LMOC 027

Do you want to be entertained or morally right?

The common response to Harvey Weinstein is that entitled white people are the worst. While most of my jokes and frustration revolve around entitled white people, Harvey Weinstein did not rape because he was entitled. He raped because he believed his desire for sex took precedence above all else.

LMOC 026

Charllotsvile, Virgina will yet again go down in history over a battle of a divided nation.

Research:

  1. https://www.nobeliefs.com/hitler.htm
  2. https://www.scrapbookpages.com/DachauScrapbook/25Points.html
  3. https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/fights-in-advance-of-saturday-protest-in-charlottesville/2017/08/12/155fb636-7f13-11e7-83c7-5bd5460f0d7e_story.html?utm_term=.007e9f6a025c
  4. http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/excerpts-from-mein-kampf
  5. https://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005131

LMOC 025

That is not a just government, nor is property secure under it, where the property which a man has in his personal safety and personal liberty, is violated by arbitrary seizures of one class of citizens for the service of the rest. A magistrate issuing his warrants to a press gang, would be in his proper functions in Turkey or Indostan, under appellations proverbial of the most compleat despotism.

–James Madison March 29, 1792

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, …

-4th Amendment to the United States Constitution Passed 1789, ratified  1791.

Civil Asset Forfeiture: when property is seized by law enforcement under suspicion it was obtained or used in criminal act (s).

Criminal Asset Forfeiture: is when property is seized by law enforcement from a person who has been convicted of a crime and that property is directed related to the crime.

Civil Asset forfeiture is considered a case against the property, and not the person in ownership of the property. As such in civil matters the courts have adopted lower standards for burden of proof. Leonard vs. Texas shows that the State of Texas was operating under a preponderance of evidence –the lowest burden of proof. Consequently, Clarence Thomas eviscerated this practice by Texas citing their precedence as outdated, and that the burden of proof should be set at beyond a reasonable doubt –the highest burden of proof.

Since September 11, 2001, 61, 998 assets forfeitures have been committed without a warrant or indictment. Asset forfeiture began to take off in the 1980’s as official war was declared on drugs (sounds like the excuse for mandatory sentencing). Previous to this time the seizure of assets was primarily a maritime issue in regards to importation of goods. The laws that Texas cited for precedence were about seizing illegal imports and pirate’s booty. In those times the logistics of bringing the owners into a courtroom were at times impossible as they could continents away and never return. Effectively there is no need for asset forfeiture to have such a low burden of proof considering the technological advances of the world: the owner of the property can make it to court, and the property can be seized after the case.

Legally there is precedence for taking property that was party to a crime, especially money. It is when that practice is turned upon innocent citizens and used to strip them of their property that we begin to enter the despotism warned by James Madison. Pulling someone over for a minor infraction –which is being taught in law enforcement communities- and then searching their vehicle by manipulating the law to seize their property through more manipulation is corruption of the utmost.

 

 

RESEARCH: 

  1. https://www.supremecourt.gov/orders/courtorders/030617zor_6j37.pdf
  2. http://www.ipi.org/ipi_issues/detail/civil-asset-forfeiture-and-the-constitution
  3. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/19/us/politics/justice-department-civil-asset-forfeiture.html
  4. http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/documents/v1ch16s23.html
  5. https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/criminal-justice/reports/2016/04/01/134495/forfeiting-the-american-dream/
  6. http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/investigative/2014/09/07/police-intelligence-targets-cash/?utm_term=.b4b357fc62cb
  7. http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/investigative/2014/09/06/stop-and-seize/?utm_term=.d441ae11f029
  8. http://dictionary.findlaw.com/definition/standard-of-proof.html
  9. https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/criminal-justice/reports/2016/04/01/134495/forfeiting-the-american-dream/
  10. http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/investigative/collection/stop-and-seize-2/?utm_term=.4787ff9f8764
  11. https://www.policemisconduct.net/explainers/civil-asset-forfeiture/

LMOC 024

North Carolina has done it again. The State legislature recently passed an absolutely useless bill based off very little evidence. North Carolina classrooms are being reduced from K-3 grade. The hope is that smaller class sizes lead to better education. While the premise for this argument is sound, the premise for immediate reduction to class size remains holey. Wake County estimates this bill could cost them $26 million dollars in hiring new teachers and adding classrooms. Many experts suggest that classes such as music, art, and PE will be cut. We are in a time where we need quality teaching, not more teachers. This bill will create an influx of teachers that will water down an already diluted profession. The future of this Country will suffer in the process.

This bill effectively wants classroom sizes to change overnight, which would require more classrooms and teachers overnight. This is not a reality. Children next year will report to trailers, and music, art, and PE teachers might be out of jobs to cut cost. This could have been implemented over the next 5 years by slowing decreasing classroom sizes and provided a budget for building more space, and hiring new teachers. As the bill stands, and hopefully Roy Cooper vetoes this ludicrous bill, the education of K-3 will take a significant blow all because the money doesn’t exist.

The Center For Public Education is a driving force behind this new law, and their argument wouldn’t hold in a high school logic class. Phrases like, “We identified 19 studies that met our standards” and “ See, for example, Glass and Smith 1978” leave me wondering if a “C” average student did the research. My professors would have fleeced me for writing, “Even in light of findings that suggest no relationship between class size and student achievement, the preponderance of the evidence supports positive effects and academic gains when class size reduction programs in the primary grades are well-designed and properly implemented.” Essentially, the argument they are making is that the evidence for classroom reduction is small, but if well implemented and designed properly classroom reduction can work. If I tasked a company to build me a house and they said, “There is little evidence a home in this area will survive, but if we make a well designed and properly implemented house you have a chance” I’d tell him to take a hike.

House Bill 13 makes no sense. The research behind it makes no sense. The future of our country are going to suffer.

LMOC 022

The Oscars just completed their 89th show. Casey Affleck won Best Actor for his role in Manchester By The Sea. The Internet swiftly fell upon Mr. Affleck for sexual abuse of two women during filming of “I’m Still Here”. In the process Mel Gibson’s brutal abuse of his wife, also seven years past, returned to the surface, and Hollywood was pushed to answer for awarding men who’d abused women–Mel Gibson’s Hackensaw Ridge was nominated for various awards: winning Best Film Editing and Sound Mixing. How should we as a society respond to abuse by celebrity?

Mr. Affleck and Mr. Gibson raise a serious question: when a single human being abuses another what measures should a society take in distancing themselves from such acts when justice has not ruled them guilty? (This question I answer in the podcast)

Mel Gibson was accused of physically and emotionally abusing his wife in June of 2010. He was charged with misdemeanor battery, and pleaded no contest –in California this means the defendant is not contesting the charges and is viewed as guilty in the eyes of the court, although often with a lighter sentence.

In 2010 Casey Affleck, and the studio –Flemmy Productions- which made I am Still Here– were sued by Magdelena Gorka for failing to fairly compensate her and creating a hostile work environment. The allegations are harrowing, and didn’t gather much sympathy because they deal with mental anguish and not physical damage. Amanda White, a producer, also filed suit against Affleck and Flemmy Productions, many of the similar abuses were detailed in her account. We cannot see how a persons mind is hurt, but we can see bruises and missing teeth.

Mel Gibson was accused of causing cosmetic damage to his wife’s face, and Casey Affleck was accused of causing great emotional distress, which led to anxiety and sleep deprivation. Both of these men received awards for their craft this year.  The abuse these men dealt these three women -though separate in accounts- is significant.

Hollywood has a way of overlooking abuse: Roman Polanski drugged and raped a 13-year old girl in Jack Nicholson’s home home. Polanski would win Best Director for The Pianist. Woody Allen is accused -by his step daughter- of sexually assaulting her when she was seven years old: the case was thrown out, and Mr. Allen denies the allegations. This is an obvious case of silencing someone due to the age. Woody Allen won Oscars before the truth came out, however, he has continued to direct, and recently wrote and directed the TV show Crisis in Six Scenes. 

Casey Affleck and Woody Allen made art for upstart Amazon Movies. We see the same disregard for abuse in sports. Ray Rice was caught knocking out his fiancee in an elevator, it was only after public outcry over the abuse that the NFL and Baltimore Ravens took action: Ray Rice was a superstar prior to release of the video. Money is a motivator: Amazon is banking off Mr. Affleck’s win, and the are going to make money off Woody Allen’s cult following. Mel Gibson has been giving more than three strikes in this ball game, and keeps making studios money. Yet, the women abused by these men have disappeared into a the shroud of darkness.

Research:

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/movies/la-et-mn-nate-parker-casey-affleck-scandals-20161215-story.html

http://articles.latimes.com/2011/mar/12/local/la-me-mel-gibson-20110312

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/did-mel-gibson-beat-up-his-ex/

http://abcnews.go.com/images/Entertainment/Gorka_complaint.pdf

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/angelina-chapin/why-talking-about-bowies-sexual-misconduct-matters_b_9009230.html

http://mashable.com/2016/09/07/casey-affleck-harassment-allegations/#62OL3Q.tNSqY

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/11/22/casey-affleck-s-dark-secret-the-disturbing-allegations-against-the-oscar-hopeful.html

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/woody-allen-cant-escape-sexual-assault-allegations-at-cannes/

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4234796/Roman-Polanski-rape-victim-allowed-US.html

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2550270/Woody-Allens-adopted-daughter-Dylan-Farrow-reveals-cut-struggled-eating-disorder-details-alleged-sexual-assault-shocking-letter.html

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/roman-polanski-rape-victim-unveils-591015

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/tv/la-et-st-crisis-in-six-scenes-review-20160927-snap-story.html

http://time.com/3329351/ray-rice-timeline/

LMOC 021

Is illegal immigration really a threat to our society? Are the 95 million people outside of the workforce being kept jobless because illegal immigrants are stealing their jobs? Should we be arresting people in courthouses because they arrive on our shores illegally? Inside this weeks podcast I answer these questions. However, I encourage you to further educate yourself on a complex topic, one which is grossly oversimplified.

 

Research: 

  1. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2015/03/27/where-americas-undocumented-immigrants-work/?utm_term=.4d8812560465
  2. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/17/magazine/do-illegal-immigrants-actually-hurt-the-us-economy.html
  3. https://www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall/2017/02/07/us-job-openings-static-hirings-increase-thats-one-strong-jobs-market/#79846d2b5ec8
  4. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2017/02/16/this-is-really-unprecedented-ice-detains-woman-seeking-domestic-abuse-protection-at-texas-courthouse/?utm_term=.6acd13dd6492

LMOC 018: Rights

In 1860 there were 31,183,582 people in the United States 3,950,528 were slaves. 8% of American families owned slaves, and 12% of the population was made up of slaves. Over the next five years a brutal war would be fought which by the end of saw these slaves granted their freedom. However, it would be another one hundred years before they were legally treated as equals –even one hundred and fifty years later black Americans are not treated with the same respect as white Americans. The final fight for equal rights can be found in the decade of 1960.

In 1960 alone there were countless marches, protests, and demonstrations to bring attention to the “negro condition”. Police, and angry white people beat many. The Klu Klux Klan threatened lives. There was immense sacrifice made to force a national conversation on equal rights. A hundred years early the Civil War had been fought between brother and brother, in 1960 a different war was being fought between blacks and whites: a war for equality. A war for rights.

January 21, 2017, over three million people marched across the United States to protest the Presidency of Donald Trump. This was the largest protest in the history of the United States, and the marchers in D.C alone outnumbered those who attended the inauguration of the 45th President. Clearly the sheer numbers are enough to sway the country towards dumping Donald Trump as president. However, this is not how change works. Here is a comparison of Ashley Judd’s speech and one of Malcolm X’s more controversial speeches:

Our pussies ain’t for grabbin’. They are for reminding you that our walls are stronger than America’s ever will be — our pussies are for our pleasure, they are for birthing new generations of filthy, vulgar, nasty, proud — Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Sikh, you name it — for new generations for nasty women — so if you, a nasty woman or you love one who is, let me her you say, “Hell, yeah! Hell, yeah! Hell, yeah!”

-Ashley Judd

“We’ve got to change our own minds about each other. We have to see each other with new eyes. We have to see each other as brothers and sisters. We have to come together with warmth so we can develop unity and harmony that’s necessary to get this problem solved ourselves.”

Malcolm X

Women are treated less equally then men. They enjoy the same legal status, but like black Americans they are treated inferior when it comes to rights. The Women’s March had a chance to start an avalanche of change for women, but came crashing down with its lack of vision and discipline. Many black men and women spent unjust time in jail, or at the opposite end of a billy club for their belief that they should be treated as an equal. No women is going to suffer that kind of physical violence for their cry to equality, but they will need to make sacrifices, and it is clear that the events of January 21st were just angry people ceasing an opportunity.

RESEARCH:

http://www.civil-war.net/census.asp?census=Total

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/444154/womens-march-speeches-marked-left-wing-extremism-social-justice

https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2017/01/womens-march-protest-count/514166/

LMOC 017

Last year I expended much energy on police brutality. While this is a necessary conversation for us to be having, another one of far greater importance awaits. Throughout this year we will focus on domestic violence, but more specifically relationship violence –yes, I just coined this phrase. Domestic violence is a term used by police and courts to characterize, and separate, violence from purely physical assault leading up to murder. However, you don’t have to beat your spouse, or significant other, to commit domestic violence. Emotional and verbal abuse are just as damaging, if not more so. Bruises heal: emotional wounds, and scars to the human psychosis do not.

Our journey through the mire of relationship violence begins with snippets of my own story. Gasp! A man has experience with violence, blasphemy. This is a women’s topic. In a 12-month study by the CDC over 40% of victims of severe physical violence are men. According to another study nearly the exact same amount of women emotionally abuse as men. Please, place you hand underneath your jaw and lift up, this way we can continue. At 6’ 4” 200lbs I’m more physically imposing than most, so I have not experienced physical violence. However, I did spend upwards to two years in an emotionally abusive relationship. This is not shocking as I grew up in a household with an emotionally abusive father –in all fairness, he has greatly matured in this area, and indeed only learned these traits from his own father whom we must assume learned him from his.

My regular followers know that from this point onward they are only going to get facts and statistics that support my argument. The personal stories are inside my podcast. The 2010 study by the CDC discovered that 5,365,000 men compared to 4,741,000 women had been subject to physical violence by an intimate partner. We should take a moment to discuss why physical violence is unacceptable to our society. Most abhor the use of violence because it often preys upon the weak. This is the very reason women receive more attention, as they are thought of being incapable of defending themselves. Yet, to carry this argument out logically would mean that physical duels between two equally matched parties would be a humane way to settle arguments. Though, the consensus is that we are more advanced –or, if you allow, evolved. Physical force is a last resort to settle disagreements. In a relationship the resort to physical violence is unnecessary, barbaric, and convincingly ineffective. However, physical violence does not appear to be the number one weapon.

Psychological abuse as defined by National Coalition Against Domestic Violence “is caused by verbal abuse, acts, threats of acts, or coercive tactics.” If this sounds like a relationship you are in then you should get out immediately. Often the consequence of jail for beating someone is enough to deter the action. However, it becomes increasingly more difficult to accuse someone of psychological abuse when the primary evidence is a mind, thus you must rely on testimony. It is also much easier to psychologically abuse and condition your victim to believe you are always in the right. This may be why “48.5% of women and 48.8% of men have experienced at least one psychologically aggressive behavior by an intimate partner.” That statistic, again from National Coalition Against Domestic Violence is staggering. It is virtually dead even between men and women who experience psychological abuse in an intimate relationship.

We are out of time to discuss this topic, and will return to it in the future. There are steps that can be taken to help fix this problem. Relationship Violence is potentially the biggest human rights abuse issue we face today. Thanks to non-profits and brave women and men the conversation has begun to reach the ears of more and more people. The task is large, but not insurmountable. If you believe you are in a relationship of violence I encourage you to get out, I have listed three resources to aid you:

 

  1. http://www.thehotline.org/help/help-for-friends-and-family/
  2. https://www.socialworkhelper.com/2015/01/05/domesticshelters-org-new-resource-experiencing-domestic-violence/
  3. http://www.1800runaway.org/2016/10/domestic-violence-resources-get-help-help-others/

Research:

https://ncadv.org/files/Domestic%20Violence%20and%20Psychological%20Abuse%20NCADV.pdf

https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/nisvs_report2010-a.pdf

LMOC 009

Election 2016

 

This is an election cycle that has frustrated many people. John Oliver has talked about the election on every episode of Last Week Tonight since he aired the infamous “Make Donald Drumpf” episode. Late Night television has mercilessly attacked the Republican nominee. Even Saturday Night Live couldn’t avoid the bandwagon. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has played their part, and mud has been slung in epic proportions.

Hillary Clinton has the integrity of Swiss cheese and Donald Trump less class than a pack of angry Kindergartners. These candidates are direct reflections of our society. They mirror the worst parts of us as Americans. Yes, even you and I are responsible for people we do not support, respect, or even reflect our values.

Influence:

”The power to change or affect someone or something: the power to cause change without directly forcing them to happen.” You wield immense influence. There are people in your life that create versions of themselves based on you. Many times we say to ourselves, “My opinion don’t matter, there is no way for me to make proper change, I don’t have the power.”

Perhaps, you have a friend who one day will wield immense influence over a swath of people and an idea/theory you have could be the missing ingredient to change. If you remain silent in the defeatist attitude of depression you’ll never speak, they’ll never hear, and our society will never benefit.

Clinton and Trump exist as the next possible President of the United States because too many people with integrity and class remained silent, or bent their will to the will of the mob. They voted for the lesser of two evils.

Logically the lesser of two evils is still the sum of evil. If you cannot justify voting for a candidate you should not vote for them period. Imagine if everyone did this. We’d stop seeing political ads that attempt to pain the opponent as the worse choice of the two. We’d have real choices. This democratic republic derives all of its power from the people, and it is time the people stopped whining and started acting.