[Plura-list] Armed Michigan voters escort their state rep to work; Konstantine Anthony for Burbank City Council; Flooding Ohio's "work-refusal" snitchline; Brett Favre received $1.1m in welfare money for speeches he never gave

Cory Doctorow doctorow at craphound.com
Sat May 9 11:59:21 EDT 2020


Reminder: I'm doing a reading, talk and Q&A today at the Essence of
Wonder virtual sf con, and then chairing a panel with a group of
security experts. Starts at 12PM Pacific:



Today's links

* Armed Michigan voters escort their state rep to work: If the police
won't stop the flu klux klan...

* Konstantine Anthony for Burbank City Council: A candidate for working

* Flooding Ohio's "work-refusal" snitchline: Volcano gods go hungry tonight.

* Brett Favre received $1.1m in welfare money for speeches he never
gave: Part of Mississippi's $98m corruption scandal.

* The real Lord of the Flies kids were really nice to each other:
Another paradise built in hell.

* Phil Ochs rarities: Treasures from a lost and beautiful radical
musician and writer.

* This day in history: 2005, 2015, 2019

* Colophon: Recent publications, upcoming appearances, current writing
projects, current reading


🧤 Armed Michigan voters escort their state rep to work

On Wednesday, armed white nationalists occupied the Michigan state
house, brandishing swastikas and long-guns, and screaming demands that
lawmakers lift public health restriction.


State Rep Sarah Anthony was among several lawmakers who were disgusted
by the lack of police response to an armed terrorist occupation of the
state's legislature.


Working with one of her constituents, a firefighter, Anthony arrived at
work on Wednesday with an armed escort of six men and women of color,
some carrying assault rifles.


Constituent Michael Lynn Jr brought his AR-15. He told Lois Beckett for
The Guardian, "Being a black and brown female Democrat in the capitol
now is a dangerous job, This is an environment that Donald Trump has

"Anthony said her goal was not to encourage more armed citizens to
volunteer to protect lawmakers, but to ensure that the law enforcement
officers paid by taxpayers to keep legislators safe would do a better
job in the future."

"We can’t normalize that narrative to where it seems as if we’re
supposed to be scared to exercise our second amendment rights as
everyone else does" -Michael Lynn Jr.

Historically, US states have been most likely to find the political will
to enact gun control laws when Black people took advantage of them.


In 2018, Mehdi Hasan proposed that Muslims join the NRA en masse to
provoke a nationwide discussion on gun control.



🧤 Konstantine Anthony for Burbank City Council

I have donated to the Burbank city council campaign of Konstantine
Anthony; I also donated to his campaign three years ago. Anthony is
running to represent the interests of working-class Burbankers.


Anthony's previous work included campaigns to end no-fault evictions,
recognition for gig workers, and an end to imprisonment for homeless
people with mental illness.

Anthony's previous work included campaigns to end no-fault evictions,
recognition for gig workers, and an end to imprisonment for homeless
people with mental illness.

He's seeking volunteers "to make calls, send texts, write postcards, and
help with administrative tasks."



🧤 Flooding Ohio's "work-refusal" snitchline

Ohio "re-opened" without vaccines. effective therapeutics, sufficient
ventilators, or adequate PPE/disinfectant, so workers will risk their
lives if they go back to their jobs. But what Ohio DOES have is a
snitchform for bosses when this happens.


That way, bosses can punish workers who are reluctant to throw
themselves into volcanoes to appease the economy gods by getting their
unemployment benefits taken away, subjecting them to homelessness and

But as good as the state government of Ohio is at ruthlessly terrorizing
workers, they're much worse at securing webforms, which is why it's
possible to run a script that sends thousands and thousands of plausible
fake reports to the form.


The script combines names from an online fake name generator with a list
of the state's 100 top employers to generate fake data. The state has
since updated its captcha but the script's author promises to have a
workaround soon.

The script was packaged as a command-line tool that lets users send fake
reports in the background as they work by software engineer David Ankin.


The script's author told Motherboard, "What I’m hoping is that, whether
people use this exact code or not, they see it’s possible to take direct
action against these sort of snitch programs, and that making and
spreading small tools like this amongst ourselves can help."


🧤 Brett Favre received $1.1m in welfare money for speeches he never gave

Mississippi's Community Education Center is funded by the MS Department
of Human Services's Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. It
gave $1.1M to football player Brett Favre in lecture fees...for lectures
Favre seems never to have given.


The Mississippi State Auditor says the Community Education Center paid
Fevre Enterprises $500k in Dec 2017 and $600k in Jun 2018 for speaking
fees for three events that Fevre did not attend. Fevre has not been
criminally charged in connection with this.

The audit was triggered by a massive embezzlement scandal around John
Davis, Director of Dept of Human Services from 2016-19, whom the auditor
claims misspent $94m in public funds earmarked for helping the poorest
families in America's poorest state.

Davis is also charged for his role in a conspiracy that stole $4m. The
auditor calls it, "Mississippi’s largest public corruption case in
decades" and adds, "If there was a way to misspend money, it seems DHS
leadership or their grantees thought of it and tried it."

Davis made grants of $98m to Mississippi Community Education Center and
Family Resource Center of North Mississippi, then directed them to spend
the money in ways that benefitted his cronies. The funds were allocated
to the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program.

In addition to funneling $1.1m to Favre, the Mississippi Community
Education Center misspent welfare money on two vehicles, costing $50k
and $28k.

The Center also passed $1.3m to Victory Sports Foundation, which was
supposed to provide fitness boot camps for poor families. They did not
screen attendees to ensure they qualified, and "state legislators and
other elected officials took the fitness classes for free."

Favre did not answer the AP's questions about the $1.1m in welfare funds
he received from the disgraced nonprofit. "His manager, Bus Cook, told
AP on Wednesday: 'We’ve got nothing to say.'"

John Davis was appointed by the former GOP governor Phil Bryant.
Bryant's defining achievement was refusing to remove the confederate
battle-flag from the state flag and declaring Confederate Heritage
Month, and signing an unconstitutional abortion ban into law.

Bryant also favored a sharp expansion of civil asset forfeiture, the
discredited rule that allows cops to seize and keep property from people
not charged with a crime, with the owners having to prove the negative -
"this is not the proceeds of a crime" - to get it back.


🧤 The real Lord of the Flies kids were really nice to each other

I was profoundly moved by Rebecca Solnit's "A Paradise Built in Hell" -
a beautifully written, lavishly researched book about the history of
disasters documenting how everyday people pull together to help one another.


Solnit documents the flipside of this, the "elite panic" among the
wealthy who are blind to the cooperation of working people and convinced
that the poors are coming to get them. Elite panic is firmly entrenched
in our cultural narratives, a commonplace in books and films.

It was something I tried to remedy in my 2017 novel Walkaway, which
makes a villain out of elite panic itself -- not the thing that the
elites are panicking about.


It's a contrast with books like Lord of the Flies, a book that
represents a variant on a cozy catastrophe: "a bizarre calamity wipes
out a large percentage of the population, but the protagonists survive
and thrive in the new world that follows."


In Rutger "Utopia for Realists" Bregman's new book, "Humankind, a
Hopeful History," he documents a real-life version of Lord of the Flies,
where a group of Australian schoolboys were stranded on a remote Tongan
atoll for 15 months, cooperating and caring for one another.


The boys' tale is excerpted in The Guardian today, and it's a lovely
antidote to the lazy story of humanity's bestial nature, lurking
eternally just below the surface.


"By the time we arrived, the boys had set up a small commune with food
garden, hollowed-out tree trunks to store rainwater, a gymnasium with
curious weights, a badminton court, chicken pens and a permanent fire,
all from handiwork, an old knife blade and much determination."

"The kids agreed to work in teams of two, drawing up a strict roster for
garden, kitchen and guard duty. Sometimes they quarrelled, but whenever
that happened they solved it by imposing a time-out. Their days began
and ended with song and prayer."

"Kolo fashioned a makeshift guitar from a piece of driftwood, half a
coconut shell and six steel wires salvaged from their wrecked boat – an
instrument Peter has kept all these years – and played it to help lift
their spirits."


🧤 Phil Ochs rarities

Phil Ochs was one of the great folksingers of the 1960s, in many ways
better than Bob Dylan, though he is not nearly so well known today,
likely because his career was cut short by his 1976 suicide. I was
raised on his music.

On May 22, a new CD of never-heard Ochs music (demos and songs that were
recorded for albums but dropped from the final release) comes out: "Phil
Ochs, The Best Of the Rest: Rare and Unreleased Recordings."

In American Songwriter, Paul Zollo gives a fascinating breakdown of each
track on the disc, from the ultra-rare "Take It Out of My Youth" and "I
Wish I Could Have Been Along" to equally obscure versions of "The War is
Over" and "No More Songs."


He also notes the impending publication of "I'm Gonna Say It Now: the
Writings of Phil Ochs" by Backbeat Books, "damn near all of Phil’s
non-song works...short stories, poetry, criticism, journalism and satire."


Maybe you've not heard of Ochs, but your favorite folksingers have.

Billy Bragg: "[Ochs was a] born writer. He played guitar because that
was the  language his generation was speaking. Today, his questioning
voice chimes as clearly as it ever did.”

Tom Morello: "Phil Ochs was a tireless crusader for justice. He is one
of the all-time great activist troubadours. With wit and fire, his songs
skewered the evildoers of his day and remain perfect examples of how to
fight the power with guitar in hand.”

Tim Robbins: "Phil Ochs told the truth before it was ready to be
accepted and before it was politically expedient. He was the kind of
truth-teller that made liberal allies nervous because his truth demanded
an accountability to their own compromise.”


🧤 This day in history

#15yrsago Hillary "RIAA" Rosen: iPod DRM is cruel and unfriendly!

#15yrsago PSP will only run apps that Sony has signed -- Sony shooting
self in head

#15yrsago Chaining Amazon's Statistically Improbable Phrases

#5yrsago Citizen journo who videod Eric Garner's murder now hounded by

#5yrsago DOJ tells judges they don't get a say in whether information is

#5yrsago Commercial prison messaging system's terms of service lands
inmate in solitary

#5yrsago Solving San Francisco's housing crisis with narrow, human-scale

#5yrsago Senators demand CIA boss admit he lied about hacking torture

#5yrsago Smart Grid consortium rolled its own crypto, which is always,
always a bad idea

#1yrago Big Tech is deleting evidence needed to prosecute war crimes,
and governments want them to do more of it

#1yrago Towards a method for fixing machine learning's persistent and
catastrophic blind spots https://arxiv.org/pdf/1905.02175.pdf

#1yrago Americans with diabetes are forming caravans to buy Canadian
insulin at 90% off

#1yrago Co-founder of Facebook calls for breakup of Facebook

Colophon (permalink)

Today's top sources: The Verge (https://theverge.com/), Naked Capitalism
(https://nakedcapitalism.com/), Dave Hughes (https://twitter.com/DopedSi).

Currently writing: My next novel, "The Lost Cause," a post-GND novel
about truth and reconciliation. Friday's progress: 688 words (13685 total).

Currently reading: Facebook: The Inside Story, by Steven Levy.

Latest podcast: Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town (part 02)

Upcoming appearances:

 May 9: Being Civil With Security Experts, Essence of Wonder,

Upcoming appearances:

* May 9: Being Civil With Security Experts, Essence of Wonder,

Upcoming books: "Poesy the Monster Slayer" (Jul 2020), a picture book
about monsters, bedtime, gender, and kicking ass. Pre-order here:

"Attack Surface": The third Little Brother book, Oct 20, 2020.

"Little Brother/Homeland": A reissue omnibus edition with a new
introduction by Edward Snowden: https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250774583

This work licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.
That means you can use it any way you like, including commerically,
provided that you attribute it to me, Cory Doctorow, and include a link
to pluralistic.net.


Quotations and images are not included in this license; they are
included either under a limitation or exception to copyright, or on the
basis of a separate license. Please exercise caution.

How to get Pluralistic:

Blog (no ads, tracking, or data-collection):


Newsletter (no ads, tracking, or data-collection):


Mastodon (no ads, tracking, or data-collection):


Twitter (mass-scale, unrestricted, third-party surveillance and


Tumblr (mass-scale, unrestricted, third-party surveillance and advertising):


When life gives you SARS, you make sarsaparilla -Joey "Accordion Guy"

-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: signature.asc
Type: application/pgp-signature
Size: 195 bytes
Desc: OpenPGP digital signature
URL: <http://mail.flarn.com/pipermail/plura-list/attachments/20200509/fc6b2213/attachment-0001.sig>

More information about the Plura-list mailing list