a civil suit for wrongs committed “in violation of the law of nations.”

Last year, while ruling on the Citizens United bill, the Supreme court found the First Amendment does mean Corporations are considered people, opening the doors for unlimited political spending by business entities. Now, this same ruling might make international corporations financially liable for their actions.

Of course, given how much clout these mega-conglomerates yield, it won’t come as a huge surprise to see the Supreme Court affording corporations all the pros of personhood while shielding them from any cons – like facing repercussions for using mass murder as a business tactic.

Whatever comes of this ruling, it certainly shows us the direction the pro-corporatism people want to take our world. It is far more profitable when businesses get all the benefits the government offers, while at the same time skirting any accountability and shirking all responsibility to the world in which they exist.

This is why populist movements, like #occupy, are so essential. The pro-business side will continue to tirelessly and systematically stack the cards in their own favor at the expense of everyone else. Unless we fight tooth and nail right now, the hill we’re climbing towards a more just civilization could very well grow into a mountain right under our feet.

Israel to Forcefully Evict 30000 – Making Room for Settlements

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

With the looming threat of a UN recognized Palestinian state, Israel has to act quickly to violate as many human rights as they can before the International Community really slaps on the sanctions. That’s why they just approved a plan to relocate some 20,000 to 30,000 Bedouon into recognized settlements.

See, when you’re worried about the erosion of your own culture, it doesn’t matter if you cause it for someone else. By always being the victim, you have a catch-all excuse for any ethnic cleansing you may happen to cause.

The first to be relocated will be the approximately 2,400 Bedouin living in – surprise, surprise – an area east of Jerusalem, easing Israel’s plan to expand existing Jewish settlements. The mass eviction will eventually relocate the rest of the Bedouin living in other areas of the West Bank.

Wow. What a braindead idea, ripe for all kinds of immoral and illegal acts. Sure, the State of Israel is no stranger to committing atrocities. In fact, their entire nation was forged by forcing people from their homes.

But you’d think they would be content without their very own Trail of Tears.

Crowd Lifts Burning Car To Save Trapped Guy

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

Check out this amazing footage! Watch as nearby witnesses, including construction workers and students, lift up a burning car while one of them pulls an unconscious man clear from the wreckage.

WOW! How awesome is that?!! Way to go, people!

It’s feats like these that give me such hope for our species. We’re already pretty great, and we’ve only just begun to tap our real potential. There is very little we will not be able to accomplish, especially when we work together.

Global poverty? A war machine run amok? Mere trifles when compared to the collective power of an interconnected and cooperating human race.

Yes, it’s true! A peaceful, prosperous planet is just around the corner!

US Troops Handcuff, Execute Elderly Women and Children

Saturday, September 3rd, 2011

Wikileaks just dumped 250,000 un-redacted US embassy cables – most of which were classified – to the series of tubes we call the Internet. Out of the many stories which have already surfaced, none, so far, are more damning than one stemming from a controversial 2006 incident in the central Iraqi town of Ishaqi.

The leaked cable provides evidence that U.S. troops executed at least 10 Iraqi civilians, including a woman in her 70s and a 5-month-old infant, and then they called in an airstrike to destroy the evidence!!! Autopsies showed that all the dead – including four woman and five children aged 5 years or younger – had been handcuffed and shot in the head.

Disgusting.

Hopefully these and other leaked documents will provide the push needed to hold the key players behind this war – Bush, Cheney, Rummy – accountable for their crimes against humanity. Then, maybe the next time a problem arises, leaders won’t be quite so eager to drop the bombs.

Humanity Eradicates Another Disease

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011

Remember Smallpox? The vile pathogen responsible for seriously deforming those it did not kill? Yeah, that’s right… it’s the one which humankind cooperated to eradicate off the planet.

Well, there’s a new player in the field of viruses to be evicted from earth – Rinderpest! Rinderpest is an animal disease which infects hooved mammals, like cattle and pigs, and can wipe out entire herds.

But not anymore! BOOYA!!! Chalk up another victory for the hairless monkeys with the big brains!

US Losing Unions, China Gaining Them

Sunday, May 1st, 2011

(No, no, no… you can’t wear white after a labor day protest!)

As union busting legislation creeps into American politics, the world’s soon-to-be superpower – China – has seen increasing trends towards unionization. The Independent’s Johann Hari describes China’s atrocious working conditions:

Deaths from overwork are so common in Chinese factories that they have a word for it: guolaosi. China Daily estimates that 600,000 people are killed this way every year, mostly making goods for us.

In 2009 the US National Labour Committee sent Chinese investigators undercover there. On the first day a teenage worker whispered to them: “We are like prisoners here.” The staff work and live in giant factory-cities that they almost never leave. Each room sleeps 10 workers, and each dorm houses 5,000. There are no showers; they are given a sponge to clean themselves with.

A typical shift begins at 7.45am and ends at 10.55pm. Workers must report to their stations 15 minutes ahead of schedule for a military-style drill: “Everybody, attention! Face left! Face right!” Once they begin, they are strictly forbidden from talking, listening to music, or going to the lavatory. Anybody who breaks this rule is screamed at and made to clean the lavatories as punishment. Then it’s back to the dorm.

It’s the human equivalent of battery farming.

Fortunately, the indomitable human spirit refuses to be caged like cogs in a machine. Collectivist action has been growing across the Sleeping Dragon. Hari:

Across 126,000 Chinese factories, workers have refused to live like this any more. Wildcat unions have sprung up, organised by text message, demanding higher wages, a humane work environment, and the right to organise freely. Millions of young workers across the country are blockading their factories and chanting, “There are no human rights here!” and, “We want freedom!”

Last year, the Chinese dictatorship was so panicked by the widespread uprisings that it prepared an extraordinary step forward. It drafted a new labour law that would allow workers to form and elect their own trade unions. It would plant seeds of democracy across China’s workplaces.

This year Chinese workers have risen even harder to demand a fair share of the prosperity they create. Now company after company is making massive concessions: pay rises of over 60 per cent are being conceded. Even more crucially, officials in Guandong province, the manufacturing heartland of the country, have announced that they are seriously considering allowing workers to elect their own representatives to carry out collective bargaining after all.

A positive sign indeed. More power to our fellow freedom fighters in China.

Monstrous Truths

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

Here’s a 1000 words offering keen insights into the human condition, coming from Virus Comix by way of picture:

My two favorites: the one that shows how weak institutions can be, as well as the one which highlights the potential significance of one person.  But each demonstrate a depth of wisdom belied by the whimsical appearance.

Visualizing the World’s Injustice

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

What does injustice look like?

Does it look like the trillions squandered on senseless wars that kill innocents by the hundreds of thousands?

Can it be seen on the face of any of the millions of humans who starve to death annually while a handful of individuals are wealthy enough to feed the world countless times over?

Yes.

To help visualize this injustice, we could look at graphic images of human suffering. But rather than do this and get all depressed, we’ll instead look to some colored graphs and visual representations of statistics… yay!

This will help us get a broader picture of the world’s injustice, which may, in turn, help expose us to the root factors perpetuating injustices in the world.

(click on any image for a larger version)

The Distribution of Wealth

To start, here is a lovely picture of a Champagne-Glass portraying the distribution of wealth:

As you can see, most of the wealth (and therefore power) concentrates with earth’s top tier. The third, forth, and fifth tiers, while forming 60% of the world’s people, have to survive on about 6% of the world’s wealth. From these bottom tiers comes the millions who die every year from starvation or easily treatable diseases.

Wealth within a nation is divided much like it is for the world: most of it concentrates into the hands of those at the top. To see how the internal distribution of wealth compares between nations, we can look to the Gini Coefficient which highlights the gap between the rich and the poor. The greater the Gini value, the greater the economic inequality.

Here’s a graph showing the change over a 50 year period for the world’s wealthiest nations:

Gini since WWII

Note how the Gini for several of the wealthiest countries, like US, China, India and the UK, have been on the rise, supporting the reality that the rich are indeed growing richer.

The Global View

There’s nothing like side-by-side comparisons of brightly colored maps to help us spot the big trends.

First up is a 2009 map of the various Gini Coefficients from around the world:

1000px-Gini_Coefficient_World_CIA_Report_2009.svg

Here’s a 2010 map of the Human Development Index, which represents general well-being based on education, life expectancy and income:

2010_UNDP_Human_Development_Report_Quartiles_-2

This is a 2010 map showing the world’s Democratic Index measuring the state of democracy around the world:

Democracy_Index_2010_green_and_red

Here’s the 2008 Global Peace Index map,  indicating how peaceful a nation is based on crime and violence statistics plus military spending and war-mongering:

GPI-world-map-2008

For this last map, we see the 2007 Happy Planet Index, which gauges a nation’s human well-being and environmental impact:

Happy_Planet

Studying these maps it’s possible to see a running theme: nations where the citizens are free, enjoy a higher quality of life and receive a bigger piece of the economic pie tend have a happier, more peaceful population.

A Gloomy Picture

This next graph isn’t bright or colored, but it’s somber appearance is fitting for what it represents: America’s war budget for the past 50 years.

us_military_spending_1962-2015

It’s such a bloody tragedy that one of our world’s foremost superpowers chooses to invest large amounts of taxpayer dollars into armed conflict. On top of all the lives ruined and treasure squandered, war – by taking away precious resources that could be used to improve the world – remains an injustice of the highest degree.

Best World Ever!

We will go out on a positive note, with what is one of the most optimism-inspiring image of all time. It shows the world’s human development, education and health indicators over the past 40 years.

Human Development Index over Time

Note consistent upward trend. Isn’t it beautiful?

This means that, despite the glaring inequalities of wealth distribution, despite the fact that the richer have been getting richer, the world’s people are still better off than ever before!

This shows us how much we are improving as a species and how we grow more empowered everyday, and this only just the beginning.  New technologies, discoveries and developments will mean that, even though most of the world may have to contend with sharing the same small slice, the size of the entire pie has been growing.

Soon, if we aren’t already, we’ll be in a position to meet the basic needs of all the world’s people. When no one is starving, dreams of world peace be much easier to believe possible. A more just human civilization is well within our reach.