The Vegan Revolution

The World Is Changing … These days, I think that we can all agree that the world is changing. Not only are we changing as people in terms of the way we think and how we act, but we are changing our behaviors and what we find valuable and important as well. Several years ago, many people would not have thought twice about smoking a cigarette, it was something that was accepted, and dare I say, even cool. But now, times have changed. People are becoming more and more conscious of what they doing on a day-to-day basis. Many people are trying to stay positive and happy, to work out and not only look good, but feel good as well. Health and wellness has taken a huge upturn in the right direction, and overall, it seems that many people and the entire world as a whole is going through a type of shift, an awakening shift if you want to get technical. Now, what this all boils down to is the world is not like it was 100 years ago, it is not like it was 25 years ago, and it’s not even like it was 10 years ago. Today, on the cusp of 2019, the majority of people are changing and deciding that they want to do better, both for themselves, for their children, and for their children’s children. Veganism – The Beginning Of A New Era While people changing what they say and what they think is one thing, it is not everything. The most influential thing that has changed as of late, more than anything else, is what people are choosing to eat and cook. What once was common practice (eating meat), is now, for many people, disgusting and grotesque. What once was something that not many people thought much about (drinking milk that comes from a cow), is now something that many people think twice about, and others just refuse to do altogether. Yes, what I am talking about is veganism. Veganism is truly the dawn of the new day. It is the next revolution and the start of something big. The reason why veganism is such a big deal is because it is not just about a specific diet, or a choice for someone to eat meat, dairy, etc. or not, it is an entire lifestyle and mindset change. Veganism says a lot, not only about the world we are living in, but about the people in it as well. To be fair, for the greater part of history, especially in this country, people were pleasure-based. They did what felt good at the moment, and what they wanted to do to feel good later and for as long as possible. They did whatever they needed to do in order to quell their burning desires for pleasure. All that anyone wanted to do was to feel good, and that meant at whatever cost necessary. While it worked out well for a while, especially during the pleasure-seeking phase of the 80’s, there were costs to this self-validating behavior. Not only did people find themselves getting too much too soon, but they found themselves with so much excess, they didn’t know what to do with themselves. They started to gain weight, get sick, and become more and more unhappy. The environment was also suffering, animals were dying, pollution was rampant, and crime started to increase. This was until a new ideal started to come along, the ideal that maybe too much excess is not really a good idea. That maybe less is more and better is not always seeking the most pleasure possible. This is when the minimalism movement crept in, smoking cigarettes became something that was not only ‘not cool,’ but actually, pretty bad. Many people started to realize that the secret to happiness was not in pleasure-seeking, but in helping others and even doing without sometimes. While not everyone is on this wavelength currently, there are many people that are. And, this specific vibe has continued on and grown much bigger as time moves along. First, it was all about excess, then it switched to being about simplicity, then mindfulness, and now veganism. While veganism is a certain way of eating, it is actually much more than that, and that is why it is the start of this new world that we are all living in, the end of pleasure-seeking, and the beginning of introspection. Veganism As A Mindset So, here we are today. After the long history that we have had in this country pertaining to excess and gimme more, more, more, many people have taken it upon themselves to do less, less, less. They want to look good, they want to feel even better, and they care not only about what they obtain, but who they help; and this is the vegan way. Even if the majority of people are not vegan now, they are still mindful of their place in the world and the effect that they are having on the environment and the animals and people in it. A vegan mindset is that the world is not only about me, but about you and I, and us as one. In it’s true definition, veganism is defined as consuming or using no animal products. That means, no meat, chicken, fish, dairy products, eggs, or even honey. So, anything that comes from an animal or is an animal is off-limits to a vegan. And, the reasonings for this are varied and widespread, but the choice is clear. When someone refuses to eat or use any animal product, they are making a statement. Even if they are doing it for purely health reasons, they are making a statement that they are not going to participate in the killing or needless torture of any living being. With veganism, there is no reason to eat or use any animal products when we humans can survive on other foods. Really, what’s the point? And, if someone says because it tastes good, well, then they just aren’t getting the point of the new world that we live in, and the idea that we are no longer a pleasure-based narcissistic society, but one that is rooted in caring for others and helping each other whenever possible. So, take it upon yourself to educate yourself on what you mean to the world and the living beings in it. What do you want to be defined by? That is truly one of the most important questions you could ask yourself. Fruits and vegetables, the cornerstone of a vegan diet

Internet Freedom

 September 30, 2018 ”  Internet Freedom “I hate what you say but I respect your right to say it” Electronics & Gifts These days, internet freedom has taken on an entirely new meaning. There are ways to speak your mind on the internet without anyone knowing anything about you, and there are also ways to gain valuable information over the internet about things that are vital to our growth, understanding, and progress as humans. But, what about those that want to halt this amazing internet freedom that we currently have? What about those that want to take away our right to speak our mind and learn new information at the click of a button in a free and just world? Well, the unfortunate aspect about society today is that there is a lot of discussion about how our internet freedom can be slowed down to a great degree. There are lobbyists, politicians, individual citizens and groups that want to halt the freedom we have over the internet to say what we want, which also directly interacts with our right to free speech as Americans, which is the first amendment in the constitution. When anyone tries to half internet freedom, the first instinct of many Americans might be to get angry, but the reality is that the right amount of understanding needs to take place before any real change occur. So, let’s first define what internet freedom is and why anyone would want to take it away in the first place. Stops along the way. What is internet freedom? Internet freedom is the ability for anyone with a computer and an internet connection to say what they want, when they want. It is the right for all of us to express our opinions and our minds at the click of a button, and discuss with each other our viewpoints on all topics, important and not so important. Internet freedom is truly what makes the internet such an amazing part of our world today. It gives us the freedom to learn new things that we would otherwise have never known existed. It also gives us access into new ways of thought that we never might have known about before. What internet freedom really does is make us better human beings overall, as well as smarter than we ever were before. Internet freedom is the goal, and the reason why we can do, buy and say what we want over the internet. And, there is no reason to see internet freedom as anything else than what it is, and that is the freedom for all of us to say what we want, when we want, and to have free access to an open marketplace of new ideals and brand new ways of thought. Internet freedom is really what propels society forward into even greater heights, and it broadens our horizons to include ideas that we have probably never even thought about before. Why would anyone want to take this freedom away?With internet freedom, the bottom line has to do with money and power. When regular people have access to so much information over the internet, they are able to learn new things at the push of a button. And, the people who are owners and bosses don’t necessarily appreciate that any of us can have access to all of this information quickly and easily. To be fair, this is one of the biggest reasons why there are mandates and attempted enforcements on internet freedom these days. Certain people just don’t want to see others gain access to so much valuable information over the web. In many ways, this wealth of information that can be found over the internet is a threat to others, and the owners and bosses who happen to be ahead right now want to stay ahead at whatever cost necessary. Those that are attempting to halt internet freedom are the ones who are in fear of the people gathering more and more information. They believe that those who have opinions and ideas and new and innovative ways of thought might be a threat to other ideals already set in place. Another reason why certain people want to get rid of internet freedom altogether is because is gives people a large amount of networking ability. The reality is that people as a whole are less powerful as individuals and in small groups, but the internet conversely gives people the access to come together as one, and this is a real threat to certain people, businesses, and ways of thought that have already been established. When a large amount of people network and come together, anything is possible, and anyone interested in getting rid of internet freedom does not like this amazing possibility that we all hold to come together as one. Please help fund our Boston Chapter startup and nationwide appeals! What can we do about this potential impending problem?The most valuable thing that we can all do is keep fighting. This fight for internet freedom is not a physical fight, but an emotional, spiritual and mental fight. We must stand strong in our intentions to have a free marketplace over the internet. We must do whatever is necessary in order to fight the powers that be against anyone trying to take away our right to say what we want over the internet. We must also be strong, but still coherent to what is going each day in regards to our rights as citizens. We must speak up when we notice a problem with the rules and laws in regards to internet freedom, and we must fight back in order to keep our internet freedom in tact. Fighting back and standing with conviction is truly the best way to keep the internet as it is right at this very moment, which is a free and open marketplace full of incredible possibility. We must act with responsibility over the internet Lastly, something beneficial that what we can all do is act responsible over the internet. See, the people that want to take away our internet freedom will use whatever they can in order to make it seem like internet freedom is negative, bad, and a poor tool for society to have access to. That is why we must do what is right and just and moral over the internet. This includes not creating fake accounts, not feeding into so much negativity and hate and anger, and not doing anything over the internet that would hinder our rights to a free and open marketplace. As adults, we must act like it which is responsible, and we must take care of the internet just like it is our very own. At the end of the day, internet freedom is one of the best things that we can ever hope for, and that is why we must do all that we can in order to treat as such. Internet freedom is an extremely valuable tool, and we must always respect the access we have over the internet, and never take it for granted.

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The American Prison System

The Prison System In America When it comes to the prison system in this country, there is no doubt that many would agree that it is a big problem. As it goes to show, the prison population in America is growing by exponential numbers every single day, and there is no signs of it stopping anytime soon. According to the website www.prospect.org, in the year 1992, there were 1.3 million inmates in America, and just one decade later,an increase of one million more. That means, by the year 2011, there was a prison population in America of 7 million people,, a number which is astronomical and very alarming .  So the question remains, why is the prison population in this country escalating so much?, and, Is there anything that we can do to stop it once and for all? Unfortunately, there are no clear-cut answers to these important questions, and most of the reasons given by experts about why the prison population is growing at such high amounts are both varied and extremely convoluted. Some experts claim that the reason for the increase in inmates in this country, especially during the past decade, is due to the laxity on important laws that should be even harder, while other experts out there claim that the reason for the increasing prison population in this country is due to the dire and harsh upbringings of many Americans, especially those who happened to grow up in rural and poverty-stricken communities. Additionally, there are other experts that speak on the war on drugs as being one of the main reasons for the rise in inmates in this country, as well as the fact that we, as a society, are full of violence, crime, and poverty. And sadly, there seems to be no consensus, there is no real concrete evidence or answers explaining why the prison population in this country seems to just be growing and growing by the day. But, with that being said, the reality is that there should be a way to control these rising inmate numbers, or else dire consequences will start to surface even more, such as rising tax rates for the public, broken families of the inmates themselves, poverty-stricken communities due to released inmates not being able to find a job, and much, much more. Thankfully, there is a silver lining to all of these rising inmate numbers in this country, and that is that there has been a strong decline in crime within the past decade. Statistics have shown that crime rates were at their highest during the mid 1990’s, and have dropped ever since. And, this decline comes after the rise in crime that was clear for the previous three decades, before the peak ever occurred during the 1990’s. Consequently, there are a few reasons why people think that crime is declining. Some say that it is because of stricter and more policing rules, as well as less crack use and sales in this country, and even due to lower lead levels in the environment that once were much more prevalent. But of course, all of this is pure speculation. No one really knows why crime rates have fallen in the past decade, but whatever the reason is, crime rates have indeed declined, which is good news for the country in this new century. Another important fact-and something that we shouldn’t be proud of in this country- is that we carry the number one spot for housing inmates-and that’s based on the population for the entire world! What this means is that we incarcerate more people in America than any other country does on planet Earth, which is astounding! According to the numbers put forth, in America, we incarcerate 15 times as many people as Japan, 10 times as many people as Switzerland, 7 times as many people as France, 11 times as many people as the Netherlands, and 17 times as many people as Iceland. And, the only country that even comes close to how often we incarcerate people is Russia, but we still beat their incarceration rates to a great degree. We also have a bigger prison population than Rwanda, Belize, and Chile, which each have extremely high incarceration rates for their respective countries. So that means, in this country, we incarcerate more of our citizens than anywhere else in the entire world, which doesn’t bode very well for our reputation. Furthermore, there is something else to take into consideration when discussing these extremely high prison population numbers in this country;  Not all the states in America are the same when it comes to incarceration rates. This country is extremely varied in numbers, based on exactly where you look.  It is shown that the state of Louisiana leads the incarceration rates in America, and seven of the ten states that have the highest incarceration rates are actually in the South.  So, place is a big factor when speaking of incarceration rates in America. So, aside from looking at each individual state in this country, including what state has more offenders, you might want to ask yourself, what are the most prevalent offenses that many of these offenders did? For instance, what makes the citizens in our country so bad and immoral as to be incarcerated for such long periods of time? .., and so often? And, the answers might surprise you.  According to many statistics, drug offenses accounted for 52% of the federal prison population in the year 2010, and this percentage was followed by other crimes at 35% of offenses, and then finally, violent and property crimes at 8% and 5% respectively. What this means is that drugs are the biggest problem in this country, not necessarily the prison population, and how many people are incarcerated. But,  drugs as a general prison offense, that only seems to be growing more than anything else.  So, when you think of higher than average prison rates in this country, only 8% of offenders in prison are imprisoned for violent offenses, and 5% are  for property offenses. Over half of those in prison are there because of drug offenses. Now, just let that sink in for a while. And, politicians are not innocuous in this situation. While there are some politicians that stay away from the growing prison issue in this country, there are many other politicians, especially as of late, that are discussing the prison population problem in detail, creating effective mandates, and trying to do something to fix it all. According to the Economist website, Barack Obama tried to cut the number of absurdly long prison sentences in America. His attorney-general, Eric Holder, told prosecutors to avoid seeking the maximum penalties for non-violent drug offenders. And surprisingly enough, this did cause somewhat of a decline in the prison population for a few years. But now things are different. Current president, Donald Trump’s attorney-general, Jeff Sessions, has just changed this earlier mandate started by Barack Obama, and overturned it completely. Jeff Sessions is now looking to instill the harshest punishments for all drug offending prisoners, and he even has a new crusade beginning that is intent on getting rid of all drug dealers once and for all. With that being said, this new mandate initiated by attorney-general Jeff Sessions might possibly overturn everything that Barack Obama tried to do, and make everything even worse for the growing prison population in America. But conversely, it could potentially have the opposite effect, and make things surprisingly better. And, the reason for this is because no one really knows how the future will pan out, or how each individual law and mandate will affect matters concerning the prison system in the long run. All that we know is that only time will tell as to how effective this new mandate will be in affecting the prison population in America, and there is no doubt that many people in this country are waiting with bated breath as to what the results will be.  (especially the media if it’s bad! -Editor.) As it goes to show, one reason mass incarceration is such a big problem in this country is because it breaks up families, as well as many other negative things, such as increasing the poverty rate to a great degree. When an inmate is released, it is very hard for them to get a job, and this is where the rising poverty rates come in. And of course, the high cost of incarcerating people is just the icing on the cake.  According to statistics, not only do American taxpayers pay an exuberantly high amount of taxes to house prisoners, but this amount is even higher than what is now allocated for education, and sadly, American taxpayers don’t really have much of a choice in the matter. Some experts insist that instead of locking prisoners up, they should force them to wear GPS-enabled ankle bracelets, which would bring down prison-related costs exponentially. Another option for bringing down prison costs is tagging. Tagging is essentially a prison without walls, and many people think that it would actually be much more effective than prison is for mild offenders, such as drug offenders. The reason for this is that prisoners who are tagged are much less likely to re-offend than prisoners who get released from prison after their sentence has been complete. This is because they are able to immediately reintegrate back into society, which essentially forces them to behave, so to speak. And, what about rehabilitation? There are many top officials who strongly believe in rehabilitation for low-risk prisoners, which would bring down prison costs to a large degree. Cognitive behavioral therapy is one type of rehabilitation program for low-risk prisoners, which actually reduces recidivism rates by 10-30%. It is perfect for younger offenders, who usually get pressured by their peers to “act out” and commit crimes. And, it saves a lot of money over traditional prison sentences. Sadly, only 5% of prisoners are currently receiving cognitive behavioral therapy, and that is one of the biggest problems with the prison systems today. Not enough is being done to not only save money on prison sentences, but to make society a better place, both for the country as a whole. There are some experts out there that attribute the decreased prison rates in other countries to their systematic approach to the prison system and prisoners. The country of Norway, for instance, has incarcerated offenders start an outside job 18 months before they even get released from prison. This is extremely helpful for both reintegrating prisoners into everyday society once they get released, but also, for organizing a way for newly-released prisoners to not increase poverty levels in their respective areas. And, as statistics show, Norway has a lower recidivism rate than America does. According to www.CNN.com, even Newt Gingrich and Van Jones believe that the prison system is failing America. They said, “It would be hard to overstate the scale of this tragedy. For a nation that loves freedom and cherishes our rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, the situation should be intolerable. It is destroying lives and communities”. The truth is that more needs to be done to make things better for the prison system in the country, and someone needs to step up and make the right decisions to stop this problem.  Prisoners needs to be rehabilitated, less money needs to be spent on housing prisoners, and different laws need to be put into effect that make drug offenses much less serious. There are many ways to overcome the prison problem that we have in this country, but it takes a good amount of organization and effective mandates to be initiated for any real change to take place. Hopefully, politicians and high-level officials will make the necessary changes, before the prison problem becomes even worse, and to the point of no return.

The French Revolution

Revolution If history has taught us anything, it is to be smart and unwavering, and take heed of the vital events that are occurring. This is, of course, with great regard to who is behind the events, who is involved in participating in the events, and who will be directing the events in the future. In this respect and many more, the French Revolution was truly transformative. Not only was the French Revolution an amazing time in our historical makeup, but it actually changed the way that the world has moved forward, and weirdly, it is not spoken about very often in modern times. And, the question remains, why not? The French Revolution included an immense amount of bloodshed, death, and destruction, but also led to change and tremendous progress. It was the monarchy v. the populace exploding in unlimited discourse, and the result was nothing short of horrible and extreme, as well as mind-blowing and transformative. In a lot of ways, studying the French Revolution can tell us a lot about what is happening today, why they are happening, and what the probable result will be. This is especially true in the case of politics, when it comes Democrats versus Republicans. Two sides of the very same coin that keep arguing and fighting, over and over and over again, and with no clear resolution in sight. The French Revolution is not only one of the most important periods of our history, but it is something to take note of in regards to how things will potentially turn out in the future, and how our behaviors and attitudes will direct that flow to a necessary and, perhaps, frightening degree. What Exactly Happened During the French Revolution? In France, starting in the year 1789, there was an incredible political and social upheaval that lasted for ten years, until the year 1799. During this span of time, the people of France, who were taking part in the revolution, essentially overthrew the monarchy. Of course, it was a lack of food and rampant poverty that was the catalyst. Along with the resulting injustices, some wondered how long they wanted to watch one of those nice, well-guarded, carriages go by. Marie Antoinette, a Belgian beauty, who was the symbol of opulence, seemed oblivious to any peasant concerns whatsoever, along with her King, who could barely manage his own affairs. But, nobility was a forceful and well-maintained leader of European affairs. It had the final say, good or bad, in all affairs of state. With such power, how could these wretched poor hope for any kind of change? Unfortunately, for people, change comes about as a matter of last resort. A taxing system was put in place to help France with its empty coffers. But, there was already two decades of massive debt sitting on the table, much of it was from helping America in its own revolution, as a way of stopping Britain from spreading its wealth and power. Anyway, this feudal tax had the extraordinary ability to turn people on one another. It led to price gauging and hording among many of the businesses. And-that led to violence. Business owners who were accused of such things had their businesses raided and their money and goods stolen and parceled out. The nobility, the well-to-do from inheritance and previous monarchies or religious orders, exercised authority over the individual states and communities, but they were losing control. Oddly enough, around the same time, a system introduced as “fair,” a system known as “laissez faire,” was also destroying the economy. It was known as a “free market economy.” It was a system which said businesses will handle their own affairs and governments shall stay out of it. It is still lauded today by many on the conservative side, even though it led to even worse conditions. Why? Obviously, the businesses that already had considerable wealth, used it to put smaller businesses out of business. It was a deal agreed to by Britain, and France and Spain, a way of maintaining peace between their warring countries. Perhaps France didn’t know, though it should have, that England was a very rich country. Spain should have known as well. The English Navy was vastly superior to either of their navies and their colonial conquests yielded much to British businesses. As a result, many relatively strong businesses in France were put out of business. (Side note: laissez fair is also blamed for the potato famine in Ireland.) There was utter turmoil throughout the country. It all eventually trickled up to the monarchy. Unbelievable though it was, they were oblivious to all this. As more and more control was lost, there were reorganizations of communities, with lofty speeches and plans to overthrow the monarchy and put a republic in place. Loyalties and friendships were tested. Fearful families and farmers didn’t know who to side with and, Austria and Prussia threatened war if the Royals were harmed in any way. To shorten this lengthy, varied, convoluted, and ever-turning affair, I shall summarize, though a full reading is encouraged. The castle had been taken, and the King, (Louis XVI), and Queen, (Marie Antoinette), were made prisoner in their home along with their children. The Royals snuck out one night, in a carriage and tried to make their escape. They were re-captured right at the border with Austria. Of course, this greatly angered Austria and Prussia. The Revolution called on all citizens to bear arms for this war and armies were formed. However, there were many whose loyalties resided elsewhere. Accusations flew and swift justice (?) was dispensed to many via guillotine, a bloody invention and tool of the Revolution. It still was not enough to break the will of those who turned on the Revolution. Lo and Behold! Their method of breaking that resistance? (Which was also copied in Russia); they executed the King and Queen by the guillotine and masqueraded their heads, and spread the news throughout the country. They also just started murdering people not in with the resistance. They had a choice to make. Even in a synopsis, this is a lengthy subject, because so many actions and facts are critical to explaining how it relates to today. So many events, characters and countries make up this epic piece of history. Is this taught at all? It could be the subject of an entire course. So! Another piece is on the way. Thanks for reading! ..stay tuned.

The Prison System In America

When it comes to the prison system in this country, there is no doubt that many would agree that there is quite a big problem. As it goes to show, the prison population in America is growing by exponential numbers each and every day, and there is no signs of it stopping anytime soon. According to the website www.prospect.org, in the year 1992, there were 1.3 million inmates in America, and just one decade later, one million more inmates were added. That means, by the year 2011, there was a prison population in America of 7 million people, which is groundbreaking  and disheartening to say the least. So the question remains, why is the prison population in this country growing in such high amounts, and is there anything that we can do to stop it once and for all?   Unfortunately, there are no clear-cut answers to these important questions, and most of the reasons given by experts as to why the prison population is growing at such high amounts are both varied and extremely convoluted. Some experts claim that the reason for the increase in inmates in this country, especially during the past decade, is due to the lax on important laws that should have been enforced even harder, while other experts out there claim that the reason for the increasing prison population in this country is due to the dire and harsh upbringings of many Americans, especially those who happened to grow up in rural and poverty-stricken communities.   Additionally, there are other experts that speak on the war on drugs as being one of the main reasons for the rise in inmates in this country, as well as the fact that we, as a society, are full of violence, crime, and poverty. And sadly, there seems to be no consensus, there is no real concrete evidence or answers as to why the prison population in this country seems to just be growing and growing and growing by the day. But, with that being said, the reality is that there has to be a way to control these rising inmate numbers, or else dire consequences will start to surface even more, such as rising tax rates for the public, broken families of the inmates themselves, poverty-stricken communities due to released inmates not being able to find a job, and much, much more.   Thankfully, there is a silver lining to all of these rising inmate numbers in this country, and that is that there has been a strong decline in crime within the past decade. Statistics have shown that crime rates were at their highest during the mid 1990’s, and have been dropping ever since. And, this decline comes after the rise in crime that was evident for the previous three decades, before the peak ever occurred during the 1990’s. Consequently, there are a few reasons why people think that crime is declining. Some say that it is because of stricter and more policing procedures, as well as less crack use and sales in this country, and even due to lowered lead levels in the environment that use to be much more prevalent. But of course, all of this is pure speculation. No one really knows why crime rates have fallen in the past decade, but whatever the reason is, crime rates have indeed declined, which is good news for society as a whole.   Another important fact, and something that we should not be proud of in this country is that we carry the number one spot for housing inmates, and that is based on the population for the entire world! What this means is that we incarcerate more people in America than any other country does on planet Earth, which is astounding! According to the numbers put forth, in America, we incarcerate 15 times as many people as Japan, 10 times as many people as Switzerland, 7 times as many people as France, 11 times as many people as the Netherlands, and 17 times as many people as Iceland. And, the only country that even comes close to how often we incarcerate people is Russia, but we still beat their incarceration rates to a great degree. We also have a bigger prison population than Rwanda, Belize, and Chile, which each have extremely high incarceration rates for their respective countries. So that means, in this country, we incarcerate more of our citizens than anywhere else in the entire world, which doesn’t bode very well for our reputation.      Furthermore, there is something else to take into consideration when discussing these extremely high prison population numbers in this country. Not all of the states in America are the same when it comes to incarceration rates. This country is extremely varied in numbers, based on exactly where you look. It is shown that the state of Louisiana leads the incarceration rates in America, and seven of the ten states that have the highest incarceration rates are actually located in the South. So, location is a big factor when speaking of incarceration rates in America.     So, aside from looking at each individual state in this country, including what state has more offenders, you might want to ask yourself, what are the most prevalent offenses that many of these offenders did? For instance, what makes the citizens in our country so bad and immoral as to be incarcerated for such long periods of time, and so frequently? And, the answers might surprise you. According to many statistics, drug offenses accounted for 52% of the federal prison population in the year 2010, and this percentage was followed by other crimes at 35% of offenses, and then finally, violent and property crimes at 8% and 5% respectively. What this means is that drugs are the biggest problem in this country, not necessarily the prison population, and how many individuals are incarcerated, but drugs as a general prison offense, that only seems to be growing more than anything else. So, when you think of higher than average prison rates in this country, only 8% of offenders in prison are incarcerated for violent offenses, and 5% are incarcerated for property offenses. Over half of those in prison are there because of drug offenses. Now, just let that sink in for a while.     And, politicians are not innocuous in this situation. While there are some politicians that stay away from the growing prison issue in this country, there are many other politicians, especially as of late, that are discussing the prison population problem in detail, creating effective mandates, and trying to do something to fix it all. According to the Economist website, Barack Obama tried to reduce the number of absurdly long prison sentences in America. His attorney-general, Eric Holder, told prosecutors to avoid seeking the maximum penalties for non-violent drug offenders. And surprisingly enough, this did cause somewhat of a decline in the prison population for a few years. But now things are different. Current president, Donald Trump’s attorney-general, Jeff Sessions, has just changed this previous mandate started by Barack Obama, and overturned it completely. Jeff Sessions is now looking to instill the harshest punishments for all drug offending prisoners, and he even has a new crusade beginning that is intent on getting rid of all drug dealers once and for all. With that being said, this new mandate initiated by attorney-general Jeff Sessions might possibly overturn everything that Barack Obama tried to do, and make everything even worse for the growing prison population in America. But conversely, it could potentially have the opposite effect, and make things surprisingly better. And, the reason for this is because no one really knows how the future will pan out, or how each individual law and mandate will affect matters relating to the prison system in the long run. All that we know is that only time will tell as to how effective this new mandate will be in affecting the prison population in America, and there is no doubt that many people in this country are waiting with bated breath as to what the results will be.   As it goes to show, one reason why mass incarceration is such a big problem in this country is because it breaks up families, as well as many other negative things, such as increasing the poverty rate to a great degree. When an inmate is released from prison, it is very hard for them to get a job, and this is where the rising poverty rates come in. And of course, the high cost of incarcerating individuals is just the icing on the cake. According to statistics, not only do American taxpayers pay an exuberantly high amount of taxes to house prisoners, but this amount is even higher than what is currently allocated for education, and sadly, American taxpayers don’t really have much of a choice in the matter. Some experts insist that instead of locking prisoners up, they should force them to wear GPS-enabled ankle bracelets, which would bring down prison-related costs exponentially. Another option for bringing down prison costs is tagging. Tagging is essentially a prison without walls, and many people think that it would actually be much more effective than prison is for mild offenders, such as drug offenders. The reason for this is that prisoners who are tagged are much less likely to reoffend than prisoners who get released from prison after their sentence has been complete. This is because they are able to immediately reintegrate back into society, which essentially forces them to behave, so to speak.   And, what about rehabilitation? There are many top officials who strongly believe in rehabilitation for low-risk prisoners, which would bring down prison costs to a large degree. Cognitive behavioral therapy is one type of rehabilitation program for low-risk prisoners, which actually reduces recidivism rates by 10-30%. It is perfect for younger offenders, who usually get pressured by their peers to “act out” and commit crimes. And, it saves a lot of money over traditional prison sentences. Sadly, only 5% of prisoners are currently receiving cognitive behavioral therapy, and that is one of the biggest problems with the prison systems today. Not enough is being done to not only save money on prison sentences, but to make society a better place, both for incarcerated individuals as well as for Americans.   There are some experts out there that attribute the decreased prison rates in other countries to their systematic approach to the prison system and prisoners as a whole. The country of Norway, for instance, has incarcerated offenders start an outside job 18 months before they even get released from prison. This is extremely helpful for both reintegrating prisoners into everyday society once they get released, but also, for organizing a way for newly-released prisoners to not increase poverty levels in their respective areas. And, as statistics show, Norway has a lower recidivism rate than America does. According to www.CNN.com, even Newt Gingrich and Van Jones believe that the prison system is failing America. They said, “It would be hard to overstate the scale of this tragedy. For a nation that loves freedom and cherishes our rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, the situation should be intolerable. It is destroying lives and communities”.     The truth is that more needs to be done in order to make things better for the prison system in the country, and someone needs to step up and make the right decisions in order to stop this problem. Prisoners needs to be rehabilitated, less money needs to be spent on housing prisoners, and different laws need to be put into effect that make drug offenses much less serious. There are many ways to overcome the prison problem that we currently have in this country, but it takes a good amount of organization and effective mandates to be initiated for any real change to take place. Hopefully, politicians and high-level officials will make the necessary changes, before the prison problem becomes even worse, and to the point of no return.     

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Positive Attitude Don’t Worry Be Happy

The Physical Benefits Of Having A Positive Attitude Why stress is harmful to the body Attitude is key. Attitude is important. When it comes to the optimum health and vitality of our bodies, there is no doubt that having a positive attitude and keeping stress to a minimum is vital. Aside from consuming a healthy diet, and staying away from participating in unhealthy behaviors including drinking too much alcohol, taking drugs, or smoking, a positive attitude is surprisingly far up on the list of how we can all stay as healthy and vital as possible. The reality is that keeping a positive attitude has been shown to benefit the body in so many different ways, including lowering blood pressure levels, reducing headaches, staving off disease and physical pain in the body, and even helping regulate sleep and eating habits. Keeping a positive attitude is incredibly vital and extremely important. The reality is that having and maintaining a positive attitude, and staying away from stress, is not always easy for the majority of us. The truth is that we might have stressful jobs or experience negativity in our lives in ways that are hard to control. But, the truth is that we always have a choice whether to be negative or positive. And, we always have a choice whether to be happy, and to maintain a positive attitude as often as possible. The power is in all of us, and we are all capable of maintaining a positive attitude day in and day out, no matter what hardships come our way. And, if we really want to stay as healthy, vital, and energetic as possible, then we must keep our positive attitudes for as long as possible. Although, completely in our power, there are things that we can do to make having a positive attitude easier to attain. Things like meditation and yoga have been proven to boost the moods of so many people. And of course, it has been shown that all types of exercise are instant mood boosters, since exercise releases endorphins, which are the physical molecules responsible for our happiness. Other things that we can do to maintain a positive attitude include taking a walk in nature and breathing in the fresh air, talking to a positive friend or family member, and helping others who are in need. Additionally, it has also been shown that people who own pets have moods that are enhanced simply because of their pets. So, if you want to instantly amp up your mood, remember to meditate, exercise, and get yourself a pet! live long and prosper Here are some statistics: According to the popular website, www.themayoclinic.org, “health benefits that positive thinking may provide include an increased life span, lower rates of depression, lower levels of distress, greater resistance to the common cold, better psychological and physical well-being, better cardiovascular health and reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease, and better coping skills during hardships and times of stress”. The website then continues to state that usually people who have better and more positive attitudes actually lead lives that are much healthier overall, because they don’t end up participating in unhealthy behaviors such as smoking, drinking to excess, and consuming a healthy diet. According to the website,health and ambition, negative thinking was shown to increase pain in the body. The study involved 185 people who suffered from a debilitating disease, including sickle-cell anemia and rheumatoid arthritis. The results showed that the people who spoke negatively, and had a lot of negative self-talk, experienced more pain and psychological distress than the group who spoke positively, and had a lot of positive self-talk. Also, when people in the study experienced physical pain flare-ups, it was usually when they were feeling, thinking, and speaking negatively. But, the question remains, how can we achieve as much positive thinking as possible? What are the best ways that we can stave off negativity in our lives, and keep it from affecting the way we think, feel, and speak? Besides the aforementioned techniques I listed above, I will outline a few more tips for keeping a positive attitude. In order to stay away from negativity, make sure to filter your thoughts, and take all sides into account before taking anything personally. It’s also important to continually be grateful for what you have. One great way to amplify positivity in your life is to write in a gratitude journal every single day. Write out what you are grateful for (it could be anything), and then look at this journal whenever you are feeling down, or are starting to think negative thoughts. Another tip is to never ‘catastrophize’, which means, seeing the worst that could happen in every situation. Instead, look for the good that could occur instead of the bad. Don’t let you mind wander to the ‘dark side’. There is no doubt that being around negative people will also end up making you feel less than stellar, and start to think negatively. That is why, if want to stay upbeat and positive, only surround yourself with positive and upbeat people. If you notice one of your friends or family members, or even co-workers, start to speak negatively, don’t get caught up. Stay away from them, if possible, and recognize their effect on you. At the end of the day, this is your life, and your health, and you need to do what is best for you at all times.

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Texas Shooting & California Fires

Recent Issues The Texas Shooting & Fires in California In these ever-changing current times, it seems that there are more and more tragic events occurring. Shootings, fires, and hurricanes seem the norm nowadays, and life as we know it has changed drastically in the past few years. We might pray, hope for the best, and strive to achieve peace. But the question remains, what’s the reasoning behind all of this? Why are there so many more tragic events that are occurring now, and what can we do to stop it, or at least decrease these events from happening in the future? We all must ask ourselves, ‘Do we even have enough power as individuals to do something to end these tragic events?’ Beginning with the terrible fires that occurred in California several weeks ago, the reality is that many people who lived in the area had their homes destroyed and their lives changed forever. According to published reports, rampant fires burst through the areas of Sonoma and Napa counties, essentially, California wine country which is located in Northern California. These quick-burning and powerful fires then migrated all the way down to the Southern California area, which included the cities of Anaheim Hills, Orange, and Corona. For a while, it started to seem that these terrible fires would never end. Definitely, a frightful thought. Thankfully, the fires were put out after some time. But, not without damage to numerous acres of land and people’s homes and properties. But the question still remains, ‘What can we do to prevent this from happening again?’ What can we do as citizens to make this world a better and more peaceful place? Sadly, we still don’t know why the fires started in the first place. Some reports proclaim that the fires started due to the harsh wind in the area coupled with the dry climate, while other reports mention that these terrible fires could have been started by an individual, either by accident or on purpose. Either way, the outcome of these fires is very sad, to say the least, and extremely heartbreaking. Dozens of people died, animals perished, and life for many people changed in just an instant. The sadness of this event has affected some of these families for years and years to come. As quoted in New Yorker magazine, the fires “charred nearly a quarter of a million acres of land, destroyed an estimated fifty-seven hundred structures, and killed more than forty people.” Calling this event a tragedy would be an understatement. Next, the recent shooting in Texas was disturbing, brutal, and devastating. A gunman with a history of mental health issues entered a small church on November 5th 2017 in Sutherland Springs, Texas and killed 25 people with a rifle. The gunman’s name was Devin Kelley. As stated in several news reports, Devin Kelley committed the deadliest mass shooting in Texas in recent history. According to CNN, Devin had previously escaped from a mental health facility in 2012. He also had previous domestic violence charges from when he abused his first wife, as well as several sexual assault accusations noted on his record. Additionally, he was accused of having an obsession with guns and mass shootings, posting photos of his beloved guns on social media. He was also known for sending threatening text messages to several people, including his mother-in-law, and even engaged in animal cruelty. All in all, Devin Kelley was not the type of man to mess with, and definitely not a stable or safe individual. As police noted, there were two handguns found in Devin Kelley’s car, and reports claim that Devin Kelley was denied a gun license previously. This heartless man was described by co-workers at one of his previous jobs, where he was working as a security guard, as a quiet, but polite man. And when co-workers that Devin worked with in the past learned of this terrible news, they were absolutely stunned. According to The Washington Post, Devin Kelley “targeted the small church outside San Antonio with a purpose and a mission.” It was reported that he shot at churchgoers who were trying to leave, and then shot at those who were cowering on the floor. He was described as cold, heartless, and psychopathic by many of those close to him. There was no empathy, emotion, or feeling in Devin Kelley’s heart that day. It is still unclear how many shots Devin Kelley fired that day, or how long he was in the church firing away. Many details pertaining to this tragic event are still yet unknown to detectives. And, some say that he must have emptied at least 15 different magazines, and reloaded several times, which would have resulted in hundreds of shots. All in all, this event was incredibly tragic and heartbreaking. With all of these recent events occurring, some individuals might become incredibly disheartened. It’s too easy to become fearful, and even hateful with all these events. The world is changing rapidly, and people are starting to realize that we are in a time of chaos. But, what can we do? Firstly, we must stay diligent, but positive. We must remember to stay empathetic, loving, and kind. And, we must not let these events dictate how we treat one another, or make us hardened to the world. We must show love to the people around us, and stay aware of the evil, hate, and chaos that is occurring in the world today. This country has seen many changes as of late, and none of us know what will happen next.. That is why we must stay positive, but stay smart.

The Las Vegas Shooting Raises Questions

Stephen Paddock Nevada – Las Vegas Shooting “Las Vegas Shooting” When it comes to the recent horrific event that transpired in Las Vegas, Nevada on the night of October 1st, 2017, there is no doubt that a terrible sadness has come over the hearts and minds of many. The Las Vegas Shooting was indeed a tragedy, and there is really no other way around it. Hundreds of people were injured, around 500 according to reports, and 59 people died. There are not even words to describe such a horrible tragedy. But, the question still remains, what is there to do now? For all of the victims, we offer our sincerest condolences. But do we, as the American people, live in fear of our lives each and every day? Or do we keep on moving, keep on living, and keep on going on exactly the same as we did before? Well that answer to this is that there are many varying answers that can be ascertained and the reality is very complicated to say the least, but there is no doubt that we all have to keep on living. We have to keep on going and we have to move forward. We cannot stop our lives because of the horrible events that transpired, but we can be more vigilant. We can use our hearts and minds to try and come up with a solution, and we also can brainstorm ways for events such as these to be much less frequent. But, no matter what, we all must keep on going no matter how painful it is feels at the time. The Gun Debate The Las Vegas Shooting has brought upon many discussions, questions, answers, debates, and arguments surrounding the shooting, the one accused of the shooting, and the reasoning behind the shooting. But moreover, the events that transpired in Las Vegas have brought about the age old gun debate question. Should guns be outlawed in America? According to many people following the horrible events that transpired, the answer to this question is a completely unanimous yes. According to the majority of the supporters who believe in outlawing guns in America, taking away automatic guns in this country is sure to save many peoples’ lives now and in the future. According to these anti-gun advocates, guns are the main reason why these mass shootings are happening in the first place, and also, the reason why so many people are dying so tragically and getting horribly injured. Without any guns, anti-gun advocates believe that there would not be any shootings in America period. Their reasoning is that without any guns, how can there be shootings at all? It’s impossible according to them. But, there is another debate. The debate with pro-gun advocates. The pro-gun advocates believe that there is another side to this coin. This pro-gun group does not believe in outlawing guns, and they also believe that lives are not lost because guns are legal. They believe that if guns were not legal, criminals would still find a way to buy, sell, and use them, along with other means to injure and kill people. The pro-gun advocates do not believe that there is a link between mass shootings and if automatic weapons are legal or not. The pro-gun advocates tend to be republicans and the anti-gun advocates tend to be democrats, but there are supporters of each party of both sides of the anti and pro-gun debate. And, at the end of the day, this debate can get very sticky, and has been the reason for many arguments and discussions as of late, both in public and in private. But, one point is clear, there is good and bad on each side, and this is the reason why the answer to the gun debate is unknown, extremely convoluted, and somewhat confusing. What Was The Motive Behind The Shooting In Las Vegas? There is still no proven motive as to why the alleged shooter, Stephen Paddock, did what he did at the Route 91 Country Music Festival in Las Vegas, Nevada. There is no answer as to why he would shoot hundreds of people in a 32nd story hotel room at the Mandalay Bay resort and casino. And, there is no reason why he did what he did, and no motive as to why he did it either. Stephen Paddock was a man that was 64 years of age who decided to injure and kill people. His actions are horrific to say the least. And, the problem with there being no motive as to why he did what he did is that there are only more questions that emerge. Without a proper motive, there are no answers as to why someone would do such a vile thing, which puts many people, and the public at large, ill at ease. It is uncomfortable for many people to think that horrible events just happen without a concrete reason why. And, this is what makes people truly scared and fearful. The Las Vegas Shooting is just beyond words. People are saddened, worried and fearful. The country is now on high-alert due to the events that transpired in Las Vegas on October 1, 2017. The Story Keeps On Changing According to the leading media outlets on TV, on the radio, and online, the story of the Las Vegas shooter and the whole event is constantly changing. The first story was that the shooter, Stephen Paddock, acted alone. But, now there are reports that the shooter did not merely act alone, but that there might have been multiple shooters in the 32nd story hotel room along with him that were essentially “helping” him. There are also reports from leading media outlets that the shooter converted to Islam a short time before he committed the horrific event in Las Vegas. But alas, there are conflicting reports out there that claim the Islam-conversion theory is completely off-base. So, what are the actual answers? As far as the public knows now, there are no concrete answers out there except for the fact that 1) there was indeed a shooting that occurred in the evening on October 1, 2017, and 2) it was done by a 64 year old man named Stephen Paddock and 3) he committed the horrific shooting in a hotel room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel and casino in the city of Las Vegas, Nevada. Those are the only concrete answers that we have right now, but new evidence is constantly emerging. We Must Stay Vigilant No matter what, due to the recent horrific events that transpired in Las Vegas on October 1, 2017, we must all stay vigilant. We must support one another and practice open and honest communication. We must not let this horrible Las Vegas Shooting separate us, or turn us against one another, or make us cower in fear. We must always remember to practice compassion, love, and peace in all that we do, and we must remember that we all share two things in common, that we are part of the human race and that we are all Americans!