Posts tagged politics

When I see people with an “I Voted!” sticker, my first thought is, “Shame on you!”

Imagine 12 people are serving on a jury in a murder case. The prosecution and defense present evidence and call witnesses. The court asks the jury to reach a verdict. They find the defendant guilty.

Suppose four of the jurors paid no attention during the trial. When asked to deliberate, they were ignorant of the details of the case. They decided more or less at random.

Suppose four of the jurors paid some attention to the evidence. However, they found the defendant guilty not on the basis of the evidence, but on wishful thinking and on bizarre conspiracy theories they happen to believe.

Suppose four of the jurors paid attention to the evidence. However, they found the defendant guilty because he is an atheist, while they are Christians. Like many Americans, the jurors trust atheists no more than they trust rapists.

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We want our employees who are gay or lesbian or transgender to have the same experience outside the office as they do in the office.

Google Announces Global Campaign To Legalize Gay Marriage

The campaign launches Saturday, July 7 in Poland and Singapore. Organizers plan to expand the campaign to every country where Google has an office, focusing on countries where anti-gay sentiment runs high.

(via anticapitalist)

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Considering that my son has a longstanding crush on Glee's Blaine and regularly refers to him as “my boyfriend,” I thought there was a fair chance that he would someday say, “I'm gay.” But my kid is only 7 years old. I figured I had a few years before we crossed that threshold (if we ever did), probably when he was 14 or 15. I never thought it would happen this soon.

It is said that politics is the second-oldest profession, and I’ve come to realize it bears a strong resemblance to the first.
Ronald Reagan

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When producers market their products, customers vote with their monetary units as to whose efforts they choose to support. In a voluntary market system, the most productive of producers garner the majority of the votes in the form of monetary units they receive from customers.

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Zach Wahls, a 19-year-old University of Iowa student spoke about the strength of his family during a public forum on House Joint Resolution 6 in the Iowa House of Representatives. Wahls has two mothers, and came to oppose House Joint Resolution 6 which would end civil unions in Iowa.

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"Some may dismiss these examples as a few particularly flagrant illustrations of the maxim that no one’s perfect, but there are systematic reasons behind the state’s dramatic failure."

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What do Obamacare, the London riots and a possible French debt crisis have in common? They are all proof that Western governments have grown beyond all reasonable, sensible limits. All these examples, and many more, demonstrate that we have grown utterly dependent on a ubiquitous state. Without one, we are at a loss about what to do.

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Estimated 10m-plus surveillance cameras were installed in China last year, prompting human rights concerns

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In practice, “obstruction of justice” and “giving false information” are almost always themselves victimless crimes. Bill Anderson and Candice Jackson call these types of offenses “derivative crimes” – offenses contrived out of thin air, used by the state to railroad people whose actual offenses cannot be proven. This trick was used to oppress the ethically innocent Martha Stewart, but even when it is used against a real creep, like Scooter Libby, it is far too dangerous a tool to trust in the hands of the state. No government should be able to jail someone merely for the act of being dishonest with it.

When the right to lie to the state is trampled, the ripples of injustice shake the whole system. Often, police don’t even have a strong case against someone, not even enough to search or arrest him. And so they start probing. They start asking questions, hoping the subject trips up, contradicts himself, and can be caught in a deception. Then this is used as the probable cause on which an arrest and threat of conviction ultimately rely. This is a good reason to avoid talking to police altogether. But it is also a reason to oppose the very doctrine that telling a fib to a cop should in any way, all by itself, be considered any worse than fibbing to anyone else. If someone tells a white lie to a neighbor because he thinks he’s being asked something that is none of the guy’s business, we can criticize this as a minor sin, but it should not be any worse when the police are involved. Deceiving one’s acquaintances can lead to a tangled web of awkwardness and more prevarications. But deceiving an officer should not, in itself, lead to warrantless searches, arrests, and prison time.

There is another principle in play here. No one owes the police anything. Perhaps in very unusual cases it makes ethical sense to cooperate. Surely there are prudential reasons from time to time. But the police are out to round people up, most of them overall non-violent people, and throw them in cages. To do their business, police, like prosecutors, lie through their teeth. It is standard practice. They are trained to do it. Whereas you could make a strong case that as tax recipients and supposed public servants, police should be held to a standard that forbids dishonesty, there should be no legal obligation on the part of the common person to come clean with the state.

The fact that the state gets away lying to the people – about its successes and failures, its intentions in domestic policy, the rationale behind its foreign policy, the strength and content of its evidence in criminal cases – while it makes it a crime for common people to misrepresent themselves to the government is another example of the ultimate double standard that defines the state as what it is. 

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A new study ranks Canada dead last in an international comparison of freedom-of-information laws — a hard fall after many years being judged a global model in openness.

The study by a pair of British academics looked at the effectiveness of freedom-of-information laws in five parliamentary democracies: Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, the United Kingdom and Canada. 

New Zealand placed first and Canada last.

“Above all, an effective FOI regime requires strong government commitment and political will. Officials cannot do it on their own,” says the paper, published in the journal Government Information Quarterly.

“Canada comes last as it has continually suffered from a combination of low use, low political support and a weak Information Commissioner since its inception.”

The study, by Robert Hazell and Ben Worthy of University College in London, ranked countries based on official statistics on appeals, court decisions, delays and other factors affecting the release of government information to public requesters.

The authors criticized Canada FOI law as an antiquated system that generally prevents citizens from filing requests electronically and compels them to submit paper cheques to cover fees.

Under the Access to Information Act, any resident of Canada can request government-controlled information, such as a bureaucrat’s expense claims or a minister’s briefing notes, for an initial $5 fee. The application is subject to a range of exemptions.


Who didn’t know this already?

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Tomorrow’s cover today The Americans, the Europeans and the Arabs must all hold their nerve.


Tomorrow’s cover today The Americans, the Europeans and the Arabs must all hold their nerve.

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