Don’t Be Silent

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It’s important to speak out when there are injustices being committed.  Right now, in the U.S. there are forces gathered against many of our rights as citizens.  Not only are we treating asylum seekers as criminals, but we are allowing the murder of unarmed civilians be overly aggressive police.  Racism and bigotry are running rampant, and an entire gender is being told to “sit down and shut up”.

Who are the perpetrators of this?   For the most part it is angry white men.  Whether they identify as “incel”, white supremacist, or simply Republican, the message is always the same.  Whatever it is that they want, it’s so much more important than what you want/need.  The rest of us, and yes, there are more of us than them, are being divided by race, gender and sexual orientation.  It’s time to join hands and stand together.

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If you believe in “liberty and justice for all”, do whatever you can with what you have.  Sign petitions; write your congressperson; register to vote (if you haven’t done so); join a protest/march; give a donation to an organization that follows your own morals.  Do what you can.  But most importantly, do not be silent!

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Why Are People from Honduras Seeking Asylum?

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As we all know, there are a lot of people from Central and South America seeking asylum at our southern border.  However, I haven’t really seen much information regarding the reasons why they’re seeking asylum.  We’ve all heard about the gangs, etc. but not the reasons why these countries are falling apart.  Since I’m an information seeker, I decided to look into one of these countries and let you know why there are so many problems there.  My first pick was Honduras since this was the country that caught my eye.

In my reading I found out that in the early 1900’s U.S. banana companies set up shop in Honduras, bribed government officials, gained control of over 1 million acres of land and sent the resulting money and crops to the U.S.  This buy-up of land converted Honduras into a one-crop economy, setting the entire nation up for massive poverty.  At the same time, U.S. military was used to prevent any uprising against the corporations by the citizens of Honduras, while the banana companies gained monetary control of the country.  By the time Regan was president, Honduras was often referred to as “U.S.S. Honduras”.    Honduras was also used as a place to train the Contras of Nicaragua, which in turn increased the U.S. military presence in Honduras.  This militarized Honduran society and brought about a crack down of any and all resistance to the government, thus squashing democracy.  The U.S. was also instrumental in disrupting the coffee trade under the policy of “globalization”, which led to the destabilization of this industry.

All this has led to an increase in military, a loss of human rights, and many human rights violations.  When the citizens elected Manuel Zelaya, a progressive president in 2006, his promise of reforms upset the ruling oligarchy, who then staged a military coup to overthrow the elected government.  Poverty is a huge problem, with drug lords and a corrupt government, police and military working together.  The U.S. is also at fault for militarily supporting this coup against the wishes of the 35-member Organization of American States.

So, this is a quick over-view of the problems in Honduras.  From what I have seen, the other countries from which asylum-seekers are coming have a history with the U.S. that is much the same.  Clearly, the fault is not with the people who have walked thousands of miles seeking asylum.  I’ve left some links below for your education.  Once again, nothing happens in a vacuum, and we need to look at the history of a problem before we start assigning blame.

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https://theconversation.com/how-us-policy-in-honduras-set-the-stage-for-todays-mass-migration-65935

https://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/27/opinion/in-honduras-a-mess-helped-by-the-us.html

 

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

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Our country seems to be more divided than ever.  Now is the time to come together as one, to understand that we are more alike than we are different.  We need to become one people with the goal of good for all.  For what is a benefit for my sister is also a benefit for my brother, and will benefit me as well.

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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

 

 

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!

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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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