Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search


Undernews For 4 November 2009

Since 1964, the news while there's still time to do something about it




November 4, 2009


When I eventually met Mr. Right I had no idea that his first name was Always. -- Rita Rudner

11/04/2009 | Comments
Sam Smith, Progressive Review - Having lived most of my life in the gay friendly city of Washington, I wasn't prepared from some of the nastiness involved in the Maine gay marriage debate. Especially the sick video that claimed that the state's schools would be teaching gay marriage in class.

And while I knew the Pope was the George Wallace of gender, I had never been this close to the repulsive cruelty of the Catholic church on the issue, not to mention hypocritical - given the behavior of more than a few of its priests.

Finally, I realized too late how easy it was to slip into the media's assumption that this was just another issue - and not a major test of morality. It was only after the returns came in that it occurred to me how little the difference was between denying gays entry into marriage and denying a black kid's entry into a school or that kid's parent's entry into a restaurant. It was not just gay marriage being judged, but the rest of us as well. A minority's rights is not a gift to be bestowed but a strong reflection of our own honor and decency. And we failed.

The two state failure

In considering the vote, however, it is important to keep in mind that on some matters, Maine is two states, not one

Maine is, by east of the Mississippi standards, a huge state. It takes as long to drive from one end to the other as it does to go from Boston to Baltimore. Half that distance is in one county - known as "the county" or Aroostook. Aroostock is the largest county east of the Mississippi - the size of Rhode Island and Connecticut combined, but with a population of only 73,000. Seventy-three percent of its votes approved the repeal of gay marriage.

If you take the map above from the Portland Phoenix and draw a horizontal line where it says United States, you will have roughly divided the state into counties - the ones above the line - that voted 60% against gay marriage

Now note the blue counties on the map. All coastal, they are the four that supported gay marriage with Cumberland - home of Portland - casting 60% of its vote on its behalf. (Your editor's town, Freeport, voted 64% for gay marriage).

A vote for the establishment of religion

Among other reasons, the banning of gay marriage is illegal because its purpose and origin is based almost entirely on the principles of certain religions. To ban gay marriage is to establish some religions' beliefs as superior to those of others. Specifically, the Maine gay marriage vote makes the following lesser religions compared, say, to the Catholic Church:

The Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches, Ecumenical Catholic Church, Church of God Anonymous, Alliance for Jewish Renewal, Reconstructionist Judaism, Reform Judaism, and Unitarian Universalist Association, which all approve of same sex marriage

The United Church of Christ, Episcopal and various Quaker groups leave the decision to clergy, congregations or local governing bodies. And, adds the Interfaith Workig Group, the Presbyterian Church (USA) allows the blessings of same-gender unions with terminology restrictions.

So the result was not just a repeal of gay marriage but a totally unconstitutional vote to restrict the rights of the aforementioned religion

Time - Mainers' 53-47 vote to reject gay marriage does more than simply slap down a law that just six months ago had made Maine the U.S.'s second state to permit same-sex couples to wed. With voters thronging to the polls, the closely watched - and ultimately not very close - vote extended the winning streak of gay-marriage opponents nationwide, who have now prevailed in more than 30 straight state elections over whether to allow gays to marry. Just like Californians one year ago, Maine voters insisted on having their say on an issue that simply will not go away. .

But Maine's vote, much like all of the states before it, including California's vote on Prop 8 a year ago, will do little to slow the fight over gay marriage. Not in Maine, where Tuesday's vote was only the equivalent of a veto and can be easily reversed by lawmakers when they next meet, and not in the rest of country, where the issue continues to roil courthouses and statehouses alike. "Ultimately, this is going to have to have a national resolution," says same-sex-marriage activist Mary Bonauto, one of the nation's top lawyers involved in the campaign to legalize gay marriage. "It's about aligning promises found in the Constitution with America's laws." A leader in Maine's campaign to uphold gay marriage, Bonauto is best known for arguing the same-sex case that led the Massachusetts Supreme Court to strike down prohibitions against gay marriage in a hugely influential 2003 decision that paved the way for that state to become the first to permit gay marriage in 2004.

That decision has been cited in numerous cases that have followed, as the number of states whose courts have demanded equal marriage rights for gays has grown. But those same cases have also helped fuel opponents, who say gay marriage is being foisted upon the U.S. by out-of-touch judges. In order to counter that argument, Bonauto and other gay-marriage activists in Maine who began organizing to press for gay marriage there decided to avoid taking the issue to court. Instead, they set about electing lawmakers who were friendly to their cause two years ago, and this year successfully convinced the legislature to become the nation's first to establish gay marriage by statute, rather than by decree. "Frankly, we had heard the criticisms about going the court route, and so we said, 'Fine, we'll go to the legislature,' " says Bonauto. "And it has been an incredible campaign." . . .

With the loss in Maine, the focus inevitably turns back to the courts, and for now that means back to California. That's where former U.S. Solicitor General Ted Olson and powerhouse attorney David Boies have brought a suit insisting that the Constitution forbids any law that prohibits gay marriage. Bonauto won't comment on the criticism that gay-rights groups heaped on Olson when he filed the case, saying it was premature given the heavily conservative bent of the federal judiciary. But she said to win across the country, gay-rights supporters must press the marriage case wherever the fight takes them, be it in courthouses, state capitols or voting booths. "It's never been an either-or choice," she says. "When the issue is one of social justice, we have to get the judicial branch involved. There is absolutely a role for the courts.". . .

Maine was supposed to be different. To begin with, it was the first state to legalize gay marriage by statute, and with the governor's support. When the unprecedented new law was challenged, supporters hoped that political backing from the governor, coupled with Maine's traditionally independent mind-set, would provide the breakthrough that gay-marriage supporters have been waiting for.

The vote prompted an outpouring of cash and other resources from far beyond the borders of the Pine Tree State. From New Jersey, the National Organization for Marriage sent a $1.8 million check to help defeat gay marriage. Gay couples in California and others still heartbroken over the Prop 8 vote sent lots of smaller checks to help bring the 'Vote No on 1' coalition some $4 million. On Tuesday, Californians manned phone banks to help encourage the vote, which Maine's Secretary of State told reporters Tuesday was exceptionally large. . .

Gay marriage bills are under consideration in New York and New Jersey, and Washington, D.C., city leaders are mulling whether to expand rights for same-sex couples, too. Olson and Boies' case is set for trial in January, and gay activists could learn soon how valid their fears about the federal judiciary are.

Boston Globe - Even with incomplete vote figures, the turnout was at least 53 percent of eligible voters. Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap says the figure could grow to around 60 percent -- approaching what Maine sees in a major election year.

Maine Public Broadcasting - [Jesse Connolly of Protect Maine Equality] has always maintained that same-sex marriage opponents deceived voters into thinking gay marriage and gay sex would be advocated and taught to students in public schools, even though Maine's attorney general and education commissioner said there was nothing in the law that related to school curricula. . .

For 14-year-old Sam Putnam and his family, the campaign for marriage equality has been a personal and gratifying one no matter what the outcome. Putnam was thrust into the spotlight last spring when he chose to testify on behalf of his two moms at a public hearing. His testimony was put on You Tube and before Putnam knew it, he was being asked to appear in a television advertisement and his classmates and teachers at Portland High School were offering their support.

"I talked about how I'm an average teenager, which I am," Putnam says. "I play sports for my school. I have a lot of friends. I'm an honor student. I participate in the community as much as I can and no matter what happens tonight, it's not going to change me as a person at all. It's just going to change the way my family is being seen."

Putnam will have to wait a while longer for his two moms to be recognized the way he'd like. But Maine Governor John Baldacci says that day is coming. "We may not get there as soon as I'd like to get there, but we're going to get there because that's the future."

Linda Hirshman, Daily Beast - I had hoped gay marriage would win out in Maine. I even gave them a little money (thank you to gay friends for a dinner). So when it lost, I was sorry . . .

But winning or losing makes no difference to the real question: what in the world was this issue doing in a referendum anyway? Isn't this exactly the kind of thing that James Madison invented the life-tenured federal judiciary to decide?

Recently, a bunch of legal scholars and influential commentators representing themselves as liberals, have suggested that it's not. The federal courts should just bow out, they say, of deciding things like gay marriage (and abortion rights). (Little-known fact: the Bow Out movement started with a suggestion that the Supreme Court had made a mistake when it integrated the schools. Imagine what the law would look like if the Brown court had waited until a majority of states were ready to pass the Civil Rights Acts.) Painful as it is to them, as sincere supporters of abortion rights/gay marriage/your issue here, these wise ones think the federal courts should follow the election returns. Only when a majority of states have legalized something should the federal courts find that it was a fundamental constitutional right all along.

Look at the damage, the law professors say, from the Court's "premature" decision to protect women's right to abortion in 1973. Why, bands of protesters are still showing up at the Supreme Court building with pictures of fetuses. How much better it would have been, they argue, to fight these grinding, state- by-state battles to protect women's choices, than to have legal abortion protected as a matter of equality and privacy for 36 years.

What these academic treatises ignore is the concern that Madison and others had that what they called the tyranny of the majority was legitimate. A majority, Madison predicted, often whipped up by demagogues, would oppress a helpless minority. . .

When confronted with gay marriage, a record number of states, red and blue, stood that carefully constructed system on its head. In the Maine gay marriage campaign, the popularly elected branches were invoked, when, in a matter of great human importance and intimacy, gay marriage should have been a matter of fundamental rights for the courts from the beginning. . .

That gay marriage has to run this gauntlet is not an accident. Before the Bow Out movement, most big social change claims made their way to the federal courts without this huge windup of state-by-state legislative efforts, which then alerted the opposition to the social change that was coming. More importantly, a thoroughly organized, heavily funded conservative movement is now securely ensconced on the political stage and has seen its tyrannical opportunity in the majoritarian vehicle of the referendum. The combination has pulled the American political system in a radical new direction the Founders actively opposed.

Charles C. Haynes, First Amendment Center - According to a 2008 survey taken by Public Religion Research, when asked whether they would favor allowing gay couples to marry "if the law guaranteed that no church or congregation would be required to perform marriages for gay couples," support for legalizing same-sex marriage jumped from 29% to 43%.

Portland Press Herald - The push to legalize same-sex marriage in Maine began in January, when hundreds of activists gathered at the State House to announce that Sen. Dennis Damon, D-Trenton, would sponsor a bill to change the definition of marriage.

The bill defined marriage as "the legally recognized union of two people" rather than "the union of one man and one woman joined in traditional monogamous marriage," a definition put in place by the Legislature in 1997.

It allowed any two people to apply for a marriage license "regardless of the sex of each person." And, finally, it allowed religious institutions to refuse to perform same-sex marriage if it is not consistent with their beliefs.

Rev. Bob Emrich of Palmyra: "God has given us this victory and it is very important for us to recognize that he is the one who put the energy into this campaign."

11/04/2009 | Comments
Glenn Greenwald, Salon - It's not often that an appellate court decision reflects so vividly what a country has become, but such is the case with yesterday's ruling by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in Arar v. Ashcroft. Maher Arar is both a Canadian and Syrian citizen of Syrian descent. A telecommunications engineer and graduate of Montreal's McGill University, he has lived in Canada since he's 17 years old. In 2002, he was returning home to Canada from vacation when, on a stopover at JFK Airport, he was (a) detained by U.S. officials, (b) accused of being a terrorist, (c) held for two weeks incommunicado and without access to counsel while he was abusively interrogated, and then (d) was "rendered" -- despite his pleas that he would be tortured -- to Syria, to be interrogated and tortured. He remained in Syria for the next 10 months under the most brutal and inhumane conditions imaginable, where he was repeatedly tortured. Everyone acknowledges that Arar was never involved with Terrorism and was guilty of nothing. . .

In January, 2007, the Canadian Prime Minister publicly apologized to Arar for the role Canada played in these events, and the Canadian government paid him $9 million in compensation. That was preceded by a full investigation by Canadian authorities and the public disclosure of a detailed report which concluded "categorically that there is no evidence to indicate that Mr. Arar has committed any offense or that his activities constituted a threat to the security of Canada." By stark and very revealing contrast, the U.S. Government has never admitted any wrongdoing or even spoken publicly about what it did; to the contrary, it repeatedly insisted that courts were barred from examining the conduct of government officials because what we did to Arar involves "state secrets" and because courts should not interfere in the actions of the Executive where national security is involved. What does that behavioral disparity between the two nations say about how "democratic," "accountable," and "open" the United States is?

The Second Circuit -- by a vote of 7-4 -- agreed with the government and dismissed Arar's case in its entirety. It held that even if the government violated Arar's constitutional rights as well as statutes banning participation in torture, he still has no right to sue for what was done to him. Why? Because "providing a damages remedy against senior officials who implement an extraordinary rendition policy would enmesh the courts ineluctably in an assessment of the validity of the rationale of that policy and its implementation in this particular case, matters that directly affect significant diplomatic and national security concerns" In other words, government officials are free to do anything they want in the national security context -- even violate the law and purposely cause someone to be tortured -- and courts should honor and defer to their actions by refusing to scrutinize them.

11/04/2009 | Comments
NY Times, Wakita - This tiny town near the Oklahoma-Kansas state line north of Enid may soon own the country's only all-Christian prison, with Christian administrators, employees, counselors and programs.

The idea is backed by Wakita's leaders, has some support from state officials, and, its founders believe, is able to pass constitutional muster.

"If Chicken Little doesn't come to town, we'll be open in 16 months," said Bill Robinson, the founder of Corrections Concepts Inc., a Dallas nonprofit prison ministry that is spearheading the project.

Mayor Kelly George said officials of this town of 380 were fully behind the project and have done everything they need to make it happen. . .

The prison would accept only men near the end of their sentences who volunteer to come into the prison and sign an agreement to participate.

11/04/2009 | Comments
Bloomberg - Barclays Plc Chief Executive Officer John Varley stood at the wooden lectern in St. Martin-in-the- Fields on London's Trafalgar Square last night and told the packed pews of the church that "profit is not satanic."

The 53-year-old head of Britain's second-biggest bank said banks are the "backbone" of the economy. Rewarding high- performing bankers with more pay doesn't conflict with Christian values, he said. Varley was paid 1.08 million pounds ($1.77 million) and no bonus in 2008.

"Talent is highly mobile," Varley, a Catholic, said. "If we fail to pay or are constrained from paying competitive rates then that talent will move to another employer."

"Is Christianity and banking compatible? Yes," he said in an interview after the speech in the 283-year-old church. "And is Christianity and fair reward compatible? Yes."

Varley joins Goldman Sachs International adviser Brian Griffiths and Lazard International Chairman Ken Costa as London bankers who've gone into London churches in recent weeks and invoked Christianity to defend a banking system that critics say has created wealth and inequality in the U.K.

"The injunction of Jesus to love others as ourselves is an endorsement of self-interest," Goldman's Griffiths said Oct. 20, his voice echoing around the gold-mosaic walls of St. Paul's Cathedral, whose 365-feet-high dome towers over the City, London's financial district. "We have to tolerate the inequality as a way to achieving greater prosperity and opportunity for all.". . .

"It seems like the bankers aren't listening to society," said Jacob Needleman, a professor of philosophy at San Francisco State University and author of "Money and the Meaning of Life." Needleman said Griffiths should make "an immediate donation of some several million pounds to a beautiful charity" to show he can "walk the talk."

11/04/2009 | Comments
Joe Bageant: Our produce or die culture is killing us

A California couple tries to do battle with Goldman Sachs
Writing long stories in the time of Twitter
Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union by David Swanson
The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers"

11/03/2009 | Comments
USA Today, January 2006 - As housing prices soared last year, an eye-popping 43% of first-time home buyers purchased their homes with no-money-down loans, according to a study released the National Association of Realtors. The trend is potentially ominous. The real estate market is cooling in some areas, and rates on adjustable-rate loans are creeping up. As a result, some no-money-down buyers could owe more than their homes are worth. The median first-time home buyer scraped together a down payment of only 2% on a $150,000 home in 2005, the NAR found. Already, home prices in many areas are declining, and the "For Sale" signs are hanging in front yards longer. There's now at least a 50% risk that prices will decline within two years in 11 major metro areas, including San Diego; Boston; Long Island, N.Y.; Los Angeles; and San Francisco, according to PMI Mortgage Insurance's latest U.S. Market Risk Index. . . Dean Baker of the Center for Economic and Policy Research says that if housing prices fall at least 10%, it could be even more damaging than the collapse of the high-tech stock bubble in 2000. . . Baker and other economists are concerned that many lenders have pushed a series of creative but potentially dangerous loans to help more Americans afford a home.

11/03/2009 | Comments
Fox - Kidney donors may be stuck with shocking medical bills because having one kidney could constitute a pre-existing condition resulting in a denial of health care coverage, according to UPI .

Donors getting billed for transplant-related care has been a national problem for years, Donna Luebke, a nurse practitioner in cardiology at MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland, told the American Statesman

"Right now it is the issue for living donors in this country," Luebke said. "I know of donors who have paid thousands of dollars out of pocket for complications."

Luebke added that as Congress debates reform of the health care system, it should require Medicare to ascertain that donors are covered, as provided by a 1972 law , regardless of states' conflicting policies.

11/03/2009 | Comments
Washington University, St Louis - "49 percent of all U.S. children will be in a household that uses food stamps at some point during their childhood," says Mark R. Rank, Ph.D., poverty expert at the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis.

"Rather than being a time of security and safety, the childhood years for many American children are a time of economic turmoil, risk, and hardship," Rank says.

Other study findings include:

- 90 percent of black children will be in a household that uses food stamps. This compares to 37 percent of white children.

- Nearly one-quarter of all American children will be in households that use food stamps for five or more years during childhood.

- 91 percent of children with single parents will be in a household receiving food stamps, compared to 37 percent of children in married households.

11/03/2009 | Comments
Washington Post - Former president Bill Clinton said Monday that, without term limits, he would have stayed in the job "until I was carried away in a coffin, or defeated in an election."

11/03/2009 | Comments
David Sirota, Open Left - Karl Rove and the Beltway Punditburo are busy trying to tell us all why the three big elections today - the Virginia gubernatorial, the New Jersey gubernatorial, and the New York special congressional election - are a referendum on President Obama and the progressive agenda, and a bellweather for future elections. . . The idea that these three races are big-time commentaries on progressivism itself is is just plain moronic . .

Virginia has long been a conservative, Republican-leaning southern state, and it is coming off four successive statewide wins by Democrats (Warner for Governor, Kaine for Governor, Webb for Senate and Warner for Senate). On top of that, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Creigh Deeds, has run a pretty lackluster general election campaign, making the strategically stupid decision to run away from Obama. . .

New Jersey has always been a much more "purple" place in statewide elections than the Punditburo would have you think. Twelve years ago, New Jersey had a Republican governor. In 2004, John Kerry managed just 52 percent of the vote in the state. In 2005, Jon Corzine racked up only 53 percent of the vote in his run for governor. Add that stealth swing quality to the fact that A) Corzine is a former Goldman Sachs CEO running in the shadow of a Wall Street meltdown and B) high-profile New Jersey Democrats like Bob Torricelli and Jim McGreevey did their level best to ruin the Democratic Party's name in the Garden State, and it's amazing Corzine is even running close.

Finally, when it comes to the supposed bellweather special election in New York's 23rd district, everyone seems to forget what the ultraconservative Weekly Standard quietly admits: This seat has been held by Republicans for 138 years. The idea that a district that has been in GOP hands since the end of the Civil War is some sort of telltale gauge of national trends is absolutely laughable - especially when you consider that, as In These Times notes, organized labor has been split between the Democratic and Republican candidate. Again, in a state where high-profile Democrats like Eliot Spitzer and David Paterson haven't exactly helped their party image, the real news here is that a Democrat has even managed to put up a serious fight - not that Republicans might hold onto a seat they've controlled for more than a century.

11/03/2009 | Comments
Guardian, UK - A fifth of the world's known mammals, a third of its amphibians, more than a quarter of its reptiles and up to 70% of its plants are under threat of extinction according to the red list of threatened species, the latest annual survey compiled by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Among the critically endangered species are the western lowland gorilla and the bactrian camel. The golden-headed lion tamarin is listed as endangered and the socorro dove is extinct in the wild. Only a single male specimen of the Rabb's fringe-limbed tree frog, which lives in central Panama, has been heard calling in the last three years and attempts to breed it in captivity have so far failed.

The IUCN estimates that nearly 17,300 of the world's 47,677 assessed species are under threat of extinction.

11/03/2009 | Comments
University of Rochester - In 2005, a gigantic, 35-mile-long rift broke open the desert ground in Ethiopia. At the time, some geologists believed the rift was the beginning of a new ocean as two parts of the African continent pulled apart, but the claim was controversial.

Now, scientists from several countries have confirmed that the volcanic processes at work beneath the Ethiopian rift are nearly identical to those at the bottom of the world's oceans, and the rift is indeed likely the beginning of a new sea.

The new study, published in the latest issue of Geophysical Research Letters, suggests that the highly active volcanic boundaries along the edges of tectonic ocean plates may suddenly break apart in large sections, instead of little by little as has been predominantly believed. In addition, such sudden large-scale events on land pose a much more serious hazard to populations living near the rift than would several smaller events, says Cindy Ebinger, professor of earth and environmental sciences at the University of Rochester and co-author of the study. . .

"The whole point of this study is to learn whether what is happening in Ethiopia is like what is happening at the bottom of the ocean where it's almost impossible for us to go," says Ebinger. "We knew that if we could establish that, then Ethiopia would essentially be a unique and superb ocean-ridge laboratory for us. Because of the unprecedented cross-border collaboration behind this research, we now know that the answer is yes, it is analogous."

11/03/2009 | Comments
It's not just blogs that are giving the Associated Press fits. The Chicago Tribune will experiment next week with not using AP at all, except for sports stats and a few key stories. Instead the Trib will use the NY Times, Global Post and Reuters. At its annual meeting last April, some 180 papers - 14% of AP's US business - threatened to dump the service.

When something bad happens to the Washington establishment, we love to see how the enabling media handles it. So we weren't disappointed with today's headline from the Washington Post: "Karzai is wild card for U.S. strategy in Afghanistan." If only all our disasters were just wild cards.

If you're curious about what Harvard is doing with an ethics center, you might wish to attend its lecture on November 12 at Emerson Hall 105. The speaker will be the former governor and attorney general of New York, Eliot Spitzer.

TMZ - Mere hours before bidding was scheduled to end on the infamous DUI La-Z-Boy-Mobile, the motorized recliner suddenly vanished from the auction -- and TMZ has learned it's all because of a battle over its name. With the price at $43,100 and rising, eBay received a demand letter from the most unlikely of parties -- the La-Z-Boy corporation itself. We're told La-Z-Boy played the trademark card due to the title of the auction "La-Z-Boy DWI Chair" and eBay was forced to pull the auction. Here's the worst part: the chair was being auctioned off by the Proctor Minnesota Police Department and all profits were to benefit the taxpayers. . . Fear not motorized chair enthusiasts -- we've learned the cops plan on re-listing the chair.

KTLA, Los Angeles - Five people are charged with torturing and robbing two loan modification agents they thought falsely promised to save their home from foreclosure. Two men were charged Monday with torture, robbery and false imprisonment. Another man and two women pleaded not guilty to the same charges Friday. Prosecutors say Daniel Weston and Mary Ann Parmelee hired two loan modification agents in hopes of keeping their home but believed the men took their money and did nothing. Prosecutors claim the victims were lured to Glendale on Oct. 20, held for hours, beaten and robbed before one escaped.

Tweet of the day: Anyone notice that the pres signed a $680 billion defense approp bill in the midst of our heated debates about $90b a yr for hc? - Chris Hayes

Headline of the day: Survey reveals that married gay couples are just as boring as their straight counterparts - Fark

Problems dealing with Wachovia

11/03/2009 | Comments


© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


Reese Erlich: Foreign Correspondent: U.S. Capitol Insurrection As Seen From Abroad

In the wake of the white nationalist mob takeover of the U.S. Capitol and Trump’s pending second impeachment, I contacted journalists and activists overseas to get an idea of how the rest of the world currently views us.... More>>

Ian Powell: Health Restructuring Threatens Patient Voice

The opportunity for public voice is vital for the effective functioning of New Zealand’s health system. Inevitably voice boils down to the accessibility quality of comprehensive healthcare services for patients both at an individual treatment and population health ... More>>

Boris Johnson At Sea: Coronavirus Confusion In The UK

The tide has been turning against UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Oafishly, he has managed to convert that tide into a deluge of dissatisfaction assisted by the gravitational pull of singular incompetence. Much of this is due to such errors of ... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Denying Assange Bail

History, while not always a telling guide, can be useful. But in moments of flushed confidence, it is not consulted and Cleo is forgotten. A crisp new dawn can negate a glance to the past. Having received the unexpected news that Julian Assange’s extradition to the United States for charges of breaching the Espionage Act of 1917 and computer intrusion had been blocked by Justice Vanessa Baraitser, his legal team and supporters were confident. All that was left was to apply for bail... More>>

The Conversation: The Numbers Suggest The Campaign For Cannabis Reform In NZ Will Outlive The Generations That Voted Against It

Like Brexit in the UK, cannabis reform in New Zealand fell into an age gap — given time, a second referendum would probably succeed. More>>

Gordon Campbell: 22 Short Takes On The US Election

Finally, the long night of Donald Trump’s presidency is over. To date, the courts have been given no cause to conclude that the exhaustively lengthy counts of those mountains of mail ballots was anything other than legal. Stacking the US Supreme ... More>>

  • PublicAddress
  • Pundit
  • Kiwiblog