Tag Archives: justice

Go to Trial – Crash the Justice System – NYTimes.com

11 Mar

The USofA has more people in prison than any other nation. 90% of all criminal cases are plea-bargained.

The system of mass incarceration depends almost entirely on the cooperation of those it seeks to control. If everyone charged with crimes suddenly exercised his constitutional rights, there would not be enough judges, lawyers or prison cells to deal with the ensuing tsunami of litigation. Not everyone would have to join for the revolt to have an impact; as the legal scholar Angela J. Davis noted, “if the number of people exercising their trial rights suddenly doubled or tripled in some jurisdictions, it would create chaos.”

Such chaos would force mass incarceration to the top of the agenda for politicians and policy makers, leaving them only two viable options: sharply scale back the number of criminal cases filed (for drug possession, for example) or amend the Constitution (or eviscerate it by judicial “emergency” fiat). Either action would create a crisis and the system would crash — it could no longer function as it had before. Mass protest would force a public conversation that, to date, we have been content to avoid.

via Go to Trial – Crash the Justice System – NYTimes.com.

Should Corporations Have More Leeway to Kill Than People Do? – NYTimes.com

26 Feb

In Citizens United the Supreme Court held that corporations had rights heretofor restricted to humans. Now they are being asked to decide whether or not they have resposibilities.

The story behind the Kiobel case is compelling: The plaintiffs are members of the Ogoni people in Nigeria’s Niger Delta, where Royal Dutch Shell had extensive oil operations in the 1990s through contracts with the brutal military dictatorship that held power at the time. The region is widely considered a zone of calamity, in terms of both environmental and human rights. In the suit, Royal Dutch Shell was accused of assisting the Nigerian government in torturing and, through sham trials, executing Ogoni activists who had threatened to disrupt Shell’s operations because of the devastating health and environmental effects of unregulated drilling practices. The plaintiffs are either victims of torture themselves or had relatives who were executed. Esther Kiobel, the plaintiff after whom the suit is named, is the widow of a victim.

If the Supreme Court rules in favor of Royal Dutch Shell and against the plaintiffs, multinational corporations — particularly in mining and other extractive industries — could draw the lesson that it is now safer to forge alliances with autocratic regimes that have poor human rights records because they will not be judged culpable in the way individuals can be. …

A decision affirming that Shell should go unpunished in the Niger Delta case would leave us with a Supreme Court that seems of two minds: in the words of Justice John Paul Stevens’s dissent from Citizens United, it threatens “to undermine the integrity of elected institutions across the nation” by treating corporations as people to let them make unlimited political contributions, even as it treats corporations as if they are not people to immunize them from prosecution for the most grievous human rights violations.

via Should Corporations Have More Leeway to Kill Than People Do? – NYTimes.com.

Welcome to the food justice movement – Grist – Salon.com

14 Oct

Consciously modeled on the Freedom Rides of the 1960s civil rights movement, the Food Rides aim to shine a light on issues of “food justice” — a catchall term that focuses on “ecological and community revitalization and reorganization” as it relates to diet and agriculture. Julio’s workplace travails represented a kind of food injustice — part of a larger system that deepens racial and class divisions, contributes to surging rates of obesity and diabetes, and weakens the traditional relationship between farmers and the land across the globe.

via Welcome to the food justice movement – Grist – Salon.com.

Warren Buffet: Tax the Rich

29 Aug

And Buffet should know. He’s among the richest of the rich. This is an hour-long conversation with Charlie Rose.