Tag Archives: Global warming

Ocuppy Chicago: conversations with a banker.

I scared this poor girl. She was having a conversation with a banker in front of the federal reserve, and I sort of butted in. Surprising, since I rarely have much of an opinion on anything. In my defense, she was struggling. He had facts and knows the system, as he should. it seemed a great opportunity to engage someone on the other side in a friendly and thoughtful conversation. The banker, dressed in a neatly pressed blue shirt had taken the time, very much to his credit, to engage with his fellow Americans. Unlike Congress, he was showing his humility and ,In my opinion, was absolutely  open to what the protesters had to say.

“I’d lower the corporate tax rate, because they are already paying 19%, the highest corporate tax rate in the world,” he said. The girl did not have the figures. This guy lives and dies by numbers. He needed numbers.

A businessman engages protesters in conversation at Friday's protest

“You know, through deductions, loop holes and subsidies, large corporations in this country pay little or no federal tax. When they do, they usually settle for less than ten cents on the Dollar.”

Technically speaking it does have the second highest rate in the industrialized world, just behind Japan. My banker friend pointed that out, but practically speaking they pay much less than foreign competitors, again thanks to loopholes, deductions and subsidies which often do not exist in competing nations.http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/25/business/economy/25tax.html?_r=1  http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/03/business/economy/03rates.html

“So what would you do?” he asked.

I proposed, first, an international minimum wage, tied to an individual nations GDP, which takes the romance out of playing populations against each other in a never-ending race to the bottom. That would level the playing field internationally, keeping corporations at home, and all but erasing potential trade war issues.. He nodded,thoughtfully, but wasn’t convinced it could be enforced. I replied that I was involved in Bosnia and Rwanda, and that the perpetrators of the genocides are now on trial in an International Court, under International law. There are sanctions that are applied to rogue states, The IMF and World bank, all of which are vehicles for compliance.

“All right, what else?” he pressed, accepting the basic premise at least.

Greater enforcement, I said, in the tax code. Success and wealth and prosperity are fantastic and should be nurtured. Indeed, this country-this country-this nation provides a rare opportunity to encourage wealth and success, and that should come at a cost. No one gets to abuse that privilege. If we take a page from the Right, who famously argues that things like health care are not a right but a privilege, can’t we also say that about wealth, or anything in this society? If rights are now completley negotiable, they all are negotiable-for everyone. Perhaps we defer to the anti-choice crowd and say that being a fetus is a right, after that, it is up to the powers that be to decide what is and isn’t a privilege.    

“But do you just take it from them?” he said, truly with sincerity.

Even if it is only in the short-term, corporations have to understand their responsibility to this society as a condition of the privilege to succeed here. If corporations were suffering, but their profits are historic, while the gap between rich and poor becomes obscene. Fiscally that responsibility is no different that a soldier who risks their life for this nation. “When people are suffering you have that responsibility to the nation that nurtures your success. That is, in summation, is what all of these people are out here saying.”

With that we shook hands with a respectful smile and parted ways.


Herman Cain’s Marie Antoinette moment: On the street with Occupy Chicago

“Don’t blame Wall Street, don’t blame the big banks, if you don’t have a job and you’re not rich, blame yourself. It is not someone’s fault if they succeeded”

Seems Herman Cain just discovered his let them eat cake moment. For most of the nation, the so-called 99%-ers, it was hardly surprising. The cornerstone of the corporatist, right-wing ideology in this country if fully and unabashedly one of , “I got mine, you get yours.” It always has been, and since the Bush administration it has vaulted to a whole new, and obscenely perverse level.

Unlike the Tea Party, the Occupy...Movement is made up of a true cross-section of Americans

“…and (if) you’re not rich, blame yourself.”  Take that garbage men and small shop owners putting in 16-hour days. And to you war veterans coming home to desolate job prospects, down-sized workers, students forced to take out mortgage-sized loans for future low-paying jobs, if you ain’t rich, what’s the matter with you?

Cain’s comments came as the Corporate media could no longer ignore the protests, now spreading to dozens of cities, including Dallas, where hundreds marched today. The protests exponentially dwarf the manufactured manipulation of the Tea Party. Still, the media has drawn a narrative about the protests, as disorganized and unfocused. Interviewing a number of protesters in today’s continuing march in front of Chicago’s Federal Reserve branch, I found quite the opposite, and stark evidence regarding the difference between the Tea Party and the Occupy…Movement.

It should have been readily apparent to anyone that the precisely focused anti-Obama agenda of the Tea party was strategized and crafted well before hand by Republican party operatives desperate to challenge the grass-roots efforts that swept Barack Obama to the White House. That they immediately and unwaveringly were in lock step, and “outraged” over issues they’d conveniently ignored under the Bush administration should have garnered suspicion from an independent media and properly informed public. Instead, the Corporate media did all it could to legitimize the minority Tea Party, while undermining and ignoring the 99%-ers.

Stephanie and Marni, a list of grievances bound by a single thread

By contrast, today’s protest, which has grown larger and louder each day, reflects individual perspectives bound by a common theme. Near the steps of the Fed I found Marni  and Stephanie, both professionals downsized from their jobs and nearing retirement with limited prospects in the current market to make up critical financial ground before retirement. Both are among the under-employed, bumped from professional careers and working part-time jobs to survive. Marni is in graduate school. They are smart, educated, well-informed and had a laundry list of economic issues, all of which illuminate the perversity and outright mockery of working people in Herman Cain’s statement.

They pointed to the absolute waste in this country, starting with the tax code and including the grossly bloated defense budget, jobs, health insurance and more. Indeed, to a media all too eager to discredit the movement, such a laundry list could be characterized as unfocused. But all of those issues are related. They are all bound by the common thread of corporate and individual greed that has imperiled the nation for the power and privilege of a few.  And that is the message of this peaceful but stalwart movement. They demand an end to greed, corporate governance and the growing gap between rich and poor that threatens to turn us into a feudal nation.

Protests growing louder and larger each day

The protesters are not animated by fear of change, or immigrants or even other points of view as those in the Tea Party are. They are a chorus or individuals, joining in the truest spirit of “from many one.” The suffering in this nation is now epidemic, and these groups protesting across the nation, in Canada and Mexico have said enough is enough. In this rich nation, wealth and success can well be a virtue, but excess in the face of devastating suffering in intolerable. If you want a clear message about the purpose of the protests let it be that, Mr. Cain.

Wall Street Protesters: The Right means you harm

The threats are all but explicit, only because the Right has not completely dismantled the FCC yet, but they have already threatened violence, and they mean to follow through with those threats.  Glenn Beck today played a fraudulent, faked “anonymous” message by a so-called left-wing group promising a historic event would take place next week regarding Wall street. The voice in the “warning” was dubbed, and Beck was careful to say he didn’t know where it came from before cautioning his listeners to be ready. The solemnly presented monologue was a lead-in for a gold commercial.

Occupy Chicago Protesters demanding an end to Corporate greed

“God, guns, bullets, and gold,” he said during the commercial. “There’s your checklist.”

All of the right-wing talking heads routinely demonize dissenting Americans as thugs, communists, stinking hippie scum, anti-American, atheists and evil. Add to that the recent chuckling comment by Andrew Brightbart about how “we have the guns,” and “sometimes I wish they’d cross that line.” These are the things they say in public.

The selfish and greedy in this country will tolerate only so many threats to their ill-gotten greed and ongoing rape of the nation. But they won’t perpetrate that violence themselves, the same way they don’t go to war or send their children to war. So where will their cannon fodder come from?

The Right has carefully crafted a network, stoking religious fanaticism and paranoia from the Reagan Administration to the present. It was purposeful and has evolved to where it exists today, promoting fear of terrorists, of Muslims, Illegal and legal immigrants, fostering hatred of gays, indicting and attacking schools, teachers and universities and demonizing union workers.

1% of the nation now controls 70% of the wealth, but only pays 40% of the taxes.

Beck and his cohorts are so twisted and sick as to purposely separate and isolate his audience from the rest of the country as a means for growing his bank account and ego. He advocates and encourages listeners to get off the so-called grid, not to participate in the system,, not to read or listen to any news except what he filters to his website, and to have no faith in government and the economy. The result? Beck has lined his pockets with cash from promoting gold, emergency food supplies and more apocalyptic trash to that increasingly isolated and fearful constituency. Monday he claimed the Left intended to “eliminate” as many as 25 million capitalists. 

There is the ready-dupes who will lash out on their own if they feel they are being threatened through their critically narrow psychotic prism. With FCC rules, as weak as they’ve become, the Right will not explicitly provoke violence, but they are turning up the heat daily, bringing their clueless followers to a boiling point. I personally witnessed this sort of media irresponsibility in Bosnia and Rwanda.

As for the violent nature of the protests portrayed in the corporate media, I was at the Occupy Chicago protest and found the group of around 300 protesters polite and respectful, parting amiably for pedestrians to pass. There wasn’t a single news camera in sight. Contrast that with about 200 Tea Parties over the weekend at a political gathering promoted by a local radio station. All 5 local news organizations and the National Public Radio affiliate all covered the event. Thousands are occupying Wall street in defense of liberty and the Constitution for people not for corporations, with negative media coverage-when they cover it at all. ABC news last week covered a Tea Party gathering in Denny’s Restaurant.

The evidence is clear and deafeningly loud. The Right means to stifle your voice and, failing that, they mean to do you harm. And if you defend yourself, if you show outrage they will consider you violent and hysterical. So stand your ground, brothers and sisters, in the fashion of Gandhi and Nelson Mandela, but do not retreat even an inch. We far outnumber them and will prevail if we stand fast.

I want a Black friend, but one just like me.

I was on the train last night. It was crowded with rush hour commuters, and it was standing room only. Luckily I’d found the last seat on the top row of the train car. As I neared my stop, standing on the steps was a well-dressed African-American gentleman. He was slender and bookish looking, with round eye glasses. More than that he was reading a David Baldacci mystery novel. He nodded smartly, slipping a bookmark into the novel, gathering up an expensive leather shoulder bag and moving over so I could slip past.

I thanked him, of course, offering a friendly, “hope I didn’t interrupt the good part.”

“Not at all,” he replied, without a single “yo,” or “fahshizzle,” or without flashing a single gang sign. His voice was so smooth, as if he’d been properly raised in a decent White neighborhood, like say, Kenilworth or Lake Forest, or some other affluent place. He seemed perfect. And if I wanted to deflect any potential accusations of being racist or bigoted in any way, this was the sort of Black I’d want to prove it.

See, I have these other Black friends, but at the end of the day they are way more black than white. For example, I like Blues music, but they actually relate to the blues. I love jazz, but they get jazz. Don’t get me started on soul food. They’re great and all, and I love them dearly, but what I want is a Black friend that I can relate to with the least amount of effort.

Part of the problem with my Black friends is that they carry all this baggage about “racial profiling,” stereotyping them into one group or class, assuming that all of them grew up in the ghetto, aspire to welfare, hide a criminal background or take public transportation in hopes there will be an accident that they can profit from. They get all high and mighty when I don’t get why its bad to call them the “N” word, but I’m still a cracker. They’re touchy about slavery, and in no humor to hear the high numbers of incarcerated Blacks as a reason they are followed in department stores. The older ones still have this chip on their shoulder about segregation, being shot at and spit on by snarling and deranged whites for wanting to attend a better school, sit at a lunch counter or use a toilet. Racism happened 30 years ago. I mean, the Jews got over the Holocaust. The Rwandans are over their Genocide, and the South Africans over Apartheid, right?  When was the last time Christians ever brought up Roman atrocities 2000 years ago? Easter doesn’t count, because that involves bunnies and colored eggs.

Since the Civil Rights movement I’ve learned that being with my “own” kind is racist at worst and divisive at best. I’ve learned. I’ve learned to be very careful about how I talk to and what I say about Blacks. I’ve learned to never say what I’m actually thinking, but to find a less offensive way of revealing the obvious. So, since according to a lot of White folks I know, racism has been eliminated (Hello, we hired a Black guy in the White House!)  and we are living in a “post racial” period, I am perfectly willing to overlook the color of a person’s skin. In that regard, is it so much to ask that they are just like me?

Perry’s tongue held hostage by Devil in last night’s debate

Rick Perry’s tongue was apparently taken hostage by the Devil in last night’s 427th Republican Presidential debate on FOX. No doubt exhausted from praying for rain in Texas, Perry stammered almost incoherently through answers, pithy good-ole boy one liners and shots at Mitt Romney. Certainly in his fatigue, and with God apparently away on a side project with the rest of the Universe, Satan snuck right in there and wrangled a hold of the Governor’s tongue.

This writer wonders if God hasn’t forsaken Perry altogether. Then again, Jesus was tempted in the desert. Maybe the economic, educational, social and literal desert that Texas is becoming offers Perry a chance to prove himself worthy of God’s graces, enough that God will bestow upon him the Presidency by casting a spell upon all of us at the ballot box. If that doesn’t work he’ll no doubt offer up a staffer’s only begotten son.

It should come as a great disappointment to Perry that he’s been praying for rain for almost a year now, and last week Obama flies in for one day and it rained in Waco and Houston. So if God won’t make it rain for Perry, and he won’t keep Satan off Perry’s tongue, has God abandoned Perry? If he has, guess that means, our dear Lord will back a Mitt Romney for the Republican nomination. God help us.

Warning: Harsh language. A response to Breitbart’s “We have the guns…” comment

For context, a courtesy Breitbart does not extend to his victims, here is the entire statement, made before another massive Tea party gathering of 60(?) people:

“I must say, in my non-strategic… ‘cuz I’m under attack all the time, if you see it on Twitter. The (unclear) call me gay, it’s just, they’re vicious, there are death threats, and everything. And so, there are times where I’m not thinking as clearly as I should, and in those unclear moments, I always think to myself, ‘Fire the first shot.’

Bring it on. Because I know who’s on our side. They can only win a rhetorical and propaganda war. They cannot win. We outnumber them in this country, and we have the guns. (laughter) I’m not kidding. They talk a mean game, but they will not cross that line because they know what they’re dealing with.

And I have people who come up to me in the military, major named people in the military, who grab me and they go, ‘Thank you for what you’re doing, we’ve got your back.’

They understand that. These are the unspoken things we know, they know. They know who’s on their side, they’ve got Janeane Garofalo, we are freaked out by that. When push comes to shove, they know who’s on our side. They are the bullies on the playground, and they’re starting to realize, what if we were to fight back, what if we were to slap back?”

He’s not a Conservative, a Republican or even a member of the so-called moral majority. He’s a dick. In fact, the Tea party is exactly that, just a rabble of dicks that have seized control of the Republican party like some South American Junta. Wrapped in a flag they really don’t believe in, waving Constitution in one hand and a Bible in the other, both of which they pick and choose from for their own needs, they have  finally sailed past obnoxious and insipid to outright absurdity bordering on the psychotic.

This mob of know-nothings are leading decent Republicans and Conservatives through a  field full of shit and then walking that stink all around the rest of us. And it might all make some sort of sense if it served a purpose for the country. But spend a day listening to advertisements on Right-wing radio, all the dumbass books these goofs write, with simple words, simple sentences, big fonts, the cross-promotional trash from trashy people getting wealthy off those led astray by fear or paranoia or severely limited life experiences to create markets to enrich themselves. It isn’t about politics for the Breitbarts and Coulters, it is about the political and nationalistic porn they peddle!

Breitbart is making threats that his 60 semi-retired, semi-literate, marginally socialized mooks most of us wouldn’t want to sit in a diner near will go home and no doubt masterbate to, which is really what this is all about. They all laughed and cheered at the comment.  Is it me, or did this all begin when the Weekly World News went out of business? And now people who normally believed that Michael Jackson was the spawn of Alien insemination with Roseanne Barr suddenly had too much time on their hands. Mix in a little 9-11, add some economic refugees and plenty of echo-chamber Right-wing affirmations of those anti-social over-generalizations and ignorances the rest of us realize are counter to a functional society and there’s your Tea Party.

Funny, on the way to the office this morning, until I saw Breitbart’s video, I was mulling a piece about how democrats and Republicans really want the best for the country. Reasonable folks realize that compromise is the rule not the  exception in the world. We all realize this brinksmanship, winner take all bullshit wouldn’t work in marriages, in families or between neighbors. Hell, it doesn’t work at a four-way stop sign!

I’d just read an article on research into the “Conservative brain,” and thought that was every bit as dangerous and counter-productive as Michael Savage proclaiming Liberalism is a menatal disorder. So I’m a bit pissed off that I started the day with a communal thought for my Democrat and Republican friends alike and had to respond to a dick like Breitbart. Maybe tomorrow, if the Republicans can toss the Tea party schlubs out on their ass before they same or do something equally stupid. Seems unlikely though. When you follow someone through a field of shit the stink stays with you for a while.

Poverty in America: More puppetry of the Poor

Julius Caesar called it “divide and conquer,” and he deployed the strategy as effectively against domestic and political adversaries as he did against so-called barbarian tribes as he expanded and consolidated the boundaries of Rome. It worked well enough for a while, right up until the moment his adversaries murdered him in the Senate.

Pro-labor rallies in Madison this year were unifying events

Divide and conquer was the favored tactic by wealthy businessmen and companies against the labor movement in the early part of the 20th Century. In this country blacks and newly arrived immigrants were brought to the gates of companies, often with their families and in camps, where they served as examples to employees who sought to organize against abusive or unsafe working conditions.  In post-World War One Yugoslavia, Italian refugees or poor Bosnian peasants were camped at the gates, the message that these squatters would gladly take the jobs from anyone attempting to Unionize.

For the better part of a century the Unions prevailed. They fought for and set humane working conditions, such as meal breaks, safer working conditions, reasonable working hours, fair living wages, quality of life advantages for their families and themselves and, after a lifetime of work, the right of a dignified retirement and old age.

Unions fought for and won benefits that resonated throughout the industrial world, lifting millions more from poverty through labor laws extending far beyond the Union ranks. Unions literally created the middle class in this country and in Western  Germany after the Second World War. At the height of Unions in the United States the output of the nation skyrocketed, but as Corporations exercised greater and greater influence over government an interesting thing occurred. Assaults upon organized labor increased. Not because GDP suffered. It continued its rapid and unprecedented rise. But because business was so powerful in the government that it could now move to eradicate Unions altogether. In the last 20 years Republican efforts, financed and organized by big business masters have steadily degraded the influence of Unions, to the obvious and apparent detriment to the middle class. 

Through media consolidation, big business has taken control of the national dialogue and narrative. By infiltrating the FCC they have degraded the level of discourse, skewing it fully to one side of the argument. Accurate, unfiltered and unbiased information has become more difficult to access. Despite the internet, media consolidations to a smaller and smaller number of media and corporate giants has made accurate information more difficult to come by.  Media giants like FOX news, with agenda driven programming are unabashed in demonizing Unions and the poor alike. They play on the fears of the middle class, who at the end of the day, are their true target for subversion.

Immigrants and the poor have become those modern-day squatters once encamped as implicit and explicit threats to middle class workers against asserting their rights through organization. But is the problem of immigration any different today than it was during the last great wave of immigration in 1910?

Union thug or communist?

The numbers are staggering, at first glance. in 2010 there were 35.2 million legal and illegal immigrants to the United States, nearly triple the 13.5 million reaching our shores in 1910. However, comparing the populations shows a much different picture, and reveals the dangerous anti-American agenda of these media conglomerates. There were 92 million Americans in 1910, and 310 million now, meaning the immigration wave of 1910, in todays terms would be more than 42 million, or much higher than the actual 35 million today.

And America not only survived the 1910 wave, but it prospered. Many of those immigrants were the first to organize and fight(and sometimes die) for better working conditions, and better lives through Unionization. They arrived in a nation still largely agricultural with a Gross domestic Product of $33.4 million annually, and built a nation with a GDP of $14.7 trillion-that’s trillion today. Indeed, by the onset of World War One, as Unions began to gain a foothold  the GDP double in only a few short years. Within 10 years GDP had tripled.

The numbers are clear. All that has really changed is the assault on the Unions in part by using immigrants and the poor to threaten and terrorize the disappearing middle class. And it has worked, when working people turn and accuse Union members who have given them much that is taken for granted. Overheard during the pro-Union protests in Madison Wisconsin earlier this year, a man struggling in a low-paying job without healthcare asked why Unions should have those benefits when he had none.  Divide and conquer.  It worked for Caesar, but only for a time.

Protesters in the Madison Statehouse. Fewer than 300 Tea Party members counterprotested. The people spoke.

Breaking Weather News: Perry brings rain to Texas!

This just in to the 900poundgorilla Weather Desk: According to sources rain is falling across parts of drought stricken Texas. Not the parts that need it, like the hard hit Austin and Waco areas, where burn bans and restrictions have jeopardized the annual Austin City limits Music festival, but sources close to the Perry presidential  campaign point to the rain as proof that Governor Perry does indeed have God’s favor.

The rain, confirmed by radar from a bunch of elitist scientists, came less than two months after Perry’s last public prayer, and 5 months from the time he publically appealed for Texas to summon God in making it rain. It remains uncertain exactly why it took God so damn long. There was no immediate comment from the Governor, who only looked to the sky and gave  knowing wink.

A meteorologist and statistician who happened by a rain-soaked gathering of Perry supporters was threatened after proposing that, quote: “eventually it will rain, whether or not anyone prays to a god, sacrifices a goat or shoots off a gun to heaven while rubbing their beer belly at the same time. It’s just weather! Ask any climatologist.”

“We don’t go for that sort of high and mighty arrogance just cuz them science fellas read a book or two,” said a Perry supporter, rubbing soap over his hair and clothes.

At this celebratory rain-rally, notable for the lack of shoes and teeth, it was clear to those attending that the drought wasn’t science, but the wrath of the Almighty because the nation had gone over to homosexuals, immigrants, and a demon Marxist Muslim for a president. 

An official from the Perry campaign was seen nearby shouting from a limousine to the mostly unemployed and uninsured supporters that science was for nerds, and that proof of God’s grace upon Perry and Texas was falling all around. Asked to comment on the meteorologist, who barely escaped being stoned for blasphemy, as prescribed in the Old Testament, the official was adamant.

“Science has never been proved, everyone knows that. They correct themselves all the time. As for that ‘ask any climatologist,’ remark, well, that sounds like consensus, and consensus is political. In fact it is communistic-everybody marching in lock step like that Hitler fellow.”

When reminded that consensus simply meant agreement, and that scientists were in agreement about global warming the official pointed at this reporter and cried to the rain-dancing Perry supports to, quote, “Stone him! Stone the blasphemer!”

Poverty in America: Puppetry of the Poor

Limbaugh calls them spoiled. Savage calls the poor lazy while Hannity and Beck accuse them of leaching off the wealthy, whom they call job creators. The Left describes them as victims of the bad economy, cruel Republican policies, poor education and lack of decent housing and healthcare reforms. The Right says they should pull up their boot straps and make it on their own rather than steal the money from the wealth earners of the nation in the form of taxes for social programs.

In the next couple articles I’ll attempt to bring a bit of clarity to the issue now that the national poverty rate has topped the 15% mark. Is it an indication that Obama is indeed inept as a President, and that Democratic social policies have failed, or if the current Administration inherited a historic, and perhaps purposeful economic disaster by the Bush administration.

When we discuss poverty in America, who exactly are we talking about. Nicholas cage declared bankruptcy and had to sell homes and assets worth millions at a loss. Can we consider Nicholas cage impoverished? In order to have a constructive view of the issue it is critical to be speaking to the same definition of American poverty, which is fundamentally different from poverty elsewhere around the planet. It is in coming to a proper definition that allows for constructive dialogue among rational and intelligent people from both parties. Ambiguity is the fertile ground for manipulators like the Becks and Limbaughs and Savages to create propaganda that only solidifies division in this nation and costs lives. They have no interest in a better nation, only a better nation for them and their friends.

We’ve all heard the propaganda. America’s poor are so much better off than the poor in Bangladesh or Somalia, as if those are the standards America’s poor should be measured against. They cite obesity, owning a television or having cable TV as evidence that the poor in this country have nothing to complain about. Again, are they demanding that our poor should be shivering in an empty apartment, bloated and covered with flies before we pay attention? 

The Health and Human services Administration sets the poverty level for a single adult at $11,ooo per year in income. For a family of 4 that number is $22,350, or roughly an additional $3000 annually for each additional person in the household. Working a minimum wage job full-time with no vacation brings a pre-tax amount of $17,680 in income yearly, or $340 a week. Federal income tax, state tax and SSI reduce those amounts to roughly $12,000 annual or about$240 weekly. Qquickly run through a basic list of costs, bus or train or driving costs(which brings upkeep, fuel and insurance costs) rent, food, electricity, gas and basic incidentals and that income is quickly used up. Some of that might-might- come back in a tax return, but not much. Perhaps a thousand bucks. Consider a break job for a car costs$4-600 bucks. A monthly bus pass in Chicago is $85, or almost a thousnad per year. What about healthcare? Minimum wage jobs don’t come with healthcare. The wife and I, through our well-paying jobs still pay 500 per month into our premiums. Basic car insurance in a decent neighborhood…$4-800 annually.

But we can narrow the argument to a greater degree of reality. Are we discussing Relative Poverty , episodic poverty or absolute poverty?

Relative poverty is what the Propagandists most commonly use. That is poverty in relation to the median income in a given location. The median income in rural Idaho who likely be  far lower than the median income of , say, Manhattan where there are far more at the top end of the income scale pulling the income average higher. The cost of basic existence in either place would be dramatically different. It is a ruse.

Episodic poverty would refer to those, for example, seasonally unemployed. Both Episodic and Relative poverty are argumentative and open to all sorts of manipulation. Absolute poverty, however, is not.

Absolute poverty  refers to specific criteria needed for basic survival. It sets standards for a basic healthy diet needed to sustain a basic body mass index, access to safe water, a toilet in or near the home, basic medical accessibility for  serious illness and pregnancy, minimal shelter with less that four living to a room and a floor made of something other than dirt or mud. It prescribes access to basic education and the ability to read, access to basic information and emergency information such as a television, and for a telephone. Finally, it requires access to simple legal, social and financial services..

15.3% of Americans live below the Absolute poverty line. Which means that, 37 million Americans, or nearly a million in every state of the Union cannot rely on  basic housing, services, food, healthcare, sanitation, education or clean water. According to the USDA 15% of Americans cannot rely on having enough nutritious food to sustain adequate health, which seems a crime in the wealthiest nation on the planet.

Just In: Upcoming Republican Debate Schedule

Just in to the 900poundgorilla 2012 presidential campaign watch desk:

With three Republican debates on cable news networks behind us in as many weeks, cable providers are running quickly out of venues to hold future debates. As a result, other cable shows are vying for a chance to host  upcoming debates. below is a brief list of  soon-to-be scheduled debates, and where you can find them:

1. The What Not to Wear Republican debates- Stacey and Clinton challenge the candidates to fabulous makeovers, and pin them down on fashion dos and don’ts. Includes hilarious outtakes of Michelle Bachmann’s flamboyant husband berating her on pants suits, and a heartwarming segment with Ron Paul being fitted for a suit at a kids-r-us.

2.  Project Runway Republican Forum- Featuring the candidates, hear Tim Gunn say things like, “Candidates, you have 3 minutes to answer the question. The clock is ticking,” and “Ricky, is that the answer on Social Security that you are happy with?”, and “Mitt, time to break out of the box and make your answer to Obama-care, you’re own-you’re kind of all over the road.” Which one will Heidi tell, “You’re out. Auf weidersehn!”

3. The Mad Men candidate Flashback episode-In a dramatic dream sequence the candidates are transported back in time to Sterling Cooper where they are forced to debate 1960 politics while consuming copious amounts of hard liquor. It is 1960-the so-called good old days, so Michelle Bachmann and Herman Cain will not be allowed to debate.

4. Kathy Griffin My Life on the Campaign Trail– Just one question here, and that’s whether Kathy can  get one out before launching a pithy and hilarious rant about Rick Santorum’s hair, Newt Gingrich’s fairytale name, dating, Lindsey Lohan, that one time on Red Carpet when one of the Olsen Twins barfed on George Clooney, a pissed off Rene Zellwegger and Kathy’s crazy mother.    

5. Housewives of New York City Debate the Issues-Forget the men, they won’t get a word in edgewise with this rabble. Let’s see if Michelle Bachmann can hold her own once the issues here turn personal and biting. Appletinis fly in this hair-pulling  and nail-scratching season opener.

Don’t miss a single debate. You’ll never look at politics quite the same!


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