LMOC 008 Trancending Normal

We’ve all heard older men make creepy comments about women, and we’ve all accepted it as part of old age. However, this normal reaction has enforced a problem we have in society. Women are viewed as glass figurines. They are to be protected lest they shatter or placed atop a fireplace mantle to be be reveled in at the owners expense. This is a sickening normal practice. We must as a society rise above what is normal and seek a new standard.

Crime: White

If I were to tell you that a race problem existed in the United States you’d emphatically agree. If I were to tell you that the majority of prisoners in the United States are black you’d probably agree on the basis that African Americans commit most of the crime in the U.S. What if I told you that you were wrong?

Crime in the United States is decidedly white.

 

ARREST RECORD:

In 2015 10,797,088 arrests were made

Drug Abuse: 1,488,707

Property Crimes: 1,463, 213

Larceny-theft: 1,160,390

Driving Under the Influence: 1, 089,171

Violent Crimes: 505,681

Race:

69.7% White

26.6% Black

3.6% Other

Black Prisons:

There are 2.3 million people in jail and prison (state and federal). These numbers were difficult to come across because the U.S does a poor job of tracking who is going to jail and for what. 2,220 blacks for every 100,000 people in that group would be incarcerated. The figures for whites: 380 for every 100,000 people in that group. These figures are staggering.

SOLUTION:

The solution many think of is simple, “End Racism.” How do you do this when the courts aren’t inherently racist? Judges make rulings. They factor in fact, evidence, and intent prior to making a ruling. If the majority of arrestees are not seeing the inside of prison it would follow that judges are to blame

In the 80’s Ronald Regan created sentencing guidelines. These guidelines tell a judge the maximum and minimum sentence he should hand down dependent on specific factors. The goal was to solve wild inconsistencies when it came to sentencing. This took the responsibility out of a judge’s hand and put it completely in the hands of prosecutors.

Prosecutors have zero oversight. They are not asked to explain why they do what they do, and operate mostly in the dark. They ask the judge for a specific sentence and know the system so well that they rarely are denied. Why? A judge must rule by guidelines. If he sees a remorseful young man in his court he cannot use equity in his judgment, and must use pure justice. The lawyers arguing for justice understand this and can maneuver the judgment in a favorable way for their statistics.

At this point I must speculate that white people have access to better lawyers because they have a 9% poverty rate. If you have a good lawyer he understands what the prosecutor can and cannot ask for and what they must prove. He can provide a strong defense and get the sentence lowered, or dropped. The judge doesn’t necessarily see color in his courtroom as much as fact and guidelines.

The poverty rate among African Americans is a staggering 24.1%. This means access to a good lawyer is limited. It is common knowledge that public defenders are stretched thin and in some cases have twenty minutes of preparation before arguing a case before the judge. A prosecutor has a plethora of experience for specific crimes, has a plan of attack, and the law (police) on their side.

The cards are stacked against you in America if you are black. There is no doubt. But in the courtrooms it is not so much the color of your skin as it is the feasibility of a favorable sentence and removing criminals from jails and putting them in prisons. We need to remove judgment guidelines and create oversight for prosecutors.

Not everyone deserves jail for the crimes they commit: a little equity in a ruling can alter the course of history. If we want robots to rule our courtrooms we should create algorithms.

There are many factors that play into this specific topic, all of which we cannot go through in one podcast. I will return to this topic and build upon it. If we are going to create laws everyone must be held accountable to them equally. Crime in the United States lacks color, and would blind you on a sunny day. Perhaps this is why we turn our eyes to those we can more aptly see.

 

RESEARCH:

  1. http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/02/one-judge-makes-the-case-for-judgment/463380/
  2. http://www.prisonpolicy.org/reports/pie2015.html
  3. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/02/26/america-has-locked-up-so-many-black-people-it-has-warped-our-sense-of-reality/
  4. https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2015/crime-in-the-u.s.-2015/persons-arrested/persons-arrested

 

Rape Culture: America

I have heard more than a few people deny the existence of a rape culture in America. They are wrong. Bill Cosby is on trail for repeated rape. Donald J. Trump and Billy Bush joke about rape as if it were the norm. When you delve into the statistics: rape culture, exists.

Rape Statistics in America:

College: 1 in 5 women; 1 in 16 men.

Before and after college: 1 in 5 women; 1 in 71 men

If you go to college as a women you have the same chance of being raped as if you do not go, and if you are a man you are more likely to be raped going to college than not: colleges are a sanctuary for rape.

As a woman no matter where you are there is a 20% chance you’ll be raped. 32, 880, 744 women have been or will be raped. If you have five daughters, one will be raped. If you have two daughters, your sister has two daughters, and your brother has one: either your child or niece will be raped. There is a 90% chance a family member will be the perpetuator.

Plan on someone you know raping someone you know.

54% of victims are 18-34. The majority of people are raped before they are 30. Victims under the age of 18 are 66% more likely to be between the ages of 12-17. 82% of those are young girls.

However, despite all the talk of college rape and celebrity rape, the greatest threat of rape is for Native Americans: two times more rape is committed to their race than to any other race. A stranger commits 41% of these rapes.

 

WHY RAPE?

The short answer, we do not know. Rape is often viewed as the victim’s fault. The most common phrase found inside articles is this, She wanted it.” A variation, “She wanted it, she just didn’t know it.”

Rape is often sexualized. After all, the act is a sexual one by nature. However, we know men have control over their sexual desires, as do women. So, we can rule horniness out of the equation.

Most rape is a control and domination issue. It grows from insecurity, or rejection. Men are physically more powerful than women; they take what they want physically so that they are not rejected (women are more emotionally powerful than men, they take what they want using emotional manipulation).

The bottom line, we do not know. This is a problem. If you do not know why you can’t fully solve an issue.

SOLUTION

The video of Donald Trump talking about grabbing women by the pussy while Billy Bush giggles in the background is the reason I pushed this topic earlier than I wanted. However, this video shows the culture we exist in: rape is a fact of life. Trump is wrong, men in locker rooms do not talk like this: if anything there is more gay talk than straight talk. Trump was advocating sexual assault because he is famous. Bill Cosby is on trial for sexually assaulting a plethora of women.

If you are any race other than American Indian someone you know will most likely rape you. This should be a startling realization. Rape from someone you know means they desire you and want to take what you can offer them: sex. Rape from someone you don’t know means they view you as inferior to them and will take something you can offer them no matter what: sex. This tells us that the problem is not a lack of fear for the consequences, but a lack of knowledge.

Shocking Attitudes to Rape in South Africa is eye opening. The cavalier way in which men speak of rape and how their victims did want to give them sex, or wanted it, so they took it is exactly the problem with a rape culture (this article interviewed men from South Africa: we are looking at America, but do not think rape is confined to the shores of the United States. The entire world has a rape culture).

We need better education on the topic. Our children need to understand that sex is not as important as society makes it, but is not any less valuable than a quick release of pleasure. They must attach a value that rises above their own self worth and provides something greater. Sex education should not only be about condoms, STD’s, and avoiding pregnancy: it should teach that for human beings sex transcends procreation and pleasure.

Research:

  1. http://news.sky.com/story/shocking-attitudes-to-rape-in-south-africa-10433820
  2. http://jezebel.com/5929544/rapists-explain-themselves-on-reddit-and-we-should-listen
  3. http://well.wvu.edu/articles/rape_myths_and_facts
  4. http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/sports/2003-12-21-athletes-sexual-assault_x.htm
  5. https://www.rainn.org/statistics/children-and-teens
  6. https://www.rainn.org/statistics/victims-sexual-violence
  7. http://www.nsvrc.org/sites/default/files/publications_nsvrc_factsheet_media-packet_statistics-about-sexual-violence_0.pdf

LMOC 005 Farmland Prostitution

Farmland Prostitution: Not Just a Woman’s Body Abused

Farmers are the most under appreciated cogs to an economy. Without products from a farm, society will starve. Inflation, regulation, and aggressive business like Monsanto have made it difficult to make a profit. In response we are seeing a trend towards larger farms. However, corporations own only 3% of farms. This doesn’t lessen the impact of a disturbing industry that has arisen: farmland prostitution. Clearly no family owned farm would abide such practices: however, the economics of running a profitable business do not wear such virgin spectacles. Farmland prostitution is not limited to merely women being pimped for financial gain.

In an article from Newsweek speaking about the practice of prostitution on American farms we find this disturbing quote:

“Few suburban supermarket shoppers know that federal labor laws exclude farm workers from certain rights most Americans take for granted, such as overtime pay, days off and collective bargaining.”

Further research finds even more disturbing news:

Less than 1 percent of wageworkers in the U.S are farm workers according to the USDA. This is a surprisingly low number for such an important industry. Compared to the number of farms in the United States and the trend towards larger farms this number seems skewed. There are 2.2 Million farms in the United States and 21 million American Workers (15%) produce, process, and sell the nations food and fiber according to the American Farm Bureau Federation –it should be noted that they are counting more than just farm hands.

In quest to discover how many workers it takes per acre of farmland I discovered this gem from a 2013 report by the USDA:

“Farms harvesting more than 2,000 acres use less than half as much labor per acre as farms harvesting fewer than 500 acres. “ (pg 16)

If you increase the size of a place you invariably need more workers. However, the USDA is reporting that larger farm costs less than a smaller farm. They justify this by cost per unit.

“The differences reflect lower costs per unit of production and not higher revenue”

Cost per unit is calculated by your fixed costs plus variable costs divided by units produced. The theory is that a smaller farm has a low ceiling on production, and a high cost of running. A larger farm has a higher ceiling for production. This does not fit with logic. A larger farm requires more land, more equipment, and more workers. Your fixed and variable costs rise, to keep them low you’d have to produce at least twice the amount a small farm does at all times –consequently, this creates higher revenue, a fact that the USDA denies is happening. The following example will help illustrate how this leads to farmland prostitution:

Example:

Farmer John:

Fixed cost $100,000 plus a Variable cost of $50,000 divided by 200 units = $750 cost per unit.

Johnson Farms:

Fixed cost $400,00 plus a Variable cost of $200,000 divided by 800 units = $750

A four times increase in fixed and variable cost creates an equal amount of money spent per unit between both farms. Thus, a larger farm must cut cost somewhere. Labor is a variable cost. If Johnson Farms decreases their variable cost by 75% their cost per unit goes to $562.50. However, if Johnson Farms can decrease their labor by so much they can also increase their production, because they can put more workers on the farm at a reduced cost. Therefore, if we increase their units by 50% the total cost per unit drops to $375. This small example points towards a work force that is not documented by the United States Government.

“Where America’s Undocumented Workers Work”, a Washington Post article, states that over 15% of undocumented workers make up the agriculture work force in America. The only industry that comes close to percentage is construction workers. I am not suggesting that these undocumented workers go unpaid for their labor. They are paid, but the farmers are not faced with payroll tax, and can pay at lower rate than $7.25 an hour. This significantly drops variable cost while increasing their product. If they pay $3.62 an hour for work they’ve gained two workers to one. Meaning they’ve doubled their production. In the example from earlier we saw that a 50% increase in production created a significant decrease in cost per unit.

How does this create prostitution? Many of these undocumented workers are single men who get bored and lonely working thousands of miles from home. Female companionship would make a lucrative business. At this point I must give all the credit to Newsweek for their story “Sex Slaves on the Farm” . An entirely invisible workforce has been created through a lack of oversight by the U.S government this has led to farms creating product at little cost to them, prostitution rings, and drug trafficking. Not only do these men need food in their bellies they need their physical desires met and use drugs and alcohol to combat the depression.

Solution:

I do not have an answer yet. Obviously we need to solve the illegal immigration problem. However, we will always have illegal immigrants. I’ve long been an advocate for legalized prostitution, but this would by no means protect women. The war on drugs does need to end, but this would lead to an increase in prostitution. I understand that I always say find solutions not problems, but the solution to this problem is complex and could have severe consequences. A possible solution is to remove restrictions on farming, and allow it to run more capitalistic. Hinder large businesses like Monsanto from bullying famers, and foster growth of the little guy. Many farmers are millionaires, but to get there is hard. Farmland costs large swaths of money, farm equipment is massively expensive, and if you want to grow you need to hire help. Perhaps if we knew exactly how much produce we needed and could regulate production we’d be able to lower costs across the board and see consumers with fuller bellies. A final note, we need to encourage organic farming, we are killing a nation through the practices we use. We have abandoned these humans and used their bodies for farmland prostitution not entirely sexual by nature, but just as damaging.

 

Research:

  1. http://www.accountingtools.com/questions-and-answers/how-to-calculate-cost-per-unit.html
  2. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2015/03/27/where-americas-undocumented-immigrants-work/
  3. http://www.ers.usda.gov/media/1156726/err152.pdf
  4. http://www.fb.org/newsroom/fastfacts/
  5. http://www.newsweek.com/2015/02/13/sex-slaves-farm-304354.html