New voices, new views…

    July 13, 2015

Hill Times-on-line – Laura Ryckewaert and Mark Burgess
New voices, new approaches expected in 2015 campaign coverage

There are some new media outlets especially on line but even the usual ones are questioning the value of paying $45,000 for a seat on the leaders plane.  Media experts are more of the opinion that the leader’s tour provides little other than what the party wants to provide; they see social media as the wider perspective and more focus coverage for all issues in the growing social media, recognizing that grassroots are connecting directly with one another, with the politicians and the issues.

 Politico Magazine (US) – Anthony Romero and Mark Holden
A New Beginning for Criminal Justice Reform

Called the Safe Justice Act and the result of a two year investigation tasked to Reps. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) and Bobby Scott (D-Va.) by the House Judiciary Committee, the Act recognizes four major but correctable elements in the current state of mass incarceration justice in the US.  The representatives started by a reform of the justice system at the state level and the dramatic results would suggest similar strategy and results in the federal system.  The Safe act would change:  the over-criminalization and over federalization of the system, the need for sentence reform, reduction of recidivism, and transparency.  Related article:  US News and World Report – Ken Walsh    Obama to Visit Federal Prison – President would be first to visit a prison while in office   Related article:  Wall Street Journal – Francis X. Rocca and Kejal Vyas     Pope Francis’s Visit to Bolivian Prison Highlights Abuses Within – Like prisons across Latin America, extortion, drug abuse, gang violence and sexual assault are commonplace in the penitentiary the pontiff visited

 Toronto Star – Alex Boutilier
Halt to warrantless disclosures not hindering RCMP, say documents -Internal RCMP documents show no significant problems with court decision requiring police to get a warrant to obtain telecom customers’ data.

These internal documents seem to put to rest the question about whether subjecting the RCMP and police to a warrant process for access to personal data is hindering the work of the police.  The answer is no, according to internal documents – the process involves slight delays – applying for the warrant – but does not derail the investigations or impact the final outcome.

 Washington Times (US) – Carolyn Thompson, Associated Press
U.S. soldiers opposed to war now find Canada less hospitable

Pierre Trudeau suggested that Canada should be “a refuge from militarism” but Canada seems to have relinquished that aspiration.  A number of US soldiers have been refused residency and sent back to US military prison and about two dozen remain.  There has not been an influx of soldiers but for the last few years neither has there been any acceptance of those left over from a previous era.

 Ottawa Citizen – Andrew Seymour
“Stateless” man fights to have immigration conditions lifted

Deepan Budlakoti is a stateless man under strict control of the Canadian Border Services Agency and reporting to them on his movements regularly and the terms, unlike a prison sentence, never end.  Budlakoti is the son of parents who worked at the Indian Embassy in Ottawa, born in Canada and raised in Canada without ever leaving Canada; his parents became citizens 20 years ago but the son did not know he was not a citizen until he had a criminal conviction.  Now, India does not want him – he is not an Indian citizen they say, and Canada wants to deport him.  What’s a stateless person to do?

 Vancouver Sun – Jeremy Deutsch
Coquitlam teenager sentenced to 16 months in jail for ‘swatting’

A nameless youth in Coquitlam, BC, has pleaded guilty to a total of 23 charges, nine for criminal harassment, and eight for public mischief.  The youth conceded responsibility for repeatedly “swatting” people, calling out police swat teams for hoaxes intended to upset female gamers he had met on line.  He was sentenced to 16 months, eight in custody and eight under community supervision.  The youth continued to offend after being charged and the judge described him as highly likely to re-offend.

 Bustle (US) – Sarah Bufkin
Obama Will Free Drug Offenders by the Dozens in a History-Making Move against Mass Incarceration

According to the NY Times, aides to President Obama are suggesting that presidential pardons are coming for a considerable number of federal inmates, non-violent drug convictions.  There is a backlog of some 30,000 applicants for the pardon which only releases the inmate but does not pardon the conviction.  Former Attorney General Eric Holder and Obama were seeking ways to impact the practice of mass incarceration using federal statutes introduced by Bill Clinton in an era of tough on crime and drugs.  Obama has not used the powers to commute sentences or pardons very widely to date and mostly only in his second term of office.   Related article: NY Times – Peter Baker    Obama Plans Broader Use of Clemency to Free Nonviolent Drug Offenders

 Politifact Virginia (US) – Warren Fisk
Bobby Scott says U.S. is No. 2 in income disparity among developed nations

Representative Scott, (who also is a player in the Safe Justice Act) long a critic of income inequality in the US, uses the Gini Co-efficient from the Pew Research Center and the OCED to support this claim of the US ranking based on the 34 democratic nations in the OCED, after accounting for taxes and transfers.  The article source, Politifact, also rates the truth of such claims and gives this one a “Mostly True” rating.