Pervasive poverty…

Nov 2, 2020

Citizens for Public Justice – Natalie Appleyard
Poverty Trends 2020: Rights & Realities in Canada

Remember when we as a people vowed to end poverty in Canada by 2000?  The link is to a 14 page downloadable pdf that identifies facts and trending around the issue of poverty in Canada in 2020.  The poverty is examined in the context of human rights and speaks of discrepancies between promised rights and real deficiencies in food, education, health, safe and fair employment, safety and security, adequate housing.  The poverty rates are also presented in good graphic format that underlines the findings.   Related article: National Observer – Carl Meyer   Majority want feds to move now on inequality, racism, climate change: poll

Toronto Star: Heather Scoffield
Chrystia Freeland has identified the main obstacle to post-pandemic prosperity. Now what’s she going to do about it?

Here’s the synopsis:  “The finance minister, the head of the Bank of Canada, and the head of public health for the country all agree: our ability to stifle the pandemic and to revive the economy depend a lot on our ability to protect and support low-income Canadians — especially women, especially people of colour. There’s a direct line… But defining the problem only begins to solve it.”

CBC News – Joel Dryden
Outbreak at Calgary jail is a ‘horror show,’ staff union claims, as COVID cases increase to 124 – Union alleges staff wasn’t told to wear full PPE until a week after outbreak started

The news story is alarming in that 124 people – 104 prisoners and 20 staff – fully 60% of the jail have tested positive for the Covid-19 virus.  Besides the tension and high anxiety, the prisoners are short term – this is a provincial jail – and some are in solitary to provide isolation.  The guards’ union alleges that they were late getting protective equipment and that the crisis may have to result in a call-in from other facilities as the shortage of available guards builds.

Philadelphia Inquirer / Herald Mail Media (US) – Samantha Melamed
Philly man held in solitary confinement 33 years must be let off death row, court rules

Ernest Porter has spent 33 years in a 7×12 foot cell on death row (executions stopped in 2003) with one small window, except for 10 hours a week.  The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals has now ruled that the simple fact of the time involved is sufficient to trip the protection of the 8th Amendment’s protection against cruel and unusual punishment.  The court rejected the appeal from the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections:   “It establishes a major circuit court precedent, the first of its kind, holding that the mere fact of somebody spending such a prolonged time in solitary confinement is evidence to rely on in a finding of cruel and unusual punishment,” said Bret Grote of the Abolitionist Law Center, one of Porter’s lawyers. “This puts a significant deterrent on re-imposing these conditions of prolonged solitary confinement.”  Related article: Toronto Star – Murray Fallis  We need a true end to abusive solitary confinement

CBC Gem Documentary –
Conviction – Build communities, not prisons

A 1h18 minute documentary on women in jail as told by the women themselves, a powerful but depressing video that raises endless questions about why this reality exists at all, especially since the crimes are mostly addiction and survival crimes.  The struggle extends into the release and coping with the challenges without the resources and support needed.  “Conviction envisions alternatives to prison through the eyes of women behind bars and those fighting on the front lines of the de-carceration movement.”  (The link presents a free viewing at the price of extensive commercials.)    Related article: The Marshall Project – Chiara Eisner   Prison Is Even Worse When You Have a Disability Like Autism   Related article: Battlefords News Optimist (SK)   Canada’s prison watchdog exposes violence, sexual coercion in prison

The Crime Report (US) – Staff
School-to-Prison Pipeline Still Functions During Pandemic, Advocates Warn

The link offers a commentary on a webinar by the magazine’s parent company and a number of sponsoring NGO featuring two well known experts – Josh Rovner and Amy Borrar.  The session examines the practice of the school to jail pipeline, the use of the courts in school discipline, the predominance of Black children in the system.  The report also comments on the due process and legal defense available to the children by the individual states.

 Berkman Klein Center – Harvard University
Mail-In Voter Fraud: Anatomy of a Disinformation Campaign

A group of Harvard scholars have published an extensive analysis of the growing and common belief that fraud through mail-in ballots is common and could possibly sway the Presidential election.  The presentation offers the current status of such beliefs and an analysis of how so many arrived at even the possibility of such an eventuality.  “Our results are based on analyzing over fifty-five thousand online media stories, five million tweets, and seventy-five thousand posts on public Facebook pages garnering millions of engagements.  They are consistent with our findings about the American political media ecosystem from 2015-2018, published in Network Propaganda, in which we found that Fox News and Donald Trump’s own campaign were far more influential in spreading false beliefs than Russian trolls or Facebook clickbait artists. This dynamic appears to be even more pronounced in this election cycle, likely because Donald Trump’s position as president and his leadership of the Republican Party allow him to operate directly through political and media elites, rather than relying on online media as he did when he sought to advance his then-still-insurgent positions in 2015 and the first half of 2016.”   Related article:  (US)  Alex Ward   Why the risk of post-election violence in the US is higher than at any time in recent memory – Experts note that a polarized country could slip into violence, depending on what happens with the election.   Related article/ video: N.Y. Times Stella Cooper, Evan Hill, Demetriy Khavin, Arielle Ray, and Drew Jordan   I am on your side: How the police gave armed groups a pass in 2020