A Proper Fear

The only American President ever elected to more than two terms — he would die at the start of his fourth term as President — Franklin Delano Roosevelt famously stated in the Inaugural Address to his first term his “firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”

Unlike today’s politicians, Roosevelt was all about quelling irrational fear. Whatever you might think about the specifics of his politics and plans, Roosevelt seriously wanted to improve society and thus tried to ameliorate fear by making us believe “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

Those in power today want to keep us in a constant state of fear. They’ve turned scaring us into a highly-successful, hugely-profitable (for them) art form.

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Anger Management

I haven’t written for long enough that the last few days I’ve been jonesin’.

The problem isn’t that I haven’t had anything to write about.  Quite the contrary: I’ve had too much to write about.  The problem is that what I’ve had to write about made me so angry that I decided to try to cool down a bit first.

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The Voice of the Lord

Today, I’m going to play a little game called, “Let’s All Be Pat Robertson.”

A few days ago, I wrote about a group from San Diego called Better Courts Now, which was running four conservative “Christian” judges against incumbents.  As I noted (and quoted) there, they believed God called them and told them to change out a few judges.

I disagreed.  And apparently God supports my view of limited government and judges who do not rule in a way that favors a particular religion.

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Prisons, Rehabilitation & American Values

Without ever having served any time in one, I cannot call myself an expert on prisons.  But I suspect I know something more about them than the average person.  I’ve visited more than a few throughout California in my work as a criminal defense attorney.  I know that prisons are considered by inmates to be better than jails.  I know this because I’m currently representing a prisoner in a habeas case, which has required him to be transported from the prison in Coalinga to Fresno and he has made it clear he would much rather be in the prison.

From what I’ve seen, while prisons are better than jails, prisons suck.

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He Ain’t Heavy, He’s Miranda

The United States Supreme Court today rewrote an old classic.
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Overreaction as a Societal Ill

If I walk up to you and slap you in the face because your music is too loud and I can’t think, or because you’re acting carelessly and have damaged some of my property, or nearly knocked me down, several things may happen.  First off, in perhaps the “best case” scenario, I’m likely to be arrested.  In a worst case scenario, I may be shot and killed.  In almost no scenario that I can imagine will you thank me for bringing the problem to your attention.  Nor are you likely to modify your behavior because I slapped your face.

Yet every day we — collectively, as a society — slap others around and expect to change behaviors, even if we don’t necessarily expect our victims to thank us for bringing the fact that we think they have (or are) a problem to their attention.

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