Archive for the ‘justice’ Category

Chief Justice John Roberts Upholds the Affordable Care Act : The New Yorker

Chief Justice John Roberts Upholds the Affordable Care Act : The New Yorker.

I’ve been impressed by the sheer quantity of adulation poured on Roberts’ head for his ACA decision by self-proclaimed liberals: people who should know better. I was amazed because Roberts’ seemingly reluctant decision did on the face of it quite a lot of damage. Yes, it upheld the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) but it did so by gutting the accepted and fairly unquestioned power of Congress to regulate interstate commerce. Put another way, as I see it, the power of the Federal government has just been put into question, at least as it pertains to an enormous volume of interstate commerce.

So it was with pleasure I read Toobin’s analysis: it reflected my own judgment and again made me wonder: Why are liberals so very eager to hail Roberts and anoint him so quickly–without thinking through the problem now presenting itself?  People: It’s not as if the far-right wing of the court has at all been weakened. It hasn’t. In fact, the opposite arguably obtains. So….? Why the celebration? Yes, the woefully inadequate and deeply problematic ACA has been preserved, but isn’t that a reason then for moving aggressively to protect other rights we have seen put into jeopardy? Isn’t it time, in fact, to attack the retrogressive agenda of the right, when it seems–seems, not is–in some disarray and split?

In New Jersey Halfway Houses, Escapees Stream Out as a Penal Business Thrives – NYTimes.com

In New Jersey Halfway Houses, Escapees Stream Out as a Penal Business Thrives – NYTimes.com.

 

Some more on prisons for profit, and not for much of anything else.

 

Private prison companies look to Canada as industry faces lawsuits in US World news guardian.co.uk

Private prison companies look to Canada as industry faces lawsuits in US World news guardian.co.uk.

 

Oh, no. I’ve been tracking ProPublica’s (and others’) account of the emergence of the privatized prison system in the US, and it’s frightening. And even more so to think of it finding a place in Canada. Privatizing social works and services is a generally bad idea and in prisons, as with medical care and education, all the more fraught. Private prisons exist by housing prisoners, meaning that the more the local juridical system produces them, the better the locality where the private prison is located (employment, taxes). It goes further. Prison labour is cheap and not unionized. These, alas, are not idle connections.

Secret ‘Kill List’ Tests Obama’s Principles – NYTimes.com

Secret ‘Kill List’ Tests Obama’s Principles – NYTimes.com.

 

It’s an interesting article and is one of the few in the definitively mainstream US press that actually presses the claims of the administration to execute whomever they deem worthy of such extreme prejudice. But what I found interesting, too, was the rhetoric used in the account, in particular, the use of “lawyer” and “lawyerly,” and cognates, to describe Obama, his reasoning, and dodges. I suppose I found it interesting because the rhetoric was so obvious in its condemnation that I wondered, Why not simply say, I accuse! I think that would have carried greater not less moral weight. As it was, the article’s rhetorical ploys grated, and made me wonder if there was some other agenda at play demanding the sliming and indirection. Wouldn’t it have been more morally and ethically direct and honest simply to state the evidence (if not the facts), the reasoning, as surmised by witnesses and by the reporters and editors, and–at really any point–a clarion accusation and reasons for the accusation? For what it seems now is that Obama is worse for being a lawyer (and doing those slimy lawyer things we all know about, and they are always dodgy) than morally traducing not just the expectations his credulous voters held but the morals and ethics most people seem to hold. The state of war may legitimate the institutionalization of killing–not that that is good but it’s legally defensible–but killing by state institutions doesn’t make for defensible war; it doesn’t (necessarily) make it legitimate at all. (Foreign Policy has a fairly good critique and justified condemnation of the policy and acts coming out of it.)

Exporting copyright: Inside the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership | Ars Technica

Exporting copyright: Inside the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership | Ars Technica.

*Read* the article. It’s excellent, and very informative.

I’ve been involved but mostly as a follower IP discussions over the last couple of years. They’ve grown quite interesting. Ever since ACTA ground our faces into the notion that some copyright legislation “must” be worked out and agreed upon in *secret*, the politics of IP–global as well as national–have become inescapable, at least to me, and I think many others.

The issues are hardly as abstract as “intellectual property” would suggest. They have to do with the way many of us not only make our living but simply do our living, and they put under legal scrutiny local and regional community formations, as well as international ones.

Right-wing political extremism in the Great Depression | vox – Research-based policy analysis and commentary from leading economists

Right-wing political extremism in the Great Depression | vox – Research-based policy analysis and commentary from leading economists.

Nations are turning to far-right demagogues and magical solutions. This exceeds the trend seen during the Reagan/Thatcher period, and the turns are dramatic. The article cited above is insightful.

 

WTO | 2011 News items – Lamy rebuts UN food rapporteur’s claim that WTO talks hold food rights ‘hostage’

WTO | 2011 News items – Lamy rebuts UN food rapporteur’s claim that WTO talks hold food rights ‘hostage’.

It’s never just about the politics of the local, and it’s always also about global dynamics. Nor is it about self-righteous indignation of the American sort over the apparent loss of sovereignty. Rather, it’s about what is wanted by us, where “us” really means the larger society–the 99 percent. And now is the time to take these questions seriously. That means articulating those priorities that affect us globally and investing in those endeavours that benefit us globally, but also locally. Is this in opposition to capitalism? Not as most of us understand it. It’s probably contrary to monolithic monopoly deployments of capital. That is, contra those entities which have determined and implicitly limited markets and access to them; and for local markets benefiting more and operating not in ignorance of other communities but very much with full knowledge about them.

My aim, my belief is that we–let’s say, all of us, people–can really only survive the challenges our grandparents have visited upon us (no end to them) by networked communities and not by the logic of centralisation that so characterised the long 20th century.

Doors of Perception weblog: Open: a survival issue

Doors of Perception weblog: Open: a survival issue.

Of interest. As is the to me newly discovered “Doors of Perception” site.

Ejecutan a hijo de García Paniagua / Nacional :: Impacto Diario

Ejecutan a hijo de García Paniagua / Nacional :: Impacto Diario.

I know this area quite well. My mother, who died a couple of weeks ago, lived not too far from here, and on while we were down in GDL for the funeral, we went to this quite fancy, very costly, but not bad, café/bistro. It’s therefore all the more shocking to read of this. But it does remind me of similar events/atrocities that occurred in any gang-controlled domain.

The problem is of course that the gangs act with confidence of their impunity. And they have that confidence not because the police are incompetent or unable but because the politica and economic structure, one built over more than half a century, has all but insured them against reprisal. The police are underpaid and undertrained and understaffed for a reason. Same with other governmental services Mexico (and so many other similar countries) offers. Such a situation gives lip service to bureaucratic norms and expectations while still providing for–encouraging, actually–the traditional system of patronage and petty bribery. And as long as this system did not raise the legal or whatever hackles of Mexico’s powerful neighbour, it was okay, part of the beautiful characteristic, not a (contagiously) fatal flaw.

But then things changed. And in rooting out the “evil,” in a format that at best resembles the war in Iraq and at worst that in Afghanistan (or vice versa), but in either case *wrong*, as seen by the 40K killed over the last 6 years, and for zero real gain, the depths of the corruption become clear. But not clear enough. The logic motivating the killings, the structure and its history–and its history is deeply buried in the everyday and very important–need more exposure, explication, so that a more accountable system, even democracy, can be realistically imagined and implemented.

 

Haiti study: Mass mobile phone tracking can be laudable • The Register

Haiti study: Mass mobile phone tracking can be laudable • The Register.

 

As a guess–educated guess, of course–I’d say that “migration”–of bodies, but also of information and its proprietary attachments (those elements that make it useful but also valuable, or useless while still being valued)–is the character of this 21st century.

Why? Because, first, we can move as never before, where “we” means humanity. Sure, there are billions imprisoned in their regions. But with the advent of global climate change, and all that it entails, the movement of people, their exodus, will occur as never before.

Think: Equatorial regions, really, all those within the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn (and then more), will be in growing spots (nearly) uninhabitable: too hot, not enough (potable) water, scoured by insects, disease, storm. And it is within these Tropics that the vast portion of humanity lives now and has been trained to live for tens of millennia.

But with no fish, no arable land, no food nor water that doesn’t cause yet more disease and death, there will be a migration away from ancestral homelands to areas where there is still a living to be had.

These areas will of course be already inhabited, and inhabited by those with guns and lots of xenophobic bullets. The point is not that there will be (and there will be) wars over water and arable land–refugee wars, say–but that there will vast movements regardless, and that these will need to be not policed, contained, stemmed, but understood, first and foremost, so that humanity is not lost.