Monday 2nd May 2016


Mass Incarceration

How NOT to Fix Crime Problems.
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The View From New Harmony

The View From New Harmony

What an election year for political junkies like me! The whole political world from left to right is in good healthy upheaval. The establishment is under attack from both the left and the right. Don't you just love it? It gives me hope that honest tangible changes may actually happen. And that maybe some of our career political parasites may end up out on their money grubbing asses.

For the first time in my memory, all issues are out on the table for discussion this year from campaign reform to mass incarceration to whether or not we should continue to wage endless wars around the globe. Everything is up for debate, and you can thank Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump for forcing the discussions. I am a Bernie Sanders supporter, but I am also grateful for Donald Trump, because just like Sanders, he is forcing people out in the open with their ideas. I find a lot of the ideas of the Trump supporters pretty repulsive, but since they exist in the minds of my fellow Americans, it is better to put them out into the sunlight of public discussion than it is to pretend they don't exist. Good morning America, let us open up and talk!

Out of all of the conversations that Sanders and Trump have opened up, I am thinking about criminal justice reform this morning. Here is my opinion on criminal justice reform. What we are doing now — mass incarceration of non violent offenders– is a dismal failure from both social and economic points of view. Long term rehabilitation of non violent criminals is a far less costly for the taxpayers than is long term incarceration. The problem is that incarceration has become a juicy profitable plum for corporations and police forces. The right wing corporatists sell the idea of long term incarceration to the voters by peddling it as "revenge," and all human beings love us some revenge down deep in our skevie little hearts. But this revenge is a social and economic cancer on our society. It changes the non violent offenders in processes into violent offenders on down the road. Anyone who is not completely stupid or blind can see that mass incarceration feeds joblessness and hopelessness, eats up huge amounts of tax dollars and, and does not by any measure "work." Mass incarceration doesn't protect people, it creates more dangers of violent crime for us. Mass incarceration doesn't save money, it is bankrupting us.  If we did away with mass incarceration, we would lose that wonderful feeling of revenge we get with it. But without mass incarceration, we would cut costs and improve results.

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Buying used

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Ron-firs-ICON-WE$B-SITE-Cousins-PicNic-IMG_3294Want to join the revolution to wrest control of the world from the billionaires and corporations? Try buying used.

Buying used is a revolutionary act easily exercised by ordinary people. Buying used is good for the planet, the economy, the political system and your bank account. Buying used items conserves energy, helps protect the air and water and keeps a LOT of money out of the hands of the rapacious corporations. Buying used also stretches your shopping dollar, so that you can provide more and BETTER nice things for your family. Buying at garage sales, flea markets and local thrift stores also gets you out among your neighbors and creates a sense of community. Buying used is fun, profitable, ecologically sound and agreat way to stop the corporations from controlling your life.

At our house buying something new is a last resort.

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Posted by Ron Nesler from New Harmony Indiana, where the good news today is about garage sales, thrift stores, rummage sales and flea markets.

Mosquitoes and gay marriage

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The View From New Harmony

The View From New Harmony

Mosquitoes and gay marriage and American exceptionalism

So what in the hell do mosquitoes and gay marriage have to do with American exceptionalism?

Diseases borne by mosquitoes cause untold suffering among human beings. Our only response so far is to spray for the mosquitoes with chemicals that also kill honey bees and human beings. For less money and energy than we now spend on trying to prevent people from marrying whomever they choose —  which harms no one — I am certain that we could easily combat diseases borne by mosquitoes which cause immense human suffering?

Isn't that a radical idea? Sometimes I amaze even myself.

While I am on a roll, allow me to make another suggestion. Very few hearts and minds are won over to America's side by bombing civilian villages, torturing prisoners of war or targeting the families of those prisoners of war for retribution.  I served fifteen months in the Vietnam war, where we tried all of these actions against the Vietnamese. They didn't work then against the Vietnamese, and they won't work now against Muslim insurgencies.  The way to battle insurgencies is to remove — not add to —  the reasons that people have for joining those insurgencies. We need to defend ourselves and a select few friendly nations, but being a global police offiocer is a no win job. 

America can be a bright shining light for mankind, but we can't do it with bombs and torture and bigotry. Whatever happened to the Peace Corp? Or the space program? Or fighting diseases that cause human suffering? Therein lie the formula for American exceptionalism.

 

Ron Nesler posting about mosquitoes and gay marriage and American excveptionalism from gopod ol' New Harmony Indiana

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