America needs us all. And we all depend on each other.
New York’s 16th Congressional District
Democracy is based on citizens caring about and taking responsibility for both themselves as for the well-being of all.
Government is the instrument that citizens use to guarantee protection and empowerment for all. We all, together, provide what is needed for a decent life. Individual accomplishment rests on what other Americans have provided and keep providing.
Building the economy requires public investment — in public infrastructure, education, research, and much more.
Success is much more than money. It is your contribution to America as a whole — whether it is teaching, raising children, providing food, healing the sick, making useful products, guaranteeing our rights and our safety, or running businesses that make life better. America needs us all. And we all depend on each other.
Donald Trump can be very entertaining but…
“We’ve never had a federal elected official, let alone the leader of a party or the president of the United States, who is so easily moved from one position to another without offering any sort of justification or apology or explanation,” Michael Barber, a political scientist at Brigham Young University, says.
Donald Trump can be very entertaining but is he providing cover for “The Most Dangerous and Savage Group in the Country.”
The Paul Ryan Republicans, who in my view, are the most dangerous and savage group in the country are busy implementing programs that they have talking about quietly for years. Very savage programs which have very simple principles. One, make sure you offer to the rich and powerful gifts beyond the dreams of avarice and kick everyone else in the face. And it is going on step by step, just behind the bluster. …
Every cabinet official was chosen to destroy anything of human significance in that part of the government. It’s so systematic that it can’t be unplanned. I doubt that Trump planned it. …
Whoever is working on it, is doing a pretty effective job and the Democrats are cooperating, cooperating in a very striking way. Take a look at the focus in Congress. It’s on the few decent things that Trump has been doing. So maybe members of his transition team contacted the Russians. Is that a bad thing? …
Meanwhile the parts of the governmental structure that are beneficial to human beings and to future generations are being systematic destroyed and with very little attention.
~ Noam Chomsky
We must educate our children for the 21st Century
That’s why we are introducing students
to artificial intelligence (A.I.), computer vision, data science, machine learning, robotics and blockchain technology.
Tech’s biggest companies are placing huge bets on artificial intelligence (A.I.) where typical A.I. specialists can be paid from $300,000 to $500,000 a year or more in salary and company stock.
Big Tech Can No Longer be Allowed to Police Itself
Google, Facebook, and Twitter ran a slew of Russian-bought ads intended to sway the 2106 election. This has given us insight into a new kind of corporate extremism. We have allowed certain companies to run unchecked and lawless and have lost respect for the proper standards they, versus other firms, get to play by. The resulting two-tiered system creates a winner-take-all environment that adds further fuel to the flames of inequality.
Powerful tech companies benefit from laws that treat them as “special” and allow them to get around all sorts of legal issues that companies in every other kind of business have to grapple with. This amounts to billions of dollars in corporate subsidies to the world’s most powerful industry.
Section 230 of the Communications and Decency Act (CDA) crafted in 1996, allows tech firms exemption from liability for nearly all kinds of illegal content or actions perpetrated by their users. In recent years, the tech industry has thrown a tremendous amount of money and effort into ensuring that it maintains section 230 as a “get out of jail free” card.
“The concept of immunity in 230 as originally conceived is no longer relevant in a world in which the largest tech firms are engineering an environment in which they can extract all kinds of information about users for their own profit,” says Professor Olivier Sylvain of Fordham University School of Law.
‘For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
~ Matthew 25:35-36
I cooked breakfast for over a year at The Salvation Army.
The Salvation Army
‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
~ Matthew 25:40
The good news of the gospel, as John understands it, is not that you–a wretched, miserable, fallen sinner–have been rescued from your fate and saved from your deserved punishment by the invasive power of a supernatural, heroic God who came to your aid…. John’s rendition of Jesus’ message is that the essence of life is discovered when one is free to give life away, that love is known in the act of loving and that the call of human life is to be all that each of us can be and then to be an agent of empowering other to be all they can be.
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?
~ Matthew 6:25
HOPE Community Services is the largest food pantry/soup kitchen in Westchester County. Former HOPE Volunteer Coordinator Sue Gedney, former New York State High Chess Champion Joshua Cola, 96 years old volunteer Iris Freed, and Terrance Jackson. Photo: Gene Shaw
I spent over five years homeless and discovered the power of empathy
to fuel innovation and creativity:
I believe that empathy
– the imaginative act of stepping into another person’s shoes and viewing the world from their perspective – is a radical tool for social change and should be a guiding light for the art of living. Over the past decade, I have become convinced that it has the power not only to transform individual lives, but to help tackle some of the great problems of our age, from wealth inequality to violent conflicts and climate change.
It is important to understand what empathy is and is not. If you see a homeless person living under a bridge you may feel sorry for him and give him some money as you pass by. That is pity or sympathy, not empathy. If, on the other hand, you make an effort to look at the world through his eyes, to consider what life is really like for him, and perhaps have a conversation that transforms him from a faceless stranger into a unique individual, then you are empathising. ~ Roman Krznaric
[Satya Nadella] believes human beings are wired to have empathy, and that’s essential not only for creating harmony at work but also for making products that will resonate.
At Jump Associates, my colleagues and I have had the chance to collaborate with some of the world’s most amazing companies. And if there’s one thing that we’ve learned in all that time, it’s that companies prosper when they’re able to create widespread empathy for the world around them. That’s why I ended up writing Wired to Care, which shows how great companies around the world, from Nike to IBM, benefit from building a culture of widespread empathy for the people they serve.
“Wired to Care will convince you that businesses succeed with their hearts as much as their heads. Dev Patnaik has given us just what we need for the lean years ahead.”
— Malcolm Gladwell, author of Outliers and The Tipping Point
Corporate crime inflicts far more damage on society than all street crime combined.
Whether in bodies or injuries or dollars lost, corporate crime and violence wins by a landslide.
“In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”
~ Matthew 7:12
We need someone in Congress who understands technology.
We need someone in Congress who understands education.
When the law is applied in the absence of legitimacy, it does not produce obedience. It produces the opposite. It leads to backlash.
In 1991, I wrote Putting It All Together
addressing mass incarceration as government policy. 27 years later, mass incarceration as government policy is common knowledge. We need representation that will be proactive and not reactive.
It’s not a war on drugs. Don’t ever think it’s a war on drugs. It’s a war on the Blacks. It started as a war on the Blacks, it’s now spread to Hispanics and poor Whites. But initially it was a war on Blacks. And it was designed basically to take that energy that was coming out of the Civil Rights Movement and destroy it.
~ Ed Burns
Co-creator of “The Wire”
According to an article
by Avinash Tharoor
, Bank of America
, Western Union
, and JP Morgan
, are among the institutions allegedly involved in the drug trade. Meanwhile, HSBC has admitted its laundering role
, and evaded criminal prosecution by paying a fine of almost $2 billion. The lack of imprisonment of any bankers involved is indicative of the hypocritical nature of the drug war; an individual selling a few grams of drugs can face decades in prison, while a group of people that tacitly allow — and profit from — the trade of tons, escape incarceration.
Corporate crime inflicts far more damage on society than all street crime combined.Whether in bodies or injuries or dollars lost, corporate crime and violence wins by a landslide.
The FBI estimates, for example, that burglary and robbery – street crimes – costs the nation $3.8 billion a year.
The losses from a handful of major corporate frauds – Tyco, Adelphia, Worldcom, Enron – swamp the losses from all street robberies and burglaries combined.
Health care fraud alone costs Americans $100 billion to $400 billion a year.
The savings and loan fraud – which former Attorney General Dick Thornburgh called “the biggest white collar swindle in history” – cost us anywhere from $300 billion to $500 billion.
David Simon, co-creator of HBO’s “The Wire”
The factories are not going to be here anymore. We don’t need these people so the least we can do is hunt them. And when we hurt them we at least provide jobs for cops, DEA agents, lawyers and prison guards.
~ David Simon
Co-creator of HBO’s The Wire
Malcolm Gladwell’s David and Goliath:
[L]egitimacy is based on three things. First of all, the people who are asked to obey authority have to fell like they have a voice—that if they speak up, they will be heard. Second, the law has to be predictable. There has to be a reasonable expectation that the rules tomorrow are going to be roughly the same rules today. And third, the authority has to be fair. It can’t treat one group differently from another….
[W]hen the law is applied in the absence of legitimacy, it does not produce obedience. It produces the opposite. It leads to backlash.
Kids playing football with then NYPD Housing Bureau Chief Joanne Jaffe [now Community Affairs Bureau Chief] at PSA 6’s National Night Out event at the Grant Houses in Harlem.
A New York Times article
reported on the NYPD’s Juvenile Robbery Intervention Program (J-RIP) created by Chief Joanne Jaffe:
The New York City Police Department has embarked on a novel approach to deter juvenile robbers, essentially staging interventions and force-feeding outreach in an effort to stem a tide of robberies by dissuading those most likely to commit them.
Officers not only make repeated drop-ins at homes and schools, but they also drive up to the teenagers in the streets, shouting out friendly hellos, in front of their friends. The force’s Intelligence Division also deciphers each teenager’s street name and gang affiliation. Detectives compile a binder on each teenager that includes photos from Facebook and arrest photos of the teenager’s associates, not unlike the flow charts generated by law enforcement officials to track organized crime.
Now, why was Jaffe so obsessed with meeting her J-RIPpers’ families? Because she didn’t think the police in Brownsville were perceived as legitimate. Across the United States, an astonishing number of black men have spent some time in prison. (To give you just one statistic, 69 percent of black male high school dropouts born in the late seventies have done time behind bars.) Brownsville is a neighborhood full of black male high school dropouts, which means that virtually every one of those juvenile delinquents on Jaffe’s list would have had a brother or a father or a cousin who had served time in jail. If that many people in your life have served time behind bars, does the law seem fair anymore? Does it seem predictable? What Jaffe realized when she came to Brownsville was that the police were seen as the enemy. And if the police were seen as the enemy, how on earth would she be able to get fifteen- and sixteen-year-olds—already embarked on a course of mugging and stealing—to change their ways? She could threaten them and warn them of the dire consequences of committing more crimes. But these were teenagers, stubborn and defiant by nature, who had already drifted into a life of crime. Why should they listen to her? She represented the institution that had put their fathers and brothers and cousins in prison. She needed to win back the respect of the community, and to do that, she needed the support of the families of her J-RIPpers.
Another program that involved Chief Jaffe was the first-ever Chess in the Schools – NYPD Chess Tournament was held in early November. The event was an attempt to bridge the gap between the NYPD and New York City communities.
Police Chief Brian McCarthy getting schooled in chess. Photo: Shawn Inglima (NY Daily News)
The event, held at 1 Police Plaza, invited 150 inner-city public school students from the five boroughs between the ages of 8 and 18 years old to compete with 50 uniformed NYPD officers in a chess tournament.
The Chief Jaffe’s Community Affairs Bureau collaborated with the nonprofit organization Chess in the Schools
, which aims to improve performance and build self-esteem among inner-city public school students through teaching chess.
Richmond Chief of Police Chris Magnus stands with demonstrators along Macdonald Ave. to protest the Michael Brown and Eric Garner deaths during a peaceful demonstration in Richmond, Calif. Magnus said he attended to show the department’s commitment to peaceful protest and that minority lives matter.
In addition to the law needing legitimacy in domestic policies, the law also needs legitimacy in foreign policy. Candidates for president and congress spent a great deal of time talking about ISIS, ISIL, or the Islamic State – a group that, so far, has not attacked the United States nor shown any signs of attacking the United States.
FBI Director James Comey said… that there is still no evidence that the San Bernardino, Calif., shooters had any contact with a foreign terrorist group like ISIS.
Yet, several candidates, in reaction to the shootings talk tough about the Islamic State. Trump regularly promises to “bomb the sh–” out of the Islamic State also to ban all Muslims from entering the United States. Cruz promised to bomb the Islamic State “into oblivion.”
Such talk exposes the hypocrisy and insincerity of America’s declaration of war on “radical Islam.” One of America’s closest allies is Saudi Arabia. The State Department has recently approved a $1.29 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia
. Yet, Saudi Arabia is the country most responsible for the rise of radical Islam, and the largest benefactor to Islamic terrorist organizations. On September 11, 2001, 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudis. Mike Lofgren, who spent 20 years as a high-level staffer for various Republican senators, explains that “Saudi’s deep complicity in terrorism gets a nevermind from the State” because of its production of fossil fuels, but also because of its purchase of U.S. Treasuries and weapons.
[James Risen’s Pay Any Price: Greed, Power, and Endless War] has a simple and arresting thesis: the longest war in America’s history is pure nirvana for the greedy and unscrupulous. Whatever the architects of the war on terrorism thought they were doing, the Iraq War’s purpose rapidly evolved within the iron cage of the Washington public-private ecology into a rent-seeking opportunity for contractors and bureaucratic empire building for government employees. Its real, as opposed to ostensible, purpose seems to be endless, low-level war.
How did America—a country dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal—become one of the most unequal countries on the planet? Why do the nation’s leaders now spend so much of their time feeding at the trough and getting ever more for themselves? Why has public-mindedness in our leaders given way in so many instances to limitless greed?
One key factor, argues Martin, is a fundamental shift in nature of the economy. Fifty years ago, “72% of the top 50 U.S. companies by market capitalization still owed their positions to the control and exploitation of natural resources.” But in the latter part of the 20th century, a new kind of organization began to emerge: an organization that prospered not by natural resources but through “the control and exploitation of human talent.”
Top hedge manager, David Tepper, earned $1,057,692 an HOUR in 2012 — that’s as much as the average American family makes in 21 years!
Over the last thirty years, the United States has been taken over by an amoral financial oligarchy, and the American dream of opportunity, education, and upward mobility is now largely confined to the top few percent of the population. ~ Predator Nation by Charles H. Ferguson
The economic disaster was driven, Ferguson writes, by a combination of “very low interest rates, pervasive dishonesty through the financial system, massive lending fraud, speculation, demand for high yield securities, and not insignificantly, a squeezed American consumer desperate to maintain living standards, and told by everyone – including George Bush and Alan Greenspan, the brokers and the banks, that home borrowing was the way to do it.”
Charles H. Ferguson won an Academy Award for his documentary Inside Job.
Contrary to what many claim
On December 9, 1968, Douglas Engelbart demonstrated almost all the fundamental elements of modern personal computing: windows, hypertext, graphics, efficient navigation and command input, video conferencing, the computer mouse, word processing, dynamic file linking, revision control, and a collaborative real-time editor. The funding for Engelbart’s work was provided by the Department of Defense.
You know what my concern is about Congress? I checked these numbers: 57% of the Senate, 38% of the House cite “law” as their profession. And, when you look at law, law is … well what happens in the courtroom? It doesn’t go to what’s right, it goes to who argues best. And there’s this urge, the entire profession is founded on who the best arguers are….
And I said, “There’s no scientists? Where are the engineers? Where’s the rest of life represented?”
Neil deGrasse Tyson
If the present Congress errs in too much talking, how can it be otherwise in a body to which the people send one hundred and fifty lawyers, whose trade it is to question everything, yield nothing, and talk by the hour?
Talking while acting is useful, but talking about acting is not—or, at least, not often, and not for long….
[C]reation is doing, not saying. The most creative organization prioritize rituals of doing; the least creative organizations prioritize rituals of saying, the most common of which is the meeting…. There is no creating in meetings. Creation is action, not conversation.
How a Fly a Horse
By Kevin Ashton
According to The Economist,
members of the 114th Congress are 66 times as likely compared with the average American to be lawyers. For Senate Democrats, the figure is 112 times.
Many of our elected officials’ important duties involve running the economy, allocating resources and budgets, and analyzing policies based on their inputs and expected outcomes, yet lawyers have less experience at this than businessmen and economists (the next most common professions in politics). When it comes to deciding on whether to join a currency union, how to direct a trade negotiation, whether to cut taxes or how to design a social program, lawyers appear dangerously under-qualified compared businessmen and economists.
When we are confronted with the greatest crises in the world today – global warming, disease, energy scarcity – lawyers appear to be dangerously under-qualified compared to scientists, doctors and engineers. Lawyers tend to have little substantive expertise in any of these areas, and it is their skill at “politics” rather than “policy” that seems to have enabled their political success.
Decreasing the domination of politics by lawyers will mean that we have achieved some progress in reigning in the influence of money.
I’ve visited more than 100 countries in the past several years, meeting people from all walks of life, from impoverished children in India to heads of state. Almost every adult I’ve talked with in these countries shares a belief that the path to success is paved with science and engineering.
In fact, scientists and engineers are celebrities in most countries. They’re not seen as geeks or misfits, as they too often are in the U.S., but rather as society’s leaders and innovators. In China, eight of the top nine political posts are held by engineers. In the U.S., almost no engineers or scientists are engaged in high-level politics, and there is a virtual absence of engineers in our public policy debates….
I’ve always wanted to be a teacher; in fact, I took early retirement from my job in the aerospace industry to pursue a career in education. But I was deemed unqualified to teach 8th-grade math in any school in my state. Ironically, I was welcomed to the faculty at Princeton University, where the student newspaper ranked my course as one of 10 that every undergraduate should take.
The World Economic Forum ranks the U.S. #51 in quality of math and science education.
[Elon] Musk echoed the view that most U.S. government contracts go to large companies, in part because there was a tendency, in the way things are set up, to incentivise the contractor to maximise the return. But “what matters is not the contract but what is costs the tax payer,” he said. Instead, it would be wise for governments to move away from “Cost, Plus” contracts and move to the absolute amount and the quality of service. And also to tie payment to performance. He said the contract SpaceX won was “unusual” in that it was fixed price and milestone based.
At a societal level he said many more people should go into science and manufacturing than high finance and the legal system. He also said it was good for people to go back and forth between government and the private sector, as it was something that created a “good feedback loop” and could lead to sensible decisions.
Musk said it was important that societies create an environment where it’s “important it’s seen as a socially desirable thing to be an entrepreneur….” At the same time he bemoaned the numbers of people who have gone into the “Hedge Funds and the law” and not into science and engineering.