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The Ungodly, Destructive Power of the Citizens United Decision

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  • What are the gobshites saying these days?
  • Being our semi-regular weekly survey of the state of Our National Dialogue which, as you know, is what Butch Hancock would have come up with, had he composed "Derp Road Song."
  • This Just In: We Are Officially in a New Gilded Age

Charles P. Pierce, Esquire

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Oct 12, 2015 | We have a great deal of fun here with certain elements of the content provided by The New York Times—coughDowdcoughBrookscoughDouthatcough—but there are times in which the NYT reminds us that there is one thing it does better than any other newspaper. It can be The New York Times. Over the weekend, courtesy of a team of three NYT reporters, we had one of those moments.

Just 158 families, along with companies they own or control, contributed $176 million in the first phase of the campaign, a New York Times investigation found. Not since before Watergate have so few people and businesses provided so much early money in a campaign, most of it through channels legalized by the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision five years ago.

Charles P. Pierce is a staff writer for Grantland and the author of Idiot America. He writes regularly for Esquire, is the lead writer for Esquire.com’s Politics blog, and is a frequent guest on NPR.

Full Story … 

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This Just In: We Are Officially in a New Gilded Age, Justin Miller, American Prospect

  • Just 158 families have contributed nearly half of all the money raised so far for the numerous presidential campaigns. Not surprisingly, these donors are overwhelmingly white, male, old, Republican, and rich—very, very rich. 
  • Jimmy Carter: The US Is an "Oligarchy With Unlimited Political Bribery."
  • Democracy Doesn’t Exist: Here’s Why Voting Doesn’t Change Anything.

Chris Hedges Calls Out Corporate America for Their Complicity in Neoslavery

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  • Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, activist and Presbyterian minister Chris Hedges, whose latest book is “Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle,” spoke Saturday at New York’s “Rise Up October” rally and march to end police violence. In his address, Hedges spoke about the effects that police violence and mass incarceration has on families. “There are husbands and wives severed, sometimes forever, from their spouses,” said Hedges. “There are sisters and brothers that have been torn apart, but this morning we remember most the children, those whose mothers and fathers are locked behind bars or whose parents will never come home again, whose tiny lives have been shattered, whose childhoods have been stolen, who endure the painful stigma of loss or of having a mother or father in prison and cannot comprehend the cruelty of this world.”
  • The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration

Chris Hedges, Democracy Now! / Dandelion Salad

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Oct 26, 2015 | Amy Goodman: Among those who addressed the crowd was the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges, Chris Hedges who wrote for The New York Times for over 15 years, 20 years a Middle East correspondent covering war. His latest book is Wages of Rebellion: The Moral Imperative of Revolt.

Chris Hedges: I’m Chris Hedges. I’m a writer. I teach in a prison in New Jersey, and have for many years. I’m also a Presbyterian minister.

Amy Goodman is an American award-winning broadcast journalist, syndicated columnist, investigative reporter and author. Goodman's investigative journalism career includes coverage of the East Timor independence movement and Chevron Corporation's role in Nigeria.

Chris Hedges, a weekly columnist for Truthdig, is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who has reported from more than 50 countries, specializing in American politics and society. 

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The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration, Ta-Nehisi Coates,  the Atlantic

 

American politicians are now eager to disown a failed criminal-justice system that’s left the U.S. with the largest incarcerated population in the world. But they've failed to reckon with history. Fifty years after Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s report “The Negro Family” tragically helped create this system, it's time to reclaim his original intent.

Book review |‘ Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption’ ~ Bryan Stevenson

  • Criminal justice in America sometimes seems more criminal than just — replete with error, malfeasance, racism and cruel, if not unusual, punishment, coupled with stubborn resistance to reform and a failure to learn from even its most glaring mistakes. And nowhere, let us pray, are matters worse than in the hard Heart of Dixie, a.k.a. Alabama, the adopted stomping ground of Bryan Stevenson, champion of the damned.
  • Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption | Ebook PDF Free Download
  • Prison Without Punishment

Rob Warden, Washington (DC) Post 

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October 23, 2014 | Criminal justice in America sometimes seems more criminal than just — replete with error, malfeasance, racism and cruel, if not unusual, punishment, coupled with stubborn resistance to reform and a failure to learn from even its most glaring mistakes. And nowhere, let us pray, are matters worse than in the hard Heart of Dixie, a.k.a. Alabama, the adopted stomping ground of Bryan Stevenson, champion of the damned.

Stevenson, the visionary founder and executive director of the Montgomery-based Equal Justice Initiative, surely has done as much as any other living American to vindicate the innocent and temper justice with mercy for the guilty — efforts that have brought him, among myriad honors, a MacArthur genius grant and honorary degrees from Yale, Penn and Georgetown. Now 54, Stevenson has made his latest contribution to criminal justice in the form of an inspiring memoir titled “Just Mercy.”

Rob Warden is executive director emeritus of the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University School of Law.

Full story … 

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Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption | Ebook PDF Free Download 

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Prison Without PunishmentMaurice Chammah, Vice

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  • Where we're at in America is that we fancy the notion of rehabilitation. But what touches our feelings and our approach to managing the criminal justice system is really punishment.
  • How about treating sex offenders like humans?
  • What You Need to Know About the New Federal Prisoner Release

What You Need to Know About the New Federal Prisoner Release

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  • Five reasons it is (and is not) a big deal.
  • Prison Without Punishment

The Marshall Project

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https://d1n0c1ufntxbvh.cloudfront.net/photo/2465178e/12547/1140x/ A cell at The El Reno Federal Correctional Institution in El Reno, Okla., during President Obama's visit in July. Saul Loeb/Agence France-Presse – Getty Images

You could think of it as an opening round in the long-awaited battle over criminal justice reform. The question is, who fired it? And where will it land?

The Washington Post reported Tuesday: “The Justice Department is set to release about 6,000 inmates early from prison — the largest ever one-time release of federal prisoners — in an effort to reduce overcrowding and provide relief to drug offenders who received harsh sentences over the past three decades.”

This was, in the literal sense, not news. The prisoner releases were set in motion a year ago. But to readers not immersed in the minutia of sentencing policy, it sounded like news, and it landed just as Congress is inching towards repairing a prison system widely deemed broken.


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Full story … 

Related:

Prison Without Punishment, Maurice Chammah, Vice 

  • Where we're at in America is that we fancy the notion of rehabilitation. But what touches our feelings and our approach to managing the criminal justice system is really punishment.
  • How about treating sex offenders like humans?

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