‘Sinister’ seniors…

Aug 24, 2018

The Star Vancouver – Melanie Green
Meet the self-described ‘sinister seniors’ taking a stand against Trans Mountain — and going to jail for it

Tired of being retired and just old without worthy pursuits?  Here’s an alternative growth opportunity for you! Sachiko Charlotte Gyoba was born in 1943 in the Japanese internment camp of New Denver, in southeastern British Columbia, in a tar paper shack.  She, and four other ladies, all senior citizens, went to jail for a week for contempt of court in defying the Trans Mountain Pipeline extension.  “It was like déjà vu when I was handcuffed. I had a sense of what my parents were going through with this injustice,” the retired teacher explained in an interview. “What I had done was so peaceful and so ultimately mundane.”  There have been more than 220 people arrested, a third of whom are over the age of 60, according to the crown prosecutor.  “The rising opposition to the pipeline has been largely generational,” said one of four, Susan  Lambert, a 68-year-old grandmother, and retired president of the BC Teachers Federation. “In fact,” she said, she told her own children to refrain from protesting. “It’s going to be a long, hard struggle,” she explained. “(Our generation) made the mess, not my kids. (And) we have the time.”    https://www.thestar.com/vancouver/2018/08/20/meet-the-self-described-sinister-seniors-taking-a-stand-against-trans-mountain-and-going-to-jail-for-it.html

Aljazeera (US News) – The Stream
Why are US prisoners going on strike? – Inmates set to hold work stoppages, hunger strikes, and sit-in protests in massive nationwide action.

The strike started yesterday and will go on for 20 days.  The focus is on the poor wages paid for prison work and the shadow of slavery that hangs over the prison operations while any number of private agencies and industries profit generously from that labour, including the government operating agencies.  A prominent target of the strike is the enabling constitutional and legislation which allows prisoners to be forced labourers without any safety precautions or employment law applicable.  The link is to a 36 minute report with interviews of both experts and victims of the system.  http://stream.aljazeera.com/story/201808211121-0025698   Related article: Halifax Coast – Jacob Boon Burnside prison “operating as usual” despite inmate protest – Department of justice refutes claims made by prisoners about rehabilitation programs and food quality  https://www.thecoast.ca/RealityBites/archives/2018/08/23/burnside-prison-operating-as-usual-despite-inmate-protest

ACLU (US) – Janos Marton
The Nationwide Prison Strike: Why it’s happening and What It Means for Ending Mass Incarceration

The report from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) offers a broader assessment of why the strike is happening and what prompts the purposes.  While the notion of low or no pay for forced work is an element, Marton says that the focus is a series of 10 demands around the prison conditions and the impact of mass incarceration, especially the recent deaths and violence in various prisons.  None of the 10 demands, says Marton, are new.  The word ‘strike’ enters when the inmates refuse to report to their normal work stations.  A little known right under protest is the refusal to allow a convicted felon the right to participate in elections by removing the right to vote, even after release.  https://www.aclu.org/blog/smart-justice/mass-incarceration/nationwide-prison-strike-why-its-happening-and-what-it-means?redirect=blog/nationwide-prison-strike-why-its-happening-and-what-it-means-ending-mass-incarceration  Related article:  Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee  Prison Strike 2018: 10 Demands  https://incarceratedworkers.org/campaigns/prison-strike-2018   Related article: The Marshall Project – Robin Washington  A Former Warden’s View on Prison Strikes  https://www.themarshallproject.org/2018/08/22/a-former-warden-s-view-on-prison-strikes?utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=sprout&utm_source=twitter   (This link offers a number of articles on many related matters.)  Related article: The Marshall Project – Jennifer Rae Taylor   Jim Crow’s Lasting Legacy At the Ballot Box: Denying voting rights to people with felony   https://www.themarshallproject.org/2018/08/20/jim-crow-s-lasting-legacy-at-the-ballot-box?utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=sprout&utm_source=twitter     CBC News: Stephen Davis  Convicted drug dealer faced ‘oppressive’ conditions inside Toronto jail, judge rules –  Judge cites frequent lockdowns, poor treatment as reasons to free Robert Duncan  https://www.cbc.ca/amp/1.4795277?__twitter_impression=true   Related article: Senate of Canada Committee on Human Rights – Photo essay: Inside Canada’s West Coast prisons  https://sencanada.ca/en/sencaplus/news/photo-essay-inside-canadas-west-coast-prisons/  Related article: John Howard Society of Canada – Financial facts on Canadian prisons  http://johnhoward.ca/blog/financial-facts-canadian-prisons/    Related article: The Guardian (UK- US Desk) –  Ed Pilkington in N.Y.  Major prison strike spreads across US and Canada as inmates refuse food    https://amp.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/aug/23/prison-strike-us-canada-forced-labor-protest-activism?__twitter_impression=true  Related article: The Spectator (UK) – Will Heaven   Our prisons crisis is far greater than HMP Birmingham https://www.spectator.co.uk/2018/08/our-jails-crisis-is-even-worse-than-weve-been-told/amp/?__twitter_impression=true

 The Marshall Project – Anna Flagg
The Myth of the Criminal Immigrant

Flagg addresses the question about if immigrants / refugees bring crime to the US and concludes that this problem exists only in the imagination of Americans, who believe (at least almost half the population says Gallop) that the reports are true.  Flagg takes the most recent multi-source university study to illustrate the role of imagination in the charge.  The study involved areas with recorded increases in immigrant population and compared crime stats before and after the immigrants came.  The top ten immigrant areas all recorded a drop in the violent crime rate.  The focus is driven by the Iowa murder of Molly Tibbetts by a migrant worker.  https://www.themarshallproject.org/2018/03/30/the-myth-of-the-criminal-immigrant  Related article:  CNN – Eric Levenson  Mollie Tibbetts autopsy finds that she died by ‘multiple sharp force injuries’   https://www.cnn.com/2018/08/23/us/mollie-tibbetts-autopsy/index.html

Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC)
The dangerous myth of ‘white genocide’ in South Africa – Narratives about a fictitious campaign to exterminate Afrikaners have the power to produce real violence

The Center, a reputable monitor of the law, poverty and Black people in the Southern US, has identified US President Trump as the first western politician to voice support for a white nationalist African group, support largely echoing the very propaganda circulated by the far right groups in Africa.  SPLC offers an overview of the inroads made so far by the Suidlanders and the AfriForum.  Among other US political gains, the SPLC, under its Hate Watch, also references a Newsweek article that offered compromised information on these groups.  https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2018/08/23/dangerous-myth-white-genocide-south-africa

Blogger Russell Webster (UK)
Illicit cell phones in prisons:  HMPPS research paints complex picture

Though as common place as dust on the outside, cell phones are an active part of the black market inside prisons.  This blog draws attention to rare research around the presence and use of cell phone inside prisons, focusing on three aspects:  the demand, the type of inmate, and how to best control supply and demand.  Webster referencing a recent study by the government prison system itself. https://mailchi.mp/russellwebster/prisonphones18?e=10ab936adc   HMPPS study:  The demand for and use of illicit phones in prison  (A 69 page downloadable pdf; a study conclusion on p. 55-56) https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/726874/The_demand_for_and_use_of_illicit_phones_in_prison_web_.pdf

CBC News – Susan Noakes
Rich man, poor man: The high-income guy can expect to live 8 years longer – For Canadian women, the difference between rich and poor is much less, just 3 years

83 vs 75 is the difference between the highest and lowest income male;  for women, 86 vs 83.  The study was done with the aid of data from the Canada Pension Plan for those born between 1923 and 1955.  The researchers are quick to add that longevity study of this kind is a first and that longevity is improving across all norms.  https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/longevity-gap-life-expectancy-canada-cd-howe-1.4795121