felons

~What Do You Believe? Government Or Facts

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You would think that after promoting and cheer-leading for the Iraq War and the politicians who pushed that failed policy, that conservatives would have found some humility or honesty about the topic along the way. You would be wrong.

The conservative movement and the Republican Party are still lying to themselves and everyone else about the Iraq War: The reasons we went to war, the support for the war, and what role the war played in American history.
As  Americans we deal with the war on skin color and mass incarceration and a failed VA system, the Government now is asking for more human life to be trusted in the hands of politicians who haven’t cared for me and many other veterans of the Iraq wars. I came home a mess from nine campaigns only to find out in 2013 “why” I behaved as I did to become a terrorist in my own country. A homeless Veteran equals a disenfranchised individual that more often than not becomes a felon and poly substance abuser which is a person who has a co-occurring disorders like me.

U.S. policy in Syria: “Senate Democratic leaders today prepared legislation to expressly authorize the United States military to train Syrian rebels to help battle the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, and House Republicans appeared ready to follow their lead.” I am appalled at the level of trust America puts in these so called good rebels, who for all we know sold the American Journalist to Isis. I ran, jumped and served in these same areas with the same questions plaguing my peace then as now. What are we doing and why are we doing it for real?

Dysfunctional Congress Prepares to Claim Another Victim: Injured Veterans

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle agree that a pilot program to treat veterans with traumatic brain injuries should be extended. But they can’t seem to pass the needed legislation.
Come September, recovering veterans in at least 20 states could be booted from a pilot program for traumatic brain injury—not because of personal medical progress, but because of the nation’s lawmakers.Despite bipartisan support, Congress has not been able to pass an extension of the rehabilitation program. Since last fall, the extension has been attached to several pieces of veterans legislation, which failed after lawmakers were unable to agree on military and VA reforms.

“If we don’t extend it, veterans…across the country will be ejected from the care they’re going to be getting, which would constitute, in my mind, a premature discharge,” said Susan Connors, the president of the Brain Injury Association of America. “Families feel like this has been a lifeline.”

Now the VA has halted new patient admissions and informed health-care providers that it plans to discharge veterans by September 15, Connors said.

The program currently is offering more than 100 veterans the opportunity to receive treatment for traumatic brain injuries in assisted living facilities, where they get therapy for their memory, movement, speech, and community reintegration. They also relearn simple tasks, such as how to cook, make a bed, and go to the grocery store. About half of these veterans were involved in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, while the rest are from previous generations. Eighty-four vets already have transitioned successfully through the program.

“With traumatic brain injury, many of them are struggling to do the basics,” said Joy Ilem, deputy national legislative director of Disabled American Veterans. “The pilot [program] seemed to really offer them the type of environment that worked on a number of things they might have struggled with.”

The Iraq War was one of the worst foreign policy ideas ever put forth in American history. The war was a war of choice, completely and wholly unnecessary. In engaging in the Iraq War, thousands of lives were lost unnecessarily – American soldiers and innocent Iraqis.

There were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Saddam Hussein did not have the capability to produce such weapons, nor was he hiding any such weapons. The assertions that he had this power were false.

Hussein was contained. Hussein was a thuggish dictator who posed no threat to anyone in the region besides his own people, and even then his powers were limited. The no-fly zone prevented him from having any tactical edge, while combined with international sanctions, limited his ability to do harm. His neighbors in the region faced no threat from him – not Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, or Israel.

Invading Iraq opened Pandora ’s Box in the region, and much of the chaos we see today is a result of those actions.

Military veterans experience “excessive wait time” for medical care, leading to higher incidences of preventable hospitalizations and death, according to a scientific research council.

Drawing on the findings of recent government and scholarly studies, a report issued this week by the Institute of Medicine paints a picture of a healthcare system that is understaffed, under trained, and inaccessible.

For instance, veterans seeking mental-health care at one site had to wait, on average, 86 days to see a psychiatrist, according to the report. And veterans living in rural areas may not have access to any psychiatrists at all, the report said.

The Institute of Medicine’s report comes a couple of weeks after the Government Accountability Office that Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) employees manipulated records to understate the wait times for medical appointments. In once clinic, for example, employees made it appear as though there was no wait time when, in reality, veterans experienced six- to eight-week delays for appointments, the GAO said.

Congress commissioned the study by the Institute of Medicine, which is part of the National Academies. The National Academies is a non-profit organization that often provides advice to Congress on scientific and technical issues.

While the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), the healthcare arm of the VA, requires that veterans seeking mental-health care be able to get a doctor’s appointment within 24 hours, the VHA has no “reliable and accurate method” to make that happen, the report said, citing findings from the VA Office of the Inspector General.

In my case the VHA has denied me services for 14 years. I came home seeking help and still seeking help. I am a classic case of how a veteran can become a terrorist in his own country because of being denied services after being a patriot that became a FELON and now is a TERRORIST because of a felony and substances abuse issues that came about due to trying to suppress pain and ill behavior behind anger and depression.

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~We Made It Home And Are Going To Make A Difference~

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SuEllen Fried, 80, is a far cry from your typical grandmother of seven. Every week, she visits prisons in Kansas, where she meets with inmates who range from drug and sex offenders to murderers facing life sentences. They’ve all committed crimes, and they all want to turn their lives around.

“I’m addicted to personal transformations,” Fried tells The Huffington Post.

It’s an addiction that has led Fried — an anti-bullying activist and the founder of Reaching out from within (ROFW), a volunteer program that teaches Kansas prison inmates the principle of nonviolence — to build a life that revolves around helping others, particularly those who have been abused or marginalized, reach their highest potential.

During her visits to the state’s 18 prisons, the Prairie Village, Kan., resident talks with inmates and listens to them participate in weekly ROFW meetings, which offer coaching in stress relief, nonviolence, kindness and empathy. The meetings operate in a manner comparable to Alcoholics Anonymous. The inmates elect their own officers to lead meetings, and each starts with the group’s recitation of a nonviolence mantra:

We believe that no one has the right to hit anyone. We believe in using alternatives to cope with stress and anger. We believe in advocating a violence-free lifestyle. We believe that, even though we are incarcerated, we can help those in need. We believe in the importance of caring for humanity.

The participants then go around and share stories, listen to one another, and discuss any relevant topics of interest — child abuse and anger management are two that come up frequently — following the program’s “Blue Book” curriculum.

“The discussions are always extremely lively, and they just learn so much from each other,” Fried says. The level of honesty and authenticity in the discussions is astounding, she added.

And the effects linger when the meetings end: “When fights break out, the members of our group are always a calming, diffusing influence — and others in the prison begin to notice how they handle situations differently,” Fried says.

Fried co-founded ROFW 30 years ago with a prison inmate as a way to offer help to prisoners who wanted to change their ways. The program’s impact on recidivism rates has been enormous: Going through the program dramatically reduces the likelihood of an inmate repeating illegal behavior after being released from prison, Fried says. Over 40 percent of American prisoners released in 2004 returned to a state penitentiary within three years of being released, according to a 2011 Pew study. Among inmates who attend between 20 and 40 ROFW meetings, the recidivism rate drops to 23 percent, according to Fried, and it further decreases to just 8 percent among inmates who attend a minimum of 60 meetings.

Working with the inmates and watching their incredible personal transformations has also been a transformative experience for Fried.

“Some of the people I came to have the most respect and appreciation for are the ones who have committed horrible crimes,” she says.

Fried’s program is now in every prison in the state of Kansas, and ROFW will soon open its first out-of-state chapter in a North Carolina correctional facility. Fried says that her longtime dream is for the program to exist in every state in the U.S.

Giving back has long been a way of life for Fried, and even now her drive to improve the lives of others is tireless. Since 1976, Fried has worked as a bullying prevention activist, penning five books on the topic, four of which were co-authored with her daughter Paula, a Kansas psychologist. Through her foundation BullySafeUSA, Fried and has helped thousands of students and teachers in schools across the country.

“She is one of those indomitable spirits who has transformed more lives than even she can know,” Lynn Hinkle, Fried’s friend and the president of the International Women’s Forum in Kansas, tells HuffPost. “SuEllen looks at people in their most humane form and sees the best in them, whether they are an incarcerated individual, a bully, a victim, or the president of a company or a country. When she says she believes in you, it feels so true that you feel compelled to believe in yourself too.”

So what has a lifetime of working with bullied children and prison inmates taught Fried? Patience, non-judgment, and — above all else — compassion. Fried explains the need for compassion using an analogy from Dr. Karl Menninger’s The Human Mind: A group of fish are swimming around in a pond when they notice one fish lying on its side with its tail flapping, and they decide to get away as quickly as possible from the weird fish — never noticing that the reason for its behavior is that it has a hook in its mouth, and the fish was just doing the best it could.

“Every day, we come in contact with people who have invisible hooks that we can’t see,” Fried says. “But if we could see those hooks and understand what those people are going through, we might appreciate that they are doing the best they can considering the circumstances that they are in.”

To continue spreading compassion outside the walls of Kansas state penitentiaries, Fried wears a pin every day that reads, “Power Of Kindness.” In the course of the day, she gives it away to someone she sees performing an act of kindness.

“I carry a bunch in my purse to give away,” she says, laughing. She often gives them away on plane trips when she sees someone give up a good seat for a worse one so that a family can sit together, Fried says.

Recognizing and celebrating acts of kindness, Fried explains, is the best way to spread a spirit of giving and encourage others to act with empathy.

“We need more than just random acts of kindness,” Fried says. “We need intentional acts of kindness.”

A criminal record is usually not the kind of qualification most employers have in mind when looking for new hires.

But some managers know that formerly incarcerated employees can add value to their companies.

Mark Peters, CEO of Butterball Farms Inc, a national supplier of specialty butters, regularly hires former prisoners and says companies should consider giving these workers a chance.

 

He’s launching a study and wants other companies to participate in it to examine the benefits and challenges of those who have spent time behind bars, according to WWMT3.

While many employers remain skeptical about hiring ex-offenders, others extol the benefits of adding these members to your staff. Here are four reasons, in addition to the social benefit, why you should consider rehabilitated offenders.

1. They’ll be looking out for you since you looked out for them.

Since most people who have spent time in prison find it difficult to get jobs and re-enter society, they’ll likely be extremely grateful and loyal to any employer who gives them a chance.

“There’s plenty of people I can hire that don’t care if they work for me or the guy down the street,” said Peters. “I’d rather have somebody who’s really engaged and helping my organization be successful. So if I help someone else be successful, they’re a lot more interested in helping me be successful.”

2. The training they received in prison may be transferable to your job.

Many people who spend time behind bars are able to receive vocational training and participate in certification programs for GEDs and college degrees, which can help prepare them for employment and provide valuable skills that transfer across fields. It might also mean they are familiar with discipline and hard work.

3. They’ll stay with you longer.

People who have been incarcerated greatly value their jobs when they get hired, according to the Travis County Offender Workforce Development Program in Texas. Their website says, “The ex-offenders in our program have demonstrated a commitment to leading an honest and responsible life. Finding employment is not easy for them–once hired they are not likely to quit–they are highly motivated to become long-term employees.”

4. There could be tax incentives for employers.

Business who hire ex-felons within one year after they are convicted or released from prison may qualify for the Work Opportunity Tax Credit which gives employers a maximum of $2,400 for each adult hired. Read the fact sheet here for more information.

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Is America Desensitized to Human Life?

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These turkeys received a pardon from being Thanksgiving dinner but a felon who by the way is human life never really gets a pardon. A glass bottle, plastic container and aluminum can has more value than human life. It appears to me that America and its capitalistic views find it as a sport to show how desensitized they are about issues associated with these practices.

We all have to live with the decisions we make in life. However, some people are reminded of their decisions daily in the worst possible way. According to a report released this month by the American Civil Liberties Union, 3,200 people are serving life sentences without parole in state and federal prisons for committing non-violent crimes.

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The crimes that land such prisoners in jail for life include acting as a go-between in the sale of $10 of marijuana to an undercover officer, taking a television, circular saw, and a power converter from a vacant house, and making a drunken threat to a police officer while being handcuffed in the back of a patrol car.

The report highlights the stories of 110 men and women who are currently serving their life sentences. The stories are ones that people can relate to and sympathize with. However, due to harsh sentencing laws put in place in the 1980s and 1990s, these people face devastating impacts from their actions.

There is also a staggering amount of racial disparity within the report. Of those serving, 65% are black, 18% are white, and 16% are Latino.

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Dear Aaron–

This year, like most years, I’ll be spending my Thanksgiving back home in Chicago with my parents and my grandmother. We’ll cook and talk and eat together. But while I am enjoying the comforts of home, I’ll spend some time thinking about Clarence Aaron and his family.

I thought Clarence would be out of prison by now. I thought he would be home with his mother, Mrs. Linda Aaron, his sister Katrina, and his other devoted family members who sorely miss him.

I was wrong.

Clarence has already served 20 years of a life sentence for a first-time, nonviolent drug crime. He was 24-years old when he was sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison; his life had hardly begun. Clarence is now 44-years old and a model prisoner. I cannot think of one good reason for him to sit in prison until he dies. That’s why I’m still hopeful that President Obama will do the right thing and commute Clarence’s sentence to right this wrong – one of many caus ed by our unjust sentencing laws. I hope others serving long sentences will be shown mercy, too. And I really hope that Congress will act and pass meaningful sentencing reform so that future generations don’t face the irrational and destructive mandatory sentencing laws that we have now.

Thinking about Clarence and so many others like him makes me thankful that I can spend Thanksgiving with my family. But it also makes me mad that so many others can’t, and that Mrs. Aaron has spent 20 holiday seasons away from her son. And it makes me even more motivated to get to work each morning to fight for reform.

I hope you’ll join me in this fight by making a contribution to FAMM. In fact, if you make a tax-deductible donation by the end of the year, your gift will be matched by another generous FAMM supporter who is just as outraged as I am that Clarence Aaron is still sitting behind bars.

With gratitude,

Kate
Kate Taylor

Case Research Director, FAMM

A Reason to Fight

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“Don’t tell me from genetics. What’ve they got to do with it?” said Crowley. “Look at Satan. Created as an angel, grows up to be the Great Adversary. Hey, if you’re going to go on about genetics, you might as well say the kid will grow up to be an angel. After all, his father was really big in Heaven in the old days. Saying he’ll grow up to be a demon just because his dad _became_ one is like saying a mouse with its tail cut off will give birth to tailless mice. No. Upbringing is everything. Take it from me.” ― Terry Pratchett, Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes

Dear Aaron —

My name is Kevin Ring. For the past five years, I have worked for Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM). In two months, I will be reporting to federal prison.

My nine-year legal fight ended last week when the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear my appeal. That night I had the most difficult conversation I have ever had in my life. I told my daughters, ages 7 and 11, that I would be going away to prison. I am very close to my girls because I’ve been a stay at home dad for the past several years. When my legal troubles began, my ex-wife was forced to go back to work and I stayed home and telecommuted.

During these years, we have done everything together from board games, to amusement parks to homework and doctors’ appointments. I might have thought I was a hot shot when I worked on Capitol Hill and at a law firm, but being their full-time dad has been the most rewarding job of my life.

Spending so much time with my girls made me even more desperate to have my conviction reversed so I would never have to leave them. Those dreams were dashed last week. I will never forget my feeling of helplessness as my girls sobbed for nearly an hour straight as the news sunk in. As a parent, you do everything you can to shield your kids from pain, and here I was causing it. It was a pain I would not wish on any other family.

Now, as I’m preparing to leave FAMM and my girls and head to prison, I’m asking you to help FAMM champion sentencing reforms by making a year-end donation. If there’s one thing I know, it’s this: FAMM’s cause is worth supporting, because FAMM supports people like me.

Unfortunately, I know that many families deal with similar grief – and that many have suffered much worse. When my legal troubles forced me out of my job, I applied to FAMM hoping to help out by writing grant proposals or anything else that I could do from home while taking care of my children. I will be forever grateful that FAMM’s president, Julie Stewart, took the time to interview me and to get to know me.

Working at FAMM helped me gain perspective on my situation and enabled me to bring a new point of view to FAMM’s work. I was prosecuted for a white-collar crime, one that did not carry a mandatory minimum sentence. However, because the sentencing guideline that applies to economic crimes suffers from the same problem that plagues many drug crimes, I was threatened with an incredibly long sentence if I did not plead guilty – more than six times longer than the admitted leader of the conspiracy received.

I believed in my innocence, so I turned down the government’s offer – which felt more like a demand – to plead guilty. I would not cooperate against others who I did not think committed any crimes. Instead, I exercised my constitutional right to a trial. The jury in my first trial was divided down the middle on all eight counts I was facing, and the judge declared a mistrial. I hoped that was the end of my nightmare, but the government tried me again and I was convicted of five counts.

At sentencing, the prosecutors first asked the judge to sentence me to 20 to 27 years in prison. When she balked, they asked for five years. In the end, after sentencing many others involved to probation and community corrections, the judge imposed a 20-month prison sentence.

Obviously, I was grateful that the judge didn’t follow the government’s recommendation, but this entire experience has left me disillusioned and angry. The games the prosecutors played had no business in a process that was designed to produce justice. But, through it all, my work for FAMM reminded me that I did not have it as bad as many other people. Not by a long shot.

At FAMM I have met people who would be thrilled to have my 20 month sentence. People like Stephanie Nodd, a nonviolent first time offender like me, who was sentenced to 30 years in prison for a one-month stint selling crack cocaine. Or Orville Lee Wollard in Florida, who received a mandatory prison sentence of 20 years for trying to protect his daughter from an abusive boyfriend. Or Lawrence and Lamont Garrison, who spent a dozen years in prison for allegedly selling drugs, despite no compelling evidence of their guilt.

Meeting these individuals taught me two things. First, I learned that I was lucky that my offense did not carry a mandatory minimum sentence. If the prosecutors had gotten their way, like they did with Stephanie, Orville, and Lawrence and Lamont, I would be preparing for a two-decade prison sentence that would have completely destroyed my family.

The second thing I learned is that the individuals and families affected by bad sentencing laws might seem different on the surface, but they really aren’t. Many are black, but many, like me, are not. Some sold drugs, while some, like me, never have. Others got caught looking at dirty pictures on the Internet, and others, like me, did not. And, finally, some were charged with crimes that carried mandatory minimum sentences, while others, like me, did not. In the end, however, we are more alike than we are different:

We’re all being sentenced based on rigid formulas that put too much emphasis on one factor. In drug cases, it’s the weight of the drug; in gun cases, it’s mere possession of a gun; in economic crimes, like mine, it’s the amount of “loss” measured in dollars. With each of these crimes, single factors have a bigger impact on sentence length than the individual’s actual role in the crime.

I’ve also learned that sentences are simply too long. Legislators have too often pushed for longer and longer sentences, even when there was no evidence to suggest longer punishments were needed. Worse, sentence lengths have been increased to keep pace with one another. For example, after Congress passed lengthy mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenses, the Sentencing Commission voted to make sentences longer for white-collar offenders in the name of “fairness.” In other words, if some people were going to get cruel and disproportionate sentences, we might as well make everyone suffer.

This one-way ratchet has kept on turning because the public’s concern was divided and selfish. Twenty years ago, corporate America didn’t care when inner city communities were getting hammered with unjust mandatory minimums. Today, no one in urban America is shedding a tear that upper-class businessmen are receiving longer sentences for economic crimes. For the past five years, I have had a foot in both camps: standing trial in my case while working for FAMM. I have seen firsthand the injustices in both areas.

Everything I have seen and learned has made me grateful for FAMM’s leadership. Only FAMM truly understands how federal and state sentencing laws are failing all Americans. More importantly, only FAMM is working nonstop to build the broadest possible coalition of affected families, legal experts, and policy advocates in order to achieve the common sense reform we need.

In the short time I have worked at FAMM, I have watched them lead the effort to fix the indefensible 100:1 crack sentencing disparity and then convince the Sentencing Commission to make the improved crack guideline retroactive. I have seen them win victories in the states, such as Massachusetts and Georgia, while laying the groundwork for major reform in Florida. And I have watched them spearhead the most significant proposal for federal sentencing reform in a generation, the Justice Safety Valve Act of 2013, which is gaining more support every day.

Part of my job at FAMM has been to write the legal and legislative updates that are sent to our imprisoned members. In a couple of months, I will switch sides and be on the receiving end of those updates. I will be another FAMM member serving a federal prison sentence and looking for hope wherever I can find it. I know one place I can find it is at FAMM.

That’s why I’m writing you and sharing my story. I really want you to contribute to FAMM. I’ve seen how hard they work and how much they accomplish on a bare bones budget. I want FAMM to continue to succeed – and it will with all of our support.

By letting me work as a member of FAMM’s team for the past five years, they have changed my life. But I have seen FAMM change the lives of thousands of others, too.

So, no matter where I am, I will never stop trying to help FAMM advance its mission. Mandatory minimum sentences must be repealed so that judges have the discretion to impose fairer sentences that take into account all of the facts and circumstances of a crime and the offender. Federal and state sentencing guidelines must be rational and flexible so that offenders receive the punishment they deserve – no more, no less. Even those who commit crimes we cannot understand deserve justice, not vengeance.

As I head to prison, I won’t be here to help FAMM in the hands-on way I have for the past five years. But I’m confident that supporters like you will keep FAMM going strong. Please continue to help FAMM fight for sensible sentencing laws so that one day we’ll see an end to irrational punishments.

Thank you for giving as generously as you can.

Sincerely,

Kevin

Kevin Ring, FAMM

Believe In Yourself “Don’t Quit”

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While being skeptical can be a healthy way to avoid getting taken advantage of, being pessimistic – that is, always assuming the worst – can have major negative consequences on your life. Seeing only the negative aspects of any situation can cause you to miss opportunities, neglect problems that need to be solved, and fail to take action that would otherwise improve your relationships and quality of life. In fact, studies show that pessimists are more likely to develop chronic illnesses later on in life than optimists.[1] Optimists look for the light at the end of the tunnel. If you’ve always had a pessimistic worldview, it can be difficult to shift your focus, but it is possible to start seeing the glass as half full, not half empty. In fact you may come to realize that glasses are generally full – it’s just that gravity attracts the more dense liquid material towards the bottom.

This world is always devising ways to sift people, whether by talent or caste status, belief system, color, race, ethnicity or origins the world and complex people in the world will try to make you quit. My wife and I are faced with a insurmountable obstacle, we are no longer the “It” of society, but the “Felon” and as such we are not expected to live nor continue to exist among the regulars in this world. If you are in this plight of life I want to encourage you to continue to believe in Jesus and what He has said, because we’re moving forward by His grace and so can you. Refuse to be redeemed by California or any state prison systems for 40,000 dollars and another extended stay in confinement. A plastic or glass bottle is given better chances than a human life. I solicit anyone that is challenged by life whether by past mistakes or any addictions or broken family and disappointed dreams to press onward with a plan and stand with the Word in your mouth and heart.

Many of us quit, half way through with what we have started and we have enough reasons why we do it. Years ago I owed a Engineering firm in California. Inflation and economics gave me a reason to compromise on how I did business and it cost me 5 years of my life and my company and 300 people their jobs . I had to quit. The reason seems genuine. Had I admitted to my dual addictions and faced them I would not have suffered those loses. I still face the consequences of quitting today due to the stigma’s placed on me by a unforgiving society. I failed as a minister of a large body of believers due to my compromising spirit of conduct. My dual addiction to money and cocaine and pride took me to an all time low. I lost material goods and very close family and friends. Recently I recalled the incident and this blog is a result of such introspection. What does the Bible talk about in terms of giving up? Does the Bible recommend us to quit or does it urge us not to give up.

Galatians 6:9 “…for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

What does it mean? The scripture tells us that if we do not give up on we will surely see the reward of it. For example the farmer sows his seed and takes the little grown stuff and plants it in the properly ploughed field. He does not see the grains immediately, he waits for the rain and the shine at the proper times and then a harvest, during harvest it is not what he sowed but several measures more than what he had sown. If this is true for a farmer I am sure the same principle applies for us too. The only thing is to wait patiently until we see results.

Before getting into the principles of how not to quit, let us examine a few reasons why we quit.
The reasons can be so many; I have tried listing a few of them…

1. Fear of failure.
2. Skepticism I am not the one.
3. I am not trained enough.
4. Someone can do it better than me.
5. I don’t want to be the first, let someone do it and then I will follow.
6. I have a bitter past experience.
7. This is not my cup of tea.
8. I don’t want to be embarrassed.
9. I am too sensitive to handle failures.
10. My support system is poor.
11. I don’t prefer to risk when all is fine.
12. Why get into a mess?

Some of the reasons are overlapping but still this is how we feel and reason out to quit and remain a bit satisfied though we know we can do it more than we have tried.

I want to drive home just two aspects for not giving up but before that I want to quote a few people and their views on never giving up…

Marilyn von Savant – being defeated is often temporary, giving up makes it permanent.

Thomas Edison – many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.

King Solomon – for an upright man, after falling seven times, will get up again. (Proverbs 24:16)

The first aspect to consider if we decide not to give up is:
I. Making the most of every opportunity. (Ephesians 5: 15,16)
Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.

The wise person makes the most of the opportunity but the foolish ones miss out on every opportunity and grumble about their failures. Grab every chance that you get, never mind whether you fail or win – the result is secondary what is primary is the attempt. There is nothing wrong in giving it a try, it might click and we can become experts so I urge you not to miss a chance. Peter toiled all night at the sea but was willing to give it a try when Jesus told him to do so. He made the second time more than what if would have done the first time. He knew he had God on his side. That was blessed assurance. If we have such confidence we too can try and we will surely make it by not letting a chance go by. Therefore make the most of every opportunity and be wise. The second aspect is…

II. Marching Forward. (Philippians 3:13)
Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.

If you have to march forward, you have to forget about what happened in the past, if we brood over the past more either success or failure it can ruin us. If we brag about the past success it will makes us complacent and would never make new attempts at the same time if we brood over our failures it will diminish the morale and the potential we possess. Therefore it is important to be moving and not stagnating.

Paul understood this and that is why he is going ahead with the goal and not worried over the past. If Paul had to think of his past as wretched man he will have be ashamed for the rest of his life not doing anything. He overcame the shame and guilt of destroying so many good Christians and began to be a blessing. He never gave up but carried on.

Dear friends, how about you? Better wise up, make the most of every opportunity. Never leave room for compromise, March forward don’t retreat. I think of Henry ford, his first car was not able to even go faster than the horse chariot, he never gave up and today these cars do well. The Wright brothers first flying machine fell and broke after it took off to a few feet but they never gave up and today we see planes that fly at a phenomenal speed at great altitudes. We have Jesus on our side we will surely be conquerors, not just conquerors but more than conquerors. God bless you.

Be Careful You Too Could Become A Felon!!!!

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This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or exercise their revolutionary right to overthrow it.

Abraham Lincoln

http://www.cbn.com/tv/1536861051001
Well, our bold and spunky congressional pals finally crossed the line. They spent our tax dollars so carelessly, and at such an alarming rate, that we were forced to stage what amounted to a national public fiscal intervention. Suddenly, the boring federal budget became big news, as Americans demanded that Washington restore our nation’s economic health and cut all wasteful and inappropriate spending, including the government funding of NPR and Planned Parenthood. This signal from the citizens was valuable despite an eventual Republican surrender in the most recent budget battle. And while I’m pleased that the overspending was exposed, I wonder when the mainstream media will uncover the government money pit of over criminalization.

“Over criminalization” refers to the recent trend in Congress to use the criminal law to “fix” every publicized issue — a horrendous waste of government spending. Essentially, our representatives are criminalizing conduct that should be regulated by civil or administrative means. Over criminalization has left U.S. Attorneys with a wide selection of crimes with which to charge people: There are over 4,500 federal crimes and over 300,000 regulations with criminal penalties. Not surprisingly, many of these obscure laws have led to unreasonable arrests and unjust prosecutions. These costly over criminalization policies amount to both federal waste and government overreach.

Any one of us can be targeted and imprisoned. A homeowner can be arrested for failure to prune her shrubs, in violation of the city’s municipal code. A small-business owner can do time for lack of proper paperwork when importing orchids. Don’t own a business or a garden? You are still not safe. When the new health-care law goes into effect, everyone, with the exception of unions and other exempt parties, will face severe penalties for failure to purchase government-approved insurance. In fact, refusal to comply with the new health-care regulations is a federal violation punishable by a fine and/or imprisonment. The grander issue of wasteful government spending is still salient, but over criminalization, while a part of that issue, also has large negative implications for the immediate livelihood of the American people.

While it is difficult to know exactly how much money the government spends to prosecute a single case, it’s instructive to look at a recent example: the infamous Barry Bonds trial. San Francisco U.S. Attorneys spent eight years and countless tax dollars investigating and prosecuting Bonds for allegedly lying under oath regarding his steroid usage. After they had dedicated so many hours and so much of the criminal-justice system’s limited resources, the jury refused to convict Bonds on any of the serious charges, finding him guilty of one charge of obstruction of justice. We need to be selective about the cases that rise to the federal criminal level, because spending our tax dollars on cases that drag on too long means that our money is being wasted.

Let me be clear: We should be tough on actual criminal acts. Let the punishment fit the crime. However, when prosecutors pursue frivolous cases that disrupt our quality of life, it’s not just that the government is wasting our tax dollars and is threatening our liberty, but it is spending less time going after real criminals: the arsonists, the murderers, and the sexual and financial predators. In actuality, our government is passing policies that are weakening our criminal-justice system and decreasing our safety.

In another example, highlighted by the Heritage Foundation, auto-racing legend Bobby Unser got lost in a blizzard, almost died, and was later convicted for operating a snow mobile in the natural wilderness. The conviction itself is quite unbelievable. If Mr. Unser did enter the wilderness, and there is no such proof, it was only due to the fact that he was disoriented in the blizzard. Nevertheless, he faced a $5,000 fine and a six-month prison sentence. It is estimated that the federal government spent approximately one million dollars to prosecute Mr. Unser.

In addition to the cost of prosecution, there are also costs associated with imprisonment. According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, the federal inmate population was 211,176 as of March. The average cost of incarceration for one federal inmate in fiscal year 2009 was $25,251. So putting justice, liberty, and the wishes of the founding fathers aside, it’s not exactly cheap to lock up people either. We should ensure that only real criminals are behind bars. Instead of locking up gardeners for violating regulations, we should fine them and generate income.

The secondary hidden cost of over criminalization is more difficult to quantify, but is still a drain on our economy. Former U.S. Attorney General Dick Thornburgh, in an essay for the Heritage Foundation, argues that criminal penalties have caused paranoia among all members of the business community. Businessmen are not innovating for fear of getting prosecuted, and as a result they are unable to compete in the global market. This is especially detrimental to the recovery of our ailing economy.

Because the cost of federal prosecution and imprisonment is so high, we need to ensure that this severe sanction is reserved only for actual criminals. We need to bring over criminalization to the forefront of the American media and political table. Over criminalization affects our daily lives and hurts all Americans. The stifling effect of criminalizing acts that should be of a regulatory nature is having a suffocating effect on American business and entrepreneurship.

A government capable of making seemingly innocuous conduct criminal is one that should be feared. The unlucky victims of the feds would certainly agree with me.
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Ten members of the House Judiciary Committee have agreed to form an Over-Criminalization Task Force to review the expansion of the federal criminal code and make recommendations for paring it down. There are roughly 4,500 federal crimes on the law books, with new ones being added at a rate of about 50 a year.

This proposed review of federal criminal laws is the first since the 1980s, when the number of federal crimes on the books was about half what it is now. The task force will conduct hearings and investigate issues around over-criminalization and will have the opportunity to issue reports to the Justice Committee on its findings and policy recommendations.

Among possible topics for the task force are federal drug laws and sentences in general and federal marijuana prohibition in particular. The group could also explore the issue of mens rea, or criminal intent, particularly in relation to the expansion of the use of conspiracy laws since the late 1980s. The use of those laws has led to low-level offenders, including some who were not even part of a drug trafficking enterprise, being sentenced to years or decades in federal prison — sentences that were supposed to be reserved for high-level offenders.

“As former chairman and long-serving member of the Judiciary Committee, I’ve seen first-hand just how muddled the criminal code is,” said Sensenbrenner. “It’s time to scrub it clean. The Over-Criminalization Task Force will review federal laws in Title 18, and laws outside of Title 18 that have not gone through the Judiciary Committee, to modernize our criminal code. In addition, I reintroduced the Criminal Code Modernization and Simplification Act [not posted as of Tuesday] today, which would reform Title 18 of the US Code, reduce the existing criminal code by more than one-third, and update the code to make it more comprehensible.”

“Unduly expansive criminal provisions in our law unnecessarily drive up incarceration rates,” said Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), the committee’s ranking Democrat. “Almost one-quarter of the world’s inmates are locked up in the United States, yet Americans constitute only five percent of the world population. In addition, the incarceration rate for African Americans is six times that of the national incarceration average. I welcome the work of the over-criminalization task force in analyzing this serious issue.”

“Although crime is primarily a matter for states and localities to handle, over the last 40 or so years Congress has increasingly sought to address societal problems by adding criminal provisions to the federal code,” said Scott. “There are now over 4,000 federal criminal provisions, plus hundreds of thousands of federal regulations which impose criminal penalties, often without requiring that criminal intent be shown to establish guilt. As a result, we are hearing many complaints of overuse and abusive uses of federal criminal laws from a broad-based coalition of organizations ranging from the Heritage Foundation to the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. Today, we are establishing a bipartisan task force on over-criminalization to assess issues and make recommendations for improvements to the federal criminal system, and I look forward to working with my colleagues on this worthy endeavor.”

“This Task Force is a step in the right direction and could propose recommendations to significantly alleviate mass incarceration and racial disparities in the federal system,” said Jasmine Tyler, deputy director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance. “The establishment of this Task Force is long overdue for the drug policy reform movement. It is past time for Congress to re-examine marijuana laws, conspiracy laws, mandatory minimum sentencing, and the appropriate role and use of the federal government’s resources.”