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Human Rights & Civil Liberties

Human Rights & Civil Liberties

Bill Day | Liberty Ms Ogyny / media.cagle.com

A new American revolution: Can we find the language — and build a movement — to break out of our nation’s culture of cruelty?

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  • Fighting back against the right's politics of exclusion can be a path toward rebuilding American democracy.
  • Related: Sally Yates Rips Jeff Sessions’ Defense For Harsher Criminal Sentences

Henry A. Giroux, Salon

Tuesday, Jul 4, 2017 | The health care reform bills proposed by Republicans in the House and Senate have generated heated discussions across a vast ideological and political spectrum. On the right, senators such as Rand Paul and Ted Cruz have endorsed a new level of cruelty – one that has a long history among the radical right — by arguing that the current Senate bill does not cut enough social services and provisions for the poor, children, the elderly and other vulnerable groups and needs to be even more friendly to corporate interests by providing massive tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.

Among right-wing pundits, the message is similar. For instance, Fox News commentator Lisa Kennedy Montgomery, in a discussion about the Senate bill, stated without apparent irony that rising public concerns over the suffering, misery and death that would result from this policy bordered on “hysteria” since “we are all going to die anyway.” Montgomery’s ignorance about the relationship between access to health care and lower mortality rates is about more than ignorance. It is about a culture of cruelty that is buttressed by a moral coma.

Henry A. Giroux currently holds the Global TV Network Chair Professorship at McMaster University in the English and Cultural Studies Department and a Distinguished Visiting Professorship at Ryerson University.

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Related:

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http://stmedia.stimg.co/ows_145653429657613.jpg?w=525Sally Yates Rips Jeff Sessions’ Defense For Harsher Criminal Sentences, Sam Levine, HuffPost 

  • “While there is always room to debate the most effective approach to criminal justice, that debate should be based on facts, not fear.”
  • Related: Smart on Crime: An Alternative to the Tough vs. Soft Debate
  • Related: Prison Reform: Justice vs. Revenge

 

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Five Truths About Voter Suppression

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An election official checks a voter's photo identification at an early voting polling site in Austin, Texas, February 2014. AP/Eric Gay

 

The strength of American democracy depends on the ability of citizens to express their fundamental right to vote. Instead of pursuing the myth of voter fraud and encouraging tougher restrictions on voting, the Trump administration should work to fight voter suppression and expand the electorate.

Connor Maxwell and Danielle Root, American Progress

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May 12, 2017 | The United States has a troubled history of voter suppression. Prior to the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, many states used policies such as poll taxes and literacy tests to prevent African Americans from voting. Even after the voting barriers of the Jim Crow era were removed more than 50 years ago, some lawmakers continue to pursue policies that would undermine our nation’s progress.

http://evergreenedigest.org/sites/default/files/Millian%20Fists%20%7C%20Illusion.jpg Under the guise of tackling voter fraud, 14 states adopted measures to restrict voting ahead of the 2016 election. These measures, including strict voter ID requirements and reductions in early voting opportunities and polling places, created barriers for tens of thousands of low-income citizens and citizens of color. Alarmingly, five of the 14 states have a history of racial discrimination in voting and previously had to seek federal approval before changing their voting laws and procedures.

Connor Maxwell  is a Research Associate for Progress 2050 at the Center for American Progress. Danielle Root is the Voting Rights Manager for the Democracy and Government team at the Center.

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Special Report | Disability : Hundreds of Thousands of People with Disabilities Blocked from College Aid

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  • When offices set up to assist people with disabilities become obstacles.
  • Eligible but Got Nothing
  • Related: US Education System Fails Students with Disabilities

Meredith Kolodner, The Hechinger Report / AlterNet

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September 27, 2016 | Wendy Thompson always knew she wanted her son to go to college, but she didn’t realize so many people would disagree.

Her son was born with cerebral palsy, a disease that has him using a wheelchair, but has little impact on his academic abilities. He graduated from high school with a Regents diploma in 2013 — a feat accomplished by only 18 percent of students with disabilities in New York City that year, compared to 70 percent of students without disabilities.

Meredith Kolodner was an education reporter at the N.Y. Daily News for three years. Before that she covered the United Federation of Teachers and several other city unions for The Chief-Leader newspaper.

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Related:

US Education System Fails Students with Disabilities, Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest

  • U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan on Tuesday focuses his quest to improve classroom performance on the 6.5 million students with disabilities, including many who perform poorly on standardized tests.
  • Part 1: These States Are Failing To Follow Disability Law, U.S. Says
  • Part 2: Why Are Huge Numbers of Disabled Students Dropping Out of College?
  • Colleges are full of it!

Tomgram: Aviva Chomsky, The Criminalization of Immigrants From Clinton to Trump

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Making Sense of the Deportation Debate

Aviva Chomsky, TomDispatch 

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https://s3.amazonaws.com/s3.presente.org/images/stopdeportations.jpg April 25, 2017 | From his “big, fat, beautiful wall” to his travel bans, much of Donald Trump's push to isolate America, like so much else in his program, has hit a series of ugly speed bumps. Not only won’t the Mexicans “pay” to build that much-promised wall, but even Congress is unlikely to do so, as its price tag soars by the week. Of course, much of what Trump wants to do when it comes to keeping “them” out, or throwing “them” out, has (as TomDispatch regular Aviva Chomsky writes today) already been done. Our last president wasn’t given the moniker of “deporter-in-chief” by his critics for nothing, and as for that wall, a far more sophisticated, layered version of it is already in place, complete with advanced sensors, cameras, drones, biometrics, spy towers, radar systems -- much of the technology tested on America’s distant battlefields -- as well as actual walls.  Even if there isn’t a single old-fashioned wall along the full length of the U.S.-Mexican border, the construction of the layered “wall” that does exist began in the years of Bill Clinton's presidency and its expansion has continued in a bipartisan fashion ever since.

And yet, even if Donald Trump never builds his wall, his attitude, whether toward Mexicans or Muslims, and the spirit of nativism and authoritarianism he’s released in those who police and bureaucratically control America’s borders, along with a bully-boy language that relies on phrases like “extreme vetting” and on demands to turn over personal passwords for electronic equipment at the border, will go a significant way toward walling this country in.  Take tourism.  Just the other day, Dubai’s government-owned airline, the largest in the Middle East, announced that it was significantly cutting back on its flights to the U.S. because interest among its customers had fallen radically and bookings were way down.  (“The recent actions taken by the U.S. government relating to the issuance of entry visas, heightened security vetting, and restrictions on electronic devices in aircraft cabins, have had a direct impact on consumer interest and demand for air travel into the U.S.”)

Aviva Chomsky is professor of history and coordinator of Latin American studies at Salem State University in Massachusetts and a TomDispatch regular. Her most recent book is Undocumented: How Immigration Became Illegal.

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