Posts tagged politics

7 Notes

How the Media Have Misunderstood Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's Miranda Rights - Adam Goodman - The Atlantic

Thus, failing to Mirandize Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is not, in and of itself, a violation of his rights. The authorities are not constitutionally obligated to Mirandize Tsarnaev anyway, so long as they do not intend to admit Tsarnaev’s statements at trial. What the public-safety exception does — if and only if a court determines that the exception was properly invoked — is render Tsarnaev’s unwarned statements admissible as evidence where they otherwise would not be. And even where the public-safety exception applies, the substantive rights that Miranda protects don’t disappear: due process is in effect; any coerced statements remain inadmissible; and Tsarnaev may not be denied access to an attorney if he asks for one (though the federal circuit courts have held that questioning may continue for some period of time under the public-safety exception even after the request for counsel, and statements remain admissible).

…it is misleading to paint the decision not to Mirandize as trampling Tsarnaev’s constitutional rights as an American citizen.

8 Notes

The riots, rats and sad, silent queues: my life under Thatcher | Caitlin Moran

Behind a paywall. I liked this bit though:

What is the worst — the very worst — that government policy can do to you if you have a job in an industry with a strong future, live in a pleasant and well-equipped part of the country and have enough money to have always thought of shoes as a necessity rather than a luxury?

Push the highest rate of tax for a few thousand people to 90 per cent and let the bin-men go on strike. Annoying but not fatal. If you are generally secure, a government can inconvenience you, make you poorer or make you angrier — it can, let’s be frank, be a massive, incompetent, depressing, maybe even immoral, pain in the arse — but you, and your family, and your social circle, will survive it. It is unlikely that the course of your life will be much different under one government than the next, however diverse their ideas.

By way of contrast, what’s the worst — the very worst — that a government policy can do to you if you’re poor? Food Bank poor? Dependant-on-the- government poor? Well, everything. It can suddenly freeze, drop, or cancel your benefits — leaving you in the panic of unpayable bills and deciding which meals to skip. It can underfund your schools and hospitals — death in a corridor; no exams passed; no escape route into private hospitals or tutors, when your purse is full only of buttons and old bus tickets. It can let your entire industry die — every skill learned and piece of knowledge earned left useless. It can leave your whole city to “managed decline”, as Geoffrey Howe’s recently published suggestion for Liverpool revealed.

You know when middle-class people feel “absolutely devastated” by the government’s policy on the EU? They aren’t devastated. They’re annoyed.

You know when poor people are “absolutely devastated” by the government’s policy on housing benefit? They are absolutely devastated. They’re in a hostel, with their children. It’s not just words to them. It’s the reporting of a fact. It’s their future. It’s their ruin.

10 Notes

I would point out that if you’re a believer in the Bible, one would have to say the Great Flood is an example of climate change and that certainly wasn’t because mankind had overdeveloped hydrocarbon energy.
Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas). People who hold these opinions run America.

8 Notes

As someone who has taught constitutional law for almost 40 years, I am ashamed it took me so long to see how bizarre all this is. Imagine that after careful study a government official — say, the president or one of the party leaders in Congress — reaches a considered judgment that a particular course of action is best for the country. Suddenly, someone bursts into the room with new information: a group of white propertied men who have been dead for two centuries, knew nothing of our present situation, acted illegally under existing law and thought it was fine to own slaves might have disagreed with this course of action. Is it even remotely rational that the official should change his or her mind because of this divination?

Louis Michael Seidman in the NY Times.

As an outsider looking in, the deification of the Constitution and the Founders is a bit weird. I understand it’s a crucial, important document; but it seems strange to me that its every line is treated as sacrosanct when the founders could not possibly have been able to make rational decisions about what life would be like in the 21st century.

26 Notes

Meanwhile, religious liberals are gradually becoming more visible. Liberal clergy members spoke out in support of same-sex marriage, and one group ran ads praising Mr. Obama’s health care plan for insuring the poor and the sick.

It’s newsworthy, now, apparently, when a single Christian organisation approves of an effort to look after the poor and the sick. Y’know, like the Bible says to.

I cannot grasp, simply cannot begin to understand, the cognitive dissonance that is necessary for any devout Christian to be opposed to universal healthcare. It baffles me how that can even be a thing, let alone the (seemingly) default position of tens of millions of people.

14 Notes

An examination of the correlation between modern states that voted Republican, and the Civil War era slave states. Fascinating. Is there some deeper meaning, is it coincidence, or is it really as baldly simple as it seems: are racial divides the beating heart of American politics?

Second-hand source: https://twitter.com/brianmoore666/status/266827398140534784

An examination of the correlation between modern states that voted Republican, and the Civil War era slave states. Fascinating. Is there some deeper meaning, is it coincidence, or is it really as baldly simple as it seems: are racial divides the beating heart of American politics?

Second-hand source: https://twitter.com/brianmoore666/status/266827398140534784

13 Notes

Michael Bloomerg on the Colorado shooting

"Maybe it’s time the two people who want to be president of the United States stand up and tell us what they’re going to do about it, because this is obviously a problem across the country. And everybody always says: Isn’t it tragic?

"There’s so many murders with guns every day It’s just gotta stop. And instead of these two people, President Obama and Governor Romney talking in broad things about they want to make the world a better place. OK, tell us how. And this is a problem. No matter where you stand on the Second Amendment, no matter where you stand on guns, we have a right to hear from both of them, concretely, not just in generalities, specifically, what are they going to do about guns?"

14 Notes

"Wisconsin State Senator Says Women Are Paid Less Because ‘Money is More Important For Men’"

Repealing the law was a no-brainer for state Sen. Glenn Grothman (R), who led the effort because of his belief that pay discrimination is a myth driven by liberal women’s groups. Ignoring multiple studies showing that the pay gap exists, Grothman blamed females for prioritizing childrearing and homemaking instead of money, saying, “Money is more important for men,” The Daily Beast reports.

Britain’s Raving Monster Looney Party once made an election promise to tow Britain into the middle of the Mediterranean Sea so we’d get better weather. Is the modern GOP attempting to vie with them in the ‘unelectable nonsense’ stakes? Or have all the rational conservatives simply conceded 2012 to Obama and run off to prepare for 2016, leaving the field filled with wingnuts and lunatics?

13 Notes

In the extensive annals of eavesdropping, all of this is something new. Not even Stalin wiretapped the dead.
Jonathan Schell for Al Jazeera on the News International phone hacking revelations. (HT @sinisteragent.)

23 Notes

Fox News recuts a UK anti-student-fees march and claim it's a UK Tea Party demonstration

Idiots. Note that these students were protesting cuts to higher education spending — the opposite of most Tea Party “no big government” policy.

17 Notes

On student financing

In response to my last post, Michelle wrote:

Shut up and pay for your college education with twenty years of student loan debt like everyone else.

I take her point about the American system, but you should understand that this is not how it’s worked here in Britain historically. I am 32 years old and I did my undergraduate degree between 1996 and 2001. I paid no fees to attend university, and received a modest grant and access to an interest-free loan to support myself. In 1997, the grant was abolished; over the intervening decade, fees of up to a few thousand pounds per year have been introduced. Under the new government plans, these will now be as high as £9,000 ($15k) per year.

I understand that might make the people in the picture I posted look like “entitled, spoiled brats” to American eyes, but to us it’s a big shift. Britain has historically regarded access to higher education as something that should be equally accessible to anyone, regardless of their social circumstances. Now, maybe the American system of high fees and high debt is better; I don’t know. Certainly, America’s economy seems to be broadly strong (but I would note that the social gulf between the haves and have-nots is enormous). But none of that doesn’t changes the fact that this is a wrenching change for the UK.

These kids “think [they] are entitled to a free education” because, just ten years ago, they would have been.

I’d also like to add that the students that protested in London yesterday will be unaffected by this change, as it will only come into force with next year’s intake. They demonstrated anyway. I think that’s admirable. And yes, a small number of them did turn violent — but I don’t think we should condemn baseball because a small number of Giants fans set fire to cars in San Francisco last week.

Edit — Michelle replied to this post:

I don’t condemn all of them, I condemn those who resort to violence, the same way I condemn anarchists who show up at G20 protests to break things, the same way I condemn sports fans who light cars on fire. Violent protests irk me.

No disagreement there! There were clearly some complete fucking idiots loose, although to put it in perspective, 50 people were arrested from over 50,000 protestors. It’s been portrayed by some parts of the media as carnage but it was, in the main, more peaceful than they are making out.

31 Notes

This is from the website of Newsround, the BBC’s news show aimed at children (it airs between the under-10s cartoons and the aimed-at-teens drama during the daily children’s TV segment). I find their writing fascinating. That, right there, is (to my mind) a perfect encapsulation of the situation, in plain and simple language that can be understood by even very young kids.

This is from the website of Newsround, the BBC’s news show aimed at children (it airs between the under-10s cartoons and the aimed-at-teens drama during the daily children’s TV segment). I find their writing fascinating. That, right there, is (to my mind) a perfect encapsulation of the situation, in plain and simple language that can be understood by even very young kids.

9 Notes

Vast forests have already been sacrificed to the public debate about the Tea Party: what it is, what it means, where it’s going. But after lengthy study of the phenomenon, I’ve concluded that the whole miserable narrative boils down to one stark fact: They’re full of shit. All of them.
Matt Taibbi on the Tea Party for Rolling Stone. Hat tip to ripslich for the link, in response to my last link.

2 Notes

A scan from Reason Magazine, Oct 2008 (click to embiggen)
Emma Lazarus, The New Colussus:

"Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

A scan from Reason Magazine, Oct 2008 (click to embiggen)

Emma Lazarus, The New Colussus:

"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

4 Notes

Commemorative Coins for Utah’s Firing Squad

essdogg:

<snip>

I’m not defending my homestate at all nor am I saying that you believe this way, Richard, but I’ve seen a lot of commentary from death penalty proponents and opponents that focuses on how barbaric the firing squad is as a means of capital punishment. It just seems to me that once you get into state-sponsored death as a cornerstone of your judicial system’s tenets of crime and punishment, then quibbling over the method of death is a bit pointless. Plus, as dwineman said, when you compare a set of trained marksmen whose shots will almost surely kill you instantaneously to an electric chair that’ll fry you while you’re alive and fully conscious, or even to a set of drugs that’ll slowly put you to sleep and then make you suffocate on your own blood, the firing squad seems a pretty damned honorable and humane way to go.

Indeed, Essdogg; I agree with both you and Dan. The method of execution is far from the worst part of this whole business. That would be the entire concept of state-sponsored executions.

The philosophical arguments are contentious (although my beliefs are firm), so I’d simply argue: it’s been conclusively proven that it’s not a deterrent and, in the absence of an impossibly infallible judicial system, how can you defend the idea of taking a life as punishment? It’s hard to release someone from twenty years of wrongful imprisonment; it’s impossible if they’re dead.

The motivation for my original quote was more the collection of nations that were almost universally known for human rights violations listed alongside an American state. The discongruity stuck with me some time after I read the linked article, and I felt was worthy of note.

In The Lord Of The Rings, Gandalf says:

Deserves [death]! I daresay he does. Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends.

This always felt like Tolkien slipping a little piece of social commentary into his epic fantasy. For a long time during my spell on Usenet, this was one of my sig quotes, and I still like it a lot.

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