What We Wish We Hadn’t Heard During the Last Presidential Debate
The final TV clash between President Obama and his GOP challenger gave us all a bitter taste in the mouth. Left with the arduous task of peddling a mostly fact-free campaign, Republicans may be feeling deflated: their millions have so far failed to guarantee the White House. Supporters of the president’s reelection, however, may be in an even more unenviable position. Though there’s no question about who’s better equipped to rescue the U.S. economy, the number of ideological concessions he’d to make may prove to be too much to digest.
It’s bad enough that, altogether, the three presidential and the sole vice-presidential debates have not dedicated more than a minute, if at all, for the discussion of issues such as the tragedy of gun street violence, the continuous stream of home foreclosures, real job creation, and the rampant credit card debt forcibly contracted by students in order to finish their education.
There wasn’t mention about why Guantanamo is still open, and those held there without a fair trial, nothing about persecution of white collar crimes committed by Wall Street moguls, the wretched role of money in the campaign, and even the lack of legislative reform, to prevent absurdities like senseless filibustering and the need for a ‘majority’ of 60% plus to approve any bill in Congress.
In fact, those omissions, which also include a mature discussion of climate change, or its linked issue of an energy policy to prevent it, however painful, have been perpetrated without challenge by the multibillion dollar media conglomerates. Their failure to follow up any of them only reinforce the idea that their interests have little to do with the common good for the American people.
However, there’s something that’s giving pause to President Obama’s supporters, highlighted on last night’s debate: the scary coincidence of the candidates’ positions in several key issues. Despite all rhetoric about their different ‘styles,’ in substance, they actually agreed about some startling wrong foreign and domestic policies adopted by the U.S. Continue reading →
Perhaps the announcement was made to coincide with Chinese President Hu Jintao’s visit to the U.S. Knowing the topic of human rights violations by his country would be on the table, for example, it wouldn’t be too farfetched to imagine some political wrangling over how to divert the pressure, at least for now.
But be it as it may, the recent ban on circuses’ use of wild animals by the Chinese government does represent a step closer to a new attitude in our relationship with wild animals. In fact there’s a growing movement advocating an end for all instances of captivity of great beasts, regardless if it’s for educational or entertainment purposes.
China’s ban on all wild animal shows in some 300 state-owned Continue reading →
JUST IN: Iran did it again. Provoking outrage around the world, its state-run TV station announced today that Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani has not been freed, despite footage made available yesterday, depicting her and son at home. The station said it was all part of a program to be broadcast tonight, that all but endorses the official version portraying her as a murderer. The announcement: “Contrary to a vast publicity campaign by western media that confessed murderer Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani has been released, a team of broadcast production team with the Iran-based Press TV has arranged with Iran’s judicial authorities to follow Ashtiani to her house to produce a visual recount of the crime at the murder scene.”
In other words, the international vigil and watch for Sakineh’s life will continue.
The Iranian state-run TV station showed footage last night of Sakineh Muhammad Ashtiani, the 43-year-old mother of two sentenced to death by stoning, apparently free at home with her son Sajad.
Sakineh appears on the undated footage saying that she “planned to kill” her husband, Iran’s main accusation against her.
So far, the state prosecution hasn’t offered any details under which she was released or whether her sentence was commuted or she was pardoned for good.
Human rights activists expressed joy for her freedom but could not offer independent confirmation of her current and future legal status. Her release comes after an intense international campaign against the lack of transparency of her criminal process and death sentencing.
Sakineh was twice condemned to die by separate courts over the murder of her husband. A sentence of hanging was commuted to 10 years in jail by an appeal court in 2007.
But a second sentence, to death by stoning on charges of adultery in several relationships, including the man convicted of her husband’s murder, was upheld by another appeals court the same year.
The news of Ms Ashtiani’s possible reprieve came a day after another woman sentenced to death, Khadijeh Jahed, was hanged at dawn in jail with her son pushing the stool from beneath her feet.
Water Supplies and Access
To Define Mankind Survival
Human Rights Now Include Access to Clean Water ____________________
The U.N. General Assembly has declared access to clean water and sanitation a human right last month, in a Bolivia-drafted resolution approved by 124 nations. The vote was considered unanimous, even though 41 countries, including Canada, abstained from voting. The fact that there even were abstentions at all is nothing short of surprising. For within or very near the Canadian borders, for example, sit some of the world’s greatest glaciers, but never mind about that for now. It is an unrestricted victory for an increasing number of scientists who for years have been calling attention to the serious issue water, or its lack thereof, may represent to the future of this planet. In fact, it’s one of those threats that’s grave enough to end civilization, and it’s safe to say, it’s way more likely to happen than the catastrophic collision with an asteroid we all rightfully fear. According to the UN, more than one billion people lack access to safe drinking water and 2.6 billion are without basic sanitation. Every eight seconds a child dies of a waterborne disease, in every case preventable if their parents had money to pay for water. In fact, more lives have been lost after World War II due to contaminated water than from all forms of violence and war. And a World Bank report says that by 2030, global demand for water will exceed supply by more than 40%.
But let’s not get too wrapped up Continue reading →