lessig:

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I received this nastygram by email today from Scott Brown’s campaign manager — cc-ing my boss, the provost and president.

I take it Mr. Reed’s outrage is triggered by the Senate’s regulations of what constitutes being a “lobbyist” for purposes of the Senate rules. I hadn’t received the memo…

"In theological language, the moral story of Ferguson isn’t about “flesh and blood.” The moral story is about more than those three minutes. The moral story isn’t about the relative guilt or innocence of Michael Brown and Darren Wilson. The moral story is about historical and systemic oppression and injustice, about the “principalities and powers” and “spiritual wickedness in high places.”"

Experimental Theology: More Than Three Minutes: Resistance and Grace in Ferguson

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With each of these shootings/chokehold deaths/stand-your-ground atrocities, police and the judicial system are seen as enforcers of an unjust status quo. Our anger rises, and riots demanding justice ensue. The news channels interview everyone and pundits assign blame.

Then what?

I’m not saying the protests in Ferguson aren’t justified—they are. In fact, we need more protests across the country. Where’s our Kent State? What will it take to mobilize 4 million students in peaceful protest? Because that’s what it will take to evoke actual change. The middle class has to join the poor and whites have to join African-Americans in mass demonstrations, in ousting corrupt politicians, in boycotting exploitative businesses, in passing legislation that promotes economic equality and opportunity, and in punishing those who gamble with our financial future.

Otherwise, all we’re going to get is what we got out of Ferguson: a bunch of politicians and celebrities expressing sympathy and outrage. If we don’t have a specific agenda—a list of exactly what we want to change and how—we will be gathering over and over again beside the dead bodies of our murdered children, parents, and neighbors.

"

Ferguson: The Coming Race War Won’t Be About Race - Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in TIME

This is probably the best thing I’ve yet read concerning Ferguson, Mike Brown and all the background issues. Kareem really nailed it.

a Christian response to injustice

Injustice makes God angry, it made Jesus angry, and as Christians it should certainly make us angry too.

Don’t rationalize it, defend it, apologize for it - speak truth to power and stand up for the oppressed. Our attitude should be informed by Scripture, especially the many (many) passages that address injustice and defending the oppressed against the powerful, NOT BY POLITICS.

Open your eyes, consider the history of our country for the last 400 years or so, and realize that the system today is still - not surprisingly - full of bias along racial lines. Blaming the recipients of that bias and oppression for their situation, and suggesting that they simply haven’t worked hard enough to get out of it, is insulting to their intelligence and to your own, and does nothing to solve the problem.

saying “well, he shoplifted, what did he expect?” (he didn’t; the piece of the video you saw on TV has been pretty carefully edited by the same people who have been beating and arresting reporters without charge, issuing death threats on camera and flat-out lying about events, which tells you how much credence you should give to the video they released) - this is very much akin to saying “well, she shouldn’t have been wearing that dress - *it’s her own fault*, what did she think was going to happen?”

remember: just because you personally aren’t the target of systematic bias, violence and oppression does not mean it doesn’t exist. asserting that if minorities just acted better or worked harder or pulled up their pants or learned to speak English better or [irrelevant cultural touchstone here] that the system would no longer be rigged against them is like saying that the answer to violence against women is the hijab.

"A lot of white people aren’t speaking out publicly against the killing of Michael Brown because they don’t see a space for themselves to engage meaningfully in the conversation so that they can move to action against racism. It’s not so much that they have nothing to say but rather they don’t see an opportunity being opened up for them to say something or to do something that matters. Or they might not be sure what to say or how to do it. They might have a hard time seeing a role for themselves in the fight against racism because they aren’t racist, they don’t feel that racism affects them or their loved ones personally, they worry that talking about race and differences between cultures might make things worse, or they think they rarely see overt racism at play in their everyday lives. And, sometimes, they are afraid. There’s a real fear of saying the wrong thing even if the intention is pure, of being alienated socially and economically from other white people for standing in solidarity with black people, or of putting one’s self in harm’s way, whether the harm be physical or psychological. I’m not saying those aren’t valid fears but I am challenging white people to consider carefully whether failing to speak out or act because of those fears is justified when white silence and inaction mean the oppression and death of black people."

Becoming a White Ally to Black People in the Aftermath of the Michael Brown Murder | WHAT MATTERS

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So, when the police are dressed like combat troops, it’s not a fashion faux pas, it’s a fundamental misunderstanding of who they are. Forget the armored vehicles with the gun turrets, forget the faceless, helmeted, anonymous Robocops, and just listen to how these “policemen” talk. Look at the video as they’re arresting the New York Times and Huffington Post reporters. Watch the St Louis County deputy ordering everyone to leave, and then adding: “This is not up for discussion.”

Really? You’re a constable. You may be carrying on like the military commander of an occupying army faced with a rabble of revolting natives, but in the end you’re a constable. And the fact that you and your colleagues in that McDonald’s are comfortable speaking to your fellow citizens like this is part of the problem. The most important of the "nine principles of good policing" (formulated by the first two commissioners of the Metropolitan Police in 1829 and thereafter issued to every officer joining the force) is a very simple one: The police are the public and the public are the police. Not in Ferguson. Long before the teargassing begins and the bullets start flying, the way these guys talk is the first indication of how the remorseless militarization has corroded the soul of American policing.

"

Cigars, But Not Close :: SteynOnline

"Indeed, experts in the legal community have raised serious concerns that allowing civilian law enforcement to use military technology runs the risk of blurring the distinction between soldiers and peace officers."

How the War on Terror Has Militarized the Police - The Atlantic

thinksquad:

Justice League of America #17

thinksquad:

Justice League of America #17

"It’s a dangerous myth, that we should all need permission any time we’re getting value out of a piece of culture. And it’s one that gets entrenched deeper each time we accept the idea that we’re able to make use of a work because a copyright owner is or would be OK with it, and not just because we have a basic right to participate in culture that is more fundamental than anybody else’s desire to maximize profits."

Houston, We Have A Public Domain Problem — Medium

"Which is why the fundamental law of capitalism must be: If workers have more money, businesses have more customers. Which makes middle-class consumers, not rich businesspeople like us, the true job creators. Which means a thriving middle class is the source of American prosperity, not a consequence of it. The middle class creates us rich people, not the other way around."

The Pitchforks Are Coming … For Us Plutocrats - Nick Hanauer - POLITICO Magazine

in which a 0.01% multi-billionaire exhorts his fellows to push for sensible policy changes now, before the revolution that history shows to be inevitable, suddenly appears.