Later On

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Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Shaking up New York state politics

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I’m hoping that Wu at least wins, and that Teachout scares the bejesus out of Cuomo. (By “bejesus,” I mean “corruption.”_

Fascinating article.

Written by LeisureGuy

9 September 2014 at 1:19 pm

Rick Perry is going to have serious problems

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Paul Rosenberg in Salon explains why the indictment of Rick Perry is NOT a political farce. From the article (and the whole thing is worth reading):

1)  The indictment was not brought by the Tavis County DA. Nor were any other Democrats involved. It’s worth quoting at length from Smith at the Texas Tribune:

Not a single Democratic official was involved at any point in the process, except to recuse him or herself. That’s what the victim of Perry’s “offers,” Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, did. So did District Judge Julie Kocurek.

Kocurek referred the criminal complaint to Judge Billy Ray Stubblefield, a Republican and Perry appointee. Stubblefield could have dismissed the complaint. Instead, he assigned it to Judge Bert Richardson, also a Republican. He, too, could have dismissed the complaint. Instead, he appointed conservative, well-respected former federal prosecutor McCrum as special prosecutor. Republican U.S. Sens. John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison once recommended McCrum for the job of U.S. attorney for the Western District of Texas. McCrum could have dismissed the complaint. Instead, he took it to a grand jury.

2)  The indictment is not an attack on the governor’s right to veto, any more than a bribery charge would be, if Perry were accused of having vetoed a bill in return for a bribe. As Rachel Maddow put it, covering the story the day it broke, “You may have the constitutional right to vote, for example; you don’t have the constitutional right to sellyour vote.”

3)  Perry’s purported motivation — outrage over Lehmberg’s DWI violation and conviction — was not matched in two other cases where GOP district attorneys were convicted. Nor has he offered any rational explanation why a DWI violation — particularly after rehab — should be seen as so uniquely heinous. Another key Perry talking point has been that “In Texas we settle things with elections.” Why not this time, then?

4)  Perry did have a prima facie political motivation to go after Lehmberg: Her office was investigating corruption involving Perry cronies at the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas at the time he sought to force her out, and replace her with his own appointee.

5) . . .

Read the whole thing.

Written by LeisureGuy

4 September 2014 at 2:26 pm

Posted in Law, Politics

The US human rights record domestically: Poor

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Joanna Rothkopf reports in Salon:

The United Nations’ Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has recently concluded its 85th Session during which time it considered seven state reports, including one on the United States.

The report praised many progressive steps the U.S. has taken to ensure equality, including the termination of the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System, the adoption of the Fair Sentencing Act and the adoption of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

However, the number of issues the report raises is pretty abominable. CERD expressed concern over the following problems:

  1. Lack of a national human rights institution
  2. Persistent racial profiling and illegal surveillance
  3. Prevalence and under-reporting of racist hate speech and hate crimes
  4. Disparate impact of environmental pollution in low income and minority communities
  5. Restrictive voter identification laws leading to unequal right to vote
  6. Criminalization of homelessness when homeless people are disproportionately minorities
  7. Discrimination and segregation in housing
  8. De facto racial segregation in education
  9. Unequal right to health and access to health care
  10. High number of gun-related deaths and “Stand Your Ground” laws, which disproportionately affect members of racial and ethnic minorities
  11. Excessive use of force by law enforcement officials
  12. Increasingly militarized approach to immigration law enforcement
  13. Violence against women occurs disproportionately more frequently for women from racial/ethnic minorities
  14. Criminal justice system disproportionately arrests, incarcerates and subjects to harsher sentences people from racial/ethnic minorities
  15. Youth from racial/ethnic minorities are disproportionately prosecuted as adults, incarcerated in adult prisons, and sentenced to life without parole
  16. Non-citizens are arbitrarily detained in Guantanamo Bay without equal access to the criminal justice system, while at risk of being subjected to torture
  17. Unequal access to legal aid
  18. Lacking rights of indigenous peoples (the report lists numerous different concerns)
  19. Absence of a National Action Plan to combat racial discrimination

In a press conference convened Friday, CERD committee vice chairman Noureddine Amir highlighted the death of Ferguson teenager Michael Brown: . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

29 August 2014 at 1:34 pm

The political education of Silicon Valley

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Written by LeisureGuy

21 August 2014 at 9:13 am

“The Libertarian Fantasy”

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Paul Krugman once more points out some fundamental flaws in the libertarian position (that the free market can solve all problems):

n the latest Times Magazine, Robert Draper profiled youngish libertarians — roughly speaking, people who combine free-market economics with permissive social views — and asked whether we might be heading for a “libertarian moment.” Well, probably not. Polling suggests that young Americans tend, if anything, to be more supportive of the case for a bigger government than their elders. But I’d like to ask a different question: Is libertarian economics at all realistic?

The answer is no. And the reason can be summed up in one word: phosphorus.

As you’ve probably heard, the City of Toledo recently warned its residents not to drink the water. Why? Contamination from toxic algae blooms in Lake Erie, largely caused by the runoff of phosphorus from farms.

When I read about that, it rang a bell. Last week many Republican heavy hitters spoke at a conference sponsored by the blog Red State — and I remembered an antigovernment rant a few years back from Erick Erickson, the blog’s founder. Mr. Erickson suggested that oppressive government regulation had reached the point where citizens might want to “march down to their state legislator’s house, pull him outside, and beat him to a bloody pulp.” And the source of his rage? A ban on phosphates in dishwasher detergent. After all, why would government officials want to do such a thing?

An aside: The states bordering Lake Erie banned or sharply limited phosphates in detergent long ago, temporarily bringing the lake back from the brink. But farming has so far evaded effective controls, so the lake is dying again, and it will take more government intervention to save it.

The point is that before you rage against unwarranted government interference in your life, you might want to ask why the government is interfering. Often — not always, of course, but far more often than the free-market faithful would have you believe — there is, in fact, a good reason for the government to get involved. Pollution controls are the simplest example, but not unique.

Smart libertarians have always realized that there are problems free markets alone can’t solve — but their alternatives to government tend to be implausible. For example, . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

10 August 2014 at 7:22 pm

Cuomo seems more and more despicable—has he no shame at all?

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The headline to Justin Elliott’s story in ProPublica pretty much sums it up: “Cuomo’s Office Denies Using Private Email Accounts. But it Does.” Details of why and who and what at the link.

Written by LeisureGuy

5 August 2014 at 12:29 pm

State of marijuana legalization, prosecution, success and failures

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This article seems to be AlterNet’s answer to the NY Times series on legalizing marijuana. It’s worth reading to see where things stand, and it’s also interesting to see how many blatant lies are told (and two of the worst are Democrats: Andrew Cuomo (who seems utterly corrupt in any case) and Dianne Feinstein (who, thank God, is finally going to retire). For example:

High-ranking Democratic elected officials continue to repeat long-disproven drug falsehoods.

Elected officials like New York’s Andrew Cuomo still buy into long disproved pot myths like pot is a “gateway drug” [23]. Recently, “Mr. Cuomo said that he was wary of allowing marijuana to become too widely or too easily available” (despite the fact that NY has hundreds of thousands of pot arrests). In recent days “he said he feared that it was ‘a gateway drug,’ and observed that the state was already dealing with a resurgence of heroin use.”

The New York Times [24] underscores how out of touch Cuomo is:

Marijuana “does not appear to be a gateway drug to the extent that it is the cause or even that it is the most significant predictor of serious drug abuse,” the Institute of Medicine study said. The real gateway drugs are tobacco and alcohol, which young people turn to first before trying marijuana.

Read the whole thing.

Written by LeisureGuy

4 August 2014 at 12:59 pm

Posted in Drug laws, Politics

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