Wednesday, December 14, 2016

8 Misconceptions about Becoming a US Citizen

Approximately 12 million lawful permanent residents in the United States, and over 7 million are eligible for citizenship. Yet, less than 1 million generally apply for U.S. citizenship each year. According to Federal Data, citizenship applications drastically rose since Donald Trump was elected President of the United States. Search results from Google reviewed exclusively by TIME reveal that search interest in citizenship peaked on January 10 and has remained high since, indicating that immigrants are looking for more information about naturalization. 

Common Misconceptions of obtaining US Citizenship

1.    Citizenship is too expensive. Not true – the cost is only$680 Dollars.
2.    There are no benefits to becoming a US citizen. WRONG. Innocent people are convicted of crimes all the time, a Us citizenship will protect you from being deported. You will be able to travel with a US passport and help your family migrate to the United States. 
3.    Tests are too difficult. Not True Civics is the rights and duties of a citizen. There are 100 civics questions on the naturalization test, applications will be asked ten from this 100. You must answer correctly 6 out of 10 questions from the test in English.
4.    I have to live in the United States legally a very long time before becoming a citizen. Not Exactly True. You must be a permanent resident or green card holder for five years.  You must have held a green card for at least 5 years immediately preceding the date of filing Form N-400, the Application for Naturalization.  You must have lived in the same State for Three Years. You must learn American language and history, which includes read and write English fluently. You must have knowledge of how American government operates, included in your immigration civics test.
5.    Donald Trump cannot stop me from becoming a US citizen. Wrong. Normally, this would be the case. Article I, Section 8, clause 4 of the Con­stitution entrusts the federal legislative branch with the power to “establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization.” Here is how he can stop you......

a.    Alien and Sedition Acts: This act was signed into law by President John Adams in 1798 on the heels of the Quasi-French war. The act allowed the president to imprison or deport any alien considered “dangerous to the peace and safety of the United States.”
b.    You mays say, 1798 was a long time ago, we don’t have to worry about that. Wrong. Presidential Proclamations 2525, 2526. And 2527. These three proclamations were signed by Franklin D. Roosevelt shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Citing the Alien and Seditions Actions as precedent, these proclamations restricted the entry and naturalization of Japanese, Germans and Italians.
c.    What all this means, is that even if you follow all the rules – Donald Trump can stop you from becoming a Naturalized Citizen.

6.    I served in Iraq, the United States does not deport non-citizen veterans.” Wrong! US military service isn’t enough to prevent deportation. When veterans are deported, most of them deported are sent back to Mexico. As I said, innocent people can also be convicted, it happens all the time. 

7.    I have an H-IB VISA because I am a highly skilled worker, an engineer, physicist or medical doctor,” Congratulations, you are the kind of person we want, and need in the United States. Trump is trying to revoke temporary H-IB Visas, on the notion that we have plenty of Americans to take these jobs. According to the Department of Labor and Statistics, 2 million health care workers are foreign born. Twenty-five percent of all medical doctors are foreign born. Imagine losing 25% of our orthodontists, internal medicine physicians, emergency OBGYN, and oncologists. The problem is that many Americans are not going to going to medical or engineering school. To make matters worse, when our president encourages American's to get more education - he gets called a snob because apparently, being ignorant is something to be proud about. 

8.    Once I am a citizen, I am home free. Wrong!  USCIS is authorized to cancel any Certificate of Citizenship or Certificate of Naturalization in cases were Immigration considers the citizenship was obtained illegally or fraudulently. Simply put – do not pay someone to marry you, and think it won’t come back to bite. It can, you can lose your citizenship and will be deported. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Seattle's Night of the Living Homeless

I grew up loving my home city, Seattle Washington. In the early 90s, was always a treat going downtown to the Pike Place Market, Ye Ole Curiosity Shop or take the bus up to the University District. Nirvana and Pearl Jam echoed through every car stereo. Me and my friends could hang out, enjoy the city at any of our small coffee shops. Those were the days before Starbucks had completely taken over the world. But things changed since high school - drastically changed
homeless street fight

Now, anytime I go downtown some "nice" person starts up a conversation with me. "Hey, how are you doing. Weather is great today."

I respond, "yes, unusually nice weather today." 

What comes next....."Do you have a couple dollars to spare?" Ug! How I  hate this. Can't I just go somewhere without being bothered? Oh, wait....wanting something like that would make ME the bitch.

 Seattle's homeless act all friendly, start a conversation then start begging for money. Yeh, this is annoying, but not nearly as annoying as the homeless cat calls. Heaven forbid - I complain about homeless cat calling me...and I am being the bitch.

On one occasion, a mentally deranged homeless man tried to actually punch me. He had a crazy look in his eyes, lunged at me, I ducked, then he wandered off into the fog. I've also seen crazy homeless people screaming at random people waiting for the bus. 

Give the homeless a $20 bill, and they will ask for more. Then, more and more homeless with come when they realize people are generous. Seattle is a great city for the homeless because our City Council care's more about them than people like me, cat called by homeless men, or the victims of stolen bikes worth thousands of dollars, or the people who have to step over piles of shit on their way to work, or the people who need to use light rail elevators filled with flies and the stench of urine. Remember - if you complain about your bike being stolen, cat called, smelling urine in elevators - then YOU are "the bitch.

 December 2007, the Seattle City Council unanimously passed a measure prohibiting malicious harassment of a homeless person as a hate crime. I am wondering - is it a hate crime when they cat call me on the street? Is it harassment when they constantly beg for money? Doesn't the Seattle City Council think that people just want to live a quite peaceful life in what was once the most beautiful city on the West Coast?

When my husband bikes to work everyday, he has to cycle past mountains upon mountains of make-shift street boxes, tents and hundreds of people in sleeping bags. Homelessness is a huge problem in our city. What pisses me off about this situation is that if we have the "audacity" to complain about it, we are just being heartless assholes. Now here is the interesting part - Did you know most of Seattle's homeless are not actually from Seattle? Hmmm, I wonder what is bringing them all here? Oh, that's right, a City Council that are a bunch of pansies, that's what's bringing them here. Uh oh.....did I just become.."the bitch" again? Well, yes, that last sentence was bitchy for which I do accept responsibility. But nonetheless, it was a true statement. 

dismantled bikes found in homeless camps
The homeless go around the city, steal bikes (some of them worth thousands of dollars) dismantle them, sell the parts or sell them on craigslist. Now remember - if you lose a 2000 bike and complain about the homeless who stole it - you are being a selfish dick. How dare you complain about losing THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS. 

The problem is that many of these homeless people are on drugs or severely mentally ill. How did we get in this mess? 

Well, lets roll back the clock to November 1980. One month prior to the election, President Carter had signed the Mental Health Systems Act, which had proposed to continue the federal community mental health centers program, although with some additional state involvement. Consistent with the report of the Carter Commission, the act also included a provision for federal grants “for projects for the prevention of mental illness and the promotion of positive mental health,” an indication of how little learning had taken place among the Carter Commission members and professionals at NIMH. 

Shortly after assuming office in early 1977, Jimmy Carter created a presidential commission on mental health. His action suggested the existence of deep-rooted problems in a mental health system that was fragmented, lacked cohesion, and often failed to meet the needs of many groups, notably those individuals with severe and persistent mental illnesses. The creation of such a commission also had an important symbolic element, for it indicated the president's awareness and concern.

With President Reagan and the Republicans taking over, the Mental Health Systems Act was discarded before the ink had dried and the CMHC funds (Crisis Mental Health Counseling) were simply block granted to the states. The CMHC program had not only died but been buried as well. An autopsy could have listed the cause of death as naiveté complicated by grandiosity.
President Reagan understood mental illness as well as he understood AIDS, moreover, he didn't want to understand. Regan started shutting down mental hospitals from the gulf stream waters to the red wood forests. Carter's policies were dead and buried. California was the first state to witness not only an increase in homelessness associated with deinstitutionalization but also an increase in incarceration and episodes of violence. Mentally ill people end up in jail or on the streets - all because of Regan. Since then, nobody has cared enough to reopen mental institutions. All we seem to think about is "feed the homeless, be nice to the homeless and 'you're a bitch if you complain about the homeless'".
But who, specifically, played some of the more important roles in the formation of this ill-fated policy? What motivated these influential people and what lessons are to be learned?
A detailed picture has emerged from a series of interviews and a review of public records, research reports and institutional recommendations. The picture is one of cost-conscious policy makers, who were quick to buy optimistic projections that were, in some instances, buttressed by misinformation and by a willingness to suspend skepticism.
Every year more and more homeless people are migrating to Seattle. Why? Tell me why our city has to smell like urine? Why do our people have to deal with this every day they go to work? Why aren't the homeless in mental institutions and rehab centers? Our city has turned into a big pile of shit. But remember - you are a dick if you complain about the urine, begging, thief, screaming crazy people, fights and vomit. 
It is easy to complain about things, and not so easy to propose solutions to the problem. Here are the solutions. 
First: shut down all the downtown missions. I know this seems heartless, but shifting the population to appropriate facilities is the first step.
Second:  reopen mental institutions, permanent institutionalization for people with schizophrenia, severe PTSD, schizoid personality disorders, and severe mental retardation. These disorders are often combined with drug and alcohol abuse. These people cannot help themselves and need to be permanently institutionalized. Mental institutions need to be clean, safe places. DSHS should provide medications, and any weekly group therapy.
Third: Housing should only be for the working homeless, homeless families, and homeless elderly.

Forth: Drug using, alcoholic homeless should not be in the same housing as working homeless, families and elderly. They should have shelter - not housing. They need to be in their own facilities, and access to treatment services. 
Fifth: All homeless shelters should be a significant distance from downtown Seattle, including a public garden and small orchard. The building should be at least six floors full of assigned bunkbeds. Each floor has a set of showers, and toilet. Each floor has a small kitchen, TV room, laundry room and locker room. There should also be a strict personal hygiene policy, every guest should be required to be clean and shampooed every day. Seattle is losing tourism, and businesses are suffering. There are countless reasons to revitalize our area north of SoDo to Union Square.
Sixth: Unemployed, non-mentally ill homeless should be required to do volunteer work. Laundering, cleaning, cooking, gardening, and canning. A lot of money saved when unemployed homeless pitch in to help these shelters, psychiatric wards, and working homeless survive. If the unemployed homeless want a bed, shower, and kitchen then they must volunteer.

As much as I dislike the homeless pestering me, cat calling me, and stealing, I know that my proposals are in the best interest of the homeless and the City of Seattle. These are real solutions to a problem Seattle refuses to fix. Jimmy Carter knew the problem was complex, and we should approach these problem understanding those complexities as well.

Seventh: As unpopular as this final opinion is, feeding the homeless, and all public loitering should be heavily penalized. Any people loitering in downtown parks should be removed and taken to a shelter or jailed. Cleaning up downtown Seattle should also be our top priority.

That being said - will the city of Seattle think about my proposals? Will they do the right thing? Will they stop being a bunch of pansies? Probably not. The images you see below will get worse, and worse and worse. 
I would like to welcome you to Seattle Washington. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Why do Muslims think Zakir Naik is a genious?

After listening to dozens of Zakir Naik's speeches, endured hours of argumentum ad nauseam, I had to wonder, "why aren't Muslims seeing the obvious fallacies?" His arguments are full to the brim with one logical fallacy after another, one appeal to emotion after another. The video below was posted by a Christian, as you all know I am an atheist, but the Christian guy in this video pretty much hit the nail on the head. This blog goes on to explain exactly how people buy into all Zakir's bullcrap.  Finally, the best answer I found came from The Foreign Policy Journal. The issues were different, but the conclusions fit like a glove. I realized instantly, this is why Muslim's cannot pick up on  Naik's bullshit. It was amazing. A true epiphany.

It happens, for example, when true believers listen to a speaker who reinforces their core beliefs. A Professor of Functionally Integrative Neuroscience, a Professor of Magnetic Resonance Research, a Professor of Anthropology, and a Professor of Religion put religious and non-religious subjects in an MRI to look for differences in brain activity while they listened a voice recording of a highly rated preacher. If you guessed that Professor Schjoedt and his colleagues found that nothing special happened in the brains of non-believers, but something striking happened in the brains of believers, you guessed right.

The opposite of executive function is inside-the-box thinking. The most inside box is our relationship with our self—our self-image. Successful management of self is key to managing our other inside box—our social network. Both inside boxes require careful maintenance of core values. From children’s dependence on their parents to business peoples’ dependence on their connections, we survive by maintaining values that form our identity and are shared across our social networks. So we have evolved a capacity to circumvent clear thinking when maintaining beliefs that strengthen social bonds is more important for survival than thinking outside the box. 

Prefrontal cortical shut-down is the mechanism for Simon and Garfunkel’s observation that “A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.” Put more roughly, we get stupid for a reason. We dumb down to manage our self-image so that we can present an effective self to others. We fend off challenges, including rational challenges, so we can agree about contentious issues with people we depend upon. Indeed, the medial and dorsolateral prefrontal cortices of believers shut down. Hemoglobin molecules coursing through those brain areas retained oxygen because surrounding neurons were not burning fuel, so they resonated at a different frequency. And there was a dose-response curve—the more devout the religious subjects rated themselves to be, the more complete the turn-off of brain regions that perform what psychologists call executive function—the ability to objectively evaluate information, make decisions based on that information, and act on those decisions. Put differently, the preacher’s words short circuited believers’ ability to think independently, to think outside the box.
Although the professors’ experiment compared religious to non-religious people, turning off executive function to protect beliefs that strengthen social bonds is not limited to religious beliefs per se. Because we evolved by natural selection, and because social networks are critical to human survival, protecting any convictions that keep us at peace with ourselves and in with our incrowd, including deeply shared political convictions, could generate the same mind-numbing effect. Put differently, because religious convictions are such powerful facilitators of group cohesion, they are low hanging fruit for detecting the underlying phenomenon with an MRI.
So we have evolved a capacity to circumvent clear thinking when maintaining beliefs that strengthen social bonds is more important for survival than thinking outside the box.
And we all need to give our executive function periodic time outs—to fly on autopilot while we sort out who we are. Most of us mix some level of reassurance about deeply held convictions with additional forms of solace. In days of yore, mugs of beer held high while proffering the religious and political exclamation “God save the Queen!” followed by reassuring shouts of “Hear! Hear!” served to calm the nerves of many medial and dorsolateral prefrontal cortices. Beer still plays a big role, but today we also combine reassurance of core convictions with yoga, pilates, music, wine, rum punch, dank marijuana, and for more than a few, synthetic opiates. So Karl Marx was right about religion being “the opiate of the masses,” but Marx’s masses were not more weak-minded than the elite. Opium was prohibitively expensive, but religious and political reassurance were free.
Actually, religion and politics, the two things we’re not supposed to talk about in polite company, were and remain more than free. Most of us get them, whether we want them or not, through indoctrination from birth. So on a regular basis we use whatever it takes to put ourselves into a state of relative reverie. Those needed chill-outs are antithetical to evaluating information, making decisions, and acting off the grid—so we tend to get defensive about the particulars of our religious and political convictions (thus the polite company ban) because we are, in a real MRI-detectable sense, addicted to them.