What now…

Nov 7, 2020

(Ed note: here are a medley of articles about what is next in politics in the US.  The populist undertow is likely not ending but growing and will look for new breathe.)
American Civil Liberties Union – Taylor Pendergrass

Criminal Justice Reform Takes Another Big, Messy Step Forward in 2020 Elections – What a super partisan, highly divided election means for criminal justice reform.   https://www.aclu.org/news/smart-justice/criminal-justice-reform-takes-another-big-messy-step-forward-in-2020-elections/

Washington Post – David Ignatius

We remain a divided country, but look at the horrors that didn’t come to pass  https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/we-remain-a-divided-country-but-look-at-the-horrors-that-didnt-come-to-pass/2020/11/05/3a6bdc26-1fa5-11eb-ba21-f2f001f0554b_story.html?utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&wpisrc=nl_opinions&utm_campaign=wp_opinions

The Atlantic – Yasmeen Serhan

Populism Is Undefeated – The U.S. election proves that this divisive style of politics is still viable.  https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2020/11/what-us-election-proved-about-populism/617003/

The Atlantic – Zeynep Tufekci

America’s Next Authoritarian Will Be Much More Competent – Trump was ineffective and easily beaten. A future strongman won’t be.   https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/11/trump-proved-authoritarians-can-get-elected-america/617023/?utm_source=twitter&utm_term=2020-11-06T18%3A03%3A28&utm_campaign=the-atlantic&utm_medium=social&utm_content=edit-promo

Vox.com – Ian Millhiser

America’s anti-democratic Senate, by the numbers – If the United States chose its leaders in free and fair elections, Republicans would be firmly out of power.  https://www.vox.com/2020/11/6/21550979/senate-malapportionment-20-million-democrats-republicans-supreme-court


American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
ACLU Sues ICE and DHS to Uncover Information about COVID-19 Response

As the reported cases of Covid-19 are rapid rising, the ACLU pursued court ordered release of the number of deaths in immigration custody.  Most of the documents with the information were withheld from the ACLU leading to lawsuits for their release but even with court orders the information is still somewhat vague:  ““The abuse, neglect, and degradation our clients regularly face in ICE custody have only worsened since the pandemic began: This year alone, we’ve seen allegations of sexual abuse, increased use of force, rampant use of solitary confinement, attempts by ICE to minimize its role in the deaths of detained people, and hunger strikes to protest the horrendous conditions.” https://www.aclu.org/press-releases/aclu-sues-ice-and-dhs-uncover-information-about-covid-19-response?initms_aff=nat&initms_chan=soc&utm_medium=soc&initms=201106_ig&utm_source=ig&utm_campaign=&utm_content=201106_immigration&ms_aff=nat&ms_chan=soc&ms=201106_ig  Related article: The Marshall Project – Anna Flagg and Andrew R. Calderón   500,000 Kids, 30 Million Hours: Trump’s Vast Expansion of Child Detention – New data shows huge numbers of children detained at the border, peaking in 2019.   https://www.themarshallproject.org/2020/10/30/500-000-kids-30-million-hours-trump-s-vast-expansion-of-child-detention

CBC News – Associated Press
Oregon decriminalizes small possession amounts, including for heroin, meth and cocaine – Oregon will fund enhanced recovery and rehab efforts through marijuana revenues

32 states had changes to the drug laws on the ballot this time around involving 120 proposed state laws and constitutional amendments.  Marijuana has already been approved in Oregon and profits from sales will allow treatment programs for those found with small amounts of street drugs such as cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine.  Political tensions remain over the step:  “The proposal was endorsed by the Oregon Democratic Party, as well as some nurses and physician associations. The Oregon Republican Party had denounced the drug decriminalization measure as radical, and some prosecutors called it reckless.”   https://www.cbc.ca/news/world/us-ballot-measures-oregon-drugs-1.5789061?fbclid=IwAR3h6aZ2D2TOPu4s0f8J4LNU8dh-Y3lf-utF1jnHYtE0yKu390Ktc1TsKFI

VOCM News (St. John’s, NF)
Anti-Poverty Advocate says Guaranteed Income Should Be $2,000 a Month

This suggestion is based on the amount of the income supplement (CERB) during the pandemic while advocate Dan Mendes draws a distinction between a guaranteed income and an income supplement.  Mendes remains us that the social safety net programs are mostly for those living currently below the poverty line whereas GAI is intended to meet basic needs.  https://vocm.com/2020/11/06/105785/  Related article:  Deutche Welle (Germany)  Universal income gains traction on the right  https://www.dw.com/en/support-grows-for-universal-basic-income/a-55477648 (A tour of world-wide status of the GAI.)

Blogger Russell Webster
Learn About Contextual Safeguarding

Webster introduces the notion of contextual safeguarding in cases of children who are victims of extra-familial sexual assault by presenting the context or the place where the assaults occur.  The dynamics which may be used to resist the outcome require recognizing and resisting the context in which the events occur, mostly outside the parental areas of supervision.  https://www.russellwebster.com/contextual-safeguarding-in-probation/   Also from Webster:  It’s time to abolish prison for their own protection   https://www.russellwebster.com/its-time-to-abolish-prison-for-their-own-protection/

CTV (Winnipeg) – Devon McKendrick
People with criminal records can’t be discriminated against: Human Rights Panel

Manitoba Human Rights Commission has stretched the definitions within the human rights code:  “Chief Adjudicator Michael Werier found that criminal records are not specifically listed in the Human Rights Code, but they should be protected by the code.”  The criminal record has long been a major obstacle to the employment of returning citizens and often cited as a prime factor in recidivism.  The impact?  “”This decision is an important step toward removing barriers to equality and ensuring every person can live in dignity and rights in Manitoba,” said Karen Sharma, executive director of the Commission.”  https://winnipeg.ctvnews.ca/people-with-criminal-records-can-t-be-discriminated-against-human-rights-panel-1.4827778#_gus&_gucid=&_gup=twitter&_gsc=IQwdMAb

Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General
Ontario Speeding up Process to File Criminal Charges – New digital platform will allow police to spend more time preventing and investigating crime

The intention is to digitalize the charging process but the move may also be signalling that it is time to take stock of the use of the computer and the records it generates to decide who can add and who must take away the digital foot prints of Canadian citizens.  This system, called Eintake in Ontario and destined for north eastern Ontario courthouses, first piloted in Barrie and Orillia, is expected to achieve national status by 2022.  As is usual with these innovations the focus is on the immediate benefit rather than the long term.  https://news.ontario.ca/en/release/59075/ontario-speeding-up-process-to-file-criminal-charges  (Ed note: The problems with the current use of computers in the justice system are well documented in a new book by Sarah Esther Lageson called Digital Punishment: Privacy, Stigma, and the Harms of a Data Driven Criminal Justice   (Oxford University Press, 2020).