Not kicking people when they are down can help: Daily Bullshit, August 12, 2016 (updated again)

Updated for a Christian Science Monitor analysis of the Drug Enforcement Agency’s decision to preserve marijuana’s status as a Schedule 1 drug[1] and for my own commentary on that decision. Updated again for the non-changing of the guard at Fox News,[2] a summary of challenges to the Brexit vote,[3] and a story on what the Republican mayor of Albuquerque is doing about the homeless—hint: it appears to involve “[g]enuinely ask[ing] why they are in the predicament they are.”[4]


Homelessness

It should be so blindingly obvious that I shouldn’t have to say it. But in many, many ways, this society kicks people when they are down and then blames them for not being able to pick themselves up. For instance, while I face several obstacles in my job hunt, including multiple forms of probable discrimination,[5] with discrimination against the long-term unemployed, the fact I haven’t found work makes it harder to find work—I haven’t been able to find gainful employment in fifteen years.

The homeless and marginally housed face a similar pattern: If you can’t pull together a deposit to rent an apartment, you could wind up paying more in aggregate for a spot in a single-room occupancy hotel. Plus, lacking access to a kitchen, you’ll spend more on meals. All of this makes it even harder to come up with that deposit.

Add to this that the stress of being poor actually makes people stupider.[6] So helping limit that spiral downwards should obviously help. And apparently it does.[7]

Colby Itkowitz, “This Republican mayor has an incredibly simple idea to help the homeless. And it seems to be working,” Washington Post, August 11, 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/inspired-life/wp/2016/08/11/this-republican-mayor-has-an-incredibly-simple-idea-to-help-the-homeless-and-it-seems-to-be-working/

David Shultz, “A bit of cash can keep someone off the streets for 2 years or more,” Science, August 11, 2016, http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/08/bit-cash-can-keep-someone-streets-2-years-or-more


Marijuana

“[F]or those who study drug policy and the complex process of approving new drugs for medicine, [the Drug Enforcement Agency’s announcement that the drug classification for marijuana will remain a Schedule 1, the same as cocaine or heroin] was no surprise.”[8] I don’t study drug policy, but I wasn’t surprised either. I would, however, presume somewhat more sinister motives. The war on drugs is, in no small part, a war on people of color.[9] It is an important part of a larger picture in which the poor (especially those of color)—and their survival tactics—are targeted by the criminal injustice system, sometimes to raise revenue, and in which too many poor people (especially those of color) are shot.[10] The criminalization of the poor, in turn, diverts attention from the criminal activities of the rich and supports a criminal justice system that, among other things, employs cops, prison guards, lawyers, and judges.[11] The war on drugs is, in short, an important part of how the elite keep the rest of us divided against ourselves and thus preserve their position.[12] They aren’t giving up marijuana’s ridiculous Schedule 1 classification without a fight.

Marcia Coyle, “When Will the Justices Take Up Pot Again?” Law.com, August 11, 2016, http://www.law.com/sites/almstaff/2016/08/11/when-will-the-justices-take-up-pot-again/

Lucy Schouten, “Why the federal government still rejects marijuana as medicine,” Christian Science Monitor, August 11, 2016, http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Justice/2016/0811/Why-the-federal-government-still-rejects-marijuana-as-medicine


Roger Ailes

Rupert Murdoch is still calling the shots at Fox News.[13] One of the points that David Halberstam made in The Powers That Be is that those who control journalism operations do so for the voice, perhaps even more than any other reason.[14] It sure seems like that’s what’s in play here.

Gabriel Sherman, “Rupert Murdoch Promotes Roger Ailes Loyalists to Run Fox News,” New York, August 12, 2016, http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/08/murdoch-promotes-roger-ailes-loyalists-to-run-fox-news.html


Brexit

Alanna Petroff, “New legal challenge to Brexit from Northern Ireland,” CNN, August 12, 2016, http://money.cnn.com/2016/08/12/news/brexit-legal-cases-lawsuits/

  1. [1]Lucy Schouten, “Why the federal government still rejects marijuana as medicine,” Christian Science Monitor, August 11, 2016, http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Justice/2016/0811/Why-the-federal-government-still-rejects-marijuana-as-medicine
  2. [2]Gabriel Sherman, “Rupert Murdoch Promotes Roger Ailes Loyalists to Run Fox News,” New York, August 12, 2016, http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/08/murdoch-promotes-roger-ailes-loyalists-to-run-fox-news.html
  3. [3]Alanna Petroff, “New legal challenge to Brexit from Northern Ireland,” CNN, August 12, 2016, http://money.cnn.com/2016/08/12/news/brexit-legal-cases-lawsuits/
  4. [4]Kellie Tillerson, quoted in Colby Itkowitz, “This Republican mayor has an incredibly simple idea to help the homeless. And it seems to be working,” Washington Post, August 11, 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/inspired-life/wp/2016/08/11/this-republican-mayor-has-an-incredibly-simple-idea-to-help-the-homeless-and-it-seems-to-be-working/
  5. [5]Kristen V. Brown, “Inside Silicon Valley’s cult of youth,” San Francisco Chronicle, May 4, 2014, http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Inside-Silicon-Valley-s-cult-of-youth-5451375.php; Shaila Dewan, “Frayed Prospects, Despite a Degree,” New York Times, July 19, 2013, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/20/business/recent-graduates-lose-out-to-those-with-even-fresher-degrees.html; Kevin Drum, “10 Reasons That Long-Term Unemployment Is a National Catastrophe,” Mother Jones, December 23, 2013, http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2013/12/10-reasons-long-term-unemployment-national-catastrophe; Susan Heavey, “Over 55 and jobless, Americans face tough hunt,” Reuters, May 15, 2012, http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/05/15/us-usa-aging-workers-idUSBRE84E04Y20120515; Paul Krugman, “The Jobless Trap,” New York Times, April 21, 2013, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/22/opinion/krugman-the-jobless-trap.html; Annie Lowrey, “Long-Term Jobless: Still a Bleak Picture,” New York Times, June 7, 2013, http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/06/07/long-term-jobless-still-a-bleak-picture/; Alexander Monge-Naranjo and Faisal Sohail, “Age and Gender Differences in Long-Term Unemployment: Before and After the Great Recession,” Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, November 6, 2015, https://research.stlouisfed.org/publications/economic-synopses/2015/11/06/age-and-gender-differences-in-long-term-unemployment-before-and-after-the-great-recession/; Matthew O’Brien, “The Terrifying Reality of Long-Term Unemployment,” Atlantic, April 13, 2013, http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2013/04/the-terrifying-reality-of-long-term-unemployment/274957/; Lynn Stuart Parramore, “50 Is the New 65: Older Americans Are Getting Booted from Their Jobs and Denied New Opportunities,” Alternet, December 22, 2013, http://www.alternet.org/economy/age-discrimination-workplace; Catherine Rampell, “In Hard Economy for All Ages, Older Isn’t Better … It’s Brutal,” New York Times, February 2, 2013, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/03/business/americans-closest-to-retirement-were-hardest-hit-by-recession.html; Motoko Rich, “For Jobless, Little Hope of Restoring Better Days,” New York Times, December 1, 2011, http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/02/business/for-jobless-little-hope-of-full-recovery-study-says.html; Christopher S. Rugaber, “Even as US job market picks up, unemployed face frustration,” Seattle Times, February 8, 2015, http://old.seattletimes.com/html/businesstechnology/2025650060_apxeconomyjobopeningsvsunemployed.html; Michael Winerip, “Set Back by Recession, and Shut Out of Rebound,” New York Times, August 26, 2013, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/27/booming/for-laid-off-older-workers-age-bias-is-pervasive.html; Matthew Yglesias, “The Long-Term Unemployed Are Doomed,” Slate, April 15, 2013, http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2013/04/15/rand_ghayad_on_long_term_unemployment_the_long_term_unemployed_are_discriminated.html; Matthew Yglesias, “Statistical Discrimination Against the Long-Term Unemployed,” Slate, April 23, 2013, http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2013/04/23/long_term_unemployed_face_ferocious_statistical_discrimination.html
  6. [6]Anandi Mani et al., “Poverty Impedes Cognitive Function,” abstract, Science, 341, no. 6149, (August 30, 2013): 969-970. doi: 10.1126/science.1238041
  7. [7]David Shultz, “A bit of cash can keep someone off the streets for 2 years or more,” Science, August 11, 2016, http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/08/bit-cash-can-keep-someone-streets-2-years-or-more
  8. [8]Lucy Schouten, “Why the federal government still rejects marijuana as medicine,” Christian Science Monitor, August 11, 2016, http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Justice/2016/0811/Why-the-federal-government-still-rejects-marijuana-as-medicine
  9. [9]Elizabeth Kulze, “States’ Racial Makeup Drives Mass Incarceration,” Vocativ, October 16, 2014, https://www.vocativ.com/usa/justice-usa/prison-statistics-race/; Mike Spindell, “Obama and the War on Drugs: Hypocrisy in Action,” June 29, 2012, http://jonathanturley.org/2013/06/29/obama-and-the-war-on-drugs-hypocrisy-in-action-2/
  10. [10]Daniel Denvir, “Criminalizing the hustle: Policing poor people’s survival strategies from Eric Garner to Alton Sterling,” Salon, July 8, 2016, http://www.salon.com/2016/07/08/criminalizing_the_hustle_policing_poor_peoples_survival_strategies_from_erin_garner_to_alton_sterling/; Jack Hitt, “Police Shootings Won’t Stop Unless We Also Stop Shaking Down Black People,” Mother Jones, September/October, 2015, http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/07/police-shootings-traffic-stops-excessive-fines; Emma Pettit, “‘One Trigger Finger for Whites and Another for Blacks’: What the Research Says,” Chronicle of Higher Education, July 8, 2016, http://chronicle.com/article/One-Trigger-Finger-for-Whites/237057; Jeffrey Reiman, The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Prison, 7th ed. (Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 2004).
  11. [11]Herbert J. Gans, The War Against The Poor: The Underclass And Antipoverty Policy (New York: Basic, 1995).
  12. [12]David Benfell, “We ‘need to know how it works,'” March 15, 2012, https://parts-unknown.org/drupal7/journal/2012/03/15/we-need-know-how-it-works
  13. [13]Gabriel Sherman, “Rupert Murdoch Promotes Roger Ailes Loyalists to Run Fox News,” New York, August 12, 2016, http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/08/murdoch-promotes-roger-ailes-loyalists-to-run-fox-news.html
  14. [14]David Halberstam, The Powers That Be (Urbana, IL: University of Illinois, 2000).

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