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Thread: Reflections from a Death Row Inmate Incarcerated on a Prison Planet

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    Re: Reflections from a Death Row Inmate Incarcerated on a Prison Planet

    Daniel Patrick Moynihan was the Speaker Of The House for a lot of years. A Democrat, and a wise old fart, in spite of that.

    What he meant to point out by "benign neglect" was not ignoring the problem, but the fact you aren't working towards equality, by designating a group as walking wounded. You get there by treating everyone as equal, from git-go, and keeping to it. What "catching up" occurs is up to the individual.

    He was also one of the few Democrats who spoke out against the idea of welfare. His other famous quote has turned out to be true as well.

    "Be careful. What you subsidize, you get more of."

    "Life IS mystical! Its just that we're used to it." - Wolf, the movie
    "Dad, if God is everywhere then, when he's in a piece of paper, is he squished?" - My daughter, age 7

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    Re: Reflections from a Death Row Inmate Incarcerated on a Prison Planet

    Quote Originally Posted by Fredkc View Post
    What he meant to point out by "benign neglect" was not ignoring the problem, but the fact you aren't working towards equality, by designating a group as walking wounded. You get there by treating everyone as equal, from git-go, and keeping to it. What "catching up" occurs is up to the individual.
    ok, close enough and fair enough. I wouldn't disagree in principle as they say, I might disagree in practice, though.

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    Re: Reflections from a Death Row Inmate Incarcerated on a Prison Planet

    Race doesn't confuse me all that much. When applied to physical characteristics, race is just the outcome of proximal breeding. Nothing more, nothing less. That said, racism ...the "ism" ... reveals the more interesting discussion.

    To me, racism is tribalism. A product of our own fears, reinforced by the fears of the tribal collective. Many/most among us are susceptible to tribal instincts and tribethink, therefore racism is an expectation as freely observable as the fear of the unknown, of the unfamiliar, of the road not true and tried. Breeding choices impact the physical characteristics of the collective. Syngeneic choices preserve the known, the familiar, the familial, the tribal. Antigeneic choices venture into the unknown, the unfamiliar, the unfamilial, the nontribal. One of the major roots of racism, IMO, is the breeding choice we make.and how much latitude we are allowed in making this choice.

    Another root is competition. Within the tribe, the alpha males (and females) of mind and body get most of the privileges. The betas and the gammas cannot compete with the alpha specimens in their own tribe, but being part of a tribal group allows them to identify with these alphas and this is a source of empowerment for betas and gammas. Empowerment is then another tribal glue; the nontribals are then relegated to abuse solely because they represent the visiting team on home turf.

    Still other roots exist, but those are the two main roots as far as I can see.


    Pax
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    Re: Reflections from a Death Row Inmate Incarcerated on a Prison Planet

    Quote Originally Posted by Zook_e_Pi View Post
    Race doesn't confuse me all that much.
    It's not the fact but what's been done to it.
    It's something we're not supposed two consider, yet it's thrown into every decision we make, in exactly the way we aren't supposed to.

    So, we're racist when we don't consider race because "all races are equal"!

    Or, by not considering their race, we become racist, because of their race.

    Dizzy yet?

    About 20 years ago, an eastern company wanted to open a west coast branch. It was a job shop, doing machining work. I got the job as Gen. Mgr. At the time I had one employee. A receptionist named Bev. She was this great Italian lady with a knack for plain speaking born out of Boston home. A sweetheart. Funny as hell, and kept me on track.

    So, as I attracted business, I started hiring people. I used me methods. I took on all comers, and hired whoever had the right experience, seemed I could get along with, and gave me the vibe they could do the job.

    A couple of months later, I had a Polish friend of mine, a Jew from Rhode Island, a guy straight from Oklahoma, an Hispanic named Carlos, an Hasidim Jew, Bev, and myself, working.

    Sitting next to Bev at her desk one day, I said, "Quite a mixed bah, huh?"

    She said, "Yep! We got 2 kikes, a spic, a cracker, a pollock, a wop, and you! Now we just gotta find us a nigger!"

    I set the tone, and it was simple. "Bring your brain, work the place together, and we'll make some money."

    We all got along great. We'd go drinking after work on Fridays. It was a great place. Whatever they did after work wasn't my business. I hoped they took at of it home with 'em. But I don't recall any kind of arguments or personal comments from anyone about the others.

    Worked for me.
    "Life IS mystical! Its just that we're used to it." - Wolf, the movie
    "Dad, if God is everywhere then, when he's in a piece of paper, is he squished?" - My daughter, age 7

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    Re: Reflections from a Death Row Inmate Incarcerated on a Prison Planet

    hey Mr. Fred,

    I actually believe that maybe it's time to 'try' to ease back on the concept of race, as you said try a little 'benign neglect' as a next step. But what bugs me are the Republican efforts to stop voter fraud, a problem that really doesn't exist, by introducing strictures that coincidentally make it very difficult for the underclass to vote. It seems highly suspicious to me. And then we have Trump. And it is a well known fact that the Republican party has employed the 'Southern Strategy' for the last 40 years to get the white vote. It makes me highly doubtful that the nation is truly ready for that next step.

    Another caveat is while some would argue that the cognizance level of the underclass is questionable, I don't think that's the 'positive' motivation behind the efforts. I heard an interview with Kareem Abdul Jabbar the other day and to say he's not the typical jock joke would be an understatement (as is Jesse Ventura). He thinks that efforts to rally the underclass vote might be misguided because if they are not politically aware in the end it is a disservice to the country and the responsibility falls on the self-imposed ignorance of the underclass. I don't know if I agree with that in an unqualified fashion but it is a worthy elitist attitude.
    Last edited by Adam Bomm; 09-04-2016 at 08:43 AM.

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    Re: Reflections from a Death Row Inmate Incarcerated on a Prison Planet

    Quote Originally Posted by Zook_e_Pi View Post
    o me, racism is tribalism. A product of our own fears, reinforced by the fears of the tribal collective. Many/most among us are susceptible to tribal instincts and tribethink, therefore racism is an expectation as freely observable as the fear of the unknown, of the unfamiliar, of the road not true and tried. Breeding choices impact the physical characteristics of the collective. Syngeneic choices preserve the known, the familiar, the familial, the tribal. Antigeneic choices venture into the unknown, the unfamiliar, the unfamilial, the nontribal. One of the major roots of racism, IMO, is the breeding choice we make.and how much latitude we are allowed in making this choice.
    A Catholic pope once remarked that, "We have advanced to a level in our development where we should be capable of transcending our animal natures". I guess the operative word in that statement is 'should' because we ain't. That's the sad part to me.

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    Re: Reflections from a Death Row Inmate Incarcerated on a Prison Planet

    One of the odd things about the Prison Planet is that inmates in some cases have the right to vote. I know, that is totally counter-intuitive but nevertheless true. As will happen wherever humans gather that ostensibly have endowed rights to exercise, trouble will start. So, no surprise when a huge rumble erupted in one of the cell blocks. Seems someone named, Lew Alcindor, or something like that had the audacity to suggest not everyone should have the prison privilege of voting because they didn't have what it takes to make smart decisions. General mayhem (A Trump supporter) ensued and many were quick to attack the purveyor of such untruths. Here is what one such confined degenerate screamed in opposition:

    Professor Weighs In On Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's Uninformed Voter Comment

    Steve Inskeep talks to Morehouse College professor Marc Lamont Hill, who says it's important that Americans, who may be considered to be uninformed citizens, vote in presidential elections.

    STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

    Let's talk about a modest proposal by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. The former NBA star was on the program last week and made a suggestion in this election year. In a new book, he says many American voters have not really looked into the issues, and he went on to suggest a solution. Stop encouraging people who don't want to vote to vote.

    KAREEM ABDUL-JABBAR: Ignorance is not something that lends itself to a meaningful discussion. Some of these people really shouldn't vote because they don't know what the issues are, and I think people that are, you know, voting in the blind are doing a disservice to our country by not being better informed.

    INSKEEP: The many people who responded include Marc Lamont Hill. He's a writer and a professor at Morehouse College in Atlanta, and he was on social media saying he was dismayed, if that's the right word. Professor Hill, why is that?

    MARC LAMONT HILL: Well, first of all, thank you for having me. And let me say from the beginning that, you know, I love Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and I appreciate the spirit of his comment. But I'm very concerned whenever we begin a conversation about who should and shouldn't vote. The reason why I'm concerned is because there's a long history of saying certain people shouldn't be voting. And, unfortunately, the people who are often left out of these conversations are people who are black and brown.

    INSKEEP: You're pointing out the fact that in past generations, there had been poll taxes, for example, which kept people who were poor from voting, and they tended to be African-American or literacy tests and other things that supposedly got to the knowledge of the voters, but really was a racial test in your view.

    HILL: Yes. That's a fact. I mean, if you look at literacy tests in the South, for example, they were absurdly difficult and didn't measure literacy. They were simply measuring whether or not you were black. So at every moment when we've said, hey, we don't want certain people to vote because they are not educated enough, it is often simply become a way of excluding black and brown people. And when we look at the Trump candidacy or we look at any Republican candidacy for the presidency that's been successful, they tend to win by the margin of black and brown and poor people and immigrants who do not vote.

    And, again, I understand Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's point. He's speaking to a history of white Americans, I believe, who have often voted against their interests. They're voting for races, and they're voting for a certain kind of nationalism that doesn't help them. And if they were more informed, they would be in a better position. I agree with that.

    INSKEEP: Now, this is really interesting. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar - he didn't explicitly talk about Trump voters, but it sounds like that's what you are hearing. The frustration that some people are expressing is they think that Trump voters aren't really thinking through the issues.

    HILL: Right. Because part of the narrative which is sort of supported by the data is that Trump voters are the least educated, and they're voting for Trump out of white solidarity or out of frustration that they're, quote, unquote, "losing their country." And my concern with that is that it sort of reduces the condition of the Trump voter to one of pure ignorance. And I think it's far more complicated. The Trump voter isn't just an ignorant white guy in the South that if he were more educated would vote differently. The Trump voter is also someone who is dealing with an entirely new economy that his father, grandfather or grandmother didn't have to face 30, 40, 50, 60 years ago.

    And so part of what we have to do is not just keep ignorant people away from the polls. We have to actually change the structural realities that make people make bad choices beyond their ignorance or what have you. And the truth is there are people who are quite informed who still vote against their interests. I would argue that, as a Green Party supporter, I would argue that middle-class black people are voting against their interests oftentimes.

    INSKEEP: Well, now, this is interesting. You mentioned you're a Green Party supporter. You support Jill Stein, one of the third-party candidates who is out there getting some attention. And yet, it sounds like you are defending the Trump voter to an extent. You're saying, look, maybe there's something real here.

    HILL: I'm not defending the Trump vote. I think they're making a bad choice. But I'm saying the bad choice isn't one out of pure ignorance, and I think it's too easy. And it plays into cliches about, you know, elitist liberals to say, oh, these Trump voters - if they knew more, they would do better. And it's like, well, maybe they would do better if we had a legitimate set of policies in place that doesn't encourage the kind of gross radicalization that has happened under the Trump candidacy. So for me, it's all about developing a richer conversation.

    INSKEEP: Are you entirely comfortable if Americans make their sovereign choice, and it is Donald Trump, a candidate you oppose?

    HILL: I'm not comfortable with it. I'm not comfortable if they choose Hillary Clinton, though. The answer is political education and more importantly class solidarity. We have to convince the white worker that they have something to gain by forming a solidarity politics with black workers because everything that's happened over the last three to 400 years in America has divided the white and the black worker.

    But, again, if we begin by the conversation that some people shouldn't be encouraged to come to the polls, that does nothing to help us. And just as a practical matter, when we don't encourage voters to come out to the polls, the people who stay home quickest are black and brown folk. You're thinking of keeping Bubba in South Carolina away, but you might be keeping Keesha (ph) and Shaniqua (ph) and Rasheed (ph) away. And when you do that, you almost certify a Trump presidency, particularly in states like Ohio and Pennsylvania and so on down the list.

    INSKEEP: Marc Lamont Hill is a professor at Morehouse and also the author of "Nobody: Casualties Of America's War On The Vulnerable From Ferguson To Flint And Beyond." Thanks for joining us.

    HILL: My pleasure.

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    Re: Reflections from a Death Row Inmate Incarcerated on a Prison Planet

    My cellmate and known as somewhat of a loudmouth appears in the below video. I've been looking around the prison yard for Aquarian but haven't spotted it anywhere in days. I'm in the mood for giving a good beat down to one of the residents known to not have the sense that God gave a horse's ass and as such is only good for slapping around.


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    Re: Reflections from a Death Row Inmate Incarcerated on a Prison Planet

    Still sitting in the cell block. Awhile back I remarked about the conspirator 'underling' tools that turn the screws of the conspiracy machine. Today, in the prison library I took a trip down the memory lane of history by revisiting one of the historical level tools that make this prison planet work. The below accounting demonstrates how the mindless act in such a vital and integral way to maintain the continuing imprisonment of humanity. Incidentally, it is reminiscent of Scotland's efforts today, in that in America nearly 50 years ago, those that fight to remove the bars preventing us from living full lives mounted an effort to swaddle our young in a compassionate blanket but it was stifled by the evil minions themselves. They and their disturbed obsession to make sure no one gets what they have never changes:

    Why America Never Had Universal Child Care
    In 1971, a national day-care bill almost became law. Therein lies a story.
    BY NANCY L. COHEN

    The fix for “The Hell of American Day Care,” described in Jonathan Cohn’s heartrending cover story, is obvious: a universal, federally financed and regulated, quality child care system.

    The aggravating fact is we almost had it. More than forty years ago.

    The U.S. ranks third to last among OECD countries on public spending on family benefits. That we lack anything resembling a 21st century family policy is not an oversight. It is not because American society refuses to come to grips with the reality of working mothers. Rather, it is the result of a political hijacking so fabulously successful it wiped away virtually any trace of its own handiwork.

    In 1971, Congress passed the Comprehensive Child Development Act on a bipartisan vote. Co-sponsored by Minnesota Senator Walter Mondale and Indiana Representative John Brademas, the act established a network of nationally funded, locally administered, comprehensive child care centers, which were to provide quality education, nutrition, and medical services. Mondale viewed the measure as a first step toward universal childcare. Wanting “to avoid typing it as a poor person’s program,” Mondale later explained, the centers were to be open to all on a sliding scale basis. Congress authorized real money for the program—in today’s dollars, the equivalent of five times the 2012 federal budget for Head Start.

    But President Richard Nixon vetoed it. Declaring the Comprehensive Child Development Act to be “a long leap into the dark,” Nixon ominously warned that it would “commit the vast moral authority of the National Government to the side of communal approaches to child rearing over against the family-centered approach.”

    As late as 1972, the GOP platform had a strong child care plank.
    “Even for Nixon, it was surprising,” Mondale later wrote. Nixon had in fact requested two statements from his staff, one to sign and one to veto the act; the administration had helped to draft the bill; most of those in the administration who opposed it wanted Nixon to say only that it would be too costly to administer. Instead, Pat Buchanan, then a special assistant to Nixon, prevailed. Itching to escalate the nascent culture war, Buchanan inserted his fevered imaginings into Nixon’s official message.

    Still, Buchanan didn’t—at least yet—get the reaction he hoped for. The consensus stood with women’s rights—in the nation and in the GOP itself. Four months after Nixon’s veto, a huge bipartisan majority in Congress passed the Equal Rights Amendment. Later that year, women delegates to the 1972 Republican convention won a strong child care plank in the party’s platform, albeit over Nixon’s objections.

    Meanwhile, Mondale and Brademas regrouped. To fend off accusations they were “anti-family” communist sympathizers (New York Republican Senator James Buckley said the law would create pressure “to encourage women to put their families into institutions of communal living”), they scaled back their ambitions. Gone was the word “comprehensive” in the title and 90 percent of the funding. Their revised Child and Family Services Act passed the Senate in 1973, but died in the House.

    You’ve probably never heard this story because of what happened next. In 1975, child care legislation expired for good, buried under an avalanche of angry letters against the very idea of publicly supported child care.

    The coup de grace was delivered by a grassroots movement of fundamentalists—many of them women—galvanized by an anonymous flyer that circulated widely in churches in the South and West. The flyer made false and unhinged claims—that it would be illegal for parents to make their children go to church or take out the trash, that children would have the right to sue their parents and organize labor unions.

    Consider what that stirred up in one Bible Belt state. The flyer made its way to the Oklahoma chapter of Women Who Want to be Women, a recently formed anti-ERA fundamentalist women’s group. Fantasies about forced child care were already familiar to them from a popular anti-ERA pamphlet written by the national founder of the Four Ws. (The so-called Pink Sheet deemed the ERA “the most drastic measure in Senate history” and said it would, among many other horrors, force mothers to put their children “in a federal day care center.”) The Oklahoma Four W’s made killing national child care legislation their first political campaign, and they successfully lobbied the Oklahoma City PTA council to oppose the bill.

    Most members of Congress, including those from Oklahoma, received thousands of letters against the Child and Family Services Act, many of them recycling the anti-child care flyer’s perfervid claims.

    So, of course, even though a majority of the public still supported the measure, our brave Congressmen caved.

    And here we are today, with no national solution to the absurd and at times, tragic, lack of safe, affordable, quality child care.

    President Obama is seeking to change that with a proposal for a ten-year, $75 billion investment in universal pre-Kindergarten. It’s a promising initiative that deserves serious attention. Who, after all, could be against ‘pre-kindergarten’? Perhaps it’s a good time to remember the history of the bold effort to create a universal child care system and the reactionary opposition it inspired.

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    Re: Reflections from a Death Row Inmate Incarcerated on a Prison Planet

    A small passing tribute to Mr. Fred, who bent the bars of his cell, scaled the walls of his prison to find freedom. The below is a book review that ponders man's mortality and what it can mean for each of us.

    David Szalay's 'All That Man Is' Charts Life Of Man In 9 Stories


    Short listed for the Mann Booker Prize, the new book, All That Man Is lives somewhere between short story collection and novel.

    The new book "All That Man Is" is not exactly a collection of short stories, not exactly a novel. It tells nine stories of men in different European countries all at different points in their lives, progressing from youth to old age. They all struggle with what it means to be alive. This is from the first story about a 17-year-old.

    DAVID SZALAY: (Reading) From somewhere, an image has entered Simon's head, an image of human life as bubbles rising through water. The bubbles rise in streams and clouds, touching and mingling and yet each remaining individually defined as they travel upwards from the depths towards the light until at the surface they cease to exist as individual entities.

    In the water, they existed physically, individually. In the air, they are part of the air, part of an endless whole, inseparable from everything else. Yes, he thinks, squinting in the mist-softened sunlight, tears filling his eyes. That is how it is - life and death.

    SHAPIRO: That's the author David Szalay reading from his new book. It was recently shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. Szalay told me you can read the title "All That Man Is" two ways.

    SZALAY: It can be read either as a sort of slightly disparaging, sort of all that man is, and this is it. Or it can be read as a sort of almost celebratory - everything, all the kind of great variety of experience that life contains.

    SHAPIRO: It's funny because reading the book, celebratory is not a word that would come to mind for me. It feels far more bleak than celebratory.

    SZALAY: Well, I mean no - I know. I see what you're saying. And that is probably more to the forefront, the sort of way that mortality is sort of always breathing down the necks of these characters. And they are sort of helpless in the sort of jaws of time, if you like. I find my own work a kind of slightly less bleak than many readers do.

    SHAPIRO: That's so interesting. Why do you think that is?

    SZALAY: I'm not sure, really. Maybe I have a kind of lower expectation of life than the average. So sort of in relation to my expectations from life, everything is sort of - looks a bit better than it does from an average viewpoint. I don't know.

    SHAPIRO: And was there ever a moment where you thought, oh, maybe one of these characters should be content, fulfilled, satisfied?

    SZALAY: I think that the character in the central story, in the fifth story, the journalist...

    SHAPIRO: Yeah.

    SZALAY: ...Is contented and fulfilled. He's kind of at the peak of his powers, that guy. But I wanted to choose a character at the peak of his powers and who's kind of loving being the peak of his powers, someone who had unwholesome qualities to him as well. I mean I guess a story about a sort of really nice man doing well and being happy - it writes white, as they say. I mean...

    (LAUGHTER)

    SHAPIRO: Nobody wants to read that. That's boring.

    SZALAY: No, no, I don't think so.

    SHAPIRO: You have moved around Europe. You grew up in the U.K. You now live in Hungary. And the characters live in a Europe of blurred boundaries. Why was it important to you to create this sort of fluid space in the context of the novel - more than a dozen countries over the nine stories?

    SZALAY: I have this personal experience of traveling around the continent. But I don't think I mean I'm far from unique or even unusual in that. I mean the nature of contemporary Europe is very much one in which people are making themselves new lives in other places or simply traveling on shorter trips but on a regular basis. So they're constantly decontextualizing themselves. Whether it's for work or holiday or retiring to another country - in Europe has become a big thing. I mean, it's a...

    SHAPIRO: It's an interesting phrase to describe it - people decontextualizing themselves.

    SZALAY: Yeah, yeah, but I mean that's - that is what they're doing. I mean in one way, it's that they - there is an opportunity for reinvention. There are also the possible downsides of that kind of movement. I mean it can be lonely. It can be isolating. You can feel deracinated and confused.

    SHAPIRO: I would like to ask you about the maleness of this book. So many of the female characters feel not only minor but almost grotesque in a way. Just to quote from The Guardian newspaper, it lists your female characters as a seductress, a sex bout with a daughter then mother, an escort, an unwantedly pregnant lover, mistresses, a half-fancied flirtation, a sex object and her mother again, an estranged wife suing for millions. Why do you think your female characters are so problematic?

    SZALAY: I don't think they are as problematic as that list or that review would have it. I mean I - that list is slightly unfair because it leaves out some important - I mean, for instance, that the prostitute in the third story - I regard her as the strongest character in the story for him. And you know, she's not - you know, I think they're - just to say she's a prostitute is actually to do a disservice to my character, who's far more interesting than that.

    But it's undeniably true that the book focuses on male characters and on masculinity. And that was a conscious choice partly because I think that there is a genuine difference in the way that men and women experience time and aging. And I wanted to write about the male experience of time and aging.

    SHAPIRO: One central lament of many of the men in your book is that they leave nothing behind. They have no lasting legacy. And you are an author whose previous books have won awards. This book is shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, one of the biggest literary prizes in the world. Do you feel that you've dodged that particular bullet?

    SZALAY: No, no because I think there's more to it than - I think no matter how much success you pile up, I do feel that set against mortality, there will always be times when it looks pretty flimsy, pretty minor, pretty vanishing almost.

    SZALAY: I guess to me, that's where the bleakness comes in - that ultimately even if you're an award-winning author, even if you've created, as Stephen Sondheim put it, "Children And Art," at the end, it's flimsy, as you say. There's nothing.

    SZALAY: Children way more in that particular scale than the arts in my experience so far. I feel that...

    SHAPIRO: Having created both.

    SZALAY: (Laughter) Yeah. The feeling of having dodged bullets - I don't feel that I've dodged a bullet. But the children make me feel slightly more at peace with mortality, slightly than the creative achievements of artistic kinds. Obviously that just - you know, I have a great sense of achievement from the recognition that my books and this book in particular have received. But fundamentally I don't feel it kind of alters the predicament that we all find ourselves in.

    SHAPIRO: David Szalay, thank you so much.

    SZALAY: Thank you, Ari. Thank you very much.

    SHAPIRO: David Szalay is the author of the new book "All That Man Is."

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