This is a problem we need to address

October 23, 2011 at 6:17 pm | Posted in House of Representatives, Occupy, politics straight up, Reality Bites, senate | Leave a comment
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Occupy America

October 22, 2011 at 6:18 pm | Posted in Economy, Occupy | Leave a comment
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Southeast Missouri Farms. Children sitting in living room of shack home. 1938 May.. Russell Lee, photographer (Library of Congress)

(Vanity Fair) The upper 1 percent of Americans are now taking in nearly a quarter of the nation’s income every year. In terms of wealth rather than income, the top 1 percent control 40 percent. Their lot in life has improved considerably. Twenty-five years ago, the corresponding figures were 12 percent and 33 percent. One response might be to celebrate the ingenuity and drive that brought good fortune to these people, and to contend that a rising tide lifts all boats. That response would be misguided. While the top 1 percent have seen their incomes rise 18 percent over the past decade, those in the middle have actually seen their incomes fall. For men with only high-school degrees, the decline has been precipitous—12 percent in the last quarter-century alone. All the growth in recent decades—and more—has gone to those at the top. In terms of income equality, America lags behind any country in the old, ossified Europe that President George W. Bush used to deride. Among our closest counterparts are Russia with its oligarchs and Iran.

Thanks, Down With Tyranny!

Welfare Cheats

October 22, 2011 at 5:38 pm | Posted in Department of Defense, Economy, Occupy, politics straight up, Reality Bites | Leave a comment
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Migrant agricultural worker's family. Seven hungry children. Mother aged thirty-two. Father is native Californian. Nipomo, California. 1936 Feb. or Mar. Dorothea Lange, photographer. (Library of Congress)

Hundreds of defense contractors that defrauded the U.S. military received more than $1.1 trillion in Pentagon contracts during the past decade, according to a Department of Defense report prepared for Sen. Bernie Sanders.

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One of America's new warships of the air, a mighty YB-17 bomber, is pulled up at a bombardment squadron hangar, Langley Field, Va. It is all set to taxi out to a runway and take off . 1942 May. Alfred T. Palmer, photographer. (Library of Congress)

USDA’s 15 nutrition assistance programs are the first line of our Nation’s defense against hunger. … In FY 2001, 17.3 million people recipients received a total of $16.0 billion in benefits. In FY 2008, average monthly participation increased to more than 27.7 million people and benefits totaled more than $31.8 billion – an increase of 60 percent in participants and 99 percent in benefits during that period.

Food stamp fraud isn’t people signing up who aren’t eligible, it’s retailers “paying EBT cardholders in cash for half of the value of their food stamp benefits, then pocketing the remainder.” But that is small potatoes compared to what the defense industry is getting away with.

Occupy The Table

October 21, 2011 at 1:13 pm | Posted in civil rights, Economy, elections, journalism, Occupy, politics straight up | Leave a comment
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The financial/political/corporate world is running a three-card Monte table, the media acts as the ringer, and the 99% are the marks. Stop the game, occupy the table.

How Times Have Changed

October 13, 2011 at 2:11 am | Posted in environment, politics straight up, transportation | Leave a comment
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In 1943 it was patriotic to take the bus.

A Greyhound bus trip from Louisville, Kentucky, to Memphis, Tennessee, and the terminals. Hailing a Macon-bound bus on the highway in Georgia. 1943 September. Esther Bubley, photographer. (Library of Congress)

Want some cheese with that whine?

October 12, 2011 at 3:08 am | Posted in Economy, Labor, Occupy, politics straight up, Reality Bites | Leave a comment
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This boy has worked in Payne Cotton Mill, for 2 yrs Macon, Ga. Runs 4 sides and earns 52 cents a day. Overseer has hand on boy' s shoulder. He said this mill made 70% profit last year and expects to make 100% this year. This is owned by Bibb Mfg. Co. Location: Macon, Georgia. 1909 January. Lewis Wickes Hine, photographer. (Library of Congress)

It seems to me that those who are bitching about their situation over at Ewick Ewickson’s “We Are the 53%” are bitching about the same things as the Occupy protestors and their supporters.  The only difference is, Ewick’s group thinks those making $20,000/year and less are responsible for our economic mess and should just die in a fire, or at least live in fear of their house catching on fire.

It’s pretty rich that Ewick should bitch about having three jobs.  His radio job alone pays well enough to comfortably support four families. 

Farm boy with sack full of boll weevils which he has picked off of cotton plants. Macon County, Georgia. 1937 July. Dorothea Lange, photographer. (Library of Congress)

The county in Georgia where Ewick lives?

Almost 22% of of his fellow residents have income below the poverty line (the threshold for a single person is $11,161; for a family of four, including two children, $21,756), an increase of almost three percent since the 2000 census.  The median household income in Ewick’s home county is $37,367.

Despite not selling the house he bought in 2001 because he would have to take a small loss, Ewick had enough cash laying around to spend over $400,000 on a second house.

The median value of owner-occupied homes where he lives? Approximately $115,000. In fact, 40% of the homes sell for between $50,000 and $100,000.

House in which cotton farmer has lived for fifty years. Macon County, Georgia, 1937 July. Dorothea Lange, photographer. (Library of Congress)

Ewick is not working two other jobs to put food on his family or a roof on their heads. If he’s so overburdened by his two extra jobs, perhaps he should consider quitting one or both so that someone who is looking for a job can have one. Unemployment in Georgia more than doubled between 2008 and 2011. Almost four out of five of Georgia’s children lives in poverty, one out of five of Georgia’s adults below age 65 lives in poverty. Less than one in ten Georgians over age 65 lives in poverty. Clearly, those old people are living high on the hog and Social Security benefits should be reduced, or at the least raise the retirement age to 70, so we get their numbers more in line with everyone else, so Ewick doesn’t have to pay the same or a higher percentage of his income in taxes than the moochers.

Ralph Small House, 115 Rogers Ave., Macon, Bibb County, Georgia. 1939 or 1944. Frances Benjamin Johnston, photographer. (Library of Congress)

Next time Ewick takes a flight from Georgia to wherever, perhaps he should contemplate how less safe he would be without government regulation of airplane construction, air-traffic controllers, pilots, airlines and government investment in airport infrastructure.

Eliminate all regulations and corporations can completely eliminate reports of airplane crashes. Ewick would have no idea how many passengers the airline operating his flight had killed that week, leaving the “free market” free to kill Ewick.

Gunter Field, Alabama. Loading airplane motors onto trucks. They are being shipped to Macon, Georgia for repairs. 1943 March. John Vachon, photographer. (Library of Congress)

Since poor people rarely fly, the only hazard to them would be planes falling on their houses. Certainly, a larger number of One Percenters, like Ewick, would be dead from preventable plane crashes, but if they want to live by the “free market” (except, of course, when their businesses fail and they get bailed out by the evil government), they’re going to die by preventable accident.

Let’s hope the other 99% don’t die from starvation or dangerous job conditions or curable disease or cancer caused by environmental pollution before enough of the One Percenters are dead from their beloved unregulated “free market” so that the surviving 99% can reestablish civilization.

“Had anything been wrong, we should certainly have heard”

October 11, 2011 at 11:43 am | Posted in Labor, Occupy, politics straight up | Leave a comment
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The Unknown Citizen by W.H. Auden

(To JS/07 M 378 This Marble Monument Is Erected by the State)

He was found by the Bureau of Statistics to be
One against whom there was no official complaint,
And all the reports on his conduct agree
That, in the modern sense of an old-fashioned word, he was a saint,
For in everything he did he served the Greater Community.
Except for the War till the day he retired
He worked in a factory and never got fired,
But satisfied his employers, Fudge Motors Inc.
Yet he wasn’t a scab or odd in his views,
For his Union reports that he paid his dues,
(Our report on his Union shows it was sound)
And our Social Psychology workers found
That he was popular with his mates and liked a drink.
The Press are convinced that he bought a paper every day
And that his reactions to advertisements were normal in every way.
Policies taken out in his name prove that he was fully insured,
And his Health-card shows he was once in hospital but left it cured.
Both Producers Research and High-Grade Living declare
He was fully sensible to the advantages of the Installment Plan
And had everything necessary to the Modern Man,
A gramophone, a radio, a car and a frigidaire.
Our researchers into Public Opinion are content
That he held the proper opinions for he time of year;
When there was peace, he was for peace; when there was war, he went.
He was married and added five children to the population,
Which our Eugenist says was the right number for a parent of his generation.
And our teachers report that he never interfered with their education.
Was he free? Was he happy? The question is absurd:
Had anything been wrong, we should certainly have heard.

Occupy Your World

October 11, 2011 at 11:25 am | Posted in Economy, environment, health, Labor, Occupy, politics straight up | Leave a comment
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Trade Union procession for Triangle Waist Co. fire victims, 1911. (Library of Congress)

(NYT) The Triangle shirtwaist factory fire, as it is commonly recorded in history books, was one of the nation’s landmark disasters, a tragedy that enveloped the city in grief and remorse but eventually inspired important shifts in the nation’s laws, particularly those protecting the rights of workers and the safety of buildings.

I’ve added a new category to the side bar — Occupy! — where you can find links to various and sundry Occupy websites. If you know of one that you think I should include, please leave me a note in comments.

Occupy Your World

October 5, 2011 at 10:11 pm | Posted in civil rights, Economy, health, Labor, Occupy, politics straight up | Leave a comment
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We are the 99 percent. We are getting kicked out of our homes. We are forced to choose between groceries and rent. We are denied quality medical care. We are suffering from environmental pollution. We are working long hours for little pay and no rights, if we’re working at all. We are getting nothing while the other 1 percent is getting everything. We are the 99 percent.

Brought to you by the people who occupy wall street. Why will YOU occupy?

Occupy Together is now using MeetUp as a means of creating and updating information about solidarity actions popping up all over the world. Be there or be square, as the kids say.

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