U.N. Expert – Extreme Poverty in the United States

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The UN sent an expert in poverty to tour the United States and look at the rates of poverty here.  Just so you know, the level of poverty in the US is sky-high.  So, where did Philip Alston go to check out the conditions of those living in poverty?  Alabama.  That’s right, Butler County to be precise.  What did he find?  Raw sewage flowing from homes into open trenches and pits.  Is it any surprise that an epidemic of hookworm has recently been reported in Butler County?  No, no it’s not.  By the way, hookworm is usually found in third world countries.  Alston also visited California, Georgia, West Virginia, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico.  Alston also said that he’s never seen this level of poverty in a First World country.  Huh.  Wonder why?

The U.N. has also concluded that the U.S. is the most unequal society in the world.  So much for the “American Dream”.  What has been concluded in the report is that along with having the highest level of poverty, that poverty hits white people more than minority people.  Not only that, but the viewpoint that has been sold to the American people is that poor people are poor for the simple reason that they are lazy, and refuse to “help themselves”.  This is a falsity, since most of the poor are working people, and many of them work multiple jobs.

Please educate yourselves by following the links that I’ve provided below.  With all the cuts that will be coming to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the CHIP program, Food Stamps and Fuel Assistance, the social problems are only going to get worse.

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http://www.newsweek.com/alabama-un-poverty-environmental-racism-743601

http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=58300#.WkvOzTdOnIV

http://ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=22533&LangID=E

 

 

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Education and Learning

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As usual, I’ve come to the party late, however, I’m here and I’ve paid attention.  I’ve recently read the Young Adult novel, The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas.  This is an extraordinary novel.  To prove it, it’s already been banned in more than one location in the United States.  A book being banned only means that it will make you think, something too many people don’t want to do, especially if what you learn from it is in opposition to what it is that you may have been taught.  The novel follows the life of Starr Carter, who by the age of sixteen has held two of her best friends in her arms as they lay dying after being shot.  This is not only her story, but the story of too many.  The poor, the over-looked, and the reviled.

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For those of you who may not have read this novel, I hope that you will.  Go out and buy it, or borrow it from your local library.  It covers so much of the experiences of children growing up as part of a reviled people.  The poverty, the inability to “rise above” due to lack of livable wages, poor education systems, and the grinding down of an entire segment of society.  Poverty is hard.  How can it not be when you are choosing between food and rent?  We need to understand, choose compassion and help our neighbors.  Only then will our country be better.  Together we stand, divided, as we are, we are falling.  And in this falling, it is all of us, not just a few of us.  Everything is interconnected.  We are all one.

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I Just Can’t…Republican Tax Bill

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The Senate has voted to give itself the biggest tax break in years.  Yes, that’s right, while the rest of us will be paying more in taxes, the richest people get to pay less.  Not only that, they also voted for some pretty terrible things.  Don’t believe me?  If you’re on Medicare, your cancer treatment will no longer be paid for.  Since there is the excessively high cost of medicine in the U.S., and people simply cannot pay for it on their own, now if you’re on Medicare and you get cancer, the “family values” people are basically telling you to “just die already”.  People are going to lose their health care, since the help in paying for it is gone, also.  And, the price of health insurance is, of course, going to go up.

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During the Reagan Administration, we were all introduced to this mythical idea that once the richest corporations got a tax break, they would “trickle down” their profits to the rest of us – you know, the lower echelons of society – the “workers”, if you will.  This “trickle down” would be accomplished with higher wages and a much better standard of living for most of society.  Has this worked?  Did it ever work?  Well, wages have been either stagnant, or have actually gone down ever since.  Now, at the same time, have prices been either stagnant, or gone down?  Oh, please, don’t be silly.  Of course not!  Now, those of us “workers” just get to work more jobs.  Remember, President Bush thought it was “fantastic” to work three jobs.  Of course, he himself never had to, but hey, isn’t it just great for you to need to!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wFNj5sireDo

I will be waiting with bated breath to see just how the corporations and top 1% of the country will “trickle down” their tax breaks to us this time.  Unfortunately though, I fear that I won’t live that long to do so.  After all, if I get sick (or if you do), neither one of us will be able to get health insurance, nor will we be able to afford medical care.  Oh well…there are a lot of us out here who will have to die before the rich will be affected.  And, after all, isn’t it all really just about them after all?  We’re just the supporting cast members.

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I’m Tired

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I am simply tired.  In fact, I’m sick and tired.  I’m tired of signing petitions.  I sign on average, ten petitions a day, and sometimes more.  I sign petitions telling my congressmen to: protect the earth, protect the poor, protect the sick, protect minorities; protect those who have been impacted by the weather; protect workers and consumers; protect people and the animals.  The number of petitions I’ve signed just since January numbers well into the hundreds.  I’m tired of being upset, depressed and overwhelmed with bad news and bad behavior on the part of people who should know better.

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My question is, why the hell do I even have to do this?  Doesn’t it simply stand to reason that people have a right to clean water, clean air?   Don’t we have a right to healthcare?  How about a right to equality?  How about a right to not be lied to and mislead by the companies that we do business with?  How about just helping the citizens of our country when disaster strikes?  Isn’t that what their taxes have paid for?   Why do I have to keep reminding the government what their job is?  Their job is not to enrich themselves and their corporate donors.  They are supposed to be working for the good of all, not just the rich and powerful.

Of course, I’m lucky.  I’m not sick, I’m not a minority.  While I do have Fibromyalgia, I don’t take medication for it, I’m coping on my own, and doing okay.  I’m not a victim of a disaster.  Of course, that could change at any time, and many of  us are one paycheck away from financial disasters, not to mention one caused by sickness, accidents or nature.   I actually live in a state that, while we have our problems within our state; our federal representatives do vote on the behalf of the people who actually voted for them.  I feel sorry for those of you who don’t enjoy the same representation.  Of course, the “powers that be” are hoping that we will all get too sick and tired and simply stop paying attention.  Hell no, it’s not going to happen.  While I may bury my head in the sand for a day or even two, I’ll pick myself up again and make my voice heard.  For all of you out there who also are tired, take a breath, take a small break, and then continue plodding.  After all, you’ve got justice on your side.

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How is Puerto Rico Coping?

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Since I really haven’t seen any news lately about what’s been going on in Puerto Rico, I thought that I would look into it myself and share what I’ve found out with you.  As you may know, there was a contract made with a small company called Whitefish to get the electricity in Puerto Rico restored, but since some of the contract has come to light (and it seems fishy – no pun intended) as all get-out, this contract has been cancelled and this will take effect soon.  Apparently 70% of the island is still without power.  Elon Musk (Tesla) is working with restoring the electricity to area hospitals.  He is setting up solar power for this task and has restored power to a children’s hospital.

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So, how has FEMA and other organizations been doing with their work?  I’m sure that some of us have heard that FEMA has refused to bring supplies such as food, water and other necessities to the people of Puerto Rico, instead insisting that it is up to the mayors of the towns to come and get these supplies.  How the people are to accomplish that when there is no fuel, is beyond the people of the towns.  I do hope that you all understand that Puerto Rico is an American Territory and the people there are United States citizens, therefore they are entitled to all the help that FEMA provides, just like any state.

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I’ve provided links to more thoroughly reported stories.  Should you wish to give money for relief, please do not send money to the “big” charities, instead ask your Puerto Rican neighbor or friend.  My local Credit Union is collecting money and giving it to local Puerto Rican charities so that it goes directly to the people who need it.  What are your thoughts on this humanitarian crisis?  Let me know in the comments below.

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https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/puerto-rico-gov-seeks-to-cancel-300m-whitefish-contract/2017/10/29/5ff18c06-bcbc-11e7-9294-705f80164f6e_story.html?utm_term=.a801d702d290

https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2017/10/19/16431312/elon-musk-richard-branson-clean-energy-puerto-rico-solar-batteries-microgrid

https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2017/9/26/16365994/hurricane-maria-2017-puerto-rico-san-juan-humanitarian-disaster-electricty-fuel-flights-facts

https://earthjustice.org/blog/2017-september/people-are-getting-desperate-in-puerto-rico-as-federal-response-not-equal-to-the-crisis?gclid=CjwKCAjw7frPBRBVEiwAuDf_LV2tbiJNtOSJQ-YuOFGQSRvwmLUxEvcwyPCpFTYmm08OO8cklBb7mxoCeCIQAvD_BwE

 

Voting Day is Tuesday, November 7th

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This year’s vote isn’t as exciting as last year, however, it is important that you get out and vote.  Who gets elected in your state will have a direct impact on your life.  Get out and vote!

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What are “Family Values”?

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As we all know, the Republican Party of the United States claims to be the party of “family values”.  So, I was wondering what, according to the GOP are these “family values”, and how this political party is supporting them.  Here is the official statement from the GOP, link provided.

“The family is the bedrock of our nation. When American families flourish, so too does our country. Our Party’s economic and social policies, including tax reform, education, health care, and the sanctity of life, should always promote and strengthen that most sacred bond.”  https://www.gop.com/issue/family-values/canonical/

My next question is how is the Republican Party supporting these family values?  My answer is not too well.  Let’s take this consecutively.  As far as economic reform is concerned, the Republican party has worked overtime to decrease the economic power of the regular wage-earners.  Minimum wage increases have been over-turned; many republican politicians have stated that they would like to get rid of any minimum wages and let corporations pay whatever wage they feel like; and corporate welfare has been running rampant while at the same time individual citizens who are on welfare and/or food stamps have been demonized.

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As far as social policies, minorities, whether classified by ethnicity, race, or gender/sexual orientation have again been demonized, denied legal standing and/or been violently oppressed.  There are cases where legal citizens have been picked up by ICE and detained, sometimes for months with no legal representation allowed.  Other examples are the ability of business owners to deny service to those who don’t follow the owner’s beliefs; and corporations to deny employees access to certain types of health care.

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/05/14/republicans-cuts-programs-food-stamps-welfare-veterans-238314

As far as tax reform is concerned, the agenda that has just been introduced to Congress contains the biggest tax cuts of all to businesses, corporations and the richest 1% of people in the country.  The rest of it still seems unclear.  I’ve included links for you to look this up for yourself. However, while lowering taxes on corporations, businesses and the richest of the rich, this is going to increase our total debt by anywhere from 1 to 2 trillion dollars.  That’s okay though, because of the fact that these tax reductions on the rich will “prime the pump” and create a “trickle-down effect from the rich to the poor”.  Unfortunately, we are now deeply in debt because that did not work before.

http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/tags/tax-reform

How does the party of “family values” help regarding education?  Well, we can just go ahead and say that they’re all for getting rid of public education (the bedrock of a democracy), and pushing public money into for-profit (charter) schools.  These schools have been found to have various questionable practices from segregation to non-college educated “teachers” to not teaching science or higher-level mathematics.  Here is a quick link for you on problems with these schools.

http://www.businessinsider.com/john-oliver-charter-schools-2016-8

The health care issue is quite interesting.  According to the “family values” quote above, the Republican Party claims to worry about health care for families.  However, as the last few months have shown us, they “care” by trying to take away health care from as many families as they can.  Just one example of that is the refusal to renew the CHIP program.  Now, up to 12 million children will have no health insurance.  I’ll leave this paragraph at this point, since my post is getting quite long.

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/8-million-kids-lose-health-insurance-chip-program-isnt-renewed-heres-looks-like-one-state/

As far as the sanctity of life is concerned, the family values party seems to believe that such sanctity ends at birth.  Why would I say that?  Well, as we have all become aware, through health care reform, the GOP has pushed for denying people who have almost any pre-existing condition off health insurance; along with taking welfare and food stamp programs away from the disabled and poor.  Also, if we add in the effort to dismantle any form of minimum wage, there doesn’t seem to be a value for life after birth.

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So, what are your views on this?  Let me know in the comments below.