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The real “weapon of mass destruction” is poverty

July 12, 2013 in Hunger, Is Poverty a Forgotten Issue?, Poverty

In the US, the more poor there are, the easier it is for lawmakers to pass bills that promote corporate greed and million dollar bonuses, while ignoring gross negligence when it comes to fiscal responsibility. The same is true in other nations. The more a person struggles with poverty, the more they are often marginalized from society and given little voice or representation in larger political debates and the law-making that affect their state of wealth.  You would think the would rise up against the ruling class since they out number them, but it doesn’t work that way until perhaps they are at starvation’s gate which was the case with the French people when they stormed the gates of the Bastille fortress-prison in 1790.  By the way Bastille Day, a national holiday in France is this Sunday, May 14 - La Fête Nationale.  Shortly after the storming of the Bastille, on August 4, 1790 feudalism was abolished and on 26 August, the Declaration of the Rights of man and of the citizens  proclaimed.

Those running today’s corporations are more like slave owners than fair, contributing members of society.

If a CEO gets paid an average of $7000 an hour, or 350 times his or her workers, it could be said that those running our corporations are more like slave owners than fair, contributing members of society. For example, the CEO of Google, Eric Schmidt has a total annual compensation of just under $101 million, which breaks down to about $48,548 per hour, or about $809 per minute. It isn’t laziness that has caused worldwide poverty, it is the disenfranchisement of millions through the perpetuation of corporate greed.  [Source:  Waking Times - Poverty as a Weapon of Mass Destruction and the Economic Policies that loaded the chamber. ]

Proclaim the Queen!

    There was Marie Antoinette and then there are the House Republicans

    July 12, 2013 in Class War, Economy, Hunger, Is Poverty a Forgotten Issue?, Poverty

    In an extreme, out-of-touch vote, House Republicans voted on a Farm BillThursday that removed nutrition programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).  Every Democrat and a dozen Republicans voted against the bill.  This vote came after a previous vote on the full farm bill failed, despite including significant cuts to SNAP.  The Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) wing of the Republican Party wants massive cuts to the SNAP program, with the Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) budget proposing more than $100 billion in cuts over a decade.

    If nothing else this should spur cities to continue strengthening their local markets by promoting urban agriculture because if this is not an example of how Washington is ignorant of us on Main Street, I don’t know what it will take.  Instead of protesting them, our time might be better spent in working with our local government leaders to strengthen and rebuild our local economies and start promoting the concept of the city-state model for the USA  because it is more than obvious that national and state elected officials have failed us and continue to fail us.

    TWO PERSPECTIVES OF ELITISM FROM THE ARISTOCRACY

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      More on Reid Ribble’s comments about hunger

      June 20, 2013 in Hunger, Poverty

      Although a representative of Wisconsin, apparently Mr. Ribble considers himself an authority on hunger and those who “deserve” food assistance in Oklahoma:    Reid Ribble*, R-Wis., said food stamp enrollment has continued to grow even though the economy has been recovering for the past few years. In Oklahoma, there were about 613,000 recipients in March — 16 percent of the population.  Apparently Mr. Ribble doesn’t realize that  hunger patterns differ all over the USA.

      First of all, as mentioned in a previous post, it is highly debatable as to whether the economy is improving.  Most reports indicate that the vast majority of jobs trickling in are low wage jobs that do not pay a living wage.

      Over 675,000 Oklahomans are at risk of going hungry every day.  Of households experiencing hunger, less than 20 percent are classified as unemployed.  (So what does that tell you about jobs that don’t pay a living wage.)   In Oklahoma, the number of children who struggle with hunger recently jumped from 18 percent of all children to 26 percent.  [SOURCE]

      TEXAS IS EVEN WORSE OFF THAN OKLAHOMA FOR FOOD INSECURITY.  20% OF TEXAS ARE FOOD INSECURE.

      According to a new study (June 10, 2013) by hunger-relief charity Feeding America, nearly 20 percent of Texans are food insecure, the condition of being unable to provide adequate food for a healthy life for all members of a household due to lack of money or other resources.

      The number of food insecure grows even higher with regard to food insecurity rates of children, which in Texas is 27.6 percent, or 5.2 percent above the national average of 22.4 percent, according to the study.

      Collin County: 14.7 percent food insecurity, 18 percent food insecurity in children  (NOTE: Collin County is the second most wealthy county in the state of Texas.)

      Dallas County: 20.6 percent food insecurity, 26.6 percent food insecurity in children

      Proclaim the Queen!

        The people we send to Washington need to be replaced with real Americans.

        June 20, 2013 in Class War, Hunger, Is Poverty a Forgotten Issue?, Poverty

        These people that we continue to send to Washington year after year are so vile and evil and greedy they no longer even care how they look to the rest of us.  One piece of legislation after the next is nothing but another big “F you” to the American people–especially to those who can least afford it.   When are the American people going to wake up?   

        A proposal yesterday to restore the $2 billion to food stamp spending failed 234-188, with nearly all Democrats in support and most Republicans in opposition.  The U.S. government spends $2 billion a week on aid to a “corrupt” government in Afghanistan and the majority of those in our House of Representatives would end nutrition assistance to 2 million people and 200,000 children who get subsidized meals at their schools.  That is nothing short of disgusting–particularly when one considers that many of the people voting to take food out of the mouths of need American children personally benefit with hundreds of thousands of dollars from this same farm bill. Utterly disgusting!

        Reid Ribble*, R-Wis., said food stamp enrollment has continued to grow even though the economy has been recovering for the past few years. In Oklahoma, there were about 613,000 recipients in March — 16 percent of the population.

        First of all every statistic out there is telling us that the economy is recovering at a snail’s pace AND furthermore, the majority of the jobs are low-wage jobs such as those offered by Walmart, other retail and fast-food chains .  Walmart does not pay its employees a living wage and thus taxpayers must supplement the wages chains like Walmart don’t pay with food stamps so that working people are able to put food on the table for their families.  Less needs to be going to the shareholder/investors/owners and more to the people who produce the goods and deliver the services.

        These people that we send to Washington DC are, by an overwhelming majority, members of the investor class.  They don’t earn their bulk of their annual income with money paid to them by their salary as do the majority of Americans.  Instead, these people, the majority of whom are millionaires, earn their income through their investments, much of which was made possible by inherited wealth.Thus they do not represent the majority of Americans.

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        *Iflizwerequeen comments on Reid Ribble

        To become self-sufficient, Ribble also wants to expand the usage of both renewable and fossil fuels, so that the U.S. will not rely too much on any single source or foreign region. In June 2012, he voted for the Domestic Energy and Jobs Act, which would increase oil and gas drilling in the U.S., and decrease environmental restrictions:

        Representative Ribble and people like him are either dumber than a rock, or they think the majority of Americans are dumber than a rock.  Increased drilling in the USA will not increase the “self-sufficiency” of the USA and make our national energy secure.  It would make the Koch brothers and the Exxon-Mobil and BP investors more “self-sufficient”; however, as for securing our nation’s energy–that’s just another myth, another bill of goods sold to the American people by jackasses like Ribble who are either stupid or outright liars.  Oil and gas are sold on the international market to the highest bidder.  Just because these oil companies take the oil from our land, a natural resource that should belong to all the people of the USA,  it does not follow that this oil will be used by the citizens of the USA.  In fact, most of this oil would be shipped overseas to China.

        As for removing environmental laws regarding drilling for fossil fuels.  Every member of Congress should be required at their own expense to travel up to the tar sands site in Canada and look at that devastation.  Thousands and thousands of ruined acreage.  Holding ponds of polluted water, some as large as nine thousands acres.  This water is no longer fit for human or animal use–nor will it be for generations to come.  It is incredible the amount of water that the oil and gas industry have ruined and continue to ruin at an alarming rate.  The fact that we have even one person like Ribble who want to speed up this ruination is bad enough, but we have several hundred of them in Washington.  If you count the oil and gas lobbyists, then the number rises even higher to over a thousand such jerks who don’t give a damn about much more than their own personal worth.

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        Another Congressional Skunk – Stephen Fincher

        Representative Stephen Fincher (R-TN) over the past 10 years has taken almost $4 million in Farm subsidies.  And do you believe it!  This lowdown skunk has the nerve to talk about “taking other people’s money.”  Think Progress reported that Rep. Stephen Fincher ranted against food aid for poor Americans included in the Farm Bill during last week’s House Agricultural Committee debate.  Specifically, Fincher accused the government of stealing “other people’s money.

        While Fincher interprets food assistance for the needy as “stealing,” he has supported a proposal to expand crop insurance by $9 billion over the next 10 years.

        You see, Rep. Fincher is the second most heavily subsidized farmer in Congress and one of the largest subsidy recipients in Tennessee history.  USDA data collected in the EWG’s 2013 farm subsidy database shows that Fincher collected a staggering $3.48 million in “our” money from 1999 to 2012.

        Rep Fincher even thumped the Bible to make his points as to why the poor deserve nothing.  READ MORE

        The ONLY way that elections of people like Ribble and Fincher can be explained is ignorant Party Brand voter willful blindness  combined with a total unwillingness to look at the facts, the history, the records of these men, because neither of them represent the best interests of the majority of Americans.

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        NOTE:  Democrats in the House do tend to be more progressive and representative of the majority.  However, in the Senate, there is little difference between the Democrats or Republicans.

        In the Senate the Democrats are in the majority and yet no less than 28 of them voted on May 21 to reject an amendment by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N,Y., that would block a 10-year, $4.1 billion cut to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (also known as SNAP or the food stamp program) that was included in the farm bill that is now up for reauthorization. Twenty-eight Democrats sided with all 42 Senate Republicans in opposing this amendment, which if passed would have prevented thousands of low-incomehouseholds from losing as much as $75 a month in benefits.

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        Judging from some of the comments regarding these votes against the poor, it looks like at least some voters are waking up.

        “I have a neighbor whose only income is Social Security, less than $5000 a year. He lives alone, and now receives food stamps after much encouragement by his friends. The neighbor I mention is not even the only one I know nor even the neediest. I live in a poor rural county. Every one of those 28 Democrats NEEDS to leave Washington, and get out here and find out what is going on in this country. Then they need to vote to cut their own office budgets in order to contribute to those that need help in this country. I’m sick and tired of the privileged going about their business without any sacrifice on their own part, who create sacrifices for us to manage. Let them manage.”

        Disgusting! 28 Dem Senators vote to CUT Food Stamps (aka SNAP)… Any voter who still equates the Democrats with liberalism needs to pay a lot more attention… Nowadays the two parties can best be described as reactionary (GOP) and callously conservative (Dem).”

        Proclaim the Queen!

          Why are we obese as a nation? Three main reasons: easy, habit and economics

          June 6, 2013 in Economy, Poverty, Urban Agriculture

          A Facebook friend of mine from Egypt that I met online during the Arab Spring posted the following graphic.  This is one more reason why we should start growing as much of our food as possible in our yards and on our decks.  The more of it there is, the cheaper and more available it becomes.  Economics are definitely a huge part of the picture.  Healthier food choices (unless we grow our own) are definitely more expensive.  Then there is habit that has developed some bad standards of taste for our palates that need to be outdone.  As a nation we love sweet.  Then there is easy.  We want the food right there where we can grab it and unconsciously stuff it into our mouths as we drive down the highway on our way to NEXT.

          We need to stop and think.

          Proclaim the Queen!

            Regarding those who are against raising the minimum wage.

            May 30, 2013 in Class War, Economy, Labor Struggles, Poverty

            First of all, they are all without an exception, members of the investor class.  The overwhelming majority of the American people agree that minimum wage should be raised.

            Second of all, they are uninformed since raising the minimum wage always improves the economy.  If they weren’t so damned selfish and greedy they would not be blinded to this.  Unlike the investor class, people who work for a living will almost immediately, due in part to their financial circumstances, put that money into circulation where as the investor takes it out of circulation–often they even take it out of the country.  Recently the city of San Jose raised their minimum wage to $10 an hour and economist now estimate that will add $70 million dollars to the local economy there.

            But what REALLY gets me are the total hypocrites who argue against raising the minimum wage on the grounds that it would hurt the poor people.

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              Handouts for the wealthy don’t stop many of these people from condemning the poor.

              May 22, 2013 in Class War, Economy, Hunger, Local, Poverty, The Rich


              Just on the heels of my own local government giving away almost a million dollars in tax revenue and taxpayer money to wealthy businesses and elite areas of my community last night,  I read of similar antics carried out yesterday in the US House of Representatives.  This is the kind of “democracy” you get when voters stay home.

              Think Progress reported that Rep. Stephen Fincher ranted against food aid for poor Americans included in the Farm Bill during last week’s House Agricultural Committee debate.  Specifically, Fincher accused the government of stealing “other people’s money.  Funding for he Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) has already been decimated in both the House and Senate versions the Farm Bill, cutting off nearly 2 million working families, children and seniors from food assistance.

              But for many like Fincher, they have a double standard going for the values.  Margaret Heffernan would call it “willful blindness.”  For you see, while Fincher interprets food assistance for the needy as “stealing,” he has supported a proposal to expand crop insurance by $9 billion over the next 10 years.

              You see, Rep. Fincher is the second most heavily subsidized farmer in Congress and one of the largest subsidy recipients in Tennessee history.  USDA data collected in the EWG’s 2013 farm subside database shows that Fincher collected a staggering $3.48 million in “our” money from 1999 to 2012.

              Read all the Details.  Rep Fincher even thumped the Bible to make his points as to why the poor deserve nothing.

              Proclaim the Queen!

                Yes we are our brothers and sisters keepers

                May 21, 2013 in Economics and Ideology, Local, Poverty

                And yes that is our responsibility as individuals and as members of bodies of local, state and national governments as well as those who sit in the board rooms and in the executive offices of global corporations.  It is not the 1% first.  It is the majority and what serves their greater good first.  It is jobs that pay living wages for all who are willing to work 40 hours a week–even if paying those living wages means that wealthy investors will get smaller dividends.  It is figuring out a way to ensure that all Americans–not just some of us–have access to the same quality of healthcare when we get sick.

                But there are some it would seem who want to portray Americans with these simple and reasonable requests for equality as lazy moochers. It’s time for the rest of us to rise up and drown out the voices of the few who continue to rule over our democracy.  This can only begin at the local level with citizens attending their local city council meetings and speaking by saying no when appropriate and by saying yes when appropriate because it seems that many members of local government all the over USA are confused as to how to represent the majority in their communities.

                Join me tonight at the Garland City Council meeting at 7 pm.  There are a lot of things at stake–not just your money, but also your quality of life.

                We must all become more like the Band of Sisters and see not just the symptoms of injustice, but also the causes.  Then we must be willing to change them. In the 1960′s according to a YES Magazine review of Mary Fishman’s new documentary, Band of Sisters, American nuns eagerly took up the call to serve where there is greatest need.  ” . . .That work led them to seeing the causes, not just the symptoms, of injustice.

                Going out into the world brought more than just a change from the black and white nun’s habit to ordinary clothing. There were intellectual, emotional, and spiritual transformations too, as the numerous sisters interviewed in the film explain. Many of the interviewees are old enough to have experienced the changes of role and attitude over the decades since Vatican II. Their testimony gives this film authenticity and gentle authority.”  Below is a trailer for that film.

                Please, I ask that more of us start following their example.

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                  More on allowing the 2.5% to set local government priorities in Garland Texas

                  May 15, 2013 in Economics and Ideology, Labor Struggles, Local, Poverty


                  If you don’t vote then don’t bellyache to me when the 2% lead with their values–especially if you haven’t learned your lesson enough to start regularly attending the city council meetings twice a month.

                  For example, most of the 2% aren’t really that into public transportation.  They all have at least one car.  No I’m not taking about a 10 year old car that you can depend upon  most of the time.  I’m talking about a newer model car that you can always depend upon to start.  Thus they just don’t stop to think that  the majority of the population of Garland may not have a car they can depend on–in fact many of the citizens of Garland don’t even have a car. They depend on public transportation which in our city is DART.

                  Not that I’m promoting myself as the perfect model or leader of those who are economically worse off than I am. (Although I do have a 10 year old car, it does run most of the time.)  But I do have the advantage of being interested in others, talking to them, listening and hearing them; and I am willing to change my mind and allow others to remove my blinders–even if some of my natural inclinations are in the direction of a Missouri Mule.

                  The map you see up there with the Bus number 513 shows the bus that runs out to Firewheel Town Center where at least 200 people (likely more) work at low wage jobs, creating the multimillion dollar profits for many of the global chains located in Firewheel.  While talking to a young man at the Garland train station I learned that the bus stops running at 10PM and that people must walk literally miles after work to get to the nearest bus stop.  Many of the stores stay open until 10PM and some of them such as AMC are open long after 10PM.  Thus, in order to catch a bus home those who depend on public transportation must walk several miles to the nearest bus stop.

                  I mentioned this during a recent candidate forum to one of the candidates.  He just shrugged his shoulders and said that we can’t do anything about it because DART is a private company.  I guess he never heard of the Montgomery Alabama Bus boycott.  There is always a solution to any problem except perhaps death. The question becomes whether or not the majority will stand up.

                  Not having bus service for low-wage workers is a perfect example of “willful blindness”–a legal term and also the title of an interesting book written by Margaret Heffernan about a year after the BP spill.  Although the spill was not necessarily what prompted Ms. Heffernan to write her brilliant book, it was was drove me to purchase it as I spent a year prior after the BP spill which was 100% preventable asking myself:  ”How can people be so blind?  How can they care so little.”  Ms. Heffernan answered many of my questions for me. The book explores how willful blindness develops and then goes on to outline some of the mechanisms, structures and strategies that institutions and individuals can use to combat it.  I understand better how willful blindness occurs and more importantly for me, how I can also be guilty of it myself.

                  Here she is below discussing the value of disagreeing.  Most people instinctively avoid conflict, but as Margaret Heffernan shows us, good disagreement is central to progress. She illustrates (sometimes counterintuitively) how the best partners aren’t echo chambers — and how great research teams, relationships and businesses allow people to deeply disagree.

                  Proclaim the Queen!

                    The results for the majority under Margaret Thatcher

                    April 9, 2013 in Labor Struggles, Poverty

                    “Poverty sky-rocked during the Thatcher era–no surprise there, considering the intentional recessions and massive deindustrialization that made up her economic agenda–and that poverty never went back down, even as unemployment finally fell to pre-Thatcher levels during hte most recent economic boom.”

                    Read about the Woman Who Wrecked Great Britain

                    Pinochet visited Margaret for tea on more than one occasion.  Pinochet was a monster who, with the assistance of the CIA ousted a democratically elected president (Allende) and according to various reports and investigations under Pinochet’s command, 1,200–3,200 people were killed, up to 80,000 were interned,   and up to 30,000 were tortured by his regime including women and children.

                    In my opinion, Margaret Thatcher was also a monster and good riddance.

                    Proclaim the Queen!