Read the keystone essay – Justice, Police, & Prison System

Capitalism, Justice/Jails, Politics

The Supreme Court, the rich and corporations, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse

March 22, 2024

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (RI) has given a long series of talks, beginning two years ago and now reaching number 30, titled “The Scheme”. This is his investigation of how dark money, fake organizations, and fake facts have enabled the rich and corporations to seize control of the US Supreme Court. The Scheme 30: An Update on the Captured Supreme Court provides a summary of how this happened and what Whitehouse and others are doing to —>> read more –>>

Healthcare, Justice/Jails

The War on Drugs – our longest war – and Portugal

February 14, 2024

How might we summarize the War on Drugs launched in 1970 under President Nixon1 and supported by every President and Congress since? Now, 54 years have elapsed. It began as a cynical political maneuver and has continued to be just that. “The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and Black people,” Ehrlichman said. “You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it —>> read more –>>


  1. Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970
  2. accessed 2.14.2024
  3. accessed 2.14.2024
  4. accessed 2.14.2024
Capitalism, Justice/Jails, Politics, Videos-Movies-Podcasts

Neoliberalism in action: The Scheme 26: The Myth of the Unelected Bureaucrat – Senator Whitehouse video

January 26, 2024

As I have argued regularly, we are in an era of neoliberal wealth supremacy. This is the most successful social movement of the last hundred years. For an introduction to neoliberalism, read my About Neoliberalism. If you are wondering why it is the most successful social movement of the last 100 years, read my post $47 Trillion – the ripoff by the rich and corporations – in two charts – maybe a few more….. Here —>> read more –>>


Parole and probation increase the burdens of our mass prison system

December 12, 2023

I’ve reported several times earlier about our international lead in jailing people. 1.9 million in jail Earlier posts: The State of Mass Incarceration – 2022 and The US Wins Again – Incarceration in Global Context (2017) You can see a wonderful graphic of how each US state compares with most of the countries in the world. Not a happy chart here: States of Incarceration: The Global Context 2021 from the Prison Policy Initiative. But that —>> read more –>>


Briefly Noted, Justice/Jails

More on our status as Number One in Incarceration – Jon Stewart

March 27, 2023

Another few minutes with a comedian. This time it’s Jon Stewart. Prison Is America’s Real Cancel Culture | The Problem with Jon Stewart Here is a screen grab: Drop over to the Prison Policy Initiative for an in-depth look at the state of incarceration in America. Especially troubling are the over 400,000 people who are in jail without ever having been tried. As Stewart notes, they are there because they can’t make cash bail. “It —>> read more –>>


Justice in America – the big fraud

February 24, 2023

The Promise Sixth Amendment In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, —>> read more –>>


Justice/Jails, Racism/White Supremacy

The State of Mass Incarceration – 2022

March 14, 2022

Prison Policy Initiative released a new report on the state of incarceration in 2022. (graphics from prison Over 80% of those in Local Jails are waiting for trial – they’ve been convicted of nothing other than not having the money to buy their way out of jail. Drugs still drive Federal prisons. See the full report here —>>> The US is Still Number 1 Not to worry that we might have lost our status —>> read more –>>


Justice/Jails, Video Posts

Video Post – The American Justice System – the delusion and the realities

November 11, 2020

Our justice system is prominently featured in our culture as a source of fair-handed justice. Everyone stands before the law on an equal footing. The justice system in reality is a gigantic fraud of inequality and lifelong punishment. Our police lead the world in the rate at which they kill civilians. The promise of a fair trial before a jury of our peers is denied over 90% of the time. Coerced plea bargaining with the —>> read more –>>

Briefly Noted, Economy, Education, Inequality, Justice/Jails, Racism/White Supremacy, Videos-Movies-Podcasts

“How Structural Racism Works” – Tricia Rose and Samuel Rosen – recently noted

June 7, 2020

If you are struggling to get your head around how racism works you will probably find it helpful to have a general framework as a guide. This one hour lecture from 2017 features an overview by Brown University Professor Tricia Rose of the structure of racism and how it works in the US (approx. 29 minutes). Then follows a case study by Samuel Rosen, senior researcher, How Structural Racism Works Project at Brown, of how —>> read more –>>

Books, Economy, Education, Family, Healthcare, Inequality, Justice/Jails, Politics

Tightrope – Americans reaching for hope by Kristof and WuDunn – book review

May 1, 2020

Tightrope provides a well-written description of the American crisis through personal stories and hard data. Unfortunately it falls flat in its call for action.


The Other Side of Our Judicial System – Civil Law

January 28, 2020

The Criminal Justice System In recent years many people have taken note of the US lead in incarceration in all its racist wonder. Our nearest competitor, Russia, lags by 40% while our competitor cohort, Germany, France, Japan, and so on, incarcerate a mere 1/10 or less of our world-leading rate. The fraud of this system as a system of equal justice for all is demonstrated by the fact that in Federal criminal actions over 95% —>> read more –>>


Justice/Jails, Videos-Movies-Podcasts

Recently Noted – more John Oliver on American justice – or not

April 13, 2019

Once again we return to our comedians for information about what is going on in the world. This time more on the fraud that is our judicial system.

Family, Inequality, Justice/Jails, Racism/White Supremacy, Videos-Movies-Podcasts

Evicted – the book and the exhibition

April 3, 2019

Eviction from home is a regular feature of life for the poor and working class, more so for black and brown people. The civil justice system works with the same imbalance of power as the criminal system. Based on the book Evicted by Matthew Desmond.


Recently Noted – more unequal justice – lots of it….

February 15, 2019

Louisiana provides a grievous example of unequal access to equal justice. According to a study by the American Bar Association Louisiana has only 363 legal aid attorneys where the case load requires 1,461.

Briefly Noted, Inequality, Justice/Jails

Recently Noted – John Thompson and Justice – Prosecution With No Recourse

January 26, 2019

It is not often that one can make a judgement that is nearly absolute in its accuracy. Most things in life are complicated, complicated by circumstance, money, class, family, just plain errors in judgement, execution, and on… But, when it comes to the American justice system you come face to face with a system that is a gigantic fraud. This is as close to an absolute truth as one is ever likely find in our —>> read more –>>

Briefly Noted, Justice/Jails, Videos-Movies-Podcasts

Recently Noted – Serial the Podcast – More Evidence of the Delusion of Justice –

November 4, 2018

We have written earlier about the fact that effective legal representation and trial by jury is a rarity making one of our cultural icons a complete sham. As Jed Rakoff has noted: In actuality, our criminal justice system is almost exclusively a system of plea bargaining, negotiated behind closed doors and with no judicial oversight. The outcome is very largely determined by the prosecutor alone. In 2013, while 8 percent of all federal criminal charges —>> read more –>>


  1. Why Innocent People Plead Guilty" by Jed Rakoff in New York Review of Books 11/20/2014 accessed 6/24/2017
Briefly Noted, Justice/Jails, Other

Recently Noted – Hudson NY and Its SWAT Team

September 1, 2018

Hudson NY and Its SWAT Team State St Hudson NY 6/12/2018 – photo by Lance Wheeler for Columbia-Greene Media. Even here in our little city of Hudson NY (population ~ 7,000) we have a police SWAT team, benignly referred to officially as the Columbia County Shared Services Team. There has been plenty of concern over its use here in the last couple of years, most recently in June of this year. The website CityLab has published —>> read more –>>


  1. accessed 09012018
  2. accessed 09012018
Justice/Jails, Politics

Gun Regulation, the 2nd Amendment, and Scalia’s Majority Opinion

May 9, 2018

Gun Regulation, the 2nd Amendment, and Scalia’s Majority Opinion Fire arms proponents make much of the  2008 case District of Columbia v. Heller in which the Supreme Court absolutely affirmed the right to bear arms as a constitutionally guaranteed right. Lost in this rhetoric is the fact that no rights are absolute. All are subject to constraints. For example, the First Amendment does not give a person the right to shout “Fire” in a movie —>> read more –>>

Justice/Jails, Racism/White Supremacy

Mass Incarceration – The New Jim Crow – Michelle Alexander

March 7, 2018

Mass incarceration, largely through the War on Drugs, combined with white racism has produced a catastrophe for African Americans. It is hard to imagine that if young whites, despite being no more likely to offend drug laws than blacks, were subjected to these laws that we would have seen a sharp reaction from the white majority. Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow is important reading and a call to action.

Healthcare, Justice/Jails, Racism/White Supremacy

Opioids and White Privilege – Lock’em Up vs. Treatment

December 12, 2017

Opioids and White Privilege The arrival of opioids as a national concern might focus your attention on the role of drug companies, doctors, and hospitals in creating this new addiction path. In the October 30 New Yorker Patrick Radden Keefe provides a through introduction to this in his piece, “The Family That Built an Empire of Pain: The Sackler dynasty’s ruthless marketing of painkillers has generated billions of dollars—and millions of addicts”. But taking another —>> read more –>>


Briefly Noted, Justice/Jails

Recently Noted – women in prison in the US – more on mass incarceration

November 21, 2017

The Prison Policy Initiative has released a new study “Women’s Mass Incarceration: The Whole Pie 2017”. In a pattern that is similar to the fate of men in our mass incarceration system that charades as justice, 60% of those in local jails are there because they cannot afford bail. 29% of these women held for lack of cash are charged with drug offenses.


The US Wins Again – Incarceration in Global Context

October 4, 2017

The US Wins Again – Incarceration in Global Context Americans love to think of the country as No 1 in every dimension. Richest, most powerful, most freedom, most dynamic economy, best healthcare, best sports teams, best education and on and on…… there are some things that we are No. 1 in and by such a stretch that they point to some pretty unfortunate features of our society. As noted elsewhere here healthcare is one of these —>> read more –>>


The Rule of Law, Justice, American Delusions

June 27, 2017

The reality is that legal representation for the indigent is worse than a charade. According to the ACLU 80% of those arrested for a crime can not afford a lawyer. But, no where in the country is a robust system of legal representation for these people in place. And as widely known, legal aid attorneys all too frequently meet their clients for a few moments before a court appearance and have no real resources to —>> read more –>>

Justice/Jails, Politics

America’s Longest War and Attorney General Sessions

May 13, 2017

So Jeff Sessions, tough guy, is going to reverse the very modest corrective direction of Obama’s policies to once again refill our jails. More vicious mindless policy making from the Trump regime.

Justice/Jails, Politics

Justice in America – Not

April 5, 2017

A central dogma of American politics and culture is the rule of law. The ever present blind scales of justice are trotted out with such regularity that the briefest glimpse serves to remind us that we live in a country with a uniquely fair and just system of law. Of course, if you have ever had the slightest encounter with the reality of this system you will already know that it is only those with —>> read more –>>

Justice/Jails, Politics

The War on Drugs Is a Failure – The Gregory Brothers’ video

April 20, 2013

Why waste endless words on this topic? I stumbled on this video, “The Drug War Is a Failure” by the Gregory Brothers via the New York Times.

Justice/Jails, Politics

Our Longest War – The War on Drugs – more data on its futility

April 15, 2013

I have noted here several times earlier about America’s longest war – the War on Drugs. Here is a graphic that displays the complete failure of our policies: ((source: – this graphic came to my attemtion via the Colbert Report ))  


America’s Longest War – a socio-political-military disaster – indicted by Global Commission on Drug Policy

June 12, 2011

Report of the Global Commission on Drug Policy Last week this commission released its report,  “War on Drugs”. This once again brings into focus our longest war, Nixon’s War on Drugs. Here are the first two paragraphs from the executive summary: The global war on drugs has failed, with devastating consequences for individuals and societies around the world. Fifty years after the initiation of the UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, and 40 years after President —>> read more –>>