Arquivo da tag: Autoritarismo

Gangbusters: How the Upsurge in Anti-Gang Tactics Will Hurt Communities of Color (Truthout)

Tuesday, 19 January 2016 00:00 By Josmar Trujillo, Truthout | News Analysis 

Shanice Farrar wants to honor her son and stop violence in her neighborhood. (Photo: Lyssy Pastrana)Bronx activist Shanice Farrar wants to honor her son, who was killed by police, and stop violence in her neighborhood. (Photo: Lyssy Pastrana)

Dozens of alleged gang members were arrested in December when police raids swept through public housing developments in the Bronx, following similar raids in September and July of 2015. A December multipart Daily News special investigation, packaged behind a “Gangs of New York” front-page cover, reported on the prevalence of gangs throughout New York City, even publishing a map detailing alleged “ganglands.” New York City Police Department (NYPD) Commissioner Bill Bratton, in an op-ed published in the same edition, called the gang activity “violence for its own sake.”

As arrests and indictments pile up to form a media narrative of senseless violence and seemingly irredeemable youth, there are public housing and criminal justice reform advocates who want a different approach. They say that poverty is the underlying root cause of violence – one that cops and gang raids cannot solve.

Shanice Farrar, 42, is the mother of Shaaliver Douse, a teenager killed by cops in 2013 while, police say, he was chasing and shooting at another young man. Farrar is a single mother who has worked as a fire guard (someone who patrols areas lacking functioning fire protection systems) for almost eight years, at times working in the same Bronx public housing development, the Morris Houses, where she and her son lived. She always had dual concerns for Shaalie, as his friends called him: the neighborhood violence and the police who harassed him. She vividly remembers the night he didn’t come home. After calling and texting Shaalie’s phone all night, Farrar woke up on the morning of August 4, 2013, to the sounds of cops banging on her door. NYPD detectives told Farrar that her son had been killed in a shoot-out with police. They said Shaalie was shot in the face after ignoring orders to drop a gun.

Ray Kelly, the NYPD police commissioner at the time, said that Shaalie’s death was justified. Police said they had surveillance footage of him running with a gun. But footage released by the NYPD is incomplete. Images show a young man in a white shirt, purportedly Shaalie, chasing someone around a corner on 151st Street in the Melrose section of the Bronx. The confrontation with cops, where police claim he was told to drop the gun, isn’t seen. Farrar says she’s been denied access to other video angles, as well as the names of the rookie cops who shot her son.

Shaalie’s name and reputation were scrutinized immediately following his death. The newspapers’ presentation of his past arrests as an affirmation of his criminality weren’t fair to him or his family, Farrar says. The New York Daily News described Shaalie as a young man with a “growing rap sheet” and a follow-up story used unnamed sources to claim that Shaalie was, in fact, in a gang. Criminal charges her son was facing were bogus, Farrar insists. In 2012, Shaalie, then 13, was charged with attempted murder. Shaalie told his mom that he’d in fact been robbed at gunpoint by some boys from another housing complex. When cops showed up, everyone ran. Cops caught Shaalie, who didn’t want to cooperate. They told him that if he didn’t tell them whose gun it was, they’d pin the gun, which they found abandoned in some nearby grass, on him. Attempted murder charges were dropped to weapons possession charges when witnesses recanted. After several court dates, the judge in the case suggested that the whole case would soon be thrown out, Farrar says.

New York’s Turn Toward Gang Conspiracy Charges

Building criminal cases and indicting young men with gang conspiracy charges is quickly becoming a favored law enforcement approach in New York – one that’s getting more sophisticated. The NYPD and some of the city’s top prosecutors are targeting mostly young men, usually those living in public housing, with a blend of modern surveillance and conspiracy charges developed in the 1970s to take down the mafia. Raids are usually the final leg of the NYPD’s Operation Crew Cut, a police tactic that targets “crews” – a looser grouping of young people often compared to gangs – by building criminal cases often off of what is obtained from their online activity. Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance’s office has been involved in gang raids in East Harlem, indicting 63 men in 2013, and West Harlem, indicting 103 in 2014 – the city’s largest raid ever. Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson launched several smaller raids in the Bronx in 2015.

If attempts to get young people to turn away from violence can be described as either carrot or stick approaches, then Operation Ceasefire, a law enforcement initiative based largely on the work of John Jay College’s David Kennedy, is said to offer some carrots. With the help of Susan Herman, a former Pace University professor turned NYPD deputy commissioner, Kennedy’s ideas have gained traction at the police department under Bratton. Herman’s husband, John Jay College president Jeremy Travis, works with Kennedy and used to work for Bratton in the 1990s. With a nearly $5 million grant from the Department of Justice and early influence on the president’s national police reform agenda, Kennedy is one of the most in-demand criminal justice minds in the country.

Like Crew Cut, Ceasefire focuses on a small amount of alleged perpetrators, said to be responsible for a large portion of shootings and murders. This so-called “focused-deterrence” strategy also claims to offer pathways away from violence for suspected perpetrators as cops and community figures partner to dissuade young people from violence. A similar NYPD program focused on robberies, the Juvenile Robbery Intervention Program (J-RIP), has, even by police accounts, shown no effect. The Ceasefire model, perhaps, can differ from city to city. In New York, the chief of department sat down with alleged gang members, mandated to attend through parole agreements, to eat pizza and inform them that they’re being watched. In other cases, cops simply keep close tabs on who they say are the city’s most likely killers, busting them for small infractions like jaywalking. In the 12 precincts where Ceasefire is being formally implemented, shootings are down, but murders are up.

While Ceasefire ostensibly offers a multilayer approach, described by Bratton as a mix between “intensive enforcement” and “genuine offers of assistance,” there is a clear emphasis on the enforcement side as police efforts “pretty much hang a sword over (gang members’) heads.”

“Look, if you or your gang is involved in violent activities then we’re all going to come after you. It’s not just going to be local authorities but the feds and we’ll try to get you every which way we can,” Bratton warned. “When we get them convicted, we get them shipped off to federal prisons so they’re not going to be able to hang out with all their buddies up in the state prisons.”

Criticisms of the Ceasefire Approach to Policing

Alex Vitale, an associate professor of sociology at Brooklyn College, says that some of the city’s efforts to fight violence seem “contradictory” and make little sense. “On the one hand, we’ve seen small increases in the amount of money being devoted to community-based violence reduction efforts in the form of peer violence interrupters and increased services for high-risk youth,” he told Truthout. “On the other hand, the city has invested heavily in new policing strategies that rely on intensive punitive enforcement measures targeting these same populations of young people.” Vitale believes that the law enforcement approach can “actually disrupt the efforts of community-based groups to encourage young people off the streets and into school and employment.”

Programs like Crew Cut and Ceasefire “rely on threats and punishment” and often “run counter to the efforts to reduce youth crime,” Vitale said. He thinks violence intervention work and community-based peer violence mediation offer much more promising alternatives without hinging on police raids or lengthy prison sentences. “Intensive policing undermines those efforts and destabilizes the relationships they are building with these young people,” he added. Wraparound social services, and not gang raids, should be the focus, Vitale says, because poor communities “need more access to real resources that can provide these young people real avenues out of poverty and despair.”

Shaaliver Douce was killed a few yards from his high school. (Photo: Lyssy Pastrana)Shaaliver Douce was killed a few yards from his high school. (Photo: Lyssy Pastrana)

Lessons From New Orleans

Ethan Brown is a licensed investigator in Louisiana. He works on the defense side of drug cases in New Orleans and moved there from New York in 2007. Brown is a critic of Ceasefire and of Kennedy, whom he describes as “this generation’s George Kelling” (a prominent criminologist who is credited with developing the “broken windows” theory of policing). Brown says New Orleans’ supposed success with its own Ceasefire-style efforts, which it launched in 2012, isn’t necessarily backed up by the numbers. Post-Katrina New Orleans has been the murder capital of the United States almost every year. It had the highest murder rate for a US city every year between 2000 and 2011, except for 2005. Brown says that despite dedicating tremendous police resources to fight violence, the city has only seen a modest reduction in the murder rate.

New Orleans offers an interesting test case, since the city has also employed a historically abusive police force – creating a barrier between police and the community with which they’re supposed to collaborate. In 2012, the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) was placed under a federal consent decree after authorities described the police there as “lawless.” Federal investigations had gone back to the 1990s, but the monitoring program was an overt acknowledgement that the department could not reform itself.

The stories were the stuff of nightmares. Henry Glover was killed by cops in 2005, a few days after Hurricane Katrina struck. His body was found shot and burned inside a car, the fire used as a cover-up by police officers. The infamous Danziger Bridge incident, where NOPD cops shot six people, killing two, and lied that they had been shot at, invited national outrage. There was also the tale of Melvin “Flattop” Williams, the infamously aggressive Black cop ultimately convicted of killing an unarmed man in 2012, fracturing his ribs and rupturing his spleen.

In 2010, a new mayor, Democrat Mitch Landrieu, became the first white mayor of New Orleans since 1978, when Moon Landrieu, his father, ran the city. Landrieu’s administration brought with it promises of police reform and a new police chief, Ronal Serpas. While Serpas was expected to deal with the controversial misconduct and killings at the NOPD, he instead sought to tackle the murder rate. In 2012, he and Landrieu brought in Kennedy to help form “NOLA for Life,” an anti-violence initiative built largely on the Ceasefire model. Reductions in the murder rate seemed promising, falling in 2013 and 2014. However, the murder rate rose again in 2015. And, in fact, murders had already begun to fall from 2011 to 2012, before NOLA for Life. Other cities, like Los Angeles, have seen similarly mixed results. Boston, where Ceasefire originated, initially had big drops in murders, but saw those numbers climb again as the model proved unsustainable.

While NOLA for Life promotes an inspiring array of “carrots,” like job postings and mentoring, the law enforcement “stick” was more like a “bazooka” in New Orleans, according to Brown. “Since 2012, there’ve been an extraordinary number of gang indictments. The sentences that people face are immense, like ones you’d give to drug cartels,” he told Truthout. Brown also thinks that police and prosecutors are casting too wide a net when gangs are targeted.

“The notion of a ‘crew’ or ‘gang’ affiliation is spread so wide, the definition becomes completely elastic,” he said. In this regard, Brown sees business as usual. “[Ceasefire] is presented as some radically new law enforcement approach … but actually, particularly at the federal level, these things have been going on for decades,” he said. And the “carrot” side of the equation? “The cure is unspecified social services that no one has been able to figure out.”

More Sticks Than Carrots

A 2007 Justice Policy Institute report by Judith Greene and Kevin Pranis found not only that the Ceasefire model failed to deliver on some of its violence-reducing claims, but also that the “carrot” side of the model “always lagged behind the suppression side,” or the “stick.” Greene and Pranis criticized the broader gang enforcement tactics that operate on the suppression end as “ineffectual, if not counterproductive.” Specifically, the report points to efforts of police to intensely target gang “leaders” as problematic because destabilizing gangs, which can produce new leaders, can also risk more violence.

Resources spent on gang suppression include money spent on arrests, prosecutions and jail terms. Neighborhood costs include young people being carted off to jail for things they may or may not have done, or simply said they might do, and serving long sentences in prisons – where gangs thrive – only to come home in as bleak a situation as they went in. More importantly, however, is that the police-community partnership narrative that Ceasefire promotes hinges on a questionable equivalency of power between police and community, which can affect how resources are divvied up. Public and private funding made available for social services, or “carrots,” will likely go to groups with established, deferential relationships with law enforcement. In other words, law enforcement is always in control.

Benny, 31, grew up in the Morris Houses in the Bronx. He says the hunt for gangs is unfair to people who live in the community and grow up together, especially young men. “Black lives do matter. When you grow up in a neighborhood like this, they judge you. You see this group right here,” he said, pointing to a group of men and women hanging out on nearby benches. “They’ll consider this like gang activity, even though all we did was grow up together. Next thing you know they’ll be hitting you with conspiracy [charges].” On an unusually warm Friday afternoon in December, people are sitting around on park benches. People of all ages, from teenage boys to older women pushing shopping carts, stop to talk and laugh.

“They’re taking my friends and they’re not helping,” a young woman named Daisy said about police. Daisy, 19, was Shaalie’s friend. She mourned not only Shaalie’s death, but also that of Jujuan Carson, a 19-year-old friend of hers and Shaalie’s who was just killed in November 2015. “They still haven’t found the person who killed Jujuan, but yet they indicted his friends the day before his funeral,” she said angrily. Daisy says she doesn’t trust police. “Whatever comes out of their mouths are lies.”

Jumping to Conclusions About Gang Activity

The Morris Houses stretch down the east side of the Metro North railroad, which runs along Park Avenue, separating them from the Butler and Morris senior houses on the other side. The New York Daily News’ gang map lists “Washside” as an active gang based in the Morris Houses. Farrar objects to that label. “Washside” is the name some Morris kids identify with, but isn’t an actual gang, she says. While she doesn’t deny gun violence, she vividly remembers how her son was characterized as a gang member for all sorts of reasons. If he posted a picture of himself pointing to a new pair of sneakers or holding a new belt, people would say that those were gang hand signs. “Shaalie’s World,” the words on shirts and sweaters Farrar made after Shaalie’s death, is now rumored to be a gang.

Shaalie’s friends often make tributes to him in songs and on social media. Farrar worries that law enforcement may be deliberately conflating a song, tweet or Instagram post with a sign of gang activity. Amateur music videos that mention Shaalie or refer to “Washside” are probably being collected as cops and prosecutors build cases on more young men, she suspects. In 2015, a Brooklyn man was sentenced to 12 life sentences for a string of murders after prosecutors used rap lyrics of songs he posted on YouTube against him.

“I feel it’s like a cycle. That’s how I feel. It’s like this shit is designed for you to either end up dead or in jail,” Benny said as he tested out his new remote-controlled helicopter. “Right now, my little brother got 10 years for conspiracy,” he said. “It’s guilt by association, who you hang with.” Benny knows police are surveilling them, using all of the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) and NYPD cameras posted around the neighborhood. “I could be chillin’ with you, you makin’ money, but you been my man since we was kids, and now they taking pictures of us. Let me walk out here with a hoodie tonight and watch me get stopped five times.” Farrar quickly jumps in to recall how Shaalie started wearing hoodies after the death of Trayvon Martin, the Florida boy killed by a neighborhood vigilante. “They really killed him because he was wearing a hoodie, ma?” she recalled him asking.

The Morris Houses are the targets of national gang enforcement trend. (Photo: Lyssy Pastrana)The Morris Houses are the targets of a national gang enforcement trend. (Photo: Lyssy Pastrana)

Farrar, like many of her neighbors, is distrustful of the police and of these new efforts to target alleged gang members. Sitting at some park benches near her building on Washington Avenue, about a mile from where Shaalie died, she and her friends talk about the neighborhood and both the violence and poverty that plague it. For them, poverty is inextricable from the violence – which is something police can’t solve.

“The Kids Need Somewhere to Play”

While Farrar will be the first to agree that youth violence is a problem, the neighborhood’s antagonistic relationship with cops puts them between a rock and a hard place. It was the police, she says, who locked up the basketball courts for two months during the summer. She points at the fence, describing how people were forced to cut and crawl through openings just to play basketball. If cops locked up the courts to prevent violence, then they failed to do even that, some say. A man walks over and says closing the park “wasn’t the solution.” “Now you make it worse,” said the man, who didn’t want to be identified. “Now they got nothin’ to do. Now all they gon’ do is fight now.”

“The kids need somewhere to play,” said Dee, a 35-year-old trainer and boxer who used to train Shaalie. He wants the younger generation to come off of the street and stop fighting with each other, but he says they need resources. He recalls block parties when he was younger that have since become too few and far between. The city-funded health tables and community programming nowadays are directed at very young children and the elderly, not the teens and young adults most susceptible to violence. Worse yet is that programs are limited in scope and time: “They go from like 10 [am] to 12 [pm] and that’s it,” Dee said.

Ms. Betty is 58 and has raised three boys in the Morris Houses. “They’ve got nothing for them to do, that’s our problem. If they find something to do, maybe they’ll stop fighting each other,” she said. For her, the lack of fully functioning community centers contributes to the violence. “It doesn’t make sense. Families got to be crying over their kids and kids fighting for no reason.” While she feels that police are needed, she’s taken aback at the way cops crack down on many in the neighborhood just for hanging out around the buildings. “We just want to be out here like normal people,” she said. She recalls playgrounds inexplicably closed and benches removed from the front of buildings. Asked about the city’s efforts to lease some NYCHA property for private development, she says what the neighborhood needs is an expanded community center. “That don’t make no sense. And they know that.”

Once a basketball court, an empty lot sits in the Morris Houses development. (Photo: Lyssy Pastrana)

Once a basketball court, an empty lot sits in the Morris Houses development. (Photo: Lyssy Pastrana)

“I gave my son a lot of attention. But my son was the child of a single parent who felt his mother, you know, was struggling too hard,” Farrar told Truthout. Asked about the Black Lives Matter movement, Farrar is supportive of marches and protests in response to police killings, but she’s also painfully aware of the fact that many may not jump to stand behind her son’s life because of the questions around his case. Shaalie’s funeral was attended by Constance Malcolm and Frank Graham, the parents of Ramarley Graham, a young man fatally shot by cops who chased him into his grandmother’s house. However, few others in the anti-police brutality movement have made her pain their pain. Asked about the future of the movement, Farrar wants the scope to extend beyond cops. “I’d like Black Lives Matter to help the community come together, do things for kids, help stop the beefing,” Farrar said.

During a march that Farrar and her friends put together a few years back in memory of Shaalie, some of his friends began to chant “Fuck the police, RIP Shaalie” to the cops walking alongside. These were Shaalie’s friends, all from the surrounding buildings. Farrar pulled out her camera phone and kept watch of the cops as the march continued to the spot Shaalie died. The group, too large for the sidewalk, formed a big circle. A police car pulled up and a cop insisted the event clear out because it was blocking the road. Farrar told them they wouldn’t be going anywhere until they were done. They released white balloons into the sky and promised never to forget Shaalie’s name.

Josmar Trujillo is an activist and organizer with New Yorkers Against Bratton. Follow him on Twitter: @Josmar_Trujillo.

Anúncios

The One Weird Trait That Predicts Whether You’re a Trump Supporter (Politico Magazine)

And it’s not gender, age, income, race or religion.

1/17/2016

 

If I asked you what most defines Donald Trump supporters, what would you say? They’re white? They’re poor? They’re uneducated?

You’d be wrong.

In fact, I’ve found a single statistically significant variable predicts whether a voter supports Trump—and it’s not race, income or education levels: It’s authoritarianism.

That’s right, Trump’s electoral strength—and his staying power—have been buoyed, above all, by Americans with authoritarian inclinations. And because of the prevalence of authoritarians in the American electorate, among Democrats as well as Republicans, it’s very possible that Trump’s fan base will continue to grow.

My finding is the result of a national poll I conducted in the last five days of December under the auspices of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, sampling 1,800 registered voters across the country and the political spectrum. Running a standard statistical analysis, I found that education, income, gender, age, ideology and religiosity had no significant bearing on a Republican voter’s preferred candidate. Only two of the variables I looked at were statistically significant: authoritarianism, followed by fear of terrorism, though the former was far more significant than the latter.

Authoritarianism is not a new, untested concept in the American electorate. Since the rise of Nazi Germany, it has been one of the most widely studied ideas in social science. While its causes are still debated, the political behavior of authoritarians is not. Authoritarians obey. They rally to and follow strong leaders. And they respond aggressively to outsiders, especially when they feel threatened. From pledging to “make America great again” by building a wall on the border to promising to close mosques and ban Muslims from visiting the United States, Trump is playing directly to authoritarian inclinations.

Not all authoritarians are Republicans by any means; in national surveys since 1992, many authoritarians have also self-identified as independents and Democrats. And in the 2008 Democratic primary, the political scientist Marc Hetherington found that authoritarianism mattered more than income, ideology, gender, age and education in predicting whether voters preferred Hillary Clinton over Barack Obama. But Hetherington has also found, based on 14 years of polling, that authoritarians have steadily moved from the Democratic to the Republican Party over time. He hypothesizes that the trend began decades ago, as Democrats embraced civil rights, gay rights, employment protections and other political positions valuing freedom and equality. In my poll results, authoritarianism was not a statistically significant factor in the Democratic primary race, at least not so far, but it does appear to be playing an important role on the Republican side. Indeed, 49 percent of likely Republican primary voters I surveyed score in the top quarter of the authoritarian scale—more than twice as many as Democratic voters.

Political pollsters have missed this key component of Trump’s support because they simply don’t include questions about authoritarianism in their polls. In addition to the typical battery of demographic, horse race, thermometer-scale and policy questions, my poll asked a set of four simple survey questions that political scientists have employed since 1992 to measure inclination toward authoritarianism. These questions pertain to child-rearing: whether it is more important for the voter to have a child who is respectful or independent; obedient or self-reliant; well-behaved or considerate; and well-mannered or curious. Respondents who pick the first option in each of these questions are strongly authoritarian.

Based on these questions, Trump was the only candidate—Republican or Democrat—whose support among authoritarians was statistically significant.

So what does this mean for the election? It doesn’t just help us understand what motivates Trump’s backers—it suggests that his support isn’t capped. In a statistical analysis of the polling results, I found that Trump has already captured 43 percent of Republican primary voters who are strong authoritarians, and 37 percent of Republican authoritarians overall. A majority of Republican authoritarians in my poll also strongly supported Trump’s proposals to deport 11 million illegal immigrants, prohibit Muslims from entering the United States, shutter mosques and establish a nationwide database that track Muslims.

And in a general election, Trump’s strongman rhetoric will surely appeal to some of the 39 percent of independents in my poll who identify as authoritarians and the 17 percent of self-identified Democrats who are strong authoritarians.

What’s more, the number of Americans worried about the threat of terrorism is growing. In 2011, Hetherington published research finding that non-authoritarians respond to the perception of threat by behaving more like authoritarians. More fear and more threats—of the kind we’ve seen recently in the San Bernardino and Paris terrorist attacks—mean more voters are susceptible to Trump’s message about protecting Americans. In my survey, 52 percent of those voters expressing the most fear that another terrorist attack will occur in the United States in the next 12 months were non-authoritarians—ripe targets for Trump’s message.

Take activated authoritarians from across the partisan spectrum and the growing cadre of threatened non-authoritarians, then add them to the base of Republican general election voters, and the potential electoral path to a Trump presidency becomes clearer.

So, those who say a Trump presidency “can’t happen here” should check their conventional wisdom at the door. The candidate has confounded conventional expectations this primary season because those expectations are based on an oversimplified caricature of the electorate in general and his supporters in particular. Conditions are ripe for an authoritarian leader to emerge. Trump is seizing the opportunity. And the institutions—from the Republican Party to the press—that are supposed to guard against what James Madison called “the infection of violent passions” among the people have either been cowed by Trump’s bluster or are asleep on the job.

It is time for those who would appeal to our better angels to take his insurgency seriously and stop dismissing his supporters as a small band of the dispossessed. Trump support is firmly rooted in American authoritarianism and, once awakened, it is a force to be reckoned with. That means it’s also time for political pollsters to take authoritarianism seriously and begin measuring it in their polls.

Matthew MacWilliams is founder of MacWilliams Sanders, a political communications firms, and a Ph.D. candidate in political science at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where he is writing his dissertation about authoritarianism.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/01/donald-trump-2016-authoritarian-213533#ixzz3xj06TM2n

How Facebook’s Algorithm Suppresses Content Diversity (Modestly) and How the Newsfeed Rules Your Clicks (The Message)

Zeynep Tufekci on May 7, 2015

Today, three researchers at Facebook published an article in Science on how Facebook’s newsfeed algorithm suppresses the amount of “cross-cutting” (i.e. likely to cause disagreement) news articles a person sees. I read a lot of academic research, and usually, the researchers are at a pains to highlight their findings. This one buries them as deep as it could, using a mix of convoluted language and irrelevant comparisons. So, first order of business is spelling out what they found. Also, for another important evaluation — with some overlap to this one — go read this post by University of Michigan professor Christian Sandvig.

The most important finding, if you ask me, is buried in an appendix. Here’s the chart showing that the higher an item is in the newsfeed, the more likely it is clicked on.

Notice how steep the curve is. The higher the link, more (a lot more) likely it will be clicked on. You live and die by placement, determined by the newsfeed algorithm. (The effect, as Sean J. Taylor correctly notes, is a combination of placement, and the fact that the algorithm is guessing what you would like). This was already known, mostly, but it’s great to have it confirmed by Facebook researchers (the study was solely authored by Facebook employees).

The most important caveat that is buried is that this study is not about all of Facebook users, despite language at the end that’s quite misleading. The researchers end their paper with: “Finally, we conclusively establish that on average in the context of Facebook…” No. The research was conducted on a small, skewed subset of Facebook users who chose to self-identify their political affiliation on Facebook and regularly log on to Facebook, about ~4% of the population available for the study. This is super important because this sampling confounds the dependent variable.

The gold standard of sampling is random, where every unit has equal chance of selection, which allows us to do amazing things like predict elections with tiny samples of thousands. Sometimes, researchers use convenience samples — whomever they can find easily — and those can be okay, or not, depending on how typical the sample ends up being compared to the universe. Sometimes, in cases like this, the sampling affects behavior: people who self-identify their politics are almost certainly going to behave quite differently, on average, than people who do not, when it comes to the behavior in question which is sharing and clicking through ideologically challenging content. So, everything in this study applies only to that small subsample of unusual people. (Here’s a post by the always excellent Eszter Hargittai unpacking the sampling issue further.) The study is still interesting, and important, but it is not a study that can generalize to Facebook users. Hopefully that can be a future study.

What does the study actually say?

  • Here’s the key finding: Facebook researchers conclusively show that Facebook’s newsfeed algorithm decreases ideologically diverse, cross-cutting content people see from their social networks on Facebook by a measurable amount. The researchers report that exposure to diverse content is suppressed by Facebook’s algorithm by 8% for self-identified liberals and by 5% for self-identified conservatives. Or, as Christian Sandvig puts it, “the algorithm filters out 1 in 20 cross-cutting hard news stories that a self-identified conservative sees (or 5%) and 1 in 13cross-cutting hard news stories that a self-identified liberal sees (8%).” You are seeing fewer news items that you’d disagree with which are shared by your friends because the algorithm is not showing them to you.
  • Now, here’s the part which will likely confuse everyone, but it should not. The researchers also report a separate finding that individual choice to limit exposure through clicking behavior results in exposure to 6% less diverse content for liberals and 17% less diverse content for conservatives.

Are you with me? One novel finding is that the newsfeed algorithm (modestly) suppresses diverse content, and another crucial and also novel finding is that placement in the feed is (strongly) influential of click-through rates.

Researchers then replicate and confirm a well-known, uncontested and long-established finding which is that people have a tendency to avoid content that challenges their beliefs. Then, confusingly, the researchers compare whether algorithm suppression effect size is stronger than people choosing what to click, and have a lot of language that leads Christian Sandvig to call this the “it’s not our fault” study. I cannot remember a worse apples to oranges comparison I’ve seen recently, especially since these two dynamics, algorithmic suppression and individual choice, have cumulative effects.

Comparing the individual choice to algorithmic suppression is like asking about the amount of trans fatty acids in french fries, a newly-added ingredient to the menu, and being told that hamburgers, which have long been on the menu, also have trans-fatty acids — an undisputed, scientifically uncontested and non-controversial fact. Individual self-selection in news sources long predates the Internet, and is a well-known, long-identified and well-studied phenomenon. Its scientific standing has never been in question. However, the role of Facebook’s algorithm in this process is a new — and important — issue. Just as the medical profession would be concerned about the amount of trans-fatty acids in the new item, french fries, as well as in the existing hamburgers, researchers should obviously be interested in algorithmic effects in suppressing diversity, in addition to long-standing research on individual choice, since the effects are cumulative. An addition, not a comparison, is warranted.

Imagine this (imperfect) analogy where many people were complaining, say, a washing machine has a faulty mechanism that sometimes destroys clothes. Now imagine washing machine company research paper which finds this claim is correct for a small subsample of these washing machines, and quantifies that effect, but also looks into how many people throw out their clothes before they are totally worn out, a well-established, undisputed fact in the scientific literature. The correct headline would not be “people throwing out used clothes damages more dresses than the the faulty washing machine mechanism.” And if this subsample was drawn from one small factory located everywhere else than all the other factories that manufacture the same brand, and produced only 4% of the devices, the headline would not refer to all washing machines, and the paper would not (should not) conclude with a claim about the average washing machine.

Also, in passing the paper’s conclusion appears misstated. Even though the comparison between personal choice and algorithmic effects is not very relevant, the result is mixed, rather than “conclusively establish[ing] that on average in the context of Facebook individual choices more than algorithms limit exposure to attitude-challenging content”. For self-identified liberals, the algorithm was a stronger suppressor of diversity (8% vs. 6%) while for self-identified conservatives, it was a weaker one (5% vs 17%).)

Also, as Christian Sandvig states in this post, and Nathan Jurgenson in this important post here, and David Lazer in the introduction to the piece in Science explore deeply, the Facebook researchers are not studying some neutral phenomenon that exists outside of Facebook’s control. The algorithm is designed by Facebook, and is occasionally re-arranged, sometimes to the devastation of groups who cannot pay-to-play for that all important positioning. I’m glad that Facebook is choosing to publish such findings, but I cannot but shake my head about how the real findings are buried, and irrelevant comparisons take up the conclusion. Overall, from all aspects, this study confirms that for this slice of politically-engaged sub-population, Facebook’s algorithm is a modest suppressor of diversity of content people see on Facebook, and that newsfeed placement is a profoundly powerful gatekeeper for click-through rates. This, not all the roundabout conversation about people’s choices, is the news.

Late Addition: Contrary to some people’s impressions, I am not arguing against all uses of algorithms in making choices in what we see online. The questions that concern me are how these algorithms work, what their effects are, who controls them, and what are the values that go into the design choices. At a personal level, I’d love to have the choice to set my newsfeed algorithm to “please show me more content I’d likely disagree with” — something the researchers prove that Facebook is able to do.

What will post-democracy look like? (The Sociological Imagination)

 ON JANUARY 19, 2015

As anyone who reads my blog regularly might have noticed, I’m a fan of Colin Crouch’s notion of post-democracy. I’ve interviewed him about it a couple of times: once in 2010 and again in 2013. Whereas he’d initially offered the notion to illuminate a potential trajectory, in the sense that we risk becoming post-democratic, we more latterly see a social order that might be said to have become post-democratic. He intends the term to function analogously to post-industrial: it is not that democracy is gone but that it has been hollowed out:

The term was indeed a direct analogy with ‘post-industrial’. A post-industrial society is not a non-industrial one. It continues to make and to use the products of industry, but the energy and innovative drive of the system have gone elsewhere. The same applies in a more complex way to post-modern, which is not the same as anti-modern or of course pre-modern. It implies a culture that uses the achievements of modernism but departs from them in its search for new possibilities. A post-democratic society therefore is one that continues to have and to use all the institutions of democracy, but in which they increasingly become a formal shell. The energy and innovative drive pass away from the democratic arena and into small circles of a politico-economic elite. I did not say that we were now living in a post-democratic society, but that we were moving towards such a condition.

http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/five-minutes-with-colin-crouch/

Crouch is far from the only theorist to have made such a claim. But I think there’s a precision to his argument which distinguishes it from the manner in which someone like, say, Bauman talks about depoliticisation. My current, slightly morbid, interest in representations of civilisational collapsehas left me wondering what entrenched post-democracy would look like. Asking this question does not refer to an absence of democracy, for which endless examples are possible, but rather for a more detailed sketch of what a social order which was once democratic but is now post-democratic would look like. While everyday life might look something like that which can be seen in Singapore, ‘the city of rules’ as this Guardian article puts it, I think there’s more to be said than this. However we can see in Singapore a vivid account of how micro-regulation can be deployed to facilitate a city in which ‘nothing goes wrong, but nothing really happens’ as one ex-pat memorably phrases it in that article. Is it so hard to imagine efficiency and orderliness being used to secure consent, at least amongst some, for a similar level of social control in western Europe or America?

Perhaps we’d also see the exceptional justice that intruded into UK life after the 2011 riots, with courts being kept open 24/7 in order to better facilitate the restoration of social order. There’s something akin to this in mega sporting events: opaque centralised planning overwhelms democratic consultation, ‘world cup courts’ dish out ad hoc justice, the social structure contorts itself for the pleasure of an international oligopoly upon whom proceedings depend, specialised security arrangements are intensively deployed in the interests of the event’s success and we often see a form of social cleansing (destruction of whole neighbourhoods) presented as a technocratic exercise in event management. We also see pre-arrests and predictive policing deployed to these ends and only a fool would not expect to see more of this as the technological apparatus and the political pressures encouraging them grow over time.

These security arrangements point to another aspect of a post-democratic social order: the economic vibrancy of the security sector. There is a technological dimension to this, with a long term growth fuelled by the ‘war on terror’ coupled with an increasing move towards ‘disruptive policing’ that offers technical solutions at a time of fiscal retrenchment, but we shouldn’t forget the more mundane side of the security industry and its interests in privatisation of policing. This is how Securitas, one of the world’s largest security companies, describe the prospects of the security industry. Note the title of the page: taking advantage of changes.

The global security services market employs several million people and is projected to reach USD 110 billion by 2016. Security services are in demand all over the world, in all industries and in both the public and private sectors. Demand for our services is closely linked to global economic development and social and demographic trends. As the global economy grows and develops, so do we.

Historically, the security market has grown 1–2 percent faster than GDP in mature markets. In recent years, due to current market dynamics and the gradual incorporation of technology into security solutions, security markets in Europe and North America have grown at the same pace as GDP. This trend is likely to continue over the next three to five years.

Market growth is crucial to Securitas’ future profitability and growth, but capitalizing on trends and changes in demand is also important. Developing new security solutions with a higher technology content and improved cost efficiency will allow the private security industry to expand the market by assuming responsibility for work presently performed by the police or other authorities. This development will also be a challenge for operations with insourced security services and increase interest in better outsourced solutions.

http://www.securitas.com/en/About-Securitas/Taking-advantage-of-changes/

Consider this against a background of terrorism, as the spectacular narrative of the ‘war on terror’ comes to be replaced by a prospect of state of alert without end. We’ve not seen the end of the ‘war on terror’, we’ve seen a spectacular narrative become a taken for granted part of everyday life. It doesn’t need to be narrativised any more because it’s here to stay. Against this backdrop, we’re likely see an authoritarian slide in political culture, supplementing the institutional arrangements already in place, in which ‘responsibility’ becomes the key virtue in the exercise of freedoms – as I heard someone say on the radio yesterday, “it’s irresponsible to say democracy is the only thing that matters when we face a threat like this” (or words to that effect).

Crucially, I don’t think this process is inexorable and it’s certainly not the unfolding of an historical logic. It’s enacted by people at every level – including those who reinforce the slide at the micro level of everyday social interaction. The intractability of the problem comes because the process itself involves a hollowing out of processes of contestation at the highest level, such that the corporate agents pursuing this changing social order are also benefiting from it by potential sources of resistance being increasingly absent or at least passive on the macro level.  This is how Wolfgang Streeck describes this institutional project, as inflected through management of the financial crisis:

The utopian ideal of present day crisis management is to complete, with political means, the already far-advanced depoliticization of the economy; anchored in recognised nation-stated under the control of internal governmental and financial diplomacy insulated from democratic participation, with a population that would have learned, over years of hegemonic re-education, to regard the distributional outcomes of free markets as fair, or at least as without alternative.

Buying Time, pg 46

São Paulo terá Justiça rápida para detidos em grandes manifestações (Folha de São Paulo)

REYNALDO TUROLLO JR.

DE SÃO PAULO

21/03/2014 03h30

A Justiça de São Paulo ganhará, a partir de hoje, um órgão específico para analisar com rapidez casos de prisão em flagrante em grandes protestos. A medida é uma resposta às manifestações que, desde junho de 2013, têm terminado com dezenas de detidos após depredações.

O novo órgão também vai agilizar a transformação dos inquéritos policiais em processos criminais. Uma consequência esperada pelas autoridades é que a punição de alguns manifestantes sirva de exemplo a outros.

Eventuais prisões em flagrante que ocorram amanhã, quando estão previstas duas manifestações na capital paulista, já serão encaminhadas ao órgão. A expectativa das autoridades é que ele seja útil também durante a Copa.

O Tribunal de Justiça de São Paulo é o primeiro do país a implantar o Ceprajud (Centro de Pronto Atendimento Judiciário), conforme orientação do Conselho Nacional de Justiça e do Ministério da Justiça.

“Na hipótese de um evento monstruoso, que acarrete 300 prisões em flagrante, o centro vai ter uma estrutura para comportar esse aumento repentino”, afirma o juiz Kleber de Aquino, assessor da presidência do TJ para assuntos de segurança pública.

Hoje, o manifestante detido é levado ao distrito policial, onde o delegado decide se irá liberá-lo ou prendê-lo em flagrante, de acordo com a gravidade do delito.

Quando alguém fica preso, uma cópia do auto de flagrante deve seguir em 24 horas para o Dipo (departamento que centraliza flagrantes), no fórum da Barra Funda.

Um juiz do Dipo decide se a prisão será mantida –decretando a preventiva– ou se o manifestante será liberado, mediante aplicação de medidas restritivas, como proibição de ir a certos lugares.

No caso de centenas de flagrantes de uma vez, o Dipo pode acabar atrasando a análise das prisões em dois ou três dias, explica Aquino. Por isso, essa análise passará a ser feita por juízes de plantão 24 horas no Ceprajud.

O centro poderá ainda convocar juízes e funcionários extras para atender à demanda.

“Essas decisões [sobre manter preso ou soltar] é que devem ser tomadas em caráter de urgência”, diz o juiz.

“A finalidade é a apreciação célere de procedimentos criminais de urgência e de eventuais excessos da repressão policial no curso de grandes manifestações.”

Martim de Almeida Sampaio, da comissão de direitos humanos da OAB (Ordem dos Advogados do Brasil), critica a criação de uma “força-tarefa” do Judiciário para esses flagrantes e diz considerá-la parte de um conjunto de medidas para coibir protestos.

“Manifestantes que cometerem abuso devem ser punidos, mas essa via rápida voltada exclusivamente a eles é um pouco exagerada”, diz.

“A demanda da sociedade é por uma Justiça ágil, mas não voltada exclusivamente a processos contra movimento social”, afirma o advogado.

U.S. Seems Unlikely to Accept That Rights Treaty Applies to Its Actions Abroad (New York Times)

By  – MARCH 6, 2014

WASHINGTON — In 1995, Conrad Harper, the Clinton administration’s top State Department lawyer, appeared before a United Nations panel in Geneva to discuss American compliance with a global Bill of Rights-style treaty the Senate had recently ratified, and he was asked a pointed question: Did the United States believe it applied outside its borders?

Mr. Harper returned two days later and delivered an answer: American officials, he said, had no obligations under the rights accord when operating abroad. The Bush administration would amplify that claim after the Sept. 11 attacks — and extend it to another United Nations convention that bans the use of torture — to justify its treatment of terrorism suspects in overseas prisons operated by the military and the C.I.A.

The United Nations panel in Geneva that monitors compliance with the rights treaty disagrees with the American interpretation, and human rights advocates have urged the United States to reverse its position when it sends a delegation to answer the panel’s questions next week. But the Obama administration is unlikely to do that, according to interviews, rejecting a strong push by two high-ranking State Department officials from President Obama’s first term.

Caitlin Hayden, a National Security Council spokeswoman, declined to discuss deliberations but defended the existing interpretation of the accord as applying only within American borders. Called the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, it bars such things as unfair trials, arbitrary killings and the imprisonment of people without judicial review.

“The legal position held by prior administrations — Republican and Democratic — is a carefully considered position with a strong basis in the text of the treaty, and there is a very high bar for change under those circumstances,” she said.

Still, in a 56-page internal memo, the State Department’s former top lawyer, Harold Koh, concluded in October 2010 that the “best reading” of the accord is that it does “impose certain obligations on a State Party’s extraterritorial conduct.”

And in January 2013 Mr. Koh went further in a 90-page memo on the Convention Against Torture. “In my legal opinion, it is not legally available to policy makers to claim” it has no application abroad, he wrote. Michael Posner, the former assistant secretary for human rights, shared that view. Both stepped down in 2013 and have not been replaced by political appointees.

In Mr. Obama’s first term, when the State Department was preparing to file an earlier report to the United Nations about the accord, both officials pushed to reverse the United States’ position. But military and intelligence lawyers resisted, officials said, and the final report in 2011 said only that the United States was “mindful” that many disagreed with the position it had taken in the past.

The ambiguous comment in the report left the door open to re-examine the question for the coming United Nations presentation. But the administration never fully re-engaged with the issue, officials said. No one produced a memo rebutting the details of Mr. Koh’s analysis, though one official maintained the memos were never cleared as the official State Department position, and said agencies had “unanimously” concluded the existing interpretation was sound.

Mr. Koh, who now teaches at Yale, declined to comment.

Ms. Hayden, citing an executive order by Mr. Obama requiring interrogations to be “consistent with the requirements” of the torture convention, argued that “there’s no question we take seriously the need to protect civilians outside our borders.” She emphasized that the government considered itself bound abroad by the Geneva Conventions and domestic detainee abuse laws.

Mr. Posner, now a New York University professor, said his hope was that the administration would “take the next step, which is to say, ‘This isn’t just policy — it is an international legal obligation’ ” to respect rights wherever in the world American forces are in control of someone.

But Matthew Waxman, a Columbia professor who was a top detainee policy official for the Bush administration, said military and intelligence agencies had been skeptical of taking that step because they worried about potentially complicating their overseas operations.

John Bellinger, the top State Department lawyer in the Bush administration, noted that the presentation comes in the midst of a furor over National Security Agency surveillance. The rights treaty also bars “arbitrary or unlawful interference” with privacy, although it is not clear that it requires parties to respect rights of foreigners not in its custody.

“This is a particularly sensitive time because of the N.S.A. controversy,” he said. “I cannot imagine the U.S. government would change its position, even if it were previously tempted to.”

Under the terms of the rights treaty, a state must respect and ensure rights to people “within its territory and subject to its jurisdiction.” The question is whether to interpret this phrase as describing one group of people or two — those on domestic soil and also those abroad who are subject to its exclusive control.

In 2006, the Bush administration told the United Nations that it applied only domestically. It cited Eleanor Roosevelt, who negotiated the treaty, arguing she proposed adding “its territory” to prevent it from covering the United States in postwar occupied Germany and Japan. Several Obama officials have said they find that argument compelling.

But the Koh memo, citing different wording in an earlier draft and various comments by Mrs. Roosevelt, contended that this misread what happened. It argued her intent was to avoid requiring Congress to enact legislation guaranteeing the rights of people abroad from abuses by others — not to allow American officials to violate them.

Another murky area is whether a shift would require major changes in American policy, or just raise new debates about issues like how the treaties interact with the laws of war. The treaties have no enforcement mechanisms, but can provide fodder for critics seeking to shame a country over its practices.

The Koh memo argued that very little about American policy would need to change. Still, Gabor Rona of Human Rights First questioned whether the practice of holding terrorism suspects without judicial review in Afghanistan and aboard ships would comport with the treaty.

But Beth van Schaack, a former State Department official who wrote a law review article on the issue, argued that the Obama administration had decent legal arguments in support of its policies and need not also argue that its human rights treaty obligations stop at its shores. “It’s a loser’s argument that we should let go, in order to be able to focus on arguments that have much more traction,” she said.

A version of this article appears in print on March 7, 2014, on page A6 of the New York edition with the headline: U.S. Seems Unlikely to Accept That Rights Treaty Applies to Its Actions Abroad.

‘Modelo de escola é autoritário’, diz professor da Universidade de Columbia (O Globo)

Brian Perkins é autor de estudos sobre o clima em sala de aula, envolvendo expectativas de professores e alunos

LEONARDO VIEIRA

Publicado:3/02/14 – 8h00 / Atualizado:3/02/14 – 15h12

O professor Brian Perkins Foto: Foto de divulgação

O professor Brian Perkins Foto de divulgação

RIO – Professor da Universidade de Columbia, Brian Perkins é autor de estudos que mostram como o clima em sala de aula influencia o aprendizado. O especialista, que esteve no Rio no fim de 2013 para um evento na Escola Sesc, está hoje em conversas com a Secretaria municipal de Educação para fazer uma pesquisa semelhante na rede carioca.

Quem deve ser o líder dentro de uma sala de aula: o professor, o aluno ou ambos?

BRIAN PERKINS: Ambos. É preciso que haja oportunidades para que os alunos se apropriem da experiência de aprendizagem. Vou dar exemplo: quando eu estava na 6ª série, minha irmã estava na faculdade. Eu ficava lendo seus livros sobre o Egito Antigo. E, nas minhas aulas de História, eu percebi alguns equívocos do professor sobre o assunto. Daí levantei a mão para dizer que gostaria corrigir o professor. E ele disse: “ok , você venceu, pode me corrigir, desde que seja explicando para toda a classe”. E assim eu fiz. Agora, dando aula na universidade, também abro espaço para meus alunos compartilharem conhecimento sobre capítulos de livros, pois também quero saber as visões e perspectivas deles, o que eles adquiriram com o estudo. Isso é parte do aprendizado.

De que?

Acho que devemos aproveitar essas oportunidades, quando os alunos sabem mais sobre um assunto do que o professor. Eles também têm a capacidade de conhecer mais, se lhes for dada a atribuição. Não só é bom porque desenvolve a liderança, mas também porque o cérebro realmente funciona melhor se eles tiverem a oportunidade de criar a suas próprias experiências.

Quais são os benefícios de ser um líder na sala de aula?

Ser um líder traz muita responsabilidade e, por isso, é realmente difícil pensar em termos de benefício. É mais uma obrigação e uma responsabilidade. O benefício, em termos de aprendizagem, é que o professor é mais um facilitador. Eles não apenas leem os livros para os alunos, mas também criam perguntas para que os alunos possam responder. Então os alunos constroem seus conhecimentos em vez de apenas guardar tudo o que os professores lhes dizem. Não é para dizer aos alunos quais são fatos, mas, sim, deixá-los experimentar e explorar.

É como se o estudante fosse um autodidata?

Não exatamente. É ser responsável por aquilo que você aprende. Essa é a razão de você ficar bom em aprender coisas: você pode pensar que em qualquer coisa que você é bom, o motivo provavelmente é porque você gosta dela. E é por isso que defendo dar ao aluno a oportunidade dessa aprendizagem, para estudar e associar o estudo com as coisas que gosta.

Abordando agora suas pesquisas sobre o clima nas escolas, o que conta mais na hora da aprendizagem: o clima em sala de aula ou a qualidade do ensino?

Essa é uma pergunta muito boa, e fico me questionando o tempo todo. Mas o que posso dizer é que ambos são igualmente importantes. O lado do efeito “ambiente escolar” é tão importante quanto o lado cognitivo, o lado da aprendizagem que eles fazem. Por exemplo, considere uma escola com regras estabelecidas. Eu não tenho que dizer sempre aos alunos o que pode e o que não pode fazer, pois eu já parto do princípio de que eles já tem consciência. Agora, se o ambiente não é ordenado, eles não aprendem. Se não houver uma espécie de estado psicológico comum, os alunos não podem aprender. Se você descobre que os alunos de uma escola estão com medo de levantar a mão e fazer uma pergunta, não é um bom ambiente, porque você quer que os alunos façam perguntas. Mas se eles não fazem perguntas, eles não aprendem.

Você acha que o nosso modelo de escola é autoritário?

Eu acho que o modelo predominante de escolas em todo o mundo é autoritário. Nós queremos que os alunos assumam responsabilidades também. Queremos que eles digam ‘eu fui para a escola hoje, mas eu não me dei por satisfeito, e agora eu vou buscar por mim mesmo o que eu preciso. Mas são poucas escolas com modelo construtivo, de deixar os alunos descobrir as coisas, deixando-os criar e trabalhar em grupos que conversam entre si. As pessoas estão mais focadas no controle do que no conteúdo que elas estão aprendendo.

E nos casos de conteúdos mais “duros” como a Matemática, como ensiná-los sem ser autoritário?

Não ser autoritário não significa que é preciso abandonar a estrutura. Quer dizer, você ainda pode ter estrutura, mas tem que dar um sentido ao conteúdo. Não adianta ensinar Matemática sem significado. Eu vi uma vez uma camiseta que dizia: ‘Eu tenho 30 anos e eu ainda uso álgebra”. É o mesmo quando te dizem ainda pequeno ‘você ainda vai precisar disso um dia’. E é verdade.

Mas se esse dia nunca chegar?

Se nunca chegar, é porque ninguém mostrou a conexão. Você usa álgebra toda hora em sua vida, mas as pessoas não refletem muito sobre isso. O professor que ensina Matemática tem que repassar os conceitos de matemática. Ensinar o conceito não significa ser autoritário. Autoritária é a postura que você assume em seu ensino: “Eu sou o professor e eu sei de tudo e você tem que buscar o conhecimento através de mim agora”. É isso, você pode ensinar-lhes as habilidades e, em seguida, dizer-lhes onde eles pode aplicá-las. A postura influencia muito o ambiente de aprendizagem.

No Brasil, temos alguns exemplos de professores que tentam fugir desse modelo autoritário. Eles fazem um monte de piadas, dançam no meio da sala de aula, e dizem que esta é a forma como eles podem promover a curiosidade do conteúdo em seus alunos. Como você enxerga essa técnica?

Eu acho que pode ser uma boa ferramenta, mas não deve ser usada toda hora, é preciso equilibrar. As pessoas usam diferentes métodos para manter os alunos envolvidos, isso depende do seu estilo, mas as pessoas às vezes acabam abusando do humor, e o que acontece é que alguns se distraem. Você pode brincar, mas tem que manter o que eu chamo de “3 Rs”.

O primeiro é o rigor: você tem que ser rigoroso. O segundo é que ele tem que ser relevante, tanto para o professor quanto para o aluno. E por fim, tem que existir uma relação entre o professor e os alunos. E o relacionamento tem que ser aquele em que os alunos olham para o professor como uma boa fonte de informação, de companheirismo. Essas são as três coisas que eu digo que tem que estar no lugar em qualquer sala de aula.

Alguns estudantes no Brasil se queixam de que os nossos conteúdos são engessados. É melhor para o aluno escolher o tema sobre o qual ele iria se concentrar para seu futuro profissional?

Você tem alunos que são como Mozart. Tudo o que fez foi ser bom no piano. O talento deles pode torná-los ricos, mas o que mais eles poderiam saber além? Como eles poderiam funcionar em um mundo sem conhecer a história, ou a ciência? Você vê o que eu estou dizendo? Se você não ensinar-lhes mais disciplinas, mais áreas, eles não podem sobreviver. Então, é preciso dar-lhes as ferramentas e é isso que é o importante. É que eles tenham as ferramentas para fazer mais.

Em seus trabalhos, você demonstra que o clima é um dos principais agentes influenciadores do aprendizado. Aqui no Brasil, começamos a ter a ocupação de comunidades que antes eram negligenciadas pelo poder público e viviam com altos índices de violência. Você acredita que com a pacificação, as escolas dessas regiões podem ter melhor rendimento acadêmico?

Isso é óbvio. Como uma criança poderia que se escondia na escola durante tiroteios poderia aprender alguma coisa? Se o ambiente ao redor da escola muda, dentro da escola também vai haver reflexos. E nesse caso, para o lado positivo. Pesquisas daqui já demonstram que as unidades dentro e UPPP tem melhorado nos índices escolares. É um efeito diretamente proporcional. Os casos de escolas em áreas de conflito é o exemplo extremo de como o clima influencia o aprendizado.

Leia mais sobre esse assunto em http://oglobo.globo.com/educacao/modelo-de-escola-autoritario-diz-professor-da-universidade-de-columbia-11482918#ixzz2sI0dm2T6 © 1996 – 2014. Todos direitos reservados a Infoglobo Comunicação e Participações S.A. Este material não pode ser publicado, transmitido por broadcast, reescrito ou redistribuído sem autorização. 

Governo regulamenta uso das Forças Armadas contra manifestações sociais (Vox Política)

Portaria está em vigor desde 20 de dezembro de 2013. Celso Amorim, ministro da Defesa, aprovou o documento.

 | quinta-feira, 23 janeiro 2014 – 2:30

anexo

O ministro da Defesa, Celso Amorim, aprovou no fim do ano passado uma Portaria que regulamenta o uso das Forças Armadas (Exército, Marinha e Aeronáutica) em manifestações sociais, protestos e outras ocasiões que possam comprometer “a ordem pública”.

A regra, presente no Manual “Garantia da Lei e da Ordem”, validado junto com a Portaria, está em vigor desde 20 de dezembro, data de sua publicação no Diário Oficial da União. Logo no segundo capítulo, o documento ressalta que, apesar do apreço ao conceito de não-guerra, as operações poderão ter “o uso de força de forma limitada”.

Esse emprego das Forças Armadas nessas operações seria autorizado “em situações de esgotamento dos instrumentos a isso previstos”, ou seja, “quando, em determinado momento, forem eles formalmente reconhecidos pelo respectivo Chefe do Poder Executivo Federal ou Estadual como indisponíveis, inexistentes ou insuficientes ao desempenho regular da missão constitucional”.

Entre as principais ameaças elencadas pelo Ministério da Defesa, duas se destacam por fazer referência à Copa do Mundo e às manifestações de 2013: o combate ao bloqueio de vias públicas de circulação e a ofensiva contra a sabotagem nos locais de grandes eventos. Para tanto, os soldados têm autorização de controlar até o fluxo dos cidadãos.

O anexo do “Controle de Distúrbios em Ambiente Urbano” é o que cita de maneira mais contundente a oposição a grupos populares de protesto.

Em “Cenário”, conforme imagem destacada no início da reportagem, o alerta estatal vislumbra a “atuação de elementos integrantes de movimentos sociais reivindicatórios, de oposição ou protesto, comprometendo a ordem pública”, reservando aos governos estaduais e federal o direito de traçar limites. No apêndice de operações psicológicas, os movimentos sociais recebem classificação ainda pior: forças oponentes.

Direitos Humanos: ainda a passos lentos no Brasil (Revista Fórum)

22/1/2014 – 11h45

por Redação da Revista Fórum

Policia protesto 300x199 Direitos Humanos: ainda a passos lentos no Brasil

Manifestações de junho de 2013 e repressão policial foram mencionadas no documento. Foto: Mídia Ninja

Má conduta policial, execuções, torturas, superlotação carcerária e impunidade são os “destaques” brasileiros no Relatório Mundial da Human Rights Watch de 2014

“O Brasil está entre as democracias mais influentes em assuntos regionais e globais. Nos últimos anos, tornou-se uma voz cada vez mais importante em debates sobre as respostas internacionais a problemas de direitos humanos. No plano doméstico, entretanto, o país continua enfrentando graves desafios relacionados aos direitos humanos, incluindo execuções extrajudiciais cometidas por policiais, tortura, superlotação das prisões e impunidade para os abusos cometidos durante o regime militar”

É assim que a ONG Human Rights Watch (HRW), inicia o seu relatório de 2014 sobre a situação dos direitos humanos no Brasil, divulgado nessa terça-feira (21/01) em 14 cidades ao redor do mundo sobre mais de 90 países. Como não podia deixar de ser, um dos principais tópicos no contexto brasileiro foram a atuação policial frente às manifestações populares de 2013, a questão carcerária no país – apesar de a barbárie no Maranhão ainda não ter sido divulgada à época da conclusão do documento – e denúncias de tortura.

O relatório diz: “Dezenas de jornalistas que cobriram as manifestações de junho foram feridos ou detidos pela polícia. Durante um protesto em São Paulo em 13 de junho, uma repórter e um fotógrafo foram atingidos nos olhos por balas de borracha e ficaram gravemente feridos”. Segundo Maria Laura Canineu, diretora da ONG para o país, “ficou ainda mais claro o mau preparo da polícia para lidar com multidões. Durante os protestos, pudemos ver que o padrão de conduta dos policiais não mudou e, em muitos casos, usaram a força de forma desproporcional contra os manifestantes”. A diretora também citou a morte de Amarildo – preso, torturado e executado – dando outro exemplo da violência policial que teve como resultado a denúncia de 25 policiais pela tortura e, 17 deles, pelo crime de ocultação do cadáver.

A questão da tortura também foi abordada no tópico sobre a situação carcerária no Brasil. De acordo com a ONG, a Subcomissão das Nações Unidas para a Prevenção de Tortura e Outros Tratamentos Cruéis, Desumanos e Degradantes informou ter recebido relatos “repetidos e consistentes” de presos sobre espancamentos e outros maus-tratos durante a custódia policial, sendo o caso mais notório o espancamento, sufocamento e aplicação de choques elétricos a quatro homens para forçá-los a confessar o estupro e assassinato de uma menina de 14 anos em julho de 2013.

Outro caso presente no relatório foram os agentes da Fundação Casa (Centro de Atendimento Socioeducativo ao Adolescente) espancando seis adolescentes, na Vila Maria, em São Paulo. O crime só veio a público graças às gravações das câmeras de segurança do complexo prisional. Em conversa com nossa redação, Julio Cesar Fernandes Neves, ouvidor chefe da Polícia Militar do Estado de São Paulo, confirmou ter lido o relatório da HRW: “Vamos apurar as denúncias de tortura na PM onde elas acontecerem, não importa. Nem em guerras se tolera a tortura”.

Outros temas destacados pelo relatório foram a violência contra mulheres, LGBTs (3 mil denúncias de violência em 2012) e contra ativistas do campo e indígenas, com 37 membros de tribos indígenas mortos no Mato Grosso do Sul – também em 2012 – e quase 2,5 mil ativistas rurais ameaçados de morte durante a última década.

No âmbito da política externa, a diretora da ONG diz: “O Brasil falhou, por exemplo, ao se omitir na votação da ONU sobre a guerra na Síria. Quando o Brasil fala, como no caso da invasão de privacidade, dá repercussão. Mas quando o Brasil se omite, isso também causa uma reação, e ela é bastante negativa para o país no cenário mundial.”

Apesar de elogiar a postura brasileira na questão da violação de privacidade e espionagem internacional dos EUA, o tímido avanço na área de segurança pública desde o último relatório mostra que o Brasil ainda tem muito a fazer.

* Publicado originalmente no site Revista Fórum.

O que os rolezinhos dizem sobre o direito à cidade? (Portal Aprendiz)

22/1/2014 – 11h31

por Danilo Mekari e Pedro Ribeiro Nogueira, do Portal Aprendiz

Antes relegados à lugares invisíveis da cidade, onde não reuniam tanta gente e nem chamavam tanta atenção, os encontros de jovens da periferia de São Paulo tomaram outras proporções a partir do dia 7/12 do ano passado, quando ocorreu o primeiro rolezinho – encontro marcado via redes sociais – no Shopping Metrô Itaquera. Ao mesmo tempo, tramitava um projeto de lei que coibia os bailes funks de acontecerem nas ruas, posteriormente vetado pelo prefeito Fernando Haddad (PT).

Para quem participa está claro o motivo da reunião: se divertir, escutar música, fazer amizades e até mesmo paquerar – tudo isso dentro dos templos do consumo que esses mesmos jovens são tentados a fazer parte diariamente, através da publicidade intensa e da ostentação de outras classes mais abastadas.

Para os reais consumidores dos shoppings, porém, esses encontros são uma ameaça à tranquilidade com que fazem suas compras e, mais, devem ser devidamente contidos pelas forças de segurança e proibidos pela Justiça.

foto1 O que os rolezinhos dizem sobre o direito à cidade?

O que os rolezinhos dizem sobre o direito à cidade? | Envolverde

Os rolezinhos, porém, não pararam de crescer. Se antes eram restritos à capital paulista, agora se espalham por vários estados. E, se antes também se restringiam a um encontro de jovens das camadas mais populares, hoje há rolês organizados por jovens de classe média, universitários e movimentos sociais que apoiam o direito de ir e vir desses adolescentes.

Também se tornaram pauta prioritária na agenda do governo federal, por receio de se tornarem o estopim de novas manifestações, inclusive com a participação de black blocs.

Instigado por esse debate e em busca de sentidos para esse fenômeno, o Portal Aprendiz perguntou para Leonardo Sakamoto, Ermínia Maricato, Douglas Belchior, Alexandre Barbosa Pereira e Pablo Ortellado o que os rolezinhos nos dizem sobre a segregação e o direito à cidade.

Confira as respostas!

sakamoto1 O que os rolezinhos dizem sobre o direito à cidade?Leonardo Sakamoto – jornalista e doutor em Ciência Política, autor do Blog do Sakamoto

“A maior parte da molecada que vai aos rolezinhos não quer fazer nenhum protesto e sim curtir e ser curtido. Não são politizados, como também não era a maioria dos que foram às ruas nas jornadas de junho. Mas o cutucão, se não é o objetivo, acaba sendo o efeito colateral, pois a presença deles naquele espaço provoca uma reação violenta. Daí, há dois caminhos para analisar os rolês: quem são e o que querem esses jovens e o porquê da reação de determinados grupos sociais, sejam eles do centro ou da própria periferia.

Shoppings são bolhas, oferecem a garantia de que nada vai acontecer com você se estiver lá dentro comprando. Da mesma forma que cercas eletrificadas mentem sobre a proteção de casas, que carros blindados mentem sobre a proteção de famílias, que a presença de uma arma de fogo mente quando promete afastar qualquer risco real.

Quando centenas de “intrusos” ameaçam invadir essa realidade virtual, querendo fazer parte dela, seus usuários sentem que ela se desligou de repente e entram em pânico. Porque esse grupo de garotos e garotas talvez não entenda, mas é exatamente deles que parte do povo que se refugia em shoppings quer fugir. Fisicamente. Simbolicamente.”

erminia1 O que os rolezinhos dizem sobre o direito à cidade?Ermínia Maricato – professora da FAU (Faculdade de Arquitetura e Urbanismo) da USP

“Nas relações sociais, no Brasil, existe uma profunda distância entre discurso e prática ou entre o texto da lei e sua aplicação. Em consequência, grande parte da sociedade permanece sem direitos previstos na legislação. São ignorados, segregados e invisíveis apesar das dimensões dessa exclusão. Como essa espécie de apartheid não é clara e assumida, vive-se uma contradição, um faz de conta. Faz de conta que isso é uma democracia, faz de conta que a lei se aplica a todos da mesma forma, faz de conta que todos têm direitos iguais, como é o caso do direito à cidade.

O que a prática dos rolezinhos tem de notável, fantástico, extraordinário mesmo, é o desnudamento dessa contradição. Quando os exilados urbanos decidem andar pela cidade, esse apartheid explode na cara da sociedade ainda que não seja essa a intenção da maior parte da moçada. Essa atitude questiona, profundamente, a sociedade que aprendeu a ser cínica (especialmente o “partido da mídia”) para esconder a incrível desigualdade de um país que não é pobre mas tem um povo pobre.”

odug1 O que os rolezinhos dizem sobre o direito à cidade?Douglas Belchior – professor de História e integrante da UneAfro Brasil, autor do blog Negro Belchior

“Por parte dos shoppings vemos temos uma contradição, já que se espalharam pelas periferias justamente atrás do poder aquisitivo desse público que eles agora recusam.

A medida em que o mundo, através de seus valores, convence a população de que para “ser” é preciso “ter”, de que “viver” é não apenas “consumir” mas também “ostentar”… e ao mesmo tempo não proporciona espaços de convivência, de lazer e educação que provoquem o interesse da juventude, os shoppings passam a ser a grande opção.

Criminalizado como um dia fora a capoeira, o futebol, o samba e o rap, o funk moderno é tão contraditório em seu conteúdo quanto o é a resistência em sua forma e estética e nesse momento está servindo também para fazer aflorar o racismo enraizado na alma das elites hipócritas – muito mais vinculadas aos valores da luxúria e ostentação que a turma do funk.

Os meninos e meninas do funk hoje afrontam os cara-pálidas com sua presença física, com o tom de sua pele, com sua roupa, com seu som. Tudo isso, intencional ou não, é profundamente político e contestador por sua própria natureza.”

pablo1 O que os rolezinhos dizem sobre o direito à cidade?Pablo Ortellado – professor na Escola de Artes, Ciências e Humanidades da USP (EACH) e autor do livro “20 Centavos: A Luta Contra o Aumento” (Ed. Veneta)

“Ainda permanece um pouco obscuro os motivos que levaram os jovens da periferia a marcar encontros coletivos nos shoppings da cidade – queriam mesmo só se divertir ou estariam também desafiando as barreiras econômicas e raciais que dividem os que têm dos que não têm? Seja como for, a resposta dura e anticidadã dos shopping centers e da Justiça conferiu um caráter social e político ao fenômeno.

E é nessa resposta jurídica que busca garantir aos shoppings o direito de escolher quem pode frequentá-los que se formalizou e se evidenciou a segregação espacial implícita que rege a nossa sociedade. Seja qual for a motivação, a repercussão colocou em discussão a vergonhosa separação espacial que segrega os ricos dos pobres e os brancos dos negros.”

alexandre1 O que os rolezinhos dizem sobre o direito à cidade?Alexandre Barbosa Pereira – pesquisador do Laboratório do Núcleo de Antropologia Urbana (LabNAU) da USP e autor da tese “A maior zoeira: experiências juvenis na periferia de São Paulo”

“Os rolezinhos demonstram a necessidade de lutarmos por espaços, físicos, sociais e subjetivos, de representação, expressão e reconhecimento para todos. O principal recado que os jovens dos rolezinhos nos dão é o de que querem o direito a se divertir na cidade.”

* Publicado originalmente no site Portal Aprendiz.

PL quer punir “terroristas” e grevistas na Copa (Agência Pública)

27.02.12 Por Andrea Dip, 

Foto: Daniel Kfouri. Arte urbana de Esqueleto Coletivo

“É a ditadura transitória da FIFA” diz presidente da Comissão de Direitos Humanos da OAB-SP, sobre PL que corre no Senado em paralelo à Lei Geral da Copa

Enquanto as atenções estão voltadas para o projeto de Lei Geral da Copa (2.330/11) que está sendo votado na Câmara nesta terça-feira (28), os senadores Marcelo Crivella (PRB-RJ), Ana Amélia (PP-RS) e Walter Pinheiro (PT-BA) correm com outro Projeto de Lei no Senado, conhecido pelos movimentos sociais como “AI-5 da Copa” por, dentre outras coisas, proibir greves durante o período dos jogos e incluir o “terrorismo” no rol de crimes com punições duras e penas altas para quem “provocar terror ou pânico generalizado”.

O PL 728/2011, apresentado no Senado em dezembro de 2011, ainda aguarda voto do relator Álvaro Dias (PSDB-PR) na Comissão de Educação, Cultura e Esporte do Senado. Se for aprovado, vai criar oito novos tipos penais que não constam do nosso Código Penal como “terrorismo”, “violação de sistema de informática” e “revenda ilegal de ingressos”, determinando penas específicas para eles. Essa lei – transitória – valeria apenas durante os jogos da FIFA.

Na justificativa da proposta, os senadores alegam que a Lei Geral da Copa deixa de fora a tipificação de uma série de delitos, necessária para “garantir a segurança durante os jogos”.

O projeto prevê ainda que quem “cometer crimes contra a integridade da delegação, árbitros, voluntários ou autoridades públicas esportivas com o fim de intimidar ou influenciar o resultado da partida de futebol poderá pegar entre dois e cinco anos de prisão”.

Para quem “violar, bloquear ou dificultar o acesso a páginas da internet, sistema de informática ou banco de dados utilizado pela organização dos eventos” a pena seria de um a quatro anos de prisão, além de multa. E para deixar a aplicação das penas ainda mais eficaz, o projeto prevê a instauração de um “incidente de celeridade processual” (art. 15), um regime de urgência em que a comunicação do delito poderia se dar por mensagem eletrônica ou ligação telefônica e funcionaria também nos finais de semana e feriados.

O presidente da Comissão de Direitos Humanos da OAB de São Paulo Martim Sampaio considera o projeto um “atentado contra o Estado Democrático de Direito”. “É um projeto de lei absurdo que quer sobrepor os interesses de mercado à soberania popular. Uma lei para proteger a FIFA e não os cidadãos e que, além de tudo, abre precedentes para injustiças por suas definições vagas”, diz o advogado.

Para Thiago Hoshino, assessor jurídico da organização de direitos humanos Terra de Direitos e integrante do Comitê Popular da Copa de Curitiba, a questão é ainda mais complicada. Ele acredita que a junção de tantos assuntos em um mesmo projeto é uma tentativa de aprovar leis antigas que endurecem principalmente a legislação penal: “É um bloco perigoso que viola garantias básicas da Constituição. E há sempre o risco de estas leis transitórias se tornarem permanentes. A legislação da Copa é, na verdade, um grande laboratório de inovações jurídicas. Depois o que for proveitoso pode permanecer. É mais fácil tornar uma lei transitória permanente do que criar e aprovar uma nova” explica.

Terrorismo

O que chama a atenção logo de cara no projeto de lei é a tipificação de “terrorismo”, que até hoje não existe no nosso código penal. No PL, ele é definido como “o ato de provocar terror ou pânico generalizado mediante ofensa à integridade física ou privação da liberdade de pessoa, por motivo ideológico, religioso, político ou de preconceito racial, étnico ou xenófobo” com pena de no mínimo 15 e no máximo 30 anos de reclusão. Martim Sampaio diz que este é o artigo mais perigoso por não dar definições exatas sobre o termo: “Da maneira como está na lei, qualquer manifestação, passeata, protesto, ato individual ou coletivo pode ser entendido como terrorismo. Isso é um cheque em branco na mão da FIFA e do Estado”.

Documentos revelados pelo WikiLeaks revelaram a pressão americana para que o Brasil criasse uma lei para o “terrorismo”, principalmente para assegurar os megaeventos. No relatório de Lisa Kubiske, conselheira da Embaixada americana em Brasília, enviado para os EUA em 24 de dezembro de 2010, a diplomata mostra-se preocupada com as declarações de Vera Alvarez, chefe da Coordenação-Geral de Intercâmbio e Cooperação Esportiva do Itamaraty porque a brasileira “admite que terroristas podem atacar o Brasil por conta das Olimpíadas, uma declaração pouco comum de um governo que acredita que não haja terrorismo no País”.

Os banqueiros também pressionam o Estado a criar uma lei antiterrorismo há algum tempo. Também em 2010, a falta de uma legislação específica sobre terrorismo foi o principal foco em um congresso sobre lavagem de dinheiro e financiamento de grupos extremistas organizado pela Federação Brasileira de Bancos (Febraban), em São Paulo. A questão poderia custar ao Brasil a exclusão do Grupo de Ação Financeira Internacional (Gafi), órgão multinacional que atua na prevenção desses crimes.

Greves

O projeto de lei também mira reduzir o direito à greve, prevendo a ampliação dos serviços essenciais à população durante a Copa – como a manutenção de portos e aeroportos, serviços de hotelaria e vigilância – e restringe a legalidade da greve de trabalhadores destes setores, incluindo os que trabalham nas obras da Copa, de três meses antes dos eventos até o fim dos jogos. Se aprovado, os sindicatos que decidirem fazer uma paralisação terão de avisar com 15 dias de antecedência e manter ao menos 70% dos trabalhadores em atividade. O governo ainda estará autorizado a contratar trabalhadores substitutos para manter o atendimento, o que é proibido pela lei 7.283/1989 em vigor no país, que estabelece 72 horas de antecedência para o aviso de greve e não determina um percentual mínimo de empregados em atividade durante as paralisações.

Eli Alves, presidente da Comissão de Direito Trabalhista da OAB-SP, lembra que o direito à greve também é garantido na Constituição Federal e diz que a sensação que fica é a de que “o Brasil está sendo alugado para a FIFA, flexibilizando suas próprias regras para fazer a Copa no país”. Martim Sampaio lembra que as greves foram proibidas durante a ditadura militar: “A gente conquistou este direito com o fim da ditadura, muitas vidas foram perdidas neste processo. Não é possível que agora criemos uma ditadura transitória da FIFA”. E convoca: “O único jeito de não deixar esta lei ser aprovada é por pressão popular. A gente tem bons exemplos de que isso funciona como a da lei da ficha limpa. É preciso conquistar a democracia todos os dias”.

Foto de abertura gentilmente cedida por Daniel Kfouri

Notificação de HIV no Brasil passará a ser obrigatória (OESP)

Por Felipe Frazão | Estadão Conteúdo – 11 horas atrás (Yahoo Notícias)

O Ministério da Saúde vai tornar compulsória a notificação de todas as pessoas infectadas com o vírus HIV, mesmo as que não desenvolveram a doença. A portaria ministerial que trata da obrigatoriedade de aviso de todos os casos de detecção do vírus da aids no País deve ser publicada em janeiro.

Atualmente, médicos e laboratórios informam ao Ministério da Saúde apenas os casos de pacientes que possuem o HIV e tenham, necessariamente, manifestado a doença. Os dados serão mantidos em sigilo. Somente as informações de perfil (sem a identificação do nome) poderão ser divulgadas para fins estatísticos.

Hoje, o governo monitora os soropositivos sem aids de maneira indireta. As informações disponíveis são de pessoas que fizeram a contagem de células de defesa nos serviços públicos ou estão cadastradas para receber antirretrovirais pelo Sistema Único de Saúde (SUS). O novo banco de dados será usado para planejamento de políticas públicas de prevenção e tratamento da aids.

“Para a saúde pública é extremamente importante, porque nós vamos poder saber realmente quantas pessoas estão infectadas e o tipo de serviços que vamos precisar”, explica Dirceu Grego, diretor do Departamento de DST, Aids e Hepatites Virais do Ministério da Saúde.

A mudança ocorre quatro meses após o governo anunciar a ampliação do acesso ao tratamento com medicação antirretroviral oferecido pelo SUS. A prescrição passou a ser feita em estágios menos avançados da aids.

Desde então, casais com um dos parceiros soropositivo passaram a ter acesso à terapia em qualquer estágio da doença.

O ministério também recomendou que a droga seja ministrada de forma mais precoce para quem não têm sintomas de aids, mas possui o vírus no organismo – uma tendência na abordagem da doença, reforçada na última Conferência Internacional de Aids, realizada em julho deste ano nos Estados Unidos.

À época, o ministério calculou que o número de brasileiros com HIV fazendo uso dos antirretrovirais aumentaria em 35 mil. Atualmente, são cerca de 220 mil pacientes com aids.

Outras 135 mil pessoas, estima o governo, têm o HIV, mas não sabem. Elas estão no foco da mudança na obrigatoriedade de notificação, porque não foram ainda diagnosticadas. Segundo Grego, essas pessoas devem ser incorporadas ao tratamento. Assim como ocorre quando os pacientes são diagnosticados com aids, caberá aos médicos e laboratórios avisar ao ministério sobre a descoberta de pessoas infectadas – os soropositivos. As informações são do jornal O Estado de S.Paulo.

Legislated to Health? If People Don’t Take Their Health Into Their Own Hands, Governments May Use Policies to Do It for Them (Science Daily)

ScienceDaily (Aug. 31, 2012) — Obesity rates in North America are a growing concern for legislators. Expanded waistlines mean rising health-care costs for maladies such as diabetes, heart disease and some cancers. One University of Alberta researcher says that if people do not take measures to get healthy, they may find that governments will throw their weight into administrative measures designed to help us trim the fat.

Nola Ries of the Faculty of Law’s Health Law and Science Policy Group has recently published several articles exploring potential policy measures that could be used to promote healthier behaviour. From the possibility of zoning restrictions on new fast-food outlet locations, mandatory menu labels, placing levies on items such as chips and pop or offering cash incentives for leading a more healthy and active lifestyle, she says governments at all levels are looking to adopt measures that will help combat both rising health-care costs and declining fitness levels. But she cautions that finding a solution to such a widespread, complex problem will require a multi-layered approach.

“Since eating and physical activity behaviour are complex and influenced by many factors, a single policy measure on its own is not going to be the magic bullet,” said Ries. “Measures at multiple levels — directed at the food and beverage industry, at individuals, at those who educate and those who restrict — must work together to be effective.”

Junk-food tax: A lighter wallet equals a lighter you?

Ries notes that several countries have already adopted tax measures against snack foods and beverages, similar to “sin taxes” placed on alcohol and tobacco. Although Canada has imposed its GST on various sugary and starchy snacks (no tax is charged on basic groceries such as meats, vegetables and fruits), Ries points to other countries such as France and Romania, where the tax rate is much higher. She says taxing products such as sugar-sweetened beverages would likely not only reduce consumption (and curb some weight gain) if the tax is high enough, but also provide a revenue stream to combat the problem on other levels.

“Price increases through taxation do help discourage consumption of ‘sin’ products, especially for younger and lower-income consumers,” said Ries. “Such taxes would provide a source of government revenue that could be directed to other programs to promote healthier lifestyles.”

Warning: This menu label may make you eat healthier

Ries notes that prevailing thought says putting nutrition-value information where consumers can see it will enable them to make better food choices. She says many locales in the United States have already implemented mandatory menu labelling. Even though some studies say menu labels do not have a significant impact on consumer behaviour, nutrition details might help some people make more informed eating choices.

“Providing information is less coercive than taxation and outright bans, so governments should provide information along with any other more restrictive measure,” said Ries. “If a more coercive policy is being implemented, it’s important for citizens to understand the rationale for it.”

Coaxing our way to good health?

Ries notes that some programs designed to create more active citizens, such as the child fitness tax credit, do not seem to have the desired effect. Yet, she says that offering incentives for living healthier and exercising more may have a greater impact on getting people active. She points to similar programs used for weight loss and smoking cessation, which had a positive effect on behaviour change, at least in the short term. More work needs to be done to establish an enticement plan with longer-term effects, one that may incorporate points accumulated for healthy types of behaviour that could be redeemed for health- and fitness-related products and services. She says investing money into more direct incentive programs may be more effective than messages that simply give general advice about healthy lifestyles.

“Instead of spending more money on educational initiatives to tell people what they already know — like eat your greens and get some exercise — I suggest it’s better to focus on targeted programs that help people make and sustain behaviour change,” said Ries. “Financial incentive programs are one option; the question there is how best to target such programs and to design them to support long-term healthy behaviour.”