Culture

A Family in Trouble

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family in trouble

If a country is to be corruption free and become a nation of beautiful minds, I strongly feel there are three key societal members who can make a difference. They are the father, the mother and the teacher.

Abdul Kalam

Malachi 4:4-6

New International Version (NIV)

4 “Remember the law of my servant Moses, the decrees and laws I gave him at Horeb for all Israel.

5 “See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes. 6 He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents; or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction.”

Matthew 1:1-2

New International Version (NIV)The Genealogy of Jesus the Messiah

1 This is the genealogy[a] of Jesus the Messiah[b] the son of David, the son of Abraham:

2 Abraham was the father of Isaac,

Isaac the father of Jacob,

Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers,

Luke 1:16

New International Version (NIV)
16 He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God.

Many of America’s thirty million white-tailed deer find themselves endangered not by guns, but by the cars of our expanding suburbs. I was reminded of their plight when a mature doe dashed through traffic just ahead of me. As I watched, I wondered what had driven her to take such a chance, and why she then stopped on the other side and gazed and saw two small fawns looking helplessly at their mother across the busy street. Instead of following, they turned and walked back into the woods.

This family is not alone. We too can find ourselves in circumstances of separation and danger we did not anticipate. Reading Malachi and Matthew reminds us that we are troubled children of troubled parents who desperately need the help of our Father in heaven. Sometimes we need His help to see and avoid repeating the sins of our fathers( Nehemiah 9:2-3). Sometimes we need His help to turn back to the example and care of loving parents (Luke15:18).

Only from our heavenly Father can we find the perfect forgiveness, example, and inner grace we need. He knows we are fallen children of fallen parents, and even now He offers us the help of His Spirit and the rescue of His Son.

Each day we learn from yesterday
of God’s great love and care;
And every burden we must face
He’ll surely help us bear.

It’s never too soon to turn back to God.

The Greatest Problem facing Black America Today

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“The New Jim Crow,”

racist_democrat_poster

 

Under Jim Crow laws, black Americans were relegated to a subordinate status for decades. Things like literacy tests for voters and laws designed to prevent blacks from serving on juries were commonplace in nearly a dozen Southern states.

In her book The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, legal scholar Michelle Alexander writes that many of the gains of the civil rights movement have been undermined by the mass incarceration of black Americans in the war on drugs. She says that although Jim Crow laws are now off the books, millions of blacks arrested for minor crimes remain marginalized and disfranchised, trapped by a criminal justice system that has forever branded them as felons and denied them basic rights and opportunities that would allow them to become productive, law-abiding citizens.

Much has been made in the manosphere of the ongoing rise of negative social indicators in the United States and the general societal decline that they seem to be predicting, particularly as they relate to gender relations. Many guys are worried sick about this, and rightfully so.

In the midst of this concern, however, I would like to present some information that could shed some more light on what may come of all this: we have actually been here before. In fact, there exists within our society a model for the outcome of all the ongoing negative trends we are seeing, a culture that has already felt the impact of those trends and suffered their consequences.

That model or “prototype” for our future is Black America.

The manosphere is a predominantly white corner of the net, but many of the problems discussed there are quite familiar to the relatively few blacks who frequent it. Almost every social problem guys in the manosphere cite as a growing concern within the general population has already played itself out within the Black American community.

Let us examine some of them individually.

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1. Concerned about growing obesity rates? Black American women already lead the nation here. 41% of those over 18 are obese, compared to just under a quarter of White American women in the same age range. African-American women are 70% more likely to be obese than non-Hispanic white women.

You think white girls are getting fat? You’ve got a long way to go.

 

 

 

 

images (1)2.Concerned about illegitimacy and rampant out of wedlock births? Black America has already been there and done that. The illegitimacy rate within that community has long been close to 70%. The nightmare scenarios being predicted in much of the manosphere regarding increased out of wedlock births and the complete breakdown of the family have already been played out there. Everyone else is playing catch-up.

There is great concern about the potential for the young men of the future to grow up without a father in the picture. For most black men (including myself), this is simply routine.

 

 

 

download (1)3. Concerned about the spread unchecked hypergamy is having on the dating market? Worried that it could lead to unrestrained bad-boy worship? Want to see where all of this is going?

 

 

Once again, look no further than black America. There may be no female more hypergamous than the average black american girl and, interestingly, there is no female with a lower rate of marriage. The culture places a tremendous emphasis for men on the possession of traits matching those of urban masculine culture (read: “swag”, aggression, edgy appearance, etc).

In no culture are decent guys and more academically inclined males more marginalized and insulted than they are in Black American culture.download (4)

 

You think the sexual market value of the average white or Asian nerd is low? Try being their black equivalent and having your entire culture essentially disown you and claim that your intellect makes you an insult to the culture/race.

 

Bad-boy love and the extreme form of hypergamy that comes with it has ruled the black community for a couple of generations now. That nightmare is reality there.

 

 

4. What happens when men in a certain culture are marginalized and their households become largely matriarchal?

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Long Answer: Men will have high unemployment and incarceration rates, and young boys will be prone to violence, academic reticence, and poor performance in school. Nearly 70% of undergraduate and graduate degrees will be earned by females, while their men practically disappear from the higher echelons of the professional world and leave those women without suitable mates. These women will then proceed to ponder where all the good black men went.

A culture hostile to academia will arise, excessive male posturing (see modern urban gang culture and the media that imitates it) will become the norm to compensate for the lack of productive pursuits among the men and the next generation will live out a cycle characterized by generally dysfunctional behavior.

 

 

 

 

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5. Are you concerned about the rise of anti-male attitudes among women? You’d likely already know the end game were you a black American male. The manosphere’s archetype for the worst-case scenario of western womanhood is already normal in Black America.

“Backbreaker”, an African-American male who posts on the SoSuave.net forums, broke this down quite well (emphasis is mine):

“The thing is, and this isn’t race bating or racism in the least bit, but because African Americans in the 70′s and 80′s were more single parent house holds than their Caucasian counterparts, most African American women today were raised not only without 2 parents around, but are fully convinced they don’t need a man. we kinda like have a 20 year head start on this whole feminism thing.

Black women have been telling black men they aren’t s**t, weren’t s**t and never will be S**T well before their Caucasian counterparts thought it was cool.“

…and well before any white woman decided to crow about “The End of Men”.

 

Continuing (emphasis is again mine):

“black women are the manosphere punch line /archetype of women who are too demanding and unrealistic and they all end up single. the only people who get got by black women are guys who want to get got. the only guy who was stupid enough to put a ring on my mom’s finger (who is the ultimate alpha widow) was the beta male who bought into the church hype.. and we all know better. and in 2 years she had rented her own apartment to get away from him. my mom has dated a school district superintendent, an engineer, a lawyer and a bishop of a church, and none of them were good enough for her independent ass lol“

In short, the multiple nuclear bombs of societal decline that concern the manosphere have already went off in Black America. The end game is already on display.download (6)

It wasn’t always like this. Black Americans used to have more stable families and much lower illegitimacy rates (on par with or somewhat lower than those of modern white Americans). They had thinner women and lower crime rates. Their men were valued once, less marginalized and expendable than they are now considered to be and not as frequently incarcerated either.

In other words, there was a time in which Black America was a much closer parallel to the White America we know.
White Americans still hold on to pieces of this old reality, and now sound alarms throughout the manosphere of decline as more negative trends come closer and closer to home. Meanwhile, Black Americans have no room left for decline-the destruction is already complete.

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If current trends are any indication, others may be soon to follow. Perhaps the numerous misfortunes that have befallen the Black American community could serve to warn others of what to do next and how to proceed into this more disconcerting future.

An example of the United Scams of America

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While corruption may facilitate criminal enterprise such as drug trafficking, money laundering, and mail fraud.; it is not restricted to these activities. In this country, corruption is so common that it is expected when ordinary businesses or citizens interact with government officials. The end-point of political corruption is a kleptocracy, literally “rule by thieves”.

 


Let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.

George Washington

Reading the story on coal miners facing the disappearance of their contracted health and retirement benefits (“Miners are making a stand here,” Jan. 29) made me angry enough to cry. Once again we see an entire class of people taken by industry titans who made promises of future benefits in return for immediate work but who aren’t to be found now that the bill comes due.

Said titans long ago lived in the mansions, drank the cognac, smoked the cigars, etc., and — now protected by death and modern contracts — seem beyond accountability.

Sadly, this isn’t an isolated case, but instead, it’s the “new norm.”

The list of “easy pickins” continues to grow: Pensioners who invested in Enron; Vietnam veterans; college students going into debt; and please don’t get me started on the federal deficit.

We have evolved to a country where “leaders” have carte blanche to benefit from putting current obligations on a credit card, but are nowhere to be found when the bill comes due. Meanwhile, their successors get away with, “but I didn’t do it” … “not my fault” … “not on my watch.”

Welcome to the successor to the USA: the United Scams of America, where our slogan is “I’m getting mine any way I can and to hell with anyone else.”

Where has our sense of decency gone, or the simple ability to discern right from wrong? I wish I could blame one political party, or one modern titan, one union leader, or even one media outlet, but it’s not possible.

It makes me angry enough to cry.


John Howard Griffin, the author and main character of Black Like Me, is a middle-aged white man living in Mansfield, Texas in 1959. Deeply committed to the cause of racial justice and frustrated by his inability as a white man to understand the black experience, Griffin decides to take a radical step: he decides to undergo medical treatment to change the color of his skin and temporarily become a black man. After securing the support of his wife and of George Levitan, the editor of a black-oriented magazine called Sepia which will fund Griffin’s experience in return for an article about it, Griffin sets out for New Orleans to begin his life as a black man. He finds a contact in the black community, a soft-spoken, articulate shoe-shiner named Sterling Williams, and begins a dermatological regimen of exposure to ultraviolet light, oral medication, and skin dyes. Eventually, Griffin looks in the mirror and sees a black man looking back. He briefly panics, feeling that he has lost his identity, and then he sets out to explore the black community. Griffin expects to find prejudice, oppression, and hardship, but he is shocked at the extent of it: everywhere he goes, he experiences difficulties and insults. The word “nigger” seems to echo from every street corner.

It is impossible to find a job, or even a restroom that blacks are allowed to use. Clerks refuse to cash his checks, and a white bully nearly attacks him before he chases the man away. After several traumatic days in New Orleans, Griffin decides to travel into the Deep South of Mississippi and Alabama, which are reputed to be even worse for blacks. (In Mississippi, a grand jury has just refused to indict a lynch mob that murdered a black man before he could stand trial.) In Mississippi, he is disheartened and exhausted, so he calls a white friend named P.D. East, a newspaperman who is ferociously opposed to racism. He spends a day with East, during which time they discuss the way racial prejudice has been incorporated into the South’s legal code by bigoted writers and politicians. Eventually, a rejuvenated Griffin leaves for a long hitchhiking trip throughout Alabama and Mississippi.

In general, Griffin finds that conditions for blacks are appalling, and that black communities seem run-down and defeated. He even notices a look of defeat and hopelessness on his own face, after only a few weeks as a black man. In Montgomery, however, the black community is charged with determination and energy by the example of one of its leaders, a preacher named Marin Luther King, Jr. Blacks in Montgomery have begun practicing passive resistance, a nonviolent form of refusing to comply with racist laws and rules. Griffin, again depressed and weary of life as a black man, briefly stops taking his medication and lightens his skin back to his normal color. He begins alternating back and forth between races, visiting a place first as a black man and then as a white man. He notices immediately that when he is a white man, whites treat him with respect and blacks treat him with suspicious fear; when he is a black man, blacks treat him with generosity and warmth, while whites treat him with hostility and contempt. Griffin concludes that the races do not understand one another at all, and that a tolerant dialogue is needed to bridge the terrible gap separating them.

In Atlanta, Griffin conducts a long series of interviews with black leaders before returning to New Orleans to make a photographic record of his time there. He then goes off his medication entirely, permanently returning his skin color to white. He returns home to his family and writes his article, which is published in March 1960. After the article appears, Griffin is called on to do interviews with prominent television shows and newsmagazines. The story of his amazing experience quickly spreads around the world, and he receives a flood of congratulatory mail. In Mansfield, however, the prevalent attitude is that of racism, and Griffin and his family become the subject of hateful reprisals. An effigy of Griffin, painted half white and half black, is burned on Main Street; a cross is burned in a Negro schoolyard; threats are made against Griffin, including one to castrate him. By August, things are so bad that he has decided to move his family to Mexico. Before he goes, he has a talk with a little black boy, to whom he explains that racism is a result of social conditioning, not any inherent quality within blacks or whites. He issues a plea for tolerance and understanding between the races, fearing that, if the current conflict is sustained, it will explode in an outbreak of terrible violence.

Equality before the law, like universal suffrage, holds a privileged place in our political system, and to deny equality before the law delegitimizes that system. . . . when these rights are denied, the expectation that the affronted parties should continue to respect the political system . . . that they should continue to treat it as a legitimate political system–has no basis.

 

Unforgiveness in American Society

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The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.

Mahatma Gandhi


Today I am perplexed beyond measure about the unforgiveness of America’s society. A felon has paid his dues and expects to return to society with full pledge opportunity to reintegrate into the community. My wife and I have found this to be not so true as countless others are experiencing in our culture. We have been given grace to not harbor ill feelings to these unjust practices, we have strength to forgive those who are not forgiven knowing our fate is in “The Almighty God.”

World hunger and save the whales and all other advocacy for inhumane treatment are taking on real momentum while the plight of the “felon” is not related to being just as valuable. To not be allowed to get employment is a slow death designed to keep the individual oppressed.

People who commit a crime and are brought before a court to be sentenced expect to face a prison term or at least probation, and perhaps a fine. If this is their first brush with the justice system, they have a general sense that they will experience a degree of social opprobrium, the so-called stigma of conviction. But it is an article of faith for most Americans that people who violate the law will in time pay their debt to society and be welcomed back to its good graces.

President George W. Bush called us the “land of second chance,” and President Barack Obama famously congratulated the Philadelphia Eagles for letting Michael Vick walk from prison back into the team’s starting line-up. But the reality for people of ordinary abilities is very different. The following story (drawn from an article in the spring 2011 Howard Law Journal) illustrates the new normal in American punishment, in which the so-called collateral consequences of conviction are numerous, severe, and very hard to avoid or mitigate.
http://www.metacafe.com/watch/an-UDsAbuutuhbbnY/despicable_me_2010_background_ch

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A Second-Chance Story
At the time Darrell Langdon came to public attention in the summer of 2010, he had just been turned down for a job as a boiler-room engineer with the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) under a state law barring anyone with a drug conviction from working in the public school system. Langdon’s conviction for drug possession was minor and dated, and he had gotten a court order relieving the legal impediment. Still, CPS refused to give him a chance. It was Langdon’s good fortune that a reporter from the Chicago Tribune took an interest in his story: “Darrell Langdon made a mistake more than two decades ago. A Cook County judge believes Langdon deserves a second chance. Until Monday, Chicago Public Schools officials didn’t—but, in response to my questions, they’re taking a second look.” Dawn Turner Trice, CPS: Good Conduct Certificate Not Good Enough, Chi. Trib., July 29, 2010, at 10.

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What made Darrell Langdon’s case unusual was that he had worked successfully for CPS years before. In fact, he had been employed by CPS in 1985 when he was caught with a half gram of cocaine and sentenced to six months’ probation. He had kept his job then but struggled with his addiction. Finally, in 1988, CPS sent him to its employee assistance program for drug treatment. It was a turning point. Langdon later reported, “I did so well that I was eventually called on to tell my story and help others with their addictions.”

Langdon’s recovery was remarkable, and he became a responsible family man and well-respected member of his community. In 1995, he left CPS to work in real estate, but thirteen years later the market downturn led him to reapply for his old job with the school system. By that time he had been sober for two decades, raised two sons as a single parent, and mentored many others through Alcoholics Anonymous. CPS interviewed him three times over a sixteen-month period, gave him various tests to determine his engineering aptitude and skills, and finally offered him the job. Then came the background check. There would be no possibility of hiring him with his record.

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Determined to get his old job back, Langdon sought help from Cabrini Green Legal Aid, where he found an advocate who was familiar with various relief provisions in Illinois law. Beth Johnson advised him against trying for a governor’s pardon because it would take too long to get his request considered. While he was eligible to have his record sealed, that would not benefit him in applying for school employment. But the Illinois courts had recently been authorized to issue a Certificate of Good Conduct that lifted statutory barriers to employment, including those applicable to employment at CPS, for someone determined by a court to be “a law-abiding citizen and . . . fully rehabilitated.” With only one conviction so long ago and a strong record of rehabilitation, Langdon was an excellent candidate for this relief.

Johnson filed a petition in Cook County Circuit Court, attaching letters attesting to Langdon’s two decades of sobriety and dedicated service to others in recovery, his steadfast commitment as a parent despite many difficulties, the respect and affection of his neighbors and business associates, and even his talents as a cook. At a hearing before Judge Paul Biebel, Langdon spoke movingly about his journey to sobriety in the 1980s, and how he had maintained his sobriety over the years. Judge Biebel, satisfied that he met the statutory standard, issued him the certificate.

This should have been the end of Langdon’s story because CPS was no longer legally barred from hiring him. But he ran into that bureaucratic aversion to risk that people with a criminal record frequently encounter. A CPS official explained to the Chicago Tribune: “We have to ensure we’re hiring people who won’t put our children in jeopardy.” A policy of blanket rejection was safe and easy to administer. But the media attention provided the necessary encouragement for CPS to consider Langdon’s application more seriously, and eventually he was offered his old job back under a new hiring policy developed with his case in mind.

In many ways, Darrell Langdon’s story is fairly typical in terms of the difficulties faced by people with a criminal record seeking employment: Even where there are no disqualifying legal barriers, and even with convincing evidence of ability and good character, they may be excluded without rational explanation. In other ways, Langdon’s story is happily atypical: He had a skilled advocate for his cause, a legal system that was well-suited to his particular need, and a sympathetic and determined reporter to tell his story and to shame a risk-averse employer into doing the right thing. Most people are not so lucky.

Langdon’s fight to regain his old job with CPS shows how hard it is these days to overcome a criminal record, even one that is dated and minor. And if the law poses no obstacle to advancement, there remains the fear and loathing that a criminal record inspires. But Langdon’s story also shows that the system is capable of change. The following discussion puts the story into a larger context.
http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=50139876n
Modern Civil Death
From colonial times, the American legal system has recognized the reduced status of a convicted criminal, derived from the ancient Greek concept of “infamia,” or “outlawry,” among the Germanic tribes. The idea that criminals should be separated from the rest of society led to “civil death” in the Middle Ages, and to exile by transportation in the Enlightenment. A half century ago, Chief Justice Earl Warren observed that “[c]onviction of a felony imposes a status upon a person which not only makes him vulnerable to future sanctions through new civil disability statutes, but which also seriously affects his reputation and economic opportunities.” It is this semi-outlaw status more than any prison term or fine that is frequently a criminal defendant’s most serious punishment.

In 1960, the phenomenon that Nora Demleitner has described as “internal exile” had a limited impact on American society because conviction was comparatively rare, criminal records were hard to access, and official forgiveness was relatively easy to obtain. Chief executives still treated pardoning as an integral part of their job, and the Model Penal Code reflected the new fascination with judicial restoration of rights through vacatur or expungement. The reformers of the era thought permanent branding inhumane and inefficient.

In 1967, the President’s Crime Commission called for the wholesale reform of “the system of disabilities and disqualifications that has grown up” because it interfered with rehabilitative efforts. Other reform groups, including the American Bar Association (ABA), called for the abolition of mandatory status-generated sanctions, favoring “an informed and restrained exercise of discretion.” As late as 1981, the ABA confidently predicted that “collateral consequences” were on their way to extinction: “As the number of disabilities diminishes and their imposition becomes more rationally based and restricted in coverage, the need for expungement and nullification statutes decreases.” We will see just how wrong that prediction was.

The modern era of escalating prison populations that began in the mid-1980s saw a retreat from the forgiving spirit of the earlier period. In the past two decades, the status imposed by conviction has become increasingly public, the sanctions generated by it have become ever more severe and hard to mitigate, and the number of people trapped in that status—usually for life—has ballooned. Promulgated indiscriminately over three decades in the War on Crime, and administered rigidly in the risk-averse post-9/11 environment, collateral sanctions now mandate exclusion of people with a criminal record from a wide range of benefits and opportunities.

A minor drug conviction like Darrell Langdon’s, for instance, can make a person ineligible for welfare benefits, public housing, a driver’s license, student loans, insurance, voting, government employment, and hundreds of different types of jobs requiring a license. It can also lead to mandatory deportation for a noncitizen. Sex offenders may be effectively barred from living in urban areas because they cannot reside near schools, playgrounds, or even bus stops where children congregate. Repeat offenses can result in designation as a “career criminal” and harsh recidivist or three-strikes sentences. In August 2010, as part of a federally funded study, the ABA Criminal Justice Section identified 38,000 laws and regulations imposing collateral penalties.

Beyond legal obstacles, there is social stigma. A recent study of online job ads posted on Craigslist in five major cities noted widespread use of blanket policies excluding from consideration anyone with any type of conviction in entry-level jobs such as warehouse workers, delivery drivers, and sales clerks. People of means are not exempt from this chill, as government procurement officials and private insurance companies steer clear of businesses that employ people with a record. Law firms and human resource consultants counsel their clients (“just to be safe”) against hiring anyone whose background includes any brush with the law.

As collateral penalties have proliferated in legal codes and administrative rules, the mechanisms for overcoming them (such as executive pardon) have atrophied. Background checks are routine even for volunteer jobs in the community, and criminal records are available online for as little as $15. (It is now surprisingly easy to delve anonymously into someone’s past: A Google name search may bring up an unsolicited offer from a private screening company to do a criminal background check on a neighbor, coworker, or teacher for a nominal fee.)

And, of course, more and more people are caught up in the dragnet of the criminal justice system. Most don’t go to prison, but all face a modern civil death, in law and in fact. That people of color are disproportionately branded and ostracized is particular cause for alarm. That was the new reality facing Darrell Langdon when he tried to get his old job back.

Today there are more than 90 million Americans with a criminal record who cannot hope to pay their debt to society. If we still like to imagine our country as the “land of second chance,” and rejoice at Michael Vick’s redemption, as a practical matter, our laws and attitudes point in the opposite direction.

Countervailing Trends and Influences
There are the beginnings of resistance to a regime of exclusionary laws and policies, as policymakers understand that degraded status and lost opportunities exact a high price in public safety and taxpayer burden, quite apart from considerations of fair play for the individuals affected. When people returning from prison are barred from jobs and housing, they are more likely to slip back into a life of crime. It is the goal of reentry programs to see that this doesn’t happen. When people like Darrell Langdon continue to experience discrimination decades after their rehabilitation is secure, they may reasonably ask what the point was in trying.

The Supreme Court has been an unexpected change agent, giving lawyers and judges new reason to concern themselves with how collateral sanctions are imposed and how they may be avoided. In its groundbreaking decision in Padilla v. Kentucky (130 S. Ct. 1473 (2010)), the Court held that a criminal defense lawyer was constitutionally required to advise his noncitizen client considering a guilty plea that he was almost certain to be deported as a result. Characterized by the concurring justices as a “major upheaval in Sixth Amendment law,” Padilla’s rationale is hard to confine to deportation consequences alone but potentially extends to other status-generated penalties that are sufficiently important to a criminal defendant to influence his willingness to plead guilty.

Because of Padilla, competent defense lawyers will now advise their clients about collateral penalties and incorporate them into negotiations over the disposition of criminal charges. Judicious prosecutors will take steps to protect against post-conviction challenges based on consequences no one was aware of and may be more open to alternative dispositions that do not result in a conviction record. And courts will no longer declare collateral consequences to be “none of our business” just because they do not control their imposition.

The Padilla decision suggests that forgiveness has a constitutional dimension as well. In finding a constitutional obligation to warn, the Court emphasized that deportation is a “virtually inevitable” consequence of a guilty plea because Congress has eliminated judicial and administrative mechanisms for discretionary relief. Lower courts have held that the availability of relief from collateral sanctions in post-conviction proceedings is relevant in constitutional challenges to the imposition of these sanctions in the first instance, under the ex post facto and due process clauses.

Reinventing Pardon
In The Federalist No. 74, Alexander Hamilton argued that “humanity and good policy conspire to dictate that the benign prerogative of pardoning should be as little as possible fettered or embarrassed.” He spoke of the “necessary severity” of the criminal code that required “an easy access to exceptions in favor of unfortunate guilt.” As Hamilton expected, pardon functioned as a fully operational part of the justice system from the earliest days of the Republic. Pardon was useful not only to cut short mandatory prison sentences, but also to remove legal disabilities and signify an individual’s good character. Until quite recently, the routine availability of pardon after service of sentence meant that a convicted person could look forward to a full and early reintegration into free society—with the same benefits and opportunities available to any other member of the general public—free of unwarranted collateral penalties and the stigma of conviction. Expungement and set-aside statutes, enacted as a substitute for pardon, relieved minor offenders of the need to report their convictions.

In the past thirty years, the old routes to official forgiveness have become impassable. Pardon has come to be regarded as a bothersome and politically dangerous anachronism. Relief premised on concealment has become increasingly unreliable and unpopular in the face of technological advances and a public appetite for full disclosure. Systemic efforts to avoid threshold rejection, like “ban-the-box” legislation or limits on pre-employment inquiries, have driven discretion underground.

Yet, as we have seen, the idea of official forgiveness finds new policy support in efforts to reduce recidivism through reentry programming and new legal support in the reasoning of the Padilla decision. If the pardon power cannot be reinvigorated, as Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy urged at the 2003 ABA Annual Meeting, perhaps it can be reinvented.

It happened that just two days after Justice Kennedy delivered his now-iconic speech, the ABA House adopted a set of standards that proposed a new template for limiting and rationalizing the collateral consequences of conviction. Among other things, the Criminal Justice Standards on Collateral Sanctions and Discretionary Disqualification proposed that forgiveness should be an important responsibility of the court that imposes punishment. Borrowing the framework proposed some forty years earlier in § 306.6 of the Model Penal Code, the ABA Standards provided that “timely and effective” relief from mandatory collateral sanctions should be available as early as sentencing itself, to alleviate impediments to successful rehabilitation.

Conclusion
Collateral sanctions have been recognized as an impediment to successful reentry and reintegration of persons with a conviction record, but very few jurisdictions have developed an effective way of avoiding or mitigating them. Many years after conviction, these legal barriers frequently serve only as irrational punishment, not reasonable regulation. Even if a convicted person is not legally barred from eligibility for some benefit or opportunity, decision makers are frequently reluctant to take a chance on someone with a criminal record, even with evidence that conviction is a poor predictor of future criminality after an extended period of law-abiding conduct.

The law provides little by way of encouragement or support for those otherwise willing to recognize redemption. This is as systemically short-sighted as it is unfair to the individuals involved. That is why, so many years later, Hamilton’s observation about the conspiracy of humanity and good policy still rings true. Unless we as a society are comfortable living with a growing class of “internal exiles” who have no way to pay their debt to society and return to its good graces, with its attendant public safety risks and moral dilemmas, we should be looking for a more effective way of giving convicted individuals a fair chance to become fully productive members of society. As lawyers, it is our job to make the law forgiving.

The Loudest Message

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If you want a love message to be heard, it has got to be sent out. To keep a lamp burning, we have to keep putting oil in it.

Mother Teresa

Luke 9:23

New International Version (NIV)

23 Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.

Mike D and Sam Talbot are the founding members of a lunch truck crew that’s been feeding Sandy-affected residents all winter.
The area may not be close to calling itself fully recovered, which is why efforts to feed and warm the locals, especially during this tail end of East Coast winter, remain crucial. And for the residents who could use a helping hand, a particularly welcome sight has been an oddball lunch truck crew, including a Beastie Boy and a Top Chef contestant, who’ve banded together to help feed them.

Restaurateur Robert McKinley recently teamed up with his friends Mike D, also known as Mike Diamond, of Beastie Boys fame, and Top Chef’s Sam Talbot to start the Rockaway Plate Lunch Truck. Over the winter, the men spent five days a week serving area residents free, nutritious hot meals, and have so far served over 20,000 of them.

Mike D recently explained to GOOD that the impetus to get involved began the first time he saw Rockaway Beach post-Sandy.

“We saw right away all these people living without any power, without any businesses being open, and therefore, no food,” he said. “We saw the immediate need for warm food, but we didn’t have time to put together a long-term cohesive plan, we just had to react quickly.”

But the inclination to heal the neighborhood through food is about more than a kind gesture. Now that the weather is beginning to warm, Diamond wants to slowly transition the truck into a neighborhood business that would hopefully play a part in continued efforts to revitalize the local economy.

WSJ reports that the Rockaway lunch crew specifically wants to target local kids, teaching them the ins and outs of running a restaurant business, including marketing it through social media channels, as well as giving them a whole foods education that could include a community garden and information about nutrition.

That is a message speaking load and clear of how God will use His people to be His healing hands in a troubled world. He stirs those up who have been given a heart transplant and are passionate about doing good to “ManKind.”

Dorthy Canfield Fisher has written a poignant story about a physically powerful, but dim-witted farmhand named Lem who lived in a Vermont valley. His mother resented him from the day he was born. She often ridiculed her son with harsh and demeaning words. Even so, the boy served her faithfully until she died.

Lem was the brunt of many village jokes. But then, he came upon a huge dog killing some farmer’s sheep one night. Using his bare hands as his only weapon, he strangled the dog to death. When morning came, the villagers discovered the dog was really a giant timber wolf. Lem quickly earned the villagers’ silent admiration.

Later, an unwed village girl falsely accussed Lem of being the father of her baby. Even though he was innocent, he married the girl so the baby would have a father. Unfortunately, the mother died within a year, so Lem raised the little girl by himself. After she was grown and married, her own baby became desperatly ill, and Lem sold all his sheep to pay the baby’s medical care.

Confronted with meanness, misunderstanding, and loneliness all his life, Lem had no recourse in professing the true nature of his own life except to live it out in serving others. And that he did!! The way you live your life is the loudest message you will ever speak.

God can do tremendous things through people who don’t care who gets the credit. Let what you do matter by caring for others.

The crimes of the system and the reform we need; Wake up People!!!

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One ever feels his twoness – an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two reconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder.

W. E. B. Du Bois

I contemplate often the choices I made that are so in my past, but I fall daily to the harassment of the enemy of my soul due to the social and economic challenges that face so many of my people. There are many new and innovative practices to disqualify you as an individual and race of people. It is my hope that someone reads between the lines and gets motivated to continue to fight with their minds and not their hands.

I hope as you take a look at this post it synergize you into getting clean of all drugs and ill behavior to position yourself for success. We have so many achievers and over-comers who strived through  much more hideous acts of racism and oppression that there is no justifiable reason for you to stay ignorant of the enemy  devices. Players,  pimps, and drug dealers are just commercialism tactics to sway your behavior to oppress your own people or another human being. I want to introduce you to some information that may have missed your gaze.

“The young man was shot 41 times while reaching for his wallet”…“the 13-year-old was shot dead in mid-afternoon when police mistook his toy gun for a pistol”… “the unarmed young man, shot by police 50 times, died on the morning of his wedding day”… “the young woman, unconscious from having suffered a seizure, was shot 12 times by police standing around her locked car”… “the victim, arrested for disorderly conduct, was tortured and raped with a stick in the back of the station-house by the arresting officers.”

Does it surprise you to know that in each of the above cases the victim was Black?  If you live in the USA, it almost certainly doesn’t.

Think what that means: that without even being told, you knew these victims of police murder and brutality were Black. Those cases—and the thousands more like them that have occurred just in the past few decades—add rivers of tears to an ocean of pain.  And they are symptoms of a larger, still deeper problem.

I. The Real Situation

Conventional wisdom says that while some disparities remain, things have generally advanced for Black people in America and today they are advancing still. People like Obama and Oprah are held up as proof of this. But have things really moved forward? Is this society actually becoming “post-racial”?

The answer to that question can be found in every corner of U.S. society.

Take employment: Black people remain crowded into the lowest rungs of the ladder…that is, if they can find work at all. While many of the basic industries that once employed Black people have closed down, study after study shows employers to be more likely to hire a white person with a criminal record than a Black person without one, and 50% more likely to follow up on a resume with a “white-sounding” name than an identical resume with a “Black-sounding” name. In New York City, the rate of unemployment for Black men is fully 48%.

Or housing: Black people face the highest levels of racial residential segregation in the world—shunted into neglected neighborhoods lacking decent parks and grocery stores and often with no hospitals at all. Black people, as well as Latinos, who had achieved home-ownership had their roofs snatched from them. They were the ones hit hardest by the subprime mortgage crisis after having been targeted disproportionately by predatory lenders—resulting in the greatest loss of wealth to people of color in modern U.S. history.

Or healthcare: Black infants face mortality rates comparable to those in the Third World country of Malaysia, and African-Americans generally are infected by HIV at rates that rival those in sub-Saharan Africa. Overall the disparities in healthcare are so great that one former U.S. Surgeon General recently wrote, “If we had eliminated disparities in health in the last century, there would have been 85,000 fewer black deaths overall in 2000.”

Or education: Today the schools are more segregated than they have been since the 1960s with urban,

predominantly Black and Latino schools receiving fewer resources and set up to fail. These schools more and more resemble prisons with metal detectors and kids getting stopped and frisked on their way to class by uniformed police who patrol their halls. Often these schools spend around half as much per pupil as those in the well-to-do suburbs.

Or take imprisonment: The Black population in prison is 900,000—a tenfold increase since 1954!—and the proportion of Black prisoners incarcerated relative to whites has more than doubled in that same period. A recent study pointed out that “a young Black male without a high school degree has a 59 percent chance of being imprisoned before his thirty-fifth birthday.”

On top of all that, and reinforcing it, is an endlessly spouting sewer of racism in the media, culture and politics of this society—racism that takes deadly aim at the dreams and spirit of every African-American child. And who can forget the wave of nooses that sprung up around the country, south and north, in the wake of the 2007 struggle in Jena, Louisiana against the prosecution (and persecution) of six Black youth who had fought back against a noose being hung to intimidate them from sitting under a “whites only” tree at school?

All this lay beneath the criminal government response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005. For reasons directly related to the oppression of Black people throughout the history of this country, and continuing today, African-Americans were disproportionately the ones without the resources to get out of the way of that storm, as well as the ones concentrated in the neighborhoods whose levees had gone unrepaired for years. Far from “mere” incompetence, the government responded with a combination of gun-in-your-face repression and wanton, murderous neglect. People were stuck on rooftops in 100-degree heat for days on end, with nothing to eat or drink. Prisoners were left locked in cells as waters rose to their necks. The protection of private property and social control was placed above human life. The governor of the state ordered cops and soldiers to shoot on sight “looters”—that is, people trying to survive and to help others. On at least one occasion, people trying to escape the worst-hit areas were stopped by police at gunpoint from crossing over to a safer area. When evacuations finally were carried out, they were done with the heartlessness of a cruel plantation owner. Families were separated, with children ripped away from parents. Tens of thousands were scattered all over the country with one-way tickets, sometimes not even told their destinations. Back home, bodies were left floating in water, or lying on sidewalks, underneath debris, decomposing and mangled, for months.

Through it all, politicians and commentators spewed out unrelenting racism. Who can forget Barbara Bush herself, the president’s mother, and her remark in a shelter for refugees from Katrina—some separated from their families and having lost everything, including dear ones—that “[S]o many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this is working very well for them.” 10-term Congressman took the prize for declaring, “We finally cleaned up public housing in New Orleans. We couldn’t do it, but God did.”

Since then, the first…the second…the third anniversary of Katrina passed with many parts of New Orleans still uninhabitable ghost towns. In the mostly Black 9th Ward, blocks of devastated houses have been razed—a vast wasteland now dotted with occasional concrete steps going nowhere. When Black people have fought to stay in the projects which are still habitable, they have been driven out—and when they have protested at City Council, they have been pepper-sprayed and beaten.

Oil rigs and tourist areas are long since back up and humming, while rebuilding schools, hospitals, and childcare centers are pushed off the list. Through it all, cops and national guards continue to occupy poor neighborhoods like enemy territory.

Does all this look like a “post-racial” society to you?

The answer is clear. And while more Black people than ever before have been allowed to “make it” into the middle class, two things must be said.

First, even for these people their situation is still tenuous. To take one stark example: In opposition to the widespread notions of the “American dream,” where each successive generation “does better” than the previous one, the majority of the children of middle-class Black families have been cast, by the workings of this system, onto a downwardly mobile path. And every Black person—no matter how high they rise—still faces the insults and the dangers concentrated in the all-too-familiar experience of being stopped for “driving while Black.” As Malcolm X said over 40 years ago, and as is still true today: What do they call somebody Black with a Ph. D.? A “nigger.”

Second, and even more profoundly, for millions and millions of Black people things have gotten WORSE.

It will not help—in fact it will do real harm—to believe in this “post-racial” fantasy, or even the “less ambitious” lie of steady improvement. The cold truth of the oppression of African-American people must be squarely confronted and deeply understood, if it is ever to be transformed.

II. Shining a Light on the Past to Understand the Present—and Transform the Future

If you go to the doctor with a painful condition, she’ll ask you to describe the symptoms. If she’s any good, she won’t just prescribe a few pills and send you on your way—she’ll try to figure out the cause of your problem, where it came from. She’ll order some tests, and then she’ll do more. She’ll ask you when the symptoms arose. She’ll take your family history, asking about your parents, and even your grandparents. And that’s what we’re going to do—go through the history of America to discover the source of the profound problems we have sketched out here.

The Rise of Capital—on a Foundation of Slavery and Genocide

This country was founded on the twin crimes of the genocidal dispossession of its Native American (Indian) inhabitants, and the kidnapping and enslavement of millions of Africans. But this essential and undeniable truth is constantly suppressed, blurred over, distorted and excused—all too often treated as “ancient history,” if admitted at all. But let’s look at its implications.

Modern capitalism arose in Europe, when the merchant class in the cities—the newly arising capitalists, or bourgeoisie—began to set up workshops in which they exploited peasants who had been driven off their land, as well as others who could not make a living any longer other than by working for, and being exploited by, these capitalists. This was the embryo of the modern proletariat—a class of people who have no means to live except to work for someone else, and that works for wages in processes that require a collectivity of people working together. The early capitalists, like their descendants, would take possession of and sell the goods thus produced, paying the proletarians only enough to live on, and thereby accumulating profit. They did this in competition with other capitalists, and those who could not sell cheaper were driven under; this generated a drive to gain any possible advantage, either through lowering wages and more thoroughly exploiting the proletariat, or through investing in more productive machinery, or both. This twin dynamic of exploitation and competition drove forward the accumulation of capital in a relentless and ever-widening cycle.

But this was not some linear or self-contained process. In fact, capitalism in Europe “took off” with the development of the world market, and that in turn was fed and driven forward by the slave trade. Ships would sail from London and Liverpool, in England, filled with the goods sold by the capitalists. They would unload these goods for sale or trade in the coastal cities of Africa, and fill their holds with human beings who had been captured in raids in the African countryside. They would then take this human cargo to the Americas and the Caribbean, to be sold as slaves. Then the ships would take the sugar, cotton, rice and other goods produced by the slaves in these colonies back to Europe, to be sold for use as raw materials or food. And so on, every day, year in, year out—for centuries. This slave trade and the slave economy that went with it—along with the extermination of the Native peoples of the Americas (the Indians) through deliberate slaughter, disease, and working them to death in silver mines—formed what Karl Marx called the “rosy dawn of the primitive accumulation of capital.”

The crime was enormous. Between 9.4 and 12 million Africans were kidnapped, sold and sent to the Americas as slaves. Over two million more died in the voyage from Africa, and enormous numbers perished in Africa itself, through the slave-taking raids and wars, followed by forced marches in chains to the coastal African cities to feed this market. At least 800,000 more died in the port cities of Africa, locked down in prison (the barracoons) awaiting shipment. Once in the Americas, slaves were sent to “seasoning camps” to “break” them—where an estimated 1/3 of the Africans died in that first hellish year.

Take a few seconds to think about the reality behind those numbers. THOSE WERE HUMAN BEINGS! Numbers alone cannot hope to capture the agony and suffering all this meant for over three centuries; the best these numbers can do is give a sense of the sheer scale and scope of the barbarity. But even today this is very little known, and what went into the foundation of American history is barely taught, if at all, in the schools, or recognized in the media and culture.

Those Africans who survived this hell were then forced to toil as slaves, doing the work to “tame” the Americas—to develop the agriculture that would form the basis for the new European colonies. A respected historian put it this way: “Much of the New World, then, came to resemble the death furnace of the ancient god Moloch—consuming African slaves so increasing numbers of Europeans (and later, white Americans) could consume sugar, coffee, rice, and tobacco.” Within Africa itself, the slave trade caused tremendous distortions in the development of Africa and gave rise to the major African slave-trading states in west Africa, as these states traded slaves to the Europeans for commodities that included guns. I am not going to put that much more on the history, but I am going to say read for yourself and change the way you live and act.

W.E.B. Du Bois, Gelatin silver print c.1911,
W.E.B. Du Bois, Gelatin silver print c.1911, (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
W.E.B. Du Bois (1868–1963).  The Souls of Black Folk.  1903.
The After-Thought
  Hear my cry, O God the Reader; vouchsafe that this my book fall not still-born into the world-wilderness. Let there spring, Gentle One, from out its leaves vigor of thought and thoughtful deed to reap the harvest wonderful. (Let the ears of a guilty people tingle with truth, and seventy millions sigh for the righteousness whichexalteth nations, in this drear day when human brotherhood is mockery and a snare.) Thus in Thy good time may infinite reason turn the tangle straight, and these crooked marks on a fragile leaf be not indeed

America the addicted society

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I’ve seen firsthand the terrible consequences of drug abuse. My heart is with all who suffer from addiction and the terrible consequences for their families.

Columba Bush

I realize this subject may not mean anything to some because just like death until it hits home we minimize its reality. I was once apart of this mess. I went so far as to allow myself to have a radiometric-addiction to women, blink and money. I used all of them for selfish gain. I see now the destructive nature of all of them without having been educated I was doom to continue in my downward spiral.

When God delivered me from myself I pledged to be an instrument of good and not evil. I want to educate all on these toxic cultures that plague our communities and homes. The silent killer today that leads to all this dysfunction is deception and delusion of ones self.

I hope this article help’s someone or someone’s family member. I hope this visual aid by NAS is not offensive, but educational about all the forms of addictions, foods, medical prescription, out of touch realities such as religions and toxic programming.

English: Source: The National Institute on Dru...
English: Source: The National Institute on Drug Abuse, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Image taken from http://www.drugabuse.gov/pubs/teaching/Teaching2/Teaching4.html http://www.drugabuse.gov/pubs/teaching/Teaching2/largegifs/slide18.gif (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA Columbia) released a report on addictions today that is remarkably comprehensive and even more remarkably honest in portraying the virtually utter failure to identify and effectively treat addiction in the U.S.

The report, titled “Addiction Medicine: Closing the Gap Between Science and Practice,” starts with the premise that addiction is a disease. Addiction is not recreational drug use or risky behaviors (like adolescent binge drinking or buying drugs on the street). They focus on abuse and dependence on alcohol, legal and illicit drugs, and tobacco. While the authors recognize a group of addictive/compulsive behaviors, they are not covered in this report.

CASA Columbia is a renowned research center on addiction. For the past five years it brought together a team of addiction, public health and judicial experts, universities, medical centers, and other mainstream officials under the direction of Drew E. Altman, Ph.D., president and chief executive officer of the Kaiser Family Foundation, to study and survey the field of addiction in order to give us a landscape report of such precision and breadth. Scientific literature was reviewed, extensive surveys were conducted (throughout the U.S. and an in-depth survey in New York State), leading researchers and experts were interviewed, focus groups were held, and state and federal licensing, certification and accreditation rules and regulations were examined. Care was taken to hold to high standards of analysis and evidence. In short, this is one tome we ignore at our own peril.

Their definition of addiction is alcohol and drug (including tobacco) abuse (compulsive use despite clear harm to relationships, work and physical health) and dependence (where the body experiences withdrawal when blood levels of a substance drop).

Their definition of treatment is that of psychological and social therapies (like motivational interviewing/motivational enhancement therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy — CBT — provided individually and in groups, the often highly-effective but controversial contingency management approaches that reward abstinence, and family therapies) and medications used to treat additions (like naltrexone, nicotine replacement and buprenorphine — see here and here). They do not include detoxification (typically repetitive, expensive, and often medically-unnecessary interventions that are generally ineffective in promoting recovery), peer- and religious-based counseling, emergency room and prison/jail services. Don’t bother to pick up this 573-page report (more than half of which is appendices and references) if you believe addiction is a failure of will, a form of moral turpitude, or habits where people should “just get over it” (though some future campaign should try to change your mind).

The consequences of untreated addiction, and its predecessor risky alcohol and drug use, are chilling. The report concludes that:

“Risky substance use and addiction constitute the largest preventable public health problems and the leading causes of preventable death (emphasis mine) in the U.S. Of the nearly 2.5 million deaths in 2009, an estimated minimum of 578,819 were attributable to tobacco, alcohol or other drugs.”

The report also estimates the costs of addiction and risky substance use behaviors to government coffers alone to exceed $468 billion annually. Yet, and here is the most important finding of all, only one in 10 people with addiction to alcohol and/or drugs report receiving any treatment — at all. Can you imagine that measure of neglect were the conditions heart or lung disease, cancer(s), asthma, diabetes, tuberculosis, or stroke and other diseases of the brain?

Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death and disability in this country. But the catastrophic effects of addiction do not stop there: The report considers car crashes, where 40 percent of fatalities involve someone under the influence; the five-fold increase in prescriptiondrug overdose deaths since 1990, where OD fatalities exceed traffic accidents; increased risk of heart and lung diseases, cancer and sexually-transmitted diseases; and parental substance abuse, which increases the risk of their children performing poorly in school and developing conduct and trauma disorders, asthma, ADHD, depression and, of course, addiction itself. Family dysfunction warrants particular notation, since addiction produces financial and legal problems (property and violent crimes) and increases domestic violence, child abuse, unplanned pregnancies, and motor vehicle accidents.

The report is exhaustive in the ways it considers legal and illicit drugs, alcohol, and tobacco. Each section is clear, compelling and exceptionally well-supported with tables and references. A thorough analysis of why we are at this deeply troubling state of neglect examines how addiction has been systematically omitted from medical care, how treatment providers are terribly undertrained to deliver a range of proven treatments, how treatment programs are not sufficiently held accountable for delivering evidence-based practices, and how private insurance payers have eluded the provision of adequate benefits and defaulted payment to the public sector. But what we need to know far beyond the inescapable evidence of how big and bad the problems are is what can be done?

The opening recommendation is a page out of every good textbook of public health. Start by detecting a problem that is — by inattention or aversion — kept out of sight. We do not deal with what we do not confront. More than 80 million people (!) in this country ages 12 and older abusively engage in substance use without meeting criteria for addiction (defined above) and represent an exceptional opportunity to intervene early and effectively, yet this is not happening. Simple screening tests for alcohol, drugs and tobacco exist and can be made standard practice throughout medical care (and in educational and counseling settings). SBIRT — Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral for Treatment — is a recognized, proven and even reimbursed medical procedure that awaits general use despite the consequences of not using it.

The report offers a set of treatment recommendations and asserts importantly that comprehensive treatment (combining psychosocial and pharmacological interventions) is generally better than reliance on one approach alone. There is an abundance of information on treatment, beginning with stabilization of the disease and continuing on to acute care with therapy and medications. The authors provide critically-important and urgently-needed information about how chronic disease management techniques extant throughout medicine today need to be applied to addiction. Nutrition and exercise are woven into the treatment approaches. AA, NA, SMART and other longstanding and effective recovery programs find their way into the report as “support services,” revealing its particularly medical and judicial framework.

One finding that may pertain to readers of this post, or people they know, is that public attitudes about the causes of addiction “… are out of sync with the science.” Their survey work reveals that one-third of Americans still regard addiction as a “… lack of willpower or self-control.” We can be our own worst enemy, and local and national efforts to change minds and hearts are needed.

Further recommendations are framed as major sections on how to close the science-to-practice gap (to make happen in everyday practice what we know from science that works): commencing a national public education campaign, mandating program adherence to proven practices, establishing quality improvement tools and procedures to steadily and progressively improve program performance, insurance reform, and organizing federal oversight into one agency on addiction.

There is so much more in the report that this summary cannot cover. Among the findings readers may also want to take guidance from are on special populations (from youth to the elderly, and including veterans, pregnant women and those with co-occurring medical and mental health disorders), on parity legislation and the do-or-die role of funding prevention and services, and on education and practice standards. The report serves both as a call to action and an encyclopedic warehouse of information.

The CASA Columbia report’s strengths are its veracity, clarity and credibility, the last based on the excellent science they summarize and the caliber of the report’s authors. A shortcoming is that it was developed by experts in medicine, addictions, public health and jurisprudence; as a result, it does not report on the emerging and abundantly-used field of complementary and alternative approaches to addiction “treatment” (such as yoga and acupuncture) nor dedicate much report real estate to 12-step and related recovery models. Nor does the report consider how making legal substances more expensive and more difficult to get could be used as means of controlling youth drinking and other compulsive habits, though CASA Columbia did consider these interventions last year in a report on adolescent substance abuse (see here and here).

Practitioners, policy makers, educators and responsible citizens should more than consider “Addiction Medicine: Closing the Gap Between Science and Practice.” It needs to become an agenda for action. Not doing so will mean that this country would have decided to continue to neglect its most prevalent, destructive and costly of diseases