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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Blog will be back, active again, in early January

Happy holidays again.

Traveling so enjoy your time away from all the nonsense and negativity in the news!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

So the drug war works then?

As the FBI released its national crime statistics for the first half of 2011 on Monday, showing violent crime and property crime down across the board, a group of anthropologists at City University of New York floated a theory for the ongoing crime reduction in New York that they extrapolated nationally: Crime is falling because drugs are getting cheaper. In short, the thinking goes that most crime is drug-related in general, usually committed by users to pay for their fix. So if drugs are cheaper, users will commit fewer crimes to buy them.

The problem, of course, is that one of the goals of the drug war is to RAISE prices of drugs, thereby making them harder to afford, so that--in the words of the Office of National Drug Control Policy--people who are using drugs will stop using them and those not using them will be less likely to start using drugs in the first place!

This article makes Ronald Reagan, who stepped up the war on drugs in 1980s, seem like a genius. Step up a policy that will fail to achieve its goals but will reduce crime anyway!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Police as soldiers and Americans detained without trial ....

“With local law enforcement, their mission is to solve crimes after they’ve happened, and to ensure that people’s constitutional rights are protected in the process,” says Jesselyn McCurdy, senior legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union. “The military obviously has a mission where they are fighting an enemy. When you use military tactics in the context of law enforcement, the missions don’t match, and that’s when you see trouble with the overmilitarization of police.” 
Americans can also now be detained as enemies in military custody indefinitely without trial as long as there is a war on terror. Something is wrong with our country.  

Yes, it's been in the news. But for some reason, we just don't seem concerned at all. Even though on the campaign trail in 2007, now President Obama said "We're not a nation that locks people up without charging them." Except now we are. Because he signed the bill into law.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Will this crime be in the news?

Violent? Check!


Bizarre? Check!

Innocent victim? Check!

Man who looks depraved or crazy? Check!

Is the offender a black male? Check!

Yes, then it will be in the news.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

ONE out of every THREE young people is a criminal?

Yes, according to this article from Reuters:

Close to one in three teens and young adults get arrested by age 23, suggests a new study that finds more of them are being booked now than in the 1960s.

Those arrests are for everything from underage drinking and petty theft to violent crime, researchers said.
They added that the increase might not necessarily reflect more criminal behavior in youth, but rather a police force that's more apt to arrest young people than in the past.

"The vast majority of these kids will never be arrested again," said John Paul Wright, who studies juvenile delinquency at the University of Cincinnati's Institute of Crime Science, but wasn't involved in the new study.

"The real serious ones are embedded in the bigger population of kids who are just picking up one arrest," he told Reuters Health.

Though violent crimes might be on the rarer end of the spectrum of offenses, the study's lead author pointed to the importance of catching the early warning signs of criminal behavior in adolescents and young adults, saying that pediatricians and parents can both play a role in turning those youngsters around.

Robert Brame of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and his colleagues analyzed data from a nationally-representative youth survey conducted between 1997 and 2008.

A group of more than 7,000 adolescents age 12 to 16 in the study's first year filled out the annual surveys with questions including if and when they had ever been arrested.

At age 12, less than one percent of participants who responded had been arrested. By the time they were 23, that climbed to 30 percent with a history of arrest.

That compares to an estimated 22 percent of young adults who had been arrested in 1965, from a past study.

"It was certainly higher than we expected based on what we saw in the 1960s, but it wasn't dramatically higher," said Brame.

Arrests in adolescents are especially worrisome, he told Reuters Health, because many repeat offenders start their "criminal career" at a young age.

The researchers said it seems that the criminal justice system has taken to arresting both the young and old more than it did in the past, when fines and citations might have been given to some people who are now arrested.

"If (police) find kids that are intoxicated or they have pulled over someone intoxicated... now, nine times out of 10 they're going to make an arrest," Wright told Reuters Health.

"We do have to question if arrest is an appropriate intervention in all circumstances, or if we need to rethink some of the policies we have enacted."

He pointed out that young people who have an arrest on their record might have more trouble getting jobs in the future. It's one thing if that's because they were involved in a violent crime, he continued, but another if their offence was non-violent, like drinking underage or smoking marijuana.

"Arrest does have major social implications for people as they transition from adolescence to adulthood," Wright said.

While the report didn't ask youth why they had been arrested, Brame said that common offenses in that age group also include stealing, vandalizing and arson.

For most minor offenses, teens and young adults will get a term of probation or another minor penalty, he said. The most serious adolescent offenders and those with a prior record could be prosecuted as adults and end up getting a prison sentence.

Brame said that being poor, struggling in school and having a difficult home life have all been linked to a higher risk of arrest in that age group.

He and his colleagues wrote in Pediatrics on Monday that other warning signs of delinquent behavior include early instances of aggression and bullying, hyperactivity and delayed development.

Pediatricians might be able to recognize those warning signs more clearly than parents, and can point kids toward resources to help keep them out of trouble, such as counseling services, Brame said.

"We urge that parents who are concerned about their kids' well-being, that they get those kids in to see a pediatrician on a regular basis so the pediatrician can do the things they're trained to do.


This is all well and good. But what the article and the researchers do not point out is that virtually EVERYONE breaks the law, even intentionally. The fact is that we are ALL criminals. But only SOME get arrested.

So, why is that? There is no answer in this article, so it appears this is another example of the media failing to report the real story.

Here are the facts: Everyone commits crime. Some start earlier (early childhood), but most start later (adolescence). Some persist in crime over their entire lives, but most only commit crimes during adolescence and early adulthood and then mature out of it. Those that start earlier and persist in crime over their lives are different than the rest of us. And those people commit the vast majority of crime in society every year.

If anyone needs to be arrested, it is them. But arrest will not solve the problem of those offenders. Only early intervention can help. Only that is not happening. And that should be the story.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Remember Casey Anthony?

Would you pay this woman $750,000 for an interview to hear her tell you how she did NOT kill her daughter?

I wonder how much the woman on the left wants to talk about what she remembers from the night she partied with this murderer?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Perdue veto saves death-row appeal law

From the Raleigh News and Observer:

An attempt by the state's district attorneys, backed by Republican lawmakers, to derail North Carolina's two-year-old law allowing statistical evidence of racial bias to overturn death sentences appears to have failed with the governor's veto of their bill Wednesday.

Governor Perdue vetoed SB 9, which had overturned the state's historic Racial Justice Act, passed just in 2009.

... there appears to be little chance of that this time. House Republicans would have to lure five Democrats to muster the 72 votes necessary for the three-fifths margin.

Although five conservative Democrats broke ranks with their party on other issues this year, one of them, Rep. Bill Owens from Elizabeth City, said Wednesday he will not vote for an override. Another, Rep. Jim Crawford from Oxford, said he probably won't, and a third, Rep. Dewey Hill from Brunswick County, said he doesn't know.

Without those five votes, Republican leaders would have to look for an opportunity to spring an override vote on a day when not enough Democrats show up for a session, which House Speaker Thom Tillis has said is a possibility.

In response to a public records request from The News & Observer, the governor's office on Wednesday released some of the correspondence the office has received on the issue since the beginning of November. Of the nearly 300 emails and eight letters provided, all but four urged Perdue to veto the bill.
So it was NOT even close. Thus, what Perdue did is supported by the public.
And her reason?
"I am vetoing Senate Bill 9 for the same reason that I signed the Racial Justice Act two years ago: It is simply unacceptable for racial prejudice to play a role in the imposition of the death penalty in North Carolina."

Monday, December 12, 2011

Basic math. Which is bigger? $20 billion or $7.777 trillion?

So everyday you hear about street crime. It is clearly in the news. Everyday.

But rarely do you see this kind of story in the news, especially the mainstream news.

The Federal Reserve was FORCED to reveal this to us--it loaned $7.77 trillion in below-market dollars to rescuing the financial system, and these nearly interest-free loans came without strings attached.
So how many years worth of street crime does $7.77 trillion worth? At about $20 billion per year in direct losses to street crime, this one deal cost us something like 388 years worth of street crime.

And yet, this is NOT the main story in the corporate news.

This is relevant to the issues in the book of who makes the law, who funds the law, and why it matters.

We are' simply stated, a nation obsessed with street crime. Simultaneously, we ignore white-collar and corporate crime, even though it costs us so much more every year than street crime.
Ellen Brown, Truthout | News Analysis
On November 27, Bloomberg News reported the results of its successful case to force the Federal Reserve to reveal the lending details of its 2008-09 bank bailout. Bloomberg reported that by March 2009, the Fed had committed $7.77 trillion in below-market loans»

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

How young is too young to be tried as an adult?

My wife sent me this story today. its certainly not the top story of the day, but it is out there. And it is a recurrent issue in criminal justice.

A 12-year-old boy could spend life in prison when he is tried as an adult for the murder of his two-year-old brother.

Cristian Fernandez is the youngest person ever to be charged with first-degree murder in the city of Jacksonville. Prosecutors say the pre-teen "acted with premeditation" when he allegedly shoved his two-year-old brother into a bookshelf, leaving the boy with a fractured skull and internal bleeding to the brain, CBS reports.

The younger boy, David, died two days after the March incident.

So, he SHOVED his brother. He did NOT try to kill him. He SHOVED him. Which of course kids do all the time.

Find the murderer.

"Yes, I have compassion for Cristian Fernandez , but it's not my job to forgive, it's my job to follow the law," prosecutor Angela Corey recently told Fox News.

The prosecution did offer a plea deal that would have freed Fernandez on his twenty-first birthday.

Defense attorneys did not accept, however, on the basis that Fernandez would be forced to admit murder and likely serve the final three years of his sentence in an adult prison, according to the Florida Times-Union.

So, this is plea bargaining at work. Take the deal and admit to being a murderer, and you get nine years. Don't take the deal and lose at trial and you go to prison FOREVER.

A trial is set for Feb. 27, 2012.

Ferandez's mother, 25-year-old Biannela Susana, also faces aggravated manslaughter and culpable negligence charges relating to the incident. Prosecutors say Biannela, who gave birth to Fernandez when she was 12-years-old, first informed cops that her younger son injured himself in a fall.

So, when is too young to be tried as an adult? You can vote at age 18, serve your country at 18, but work at 16 and cannot drink until 21. Keep in mind that the latest brain research suggests your brain is not fully developed until on average about age 25 years.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Do law-makers support the people?

This is one of the questions asked in the book.

One way to find out is to see how they vote on issues that Americans support.

A recent Gallup poll found that a majority of Americans--including both Democrats and Republicans--support closing tax loopholes on corporations or raising taxes on millionaires to help pay for things like schools, bridges, roads, etc.

And this was part of Obama's jobs plan.

Yet, so far, Congress has not acted (well, other than to vote no on every plan submitted by the President).

In this news analysis, Truthout, features the group, Patriot Millionaires for Fiscal Strength, who is calling on Congress to let the Bush tax cuts expire once and for all, and return the top marginal tax rate back to the Clinton-era levels. You know, back to when the economy was booming.
According to the National Priorities Project and Citizens for Tax Justice, the first decade of the Bush tax cuts, from 2001 to 2010, cost $955 billion; the Obama extension, from 2011 - 2012, cost $229 billion; the proposed extension, from 2013 to 2021, would cost $2.02 trillion; the total cost is $3.2 trillion.

Tax cuts for the wealthy have NOT spurred economic growth, but have instead just added trillions to the national debt. People know this, so they are calling on Congress to act.

So far, they refuse. So, it is fair to say that this is one example of law-makers NOT supporting the people.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Sexual harassment by little boys?

From Fox News:

Boy, 9, Suspended from School for Sexual Harassment After Calling Teacher 'Cute'

A 9-year-old boy North Carolina boy was suspended for calling a teacher “cute,” reports.

The boy’s mother, Chiquita Lockett, said the principal of Brookside Elementary in Gastonia called her after the incident to say the comment was a form of “sexual harassment.”

"It's not like he went up to the woman and tried to grab her or touch her in a sexual way," Lockett said. "So why would he be suspended for two days?”

A 9-year old boy tells this to his teacher. And that is sexual harassment.

According to the station, a district spokeswoman said she could not go into detail, but said the boy was suspended for "inappropriate behavior" after making "inappropriate statements."

The district's Code of Conduct doesn't list "inappropriate behavior," but says "disruption of school" is punishable by five days of out-of-school suspension.

The news of the North Carolina boy’s suspension comes as a Massachusetts elementary school is investigating a first-grader for sexual harassment after the boy struck another boy his age in the groin.

The mother of the accused 7-year-old tells the Boston Globe that her son was fending off another child, who had choked him in an altercation on the school bus on Nov. 22.

“I think my kid was right to fight back,’’ said the mother, Tasha Lynch, 30. “He wasn’t doing anything except protecting himself.’’

Lynch says her son has been afraid to return to Tynan Elementary School in South Boston since the fight, according to the paper.

Matthew Wilder, spokesman for the Boston public schools, declined to comment on the incident or why it has been classified as a possible case of sexual harassment. He said officials do not discuss confidential student information.

As a parent of a boy, this concerns me greatly. Both of these stories do actually. I mean, at what age should I start teaching my son about sexual harassment? Before I do this I first I have to teach him about sex, don't I?

However you feel about these cases, notice how the media linked two unrelated stories together. That is linkage. It is the hook they use to get you to read on. Thank goodness they at least did not link it to the coaching scandals at Penn State and Syracuse! Or Herman Cain!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

You know how the media can literally IGNORE a story?

This is what it looks like.

Time magazine is literally sheltering Americans from the news around the world. Even though we know what is going on (well, those of us who actually read the news online).

Of course, this is the same news magazine that made OJ Simpson look "blacker" because they thought it would make him look more menacing to readers.

Cancel your subscription.