Human rights for Martians

​“Human rights introduce morality into law and offer limited legal enforcement to moral claims. But as morality is not one and the law is not a simple exercise in reasoning, moral conflict enters the legal archive and legal strictures regiment and control moral responsibility.” For Costas Douzinas, the human rights movement is an ongoing struggle to close the gap between the abstract man of the Declarations and the empirical human being.
www.opendemocracy.net

How can the international system do more to tackle corruption?

“The international efforts to reduce corruption that have developed over the past 20 years constitute a massive agenda which is being worked through in multilateral institutions, individual countries, companies and civil society campaigns. It will take years of reform to fulfil the commitments that have been made. But the prize is enormous.” Claire Short is in an optimistic mood.
www.opendemocracy.net

How surveillance stifles dissent on the Internet

“People who said they had ‘nothing to hide’ were in fact more likely to censor themselves.” Kaveh Waddell reports on resarch by Elizabeth Stoycheff that, given current practices of government and comercial entities around the world, rules out the Internet as a tool to promote democracy.
www.theatlantic.com

“This structure of surveillance will stop us doing things which are right, that we know we should be doing.”
Anthony Barnett speaking in October 2013

Nimm, was du kriegen kannst!

“Der Westen, der so stolz auf seine Werte ist, verschließt seine Grenzen für verängstige Menschen auf der Suche nach einem besseren Leben. Aber er öffnet sie für schmutziges Geld auf der Suche nach einer besseren Anlage.” Jakob Augstein identifiziert nicht die Flüchtlinge als unser Problem—sondern die Steuerflüchtlinge.
www.spiegel.de

Forget Panama: it’s easier to hide your money in the US than almost anywhere.

Die Barbaren sind wir

“Empörend ist aber das kalte Schulterzucken, mit dem viele Politiker, Journalisten, Leitartikler das hinzunehmen oder, schlimmer, voranzutreiben scheinen, diese europäische Regression, dieses kontinentale und institutionelle Versagen angesichts der Flüchtlinge.” Georg Diez sieht gemeinsame europäische Werte in Gefahr und reaktionäre Eliten in der Verantwortung.
www.spiegel.de

Das Gegenteil von Transparenz

“Wer sich hingegen am Ausverkauf der Demokratie beteiligt, scheut offensichtlich das Licht der Öffentlichkeit. Wenn die Unterhändler und Sigmar Gabriel wirklich überzeugt wären vom TTIP,  könnten sie es ja für alle zugänglich ins Netz stellen.” Katja Kipping beschreibt den eigens eingerichteten TTIP-Leseraum und seine Nutzungsmodalitäten.
www.linksfraktion.de

Mark Zuckerberg should spend $45 billion on undoing Facebook’s damage to democracies

“It is now possible to live in a virtual reality where Trump’s lies are acclaimed as the hidden truth that the mainstream media have concealed from the masses.” Anne Applebaum wants to bring reality back into the public debate.
www.washingtonpost.com

Can we afford to ignore what Katie Hopkins says about migrants drowning in the Med?

“So while we ought noisily to challenge her incitement to hatred and violence against the most vulnerable groups in society and to condemn the fact that major media outlets are providing her with the microphone to do this, we also need to organise for a different kind of politics in which those escaping war and poverty are welcomed and not left to drown in the seas that surround us.“ Des Freedman regards Katie Hopkins as merely a sideshow in an age of neoliberal politicians protecting uninhibited cross-border flow of capital while barring people fleeing poverty and persecution and refusing to help them when they vanish into the sea.
www.opendemocracy.net

These Tory quacks and charlatans are beyond belief

“We know there’s no magic; the money will come from the cuts and deficit reductions and benefit targets and financial squeezes on those Cameron knows won’t be voting for him anyway.” Armando Iannucci regards the Conservative Party as unfit to govern the United Kingdom.
www.theguardian.com

“Full Fact is an independent fact checking organisation. We provide free tools, information and advice so that anyone can check the claims we hear from politicians and the media.”

Secrecy concerns around TTIP

“Shrouded in secrecy, our world leaders are currently negotiating a deal that will let multinational corporations wield power over national governments; lower environmental and safety standards across the EU; bring workers’ rights down to appalling US levels; and threaten the NHS as we know it.” Jim Sheridan expresses his concerns about the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and its implications for the United Kingdom. Similar anxieties exist in Germany. Is Europe about to be sold down the river?
www.huffingtonpost.co.uk

David McCoy on The Lancet Commission

“In contrast to the easy cross-border flow of capital, commodities and profits, the Commission notes the lack of freedom for ordinary people to migrate in pursuit of a safe and secure life, and it deplores the plight of undocumented migrants who are denied essential health care in spite of international treaties that are supposed to guarantee universal rights and entitlements.” After correctly identifying the undemocratic and unequal distribution of power as an underlying cause of health inequities, David McCoy sees The Lancet-UiO Commission on Global Governance For Health Commissioners falling disappointingly short in its recommendations.
www.medact.org

How the NSA betrayed the world’s trust—time to act

“And whoever tells you that they have nothing to hide simply haven’t thought about this long enough. ‘Cause we have this thing called privacy. And if you really think that you have nothing to hide, please make sure that’s the first thing you tell me because then I know, that I should not trust you with any secrets because obviously, you can’t keep a secret [sic]”
Mikko Hypponen
www.ted.com

The danger of fetishizing BlackBerry Messenger security

“I would suggest that it is more useful to take a holistic democratic accounting of lawful access laws and their implications. Where such laws are prospectively damaging to the fabric of the democracy, perhaps by threatening rights of free speech, association, and limitations of governmental search powers, then those are the areas that we as citizens, journalists, and commentators must focus our attention. Such democratic narrative can be supported by technological and legal facts and opinions, but critically the basic narrative is not on corporate products, whiz-bang technologies, nor legal minutia, but the very principles of a democracy.” Christopher Parsons in 2012, more than one year before Edward Snowden, is right on the money pinpointing the implications of unrestrained government surveillance.
www.christopher-parsons.com

This structure of surveillance will stop us doing things which are right

“We now face the greatest threat to our liberties since the second world war. We are sleepwalking into despotism. Because of the amount of material that is being collected, because these databases, which are not about tiny items of information, will be used and not just by governments. Snowden was working for a corporation. They will be accessed by others in government and because, that’s most important of all, people will start to self-censor. We will find that the very fact of the total surveillance of our activities means that we are going to sort of … it’s not a question, as the foreign minister said, of ‘if you haven’t done anything wrong you have nothing to fear’. [sic] This structure of surveillance will stop us doing things which are right, that we know we should be doing.” Anthony Barnett appearing on yesterday’s Newsnight programme.
youtube.com

In praise of pessimism

“We do not arrive at any idea of what is best for the collective unless we are prepared to seize the day and practise it on our own behalf. Most mature individuals understand what this means in respect of themselves—it’s just all those feckless others that they don’t trust to act appropriately.” Things may be for the worst in a less-than-perfect-world, but Will Self is determined to hold on to his idealism.
www.newstatesman.com