The homeless love those rich ZIP Code dumpsters full of goodies
The Grand Old Party of Predators, Pedophiles, and Parsimonious Pricks (GOPPPP) has finally reached its Nirvana, the perfect place of peace and happiness, by passing a tax bill that will enrich their owners in Bel Air and rich ZIP Codes scattered around the richest country in the world.
But the recent fire that burned many of those new mansions in Bel Air signaled that the homeless and the poor like to sleep near those wide streets, because the dumpsters of the rich are filled with goodies for great dining-diving. And the wide streets among lovely trees are terrific for parking old RVs.
Many full-time workers live in those RVs, no longer able to afford rents for one-bedroom apartments in any part of Los Angeles. As the One Percent move around the world to one of their nine homes in the country with the highest income inequality in the developed world, they will certainly be followed by old RVs and more homeless lighting fires in those beautiful building sites to cook the detritus tossed into dumpsters.
The feudal system starts again. In the old days, the castle owners had knights and owned serfs to help them protect the castles behind moats and drawbridges. Today, the mansion and estate owners will soon have to hire mercenaries to protect their mansions and safe rooms behind fences and gates.
The United Nations Committee on Poverty, studying income inequality and poverty, started its work in Los Angeles because the homeless numbers increased 25% this year, to a total of 55,000 street dwellers.
Ressy Finley, 41, has lived in a tent for ten years. Her possessions include worn mattresses and blankets ravaged by rats and cockroaches, while she is bitten by bedbugs. She recycles bottles and cans and generally eats her meals at nearby missions. A friend brings her food every couple of days. A baby she has never seen again was taken away from her 14 years ago because of a drug habit.
The Los Angeles Skid Row has nine toilets for 1,800 homeless. Because of the lack of sanitation, 21 homeless have died from Hepatitis A. This is the American Dream?
More items for the UN report to Congress
California cities have passed over 500 anti-homeless laws. Only two churches in LA are open to accept the homeless. Two Catholic churches, St. Boniface and its sister church, accept sleeping homeless. A picture of filled pews and floors of sleeping homeless in the marble and ornate churches went viral weeks ago. Other “Christian” churches keep their doors locked to discourage -- and exclude -- the homeless.
We currently have 15 million children living in poverty. Race plays a role. Although African Americans are only 13% of the U.S., they make up 23% of those in poverty and 39% of those who are homeless.
The Deep South Black Belt has many families living in areas with no access to adequate sanitation. Corky and I traveled through those areas for years. Actually the worst area for sanitation is Lowndes County, the setting of Selma and Montgomery for the civil rights movement in Alabama during Martin Luther King days.
The open sewage situation has brought hookworm to Alabama after it was thought to be eradicated decades ago. Now it exists only in Africa and Asia -- and the U.S. Over 70% of the black and white households in the area “straight pipe” their human waste to open ground or completely filled septic systems. When heavy rains occur, the waste appears everywhere.
It will be interesting to see what happens to that county after 98% of the blacks voted for Doug Jones, a Democrat elected for the first time in decades. Perhaps this line will appear in the UN report to Congress: “It is the ultimate image of the lot of Alabama’s impoverished black community. As American citizens they are as fully entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It’s just that they are surrounded by pools of excrement.”
There’s no doubt Puerto Rico is a special case for the UN
Some 60 years ago I spent some time in and around San Juan on the absolutely beautiful island and beaches of Puerto Rico, courtesy of the U.S. Marine Corps. Since we stole it from Spain in 1898, it has led a checkered life. Tourism has been the main industry for many years, always a stop for cruise ships.
But the island has no real representation in Congress. The citizens are rarely consulted on anything. The island is controlled by a congressional oversight committee which has been blind for many years.
The state of Alabama has 19% of its citizens in poverty, the highest rate of any state. But Puerto Rico’s rate was 44%. After Hurricane Maria, the latest and most powerful to hit the island, the rate has climbed to 60%.
The storm totally destroyed 70,000 homes on an island of 3.5 million. All industry is at a standstill. The electrical grid was seriously damaged and the blackout is still almost universal. Some areas might go without power for a year because of the inept and often incompetent FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The only thing our Great Leader has done well is to throw paper towels to desperate people.
The chairman of the UN Committee on Poverty and Inequality can only shame the U.S. government into doing “something. His goal: “My role is to hold governments to account. If the U.S. administration doesn’t want to talk about the right to housing, healthcare, or, food, then there are still basic human rights standards that have to be met. It’s my job to point that out.”
FEMA has done such a horrible job since the hurricane that over 200,000 Puerto Ricans have left the island for Florida, New York, and Pennsylvania. Over five million of their brothers and sisters already live on the mainland.
Howya doin’, coal miners?
Our Great Leader promised the coal miners of West Virginia: “We’re going to put the miners back to work!” Well, miners, what have you heard from your savior-foreman since the inauguration? When did you get your invitation to Mar-a-Lago for the tax cut bill celebration? I hope you enjoyed the surroundings.
The report on the UN committee’s work includes this line: “If sewage is the abiding image of the Black Belt and Alabama, then a mouthful of rotting teeth is West Virginia’s.”
A volunteer group of doctors who serve over 21,000 low income working people in the state who don’t have health or dental insurance presented a picture of one of their patients who had a mouthful of rotting teeth that had to be pulled. The Doctors of Health Right said a 32-year-old man with rotting teeth had gums so bad they had turned a greenish-blue.
Many West Virginians can do nothing about rotting teeth and abscesses until they go to an emergency room for help, so the emergency is covered by Medicaid. One woman had nothing but 30 roots left in her mouth. Her picture was also submitted for inclusion in the UN report.
Close to Our Great Leader’s White House is an area called Congress Heights, a mostly black area of Washington where most of the residents are eligible for food stamps (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, SNAP). Over 42 million Americans in poverty receive $70.9 billion in food stamps annually, with 72% living in families with children and a quarter living in households with seniors or people with disabilities. 55% of the families have someone working full time. We also have nine million people in this country who have no income at all.
It’s interesting that Jeff Bezos of Amazon just surpassed Bill Gates as the richest man in America, with assets of over $98 billion. If good old compassionate Jeff paid the entire food stamp bill of $70.9 billion, he would still have $18.9 billion left to make himself comfortable. That’s the kind of inequality we have in the richest country in the world.
We have the highest child poverty rate in the developed world
Note to The Best Congress Money Can Buy: At 25% the United States of America, the Land of the American Dream, has the highest child poverty in the developed world.
And we have many people who live on $2 a day and don’t have access to basic human services such as sanitation, shelter, education, and health care. We have 23 million people without health insurance. We have public schools in this country that can’t afford to offer five days of school, so are only open four days a week. Higher education is unaffordable for about 100 million households with tuition at public colleges and universities ranging from $15,000 to $25,000.
A line in the UN report going to the Best Congress Money Can Buy says: “The American Dream is rapidly becoming the American Illusion, as the U.S. now has the lowest rate of social mobility of any of the rich countries.”
Since the Ronald Reagan era, the safety net for Americans has virtually disappeared. Unions and labor regulations have been eliminated and funding for welfare, education, and public programs has declined. There is a lifetime limit of five years on welfare programs—with many work requirements.
Extreme poverty is defined as having an income half that of the basic poverty level. We have 1.5 million American households in extreme poverty at less less than $12,000.
I just don’t understand the conservative values of the Roypublicans of the Grand old Party of Predators, Pedophiles, and Parsimonious Pricks (GOPPPPP). They are willing to spend 18% of our Gross National Product GNP) on the most screwed up and confusing health care system in the world, leaving about 25 million citizens without any coverage at all, while the rest of the developed countries in the world spend less than 12% of their GNP on universal care systems that care for all.
Ignorance and stupidity are the only answers that fit. Is the GOPPPPP still operating under the Grand Illusion that health is a privilege of class and bank account?
There are 126 million households in this country of 325 million. It is quite evident the Roypublicans and the entire Congress have been bought by the One Percent, or only the members of 1.26 million households. The One Percent holds 25% of all the private wealth.
The following is something to think about. The wealth of Americans totals about $88 trillion. If we divided up this wealth, each of the 126 million American households would be worth $698,000, enough to have their own home and some fairly substantial investments for the future.
Presently, 12.6 million households, the top 10%, own $67 trillion of the private wealth, while 113.4 million American households own only $21 trillion. Do the math—then think about it.
by Sabrina Hornung
Though Harvey North Dakota based photographer Lew Ableidinger has switched from film photography to digital photography and back he couldn’t avoid the analog.“I returned to film because I wanted to start shooting large format,…
By Gabrielle Herschgabbyhersch@gmail.comThink & Drink is coming to Fargo! Organized by Humanities North Dakota, Think & Drink is a happy hour series that hosts a facilitated public conversation about big issues and ideas. Lead by a…
by HPR Contributor
by Devin Joubertdevinlillianjoubert@gmail.comIt’s that beautiful time of the year that’s filled with seasonal decorations, sparkly lights, warm family gatherings, and delicious feasts. I love everything about this time of the…