In today's On the News segment: Today is the last day for public comment to the State Department on the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, and more.
Jim Javinsky here – in for Thom Hartmann – on the news...
You need to know this. After a day-long manhunt, and the lock-down of a major American city, the second suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing was finally taken into custody on Friday. A Watertown resident tipped police after noticing blood on a boat in his backyard, and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was found hiding out inside. Authorities report that he was severely wounded before agreeing to surrender. According to the New York Times, a federal law enforcement official stated that the FBI invoked a "public safety exception," which allows them to delay reading a suspect his Miranda rights, which can be used when the FBI believes there is an imminent threat to public safety. However, this exception is only temporary, and the FBI must read a suspect their rights once it becomes clear no additional threats exist. Information obtained by questioning the suspect during this "exception" period may not be considered as evidence during a future trial. This legal loophole is a concern for many civil rights advocates, even when the suspect in question is a potential terrorist. Tsarnaev was officially charged today with using a "weapon of mass destruction," and White House Spokesman Jay Carney said that he "will not be treated as an enemy combatant." Despite several prominent Republicans calling for the suspect to be tried in military commissions, he will be prosecuted within our civilian justice system, and given the same legal protections as any other American citizen. Thankfully, it appears the Obama Administration will not circumvent our justice system simply because of the horrific nature of these crimes. When we deny one individual their civil rights – no matter how evil we may believe them to be – we chip away at the civil liberties that protect all of us. We must defend these rights at all costs....even when it means defending the rights of Dzhokar Tsarnaev.
**Correction: Information obtained during an "exception" period CAN be used during a trial.**
In screwed news... Even before the sequester imposed huge budget cuts on food safety programs, food-borne illness was on the rise in our nation. According to the Centers for Disease Control, food-related infection rose three percent between 2011 and 2012. That may not sound like a huge increase, but when you consider that food-borne illness effects 48 million Americans every year, three percent adds up to a lot more cases of food sickness. House Republicans had already cut the FDA's budget in 2012, and the additional sequester cuts mean that as many as 600 fewer food inspectors will be monitoring our meat and poultry plants. So, it is likely that we will see even more food-borne illness in 2013. This is a prime example of the real-life impact of Republican austerity. Not only will there be 600 people out of work, but many more Americans could get food poisoning thanks to the sequester. For the safety of our food supply, and for our economy, we must reverse these insane cuts.
In the best of the rest of the news...
Speaking of Republican austerity... a 28-year-old economics grad student just shattered the talking points of the deficit hawks on the Right. Thomas Herndon, a student of Umass Amherst, has become the talk of the town in nerdy economic circles because of his recent paper, "Does High Public Debt Consistently Stifle Economic Growth." Herndon dissected the work of pro-austerity economics professors Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff, and discovered that the math used to support right-wing austerity policies is completely bogus. Reinhart and Rogoff's 2010 paper asserted that countries with debt exceeding 90 percent of GDP experienced slower economic growth. However, Mr. Herndon checked their work, and found that the professors had removed data from Canada, New Zealand, and Australia from their calculations – all three of which had experienced strong growth during periods of high debt. Thomas Herndon's discovery has been hailed by major economists like Paul Krugman and the Bank of England governor Mark Carney. Herndon has essentially pinpointed a major flaw in the very study being used to push right-wing austerity throughout the world. It's doubtful that this economic breakthrough will slow down the push for spending cuts, but we applaud Thomas Herndon for disproving the myth of the need for austerity.
And finally... Canadian police are on the lookout for "rogue dog owners." That's right, authorities in Sudbury, Ontario report there's a serious "poop and run" problem in their community. To apprehend these hard-core criminals, police are using unmarked patrol cars to catch pet owners in the act. The fine for failing to clean up after your dog is $125, but police have written few tickets because it's difficult to identify the suspects. When a spokesman for the animal control office was asked about the lack of enforcement, he said the problem is, "it happens in a split second." Seriously...he said "it happens." You can't make this stuff up.
And that's the way it is today – Monday, April 22, 2013. I'm Jim Javinsky – in for Thom Hartmann – on the news.