Posted by: quiscus | February 24, 2011

February 24, 2011

1.  Awesome:

“Midshipman, Then Pacifist: Rare Victory to Leave Navy

the Navy confirmed that he had been discharged from the service as a conscientious objector. ”

2.  “Boycott the UK census over links to Lockheed Martin, protesters say. Deja vu for Canada census?”

3.  “I think Andrew Sullivan and others are under-stating the significance of Obama’s DOMA decision.  It’s true that courts (including the Supreme Court) are still free to find the statute constitutional; it’s true that DOMA will still be enforced until a final court ruling; and it’s also true that DOMA will still have plenty of competent lawyers vigorously defending its constitutionality (including from Congress).  But the question in these constitutional challenges is whether the Government has a legitimate (or greater) interest in treating groups of citizens differently, and when the U.S. Government is standing up in court and telling judges that there is no such interest, that makes a substantial difference.  That’s why, as Jack Balkin documents, many of the most momentous shifts in civil rights law and the law in other areas comes after (and due to) changes in the Government’s position; it’s not binding on courts, of course, but it’s quite influential.

Moreover, the significance extends beyond DOMA.  Perhaps the most consequential aspect of the DOJ’s announcement is that it now formally adopts the position that gay people are a “suspect class” for Equal Protection analysis, and laws targeting them thus merit heightened constitutional scrutiny.  That the DOJ now formally adopts what until very recently was a fairly radical legal position will almost certainly change the face of constitutional analysis — for the better — as it concerns equal rights for gay Americans.”

4.  “Why Europe Fears the North African Uprisings

The Spectre of a Black Europe

While millions in the worl are celebrating the popular uprisings in North Africa, Europe is watching with skepticism and fear. The fall of the African dictators will deprive Europe of valuable allies in the fight against irregular migration. The political vacuum and the social and economic instability that follows will create a new wave of desperate migrants daring the high seas to reach the coats of Europe. This will deepen the immigration crisis Europe has been trying hard to manage in recent years. Europe is responding with an increased use of force. A new humanitarian crisis is looming.

Devastated by war and poverty, thousands of Sub-Saharan Africans have been leaving home on a torturous and long journey north every year. Arriving in Morocco, Tunisia, or Libya, they recuperate from the journey fatigue, pay human smugglers, and climb aboard flimsy boats heading to Italy or Spain. Many fall victim to high waves and deadly storms. The survivors join the army of asylum seekers, or undocumented workers in big cities across the continent.

The dictator’s fall will be, however, an irrevocable blow to Europe’s current migration policy. The loss of Europe’s hired gun in the fight against irregular migration will lead to a more open confrontation between the EU armed guards and the African migrants in high seas. How far will Europe go to stop the African from reaching its frontiers?”

5.  “Another Runaway General as Army Deploys Psy-Ops on U.S. Senators

The U.S. Army illegally ordered a team of soldiers specializing in “psychological operations” to manipulate visiting American senators into providing more troops and funding for the war, Rolling Stone has learned – and when an officer tried to stop the operation, he was railroaded by military investigators.

The orders came from the command of Lt. Gen. William Caldwell, a three-star general in charge of training Afghan troops – the linchpin of U.S. strategy in the war. Over a four-month period last year, a military cell devoted to what is known as “information operations” at Camp Eggers in Kabul was repeatedly pressured to target visiting senators and other VIPs who met with Caldwell. When the unit resisted the order, arguing that it violated U.S. laws prohibiting the use of propaganda against American citizens, it was subjected to a campaign of retaliation.

“My job in psy-ops is to play with people’s heads, to get the enemy to behave the way we want them to behave,” says Lt. Colonel Michael Holmes, the leader of the IO unit, who received an official reprimand after bucking orders. “I’m prohibited from doing that to our own people. When you ask me to try to use these skills on senators and congressman, you’re crossing a line.”

“Putting your propaganda people in a room with senators doesn’t look good,” says John Pike, a leading military analyst. “It doesn’t pass the smell test. Any decent propaganda operator would tell you that.”


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