SUICIDE AND WORKPLACE BULLYING

Originally posted on The New Bullying Prevention:

downloadSuicide by Bullying – Intent to Kill
Submissions close this week for the government-ordered parliamentary inquiry into workplace bullying. The committee has been asked to investigate the prevalence of workplace bullying and asses whether existing regulations sufficiently deter potential bullies. Few states and territories have a legal deterrent. But last year Victoria amended its Crimes Act to include bulling and cyber-bullying, making it a crime in Victoria to bully a co-worker, or any person, to their death.
Also known as “Brodie’s Law”, this is the legacy of Brodie Panlock, a 19-year-old waitress who committed suicide in 2006 after a vicious and sustained campaign of bullying by four male co-workers at a Melbourne café. Brodie’s father, Damian Panlock, has publicly said, “If this law had existed then (when Brodie was victimised), the vultures who caused our daughter’s death would be in jail.”

ReviewIt’s hoped the parliamentary review will…

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Gay Rights (Human Rights for LGBTQ people)

4801879238246400Gay-Rights-642x336
Defining “Gay Rights”

Let’s begin by defining what we mean by “Gay Rights.” This particular word combination is bandied about quite freely by people on both the conservative and the progressive sides of the aisle, both in politics and in church; and we must therefore step back and look at the origin of the terms “human rights” and “civil rights”. These kinds of linguistic terms started to come into being around the time of the democratic revolutions in the United States and in France; and they intended a radical equality between all (sic) in a way that hadn’t been seen in human societies for hundreds of years, if ever. As is said in the U.S. Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights; that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

History of the Movement

For nearly 250 years, churchmen and politicians, philosophers and activists have debated not only on what all of these unalienable Rights should include, but also who is to be included in the definition of all “men”. When Jefferson penned these words, it did not include women or slaves or indentured servants. (Male slaves were counted as 3/5 of a person in order to determine ratios for states’ political representation.) Slowly, over the centuries, other non-male, non-white people were recognized as citizens and given the right to vote. At least in theory, black men became citizens with the 14th amendment and had the right to vote with the 15th amendment after the Civil War. Women did not obtain the right to vote until the 19th amendment in 1920.

“Human rights” began to take on a global dimension after the 1899 Hague Convention that implied all human beings have inborn rights independent of the government that seeks to control them. This movement was nourished both by the anti-colonialist movements in Africa and by the labor reform movements of Europe and the United States in the early part of the twentieth century.

Other groups of people have been denied their “human rights” (however we choose to understand that broader term) for reasons other than gender and skin color. During the ‘60’s and ‘70’s there was a broad flowering of many human rights movements, and during that time the seeds for “Gay Rights” were sown. Those who found themselves outside of the socially-constructed U.S. norm of “heterosexual, homoracial marriages” were often denied equal protection of the law in many arenas: law enforcement, random prosecution of homosexual acts, employment discrimination, and family law, to name a few.

In 1969 a police raid of the Stonewall Inn “gay” nightclub in Greenwich Village, NY, set off three days’ of riots which were the spark to unite a national public movement to gain equal rights for those who defined themselves as homosexual, or in any other way outside the narrow confines of “sexual normalcy”. In the last forty years of this movement, the accepted terminology has moved from “Gay” to “Gay and Lesbian”, to “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered” and most recently to LGBTQ, adding the category of Questioning for those who cannot fit themselves in any of the other four descriptions.

Hereafter this article will refer to “GLBTQ rights”

Who Said It?

The next thing to consider, in informing yourself how to understand this, is WHO used the term, “Gay Rights” or “Gay and Lesbian Rights” or “GLBTQ rights”.

If you heard it from a politician or a church person, you will probably have some idea of that person’s leanings, conservative or progressive. In general, conservative politicians – like conservative churchmen – have disparaged the concept of “Gay Rights” because they do not believe that any sexual behavior outside the “heterosexual” is natural and/or God-approved. In fact, many believe that any sexuality outside of “normalcy” between a man and a woman is a learned or conditioned behavior, rather than an inborn mostly genetic trait. For that reason, they are particularly concerned that it will be “learned” from an older “homosexual” who is also often wrongly assumed to be a pedophile.

In particular, conservative churchmen will often recommend to a family a “rehabilitation” program, which is supposed to help the “afflicted” family member to relearn “natural” sexual behavior by reconditioning. Not only do these programs have a very low “success” rate, but they also frequently lead to a precipitous lowering of self-esteem in the individuals who have been forced to undertake them and even led to a marked increase in suicidality. (reference)

If you heard it from a progressive politician or church person, you probably heard either “LBGTQ rights” or perhaps “Gay and Lesbian Rights” which usually indicates that they are supportive of obtaining civil rights for people who identify in this way.

If you heard it from your son or daughter, it might have been in the context of their “coming out” to you as someone who has discovered themselves to be in this category, and who may be trying to assert their civil rights to persuade you or some other person in authority that they, like all human beings, deserve their rights as a human being.

What are Civil Rights for LGBTQ people?

Nationally, they are the same as for any other citizen of the United States. The ACLU states “No LGBT person should experience discrimination in employment, housing, or in businesses and public places, or the suppression of their free expression or privacy rights.” https://www.aclu.org/lgbt-rights Additionally, the ACLU is proactively strengthening and seeking to create state and federal legislation protecting rights for those of any sexual preference and gender identity.

Which of the rights of U.S. citizens are most often violated by practice or by regressive legislation for LGBTQ people? Here is a partial list:

  1. The right to marry
  2. The federal government accords 1,138 benefits and responsibilities based on marital status (online source). These include benefits like receiving unpaid leave to care for an ill spouse without losing one’s job; visitation rights in the hospital; social security survivor benefits; the right not to testify against one’s spouse, among many others. Up until this time, only nine states and the District of Columbia have legalized same sex marriage.

  3. The right to be safe from hate crimes
  4. Anti-hate crime laws exist in the District of Columbia and 47 states. However, in only 24 states and D.C. is sexual orientation and gender preference included in the legislation. In the remaining states, adult or minor LGBTQ people are not protected from hate crimes directed against them because of their identity, whether such bullying be of a minor or major variety, by law.

  5. The right to be free from discrimination in finding employment
  6. The federal Employment Nondiscrimination Act was passed by congress in 2007. During the hiring process, it is now illegal to exclude qualified workers on the basis of sexual orientation. This law has yet to impact many of the more conservative states in practice.

  7. The right to be protected from harassment and discrimination in school
  8. 75 percent of students have no state laws to protect them in the classroom. In public high schools, 97 percent of students report regularly hearing homophobic remarks from their peers.

  9. The right to be cared for by a parent until the age of majority
  10. Between 20 and 40% of 1.6 million homeless youth (estimated) identify as LGBTQ. In one study, 26 percent of gay teens who came out to their parents or guardians were told they must leave home.

    The above-mentioned rights are only a sampling of the ways in which LGBTQ youth and adults do not receive the full protection of the law and its agencies in a uniform or protected manner. The list of violations to LGBTQ civil rights is very long.

What are the symbols associated with the movement?

In addition to the terminology of LGBTQ, the rainbow or the rainbow flag is widely recognized as a shorthand symbol for both the movement and its successful access to civil rights. In many places, “Pride Week” is celebrated with a parade or other public gathering in order to make publicly visible the existence of LGBTQ people and to affirm their hard-won civil rights.

Supportive Organizations (for members of LGBTQ communities, their families, and allies)

There are many excellent organizations helping to protect and legislate and heal those who have suffered from violation of human rights due to LGBTQ status. Here are links to the two oldest and most effective of organizations; do your own investigation online and if you have questions about any organization you discover, you can ask about it from these two sites

PFLAG (www.PFLAG.org)

One of the earliest organizations was PFLAG, originally known as Parents and Friends and Family of Lesbians and Gays. Now it chooses to use only the acronym PFLAG in order to be completely inclusive. It is the U.S.’s largest organization for family and allies of LGBTQ people, having more than 350 chapters throughout the country and more than 200,000 members and supporters and works not only for human rights but also to create support groups and resources.

The Human Rights Campaign ( http://www.hrc.org/the-hrc-story)

This organization has more than 1.5 million members and supporters nationwide. Its mission is to ensure LGBTQ people of their basic equal rights so they can be “open, honest, and safe at home, at work, and in the community.”

Status of LBGTQ rights globally

Many other countries have begun to create legislation to protect the rights of their LGBTQ citizens. However, other nations have an abysmal record in terms of such civil rights. In some countries, a homosexual act between two consulting adults is still an offense punishable by death.

In December 2010, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon gave a landmark speech on LGBT equality in New York calling for the worldwide decriminalization of homosexuality and for other measures to tackle violence and discrimination against LGBT people. “As men and women of conscience, we reject discrimination in general, and in particular discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Where there is a tension between cultural attitudes and universal human rights, rights must carry the day,” said Moon.

Based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and subsequently agreed international human rights treaties, the legal obligations of States to safeguard the human rights of LGBTQ people are well established. International human rights laws include the right to life, security of person and privacy, the right to be free from torture, arbitrary arrest and detention, the right to be free from discrimination and the right to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly.

http://www.ohchr.org/en/issues/discrimination/pages/lgbt.aspx

Here is the mission of the United Nations with regard to this concern:

  • Protect individuals from homophobic and transphobic violence.
  • Prevent torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.
  • Repeal laws criminalizing homosexuality.
  • Prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • Safeguard freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly for all LGBT people.

Relationship of GLBTQ civil rights within faith-based organizations

Every faith-based organization has its own beliefs and practices with regard to GLBTQ rights and practices. Many traditional, conservative churches, synagogues, and mosques are opposed to allowing full participation by those who self-identify as LGBTQ. In contrast, many faith-based organizations are specifically supportive of LGBTQ people and permit them to be full members of the organization and even, in some cases, to be ordained. One denomination was actually created FOR LGBTQ members: it is called the Metropolitan Community Church http://mccchurch.org/ and was established in 1968 with the express purpose of promoting a primary, positive ministry to gays, lesbians, bisexual, and transgender persons. Other specifically gay-friendly Christian denominations include the Unitarian Universalist http://www.uua.org/ and the United Church of Christ http://www.ucc.org/. It is easy to determine the faith-based organization’s position on GLBTQ rights by examining their website.

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Sexual Orientation Bullying : Definition and Prevention

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July 29, 2014
What Is Sexual Orientation?

Sexual orientation is a person’s sexual identity as it relates to the gender to which they are attracted. Sexual identity terms have been abbreviated and are now commonly referred to as LGBTQ or the LGBTQ community.

LGBTQ does not include heterosexual individuals. Heterosexual or “Straight” individuals are attracted to the opposite sex.

Homosexual terms are each represented by a corresponding letter of the alphabet:

L – Lesbian – woman who is attracted to females.

G – Gay – male who is attracted to males

B – Bisexual – male or female attracted to both sexes.

T – Transgender – A person whose self-identity doesn’t conform to conventional typing. An example would be a person whose gender was designated at birth based genitalia but feels that the true self is the opposite sex or a combination of both sexes. (Non-identification or non-presentation as the sex one was assigned at birth).

Q – Queer – An umbrella term for persons who feel outside of norms in regards to gender or sexuality but do not wish to specifically self – identify as L, G, B or T.

What Is Sexual Orientation Bullying

When a child or teen is being bullied because of gender associations or preferences of any type it is referred to as sexual orientation bullying.

Bullying is an aggressive and unwanted behavior inflicted upon a vulnerable child or teen and is usually repetitive. It can be physical, emotional, verbal, or written as a text message or email. Foul or explicit language, hitting, tripping, ignoring, staring, pushing, name calling, stalking, are all examples of bully tactics.

“Cyberbullying” has become a convenient way for kids and teens to hide behind a screen while sending texts or emails containing defamatory, derogatory, or ridiculing content.

Gender identity and LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender or questioning) bullying begins at a very young age. When children who bully others perceive gender-related differences in another child, bullies will aggressively target that child (or children) with the intention of hurting or overpowering him or her.

Why Does It Happen?

Sex is assigned as male or female at birth based upon observation of the baby’s genitalia. From there, the baby is described as a boy or girl usually for the rest of its life. From the moment of birth, the child’s name, clothing colors, clothing styles, toys, haircuts, and mainstream-acceptable behavior is predominantly based upon the child’s assigned gender.

At a very early age, children are influenced by parents and teachers to recognize commonly accepted differences between boys and girls.

However, when a child or teen behaves in a way that deviates from the established gender norms h/she is often labeled by other children who are uncomfortable with or uneducated about the differences. The vulnerable child becomes a magnet for bully activity.

A bullying child doesn’t need much of a reason to harass another child and one with obvious differences is a standing target. Sometimes the bullying child doesn’t even know why he or she does it. Underlying issues within the child that have not been identified may be causing him or her to act out.

Sexual Orientation Bullying Happens Most Often in School

Bullying of all types can happen anywhere there’s a group of kids. It happens at school, church, youth groups, after-school activities, sports teams, in the community; bullying can take place anywhere and has no boundaries. Sexual orientation bullying happens most often in school.

School should be a place where kids are safe but unfortunately, it is not the case. Numerous surveys have been conducted with students, teachers and parents about bullying and harassment of LGBTQ students and the results are alarming.

“According to the gay bullying statistics from the (LGBT) community, about one fourth of all students from elementary age through high school are the victims of bullying and harassment while on school property because of their race, ethnicity, gender, disability, religion or sexual orientation. Unfortunately the primary reason for bullying is due to something that may set them apart from the norm, and that includes sexual orientation.” http://www.bullyingstatistics.org/content/gay-bullying-statistics.html

  • Bullied kids tend to develop difficulties with their studies and have trouble developing peer relationships. The situation is compounded and kids may become depressed and have thoughts of suicide.
  • The results of one report suggested that 26 percent of male 12th graders who were the target of LGBTQ bullying had experienced thoughts of suicide within the previous year.
  • Whether or not suicide and depression is higher amongst LGBTQ adolescents and teens has not yet been fully proven but most parents and school officials believe it to be true.
  • Being on the receiving end of bullying in any form is damaging in some way to every child struggling with his or her identity.
  • We should never take bullying lightly. Any action that causes an individual to feel threatened, shamed, or afraid for any reason should be recognized as an unacceptable behavior. Parents, teachers and adults in general should never turn the other cheek to the bad behavior of a bully.

How Can We Help LGBT Kids and Teens Feel Safe

LGBT kids can help themselves tremendously by building strong connections with their parents and families, peers, teachers, and clergy. They should seek….continue reading

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Click the image and visit the Smilie Room

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Nicky Morgan appoints gay rights campaigner as adviser

57447908554833925025.Nicky Morgan.png-500x0Education secretary Nicky Morgan has appointed the head of education at gay rights charity Stonewall as her special adviser.

Luke Tryl, who has worked with Stonewall on a range of campaigns aimed at tackling homophobic bullying, will take up his new job with immediate effect.

The move will be seen by some as an attempt to quell fears over Ms Morgan’s stance toward gay rights after she voted against same-sex marriage in the House of Commons earlier this year.

Her promotion by prime minister David Cameron to education secretary and minister for women and equalities in the cabinet reshuffle earlier this month had attracted serious criticism, particularly as she will be overseeing issues such as homophobic bullying in schools.

Her appointment as education secretary led to Michael Cashman, the founder of Stonewall and a former Labour MEP, to tweet: “Nicky Morgan in charge of education and equalities is deeply worrying. The true nature of the Tory party is unchanged and reverting to type.”

But Mr Tryl’s appointment will go some way to allay any fears, due to his work with Stonewall in schools.

Speaking to the gay news service Pink News earlier this month, Mr Tryl said: “Homophobic bullying is almost endemic in our secondary schools; that children in primary schools, children as young as five are using phrases like ‘that’s so gay’. There’s still a huge amount more to do.

“We really believe that at the heart of tackling homophobic bullying is good quality teacher training.

“Too many teachers are coming out of their teacher training never having talked about issues like homophobic bullying, which, ten years on from the repeal of section 28, is pretty worrying.”

All the latest education news for teachers and school leaders, brought to you by the TES editorial team
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Israel and Occupied Palestinian Territories

10245506_815625551794964_5733332842027631043_n“The civilian populations of both Israel and Gaza have experienced far too much tragedy, unnecessary bloodshed and loss of life in recent years, with no accountability. Both sides have an abysmal track record of violating international human rights and humanitarian law during armed conflict.”- Philip Luther, Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty’s International Secretariat in London, England.
Airstrikes on Gaza
In late June and early July 2014, mounting tensions over the killing of three Israeli teenagers, and the apparent revenge killing of a Palestinian teenager in the West Bank, escalated into a full-blown conflict between Israel and armed groups in Gaza. On July 8, Israel launched Operation “Protective Edge” as rocket attacks continued from Gaza into southern Israel. Overwhelmingly, those being killed and injured are civilians.

Add your name to Amnesty’s call for the US to stop arms transfers to Israel and to support a UN Security Council arms embargo on all parties.

Amnesty International is calling on the Israeli authorities and Palestinian armed groups in Gaza, including the military wing of Hamas, to ensure that civilian lives are protected as the conflict between the two sides escalates. We call on Israel to only carry out strikes on legitimate military targets and to not shell densely populated residential areas indiscriminately and we call on Palestinian armed groups in the Gaza strip to stop firing indiscriminate rockets into Israel and launching attacks from residential areas. Both sides should also agree to periodic humanitarian pauses in the fighting to deal with such concerns as evacuating the dead and wounded, and critical water and sanitation repairs.
The organization has also appealed to the international community for an international arms embargo, suspension of arms transfers to both sides and an international investigation into violations including alleged war crimes. On July 23, the UN Human Rights Council established a Commission of Inquiry to investigate all violations of international law “in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, particularly in the occupied Gaza Strip, in the context of the military operations conducted since 13 June 2014, whether before, during or after”.
Under international humanitarian law – the “laws of war” – all parties to a conflict must ensure that attacks are proportional and only directed at legitimate military targets. Both direct attacks on civilians and indiscriminate attacks are illegal, as is placing military assets in civilian areas or buildings. Parties must take necessary precautions when undertaking attacks to minimize harm to civilians and civilian objects. They also must take all feasible precautions to protect civilians under their control from the effects of attacks.Snapshot_20140728

Add your name to Amnesty’s call for the US to stop arms transfers to Israel and to support a UN Security Council arms embargo on all parties. 5899103393284096

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Bullying, Cyber Bullying & Internet Safety With TAB

The Learning Liaisons – Monday, August 11, 2014 from 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM (EDT) Apopka, FL
logoOnline Workshop

Regardless of your school location, demographics or student achievement levels, bullying is a prevalant issue accross the United States. No matter how big or small your school is, many of our nations children are constantly subjected to bullying activities in the one environment that is supposed to foster support, motivation and safety….our nations schools!

How would you like to know all about bullying and its affects on your child, as well as other children. As a parent, find out what you can do! How about if you are a teacher or administrator and need some tips on what to look for and help in classroom management techniques to assist children in bullying related situations? This online workshop addresses all stakeholders in our childrens education!

Come join Dr. Claudio V. Cerullo, a national anti bullying expert and founder of Teach Anti Bullying, as he leads the online discussion on what you can do to help our nations children. Dr. Cerullo can direct you and answer all questions you may have.

For more information about Teach Anti Bullying, visit us HERE…

5599138716581888

This will definitely be one you should not miss! Limited seats available! Get your virtual ticket now!

Dr. Claudio V. Cerullo

Dr. Claudio V. Cerullo

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Adults Being Bullied

4801879238246400London, UK (PRWEB) July 24, 2014

Adults-Being-Bullied-642x336Instances of adults being bullied are more common than people think. While the everyday person associates the word “Bullying” with school children and teens. The image of bullying is more distorted and affects people of all ages and walks of life. NoBullying writes today about adults being bullied.
An adult being bullied is not that uncommon, in fact, adult bullying happens in colleges, workplaces, social organizations and even in the form of relationship bullying, spousal abuse and homosexual bullying.
By definition, a bully is someone who uses force, threats or other means to control or manipulate another person. Bullying tactics are used by individuals of all ages, sexes, genders as well as ethnic and religious persuasions. Adults are bullied for financial gain, revenge or to assert the bully’s power and control. Whatever the circumstances, the results can cause lasting damage to the victims’ emotional, mental and physical health.
Caregivers, members of management in the workplace, law enforcement or individuals in any other environment can all be guilty of bullying at one time or another. Even individuals who may not normally be apt to try and manipulate or harass others are guilty of bullying at some point and time. It’s human nature. When a person gets angry, frustrated or upset, they can lash out at others. Individuals who are the objects of their outburst can easily become victims.
A major factor in the development of the bully’s psyche is growing up with bullying parents, that is, parents who berate their children for several reasons, such as the desire for them to excel or develop or as a reflection of their own stress. A violent abusive home raises adults who think bullying is a normal part of everyday life.
Children can be repeatedly told that those behaviors are wrong, but when they watch adults continually act in a bullying fashion, the actions speak louder than words. Children often mimic the acts of adults and will begin to bully at a young age. Unless the patterns are stopped when they are first noticed, they can continue into high school and last throughout their lifetime.
Adults who use bullying tactics on a regular basis often choose “targets” just like children and teen bullies do. They will often choose victims who are depressed, have low self-esteem, feel as if they are worthless and normally have few friends or no support system. An adult bully will often chip away at their victim’s defenses by making verbal comments that are intended to belittle or degrade. Over time the continued insults and slurs can make the victim feel worthless and inferior.
Macartan Mulligan, Co-Founder of NoBullying.com, said, “Bullying isn’t strictly about teens and children, sometimes bullying can be in the form of a workplace bully or an abusive spouse.”
He added that parents and teachers should make a point to educate the younger generations about the sad outcome of bullying online and offline. According to Mulligan, it is quite imperative to press for more firm laws condemning all acts of bullying and harassment.
NoBullying.com features many pages dedicated to parents, teens, teachers, health professionals as well as posts related to cyber safety and the latest news about law making concerning curbing Bullying worldwide as well as inspirational Bullying Poems and famous Bullying Quotes.
The website regularly updates its bullying statistics and cyber bullying statistics as it is essential to understand how widespread the bullying epidemic is. It also regularly runs cyber bullying surveys and questionnaires to get recent updated statistics on everything related to cyberbullying.
He also added that anyone suffering from bullying in any form or way can always find advice and help on the NoBullying website – but if anyone is suffering from severe bullying or cyber bullying, the best thing is to talk to someone locally – a parent, teacher or local organization that has been set up to help with specialized councilors to deal with this topic. continue reading…..

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Harper Conservatives “on the attack” against courts

5849107155386368POSTED ON JULY 23, 2014

justice-gavel-wooden-300x200Remember in 2006 when Stephen Harper tried to reassure Canadians that they didn’t need to worry about his “extreme tendencies” because three “safeguards” in our system of governance would hold him in check?

One was the Senate as a chamber of sober second thought. Well, so much for that idea! Mr. Harper has mangled the Senate with wrong-headed appointments and constant manipulation. Trust is gone.

Secondly, a strong public service was supposed to keep him within the confines of decent public policy. But Mr. Harper quickly made it known that advice from government officials is not valued and those who “speak truth to power” get punished. So intimidation reigns.

The third safeguard was the Courts. And that’s where the rubber hits the road.

The judicial system has a measure of constitutional authority and independence that the first two do not. Governments are not above the law. When Prime Ministers, Parliaments and bureaucracies go wrong, citizens must have the right to challenge them in court.

A number of courts at various levels – including judges who have been on the Bench for years and some who only just arrived – have questioned the legality and constitutionality of various Harper government actions and pieces of legislation. The issues at stake frequently involve the Charter of Canadian Rights and Freedoms, like a recent ruling that this government’s treatment of refugees is, in some ways, “cruel and unusual”.

This enrages Harper Conservatives who have never accepted the legitimacy of the Charter – unlike some 80% of Canadians who regard it as a defining characteristic of our nationhood.

So you have the unseemly spectacle of Stephen Harper and his entourage on frequent rampages against the courts and judges (including attacks on the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada) and the interpretations of the rights and freedoms enshrined in the Charter.

What these Harper Conservatives ignore is that the Charter itself was duly and laboriously crafted, debated and enacted according to law. It reflects the democratic will of Canadians, which cannot be easily trumped.

And it contains a safety valve – i.e., the “notwithstanding” clause – which dissidents can use, if they’ve got the courage. In other words, the Harper Conservatives could, in fact, legislate their distasteful ideology, but they would have to declare, upfront and explicitly for all Canadians to see, that they are doing so “notwithstanding” the traditions and values of a free and democratic society.

Of course they’d rather not invoke the Notwithstanding Clause because it destroys their facade of respectability. So instead, they rant against the courts, accusing them of bad faith and “end runs” around democracy.

Before embracing such criticism, note the prevailing mentality among the folks around Mr. Harper which led his Chief of Staff to think it was “okay” to make a $90,000 payment to a sitting Parliamentarian. Is that the kind of judgment you can trust, without recourse? And that’s not all – take a hard look at the bruised and battered “democracy” that characterizes this Harper regime:

  • Hundreds of millions of tax dollars squandered on partisan government advertising to skew public opinion. Vicious attack-ads paid for with tax subsidies. Campaigns of character assassination aimed against charities, non-governmental organizations, church groups, public servants, scientists, statisticians, Officers of Parliament and public-interest watchdogs.
  • Tampering with Access-to-Information procedures. Stonewalling the Parliamentary Budget Officer. Limiting the work of House of Commons Committees.
  • Blatant misuse of Omnibus Bills, Prorogation and Closure to stifle reasonable debate and avoid accountability.
  • The conviction of the Conservative Party for more than a million dollars in illegal election campaign spending. The resignation of a Conservative Cabinet Minister over election violations in Labrador. The “robocall” electoral fraud trial now underway in Guelph. The Prime Minister’s former Parliamentary Secretary on trial for other alleged election offences in Peterborough.
  • A Conservative scheme, defended publicly by Stephen Harper, to use robocalls to influence an independent electoral boundaries commission.
  • The new Conservative “Elections Act” which makes it harder for many Canadians to vote and easier for electoral fraud to go undetected.

Given this perverse approach to democracy, it’s probably a good thing that ordinary citizens have at least some ability to fight for their rights in court. continue reading…….
Published on Feb 18, 2014
Watch Justin Trudeau’s new video “An economy that benefits us all” and add your name at http://www.liberal.ca/middle-class. Let’s build a stronger middle class together.

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Canadian Torture Survivors Tell Their Stories

Originally posted on The New Bullying Prevention:

unnamed (3)unnamedunnamed (3)Now is the time to end torture everywhere, forever.

Torture is a brutal, dehumanizing act that is never acceptable under any circumstances.

It is banned by 155 countries. Yet it continues to flourish when police are not held accountable and when detainees are hidden from the outside world.

Here’s what else you can do:

  1. Use your voice to help torture victims today
  2. > Take action now

  3. Watch and share this video
  4. > Real stories told by Canadian victims of torture

  5. Tell the world it’s time to stop torture
  6. > Share a #stoptorture update, tweet or selfie

  7. Get active in your community
  8. > > Find out how to get involved

Watch for updates from Amnesty International about other ways you can be part of the #stoptorture campaign.

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What is hepatitis?

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Q: What is hepatitis?

A: Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver. The condition can be self-limiting or can progress to fibrosis (scarring), cirrhosis or liver cancer. Hepatitis viruses are the most common cause of hepatitis in the world but other infections, toxic substances (e.g. alcohol, certain drugs), and autoimmune diseases can also cause hepatitis.

There are 5 main hepatitis viruses, referred to as types A, B, C, D and E. These 5 types are of greatest concern because of the burden of illness and death they cause and the potential for outbreaks and epidemic spread. In particular, types B and C lead to chronic disease in hundreds of millions of people and, together, are the most common cause of liver cirrhosis and cancer.

Hepatitis A and E are typically caused by ingestion of contaminated food or water. Hepatitis B, C and D usually occur as a result of parenteral contact with infected body fluids. Common modes of transmission for these viruses include receipt of contaminated blood or blood products, invasive medical procedures using contaminated equipment and for hepatitis B transmission from mother to baby at birth, from family member to child, and also by sexual contact.

Acute infection may occur with limited or no symptoms, or may include symptoms such as jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), dark urine, extreme fatigue, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain.

Q: What are the different hepatitis viruses?

A: Scientists have identified 5 unique hepatitis viruses, identified by the letters A, B, C, D, and E. While all cause liver disease, they vary in important ways.

Hepatitis A virus (HAV) is present in the faeces of infected persons and is most often transmitted through consumption of contaminated water or food. Certain sex practices can also spread HAV. Infections are in many cases mild, with most people making a full recovery and remaining immune from further HAV infections. However, HAV infections can also be severe and life threatening. Most people in areas of the world with poor sanitation have been infected with this virus. Safe and effective vaccines are available to prevent HAV.

Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is transmitted through exposure to infective blood, semen, and other body fluids. HBV can be transmitted from infected mothers to infants at the time of birth or from family member to infant in early childhood. Transmission may also occur through transfusions of HBV-contaminated blood and blood products, contaminated injections during medical procedures, and through injection drug use. HBV also poses a risk to healthcare workers who sustain accidental needle stick injuries while caring for infected-HBV patients. Safe and effective vaccines are available to prevent HBV.

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is mostly transmitted through exposure to infective blood. This may happen through transfusions of HCV-contaminated blood and blood products, contaminated injections during medical procedures, and through injection drug use. Sexual transmission is also possible, but is much less common. There is no vaccine for HCV.

Hepatitis D virus (HDV) infections occur only in those who are infected with HBV. The dual infection of HDV and HBV can result in a more serious disease and worse outcome. Hepatitis B vaccines provide protection from HDV infection.

Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is mostly transmitted through consumption of contaminated water or food. HEV is a common cause of hepatitis outbreaks in developing parts of the world and is increasingly recognized as an important cause of disease in developed countries. Safe and effective vaccines to prevent HEV infection have been developed but are not widely available.

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Right Writer

Pointing-FingerI want to take you back to 1993 when I attended “Algonquin College of Applied Arts and Technology”, I was enrolled in the Business Administration program, first I want to introduce you to one Professor and explain how he came to help me conquer my Fear and Anxiety, well for a short time anyway.
I will try to make this as short and descriptive as possible, I took a number of courses, one of which was “Social Studies”, we were a class of fifty students, the first class we were all just chatting with each other, waiting for the professor to arrive, once he entered the room we all just took random seats. The classroom was set up with five rows of ten seats per row of tables. The professor first introduced himself, after which he then said; now I want to get all your names so when I point at you, I want you to just say your first name only, and don”t speak until I point at you. Knowing that he started on his far right, after he pointed at the student in that chair, she said her name after which he just stood there with his eyes rolling around in his head. After about twenty seconds he pointed at the second student to her right and did the same thing, eyes rolling around in his head and kept going until he reached the end of the first row of ten students.
At this point we were all starting to look at each other strangely, I for one was beginning to ask myself, is this guy for real? Then he moved to the second row and pointed at the student immediately behind the tenth student, and did the same thing, now moving to the left, he just stood there in the same spot, not moving and never saying a word, until he reached the very last student in the back row, number fifty.
Then he finally spoke and said Okay let me see now if I got this right, starting at the very last student in the back row he said his name, and continued moving to the right, pointing at each student as he went saying their name until he reached the first student he started with.
We were all in a state of shock because he got all fifty names “RIGHT”, after he finished he said , once you finish this course, each and everyone of you will be able to do that. You know what the funnest thing is about that story is? I don’t remember his name. :-)
Now lets move on to my English class, which again had fifty students but not the same students. About half way through the first semester, the English professor gave us an assignment, a oral presentation to be exact. The presentation had to include, a topic of our choice, the assistance of a fellow classmate, it had to be presented with visual effects such as slides with a projector, the student was required to do their presentation in front of the class, the presentation had to be at least thirty minutes long and no more or less than two thousand words. The professor also said she would be posting a schedule with the date and time for each student to do their presentation and she would sit in the back of the class to observe for grading.
Just the thought of getting up in front of fifty other students, having all eyes peeled on me caused me great anxiety, so much that it interfered with my other studies. When I was three days away from my turn to do the presentation, I still had not picked a topic and now very desperate and thinking about just giving up, a classmate whom I hung out with at college suggested I go see the Social Studies professor or guidance counselor. I decided to go to the social studies professor’s office after class that day, told him my dilemma and he said I can help you if you want, just do what I say, I agreed.
downloadHe told me to close my eyes and listen to his voice, then he said now picture the “Michelin Tire man” then he said once you can see him, in your mind push him away, making him smaller until he disappears, it took a while to visualize him but eventually I did, then the next thing I remember is him saying now open your eyes, and you can go now.
I am not sure what he did and he never did tell me, but I felt different somehow and the anxiety was gone, so to make a long story short, the college just recently received a new computer program called “RightWriter”, I believe it’s similar to what we now know as “Grammar and Spell Check”, it was more complicated back then, it wasn’t just clicking an icon, it involved a series of commands, but because no one in the college actually knew how to use it yet, it wasn’t being used.
I now had three days left so I decided to study the manuals that came with the program, and learnt how to use it which also had a compliment of slides.
In closing, When the day arrived to do my oral presentation I proceeded with great confidence and scored 98% leading to a request from the Campus Director to volunteer some time to visit all the other classes and teach them how to use the program, I accepted. Follow this link I’m not sure if this is the same program but it looks to be.

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Fear and Anxiety Disorders: A Result of Bullying?

Originally posted on The New Bullying Prevention:

t_anxiety_disordersFor some individuals, anxiety is ongoing. The feelings of nervousness and stress wear them down rather than building them up. These individuals carry fear with them every day. Anxiety overtakes them, preventing some sufferers from performing daily activities. The Report of the Surgeon General on Mental Health states that 16% of adults between the ages of 18 and 54 suffer from various anxiety disorders for at least one year. Generalized anxiety disorder, with its hallmark symptom of persistent anxiety in everyday situations, is quite common among adult anxiety patients.

We all know what anxiety feels like: A pounding heart, sweaty palms, upset stomach. Maybe your boss just called you into her office, looking grave; maybe you just got an unexpected phone call that spells bad news. Regardless of the trigger, the physical symptoms of anxiety can literally make you sick. But while you can’t always stop stressful events from occurring…

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Asperger syndrome and bullying

6227859819462656bully.previewI often get asked what I think is most important in protecting young people diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome (AS) from bullying. I certainly don’t have all the answers, but I do have an answer for this particular question. My answer is always this, “Proactive, trained adults are the key to successful bullying prevention.” Having said this, one of the most crucial aspects of this training must include providing adults with the information they need in order to identify individuals who are extremely high-risk for being targeted. This will enable them to more effectively prevent bullying and intervene when it occurs.

There are a lot of myths surrounding bullying. “Boys will be boys,” “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” “Bullying is just human nature, a fact of life,” “Kids can be so cruel,” and my least favorite, “We don’t allow bullying here. We have a zero tolerance policy.” The facts are less palatable. Every day 160,000 children do not go to school because they are afraid of being bullied. Moderate to severe physical and psychological symptoms and disorders can occur as a consequence of being bullied (or from taking on the role of the bully). School avoidance, refusal, and eventually withdrawal can result when children are bullied. Furthermore, there is considerable agreement among many bullying experts that zero tolerance not only doesn’t prevent bullying, it may in fact cause additional problems; including but not limited to, an increase in suspensions and expulsions and a lack of real change in the attitudes affecting school culture.

According to the research of Dr. Liza Little, 94% of children and youth with AS are bullied. Compared to studies of the general population, kids with AS are four times more by their peers or siblings. In my own experiences with facilitating a parent support group for parents of children diagnosed with AS, working as a counselor at a camp for children of all ages with AS, and other relationships and correspondence working and learning from individuals with AS, I feel the incidence of bullying is closer to 100%.

Accordingly, children and youth with AS are over represented in the 5-10% of individuals who are so frequently, chronically, and too often severely bullied and excluded that if they do not receive significant support from adults, they will most likely not be able to progress positively in school and certainly will not reach their potential.

What can adults do in light of these sobering facts? We start by truly understanding and acknowledging the vulnerability of individuals with AS and actively seeking information from them about their social experiences. Because of their high-risk status and social deficits, I feel strongly that students with AS should be given a bullying survey followed by an individual interview concerning their social experiences at school and elsewhere. Special attention should be given to whether they are experiencing any verbal, physical, or social bullying, including peer shunning. Peer shunning is the act of ignoring or excluding someone. Dr. Little identifies a high incidence of peer shunning experienced by individuals with AS, which continues to increase throughout the school years and peaks in high school. Where there is peer shunning, there is social isolation. Social isolation, or being alone, increases the risk of being bullied and decreases the likelihood of peer protection when bullying occurs.

In my book, Perfect Targets: Asperger Syndrome and Bullying–Practical Solutions for Surviving the Social World, I included a modified bullying survey called the “Modified Inventory of Wrongful Activities.” This survey states questions clearly and concisely, using examples to help clarify the intent of social language and nonverbal communication. Unfortunately, some individuals with AS are not even aware when that they are being bullied because of their social naivety and impaired social cognition. As a result, adults must be exceptionally vigilant in their observations and be willing to do additional detective work when problems occur involving the social arena. It has been my experience that sometimes well-meaning adults are often too quick to point out a social error the child with AS has made when such issues occur. This may contribute to further victimization because individuals with AS are very likely to make social blunders or errors because of the innate characteristics of their disability. Since many people who experience chronic, frequent bullying carry a lot of self-blame and shame, we must be careful not to add on any further blame and shame. We cannot expect the most vulnerable, least empowered individual, the child with AS who is being bullied, to fix the problem.

Another critical aspect of our adult role in bullying prevention is to address low-level bullying when it occurs in our presence or is reported to us. When low-level bullying is ignored or even encouraged, it implies acceptance and further victimizes the targeted child. It also creates a heightened sense of hopelessness and feeds the tendency of children not to go to adults for help. A few examples of low-level bullying are name-calling, other types of put-downs, nonverbal gestures and “dirty” looks, and intentionally leaving someone out of a group activity. These are common occurrences in the school environment and only a sampling of the types of bullying children experience. Unfortunately, research indicates that adults almost always underestimate the extent and impact of bullying compared to what students report they are experiencing. Research also indicates a “culture of silence” where children do not report bullying and hold low expectations for the amount of support and help adults will give them. Obviously, we need to be more diligent in our awareness of bullying and our responses when it occurs or is reported to us.

An equally important adult responsibility is to make sure that we model the behaviors we require from our students or our own children. Efforts to impact the behavior and attitudes of our children will fail miserably if we as adults do not hold ourselves to the same or higher levels of respect and accountability. The use of sarcasm is a common type of adult bullying and though it may be useful in the short term at controlling behavior, it comes at the expense of humiliating and angering our youth. For children with AS who may already be experiencing bullying by their peers and have less social support, this can create even more vulnerability and may contribute to them becoming a scapegoat for an entire class or school community. Adult acceptance, support, and protection are extremely critical for any child in this situation. Having an adult take action, take a stand, or even take an interest in this child can make all the difference. Bullying prevention programs are not just programs for kids. Adults play a key role. We have a long way to go before we can expect our children to trust that we are committed to making a difference where bullying is concerned, but the stakes are high and it is worth the effort. Students who are bullied are less likely to succeed in school and are more likely to experience potentially serious psychological and/or physical consequences, including contemplating or committing suicide, as a result of being bullied. It matters less what we say; what matters most is what we do.

Rebekah Heinrichs M.S.N., M.S. Ed. earned a Master’s degree in pediatric nursing (University of Kentucky, 1982) and a Master’s degree in special education/autism and Asperger Syndrome (University of Kansas, 2001) and is the author of Perfect Targets: Asperger Syndrome and Bullying–Practical Solutions for Surviving the Social World

Rebekah Heinrichs M.S.N., M.S. Ed. Courtesy of APPC

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The Wonderful Grand Band

wgb_3Now to relax a little and reminisce (for me anyway) The Wonderful Grand Band is a Canadian music and comedy group formed in 1977 in St. John’s Newfoundland & Labrador Also so they not get lost in the files of time. I had the pleasure of taking in a number of their performances at the Strann Lounge in the Avalon Mall during the early 80’s while living and working there.

They had many great shows and I got to meet one personally through another friend I met while in St John’s Richard Hiscock (whom have since pass on from AIDS). That was none other than the late Great LGBT personality Tommy Sexton, whom we also lost to AIDS in 1993. So I want to introduce you to WGB here and now and feature a few of my favorites, starting with Tommy Sexton doing lead vocals on Babylon Mall, this guy was too funny and the life of the party for sure.

tommy_sexton_stage

 R.I.P. Tommy Sexton July 3, 1957 - December 13, 1993

R.I.P. Tommy Sexton July 3, 1957 – December 13, 1993

The Wonderful Grand Band, Newfoundland’s tremendously popular trad-rock band from the 1980s was conceived in 1977 for The Root Seller, a six-part mini-series produced by CBC St John’s. The show was written by Codco alumni Greg Malone, Mary Walsh and White and hosted by Greg Malone and Mary Walsh as Mr and Mrs Budgell, characters from the CODCO stage shows. The Root Seller had special weekly guests including Emile Benoit, Rufus Guinchard, Minnie White, Cathy Jones, and Jimmy Oulton. It was an instant local favourite but only two of these shows, with special guests Minnie White and Emile Benoit, survived at the CBC. The musicians on The Root Seller were – Kelly Russell, Sandy Morris, Ron Hynes, Glenn Simmons, Rocky Wiseman, Bryan Hennessey and Bawnie Oulton.

After The Root Seller the Band continued to play live dates but in 1978, Hennessey and Oulton left to pursue other interests, Kelly Russell was replaced by Jamie Snider, Paul Boomer Stamp took over on drums and Ian Perry became the bass player. Greg Malone re-joined the Band, this time for a live stage show which debuted at Toronto Caravan. This incarnation proved to be wildly successful and in 1979 Tommy Sexton joined Malone to complete the team that fronted the show until the WGB finally split in 1983.

The series WGB with Malone and Sexton which followed in 1980 was the most popular show in Newfoundland television history, beating all the competing American shows and even the News in the ratings. The Wonderful Grand Band toured Newfoundland and Canada extensively from 1978 to 1984 and built up an enormous fan base that has been loyal and appreciative all these years.

During the television years the WGB had several cast changes including Steve Annan on guitar, Howie Warden on bass, Kevin McNeil on drums and Cathy Jones and Mary Walsh in the comedy act for the final performance year.
The Wonderful Grand Band recorded two music albums, the Wonderful Grand Band recorded at Clode Sound in Stephenville in 1978 and Living In A Fog recorded in Toronto in 1981. Living In A Fog was released on CD in 2007 and is still selling strong, and the Band’s first album will be released on CD in 2010.

thebandThe WGB’s release of two volumes of the original TV Series on DVD came after years of consultation and planning with CBC where the shows were originally produced in the 1980’s. The DVDs, The Best of WGB Volume 1 and 2, released in November of 2009 were a sensational success bringing to life once again some all-time favourite characters like Mr. Budgell, Nanny Hynes, Dickie, Mavis and Carmel Ann, and included many of the classic hit songs like Sonny’s Dream and Living In A Fog, Go For Love, UIC and the sensational Babylon Mall which features the inimitable style of the late, great, and ever-missed Tommy Sexton. The release and tour were undertaken in part as a tribute to Tommy.
The sold-out reunion tour in 2009 featured Greg Malone, Ron Hynes, Sandy Morris Glenn Simmons Jamie Snider, Ian Perry Paul “Boomer” Stamp.

The WGB plans to release two more Volumes of the TV series, The Best of WGB Volume 3 (from the first year’s TV show which features Rocky Wiseman) and Volume 4 (which also stars Cathy Jones, Mary Walsh, Steve Annan and Howie Warden).The WGB is managed by White. you can visit their official site here.
I want to leave you with a example of who they were with a closer look at an episode of CODCO, but you may have to fast forward as the space is included for commercials, worth the watch though and you are sure to get a laugh. cheers :-)

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Vote for change: UN’s My World campaign

UNDP and JCI delegates pictured with Mr Ahmed Kathrada

UNDP and JCI delegates pictured with Mr Ahmed Kathrada

The United Nations My World initiative is a global survey that invites citizens of the planet to vote on how they would like to change the world for the better.

My World asks individuals which six out of 16 possible issues they think would make the most difference to their lives. People of all ages, genders and backgrounds are invited to vote, which will ultimately help inform world leaders as they begin drafting the next global development agenda.

The campaign was launched to local media at the Nelson Mandela Foundation on Thursday 17 July 2014.

Some 2.75-million people have already voted (see analytics here), profiling what matters most to them in their world.

“UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is committed to making the process of drafting the next global development agenda as inclusive as possible. The aim is to involve all citizens in profiling key aspirations for the future,” said Dr Agostinho Zacarias, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident.

UNDP delegates pictured with Mr Ahmed Kathrada

UNDP delegates pictured with Mr Ahmed Kathrada

Corinne Woods, Global Director of the UN Millennium Campaign, spoke about My World as a platform that drives global engagement.

“The survey aims to listen to the voices of ordinary people and brings them to a worldwide decision-making process. It is individuals that will help define priorities for the path to 2030,” she said.

What is top priority for the world’s citizens?

According to the votes captured thus far, the world’s citizens think the following four aspects are most important:

  1. A good education
  2. Better healthcare
  3. Better job opportunities
  4. An honest and responsive government.

“In South Africa, the votes indicate that what matters most is a good education and protection against crime and violence,” said Woods.

Corinne Woods profiled My World as a platform that drives global engagement

Corinne Woods profiled My World as a platform that drives global engagement

William More and Sage Martin drive the My World outreach and research programme. They have engaged with communities in over 15 countries, walking the streets and asking people what matters most to them. They table the stories they have been told on the Humans of My World Facebook page.

“We cannot lose sight of the fact that it is the power of the human individual and the human story that changes hearts and incites people to come together and fight for change,” quoted Martin.

The president of Junior Chamber International (JCI) South Africa, Linda Ben, said the survey speaks to the heart of active citizenry.

“We need to understand that in order to effect positive change, we have to empower ourselves and our communities. Lend your voice to the UN campaign and help shape the world we live in,” she said.

Luvuyo Mandela urged young people to engage with the platforms available to co-create a world they want to live in

Luvuyo Mandela urged young people to engage with the platforms available to co-create a world they want to live in

Luvuyo Mandela urged young people to engage with the platforms available to co-create a world they want to live in

“Gone are the days for ordinary citizens to be seen and not heard – and for the youth to be seen and not heard,” said Luvuyo Mandela. “Today we have incredible resources at hand that are asking us to help shape the world of our dreams.

“It’s time for us as young people to come together and debate about what matters most to us. It’s time for us ask how we can best make ourselves heard.”

Mandela urged young people to engage with the platforms available to co-create a world they want to live in.

To find out more about the UN My World survey, please visit http://www.myworld2015.org/

To cast your vote, visit http://www.myworld2015.org/

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International Mandela Day

On this day, 18 July 1918 Nelson Mandela was born in Mvezo, Transkei madiba-birthday

mandeladayHelp spread the word and get ideas for how you can take action at: http://bit.ly/9jAnVO

General Assembly Speical meeting dedicated to the life and memory of His Excellency Nelson Mandela
19 Dec 2013 - Speakers: GA President John W. Ashe, H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General, H.E. Mr. Kingsley Mamabolo, Permanent Representative of the Mission of South Africa to the UN, Mr. David Dinkins, Former New York City Mayor, and Speakers: GA President John W. Ashe, H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General, H.E. Mr. Kingsley Mamabolo, Permanent Representative of the Mission of South Africa to the UN, Mr. David Dinkins, Former New York City Mayor, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu (via video).

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Why Mental Illness Is As Serious As This Life-Threatening Disease

5627407151136768How are we feeling- - terr.kinnn2@gmail.com - Gmail.clipularI have a close friend who has an anxiety disorder. They wrestle with it every day. Every morning, they wake up with their heart pounding like the drums of war before they march onto the battlefield of routine. Sometimes, they are able to take their medication and rise out of bed, completing every motion with enough heart to fool the rest of the world into thinking that they are normal. Other times, they can’t make it out of bed for the performance. Fear, dread, sorrow, acceptance, repeat. This is what they have to deal with every day.

The battle to go through the daily motions isn’t the only one my friend is fighting. They are constantly bombarded by the attitudinal beliefs of their peers, the yawns and sighs that come from the people around them as they try desperately to explain the source of their desperation. “Why don’t you just relax?” say the people at work. “It’s not that big of a deal.” My friend pretends to listen and continues the motions. Fear, dread, sorrow, acceptance, repeat.

A few years back, I had another friend who was battling cancer. They were young, vibrant, and on the surface, completely healthy. In the length of a single breath, everything changed. Their daily routine of rise, drive, work, drive, sleep, repeat was interrupted by hospital visits. Every day, they had to live with knowledge that death was not a fable. After countless hours of chemo treatments and months of pretending that it was fine for the world to go on without them, they learned that they were in remission. They would always have to stay vigilant, but their old routine could finally return.

  • My two friends had a few things in common. First of all, they were both suffering from something their peers could not understand. The second thing was that they lived in constant fear of death. The third was that their illnesses would always have to be monitored.

Despite the similarities that they shared, there was one stark difference between them. Not once did a peer tell my friend with cancer to “get over it” or that what they were going through “wasn’t that bad.” My friend with the anxiety disorder, however, had to hear that every day.

I have never been through cancer treatments, nor have I been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. I am, however, engaged in a life-long battle with Hemochromatosis, a disease that can lead to everything from cancer to heart failure. Like both of my friends, I receive treatments for my condition and am constantly monitored for any changes that could prove to be damaging to my health. However, like my friend with the anxiety disorder, I have been told on several occasions to “get over it.”

Before I continue, I would like to say that I do not know what it is like to go through cancer treatments, nor would I say that what I have gone through is comparable. What I would like to speak to in this parallel is the attitudes of others. Though anxiety disorders and Hemochromatosis are not the same as Cancer, they are both afflictions that affect lives in a traumatic way. It would be considered heartless to tell a person with Cancer to get over themselves, and I think that it’s time for the same to apply to all other life-affecting disorders.

One reason why nobody would dare to make light of a person’s battle with cancer is that many have taken the time to inform themselves of the nature of the disease. Nowadays, everyone will be touched by cancer in one way or another, weather it be with a family member or on a more personal basis. We have campaigns to raise money and awareness for all forms of Cancer, and there are several Hollywood films that portray what it is like to be living with the disease.

When it comes to other diseases and disorders, however, be they depression, bipolar, Hemochromatosis, Pernicious Anemia, or CADASIL, there isn’t always enough information gathered by the media to raise the proper awareness. There aren’t a lot of Hollywood movies that portray what it’s like living with some of these lesser known afflictions, and although the topic of #mentalhealth has become more prevalent in all forms of media, there is still a general idea that these things can be easily controlled with a few simple words. I am hoping that in the days to come, there will be better understanding as to how much good “control” does to a body that is fighting a seemingly endless battle.

All diseases and disorders affect the afflicted to some degree. When I was first diagnosed, I went through months of depression and anxiety as I tried to come to terms with the prospect that I would never be “normal” again. I lost friends in the process, friends who claimed that I was being “dramatic” because they never bothered to see that understanding the prognosis of a chronic illness takes time. It didn’t matter what I had. The point was that it affected me, and the same was true for my dear friend with the anxiety disorder.

I cannot stress enough how important it is to empathize with your fellow human beings. If a person is suffering from something that you don’t understand, it doesn’t mean that their suffering is invalid. A person can’t judge the anxieties of another person based on the scope of their own experience. Each human being is an individual, so take the time to inform yourself. If a friend is diagnosed with a disease that affects their every day lives in any capacity, do your best to be compassionate and ask them how you can help. Even if they don’t have an answer, they will appreciate the time that you took to show that you care.

I have profound love and respect for anyone working through a chronic illness, whether it be physical or mental. In time, it is my prayer that people will find compassion to be infinitely more impelling than the prospect of tough love, Lauren Messervey – Writer

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UNAIDS Asia-Pacific at #AIDS2014

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Originally posted on UNAIDS Asia-Pacific:

The 20th International AIDS Conference, starts this Sunday in Melbourne.

It’s a jam-packed programme, but if you’re interested in finding out about HIV in Asia and the Pacific as a region or in specific countries, we’ve compiled some of the highlights here. This is not a comprehensive list, so make sure you check out the full programme at http://pag.aids2014.org

Our team will be flying the flag for Asia and the Pacific and you can catch them at the following sessions and events.

See Steve Kraus, UNAIDS RST Director, Asia & the Pacific

Steve Kraus

See J.V.R.Prasada Rao, UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for AIDS in the Asia-Pacific, at AIDS2014

prasada rao

See James Chau, UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador

James Chau

See Gautam Yadav, UNAIDS Youth Advisory Forum Board Member

Gautam Yadav

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Adult Bully’s “The Five Types”

bully-b-30-05-2013

I am re-blogging this post which I origanally posted Feb 21, 2013, as there are others that need re-posting as well, this being the first. “Adult Bully’s The Five Types”, the one we are dealing with 90% of the time is number one, The Narcissistic Adult Bully, please read the description below: “You may not hear a lot about adult bullying, but it is a problem. Read this article to learn more about different types of adult bullies and get some ideas on how to deal with an adult bully. Adult bullying is a serious problem and may require legal action. One would think that as people mature and progress through life, that they would stop behaviors of their youth. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Sadly, adults can be bullies, just as children and teenagers can be bullies. While adults are more likely to use verbal bullying as opposed to physical bullying, the fact of the matter is that adult bullying exists. The goal of an adult bully is to gain power over another person, and make himself or herself the dominant adult. They try to humiliate victims, and “show them who is boss.” There are several different types of adult bullies, and it helps to know how they operate:

  1. Narcissistic Adult Bully
  2. first-place

    This type of adult bully is self-centered and does not share empathy with others. Additionally, there is little anxiety about consequences. He or she seems to feel good about him or herself, but in reality has a brittle narcissism that requires putting others down.

  3. Impulsive Adult Bully:
  4. 2nd-place

    Adult bullies in this category are more spontaneous and plan their bullying out less. Even if consequences are likely, this adult bully has a hard time restraining his or her behavior. In some cases, this type of bullying may be unintentional, resulting in periods of stress, or when the bully is actually upset or concerned about something unconnected with the victim.

  5. Physical Bully:
  6. third4While adult bullying rarely turns to physical confrontation, there are, nonetheless, bullies that use physicality. In some cases, the adult bully may not actually physically harm the victim, but may use the threat of harm, or physical domination through looming. Additionally, a physical bully may damage or steal a victim’s property, rather than physically confronting the victim.

  7. Verbal Adult Bully:
  8. 4thWords can be quite damaging. Adult bullies who use this type of tactic may start rumors about the victim, or use sarcastic or demeaning language to dominate or humiliate another person. This subtle type of bullying also has the advantage – to the bully – of being difficult to document. However, the emotional and psychological impacts of verbal bullying can be felt quite keenly and can result in reduced job performance and even depression.

  9. Secondary Adult Bully:

2pm153-hr904-2This is someone who does not initiate the bullying, but joins in so that he or she does not actually become a victim down the road. Secondary bullies may feel bad about what they are doing, but are more concerned about protecting themselves. (Definitions courtesy of Bullying Statistics http://www.bullyingstatistics.org/)

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UN rights chief warns of ‘disturbing lack of transparency’ for digital mass surveillance

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High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay.  UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras

High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay.
UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras


16 July 2014 – The top United Nations human rights official today warned of the “disturbing” lack of transparency in governmental surveillance policies and practices, “including de facto coercion of private sector companies to provide sweeping access to information and data relating to private individuals without the latter’s knowledge or consent.”

“This is severely hindering efforts to ensure accountability for any resulting human rights violations, or even to make us aware that such violations are taking place, despite a clear international legal framework laying down Governments’ obligations to protect our right to privacy,” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay said in Geneva today.

Introducing a report compiled by her Office entitled, The Right to Privacy in the Digital Age, she stressed the need for vigilance and procedural safeguards against governmental surveillance programmes.

“The onus is on the State to demonstrate that such interference is neither arbitrary nor unlawful,” Ms. Pillay said, noting that article 17 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights states that “no one shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his or her privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to unlawful attacks on his or her honour and reputation.”

According to the report, to be presented this October to the Human Rights Council and the UN General Assembly, governmental mass surveillance is “emerging as a dangerous habit rather than an exceptional measure” and practices in many States reveal “a lack of adequate national legislation and/or enforcement, weak procedural safeguards, and ineffective oversight.”

The High Commissioner’s report points out that the secret nature of specific surveillance powers brings with it a greater risk of arbitrary exercise of discretion which, in turn, demands greater precision in the rule governing the exercise of discretion, as well as additional oversight. Therefore, States must establish independent methods to monitor such surveillance one that include administrative, judicial and parliamentary branches of government.

“The involvement of all branches of Government in the oversight in surveillance programmes, as well as of an independent civilian oversight agency, is essential to ensure the effective protection of the law,” the report states, noting that when conducted in compliance with the law, including international human rights law, surveillance can be effective for legitimate law enforcement or intelligence purposes.

On the role of the private sector, the report points to strong evidence of a growing reliance by Governments on enterprises to conduct and facilitate digital surveillance and warns that a company that supplies data to the State “risks being complicit in or otherwise involved with human rights abuses.”

When faced with Government demands for access to data, enterprises are expected to honour the principles of human rights. This can mean interpreting such demands as narrowly as possible, seeking clarification from a Government with regard to the scope and legal foundation for the demand, requiring a court order before meeting government requests for data, and communicating transparently with users about risks and compliance with the demands.

“The complexity of the challenges to the right to privacy in this rapidly and dramatically evolving digital age is going to require constant scrutiny and dialogue between all key sectors,” Ms. Pillay said, adding that at stake are some incredibly important principles which go right to the core of each and every individual’s rights.
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