Costly Talk on social media…

Oct 25, 2021

National Post – Brian Platt
O’Toole’s campaign chair Walied Soliman wins $500K defamation award against ‘alt-right’ commentator – Daniel Bordman attacked O’Toole for having Soliman on his leadership team, including in one video titled: ‘Erin O’Toole’s Connections to the Muslim Brotherhood’

The win for Soliman may usher in a new approach to social media given its price in this defamation lawsuit against Bordman who used YouTube to plant ‘terror allegations’ against Soliman, a Muslim lawyer and campaign chair for the Conservatives.  “The ruling is not only significant for Soliman, who has frequently come under attack in this manner, but also for a growing body of case law that delivers harsh penalties for defamation published on social media platforms and other websites.”   Related article: Toronto Star – Penny Mamais  Why blame social media for the behaviour of its toxic users? We’re letting the people spreading hate off the hook

N.Y. Times (US) – Ben Austen and Khalil Gibran Muhammad
Let the Punishment Fit the Crimes

Austen and Muhammad raise the central prison reform issue of long or life sentences as inappropriate to justice, oppositional to rehabilitation, and injurious to all involved, and costly to maintain.  In contrast to such sentences in the US, some countries have a limit on the length of the sentence at 20 years when the prisoner would typically ‘age out of crime.’  In these countries, the imposition of 20 years is itself exceptional and some have a maximum more commonly four years.  The question behind many such long sentence such as we in North America are used to seeing is the revenge component.   Related article:  The Marshall Project (US) – Fred Weatherspoon as told by Lakeidra Chavis   I Was Sentenced to Life as a Juvenile. Now I Help Kids Build Brighter Futures. Imprisoned for 25 years, Fred Weatherspoon was shocked to return to a Chicago he didn’t recognize. He found belonging in an unexpected way — working with vulnerable young people and their families.   Related article: Associated Press –   Oregon Gov. Kate Brown commutes juvenile sentences of more than 70 offenders  (Updated Oct. 21, 2021)

National Newswatch – Senator Kim Pate and Senator Pat Duncan
Response to the Fraser Institute – ‘The expensive truth about a universal basic income’

The media has been burning up with Conservative denunciation of the notion of the cost of the universal basic income.  Two Canadian champions of the proposed legislation defend the approach to healing poverty in Canada, a politically elusive goal for many years.  The two Senators trace the history of failed efforts to address poverty over the years and the glaring reasons why the efforts have left poverty deeply ingrained in Canada.

CBC News –  Anchal Sharma
How a local charity helps inmates in Canada and the U.S., one book at a time –  Books 2 Prisoners sends books to inmates across the country and in states like California and Texas

Jane Crosby and Carleton University’s Jeffrey Bradley have been doing this ‘pen pal of books’ project for a long time, over 10 years for Crosby, more recently for Bradley.  During the pandemic they have been accepting donations of the books at private residences in Ottawa.  Bradley is a relative new comer to the task and acknowledges that while request letters identify the type of books prisoners are looking for, the prison regulations around receiving the books are most problematic, particularly in the US and these regulations vary considerably in the face of a simple and obviously helpful activity.  “Jane Crosby, who also co-chairs the group, said the most common book requests from inmates include dictionaries, nutrition books, and a variety of fiction genres such as romance and mystery.”

The Times Picayune – New Orleans Advocate / New Orleans/ (US) – Richard A. Webster and Ramon Antonio Vargas
JPSO deputy who slammed Black woman’s head on the pavement named in 9 excessive force lawsuits – Julio Alvarado, who was seen on video violently dragging a woman by the hair, has been named in more civil rights lawsuits than any deputy currently employed at the JPSO

This Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Officer is a poster boy for the struggle with police reform and the ability for repeat offenders to remain in office while continuing to offend.  The incident recorded here by a cell phone video is the ninth such incident with immunity for this particular officer. “…Julio Alvarado, a 16-year veteran of the Sheriff’s Office. Alvarado has been named in nine federal civil rights lawsuits, all involving the use of excessive force, the most of any deputy currently employed by the Sheriff’s Office. Two suits were settled, one of them involving the beating of a 14-year-old boy, and two are pending, with the remaining dismissed.”

 Blogger Russell Webster (UK)
Counting the cost of maternal imprisonment

CREST Advisory authors Julia Pitman and Jessica Hull have tabled a report that looks at the real costs, emotional and financial.  While the data collection is inconsistent, the biggest impact is in the area of trauma suffered around children and the prison is not capable structurally to deal with the parent or child trauma.  The report further notes a lack of understanding by the incarcerated mothers of the parental rights they still have.  And as usual, housing on release that allows re-connection with children is a further problem.