The Brothers makes readers feel the tragedy of the Boston bombing in all its complexity. With all the context Gessen provides—the history of upheaval in Chechnya, the constant terror of life in Dagestan, the family’s inability to find happiness and steady work in America—it’s hard not to feel as if the Tsarnaev brother’s decision to bomb the marathon (which Dzhokhar has admitted to in court) was at least in part the product of historical and cultural forces bearing down on two disenfranchised young men. It’s an unsettling feeling, as someone who two years ago heard cop cars screaming outside her Cambridge apartment, to find oneself, one hundred and fifty pages in, rooting for Dzhokhar to escape from law enforcement. But that’s the magic of this book: it turns two antagonists of American society into protagonists.

anonymous asked:

It’s a headcanon of mine that one of Daud’s potential futures would have had him walk a path of idealism, becoming a vigilante of sorts that would strike down those who dared abuse their power. With his powers he could have become a champion for the disenfranchised and the Outsider is forever bitter that he ended up using his powers purely for personal gain, letting things as mundane as survival and money dictate his life instead.

MMM I LOVE THIS. i feel it too. like im sure daud has so many paths he could have taken and outsider jumped on that bcus wow look at this strapping young man he has so much potential and then daud just chose the most boring thing ever and went about it in the most boring way possible when he could have been so much more.

I’m really not here for the “this is racist/reverse racism” commentary when it’s a POC commenting on something.

No. It’s not.
It’ll never be.

You could say that it’s prejudiced or even bigoted. Never racist.

If it were racist, that would imply that there is systemic reinforcement set to maintain a status quo where you are disenfranchised because of your identity.

The last I remembered, White people cannot be on the receiving end of racism because they benefit from its functionality against non-Whites.

anonymous asked:

Have you seen Channel's 4 "Kid criminals" What are your thoughts on the whole treatment over punishment philosophy?

I haven’t seen it but I’m against using the justice system as a form of punishment. The fact of the matter is that the vast majority of people who go to prison go away on drug-related charges, and I find the idea of locking these people up for ‘punishment’ and potentially ruining the rest of their lives (it’s a black mark against you for a long time, if not forever) frankly ridiculous when we should be offering support to drug users & addicts, not punishing them.

It also disproportionately affects the oppressed, and it’s designed that way. I would much rather see a system that’s more about empowering the disenfranchised to make a difference in their lives & the lives of others (which I believe would lead to a lesser chance of re-offending) than creating institutional dependence and then letting them go with no prospects and generally no options but to re-offend.

But if they did that, they wouldn’t get their free (slave) labour, would they? Fuck the prison system tbh.

Now that he’s running for president again, many analysts and voters may recall Santorum’s controversial assertions during his 2011 campaign. His frequent comparisons of same-sex relationships to inanimate objects like trees, basketballs and paper towels became a major punchline of the campaign cycle.

But here are ten equally outrageous comments he’s made that you may not remember:

Putting women in combat is a bad idea because of “emotions that are involved.”

Women’s “emotions” may render them unworthy soldiers and thus not fit for the battlefield, according to the former Pennsylvania senator. “People naturally may do things that may not be in the interests of the mission because of other types of emotions that are involved,” Santorum said after the Pentagon eased restrictions on women in combat in 2012. He has also made dire warnings about what would happen to the military after Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was repealed and gays were allowed to openly serve.

American culture is being corrupted by “the NBA” and “rock concerts.”

According to Santorum, our culture and manners and decency have been collectively ruined by the NBA, among other culprits. These remarks came during a 2008 speech at Ave Maria University: “The corruption of culture, the corruption of manners, the corruption of decency is now on display whether it’s the NBA or whether it’s a rock concert or whether it’s on a movie set.” Of course, just like his anti-welfare rant against “blah” people, there’s certainly no racial undertone to decrying the NBA as chipping away at American culture and decent manners.

His top issue in 2012 was opposing “all forms of pornography.”

During his 2012 presidential bid, Santorum vowed to oppose “all forms of pornography” if elected president. In fact, pornography was the top issue on his campaign’s website. He warned that “America is suffering a pandemic of harm from pornography,” which “causes profound brain changes in both children and adults, resulting in widespread negative consequences.”

FYI on the "50th Anniversary of Selma:Bloody Sunday"

While the white liberal media and President Obama go down to Selma, Alabama to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday, where over 500 hundred civil rights activist were attacked while marching across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, let us remember two things to keep in mind.

1. The Edmund Pettus Bridge, where bloody sunday took place, was named after a racist KKK leader, and it still bares his name today.

2. While liberals pat themselves on the back about all the progress we have made let us remember that the very right (Voting Rights) these folks were marching for back in 65 is being trampled upon today. Thousands of African Americans cannot vote because of non-violent drug offense. When speaking of voting rights Felony Disenfranchisement is often left out of the discussion.

A local family watches their home burn to the ground and just a few feet behind them, firefighters watch, too.

It’s happened multiple times before in one local community: firefighters refuse to respond because the homeowner didn’t pay a fire subscription fee.

The last time this happened, the city of South Fulton, Tennessee, received a lot of heat nationwide for this policy. That was more than a year ago but nothing has changed.

The mayor said it comes down to simple business. If they don’t collect fire fees, the fire department can’t survive and if they make exceptions to the rule, no one will ever pay the fee.

Besides that, he likes the “pay for spray” policy and said it’s fair.

But that’s hard to stomach when you’ve just lost your home and everything you’ve worked for.

“In an emergency, the first thing you think of, ‘Call 9-1-1,” homeowner Vicky Bell said.

Firefighters came out.

Bell said, “9-1-1 said they were in fact dispatched and they showed that they were on the scene.”

But once on the scene, they only watched.

“You could look out my mom’s trailer and see the trucks sitting at a distance,” Bell said.

For Bell, that sight was almost as disturbing as the fire itself.

“We just wished we could’ve gotten more out,” Bell said.

It’s a controversial policy that we’ve dealt with before. If you live in the city, you get fire protection but if not, you have to pay the $75 fire protection fee each year. With this policy, the city makes no exceptions.

Well, it took long enough, but our government has finally devolved into the same environment that lead Marcus Crassus to his wealth. Countdown until we start letting the poor die when they can’t afford healthcare. Whoops, I mean countdown until Police don’t have to answer calls from poor people. Whoops, I mean countdown until poor people get arrested for sending their kids to well funded schools

Well, damn. I’d like to write a ridiculous, hyperbolic sentence about the next step in our disenfranchisement of the poor, but I can’t even top reality.

Voting is a right. It shouldn't cost $73.

Why am I opposed to the new Voter ID bill in Wisconsin? Here’s one reason: it shouldn’t have to cost you money to exercise your constitutional rights. In the case of a poor person, it can be a significant amount of money just to get a state ID.

Let’s walk through this. Here are my assumptions: a person working for minimum wage who lives on the north side of Milwaukee and was born in Milwaukee County.

The fee for a state ID card (not a driver’s license) is $28. But to get that, you have to have a birth certificate. To get that, you have to go to the register of deeds office in the Courthouse or mail your request. The fee is $20. Many people in poor neighborhoods don’t have checking accounts, so you have to get a money order. I don’t know how much that costs at one of the check cashing places so prevalent in poor neighborhoods, but it’s $1.10 at the post office. It takes 2-3 weeks to get it. You also need to show the DMV proof of identity. We’ll just assume you have a Social Security Card. If you lost yours, well, I don’t know what you do, because they require proof of identity like a state-issued identification card or a passport, which of course you don’t have. At least the card is free, but from personal experience, you’ll have a long wait in the Social Security office.

Whcih brings me to another point: time. The DMV is only open during the weekdays. If you work a minimum wage job, you’re unlikely to have paid time off. So it will cost you $7.25/hr to go to the DMV. First you have to get there. You don’t have a driver’s license, so it costs you 2.25 by bus. From 35th & North, the bus takes 30 minutes to get to the Downtown DMV. I’ve never been in and out of the DMV in under an hour, and the downtown branch tends to be busy, so let’s allow one hour at the DMV and one hour to and from. Then, of course, you have to get to work, so let’s allow another half an hour for that. That’s a bare minimum of 2.5 hours to get your ID card, or $18.13 in lost wages.

Let’s add it up!

ID card fee $28 

Birth certificate $20

Money order $1.10

Postage for birth certificate request 44c

Minimum wage $7.25/hr * 2.5 hrs = $18.13

Bus fare 2.25 each way * 2 = $5.50

Total: $73.17

That’s a lot of money if you’re poor. Didn’t we outlaw poll taxes because they disenfranchised poor voters? Oh yeah, they were abolished IN THE 24th AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION. 


A huge portion of the population doesn’t have the right to vote

Three in 10 black men can expect to lose their right to vote at some point in their lives, according to data from 2010 compiled by the Sentencing Project, a nonprofit that works to reform the criminal justice system. In Florida, Kentucky and Virginia, which have some of the harshest felon disenfranchisement laws, 1 in 5 African-Americans is denied the right to vote.

Why this issue has gone unnoticed Follow micdotcom

1: Poverty, and the cycle of poverty.

This is the big one. Poverty is a social issue. The cycle of poverty — the ways that poverty itself makes it harder to get out of poverty, the ways that poverty can be a permanent trap lasting for generations — is a social issue, and a human rights issue.

2: Domestic violence, workplace harassment, and other abuse. 

See above, re: cycle of poverty. If someone is being beaten by their partner, harassed or assaulted at work, abused by their parents — and if they’re poor, and if there’s fuck-all for a social safety net — it’s a hell of a lot harder for them to leave. What’s more, the stress of poverty itself — especially inescapable, entrapped poverty – contributes to violence and abuse.

3: Disenfranchisement. 

There’s a cycle that in some ways is even uglier than the cycle of poverty — because it blocks people from changing the policies that keep the cycle of poverty going. I’m talking about the cycle of disenfranchisement.

4: Racist policing.

There’s a whole lot going on with racist policing in the United States. Obviously. But a non-trivial chunk of it is fiscal policy. Ferguson shone a spotlight on this, but it isn’t just in Ferguson — it’s all over the country. In cities and counties and towns across the United States, the government is funded, in large part, by tickets and fines for municipal violations – and by the meta-system of interest, penalties, surcharges, and fees on those tickets and fines, which commonly turn into a never-ending debt amounting to many, many times the original fine itself.

5: Drug policy and prison policy.

Four words: The new Jim Crow. Drug war policies in the United States – including sentencing policies, probation policies, which drugs are criminalized and how severely, laws banning felons convicted on drug charges from voting, and more — have pretty much zero effect on reducing the harm that can be done by drug abuse. They don’t reduce drug use, they don’t reduce drug addiction, they don’t reduce overdoses, they don’t reduce accidents or violence that can be triggered by drug abuse. If anything, these policies make all of this worse.

6: Deregulation. 

This one is really straightforward. Deregulation of business is a conservative fiscal policy. And it has a devastating effect on marginalized people. Do I need to remind anyone of what happened when the banking and financial industries were deregulated?

7: “Free” trade.

This one is really straightforward. So-called “free” trade policies have a horrible effect on human rights, both in the United States and overseas. They let corporations hire labor in countries where labor laws — laws about minimum wage, workplace safety, working hours, child labor — are weak to nonexistent. They let corporations hire labor in countries where they can pay children as young as five years old less than a dollar a day, to work 12 or even 16 hours a day, in grossly unsafe workplaces and grueling working conditions that make Dickensian London look like a socialist Utopia.

[Read the full article]

Here's what SCOTUS ruled on the Voting Rights Act, in lay terms
  • question The Voting Rights Act mandated that certain jurisdictions in the country with a history of voter disenfranchisement (all in the south) receive pre-clearance from the federal government before enacting any new voting laws. The case on which SCOTUS ruled today questioned whether or not this is constitutional. 
  • ruling The court did not strike down the concept of pre-clearance; rather, struck down the specific formula currently used to determine which states require pre-clearance. So, until Congress can agree on and pass a new formula for this determination, no states will require pre-clearance anymore.

It falls upon congress to decide on a new formula–essentially, to figure out which states should still require federal approval to change their voting laws. Given how congress is these days, we’re exceedingly doubtful that any agreement will be reached anytime soon. source

For eleven straight weeks, North Carolinians have protested a wide range of fuckery that Republicans have been implementing: craptastic abortion restrictions hiding in bills dealing with sharia law and motorcycle safety; cutting unemployment benefits, forcing those without a job in a state that has the fifth worst joblessness rate to live on bupkis; increasing taxes on middle- and lower-income taxpayers, because more tax cuts for the wealthy is what the people really want; and the repeal of environmental measures, because it’s not like Mother Nature isn’t already sick of our shit.

Perhaps the most abominable of the conservative policies championed by the North Carolina GOP is HB 589, a voter suppression bill that would make even the grandest of wizards blush. The bill, of course, is made possible by the fact that last month, the Supreme Court declared racism dead and gutted the Voting Rights Act (after all if racism weren’t dead, how come there’s some black dude in the White House who, in November 2012, decided that he wasn’t goin’), thus paving the way for states like North Carolina, which have a sordid history of racial discrimination, to do everything in their power to make it really hard (if not outright impossible) for minorities, low-income folks, and students to vote.

—  Imani Gandy, “WTF, North Carolina?

How to Solve America’s Democracy and Poverty Crisis

Fifty years ago this week, President Lyndon Johnson promised to “strike at the causes, not just the consequence” of persistent poverty in America. His War on Poverty, he told a joint session of Congress, would do more than alleviate immediate economic needs; it would “strike away the barriers to full participation in our society.”

Americans may have tired of Johnson’s war, but the struggle is far from complete. Not only does poverty persist across the United States today, but American democracy itself has become impoverished. The two are more entwined than is commonly thought.

As the foregoing articles in this series have shown, tens of millions of citizens, and would-be citizens, are struggling to earn their keep and keep their faith in a democratic system from which they are excluded. Millions more low-income citizens have a hard time making it to the polls for reasons that are partly within and partly beyond their control. Making matters worse, the politicians on whom they rely do not rely on them: a tiny fraction of wealthy Americans and special interest groups lobby the federal government, and a fraction of one percent of citizens provide the lion’s share of campaign funds.

However you slice and dice the numbers, people in poverty are at a serious, structural disadvantage when it comes to making their voices heard and having their interests represented in Washington. They are far from equal citizens in the public square.

Read more. [Image: Associated Press]

The Startling Urban Dynamic in Pennsylvania’s Voter ID Law

Something big is happening in Philadelphia ahead of this fall’s presidential election – the first in the state since a stringent new Voter ID law was passed earlier this year – although people there concerned about it are having a maddeningly hard time putting their finger on the precise size of the problem. The city has just over 1 million registered voters. About 800,000 of them are considered “active.” […]

The Pennsylvania Department of State recently released two lists of the Pennsylvania residents whose state IDs have expired since last November (and thus can’t be used to verify their identity at the polls this fall), as well as a list of the active voters whose names don’t match up with the PennDOT database as currently having an ID. This second list is terribly sloppy (one database spells names like McCormack as “Mc Cormack,” and there’s all kinds of chaos with hyphens and apostrophes). But nonetheless, the best official data available suggests that as many as 280,000 voters in Philadelphia may need to get an ID between now and November to have their votes counted.

Read more. [Image: Reuters]