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Lee Lang and Michael Bourg

Social justice activist Colin Kaepernick recently published an online essay titled “Abolition For The People” in which he advocated the abolition of the police and prisons.

Let me say up front that I truly admire Kaepernick’s continuing “knee for social justice.” He has remarkable courage and a profound sense of justice.

Having said that, I don’t think Kaepernick has ever met anyone quite like Lee Lang or Michael Bourg. If he had, he would not see the abolition of prisons as a viable option toward achieving justice.

I do not believe that property offenders and social ills offenders (DWI and drug possession, for example) should be sent to prison. Their criminal offenses can be addressed through community supervision that would produce accountability and rehabilitation.

However, there must be prisons for people like Lee Lang and Michael Bourg.

Lang was sent to the Louisiana State Penitentiary in the 1950s with a life sentence for murder—a sentence at that time which carried an incarceration period of 10 years and six months.

Over the next decade Lang killed four fellow inmates for little or no reason at all. And he always killed in a brutal, methodical manner.

Long before the term “super max” or long term solitary confinement entered the prison experience, Louisiana prison officials were forced to put Lang in a completely isolated confinement removed from all contact with other inmates. It was the only way to shut down that killing machine.

Michael Bourg was sent to prison for armed robbery. He fell in love with what is known in the prison setting as a “galboy.” Bourg and the galboy were white. Four black inmates started making sexual plays at the galboy. One of them called Bourg a “punk-ass bitch,” or something similar. That night Bourg killed two of them in their sleep before they could get out of bed. He killed the third one as he tried to get a weapon out of his locker. Bourg stabbed the fourth one multiple times as he banged on the dormitory door before they guard could get it open and let him escape the assault. He survived.

Bourg was also locked down in deep solitary confinement.

So, what would Kaepernick have us do with Lee Lang and Michael Bourg?

And what would the former NFL quarterback have us do with the violent prison gangs (with tens of thousands of members), child killers/rapists, serial killers, mass murderers, pedophiles, rapists, and killers who take the lives of their wives and children just to be with their Walmart girlfriends.

I know prison like Kaepernick knows football.

I know there are people in prison who have committed violent crimes, and after decades of imprisonment they deserve release consideration.

But there are thousands of inmates—like Lee Lang or El Chapo or a Neo-Nazi gang leader—who are violent and will remain violent the rest of their days on earth. They would pose an immediate, continuing threat to the free community if released.

There are not enough psychologists, social workers, group therapy programs, or diversion programs to treat, correct, or redirect their violent tendencies.

So, again, what are we to do with these people?

Release them from prison with the admonition, “go and sin no more from now on.”

The nation’s prison system is fueled by systemic racism—no doubt about that. Injustice is also a way of life in prison—so much so that it seems to be the natural order of things.

One day, through genetic engineering or Star Trek-like technology or artificial intelligence, society may find a way to deal with human violence besides penal incarceration but that panacea is nowhere in sight.

Abolition of prison is an ideal that a just, humane society must pursue, but never, ever, at the expense of the safety and well-being of the peaceful, law-abiding members of that society.

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Herd Immunity

Reports from the White House reveal that the current administration has settled on the notion that “herd immunity” is the best way to deal with the Covid-19 virus.

Herd immunity theorizes that the more people infected with a contagious disease, the better it is in order to protect the herd; that is, those who contract the viral disease and survive will then be immune thereby protecting the herd.

The herders are willing to accept these losses to the herd: the aged, the most vulnerable to infection because of medical conditions, and the weak who simply cannot measure up to sickness. In effect, the herders are willing to accept the loss of 20 percent of the weakest in the herd in order to protect 80 percent of its strongest.

Herd immunity is a widely discredited medical theory much like the “flat-earth” head-in-the-sand  theory.

Below is a list of diseases in the animal kingdom that decimated groups of species and the herd theory with them:

  • Ebola – infects mostly chimpanzees and gorillas; killed off as many as 95 percent of those infected.
  • Chytrid – infects frogs and salamanders; sent 200 of these amphibians into catastrophic decline and wiped out 30 percent of them altogether.
  • West Nile Encephalitis – reduced the American crow population by 45 percent.
  • White-Nose Syndrome – killed off 6 million American bats, wiping out 99 percent of one breed.
  • Anthrax – in 2004, killed off 90 percent of wild herbivores in Zimbabwe.
  • Devil Facial Tumour Disease – a contagious cancer that has wiped out 90 percent of the Tasmanian Devil population in some areas.
  • Canine Distemper – decimated black-footed ferrets in Wyoming, African wild dogs and lions in Africa’s Serengeti, and Amur tigers in Eastern Russia.
  • Chlamydia – a sexually transmitted disease that has decimated the Australian koala population.
  • Sylvatic Plague – has a 90 percent mortality rate among prairie dogs.

Herd immunity did not protect these different animal species from the diseases that decimated their populations, mostly to near extinction.

Covid-19 will be no kinder or gentler to the human species in America or anywhere else in the world.

The “herders” see it differently.

They believe that if there are “only” 2 million deaths out of 20 million infections, the loss is worth the economic demand to keep our society open and fully functional.

The herders, however, do not factor into their herd immunity equation the fact that of the 20 million infected, roughly 10 to 12 million of those who survive the initial viral infection will still have residual or long term medical complications caused by the initial infection, such as: heart/vascular problems, damaged lungs, organ damage/failure, skeletal weakness, muscle weakness, and/or dementia-like memory loss.

These people are known as “long haulers”—those who will suffer months, years, and even life times from the Covid infection. They will not be contributors but rather a drain on society. Their long haul medical conditions will place so many demands on the nation’s healthcare system that it will go bankrupt. Those lucky enough to receive medical care through insurance coverage will not get “presidential treatment” care while those without health insurance will simply die.

The American society had better develop an acceptable relationship with this inevitable reality—our society will never be “normal” as we knew it pre-Covid. There is now the post-Covid normal that will last for generations

The Genie is out of the fucking bottle, and he ain’t going back in there no matter how hard we try to stuff, coax or jam his ass back into it.

The herders can continue to suck up to that “survival of the fitness” wench, Ayn Rand, but the so-called fitness (the herders) will have no barometer by which to measure their fitness. They can only shout in the Covid wilderness, “I’m immune” or some other dumb shit.

The only way to come to terms with the Genie is through an acceptance of science and medicine. A thumb up the ass and a finger in the nose will not save us from this Genie. The best we can hope for is to keep the Genie at bay through science and medicine.

America has always had a considerable market for stupidity and Covid-19 has made it abundantly clear that we now a bumper-crop of stupid to overflow that market.

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What the fuck!

The word “fuck” has two dictionary definitions. The first, and most prevalent meaning, is to have “sexual intercourse” with someone; and the second underlying definition is to “ruin or damage” something.

For the life of me, I don’t understand how the American usage of the term fuck (sexual intercourse) can be simultaneously associated with the “ruin or damage” to, let’s say, a Ford F-250 windwhield.

But after giving the subject some considerable thought, and upon consultation with my special canine Walter, I can understand how a fellow walking out of his double-wide at 4:30 in the morning for the two-hour drive to his work site in the oil patch only to find the windshield of his reliable F-250 smashed would exclaim loud enough to awaken the nearest neighbor a half mile away –

What the fuck!

That neighbor down the gravel road instantly knows that that blood curdling exclamation has nothing to do with a blissful moment the Ford F-250 owner may have just had just shared with his wife but has to be associated with some serious “ruin or damage” to property, either to the Ford F-250 or his four-wheeler, prompting the neighbor to grab his AR-15 and run out into his front yard in his blue tighty-whities to check on his four-door Dodge Ram truck.

Here’s the deal, folks.

Dictionary.com says the word “fuck” is “extremely vulgar, considered improper and taboo in all its senses” while Wikipedia says it is a “profane English-language” word.

This past week during an interview with right-wing talk s talk show host Rush Limbaugh the President of the United States dropped what Politico called the “F-bomb” when talking about his disdain for Iran. Since I don’t listen to Rush Limbaugh (sorry Boogaloos and Proud Boys), I will depend on Politico’s version of the president’s F-bomb usage:

“If you (meaning Iran) fuck around with us, if you do something bad to us, we are going to do things to you that have never been done before.”

Now, clearly the president was not talking about having sexual intercourse with any of the homophobic leaders of Iran, so he used the F-bomb to warn Iran that if they “ruin or damage” us in any kind of way, we will do more than just smash their Ford F-250 windshields.

The President of the United States, once considered a global world leader, is supposed to be a “role model” for the nation’s young people. That’s no longer the case. Recent public presidential communications have instructed our young people that “shithole countries” are bad and how to tell a school yard mate seeking help to “fuck off, Jack.”

Imagine this suburban home scene, if you can.

Mom in the kitchen with a polka dot apron tied around her waist preparing the dinner meal.

Her ten-year old son comes running in through the kitchen door after two hours of swinging on an old Ford F-250 tire tied to the branch of a nearby backyard tree and excitedly asks:

“What’s for dinner, mom?”

“Momma loves you so much that she’s fixed Tom Brady spinach, Aaron Rodgers turnip greens, and Drew Brees’ corn-on-the-cob for dessert.”

Son looks a momma with a look straight out of a Sam Peckinpah classic—something like Steve McQueen in Getaway—and says:

“What the fuck!”

Even before Rodney Atkins popularized the line in the cute little country song “Watching You,” mom replied:

“Son, now where did you learn to talk like that?”

Son replies:

“I learned it by listening to the President of the United States – so if you put any shithole Aaron Rodgers turnip greens or any of that Tom Brady fucking spinach on my plate, I’m gonna do things in this kitchen that ain’t never been done before.”

So, thanks to the President of the United States, the word “fuck” is now a permanent fixture in the communication relationship between parent and child in America.

You can soon expect this language between siblings in the average American household as they struggle to find “greatness” again:

“Fuck you;” “Get the fuck out of my face;” “Fucking moron;” “Don’t fuck with me;” or “I’ll fuck you up.”

What could possibly go wrong with having common, everyday prison cellblock language used by the American family coming out of Sunday morning worship?

What the fuck!

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Regeneron

This past April, as the scientific search for a Covid-19 treatment began in earnest, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, the maker of Regeneron, issued this statement to the public.

“Regeneron uses a wide variety of research tools and technologies to help discover and develop new therapeutics. Stem cells are one such tool.”

The statement went on to say that there are “limited research efforts employing … human embryonic stem cells.”

In a December 2015 article in Scientific American, University of North Carolina biomedical researcher Lishan Su said that, “Using fetal tissue [from aborted fetuses] is not an easy choice, but so far there is no better choice. Many, many biomedical researchers depend on fetal tissue research to save human lives. And I think many of them feel the same way.” 

In 2019, President Trump issued a number of Executive Orders clamping down on the use of aborted fetal tissue in scientific research. In fact, the Washington Post reported earlier this year that at least one scientist was forced to “abandon” his coronavirus treatment research because of the president’s executive orders.

Yet, while at the Walter Reed medical center, the president was administered a treatment protocol that involved the use of Regeneron—aborted fetal tissue.

Just two days before President Trump tested positive for the Covid-19 virus, Dr. George D. Yancopoulos, the president and Chief Scientific Officer of Regeneron, issued this public statement:

“After months of incredibly hard work by our talented team, we are extremely gratified to see that Regeneron’s antibody cocktail REGIN-COV2 rapidly reduced viral load and associated symptoms in infected COVID-19 patients … We are highly encourage by the robust and consistent nature of these initial data …”

Now I think U.S. Senators (especially Republicans) should ask Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett whether she approves of or would undergo this treatment protocol if she became severely infected with the Covid virus.

The president either drank that REGIN cocktail right on down or had it infused into his body – and widely proclaimed that it made him feel 20 years younger.

So, pro-life folks, this is your dilemma: Would you consume, or subscribe to one of your loved ones consuming, the aborted fetal cocktail to save yours or one of your loved ones’ lives from Covid?

I guess if the president can sign an order prohibiting the use of a biomedical treatment protocol, he or she can damn well violate their own order.

Made him feel 20 years younger, he said, although it didn’t do too much for his age look.

As for me, I would drink the REGIN cocktail before I would drink the Clorox cocktail or do a Lysol enema.

Twenty years younger – imagine that. There goes Peloton’s stock.

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Amy Coney Barrett.

President Trump’s latest appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In her nomination acceptance remarks, Judge Barrett proudly informed the nation that she clerked 20 years for the late Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia. She added that “his judicial philosophy is mine too.”

That’s peculiar, to say the least.

Justice Scalia was a staunch “constitutional originalist”—one of those judges like Clarence Thomas who believe that all laws, both state and federal (even those upheld by lower courts), should be interpreted with the same legal mindset as the Framers who wrote and ultimately ratified the Constitution.

For example, the Sixth Amendment right to counsel as intended in 1789 provided only that a male individual (who at the time had to be a white landowner) could have an attorney represent him at a criminal trial if he could afford to retain one.

Judicial originalists, like Justices Scalia or Thomas, do not believe that the 1789 Sixth Amendment guaranteed a poor man had the right to counsel if he could not afford to hire one.

Nor do they believe that a right to counsel for poor people was created by the due process/equal protection of the 1868 Fourteenth Amendment.

Justice Scalia was particularly contemptuous of the Fourteenth Amendment when it came to women.

 For example, he did not believe the equal protection clause of the amendment protected women from government-sponsored sex discrimination; or gave women a vested right not to be excluded from jury duty solely on the basis of sex; or denied States the right to fund male-only educational schools that deprived women equal opportunities.

This is what Justice Scalia essentially felt about the equal protection provisions of the 14th Amendment expressed—as in his often convoluted, egotistical fashion—in a dissenting opinion in which the Supreme Court recognized right to same-sex marriage:

“ … if …  I ever joined an opinion for the Court that began: ‘The Constitution promises liberty to all within its reach, a liberty that includes certain specific rights that allow persons, within a lawful realm, to define and express their identity,’ I would hide my head in a bag.”

So, for the record, Judge Barrett draws her judicial wisdom from a jurist who believed the government an discriminate against a woman anytime it feels like it, that prosecutors can keep women off juries simply because they are women, and that women cannot attend male-only schools where the dudes enjoy extraordinary opportunities.

Let’s take it one step further.

Judge Barrett’s constitutional mentor also did not believe that the Eighth Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishments could ever be applied to today’s government-sponsored punishments for women because the white-male only Framers of the Constitution had no problem with women being whipped who gave birth to illegitimate children; women being forced to wear a capital A on their clothing for committing adultery or a capital B branded on their forehead if they stole something; women having their ears cut off or placed in a pillory as examples to others against committing certain crimes; or black women being held in human slavery after their husbands and children were ripped from their arms and sold on the open market and then being compelled to serve the prurient interests of their masters upon demand.

That’s the “judicial philosophy” Justice Scalia passed on to Judge Barrett—the devout Catholic and mother of seven children.

We shall see how she applies these originalist views in today’s constitutional decision-making.

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