Posts Tagged justice
For reasons I’ll explain at another time, I’ve spent the last few weeks alternating between a vegetarian (melted cheese is tempting – evil and possibly addictive) and a vegan diet. There have been some almost immediate benefits, not the least of which is that I feel better and I’m saving money at the grocery store. In making this change, I’ve noticed how easy this kind of change is – if you have the resources. It’s not just an awareness issue. It’s an economic and environmental justice issue.
What we choose to eat and where we purchase what we eat is a justice issue. Things like cost, access and quality are connected to economic justice.
Cost is more complex than what you see on the price tag. Buying in bulk, which is often cheaper per unit, is ultimately unaffordable for many low income households.
Access is equally complex. If you use public transportation, its more difficult to transport large quantities and you often limited by schedules in terms of where and when you can shop.
Quality is often a function of both cost and access. If I have access to high quality food but can’t afford it or can’t transport and store it, I might as well not have access. If I don’t have access, cost doesn’t matter. If it’s free but I can’t get it, it might as well be a million dollars.
Juries are the last line of defense against bad laws and have the right to refuse to convict based on the law itself being unjust or unjustly applied. However, most juries are completely unaware of the power they have. You have heard judges say, “The law is not on trial here”? When a judge says this they have violated their oaths of office and are attempting to take away the rights of jurors. The law is on trial in every court proceeding in this country.
I don’t know how many times I have heard a juror, after the fact, say they would have voted to acquit but the law tied their hands. They did not understand what it means to be a juror.
As a juror you are not an officer or agent of the court. You are an agent of the people themselves and thus given the power of the people. Your voice is stronger than the judge, the Congress, the President and even the Supreme Court. You are independent of the government and the courts.
It is a usurpation by the government to not fully disclose to the jury their rights and worse yet to give them instructions that go against their rights. For a judge to instruct a juror they cannot evaluate the law itself is no different than if a judge orders the accused to testify against themselves.
If you are called to jury duty know and understand your rights and don’t let any judge take them away. There is a movement in this country to require judges to inform jurors of their rights. This is a good idea.
H/t to the Big Picture.
Here’s the problem with various officers and employees at banks and financial institutions and other corporations making insane amounts of money:
It is one thing when the best-paid people seem to be the smartest and the most accomplished. Those who make much less may not like it, but the differential seems understandable. It is another thing when those people are shown to have committed huge blunders that would have driven their companies out of business, and them into the unemployment line, but for government bailouts.
Executives in the financial sector have been grotesquely over-compensated for the quality of their work. The “smartest people in the room” were every bit as venal and short-sighted as the rest of us, and now they’re using our tax dollars to figure out how to continue to live a life of luxury.
It should piss us the hell off.
They won’t disappear overnight, of course. The sad story of how Merrill Lynch bosses handed out bonuses just before the Bank of America takeover was completed — and just before about $15 billion in losses materialized from Merrill’s portfolio — reinforces the suspicion that Wall Streeters see themselves as entitled to outsize paychecks even if their companies are failing.
But there’s hope:
Are financial workers overpaid? And if so, will it continue?
The answers, according to a new study by two economists, are yes, they are overpaid, and no, it will not last.
There is a systemic problem – a lot of institutions were doing bank-like work without the banking regulations. They created inside these firms an environment in which workers came to believe that they deserved the massive, insane amounts of money they were making because they were making the firms massive, insane amounts of money. If I were a cynic, I’d suggest that problem really lay in a social world that valorizes profits above all else, that sees making money as the highest order goal a person can have. I’d suggest that the problem is found in a business world that has been willing to mortgage everything in the pursuit of this quarter’s profits.