A better way…

Feb 5, 2021

Mountain West News Bureau (US) – Nate Hegyi and Jordan Wirfs-Brock
‘Talking People into Handcuffs’: One Western Town Offers Lessons in Good Policing

Moses Lake is a town of 20,000 in eastern Washington state where the local industry is manufacturing air bags and better policing models.  Kevin Fuhr, the chief of police in Moses Lake, says you have hire right, do intensive training and then continue annual training and monitoring what the officers do.  The training includes de-escalating training what Fuhr calls “talking people into handcuffs.”  https://www.kunc.org/news/2021-02-03/talking-people-into-handcuffs-one-western-town-offers-lessons-in-good-policing  (This article is the fourth of a series sponsored by Public Radio of several western states.)

 CBC News – John Carter
Family members and lawyers alike in the dark as COVID-19 outbreak rages at Milton jail – Province says 116 inmates and 59 staff tested positive for COVID-19 at Maplehurst Correctional Complex

Lawyers and parents, many of whom have not heard from their inmate children for weeks at the Milton Jail, are the source for the concern and the rather stark reality of the Covid-19 problem inside the muted facility.  Alison Craig, a defense lawyer, says that the facility is also overcrowded.  There are, of course, more than just prisoners as victims here:  “What’s frustrating is nobody from the jail gets a hold of you to tell you these things,” she said.  “For a mother or any family member, we’re worried because we’d like to know what’s going on with our loved ones.”  https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/maplehurst-covid-19-outbreak-1.5899357?__vfz=medium%3Dsharebar   Related tweet: Dr. Michael Warner – (Compares the cost of a day in ICU for a Covid-19 patient vs the cost of paid sick leave for front line workers)  https://twitter.com/drmwarner/status/1357152076233646081?s=03   WGBH (Public Radio in Boston) – Carrie Saldo    Massachusetts Corrections Dept. Offers Shorter Sentences To Inmates In Exchange For COVID-19 Shot  https://www.wgbh.org/news/local-news/2021/02/03/mass-corrections-dept-offers-shorter-sentences-to-inmates-in-exchange-for-covid-19-shot  (one week remission for vaccination, later cancelled by the state governor)

Twitter from Erica Michelle (Minnesota, US)
Mental health care for doctors…

The pandemic is uncovering a number of concerns around the services of the front line personnel but this is a first whiff of a more serious concern around the medical services the public receives and the care of the physicians who deliver that service.  The personal experience she reports raises issues about medical education and the response from the medical community itself when one of their own reports a mental health problem.   https://twitter.com/EricaMichelle44/status/1356984932384395268?s=03

N.Y. Times – William K. Rashbaum and Ashley Southall
N.Y.P.D. Anti-Harassment Official Fired over Racist Online Rants – An investigation found that Deputy Inspector James F. Kobel had used racial slurs against former President Barack Obama and Mayor Bill de Blasio’s biracial son.

New York’s police force is the largest municipal policing agency in the US.  The issue here is age old: who will guard the guardians of the guard?  Beyond the obvious implications of how this person can respond effectively to harassment, there remains the question of how he got the job in the first place and who calls him to account.  The situation also adds more to questions about how to reform an entire agency.  After a series of racist rants on social media, Kobel was recently fired by NY Police, but only after he retired with pension.  Ritchie Torres, a Bronx councilman who is now a member of Congress, said:  “And in almost all workplaces he would have been fired instantaneously. But policing in America is an alternate reality where accountability is hard to come by.” The real issue may require a look at how he was hired in the first place.   https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/03/nyregion/nypd-james-kobel-racist-fired.html?smtyp=cur&smid=tw-nytimes

CBC News – John Paul Tasker
Canada labels the Proud Boys, neo-Nazi groups as terrorists – Move comes after media reports linked Proud Boys members to those who stormed U.S. Capitol last month

The total now on the terrorist list is 13 but simply making the list does not, as one critic suggested, that the use of the tools that comes with the designation will be effectively directed towards these groups.  Who are these terrorist groups?  According the Public Safety Minister Bill Blair:  “white supremacy, anti-Semitism, racism, homophobia, Islamophobia and misogyny, and unfortunately, often in combination of all of the above.”  (Link offers a list of the thirteen)  https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/canada-proud-boys-terrorists-1.5899186   Related article: CNN – Paula Newton   Canada will list the Proud Boys movement as a terrorist group   https://www.cnn.com/2021/02/03/americas/canada-proud-boys-terror-group/index.html   Twitter: Alex Luscombe  (A Ph.D. candidate at Massey College in Toronto) A linked series of tweets around the Proud Boys of Canada)  https://twitter.com/alexlusco/status/1357064830998482955?s=03

National Post – Matthew Lau
Governments could better help poor Canadians by leaving more resources in private sector

This may seem like too little too late but it does serve as notice for future decisions and it comes from a very conservative Fraser Institute, not normally known for championing poor people causes.  Lau notes that both charitable giving has been steadily declining in Canada (and the US) and he inscribes the cause as public perception that government is giving more than ever before to social mechanisms to correct poverty.  The question about whether expansion of government services means loss of private structures supporting charities also brings into question the amount of the government spending that actually reaches the poor vs the operational costs of the bureaucracy needed to deliver what is offered.  Noting the practice of clawback, Lau concludes:  “If we really want to help the poor and increase generosity, governments—including in Ottawa—should retrench and leave more resources and more responsibility in the hands of the private sector. Government programs are too often counterproductive and erode private efforts that are much more effective in helping people who actually need it.”   https://www.nationalnewswatch.com/2021/02/01/governments-could-better-help-poor-canadians-by-leaving-more-resources-in-private-sector/#.YBwqHnlOk2w   Related article:  Building a New Reality – Ted Wachtel   Nobody Cares About Us: Unemployment is the Mainspring of Divisiveness  (Wachtel is advocating for a federally guaranteed job as opposed to a GAI to avoid the negatives around welfare.)  https://www.buildinganewreality.com/nobody-cares-about-us-unemployment-is-the-mainspring-of-divisiveness/     Related article: Toronto Star – Rosa Saba   Class-action lawsuit proposed against federal government over CERB repayment demands   https://www.thestar.com/business/2021/02/02/semi-retired-mississauga-teacher-is-now-the-face-of-the-court-fight-over-cerb-payback.html

Now (Toronto) – Enzo DiMatteo
U.S. tech firm accused of “mass surveillance” in Canada – Privacy Commissioner’s report says Clearview AI “actively marketed” its facial recognition technology to law enforcement in Canada, including the RCMP

The privacy issues will not go away.  “An investigation by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada has found that New York-based technology company Clearview AI contravened federal and provincial privacy laws by engaging in “mass surveillance” of Canadians and sharing information from their facial recognition technology with law enforcement, including Toronto police.”  The full report, issued on Feb 2, lays out chapter and verse and further raises issues around international jurisdiction of social media.  https://nowtoronto.com/news/us-tech-firm-accused-of-mass-surveillance-in-canada  Full PIPEA Report:  Joint investigation of Clearview AI, Inc. by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, the Commission d’accès à l’information du Québec, the Information and Privacy Commissioner for British Columbia, and the Information Privacy Commissioner of Alberta   https://www.priv.gc.ca/en/opc-actions-and-decisions/investigations/investigations-into-businesses/2021/pipeda-2021-001/  (The offender is Clearview AI, a US supplier of technology to police agencies, based in New York.)    Related article: Toronto Star – Wendy Gillis, Kate Allen, and Alex Boutilier   ‘What Clearview does is mass surveillance and it is illegal’: Privacy watchdog slams facial recognition tech previously used by RCMP and Toronto police  https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2021/02/03/what-clearview-does-is-mass-surveillance-and-it-is-illegal-privacy-watchdog-slams-facial-recognition-tech-used-by-rcmp-and-toronto-police.html   Related article: ACLU  https://techcrunch.com/2021/02/03/clearview-ai-ruled-illegal-by-canadian-privacy-authorities/  also  https://twitter.com/ACLU/status/1357477300368011266?s=03   Related article; N.Y. Times –  Kashmir Hill   Clearview AI’s Facial Recognition App Called Illegal in Canada –  Canadian authorities declared that the company needed citizens’ consent to use their biometric information, and told the firm to delete facial images from its database.   https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/03/technology/clearview-ai-illegal-canada.html?smtyp=cur&smid=tw-nytimes

 Toronto Star – Jacques Gallant
Tackle systemic discrimination in Canadian courts, Justin Trudeau tells justice minister

Prime Minister Trudeau has issued a new mandate letter to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General David Lametti in which the task of eliminating justice bias towards Blacks and Indigenous has been highlighted. “The over-incarceration of Black and Indigenous people has been offensively high for decades, so this wasn’t something that came as a surprise,” said Daniel Brown, vice-president of the Criminal Lawyers’ Association.  Critics think that the task unlikely to succeed since it requires evidence-based action and sustained funding.  https://www.thestar.com/politics/federal/2021/02/03/tackle-systemic-discrimination-in-canadian-courts-justin-trudeau-tells-justice-minister.html   Text of the new mandate letter: https://pm.gc.ca/en/mandate-letters/2021/01/15/minister-justice-and-attorney-general-canada-supplementary-mandate    Related article: Globe and Mail – Maan Alhmidi, Canadian Press   Indigenous health legislation needed to end racism in health care, Miller says   https://www.theglobeandmail.com/politics/article-indigenous-health-legislation-needed-to-end-racism-in-health-care/?cmpid=rss&utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter   Related article: NPR WQLN – Carrie Johnson  Life Without Parole For ‘Felony Murder’: Pa. Case Targets Sentencing Law (7 min audio)   https://www.npr.org/2021/02/04/963147433/life-without-parole-for-felony-murder-pa-case-targets-sentencing-law?utm_campaign=storyshare&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_medium=social

 Twitter Samantha McAleese  (Samantha McAleese)

McAleese is a researcher who was amazed to discover that according to the Parole Board of Canada one in seven Canadians have a criminal record and the route to alleviating the history is growing seriously confusing.  The pardon is no more – just a record suspension – and the app depends on when the conviction was entered and how long the good conduct waiting period which is determined by both the time of conviction and the type of offense.  Everything changes for simple possession of marijuana.  Time to seriously address this scandal?  Read more:  https://twitter.com/Sam_McAleese/status/1356960243469672449

 The Sentencing Project (US) – Josh Rovner
Racial Disparities in Youth Incarceration Persist – In an era of declining youth incarceration, Black and American Indian youth are still overwhelmingly more likely to be held in custody than their white peers.

Want to know how deeply embedded racism is in the criminal justice system?  Rovner is saying all you have to do is look at the rates of imprisonment for Black and native Indian youth in the US.  While other specific groups have seen a decrease in the numbers, this category remains stubbornly high.  “In every state, Black youth are more likely to be incarcerated than their white peers, about five times as likely nationwide. American Indian youth are three times as likely to be incarcerated as their white peers. For Latinx youth disparities are smaller but still prevalent; Latinx youth are 42 percent more likely than their white peers to be incarcerated.”   https://www.sentencingproject.org/publications/racial-disparities-in-youth-incarceration-persist/?eType=EmailBlastContent&eId=1f1816ab-4d7f-4653-9f2f-6f16c02ef130  (link offers the full report:  Racial Disparities in Youth Incarceration Persist – 17 page PDF)