On The Rights Of People …

Two things have my angst on edge tonight, both involving humanitarian rights.

From The Guardian, Friday 04 January 2019 …

US halts cooperation with UN on potential human rights violations

The Trump administration has stopped cooperating with UN investigators over potential human rights violations occurring inside America, in a move that delivers a major blow to vulnerable US communities and sends a dangerous signal to authoritarian regimes around the world.

Quietly and unnoticed, the state department has ceased to respond to official complaints from UN special rapporteurs, the network of independent experts who act as global watchdogs on fundamental issues such as poverty, migration, freedom of expression and justice. There has been no response to any such formal query since 7 May 2018, with at least 13 requests going unanswered.

Jamil Dakwar, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s human rights program, said the shift gave the impression the US was no longer serious about honoring its own human rights obligations. The ripple effect around the world would be dire.

Externally, Trump has forged an increasingly unilateral path on foreign policy: in June he shocked the world by pulling the US out of the UN human rights council, complaining it was a “cesspool of political bias”, and he has caused further consternation by siding with the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, despite evidence linking Prince Mohammed to the murder of the Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

Domestically, Trump has run roughshod over the constitutional rights of asylum seekers at the US border, attempted to deny the legal existence of transgender people and introduced tax cuts that have greatly exacerbated income inequality in a country in which 40 million people live in poverty, among many other controversies.

In any democratic form of government, oversight is a key component to ensure that corruption does no run rampant and that the rights of the people are not being trampled.  One of the functions of the United Nations is to provide such oversight, to ensure that the rights of the people are being honoured and protected by the government.  In the case of the U.S. under Donald Trump, those rights are being neither honoured nor protected, and now one of the main overseers has been disabled.  We have literally been hung out to dry.  Which leads to my second source of angst …

From The Washington Post, 03 January 2019

Trump administration considers rollback of anti-discrimination rules

The Trump administration is considering a far-reaching rollback of civil rights law that would dilute federal rules against discrimination in education, housing and other aspects of American life, people familiar with the discussions said.

A recent internal Justice Department memo directed senior civil rights officials to examine how decades-old “disparate impact” regulations might be changed or removed in their areas of expertise, and what the impact might be, according to people familiar with the matter. Similar action is being considered at the Education Department and is underway at the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

In the first year of Trump’s tenure, 18 civil rights prior rulings were cancelled, either by agencies within the administration, or by executive order.  Some of these rulings pertained to women’s rights, some protected minorities from discrimination in the areas of law enforcement, education, housing and employment.  Until now, the rulings were reversals or rollbacks of rulings by the Obama administration, in keeping with Trump’s master plan to eradicate every good thing that Obama had done.  But now, with the plan to rollback disparate impact regulations, the nation is stepping back even further to Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

It seems to me that the main role of any legitimate government, certainly one that claims to stand on democratic principles, is to protect the rights of its citizens.  Our government seems to have forgotten their role, abandoned the principles to which the framers of the Constitution adhered.  For a period of nearly two hundred years, this nation mostly progressed.  Oh sure, we made mistakes, took a few steps backward from time to time, but overall, we came a long way in human rights … civil rights.  But in just the past two years, we have slid back in time, back to a time when African-Americans were considered second-class citizens, when homosexuality was taboo, women were subjugated by men.

Where is this nation headed?  Right now, we have a tin-pot dictator who has made the U.S. the source of derision throughout the Western world.  Worse, our government is eroding the freedoms, the basic human rights, of large groups of people, giving more consideration to corporations that are largely owned by disgustingly wealthy people, than to the majority of people who pay taxes and work hard to take care of their families.  Our rights are being violated and it’s time for it to stop.  Human rights, civil rights … these don’t even require thought, or at least shouldn’t require thought in this, the 21st century!  We fought a Civil War to end slavery, we’ve come through the women’s rights movements, the Civil Rights era, we’ve seen people die standing up for the rights of Native Americans, African-Americans and others.  Do we really need to go backward and have to start all over???  I surely hope not.

15 thoughts on “On The Rights Of People …

  1. Dear Jill,

    President Trump came into power by demonizing immigrants and Muslims. The vast majority of folks who are anti-immigration zealots are also prone to be racists and anti-semetic. This is why the Republican party has become a safe haven for racists. This is the part of the base that he can rely on as they have nowhere else to go. Everything that the president does is predicated on his keeping his base under his control.

    Anything else that he does has to be considered from the prism of how does it benefit him financially or how does it deflect from a subject he’d rather avoid or how does it please his best buddy, Russia’s President Putin.

    Hugs, Gronda

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are correct on all counts. I’m waiting for the day that his base gets hit hard by the fallout from his policies, such as his tariffs or this abominable shutdown! I wonder if they will begin to come awake then and realize they have been had?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Didn’t you hear Congresswoman Cheney the other day? She repeated that familiar conservative assertion that all our rights are given to us by God. Funny, I thought the only right God gave man after the expulsion from Eden was to work hard for his daily bread. Constitutional rights were written by men. And they can be taken away by men.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. On the first part of this post : The United Nations Declaration of Human Rights was adopted 70 years ago on December 10th of 1948. It was partially based on the Freedoms that Franklin D. Roosevelt declared in 1941 were every American’s entitlement and that he felt should be the rights of human beings everywhere. The passage of the Declaration was in part from the advocating and participation of his widow, Eleanor. The United Nations itself grew from the roots planted by Roosevelt and Winston Churchill. That this country should have the 45th president trampling upon the grand legacy of the 32nd President is beyond a travesty. This goes against everything that this country has stood for and promoted worldwide. On the second part of this post : Trump will not stop until he has reversed everything that Barack Obama implemented, with no regard to whomever or whatever it impacts. The Civil Rights era is ancient forgotten history to Trump, if he ever knew of it in the first place. If, as has been said, this too shall pass…one must wonder exactly how much of the good will go along with it. Thank-you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Ellen, for the added information and viewpoint! Some of that I did not know about Eleanor Roosevelt’s contribution! If Trump has his way, this nation will be set back 100 years, at least. We must keep standing firm for our rights, else we may wake up one morning to find that we have none. These are undoubtedly the most terrifying times in my lifetime.

      P.S. Be sure that Benjamin sees the Jolly Monday post this morning!


  4. As I was reading the first part of your post, I kept thinking … why? Why is he doing this? What possible good can he see in these actions? Then I read this: … the rulings were reversals or rollbacks of rulings by the Obama administration, in keeping with Trump’s master plan to eradicate every good thing that Obama had done

    I think it best that I not say anymore … my blood pressure is already going crazy with all the other stuff going on!


  5. Jill, this is sad. I also am saddened by Rawgod’s comment about Canada. Fear sells. The populist movements are sold on fear, overstating problems and blame.

    We have this discussed before, the changes being undertaken are part of a long term strategy of the Koch Brothers dating back to turn of the century. The strategy is to address the changing demographics in the US, where some people who look like me worry about power of influence, when their demographic group is no longer a majority.

    The strategy is one of influence – trying to woo new constituents, one of state legislature dominion through ALEC and gerrymandering, one of national dominion through gaining influence in Congress and Presidency. Now, that it is gained, we are seeing a concerted roll back of many regulations, throwing the baby out with the bathwater. All regulations need to be consistently evaluated, but they do help govern.

    The President has made it worse by attacking all things that question him. Everything negative is fake news. He is the source of truth. Freedom of the Press is not essential. Civil rights for non-whites is not essential. Courts that might rule against him are enemies of the people.

    The man who occupies the White House is betraying the Constitution and civil discourse on a daily, if not hourly basis. As Thomas Wells, an attorney who worked for him said, “Donald Trump lies everyday, even about things of no consequence.”


    Liked by 1 person

  6. Jill, my dear friend, I offer you my condolences in the death of America. Unfortunately I will be joining you at the graveside when Canada has its next federal election sometime this year, supposedly. Recent surveys show that almost half of Canadians want to see fewer non-white faces in our country, as espoused by our version of the GOP. It is only a matter of time. Forget about my offer to come to Canada, it will not long be the country I thought I was inviting you to.
    As for America, it does not surprise me Trump has such plans going on behind the scenes. I wrote in 2017 that his fake news hue and cry was hiding something, I was must not sure what. Now his nefarious plans are coming to light, and they are worse than even I thought they might be. I wrote about his dismantling the “food stamp” plan, but the only response I got was someone telling me America had no food stamp program, so how could it be dismantled. Surprise! Trump is taking more than food off people’s plates, he is taking away the tables, and the rooves over their heads. Basically, he is taking away their RIGHT TO LIVE!
    I did not want to be right, but I also wrote concerning the stupidity of his genocide of those below the poverty line. Who is going to do those dirty jobs that pay nothing, and upset rich folks’ sensitivities, like garbage collectors and toilet cleaners. Hell, they won’t even have anyone to shine their shoes for them, or their bald heads.
    And those below the poverty line will be just the first to go. Those on or barely above the line will be next, and so on, and suchlike. He thinks he can build a nation of rich white evangelical racists. He is only destroying a nation, but he does not care…

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This is so worrying but a sign of the times. Many of the UKs Government including the PM have for years wanted to pull out of the European Human Rights laws. They are seen as either restrictive, anti free market, meddling, too expensive, preventing introduction of stronger crime,punishment and immigration policies. I suppose many of those pushing for this are in a position to pay for lawyers to protect their own rights…


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