Politics & Government

The activities of nations and states, and the people and organizations who control them.

Why Drugs Should Be Legal (Except Heroin)

— Filed under: Politics & Government, Opinion

I have a close friend. He smoked his first joint at 15, in his late teens he experimented with Acid and Speed, at university he took E’s and Coke at the weekend and in his adulthood he… is a respectable professional who pays his taxes, enjoys gardening and contemporary art.

If at anytime over the last fifteen or so years he had been unfortunate enough to be arrested for possession of these, he certainly would not have the job he has now and may have gone to prison. There is a lot of conjecture about how to reduce drug-related crime.

Well here’s an idea: stop arresting people for it.

Stoning In the Modern World

— Filed under: Breaking News, Politics & Government, People & Culture
all alone bloody stone

Image by TeeF86 via Flickr

At some time in the near future, Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani will have rocks thrown at her until she dies. She'll be buried up to her chest, and then stoned. The stones must be big enough to cause pain, but not big enough to kill her immediately. If Ashtiani can somehow wriggle free, her sentence will be commuted, but what's more likely is that she'll experience a painful death - unless the government of Iran can be convinced to give her a reprieve.

What was her crime? After receiving 99 lashes in front of her children, she admitted to adultery, a confession she later retracted. She was then found guilty using "judge's knowledge", which The Guardian calls "a loophole that allows for subjective judicial rulings where no conclusive evidence is present."… Continues …

When will the world find independence from oil?

— Filed under: Politics & Government, Science & Technology

Sexy Russian Spy Disarms, Captures America's Attention

— Filed under: Breaking News, Politics & Government, People & Culture
Anna Chapman
Anna Chapman, the spy we love

Guerrilla marketers for "Salt" or any number of upcoming spy thrillers couldn't have dreamt up anything better for their films than the currently unfolding Russian spy saga dominating headlines. Living normal American lives for the better part of two decades, eleven special agents sent back intelligence on many topics using diverse technologies, including embedding secret messages in digital images.

The details of the spy ring and resulting arrests are still a bit hazy. Daniel Drezner at Foreign Policy is not impressed and a little confused by the whole thing. The Moscow Times quotes several experts who believe it may be an attack on Obama's credibility and his efforts to "reset" relations with Russia.… Continues …

Guns Don't Kill Bans - Justices Do

— Filed under: Breaking News, Politics & Government
Washington DC: United States Supreme Court

Image by wallyg via Flickr

The US Supreme Court yesterday struck down a ban on handgun ownership in Chicago, a ruling that could have implications for gun ownership across the United States.  The National Rifle Association (NRA) is of course very pleased with the ruling.

In explaining why cities can't impose their own gun bans, Justice Samuel Alito explained that the Second Amendment "applies equally to the federal government and the states."  However, the Court left open the possibility that lighter gun restrictions might be acceptable.… Continues …

Turkey and Its Denial of Genocide

— Filed under: Politics & Government, People & Culture

Armenian Deportees walking to SyriaArmenian Deportees walking to SyriaI am writing this article in response to an earlier discussion when a person disputed that these genocides ever occurred. In fact to this day Turkey continues to deny that in the period from 1914 to 1923 it deliberately exterminated and deported its Christian minorities. Today in Turkey, referring to these events as genocide is considered a crime. Recently the Prime minister of Turkey Erdogan warmly embraced Sudan's leader, Omar Hassan al-Bashir. Bashir has been accused of genocide by the International Criminal Court. Erdogan's response? "A Muslim can never commit genocide."

Dr. Akcam, Associate Professor of History and Chair of Armenian Genocide Studies at Clark University, explained that the “continuity” of the “military and civilian bureaucracy,” which has been ruling Turkey ever since the inception of the Republic in 1923, is a key reason for denial of the Armenian Genocide. “The founders perceived the ethnic-cultural plurality of society at that time to constitute a problem for the continuity and security of the state.”

Should Out of Town Visitors to Bandung be taxed at the Weekends? Holidays?

— Filed under: Politics & Government
Yes
62% (13 votes)
No
38% (8 votes)
Total votes: 21

The Future is Now: "Pain Ray" Weapon in Afghanistan

— Filed under: Breaking News, Politics & Government, Science & Technology
An operational version of the Active Denial Sy...

Image via Wikipedia

The United States is considering testing a new microwave weapon in Afghanistan, a "pain ray" which causes unbearable pain akin to being burned. The military denies that any decision has been made to commence testing the Active Denial System, but admits that the weapon is in Afghanistan and is being discussed for potential use.

According to the Air Force, the Active Denial System has been heavily tested. However, one test subject had to be airlifted to a burn center for treatment, and questions remain as to whether the weapon can be used safely.… Continues …

Afghanistan's Mineral Riches and the Trouble It Brings

— Filed under: Breaking News, Politics & Government
Mountains and river in Helmand Province of Afg...

Image via Wikipedia

The New York Times on Sunday revealed that massive stores of precious minerals have been found in Afghanistan, a development that clouds the forecast for the stability of the struggling Central Asian nation.

Although Afghanistan's mineral riches were apparently already documented (Steve Hynd at Newshoggers calls it a zombie story) it certainly comes as a surprise to most of us.  Even more surprising is the fact that the monstrous veins of industrial-use minerals are valued at nearly $1 trillion USD.

So why are we only hearing about this now?  The Raw Story suggests that it's a ploy to raise public support for longer involvement in a war that is becoming increasingly unpopular.  Josh Mull says that it's propaganda, and that it's "aimed at the elites who make the wars."… Continues …

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