The Monarchy: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

“And look, to go by recent polls, Australia, like the UK, seems unlikely to let go of the monarchy anytime soon. But other Commonwealth countries are already preparing to do so. Last year, Barbados removed the queen as head of state. Jamaica is looking to have a referendum to do the same within the next three years, with one poll showing a majority supports it. And Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada and Belize, seem to be moving in the same direction. And while the royal family have said that these countries are free to leave, if they so choose, they also refuse to reckon with why they might want to do that in the first place.
Instead, they’ve continued working hard to be perceived as a mere symbol while never taking responsibility for what that symbol excused. All while ignoring calls for true apologies and reparations to those who suffered tremendously because of what was done in their name. And look, you don’t have to hate the royal family personally … You don’t even have to think that the institution shouldn’t exist. But if it’s going to continue to, it is fair to expect significantly more from them. Because right now, far too often, they hide behind the convenient shield of politeness and manners which frequently demands the silence of anyone who might criticise them or what they stand for.
Will this segment even air on Sky TV in Britain? I honestly don’t know! Maybe, maybe not. But if they do cut it out for being disrespectful, they won’t want to seriously think about why. Why they and everyone else are working so hard not to offend a family whose name was branded into people’s skin and who sit atop a pile of stolen wealth, wearing crowns adorned with other countries treasures.”
John Oliver

Human rights for Martians

​“Human rights introduce morality into law and offer limited legal enforcement to moral claims. But as morality is not one and the law is not a simple exercise in reasoning, moral conflict enters the legal archive and legal strictures regiment and control moral responsibility.” For Costas Douzinas, the human rights movement is an ongoing struggle to close the gap between the abstract man of the Declarations and the empirical human being.
www.opendemocracy.net

The Lance Armstrong fallout — questions, denials and doping reactions

“The problem is, if you choose to believe Armstrong, that it’s a witch-hunt, then you are also a conspiracy theorist, because the only way you can explain all the witnesses who are willing to testify is to say that they are part of a massive conspiracy against him. One that spans the Atlantic Ocean, includes former team-mates, journalists, doctors, administrators, soigneurs, strangers and mechanics.” Ross Tucker joins the debate.
sportsscientists.com

At 52, an exonerated man is victorious in the ring

“Four rounds in a boxing ring could not undo 26 years in prison, but Dewey Bozella made the most of them, winning a unanimous decision Saturday at the Staples Center in Los Angeles in what he says will be his only professional fight.” Peter Applebome reports on Dewey Bozella’s debut as a professional boxer. Death penalty, anyone?
www.nytimes.com

This story immediately reminds me of Rubin Carter, a man who was wrongly convicted and spent 20 years in jail.

Welcome to the Police Academy state

“Sir Ian Blair captured the febrile nature of this climate, giddy on nightmares, when he said that de Menezes was killed in the ‘fog of war’. Given that this fog engulfed those giving the orders, little wonder officers stopped behaving rationally.” Tim Black reflects on what the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes tells us about the institutions of the British state.
www.spiked-online.com