Facebook in their media relations page claimed this:
“Over the past few months, we have taken action against fake accounts in France, Germany, and other countries, and we recently stated that we will no longer allow Pages that repeatedly share false news to advertise on Facebook.”
I rejoice since I think at last the manipulations of nefarious activities manipulating the public, whether it is Russians getting conservatives hyped up into a mob mentality against the LGBT community, or having an unqualified real estate maven, who seemed surprised that he was chosen to be president, or providing a platform for hate speech for German Nazi’s, which happened to be against the law.
I followed the development of the extreme right groups who are often sponsored and supported by Russia – take hold in Western Europe and I was surprised since it used to be against the law to even whisper the word “Nazi” in Germany. The punishment in the 1980s was severe – over $1000 in fines or 2 weeks in prison.
How the world has changed since the Reagan era when we become “one world.” Germans seem to have forgotten their history and now Neo Nazis are running around demonstrating and promoting their hate freely in public, protected by the free speech laws. Erdogan’s dictator supporting Turkish soldiers are running around Germany turning in ex-soldiers, if they practice German free speech, and Erdogan tried to shut up a, perhaps a bit tasteless, German comedian. He launched lawsuits in Germany, the Netherlands, and Switzerlands. Only in Germany he received an audience by politicians who pushed for silencing their own citizens in support of the dictator.
Facebook and Twitter helped these trends, there is no doubt about it. No matter how much they wanted to deny it or ignore it initially. They forbade pictures of classic Greek statues and paintings from the Renaissance if they offended some religious desire – but hate speech, even illegal hate speech was entirely ok to them. We now know that it was because they made good money with it. The bot factories paid precious advertising dollars. Art lovers who shared a beautiful Botticelli painting could not compete with the foreign dictators’ budgets. People who portrayed rape scenes were okay, women’s nipples were not. When questioned in Germany, they arrogantly proclaimed that the Facebook police were run out of India, thus not subject to German law. Only when Merkel got so frustrated by the public furor that she promised to shut the site down altogether, was she able to get Zuckerberg’s attention.
Now in Germany they are working on a “Facebook-Gesetz” – a law that is targeting social media companies. the law is meant to stop social media companies from spreading illegal hate speech. The German press is concerned that while there is an attempt to create such a law, it is far from certain that there will be such a law. Political infighting points that in Germany freedom of speech and the fight against hate speech vs. mob rule attitudes are literally at odds.
While politicians are discussing the pros and cons of the formulation it is up to Facebook to keep order “voluntarily.” In German fashion, they don’t seem to care if they tacitly allow hate speech free reign while they fight about the way the law is worded.
Thankfully, there definitely have been some improvements as the top management of Facebook finally is starting to become aware that they may be destroying Western Civilization by allowing “free speech” to extremists, while being responsive to complaints by extremists whose goal is quite literally to abolish the Freedoms of Western Culture as we know it.
Facebook informs us: “We are also experimenting with changes to help us more efficiently detect and stop inauthentic accounts at the time they are being created.”
Hopefully this is a priority and completed before the next elections. Trump fans are right that Western Civilization is under attack, mostly by ourselves. Business leaders will ultimately decide whether democracy will survive. Business leaders are pro democracy and those who are against democracy will decide our future as they deploy artificial intelligence who write programs which determine how we will be able perceive our world now and in the future.
Is the time-honored tradition of Fraternities and Sororities coming to an end?
A committee announced on Wednesday, July 13, 2017, that they recommend that Harvard completely forbid students from joining “fraternities, sororities, and similar organizations.” They feel so strongly about it that they wish to replace existing penalties for members of the social groups that are set to go into place in the fall.
Harvard is not the first University who is grappling with the problems caused by these “private” clubs. Amherst College, Bowdoin College, and Williams College all prohibited undergraduate participation in fraternities, sororities, and similar organizations in recent years.
Undergraduate Council Vice President Cameron K. Khansarinia, class of 2018 said the proposed policy completely “takes away personal responsibility and choice” from College students—and that it is unlikely to be effective. “It’s simply going to either force [the clubs] underground or literally dry out any semblance of social life on campus,” Khansarinia said. “It’s really not the right way to go about this.”
The faculty needs to guide Harvard into the present-day realities and prepare students for life in a gender neutral world. This is an issue that needs to be addressed in most traditional colleges and society at large.
Several of the social clubs, for instance the “Fly Club” are seeking legal council on how they can fight the effort.
Statistics about rape point in a direction that something really needs to be done.
Rainn provides data that shows that sexual violence on campus is pervasive.
11.2% of all students experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation (among all graduate and undergraduate students).2
Among graduate and professional students, 8.8% of females and 2.2% of males experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation.2
Among undergraduate students, 23.1% of females and 5.4% of males experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation.2
4.2% of students have experienced stalking since entering college.
Student or not, college-age adults are at high risk for sexual violence.
Male college-aged students (18-24) are 78% more likely than non-students of the same age to be a victim of rape or sexual assault.1
Female college-aged students (18-24) are 20% less likely than non-students of the same age to be a victim of rape or sexual assault.
University culture have a profound impact on overall culture around the world.
In June the Harvard Crimson reported:
Harvard College rescinded admissions offers to at least ten prospective members of the Class of 2021 after the students traded sexually explicit memes and messages that sometimes targeted minority groups in a private Facebook group chat.
A handful of admitted students formed the messaging group—titled, at one point, “Harvard memes for horny bourgeois teens”—on Facebook in late December, according to two incoming freshmen.
In the group, students sent each other memes and other images mocking sexual assault, the Holocaust, and the deaths of children, according to screenshots of the chat obtained by The Crimson. Some of the messages joked that abusing children was sexually arousing, while others had punchlines directed at specific ethnic or racial groups. One called the hypothetical hanging of a Mexican child “piñata time.”
No one would dispute that people who engage in threatening deaths and child abuse and find it humorous or in anyway acceptable should not be let loose on society, much less on a top notch educational institution.
Is it time to think yet?
The “Fly Club” an all male institution retained an attorney who made some interesting points in an op-ed in 2016. Silvergate:
"The report acknowledged the correlation between alcohol-fueled partying and sexual assault, which we believe implies that forcing independent organizations to go co-ed would only lead to an increase in the high-risk encounters that lead to assaults. Their proposed alternative is to create a blacklist of non-complying organizations, thereby abridging the freedom of association—a bedrock principle of our nation’s constitution—for its very own students.
This latter course of action is particularly galling: Harvard appears to be moving towards a policy that would expel students simply for membership in a club, while it simultaneously fails to properly adjudicate sexual assault cases. The University is blaming an entire class of students for the condemnable and illegal conduct of a small minority—a clearly backwards approach to community safety."
He later goes on to state:
"We are witnessing a return to the College operating in loco parentis, as it attempts to both dictate social-sexual norms and limit students’ independence. Harvard bureaucrats continue to expand their numbers while also attempting to bring independent single-sex organizations, including the Final Clubs and the growing number of Greek letter organizations, under their control, if not to eliminate them entirely.
Unlike past debates about sexual mores and student liberty at the College, undergraduate students appear unperturbed by, if not supportive of, this assertion of administrative control over their private lives, while the Faculty of Arts and Sciences seems to have little influence with regards to the issue. The administration is leveraging the current political climate to achieve policy goals that will unfortunately do little to prevent sexual assault, but will certainly make Harvard more illiberal."
In my opinion there is much to think about and the trend to have “Big Brother” forbid you to get drunk and rape people instead of encouraging public debates that allow a culture of inclusion, respect and with humanistic values to thrive voluntarily, is a debate that does and should go on and on until we all live in a free society in which everyone is safe from assault, and free to excel at their own personal highest level.
Equality in a society where women make up more than 1/2 of the work force is a must have. Being able to feel safe is a need that both women and men should be able to enjoy. How to accomplish that reality should really become part of the public debate. Forbidding public gatherings of like minded people may just drive the activity underground and it may be unconstitutional. Eliminating “wanna be” and actual racists and rapists should be a must for every educational institution. Racists and Rapists need therapy not more easy access to victims. However driving racist and misogynist attitudes underground may not be a long term solution for our society either.
When studying Victor Frankl someone who has experienced the worst of human kind in person while he was incarcerated by Nazis during the Holocaust, we may learn that we have to raise our expectations of each other and teach our young future leaders to thrive and foster their wish and their ability to create “Lives with Meaning”, people who are happy and content while working on making life better for everyone. This is what moves people to feel content. Busy and content leaders don’t have time to be jerks. Most jerks are either unhappy and insecure or are pathologically damaged. As we know from some of our current public leaders being a jerk does not make you popular and the ill manners actually make people more lonely and give them a craving for attention and love that will stay unfulfilled. Nobody likes these lonely jerk or brute. We have to aim higher for our students. We need to encourage them to be the better.
Maybe it is time to bring back the education that is deeply rooted in the Humanities that sets the aim high and encourages students to create a better world.
During the past five months of Trump being in charge 863,000 jobs were created. During the same period last year 955,000 jobs were added while Obama was still in office. On July 5th this year, Gallup reported: “Last week, Americans’ confidence in the economy averaged a score of 0, the first time in the 33 full weeks since the presidential election that the index’s weekly average was not positive. ” Full Report
In a recent NYT article of Today, half of American jobs pay about $37,000 or less each year, a quarter pay about $23,000 or less, and a family of four qualifies for SNAP at $32,000 or less. No wonder just over half of all SNAP families work, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. In America, “real” poverty is not about a lack of work, but a lack of compensation.
Trump has run on a platform of addressing this issue by “Making America Great Again” by creating jobs. So far this has not come to pass and slowly the public are losing faith in his “Art of the Deal.”
The US is in trouble it is no longer the land of the free and it is not the land of opportunity. Our research shows that in many respects it never had been.
National Conference of State Legislatures shares that in Oklahoma the minimum wage in 2017 is $2.00 per hour.
Oklahoma Employers of ten or more full time employees at any one location and employers with annual gross sales over $100,000 irrespective of number of full time employees are subject to federal minimum wage; all others are subject to state minimum wage of $2.00 (OK ST T. 40 § 197.5). National Conference of State Legislatures.
How can people survive and pursue their happiness on wages like that? Meanwhile the cost of living index in Tulsa Oklahoma is only 24.42% lower than in New York City.
Four-person family monthly costs: 2,790.93$ without rent (using our estimator).
A single person monthly costs: 807.71$ without rent.
Cost of living index in Tulsa is 27.42% lower than in New York.
Cost of living rank 215th out of 507 cities in the world.
Realtor.com suggests that a 1 to 2 bedroom, 1 bath apartment in Tulsa costs between $526 to $2,280 dollars per month which is of course much lower than the monthly rents in NYC $2,815 for 340 sq ft up to $22,000 for 2400 sq ft, or the San Francisco monthly rents of $2,815 for 340 sq ft to $13,500 for 2240 sq ft. The minimum wage is $9.20 to $11.00 depending on employer size in NYC and $14.00 per hour in San Francisco as of the time of this article. It is impossible to find a decent place to live on a minimum wage and it is little wonder that people who were raised believing in the American Dream are turning to suicide as a solution to their life issues at record numbers.
Housing Crisis and Fraud at all time high
Countries with a strong middle class are economically strong. Only after owners and investor of large companies, and political policies support a strong middle class will the country stop the trend toward becoming a third world nation.
The Battle between Wealth and Human Rights is nearly 250 years old.
Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay promoted the ratification of the United States Constitution with articles and essays that were collected and are still available at The Federalist Papers.*
Within these articles and essays these founders outlined their thinking about creating a federal union. They urged people to allow wise and experienced men who have the public good in mind to counter balance the needs, wishes, and desires of individual states. They believed that a federal union would better safeguard national borders, treaties with foreign nations. National Government would enforce the laws for all people better, instead of having individual states or individuals fall prey to undue influence for personal gain, personal wealth creation, or a desire of personal power, or by foreign powers.
The Federal Papers were used to educate American voters about the benefits of balancing individuals and individual states’ freedoms with the public good and freedom as well as safety and overall wealth for all.
It is amazing how topical these papers are still today when we are engaged in the same exact battle once again. It is obvious that the current administration and the Congress is not occupied by educated, experienced and wise men who strive for what is best for everyone. The Constitution which was written with the public good in mind is now under constant attack.
Freedom of the Press is under attack by a President who has falsified Time Magazine covers decorating his golf courses. He recently stated that the Constitution is “old-fashioned.”
The health care bill that is currently proposed by the House and the Senate leans strongly toward wealth creation for the few, instead of the public good and freedom for all. The desire for individual wealth and power trumps the desire to protect freedom and safety for all.
The current administration who won due to manipulating the voting regions by gerrymandering, does not have full public support. Trump undoubtedly won over a lot of the working white class voters by promising to improve the health care system. Now instead his party wants to eliminate coverage for millions, lower coverage for those who are sick, and increase the premiums for when the policies are used when needed. This translates to the fact that millions more will either not be able to afford healthcare as soon as they get ill or they will go bankrupt trying to pay for medical expenses. In Alaska for instance Premiums for a 60 years old man will go up to $34,000 per year a high price to pay even in a state that offers above average median wages ranging from from $84,000 to $37,284 per median family incomes.
Clean water is under attack by the chosen head of the EPA. Millions of acres of public lands are leased to oil and gas companies with a history of causing oil spills ruining the environment. The Secretary of State, Tillerson has a known history of ignoring, if not supporting human rights offenses, by working with government known to steal from their inhabitants and in some cases killing entire villages to be able to provide Oil companies, like Exxon, with drilling rights.
In an op-ed piece in “The Hill” David Abramowitz, points out that looking for short term wealth for the few often hurts human rights for the many in the long run.
Right now the US is run by people with a history of siding with Human Rights offenders. Trump is publicly friends with human trafficker and known child molester Jeffrey Epstein, who ended up with very little jail time due to the Trump’s family intervention; Tillerson who was nearly sued by Indonesia for human rights offenses but “let go by W. Bush;” Joe Sessions lost his bid for the Supreme Court for his racist comments and attitudes; Steve Bannon, known for garnering support of the KKK, Neo-Nazis; Mike Pence, known for his ties with the tobacco industry and support of ultra conservative Christians oppressive and dangerous to LGBT persons; Sebastian Gorka known for his help to Russia overthrow Democracy in Hungary; and of course Manafort, Flynn and Trump’s own son in law; Guiliani who consulted helped prop up dictators like Duterte, Erdogan and created havoc in Venezuela. The list is too long for this article.
It may be a good idea to reread the Atlantic Monthly Time Capsules as we watch Democracy, Human Rights, Ecology, Education, and everything that has made this country great in the past under attack.
Will the battle for democracy and freedom for all people, regardless of sex, race, religion and national heritage as outlined in the US Constitution be won – AGAIN?
* Kindle Edition free from Amazon and the Gutenberg Press.
Communication & culture determines business success
Whether I worked with a tiny start up like the one above, or Microsoft when they grew from 24 people to thousands, or major Fortune 1000 companies like for instance HP, or a brand new entertainment company, it is usually easy to spot who will more likely succeed.
Ironically, it is not how breakthrough the company’s concept or the management team is on paper. It is also not the access the team has to VCs, Customers, and Vendors due to their Alma Mater, Or, even how chic their equipment and office furniture may be and how huge their marketing budget is initially. Of course, all these factors help tremendously, and of course without a functioning product or services success stays elusive.
What is so striking to me still, after providing strategic advice to companies during their rapid growth phase for so many years, is how much internal communications affects a company’s overall success.
I found in my many years of assisting people succeed, often from the two guys or ladies’ with an idea on a napkin at an affordable coffee shop phase to literally becoming billionaires. Quite a few of them anyhow and millionaires still count, right? The success often hinges on the way the teams communicate with each other inside the company. This is often an underrated success factor.
Are the founders/managers listening and hearing what their teams have to say? Are they staying informed about what the teams are actually working on? Or, is everyone creating their own little business model without letting the rest of the team know? Are people and their contributions valued? Are they encouraged to contribute? Do they feel that they can grow their own career within the company by helping the company grow. Or, do they feel that their ideas are disrespected or worse stolen, are they treated like minions, do they feel used and abused. Very often when the first or second venture money arrives, it quickly becomes apparent who can handle success without loosing composure. Attitudes matter.
Companies, no matter how large or how small, improve their success rate tremendously if they insisted that people communicate with each other in an empowering and honest way. The corporate culture is always linked with top management. Today the HR teams have a lot of influence, not always for the better. Whoever is in charge of hiring has a great influence over a companies’ success or failure. Every new individual brings their own culture into the enterprise and adds or subtracts from the overall success of the company. The culture determines if the company stays informed, nimble and quick – yet steady, reliable, and solid. Successful companies typically somehow manage both by nurturing a culture of open and mutually respectful internal dialogue.
A quote that I often share with C-level managers: “Whether you have a plan or not, you will get there.”
If the company has a plan everyone has a chance to move forward toward the common goal. If there is no plan, everyone may very well move in different directions, messing up the chances for success. If there is a plan that only the top managers know, the company functions as though there really is no plan. Only if everyone on the various teams understands the overall plan, likes and buys into the plan, sticks with the plan or improves and carries out their own part of the plan, has the company a solid chance for success. This is true at every phase of a company’s growth. Lack of mutual respect ruins companies. Sometimes when larger sums of investor money arrive some people get grandiose or create cliques. It is no fun to watch people lose money through foolishness and arrogance.
A small company maintains a solid sense of direction and cohesion by having regular meetings in which people in the various departments share how they move toward meeting their miles stones. An open communication style rooted in polite behavior and mutual respect allows everyone to help improve the companies’ cohesiveness and allows the prompt removal of obstacles to success. As the company grows it is still needed that hundreds of people share their own progress and concerns on how to improve their abilities for mutual progress. At that point, having a clear communication flow vertically, horizontally, and across different departments is ever more important. By the time communication flow needs to filter through team managers the corporate communication culture becomes vital to the company’s health. For many years I heard financial manager say “stay out of the weeds.” Yet, if you don’t know about an overgrowth of weeds, the growth of the crop may be strangled before top managers or the board finds out about needed fixes. Think Uber CEO!
Strategic governance allows departments to stay focused on future goals while dealing with issues in the here and now. It helps a company stay realistic and in tune with their vision, mission, the company’s values, and manage available or missing resources. Team members, whether male or female, will not get defensive if they stay regularly informed about market changes, delivery issues, needs or opportunities in the various departments. In healthy companies there are no problems only solutions! It’s a matter of the corporate culture’s attitude toward issues.
A cohesive team will freely identify and manage challenges, and turn them into opportunities. They will avoid unnecessary risks and make sure the entire company is legally compliant, while allowing the company’s individual divisions adapt to remain relevant to the overall success of the company. Company’s who have constructive policies about sharing, evaluating, and acting on new information without getting distracted from their overall plan have a greater chance for success.
Unlike Comey, Gorsuch must have sworn complete and unwavering loyalty to Trump.
Trump is jubilant. The now conservative US Supreme Court, supported by his appointee Justice Gorsuch, has ruled that his Muslim ban is partly okay until the time they will look at it in October. Experts seems to agree that this is a sign that the Court will uphold his ban in October.
He and his son-in-law recently sold $110 Billion dollars of weapons to the ultraconservative Muslim country of Saudi Arabia, which is known to poison young people’s minds all around the world through their state supported Imams who prejudice against women, Christians, and are known to promote ISIS and attacks on Westerners. But, money talks in Trump land. If you pay you get to play, if you are poor you get prejudiced against. None of the Muslim nations whose citizens are now bannedhave as many known terrorists as Saudi Arabia. So why aren’t the Saudi Arabian Muslim’s banned? Why are only Muslims from oil-poor countries banned? Maybe because they are “useless” to the likes of Trump and his supporters who seem only interested in the Mighty Mammon.
Unfortunately, Democrats don’t seem to have any strategy to change the system, except to ask for their daily demand for small bits of money, as though being willing to ask for small donations is a badge of honor in the money driven world of Nancy Pelosi. No wonder voters are turned off by both parties.
The second ruling supported by the now conservative US Supreme Court is to abolish separation of Church and State. Yes, the Lutheran church merely wanted to have the state to pay for their children’s playground protective rubber mats. Seems benign, right? However, as the Constitution is once more ignored they have now set yet another precedent. First “Church-going” people don’t have to sell cake, they don’t have to support women’s health, now churches can demand tax dollars, and soon? Well, it seems we are well on our way back to the Middle Ages.
The news about right-wing success is encouraging others to come out of the woodwork. Hungarian Leader Orbán today honored Hitler and Himmler supporter Miklós Horthy, who was personally responsible for collaborating with the Nazis in sending over 600,000 Jews to the death camps. Today this mass murderer is celebrated in Hungary as the US lost its way and the Supreme Court ignores the Constitution, again. This is a sad day in history and soon young people around the world will have to choose between Life and Death, again.
In the Federalist No. 2, “Concerning Dangers from Foreign Force and Influence” for the Independent Journal, written Wednesday, October 31, 1787 we find:
"It has lately been a received and uncontradicted opinion that the prosperity of the people of America depended on their continuing firmly united, and the wishes, prayers, and efforts of our best and wisest citizens have been constantly directed to that object. But politicians now appear, who insist that this opinion is erroneous, and that instead of looking for safety and happiness in union, we ought to seek it in a division of the States into distinct confederacies or sovereignties. However extraordinary this new doctrine may appear, it nevertheless has its advocates; and certain characters who were much opposed to it formerly, are at present of the number. Whatever may be the arguments or inducements which have wrought this change in the sentiments and declarations of these gentlemen, it certainly would not be wise in the people at large to adopt these new political tenets without being fully convinced that they are founded in truth and sound policy.
It has often given me pleasure to observe that independent America was not composed of detached and distant territories, but that one connected, fertile, wide-spreading country was the portion of our western sons of liberty."
Perhaps there is hope in this text that was written so eloquently nearly 230 years ago. Apparently the debate about State Rights and Federal Cohesion of the USA has been going on for a very long time. Maybe this great country will survive this latest onslaught of personalized greed and stay democratic after all – eventually.
Making America great and relaxed again. Cut off from the world and with diminished numbers of enthusiastic international business people bringing money and customers to the US the economy will suffer. Perhaps Americans should embrace the Amish life style? Plant a garden and live life without any connection to the crazy media world?
But since when there is a will there is a way, government sponsored terrorists will simply use private Jet Planes. They are terrorists and they are funded, ironically by countries who have often held long and close relationships with the US government. Europeans are not on the top lists of global terrorists. They are too busy working, drinking beer at local festivals and going to the opera.
As international business people are forced to use public cloud systems, cyber crime will rise to an all time high. Which is a risk that many companies will not wish to deal with.
When computer illiterate people are in charge this may seem like a good idea, since they are completely unaware of the unintended consequences.
As imports are strangled and business customers can’t shop in the US anymore in a convenient way, both B2B and consumer prices will skyrocket. It may create local jobs for some of the basics. There is always perfect balance in the world. Gardening equipment will go up as people have to grow their own food, due to loss of income.
Business internationally will be forced to reorient and Jean-Claude Juncker who recently got in trouble for stating that the “English language” is loosing its importance – just may become right with the help of some computer illiterate leaderships around the world.
It probably would be less costly and much more effective to just have a public relations campaign that promotes: “Buy Made in the USA” or “Assembled in the USA” products.
The fall out of such a decision will negatively affect the travel industry, tech industry, most exports, and it will practically force nations around the world to deal with each other and forgo business with the US, until this country’s business leadership comes to their senses. While corporations are people and they can clearly sponsor anyone into power, they have chosen some real doozies lately. They have eroded the middle class to an all time low since World War II.
The people in charge seem not to realize that trade is a two-way street. You cut off one way and you automatically cut off the other way as well. There are a lot of nations who will love to step in to fill the void. US lifestyles will suffer but international business people from around the world will always find a place to their investment dollars.
Out of 7,347,000,000 there are only about 321,000,000 Americans and only about 58 Million Brits. That means that over 7 Billion people and their business élites are not controlled by the US government. The reason why the US and England were so successful in the past, is that they were fairminded business people who wanted to create mutually beneficial financial relationships. Clearly that is no longer celebrated or even supported by the US government, except in genuinely international businesses like Space Travel and the development of life in space. NASA is entering into more and more genuinely international relationships as the support in the US is diminishing since several administrations in a row.
International business execs are not controlled by anyone, since the can simply move to another country that is more supportive of their business ventures. I imagine this will be great news for Canada, Scandinavia, Brasil, and of course China, Vietnam, Japan, and India, and even Russia and the ex-Soviet States as the Silk Road gains importance. Enterprising Europeans will look elsewhere for business that is enjoyable and profitable. Theresa May was annoyed when Jean-Claude Juncker snubbed her about the English language loosing importance. And he is often quite arrogant! But unfortunately lately his arrogance is not entirely unreasonable and occasionally even understandable.
Russian affiliated paid smear campaigner, foreign agent, Michael Flynn, paid FBI official to derail Clinton’s presidential campaign.
Yes, we know, the electorate voted for Trump and therefore he is the legitimate US president and leader of the Western World. This is how Democracy works.
Homeland Security? What security?
However, we also know that there has been a fight between the CIA and the FBI for many years now and we know that the FBI has started to work internationally. Now we know that some, perhaps bad apples, within the FBI are working against Democracy. And, yes we are aware of all the CIA, dark prison sights, drug deals like the Iran Contra debacle, etc.
The FBI has done an amazing job recently arresting human traffickers and child abusers. We applaud that effort and we therefore know that not everyone within the FBI is working on corrupting the system with the goal to eliminate Democracy. We do however know without a shadow of a doubt that both Putin and Erdogan do not believe in democracy, do not believe in freedom of speech, do not believe that we are all created equal.
So when will people in this country rise up and start working on cleaning up the language used in public discourse? Dictators throughout history have perverted language to obfuscate what they are saying. Throughout history dictators have believed that they are “superior, demigod like” creatures, or at minimum “cleverer” than the stupid public, who can be sold anything by simply telling them what they want to hear instead of the truth. This is a technique that has been used for thousands of years.
Without a shadow of a doubt, Putin, Erdogan, Kim Jong-un, to some extent the Chinese and Indian government, all of which have vastly different political systems than the West, are working hard to undermine the West and bring back the old feudalist system. We don’t have to get into the EMEA or Africa because they really never stopped functioning in the feudalistic system of tribal oppression.
It is astounding how much more proof Western Journalists seem to need before they start addressing the elephant in the room. The Feudalistic Power Brokers run the world, always have and always will. That is not the question, the question is how miserable they allow the vast public has to become.
In Russia you have Oligarchs and serfs. You have the rich who have gilded 1000 room homes with a vast serving staff, and you have the long lines in front of the grocery stores because the country is run in such a corrupt and inept way that it is simply inhumane.
In Turkey you have journalist who “offend” the crazy self appointed Dictators arrested, while his crazy wife wants to bring back the “fine tradition” of a harem, essentially a thousand locked up slave girl who are supposed to attend to everyone of their perverted needs.
In China, if you offend the communist leadership, entire families are blackmailed or worse, and people are regularly locked up and worse.
In India they voted for a president who shot 1000 people dead in one of the worst massacres in human history. Yet neither Indians nor the rest of the world says anything or does anything, while watching as he roles back the advances reached over the past 20 years.
In Germany only a few years ago Merkel wanted to abolish freedom of speech to “serve” her megalomanic plan of being the leader of Europe and letting Erdogan get away with clear offenses against journalistic freedoms. She literally sided with that creep and tried to arrest bloggers for “treason.” She rewarded Erdogan with an EU down payment of $3 Billion dollars to stop the flow of refugees and to save from her world leadership responsibility of setting up policies that actually work to keep people safe in Africa. These people are fleeing for a reason. Address the reason and they probably would love to just stay home.
Yet, the Western Media and the Western governments, and by extension the public, all turn a blind eye to all these human rights offenses and abuses. Now that the Barbarians are inside the gate, will we continue to serve the mighty Mammon over human rights? When will the media and the public stand up and say: “Enough! We are not going to cooperate with this perversion of humanistic values any more? ”
How much more proof do we need that our world is being changed before or very eyes? How much more proof do we need that kindness, humanity, mutual support and mutual respect – all prerequisites for a free world are laughed at by these Barbarians, who care about nothing but material wealth? The Bolsheviks ruined Russia, the communists ruined China, the medieval Islamic values of the Ottoman Empire are ruining most of the Muslim countries.
When I was young I promoted international trade, because I thought that lifting people out of poverty all around the world, would allow everyone to become more civilized. Unfortunately, I believe now that what happened is that these uncivilized nations, are working on influencing us to become uncivilized just like them.
The Third World with all its filth, oppression, brutality, exploitation, perversion is encroaching on us. Why are we standing by? Why after 30 years of this development are we still pretending that we can’t see it? Or, is it that our social climbers, nouveau riches, just don’t want to or genuinely can’t see it and we allow it to happen, because we don’t want to get our hands dirty.
The genuine elite, whether they come from genuinely old money, or genuinely close-knit and mutually supportive families from all walks of life, namely those whose families are aware of the cycle in political upheaval, we are so conflict averse. Why deal with those shameful conditions, when we can sit in our ivory towers, get our hair done, and focus on choosing nice art, delicious cuisine and fine wine? Why not ignore our parents, grand parents, great grand parents stories of international turmoil and the resulting hardships for the public?
Do we seriously believe this will not affect us? If so, that is genuine ignorance. Yes, can money be made during times of war. Yes, of course. Much money. Can money be made after the wars, when entire nations have to be rebuilt? Of course, more money than during normal times.
But do we seriously believe that with Nuclear Weapons in the hand of Barbarians, we will not be affected? That is blind trust. If you trust that mentally unstable people will not start a war, will not create conditions of horrific inhumanity, than your cumulative understanding of what civilization is about has genuinely been lost, along with your ability to think clearly.
We need to decide to recommit to humanistic values and we need to do it quickly, swiftly, and without leaving any shadow of a doubt, that the Barbarians should move back into their caves and not come out until they are willing to behaved in a polite and civilized manner. The privileges of wealth and leadership in the wrong hands are disastrous.
Celia Bullwinkel is an animator who lives and works in New York City. She has worked on feature films (Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Chicago 10, Hair High), TV shows (Little Bill, MTV’s Friday, Ugly Americans, Wonder Pets), and far too many commercial projects.
“Alpha’s Bet,” her music video collaboration with visual artist Rammellzee, was exhibited in 2011 at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. She is a faculty member at the School of Visual Arts animation department, and teaches at the Fashion Institute of Technology’s MFA Illustration program. Sidewalk is her first independent film. She collaborated with composer and jazz artist Joshua Moshier, who is a rising star in his own right.
Joshua Moshier as the composer for her new shortfilm was a great choice
Her collaboration with Josh has certainly given the animation a lot of “legs.” 🙂
Josh has contributed his musical voice to a number of bands including trumpeter Marquis Hill’s Blacktet and the Moshier-Lebrun Collective with saxophonist Mike Lebrun. His music has been profiled on NPR’s JazzSet with Dee Dee Bridgewater and cited by the Chicago Tribune for “considerable lyric grace and compositional forethought.” Josh premiered his extended work, The Studs Terkel Project at the Chicago Cultural Center, commissioned by Chamber Music America’s New Works program and inspired by the writing of the oral historian Studs Terkel. Josh has also worked as a sideman with Milton Suggs, Larry Brown, John Moulder and Dara Tucker. With Mike Lebrun he has released Joy Not Jaded (OA2 Records) and The Local Colorists (Digital EP). Most recently, Josh led a quintet featuring Marquis Hill, John Wojciechowski, Dana Hall and Clark Sommers for a three-night run in Chicago.
By bringing our country’s unconsciousness into awareness, by becoming aware of our lower drives and desires can we choose use to commit to our higher values and will ourselves to become better as a country. While it is painful to face our lower drives and the more vile parts of this country it is part of the overall healing process to raise our collective consciousness for a better and more beautiful peaceful world.
Valentine’s Day makes us contemplate the meaning of love
Some people wonder how to stay with a war hero husband. Of course when your spouse is on the front you are afraid of loosing him or her. It is easy to feel the potential loss as ever deeper and growing true love. The fear of loosing him or her, may actually grow your commitment to be there for your spouse, and to love your spouse with all your heart and soul. You care for and love your spouse so very, very, very much.
Later you are so glad that they survived, so thrilled that they came home with out loosing life or limb. You are so happy when they come home to you and your kids.
Trouble is that if he or she is suffering from a severe case of PTSD, your life will change as well. PTSD when expressed in a volatile and dangerous way is contagious.
Here is a true story:
A man, a vet came home from the war. He was such a lovely, intelligent and charming man. When he was conscious, that is.
When he wasn’t conscious, he turned into a hurtful, brutal and dangerous man.
In fact, because he was from a very good family, he was raised with the believe that a woman should be protected and cherished. He had many sisters and was raised to be protective of them as well. When he fell in love a deep calling rose up in him and he knew that he could be good for something, he could be a hero caring for his little woman. Even after all the atrocities he had witnessed during his service. He could protect that this lovely and shy girl who would be his bride.
The lady was raised in a Christian home and as a proper women who would love and cherish her husband. She was raised to believe that a husband and wife were bonded in the commitment to make marriage not just a holy sacrament, but also to obey and honor her spouse and support him in every possible way, in sickness and in health. And she was raised to support her husband’s growth in his career and standing in the community. In short a lovely and very proper woman.
And, OMG, it really worked. They started life together and enjoyed it fully, they worked hard, and bought a little home. They planted a garden and had common hobbies. He took her to romantic dinners, and was very proud of his “little woman.” They were very much in love and looked forward to a bright future with a lovely family.
What she had not realizes when they had this whirlwind romance, was that somehow during their romance, he didn’t experience any of the symptoms of the PTSD he had sustained in the war. His parents and siblings thought the young woman was a blessing in all their lives.
Then after they married he experienced some stress at work and the PTSD that the woman knew nothing about returned. The trouble is, when you are married to a man who has PTSD, no matter how many flowers you receive, no matter how many declarations of love you received, no matter how sincere these declarations actually are, the man may turn on a dime.
With a nightmare, with some trigger you were unfamiliar with, you might get hurt, beaten, strangled and severely physically compromised. The emotional pain is insufferable. A proper women may try coping mechanisms that they are taught. This woman tried to cope with the danger and pain by praying. She forgave him, she loved him, and she was determined to stand by her man.
The praying really did help her to keep her calm, but it didn’t keep her safe. Eventually she ended up in the hospital with a severe cut in her head, bruises all over her body, and she needed to get stitches so quickly to stop the severe bleeding, that she ended up with 27 stitches on her shaved skull without anesthesia.
Love alone is not enough. So if you have a good reason, a wonderful reason to love a man, a mighty and wonderful man. and he hurts you. Stop, in the name of love! Stop. Stop pretending it will get better, stop thinking that it is your fault. Stop. Stop the lies that keep you bonded to such an unhealthy situation.
Get help!!! Help is out there, and you can be free of an abuser. Even if you know that it is not his fault that he experienced such terrible hardships and pain. It is not your fault either and you don’t have to deal with it on your own.
PTSD is recently acknowledged as a potential result of war engagement. But if you are just a kind woman who loves your man, you may need some serious help to keep you and the children safe. Love alone will not heal this potentially dangerous condition. And, as many people found out, the constant stress and danger of living with an unpredictable, hurtful, disrespectful man, causes the spouse PTSD as well. Unfortunately it is contagious.
So get help. He needs therapy. There are some forms of therapy that are promising. But while he is in therapy, you and the kids may have to watch out for your own safely. The lady in the story eventually knew that she had to leave him, so he would not turn into her murderer. She did this after he held her at knife point of a long kitchen knife for 1 and 1/2 hours talking like a crazy man, wondering aloud if his pain would stop, if he killed her. She finally realized that it was her god given duty not to help him ruin his life entirely. She realized that she could best help him by being away from him.
The shock of loosing her helped him. He got therapy for PTSD and after 10 more painful years, he slowly got better. He told her that he was glad for both of them that she had left when she did. By leaving him she helped him to stop the negative spiral he was on. The loss of her and her love woke him up to the fact that he had a serious problem. Before she left him, he thought “she was the problem.” He thought if she was kinder, or more strong willed, or funnier or not as afraid of him, or not as angry, he would not have had to punish her all the time.
He told her that he strongly believed he may actually have killed her eventually, if she didn’t leave him. A study in 2015 showed that 94 percent of women killed by men were murdered by someone they knew. Of the victims who knew their offenders, 62 percent were wives or other intimate acquaintances of their killers.
On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. During one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men.1
1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been victims of [some form of] physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime. More
Sometimes the most loving thing you can do is get away from someone you love. For the rest of us, who are in a wonderful and happy relationships that works or can be nurtured into working, we may wish to support those who are not so lucky. Support the National Coalition Against Family Violence
Since this nation was started it strongly associated with certain principles. During a time when a very large part of Americans brought in a man who seems to hold no respect the principle of freedom in his heart, we do well to remind ourselves what Freedom actually means and why the US wanted to be free from arbitrary rules of George III of England, who did not respect Americans as enjoying these inalienable rights. Somehow nearly half of Americans seem to have forgotten and are now promoting Trump and his compadre Putin’s style of government which does not promote Freedom.
IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776
The unanimous Declarationof the thirteen unitedStates of America
When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.
We have a lot to be thankful for. We enjoyed eight years of relative peace. Yes, even though the stock market has reached new all-time heights, mostly only the top 25% within the world economy are affected by that. However, during the Obama administrations many people in the middle class and even the impoverished have made small strides. More
Hope that we can improve our own lives.
The housing crisis and the cost of education problems have not been adequately addressed, but at least everyone knows about it. People are no longer suffering in silence, all alone. There are amazing new companies who are working hard on addressing it. For instance the Khan Academy provides assistance for free that literally change people’s lives. Here is one example of their many Thank You letters the Khan Academy deservedly received. Robyn, December 4, 2013: “I am currently in high school, trying to get into university for engineering. I just recently started using Khan Academy, and I am already hooked. I just wanted to say that it is truly amazing what you are doing. If there was ever such a thing as a saint: you would be one. Providing the world with easy access to education is something that nations upon nations have failed to do, yet you accomplished starting with just some simple videos available for any one to access. Thank you for restoring my faith in people.” More
Amazing scientific breakthroughs that will change our future
In 2016, Scientists have tested the world’s first minimally invasive brain-machine interface, designed to control an exoskeleton with the power of thought and gets people with paralysis back on their feet. More
In 2016, 3D Printing research shows promises for medicine and manufacturing that are mind-boggling. In the future organs and bone may well be printed from your own tissues and thus move medicine into an entirely different sphere. More
Artificial Intelligence had several major breakthroughs, not least of which is that Google’s AI engine reorganized “itself” to write a better translation system. And this indicates that AI is here to stay at an entirely different level. More
Social Trends that bring families together
At the home front things have changed as well. Now for the first time in since the year of 1880 more children and young adults (18 to 34 year olds) live with their parents than live away from their parents. More The economy that squeezes the life-style of most Westerners (75%) financially, combined with the aging of the baby boomers is moving families closer together.
Yes, the share of the middle class has been shrinking and unless corporate officers start waking up to the fact that a shrinking middle class means a shrinking customer base, this trend will continue for years to come. More
We enjoy enough food, clean water (most of us, ahem, Flint), a roof over our heads and more of us have our families with us. Life is good, we can always go online and improve it ourselves. So now think about all the good things in your life and share them with your family over some cookies. Merry X-mas or Happy Holidays, whichever you prefer.
“Somebody had to do it,” Roof said of the slayings. He added that “black people are killing white people everyday… What I did is so minuscule compared to what they do to white people every day.” He researched Charleston, scouted the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church and then acted alone. Yes this time there is a guilty verdict by the jury of the avowed white supremacist, Dylann Roof, on his federal hate crimes on 33 charges of federal hate crimes resulting in death, obstruction of religion and firearms violations.
Meanwhile in North Carolina, Pat McCrory, a renowned right-wing GOP governor rolls back laws and passes laws that will prevent his democratic follower from ruling the state. The Right Wing agenda is to wall in and to fortify their absolute power legally. He and his fellow lawmakers, who control the General Assembly, introduced measures to end the governor’s control over election board’s requiring State Senate approval of any new governor’s cabinet members and to strip his power to appoint University of North Carolina trustees. This is right-wing agenda in action to ease their white supremacist agenda. If you can’t strip the people of their right to vote, we all know they tried.
A press release in November 2016 states:
"NCGOP leaders will discuss final Get Out The Vote efforts and encouraging Republican gains in final Early Voting numbers when compared to 2012. Republicans historically vote in far greater numbers on Election Day itself, these great strides in Early Voting when compared to 2012 show evidence of underestimated statewide ground game and deep volunteer base. Chairman Robin Hayes:“I am encouraged by the excitement and work ethic of our volunteers and the numbers don't lie—the Republican ground game is showing that motivated statewide volunteers and extensive ground game are better indicators of electoral success than the number of candidate-specific offices one has.
Despite this effort and one before to change local laws that the federal court deemed illegal, North Carolina GOP Gov. Pat McCrory, who signed the 2013 voter-ID law which a federal court rolled back this year for illegally suppressing African-American votes, claimed in November 2016 that massive voter fraud in his state swung the 2016 election against him, as McCrory’s campaign continues to challenge Democrat Roy Cooper’s thin lead two weeks after Election Day.
The example of voter suppression is right here. Despite that it is perfectly legal to vote if you are temporarily absent. If a piece of mail with an out-of-state address is not returned before the vote that vote does not qualify. If there is another person with the same or similar name at an out-of-state address on Facebook, your vote no longer counts in North Carolina. If you put your vote into the voting box, instead of giving it to a racist woman who deems you as rude, your vote no longer counts. If there is a dead person of the same name in another county, your vote no longer counts. Check out this real document with these types of feeble attempts to change the voting results.
Now despite this arduous effort to control and influence the North Carolina voting results, the Democrat Roy Cooper won the election as governor. Now the White Supremacist Offensive goes on the full on offensive. The current General Assembly held an emergency meeting and stripped Governor Rye Copper of the powers to govern. It affects and takes away his ability to govern the State Board of Elections, State Ethics Commission, State Board of Education and the regulation functions of the Secretary of State, and the choice to appoint the head of the Industrial Commission. It is a well-known fact that the Koch Brothers aim to make North Carolina a model state of the private takeover of a government.
Rep. Nelson Dollar, a Republican from Cary, disputed the portrayal by opponents of the GOP strategy to cut the governor’s authority as a “coup.” It is a coup and it is only the first of many in States that have a strong element of white supremacists.
We can learn a lot from North Carolina about how a Democracy can be demolished with a few strokes of the pen by white supremacist lawmakers. Perhaps it is high time to read For Whom the Bell Tolls again.
Stephen Bannon and the people he promotes in Breitbart want to bring the Nazi Era back
Slave labor was celebrated by the Nazi’s and the US prison system is already overloaded. The Colorado support for Slavery, literally and legally, is a bad omen.
To simply assume that “Labor Prison Camps” can’t happen in the US is the easy way out, since there are already exist today and have since forever. For instance, in a CNN Money report we found that Barrett, 36, sued the Florida Department of Corrections for negligence after an mentally ill prison mate gouged out one of his eyes. The department responded with a “cost of incarceration lien” of $54,750 — the total cost of Barrett’s 1,095 day stay in the prison at $50 a day. “They charged me for me being in prison,” Barrett said. “Yeah I was surprised.” Dee Taylor, was released after serving a three-year bid in various Florida prisons, he also got a bill for around $55,000 from the Florida Department of Corrections. A recent report from the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law found that these types of fees, where inmates can be charged for room and board, have been authorized in at least 43 states. In 2014, for example, an appellate court in Illinois ruled that a Chicago inmate named Johnnie Melton would have to pay nearly $20,000 to the Illinois Department of Corrections for the cost of his incarceration.
In Arizona, an inmate’s friends and family can be charged $25 just to visit them. In 35 states, facilities can charge inmates for medical services. Some of these charges can be taken directly out of a prisoner’s commissary account while the person is still incarcerated. In some cases, the commissary account itself is subject to fees. CNN
Why should we care?
Currently prisoners in Colorado work for 60 cents a day, clearly way below the minimum wage. This is legal in Colorado, in fact they could work for no pay, since slavery inside a prison is still legal in Colorado, and confirmed in the November 2016 election.
This is breaking families apart because some children have to pay $1/minute to talk to an incarcerated parent. Why? Because prisons and jails profit by granting monopoly telephone contracts to the company that will charge families the most. In Colorado for $55 a night, the wives, mothers and children of Prison Valley inmates often stay at the Riviera motel in Florence. Dabrowska is a gentle house mother to families in need — for women like one named Joy, who for years came to visit Kaczynski until she died of cancer. Prisons are big business for instance in a security advertisement by Securus it is stated that investing in Prison Services is great business. Echelon was founded in 1996 started in the first year with $0.1 profit and when public in 2006 with a profit of $41 Million. This telephone company that overcharged the poorest of the poor – namely the families that are left behind by prisoners was sold in 2007 for $708 Million dollars. Not bad for 10 years of work. Now Robert E. Pickens is expanding his reach as president of Securus. Securus has 2,600 customers (prisons) in 46 states. They recruit investors by explaining that they are in a recession proof $78 Billion dollar industry. They explain that their EBITDA (Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) grew by 274% from 2007 to 20014. Amazing growth or earnings indeed! They promise that they will experience organic growth through numerous initiatives that are already underway.
From a press release from Securus from April 30, 2014 we learn:
“Richard A. (“Rick”) Smith, current President and Chief Executive Officer announced today the promotion of Robert E. Pickens, Chief Operating Officer to President of Securus Technologies effective May 1, 2014. Mr. Smith will retain the Chief Executive Officer title. “I have worked with Mr. Pickens for over 15 years – in the telecommunications, telecom systems, and high tech government services sectors and he possesses the positive attributes of commitment to the firm, a high level of business integrity, business intellect, and the ability to get results over long periods of time,” said Smith. Mr. Smith continued, “At Securus, Mr. Pickens held the positions of Vice President of Marketing and Chief Operating Officer, and also held these same positions at the previous company Eschelon Telecom, Inc. – a Minneapolis, Minnesota competitive local exchange carrier where he and I worked together for approximately nine (9) years. Because of our tenure working together, I am sure that Mr. Pickens will continue to deliver good results as a higher level executive. “We have completed nine (9) strategic acquisitions of assets, patents, technologies, and companies over the last twenty-four (24) months – and Mr. Pickens represents a perfect match for effectively managing this expanded set of entities and assets along with his classic Securus responsibilities.” Securus Technologies, Inc. is one of the largest providers of detainee communications, parolee tracking, and government information management solutions, serving approximately 2,600 correctional facilities in 46 states, the District of Columbia, Canada, and Mexico, and more than 1,000,000 inmates. A recognized leader in providing comprehensive, innovative technical solutions and responsive customer service, Securus’ sole focus is the specialized needs of the corrections and law enforcement communities. Securus is headquartered in Dallas, Texas, including four regional offices in the Dallas metro area as well as one in Atlanta, Georgia. For more information please visit the Securus website at www.securustech.net.
Peter Wagner an expert on the prison system tells us: “There are 3,283 jails in America, yet jails receive scant attention. The legislative, judicial and executive decisions that have fueled the explosion of our state prison populations are becoming well-known; but the myriad of subtle policy decisions that have sent our jail populations upwards are off the public’s radar.
For instance do you know that capturing innocent people, keeping them in jail for a while before giving them a hearing, after which they are released is BIG, BIG business? In the U.S., which has the largest pretrial detention population in the world, 20 percent of detainees eventually had their case dismissed or were acquitted. According to American Quarterly. Being imprisoned often comes with a very high price. The U.S. has estimated that at least 13 percent of inmates have been sexually assaulted. Too often, jails and prisons across the Americas have become warehouses for individuals who are undereducated, unemployed, addicted to controlled substances, and/or have medical or mental health needs.
Racial Bias in the Prison System is now computerized
The Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015 was introduced in the United States Congress and both Republican and Democratic senators backed the ambitious bill. A proposed program instructs the U.S. attorney general to establish what the bill calls a “post-sentencing risk- and needs-assessment system” for federal prisoners, which would assign inmates a low, moderate, or high score based on their likelihood of recidivism. “Dynamic risk factors”—including “indicators of progress and improvement, and of regression, including newly acquired skills, attitude, and behavior changes over time”—would determine the ratings. The language of the bill indicates that an inmate’s score will affect housing assignments, telephone and visitation privileges, and be consulted in making assignments to anti-recidivism programs like vocational training, faith-based programming, and drug- and alcohol-recovery classes. Those who are considered low-risk inmates are eligible for reduced sentences would receive 10-days credit for every 30 days of successful participation, while other “high-risk” inmates receive only 5 days credit.
The very concept of predicting crime challenges the presumption of innocence, a central tenet of the American criminal-justice system.
Police still patrol streets and knock on doors, but computers, rather than humans, decide which streets and which doors. Essentially, this is crime forecasting: Police are trying to stay ahead of potential criminals, who may or may not be about to violate the law.
The trouble with this bill is that it has racial bias built into a system that is sure to create the proof of this racial bias. “The categorical exclusion of over half the prison population is unwarranted, and would have a disparate impact on African American and Native American inmates. Risk factors correlate with socioeconomic class and race, and studies show that African Americans are more likely to be misclassified as high risk than White or Hispanic offenders. The exclusion is also contrary to the goal of increasing public safety. Many of the excluded inmates have the greatest need to participate in programming, but would have no meaningful incentive to do so. With or without time credits, they will serve lengthy sentences and then be released. By failing to encourage them to participate in programs shown to reduce recidivism before releasing them to the community, S. 467 fails to promote the stated goal of enhancing public safety. ” Federal Defender Analysis Report Source: Atlantic Monthly
If you can’t afford bail you will be rated worse than if you can, even if you are innocent.
Prisoners who are let go due to the fact that they are innocent still get charged the cost of incarceration fee.
Currently3 out of every 5 peoplein jail areunconvicted and are presumed innocent, they are there becausethey are too poor to post bailwhile they await their trial.
The Prison and Labor Camp Industry is thriving
The LA Times reported in 2015 that in the place known as Prison Valley, Colorado is home to 11 state and federal lockups, more than 7,500 inmates do time near two communities that have the feel of college towns — an odd coupling that can create tension and conflict perhaps found nowhere else in America. Fremont County (population 46,000) has Colorado’s biggest per capita population of prison inmates, a rate that’s also one of the nation’s highest.
The United States Holocaust Museum tells us:
From its rise to power in 1933, the Nazi regime built a series of detention facilities to imprison and eliminate so-called “enemies of the state.” Most prisoners in the early concentration camps were German Communists, Socialists, Social Democrats, Roma (Gypsies), Jehovah’s Witnesses, homosexuals, and persons accused of “asocial” or socially deviant behavior. These facilities were called “concentration camps” because those imprisoned there were physically “concentrated” in one location.
Between 1933 and 1945, Nazi Germany and its allies established more than 40,000 camps and other incarceration sites. The perpetrators used these sites for a range of purposes, including forced labor, detention of people thought to be enemies of the state, and mass murder. The total number of sites is based upon ongoing research in the perpetrators’ own records.
Millions of people were imprisoned and abused in the various types of Nazi camps. Under SS management, the Germans and their collaborators murdered more than three million Jews in the killing centers alone. Only a small fraction of those imprisoned in Nazi camps survived.
Why do rural blue color workers and rural college educated people love Trump?
The Guardian’s Thomas Frank, pointed out on March 7, 2016: “..what motivates the supporters of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump? I call it a “mystery” because the working-class white people who make up the bulk of Trump’s fan base show up in amazing numbers for the candidate, filling stadiums and airport hangars, but their views, by and large, do not appear in our prestige newspapers. On their opinion pages, these publications take care to represent demographic categories of nearly every kind, but “blue-collar” is one they persistently overlook.” Full Article
The Atlantic Monthly received letters from a range of people who support Trump for president in August 2015. The reasons they quote are similar:
A self proclaimed Liberal who voted for Obama wrote: “Rather, I genuinely believe that Trump feels the need to fight for the country he loves. There once was a time when people could actually feel proud to be Americans, and Trump comes from a generation that experienced that feeling. Now, many are embarrassed to be associated with this country. Jobs are being outsourced with reckless abandon and this country is literally being hollowed out. Economic statistics do no justice to this reality, and the average American knows this to be true.”
An undecided voter writes: “..the preeminence of political correctness among the culture class indicates a momentous shift away from formerly prominent middle-class cultural values and towards something entirely different. Even if Donald Trump were to accomplish little in his presidency, I think there is a hope that were he president, he could in some way alter that prevailing Washington/media culture and set a new cultural tone. Many would probably question why, of all people, a decadent, rude, and pompous billionaire should be trusted to meddle with American culture? I think it comes down to a perception that America has already drowned in a post-modernist nightmare of moral relativism, from which extreme political correctness and protest culture stem. Trump, on the other hand, is all absolutes.” Full Article
Kathy Kramer shared with Kevin Drum in an interview for Mother Jones, November 8, 2016, that her political science study showed this:
“What I was hearing was this general sense of being on the short end of the stick. Rural people felt like they not getting their fair share. That feeling is primarily composed of three things. First, people felt that they were not getting their fair share of decision-making power….Second, people would complain that they weren’t getting their fair share of stuff….And third, people felt that they weren’t getting respect….So it’s all three of these things — the power, the money, the respect. People are feeling like they’re not getting their fair share of any of that.” Full Article
So let’s take a close look and let’s see if what they feel is true.
The Brookings Institute states that Republican States have more entrenched poverty than Democratic States. Republican districts have more poor residents overall: 25.1 million poor people lived in red districts in 2010-14 compared with 22.7 million in blue districts.
Between 2000 and 2010-14, the poor population grew faster in red districts than blue. The number of people living below the poverty line (e.g., $24,230 for a family of four in 2014) in Republican districts climbed by 49 percent between 2000 and 2010-14 compared with a 33 percent increase in Democratic districts. As a result, Republican districts accounted for 60 percent of the increase in the nation’s poor population during that time. At the same time, poverty rates rose by similar margins in both red and blue districts (3.3 and 3.2 percentage points, respectively).
Table 1. Congressional Districts with the Fastest Growth in Poor Population, 2000 to 2010-14
Percentage Change in Poor Population
Share of Poor in Suburbs
Heck, Joseph J.
Source: Brookings Institution analysis of decennial census and American Community Survey data
Hunger in Rural Communities is higher than Urban
According to the United States Department of Agriculture report, Household Food Security in the United States in 2014, 14% of U.S. households were food insecure at least some time during the year. The prevalence of food insecurity was higher in rural areas than metropolitan areas.
The Digital Divide created by lack of Internet Access
55 percent of people living in rural areas have access to the speeds that currently qualify as broadband, while 94 percent of the urban population does. As of 2015, 74 percent of households in urban areas of the U.S. had residential broadband connections, compared with only 64 percent of rural households. This gap has persisted over time. Research reveals that broadband adoption can help improve the economy in these rural areas (including increasing income, lowering unemployment rates and creating jobs). In addition, we know that roughly 40 percent of the rural-urban adoption gap is because rural areas don't have the same level of broadband access. This is because large providers are not interested in serving these communities and in some instances have refused Federal Subsidies to get rural communities connected.
Suicides in Rural Areas are double of those than in Cities
A study by the JAMA states that Suicide is a serious public health problem. For youths between the ages of 10 and 24 years, suicide was the third leading cause of death in 2010 behind only unintentional injuries and homicide.1 Males are at higher risk, accounting for 81% of suicide deaths in the 10- to 24-year age group. Suicide risk increases with age, with 6% occurring in individuals younger than 15 years, 34% in those between 15 and 19 years, and 60% in young adults aged 20 to 24 years.1
Rates of suicide also vary by rural-urban residence, with higher rates in rural compared with urban areas. Suicide rates among rural men were higher than those of urban men, with rural-urban differences widening over time. Higher rates of suicide attempts have also been reported8 among rural compared with urban adolescents. The studies conclusion stated Although low population density per se may be operative, efforts to improve access to mental health services and offer social support at the local level could narrow the gap in risk for youths in rural as opposed to urban settings. Additional study is warranted and of potentially great public health significance. Full Article
Rural communities as our research shows are genuinely struggling with problems that are not adequately addressed by neither the major political parties nor the major media outlets. It seems that one of Trump’s appeal is that at least give this audience the feeling they are seen and heard. While this does not qualify him to do anything about the issues he has succeeded in mobilizing millions of Americans to vote for him to “stick it to the elite.” Rural people are angry for having been ignored as their lives have grown ever more depressing. Trump has pulled them out of this feeling of helplessness and he has unleashed their anger.
Next we will investigate why a supposedly educated people would vote for Trump.
Throughout history there have always been ill mannered, dishonest men and women. It is up to us if we let them tear us apart, or whether we use them as an inspiration to improve the fabric of our society.
For the past 40 years, we have allowed our wages to dwindle, our integrity as people and as states, and a country to dwindle. We have stood by as investors have sucked ever more money out of the economy, and as the entertainment industry allowed philanderers, sexual predators and adulterers become pop idols. We have allowed men and women into politics who abused their power for personal gain, and who have used blackmail to gain ever more power.
We all agree that this is not a wonderful situation. Young women are raped at colleges, young men are raped in the army, unarmed people are shot in the streets and in parks, and management no longer is urged to build strong companies but instead they are representing themselves and the investors, who view themselves more and more as the “ruling class.” Workers’ rights have diminished through lack of organization, and because many Union leaders are not reasonable and often corrupt.
We can be overwhelmed and start the “blaming” game, or we can pull together and hold ideals that we cherish up high for all to see. We can stand together to give “the people” a voice once more. This is not a matter of right wing or left wing. This is not a matter of North or South, coastal states or inland states.
This is a matter of getting a back bone and uniting to stand up for what we know is right. It is time that we stop the excesses of all the people who take advantage of those weaker than themselves. It is time to unite to keep freedom of the press alive and to stop all people who think that dishonesty in whatever shape or form it takes, from holding positions in public office. Let’s evaluate one person at a time. We know that when we are called to turn a blind eye to people who support those who have no regard for truth, justice and honor we are complicit. This has nothing to do with politics. It is a matter of personal responsibility and decency. If we don’t stand up for this free country, we will lose our freedoms.
Violence, dishonesty, adultery, sexual assault, oppression, slavery, should be pointed out in every corner of this country. When we shine the light on the truth and on what is really going on, we can make room for leaders who actually care and who are smart and honorable.
Right now one thing should be clear to everyone who is upset about what is going on, is that we all have a lot of work to do to clean up the mess we allowed this beautiful country to become. As Patrick Henry said: United we stand and divided we fall. He also said: “Give me liberty or give me death.”
The idea that we have to be silent about abuse, disgusting behavior, and oppression, greed, public theft, excesses, and sexual assault, assault on our water, earth, and air, about anything that is just plainly wrong, has been shaped by those who want to silence us so they can take advantage of us and take our rights away.
The US is the first free country and we should shout that from the mountain tops and across the sea. United we stand and divided we fall. By urging us to pick sides they want to distract from what is wrong on each sides. Let’s pick truth, honor, justice and liberty for all. We the people have a right to pursue happiness and right now we are not happy at all.
Marc Benioff is chairman and CEO of Salesforce, in a $106 Billion dollar industry, as businesses are expected to spend $106 billion on SaaS in 2016. He became a millionaire at age 25 and his ideas and followthrough have turned him into a billionaire.
Benioff created the 1-1-1 model of philanthropy, which leverages the resources of Salesforce to improve communities around the world: donating 1% of Salesforce’s product, 1% of its equity and 1% of employees’ time to help nonprofits achieve their missions. Today, more than 700 companies have adopted the 1-1-1 model through the Pledge 1% movement. Benioff and his wife, Lynne, have focused their personal philanthropy on children’s health, including building UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals in San Francisco and Oakland, as well as on public education, homelessness and other social issues. Marc and Lynne Benioff have made an extraordinary $100 million gift to UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, which is officially renamed the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital. See full press release and on Philanthropies.
In his book “Behind the Cloud,” Marc Benioff explains that every company needs to integrate the Hawaiian Spirit of Mahalo. The spirit of gratitude and praise. He remembered that when he used to work for Apple, as a programmer on the MacIntosh, what made him happiest were the fact that he could have fresh fruit smoothies. So when he started Salesforce he provide fresh and healthy foods in the kitchen, a fully paid gym membership and after every product release he ordered massages for all his technical team as a big thank you, free yoga lessons with a renowned teacher and discount tickets on Hawaiian Airlines.
In order to inspire the team and create the all important team spirt, he created a peer reward system. People could nominate their peers and the winners would receive $500 bonus checks for various recognition categories. The most unusual award system were life size posters of distinguished employees for everyone so see and recognize. One thing that always bothered him that in most industries sales people were “coin-operated.” They were rewarded exclusively with money. At Salesforce everyone who met their sales quota would receive a 3 day fun filled experience in Hawaii with a friend or their partner. It surely worked as between 45 to 65% of the sales people met the quota and received their trips. In most sales organizations only the top 20% of the sales team is rewarded. By setting the bar within reach, the morale in the company soared creating a positive experience for the Salesforce team and their customers.
A pioneer of cloud computing, Benioff founded the company in 1999 with a vision to create a new kind of enterprise software company, with a new technology model based in the cloud, a new pay-as-you-go business model and a new integrated corporate philanthropy model. Salesforce has been named one of the World’s Most Innovative Companies five years in a row by Forbes Magazine, one of Fortune’s World’s Most Admired Companies in the software industry and a Fortune Best Company to Work For.
Benioff has been widely recognized for his visionary leadership and pioneering innovations. He has been named one of the 50 World’s Greatest Leaders by Fortune, Businessperson of the Year by Fortune readers, one of the Best CEOs in the World by Barron’s and received The Economist’s Innovation Award. Benioff is also a member of the World Economic Forum Board of Trustees.
Benioff believes that businesses are the greatest platforms for change in the world. He has embraced World Economic Forum founder Klaus Schwab’s multi stakeholder approach to leadership, serving not only shareholders but all stakeholders–including customers, employees, partners, communities and the environment–to make the world a better place. Benioff is also inspiring fellow business leaders to do the same. He led a group of CEOs and business leaders in opposing state legislation that discriminated against LGBTQ communities, and instituted a company-wide salary assessment at Salesforce to ensure men and women were being paid equally for comparable work.
Benioff is a 35-year veteran of the software industry. Prior to launching Salesforce, he spent 13 years at Oracle Corporation. He founded his first company, Liberty Software, which created video games, at the age of 15. He also worked as an assembly language programmer in Apple Computer’s Macintosh Division. Benioff received a B.S. in Business Administration in 1986 and an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters in 2014 from the University of Southern California.
He is the author of three books, including the national best seller, Behind the Cloud.
He runs a most transparent company. Enjoy his Keynote speech to his employees at the DX conference. Watch Marc Benioff, Chairman & CEO of Salesforce kick off the TrailheaDX 2016 Keynote. He interviews special guest Corinne Warnshuis, Executive Director, GDI about the organization’s partnership with Salesforce. Recorded live on June 7, 2016.