I don’t have any writing to go with this. Sometime down the line I would like to have an art show based on my favorite historical time period - the Cold War. Naturally, I kicked off the series with my idol John F. Kennedy in Berlin.
On today’s date in 1963 at 1 pm, the United States would lose it’s last free president, the last politician with a dream for the future. With President Kennedy’s death, our country’s path towards an era of peace and optimism was diverted off course and lead into a time of war and corruption.
This month, there have been plenty of people who have willfully chosen to mangle Kennedy’s time in office to portray any picture they pleased of him - whether it be one of a war hawk, an ineffective leader, or any other chosen narrative that they have in their head. But Kennedy was none of those, rather, he acted as a temporary stopgap to all of the standard Cold War chicanery up until his election and which proceeded after his death.
The standard lines against Kennedy are that his inexperience led him to fumble the Bay of Pigs invasion, but that’s usually about as deep as it goes. Of course history is never that simple. Kennedy was fighting a daily battle with the powers at be when it came to Cuba. The scheme was originally concocted by the Eisenhower administration (who seemed to have a warm spot in their heart for planted revolutions), and gifted to Kennedy upon his arrival. Kennedy had to fight tooth and nail against the war torn hotheads in the CIA and and his Joint Chiefs of Staff who ideally wanted to shift Cuba from a banana republic to a glass landscape by dropping nukes, all while they poured sugar into Kennedy’s ear about how the invading force was assured a victory. But Kennedy’s hands were tied, he was hamstrung by the fact that if he did not enact the invasion, he would be painted as the President who wouldn’t follow Eisenhower’s plan to liberate Cuba.
You see, opposite the popular opinion that Kennedy was a “Cold Warrior,” in reality he was an avid peace seeker. The fear he had of over-extending military might in Cuba also guided his hand with the rest of his foreign policy. Take for example Vietnam (another Eisenhower gift). Kennedy is often painted as being the most anti-Communist President in history and intended to continue escalation in Vietnam when, to the contrary, he signed National Security Action Memorandum 263 which ordered the beginning of U.S. forces withdrawal from South Vietnam. The same can be seen in Laos, where Kennedy went against the advice of the Eisenhower Administration to pursue military involvement and instead opted to negotiate for neutrality with Russia. Even when it came to the baddest boy of the red threat – The USSR - Kennedy was pursuing back door peace negotiations with Khrushchev behind the backs of the warhawks in Washington.
Some would label me as a Kennedy apologist or a romantic for inferring these ideas. And if that’s so, then so be it. Kennedy saw what we were told was the enemy for what they really were: humans.
As President Kennedy said at American University, “We all breathe the same air.” The country witnessed what happened after Kennedy’s death, when greed and narcissism were allowed to replace a hopeful outlook. The Vietnam War, military actions in Cambodia, and a Cold War that would last over 30 more years to engulf the world in a constant fear of annihilation. As such senseless mindsets took hold again, the Kennedy world of peace and prosperity was pounded into one of turmoil and war. To honor Kennedy, we traded in philanthropy for pure force. But at our most cynical and darkest hours we can look to Kennedy for comfort that it is possible, even if for a stitch in time, to elect a leader with a promise of a better tomorrow.
It’s the presidential election of 1960, and the tune of “Everyone wants to back Jack” emanates from your Zenith radio as Sinatra’s brandy soaked voice belted out a Kennedy campaign jingle à la the hit song “High Hopes.” Or perhaps the old RCA box is on and across the screen rolls upbeat photos of Jack Kennedy’s smiling face and whimsical illustrations while a young chorus sings “Kennedy for me,” as seen above.
During the contest between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon, the cultural gulf between the two candidates was possibly most evident in their advertising strategies. Kennedy – the young, handsome, worldly playboy – employed vibrant imagery through picture and sound that coincided along with his younger appeal. In the aforementioned commercial, terms like “Greatness,” “You,” and “Leadership” spring up between pictures of joyous crowds while the vocalists sing lines such as “A loyal man who will bring the job a fresh new point of view.”
Conversely, Nixon – the poor California Quaker – went the route of verbal Nyquil. There Nixon sits on screen, expertly posed sitting on his desk looking relaxed yet somehow still uncomfortable. With the camera fixed directly on him with a rousing musical soundtrack of complete silence, Nixon urges the audience that he is the candidate who has the experience to keep an unbending peace and an iron spine when it comes to taking on Khrushchev. All of this is capped off with a vanilla voice that declares “Vote for Nixon and Lodge, November 8th.” It was serious, and straightforward. But that’s exactly who Nixon was, he was the man who stood stone-faced in front of Khrushchev and jammed his finger right in his Ruskie chest.
Even with the jingles, the rift was apparent. Kennedy had attractive star power and Sinatra helped drive that point home with the aspirational "High Hopes." Through whirling horns and strings, Frank sings out to “vote for Kennedy and we’ll come out on top.” It’s young, fun, and impossibly is a campaign song that you could dance to. On the opposite end was Nixon’s "Buckle Down With Nixon," a song conservative even in name. The song comes off as stubborn through lines like “we can win the fight when we know we’re right, and we know we’re right” and throughout implores that the way to victory is by “buckling down.”
A lot has been said about how the election of 1960 was a turning point for campaigns with the onset of new venues to provide information, but it is somewhat surprising that Nixon had such a hard time matching Kennedy considering that the outgoing Republican president Dwight Eisenhower (for whom Nixon served as vice president) was able to make campaign ads somewhat similar to the fun tone utilized by Kennedy. In an animated campaign commercial via 1952, a parade of Eisenhower supporters marches their support for Ike to Washington as the chorus sings “You like Ike, I like Ike, everybody likes Ike.” It was whimsical and entertaining, perhaps a nice juxtaposition to Eisenhower’s old demeanor. It was a mistake that Nixon seemed to rectify in his later campaigns for president, in one ad almost follow the exact set up as Kennedy’s television spot.
While Nixon’s campaign spots conjured the preserving of America’s greatness, Kennedy’s painted a picture of a new American future and a new frontier. They were all about getting rid of the stale and embracing the unknown armed with high hopes.The future based outlook to presiding could be seen throughout his term – whether it was through space exploration, the Peace Corps, reforming healthcare, or emphasizing the arts. Kennedy seems to be the last candidate to base his platform on the potential of the United States. Where Kennedy ran on the new, politicians now predominately run on preserving current greatness or re-instating a glamorized day of the past, afraid of what the future might bring.
Is it possible to brand a race? Dan Snyder is willing to bet the estate on it. The owner of the Washington Redskins has adorned himself with his finest pair of marketing pants and declared that he will not change his football franchise’s name in the foreseeable future. For Snyder, the team’s name has transcended it’s racist connotations and has morphed into a flag of pride for those who follow it. In a letter to his fans, he waxes nostalgic about being born a Redskin. He fondly recalls his first game with his father and the chilling experience and atmosphere. But the question has to be asked for those who weren’t born “Redskins” but actual Native Americans - can an entire history be rewritten on a feel good whim at the behest of sports fandom? The trials of the Native is not a dust covered relic from ages ago, but rather just yesterday in our country’s timeline.
At the tail-end of the 19th Century, Native Americans - spurned on by a religious awakening of Native’s that was permeating throughout the United States - sought to alleviate their plight through an exercise that would come to be known as the “Ghost Dance." The purveying thought was that the Native’s way of life had been decimated as a punishment from the Gods for abandoning their culture and traditions, and if the Sioux were to participate in the Ghost Dance, it would cleanse their spirit and return them to a time before the white man had turned their land and animals into kitsch collectibles.
As was to be expected, the suits in Washington viewed this with spectacles that were forged from Manifest Destiny. No virtues were seen in a spiritual awakening for the Native’s, and was instead seen as a precursor to an Indian uprising. A boiling point was reached in the Winter of 1890, on a frigid morning in South Dakota. On December 29, the U.S. Army’s 7th Cavalry intercept a group of of 300 Native’s outside of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. The group was treated as a hostile force and transported to Wounded Knee Creek. In an effort to disarm the group, a struggle broke out between a deaf Native and a cavalryman, causing the deaf man’s gun to be fired. U.S. forces promptly mowed down the group of Native’s, killing upwards of 300 men, women, and children. Those who did not die by gunfire froze to death in the winter chill. This would mark the last major exchange between the Native’s and the U.S. military, and the 1890 census would officially declare the American Frontier closed. 43 years later in 1933, the Boston Braves would play their first game as the Redskins.
That may seem like a long gap, but given how fleeting time is, it’s not. Children who lived during the Wounded Knee Massacre would now be parental age, young adults would now be senior citizens. Generations of people who came of age with the Native as their supposed enemy were now watching and hearing about a football team named “Redskins.” And, despite the fact that Wounded Knee marked the last “battle” of the American Indian Wars, small skirmishes would help keep alive the malice towards the race of the new football team’s namesake. That malice would not flicker out, either. As The Redskins flourished throughout the 20th century, Native Americans were suffering at the hand of racism and discrimination.
We’ve heard it from journalists across the board - John Boehner’s speakership is in jeopardy. He’s somehow worked himself into a corner, presumably in a soaked fetal position, as all of the scenarios to end the government shutdown have him personally damned. To keep his job, Boehner has to endure each painful cog of the world’s worst Rube Goldberg machine - It will shoot him in the foot, stab him in the back, douse him in booze, and all for the payoff of being universally hated. He can either concede to the White House and pass a clean resolution free of any Obamacare infractions, which would result in him having a very ticked off Tea Party caucus (we’re talking “show me your birth certificate” level of ticked). Or, he can press on with his gin-soaked stiff upper lip with no clean resolution and watch his party’s approval ratings sink.
But this isn’t the first time that Boehner has had to have the contact information for his local unemployment office when it comes to his speakership, so let’s look beyond that. What I find incredibly curious is the process of picking a House Speaker and the oversight in the constitution that could potentially allow anybody to fill that seat, regardless of if they are a politician.
The standard process for selecting a new Speaker of the House is fairly nebulous, but basically it boils down to a nominee having to win a majority of the total number of votes cast in the house. Note that it is votes cast in the house, not the majority of house members. For example: There are 435 representatives in the house. Let’s say 5 of them voted absent, now a nominee must win the majority of 430 representatives. You’re probably saying “of course dummy, that’s simple math,” - but it gets complicated. Imagine that nominee A gets 200 votes, nominee B gets 190 votes, and a darkhorse write-in gets 40 votes. Despite receiving the highest tally of votes amongst the 3, nominee A would not become speaker considering that his/her 200 is not the grand majority of all of the votes added up. Better hope Boehner left behind the keys to the liquor cabinet, cause the voting will need to continue.
Before any of the voting happens though, it has to be decided on who to vote for. And thanks to a very loose wording in the constitution, it is believed that absolutely anyone can become Speaker of the House. Article 1, Section 2, Clause 5 states that “The House of Representatives shall chuse their Speaker…” which is believed to open the door to anything with opposable thumbs. Think of it like the mock presidential elections your teacher would make your class do in middle school. Remember how they would make you choose between whoever the 2 candidates were but there would be a handful of miniature stand-up comics who would write in Mickey Mouse or Terrell Owens? Now imagine Terrell Owens actually winning the majority of votes over the 2 politicians. Granted, this has never happened in the history of the House, but it certainly is thrilling knowing that there is the smallest of chances that we could end up with Charles Barkley as House Speaker.
So if John Boehner ends up being forced out to greener pastures (assuming greener pastures is the name of the lobbying group he ends up at), don’t look at the election of a new House Speaker as a civics lesson bore, but rather a world full of wonderment and possibilities. Like Disney World, but with more old drunks.
It finally happened - after years of whining threats and hair trimming misses, the U.S. Government has closed until further notice. And don’t let any shortsighted crystal ball gazers lead you astray when they forecast that a shutdown won’t have much of an effect, because it will. The Small Business Administration will halt loan processing, National Guard troops were being put on hold in the effort to rebuild flood-damaged Colorado, the National Institutes of Health sent home scientists who are researching cases such as the cause of Autism, and a laundry list of equally depressing affairs.
So if asked to find the silver lining in this scenario, what would it be? As federal workers are furloughed and money flowing into the economy is strangled it may seem like a pittance to say this amid the mess, but Democrats could have finally learned to fight for their interests.
Up until now, the Obama era batch of Democrats has approached policy debate with the strategy of being smacked around like a troublemaker in 50’s Catholic school. They’ve continually let Republicans control the course of dialogue and have offered a “good try” cower in the corner defense. Immigration reform, gun regulation, entitlement reform, sequestration, all of them had the dialogue dictated on the conservative side of the spectrum.
And now we look at Obamacare as the battleground - a Democratic piece of legislation that, despite having all of the validation needed, has been allowed to be used as an instrument to induce blunt force trauma on liberal politicians. Democrats have been running away from the Affordable Care Act after they passed it and let Republicans name it Obamacare, even campaigning away from it in elections instead of embracing their signature accomplishment. But no more, it finally seems that Democrats have realized that the bones running down their back is their spine and are finally standing up for their baby. And it’s a better time than ever to do it, considering that the Republican effort to dismantle Obamacare is a farcical load.
Let’s look at the last Republican offer before the federal government was stuffed with mothballs and packed away, in which they were willing to fund the government in exchange for a one year delay to Obamacare. This delay would be used to iron-out the laws problems, fix what needs mended. Now that sounds well and good, until you dig deeper and find out that Republicans have been trying to break the law as much as they could up to this point. Just a few items on the checklist - Republicans have tried to defund and overall stymie the Obamacare navigators and, funny enough, have blocked improvements to the health law that they now seek time to fix. If Democrats were to have capitulated on this negotiation, it would’ve meant getting sucked back into a circle of rhetoric that always ends with a steel-toed boot to their tukas.
So while the government shutdown will be painful for many, if it took this to finally make Democrats mean business, then so be it. Remember, this shutdown is just a temporary taste of many things that Republicans are actively fighting for. Things like shuttering the EPA, turning national parks into a swiss cheese of gas-wells, and defunding WIC are all in the Republican crosshairs. The Dems will have to toughen up to make sure it doesn’t happen, because doormats are better suited for walking on than winning debates.
By now the fix is in for Syria. President Obama has laid out his 2 options: Either Bashar al-Assad becomes a Middle Eastern flower child and hands over his chemical weapons to the international community peacefully or The U.S. will use Tomahawks to transform select Syrian targets into glass factories. But then there’s the third, less bandied about option: Supply Syrian rebels with lethal munitions to combat Assad’s forces. It’s a plan that has been in the works since June, but if put in a historical context, it may not be the most beneficial route to travel.
In my last post I had written about the U.S. intervention that ultimately lead Afghanistan’s Mujahideen rebels to upend the the invading Soviet forces. A key deciding factor to the Kremlin bashing in Kabul was the weapon that The United States supplied to the Afghan rebels - The FIM-92 Stinger. The MANPADS (Man-Portable Air Defense System) missile weighed in at 35 lbs of commie crushing power, traveled at a pace of 1,500 mph, and would haunt the Russians until wars-end.
Prior to the introduction of the Stinger, the Mujahideen forces arsenal of AK-47’s and weaponized Kajagoogoo records paled in comparison to the Soviet’s arial onslaught. But in 1986, the new projectile would turn the tables. The once hapless rebels could now make mincemeat of the arial death machines from up to 5 miles away with the missiles heat-seeking sensors. Couple the Mujahideen’s newly found land-to-air dominance with the fact that Soviet tanks had been rendered worthless due to Afghanistan’s mountainous terrain, the rebels were able to follow their U.S. supplied itchy trigger finger to victory road.
Nothing beats a happy ending. So, what bookends this touching tale of cooperation? The Mujahadeen handed over the unused Stinger rockets to the outstretched arms of The U.S., who then tucked the inanimate war heroes into bed to retire to a hero’s glory.
Well, not quite. What actually happened was the United States government had to don the hat akin to a disgruntled librarian and go on a witch hunt to recover it’s absent property. Operation Missing in Action Stingers (I did not make that up) was launched in 1990 with a budget of $65 million, and it tasked the CIA with hunting down every last Stinger missile. Alas, like any hunt for 80’s memorabilia, the item sought proved illusive and terribly overpriced. The missiles were selling for up to a whopping $100,000 a piece, and by the mid-90’s an estimated 600 Stingers were still unaccounted for, with the search still ongoing into the most recent war in Afghanistan.
Now we sit and nurse the idea of opening and arms bazaar once again, potentially learning nothing from history. In trying to nudge the president down this path, Senator Carl Levin opined that the weapons would go to “vetted” groups amongst the Syrian rebels, supplying them with an arsenal that couldn’t be turned on us. But doesn’t this lack a sense of foresight? The history of the Stinger shows that there is more damage that can be done from your weapons than just having them turned on you. Lost missiles turned up in the hands of militant groups, were purchased by aggressor governments such as North Korea, and have been dissected by the Chinese to learn their inner workings. Not to mention the large search-and-recover costs. All of this played against the United State’s best interests, even though it wasn’t through direct physical violence.
And that was all in the 1980’s-90’s. The world has become an even more globalized and borderless place since, letting any possible errant weaponry supplied to the Syrian rebels travel with much more ease. So now the question stands: Are lethal instruments slipping through the cracks worth it to combat a potential national security threat? Or is it replacing one national security threat with another? In both the 80’s and today we seemingly answered yes to the first , and now we watch to see if history does indeed repeat itself.
If the question presented is “What does the United States have to gain with military intervention in Syria?”, history will show that it is nothing that any country would willingly seek. As a nation, we have a Midas touch for creating disdain in the Middle East. War is increasingly becoming the only matter we excel at in a timely fashion, but none of it’s benefactors ever seem to appreciate our efforts. The U.S. has a little black book of Arab heartbreak that it could flip through to be reminded that the best intentions can often lead you lost without a hope in the hot Mid-East heat.
Iran - In the early 1950’s, the United States joined with the British to dabble in interior decorating on a national level. Spurned on by the election of the hard-line nationalist Mohammed Mossadegh as prime minister, the two western powers sought to remove this new thorn in their side by staging a coup to overthrow Mossadegh’s government. The pains initially started for the British in May of 1951, when Mossadegh nationalized the production of oil in Iran. You see, this was a massive problem for Great Britain because they had amassed great power over Iran during their imperial conquests and attained much of their wealth by capitalizing on Iran’s oil fields. After cutting the oil production to try and financially bring Mossadegh to his knees (Iran received 10% of the wealth made from the trade of their resources), Britain approached the U.S., who was fearful that Mossadegh would carry Iran over to the communist bloc to sip vodka with the Ruskies. Through the use of tactics such as supplying weapons to the Iranian military and paying protesters to pretend to be communists, Mossadegh was successfully overthrown in August, 1953 and the Shah (Mohammed Reza Pahlevi) assumed power.
The United States came away with a sweet deal after the coup - They had attained a new ally in the Middle East, The Shah gave U.S. oil companies 40% of Iran’s oil fields, and the United States got to keep pretending that their foreign policy was nothing but sunshine and smiles.
Unfortunately, The Persian vacation was not to last forever. In 1978, incited by anti-American protests and tired of having their toenails ripped out by the Shah’s forces, Ayatollah Khomeini led Muslim fundamentalists in revolution and successfully overthrew the Shah in 1979. Since then, relations between the U.S. and their former puppet ally have been at best cold and at worst on the brink of war - being our one true enemy in the region.
Confession time - I don’t like Hillary Clinton. I never have, and barring any age of enlightenment on my end, I probably never will. But I’ve swallowed with a truckload of salt the fact that she very well could be representing myself and other Democrats come 2016. With that said, the media’s incessant bludgeoning of me with Hillary press is not making it a pleasant experience.
Let’s get down to the brass tax. Unless you just flew in from another planet, you know who Hillary Clinton is. Even if you have the dustiest ground-level interest in politics, you still know who Hillary Clinton is. The woman is a household political brand-name who has thoroughly been vetted to us for over the past 20 years through a scorned first wife stint, a presidential run, and as Secretary of State (bonus Hillary face time if you lived in New York during 2000). It’s safe to say that as a populace, we are intimately acquainted with Mrs. Clinton.
So it leads me to this question: Why is the press covering her like a scientist just grew her in a petri dish? There are 2 problems with the Hillary infatuation that is being foisted upon us by the press.
First and foremost is the risk of developing Hillary fatigue. Mrs. Clinton may very-well be the Democratic party’s sure bet for the Presidency, but shoving her in the American voters faces will wear them down and dim her bright light come election time. Let’s face it, Hillary is a very polarizing figure. She is loved by many, but a good amount also find her personality as comfortable as a sandpaper pillow. When your leading candidate is one such as her, perhaps your best move is to tread lightly until it matters and not give people 3 years to remember why they didn’t like her the first time around.
Problem number 2 with the Hillary Clinton news-a-thon is that just like every other presidential election there are other Democrats who are vying to become President, but unfortunately for them (and us) they are being swept to the side. At this point we know about the Super PAC’s that have formed in Mrs. Clinton’s favor, we know about her speaking fees, We’ve done in-depth analysis into her Chief of Staff and similarly embattled wife Huma Abedin, and by next week we’ll know her preference of laundry detergent.
Compare that to anything that we know about who else may be looking to run. We’re looking at an informational scale that’s weighing boulders to feathers. For the plethora that we know about Mrs. Clinton’s potential run, we know virtually nothing about any other possible contender. It’s assumed that Joe Biden will look to capitalize on his Vice Presidency and run, but how many know that Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley has pretty much announced that he’s running for president only to be buried with back page coverage.
The reason this is worth noting is because so far, as much as the press would make it seem, Hillary Clinton’s presidential run is completely hypothetical. So, in the event that Hillary does not run, what good will the information overload have been for the Democratic voter if they know that Hillary likes her Cornflakes dry, but know absolutely nothing about any other candidate that could be representing them?
I know how tempting it may be to heap praise onto the supposed sure thing, but we’re a long way out from election day. All the good press and hypotheticals in the world won’t matter once if we trip over the basket holding all of our eggs. Hillary may be the current star, but plan b’s were invented for a reason. What’s it going to matter if come election time, polls turn south and all Democrats are stuck with are 400 articles about Mrs. Clinton and a barrel full of grand illusions.
The revolving door of prison - a vicious cycle, that if not given the proper guidance, a man or woman can get locked into for the rest of their lives. According to a 2011 Pew Center on the States report, more than 4 in 10 inmates will return to their barbed-wire abode within three years of release. Here in Maryland, 43.3 percent (that’s nearly half) of the inmate population will be refitted for an orange jumpsuit. This is no doubt a startling statistic, but one Maryland Gubernatorial hopeful has the answer to turn the revolving door into a one way exit – tablet computers. Wait … come again?
Quit rubbing your eyes, you read that correctly. Maryland Attorney General and early gubernatorial contender Douglas Gansler announced the plan as part of his “Building Our Best Maryland” tour.
Sarcasm aside, most likely your opinion on Gansler’s tablets-for-inmates program will largely be leveled by your idea on the role of prison’s in modern society. If you are one who believes that prisons are a reforming tool for individuals who were subverted from their bright future down a derelict path, then you will probably agree with the tactic. But, if you feel that prison is a punishment for those who chose to be blights on society, then you could very well see this as a leavening of the required harsh conditions and an incentive for criminals not to fear returning to prison.
Personally, I feel that Gansler is taking a “What now?” as opposed to “Why in the first place?” stance when it comes to inmates. Or, in less convoluted terms, he’s trying to figure out what to do with inmates after they’ve entered the system as opposed to stopping them from becoming inmates to begin with. You need to target potential inmates while they’re young.
When faced with the criticism that perhaps the tablets would be better suited in the school system, Gansler responded that his proposal is a “a different issue,” - but is it? Studies have shown that better schooling can be an influence on crime levels. Let’s look at Maryland’s largest city - Baltimore. Baltimore County school’s lag behind the rest of Maryland’s school system, and at the same time Baltimore’s crime rate is over half the rest of the state. Is it mere coincidence?
The Baltimore public school system is well known for not investing in it’s students. $250,000 spent on executive suite remodeling, funds meant for the classrooms being spent on dinners and hair appointments, $3.5 million in federal stimulus dollars targeted for troubled schools vanishing, and the song keeps playing. The school system can at times seem like a golden parachute for it’s employees while acting as a lead ballon for it’s students. Perhaps it is not out of bounds to suggest that the same reasoning behind using tablets to keep prisoners from returning could also benefit the students of an inattentive school system. Especially if that inattentive school system is engulfed in an area of high crime and high poverty.
While it’s all well and good to think about prisoners after the fact, Gansler and the rest of Maryland needs to start getting serious about putting proper firewalls in place at a young age to keep the prison populations low. Maryland legislators scrapped a proposed (and condemned) $70 million juvenile detention facility plan, but the idea behind it’s initiation shows how unwilling we can be to get our hands dirty in the gritty lives of troubled youths - opting to just lock them into a system of turmoil. Perhaps we’re just not ready as a society to invest in tackling the root of the inmate population. Instead we’ll just keep trimming the branches, and scratch our heads when they keep growing back.