Notes from the Library

Fri, 22 Feb 2013

It's Over, It's All Over | ScottCarless

Wed, 20 Feb 2013

Chilling legal memo from Obama DOJ justifies assassination of US citizens | Glenn Greenwald

The primary theory embraced by the Bush administration to justify its War on Terror policies was that the "battlefield" is no longer confined to identifiable geographical areas, but instead, the entire globe is now one big, unlimited "battlefield". That theory is both radical and dangerous because a president's powers are basically omnipotent on a "battlefield". There, state power is shielded from law, from courts, from constitutional guarantees, from all forms of accountability: anyone on a battlefield can be killed or imprisoned without charges. Thus, to posit the world as a battlefield is, by definition, to create an imperial, omnipotent presidency. That is the radical theory that unleashed all the rest of the controversial and lawless Bush/Cheney policies.

Sun, 30 Dec 2012

Startpage Web Search

I realised that I was ignoring the DuckDuckGo box in Firefox because the results just aren't good enough, and was instead banging in into the address bar every time I wanted to search. Pleased to have discovered this, though frustrated that once again it's non-Free Software so it could very easily go the way of Scroogle.

Fri, 21 Dec 2012

The Obama Memos: The making of a post-post-partisan Presidency. | The New Yorker

Each night, an Obama aide hands the President a binder of documents to review. After his wife goes to bed, at around ten, Obama works in his study, the Treaty Room, on the second floor of the White House residence. President Bush preferred oral briefings; Obama likes his advice in writing. He marks up the decision memos and briefing materials with notes and questions in his neat cursive handwriting. In the morning, each document is returned to his staff secretary. She dates and stamps it—“Back from the OVAL”—and often e-mails an index of the President’s handwritten notes to the relevant senior staff and their assistants. A single Presidential comment might change a legislative strategy, kill the proposal of a well-meaning adviser, or initiate a bureaucratic process to answer a Presidential question. (§3)

A President’s ability to change public opinion through rhetoric is extremely limited. George Edwards, after studying the successes of Franklin Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson, and Ronald Reagan, concluded that their communications skills contributed almost nothing to their legislative victories. According to his study, “Presidents cannot reliably persuade the public to support their policies” and “are unlikely to change public opinion.”

Tue, 09 Oct 2012

April Jones: Matthew Woods jailed for Facebook posts | BBC News

I am stunned; I had no idea we had laws that could jail someone for this. Time to move to the States? I mean if he'd been got under inciting violence due to the number of people that came to his house maybe that'd be something, but the verdict of the judge sounds like the kind of thing you'd get in a blasphemy hearing to me.

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