By Tuesday, many US state governments must pass budgets for the coming fiscal year. The state capitals are now the scene of bitter feuding among governors and legislators over how the deficits will be met. But there is unanimity that the working class must foot the bill. Forty-six states confront significant deficits, and their collective shortfall for 2010 stands at more than $130 billion. This comes after a $104 billion deficit in 2009, for a two-year total of $234 billion in red ink—$91 billion more than President Barack Obama’s stimulus package allocated to all municipalities and the 50 states for the next two years.
The Obama administration, fearing a battle with Congress that could stall plans to close Guantanamo, is drafting an executive order that would reassert presidential authority to incarcerate suspected terrorists indefinitely, according to three senior government officials with knowledge of White House deliberations.
When Obama first unveiled his "preventive detention" policy, many defenders praised him (and claimed he was different than Bush) because of his vow that -- as he put it -- "my Administration will work with Congress to develop an appropriate legal regime." But now, relying exclusively on three Obama officials speaking behind a veil of anonymity, Peter Finn and Dafner Linza of The Washington Post and ProPublica report that the White House is "crafting language for an executive order that would reassert presidential authority to incarcerate terrorism suspects indefinitely."
Violent protests that disrupted a parade in Glasgow to acknowledge the courage of the country's troops were last night condemned as "sickening" by Scottish secretary Jim Murphy.
The problem with the Hate Crimes Prevention Act is that it creates a thought crime and also categories of crime victims for disparate treatment. Goodbye to equality under the law. How will a prosecutor prove that a lesbian was murdered because of her sexual orientation rather than because she refused to give the mugger her purse?
An investigation by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has revealed that former detainees at the U.S. Bagram airbase in Afghanistan were beaten, deprived of sleep, and threatened with dogs. The BBC’s conclusions are based on interviews with 27 former detainees who were held at Bagram between 2002 and 2006. None of these men were ever charged with a crime. Hundreds of detainees are still being held in U.S. custody at the Afghan prison without charge or trial.
In addition to the efforts to prevent and reduce statelessness, states should also establish an identification and protection mechanism for stateless persons. Stateless persons are victims of a serious human rights violation: they are deprived of the protective link between a state and its citizens. Yet statelessness is a forgotten issue in Europe, as in the rest of the world.
In looking back on growing up, I always remember 1957 and 1958 as “the two good years.” They were the only years my working class redneck family ever caught a real break in their working lives, and that break came because of organized labor. After working as a farm hand, driving a hicktown taxi part time, and a dozen catch-as-catch-can jobs, my father found himself owning a used semi-truck and hauling produce for a Teamster unionized trucking company called Blue Goose.
HR 1966 has cleared the House and now faces the Senate as S.909, the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act (officially, the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act). The bill is expected to sail through the Senate as it did in the House. It will provide federal assistance to the states, local jurisdictions, and Indian tribes to prosecute hate crimes, and for “other purposes.” It creates special protective status based on race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, and disability.
Using a system installed last year, built in part by Nokia and Siemens, the government routes all digital traffic in the country through a single choke point, using the capabilities of deep packet inspection to monitor every e-mail, tweet, blog post, and possibly even every phone call placed in Iran. The government is also using crowdsourcing by posting pictures of protesters and asking citizens for help in identifying the activists.
Iran's paramilitary Basij are carrying out brutal nighttime raids, destroying property in private homes andbeating civilians in an attempt to stop nightly protest chants, Human RightsWatch said today. Human Rights Watch also said the Iranian authorities areconfiscating satellite dishes from private homes to prevent citizens fromseeing foreign news.
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