Tumble DC 25

Marginally better than silence

22 notes

Bradley Manning denied chance to make whistleblower defence

The judge, Colonel Denise Lind, ruled that general issues of motive were not relevant to the trial stage of the court martial, and must be held back until Manning either entered a plea or was found guilty, at which point it could be used in mitigation to lessen the sentence. The ruling is a blow to the defence as it will make it harder for the soldier’s legal team to argue he was acting as a whistleblower and not as someone who knowingly damaged US interests at a time of war.

"This is another effort to attack the whistleblower defence," said Nathan Fuller, a spokesman for the Bradley Manning support network, after the hearing.

The judge also blocked the defence from presenting evidence designed to show that WikiLeaks caused little or no damage to US national security. Coombs has devoted considerable time and energy trying to extract from US government agencies their official assessments of the impact of WikiLeaks around the world, only to find that he is now prevented from using any of the information he has obtained.

The purpose of this trial is not justice: it is to publicly punish and excoriate Bradley Manning, in the hopes that it will dissuade any future whistle blowing.

Filed under manning

11 notes

I was asked if it was fair to say I liked to have a drink. That’s all I need to say on the matter.

-SWP member

The SWP recently had an allegation of rape. Their dispute committee conducted an ‘investigation’ in which questions about personal relationships and non-sequiturs like alcohol were asked. You can read more about the dispute and the SWP’s disgusting reaction to it in the transcript for disputes committee report.

Filed under swp rape rape culture

6 notes

Bhaskar Sunkara on the media's CTU strike coverage

Bhaskar Sunkara gives his take on Ryan as all show and no substance, but this piece really shines when he begins to analyze similar distractions in debate about public sector unions:

Just look at the recent Chicago Teachers Union strike, which prompted a quick editorial from the New York Times. Called “Chicago Teachers’ Folly,” it claimed that “Teachers’ strikes, because they hurt children and their families, are never a good idea” and then placed much of the blame for the strike on a “personality clash between the blunt mayor, Rahm Emanuel, and the tough Chicago Teachers Union president, Karen Lewis.”

What’s politics and the battle of ideas when we have personalities to dissect?

TheTimeswasn’t alone. Slate’s Matt Yglesias and frequent Klein collaborator Dylan Matthews also tried to find the middle-ground in a conflict between a “blunt” neoliberal Democratic mayor and a “tough” public sector union. Even theNation’s Melissa Harris-Perry pitied the children stuck “between the leaders and teachers who are supposed to have their best interests at heart but who seem willing to allow this generation to be lost.”

Empirically, the pundits’ dismissal of the CTU, which had widespread support in Chicago, were unjustified and misleading. Wage and benefit issues were never at the center of the strike. It was a response to a “reform” movement that blamed failing schools solely on bad teachers rather than poverty or other structural issues. The CTU offered a compelling countervision—functioning, well-funded schools with smaller classes and less standardized tests. It was a vision that could’ve been debated on its own terms, but it wasn’t: these “ideas” weren’t discussed by the ostensibly idea-loving commentariat; big-shot blowhards and their egos were…

[I]nstead of countering this argument by asserting that public employees also produce goods and services, and should have a say about the conditions under which they work, Beltway liberals like Matt Yglesias drew the ever-so-reasonable conclusion that:

CTU members get what they want, that’s not coming out of the pocket of “the bosses” it’s coming out of the pocket of the people who work at charter schools or the people who pay taxes in Chicago.

In other words: union members, according to Yglesias, enjoy whatever privileges they’ve earned at the expense of the middle-class taxpayers of Chicago. It’s a subtly nefarious move: Yglesias, the “liberal,” is pitting one largely Democratic group (the CTU) against another (the vast majority of tax payers and charter school employees in Chicago), in a way that right-wingers couldn’t do better themselves.

This sort of red herring argument always comes up when laborers agitate for better conditions (or in this case, better conditions for the students); even the ‘liberals’ in the discussion frame the course of events as the conflict originated as a dispute between two headstrong personalities, and that concessions to labor are at the expense of the middle class. It’s a complete distraction from the arguments that are being presented and their specific merits, in favor of a side show that’s tightly controlled by corporate media. 

Filed under labor ctu matthew yglesias