It's darker here.

Hold Onto Your Wallets, Florida

DTG: 07:26 Monday, 30 October 2023

"Lured by the nation’s highest premiums and new laws making it harder to sue insurance companies, investors see an opportunity in Florida’s broken insurance market. Current and former state officials and other observers said they are receiving regular inquiries from potential investors looking to make a profit."

Having created an insurance crisis, through a combination of incompetence and dereliction of duty, Republican lawmakers now seek to profit from it.


DTG: 07:57 Saturday, 21 October 2023

I was disappointed to read a recent opinion piece in Jax Today, a relatively new local news outlet covering Jacksonville and northeast Florida. It was written by a property lawyer who has been involved in Republican politics for over a decade.

It's not that I object to the publication of the opinions of local Republicans, it's just that they're so disappointingly predictable, and lacking in intellectual rigor and internal logic. Which is unsurprising given the reliance on populist rhetoric and appeals to grievance and division that have come to dominate what passes as "Republican thought" in the last decade.

In the piece, the contributor avers that he "was shocked to see many that missed the mark — and some that appeared to justify Hamas’ attack, particularly from those who consider themselves social justice advocates."

The contributor then pivots the real object of his criticism, the concept of "social justice," attempting to use his clumsy parsing of public statements with regard to the Hamas attack to discredit local advocates of social justice.

"In America, the modern social justice movement centers on the idea that a person’s indifference to the injustice or inequities of the contemporary American system is equivalent to violence."

This is a false assertion. A lie. The social justice movement, does not "center" on the idea that indifference is equivalent to violence. The social justice movement centers on the idea that America's "system of justice" is rife with inequity, and doesn't serve American society at large, but rather the institutions of wealth, power and class privilege in order to preserve their place at the top.

Violence is often used by the state, which has a monopoly on the "legitimate use of violence," save for the right's cherished "inherent right of self-defense," in order to serve that purpose. Indifference is one of the conditions that permits that inequity in America's "system of justice," to exist; but it is not "equivalent to violence."

From time to time, individuals on the left have made that misguided rhetorical leap, but it is no way the "central idea" of social justice.

The contributor then uses two incomplete examples of statements from State Representative Angie Nixon, and one from Mayor Donna Deegan to try to claim that they are in some way contradictory to the idea of social justice or "incomprehensibly tone deaf."

Representative Nixon apparently received some criticism for her initial statement on the platform X (formerly known as Twitter), and deleted it. We don't know if the contributor actually read the statement, or read about it, as he's unable to quote it or point to a screenshot. We are simply supposed to take his word for it that, "Two days after the attack, Nixon posted a statement on X referencing lives being 'lost on both sides.' She also condemned 'unjust killings' without saying who was responsible for said killings. "

If the contributor can quote small phrases, why not the whole statement? He doesn't say. It's unclear, because much of his critique relies on being unclear, but he seems to be implying that posting a statement "two days after the attack" is somehow indicative of "indifference."

It may simply have been that the act was shocking beyond words. And while too many people on the platform "X" embrace the "hot take," taking time to reflect before sharing one's feelings is always wise.

Other than that, apparently Nixon was inconsistent or contradictory with regard to her support for social justice in that she mentioned lives were lost "on both sides" and that she wasn't sufficiently specific with regard to who may have been responsible for "unjust killings." We can't be certain, because the contributor only chooses to offer portions of her statement, which he offers without context.

But that's unsurprising.

He goes on to criticize a subsequent tweet where Representative Nixon quoted a statement from the actor Amy Shumer, presumably from her Instagram account.

His criticism is, "her first statement failed to say “terrorism” or even blame Hamas. Additionally, her second statement condemned the treatment of Palestinians before condemning Hamas. "

Again, we don't know what her first statement was. Even so, is there some particular sentence construction or word order, which is required in order to be consistent or non-contradictory with the concept of social justice? Presumably, the contributor is a supporter of free speech, but maybe not?

He then reaches back to 2020 to cherry-pick an exchange Representative Nixon had with then Fraternal Order of Police President Steve Zona. He implies that her interaction with Zona somehow demonstrates a logical inconsistency with her statement about Israel and Hamas.

Since he brought up JSO, allow me to expand, particularly with regard to "indifference," (as well as incompetence and inattention), need we mention heart transplant recipient Dexter Barry, who was arrested and jailed by JSO for having an argument with a neighbor about a cable bill and shared internet? He died two days after being released from Duval County Jail, where he was denied his anti-rejection medication required to keep his donated heart from being rejected.

Jacksonville's "system of justice."

Or perhaps I should mention that only a year ago, Jacksonville Sheriff's deputies were apologizing to Nazis. The people with the state's license for the use of deadly force apologized to Nazis, for taking up their time while they were about the very important business of the expression of free speech, hanging anti-semitic banners over I-95.

Or I could mention a man who was killed by JSO to protect a dog. He was killed by a member of the élite, highly disciplined, specially trained Special Weapons and Tactics unit, shot five times in order to protect the life of a K9 dog. Dogs over humans at JSO?

I mention all these to provide context for why Representative Nixon may be an advocate, a strong and effective one, for social justice.

Finally, the contributor goes on to criticize Mayor Donna Deegan's statement. His criticism is even more unfounded and absurd than that he offered about Nixon. Apparently the mayor's sin is offering prayers for everyone involved, and expressing hope for peace.

Should one infer that the contributor reserves prayers for certain, select parties? What stingy religion does the contributor practice? And hoping for a path to peace is somehow "tone-deaf," or inconsistent with a desire for social justice?

It's disappointing that Jax Today felt this thin gruel of "gotcha" whataboutism met their editorial standards for publication. As a reflection of the current state of Republican "thought" and analysis, it is utterly unsurprising while remaining profoundly disappointing. Jax Today should demand better.

All readers would be better served. Or, dare I say, "both sides."