Hiking The Minimum Wage To $15 Is Key — But It’s Hardly A Living Wage

Robert Pollin

The federal minimum wage hasn’t increased in over a decade. After a brief but failed attempt by the Biden administration to raise it to $15 an hour, it will most likely remain at the current $7.25 for an indefinite time to come. This is a shame, for the economic benefits of wage hikes are beyond dispute, as many studies have shown, including those authored by Robert Pollin, distinguished professor of economics and co-director of the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Pollin is co-author of The Living Wage: Building a Fair Economy (1998) and A Measure of Fairness: The Economics of Living Wages and Minimum Wages in the United States (2008) and has worked with many U.S. non-governmental organizations on creating living wage statutes at both the statewide and municipal levels. In this interview, Pollin discusses why, even though we must continue to push for a $15 minimum wage, we must also consider what a true living wage looks like.

C.J. Polychroniou: The general argument against raising the minimum wage is that it is bad for small business and the economy in general. Is there any truth in this claim?

Robert Pollin: Going through a bit of background will be helpful here. The federal minimum wage was last increased in July 2009, from $6.55 an hour to $7.25. So, no increase in 12 years. But actually, the situation is far worse than even what this suggests. That is because, at the very least, we have to factor in the effects of inflation on people’s ability to buy the things they need to live. Inflation means that the prices of food, housing, transportation, clothing and other necessities have been rising. So the minimum wage today would need to be $8.77 in order to buy what $7.25 could buy in 2009.

But there is still much more to the story once we take account of inflation. That is, after we factor in inflation, the U.S. minimum wage actually peaked in 1968, 52 years ago. In today’s dollars, after factoring in inflation, the federal minimum wage in 1968 was $11.90, 64 percent higher than today’s $7.25 figure. Further still, average labor productivity — i.e., the amount of goods or services an average worker can produce over the course of a day in the U.S. — has risen at an average rate of 1.9 percent per year since 1968. What if, starting in 1968, the federal minimum wage had risen every year in step with the 1.9 percent average increase in productivity as well as inflation? That would mean that minimum wage workers would get raises when they are producing more every day, but their raise would only equal exactly their 1.9 percent improvement in productivity but not a penny more. In that case, the federal minimum wage today would be $31.67 an hour — over four times higher than the actual federal minimum wage today.

Now if we go back to 1968, when the federal minimum wage was approximately $11.90 in today’s dollars, in fact the U.S. economy was booming. The official unemployment rate was 3.6 percent, i.e., less than half of the average 8.1 percent unemployment rate over 2020. So it is obvious that the U.S. economy can function just fine at a much higher federal minimum wage rate than the $7.25 rate that prevails today.

We also get basically the same result by looking at the experiences in recent years with minimum wage laws in U.S. states and living wage statues in some municipalities that are higher than the federal minimum wage. Right now, 29 states along with the District of Columbia operate with minimum wage rates higher than the federal minimum. The citywide minimum in Washington, D.C., is already at $15.00, and the State of Washington is next highest at $13.69. The evidence on the experiences in these states and cities is that businesses function at least as well if not better than those states that still operate at the federal $7.25 minimum. The employment opportunities in these states and cities are also at least as good if not better.

It is fair to ask: If businesses are mandated to pay higher wages than they would choose to pay otherwise, then why is it that we don’t see these businesses lay off employees or close up operations after they are forced to give raises? The answer is that the overwhelming majority of businesses don’t want to be forced to raise wages for their employees, but they learn to adjust. They might raise their prices modestly to cover their increased payroll. The businesses’ level of productivity is also likely to improve. This is because their workers become more committed to their jobs when they are paid at minimally decent levels. These productivity increases will not be enough to compensate for the businesses’ increased payroll, but they will help to partially cover some of their higher costs.

Finally, some businesses may just end up accepting modestly lower profits, even if reluctantly. To the extent this occurs, raising the minimum wage will end up advancing a more equal distribution of income between businesses and workers. This is after 40 years under neoliberalism in which inequality has risen relentlessly. The decline in the value of the minimum wage, after adjusting for inflation, has been a significant factor contributing to the overall rise in inequality under neoliberalism.

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Professional Blindness And Missing The Mark ~ The Historical Analysis Of Four Major Crises During The First Two Decades Of The Republic Of Indonesia

OmslagHoltzappel

Now complete online: Professional Blindness And Missing The Mark ~ The Historical Analysis Of Four Major Crises During The First Two Decades Of The Republic Of Indonesia.

This book contains six captivating articles about decisive moments in the first two decennia of the Republic of Indonesia’s existence (1945-1965); one per chapter with an introduction. They were presented at the memorial in honor of Professor dr. Wim Wertheim’s centennial birthday in 2008 – the doyen of post-war Dutch Indonesia research.

Each chapter explores a significant event from that era and was written by experienced researchers – Mary van Delden, Saskia Wieringa, Ben White, Pieter Drooglever and Coen Holtzappel – making use of source material that for the most part has been neglected by previous research. The analyses of the material reveal the new Republic’s struggle to bring together, and keep together, the colonial heritage of the Dutch East Indies in one independent and productive Republic of Indonesia. The foundation of a domestically, across the archipelago, and internationally accepted national government, as well as obedient regional governments and obliging armed forces, were deciding factors in this struggle.

Violent confrontations between armed forces and the communist party PKI took place in 1948 during the Indonesian National Revolution, as well as in 1965 after the Republic had already been independent for 14 years. The dividing issue was the power balance between politics and army top in state, government and land. A rigorous break with the past was made in 1965, which saw the installation of a junta regime under the leadership of General Soeharto that stayed in place for the following 32 years. Democracy had to wait until the army top made sure every part of politics and armed forces was finely adapted to work with the other. Not until then would the clock of government, production and control be fully set.

The articles reveal a blind spot in Western research of Indonesian developments in the discussed period; research that from 1965 onward was further, and permanently, influenced by the Indonesian army’s view. The Cold War raged domestically as well as abroad.

CONTENTS
Coen Holtzappel – Preface
Mary van Delden – Internees from the Republic
Coen Holtzappel – The year 1948 and the Madiun affairs, a year of cheat and rumours
Pieter Drooglever – Papua Nationalism. Another blind spot
Coen Holtzappel – The Thirtieth September Movement of 1965, as viewed by the perpetrators – Part One
Coen Holtzappel – The Thirtieth September Movement of 1965, as viewed by the perpetrators – Part Two
Coen Holtzappel – The Thirtieth September Movement of 1965, as viewed by the perpetrators – Part Three
Saskia Eleonora Wieringa – Sexual Slander And The 1965/66 Mass Killings In Indonesia: Political And Methodological Considerations
Ben White – The anthropologist’s blind spot: Clifford Geertz on class, killings and communists in Indonesia
Coen Holtzappel & Pieter Drooglever – Postscript
About the authors

 

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Van Linschoten’s Itinerario 1598, First Book, Chapter One: Discours of Voyages into y East & West Indies

Frontispiece: Gerard Mercator’s map of the Arctic, published in his atlas of 1595. This map explains why the Dutch, discovering Spitsbergen, believed they had run into Greenland.

Being young and living idly in my native country, sometimes applying myself to the reading of histories and strange adventures, wherein I took no small delight, I found my mind so much addicted to see and travel into strange countries, thereby to seek some adventure, that in the end to satisfy myself I determined and was fully resolved for a time to leave my native country and my friends (although it grieved me). Yet the hope I had to accomplish my desire together with the resolution taken in the end overcame my affection and put me in good comfort to take the matter upon me, trusting in God that he would further my intent. Which done, being resolved, I took leave of my parents who as then dwelt at Enkhuysen, and being ready to embark myself I went to a fleet of ships that as then laid before Texel, weighing the wind to sail for Spain and Portugal. I was determined to travel to Sevilla, where as then I had two brothers that had gone there several years before; so to help myself the better and by their means to know the manner and customs of those countries and also to learn the Spanish tongue.

And the 6th of December in the year of our Lord 1576 we put out of Texel with about 80 ships and set course for Spain. 9 December we passed between Dover and Calais […]. Upon Christmas Day we entered into the river of St. Lucas de Barameda [Sanlucar de Barrameda] where I stayed two or three days and then traveled to Sevilla. On the first day of January I entered the city where I found one of my brothers. And although I had a special desire presently to travel further, yet for want of the Spanish tongue, without which one can hardly pass the country, I was constrained to stay there. In the mean time it chanced that Don Henry, the King of Portugal died, which caused great consternation and debate in Portugal for reason that the said King by his will and testament made Philip King of Spain, the son of his sister, lawful heir to the throne of Portugal. The  Portuguese, always deadly enemies to the Spaniards, were wholly against it and elected to their King Don Antonio, Prior de Ocrato, brother’s son to the King that died.

The King of Spain upon receiving this news prepared himself to go into Portugal to receive the crown, sending the Duke of Alva before him to cease the strife and pacify the matter. In the end, partly by force and partly by money, he brought the country under his subjection. Thereupon many men went out of Sevilla and other places into Portugal, where they hoped to find some better means. All was quiet in Portugal and Don Antonio was driven out of the country. My brother fell sick to a disease called Tuardilha, which at that time reigned throughout the whole country of Spain, whereof many thousands died; and among the rest my brother was one [died]. Not long before the plague had been so great in Portugal that in the timespan of two years 80,000 people died in Lisboa; after which plague, the said disease ensued which wrought great destruction.

On 5 August, having some understanding in the Spanish tongue, I placed myself with a Dutch gentleman who was determined to travel into Portugal to see the country. We departed from Sevilla on 3 September and after eight days arrived at Badajos, where I found my other brother following the Court. At the same time died Anne of Austria, Queen of Spain, the King’s fourth wife; sister to Emperor Rodolphus and daughter to the Emperor Maximilian. This caused great sorrow through all Spain: her body was conveyed from Badajos to the cloister of Saint Lawrence in El Escorial, where with great solemnity it was buried. After having traveled by several towns we arrived at Lisboa on 20 September, where at the time we found the Duke of Alva being Governor for the King of Spain; the whole city making great preparation for the coronation of the King. While staying in Lisboa I fell sick through the change of air and corruption of the country. During my sickness I was seven times let blood, yet by God’s help I escaped. […] About the same time the plague, not long before newly begunne, began again to cease, for which cause the King till then had deferred his entrance into Lisboa.

On the first day of May, 1581 the King entered with great triumph and magnificence into the city of Lisboa, where above all others the Dutch had the best and greatest commendation for views, which was a bridge that stood upon the river side where the King must first pass as he went out of his galley to enter into the city, being beautified and adorned with many costly and excellent things most pleasant to behold, every street and place within the city being hanged with rich clothes of tapestry and arras. In the same year on 12 December died the Duke of Alva in Lisboa in the King’s palace. During his sickness over a period of fourteen days he received no sustenance but only women’s milk. […]

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“Bier, Weib und Gesang” – Drank in de literatuur van het oude Mesopotamië

Krispijn-Ills

Drinkend paar met lierspeelster en dienaar. Bovenste register van een votiefplaat uit Nippur ca. 2600 v. Chr.

Als de Mesopotamiër in alle vroegte een goed ontbijt heeft genoten en ’s middag in de pauze van het werk alleen wat broodjes heeft gegeten, kan hij zich pas ’s avonds, als de werkdag achter de rug is, goed ontspannen bij de avondmaaltijd. Bij die maaltijd kan hij onder het genot van spijs en drank letterlijk en figuurlijk op verhaal komen. De avondmaaltijd is het moment van contact tussen de leden van de gemeenschap, dan worden de verhalen verteld en de afspraken gemaakt. De gemeenschap bij de maaltijd kan bestaan uit de leden van een familie, zowel de slaven als de vrijen, de koning met zijn hofhouding, of uit een god met zijn vereerders. Ook het offer is in wezen een gemeenschapsmaaltijd, verzorgd door de mensen met de godheid als gastheer: het voedsel, als offer door de mensen in de tempel gebracht, wordt godenspijs als het door de goden aangekeken en zo ‘geconsumeerd’ is, en wordt levenbrengend voedsel als het genuttigd wordt door de offeraars en de leden van de tempelgemeenschap.
Bij alle maaltijden werd er drank geschonken in het oude Mesopotamië. Dat was voornamelijk bier gebrouwen uit gerst. Gerstebier was dan ook een vast onderdeel van de rantsoenen van de arbeiders. Water, had men al begrepen, is immers niet altijd te vertrouwen. Men had ook al de ontsmettende werking van de alcohol in bier proefondervindelijk geconstateerd. Daarom loste men medicijnen ook meestal op in bier en niet in water. De boodschappers te paard kregen voor hun dagenlange reizen een speciale kruik mee met instant-bier, waar men alleen water aan toe hoefde te voegen om zonder gevaar voor buikloop de reis te kunnen voltooien.

Wijn was kostbaar in het vlakke laagland van Zuid-Mesopotamië, omdat wijnstokken er niet gemakkelijk konden groeien. Wijndruiven groeiden echter welig tegen de hellingen van het noordelijk bergland van Assyrië, het huidige Koerdistan. Wijn was daar dan ook de gewone drank. In de archieven van Persepolis in het oude Iran behoorde wijn tot het gewone rantsoen van de arbeiders, wijn uit Shiraz, nu nog steeds de oorsprong van voortreffelijke wijnen. Ook in Anatolië, Syrië en Palestina was wijn de belangrijkste volksdrank, door iedereen, inclusief de goden, gedronken. In Zuidelijk Mesopotamië imiteerde men wijn met een mengsel van bier, vruchtensappen en siroop, ‘koeroen’ d.w.z. vruchtenbier genoemd, dat op de tafels van goden en koningen niet mocht ontbreken.
De gewone Sumerische woorden voor feestmaal hebben allemaal te maken met bier. Daarom wordt in de kunst van het oude Mesopotamië het goede leven en de welvaart waarnaar men verlangt uitgebeeld met de icoon van mensen rondom een grote ronde bierpot, ieder zuigend aan zijn drinkriet, en wordt men in de verhalen en liederen van Mesopotamië niet moe de rijkdom van het feestmaal te beschrijven. Drank is dan ook een zeer prominent thema in de Mesopotamische literatuur en beeldende kunst. Read more

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Essay Essentials Forensic Expertise. About the Ideal of an NFI – Handbook on Forensic Expertise

“Alfa-Bèta-Circle”, Ills. Hans Jakobs, 2020

Introduction

This essay [1] is an unorthodox attempt to write a handbook on forensic expertise [2]. My intention is to bring about a real improvement of understanding for all criminal justice professionals, the “users of forensic expertise” in criminal procedure; in my opinion a timeless and very useful ideal.

In the light of my recent attendance at trials of 24 Dutch criminal cases it has become clear to me that, in almost every criminal case, a greater understanding and clearer explanation is desirable of natural sciences as practiced in technical laboratory research and executed on traces within the Netherlands Forensic Institute (NFI) in the truth-finding process in criminal law. The name for this kind of research into traces as part of the criminal process is Criminalistics.

Criminalistics is the natural scientific aspect of the forensic sciences. It focuses on natural scientific research on evidence on behalf of truth-finding in criminal law. And It is directed towards the significance of the results of such research for that truth-finding. [3]

The explanation of an expert in court (art. 339, paragraph 1, sub 4), and the expert’s report, the written documents (art. 339, paragraph 1, sub 5 ) are the two different kinds of legal evidence, regarding the expert. Limited to these and combined with the judge’s own observations, the declarations of the suspect, and the declarations of a witness (art.339, paragraph 1, sub 1, 2, and 3), these five constitute the – limited – means of legal evidence as recognized in the Dutch Code of Criminal Procedure.
Even though forensic research is also carried out by other authorities, such as the Police, (semi) private institutes, – laboratories, – individuals and Universities, I have decided to take the NFI as my starting-point, for two reasons:

1. In 2020 the lion’s share of the forensic research concerning traces in connection with criminal offences in the Netherlands is still executed – on a high scientific level – by the NFI.
This research is commissioned by the Public Prosecution Office at the stage of investigation and prosecution, at the request of the examining magistrate / inquiry judge, the judge and, in some cases, also at the request of the defence.

2. In 1995 I had the privilege of being allowed to initiate and draw up a book of reference [4] about forensic expertise as practiced then by the predecessors of the NFI, called ‘The Forensic Laboratories’. I distinguished at the time 31 areas of expertise, and in close cooperation with 31 experts a powerful source of knowledge was created at the service of the sitting and standing magistracy, and recommended as literature for the Police Academy.

After 25 years, in my view, it is now the right time to redefine the current conditions for a better understanding of the forensic kinds of expertise in the shape of:
A Blueprint, describing the essentials of background-knowledge, theory, practice and science, for each field of expertise.

In order to illustrate the importance of a systematic composition of a reference book and a textbook about forensic expertise, I have arranged the arguments into four groups.
A. Why? Finding reasons,
B. What? Table of contents, strengthening the beta-sciences and techniques,
C. How? Method, describing essentials in the connecting Blueprint,
D. What for? Improving the understanding of the target audiences and thus enlighten the criminal procedure.

A. Why? Finding reasons.

Signals from the Dutch criminal trials  2014-2019

From the end of 2014 to 2020 Ir. Huub Hardy [5] and myself were present at 24 heavy criminal cases in Dutch courts and tribunals [6] [Appendix 1 Dutch Criminal Cases]. We made an inventory, a close analysis and minutes of the cases. These criminal cases were selected on the basis of the role of the experts in the proceeding. In such trials, more often than not, the judicial experts were physically present and made declarations in court.

My focus in these cases was on the communication, i.e. the dialogues between experts and lawyers, as I heard them in court and saw them with my own eyes. I made notes from which lawyers’ needs in practice were found and from which lawyers’ wishes could be distilled.

In 9 of the 24 criminal trials (almost 38 %) judges, public prosecutors and barristers asked clearer literal explanations from the experts, specifically linguistic, such as: ‘no jargon please’, ‘clearer terminology’, ‘layman language please’, ‘what is the meaning of’, ‘report is hard to read’, ‘what precisely do you mean’, ‘closer explanation please’.

In 17 of the 24 criminal trials (almost 71 %) experts turned up in court. Judges, public prosecutors and barristers asked them intensively, not only about their use of language, but also, at length, about the significance of working methods and skills, and about the professional background and experience of the expert.

The lawyers, usually alpha-trained, put many probing questions to the forensic experts (who had usually been trained in beta science or in technique) such as:
* what is the background-science of this expertise?
* how do the various methods of expertise / research operate?
* how do the underlying instruments and apparatus function in this expertise?
* can you explain the difference in research on the source-level [7] and on the activity-level [8] ?
* what is the meaning of contamination [9] and secondary transfer [10] ?
* what is the background-science of this expertise ?
* explanation new – recently developed- forensic techniques?
* explanation of Bayes Theorem [11] with the use of hypotheses, formulated in the conclusions of the forensic reports,
* what is the training, the experience, the background and the CV of the expert?

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Would A Bobi Wine Presidential Victory Bring Freedom And Prosperity To Uganda?

Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu—better known to the public as Bobi Wine—is a singer turned politician who is currently campaigning in the January 2021 general election to oust Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni who has been in power for more than 30 years.

Bobi Wine, with a widespread following and popularity among a significant segment of the Ugandan population, has emerged as a strong challenger to Museveni. As a musician, many of Wine’s songs take a socially conscious tone by speaking out against poverty, and in favor of freedom and democracy for Ugandans. Wine grew up in one of the nation’s poorest neighborhoods in the capital city of Kampala and his rise from poverty to being a successful singer, and then an elected Member of Parliament, has been viewed as an inspiration to many of his followers who regard him as ‘the Ghetto President’.

Since Wine’s election as Member of Parliament in 2017, he strongly opposed authoritarian measures imposed by Museveni such as the President’s decision to remove age limits and Wine publicly rallied against the President’s decision to impose a social media tax to stifle opposition towards him on WhatsApp, Facebook, and Twitter.
During this time, Wine also created a national movement called “People Power”— a movement consisting of, as The Economist describes, “a messy coalition of established politicians, frustrated graduates, and the hustlers of his ghetto hinterland.”
The purpose of the movement is to bring awareness to Museveni’s improper governance and to challenge conventional politics. In response to Wine’s public demonstrations against Museveni, Wine has been subjected to state-sanctioned torture and repeated arrest. Most notably, in August 2018, allegedly on the orders of President Museveni, the Ugandan Security Forces fired live bullets into a crowd of Wine supporters, killed Wine’s personal driver, invaded the hotel that Wine was staying in and proceeded to arrest and subsequently torture him and his colleagues.

On July 24 th , 2019, Wine announced his bid to run for president in the 2021 general election. In July 2020, Wine announced himself as the leader of the rebranded and previously obscure political party, the National Unity Platform (NUP). The formation of such a party, with its conventional structure and authority over candidates, comes in contradiction with the spirit of Wine’s People Power movement aimed at challenging conventional politics. In addition, it has been reported that Wine’s new party has engaged in transactional politics. For instance, Derrick Ssonko, who is a mechanic, felt inspirited to run for local councilor, “but the party ticket went to a rival who paid a bribe. He worries that the NUP is ‘old wine in new bottles’ even though everyone he knows will vote for it.”

During his Presidential campaign, supporters of Wine have been met with police violence. In November, 54 people were killed as supporters called for the release of Wine from detention.
Wine had been arrested at a campaign rally. Uganda’s security forces have routinely prevented Wine from attending his campaign rallies and the President has prevented Wine from appearing on TV and radio stations. Most recently, the United States’ Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, publicly condemned tactics within Uganda to suppress free and fair elections. In addition, Eliot Engel, the chairperson of the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs, has requested that the US impose sanctions on several Ugandan security officials in response to “a worsening of human rights in the country.” In order to prevent Museveni from rigging the election, Wine has said that he hopes for an overwhelming turnout at the ballot box to make it difficult for Museveni to do so.

Uganda consists of a nation where 80% of the population is under the age of 35, and for these individuals, Bobi Wine brings a great deal of hope for a better life. The disparity in the demographics has created a generational divide whereby Museveni is viewed as unpopular among the youth but is viewed as popular among older rural voters who view regime change as “a hauntingly perilous idea”—linking such change to the years of bloody horror that preceded Museveni.
However, it must be met with cautious optimism whether, as a politician, Wine would be able to deliver on his promises or whether Wine’s victory would mean a continuation of corrupt politics. In Wine’s campaign manifesto he states, “Our promise to the youth of Uganda, we shall ensure we find meaningful employment for you. We want to create at least 5 million jobs. We shall invest in technology and a massive scale of industrialization……A vote for NUP is an assurance that citizens will never be persecuted for disagreeing with the government. A vote for NUP is a vote for the protection of our natural resources as a country which Gen. Museveni now treats as his personal wealth. A vote for NUP is a vote for the closing of the income gap between the rich and the poor…. Our promise to all Ugandans is that we shall safeguard their land. We shall put an end to the enormous scale of land grabbing. If it is done, justice must prevail… The National Unity Platform is committed to working with all Ugandans to improve their lives. We believe that immediately after taking over government, every Ugandan from Kaabong to Kisoro, from Yumbe to Busia will experience meaningful change in their way of life……”

Despite such progressive electoral promises, it remains publicly unclear as to how Bobi Wine proposes to accomplish them. Wine’s political headquarters has images of pan-African heroes like socialist leader Thomas Sankara, but Wine has also been known to collaborate with free-market thinktanks. Wine said that his goal is to rebuild public institutions and end decades of personalized rule, but Wine himself has also said, “I don’t have a very radical programme.” In President Museveni’s first year in office, he published a book entitled, “What’s Africa’s Problem?”—in which he stated, “The problem of Africa, in general, and Uganda in particular, is not the people but leaders who want to overstay in power.” Bobi Wine’s call for freedom, democracy, and prosperity for Ugandans were the same political views that Museveni had once politically embraced long ago, but gradually, with time, Museveni became a corrupt authoritarian leader—if Bobi Wine won, would he be capable of ending the repetition of that authoritarian cycle?

Pitasanna Shanmugathas is a second year MGA student. During his undergraduate studies in political science and criminology at the University of Toronto, Pitasanna volunteered with the Canadian Centre for Victims of Torture, primarily providing support to refugees fleeing persecution in their native countries. Pitasanna is the director of a social media group, consisting of over 2,500 members, that speaks out against past and ongoing human rights abuses in Sri Lanka carried out by both state and non-state actors — as director Pitasanna has interviewed Sri Lankan politicians, journalists, and activists to bring greater awareness to the country’s ethnic tensions and human rights abuses. In 2017, Pitasanna launched a petition, which was later introduced in Parliament, calling on the Trudeau government to accept Rohingya refugees into Canada. His career goals include working with organizations to protect the rights of refugees and minority communities and advocating for constitutional reform in nations besieged by conflict.

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Essay Essenties Forensische Expertise. Over het ideaal van een Handboek Forensische Expertise

‘’Alfa-Bèta-Cirkel’’, Ontwerp Hans Jakobs, 2020

Inleiding

Met dit essay [1] wil ik een onorthodox voorstel doen tot het vervaardigen van een handboek forensische expertise [2] . Mijn intentie is een echte begrip-verbetering te bewerkstelligen bij alle juridische professionals, bij alle ‘gebruikers van forensische expertise’ in de keten van het strafproces; mijns inziens een tijdloos en zeer nuttig ideaal.

 

Naar aanleiding van recente zitting-bezoeken aan 24 Nederlandse strafzaken waarin deskundigen een belangrijke rol speelden, is mij – in nagenoeg iedere strafzaak – gebleken dat meer begrip en duidelijker uitleg gewenst is van binnen het Nederlands Forensisch Instituut (NFI) gepraktiseerde natuurwetenschappelijk en technisch laboratoriumonderzoek, dat aan sporen wordt verricht, ten dienste van de waarheidsvinding in het strafrecht.

Dit sporenonderzoek in het kader van het strafproces wordt ook wel criminalistiek genoemd. Criminalistiek is het natuurwetenschappelijk deel van de forensische wetenschappen. Het richt zich op natuurwetenschappelijk onderzoek aan bewijsmateriaal ten behoeve van waarheidsvinding in het strafrecht. En het richt zich op de betekenis van de resultaten van zulk onderzoek voor die waarheidsvinding [3] .

De verklaring van een deskundige ter terechtzitting (art. 339, lid 1 sub 4) en het deskundigenrapport, de ‘schriftelijke bescheiden’ (art. 339, lid 1 sub 5) zijn de twee wettige bewijsmiddelen, die de deskundige regarderen ten aanzien van zijn bijdrage aan het bewijs. Samen met: eigen waarneming van de rechter, verklaringen van de verdachte en verklaringen van een getuige (art. 339, lid 1, sub 1, 2 en 3), zijn dit – limitatief – de vijf wettige bewijsmiddelen, die worden erkend in het Wetboek van Strafvordering.

Ondanks dat er in ons land ook forensische expertise wordt verricht door andere instanties, zoals de Politie, (semi) private instituten, – laboratoria en – personen en universiteiten, wil ik om twee redenen het NFI als mijn uitgangspunt nemen:

1. Anno 2020 wordt het leeuwendeel van gerechtelijke onderzoeken aan sporen in verband met strafbare feiten in Nederland nog immer – op hoog wetenschappelijk niveau – door het NFI verricht; in opdracht van het Openbaar Ministerie tijdens de opsporings- en vervolgingsfase, op verzoek van de rechter-commissaris, de rechter en in voorkomende gevallen ook ten dienste van de verdediging, op verzoek van de advocaat.

2. Anno 1995 heb ik het voorrecht gehad om een naslagboek [4] te mogen initiëren en redigeren over gepraktiseerde forensische expertise binnen de toen nog ‘’Gerechtelijke Laboratoria’’ genaamde voorgangers van het NFI.
Met betrekking tot de toen door mij onderscheiden 31 diverse deskundigheidsgebieden, is in solide samenwerking met 31 experts, destijds een krachtige kennisbron ontstaan ten dienste van de staande en de zittende magistratuur, wat tevens is aanbevolen als leerboek voor de Politie Academie.

 

Na 25 jaar acht ik de tijd rijp voor een actuele en gestructureerde herdefiniëring van voorwaarden ter beter begrip van de forensische deskundigheden, in de vorm van een:
Blauwdruk, die de essenties beschrijft van achtergrondkennis, theorie, praktijk en wetenschap, per expertise.

Ter illustratie van de importantie van een systematische samenstelling van een naslag- en leerboek over forensische expertise heb ik de volgende argumenten-vierdeling gemaakt:
A. Waarom: de redengeving, het vinden van redenen,
B. Wat: de inhoudsopgave, het versterken van bètawetenschappen en technieken,
C. Hoe: de methode, het beschrijven van de essentie in de verbindende Blauwdruk,
D. Waartoe: het verbeteren van het begrip van de doelgroepen.

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Eutopia Institute of Ideas ~ On Middle East, Diversity & Democracy

Developing and challenging new ideas on democracy, middle east, religion and transnational citizenship related to art and politics by multi-media works, (e-)print publishing and related e-magazines and by organizing public and professional meetings.

Eutopia concentrates on a variety of political and cultural issues, including the dialog between the Middle East and the West and developments linked to multiculturalism and the Muslim community in the Europe. Its global perspective is crucial.

For its activities Eutopia draws on an extensive network of freelancers, both at home and abroad, including philosophers, scientists, writers, journalists, artists etc. Eutopia’s good reputation is in fact partly based on its extensive network of contributors.

Eutopia is geared in particular – but not exclusively – towards dialog between North and South, as well as between Europe and the Islamic world. In addition, Eutopia aims to foster a concern for identity and intellectual development among young (migrant) individuals and to raise the quality of their input in European debates on social, cultural and political issues.

Eutopia concentrates on three core activities:
Eutopia E- Magazine: an international window on politics, culture and art.
Eutopia Live: lectures and workshops by and with artists and intellectuals; events and discussions about popular culture, film, literature and music.
Eutopia Academy: international exchange, conferences, networking and consultancy for cultural institutions.

Eutopia’s history and objectives
Eutopia, based in Amsterdam, was set up in 2002 by the sociologists Farhad Golyardi and Shervin Nekuee. Both Eutopia Magazine, of which so far twelve issues have appeared, and the Eutopia Live lectures and seminars have meanwhile found a niche of their own in Dutch cultural life. These activities are realized in collaboration with a great variety of local and nationwide institutions, including De Balie, De Unie, University of Amsterdam, Erasmus University Rotterdam, ISIM, Forum, Hivos, and the city of Amsterdam and the city of Rotterdam.

In general, Eutopia pursues closer collaboration with universities, governmental agencies and cultural institutions and foundations. Moreover, in the past few years, Eutopia has set up an extensive international network of scholars, authors, thinkers and artists in diaspora, many of whom are refugees. They provide major contributions to global intercultural dialogs and the formulation of new views about the dynamic of culture, identity and politics.

Eutopia aspires to develop into a more comprehensive interdisciplinary platform or institute that both nationally and internationally stimulates intercultural dialog in the areas of politics, science, culture and art. As such it fully follows in the prominent Dutch cultural tradition of politics and religious tolerance, which has spawned great thinkers such as Spinoza and Erasmus.

Eutopia is committed to promoting the debate on multicultural affairs in the Netherlands from a European and international perspective. What is the position of the Netherlands with respect to other European and immigration countries? Which social or cultural developments elsewhere have particular relevance for the Netherlands as an evolving multicultural society?

Go to: https://eutopiainstitute.org

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George Orwell – Politics And The English Language

“Politics and the English Language” (1946) is an essay by George Orwell that criticised and ended the “ugly and inaccurate” written English of his time and examines the connection between political orthodoxies and the debasement of language.

The essay focuses on political language, which, according to Orwell, “is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind”. Orwell believed that the language used was necessarily vague or meaningless because it was intended to hide the truth rather than express it. This unclear prose was a “contagion” which had spread to those who did not intend to hide the truth, and it concealed a writer’s thoughts from himself and others. Orwell encourages concreteness and clarity instead of vagueness, and individuality over political conformity.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Politics_and_the_English_Language

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