Hate has no Place

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The recent events in this country have shown how divided we are as a community.  There is no place for hatred here.  On one side there is hatred, and on the other there is love for all.  There is no choice since love is the only choice.

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Let’s stop this by showing our love, building up our inclusive society and pushing back against hate.  We are one.

I Just Don’t Get It

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It seems like this country is simply going crazy.  There is more hatred being verbalized (and people being brutalized) all over.  I’m sure we’ve all seen the rants posted on social media of people verbally abusing others.  Where in the world is this hate coming from?  I simply cannot imagine anyone having the time in their lives to worry about the following:  where another person is from; what religion they choose to follow; what color someone else is; what gender they are; or what sexuality they practice.

Really, I’d like to know what is going on (or not going on) in the lives of these haters.  Seriously, how can they find the time to get involved in other people’s lives like this?  Don’t they have their own lives to worry about?  Don’t they also have to go to work, raise their children, worry about their loved ones?  How in the world do they have the time to worry about what other people are doing in their own private lives?

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And, the most important question of all – what the he** business is it of theirs anyway?  Really, is a medical doctor from India taking their job away?  Is a migrant worker who earns a living picking produce taking their job away?  Is the very fact that someone worships another “god” making their “god” smaller?  Does a different skin tone change their skin tone?  Does the love that someone has for another person change the love they have for their loved ones?  What difference does it make?  I just don’t get it.

I’ve heard all the “arguments” that people try to use to defend their hatred, and seriously they are simply and completely flawed.  Not to mention illogical.  I simply cannot imagine ever having the time or the inclination to stick my nose into something that is just not my business.  If you understand this, please explain it to me.

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Compassion is a Verb

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Compassion is important to me.  It should be important to all of us.  Compassion is what religion is supposed to be about.  “Do unto others as you would have done unto you.”  Is one of the most quoted statements from the Bible.  Somehow, we have lost whatever compassion we had as a country.  The reason I’m saying this is specifically related to the new TrumpCare Bill that is in Congress.  This bill will take insurance away from the very people who need it.  Anyone who is older, or has pre-existing conditions will lose their health care.  Well, if they don’t want to eat, or have a place to live, they might be able to pay their premiums.  Otherwise, those premiums will be too big to pay.

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Where is the compassion?  I look around me and I don’t see any.  Disabled people are blithely told to “just get a job”.  When was the last time you saw a blind or deaf person in your office?  How about the elderly?  Have you seen many 95-year-old delivery people, or an 85-year-old working at Walmart?  No, neither have I.  Even though this bill has “died”, they are still looking to simply get rid of the ACA, leaving millions of people without healthcare.

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It’s called compassion.  Find some, use some.  Be the person you were meant to be.  Compassion.  One day you will need it.  When you do, will it  be there?

What is Wage Theft, and Are You a Victim?

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Wage theft commonly refers to workers illegally not being paid their full wages.  Usually this refers to low-wage workers who are denied full pay for a variety of reasons.  Some of these include:  refusing to pay the legal minimum per hour wage, not paying for all hours worked and/or not paying over-time pay.  This is a wide-spread problem, and costs the workers in the U.S. approximately $8 billion per year.  Obviously, this is another social issue that effects the poor more than others, since earning a minimum wage is not really a sustainable wage.  To steal from people like this is particularly nasty.

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However, there is another kind of wage theft that also happens.  Frequently people are told that their health insurance costs a certain amount and that amount is withheld from their paychecks by their employer to pay their portion of the health insurance costs, only to find out later that what was being withdrawn was a higher amount than the insurance actually cost.  This is particularly hard to prove, since (at least in my state) the insurance company will decline to tell you how much your employer-offered health insurance actually costs.

Another type of wage theft is when a “salaried” employee routinely works many hours of overtime, but is not paid because they are considered “salaried”.  The usual answer for not paying salaried workers is that they will be “given” the same number of hours as extra time off.  However, trying to receive any of that promised time off is difficult, to say the least.

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This whole concept is particularly evil, since you have a right to be paid for the work that you do, and you should have the right to find out exactly how much your own health insurance costs.  Has any of this happened to you or to anyone you know?  If so, let me know in the comments below.  I’ve included some links below that give you more information regarding this issue.

http://www.epi.org/publication/employers-steal-billions-from-workers-paychecks-each-year-survey-data-show-millions-of-workers-are-paid-less-than-the-minimum-wage-at-significant-cost-to-taxpayers-and-state-economies/?utm_source=Economic+Policy+Institute&utm_campaign=f46b5aacc2-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_05_17&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_e7c5826c50-f46b5aacc2-58297025&mc_cid=f46b5aacc2&mc_eid=d8e2a8427b

http://www.nclnet.org/wage_theft_six_common_methods

 

“Fight Club”- FOAK and What it Means

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The Southern Poverty Law Center tracks such things as hate crimes, terrorism, and white supremacists.  They are a well-respected organization and committed to dealing with facts.  As most of us know, there are a lot of white supremacist organizations throughout the U.S.  What a lot of people don’t know, is that there is a lot of talk within these organizations about military operations against various groups of U.S. citizens.  All a person has to do is look at some recent events to see that this is true.

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However, the specific issue at hand is the formation of a new group, by Kyle Chapman (I am leaving a link below where you can see who and what Kyle Chapman is) which will be a “highly masculine” group called the Fraternal Order of Alt-Knights (otherwise known as FOAK’s) which is going to be formed for the express purpose to “bring the fight to the streets”.  Recently we have seen an uptick in the violence that protestors are being met with, not only from the police, but also from these groups of the extreme right-wing.

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I am not going to regurgitate the links that I’ve provided.  Instead I am encouraging you to read them, and educate yourself.  With the fear of being seen as a lunatic conspiracy theorist, my thoughts are leading to this:  What if, with all the new violence, the President declares Military Rule, Democracy is suspended and we have a dictator?  I know, it sounds insane, however, don’t these various groups vowing to “fight” against protestors (and others) sound a lot like the Nazi Brown Shirts?  Let me know what you think.

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http://nypost.com/2017/04/27/alt-right-group-tries-to-build-small-street-army/

https://www.adl.org/education/resources/reports/state-of-white-supremacy

http://www.salon.com/2017/03/24/white-supremacist-who-traveled-to-new-york-to-murder-black-men-followed-extremist-racist-online-groups-who-support-trump_partner/

http://www.cnn.com/2017/03/26/opinions/white-supremacy-is-terrorism-ifill-opinion/

 

A Story – The Life of an 87-Year-old Woman

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My name is Agnes, and I was born 87 years ago, in an area known as Jamaica Plains, N.Y.  I was raised in a shack with an outhouse in the backyard.  My “home” was the only shack in the neighborhood and we were the poorest family around.  My mother ran off when I was five, and my older brothers raised me because my father was a drunk.  At fourteen I got a job working full-time at the local Five and Dime, so I quit school to make money.  At 17 I got pregnant and married Charles.  I had always wanted to work as a secretary and live in NYC, but that was one dream that didn’t come true. Once I had the baby I became a stay-at-home mother, and soon we had four children.

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Charles worked hard, but he was only a “helper” for a carpet-installer and the money wasn’t there.  So, he went out and started his own business.  We ended up living all over the Midwest, and life was pretty good.  Once the children were in school, I took a typing course so that I could become a Secretary, just like I’d planned.  However, somewhere in there Charles’ started gambling his pay away, and then he took up drinking, too.  I never knew if and when he would come home, or what kind of a mood he’d be in when he did come home.  Thankfully, no matter where we lived, I managed to get a Secretarial job.

Our children moved out and began their own lives, so we moved to New England to be closer to Charles’ family.  This was a mistake, since they were all big drinkers, too.  I kept working, but my pay as a secretary never really went up, and Charles’ pay never went up, either.  Eventually we retired and collected Social Security, but that was all we got since none of the jobs either one of us had ever provided a pension plan.

Charles died from his many illnesses, and I had to move out of our two-bedroom apartment into a smaller one-bedroom.  I had to part with most of my furniture that I’d been able to keep over the years because it didn’t fit into a smaller apartment.  They also only gave me one week to leave my apartment due to “regulations”, so I had to plan a funeral and pack to move at the same time. This is because I am on housing assistance (funded by the federal government) because my Social Security payments fall below the federal poverty level.

It makes me sad when I see people in our government who want to take these programs away from people like me.  I not only get help with my rent, but I’m on heat assistance, I use food stamps and I get Meals on Wheels.  If I can’t have any Meals on Wheels, I don’t know what I’ll have to eat because I only get $75.00 a month on Food Stamps.  After I pay my rent which is a set price, my heating bill – which is also set at $75.00 per month, so I can’t pay less because if I do, they’ll take away my assistance, I don’t know how I will eat on what I have left-over plus the &75.00 food stamps.  Usually at the end of the month all I have left over is enough to pay for my telephone and my very limited cable service.

My family doesn’t usually help me out since they all have children and payments of their own.  I’m very worried about this new budget that’s been proposed.  Charles and I worked all our lives, but now I’m being made to feel like I am a drain on society.  I would like to try to enjoy my remaining years, but mostly I sit at home by myself with my heat turned down as low as I can tolerate it and watch Turner Movie Classics.

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*Just a note, I paraphrased some of this story, and changed the names of the people, but it’s pretty accurate.  Most of the seniors that I work with have small lives that consist of going grocery shopping and watching movies on t.v.  They don’t have money left-over at the end of the month.  Also, they get government assistance for the following: heat, housing, food stamps, and the notorious “help I’ve fallen and can’t get up” button.  For the seniors who qualify, they also get either a homemaker or companion for a few hours a week so that they can stay in their apartments, as that is a cheaper solution than sending them all to nursing homes.  Most of them see their families very infrequently, in fact, their closest relationship is usually with their homemaker.  It’s very sad to see people who have worked hard all their lives reduced to such circumstances.  These are the people who will be hurt by these deep cuts to social welfare programs.