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Dodging Decarceration: The Shell Game of ‘Getting Smart’ on Crime

It has taken a long time, far too long, but politicians seem finally to have realized how catastrophically expensive it is for the United States to lock up more people than any other country on the planet. Although most had cared little about how much it would cost their districts when they embraced harsh mandatory minimum sentences, or eliminated the possibility of parole, or further criminalized the public health problems of addiction and mental illness, apparently the economic chickens have now come home to roost.

And, of course, as anyone at all close to the everyday and real workings of our nation’s criminal justice system knows, the costs of mass incarceration are not merely monetary. Yes, it costs billions of dollars to have confined more than 2.4 million people to 1,719 state prisons, 102 federal prisons, 2,259 juvenile correctional facilities, 3,283 local jails and 79 Indian Country jails — as well as in military prisons, immigration detention facilities, civil commitment centers, and prisons in the U.S. territories by 2011. But as important, this level of incarceration has devastated the children, the neighborhoods, the lifetime livelihoods, and even the very health, of the imprisoned themselves.

Managing the Optics: Black Conservative Race Hustlers and the Anti-Immigrant Protests in Murrieta, California

The harassment and poor treatment of the refugee families and children in Murrieta, California by Tea Party militia hooligans and thug nativists is embarrassing. I am not bewildered, although I will confess to being disgusted, by how those who wrap themselves in the flag of American Exceptionalism and tired bromides that “America is the greatest country on Earth!” do not understand that a truly great country offers aid and comfort to those in need.

The 24/7 news media is a circus. The Right-wing echo chamber is the center ring, and is in many ways, the greatest show on Earth. As I wrote here regarding D’Souza’s propaganda piece “America”, and have mentioned many times elsewhere, there is a special role to be played by black and brown people in the Right-wing’s human zoo and freak show.

Black Americans (and other people of color) are loathed by conservatives because conservatism and racism are one in the same thing in the post civil rights era. Black Americans are loved by conservatives when they can be used as part of a political blackface routine or passion play, acting as human proof that white conservatives are not racists because they have a “best black friend” who can vouch for them.

Laverne Cox tears up: ‘My whole life is different’

It’s been an amazing year: the Orange star covered Time magazine, “I got to meet the president, I have an Emmy nomination and I can afford to redecorate my apartment. I have a publicist who connected this call. Everything is different,” she says in amazement.

“My whole life has changed. People recognize me wherever I go. Nothing is the same it was last year,” Cox adds. The actress had just gotten off the phone with her mom, whom she hopes to take as her Emmys date (she first asks when, exactly, the ceremony is).

And Cox credits Jodie Foster, who directed her emotional flashback sequence in season one where her character comes out as transgendered, with her guest-actress nomination (in a comedy).

The Palestinian Resistance Will Not Be Televised!

Let’s make this clear: Palestine has no navy, army or air force; this is not a war, this genocide!

The people of Palestine have been suffering for many years but lets start at 1948 when the British, the United Nations and the Zionist Movement decided to split Palestine and allow the Jewish population to occupy their country through a white supremacist settler model of colonial domination. Did they ask Palestine if this was OK? Of course not. This sparked the Arab/Israeli war and by 1949, Israelis made up 30 percent of the population but occupied 75 percent of the land. As a result, Israel has functioned as a military outpost for U.S. imperialism which has exploited and dominated the middle east for decades. It is important to state that the USA was engaged in warfare with the Soviet Union (Cold War) to combat the idea that communism would suppress the freedom of mankind and ultimately the world would sink into a dark abyss. So the USA fought the soviets for “freedom” while supporting the Israelis in their enslavement of the Palestinians? We could spend days on all the contradictions within the imperialistic countries.

When Conversations about Race Get Reduced to Republican vs. Democrat

For the last 50 years, the Republican Party has been on the forefront of policy and ideas that have been detrimental to African Americans, including the painting of black women as “Welfare Queens,” school zoning laws, mandatory minimums for victimless crimes, and a number of others. In contrast, Democrats have often combatted these initiatives and championed efforts like increases in minimum wage, increased access to healthcare, and more investment in public schools. As a result, the vast majority of African Americans are registered Democrats. In a number of Southern states, the Democratic Party is almost entirely black. As a result, what often occurs in conversations about race is that terms like “Democrat” and “liberal” get thrown around when they are not even really relevant. For example, when Crystal Wright of conservativeblackchick.com called out her fellow Republicans for embracing people like Cliven Bundy, a number of people who typically eat up anything that she says accused her of sounding “like a liberal.” People of this school of thought ignore an array of nuances. First of all, white supremacy and racism existed before either the Republican or Democratic Party. Secondly, there are issues that both parties have not addressed in any meaningful way. Also, being a Democrat does not foreclose the capacity for white supremacist thinking. Finally, pushing back against white supremacy does not automatically signal an allegiance to the Democratic Party.

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