Apr 212013

Posted by greydogg, 99GetSmart


Source: Center for Constitutional Rights

us constitution

Today, Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) Executive Director Vincent Warren released the following statement in response to the news that the government had decided not to read the suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings his Miranda rights before interrogating him for what is now the longest exception to date.

Our thoughts go out to the friends and families of victims of these horrific bombings. While it is difficult to turn to points of law in times of tragedy, those are, in fact, the times we most need to cling to the values, laws and rights that make us who we are as a nation.

The Miranda warnings were put in place because police officers were beating and torturing “confessions” out of people who hadn’t even been formally accused of a crime. We cannot afford to repeat our mistakes. If officials require suspects to incriminate themselves, they are making fair trials and due process merely option and not a requirement. To venture down that road again will make law enforcement accountable to no one.

Like Obama’s expanded killing program and his perpetuation of indefinite detention without trial at Guantanamo, this is yet another erosion of the Constitution to lay directly at the President’s feet. Obama’s Justice Department unilaterally expanded the “public safety exception” to Miranda in 2010 beyond anything the Supreme Court ever authorized. Each time the administration use this exception, it stretches wider and longer. However horrific the crime, continuing to erode constitutional rights invites continued abuse by law enforcement, and walks us down a dangerous path that becomes nearly impossible to reverse.

The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.

READ @ http://ccrjustice.org/newsroom/press-releases/ccr-condemns-miranda-exception-boston-marathon-suspect-case#.UXL96svKSwI.facebook



By Steven Hsieh, Alternet

The “good guy with a gun” seems to do a lot more policing than protecting.


In Texas, hundreds of thousands of students are winding up in court for committing  very serious offenses such as cursing or farting in class. Some of these so-called dangerous criminals (also known as teenagers) will face arrest and even incarceration, like the honors student who  spent a night in jail for skipping class, or the 12-year-old who was arrested for  spraying perfume on her neck. These cases have at least one thing in common in that they were carried out by special police officers walking a controversial beat: the hallways and classrooms of public schools.

As political pressure from both sides of the aisle mounts to increase police presence in American schools, evidence suggests adding armed guards will only thrust more disadvantaged youth into the criminal justice system. Civil rights groups say policing our schools will further the institutionalization of what’s known as the “school-to-prison pipeline.”

To understand the potential consequences of putting police inside public schools, we can take a look at Texas, where students face one of the most robust school-to-prison pipelines in the country. According to the youth advocacy group Texas Appleseed, school officers issued 300,000 criminal citations to students in 2010, some handed to children as young as six years old. […]

READ @ http://www.alternet.org/civil-liberties/texas-police-schools-criminalize-300000-students-each-year



By Nicholas Lezard, Guardian

Street fighters … an Israeli tank on the border of the Gaza Strip. Photograph: Jim Hollander/EPA

Street fighters … an Israeli tank on the border of the Gaza Strip. Photograph: Jim Hollander/EPA

Nicholas Lezard is chastened by a book that reads like scaremongering but has the sources to back itself up

There’s a reproduction in this book of a recruitment poster for the US Special Forces. It shows three skydiving soldiers in formation, performing a High Altitude-Low Opening jump, seemingly propelling themselves towards the viewer. They look pretty scary. But the text above runs, in capitals: “The Halo jump wasn’t the hard part. Knowing which Arabic dialect to use when I landed was.”

This, as Professor Graham notes, was part of a Pentagon counterinsurgency strategy known as “the cultural turn” and centred on what they call the “Human Terrain System”. It was also, in Graham’s rather well-qualified opinion, “completely fraudulent”.

Look, you’re just going to have to read this book. Because what’s happening in Baghdad and other contested or occupied cities – not just the surveillance, but the militarisation too – is going to happen here. In some cases it already is, or there are in place contingency plans for it, should serious trouble arise.

Graham knows whereof he speaks. I wasn’t aware there was such a post as professor of cities and society, but that’s the one he holds at Newcastle University and on the evidence of this book alone I’m rather glad it exists. He’s making good use of it. He has the facts at his fingertips, and he is able to make connections, all of which, you may or may not be dismayed to hear, are disturbing.

If you are one of those – and we are, I gather, in the minority – who are made uneasy by the increasing ubiquity and reach of the surveillance society (one of the very few areas in which this country can claim world leadership) you should read this book, although unease will metastasise into full-blown sick fear. Those who think that only the guilty have anything to fear, and were never even slightly freaked by the London Transport “secure beneath the watchful eyes” poster, should buy and read this book in order to think again. (That advert, reproduced in the book, featured lots of eyes with the LT roundel in the iris reassuring us that CCTV was making us all safe. Was its cod-1940s design deliberately chosen in order to remind us of Orwell?) […]

READ @ http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011/dec/13/cities-under-siege-stephen-graham



By Kevin Roose, NYMag

Thomas Herndon, 28-year-old economics grad student at UMass Amherst,

Thomas Herndon, 28-year-old economics grad student at UMass Amherst,

Most Ph.D. students spend their days reading esoteric books and stressing out about the tenure-track job market. Thomas Herndon, a 28-year-old economics grad student at UMass Amherst, just used part of his spring semester to shake the intellectual foundation of the global austerity movement.

Herndon became instantly famous in nerdy economics circles this week as the lead author of a recent paper, “Does High Public Debt Consistently Stifle Economic Growth? A Critique of Reinhart and Rogoff,” that took aim at a massively influential study by two Harvard professors named Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff.  Herndon found some hidden errors in Reinhart and Rogoff’s data set, then calmly took the entire study out back and slaughtered it. Herndon’s takedown — which first appeared in a Mike Konczal post that crashed its host site with traffic — was an immediate sensation. It was cited by prominent anti-austerians like Paul Krugman, spoken about by incoming Bank of England governor Mark Carney, and mentioned on CNBC and several other news outlets as proof that the pro-austerity movement is based, at least in part, on bogus math.

We spoke to Herndon about his crazy week, and how he’s planning to celebrate his epic wonk takedown.

“This week has been quite the week,” Herndon told us in a phone call from UMass Amherst’s campus. “Honestly, I was not expecting at all the kind of attention it has received.”

Herndon, who did his undergraduate study at Evergreen State College, first started looking into Reinhart and Rogoff’s work as part of an assignment for an econometrics course that involved replicating the data work behind a well-known study. Herndon chose Reinhart and Rogoff’s 2010 paper, “Growth in a Time of Debt,” in part, because it has been one of the most politically influential economic papers of the last decade. It claims, among other things, that countries whose debt exceeds 90 percent of their annual GDP experience slower growth than countries with lower debt loads — a figure that has been cited by people like Paul Ryan and Tim Geithner to justify slashing government spending and implementing other austerity measures on struggling economies. […]

READ @ http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2013/04/grad-student-who-shook-global-austerity-movement.html



By Jason Hickel, CADTM


The World Bank and the IMF have the power to impose economic policies on developing countries even when voters and elected politicians in those countries unanimously reject them [AFP]

The crisis of capital, the rise of the Occupy movement and the crash of Southern Europe have brought the problem of income inequality into mainstream consciousness in the West for the first time in many decades. Now everyone is talking about how the richest 1 percent have captured such a disproportionate share of wealth in their respective countries. This point came crashing home once again when an animated video, illustrating wealth disparities in the US, went viral last month. When an infographic catches the attention of tens of millions of internet users, you know it is hitting a nerve.

But the global scale of inequality remains largely absent from this story. So we at /The Rules decided to put together a video that would give it some attention.

While this information is not new, it is still startling. In the video we say that the richest 300 people on earth have more wealth than the poorest 3bn – almost half the world’s population. We chose those numbers because it makes for a clear and memorable comparison, but in truth the situation is even worse: the richest 200 people have about $2.7 trillion, which is more than the poorest 3.5bn people, who have only $2.2 trillion combined. It is very difficult to wrap one’s mind around such extreme figures.

But we wanted to do more than just illustrate the brutal extent of inequality; we also wanted to demonstrate that it has been getting progressively worse. A recent Oxfam report shows that “the richest 1 percent has increased its income by 60 percent in the last 20 years, with the financial crisis accelerating rather than slowing the process”, while the income of the top 0.01 percent has seen even greater growth.

The video shows how this widening disparity operates between countries. During the colonial period, the gap between the richest countries and the poorest countries widened from 3:1 to 35:1, in part because European powers extracted so much wealth from the Global South in the form of resources and labour. Since then, that gap has grown to almost 80:1. How is this possible?

Capital flows from poor to rich

The gap is growing in part because of the neoliberal economic policies that international institutions like the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) have imposed on developing countries over the past few decades. These policies are designed to forcibly liberalise markets, prying them open in order to give multinational corporations unprecedented access to cheap land, resources and labour. But at a serious cost: poor countries have lost around $500bn per year in GDP as a consequence of these policies, according to economist Robert Pollin of the University of Massachusetts.

Millions of Americans still mired in poverty

As a result we see a clear net flow of wealth from poor places to rich places. We designed the video to help people visualise this flow, and to show how it pumps up the Global North at devastating expense to the Global South.

Few people know about this constant siphoning of wealth. One reason for this is that the discourse of aid takes up so much space. Consider the enormous publicity captured by Jeffrey Sachs and the Millennium Development Goals, or Bono and Bob Geldof, or even big charities such as Save the Children, Christian Aid and Action Aid.

Governments of rich countries constantly celebrate how much they spend in aid to developing countries, and multinational corporations splash CSR credentials across annual reports and product lines – neither of them confess how much they take out of developing countries. […]

READ @ http://cadtm.org/The-truth-about-extreme-global



Source: youtube

VIDEO @ https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=QPKKQnijnsM



By SOZ, Greek Left Review




READ @ http://greekleftreview.wordpress.com/2013/04/18/blood-strawberries/



Source: youtube

VIDEO @ https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=nTqvBhFVdvE



By Anne Ryan, The Foundation for the Economics of Sustainability



The system for social security as it has developed in Ireland and many other European countries is not working. It was designed for a different era, to provide income security for the relatively small numbers of people who became temporarily unemployed from standard jobs. Efforts to patch it up in response to new needs have been piecemeal. On the other hand, some EU countries, such as Italy and Greece, have no social security system in place. We need a proactive new system, building on the old system’s principles of security and social solidarity, but far more inclusive. Basic financial security should be a right for all members of society. A system that could achieve this is universal basic income, sometimes called a citizens’ income or dividend, and referred to as basic income in this short introductory paper.

Basic income is a regular and unconditional distribution of money by the state to every member of society, whether they engage in paid work or not. Basic income is always tax-free and it replaces social welfare payments, child benefit and the state pension as we currently know them. It also extends to all those who currently receive no income from the state. Ideally, a basic income would be sufficient for each person to have a frugal but decent lifestyle without supplementary income from paid work.

Basic income would bring into the security net all those not served by the current system: casual and short-contract workers who get no or limited sick pay, holiday pay or pension rights; self-employed people and business owners; those doing valuable unpaid work, including care, which adds value to society and economy. Basic income would increase everybody’s capacity to cope with financial shocks and uncertainties and would improve general quality of life, while supporting many different kinds of work, with or without pay.

Currently, those receiving welfare are badly served by the system: if they take paid work, especially low-paid or temporary, they often lose out financially, in a ‘benefits trap’. With basic income, there would always be a financial incentive for people to earn a taxable income, should a job be available. Employers would also welcome the ending of the benefits trap.

For those in sporadic or seasonal employment, a basic income would eliminate the need to sign on and off and the payment delays that often occur. The possibilities for welfare fraud would be minimised, with everyone playing by the same rules in a simpler system. This would also eliminate the current bureaucracy and intrusive scrutiny of claimants’ circumstances. […]

READ @ http://www.feasta.org/2013/04/17/universal-basic-income-a-support-for-intelligent-economies-quality-of-life-and-a-caring-society/

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