Here, There and Everywhere

Posts tagged ‘law’

Whatever It Takes

Love Feld by Virginia Alanís.
Reviewed by Gabriel Constans.

61eBvpsjijLA high school sweetheart, who becomes as possessive as hell, a patriarchal Mexican father, and a prejudiced school counselor, can’t stop Laura Cano from following her dream to be a lawyer and gain independence. She also learns when, and how, to connect with family, and to appreciate all those who help her along the way. Love Field, by Virginia Alanís, gives readers’ insight into growing up in a Mexican-American family in Texas, and if it isn’t told from her personal experience, reads like it is. Her parents, sisters, and grandmother, all sound familiar, comforting, and often controlling.

At age 17, Laura is looking forward to graduating from high school, and applying to college. Since she was young, she thought about being a lawyer to help others. Especially after she witnessed a tragic event from a next door neighbor’s abusive husband when she was a child. Lucky to get a job at a law office, with Vanessa Hamilton, and support from her Godmother, Toni, the narrator of this tale fights to find her way in spite of a father that believes women are only meant to be wives, and her newly married husband, Edward, who does not trust her and threatens to ruin everything.

If you (or someone you know) has ever been in a possessive, and/or abusive, relationship, what transpires between this young couple (Laura and Edward), may feel uncomfortably familiar. What first appears to be support, love, and care, slowly gets twisted and subverted, until Laura must make a choice and risk leaving the young man she once loved, without being harmed (or killed) in the process. She does everything she can legally, and gets help from her retired English teacher, Elisabeth, her mentor at work, Vanessa, and Godmother Toni.

This story encompasses a number of themes. What is family? How much does one owe family, and what parts do you leave behind? Are there any signs that someone will turn out to be abusive when you first meet, and if so, what are they? How does one safely escape from a violent, or threatening situation, without jeopardizing themselves or others? Is family history something that should be respected at all costs, or left behind when it becomes overbearing? If you like the recent memoir of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomeyer (My Beloved World), you’ll enjoy Love Field by Virginia Alanís.

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Mindfulness IS the News

Mindfulness IS the News
from Wild Divine Newsletter
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Last week, with the Time magazine cover featuring the trend of mindfulness in US culture and the world, you can see that indeed a sea-change has occurred. With mindfulness being addressed at the 2014 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland we can see from this article that there are several approaches to the subject, its importance, and a diversity of support within the world business community and elsewhere.

In Barrington, RI meet Police Chief John M. LaCross who has been leading an 11-minute meditation utilizing deep breathing and visualization to comfort grieving families who have lost loved ones. He is also a Reiki master, and has put his focus on using mindfulness as part of police work to help individuals and communities. “It’s about compassion, respect for others, treating people with dignity,…..It’s a very difficult job being in public safety. You have to be strong in times of crisis. You can’t show emotion,” he said. “We’re all human, we just wear different clothes to work.”

And, on another side of the law, read here about law Professor Charles Halpern at the University of California, Berkley, where he teaches a popular course called “Effective and Sustainable Law Practice: The Meditative Perspective.” He also offers retreats for legal professionals of all sorts to enhance listening skills, focus attention and help legal professionals make more empathic to others they interact with.

Domestic Slavery

Dear Activist,

Did you know that in the Philippines, more women leave their homes to work as maids or nannies than in any other country? But on their first day of “work”, many learn they’ve been deceived. Locked inside strangers’ homes, their passports taken away, many suffer beatings and sexual abuse. Filipino women are the face of domestic work around the world – and sadly, the face of domestic slavery.

But this summer, we can help change that. The Philippines Senate is voting on a law to protect domestic workers from falling into slavery.

43,000 people have already signed our petition asking the Senate to pass the law. Our partners in the Philippines tell us this wave of international attention is having a tremendous impact! We want to reach 50,000 signatures by the time the Senate comes back in session in three weeks. Please sign and tell your friends today:

Stop Millions of Women and Girls from Being Deceived and Sold Into Slavery

Recently, our partners in the Philippines organized a Walk for Freedom to demand government action. Thousands of people marched in the streets of Manila asking their government to protect millions of women and girls from falling into domestic slavery. Survivors shared their horror stories of leaving their homes to find a job as a maid – only to end up as a slave.

And Walk Free members were there with them in spirit! 43,000 people from 156 countries have already signed our petition calling on the Philippines to sign the law. The world is watching – if the Philippines becomes the 2nd country to ratify the law, under the International Labour Organization’s provisions, it comes into effect.

We need to keep the momentum going – help us reach our goal of 50,000 signatures by signing and telling your friends today! Walk Free will deliver the petition to the Philippines Senate to send a strong message to senators to pass this law as soon as they come back in session.

Stop Millions of Women and Girls from Being Deceived and Sold Into Slavery

Thank you for your support,
Tim, Debra, Lauren, Galit, Martine, David, Josh and the rest of the Walk Free team

Gender & Pay Equality

Gabriel,

Scott Walker is at it again.

First the radical right-wing Wisconsin governor launched a surprise attack on workers’ rights, drawing a massive backlash from Wisconsin voters. Now he’s trying to roll back the clock on women’s rights in the workplace.

That’s right – just this Thursday, Walker repealed an Equal Pay law that made it easier for victims of wage discrimination to have their day in court.

Sign the DGA petition right now to tell Governor Walker that we will not let this latest assault on women’s rights prevail without a fight.

You might think a million signatures on Walker’s doorstep demanding a recall election would make the Koch brothers’ favorite governor think twice before pushing a radical right-wing agenda – an agenda that makes it easier for employers to discriminate against female workers and other groups.

You might think that Walker would care that Wisconsin women make 75 cents for every dollar that their male counterparts make.

You might think that, but you’d be wrong.

Join the thousands of people who – like me – are outraged that Governor Walker repealed this important Equal Pay law.

If we don’t stop Scott Walker right now, Republican governors across the country will follow his lead. Add your name and help us fight back.

First it was workers, now it’s women. Governor Walker’s rolling over our rights and on June 5, he’ll have to face the music.

We cannot let up now.

Thanks for your support,

Kate Hansen
Communications Director
Democratic Governors Association

Government Mandated Medicine

Gabriel —

Last week, I told you Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell was getting ready to sign the “ultrasound bill,” an atrocious proposal that would force all women considering abortions to get ultrasounds and require their doctors to ask if they’d like a picture.

Well, he signed it.

We didn’t stop the bill this time, but we did make sure the entire country knew exactly what was going down in Virginia.

There are still 450 other bills on birth control and abortion in state legislatures across the country. With a far-right faction of the GOP holding a majority in many of them, it’s unclear how many we can stop. But let me just say this: We need to be prepared to win in November.

As long as women’s rights are being attacked, we’re going to keep fighting back — in Congress and in the states.

Say that you’re ready to stand with Democrats as we stand up for women. Add your name today.

We’re taking on this fight both nationally and in the states. In Virginia, that meant helping to fund the state party’s rapid response communications team — they pushed back on the ultrasound legislation, supported the Democrats who opposed it, and publicized peaceful protests of it at the capitol. That work helped put this bill on the national radar.

Right now, New Hampshire, Florida, Arizona, Ohio, and many other states are considering similar legislation.

The Texas legislature is in the midst of a bitter fight to eliminate state support for a wide range of women’s health services. They’ve already eliminated two-thirds of their funding for women’s health, closing more than half of the state’s Planned Parenthood and other clinics. And now they’re voting to reject aid for the Medicaid Women’s Health Program. They claim they’re doing this to fight abortion, but what they’re actually doing is denying hundreds of thousands of women access to basic health care.

Clearly, this fight is about more than abortion and birth control.

I won’t stop speaking out across the country about a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions, and Democrats in the states won’t stop pushing back against these bills.

I hope you won’t stop fighting either.

Support the fight state by state and nationwide. Stand with the Democrats today:

http://my.democrats.org/Stand-for-Women

Thanks,

Debbie

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz
Chair
Democratic National Committee

Threat of Indefinite Detention

From Nation of Change
by Jane Olzen
5 January 2012

Speak Out: The Rising Threat of Indefinite Detention

The irony of it all is way more telling than the State of the Union address that we will hear in a few weeks. A constitutional lawyer who was freely elected president signs into law an act that betrays the very principles that the nation he represents was founded on. While the more cautious of us might shy away from the word fascism to describe a nation’s military having the right to detain citizens without trial, it is certainly not hyperbole. There has already been an onslaught of criticism regarding the controversial National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that Congress legislated and President Obama signed into law on January 1, 2012.

Historically, the NDAA was a spending bill that set the annual budget for the US military. Recently, the guaranteed passage of the NDAA has been used by legislators—in spite of vehement rhetorical opposition by progressive and GOP legislators, the bill still passed, unsurprisingly, with overwhelming support (86-13 with one abstaining in the Senate; 322-96 with eleven abstaining in the House)—to craft the policies and politics of the war on terror.

The same day President Obama signed the NDAA, activists with Witness Against Torture (WAT) began preparing for a January 3, 2012 trial to defend themselves against charges stemming from a June 2011 protest when they interrupted House of Representative deliberations on a Defense Appropriations Bill—a precursor to the final NDAA.

The reason for WAT’s protest was not the provision that allows the president to indefinitely detain anyone, anywhere, which was not included in the early drafts of the 2012 military spending bill. Rather WAT was protesting the provisions in the bill—which did make it into the NDAA—that establish the prison in Guantanamo Bay as a permanent fixture in U.S. foreign policy and seriously question America’s commitment to human and civil rights. Journalist Andy Worthington describes the provisions that make it near impossible to transfer detainees for trial in civilian courts or release them to foreign countries.

The uproar regarding the NDAA’s potential treatment of U.S. citizens as “enemy combatants,” without rights to counsel or trial, in the war on terror is simply the realization of a misguided, immoral, and ineffective domestic and foreign response to terrorism. The chickens are coming home to roost. The American legacy of the 2000s is one of torture, illegal domestic spying, the flouting of international law, and unconscionable detention practices. Meanwhile, nonviolent alternatives for effectively dealing with terrorists—such as a long-stalled potential rehabilitation center for Guantanamo detainees or peer-group centers that challenge and shift the narratives of Islamist terrorism (such as Abdul Haqq Baker and the STREET center that WNV favorite Tina Rosenberg has reported on)—are not given much official consideration.

Read entire article at Nation of Change.

Indefinite Detention?

Dear Gabriel,

The latest National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is nothing short of a disaster for human rights. Unfortunately, despite an outcry from activists like you, Congress has already more or less guaranteed that this bill — with its disturbing detention provisions — will soon reach President Obama’s desk.

We can’t take the risk that this legislation will ever become law.

Tell President Obama that he must follow through with his threat to veto the NDAA.

It’s not an exaggeration to say that the rule of law and human rights in the United States as we know them are at stake. On its face, this bill is scary enough — it would keep Guantanamo open indefinitely, hinder federal trials of terrorism suspects, and would further entrench detention without charge in U.S. law.

Those provisions alone are a deep affront to human rights. But the broader implications are just as terrifying.

If the U.S. government has the foggiest belief that you might be associated with Al Qaeda or its allies, even a U.S. citizen within U.S. borders could be targeted. How would we know if that “belief” is justified, you may ask? Well, we don’t — there is no innocent until proven guilty on the battlefield. And this bill would bring the battlefield to U.S. soil.

Sweeping new powers for the U.S. president and military — based on “beliefs” alone — at the expense of individual liberty. This is not the America we believe in.

President Obama already has threatened to veto the NDAA if these odious provisions come across his desk. But he’s also promised to close Guantanamo, and we all know that hasn’t happened — we’re not even close. We must keep the pressure on.

Urge President Obama to keep his pledge to veto the NDAA — and to honor his promise to close Guantanamo and uphold human rights.

Sincerely,

Zeke Johnson
Director, Security with Human Rights Campaign
Amnesty International USA

P.S. Guantanamo has been open 10 years too many! Join us January 11, 2012 in Washington, DC for a day of action to close Guantanamo — sign up now.

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