Reading George Fox

Don’t Let Those Bastards Own the Flag

Calling the atrocities un-American is important. We have dismally fail to live up to our ideals again and again. Thomas Jefferson was a slave owner and a rapist. But his words in the Declaration of Independence are America too. We have done terrible things. We have made a mockery of our rhetoric again and again. We have killed and tortured and raped and slaughtered. We must not let that happen again. We must rise to the challenge of our claim that all men people are created equal. Those who are torturing children do not own the flag. The true patriots are those protesting at the gates. Update 10-13-2018: Was looking back through the blog and noticed the gendered quotation.

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They Cannot Wait

This isn’t the preeminent crisis at the moment, but I wrote a response on the urgency of carceral state reform and thought it worthy to post directly on my blog. The full conversation is here. You are right that we need to work on getting buy in from the rank and file. But even if you’re correct and the system only fails 20% of the time, that’s thousands of innocent people suffering. They shouldn’t have to wait for justice because it’s hard to get the rank and file on board. Also, there will be times when it is simply not possible to convince them. If we reduce the incarceration rate to triple the European average, the majority of prison guards will lose their jobs. They are going to fight hard as hell to keep their livelihood. Or an example from Pennsylvania: if a former prosecutor turned Republican State Senator, multiple rigorous studies, and participating in a five year commission couldn’t convince the DAs to accept reform, the hill is a pretty steep climb. How many people suffered unjustly while we were trying to persuade them? So, at the same time we work within the system, we must also, as Dr.…

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Another Broken System with Good People

@dynamitemoth My unconscious came up with a perhaps less controversial parallel overnight. The American healthcare system is full of hard working, caring people who are truly doing their best. Yet we still spend twice as much as other rich countries while covering less people. The system is structured that often the best option is the emergency room, which is also the most expensive option. Insurance is so complex that patients need to make sure that the doctors treating them are on their plan even when the hospital is.1 A personal example: I was in the psychiatric ward of a well respected and good hospital. However, a private company had recently bought it and was cutting the budget to increase profitably. One weekend there were simply not enough staff. Those who were there were incredibly compassionate and good at their jobs, but there weren’t enough of them and patients ended up taking care of other patients. Which of course triggered us creating a shit show cascade of trauma. There were no evil or incompetent people, yet the situation was terrible. At one of the best hospitals specializing in a specific area of mental health. When the system is broken, the intentions…

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The Carceral State and Good People

@dynamitemoth They have the best of intentions, but it’s within a very flawed system. The reason that plea deals are used so much is prosectorial discretion: they’ll threaten to charge with more serious counts adding up to an incredible amount of years. It then only makes sense not to risk a trial. It’s also hard to believe that 97% of all cases involve a guilty defendent; that would require nigh infallible police and prosecutors. Also, here’s an explanation of how a federal guilty plea works and the absurdity it can become. Prosecutors are also loathe1 to provide evidence of innocence. There’s a ton of pressure of prosecutors to win cases, so they’ll even block the release of clearly innocent people. Expert witnesses and forensic experts are often relied on again and again even without evidence that the science has any basis in fact. There are a ton of incentives for detectives to quickly close cases, so they often settle on the first or second suspect. Police are taught to be overly defensive and often escalate situations. Once a department gets a SWAT team, they find reasons to use it. Military supplies and civil forfeiture create perverse incentives to play with…

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Fouad Dakwar on Being Palestinian

I often put on this act of a fearless fighter when talking about the mistreatment of my people, but tonight I had a direct one-on-one conversation with someone who actively denies the humanity of Palestinians (one of the apparent majority) that resulted in me crying non-stop for thirty minutes straight. It had me wishing I wasn’t Palestinian because I wished I were part of a group that received some sort of empathy from fellow humans. The truth is that being Palestinian is one of the hardest things I will ever go through and that no matter how much hope I am given from peers and emerging humanitarian organizations (particularly American-Jewish ones), I will constantly live with the fear that our narrative will conclude the way the Native American one has now- with genocide of the majority of our people, theft of ALL of our land, and the complete dehumanization of our people in order to do it quickly. We’re on our way there and I don’t know how much more I can ask for help and allyship. If you somehow don’t condemn the current treatment of Palestinians, delete me from your friends list because we are not friends. My friends…

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Three to Four Times

As Hari Ziyad wrote for Afropunk “[t]he news of her hospitalization follows a report by NPR exploring how systematic racism leads to Black mothers in the U.S. dying at three to four times the rate of white mothers. Anti-Blackness truly is unrelenting and multi-faceted, and Erica Garner knew this better than most.” Erica Garner, Eric Garner’s daughter, is in the hospital following a heart attack. She’s only 27.

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Bigotry is Easy

…bigotry is easy and those who cherish it are lazy. Make it difficult and many people may find it more trouble than it’s worth to harass, shame, and otherwise abuse online those different from themselves. Looks like reddit has had some success driving off the bigots.

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Recommended Blogs for 2018

This started out as a response to @colinwalker, but grew beyond that. Some thoughts on interesting blogs to follow in 2018: Letters and Sodas—Great book reviews on a wide range of topics. Balkinization—Looking at politics through a legal lens. Love, Joy, Feminism—A woman who grew up in a Quiverfull family and her journey towards a more liberal view of family, sexuality and the world. Putting the Life Back Into Science Fiction—Looks at the possible consequences of climate change through imagining the future. Tits and Sass—A blog by and about Sex Workers. Field Negro—Politics from an African American Man’s perspective. Warren Throckmorton—An evangelical preacher/psychologist who used to believe you could pray away the gay, but absorbed research and experience that it’s impossible to do so. An important conservative religious voice on the disjunction between evangelicals and the modern world. Feministe—Feminist perspectives on the world today. Looks like I certainly side on the liberal end of things. Perhaps I need more conservative voices in my feeds, but it’s pretty hard today to find ones that engage with reality.

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