Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Right to Liberty… the American Dream

The concept of slavery has shifted.
Besides the well-known horrific crime of international sex trafficking, 
there is another, more common, subversive form of slavery.

This is a life routine, a life style, where a person is forced to work
two minimum wage jobs just to make enough income to survive,
often while going to school to try to achieve more, 
to move up, out of their hole, to a place closer to the mythical American dream, 
an aspiration that has become more myth than reality.

One American college student writes a clear description of this lifestyle. 
This was written as part of a longer essay, in April, 2014:

Everyday someone somewhere is headed back to a dreadful job with no benefits and very little pay. Statistics shows that it takes two incomes to maintain the average size household. Providing for a family now requires a hustle just to maintain the minimum necessities that’s needed to keep a home at bay. Within a matter of hours, a perfectly well adjusted human being can be transform to a walking, talking, motorized robot.  This type of hustle requires maneuvering thought and concentration, but most importantly patience...
The underpaid and overworked souls are the millions of average Joe workers fighting just to stay afloat, turning individuals into part-time students and full time hustle...
The daily set schedules of juggling several 9 to 5 jobs will carry a burden to many individuals; houses will never become fully functional homes. The hustle will get harder, and the chains that stop many from reaching certain heights will get heavier.  Juggling will no longer be an option to many. Crime rate will indeed increase, after robotic individuals have exhausted all possibilities.  This is slavery at its peak...
We must break this cycle and regroup. Houses should be homes, and families need not to struggle and become mechanical robots. This is our country—let’s take it back.
-----------------author: college student, written in April 2014

If indeed we have the Right to Liberty, to be truly free,
public debate could help counter the chains 
many people live with every day.

The original post on Right to Liberty can be read here.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Right to Purpose... Right to Want

The Right to Purpose means one has a desire, usually a very strong desire, so strong that it becomes a daily focus. So, in more common terms, 
the Right to Purpose could also be called simply
the Right to Want.

Wanting gives
each of us a mission in life.

What do you want?
Do you even know?

The original post for the declaration of the Right to Purpose is here.
The Right to Purpose is one of the Rights for a Right-full life.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Right to Metamorphosis... Transpositions

Utrecht University professor Rosi Braidotti's philosophical treatise, 
suggests that humans, especially women, are mutable, multiple, and non-singular
entities which have been traditionally given singular one-state beings.
Instead, humans are non-fixed, transformable, and evolvable,
flexible and able to change into multiple roles and identities.
She suggests a re-configuration of what 
our beings really are in the world
to re-define ourselves in a coming "post-human" world.

Some of the following fashion videos by Nick Knight 
might provide visual support for Braidotti's 21st century theory.

The original Right to Metamorphosis blog post can be read here.

Monday, April 29, 2013

The Right to Expression... Fashion Videos, Part 2

Fashion video is a new expression form still in its early days.
It has finally departed from just runway footage,
with the creativity of a few famous fashion photographers-turned-directors
that have made some fashion designers' products come alive.

The focus is the body and/or the product.

Chanel make-up product Rouge Allure showcased by Solve Sunsbo.

Prada men's fashion 2012: 
 The Prada brand is a leader in fashion video expression.

Music is often the primary sound of these product videos,
and thus, is carefully chosen.

Prada women spring/summer 2013

If not music, the spoken voice becomes a form of poetry.

Monday, April 1, 2013

The Right to Biodiversity... a human right

When I spoke last month to a group of environmentalists 
who wanted to enlist 82 coral species to the Endangered Species List,
I spoke about upholding the Right to Biodiversity.
I stated something that environmental thinkers had never heard:
the Right to Biodiversity is a human right.

As a human right, 
biodiversity upholds our very survival.
We simply don't know what would happen if we break
one particular link in the chain of species, allowing some species
to go extinct and possibly collapsing the whole chain of inter-necessity of life survival.

Thus, the Right to Biodiversity is a human right.
All species are interconnected in a tightly woven 
interdependent network of life.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Right to Be... Nations

In November 2012,
I wrote the Right to Be in relation to individual people--
everyone being free to be who they are.

But the Right to Be also means the right to simply exist.
And this means a nation, a religious group, a race or any other group
connected by a commonality.

A resolve to commit to non-judgment 
is a step that upholds the Right to Peace.

Upholding this right also means that we have to push back---
push back against extreme ideas or judgments, 
but not all extreme ideas, for some are creative,
only those that thrive on conflict and destruction,
those ideas that destroy the Right to Be.

Although I placed the Right to Be
into the constellation of Free Will Rights,
it really belongs in the constellation of Future Rights,
because as commenter JDF points out,
it is "a battle that will have to be fought for a long time."

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Right to Fashion... Fashion Videos

that is looks like a star burst of fireworks.

There are so many ways for us to express ourselves.

Many forms of expression combine 2 or more of these rights
 to make a new form of expression.
New fashion videos is an example loaded with expression rights, where we find:
the Right to Fashion, the Right to Art, The Right to Color, the Right to Music,
the Right to the Magical, the Right to Movement, and the Right to Dance.
Here are 3 of the best from the newest stuff.

Alexander McQueen


Lane Crawford by Nick Knight/SHOWstudio

This is really the newest territory in filmmaking,
and some of this, especially the McQueen video,
uses computer animation that resembles 
the earliest films made in history,
the 19th and 20th c. French filmmaking
by Muybridge and Dali.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Right to Declare Rights.. If the Founding Fathers Had Blogged

When James Madison wrote the Preamble of the U.S. Constitution, Gouverneur Morris polished it with the genius phrase “We the People.” 
Imagine if Madison had blog commenters who could have made suggestions. 
What would the Bill of Rights have become?
Would it have been different?

            As a “rightsmaker” blogger, two years of writing posts declaring over 100 rights has made it clear that feedback has influenced my thoughts and my writing of these rights. There is no question that, if the founding fathers had been able to have the help of a public forum, we would have many more rights than we have now.

            Many of us take our rights for granted.  But the truth is that Madison was very lucky to even get the original 10 rights of the Bill of Rights ratified at all. Between the contentious debates and the summer heat in which the discussions were held, Madison held his ground, and we have him to thank for holding his own.

If only Madison had a blog. His commenters would have come up with so many more rights than we have. Why? Because the people of 1789 had so many more needs than the upper-class founding fathers. 

Here’s a few.
The Right to Food. All the founders were farmers. These founders had no desperate, unfilled need for food. Many had slaves that grew and prepared the food for them. They also didn’t live in a drought like Oklahoma farmers found themselves in the 1930s.
The Right to Water. Abundant rivers in America made water plentiful. Americans in 1789 did not live in the desert terrain like much of the people of Africa.
The Right to Life. Did any of the founding fathers suffer directly from abusive life-threatening torture or genocide? Why didn't they consider the lives of those who did?
The Right to Migrate. No one had stopped anyone coming to America in the 1700s, but surely, a blog commenter of 1789 would have written something about how he had escaped persecution from where he came, and how America had given him an opportunity for another life.
So many Americans of that time had used this right. Did the founders just forget the
preservation of this right they had so well used?
The Right to Security. Well, they almost got this one. The 2nd Amendment mentions security, but it is mostly interpreted as the Right to Bear Arms. Wouldn’t someone living in rural America in 1789 have pointed this out? Civil rights lawyer, Connie Rice, has pointed out in her recent book, Power Concedes Nothing, that the Los Angeles teen living in a gang neighborhood of the 21st century could really have used the right to safety more than the right to free speech.
The Right to Reproduction. How can the human race be without this right protected? It is highly likely that a women blog commenter in 1789 may have thought this one up.
The Right to Body Care. Maybe someone who had been publicly tortured and left with disabilities for untreated wounds would have anonymously brought this up. Maybe a husband with a wife who died in childbirth because there was no local doctor would have suggested this.

So, the founders had no blogs. But it’s never too late. We can still have these rights. Can’t we? We the People.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Right to Biodiversity... Pine Rockland

Most people think of Miami as sandy beaches and palm trees.
But the most natural terrain of South Florida is the lesser beauty, the pine rockland.
Characteristic to this geographical area where the tropics meets the temperate zone,
a major element is its very specific kind of soil layer on the Earth's surface.
This habitat is now reduced to 2% of its original, much of it in the Miami area.
It is stripped down to pockets and corridors found on
both land where people live and more rural areas where they don't live.

Pine Rockland

A coalition of several organizations work hard to document the condition of the pine rockland, in an effort and battle to save, protect, and restore it, including
the Institute for Regional Conservation (IRC).
Field biologists gather data which makes a historical documentation of the species living in the pine rockland, about 200 taxa, or named species.
This information guides efforts of conservation and restoration.

Some people live within a pine rockland yard.
About 10 years ago, the IRC went around to educate owners who lived on this type of land, even in less than an acre plot, to convince them to preserve it
rather than knocking it down to make lawns.
Now, a city ordinance makes it illegal to destroy it, but with a lot of money,
a person can still get permission to cut it down and develop the land.
Development and human population growth are the biggest enemy
to the natural pine rockland species.
Their second biggest enemy are "invasive" species.

If you live in this area, an IRC web page offers a zip code entry that gives you 
a list of native plant species they encourage you to plant.
Support the Right to Biodiversity!

Update: Commenter AC suggests that "when properties are being sold on endangered land,
they should be informing buyers about the land before they buy."
Sounds like a great idea for a new environmental protection law.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Right to Declare Rights... the U.S. 2nd Amendment

The world's constitutions are filled with writing errors.

So when the U.S. founders wrote the Bill of Rights 2nd Amendment,
stating both the Right to Security (which could also have been stated as the Right to Self-Defense) and the Right to Bear Arms in a single Amendment, they are not alone in having made the most common error of rights writing ----combining two or more rights in one Amendment. Another historical declaration of rights, France's Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (1789) is also loaded with this same error.

A second error of the U.S. Bill of Rights 2nd Amendment is implying something is a natural born right when it is really a law. Arms are a tool, thus arms ownership is really a law not a right. No one is born with a right to tools like guns, knives, shovels, sticks, cars, or computers. Tools should be governed under laws, whether local, state, federal, or international.

We must not confuse rights with laws.
Rights we are born with; laws we construct.

Revising a right to become a law does not mean it takes away the ability to have or do something. It simply make it more malleable. Humans can make a law allowing or not allowing gun ownership, and with it, the rules of that ownership, such as "Every citizen in the United States may own a gun..."
But as a law, there is space for change of the rules, which a right does not have.

Additionally, constitutional rights are only painfully revised.
Many history books portray the painful process of writing rights, whether in 1789 or 1948, due to contention, disagreement, and lengthy meetings drawn out over weeks, months, or years. Founder and Bill of Rights writer James Madison was so busy fighting for the existence of the Bill of Rights that the very substance of what he wrote was barely revised. Five of 17 Amendments were removed and almost none of his writing was changed. Another element included in the 2nd Amendment, complicating it even more, the right of conscientious objectors was removed (the U.S. could have used that one during the Vietnam War).

No revisions? Almost all writers revise.
Poet Walt Whitman kept revising Leaves of Grass, from its first edition in 1855 to his death in 1892. I have revisited and revised this short blog post four or five times. I have even revised a blog post, on occasion, a year later,
after discovering some new information.

Rights are precious, once declared, so the writing of rights has to be pristine.
No one wants their rights touched.
In fact, President Obama had to calm the public
when speaking about guns on Jan.15, 2013, stating that the gun issue
is not about taking away the 2nd Amendment.
"That is not the issue here," Obama clarified during a press conference.

Make no mistake: this blog post is not about whether humans should own guns or not, nor the violence that arms cause. These fall into another rights discussion, either the Right to Life, the Right to Body Care, or even the Right to Biodiversity. This post is about rightsmaking and writing and the result of sloppy or hastily declared rights.

philosophical source of this right.

Revision: thanks to commenter D.R.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Right to Free Media... the Quest for Truth

When three influential people in journalism 
come together to co-found a non-governmental organization,
possibility is seeded.

The Freedom of the Press Foundation was formed in December, 2012, with the purpose to protect journalistic freedom, by financially supporting it through crowd funding, that is, people can pay for real knowledge by voluntary donation. This upholds the very media we need most: writers who do investigative journalism and organizations that expose truth through the release of documents.

Wikileaks founder, Assange, still under asylum at Ecuador Embassy, London.
Image via SomersetBean, Australia.
I can't say enough of how important and celebrated this new, collaborative/partnership non-profit is for lovers of the Right to Free Media. Because, in today's early 21st century world, some news organizations publish unpaid articles written by a variety of celebrity-experts; thus, it becomes marketing, which is fine, except that it's packaged as and called news to an unaware public. Other news publishers buy cheap articles without ever fact-checking the original sources, articles that are continuously cloned and repeatedly distributed, multiplying like gremlins. What is sacrificed is truth, resulting in an unknown and invisible battle to keep our Right to Knowledge and a false documentation of history.

So now, the "old-fashioned" objective journalism sources that search for truth, beginning with the National Security Archive, MuckRock News, The UpTake, and WikiLeaks, will finally have a funding source (the people) and a board of power people to defend them.
Our Right to History will still be written and documented by truth-seekers.

"Seeking the truth in reporting without fear or favor 
is one of the great traditions of journalism,"
states Trevor Timm, co-founder of the Freedom of the Press Foundation.

This crucial initiative supports the Right to Knowledge.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Right to Compassion

The Right to Compassion is about relieving pain.
Compassion happens when a person understands the suffering
of another being, human or other,
and seeks to alleviate that suffering in any way they can.

When and how do you exhibit compassion?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Right to Earth Rights

I declare Earth Rights.

Some would say it's a stretch to give rights to inanimate objects.
But others would say that the land, rivers, rocks, are not inanimate but alive.
If the definition of life can be stretched to eco-systems that have elements that interact,
and that living beings' lives depend on these eco-systems,
could not one defend the Right to Earth Rights?

There is movement in this direction.
In 2008, Ecuador voted in a new constitution which included rights
to Ecuador's forests, islands, rivers, and air.
In 2012, in New Zealand, the indigeous Iwi tribe has made sure that their
beloved Whanganui River has gained "personhood."
All actions that relate to this river will consider the best interests of the river.

Bolivia has been an inspiration for Earth Rights.
Bolivia's President Evo Morales, the first indigenous leader of Bolivia, 
created the Law of Mother Earth in 2011. 
The law provides a definition for Earth:
 "a unique, indivisible, self-regulating community of interrelated beings that 
sustains, contains and reproduces all beings."
The law's first article states that humans must
 "achieve dynamic balance with the cycles and processes inherent in Mother Earth."
This law also includes the Right to Water and the Right to Air 
as two of its seven points.
purple flowers in Utah, United States

In 2009, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed April 22 
as International Mother Earth Day.

This concept is so new,
that one could say these actions are only the beginning,
seeds that may sprout in 100 years.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Right to Expression... Right to Write

Like most forms of the Right to Expression,
writing has been around since the cave people used tools
to make signs on cave walls.
Writing can mean a single word or a book of words strung together in sentences and
organized into paragraphs and sections.

The power of this expression, writing, has been under-appreciated.
Because writing has inspired religions and revolutions.
 In the18th century, Thomas Paine's Common Sense
and the U.S. Declaration of Independence 
both led to the U.S. revolution and the formation of America.

In the 21st century, Twitter writers participate in a huge writing network
that helps lead advocacy and change for a better world,
while communicating the daily global news.

As readers, we value other people's writing.
What writing are you thankful for?

Even one or two words have the power to create strong emotion.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Right to Be

During the first months of doing this blog, 
the idea of the Right to Not be Judged was considered.
But discrimination is part of human nature, so I put aside the idea.
Recently, it resurfaced with the idea by a blog commenter of a Right to Remain...
and in that moment, the Right to Be was born.

I declare the Right to Be.
This means that one may be who they are
and/or who they wish to be, 
regardless of social norms and rules.

Thus, one may be silly or overweight or wrinkled
 or homeless or unemployed or bad hair day or whatever,
if one desires to be that way.
This is the Right to Be.
Others may judge, but one has the Right to Be.

This is a power shift, from the judger to the one being judged.
Empowering the individual to Be is liberating.
This is the Right to Be.

Do not judge me by your illusions of me. I am not a pair of ripped cut-off jeans.

Thanks to blog commenter:  MARIII

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Right to Expression... RIght to Kindness

Kindness is one of the most beautiful forms of the 
Right to Expression.

Kindness is going out of one's way for someone,
trying to help them, 
even attempting to understand them,
and taking simple actions to accommodate them
or to help alleviate a difficult moment for them.

Still, kindness is so rare, that when performed, 
the receiver of kindness is often unappreciative, 
maybe even unaware of whatever kind action is carried out.

Service, of any kind, helps people grow,
by learning from the humility of kindness.

There is no dark side to kindness,
when done with correct intention.