PEN America Issues Detailed, Disturbing Report on China’s Internet Censorship

By John Frederick Kaufman The notion that the internet would prove an unmitigated boon for the spread of democracy and human rights neglected the Achilles' heel of digital communication: online speed, reach and access can be centrally controlled, either by a few big corporations who make (and profit from) the means to transmit the stuff…

Did Trump Dump Sec. of State Tillerson to Make Diplomacy and Human Rights Even Weaker Again?

(Much to say today in a small way, which reminds me of the poems I am not writing, a sacrifice I make in the interests of public service. Time to come to the aid of the country, etc.) President Trump fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson today via Twitter; if the Russians ever hack into…

The “Human Rights Poetry” of Yevgeny Yevtushenko Very Relevant Today

By John Frederick Kaufman Speaking of his poetry, here's what Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko, who died yesterday in Tulsa, Oklahoma at the age of 84, told the Associated Press in an interview back  in 2007: "I don't call it political poetry, I call it human rights poetry; the poetry which defends human conscience as the…

Reality: Airstrikes are killing civilians

What price war? In Syria and Iraq, U.S. coalition airstrikes will inevitability kill some innocent people, including children. This fact is apparently not enough to prevent democracies from dropping bombs and missiles from aircraft. We have known since the glory days of aerial bombardment during World War II that the killing of civilians in war has been justified…

Folly of war: Intentionally bombing hospitals

What do the United States, Russia and Saudi Arabia have in common? All three nations have, based on credible reports, intentionally dropped bombs on working medical facilities in Afghanistan, Syria and Yemen, respectively. The Associated Press reports that U.S. special forces operating in Kunduz ordered airstrikes on a known Doctors Without Borders hospital, perhaps in…

The Endless War Report: Drones, more Afghan war and sending arms to Saudi Arabia

Much, unfortunately, to report and say about war again today: News comes of the latest shocking report on U.S. drone warfare, this time from a unnamed source who provided documents to the online Intercept which detail just how inhumane, possibly illegal and ultimately ineffective the foreign policy of "targeted killings" is.  One of the revelations from the report is that…

Both China & U.S. need to improve the human rights of women

Yesterday, at a U.N. summit meeting on women's rights hosted by, of all nations, China and its president, Xi Jinping, we learned that China will “reaffirm our commitment to gender equality and women’s development,” according to Xi. So far, that reaffirmation has failed to recover the human rights of five Chinese female/feminist activists who were imprisoned…