Thursday, August 23, 2012

American Winter

American Winter

"AMERICAN WINTER is a documentary feature film that shines a light on the dramatic personal stories behind the country's worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Produced and directed by Emmy award-winning filmmakers Joe and Harry Gantz (creators of HBO's Taxicab Confessions), the film presents a powerful portrait of our nation's economic downturn from the point of view of families in financial crisis."

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Those Who Try To Silence the Poor in American Society

We got one of these guys commenting here...

They always follow the same trend of thought...

"Oh you're acting like a bunch of victims"

Notice the ship is sinking and these graveyard whistlers never have much to add to the conversation except more stigma and condemnation?

They always blame the unemployed, poor, underemployed and welfare recipients instead of the trillions sent overseas to help OTHER nations and bankers and to wage wars. For folks like this, the politicians have totally managed to brainwash. Maybe the day their job is gone, is the day they will wake up, but then it probably would be too late.

The 1980s mantra "You can just get rich" really took over, didn't it. Where these guys imagine jobs ready to be plucked from trees for the taking that pay living wages, and 1950s prices. Perhaps their wealth allows them to live in a dream world of expecting everyone to live the same they do.

All I know, is I know tons of people getting laid off and the ones WITH jobs are seeing that pay cut and the prices all around us are sky rocketing. But cognitive dissonance is an interesting enterprise, some would rather just lie to themselves and lie to others rather then face the truth.

If you note, the poor and working class, really do not exist in American media. We do not even have TV shows that shows anyone poor outside of crime shows, which that is another issue to be explored. No Laverne and Shirley on TV today, two factory workers wouldn't be given the time of day now.

There is a reason for that you know. And well I plan to speak out no matter the gas lighters and ones who say "You are too poor, crawl back in your cave, VICTIM"! Ah what an abused word, that is. It is not the victims who really face what is going on, but the truth tellers.-The Squawker

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

How The American University Was Killed in 5 Easy Steps

How The American University Was Killed in 5 Easy Steps

This is an excellent article, it talks about how the corporations have influenced the universities, and how the money from all the over-priced tuition certainly isn't going to the armies of underpaid adjuncts now serving as your new freshman's professor. It also makes some serious points about the extreme student debts and the lack of pay off and the worry and fear students hold for their futures realizing their future debt slavery. I have written this before, that we stand before the abyss of a college bubble that will burst like the housing one and it will explode when people confront the brick wall called reality and realize that starting off life poor with a debt for an education that brings no better wages is no plan at all. He mentions tuitions that have been raised over 2000%, corporation influence and whoredom, "Academia should not be the whore of corporatism, but that’s what it has become." and much much more.

They basically discuss the answer to the question where is all the money going?

"I’d like to mention here, too, that universities often defend their use of adjuncts – which are now 75% of all professors in the country — claiming that they have no choice but to hire adjuncts, as a “cost saving measure” in an increasingly defunded university. What they don’t say, and without demand of transparency will NEVER say, is that they have not saved money by hiring adjuncts — they have reduced faculty salaries, security and power. The money wasn’t saved, because it was simply re-allocated to administrative salaries, coach salaries and outrageous university president salaries. There has been a redistribution of funds away from those who actually teach, the scholars – and therefore away from the students’ education itself — and into these administrative and executive salaries, sports costs — and the expanded use of “consultants”, PR and marketing firms, law firms. We have to add here, too, that president salaries went from being, in the 1970s, around $25K to 30K, to being in the hundreds of thousands to MILLIONS of dollars – salary, delayed compensation, discretionary funds, free homes, or generous housing allowances, cars and drivers, memberships to expensive country clubs."


"The Second Prong: You make college so insanely unaffordable that only the wealthiest students from the wealthiest of families can afford to go to the school debt free. Younger people may not know that for much of the 20th Century many universities in the U.S. were free – including the CA state system – you could establish residency in six months and go to Berkeley for free, or at very low cost. When I was an undergraduate student in the mid to late 1970s, tuition at Temple University was around $700 a year. Today, tuition is nearly $15,000 a year. Tuitions have increased, using CA as an example again, over 2000% since the 1970s. 2000%! This is the most directly dangerous situation for our students: pulling them into crippling debt that will follow them to the grave."

"Within one generation, in five easy steps, not only have the scholars and intellectuals of the country been silenced and nearly wiped out, but the entire institution has been hijacked, and recreated as a machine through which future generations will ALL be impoverished, indebted and silenced. Now, low wage migrant professors teach repetitive courses they did not design to students who travel through on a kind of conveyor belt, only to be spit out, indebted and desperate into a jobless economy. The only people immediately benefitting inside this system are the administrative class – whores to the corporatized colonizers, earning money in this system in order to oversee this travesty. But the most important thing to keep in mind is this: The real winners, the only people truly benefitting from the big-picture meltdown of the American university are those people who, in the 1960s, saw those vibrant college campuses as a threat to their established power. They are the same people now working feverishly to dismantle other social structures, everything from Medicare and Social Security to the Post Office."

Please read the whole article at the above link, it brings so much together.

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Faces Of Hunger (Take Two): Your Friendly Neighborhood Food Pantry & Another Church Dinner

On any given month, the last week becomes something of a scramble for The Squawker and yours truly, The Reckoner.

There's no precious little reason to the proceedings; often, it's simply down to the calendar's infernal rhythms. Stretching resources over a five-week month, versus a four-week one, becomes ever more challenging -- so when you run out, you run out, simple as that.

As the Squawker and myself have seen, food is typically the first resource to go. Last month (July 24), we visited one of our Friendly Neighborhood Food Pantries...I had a freelancing check coming, but it was three or four days off, which feels like a lifetime in this situation.

Mumbling, "Beggars can't be choosers," or some such nostrum, the Squawker and myself tropped off to the pantry...and we could only tell ourselves, "What a difference a year makes!"

Previously, you could count on some type of meat item – be it chicken, or canned somthing-or-other – but, alas, not on this occasion. We were Ninth and Tenth in a line of ten, so by the time we were called, they'd run out of chicken...all the operators could provide in this area were packages of some off-brand lunch meat. They apologized profusely; we shrugged it off, responding, "Beggars can't be choosers."

Or perhaps they should get a bit more choosy: when the Squawker and I unpacked our solitary cardboard box's contents at home, we found that both lunch meat packets were, shall we say, a good seven or eight months past their expiration date.

So we pitched them into the wastebin; no sense in playing "Territory" with our stomachs, we thought.

Admittedly, we haven't visited as many pantries this summer, as we were forced to do last fall, and winter...but, when we have made the pilgrimage, we're noticing expiration dates of six months to a year old on certain things,...partcularly on canned goods, and packaged items, such as the odd box of crackers (which make a good ingredient for ground meat dishes).

Are we simply seeing more stock from the bottom of the barrel, or shelf (so to speak), as more people turn to food pantries? That's one piece of speculation that the Squawker and I have bandied about, but without outside confirmation, we can't say for sure.

Suffice to say, when my check did arrive, we were never so glad to see $100 in our lives.

Four days later (July 28), the Squawker and I experienced a totally different scene: another free community dinner put on by one of the local Lutheran churches, at its nearby recreation center -- as always, open to all comers...first come, first served, and all that.

Of course, a "dinner" that starts at 11:30 a.m. is closer to a community lunch...we need not beat the neo-Orwellian implications to death.

The Squawker and I periodically attend these dinners to stretch our food budget -- particularly at the end of the month, when money's a bit tighter. This time, we knew something was up as we rolled into the parking lot, and saw the line snaking right up near the entrance doors.

I volunteered to get out, and hold a place for both of us. After a roughly 10-minute wait, I beckoned the Squawker to join me, and once we made our way inside, we encountered an extraordinary scene. Last time, I think we didn't see more than three dozen people. This time, though, my quick count showed roughly 100 people filling the room, with hardly an empty chair or table place in sight.

Even so, we wanted some peace and quiet, so once we'd filled our plates with chicken -- augmented with cole slaw and mashed potatoes for me, and a timely substitution of rolls for the Squawker, who's allergic to foods of the mashed variety -- we made a beeline for the great outdoors.

We sat on the concrete ledge outside, watching people as they came and went, or bravd another wait in line for seconds. Now and again, one of the church servers made noises about us being required to eat inside. I solved that problem by telling them, "We're just catching some fresh air, we'll be back in a minute."

A different worker came out every time, so we got away with this exercise in dramatic license.

Looking around, it was easy to feel trapped in some '90s-era comedy skit, an impression underscored by one hulking's Homey The Clown T-shirt, and the various pixie or fringed haircuts that many of the women still sported, in defiance of all subsequent fashion norms.

Even so, at least I recognized a handful of people from last time, but could only wonder: how far and wide has the word spread? Where'd all these new people come from, and are they here for the same reason?

And, lastly, what does this explosion of numbers say about where we're headed?

We didn't stick around to ponder the implications. Having cleared our plates...and weary of a Saturday afternoon that threatened to soar past the mid-80-degree mark...we got back in the car and headed home, to reclaim what remained of our peace and quiet. --The Reckoner

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Photographer puts America's poverty in focus

What Do They Expect When There are NO MORE DECENT JOBS anymore?

Over 100 million Americans on Federal Welfare.

The sad thing is the right wing will tell the employed and upper classes, those "poor people" are dragging the country down, we need to cut them off! This is the purpose the Tea Party served to take the heat off the banker bail-outs and trillions of dollars streaming overseas and put it on the increasing numbers of the poor of America as the 'culprit" for the national debt.

The left wing will have Obama continue to sign more NAFTA like bills like the Trans-Pacific and who is just as committed to the globalist vision destroying America. What else do you think will happen when American workers are competing against enslaved third world workers who work for pennies a day?

Barack Obama: We Must Embrace Globalism And The Emerging One World Economy

Neither the Democratic or Republican party care about these issues. The politicians are committed to the multinational corporations, and these corporations have thrown America over board for the global market, that means for the average America watching things spiral down here. Who finances all the elections? Think about that one. Outside of some vague mentions of outsourcing, most are ignoring the main reason our economy is crumbling.

Free Trade Or Fair Trade? 20 Reasons Why All Americans Should Be Against The Insane Trade Policies Of The Globalists

Global Economy? 23 Facts Which Prove That Globalism Is Pushing The Standard Of Living Of The Middle Class Down To Third World Levels

No one will question a system set up where the majority of people cannot even afford basic bills anymore and where ONE THIRD of the population needs such help.

What I fear seeing something like this, is there will be just more "blame the victims" rhetoric, they will shove under the carpet the trillions that have gone to useless wars, rebuilding other countries! and the banker bail-outs. Already we hear about the "lazy good-for nothings" from the right wing day in and day out, while all these bigger issues are papered over. There is a cry now by the useless politicians to remove or severely cut the social safety nets. And for those who think it's a bad idea that so many are dependent on the government, I agree, that is not a good outcome, but where are the jobs? How can people make it anymore when wages have been so suppressed and so many are unemployed and the prices rising faster then a rocket?  Look at the bigger picture here and what is happening. People don't even live on the land anymore to produce their own food, community and family have broken down. What other options do they have?--The Squawker

Baby Boomer Dad

Baby Boomer Dad Meme

Some Baby Boomers don't get it, while many are in the same boat as the younger generations, but I've met endless people who followed the formula and became underpaid or unemployed and then faced irate "successful" parents who considered them a "loser" for not being able to pluck a job off a tree like them. How many of these type of folks do you meet who enjoyed a benefits rich job and a lifetime of secure employment who stand in judgment of those who never got to enjoy any of it? Of course if one sometimes takes a look at the obits, they can see for the preceding generation stable jobs seemed to be the norm, reading that so and so worked at ***** for 30 and 40 years. Take a look sometime. Their lives were completely DIFFERENT.

----The Squawker