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New translation, the Magna Carta

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explaining why the british 'human rights act' is *not* a bill of rights

In 1997, Blair promised Britain a Bill of Rights. Instead he incorporated the European Convention into British law as the “Human Rights Act” (HRA), while leaving himself the power to ignore it whenever (in)convenient.

TD explains why the European Convention has nothing to do with ‘rights’ in the sense known via the amazingly successful American Bill of Rights:

“Compare the Bill of Rights to the Convention rights (as in the HRA).

“ISTM they are philosophically different, the most obvious manifestation of this being in Amendment 1 (with my [TD's] emphasis):

“'Congress _shall make no law_ respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble...'

“Our European equivalent would be Articles 9, 10, and 11 of the Convention, where:

“'Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion' _but_ 'shall be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of public safety, for the protection of public order, health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others'. (Article 9).

“'Everyone has the right to freedom of expression' _but_ 'they 'may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary.' (10).

“'Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and to freedom of association with others' _but_ this freedom can be restricted if it is considered 'necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.' (11)

The above demonstrates two diametrically opposed approaches:

“USA: Congress shall make _no_ law restricting your freedom of speech, religion, or assembly.

“Europe: The legislature _may_ restrict your freedom of speech, religion, or assembly.

TD continues by stating how NewOldNewOldLabour have further weakened the already dubious safeguards of European Convention:

“Furthermore, the HRA says that Parliament is allowed to pass a Bill that is incompatible with Convention rights, and that representatives of Parliament may act in a way that for anyone else would be unlawful under the Act. It would be very difficult for Congress to interfere with the Bill of Rights in such a way.”

As you will see, Europe still has no serious concept of individual freedom; neither does Britain have a Bill of Rights in an reasonable sense of the term. Now the likely next government are apparently promising a real Bill of Rights, just as Bliar did almost ten years ago. Hopefully Cameron will turn out to be somewhat less dishonest.

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/politics0609.php#hra_rights_290906





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more from the mad drugs war: “no-knock, wrong-door” raids - the auroran sunset

There is growing awareness in America of yet another unforeseen problem with the “drugs war”: “no-knock, wrong-door” raids. The “wrong-door” is often due to bad intelligence, inevitable in any sort of criminal investigation, but amazingly also comes when police mistake which door or building they intend to enter. The “no-knock” part refers to a SWAT-style kicking-in the door without announcing themselves as being police, supposedly to reduce the risk to officers of being shot by the forewarned ‘criminals’.

The problems start with innocent inhabitants behind that wrong door who have their doors kicked down in the middle of the night by persons unknown. Obviously and reasonably they reach for their guns and attempt to defend themselves, their families and their property. Sometimes they get shot by the police, sometimes the police get shot by their victims.

“In 2000 drug cops in Modesto, California, accidentally shot 11-year-old Alberto Sepulveda in the back of the head at point-blank range during a botched raid on the boy's home. In 2003 police in New York City raided the home of 57-year-old city worker Alberta Spruill based on a bad tip from an informant. The terrified Spruill had a heart attack and died at the scene. Last year Baltimore County police shot and killed Cheryl Lynn Noel, a churchgoing wife and mother, during a no-knock raid on her home after finding some marijuana seeds while sifting through the family's trash.

“There are dozens more examples. And a botched raid needn't end in death to do harm. It's hard to get a firm grip on just how often it happens-police tend to be reluctant to track their mistakes, and victims can be squeamish about coming forward-but a 20-year review of press accounts, court cases, and Kraska's research suggests that each year there are at least dozens, perhaps hundreds, of 'wrong door' raids. And even when everything goes right, it's overkill to use what is essentially an urban warfare unit to apprehend a nonviolent drug suspect.

“Criminal charges against police officers who accidentally kill innocent people in these raids are rare. Prosecutors almost always determine that the violent, confrontational nature of the raids and the split-second decisions made while conducting them demand that police be given a great deal of discretion. Yet it's the policy of using volatile forced-entry raids to serve routine drug warrants that creates those circumstances in the first place.

“Worse, prosecutors are much less inclined to take circumstances into account when it comes to pressing charges against civilians who make similar mistakes. When civilians who are innocent or who have no history of violence defend their homes during a mistaken raid, they have about a one in two chance of facing criminal charges if a policeman is killed or injured. When convicted, they've received sentences ranging from probation to life in prison to, in Maye's case, the death penalty.

“It's a remarkable double standard. The reason these raids are often conducted late at night or very early in the morning is to catch suspects while they're sleeping and least capable of processing what's going on around them. Raids are often preceded by the deployment of flash-bang grenades, devices designed to confuse everyone in the vicinity. While narcotics officers have (or at least are supposed to have) extensive training in how to act during a raid, suspects don't, and officers have the advantage of surprise. Yet prosecutors readily forgive mistaken police shootings of innocent civilians and unarmed drug suspects while expecting the people on the receiving end of late-night raids to show exemplary composure, judgment, and control in determining whether the attackers in their homes are cops or criminals.

The linked article, from which the above quotation is part of the conclusion, is a long case-study of one “no-knock, wrong-door” raid in Mississipi and its aftermath. The victim is currently on death row, while the police remain free to continue to this (likely unconstitutional) practice with apparent impunity.

The article also details the police, forensic and judicial corruption in the particular case (Cory Maye), which in itself is interesting and relevant reading. There are also plausible allegations of ‘racism’ in that case.

This sort of corruption and militarisation of the police is just one more consequence of the wholly illegitimate “war on drugs”. No legislation relating to behaviour amongst consenting adults which harms none but themselves can reasonably be considered as legitimate. More to the point perhaps, such legislation does not work.

related material
drugs, smoking and addiction

[lead from instapundit, who has been diligently covering this issue.]

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/politics0609.php#noknock_wrongdoor_250906

niall ferguson on the loony fest of the last week

“It gets worse. Not enough media attention was paid to the peroration of Ahmadinejad's UN speech, which reiterated his belief - also expressed at the UN last September - in the imminent return of the Hidden Twelfth Imam, a paragon of virtue who Shi'ite Muslims believe will cleanse the earth of evil shortly before the End of Days. Get this: "I emphatically declare that today's world - longs for the perfect righteous human being and the real saviour who has been promised to all peoples and who will establish justice, peace and brotherhood on the planet. O, Almighty God - bestow upon humanity - the perfect human being promised to all by You, and make us among his followers and among those who strive for his return and his cause.

“Come back Chomsky, all is forgiven.”

marker at abelard.org

Here is the speech from ahminastraightjacketorshouldbe with the quote above in context:

“He commands His creatures to enjoin one another to righteousness and virtue and not to sin and transgression. All Divine prophets from the Prophet Adam (peace be upon him) to the Prophet Moses (peace be upon him), to the Prophet Jesus Christ (peace be upon him), to the Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him), have all called humanity to monotheism, justice, brotherhood, love and compassion. Is it not possible to build a better world based on monotheism, justice, love and respect for the rights of human beings, and thereby transform animosities into friendship?

“I emphatically declare that today's world, more than ever before, longs for just and righteous people with love for all humanity; and above all longs for the perfect righteous human being and the real savior who has been promised to all peoples and who will establish justice, peace and brotherhood on the planet.” [Quoted from ngr.org]

For much of the speech you’d believe butter wouldn’t melt — as long as you ignored reality!

This speech looks like it’s good for a bit of fisking, or should that be chumpskying?

related material
bush on development of democracy in the middle east

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/politics0609.php#aminastraightjacket_250906

bush on development of democracy in the middle east

Well worth reading.

“Some of the changes in the Middle East are happening gradually, but they are real. Algeria has held its first competitive presidential election, and the military remained neutral. The United Arab Emirates recently announced that half of the seats in its Federal National Council will be chosen by elections. Kuwait held elections in which women were allowed to vote and run for office for the first time. ””s have voted in municipal elections in Saudi Arabia, in parliamentary elections in Jordan and Bahrain, and in multiparty presidential elections in Yemen and Egypt. These are important steps, and the governments should continue to move forward with other reforms that show they trust their people. Every nation that travels the road to freedom moves at a different pace, and the democracies they build will reflect their own culture and traditions. But the destination is the same: A free society where people live at peace with each other and at peace with the world.”
[dated 19 September, 2006]

related material
al-anbar province, iraq: doom i tell you, dooooom

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/politics0609.php#bush_230906

al-anbar province, iraq: doom i tell you, dooooom - the auroran sunset

Much is made at the moment of the troubles in Al-Anbar province.

Despite the ostentatious murderings by Socialist and Jihadi wannabe dictators, the situation continues to move towards control by the legitimate representatives of the people of Iraq:

“Coalition forces in Iraq have suddenly received the manpower equivalent of three light infantry divisions. They did not suffer any repercussions in domestic politics as a result, and now have a huge edge over al-Qaeda in al-Anbar province. How did this happen? Tribal leaders in the largely Sunni province on the Syrian border got together and signed an agreement to raise a tribal force of 30,000 fighters to take on foreign fighters and terrorists.

“These leaders have thrown in with the central government in Baghdad. This is a decisive blow to al Qaeda, which has been desperately trying to fight off an Iraqi government that is getting stronger by the week. Not only are the 30,000 fighters going to provide more manpower, but these tribal fighters know the province much better than American troops - or the foreign fighters fighting for al Qaeda. Also, this represents just over 80 percent of the tribes in al-Anbar province now backing the government.”

A few days ago a second province was handed over to Iraqi control.

Step by step, the murderous thugs’ dreams of overthrowing the legitimate elected government gradually evaporate.

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/politics0609.php#anbar_220906

will the free loaders help get the oxen out of the pit?

“Yet a week after General George Jones, the US Supreme Allied Commander, requested 2,500 additional combat troops to serve in Afghanistan none of the member states has produced a single soldier.” [Quoted from timesonline.co.uk]

marker at abelard.org

“American, British, Canadian and Dutch troops are taking the brunt of the fighting, and the casualties, in southern Afghanistan.” [Quoted from timesonline.co.uk]

marker at abelard.org

Luke 13:10-17
And He was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself. And when Jesus saw her, He called her to Him, and said unto her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity. And He laid his hands on her: and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God. And the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because that Jesus had healed on the Sabbath day, and said unto the people, There are six days in which men ought to work: in them therefore come and be healed, and not on the Sabbath day. The Lord then answered him, and said, Thou hypocrite, doth not each one of you on the Sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering? And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day? And when He had said these things, all his adversaries were ashamed: and all the people rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by Him.

Luke 14:1-6
And it came to pass, as He went into the house of one of the chief Pharisees to eat bread on the Sabbath day, that they watched Him. And, behold, there was a certain man before Him which had the dropsy. And Jesus answering spake unto the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath day? And they held their peace. And He took him, and healed him, and let him go; And answered them, saying, Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the Sabbath day? And they could not answer Him again to these things.

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/politics0609.php#oxen_in_the_pit_170906

long interesting interview with cheney by a ‘reporter’ with 20/20 hindsight and poor concentration

Cheney has the advantage of very high ability, clear sight and incredible patience. America and the West is very well served by him.

“THE VICE PRESIDENT: I think there's no question, Tim, that the insurgency has gone on longer and been more difficult than I had anticipated. I'll be the first to admit that. But I also think when we look back on this period of time 10 years from now, and this is the context in which I made that statement last year, that 2005 will have been the turning point, because that's the point at which the Iraqis stepped up, and established their own political process, wrote a constitution, held three national elections and basically took on the responsibility for their own fate and their future.

“And as I mentioned before, in Afghanistan, in Pakistan, in Saudi Arabia and in Iraq, the key to victory is for us to be able to get the locals into the fight. The United States can't do it all by itself. It can't be only U.S. security forces fighting in Iraq or Afghanistan. They've got to be willing to step up and take on the responsibility for their own fate. But they are doing it. And it's absolutely essential that we complete that mission.

“Now, is it tough and difficult? Absolutely. No doubt about it. You regret every single casualty. I visit with the families. We spend time with the wounded when they come back. I visit with the troops every chance I get. It's the toughest thing the President has to do. But it is absolutely the right thing to do, Tim, because if we weren't there, if Saddam Hussein were still in power, the situation would be far worse than it is today.

“You'd have a man who had a demonstrated capacity for violence, who'd started two wars, who had, in fact, been involved with weapons of mass destruction, who had every intention of going back to it when the sanctions were lifted. And by this point, especially with Ahmadinejad, living next door in Iran, pursuing nuclear weapons, there is no doubt in my mind that if Saddam Hussein was still in power, he would have a very robust program underway to try to do exactly the same thing. The world is better off because Saddam Hussein is in jail instead of in power in Baghdad. It was the right thing to do, and if we had to do it over again we would do exactly the same thing.

“Q Exactly the same thing?

“THE VICE PRESIDENT: Yes, sir.”

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/politics0609.php#cheney_130906

“some top democrats trying to ban path to 9/11 film”

“Former secretary of state Madeleine Albright, former national security adviser Sandy Berger, Clinton Foundation head Bruce Lindsey and adviser Douglas Band wrote to Robert Iger, CEO of ABC's parent, The Walt Disney Co.

“They were joined by five Democratic senators who sent a letter to Mr Iger asking for the broadcast to be cancelled.

“The mini-series is drawn from interviews and documents, including the report of the September 11 commission.”

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/politics0609.php#clinton_wtc_090906

a dull but realistic summary of the hezbollox fiasco

“Even more important is the shift once again in the internal Lebanese balance of power. With Nasrallah weakened, the other major factions are closing in around him. Even his major Christian ally, Michel Aoun, has called for Hezbollah's disarmament. The March 14 democratic movement has regained the upper hand and, with outside help, could marginalize Hezbollah.”

“It was just a year and a half ago that the democrats of the March 14 movement expelled Syria from Lebanon and rose to power, marking the apogee of the American democratization project in the region. Nasrallah's temporary rise during the just-finished war marked that project's nadir. Nasrallah's crowing added to the general despair in Washington about a rising ``Shiite crescent'' stretching from Tehran to Beirut.

“In fact, Hezbollah was seriously set back, as was Iran. In the Middle East, however, promising moments pass quickly. This one needs to be seized. We must pretend that Security Council Resolution 1701 was meant to be implemented, and exert unrelieved pressure on behalf of those Lebanese -- a large majority -- who want to do the implementing.”

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/politics0609.php#hezbollox_070906

george bush’s view of the world

“I don't know if you remember this, but recently I had the honor of -- and privilege of taking my friend, the Prime Minister of Japan, to Graceland -- Elvis's place. (Laughter.) I've never been to Graceland. I thought it would be fun to go, but more importantly, he wanted to go. See, he was an Elvis buff. (Laughter.) I also thought it would send an interesting message that I hope helps explain the stakes of this ideological struggle we're in. Can you imagine somebody after World War II saying, I predict one day an American President will be going to a singer's home with the Prime Minister of Japan? They'd have thought the guy was off his rocker. Isn't it interesting that a son of a Navy torpedo fighter who fought the Japanese with all his soul and all his might, like many of your relatives did, flew down on Air Force One with the Prime Minister of the former enemy? I think it is. And I think it's an historical lesson that we all can learn something about.

“And by the way, when we were on the plane, guess what we talked about -- how we can work together to keep the peace. We talked about North Korea. We talked about what it meant for Japan to send a thousand troops into Iraq to help this young democracy fight off the ideologues of hate. We talked about our HIV/AIDS initiative in Africa. We talked about building roads in Afghanistan. I found it incredibly interesting that I was able to sit down with the Prime Minister of a former enemy and talk about the peace. Something happened between 41's time in the U.S. Navy and 43's time talking with the Prime Minister of Japan. Japan adopted a Japanese-style democracy.

“Liberty has the capacity to transform enemies into allies. One of these days, American Presidents will be sitting down with duly elected leaders of the Middle East, and they will be talking about keeping the peace. And this generation will be able to say, the world was safer for our children and grandchildren.”

Meanwhile, back in the land of the free:

“The Government Released New Jobs Figures - 128,000 Jobs Created In August. The economy has created more than 1.7 million jobs over the past 12 months - and more than 5.7 million jobs since August 2003. Our economy has now added jobs for 36 straight months. The unemployment rate is 4.7 percent - below the average of each of the past four decades.”

“Over the first half of this year, our economy grew at a strong 4.2 percent annual rate - faster than any other major industrialized country.

“Productivity has grown a strong 2.4 percent over the past four quarters, well ahead of average productivity growth in the last three decades. Strong productivity growth helps lead to GDP growth, higher real wages, and stronger corporate profits.

“Per capita disposable income has risen 9.2 percent in real terms since the beginning Of 2001.”

marker at abelard.orgmarker at abelard.orgmarker at abelard.org

downward pressure on us wages

The following item should be treated with caution as it does not cover the effects of lowering prices.

“During the five years from 2000 to 2005, the US economy grew in size from $9.8 trillion to $11.2 trillion, an increase in real terms of 14%.

“Productivity - the measure of the output of the economy per worker employed - grew even more strongly, by 16.6%.

“But over the same period, the median family's income slid by 2.9%, [...].”

wages-productivity growth graph

marker at abelard.org

on some problems with cpi measures

“Prof Richard Scase of the University of Kent told The Sunday Telegraph: "On my calculations, if you go out for a meal once a month, if you have something done to your car or house once a year, if you've had two hikes in your gas prices, then inflation for you is running at about 10 per cent.”

“ The CPI bears no relation to reality for the majority of people and it has gone beyond a joke," said Mr Bond. "We don't live an extravagant lifestyle at all. Were it not for our savings, we'd be facing a very difficult time.”

related material
the mechanics of inflation

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/politics0609.php#george_bush_030906

lilley on immigration

Peter Lilley is among the most thoughtful of Tory MPs and specialises in social issues. The article is a useful summary.

“Last week Labour's immigration chickens came home to roost. Since 1997 it has repeated endlessly two claims: first, that, like Guinness, "immigration is good for you", it enriches us economically and culturally; and, second, anyone who casts doubt on the Government's arguments or predictions is racist, alarmist and wrong.”

Lilley does not cover the fact that, quite apart from the economic considerations, Britain is of a finite size. Therefore, every new body means less space per person. That means greater crowding in the South East and probably increasing the spread of the over-crowding in the South East to other areas.

Lilley also somewhat misses a point I have posted on occasion - that more workers means more builders of houses, consumers of food (therefore more trade and shops), but also more pressures on productive land. This is going to become a very serious issue if the subsidies on food spread to bio-fuels,and thus to increased world competition for farm production. Already strains are increasing.

So, immigration also means more oil imports, or substitutes, or lower consumption per capita.

Compare high productivity states like Singapore and Hong Kong for crowding and poverty effects.

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/politics0609.php#lilley_immigration_020906