Posts Tagged ‘freedom’
If I still lived in Massachusetts, I would be voting for Elizabeth Warren. I wouldn’t have voted for Scott Brown in the first place, because I’m not foolish enough to believe any of the campaign promises made by Republicans. Even so-called moderates.
I raise my questions about Democrats to Democrats; but, this is a question simply that addresses all women, all Americans. The Party-formerly-known-as-Republican has chosen to bring back questions resolved in the 20th Century to satisfy the 19th Century ideology they now serve. I cannot support politics whose only direction is backwards.
Turkey’s Islamist politicians retreat from anti-abortion legislation — Their counterparts in Mississippi don’t miss a beat!
“The government has backed away from initial plans to curb abortion rights,” an unnamed parliamentary source told the AFP news agency on Friday…
The legislation, initially proposed by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), would have required all abortions to take place within the first six weeks of pregnancy, down from the 10 weeks currently allowed…Experts said the limit would have effectively outlawed abortions, since most women do not realise they are pregnant until around the sixth week of pregnancy.
Thousands of women and activists have staged demonstrations throughout the country in protest of the planned measures, while Turkish media published surveys that indicated curbing abortion rights would cause the AKP to lose votes, even among its female supporters…
Nurettin Canikli, an influential AKP lawmaker, also said the ruling party would not introduce a bill to curb abortion rights…”The abortion issue is off the agenda. No legislation will be introduced to the parliament on this issue,” he told the Turkish daily Hurriyet…
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan had sparked outrage last month when he likened abortion to murder…Erdogan has frequently called for women to have at least three children, and his party intended to criminalise adultery in 2004 but backed off under pressure from the European Union.
Erdogan has tried to convince the European Union he’s only pandering to radical Islam to keep sufficient votes to stay in office. A concept the average Western politician is well familiar with. I think that’s just more of his lies – and he’s thoroughly committed to moving his nation further and further away from secular democracy into the bowels of theocracy.
At least as long as he can remain in charge.
What are the proper limits of religious freedom? Marianne Thieme, leader of the Party for the Animals in the Netherlands, offers this answer: “Religious freedom stops where human or animal suffering begins.”
The Party for the Animals, the only animal-rights party to be represented in a national parliament, has proposed a law requiring that all animals be stunned before slaughter. The proposal has united Islamic and Jewish leaders in defense of what they see as a threat to their religious freedom, because their religious doctrines prohibit eating meat from animals that are not conscious when killed…
Meanwhile, in the United States, Catholic bishops have claimed that President Barack Obama is violating their religious freedom by requiring all big employers, including Catholic hospitals and universities, to offer their employees health insurance that covers contraception. And, in Israel, the ultra-orthodox, who interpret Jewish law as prohibiting men from touching women to whom they are not related or married, want separate seating for men and women on buses…
When people are prohibited from practicing their religion – for example, by laws that bar worshiping in certain ways – there can be no doubt that their freedom of religion has been violated…
Restricting the legitimate defense of religious freedom to rejecting proposals that stop people from practicing their religion makes it possible to resolve many other disputes in which it is claimed that freedom of religion is at stake. For example, allowing men and women to sit in any part of a bus does not violate orthodox Jews’ religious freedom, because Jewish law does not command that one use public transport. It’s just a convenience that one can do without – and orthodox Jews can hardly believe that the laws to which they adhere were intended to make life maximally convenient.
Likewise, the Obama administration’s requirement to provide health insurance that covers contraception does not prevent Catholics from practicing their religion. Catholicism does not oblige its adherents to run hospitals and universities…
RTFA for greater detail. Professor Singer comes to the obvious conclusion. These “controversial” appeals are not really about the freedom to practice one’s religion. As occurs so very often, the appeal to religious freedom is being misused.
Just another religious tradition – the practice of hypocrisy.
When you use the Internet, you entrust your online conversations, thoughts, experiences, locations, photos, and more to companies like Google, AT&T and Facebook. But what happens when the government demands that these companies to hand over your private information? Will the company stand with you? Will it tell you that the government is looking for your data so that you can take steps to protect yourself?
The Electronic Frontier Foundation examined the policies of 18 major Internet companies — including email providers, ISPs, cloud storage providers, and social networking sites — to assess whether they publicly commit to standing with users when the government seeks access to user data….We also examined their track record of fighting for user privacy in the courts and whether they’re members of the Digital Due Process coalition, which works to improve outdated communications law. Finally, we contacted each of the companies with our conclusions and gave them an opportunity to respond and provide us evidence of improved policies and practices…
We are pleased to see that service providers across the board are increasingly adopting the best practices we’ve been highlighting in this campaign. We first published this report last year to recognize exemplary practices that at least one service provider was engaging in for each category we measured. This year, it appears that publishing law enforcement guidelines, formally promising to give users notice when possible, and publishing transparency reports are on their way to becoming standard practices for industry leaders, and several more service providers are pushing for privacy protections in the courts and on Capitol Hill.
We’re also happy to report that several of the companies included in last year’s report have stepped up their game. Facebook, Dropbox and Twitter have each upgraded their practices in the past year and earned additional stars. Comcast drew our attention to a case in which they went to bat for user privacy, and so it earned a star, too.
Some of the new companies we’ve added to the report are neck-and-neck with the competition. LinkedIn and SpiderOak, like Dropbox, have each earned recognition in three categories: promising to inform users about government access requests, transparency about how and when data goes to the government, and standing up for user privacy in Congress. None of them has a publicly available record of standing up in court for users. However, that’s not something that all companies have had the opportunity to do, and sometimes companies will defend users in court but be prevented from publicly disclosing this fact.
We are especially pleased to recognize the first company to ever receive a full gold star in each of the categories measured by the privacy and transparency report: Sonic.net, an ISP based in Santa Rosa, California.
You know I sometimes disagree with the EFF. When they climb onto their Open Source Religion hobby horse, those rare occasions when they start to behave like Greenpeace on a fundraising drive – patting themselves on the back. But, in general, they act like a cyber-ACLU and that’s OK by me. We all need someone dedicated to protecting our online speech and privacy. This report is another example of the electronic Frontier Foundation doing a terrific job.
RTFA for graphic results.
You think we’re going to do what to protect the Bill of Rights?
CNET has learned that the FBI has formed a Domestic Communications Assistance Center, which is tasked with developing new electronic surveillance technologies, including intercepting Internet, wireless, and VoIP communications…
The establishment of the Quantico, Va.-based unit, which is also staffed by agents from the U.S. Marshals Service and the Drug Enforcement Agency, is a response to technological developments that FBI officials believe outpace law enforcement’s ability to listen in on private communications…
DCAC’s mandate is broad, covering everything from trying to intercept and decode Skype conversations to building custom wiretap hardware or analyzing the gigabytes of data that a wireless provider or social network might turn over in response to a court order. It’s also designed to serve as a kind of surveillance help desk for state, local, and other federal police.
The center represents the technological component of the bureau’s “Going Dark” Internet wiretapping push, which was allocated $54 million by a Senate committee last month. The legal component is no less important: as CNET reported on May 4, the FBI wants Internet companies not to oppose a proposed law that would require social-networks and providers of VoIP, instant messaging, and Web e-mail to build in backdoors for government surveillance…
“The big question for me is why there isn’t more transparency about what’s going on?” asks Jennifer Lynch, a staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a civil liberties group in San Francisco. “We should know more about the program and what the FBI is doing. Which carriers they’re working with — which carriers they’re having problems with. They’re doing the best they can to avoid being transparent…”
Eventually, the FBI may be forced to lift the cloak of secrecy that has surrounded the DCAC’s creation. On May 2, a House of Representatives committee directed the bureau to disclose “participation by other agencies and the accomplishments of the center to date” three months after the legislation is enacted.
How hard does anyone think the Republican-controlled House of Representatives will “push” the FBI towards transparency?
If there’s a singularly outstanding characteristic of the rightwing creeps currently infesting Congress it is their hypocrisy about individual freedoms, the liberty guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. All you need is one fart escaping the anus of American politics and attracts the attention of Homeland Security – then rallying around the flag of repression immediately takes precedence over civil liberties.
Lots of details in the article. But, then, CNET is already being watched through heavy lenses, anyway. As would be the Electronic Frontier Foundation and anyone else subversive enough to believe in free speech, free thought.
Daylife/Getty Images used by permission
The already-boiling debate about Georgetown University’s decision to invite Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to speak during graduation hit the highest levels of Catholic Washington on Tuesday, with the region’s archbishop slamming the school’s president for the “shocking” invitation and saying the real issue was being distorted.
The real issue is the princes of the church trying to censor science and reality, a mind free of the shutters of superstition.
…Sebelius was a key architect of the 2010 health-care law, and she authored the requirement that employers, including most religious ones, provide their employees with contraception coverage.
On Tuesday, the archdiocese of Washington, led by Cardinal Donald Wuerl, criticized Georgetown President John J. DeGioia for remarks he issued a day earlier — apparently to address the controversy — saying DeGioia had mischaracterized the issue as being about birth control. As the region’s top Catholic official, Wuerl is responsible for making sure Catholic institutions, including Georgetown, follow church teachings…
The Catholic bishops have led opposition to the mandate, arguing that it violates religious freedom. Liberal and moderate Catholics and other religious advocates also opposed the mandate when it was announced in January but their opposition died down after the White House shifted the requirement from the employers to insurance companies.
Addressing the controversy Monday, DeGioia noted that debate about the mandate “dominated public discourse” in the months after Sebelius was invited in January to speak at an awards ceremony for the school’s Public Policy Institute…
The back and forth reflects the intense debates among American Catholics about the degree to which Catholic institutions should reflect the official teachings of the church on contraception and other things.
Meanwhile, the Catholic Church and other equally restrictive religions join Republicans to continue their onslaught not only on education and science; but, on the right of women to manage their own reproductive decisions. Politics that are the opposite of liberty.
The Vatican has appointed an American bishop to rein in the largest and most influential group of Catholic nuns in the United States, saying that an investigation found that the group had “serious doctrinal problems.”
The Vatican’s assessment…said that members of the group, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, had challenged church teaching on homosexuality and the male-only priesthood, and promoted “radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith.”
The sisters were also reprimanded for making public statements that “disagree with or challenge the bishops, who are the church’s authentic teachers of faith and morals.” During the debate over the health care overhaul in 2010, American bishops came out in opposition to the health plan, but dozens of sisters, many of whom belong to the Leadership Conference, signed a statement supporting it — support that provided crucial cover for the Obama administration in the battle over health care…
Word of the Vatican’s action took the group completely by surprise, Sister Annmarie Sanders said. She said that the group’s leaders were in Rome on Wednesday for what they thought was a routine annual visit to the Vatican when they were informed of the outcome of the investigation, which began in 2008.
“I’m stunned,” said Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of Network, a Catholic social justice lobby founded by sisters. Her group was also cited in the Vatican document, along with the Leadership Conference, for focusing its work too much on poverty and economic injustice, while keeping “silent” on abortion and same-sex marriage…
The verdict on the nuns group was issued by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which is now led by an American, Cardinal William Levada… He appointed Archbishop J. Peter Sartain of Seattle to lead the process of reforming the sisters’ conference, with assistance from Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki and Bishop Leonard Blair, who was in charge of the investigation of the group.
They have been given up to five years to revise the group’s statutes, approve of every speaker at the group’s public programs and replace a handbook the group used to facilitate dialogue on matters that the Vatican said should be settled doctrine. They are also supposed to review the Leadership Conference’s links with Network and another organization, the Resource Center for Religious Life.
Doctrinal issues have been in the forefront during the papacy of Benedict XVI, who was in charge of the Vatican’s doctrinal office before he became pope. American nuns have come under particular scrutiny. Last year, American bishops announced that a book by a popular theologian at Fordham University, Sister Elizabeth A. Johnson, should be removed from all Catholic schools and universities.
And while the Vatican was investigating the Leadership Conference, the Vatican was also conducting a separate, widespread investigation of all women’s religious orders and communities in the United States. That inquiry, known as a “visitation,” was concluded last December, but the results of that process have not been made public.
Just in case anyone wondered about transparency or democracy under a theocracy. The Pope and his
henchmen bishops are making it clear that modern thought is anathema; equal civil rights for women are forbidden; any attempts to bring the Roman Catholic Church into the 20th or 21st Centuries will be met with an Inquisition and whatever penalties the men in charge deem necessary.
While you’re at it – if you’re a True Believer who dares to disagree with this Inquisition – then reconsider why you should be obeying Holy Monarchs in the first place. If you’re wandering the Web, reading and examining independent thought without following the rules of the official catechism – maybe you might find yourself capable of many more decisions on your own.
Is your mayor in the picture?
Daylife/Reuters Pictures used by permission
Mayors of about 80 U.S. cities from New York to Los Angeles to Houston are backing a campaign to remove legal barriers to same-sex marriage nationwide.
“The more support we build in our cities and states, the stronger case we can make for extending the freedom to marry to loving couples no matter where they live,” Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa of Los Angeles said…at a news briefing on the issue. Same-sex marriage is illegal under California law.
Legislators in Washington, New Jersey and Maryland are pushing measures to permit the practice, while voters in North Carolina and Minnesota will face ballot questions this year on banning it. Federal law doesn’t recognize same-sex marriages, which are legal in New York, Iowa, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts and the District of Columbia.
“Law-abiding, tax-paying families and their children deserve the same opportunities, the same rights and the same responsibilities afforded to every other family,” said Villaraigosa, a Democrat, at the briefing in Washington, where the U.S. Conference of Mayors is meeting. He spoke in support of Freedom to Marry, a New York-based advocacy group that says bans discriminate against homosexuals and infringe on their rights…
“On average in New York City, 700 gay and lesbian couples are now getting married at the city clerk’s offices” each month, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said. “That means every month, hundreds of more parents and children are gaining the economic stability and protections that come with being a formal family unit.”
The mayor added that the change has been an economic boon for the largest U.S. city. He has said that the new law helps companies attract top talent and draws same-sex couples as tourists, including some who intend to marry while in New York…
Efforts to make the practice legal gained momentum in 2003, when the top Massachusetts court ruled 4-3 that a ban was unconstitutional. In 2004, the city of San Francisco initiated a court battle by letting gay couples wed. Massachusetts became the first state to permit same-sex marriage in May of that year.
Like so many civil rights struggles, though religious fundamentalists form the bastion of reactionary opposition, the issue of marriage equality encourages many more people to rethink the bigotry that props up the intellectual dishonesty and fear that denies equal opportunities to all citizens of this nation.
Will they continue to send the weekly checks?
Daylife/Reuters Pictures used by permission
Catholic Ireland’s stunning decision to close its embassy to the Vatican is a huge blow to the Holy See’s prestige and may be followed by other countries which feel the missions are too expensive – and useless, unproductive.
The closure brought relations between Ireland and the Vatican, once ironclad allies, to an all-time low following the row earlier this year over the Irish Church’s handling of sex abuse cases and accusations that the Vatican had encouraged secrecy…
“This is really bad for the Vatican because Ireland is the first big Catholic country to do this and because of what Catholicism means in Irish history,” said a Vatican diplomatic source who spoke on the condition of anonymity…
Over time, this will be seen as only the first of many departing a seat at the foot of the papal throne.
Dublin’s foreign ministry said the embassy was being closed because “it yields no economic return” and that relations would be continued with an ambassador in Dublin.
The source said the Vatican was “extremely irritated” by the wording equating diplomatic missions with economic return, particularly as the Vatican sees its diplomatic role as promoting human values…
Promoting human values? Only if your values are stuck into the 14th Century, your concern for your flock is cemented in 19th Century politics.