Family Separation & Highway Checkpoints Threaten Your Freedom

The Fourth Amendment reads:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Warrantless searches are unlawful, always, everywhere.

The Fifth Amendment reads, in part:

nor shall any person… be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.

Detention of any person without due process is an attack on every American’s personal sovereignty.

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Return the Children

Statement from the Geoversiv Foundation on the US administration’s ongoing process of forced family separation and child internment — Issued June 23, 2018

No society can be free, prosperous and secure, while power is used to terrorize, dehumanize, or detain vulnerable people on pretext or prejudice.

The Bill of Rights — one of the most necessary and transformational documents in world history — makes it unlawful for any agent of power in the United States to so mistreat the humanity of any person.

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Better Civics Justifies Hope

Remarks, as delivered, by Joseph Robertson on Sunday, June 10, to the 2018 Citizens’ Climate Lobby annual conference:

There is a quiet daring that happens in the person who says “I refuse to accept” what is not right.

Without that quiet moment of daring, the effort to confront the unacceptable cannot get started.

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Democracy is an Engine of Economic Value

No society can win by denying basic human rights.

We are subsumed in a vast web of evolving technological capability, some of which does not necessarily make us free. We are living through a paradox of organized human empowerment, in which the power to access information is greatly expanding across the world, and yet faith in democratic institutions, which depend on informed citizen participation, is faltering.

Over the last 2 years, we have heard many experts suggest authoritarian tendencies are on the rise, because they are somehow better suited to dealing with complex nonlinear threats. A recent report even said: “China has the authoritarian ability to experiment at scale, steal our tech secrets and mobilize capital that no democracy can match.”

The moment requires we say this bluntly:

Authoritarians fear consultation, because if you ask those who will be affected by your choices what they most want, they will say they want your choices to empower them and others like them, without generating harm or unfairness. If you don’t include people in the process, that is virtually impossible to achieve. Authoritarian systems are designed to fail; that is why they don’t want to face criticism from those affected.

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We Must Empower Each Other to Lead

This Presidents’ Day, we remember those who have served honorably to build and to defend government of the people, by the people, and for the people. We commemorate the service of:

  • General Washington who with his infantry camped through a dangerous winter at Valley Forge, to stage the most improbable victory against the most powerful empire in world history.
  • Abraham Lincoln, who recognized that a free country cannot allow any of its people to be deprived of freedom.
  • Franklin Roosevelt, who when his nation faced total deprivation remained steady, spoke frankly to the people, offered a New Deal, and who later marshaled the nation and its allies to overthrow fascist dictatorship.
  • Ronald Reagan’s demand to the Soviet Premier: “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”
  • Barack Obama, and the many ways large and small by which he worked for the dignity of the nation and its people.

And, we recognize the service of all those who serve us every day, at every level, regardless of who holds the nation’s highest office.

We must also remember that central to our nation’s civic life is the moral obligation to work constructively to oppose, outflank and overcome illegitimate forces that seek to undermine the integrity of our democracy.

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We Stand for a Better Way

After President Trump’s disparaging remarks about Haiti and African countries, CCL Global Strategy Director Joe Robertson responds. 

Our volunteers in Nigeria, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya, Tanzania, in all across 14 African countries and 6 continents, work hard to be principled community leaders whose efforts foster democratic participation. They work to build better societies, where citizens and stakeholders have a voice in making policy, where human imagination, not the inertia of historical injustice, determines future outcomes.

This is not easy work. Volunteers have faced disdain and assault from those who believe citizen volunteers should not have a right to correct against corruption, simply for speaking up. One of our local leaders said, after receiving personal threats, “I will not let people driven by fear and anger stop me from working for good. We have a right to a better future, and we have the tools to empower others. We must do this work.”

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Reject Hate, Every Time

The gift. It is an area of inquiry in deconstructionist postmodern philosophy, that connects to all the human aspirations we might classify as altruistic. The true gift asks nothing in return, not even recognition. At the heart of the act of giving, there lies a paradox: one must have the intention to give in order to do it, and yet awareness of the intention is itself a kind of recognition. Despite the impossibility of the perfect act of giving, a fundamental ethical call requires that we value and aspire to achieve it.

We are always already called.

By the very fact of being able to conceive of a human subject—the first-person singular, the experience of being the “I am” that we are—we establish an ethical relationship to the vulnerability, intentionality, right to be rightful, and ethical value, of all others who have this experience. The Golden Rule—Do unto others as you would have others do unto you—is not a wish or an idea; it is the structurally integral ethical universe that emerges from the fact that any of us is conscious, alive, and in any way vulnerable.

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