Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Monday, December 14, 2015

The relationship between crime and poverty

Disclaimer: this is not justification for, excusing, or condoning crime in anyway. I am just pointing out that perhaps our focus is on the wrong things.

Detroit, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Memphis, Tucson, Baltimore, Fresno, El Paso, Indianapolis, Boston, San Bernardino. What do these cities have in common? They struggle with extreme poverty. There is also extreme wealth in these cities, but the gap between the two is huge!

“Poverty and crime have a very "intimate" relationship that has been described by experts from all fields, from sociologists to economists. The UN and the World Bank both rank crime high on the list of obstacles to a country’s development. This means that governments trying to deal with poverty often also have to face the issue of crime as they try to develop their country's economy and society”.
“Crime prevents businesses from thriving by generating instability and uncertainty (at micro and macroeconomic levels). This is true in markets of all sizes, national, regional, municipal and even neighborhood-al (okay the word doesn’t exist)”.

“That's why having a business in a ghetto is rarely a good idea”.

Political topics in this election cycle:
  • 1.      Abortion
  • 2.      Women and minorities
  • 3.      Same sex marriage
  • 4.      Public faith
  • 5.      Environment
  • 6.      Campaign finance
  • 7.      Crime
  • 8.      Guns
  • 9.      Obamacare
  • 10.  Schools
  • 11.  Energy
  • 12.  Drugs
  • 13.  Stimulus
  • 14.  Taxes
  • 15.  Immigration
  • 16.  Social security
  • 17.  Trade
  • 18.  Military
  • 19.  America
  • 20.  Foreign policy

I am curious but why are most of these topics are even a political discussion? Some of topics do not belong in a public forum, have already been settled, or are just distractions; yet politicians in both major parties keep rehashing some these things as if they are important. Quite a few of the issues are actually tied together and should not be separated.

“According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) (pdf), more than 49 million Americans lived in households struggling against hunger in 2012. Of them, 15.7 million were children (21.4 percent of all children). Previously, in 2012, 48.9 million Americans lived in food insecure households”. So more than 15% of the population of the richest, largest food producing country in the world struggle to eat every day?

Back to crime; we have this habit of approaching crime or perception of crime with a hammer:

·         “‘Not justified, but not criminal’: No charges for Paradise cop who shot motorist in the neck”

·         “Teen in jail for months over 'sarcastic' Facebook threat”


·         “From 1980 to 2008, the number of people incarcerated in America quadrupled-from roughly 500,000 to 2.3 million people. Today, the US is 5% of the World population and has 25% of world prisoners. Combining the number of people in prison and jail with those under parole or probation supervision, 1 in ever y 31 adults, or 3.2 percent of the population is under some form of correctional control”. http://www.bjs.gov/index.cfm?ty=tp&tid=11

Here is my proposal, it is nothing new, nothing innovative, and it is just based upon educated ideas and common sense. Let’s make a war on poverty, I mean a real war because these numbers would actually be considered an epidemic according to the CDC. Let us bring the full weight, might of all branches or government, of the military, police, and citizens, and let’s eradicate poverty once and for all. No I am not talking about a handout, no I am not talking about socialism or communism (for those who love to argue). What I am suggesting is some simple changes.

1.      Fix our infrastructure, not patch it but fix it. Fix the buildings, roads, bridges, etc. Not only will that put a lot of people to work for a long time (because you have to give people jobs), but it will instill a sense of pride in where people are.

2.      Get rid of private prisons immediately, take those profits and actual create opportunities for prisoners to better themselves, teach them real skills, and set them up for jobs so that when they come out they can make a living wage. While you are at it, stop exploiting their labor, pay them minimum wage and put their money in a savings account for them so they can live when they come out and not go back to crime.

3.      Criminal justice system needs revamping now. By create a criminal class you are taking away economic opportunity, voting rights, and keeping the cycle going. Jail should not be the end of your life; it should be just a time in your life.

4.      There are pockets of extreme poor in this country and we know where they are. Do not forget those communities!

5.      We have warehouses of food rotting and we are paying farmers to keep it there: why is that? Need I say more on this? Let us stop wasting food on so many levels

Erasing poverty means people are eating, have homes, they are working, paying taxes, and just generally contributing to society. We have had the ability to do this for a long time; can we now develop the will?

Dr Flavius A B Akerele

The ETeam

Monday, December 7, 2015

Refugees Not Wanted…Again

Here is a little history lesson for those who have forgotten, this lesson is also for those “want to be” politicians who have apparently lost their minds:

“When Franklin D. Roosevelt became president in 1933, Americans were struggling to survive the greatest economic depression the country had ever seen. Many Americans feared that needy immigrants would take precious jobs or place an added strain on an already burdened economy”.

“America's immigration laws placed quotas on the number of people allowed to enter the United States from other countries. In 1939, the quota allowed for 27,370 German citizens to immigrate to the United States. In 1938, more than 300,000 Germans-mostly Jewish refugees-had applied for U.S. visas (entry permits). A little over 20,000 applications were approved. Beyond the strict national quotas, the United States openly denied visas to any immigrant "likely to become a public charge." This ruling proved to be a serious problem for many Jewish refugees. Most had lost everything when the Nazis took power, and they might need government assistance after they immigrated to the United States”.

“In September 1935, Nazi Germany passed laws that deprived German Jews of their citizenship. Without citizenship, Jews were legally defenseless. Many lost their jobs and property. Hitler also targeted with violence and persecution countless thousands of gypsies, Catholics, homosexuals, and even the physically and mentally impaired. With so many Germans fleeing their homeland, the State Department temporarily eased immigration quotas. In 1936, the State Department approved visas for about 7,000 German refugees. By 1938, that number had increased to more than 20,000. But an opinion poll revealed that 82 percent of Americans still opposed admitting large numbers of Jewish refugees into the United States. Despite pleas by American human-rights organizations, the U.S. State Department refused to increase the German quota any further”.

“On the eve of World War II, a bill that would have admitted Jewish refugee children above the regular quota limits was introduced in Congress. President Roosevelt took no position on the bill, and it died in committee in the summer of 1939. Polls at the time indicated that two-thirds of Americans opposed taking in Jewish refugee children”.

The events that have been happening around the world, including the most recent act of terrorism in San Bernardino, CA cannot truly be explained with words because these events were designed to crush souls and make us live in fear. Fear has this habit of changing into anger and hate very quickly, and even if that anger is justified, it often has no proper direction. When anger has no proper direction, the bottom feeders in our world are often the first to take advantage of this state of mind and fan the flames. They do not do it out of a true sense of honor or outrage, they do it simply because they can, and it benefits them.

These bottom feeders have the loudest voices and do not necessarily dwell in the shadows; rather they mask themselves as angels and saviors. We do remember that Satan was an angel right?

There is a war going on in the world, and it is both physical and ideological, and unfortunately Islam is being used as tool during this war. Yes we are at war with Islamic criminals, that cannot be hidden, but not all people who practice Islam are criminals, and if you pause in your hate for one moment, you will see this for yourself.

Brief look at Christianity

Christianity does not have a stellar history either:

“The Inquisition was a permanent institution in the Catholic Church charged with the eradication of heresies. Unlike many other religions (e.g., Buddhism, Judaism), the Catholic Church has a hierarchical structure with a central bureaucracy. In the early years of the church, there were several competing sects that called themselves Christian. But after the Emperor Constantine I (280?-337 CE) made Christianity the state religion of the Roman Empire and the local administrative structures were pulled together into one hierarchy centered in Rome, doctrinal arguments were settled by Church Councils, beginning with the Council of Nicea in 325 (which formulated the Nicean Creed). Those whose beliefs or practices deviated sufficiently from the orthodoxy of the councils now became the objects of efforts to bring them into the fold. Resistance often led to persecution”.

“The judge, or inquisitor, could bring suit against anyone. The accused had to testify against himself/herself and not have the right to face and question his/her accuser. It was acceptable to take testimony from criminals, persons of bad reputation, excommunicated people, and heretics. The accused did not have right to counsel, and blood relationship did not exempt one from the duty to testify against the accused. Sentences could not be appealed Sometimes inquisitors interrogated entire populations in their jurisdiction. The inquisitor questioned the accused in the presence of at least two witnesses. The accused was given a summary of the charges and had to take an oath to tell the truth. Various means were used to get the cooperation of the accused. Although there was no tradition of torture in Christian canon law, this method came into use by the middle of the 13th century. The findings of the Inquisition were read before a large audience; the penitents abjured on their knees with one hand on a bible held by the inquisitor. Penalties went from visits to churches, pilgrimages, and wearing the cross of infamy to imprisonment (usually for life but the sentences were often commuted) and (if the accused would not abjure) death. Death was by burning at the stake, and it was carried out by the secular authorities. In some serious cases when the accused had died before proceedings could be instituted, his or her remains could be exhumed and burned. Death or life imprisonment was always accompanied by the confiscation of all the accused's property”.

More reading:

My point is this: blame the people not the religion, because we human beings have this habit of destroying things and each other when we start wars in the name of religion. It seems a natural human state of being to want to blame someone or hate someone, and we are all capable of it, but history shows it does not actually help anything except the bottom feeders.

By all means we should be vigilant; we should protect ourselves, our families, and our communities; but there is a fine line with between protection and persecution. You cannot assume someone is Muslim because of how they dress as we can see from the hate crimes perpetrated against the Sikh community in recent times http://bluenationreview.com/14-years-after-911-racists-still-target-sikhs-for-violent-revenge/.  Sikhs are not Muslims, not even close, but once again this country is built on freedom of religion anyway, so no religion should be attacked because of the actions of a few. No person should be set upon by armed thugs because are being told to hate them. http://www.historyplace.com/worldwar2/timeline/roehm.htm

I conclude with this fact: people vying for the highest office in the land have recently called for closing our borders, excluding a group from society, and also having this group register! The last time this happened in resulted in the death of millions!

We are better than this and we need to show the world we are better than this. By reacting the way the bottom feeders are trying to direct us, we are playing into the terrorists hands.
I am not preaching kumbaya, it is difficult to find love in the midst of slaughter, what I am simply saying is learn from our past mistakes, and find a better solution before it is too late.

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam