Poverty… politics.. and a bereft economic system…
If we keep electing the same old people from the same old parties, then we will continue to get the same old shit. And worse we will be something a dude named Malcolm once called a bunch of political chumps. Chumps because we keep falling for the lines when the politicians come around with a hand full of gimme and a mouth full of much obliged while we get that same old shit.
Tired of being a political chump?
Then refuse to ever vote for another member of either the elephant or the donkey parties unless there is one hell of an extraordinary reason to do so. Like a candidate who is for single payer health care system for all Americans from the day they come onto this planet… for $15 or more minimum wage… for no cost college education… for real and fair housing for all people … for complete workers’ rights… then and only then should a candidate from the so-called established parties… elephants and donkeys… get any votes from any of we the peoples.
I keep hearing about how peeps are really pissed about how their tax money is spent. I heard one dude saying he is pissed off his …and everyone else’s… tax money has to be spent so damn much to help the poor… that he is tired of supporting the poor… that they need to get off their asses and do something to help themselves.
Then when some rabble rousing muckraking sumnbitch… like little old me… is denigrating congress and how they make a minimum of $174,000 a year with all sorts of extra benefits thrown in… how they can retain their private careers… in effect have a second job while they are supposed to be working for we the people… and… other business interests while they serve as congresspeople.
Yes, the pay from that “other job” is limited to about $26,000 or so but there is no limit on the amount of “non-salary income” they can get from profits derived from investments and/or corporate dividends… and… they get taxpayer paid matching 5% contributions to their Congressional 401k plans… that 5% usually surpassing what many of we the people make in a year.
Right. Congressman’s 401k’s carry a matching rate of 5 percent, which is more than most “normal” people make.
By the way how the hell did your 401 do this year? How much did your employer match your contribution? And, that’s if ya’ll even got a 401… sometimes every little extra penny from that paycheck is needed elsewhere maybe?
… and how they… the congresspeeps… have one of the most phenomenal retirement/pension plans around…
About these congressional pension plans… did ya’ll know that as of 2016 according to the Congressional Research Service (as of 10/13) 413 retired Members of Congress were receiving federal pensions based fully or in part on their congressional service as of Oct. 1, 2006. Of this number, 290 had retired under CSRS and were receiving an average annual pension of $60,972. A total of 123 Members had retired with service under both CSRS and FERS or with service under FERS only. Their average annual pension was $35,952 in 2006. (Congresspeeps elected since 1984 are covered by the Federal Employees’ Retirement System aka FERS. Those elected prior to 1984 were covered by the Civil Service Retirement System aka CSRS. In 1984 all members were given the option of remaining with CSRS or switching to FERS.)
Any one of ya’ll walking around with a nice pension plan like that? Or… are most ya’ll depending upon whatever meager savings and maybe some IRA from work that you might have and then social security of about $15,000? That is if the elephants don’t rape and gut it before ya’ll retire.
And that same dude who is pissing and moaning about having his damn tax dollars going to “pay for the poor” and others who need maybe some food stamps to help feed their families says… “They earn that money. They earn all them extra benefits.”
The chutzpah… the fucking balls to say they earned that money. Ex… fucking… cuse me? Run that by me one more time.
Exactly how did they “earn” all that money… when is the last time they did anything to really help anyone’s ass outside of a small circle of friends? When is the last time congress all stood up as one and said…
Ya know… the people of America need to catch up to the rest of the industrialized countries of the world and have full health coverage. They should get… from jump street… at least 20 vacation days a year from their jobs. They should get paid family leave when needed. They should get affordable day care… or better yet… we should create a law that requires that employers pay living wages so that dad or mom can stay at home and be a responsible parent instead of needing to juggle their child rearing jobs with their need for both of them to have “paying” jobs so they can have their daily bread and provide for their family’s welfare. So, they can have a lot of stuff that they presently don’t get that many other countries have been giving their citizens for years and year and years. Stuff that we so-called lawmakers have been denying to them while we look after our fellow millionaire’s welfare… them and their 1% cronies… instead of theirs.
(FYI… according to New York times 2015 article in 2015… “The median net worth of a member of Congress was $1.03 million in 2013, compared with $56,355 for the average American household.” And… in 2014 Opensecrets.org reported that “Of 534 current members of Congress, at least 268 had an average net worth of $1 million or more in 2012.”)
Do you ever think why the poor is poor? Laziness ain’t the damn reason, either.
Chronic violence carries hazards for the mind, as well as the body. “Simply put,” writes Princeton sociologist Douglas Massey, “people who are exposed to high levels of stress over a prolonged period of time are at risk of having their brains rewired in a way that leaves them with fewer cognitive resources to work.”
Or as Globlaissues.org one said (2014) “… poorest people will also have less access to health, education and other services. Problems of hunger, malnutrition and disease afflict the poorest in society. The poorest are also typically marginalized from society and have little representation or voice in public and political debates, making it even harder to escape poverty.”
Add in present day American society’s large numbers of single-parent households who find it even more difficult providing for childcare and with their so-called “living income”… the continuation of discrimination and racism that is still real and thriving in America, to this very day despite legislation that has outlawed these practices… people still are subjected to forms of segrgation that keep alive urban ghettos… prevented from having certain jobs because of racism, sexism, and simply because of a failure to be able to be “educated enough.”
Where chronic poverty, environmental contamination (for example Detroit) and violence (especially gun violence) is the rule of the day rather than the exception and causes people to be constantly stressed to the point where they can find it hard, if not impossible, to function mentally as well as physically.
They are poor because they were never given a to work at a decent job because they are to busy trying to just live and keep on keeping on keeping on.
But… beyond all that the main reason for poverty is the system that we live within…
Allan G. Johnson (nationally recognized sociologist, nonfiction author, novelist, and public speaker best known for his work on issues of privilege and oppression, especially in relation to gender and race) in his book “The Forest and the Trees Sociology as Life, Practice, and Promise” once s wrote that “The system we have for producing and distributing wealth is capitalist. It is organized in ways that allow a small elite to control most of the capital… factories, machinery, tools… used to produce wealth. This encourages the accumulation of wealth and income by the elite and regularly makes heroes of those who are most successful at it… such as Microsoft’s Bill Gates.”
The 1/17 issue of the NY Daily News wrote that 8 men control more wealth of the world than half of the world… or about 3.6 billion people. Just three years ago that number was 85 people controlled all of that wealth and then last year it was 62 people. Now it is 8… or… as the News puts it the .000000001%.
Johnson further wrote… “It also leaves a relatively small portion of the total of income and wealth to be divided among the rest of the population. With a majority of the people competing over what’s left to them by the elite, it’s inevitable that a substantial number of people are going to wind up on the short end and living in poverty or with the fear of it much of the time.”
Johnson adds that “Even having a full-time job is no guarantee of a decent living, which is why so many families depend on the earnings of two or more adults just to make ends meet. All of this is made possible by the simple fact that in a capitalist system most people neither own nor control any means of producing a living without working for someone else.”
Jonson draws an analogy that illustrates his thinking…
He says, “Imagine for a moment that income is distributed according to the results of a footrace. All of the income in the United States for each year is put into a giant pool and we hold a race to determine who gets what. The fastest fifth of the population gets 48 percent of the income to divide up, the next fastest fifth splits 23 percent, the next fastest fifth gets 15 percent, the next fifth 10 percent, and the slowest fifth divides 4 percent. The result would be an unequal distribution of income, with each person in the fastest fifth getting nine times as much money as each person in the slowest fifth, which is what the actual distribution of income in the United States looks like… there has to be a bottom fifth so long as the system is organized as it is. Learning to run faster may keep you or me out of poverty, but it won’t get rid of poverty itself. To do that, we have to change the system along with how people participate in it.”
He further concludes… “We (find) social solutions that take into account how economic and other systems really work. We also have to identify the paths of least resistance that produce the same patterns and problems year after year. This means that capitalism can no longer occupy its near-sacred status that holds it immune from criticism. It may mean that capitalism is in some ways incompatible with a just society in which the excessive well-being of some does not require the misery of so many others. It won’t be easy to face up to such possibilities, but if we don’t, we will guarantee poverty its future and all the conflict and suffering that go with it.”
Allow me a moment to digress for a bit… as the lawyer told the judge… with your permission, I’ll tie it all in…
Georgia Rep. John Lewis has declared he will not attend President-elect Trumpty Dumpty’s inauguration. Lewis is one of the few lions left from the civil rights era. He marched shoulder to shoulder with Martin Luther King Jr. He stood with King as he delivered his “I have a dream” speech. He stood against racism and had his head beaten in by cops while demonstrating in Selma, Alabama in 1965. He is a man of principle, conviction and courage. He made a personal choice to boycott an event he felt he should not give credence to… he decided to protest.
And… once again got disrespected and vilified for his decision.
White folk… from Trumpty himself… to a third rate comedian… Rob Schneider… to man folks in-between … such as high-level Gwinnet County Board member Tommy Hunter… have scoured Lewis for his declaration.
Trumpty tweeted (surprise, surprise, surprise) … “John Lewis should spend more time on fixing and helping his district, which is in horrible shape and falling apart (not to mention crime infested) rather than falsely complaining about the election results.”
Then tweeted… “All talk, talk, talk — no action or results. Sad!”
The later in the day tweeted… “Congressman John Lewis should finally focus on the burning and crime infested inner-cities of the U.S. I can use all the help I can get!”
That last part… that he could use all the help he could get? The first step to understanding you have a problem is admitting it.
Schneider said … who also used twitter to broadcast his “words of enlightenment” … “Rep. Lewis. You are a great person. But Dr. King didn’t give in to his anger or his hurt. That is how he accomplished & won Civil Rights.”
I believe it was Mark Twain who once said (although it has been attributed to many others including Abraham Lincoln) “It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.” Or as I was wont to say in my much younger and very undiplomatic days… “If ya don’t know what the hell you’re talking about then shut the fuck up!”
Schneider should follow this advice because he obviously knows very little about Dr. King and lots less about Rep. Lewis.
But it is Tommy-boy Hunter that offered this pièce de résistance…
“John Lewis is a racist pig. There ain’t one political pundit that didn’t say on November 9 that this would be Demonrats (sic) EXACT response to Trump winning. Like I heard Rush, I believe say, Demonrats DO NOT live in reality. They believe polls were right and THE REAL VOTES were wrong. What a bunch of idiots.”
On Sunday, Hunter reportedly followed up with a second post that alleged that “Lewis’ district is drawn to keep him in power. His wins are all illegitimate.”
Hunter later deleted that tweet as well as another ignorant… check that… stupidass tweet and then told the Journal-Constitution that the “racist pig” remark was “probably an overreaction out of aggravation.”
No!!!! Really? He thinks that might be the case?
He further told the newspaper, “While I am grateful for what the Congressman did in Selma and other times during the civil rights movement, you get respect by showing respect. He is using his fame as a way to continually divide the races and in this case standing on the very much unsubstantiated claim that the guy I voted for (Trump) is racist and only won because of Russians hacking the election…which, of course, we all know didn’t occur.”
Whether anyone agrees with Lewis’ decision… he made it and he stands by it and he does not deserve to be disrespected in any manner whatsoever whether lightly or patently racist.
But racist animosity is nothing new to Lewis… nothing that he or Dr. King had not felt before.
Before King was murdered in 1967 he had decided to step up his war against discrimination to include a war against poverty and war that would be inclusive of all people… all of the so-called races… all ethnicities…
On April 4, 1967, King officially joined the anti-war movement when he spoke at New York’s Riverside Church and said, “The greatest purveyor of violence in the world: My own Government, I cannot be Silent.”
He also said that America must lead an international crusade against “poverty, racism, and militarism.”
President Lyndon Johnson supposedly t told his in-crowd… “What is that goddamned nigger preacher doing to me?”
The head of the FBI… J. Edgar Hoover… who had been bent of destroying King since at least day one called King “a traitor to his country and to his race.”
King’s allies… people from the National Urban League and the NAACP… told him he should step down from his leadership role and being a spokesperson for the civil rights movement… that some politics and social stands don’t mix with civil rights… that he was harming and hindering the civil rights movement in America.
King answered by saying… “A time comes when silence is betrayal.”
In Martin Luther King, Jr.’s last prominent address… “Where Do We Go From Here?” … to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (1967) he said “… one day we must ask the question, why are there forty million poor people in America? And when you begin to ask that question, you are raising questions about the economic system, about a broader distribution of wealth. When you ask that question, you begin to question the capitalistic economy. And I’m simply saying that more and more, we’ve got to begin to ask questions about the whole society…”
He also said in that speech… “John Kenneth Galbraith said that a guaranteed annual income could be done for about twenty billion dollars a year. And I say to you today, that if our nation can spend thirty-five billion dollars a year to fight an unjust, evil war in Vietnam, and twenty billion dollars to put a man on the moon, it can spend billions of dollars to put God’s children on their own two feet right here on earth.” And I say imagine that…
So what has changed in the last 50 years? Why are there poor people? Why is there still so much rampant poverty? Why is wealth being consolidated in fewer and fewer hands?
Maybe we ought to look at the way life is being conducted in this world… the system that is being foisted upon us all and how it’s being preached to us that this is the way it has always been and just stay the course and sooner or later it will get better.
Who’s is shucking whom?
Maybe we should look in the mirror and say “Damn… who is that political chump?
And this just in…
Hey… guess what?
The Affordable Care Act (ACA)… or Obamacare… is popular. And it is real damn popular with plenty of peeps who voted for Trumpty Dumpty. AND… they really don’t want it repealed.
Senate elephants just recently narrowly passed through a resolution calling for the repeal of six key components of the ACA. Then the news came out that House elephants have been instructed to bring forward a repeal bill by January 27.
These actions would then set the stage for the newly installed president Trumpty and both houses of Congress to start dismantling undo Obama’s signature healthcare legislation within Trump’s first 100 days as president.
But when word got out there was an explosion of tweets heard round the country… tweets had a similar theme of “what the fuck?”
@realDonaldTrump how can you get rid of ACA without any replacement? I voted for you and have expensive preexisting conditions.
@realDonaldTrump I voted for you. Why aren’t Republicans fighting harder to keep pre-existing conditions?
@realDonaldTrump You d-bag. Your making America great again by killing affordable healthcare? Regretting that I voted for you already.
@realDonaldTrump Say It AINT SO, Repealing the 26 year old rule and preexisting condition. I voted for you you said you were keeping laws
@realDonaldTrump I voted for you. I have Crohn’s and private insurance. I’m 61. I must have preexisting conditions in my insurance plan.”
Twitter user @jenworkmail38 tweeted that she too voted for Trumpty but that its now “… back to a choice between rent & insurance again now that I know I have serious health issues? Voted for you, now worried.”
Be careful what you wish for…
…. you may damn well get it…
Another thousand words….
This week’s gratuitous pictures…
Emily DiDonato (25) is an American model
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