Citizen Reader Elsewhere

How to Read True Crime and Sleep at Night

Good morning!

If anybody who reads this blog is anywhere near McFarland, Wisconsin, you are cordially invited to attend my presentation there, titled "How to Read True Crime and Still Sleep at Night."*

Mr. CR thinks it is totally weird how much True Crime I read, but I gotta tell you, I like True Crime because it is honest. I don't think we will ever conquer our cultural love of violence until we look at it more often and much more analytically. I firmly believe the first way to make a problem bigger is to ignore the problem. Reading True Crime is one way I feel I am trying to look at one of society's biggest problems.

There are also some phenomenal True Crime books out there to read, among them Stacy Horn's The Restless Sleep and Sarah Perry's After the Eclipse and Debora Harding's Dancing with the Octopus.

The program will be at 6 p.m. at the E.D. Locke Public Library in McFarland, on Thursday, June 23rd. Hope to see you there!!

In case you can't make it, here's the website to go with the talk: How to Read True Crime website

Here is a bibliography of True Crime titles to read: True Crime Bibliography

and

Here's something I wrote a while back to try and explain why I read a lot in this nonfiction genre: Why I Read True Crime.

*I actually make no guarantees that you will be able to sleep after the talk or after reading any True Crime titles. So much for truth in advertising.


An Essay a Day...

...won't keep the doctor away, or anything, but I still say a daily essay can make your life better.

How handy there is a website called "Essay Daily" to help you get your fix!

Over at Essay Daily, they periodically run a feature called "The Midwessay," featuring essays set in the Midwest, and I am extremely excited to say that they published an essay of mine last week: You Can't Go Home Again.

I've read a lot of the other Midwessays there, and they all provide a slightly different look at a region that doesn't often get a lot of love. The entire site is highly recommended!


Do you know what's going on at your favorite tech company?

Take your pick: Tesla, Meta, Ubisoft, Activision Blizzard, Microsoft, and especially Apple. What do those companies have in common? There's a lot of sexual and racial harassment and discrimination going on at all of them.

I got to speak with Apple whistleblower Cher Scarlett, and I am grateful she is out there advocating for such companies to be more transparent, and also to allow workers the rights they already have under current law. To read about what she has to say, please read my latest at The Progressive magazine:*

Blowing the Whistle on Big Tech

*And yes, I am always aware of the irony of complaining about big tech while using big tech products seemingly every minute of my life. Their very ubiquity in our lives is just one of the reasons we should be watching them a lot more closely.


Citizen Reader Elsewhere: "Tesla's Long History of Silencing Whistleblowers."

Excuse this slight break from our regularly scheduled "Moral Mazes" read-along. I just wanted to let you know that I published another article about whistleblowers at The Progressive magazine last week.

The whistleblower in question is named Cristina Balan, and she has been in arbitration and litigation with Tesla for nearly eight years now. Imagine, with everything else you've got to do, trying to prevail in arbitration and lawsuits against a monster corporation that has all the money and power. For nearly a decade.

Please do read the story if you have a moment and remember to listen to and support whistleblowers whenever you can.

A peaceful Martin Luther King Jr. Day to you. To celebrate, protest something nonviolently. Here's one super-easy way to start: Don't buy a Tesla. 


Citizen Reader Elsewhere: On the wrongful imprisonment of whistleblower Daniel Hale.

Who wants to start their week by reading about a travesty of justice?

Of course you've come to the right place.

I really want you to read this whole post, so I'm going to keep this whistleblower story as short and as simple as possible (which whistleblower stories never are).

Right now there is a man named Daniel Hale sitting in jail.

If you follow national news at all, do you recall hearing about America's policy of pursuing drone warfare? That is, the art of using drones to drop bombs on suspected (mostly "war on terror" type) enemy targets? If not, much of the history of this policy, which began under George W. Bush and has continued, can be explained in relatively short order in the series of articles known as The Drone Papers, published by The Intercept.

Basically, military and intelligence personnel watch targets of interest by using drones, decide that they are the targets America's commander in chief has decided need to be executed, and then drop bombs on them (again by drone) to execute them.

There are some problems with this system. The data can be faulty and the wrong person can be killed. It can lead to death by stereotype; basically, in areas like Afghanistan, any "military-age male" is considered an enemy target. A lot of civilians get killed just because they're in the wrong place at the wrong time.*

How do we know this? At least in part to whistleblower Daniel Hale, who was in the Air Force from 2009 to 2013, and then worked as a contractor in the intelligence industry. He knew this was happening, and he revealed some classified information to the Intercept. For this, he has now been charged with multiple counts against the 1917 Espionage Act. Each count against Hale carries the threat of serious jail time. On the advice of his public defender lawyers, Hale recently pleaded guilty to one count and is awaiting sentencing this July. During the past few weeks, Hale was already arrested and jailed, supposedly to keep him from being a danger to himself. He has been put in solitary confinement in a Virginia jail and is there now.

This story makes me so furious with the unfairness of it all that I just don't know where to turn. Whistleblowers are going to jail to tell the American public information they need to know--regardless of who I vote for, I am complicit in our country's (racist?) war machine. It is not fair that people just walking around in other countries, living their lives, were killed or lost limbs because they were in the wrong place, near someone WE (yes we; it's being done in my name as an American) decided needed to be executed. So then someone came forward to inform the American public, and he is being punished. Severely.

See? Not simple. But if you are interested in some further reading:

A Drone Whistleblower's Quest for Justice (this is an article I wrote for The Progressive, a quick overview of the case)

Daniel Hale Blew the Whistle on the US’s Illegal Drone Program. He’s a Hero, Not a Criminal, by Chip Gibbons, at Jacobin. A longer and better article.

Watch National Bird, a heartbreaking 2016 documentary featuring Hale and other military personnel, as well as civilian victims of our drones.

Visit Stand with Daniel Hale and learn ways you can support Hale.

Sorry to go on so long. I just can't stand it when bullies win, especially when they win against decent people who are just trying to tell the truth. And it's starting to feel like they win all the time.

*On civilians being killed: "Since 2001, unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs) such as the Predator and General Atomics’ larger and more capable MQ-9 Reaper have completed thousands of missions, sometimes with unintentional consequences. While 2016 statistics released by President Obama revealed that 473 strikes had accounted for between 2,372 and 2,581 combatant deaths since 2009, according to a 2014 report in The Guardian, the civilian death toll resulting from drone strikes was, at the time, in the neighborhood of 6,000." Source.


Everything you ever wanted to know about running for local political office.

Back in 2019, when I was young and still had energy for such things, I ran for local political office, also known as a spot on my city's governing Council.

Spoiler alert: I lost.

But that turned out to be an okay thing, considering the fact that in 2019 my mom had a stroke and my husband had a heart attack, and in 2020 the whole world went down the shitter and I became a full-time homeschooler. I've really had enough to do without keeping on top of what the powers that be in my municipality are doing.

Okay, I lied. I still watch a little bit what my city powers that be are doing. As far as I can tell, they're continuing to subsidize already wealthy developers to build luxury apartment buildings (except they call it "workforce housing" to act like there's an altruistic method to their madness) and talking a good game about "sustainability" while spending a lot of money on amenities for rich people, which seems like an unsustainable system to me, but that's okay. It's just the way of the world.

But in a weird sort of way I really enjoyed running for local office, not least because I did a lot of walking around my neighborhood in the company of the youngest CRjr, who wasn't yet in school then. Those are good memories and will always be so.

But! I'm writing today to share the very exciting news that I wrote an article about HOW to run for local office, and it's been published by something called Better Humans at the Medium platform.* Here it is, if you'd like to peruse it: How and Why You Should Run for Local Political Office.

*Medium is a writing platform that will let you read some stories for free, but if you want to read more than just a sampling, you have to subscribe for $5 a month. I subscribed because I was finding some good stuff to read there, and it turns out you can also write stuff there and sometimes get paid for it, which is nice also. Anyone out there a subscriber or writer on Medium? Let me know in the comments and I would love to follow you on that platform.