What everyone must understand is that American politics doesn’t work the way you’d think it would. Most people presume that government officials would never willfully withhold penicillin from men with syphilis just to see what would happen if the disease went untreated. It seems unlikely that officers would coerce enlisted men into exposing themselves to debilitating nerve gas. Few expected that President Obama would preside over the persecution of an NSA whistle-blower, or presume the guilt of all military-aged males killed by U.S. drone strikes. But it all happened.
Really thinking about all that may make it easier to believe what I’m about to tell you.
It may seem like imprisoning an American citizen without charges or trial transgresses against the United States Constitution and basic norms of Western justice dating back to the Magna Carta.
It may seem like reiterating the right to due process contained in the 5th Amendment would be uncontroversial.
It may seem like a United States senator would be widely ridiculed for suggesting that American citizens can be imprisoned indefinitely without chargers or trial, and that if numerous U.S. senators took that position, the press would treat the issue with at least as much urgency as “the fiscal cliff” or the possibility of a new assault weapons bill or likely nominees for Cabinet posts.
It may seem like the American citizens who vocally fret about the importance of adhering to the text of the Constitution would object as loudly as anyone to the prospect of indefinite detention.
But it isn’t so.
ACTA is completely, finally, no-turning-back dead-and-buried in Europe, with the European Commission admitting that there is “no realistic chance” of the treaty being adopted in Europe.
The frank assessment of the future of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement was made as the EC withdrew its request that the European Court of Justice examine the treaty’s compatibility with European law.
Ever hear the joke about the lying economist?
No? Well, neither have I. But we might need to come up with one.
Such is the takeaway from a working paper released in January, which I stumbled on while browsing Professor Andres Marroquin’s top papers of 2012. Written by a pair of researchers from universities in Montreal and Madrid, it examined whether the study of economics made students more apt to lie for financial gain. The answer: a resounding yes.
They are just more economical with the truth…
Another Apple patent is in the spotlight tonight, after the United States Patent and Trademark Office has preliminarily rejected all 20 claims of Patent No. 7,844,915, or the so-called “pinch to zoom” patent.
It’s that time of year again. As the Christmas lights go up, Wikipedia’s donation drive kicks off. Wikipedia claims that the donations are needed to keep the site online. Guilt-tripped journalists including Heather Brooke and Toby Young have contributed to Wikipedia in the belief that donations help fund operating costs. Students, who are already heavily in debt, are urged to donate in case Wikipedia “disappears”.
But what Wikipedia doesn’t tell us is that it is awash with cash – and raises far more money each year than it needs to keep operating.
Donations are funding a huge expansion in professional administrative staff and “research projects”. Amazingly, this year for the first time Wikipedia – the web encyclopaedia anyone can edit – has even found the cash to fund a lobbyist.