Monday, October 13, 2014

Last Call For The Absolutism Of Dudebro Defector

If you want to know why I have a problem with Glenn Greenwald, you have to go no further than his recent TED talk last week.  There is no room in Greenwald's universe for any criticism of Edward Snowden.  He is not interested in debate, only his fanatical, binary absolutism. All those who support Snowden are the good guys.  Everyone else is evil.  Period.

"I consider [questions about Snowden's motivations] absurd and idiotic," Greenwald after a TED talk. "That accusation comes from people in the U.S. government, from people in the media who are loyalists to these governments, and ... they are saying a lot more about themselves then they are about the target of their accusations because those people ... never act for any reason other then corrupt reasons. 
"So they assume that everyone else is plagued by the same disease of soullessness that they are," Greenwald added.

You get that?  Here's a recap of what Greenwald believes of critics of Edward Snowden:

They are absurd and idiotic, and by extension there is no such thing as valid criticism of Edward Snowden's motivations. Greenwald simply dismisses all criticism, period.  There is no room for debate.

They must be either a US government employee or a media government loyalist.  You cannot be an ordinary American outside the government or media and still have criticism of Snowden. You cannot have objective criticism of Snowden because it cannot exist, ergo you have to be a biased individual who blindly supports the US government.

They never act for any reason other than corrupt ones.  Everything you therefore do is suspect because you are corrupt, and everything you do is only because you are corrupt.  You have no valid argument because you are corrupt, so I can dismiss you out of hand.

They are soulless and assume everyone else is as well.  Once again, you are a corrupt, evil person who cannot possibly have a shred of credibility because there is no possible valid criticism of Edward Snowden.

This is not Greenwald being taken out of context, these are his words, that he says, to a crowd at a TED talk.  This is not a man who was ever interested in furthering the debate over what oversight the NSA has to have in order to do its job and to protect civil liberties.  This is not a man who is interested in answering his critics.  This is a man who admits in his own words that he is 100% right, and everyone else is absurd, idiotic, corrupt, and soulless.

The notion that valid criticism of both the NSA and of Edward Snowden exists in a non-binary world cannot be allowed in his head.

This is my problem with Glenn Greenwald.

Welcome To GenPop, Kids

More and more our public schools, particularly serving people of color, seem to have the goal of preparing black and Latino students for a lifelong relationship with the prison system.  There's no better example of this than Los Angeles Unified School District, and their surplus Program 1033 military weaponry.

"In terms of a clear national picture of what kind of military equipment is going to K-12 schools through the 1033 program, we don't have a 100 percent transparent picture," says Janel George, education policy counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. That lack of transparency is one reason the Legal Defense Fund and Texas Appleseed are asking the DLA to end the 1033 program's relationship with school districts and school police departments. George also emphasizes that excessive force against students by school police is already far too common, with many school officers armed with weapons like tasers and pepper-spray. "The concern is not only the potential harm when you add in military-grade weaponry – we're talking about M16s, AR 15s and grenade launchers. It's also, how does this exacerbate existing school climates that are already tense? And how does that contribute to the criminalization of youth of color in particular?"
The disproportionate punishment of Black and Latino students for the same behavior as their white peers is so well-documented that, earlier this year, the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education expressed concern that such disparities may constitute a widespread civil rights violation. The fact that students of color, as well as students with disabilities, are so much more likely to be referred to law enforcement leads advocates to wonder: On whom are such military weapons likely to be used?

"In LA, if you depend on public schools – and given that the vast majority of students are students of color – at the moment you walk into school, your interaction with police automatically grows," says Manuel Criollo, director of organizing at the Strategy Center. "You depend on a public service, and that public service is attached to the criminal legal system. Are the police there for [the students'] safety, or are they there because they perceive them as a threat?"

Exactly why does a school district need MRAPs and grenade launchers?  But hey, let's blame teacher's unions and make kids pull their pants up.

In all seriousness, schools today are largely segregated and designed to prepare well-off suburban white kids for life in middle management, and to prepare poor urban kids for life in GenPop.  Even 20 years ago when I was in high school this stuff was unthinkable.

Now it's normal. Somewhere along the way we've decided that brown kids are just smaller, more dangerous adults, and should be treated as criminals from birth.

Cutting With An Axe, Not A Scalpel

So the reason why we have a Dallas health care worker with Ebola is probably the hospital's fault, or Obama's fault, but it's certainly not Congress's fault for cutting the budget for public health emergency preparedness in half since 2006, right?

A writer for Scientific American recently pointed out that funding for the Center for Disease Control's funding for public health preparedness has taken serious hits over the course of the past decade.

According to funding data analyzed by Judy Stone, annual funding for preparedness efforts have fallen by $1 billion between 2002 and 2013.

Stone, an infectious disease specialist, said that this reduction in funding hampered the U.S. in its response to the first Ebola patient in Dallas.

She lamented that politicians who are poorly informed about infectious disease prevention are in charge of resources for such efforts. She said that funding cuts have led to job losses at the local level, impacting local health officials ability to prepare for an outbreak.

Oh.  Well, that might be a problem then., especially the fact the sharpest cuts came in Bush's second term, and then House Republicans since taking over the House in 2010 have cut more from the programs.

Starve a program designed to educate and prevent a deadly outbreak among public health professionals and then blame the government when something goes wrong, of course the solution being more cuts to health funding.

Seems about right to me.  Good job, GOP.  But let's order a few more F-22 Joint Strike Fighters at tens of billion each to blow up all those ISIS jets that don't exist, and we'll just cut more public health and emergency preparedness funding.


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