Thursday, July 12, 2018

Residents of California city once known as 'America's foreclosure capital' are set to get monthly $500 stipend, with NO strings attached, in bid to boost local economy

Note:  Only 100 people.  There have been lots of trials of this idea over the years but it has always proved too costly

Stockton, California will become the first city in the country to participate in a test of Universal Basic Income, in which 100 residents will be given $500-dollars-a-month, with no strings attached.

The program aims to create a level of income that no one will fall beneath.

By providing impoverished residents a regular sum of money that they can use on anything they wish, be it food, clothes, gas, or [drugs] starting a new venture, those behind the program believe it could go a long way to give people enough support to try out new ideas.

The program in Stockton, which was once known as America's foreclosure capital, will see the program launched by 2019, and the payments will continue to the individuals chosen for the program for a full 18-months.

The Stockton UBI program has heavy backing from one of the wealthiest areas of the country- Silicon Valley, according to CNN Money.

The idea is, in part, to off-set the economic distress the growing automation industry is expected to cause to American laborers, as well as a way to potentially reduce poverty.

One of the backers for the Stockton UBI program is Facebook's co-founder Chris Hughes, whose organization, the Economic Security Project, contributed $1 million to the Stockton initiative.

'It is such a fundamental idea behind America that if you work hard, you can get ahead, and you certainly don't live in poverty. But that isn't true today, and it hasn't been true in the country for decades,' Hughes told CNN Money.

'I believe that unless we make significant changes today, the income inequality in our country will continue to grow and call into question the very nature of our social contract.'

One-in-four people in the city of more than 300,000 live in poverty, with the median  household income sitting at $49,271, compared to $57,617 nationally.

The city's inhabitants are also largely minorities with 70 per cent identifying themselves as such.

'Stockton is a city that looks a lot like the rest of America,' said Natalie Foster, co-founder and co-chair of the Economic Security Project.

Several heavy hitters in Silicon Valley have touted the importance of exploring funded programs for those living in poverty, such as Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg.

'We should explore ideas like universal basic income to make sure that everyone has a cushion to try new ideas,' Zuckerberg said at a Harvard commencement address in May 2017.

'We have a bunch of folks starting off life already behind, born into communities that don't have a lot of opportunity,' said Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs.

'My mom always used to say, 'You have to get out of  Stockton.' ... But I want Stockton to be a place people want to live in.'

And a real fear for cities like Stockton is the 'looming threat of automation and displacement,' as Tubbs puts it.

He says the companies that are building these technologies, like the ones in Silicon Valley, ultimately 'have a responsibility to make sure people aren't adversely impacted and also make their communities better places.'

'I've watched the tech community become very interested in Universal Basic Income for the past several years. I think it stems from one part guilt and one part optimism,' Foster said.

'These are folks who believe in the moonshot, believe in the big ideas, and that nothing is too big.'

Meanwhile existing cash transfer programs such as one in Alaska- where for the past 40-years residents receive varying annual cash payment from oil royalties- are being looked at as an example of the possibilities UBI could hold for under-served communities. 

'They use it to save for education, to get them through seasonal changes in their work, or to pay for heating during the winter when that gets much more expensive,' Foster said.

Similar UBI programs have been tested around the world by various organizations such as in Finland, Italy, Uganda, Cambodia and India.

For example in Finland, a monthly stipend of 560 euros was given to 2,000 unemployed people between the ages of 25 and 58. In Cambodia, $5 a month went to pregnant women and children.


'I believe Islam killed my daughter': A grieving mother tells how her daughter cut off all contact with family and friends to marry an older Muslim man who left her on a bathroom floor for FIVE DAYS to die

Siobhann Brown had not heard from her eldest daughter since she called five years earlier saying she was converting to Islam to get married and have her first child. Then two Victoria Police detectives arrived at her door.

Ashlee Brown, 25, had been found dead on her bathroom floor with more than 100 blunt and sharp force injuries covering most of her body.

The mother of three children under five had been bound, gagged and had her long strawberry blonde hair cut off. 

Ashlee's husband Mohamed Naddaf, 37, told police he had found his wife in that state in their garage about five days earlier but chose to 'care' for her in the bathroom rather than call Triple 0.

Ms Brown had to run out of her house in disbelief when she heard how her daughter died. She is now faced with Naddaf pleading guilty to manslaughter, without ever going to trial.

'Ashlee was a fun-loving girl,' Ms Brown told Daily Mail Australia. 'She was giving. She was loving. She loved the sun, the beach. She loved singing, dancing, having fun.'

Ashlee had been raised in country Victoria as a 'typical Aussie girl' and gradually grew restless as she hit her late teenage years.

She took increasingly regular trips to Melbourne, once returning to introduce her family to Mohamed Rannaf when she was was about 18. 'She introduced him as "Macca",' Ms Brown said. 'It was very brief.

'He seemed like a nice, very polite, young man. It pains me to say that. I didn't see him again after that.'

There was no communication for some time before a phone call came 'out of the blue' that would herald the end of all contact between Ms Brown and her daughter.

When Ashlee was about 20 she rang to say she was pregnant and wanted her mother's blessing to convert to Islam and marry Mohamed.

'She said to me, "Mum, I need your blessing to become Muslim". She said "I'm three months' pregnant and I'm engaged to Mohamed. I would really like to marry him, mum, and settle down and have a baby".

'I said to her, "Darling, I don’t know anything about the Muslim religion. As long as you know what you're doing. 'I said, "Do you have to wear one of those burqas or hijabs? I didn't know what they were called.

'She said, "No mum, only when I go into the mosque because it's disrespectful for a woman to show her face before God".

'I said to Ashlee, "As long as you're making a fully informed decision and it's what you really want".'

Ashlee said that it was.

'There was a pause after that,' Ms Brown said. 'She said. "Thank you, mum". And then her voice seemed to change and she said, "It's Islam". That didn't mean anything to me at the time.

'We said goodbye to each other and we hung up and I didn't hear from Ashlee again.'

Ms Brown said she was convinced the lack of subsequent contact with Ashlee was solely down to her religious conversion and Rannaf controlling his wife. 'I believe Islam killed my daughter,' the 46-year-old said.

'If I could have taken that phone call back I would have not have given her my blessing. I would have said "No, sorry love".

Police initially charged Naddaf with assault and false imprisonment, after paramedics found her dead in the couple's home at Craigieburn, in Melbourne's north, on November 6, 2016.

They later accused Naddaf of killing his wife, but then prosecutors agreed to let him plead guilty to manslaughter. 


Italy turns away ITALIAN ship from its ports because it had rescued migrants as anti-migrant minister condemns 'do-gooders'

Italy has turned away an Italian ship from its ports because it had rescued migrants - as the country's anti-migrant interior minister blasted 'do-gooders.'

A commercial ship that supplies oil platforms off the coast of Libya pulled 66 migrants to safety on Monday, but it was told not to bring them to Italy, an Interior Ministry source said.

Italy was sticking to a hardline policy on new arrivals as it presses European allies to share the burden of hosting an influx of displaced people.

Transport Minister Danilo Toninelli, who oversees the coast guard and the country's ports, said the migrants had been transferred to an Italian coast guard vessel on Tuesday after some of them threatened the lives of the Italian crew.

They will be brought to Italy, one source said, though the interior ministry source would not confirm.

The commercial ship picked up the migrants though it had been told Libyan patrol boats were coming to retrieve them, the interior ministry source said.

Meanwhile,  Italy's hard-line, anti-migrant interior minister Matteo Salvini challenged the 'do-gooders' who want to open Italy's ports to migrants to visit the San Ferdinando slum in Reggio Calabria.

He vowed to enforce only 'limited, controlled and qualified' immigration as he toured a crime-laden migrant shantytown in the southern Calabria region.

There, he heard of shameless farmers exploiting migrant workers and women being forced into prostitution to get by. Last month, a migrant was killed in San Ferdinando by his former boss.

'The Libyan ports are more than safe and as minister I can guarantee you that the good times are over for the traffickers,' Salvini added during a visit to a camp for migrant fruit and vegetable pickers in the southern region of Calabria.

Salvini has launched a crackdown on migration, closing Italy's ports to aid groups that rescue migrants and vowing to renegotiate the terms of European missions in the Mediterranean to prevent migrants from disembarking in Italy.

The move comes two days before a meeting of European interior ministers in the Austrian city of Innsbruck, where German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer wants his far-right Italian counterpart to agree to take back migrants who arrive at its borders from Italy.

'What is certain is that for Italy there is no plan to take back who has gone abroad. It's the last thing that could happen,' Salvini said in an interview with Il Messaggero newspaper.

'If the Germans and the Austrians are thinking only about sending migrants back to us, helping us close the external borders first would be a step forward,' he said.

Chancellor Angela Merkel's government teetered on the brink of collapse last week as Seehofer's Bavarian conservatives demanded a unilateral tightening of German border controls that she was prepared to concede only in the framework of a European agreement.

Italy's new government, which took office on June 1, has helped thrust immigration back on to the European agenda by closing its ports to humanitarian ships that rescue migrants off the coast of Libya, and it has so far refused to accept migrants sent back from the German border.


Thieves Find Riches in Golden State’s Prop 47

Many Californians had high hopes for Proposition 47, a ballot initiative passed in November 2014 with 60 percent voter approval. The measure reduced penalties for some crimes, including certain drug violations, and helped relieve overcrowding in state prisons.

But while Prop 47 succeeded in meeting those objectives, it also triggered a wave of “smash-and-grab” motor-vehicle burglaries and a surge of retail shopliftings. For this reason, Prop 47 has earned the dishonor of receiving Independent Institute’s fifth California Golden Fleece® Award, recognition given quarterly to state or local government programs or laws that swindle taxpayers or break the public trust.

By raising the monetary threshold for a felony theft to $950 in property value, up from $500 before the measure passed, Prop 47 lowered thieves’ expected cost of criminal violations. Thus, “Prop 47 de-prioritizes justice for California residents and businesses, who are now increasingly victims of vandals and thieves operating with near impunity,” writes Independent Institute Senior Fellow Lawrence J. McQuillan, in his new report, California Property Crime Surge Is Unintended Consequence of Proposition 47.

After delving into the damage caused by Prop 47, the report issues several recommendations. These include lowering the threshold for a felony to property valued at closer to the pre-Prop-47 amount of $500. Also, when sentencing a thief, courts should be allowed to consider the total combined value of all stolen property across multiple incidents. Law enforcement should make property crimes a higher priority, pursuing arrests even for small crimes, so that track records of criminal activity are established.

Ultimately, people will help by reporting more crimes when they gain more confidence that law enforcement is taking the problem more seriously. Residents and businesses should also invest more in security technology and use social media to monitor and discourage criminal activity. “Property crimes produce true victims, McQuillan writes. “Californians deserve a legal system that provides true justice.”



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here


No comments: