Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)

The unprecedented corporate power grab known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal could be headed for a possible vote in Congress later this year. But thanks to the work of thousands of CREDO activists, whether it has enough support … Continue reading

The unprecedented corporate power grab known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal could be headed for a possible vote in Congress later this year. But thanks to the work of thousands of CREDO activists, whether it has enough support to pass is still an open question.

Unfortunately, the TPP just got a major boost from some of the largest and most well-known internet companies. A trade association representing companies including Google, Amazon, Netflix, Facebook, Twitter, and Yahoo just announced their full support of the TPP.1,2

This is outrageous. The TPP is antithetical to the interests of internet users. Furthermore, many of these companies pride themselves on putting the rights and interests of their users first and claim that principles such as free speech and privacy are at the core of their mission. TPP directly undermines those values in favor of corporate profit.

Tell members of the Internet Association: Disavow endorsement of the TPP. Click here to sign the petition.

Google, Amazon, Netflix, Facebook, Twitter, and Yahoo don’t have to go along with the Internet Association’s disastrously poor decision to endorse the TPP. One of its members, Reddit, has just come out and disavowed the endorsement.3 This is why we are joining with our friends from Fight for the Future to pressure other members to do the same.

The TPP was written and negotiated in absolute secrecy, and it’s easy to see why. It would eviscerate broad swaths of regulations that protect consumers, workers, the environment, and the soundness of our financial system. And it would set up a global system where corporate profits trump the policy priorities of sovereign governments.

Passage of the TPP could mean more American jobs offshored, developing countries losing access to lifesaving medications, and unsafe foods and products pouring into our country. The deal includes countries that are notorious for human rights violations without once mentioning “human rights” in its 5,600 pages.

The deal could also mean the end of internet freedom as we know it. It would expand corporate copyright enforcement at the expense of privacy and free speech. It would criminalize tinkering and modifying products under fair use purposes. And it would allow corporations to avoid the legal and democratic process by using secretive international tribunals to attack internet users’ rights – the same tribunals that could be used to undermine environmental and consumer protections.

The members of the Internet Association have no obligation to support this wrongheaded endorsement of the TPP. And, fortunately, many of these companies would be extremely sensitive to a backlash from their own users. After all, companies like Facebook and Twitter wouldn’t have a product if it weren’t for their users’ ability to freely express themselves and create content on a daily basis.

Tell members of the Internet Association: Disavow endorsement of the TPP. Click here to sign the petition.

With the media currently focused on the corrupt practices of corporations revealed in the release of the Panama Papers,4 we have the opportunity to shine the spotlight on how the TPP is just another attempt by corporations to skirt domestic and international law.

If we can get these major internet companies to publicly reject the TPP, as Reddit just did, we can turn this pathetic and self-defeating endorsement into exactly the opposite: A major public statement against the TPP and the corporate power grab it represents.

Tell members of the Internet Association: Disavow endorsement of the TPP. Click below to sign the petition:

http://act.credoaction.com/sign/TPP_Internet?t=7&akid=17517.5084505.ftxYLO

Thank you for your activism.

Murshed Zaheed, Political Director
CREDO Action from Working Assets

Add your name:

Sign the petition ?
  1. Internet Association Member List.
  2. Statement In Support Of The Trans-Pacific Partnership,” Internet Association, March 30, 2016.
  3. Reddit statement on Twitter disavowing TPP endorsement,” Reddit, March 30, 2016.
  4. Panama Papers: Leaks spur global investigations,” BBC, April 4, 2016.

humans are animals

The Moral Status of Animals First published Tue Jul 1, 2003; substantive revision Mon Sep 13, 2010 What is distinctive about humanity such that humans are thought to have moral status and non-humans do not? Providing an answer to this … Continue reading

The Moral Status of Animals
First published Tue Jul 1, 2003; substantive revision Mon Sep 13, 2010

What is distinctive about humanity such that humans are thought to have moral status and non-humans do not? Providing an answer to this question has become increasingly important among philosophers as well as those outside of philosophy who are interested in our treatment of non-human animals. For some, answering this question will enable us to better understand the nature of human beings and the proper scope of our moral obligations. Some argue that there is an answer that can distinguish humans from the rest of the natural world. Many of those who accept this answer are interested in justifying certain human practices towards non-humans—practices that cause pain, discomfort, suffering and death. This latter group expect that in answering the question in a particular way, humans will be justified in granting moral consideration to other humans that is neither required nor justified when considering non-human animals. In contrast to this view, many philosophers have argued that while humans are different in a variety of ways from each other and other animals, these differences do not provide a philosophical defense for denying non-human animals moral consideration. What the basis of moral consideration is and what it amounts to has been the source of much disagreement.

The species Homo sapiens share a genetic make-up and a distinctive physiology, but this is unimportant from the moral point of view. Species membership itself cannot support the view that members of one species, namely ours, deserve moral consideration that is not owed to members of other species. Humans are morally considerable because of the distinctively human capacities we possess. But which capacities are only human? There is no activity that is uncontroversially unique to humans. Both scholarly and popular work on animal behavior suggests that many of the activities that are thought to be distinct to humans occur in non-humans. Darwin brought us closer to the animal world, but equally brought animal nature closer to us. (http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/moral-animal/ ).

The notion of personhood identifies a category of morally considerable beings that is thought to be coextensive with humanity. Historically, Kant is the most noted defender of personhood as the quality that makes a being valuable and thus morally considerable. Yet Kant’s view of personhood cannot distinguish all and only humans as morally considerable. Some humans are not persons, i.e. infants, children, people with advanced forms of autism or Alzheimer’s disease or other cognitive disorders—do not have the rational, self-reflective capacities associated with personhood.

More to the point, rationality itself is suspect as a basis for moral right. On one hand, human rationality is bounded by lower level instincts and mechanistic behavior, and on the other, non-humans exhibit behavior that can be deemed moral. Thus morality is orthogonal to rationality. As a matter of fact, individuals that are hyper rational and lack lower level motional control of their behaviors are nor deemed highly moral, but rather are characterized as psychopathic (http://scienceblogs.com/cortex/2010/04/29/psychopaths-and-rational-moral/ ).

Al Dunlap [That would be “Chainsaw” Al Dunlap, former CEO of Sunbeam and notorious downsizer.] effortlessly turns the psychopath checklist into “Who Moved My Cheese?” Many items on the checklist he redefines into a manual of how to do well in capitalism. There was his reputation that he was a man who seemed to enjoy firing people, not to mention the stories from his first marriage — telling his first wife he wanted to know what human flesh tastes like, not going to his parents’ funerals. Then you realize that because of this dysfunctional capitalistic society we live in those things were positives. He was hailed and given high-powered jobs, and the more ruthlessly his administration behaved, the more his share price shot up.

Some models of human behavior in the social sciences assume that humans can be reasonably approximated or described as “rational” entities (see for example rational choice theory, or Downs Political Agency Models). Many economics models assume that people are on average rational, and can in large enough quantities be approximated to act according to their preferences. The concept of bounded rationality revises this assumption to account for the fact that perfectly rational decisions are often not feasible in practice because of the finite computational resources available for making them.

Bounded rationality is the idea that when individuals make decisions, their rationality is limited by the information they have, the cognitive limitations of their minds, and the time available to make the decision (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bounded_rationality ).

If morality is defined in terms of social behavior, non-humans exhibit different moral behavioral modes (http://www.ted.com/talks/frans_de_waal_do_animals_have_morals?%ca&language=en ). Social life may be regarded as a sort of symbiosis among individuals of the same species: a society is composed of a group of individuals belonging to the same species living within well-defined rules. When biologists interested in evolution theory first started examining social behavior, some apparently unanswerable questions arose, such as how the birth of sterile castes, like in bees, could be explained through an evolving mechanism that emphasizes the reproductive success of as many individuals as possible, or why, amongst animals living in small groups like squirrels, an individual would risk its own life to save the rest of the group. These behaviors may be examples of altruism. Revengeful behavior has been reported in non Homo sapiens (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethology ).

Humans are animals in ways so subtly that we are unaware of it. Humans are subject to the same instinctual drives and influences as other animals are; it’s only human arrogance that would ever lead us to think otherwise. Fifty to seventy percent of the variation between individuals – in intelligence, in personality, in political leanings, or just about any other mental character you care to name – derives from the genes; zero to ten percent derives from the home environment; and the mysterious remainder is due to chance or to non-parental environment. (The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature by Steven Pinker)

The understanding that other people’s emotional states depend on the fulfillment of their intention is fundamentally important for responding adequately to others. Psychopathic patients show severe deficits in responding adequately to other people’s emotion. Psychopaths can teach us a lot about the nature of morality. At first glance, they seem to have perfectly functioning minds. Their working memory isn’t impaired, they have excellent language skills, and they don’t have reduced attention spans. In fact, a few studies have found that psychopaths have above-average IQs and reasoning abilities; their logic is impeccable. But the disorder is associated with a severe moral deficit. (http://scienceblogs.com/cortex/2010/04/29/psychopaths-and-rational-moral/ ).

So what’s gone wrong? Why are psychopaths so much more likely to use violence to achieve their goals? Why are they so overrepresented in our prisons? The answer turns us to the anatomy of morality in the mind. That’s because the intact intelligence of psychopaths conceals a devastating problem: the emotional parts of their brains are damaged, and this is what makes them dangerous.

When normal people are shown violent imagery or other painful stimulus, they automatically generate a visceral emotional reaction. Their hands start to sweat, and their blood pressure surges. But psychopaths feel nothing. When you peer inside the psychopathic brain, you can literally see this absence of emotion. After being exposed to fearful facial expressions, the emotional parts of the normal human brain show increased levels of activation. So do the cortical areas responsible for recognizing faces. As a result, a frightened face becomes a frightening sight; we naturally internalize the feelings of others. The brains of psychopaths, however, respond to these fearful faces with utter disinterest.

I am more inclined to take the position of Schopenhauer. For him, all individual animals, including humans, are essentially the same, being phenomenal manifestations of the one underlying Will. The word “will” designated, for him, force, power, impulse, energy, and desire; it is the closest word we have that can signify both the real essence of all external things and also our own direct, inner experience. Since everything is basically Will, then humans and animals are fundamentally the same and can recognize themselves in each other. For this reason, he claimed that a good person would have sympathy for animals, who are our fellow sufferers (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Schopenhauer ).

Schopenhauer emphasizes the necessity of finding a basis for Ethics that appeals, not to the intellect, but to the intuitive perception (http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/On_the_Basis_of_Morality/Translator%27s_Introduction ). According to Schopenhauer, the end of Ethics is not to treat of that which people ought to do (for ” ought ” has no place except in theological Morals, whether explicit, or implicit)

Eugen Bertolt Friedrich Brecht

Eugen Bertolt Friedrich Brecht (/brɛkt/;[1][2][3] 10 February 1898 – 14 August 1956[4]) was a German poet, playwright, and theatre director of the 20th century. He made contributions to dramaturgy and theatrical production, the latter through the tours undertaken by the Berliner … Continue reading

Eugen Bertolt Friedrich Brecht (/br?kt/;[1][2][3] 10 February 1898 – 14 August 1956[4]) was a German poet, playwright, and theatre director of the 20th century. He made contributions to dramaturgy and theatrical production, the latter through the tours undertaken by the Berliner Ensemble – the post-war theatre company operated by Brecht and his wife, long-time collaborator and actressHelene Weigel.[5]

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Dietrich Bonhoeffer (German: [ˈdiːtʁɪç ˈboːnhœfɐ]; 4 February 1906 – 9 April 1945) was a German Lutheran pastor, theologian, anti-Nazi dissident, and key founding member of the Confessing Church. His writings on Christianity’s role in the secular world have become widely … Continue reading

Dietrich Bonhoeffer (German: [?di?t??ç ?bo?nhœf?]; 4 February 1906 – 9 April 1945) was a German Lutheran pastor, theologian, anti-Nazi dissident, and key founding member of the Confessing Church. His writings on Christianity’s role in the secular world have become widely influential, and his book The Cost of Discipleship became a modern classic.[1]

Apart from his theological writings, Bonhoeffer was known for his staunch resistance to the Nazi dictatorship, including vocal opposition to Hitler’s euthanasia program and genocidal persecution of the Jews.[2] He was arrested in April 1943 by the Gestapoand imprisoned at Tegel prison for one and a half years. Later he was transferred to a Nazi concentration camp. After being associated with the plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler, he was quickly tried, along with other accused plotters, including former members of the Abwehr (the German Military Intelligence Office), and then executed by hanging on 9 April 1945 as the Nazi regime was collapsing.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Dietrich Bonhoeffer (German: [ˈdiːtʁɪç ˈboːnhœfɐ]; 4 February 1906 – 9 April 1945) was a German Lutheran pastor, theologian, anti-Nazi dissident, and key founding member of the Confessing Church. His writings on Christianity’s role in the secular world have become widely … Continue reading

Dietrich Bonhoeffer (German: [?di?t??ç ?bo?nhœf?]; 4 February 1906 – 9 April 1945) was a German Lutheran pastor, theologian, anti-Nazi dissident, and key founding member of the Confessing Church. His writings on Christianity’s role in the secular world have become widely influential, and his book The Cost of Discipleship became a modern classic.[1]

Apart from his theological writings, Bonhoeffer was known for his staunch resistance to the Nazi dictatorship, including vocal opposition to Hitler’s euthanasia program and genocidal persecution of the Jews.[2] He was arrested in April 1943 by the Gestapoand imprisoned at Tegel prison for one and a half years. Later he was transferred to a Nazi concentration camp. After being associated with the plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler, he was quickly tried, along with other accused plotters, including former members of the Abwehr (the German Military Intelligence Office), and then executed by hanging on 9 April 1945 as the Nazi regime was collapsing.

Ed Parker

The Lucy Show – Lucy and Viv Learn Judo (1963) Edmund Kealoha “Ed” Parker (March 19, 1931 – December 15, 1990) was an American martial artist. Parker was born in Hawaii in 1931 and began training in the martial arts … Continue reading

The Lucy Show – Lucy and Viv Learn Judo (1963)

Edmund Kealoha “Ed” Parker (March 19, 1931 – December 15, 1990) was an American martial artist.

Parker was born in Hawaii in 1931 and began training in the martial arts at a young age in judo[1] and later boxing. Sometime in the 1940s, Ed Parker was first introduced to Kenp? by Frank Chow who then introduced Ed Parker to William Chow, a student of James Mitose. William trained Parker while serving in the Coast Guard and attending Brigham Young University. In 1953 he was promoted to the rank of black belt. Parker, seeing that modern times posed new situations that were not addressed in Kenpo, adapted the art to make it more easily applicable to the streets of America and called his style, American Kenpo Karate.[2]

Parker opened the first “Americanized” karate school in the western United States in Provo, Utah in 1954.[3] By 1956, Parker opened a Dojo in Pasadena, California. His first brown belt student was Charles Beeder. There is controversy over whether Beeder received the first black belt awarded by Parker. Beeder’s son has stated for the record that his father’s black belt came after Ed Parker had moved to California.[4] The other black belts in chronological order up to 1962 were: Rich Montgomery, James Ibrao, Mills Crenshaw, authorized by Ed Parker to open a school in Salt Lake City, UT in late 1958 (That school later became the birthplace of the International Kenpo Karate Association; or IKKA.), Tom Garriga, Rick Flores, Al and Jim Tracy of Tracy Kenpo, Chuck Sullivan, John McSweeney, and Dave Hebler.[5] In 1962, John McSweeney opened a school in Ireland, which prompted Parker to give control of the Kenpo Karate Association of America to the Tracy Brothers and form a new organization, the International Kenpo Karate Association.

Parker was well known for his business creativity and helped many martial artists open their own dojos. He was well known in Hollywood where he trained a great many stunt menand celebrities; most notable was Elvis Presley, to whom he eventually awarded a ninth degree black belt in Kenpo. He left behind a few grand masters who are known around the world to this day such as Al Tracy, head of the world’s largest system of kenpo, Bob White, Huk Planas, Larry Tatum, Ron Chapel, and Frank Trejo who runs a school in California.[6] He helped Bruce Lee gain national attention by introducing him at his International Karate Championships. He served as one of Elvis Presley’s bodyguard during the singer’s final years, did movie stunt-work and acting, and was one of the Kenpo instructors of martial arts action movie actor Jeff Speakman. He is best known to Kenpoists as the founder of American Kenpo and is referred to fondly as the “Father of American Kenpo”. He is formally referred to as Senior Grand Master of American Kenpo. Parker can be seen with Elvis Presley in the opening sequence of the 1977 TV special “Elvis in Concert”. Parker wrote a book about his time with Elvis on the road.

Parker had a minor career as a Hollywood actor and stunt man. His most notable film was Kill the Golden Goose.[7] In this film, he co-stars with Hapkido master Bong Soo Han. His acting work included the (uncredited) role of Mr. Chong in student[8] Blake EdwardsRevenge of the Pink Panther and again in Curse of the Pink Panther.[9]

Edmund K. Parker died in Honolulu of a heart attack on December 15, 1990. His widow Leilani Parker died on June 12, 2006. Of their five children, his son, Ed Parker Jr., founded his own self-defense system known as Paxtial Martial Arts. Ed Parkers four daughters, Darlene Parker Tafua, Beth Parker Uale, Yvonne Parker Autry and Sheri Parker Pula are joint officers of Ed Parker Sr.?s Kam IV Inc. The family business, formerly known as Ed Parker Enterprises (including Ed Parker?s American Kenpo Karate Studios, International Kenpo Karate Association [IKKA], International Karate Championship Tournament, and DELSBY publications), was renamed “Kam IV Inc.” and turned over to Ed Parker?s daughters just before Leilani Parker?s passing in May 2006. Kam IV Inc. holds the exclusive legal rights to all of Ed Parker Senior?s Intellectual Property.

America’s neglected public water system

From the Great Lakes to the Puget Sound, America’s rivers, streams, and lakes provide us with a sufficient supply of drinking water. But the transport of this water through the American water system is simply unsafe. Flint, Michigan is using … Continue reading

From the Great Lakes to the Puget Sound, America’s rivers, streams, and lakes provide us with a sufficient supply of drinking water. But the transport of this water through the American water system is simply unsafe.

Flint, Michigan is using corroded lead pipes to transport its water, allowing dangerous chemicals to leach into the water — causing diseases that will plague this community for years. But this problem isn’t limited to one city.

Many of America’s water systems are more than 1OO years old. They’re due for a serious upgrade, but each year we’re falling $22 billion short in the funding the EPA needs to make these critical changes.

Demand Congress fix our nation’s water systems ? Sign the petition now!

The aging U.S. water infrastructure can no longer be ignored. If we don’t have federal support, our communities will continue to suffer.

Flint, Michigan shows us exactly what’s at stake. We need to take immediate action to protect the health of our citizens now and ensure safe drinking water services for years to come.

Citizens of the wealthiest nation on Earth should not be denied this basic human necessity. It’s unacceptable.

Sign your name telling Congress to fix our nation’s water systems:

http://leftaction.com/clean-water

America’s neglected public water system, which contains more than 3 million aging lead pipes, is the cause of this public health catastrophe. Many of these pipes are so decrepit that even small disruptions — an unintentional alteration in water chemistry or repair work — cause them to poison our water with toxic lead.

The result? Hundreds of thousands of Americans — many of them low income and people of color — are needlessly exposed to health risks from lead-contaminated water. And these risks are horrifying: even low levels of lead exposure can damage the brains of children, lower IQ, cause learning disabilities and contribute to behavioral problems.

Appallingly, the laws that regulate our tap water are as antiquated and weak as many of our lead pipes. But reforming the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Lead and Copper Rule is only part of the solution.

We also need a powerful commitment to rebuild America’s outdated drinking water infrastructure — pipes, water mains and treatment plants — wherever needed.

I’m sure you agree that failing to act now — leaving the door open for another Flint — is unthinkable. That’s why it’s imperative that we raise our voices in a massive public outcry and demand that everyone in the U.S. be protected from this long-ignored danger.

Safe drinking water is every American’s right: tell President Obama, EPA and Congress to get the lead out of America’s drinking water!

The disaster in Flint underscores our nation’s galling failure to deliver the most basic services to its citizens. This is an affront to the people of Flint and to those who care about justice everywhere — and it can’t be tolerated in this country.

NRDC is fighting back by suing Flint and Michigan officials to make sure they clean up Flint’s toxic water. But we need your voice now to take this public health battle to the next level.

Stand with me now to demand that lead be removed from America’s tap water once and for all — we owe it to our families, communities and children.

Sincerely,

Rhea
Rhea Suh
President, NRDC
Rhea Suh