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Beyer Calls for Action to Address National Security Threats from Climate Change

by: lowkell

Wed Jul 29, 2015 at 19:27:46 PM EDT

From Rep. Don Beyer's office; I really appreciate his leadership on the #1 issue facing humanity. 

July 29, 2015 (Washington, DC) – Congressman Don Beyer released the following statement in response to the Department of Defense (DoD) Report on the National Implications of Climate Change:


“Today’s report from the Defense Department is another emphatic statement that climate change is not only real, but is a national security threat," said Rep. Don Beyer. "Sea level rise, drought and severe weather, natural disasters, food insecurity, and competition for scarce resources jeopardize our security, here and abroad. Unless we commit now to addressing this problem, we risk catalyzing conflict and adding to instability around the globe. The DoD recognizes the severity of this crisis - it is time for Congress to do the same.”


The report finds that climate change is a security risk, Pentagon officials said, because it degrades living conditions, human security and the ability of governments to meet the basic needs of their populations.  The DoD found that “global climate change will have wide ranging implications for U.S. national security interests over the foreseeable future because it will aggravate existing problems.” Communities and states that already are fragile and have limited resources are significantly more vulnerable to disruption and far less likely to respond effectively and be resilient to new challenges, they added.


“The Department of Defense's primary responsibility is to protect national security interests around the world,” officials said in a news release announcing the report’s submission. “This involves considering all aspects of the global security environment and planning appropriately for potential contingencies and the possibility of unexpected developments both in the near and the longer terms.”


Find more information on the DoD’s report on the security implications of climate change here and here. 

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Redistricting Compromise: What Are Howell and Norment Afraid Of?

by: lowkell

Wed Jul 29, 2015 at 16:01:16 PM EDT

From DPVA. I'd say we know what they're afraid of.

House Speaker Bill Howell and Majority Leader Tommy Norment rejected a meeting with Governor Terry McAuliffe yesterday to compromise on a deal to set the state’s congressional elections map. 

The congressional map needs significant changes to alleviate the Supreme Court's issues and to better comply with the principles of equal representation and geographic balance that are essential to democracy. Forging a map early, as Governor McAuliffe suggested, would save taxpayers money and increase transparency in the process.

But Howell and Norment decided to play politics instead of doing what's best for Virginians. 

"Hiding under the bed isn't going to fix Virginia's racially-gerrymandered congressional map -- but bipartisan leadership will. Good things happen when leaders get together to make public policy decisions in good faith and we can do that with congressional redistricting," said Morgan Finkelstein, Press Secretary at the Democratic Party of Virginia. "We can only assume that Howell and Norment are simply hoping to stall until the last minute in order to preserve as much of their gerrymandered map as possible."
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Video: Janet Oleszek Says John Cook is "Passionate About UNDERFunding Education"

by: lowkell

Wed Jul 29, 2015 at 11:22:59 AM EDT

The headline refers to a great line by Janet Oleszek at a fundraiser last night in McLean (see video below), regarding just one of the reasons why current Fairfax County (Braddock District) Supervisor John Cook (R) needs to be shown the exit door this November. Janet added that John Cook is a seriously "flawed public official" who, "time and again...has benefited taking cases in which he has a clear conflict of interest...This is unacceptable for a public servant and I will introduce ethics legislation at once to ban this practice." Finally, Janet noted that John Cook had done a poll to find out if voters wanted their Supervisor to work with the School Board or "act as a check on it." Need any more reasons to vote John Cook out of office this November? Go Janet! :)

P.S. For video of Tim Kaine speaking last night, click here.

Discuss :: (1 Comments)

Strike While the Donald is Hot

by: Andy Schmookler

Tue Jul 28, 2015 at 15:02:18 PM EDT

Today's Republican Party is a disgrace like nothing ever seen before at center stage of American politics.  From 2001 to 2009, it gave us the most lawless presidency in the history of the nation, and then from 2009 till now, it has given us the most obstructionist opposition party the nation has seen. Unprecedented, for a major American political party, in how consistently it is damaging the nation.

For well over a decade, this should have been the main topic of our national conversation.

No, let me correct that: Had the Democrats made it the main topic of our national conversation earlier, the dark force that has taken over the Republican Party would not still need to be brought to the attention of the American people. Calling it out forcefully enough would have either driven out this dark force from the one-time "Grand Old Party," or have driven that Party into oblivion.

But the Democrats have been weak, and have never pressed the battle. And the combination of Republican destructiveness and Democratic weakness has been a disaster for America.

Today's rise of Donald Trump gives the Democrats, and Liberal America generally, an unusually good opportunity to launch the long-needed attack on the Republican Party for the morally degraded force that it has become.

That opportunity arises from two factors.

First, Trump has thrown the Republican Party into disarray. Most of the time - largely because of the weakness and passivity of the Democratic Party - the Republicans have been able to control their narrative. But, with Trump lobbing his attention-getting rhetorical bombs and dominating virtually every news cycle, the Republicans are caught up in a story beyond their control. This leaves them weakened, distracted, disjointed -- generally less able to fight back in a cohesive way.

So strike while the Donald is hot.

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National and Virginia News Headlines: Wednesday Morning

by: lowkell

Wed Jul 29, 2015 at 06:23:47 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Wednesday, July 29. Also see the video of Sen. Tim Kaine speaking last night at an event for Janet Oleszek's Fairfax County Board campaign against Republican John Cook. According to Kaine, "you will make people happier or madder in local government than anywhere get measured by your results, not your slogans." On the other hand, you have the ability to counter voter cynicism by "being a good listener and trying to solve [people's] problems" while "helping your community." Finally, Kaine said there's a "night-and-day difference" between Janet Oleszek and John Cook when it comes to support for schools, teachers, education.

*US dentist accused of killing Cecil the lion 'upset' as hunter becomes hunted ("As Zimbabwean police say he faces poaching charges, Minnesota dentist Walter Palmer faces furious criticism on social media." He needs to be in jail for a long time, as do all people who do these heinous things.)
*Despite gains, Obama's work in Africa unfinished
*Sarah Palin would be welcome in a Trump administration, the billionaire says (Hahahahaha.)
*Fox lowers threshold for early debate ("The change serves to guarantee the presence of candidates such as Lindsey Graham and Carly Fiorina.")
*GOP introduces legislation to defund Planned Parenthood
*The People Trying To Destroy Planned Parenthood Have A New Plan: Gross You Out
*New Report Reveals The Severe Economic Impacts Climate Change Will Have In The South
*Republican Presidential Candidate Speaks Out On Marital Rape ("Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson on Tuesday denounced Donald Trump's lawyer's assertion that 'you cannot rape your spouse,' a defense the attorney made against allegations that Trump raped his former wife.")
*Va. Republicans reject McAuliffe's request for redistricting meeting ("The Democratic governor said striking a deal ahead of deadline would save taxpayers money" Since when do Republicans care about saving taxpayers money?)
*Third Planned Parenthood video prompts renewed call for Va. probe ("Republicans put more pressure on McAuliffe and Herring after an antiabortion group's latest effort.")
*Schapiro: Special elections as an alternate reality. ("In Fairfax, potential targets include members of the House Republican leadership - Dave Albo, chairman of the judge-selecting Courts Committee, and Tim Hugo, head of the House GOP caucus. Another Fairfax Republican on Democratic turf is Jim LeMunyon. In Loudoun, there's Randy Minchew and Tag Greason. In Prince William and environs, Republicans include Bob Marshall, among the House's most outspoken conservatives; Scott Lingamfelter; Rich Anderson; and Jackson Miller. Even Speaker Bill Howell's district in Stafford may be shaky.")
*Virginia leaders launch multifaceted initiative for job growth
*McAuliffe: Tired of waiting on deal to rework port's $1 billion-plus lease
*The new Jamestown relic that could rewrite history
*Virginia home sales record strongest second quarter in seven years
*Backlash over boxes: Intent questioned on voter registration form edits
*By withholding jail video, Fairfax County sends a message that it opposes accountability (Inexcusable.)
*Wind turbine foes file lawsuit against Botetourt County (This needs to be thrown out of court.)
*Fairfax board votes to move forward on Seven Corners redevelopment
*Peninsula-area pastors discuss race, community issues
*Nats get Papelbon from Phillies; Storen will move to setup role
*D.C. area forecast: Still sweaty with a chance of storms tomorrow

Discuss :: (5 Comments)

Cuccinelli Wrong Again, This Time on Iran; Top Comments on His FB Page Unsurprisingly Appalling

by: lowkell

Tue Jul 28, 2015 at 13:52:11 PM EDT

Seriously, is Ken Cuccinelli ever right about anything? Apparently not. Even worse are the ugliness he attracts, and brings out, to his extremist demagoguery. For instance, the top comments on Cooch's Facebook page to this post are as follows.

*23 likes: "Why would a deal like this include money being given to Iran? Logically, a deal should say that they will not do so and so, period. Money being given to foreign nations, borrowed from China, is the true death of our nation."


*13 likes: "Some well placed nukes will make for a short war. Sounds harsh but I would rather that than waste our men in the sand over there fighting these lunatics."

Just another day on Ken Cuccinelli's Facebook page, basically. Recall that a few weeks ago, we wrote about the top comment on his post on immigration stating, "illegal immigrant families deserve a ride to the border and if they come back they deserve a bullet." Again,why is it that Cooch attracts despicable people like this? And why is it that Cooch isn't atypical of many Republicans these days, from Mike Huckabee to Ted Cruz to E.W. Jackson to...we could go on all day? As Andy Schmookler writes in his new book, the "political right - and its political arm, the Republican Party - has become an extraordinarly destructive force in the American body politics," one that's "more consistently destructive and dishonest than anything seen before at center state of American politics (except perhaps for the decade leading up to the Civil War." No argument here; the question is what's the rest of America doing to stop this lunacy?

Discuss :: (2 Comments)

National and Virginia News Headlines: Tuesday Morning

by: lowkell

Tue Jul 28, 2015 at 06:24:54 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Tuesday, July 28. Also check out Jon Stewart taking on Mike Huckabee for his latest offensive insanity.

*Editors' Note: Clinton Email Coverage (Massive #FAIL by the New York Times...)
*The GOP is just this screwed: Donald Trump, immigration and the Republicans' massive rebranding failure ("New polling shows how the GOP can't win on immigration: The base really wants deportations, but no one else does")
*Jewish groups react to Mike Huckabee's 'oven' remarks
*Boy Scouts lift ban on openly gay adult leaders
*Ex-Wife: Donald Trump Made Me Feel 'Violated' During Sex (Yep, Trump is as horrible as we all thought he was...)
*McCarthy: House will not vote on Senate's highway funding bill ("McCarthy's declaration that the House will not be 'taking up the Senate bill' means a short-term extension is the only way to prevent a lapse in federal infrastructure funding at the end of the week.")
*Hillary Clinton Refuses to Take a Position on the Keystone Pipeline
*Mitch McConnell summons restive Republicans for 'combative' sitdown
*Push to Reduce Sentencing Laws Gains Momentum
*Poll: Va. voters split on Confederate flag plates, give McAuliffe 50% approval rating
*Editorial: Virginia will prove a 2016 battleground (Ya think?)
*Proposed changes to Virginia voter registration stirs fears among GOP (Because the more people vote, the more Democrats win!)
*Our view: The governor and the pipeline ("When Gov. Terry McAuliffe was in town recently, he tried to brush aside questions about one of the big topics in this part of the state - the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline.")
*A Times-Mirror conversation with Sen. Mark Warner
*So Long, Bacons Rebellion (Super-environmentalist Peter Galuszka definitely didn't belong at a Dominion-sponsored blog.)
*Fairfax police refuse information to father of police shooting victim David Masters
*Elbowing Chesapeake neighbors
*D.C. area forecast: Heat, humidity continue with bigger storm chances late week

Discuss :: (1 Comments)

E.W. Jackson Not Pleased with President Obama Calling Himself "Kenyan-American"

by: lowkell

Mon Jul 27, 2015 at 20:03:32 PM EDT

I'm kinda curious, was E.W. Jackson angry at President Reagan when he spoke in Ireland in 1984 and said, "I'm certainly proud to be part of that great Irish American tradition...My roots in Ballyporeen, County Tipperary, are little different than millions of other Americans who find their roots in towns and counties all over the Isle of Erin?" Did Jackson think that Reagan was a "divider" not a "uniter?" Was he offended at Reagan's frequent references to being Irish-American? Somehow, I doubt it.

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Video: Top VA GOP Donor Pat Robertson Not Sure Why God Didn't Kill SCOTUS Justices Over Roe v Wade

by: lowkell

Mon Jul 27, 2015 at 12:47:01 PM EDT

Just remember, Robertson has donated $725,000 to Virginia Republicans over the years, including $5,000 this year to corrupt State Sen. Frank Wagner (R-Dominion Power). Lovely, eh?

Discuss :: (1 Comments)

National and Virginia News Headlines: Monday Morning

by: lowkell

Mon Jul 27, 2015 at 06:14:05 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Monday, July 27. Also, as Hillary Clinton says: "Climate change is an urgent challenge that threatens all of us. The United States is already taking steps to invest in our clean energy future, but we need to do more. We need to take bold action to combat climate change, create jobs, protect the health of American families and communities, and make the United States the world's clean energy superpower."

*Pact would ramp up U.S.-led air war in Syria
*Senate Resurrection of Export-Import Bank Goes to Divided House
*Senate smackdown: Ted Cruz, Mike Lee efforts squelched by leaders (Good, Cruz and Lee are wild-eyed extremists who badly need to be smacked down by Republican leadership.)
*Hillary Clinton rolls out climate agenda (I may write more about this later, but basically there's good stuff in there, combined with a bunch of vague language. It also could have been MUCH more ambitious, given the tremendous advances in clean energy technology and cost the past few years.)
*Obamacare repeal vote fails in Senate
*If You Can't Beat Trump, Join Him: Huckabee Delivers Most Outrageous Line Of 2016 (Disgusting.)
*Donald Trump And The Extraordinary Vapidness Of Political Punditry
*NBC/Marist Polls Show Donald Trump Running Strong in Iowa, NH
*Ken Cuccinelli Says 'Black Lives Matter' Insults White People
*Richmond Times-Dispatch Editorial: GOP is becoming a know-nothing caucus
*A failing bay cleanup ("Leaders cannot afford to ignore the catastrophe in the Chesapeake. The EPA also should not let them.")
*Town: Clean Power Plan: The right choice for Southwest Virginia
*Account in Post from Iraq War veteran prompts Fairfax police inquiry
*Fairfax grand jury investigating John Geer police shooting begins Monday
*Arlington's high-rise downtown Rosslyn is about to rise higher
*Rise in Richmond property values prompts talk of lowering tax rate
*Ross and Taylor shine, but Pirates get best of Nats in series-deciding 3-1 win
*D.C. area forecast: A steamy week with a chance of storms to start

Discuss :: (8 Comments)

Schmookler's New Book Takes Aim at Liberals' "Extraordinary Weakness" in Face of Right-Wing Threat

by: lowkell

Sun Jul 26, 2015 at 11:58:02 AM EDT

Blue Virginia readers are, presumably highly familiar with Andy Schmookler's fundamental thesis about America today: 1) that the "political right - and its political arm, the Republican Party - has become an extraordinarly destructive force in the American body politic"; and 2) that "the political left...and its political arm, the Democratic Party, has shown extraodinary weakness in the face of the threat posed to the nation by that destructive force." Andy has also written extensively on this subject at The Huffington Post, Daily Kos, and elsewhere. Now, Andy skillfully pulls it all together into highly readable paperback book form, in What We're Up Against: The Destructive Force at Work in Our World - And How We Can Defeat It. Andy sent me an advance, review copy, which I've just finished reading. Other than strongly recommending that people  read it, here are a few thoughts and questions in no particular order.

*I'm not a huge fan of the word "evil," as I believe it's has far too much baggage - religious, etc. - and can be offputting (although Andy does a strong job or arguing why it's an important and necessary word to use, not in a religious but in a secular context). Personally, perhaps given my background in social psychology and the broader social sciences, I prefer Andy's discussion of the right in America as a force for "brokenness" - dishonesty, environmental destruction, inequality, conflict, hostility to knowledge and empiricism, an increasingly unrestrained corporate takeover of our (soon-to-be-former?) democracy, etc.

*Andy's approach is highly intellectual (he contrasts it with the emotional approach embodied in the book, "Uncle Tom's Cabin," which can be argued stirred Northerners to increased anti-slavery activism and even helped trigger the Civil War), although well written and suffused with passionate intensity, yet I do wonder if this book will find an audience in liberal America (I hope it does; it certainly will NOT be read by those on the right). I went back and looked through Andy's postings at The Huffington Post and Daily Kos, in particular, and found very little discussion stimulated. Perhaps even worse, as Andy himself notes in his book, what discussion DID occur wasn't really on point, "almost always ignored the larger assertions within each piece and focused instead on the most immediate and concrete points," simply didn't light the "fire" Andy was aiming to ignite. The questions are: a) why was that; and b) is there any chance of this situation changing? I don't really have the answers to either of those questions.

*Andy certainly takes a shot at what he calls the "abdication of the press," arguing that the media has ignored "one of the biggest stories in American history" - "the rise to power of a force more consistently destructive and dishonest than anything seen before at center state of American politics (except perhaps for the decade leading up to the Civil War)." I wish Andy had delved more into this issue, for instance looking at why the media has abdicated its role, resorting instead to mindless, cowardly, and ultimately flat-out false "both sides" "reporting" - because I think it's extremely important as well as a continuing, serious problem (e.g., just this morning Chuck Todd allowed vicious racist, anti-Semite and homophobe Pat Buchanan on his show --for the "conservative" point of view, presumably? Still, WTF?).

*Instead, Andy spends a great deal of time and effort in this book laying out the concepts of "wholeness," "brokenness," "evil as a force," the Republican Party as a "pure case" of that "evil," the "weakening of the cultural 'immune system' that has allowed evil to advance," the "failure of the rest of the American body respond appropriately," etc.
*While Andy believes to his core that the Republican Party and the "evil force" it represents must be firmly and relentlessly confronted, he argues that he does not - and the rest of us should not - have any "malice" towards the "broken" individuals in that party, but more a feeling of "compassion" towards them, a spirit of "with malice towards none," quoting President Lincoln from his second inaugural address.

*As for America's liberals, the people who Andy aims his book at, I sense a combination of frustration, exasperation and a bit of hope that with the right message, presumably delivered by the right messenger in an effective way, liberal Americans can be roused to action against the "evil force." For now, though, Andy laments that liberal Americans simply are "blind" (willfully or otherwise) to the evil; the problem being, of course, that "can't hit what you can't (or won't) see," as Andy puts it.  

There's More... :: (5 Comments, 651 words in story)

100 Days Out: Virginia Democrats In Strong Position, Hold Weekend of Action [PHOTOS]

by: lowkell

Sun Jul 26, 2015 at 12:41:57 PM EDT

From the DPVA:

DPVA Weekend of Action

Virginia is inside of 100 days until voters head to the polls for all 140 seats in the General Assembly. To mark the occasion, Virginia Democrats participated in a Weekend of Action, canvassing thousands of doors across the Commonwealth. This enthusiasm is one of the many assets Democrats have moving into the fall. Here's the lay of the land for the next 100 days:
  • Democrats have a significant fundraising advantage, with Common Good VA and the DPVA outraising Republicans by a factor of 15:1. This has allowed for the strategic investment of resources early on.
  • Over the next 100 days, we will continue to outpace them.
  • Democrats have built the biggest field program ever seen in a non-statewide election year. Volunteers have contacted a large percentage of the electorate through tens of thousands of door-knocks and phone calls.
  • Over the next 100 days, we will continue to implement the most targeted, aggressive voter contact program in a state legislative cycle.
  • Republican candidates are weak with extremist baggage.  Democrats want to build on the progress made by Governor Terry McAullife in growing jobs and building a new Virginia economy. The Republican agenda is to stand in the way of progress, prevent 400,000 Virginians from receiving health care we've already paid for, and enact extreme attacks on women's health care.
  • Over the next 100 days, Democrats will ensure voters understand the choices they face.
"In just 100 days, voters across Virginia will face a choice. Elect Democrats who will partner with our Governor to create jobs and build a new Virginia economy -- or elect extremist Republicans who are distracted by divisive partisan battles or in the pockets of special interests," said Democratic Party of Virginia Chairwoman Susan Swecker. "A Democratic State Senate will work to create jobs, expand health care for all, take commonsense steps to make communities safer, and ensure every Virginia woman receives equal pay for equal work."

Photos from the Weekend of Action HERE, photo credit Democratic Party of Virginia.


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National and Virginia News Headlines: Sunday Morning

by: lowkell

Sun Jul 26, 2015 at 06:19:01 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Sunday, July 26. With regard to the video, I continue to have mixed feelings about progressives going on right-wing shows: a) it IS a chance to debunk their lies; b) in the case of Mark Levine, he does a great job; but c) it also legitimizes the right-wing shows, as if there really are two equivalent sides in the debate; and d) the hosts of these shows frame the entire debate in a wildly biased way (e.g., in this case, the nonsense about a "number of accusations and scandals going on" regarding Hillary Clinton; in fact, these are all right-wing-echo-chamber-imagined "scandals" that exist only in their fevered imaginations.)

*In Kenya, Obama Is Upbeat but With Notes of Discord
*Obama, Kenyatta clash on gay rights in Kenya
*Republican Support for Trump Surges but his Unfavorable Ratings are Also Rising
*Trump launches offensive against Walker
*Hillary Clinton denies sending classified info from private server
*Factory farming is killing the planet: Why the meat industry's future needs to look more like its past (It's an abomination in every way.)
*Obama Administration Targets Trade in African Elephant Ivory
*Schapiro: McAuliffe not completing term? Fuhgettaboutit! ("Richmond's chattering classes muse over an improbable and - for Democrats - dangerous scenario: That McAuliffe quits as governor for a position in a Hillary Clinton White House.")
*McAuliffe PAC posts big numbers from out-of-state donors
*Justice Dept.: Virginia ignored court order on funding for the disabled
*Lesson learned in public-private deals: Be careful
*Voter turnout in Tuesday's special election less than 5 percent
*Nationals top Pirates in Anthony Rendon's return from disabled list
*D.C. area forecast: Staying toasty, turning up the humidity

Discuss :: (6 Comments)

What's Taking Over America

by: Andy Schmookler

Sat Jul 25, 2015 at 10:38:24 AM EDT

[This is running as an op/ed in newspapers in my part of Virginia.]

We, the people of the United States, are losing control of our destiny to an untrustworthy power.

It stands to reason that if money can buy political power, whoever has the most money will rule. The Supreme Court's Citizens United decision took us a long way down that path.  A recent study confirms that what the people want has almost no effect on political outcomes while moneyed interests have considerable influence.

If America is to be ruled by whoever commands the most money, it will be the corporate system, far more than individual billionaires, that calls the shots. This corporate system does not operate the same as a human being, and it is more than the sum of individual corporations, or even of whole industries.

Each powerful corporation and industry seeks to get government to serve its special interests - as in the subsidies given to oil and coal companies. But the corporate world has substantial common interests. Those who operate the system recognize those common interests and act to serve them.

It is in their interest to have a citizenry that distrusts the one power that might rival the power of the corporate world - the government. And the corporate system has worked to foment such distrust.

The history of how the United States came to have five justices on the Supreme Court hand down a decision like Citizens United - opening the floodgates for the rule of money - shows how the system can work over time to make our government its tool. It takes some doing to get five men onto the Supreme Court willing to say , with a straight face, "We now conclude that independent expenditures, including those made by corporations, do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption."

Likewise, it shows the power of the corporate system that today's Democratic president and Republican-controlled Congress are moving toward passing a trade bill that Nobel-laureate economist Joseph Stiglitz calls "a secret corporate takeover." That bill would take powers from our elected government and our legal system and hand them to a corporate-controlled panel. Regulation of economic activity could become so costly to governments at every level that the corporate system would be freed of some basic restraints.

Not just stealing the people's power over our democracy but also stealing power away from the democratic system itself.

There's More... :: (0 Comments, 322 words in story)

Jim Webb: Sandra Bland's Death Shows Why Criminal Justice Reform "must be a top priority"

by: lowkell

Sat Jul 25, 2015 at 10:33:14 AM EDT

Anyone reading this blog the past few years knows that I won't be supporting Jim Webb for President, for a variety of reasons, first and foremost his refusal to confront the existential threat of global climate chaos in a serious way. However, when it comes to desperately-needed reform of our criminal justice system, I'm very much on the same page as Webb. For instance, see his Facebook post this morning (bolding added by me), which I enthusiastically endorse. Thank you to Jim Webb for his continued leadership on this issue; now Congress needs to act!
I have great respect for the professionals in our law enforcement community who work tirelessly, day in and day out, to maintain order in our communities and to ensure our safety. This is often dangerous, thankless work. At the same time it is clear that prison administration is in dire need of greater training and skill methods to address the needs of those who are mentally ill.

I don't like to categorize, but we can put the entire population into two groups: Those who think the criminal-justice system desperately needs to be fixed, and those who haven't been paying attention. Hopefully, through highlighting the tragic loss of Ms. Sandra Bland, the first group will grow.

We must face the fact our prison systems are becoming warehouses for the mentally ill, without providing adequate training for those who are required to administer the systems.

Despite improvements in many systems nationwide, America's criminal justice system has deteriorated to the point that it is a national disgrace. Its irregularities and inequities cut against the notion that we are a nation of fundamental fairness.

Ms. Bland's death while in custody is another example of why reform of our entire criminal justice system must be a top priority for the next administration. I am speaking of reform from the point of apprehension all the way through how we release people from prison.

There's More... :: (0 Comments, 205 words in story)
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