Our basic human rights are being violated...

Sixty-five years ago, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was signed. The Declaration was drafted by the United Nations, and chaired by First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. The goal of the Declaration was to strive for “inherent dignity” and “equal and inalienable rights [for] all members of the human family.” But, many people in our nation are being denied these basic human rights.

Wealth inequality and inhumane austerity measures have benefited the wealthy, while denying most of us an equal chance at a life of dignity. Poverty wages, staggering student loan debt, the foreclosure crisis, and the slashing of our social safety net – have all left the super rich unharmed, while weakening our universal human rights to own property, escape servitude, and experience real freedom. We cannot be truly free when we are fighting for basic necessities, or trapped in an abusive job just so that we can pay our student loans.

To make matters worse, disastrous free trade agreements and fiscal legislation have locked in low tax rates for the wealthy and cemented these inhumane policies in place for the future. These basic rights were bestowed upon us by our Fore Fathers, and confirmed again in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, yet they have been eroded, and they continue to get weakened every day. And, the fight to regain these inalienable rights will not be easy.

Americans must recognize that their basic human rights are being taken away, and that they deserve to be free from crushing debt and poverty wages. We must work together to prove that the words “Life, Liberty, and Pursuit of Happiness” were not just poetry, but basic human rights that we deserve.


Mark Saulys's picture
Mark Saulys 10 years 27 weeks ago

A great part of our society is, in fact, in a debt bondage of sorts. The rest are enslaved simply by their being underpaid or compensated just enough to surive until the next day to come and work some more and by being so disempowered as to have NO say whatever in the conditions of their employment.

Neither is there any much alternative opportunity for changing fortunes by switching jobs with the buyer's market for labor (indeed, if there was the worker would have some bargaining power just as an individual, without even uniting with their fellows) - and let alone for promotion. Naturally, the climate for entrepreneurship in such a situation, with such a low demand for goods and services, cannot be at all hospitable either.

Dweinstein003's picture
Dweinstein003 10 years 27 weeks ago

The bidder who qualifies with the biggest debt wins, thereby raising economic rents (real rent or financial extraction) on workers who then have less to spend in the economy, leaving less for everyone at a compounding rate.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 10 years 27 weeks ago

Has anyone read any books by Valcav Smil? A friend of mine recommended Valcav, but since Bill Gates is a big fan of Valcav, I am suspicious.

sandlewould's picture
sandlewould 10 years 27 weeks ago

The Media's role in establishment of "inalienable" rights;

A free press, the media, is what got us our "inaliable" rights. Amendments to the US constitution ratified in the past were only implemented and added to the constitution because they were covered in the media. An educated public is what forces issues...an unbiased media fed to the public free of charge is what educates the public and directs the diologue. If commercial media doesn't cover an issue it gets ignored by congress and the White House. If all 50 states were on board w/ movetoamend.org , given the current state of the media, any proposed/ratified amendment would be ignored. Indeed, the constitution is already being shredded in the media. You just said as I write; 'We haven't had a serious conversation about ending poverty in 60 yrs...' that's because corp. media won't cover it.

Every social/environmental justice .org, including movetoamend.org, must unite to eliminate the commercialization of the media and return it to the people. Otherwise, no issue they hold dear will EVER be dealt with by congress or any White House.

sandlewould's picture
sandlewould 10 years 27 weeks ago

BTW...If MLK were alive today...

Ask yourself, If MLK were alive today, how would he be covered in the media? History would remember him as a terrorist who's roots were in the 'occupy' movement...or would he have been thrown in jail before he got the chance to be remembered at all? Todays MLK, Dr. Cornel West, is largely unknown and his work largely ignored. How many people you see day to day on the street even know his name? Can you imagine a 'Cornel West Day' being made a federal hoiliday? ...the media...without control of it, we're finished.

DHBranski's picture
DHBranski 10 years 27 weeks ago

As I understand it, the US was one of the few nations to refuse to ratify the UDHR. We have far less regard for human rights today than we did 65 years ago. Bill Clinton's welfare reform directly violates the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights on a number of core points, yet the middle class, Democrats and liberals have all been fine with this. We're a nation that bases human worth strictly on income and employability. I think most (or many) Americans are well aware that US prisons are places that have always had little interest in human rights protections, and I don't even need to mention the atrocity known as Gitmo. Face it, the US simply isn't into human rights.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 10 years 27 weeks ago

Constitutional rights are being swept away too. If you blink you might miss it. Recently I attended a NFL game. The park had a new policy of only allowing clear plastic bags to be used to carry items. No purses. No shopping bags. And, people were made to walk through a metal detector. It is as though old fashioned illegal searches and seizures simply take too much time.

Of course, I had to ask myself how this was going to stop someone with C4, nitroglycerine, plastic explosives, nanothermite or for that matter old fashioned dynamite or gun powder. Do they really think a suspect terrorist is going to put the explosives into a clear plastic bag? I have to conclude that these measures have little to do with keeping anyone safe and have a lot more to do with conditioning the public for a police state. There is no other explanation. There are too many ways to get around these "security policies" for anyone intent to do harm. The only people really affected are honest people with nothing to hide.

George Orwell may have been off by 29 years, but his vision was very accurate. We are all living in a Serf's classroom entitled Fascism 101. Even the ticket readers to these events use barcodes. On those barcodes are your name, credit card information, bank account information, phone number, address, the seat you will be sitting at, the gate you entered, and the time of entry. Make no mistake, just because a soldier with a gun didn't ask you, "Your papers please," doesn't mean you didn't just get shaken down. The only difference is a card reader and a computer did the shaking and you never realized it happened.

Mored's picture
Mored 10 years 27 weeks ago

The words inherent dignity and equal and inailable triggers is very ambiguous. Can you please tell me specifically what you think those rights should be???

DHBranski's picture
DHBranski 10 years 27 weeks ago

If you think low-wage workers have it rough, consider all those pushed out of our shrinking job market. Think a minute. The US shipped out the bulk of our manufacturing and tech jobs in recent decades, thanks to massive annual corporate tax cuts, NAFTA, etc. As jobs were leaving, Clinton wiped out welfare and created a mandatory (super-cheap) workfare replacement workforce, actually creating more poverty (but protecting corporate profits). Fewer jobs, more people in desperate need of jobs. This generation of Democrats and liberals repsonded to the growing crisis by simply writing US poverty out of the discussion. Seriously. If you aren't employed, you become invisible. We know that not everyone can work, due to health or circumstances, and that there are simply not jobs for all who need one. So what is our respense to all those left behind? We simply pretend they don't exist. We don't see their suffering any more than we would notice the suffering of a sparrow as it dies from cold and lack of food. Low wage workers are still hanging on by a thread, and still have human status. Weirdly (or interestingly), the last society to conclude that human worth is based solely on employability/income was Nazi Germany.

CharlesN 10 years 27 weeks ago

I fail to see any ambiguity, perhaps if you were to review and meditate on the founding documents, the Declaration, the Preamble to our framework for governance, both well summed four score and seven years later....the answer as to what words apply would become more clear to you; less ambiguous.

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 10 years 27 weeks ago

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is certainly a timeless sentiment that has been echoed by many, including Jesus Christ, who of course is one of the most famous human rights activists in recorded history, right on through to Pope Francis.

Todays Fascists consider such sentiment as Marxist. Don't ask me why, ask Beckerhead or Limpbaugh. What they're really afraid of is the threat of economic fairness created by legislation that would temper their financial gluttony.

DHBranski's picture
DHBranski 10 years 27 weeks ago

At this moment, I think that we, as a people, are very uncertain about those concepts. Even liberals no longer believe that the human rights listed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights actually apply to America's poor. I'm pretty sure that they regard the poor as something less than people, and we now have a generation that can't even grasp the concept of allowing a measure of dignity to those pushed into poverty. It would be like taking a stand for the dignity of chickens or ants. "Inalienable" anythings are easily amended to fit the whims of whomever is in power.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 10 years 27 weeks ago
Quote Mored:The words inherent dignity and equal and inailable triggers is very ambiguous. Can you please tell me specifically what you think those rights should be???

Mored ~ The words you claim to be ambiguous are actually quite plain and simple. "Inherent Dignity" means the respect any person deserves simply for being a human being. "Equal" means that no one is entitled to more or less human respect than anyone else. An "Inalienable Right" is one that cannot be taken away by anyone; or, that cannot be given away by anyone.

There is nothing ambiguous about any of these words or rights they describe, except to the few who wish to deny them to others. There is a growing effort of the very rich to oppress the very poor. The more oppression the more profit. The only thing standing in their way is the law. Reducing the "Inherent Dignity" that all people share "Equally" for the oppressed makes violation of their "Inalienable Rights" much easier and profitable. Nothing more and nothing less. The framers of these documents took great pain to keep the language as unambiguous as possible to be understood clearly by all people for all time.

The ability to legally treat people like cattle, or disposable cogs in a machine, is what this nonsense is really about. This is an effort that has been tried before. That is why this law was written in the first place.

bobbler's picture
bobbler 10 years 27 weeks ago

>>>. Even liberals no longer believe that the human rights listed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights actually apply to America's poor.

Wooooah, who are these liberals? Don't confuse democrats with liberals. Because of corporate money, Both parties Democrat and Republican, are Essentially one party when it comes to economic policies that favor the one person (I mean screw the 99%).. Take the political compass test, and There will be a graph at the end showing yourself in relation to others.. The key thing to know is both Democrats and Republicans are both authoritarian conservative quadrant of the graph.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 10 years 27 weeks ago

Great discussion

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 10 years 27 weeks ago

Branski, what is your definition of a "liberal"? And how would you support such a broad generalization about liberals, claiming they no longer believe poor people have rights? If you really believe this, then how do you distinguish a liberal from a right-wing fascist?

Bobbler makes an excellent point about Democrats and liberals not being the same.

richinfolsom 10 years 27 weeks ago

Growing up in middle America in the 1960's, times were turbulent. In small town, Northern California, life was protected from the anti-war protests, the Watts Riots, the attack dogs of Alabama, and a decade of tragedy: John, Bobby, and Martin. The ideals of The Pledge of Allegiance, the Declaration of Independence, and having learned about the horror of WWII and The Holocaust. The students in the streets spoke to mr though they were a half-generation older than I.

Thinking back over the years an idealism that bound together a decade or two into one of hope, a belief in "equal and inalienable rights for all members of the human family." Some people along the path, seems the passion of an entire generation born out of the Kansas Dust Bowl; a society ripped apart by the Great Depression; young men by the millions thrown into WWII and after four, bloody years resolved to change the course of mankind. The toil of progress is painful and slow to achieve. Thomas Jefferson brought to to the world: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness..." The struggles of the Great Depression have been lost to books and historians. The passion for justice sought in Berkeley have faded with the wind. Newscasters of a foregone era with their steadfast wisdom have been replaced by TV models with TelePrompters. While we discuss tax policies, trade agreements, and Citizens United, a seriously failed, unspoken common thread lurks its way through the chatter. Our discussions fail to recognize the person, the living, breathing soul. Having commoditized our lives into highly segregated divisions, it is difficult to find the dignity of a person. Our rights are steadily being stripped with our knowledge and consent. Voter rights are steadfastly being chipped away. Be it race or religion; gay or straight; whether you have healthcare or can't afford it; or obtain a quality education. (In some cities, 40% drop out if high school.). I invite you to a little exercise the next time you are stopped in traffic or sitting in a mall. Notice everyone who walks by. Imagine they have universal healthcare. Imagine they graduated from college without significant debt. Imagine they have decent paying jobs. Imagine companies compete in a reasonably regulated market system. Imagine elected officials respond to the voters and not lobbyists and their ATMs.

steve conner's picture
steve conner 10 years 27 weeks ago

As long as corporate money remains speech. We are doom.

ptg0's picture
ptg0 10 years 27 weeks ago

Funny, the people holding us back are those that we elect. That would indicate that the people that "we" are allowed to select from are themselves deficient. It would seem to me that somehow, those that we are allowed to select from are "plants".

Perhaps it is time to dissolve the corrupt form of government that has been created for us. Many questions have gone un answered or have been answered with out right lies such as the Kennedy assasinations, the King assasination, watergate, veitnam, the bush crime family and how anti-american republiCONs have managed to destroy this country.

Perhaps Prescott Bush should have been EXECUTED for treason instead of being allowed to continue to be a senator which he did until kennedy was assasinated.

What a coincidence.

Dweinstein003's picture
Dweinstein003 10 years 27 weeks ago

Stop being a ghost and become a spirit....

Jason Neumann-Grable 10 years 27 weeks ago

I try so hard to be optimistic, but I see way too many parallels with the decline and fall of the Roman Empire. Our government is so broken, I don't know how it can be fixed. Both parties act like squabbling children (albeit with unlimited money and loaded guns!).

I am rapidly becoming apolitical.

Jason N-G

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 10 years 27 weeks ago

Dweinstein, what's that supposed to mean? How is Sandlewould being a "ghost"? She makes some valid points about our sorry excuse for a media. I agree with her assertion that had Martin Luther King been alive today, he would most likely have been ignored, as more contemporary social leaders are currently ignored. I see nothing in either of her posts to warrant criticism or dismissal. - Aliceinwonderland

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 10 years 27 weeks ago

Jason, I can't think of a worse time to be apolitical. You're right about both parties; "squabbling children" seems a fair characterization. The answer to society's ills - and ours, collectively - could well be lying somewhere beyond the fascist Rethugs and corporatist Democrats. Creativity, resourcefulness, solidarity and militancy are worth cultivating in times like these; not apathy. - Aliceinwonderland

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 10 years 27 weeks ago

rich in folsom -- are you writing new verses for John Lennon? You are doing a very good job.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 10 years 27 weeks ago

Jason N-G --- To add to what Alice said. Just a few more people being more active politically in 2008, we could have had 61 democratic senators. With a filibuster proof senate, we would have passed card check, stopped granting waivers to the Buy America Act of 1936, and woudl have created a law to penalize China for currency manipulation. Each of these laws would have had tremendous effect on the improvement of the middle class and subtracted from the power of the 1%. I assume that is why every republican voted against them (acutally filibustered against them) in order for them to maintain the funding necessary for them to stay in office.

Also, things were much worse than now in 1900 and 1929. One great power we have now that the Roman citizen did not was Facebook etc.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 10 years 27 weeks ago

My friends in California just told me that when they tried to sign up for ACA.. www.coveredca.com in California they got redirected to https://v.calheers.ca.gov , which seems to be a legitimate gov web site. But, someone could get just a little suspicious over that. My friends said that it would have been much more convincing that they were dealing with a legitimate web site if it had stayed "coveredca.com" and not redirected.

Then some of the problems they had, once they applied, was that after filling out that long questionnaire they gave them a chance to go back and "edit" any section. Problem is that once they clicked on any of those sections and made their corrections, they couldn't just jump back to the place where they clicked on "edit". They had to click on "Continue" on every page that they previously filled out to get back to the end where they clicked on "edit". At least they didn't have to re-enter all that they had previously entered. But, they said it just added to the confusion.

Another problem they had was that one section asked for "voluntary" information on race and ethnicity. The problem they had was that the question that asked whether they were of Hispanic origin ...they had to click either on a "yes" or "no" bullet. Once they clicked on one they couldn't change their mind and not answer that question. They were either forced to answer that question truthfully or lie. That's hardly voluntary!

Another problem they had was that when, at the end, they were asked to take a voluntary opinion poll asking questions relating to how hard it was to fill out the form on-line..they were warned that their comments were not encrypted and that any third party would be able to see the information they sent. Everything else was encrypted. True, not much in that poll, including comments, would have been really all that sensitive but it would have been more confidence boosting if it had been securely encrypted...with https and not just http.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 10 years 27 weeks ago

chuckle8: "penalize China for currency manipulation"..you think the US has not been guilty of that as well? The US has much to be penalized for! We can hardly point fingers when we have been even more guilty than anyone else.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 10 years 27 weeks ago

A student at Harvard tried to avoid taking a scheduled test yesterday by emailing in a bomb threat which caused the evacuation of 4 buildings. His plan worked except that the authorities quickly discovered who he was and arrested him.

He thought he would be able to avoid detection by using TOR (The Onion Router) and Guerrilla Mail, an "anonymous" web mail site. But, obviously, it didn't work...they caught him right away. (I wonder if David Malan, a Harvard University professor on Computer Sciences, was in on the quick solving of the crime? He's one of my most favorite professors; and, he had said that he had previously worked with authorities on solving computer related crimes. You can watch his very popular CS50 class on-line...for free.)

This just goes to show that using TOR and anonymous web sites just don't work very well. You are NOT anonymous!

This guy would have been more anonymous if he had phoned in from a pay phone or pasted letters from magazines in a letter (as long as he used surgical gloves to hide finger prints).


DHBranski's picture
DHBranski 10 years 27 weeks ago

America's liberals/progressives reject the UDHR as well, not jusy the right wing. The UDHR does state that food and shelter are fundamental human rights, even for the jobless and unemployable. Todfay's generation agrees that if you are not of current use to an employer, in a coiuntry that has shipped out the bulk of our tech and manufacturing jobs, you have no human rights.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 10 years 27 weeks ago

Branski- Again I ask, what is your definition of a "liberal" and how would you distinguish liberals and progressives from right-wing fascists?! I fully accept food and shelter as fundamental human rights, as does any like-minded person I happen to know. If you're going to make such a broad, sweeping generalization, you'd better be prepared to back it up with some solid evidence. - AIW

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