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Beyond Bogotá

Beyond Bogotá

By Garry Leech
$17.13

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Tag: Law


AP photo / Charles Dharapak

Obama’s Economic Misfits Finally Get It

On Monday, two men with considerable responsibility for enabling the banking meltdown confronted the error of their ways. Hopefully Timothy Geithner and Lawrence Summers’ sudden conversion to common sense indicates the seriousness of the banking regulation plan that their boss, President Obama, will present to Congress today.

Posted on Jun 17, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / SFBart

Obama OKs Some Benefits for Gay Federal Workers’ Partners

It would take new legislation to extend full health coverage to the same-sex partners of federal employees, but President Obama, via presidential memorandum, will grant some benefits to them. Update: Progress or pandering?

Posted on Jun 16, 2009 READ MORE


The Islamic Republic Is Not in Danger

Few think that the demonstrations in Tehran, and now in other Iranian cities, can produce a change in regime. What is being challenged is the reactionary social and political form the Iranian system has assumed under Ahmadinejad and the most conservative clerics.

Posted on Jun 16, 2009 READ MORE


Guns and the Link We Won’t Admit

There are without a doubt links among the extremists who have opened fire in this spring of slaughter, but we tend to ignore the most obvious point: We have decided to let just about anyone have a gun.

Posted on Jun 15, 2009 READ MORE


Obama and the Politics of Short Memories

Business has been on the ropes since last fall’s financial collapse, but the first glimmerings of recovery are calling forth a capitalist counteroffensive.

Posted on Jun 14, 2009 READ MORE



Wikimedia Commons

Gays Losing Patience With Team Obama

Signed by Bill Clinton, the Defense of Marriage Act keeps the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages and allows states to refuse to recognize such marriages performed in other states. Barack Obama’s Justice Department has just issued a defense of DOMA, even though the president has said he’d like to see it overturned. The gays who voted for these Democrats, meanwhile, are losing patience.

Posted on Jun 14, 2009 READ MORE


The Lone Wolves Among Us

The white supremacist who allegedly took a rifle into the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and killed a security guard is more than a bitter, demented old man. He is a known figure in the domestic hate industry and a reminder that words have consequences.

Posted on Jun 11, 2009 READ MORE


The Justice Business

The appearance of extreme political impropriety is sometimes just too extreme, according to the Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling in a case that shines a brutal light on the spiral of campaign contributions that threaten to compromise too many state courts.

Posted on Jun 11, 2009 READ MORE


Sheila Bair
AP photo / J. David Ake

A Republican to Save Us

You probably don’t know much about Sheila Bair, but she is looking out for you, and that is why the big guys on Wall Street and their allies in the Obama administration are out to get her.

Posted on Jun 10, 2009 READ MORE


Two Men Who Stood Under the Plunderers’ Knives

Ken Saro-Wiwa and Alberto Pizango never met, but they are united by a passion for the preservation of their people and their land, and by the fervor with which they were targeted by their respective governments.

Posted on Jun 9, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Pablo Martinez Monsivais

Outrage—and Business as Usual

The public face of Congress is angry and outraged at all the bad behavior by banks, but in the other Washington, the financial industry continues to have its way.

Posted on Jun 8, 2009 READ MORE



Mr. Fish

Hold Your Applause

We may thrill to Obama’s rhetoric, but very few of the 1.3 billion Muslims in the world are as deluded. They grasp that nothing so far has changed for Muslims in the Middle East under the Obama administration.

Posted on Jun 8, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / joewcampbell

Justice Dept. Lawyers Opposed Torture but Saw It as Legal

While George W. Bush’s torture policies stained the reputations of a number of administration lawyers, others have been lauded for their resistance to backing harsh interrogation. However, newly revealed communications show that there was broad consensus in the Justice Department—even among lawyers who opposed such practices—that torture was legal.

Posted on Jun 7, 2009 READ MORE


Sonia Sotomayor
whitehouse.gov

Man Arrested in Threat to Blow Up Sotomayor

New Yorkers have a reputation for hyperbole, but this is just going too far. A Manhattan man was arrested after allegedly letting the good people at 911 know about his desire to blow up both the president and his Supreme Court nominee.

Posted on Jun 5, 2009 READ MORE


book cover

Susie Linfield on How to Think About the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

A provocative new book, “One State, Two States,” by revisionist Israeli historian Benny Morris breaks a taboo by asking whether anti-Zionism has become the anti-imperialism of fools. Can his polemic act as the ax that helps break up the frozen and brittle nature of a debate over the seemingly intractable war between Palestinians and Jews?

Posted on Jun 5, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Damian Dovarganes

Prop. 8 and the Misery of the Law

The right to rebel is my real subject here, but the misery of the law is not incidental. No good case can be made for rebellion as an unqualified good in itself. But the right to rebel also cannot be limited to the rebel causes that were won long ago and have passed over into our national mythology.

Posted on Jun 4, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / steve9567

Domestic Terrorism by Any Standard

If right-wing broadcasters don’t want to be blamed when someone murders a person they have demonized repeatedly—as in the case of George Tiller, the doctor shot dead in his Wichita, Kan., church last Sunday—then they ought to moderate their rhetoric.

Posted on Jun 4, 2009 READ MORE


What Rhetoric Won’t Cure

The murder of Dr. George Tiller cannot be smoothed over with a speech. This is the lesson the Obama administration must learn from it.

Posted on Jun 4, 2009 READ MORE


O’Reilly: ‘If I Could Get My Hands on Tiller ... ’

Back in 2006, here’s what Bill O’Reilly had to say about the recently murdered Dr. George Tiller: “[I]f I could get my hands on Tiller—well, you know. Can’t be vigilantes. Can’t do that. It’s just a figure of speech. But despicable? Oh, my God. It doesn’t get worse. Does it get worse? No.”

Posted on Jun 3, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Jim Cole

New Hampshire Legalizes Gay Marriage

The Granite State’s Republican governor opposes gay marriage, but he cut a deal with the Legislature and signed off on three bills that made New Hampshire the sixth state (wishy-washy California not among them) to grant same-sex couples their marital rights. Six down, 44 to go.

Posted on Jun 3, 2009 READ MORE


Ronald Reagan
Reagan Library

Reagan Didn’t Do It

It would be nice to blame Ronald Reagan for the economic meltdown, as Paul Krugman did recently, but the facts don’t support it. Unfortunately, the real villains are closer at hand.

Posted on Jun 3, 2009 READ MORE


Dr. George Tiller Didn’t Have to Die

He was assassinated while in church in Wichita, Kan., on Sunday, targeted for legally performing abortions. His death might have been prevented simply through enforcement of existing laws.

Posted on Jun 2, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT
thebeatwithin.org

Fighting Crime by Reforming Juvenile Hall

This week on the podcast: Sheerly Avni and Omar Turcios from The Beat Within, a magazine written by and for the troubled kids in juvenile prisons. Such facilities could be “recruiting grounds for crime fighting,” argues Avni, and that’s in our self-interest. “If you want to stop crime—very simple. You look at a bunch of 5-year-old kids in the ghetto. Ask yourself: ‘Do I want them to be criminals or not in 10 years? What’s that going to do to the value of my home?’ ”

Posted on Jun 2, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT
thebeatwithin.org

Fighting Crime by Reforming Juvenile Hall

This week on the podcast: Sheerly Avni and Omar Turcios from The Beat Within, a magazine written by and for the troubled kids in juvenile prisons. Such facilities could be “recruiting grounds for crime fighting,” argues Avni, and that’s in our self-interest.

Posted on Jun 2, 2009 READ MORE


Al Gore
Flickr / jurvetson

Al Gore Puts On His Capitalist Cap

The former vice president has thrown plenty of his own money at the climate crisis, but now the Nobel Prize-winning environmental activist is hoping to profit from his policy ideas. “An environmental start-up backed by Al Gore’s venture capital firm aims to take advantage of coming U.S. climate change legislation by helping companies like Coca Cola and even cities cut pollution,” reports Reuters.

Posted on Jun 1, 2009 READ MORE



White House / Eric Draper / Archive

Bush Defends Torture

George W. Bush took a break from the quiet life to defend his decision to torture detainees, saying his administration’s harsh methods were “within the law” and “saved lives.” Of course, the former president didn’t use the T word. “The first thing you do,” said Bush, “is ask what’s legal? What do the lawyers say is possible?”

Posted on May 29, 2009 READ MORE


Hung Up on Race

President Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court is a proud and accomplished Latina. This fact apparently drives some prominent Republicans to a state resembling incoherent, sputtering rage.

Posted on May 28, 2009 READ MORE


A Wise Person for the Court

Forget Rush Limbaugh. In Sonia Sotomayor’s nomination, we face the riddle of the wise old man, the wise old woman, and the wise old person.

Posted on May 28, 2009 READ MORE


Why Obama’s Court Pick Is Already a Winner

The same impulses that have long driven the Republican Party toward ethnic polarization and immigrant-bashing seem certain to infect its opposition to Judge Sonia Sotomayor—in ways that can only benefit the Democrats and Mr. Obama in elections to come.

Posted on May 28, 2009 READ MORE


A Justice for Us All

President Obama’s nominee said she hopes Americans “will see that I am an ordinary person who has been blessed with extraordinary opportunities and experiences.” Ordinary people have had a difficult time of it before the current Supreme Court.

Posted on May 28, 2009 READ MORE



White House / Pete Souza

Sotomayor Is No Leftist

Republicans would be foolish to fight the nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court because she is the most conservative choice that President Obama could have made.

Posted on May 28, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / CarbonNYC

Fight for Gay Marriage Goes Federal

Theodore B. Olson and David Boies were Supreme Court adversaries in the landmark Bush v. Gore case, but the two lawyers have joined forces to take the fight for gay marriage into federal court. Fearing an unfriendly Supreme Court, some prominent gay rights groups are criticizing the shift in strategy.

Posted on May 27, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Keith Srakocic

‘Clean’ Energy and Poisoned Water

Natural gas companies have managed to convince Congress and the EPA that millions of gallons of toxic water left underground or collected in huge open pits pose no threat to watersheds, yet wells in 11 states have already been poisoned.

Posted on May 25, 2009 READ MORE


Obama and the Limits of Mastery

President Obama wants to build a new liberal majority and to do it he’s trying to charm everyone left of Rush Limbaugh. That strategy has led to some awkward moments.

Posted on May 24, 2009 READ MORE


Packing Heat in the Parks

With their usual steely conviction, contempt for the rights and safety of others, and string of nonsensical arguments, gun supporters in Congress managed to push through a law to allow national park visitors to carry loaded weapons—openly or concealed—in the millions of acres of wilderness, scenic byways and historic sites.

Posted on May 24, 2009 READ MORE


Look to the Law—Not to Whether Torture ‘Works’

The calls for an independent commission to investigate torture usually argue that a congressional investigation, or a Justice Department criminal investigation, would become so politicized as to be hopelessly compromised. I am not sure this is true.

Posted on Apr 28, 2009 READ MORE



White House / Pete Souza

Enough With This ‘100 Days’ Nonsense

On what basis have the cable channels decided that President Obama’s first hundred days are the most important thing to happen in the history of the world? As in the case of FDR before him, much has happened in the beginning of the president’s first term—and there is much more to come.

Posted on Apr 28, 2009 READ MORE


book cover

Eve Pell on America’s Culture of Punishment

“Cruel and Unusual” by Anne-Marie Cusac reveals a startling reality: Since 1973, America’s imprisonment rate has jumped more than five times and is now the highest in the world. Why?

Posted on Apr 24, 2009 READ MORE


Torture Is a Crime, and Crimes Demand Prosecution

Obama wants to avoid a long, wrenching legal drama that almost certainly would be partisan and divisive. But I’m not sure it’s possible to skirt the criminal implications of what we already know.

Posted on Apr 23, 2009 READ MORE


Eric Holder
theblacksentinel.wordpress.com

Holder Says He Will Pursue Torture Wrongdoing

What to make of the administration’s policy on holding torturers accountable? Attorney General Eric Holder says he “will not permit the criminalization of policy differences,” but will pursue wrongdoing “to the full extent of the law.” The problem here is that when it comes to torture, policy differences just might be criminal.

Posted on Apr 23, 2009 READ MORE


Stop Thinking About Yesterday’s Health Care Debate

Because of the defeat of health care reform in 1994, there will be a temptation to treat every dispute as the first step toward the collapse of the process, ignoring the fact that times and minds change.

Posted on Apr 23, 2009 READ MORE


Sexting—and Common Sense

Vermont, Ohio and Utah are among the first states trying to back away from laws that treat a teenager with a cell phone as if he or she were a child pornographer. They know there’s a difference between truly dreadful judgment and a felony.

Posted on Apr 23, 2009 READ MORE


Torturers Should Be Punished

The door to bringing torturers to justice is open only a crack. Whether it is kicked open or slammed shut is not up to the president. Though he may occupy the most powerful office on Earth, there is a force more powerful: committed people demanding change.

Posted on Apr 21, 2009 READ MORE


When Fascism Came to America

In 1935, Sinclair Lewis, the first American writer to be awarded the Nobel Prize, wrote a novel entitled “It Can’t Happen Here” to influence the 1936 presidential election. He was off by about 66 years.

Posted on Apr 21, 2009 READ MORE



White House / Pete Souza

Obama: Justice Could Prosecute Torture Lawyers

Responding to reporters Tuesday, the president walked back from his “torture is a thing of the past” policy. While the administration still doesn’t want to hassle the good Germans who carried out torture, or even the superiors who ordered it, Obama said the Justice Department may go after the Bush lawyers who tried to legalize such abuses.

Posted on Apr 21, 2009 READ MORE


Bybee Must Go

It is astonishing that someone who has proved in his memos to be so lacking in judgment and so ideologically twisted in his reasoning that he laid a blanket of legal immunity over those who wanted to torture now holds one of the most powerful and prestigious seats a lawyer can attain.

Posted on Apr 20, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Nam Y. Huh

Where’s Rev. Wright When You Need Him?

Israel and the United States will together boycott the United Nations World Conference Against Racism in Geneva. Racism, an endemic feature of Israeli and American society, is not, we have decided, open for international inspection. It’s times like this President Obama would do well to heed the sermons of his former pastor.

Posted on Apr 20, 2009 READ MORE


Doing Nothing

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Posted on Apr 19, 2009 READ MORE    


Who Will Face Down the Gun Lobby?

Ten years after the Columbine massacre, our president stood in Mexico, where assault rifles from the U.S. are used to murder police officers, and said the American gun lobby is just too strong for him push a rational gun regulation through Congress. How sad.

Posted on Apr 19, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Ahn Young-joon

Up, Up and Away: The West’s Hysterical Reaction to North Korea

North Korea has come under strong international criticism and sanctions for its missile launch, but as a signatory to the 1966 Outer Space Treaty, it is legally permitted to pursue space launch activity. Besides, where is the pandemonium when Japan, Pakistan, Israel, India, Russia and the U.S. refine, test and launch their own ballistic missiles?

Posted on Apr 17, 2009 READ MORE


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