More conservative than Texas

by Aaron Wherry

Terry Milewski travels to Texas to compare crime policy here and there.

Adds Rep. Jerry Madden, a conservative Republican who heads the Texas House Committee on Corrections, “It’s a very expensive thing to build new prisons and, if you build ‘em, I guarantee you they will come. They’ll be filled, OK? Because people will send them there. ”But, if you don’t build ‘em, they will come up with very creative things to do that keep the community safe and yet still do the incarceration necessary.”




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More conservative than Texas

  1. How far we have fallen…..

  2. At the beginning of the decade, Canadians had good fun turning our noses up at the idiocy south of the border.

    Now we are the rubes being made fun of. 

  3. Well its a shame Milewski didn’t bother to point out the connection between the introduction of private for-profit prisons and increased incarceration because that’s the big elephant in the room that everybody is refusing to acknowledge. 

    It is coming to Canada everyone and it will happen like this:

    Step 1 – get more people in prison
    Step 2 – Introduce private for-profit prisons as the golden solution to prison overpopulation and cost.

    It doesn’t take a genius to figure it out.

    And just as note to the wise, the for-profit prison industry did a great job convincing Texas legislators to pass stupid laws that would put more people in jail, has the same thing happened in Canada? I would say yes.

  4. Terry Milewski: Soft on Crime.

    Aaron Wherry: Soft on Crime.

    Only Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party have the backbone to come down hard on criminals and put thug-huggers in their place.

    Please sent your $50 donation to the Conservative Party of Canada in the following ways…

    Or something like that.

  5. Im in Canada , And that kind of stuff sucks man..

  6. Yes, it certainly is possible to come up with that headline if you go to Texas, cherry-pick half a dozen liberal and libertarian-leaning Republicans that agree with your thesis of “HARPER: MORE EXTREMIST THAN TEXAN REPUBLICANS,” and spin it as the One True Conservative Opinion. Not particularly honest, though.

    I’m not big on the build-more-prisons, make-more-crimes model, but this particular story is still ridiculous piffle.

    • I appreciate what you’re saying here, in that I expect I could go just about anywhere and find someone whose opinion supports just about anything. 

      But the fact remains that this is bad policy for Canada.  It is proven not to get the desired results, it will cost us a lot which will mean less money for programs that can lead to the desired results, and it is also a divisive issue, which I’m now just against because its divisive.  Any way you can say it so that one person who wants to be “hard on crime” understands it is PROVEN not to get the desired results is worth the papers its written in as far as I’m concerned.

      • I agree that it’s probably bad policy. But when you fight bad policy with dishonest journalism, it’s much easier for supporters to dismiss any reasonable concerns as just so much more partisan sniping. Especially when it’s the CBC doing it.

        • I agree with AVR.  I don’t support most of the govt’s “tough on crime” policy either, but I groaned when I read this article, because it’s so obviously slanted.  Milewski really bothers me that way — he’s capable of being a very good journalist, but sometimes he completely loses sight of the good journalist’s duty to provide balance and contrary points of view.  This article is basically advocacy/opinion masquerading as a news story.

          • It IS a news story….you just don’t like it.

          • Once again, you fail rudimentary reading comprehension.  I said that in general, I don’t support the Harper government’s “tough on crime” agenda.  So why would I have a problem in substance with a story that’s critical of it?

            What I have a problem with is that the story is lousy journalism because it lacks balance, concession and substantiation.  It reminds me of those stories where some reporter interviews two lawyers and starts the story with the statement “Lawyers say x” and “Lawyers oppose/support y”.

            To take one example:  I’m sure Milewski’s sources were good ones, and he obviously did some decent research for the story, but there’s nothing in the story to prove or substantiate that what the sources are saying actually represents the majority view of republicans or conservatives in Texas.  That could only be done, e.g., by doing polling or citing polling or survey results.

          • @865444ea1a3aec1b5f1890dd40359673:disqus 

            So a judge, a Repub rep, and the experts in DC who cite ‘Republican governors and state legislators in such states of Texas, South Carolina, and Ohio’ aren’t sufficient for you….instead you want everyone in those states polled before this meets with your journalistic standards?

            LOL

          • No, when it comes to politics, citing a couple of sources to “prove” what one party believes isn’t enough. You don’t have to do polls, but is there any indication of what the majority of state Republican representatives believe? Of popular opinion? Of competing experts? 

            No, of course not; that would spoil the narrative. It wouldn’t be as sexy to headline a story with “Some conservative politicians in a state of 25 million people disagree with Harper’s plans when quickly briefed on them by a foreign journalist, others don’t.” Instead it’s all HURR HURR LOOK U GUYZ HARPO’S 2 RIGHT-WING 4 TEXANS LOL.

          • No, Emily, I’m not saying that everyone has to be polled there.  What I am saying is that it’s lazy and bad journalism to suggest that an entire group of persons holds a particular view when you haven’t done polling or systematic surveying of that group.  It’s the unqualified use of phrases like “conservatives think”, “conservatives disagree,” etc. which I object to.  If Milewski had qualified those words by saying  “some conservatives”, “certain conservatives” or “the conservatives with whom I met”, then I wouldn’t have a problem with it, because that would be, you know, more honest.

          • @865444ea1a3aec1b5f1890dd40359673:disqus 

            @TheAVR:disqus 

            I think it’s pretty clear what Texan Cons/Repubs think about it….you simply don’t like the conclusions.

          • It’s pretty clear you don’t care what they actually may or may not think – they only exist in your universe as a convenient club with which to bash your enemies.

          • @TheAVR:disqus 

            LOL I think it’s pretty clear you don’t like realizing you’re more backwards than Texas.

          • You fail reading comprehension forever, dear. I’ve said about four places in this thread that I AGREE THIS POLICY IS PROBABLY BAD. But you’ve imagined a caricature of me that bears no resemblance to reality, so…clearly I am “more backward than Texas.” That’s how facts and evidence work now, right?

          • @TheAVR:disqus 

            Yes, I noticed your careful caveats. LOL

            However it still means the party you support, your federal govt….is more backwards than Texas.

            Hey, you voted for them, I didn’t. LOL

          • Ah, moving the goalposts when you’re cornered; kudos.

            Keep reaching for that rainbow, Emily. Someday, by God, you will surely prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that everything you like is good and everything you dislike is evil. Really and truly.

          • @AVR:disqus 

            No goalposts have been moved.

            No cudgels have been used.

            I have no enemies.

            I never look for rainbows, and ‘evil’ is a christian concept.  I’m not a christian.

            E for Effort on attempted distraction though. LOL

          • Reality isn’t always balanced.

          • Well… if you don’t support this approach to combatting crime, and if AVR thinks it’s ‘probably bad policy,’ do you think that maybe, just maybe, it IS bad policy? And that maybe, just maybe, we should be exposing this as bad policy so we don’t piss billions of dollars away rather than fret about Terry Milewski and the CBC?

            Can’t see the forest for the trees, boys.

          • GBS, I don’t turn off my critical thinking faculties just because I happen to generally agree with the substantive content of an article I’m reading.  I’m able to process both concepts:  the Harper govt’s crime agenda is, generally speaking, poorly conceived, AND Milewski’s article has aspects to it that are shoddy journalism.

            And your post seems to imply that it’s necessary for Milewski to practice said shoddy journalism in order to “expose this as bad policy”.  I humbly submit that that’s not so.  It’s perfectly possible — and in fact, relatively easy — for Milewski to write an article exposing this as bad policy without doing shoddy journalism in the process.  As AVR and I pointed out (more than once), had Milewski simply qualified some of his blanket statements (and perhaps also interviewed some people with dissenting points of view), the article would have been fine.

    • Cherry picking is taking the guy who heads the “Texas House Committee on Corrections”?

      I suppose it’s also cherry-picking when you get your weather from a meteorologist?

      • It doesn’t tell us “what Republicans believe.” It tells us what that one representative believes, and not even if he’s fully representative of his party or constituency. They have much looser party discipline, and individual legislators – even the ones in government – can openly vary wildly in their opinions of official policy.

        This is shoddy, shoddy pseudo-journalism, an opinion piece with the illusion of reporting. It will not change minds in the way a contrary piece by, say, Dan Gardner might; it only lets CBC viewers remain smug about their self-evidently superior world view, and supporters of the policy ignore criticism since it’s based on misleading silliness.

        Let’s put it another way: say we elect an NDP government. SunTV flies a reporter down to Venezuela, or Sweden, or to ask officials or politicians what they think about a specific NDP policy, after being told of it in thirty-second sound bite format. There being an awful lot of people in the world that nominally subscribe to a given ideology in a non-uniform manner, he’s able to find a handful willing to say “Wow, that’s too crazy and socialist even for us. How valid do you feel that reporting is?

        • The only one asserting it tells us what republicans believe is you.

          • You made a mistake there; you wrote “you,” but the correct spelling is “Terry Milewski and the CBC.”

            Read the headline. “Texas conservatives reject Harper’s crime plan.” Not “some,” not “a few,” not “many,” not “all the ones I talked to.” It’s meant to be a blanket statement.

          • No, it’s not meant to be a blanket statement. As an example, let’s look at some of the headlines right now (Oct 20

            “Canadians win badminton gold” – Winnipeg Free Press

            “Albertans worried about home heating prices”- Edmonton Sun

            “Wind energy plan buffeted Liberals at polls” Sarnia Observer

            “Baby boomers are hoarding big homes at the expense of the young” – Guardian (UK)

            Did every Canadian win a badminton gold? A majority of them? Is every single Albertan worried about their gas bill? Is every singly baby boomer haording a big home? No.

            I’ve written headlines. You’ve inferred what you believe the bias to be. You’re wrong.

        • You’re right. So who said it did? Even in the article, it says that “Conservatives in the United States’ toughest crime-fighting jurisdiction — Texas — say the Harper government’s crime strategy won’t work.” Which part of that is not true? Are the people Terry talked to not Conservatives? Are they not in the United States? Is perhaps Texas not the toughest crime fighting district? Come on, which statement is false? It’s only false if you add “All” to the statement, which, so far as I can see, you’re the only one doing.

          Does it say that *all* conservatives feel that way?  No. It doesn’t. You’re just so ultra sensitive/defensive at the moment that you miss the pretty obvious “some” that’s implied there.

          Really, it seems like you’re trying to pick semantic nits to avoid confronting the issue.  There’s a large number of people, conservative, liberal, etc, who all agree that Mr. Harper’s chosen method to fight crime does not work.

          As to your statement, I’d be concerned, and it’d prompt me to look a little more to see if it really is a widespread feeling or just happens to be a few, but I certainly wouldn’t run around like chicken little complaining about biased journalism. Actually, I lie.. I probably wouldn’t give two sh*ts. They can say whatever they like, I’ll evaluate my own politicians on my terms. Something you might consider.

          • And – since you’re so thick you haven’t noticed this – I also agree that it doesn’t work. I am agreeing with you on that point. But I really resent unfair, sloppy and dishonest journalism that attempts to attack a domestic political enemy by ridiculous and superficial comparison to a foreign villain.

            You know perfectly well that the average Canadian reaction to Texas Republicans is. So does the CBC. Challenging a bad policy not with “Hey, this won’t work for reasons X, Y and Z” but instead “Hey, not even the foreign villains agree with your plan, so basically you’re more evil than even they are” is not excused by good intentions.

            You would be disgusted, I’m sure, by a headline reading “Muslims support terrorism,” with only an implied “Some.” Why is this different?

          • Okay, let’s go back to basics on this.

            First, do you have any proof that most Texas Conservatives don’t feel this way? Because right now you’re calling someone “dishonest” and saying their article is a “ridiculous and superficial comparison” without any contrary evidence of your own. For all we know, maybe Terry interviewed dozens and dozens of these people, and only reported the ones who were in expert positions on the matter. Maybe *you’re* the one who is being sloppy and dishonest with the facts. So until you can show exactly HOW the reporter is being sloppy and dishonest, you might take a spoonful of your own medicine, sir.

            Beyond that, “attempts to attack a domestic political enemy” sounds like you’ve got your hat on too tight. Try loosening it up and cooking some chicken in it or something. I promise not to let the Grand Media Conspiracy take over your mind with their satellite microwaves will you do.

            Beyond those, point out a single dishonest thing in the article. The only bias in the article is the bias you put there in projecting that Canadians are mostly media-illiterate morons.

            My disgust with a headline reading “Muslims support terrorism” would be that it’s been so often shown to be false already. That makes it bad reporting. If, on the other hand, you said “Martians support terrorism” I’d be interested in learning more, to see if it’s true. And that’s what good reporting is.

            Or, if you went the other way and said “Al Qaeda supports terrorism”, I’d wonder why I was watching Fox.

          • You seem to have a fundamental misunderstanding of how reporting works, or even argumentation in general.

            The onus is not on me to disprove CBC’s assertions. I don’t know if some/many/all Texan Republicans agree with the ones quoted, but I’m not the one making the claim based on those quotes. The onus is on Milewski and his editors to report truthfully; it’s not my responsibility to take such reporting at face value unless I can produce evidence to the contrary. It is also not my responsibility to prove that weasel words and carefully phrased implications will be misunderstood, if they could be.

            My disgust with a headline reading “Muslims support terrorism” would be that it’s been so often shown to be false already. That makes it bad reporting.

            Proof is irrelevant; we’re talking about dishonest reporting. A lie is still a lie even if the reader might already know that to be the case.

            Would it be dishonest and irrelevant to make the statement “Muslims support terrorism” in a headline, yes or no? That you already know or believe that headline to be false makes no difference; it’s still an untruthful blanket statement, and the person making it should be blamed.

          • Thwim, that goes to the heart of the matter — you think it’s obvious that “some” is implied in that statement.  I disagree 100%.  That’s just not the way most people would read a statement like that.

            I’ll give you an example we see all the time in newspapers.  When most people see a headline that says “lawyers slam crime proposals”, they assume that it means that at the very least, most lawyers, or a validly representative group of lawyers, oppose those proposals.

            Look, do I think that this article by Milewski is the most egregious example of this sort of shoddiness?  Hell no.  I see way worse all the time.  Another example is when a (lazy) journalist finds a talking head from some group to praise or condemn something.  Most of the time, the journalist is either too lazy, or too biased, to look into the actual representativeness of that group.  E.g., I can start a lobby group tomorrow called “lawyers for tax relief”.  But it might actually be a group consisting of me and two friends.  Journalists often spin these sorts of organizations as though they’re legitimately representative of a much broader population.

          • Then most people are wrong. Which brings us back again to why we need media literacy being taught in our schools. Which.. incidentally.. would probably cost less than these jails that aren’t going to work anyway. And which, incidentally, is a *far* more important issue than the specifics of how it’s reported.

            If the reporting gets people interested into looking into it, I think it’s a win.

          • I’m totally with you on media literacy, and literacy in general.

            As for your last statement, that’s a bit of a slippery slope.  “Who cares if it’s factually shoddy or manipulative, because politically it’s on the correct side.”  As Pink Floyd once said, Careful With That Axe, Eugene . . .

  7. Somebody please remind me what “conservative” means again.

    Because to institute a massive, ideologically-driven change in criminal sentencing that flies in the face of all the evidence seems downright radical to me.

    Personally, I’d rather conserve our effective, evidence-driven (albeit imperfect) system than support a huge risky experiment that doesn’t even include a cost estimate.

  8. Yep, we should be taking advice from Texas.
     
    “MODERATOR BRIAN WILLIAMS: Governor Perry, a question about Texas. Your state has executed 234 death row inmates, more than any other governor in modern times. Have you …Have you struggled to sleep at night with the idea that any one of those might have been innocent?PERRY: No, sir. I’ve never struggled with that at all. The state of Texas has a very thoughtful, a very clear process in place of which – when someone commits the most heinous of crimes against our citizens, they get a fair hearing, they go through an appellate process, they go up to the Supreme Court of the United States, if that’s required.But in the state of Texas, if you come into our state and you kill one of our children, you kill a police officer, you’re involved with another crime and you kill one of our citizens, you will face the ultimate justice in the state of Texas, and that is, you will be executed.”
     
    http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/277-75/7384-thou-shalt-kill-cheer-the-republicans

    • Well, that brings in an interesting angle I hadn’t considered.  Perhaps a good number of these fiscally responsible Texas conservatives are opposed to incarceration, building new prisons, etc. because they think they should be summarily executing all potential incarcerated persons instead.

  9. “More conservative than Texas”

    Note how more conservative is a synonym for less rational.

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