Tag Archives | Civil Liberties

Origins of the Police

The Five Points district of lower Manhattan, painted by George Catlin in 1827. New York’s first free Black settlement, Five Points was also a destination for Irish immigrants and a focal point for the stormy collective life of the new working class. Cops were invented to gain control over neighborhoods and populations like this.

The Five Points district of lower Manhattan, painted by George Catlin in 1827. New York’s first free Black settlement, Five Points was also a destination for Irish immigrants and a focal point for the stormy collective life of the new working class. Cops were invented to gain control over neighborhoods and populations like this.

Via Works in Theory

In England and the United States, the police were invented within the space of just a few decades—roughly from 1825 to 1855.

The new institution was not a response to an increase in crime, and it really didn’t lead to new methods for dealing with crime. The most common way for authorities to solve a crime, before and since the invention of police, has been for someone to tell them who did it.

Besides, crime has to do with the acts of individuals, and the ruling elites who invented the police were responding to challenges posed by collective action.

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The World Is Not Falling Apart

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Via Slate

Never mind the headlines. We’ve never lived in such peaceful times.

It’s a good time to be a pessimist. ISIS, Crimea, Donetsk, Gaza, Burma, Ebola, school shootings, campus rapes, wife-beating athletes, lethal cops—who can avoid the feeling that things fall apart, the center cannot hold? Last year Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, testified before a Senate committee that the world is “more dangerous than it has ever been.” This past fall,Michael Ignatieff wrote of “the tectonic plates of a world order that are being pushed apart by the volcanic upward pressure of violence and hatred.” Two months ago, the New York Times columnist Roger Cohen lamented, “Many people I talk to, and not only over dinner, have never previously felt so uneasy about the state of the world. … The search is on for someone to dispel foreboding and embody, again, the hope of the world.”

As troubling as the recent headlines have been, these lamentations need a second look.

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Plaque to mark Luddite uprising

Via Dewsbury Reporter

A plaque commemorating the Luddite uprisings two centuries ago was unveiled in Roberttown last week.

The plaque, installed outside the Star Inn pub, is one of three to be placed in the area by the Spen Valley Civic Society as part of its Luddite project.

The group secured £2,390 from Kirklees Council for the project, to fund plaques and information boards at sites in Roberttown, Liversedge and Hartshead.

Civic Society member Gordon North said: “We have been planning this project for around three years and this is the culmination of all the hard work.

“It’s all about trying to give people a better understanding of how important the valley has been throughout history.”

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$14 Million An Hour: War Costs Top $1.6 Trillion Since 9/11, Say Congressional Researchers

Moyan Brenn (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Moyan Brenn (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Via IBT

American taxpayers have shelled out roughly $1.6 trillion on war spending since 9/11, according to a new report from Congress’ nonpartisan research arm. That’s roughly $337 million a day — or nearly a quarter million dollars a minute — every single day for 13 years.

The $1.6 trillion estimate, which comes to $14 million per hour since 9/11, from the Congressional Research Service is up roughly half a trillion dollars from its 2010 estimate, which found that the post-9/11 military operations are second only to World War II in terms of financial cost.

In its report, which was released earlier this month, CRS finds that the 92 percent of the war-related expenditures since 9/11 have flowed into the Pentagon. Just 6 percent has been spent on foreign assistance and diplomacy, and 1 percent on medical services for veterans.

The report, which was posted on the website of the Federation of American Scientists, breaks down the war-related expenditures by different military operations.

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Leaked CIA documents show how to beat airport security like a spy

Anne Worner (CC BY 2.0)

Anne Worner (CC BY 2.0)

Via The Verge

WikiLeaks has published a pair of internal CIA documents briefing undercover agents on how to dupe security at airports. The two documents — both classified as “Secret/NOFORN” meaning not to be shared with allied security agencies — give spies advice on how to maintain their cover. They also provide a detailed overview of the covert tactics airports use to vet travelers.

Although some of the information in the documents is public knowledge, advice on how to avoid being singled out for secondary screening could be useful to a variety of people. These include tourists and travelers trying to get home for the holidays, but also terrorists, drug traffickers, and common criminals. The first of the documents — titled Surviving Secondary — covers everything from common sense advice about not looking shifty to warnings about more nuanced pitfalls that might turn a random baggage check into a full-blow investigation.

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12 Ways People are Being Screwed by the System at Christmas Time

Matt Reinbold CC BY-SA 2.0

Matt Reinbold CC BY-SA 2.0

Via Alternet:

If Christmas magic were real, America’s political and business leaders — the people with power and money — would speak on behalf of the nation they’ve debased:

1. To Our Most Neglected Citizens

By the time the Koch brothers wake up on Christmas morning, the wealth the two men will have accumulated throughout the night could get a room for the night for every one of the 633,000 homeless Americans.

To Americans without a place to live, we apologize for a society that allows almost all of its new wealth to be redistributed to people who are already rich.

2. To Our Most Vulnerable Citizens

Eight years ago 2 out of every 100 children were homeless. Now it’s over 3 out of 100, a stunning 50% increase.

At the other end of society, elderly people are the most unequal group among us.

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Apple ‘failing to protect Chinese factory workers’

via BBC:

Poor treatment of workers in Chinese factories which make Apple products has been discovered by an undercover BBC Panorama investigation.

Filming on an iPhone 6 production line showed Apple’s promises to protect workers were routinely broken.

It found standards on workers’ hours, ID cards, dormitories, work meetings and juvenile workers were being breached at the Pegatron factories.

Apple said it strongly disagreed with the programme’s conclusions.

Exhausted workers were filmed falling asleep on their 12-hour shifts at the Pegatron factories on the outskirts of Shanghai.

One undercover reporter, working in a factory making parts for Apple computers, had to work 18 days in a row despite repeated requests for a day off.

Another reporter, whose longest shift was 16 hours, said: “Every time I got back to the dormitories, I wouldn’t want to move.

“Even if I was hungry I wouldn’t want to get up to eat. I just wanted to lie down and rest.

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Paramount Cancels ‘Team America’ Showings, Theaters Say

team-america-2

via Deadline:

Forget those plans by Alamo Drafthouse Cinema and other theaters to run Team America: World Police in place of The Interview. The Austin-based chain says that Paramount has now decided not to offer South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s 2004 satire that focuses on Kim Jong-il, the late father of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Alamo says that the cancellation at its Dallas theater is “due to circumstances beyond our control” and says it will offer refunds to those who have already bought tickets. Cleveland’s Capitol Theater also tweeted that Team America“has been canceled by Paramount Pictures.”

http://deadline.com/2014/12/paramount-cancel-team-america-1201329597/

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Tennessee Town Passes Policy Banning Negative Comments About The Town’s Government

via Tech Dirt:

The commissioners of a small Tennessee town have just voted to ban negative comments about it from social media. This stupid move was prompted by “criticism and lies” being posted online, which supposedly “hampered” the town’s government from performing its duties.

South Pittsburg City is a town of 3,000. This fact will limit the damage done by its city commissioners’ new policy (which passed with 4-1 vote), but only because the town itself is tiny.The ban, however, is super-broad. (via Ben Swann and BRACE YOURSELF for always-awesome AUTOPLAY)

It applies to all city elected representatives, appointed board members, employees, volunteers, vendors, contractors and anyone associated with the town in an official capacity who uses social networks. The policy says those persons can’t post anything negative about the city, its employees or other associates.

Examples include posted videos, blogs, online forum discussions, Facebook and Twitter, Commissioner Jeff Powers said.

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Here Are The Companies That Want To Charge You $2,500-$100,000 For Negative Reviews

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via Tech Dirt:

Geek gadget also-ran KlearGear gained internet infamy thanks to the following paragraph tucked away on its “Terms of Sale and Use” page:

In an effort to ensure fair and honest public feedback, and to prevent the publishing of libelous content in any form, your acceptance of this sales contract prohibits you from taking any action that negatively impacts KlearGear.com, its reputation, products, services, management or employees.

Tacked onto this absurd redefining of “fair and honest feedback” was a $3,500 fee. This was levelled at a couple who complained about the non-delivery of products it had paid for. This went to court, and the couple was awarded over $300,000 in a default judgement when KlearGear no-showed.

For the most part, this would seem to be a cautionary tale — something other companies would take into consideration when crafting their own terms of service. But some companies are still apparently willing to dance with the Devil Streisand by including onerous fees tied to the phrase “fair and honest feedback.” Not only will the enforcement of this clause likely result in large amounts of public shaming, but in some states, this may actually be illegal.

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