Friday, May 2, 2014

Racism, Poverty, and The American Dream

“Some things are bigger than basketball”  -Etan Thomas 

Don't think homelessness can happen to you, think again. I have a friend who just emailed me from her phone stating she's at social services waiting in the homeless division because she's broke and is about to lose her house and everything she owns. Thing is, she was a music exec, making 6-figures a year. 3 years ago, her daughter became very ill. My friend didn't have any health insurance because she thought she'd be okay due to the money she had in savings, but she never thought her child would become ill. She spent all of her savings in the last three years and is now broke. So, don't think it can't happen to can happen to ANYONE. Be thankful for the things you do have and stop striving for the fast/expensive car, the big house, and all of those things that don't REALLY matter. My friend used to have all of those things, now she has practically nothing. 
Help others, because your character is the only thing you're taking with you when you die. All I could do for her was buy her groceries and pray that she will find a job soon. Oh, and she was recently diagnosed with Lupus and a few other illnesses...sigh. I hate seeing people suffer. #wrecked - Carry Me Productions

Picture Legend:

1. Don Sterling
2. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
3. Rachel Maddow
4. President Obama and Malaysian Prime Minister, Najib Razak
5. Society
6. Bill Maher
7. Cliven Bundy... no relation to Al
8. Al Bundy
9. Paul Ryan
10. Charles Murray
11. Harry Truman
12. George W Bush
13. Bill Clinton
14. Ronald Reagan
15. Peter North
16. John Boehner
17. Mitch McConnell
18. Paul Krugman
19. Tom Coburn
20. Elizabeth Warren
21. George Carlin

   I attended my weekly “Depression Group” Monday afternoon at the Downtown V.A. Clinic, so I could aquire my weekly dose, but most of the 15 or so vets there were not depressed. Rather they seemed to be... perturbed. Why? Well they were all upset over the statements made by this Billionaire guy Don Sterling which some (including me) might consider racist in nature. 
   Not only my veteran friends were upset, everyone seems to be upset, or outraged, or up in arms, or whatever. Even mild mannered, and freakishly tall person, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, had this to say about the matter. Oh no, that’s not it. This is what he said.
    By Golly, the cable networks just can’t stop reporting about it. Even our dear friend, Rachel Maddow devoted quite a lot of time to it on her Monday night program (check out the  “On Racism in Sports, History is a Reference” video, and her interview with Kareem).
   Even the President, while visiting Malaysia, and standing next to the Prime Minister of that country, was asked about the situation during a press conference.
   I can just imagine what the Malaysian Prime Minister, Najib Razak, was thinking while Obama spoke... “What the hell are we talking about this crap for?! This has nothing to do with me!”
   I hope he was satisfied with the selfie he got with Barack.
   I need to point out that my Depression Group consists mostly of black veterans. I don’t know why? Maybe Hispanic, Caucasian, and Asian vets don’t suffer from depression much.
   And some of these black veteran’s, not all by any means, were very vocal and outraged over Mr. Sterling’s remarks, to the point our group’s facilitator, the lovely and talented Dr. Newsome, who is also black, needed to stop the few that were self igniting each other’s opinion base to the point where several were getting quite loud in their need to voice their thoughts (and to hear their own voices, I guess,  as these few made a habit of disproportionately taking up the group’s time), steering the group back to how, or if, this development effected these guys personally, and their level of depression. Three times.
   I quietly snickered to my self at their self-manufactured outrage. It’s been my experience that a significant percentage of black people believe that racism is always directed towards them, or black people in general. Racism directed toward Hispanics, Asians, and the pygmy head hunters from Sumatra, doesn;t really count.
   Now I understand our nation’s history concerning slavery and illegal immigration, and I understand how racism effects minorities in socio-economic matters, blacks and Hispanics more prominently than others, (White Americans (non-Hispanic/Latino and Hispanic/Latino) are the racial majority, with a 72% share of the U.S. population, according to the 2010 U.S. Census. Hispanic and Latino Americans amount to 15% of the population, making up the largest minority. African Americans are the largest racial minority, amounting to nearly 13% of the population. The White, non-Hispanic or Latino population, which includes also individuals from the Middle East and North Africa, make up 63% of the nation's total) and that racism is a significant social problem and should be dealt with when it rears it’s ugly head.
   But it’s a problem that is not likely to be solved any time soon.
   I live in an area that is populated predominantly by blacks. In Skid Row I am a minority member and I have been the target of racist remarks on occasion. When a black person calls someone “white boy,” or “cracker,” they’re making racial statements. 
   I’ve been called these things, and others. I’ve also heard much more offensive remarks.
   It doesn’t bother me that much.
   If I were to voice these instances at let’s say, my Depression Group, I might experience a certain amount of indignation by the most vocal, which wouldn’t bother me that much either.
   Personally I have no opinions about people of other races than my own. I tend to associate myself with individuals no matter what their race may be, rather than group people into particular categories. Considering where I live most of my friends and acquaintances are black and Hispanic. The only group of humans that I immediately don’t care for are those who display obnoxious, or loud tendencies in their behavior, no matter what race they may be a member of... and of course short people and the Dutch, who I hate with the intensity of a burning sun... and anyone who doesn’t live in Los Angeles (which gives me an excuse to post another Randy Newman song, featuring Laura Howard Granito. And yes, I fully understand the implications of the song concerning dichotomy).
   I think I understand the roots of racism, which go way, way back to our days as hunter gathers and before. 
   In our distant past it was advantageous for us to be suspicious of strangers. Strangers were not us, and represented danger and the unknown. Better to stick with those we knew and trusted. Throughout history there are many precedents for this attitude. The Romans and Mongols were strangers that warred upon and enslaved those who they came upon, or who stood in their way. It was wise to fear them and take precautions and defensive measures against the invaders if possible. White men came to Africa to capture black men and women and children. On and on and on, going back to antiquity.
   Racism is hardwired in us, like the color of our eyes and hair.
   Racism, or specism is prevalent in nature. One species feeds on another. For the prey it is better to stay as far away from the hunter as possible. One could say the pray is ostracizing the species that hunts it, as would most of us put in their position. 
   The distrust of those who are different from us was at one time a very good survival strategy. 
   And it still is to a degree. We trust those who are in our immediate family, more than distant relatives, and certainly much more than those we aren’t related to us at all. And it’s probably prudent to do so.
   Yet our society flips out and gets all excited when blatant remarks or actions are committed concerning members of different races. To a degree the historical pressure to distrust or take defensive actions of those who are different than us is less than it was in our past. The invention of society, and the advent of law has lessened the threat posed by strangers, or those who are different... to a degree. Crime still exists, and there are reasons for that as well.
   So it is my position that racist attitudes are antiquated (I can make a good case for religious attitudes, or religion as well, but that will be for another time), and currently surface through the maintenence of ignorance, and from those who’s early environment fostered ignorance. These individuals tend to cherish these beliefs and hold to them throughout their lives because those they associate with hold the same beliefs, and it’s much easier to maintain a belief than it is to change one’s world view and admit the possibility of error, an attitude that is also born from ignorance. 
   So I think racism is a symptom of a lager problem that faces society, which is the prevalence of ignorance.
   This observation doesn’t make these difficulties faced by society any easier to solve.
   So why get all upset.
   I would have liked to say to my fellow veterans, if you feel the need to speak out about an issue, to get all excited and up in arms, and vocal about something, instead of directing our attention towards this one individual (Sterling, who was banned for life Tuesday from attending NBA games or practices, being present at any Clippers office or facility, or participating in any business or player personnel decisions involving the team, and cannot participate in any league business going forward. He was also fined $2.5 million and pressure will be brought on him to sell the Clippers franchise which he’s owned for 35 years. Mr. Sterling, who turned 80 last month, is a lawyer and will most likely litigate this decision. Yet, as the comedian Stephen Colbert pointed out on his program Tuesday night, a lifetime ban is significant. “Who knows,” he said, “how many months that will be”), why don’t we focus on problems that really matter, that effect us and our civilization as a whole, like global warming, over fishing, deforestation, pollution, species extinction, invasive species, extreme weather (such as we are currently experiencing in the American southeast), income inequality, the prevalence of ignorance itself*, and a host of other pressing issues we and our children will inevitably have to deal with.
   The  television host, stand-up comedian, political commentator, satirist, author, and actor, Bill Maher made the same point, Tuesday evening on the MSNBC “All In,” program with Chris Hayes:
   “ESPN seems to have found their Malaysian plane,” Maher said, later adding, “If we we’re really talking about what’s important, the headline — and it would be a banner headline in the newspaper every day and every blog — that basically says, ‘The planet is dying and the icecaps are melting, we must do something very, very soon or we’re all going to die.’”
   Why does he think a lot of people and the media are getting all worked up about this particular issue?
   “It’s an opportunity for self-congratulation,” Maher said. “It’s an opportunity for people to [say], ‘I’m one of the good people, because I think this guy has got to go.’ Well, yeah, we all agree that this guy is a bad guy but there are not that many opportunities anymore for a lot of people to contribute to society. So they feel like one way they can contribute to society is by making bad people go away.”
   The only thing I did say during Monday’s Depression Group was at the end as I was leaving, to Dr. Newsome.
   “This Sterling guy sure did Clive Bundy a favor” (meaning that the national media’s attention had been taken off of Bundy’s racist remarks and transfered to Sterling’s racist remarks).
   This is not the only controversy the Mr. Sterling has been associated with. 
   A resident of Los Angeles, he made his money in real estate (Forbes magazine lists his current net worth at a paltry $1.9 billion, hardly worth mentioning compared to Oprah (who has expressed interest in buying The Clippers)). In August 2006, the U.S. Department of Justice sued him for housing discrimination in using race as a factor in filling some of his apartment buildings. The suit charged that he refused to rent to non-Koreans in the Koreatown neighborhood and to African Americans in Beverly Hills. The suit alleged Sterling once said he did not like to rent to Hispanics because they “smoke, drink, and just hang around the building,” and that “Black tenants smell and attract vermin.” He agreed to pay a fine of $2.73 million to settle claims that he engaged in discriminatory rental practices against Hispanics, blacks, and families with children.
   He also doen’t mind using poor people to his advantage. In June of 2006 the Donald T. Sterling Charitable Foundation's would spend $50 million on a site on the eastern end of Downtown Los Angeles to provide services for Los Angeles' homeless population. As to what kind of services, I have no idea. Perhaps homeless people could come to the center and check in each day to be ridiculed by Sterling and his friends, who knows, as he has neglected to back up his promise (nothing has been built). The so-called charitable foundation still publicizes their intentions which is rather odd. Some cynical critics believe Sterling bought the property purely for its real-estate value.
   So we’ve pretty much established that Donald Sterling is a dick... and an old dick at that. Let’s hope, as Mr. Maher pointed out, that the Donald Sterling problem (and why not throw in Charles (78) and David Koch (73) as well) will soon be solved by a good case of the flu (it was reported earlier today that Mr. Sterling is suffering from prostrate cancer).
   The poor (the word “poor’ being used in every sense of the word) don’t care. We’re used to being treated this way by others who think of themselves as being well off.
   Like the Republicans in Congress for instance.
   The Republicans economic golden boy, former vice presidential candidate, and latent sex symbol, House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, set forth his vision toward reforming America’s programs regarding poverty last March on a conservative morning radio show. He hinted that he would focus on creating work requirements for men “in our inner cities” and dealing with the “real culture problem” in these communities. “We have got this tailspin of culture, in our inner cities in particular, of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working or learning the value and the culture of work, and so there is a real culture problem here that has to be dealt with,” he said.
   Well, well, a culture problem... in our inner cities, and men not even wanting to work.
   You know, a lot of reporting on this statement was done at the time, alluding to the possibility that Ryan was singling out a certain race, which he vehemently denied. “There was no mention of race in my statements,” he told some black gentleman when called on it. But we know exactly what he was talking about, dear readers. He was talking specifically about BLACK MEN.
   I always marvel though  that certain questions are never asked by the media to our Republican friends, such as, where are you getting this information?
   That’s a simple question. It’s not hard to say, or ask. But no one ever does.
   How much time has Ryan spent in our inner cities? How many of these men has he talked to? The women must be doing okay since he didn’t mention them. They must be supporting those lazy ass men, while they’re collecting all of that lovely welfare.
   Is he citing some empirical, peer reviewed study, which unambiguously comes to this conclusion, or is he, how shall I put this, pulling it directly out of his butt?
   Guess which dear readers!
   Ryan doesn’t cite a study, but rather the conservative social scientist (and I apologize to real scientists for using that title), Charles Murray, who once said this: “Try to imagine a… presidential candidate saying in front of the cameras, ‘One reason that we still have poverty in the United States is that a lot of poor people are born lazy.’ You cannot imagine it because that kind of thing cannot be said. And yet this unimaginable statement merely implies that when we know the complete genetic story, it will turn out that the population below the poverty line in the United States has a configuration of the relevant genetic makeup that is significantly different from the configuration of the population above the poverty line. This is not unimaginable. It is almost certainly true.” —“Deeper Into the Brain,” National Review, 2000.
   Poor people are just lazy, that’s the answer! It’s just so simple! And they’re lazy due to their genetic makeup... so if that were true it’s not really their fault is it? But that question is never explored, and for good reason. The entire proposition is without merit, more an example of ideology than science. This is the way Ryan and Murrey want the world to be like, so it is... to them. 
   “We want people to reach their potential and so the dignity of work is very valuable and important and we have to re-emphasize work and reform our welfare programs, like we did in 1996,” Ryan said. 
   “The dignity of work,” uttered by a prominent majority member of the House of Representatives which has been rightly criticized for enacting less legislation than Harry Truman’s famous "Do Nothing Congress" of 1947. As a matter of fact that Congress was like a decathlon athlete on steroids compared to the current one, so I wish Mr Ryan would take his own advice and pass it along to his fellow House Republicans and get to work for the benefit of the country (Senator Ryan conveniently forgets that it was a Republican administration (that would be that of  George W. Bush) that increased the level of poverty and homelessness in this country through it’s pursuit of so-called free market policies and deregulation of Wall Street, which allowed banks to turn into casinos with other people’s money, creating a housing market bubble which when burst created the largest financial crisis the country has seen since 1929, throwing millions of Americans out of their homes and onto the streets. But according to Ryan and his brethren, it was and is the poor who are at fault, not Republican ideology and policies. Remember when Bush was asked   what was the biggest mistake that he may of made while in office? He couldn’t think of any. Let me help him out... lying a country into an unnecessary war in Iraq maybe? But like Bush, Republicans can’t admit to their mistakes. They’re like little kids, and need to place blame on anyone but themselves).   
   Mr. Ryan was referring to the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act of 1996, signed into law by Bill Clinton as a sop to the Republicans after they took control of Congress in the 1994 mid-term elections. The bill added a workforce development component to welfare legislation, encouraging employment among the poor.
   The Republican idea behind the act, that those receiving welfare had become too dependent upon public assistance, that those who were on welfare for many years lost any initiative to find a job, that those on welfare realized that taking a job would mean not only losing benefits but also incurring child care, transportation and clothing costs, that new jobs probably would not pay well and may not include health insurance whereas on welfare they would have been covered by Medicaid, and thus encouraged welfare recipients to stay on welfare, was again presented without evidence. 
   Critics of the law argued that poverty in America increased from 1979 onward after President Reagan's presidential campaign criticized deficit spending and that the temporary large reduction in the number of people collecting welfare was largely a result of steady and strong economic growth in the years following the enactment of the law.
   Did you hear that? No, of course you didn’t. Did you see that statement I emphasized above? Steady and strong economic growth helped those who were in poverty to get out of it.
   A strong economy helping people, and the country. What an idea! Putting people to work also lowers the national crime rate, and helps to alleviate a host of other socio-economic problems, for instance making it easier for women to find meaningful, gainful employment, rather than being forced into jobs they would not normally consider, prostitution and the porn industry due to a failing economy being extreme examples, prostitution and porn being issues that social conservatives always say they are so concerned about, but are unwilling to do anything about.
   Prostitution? The porn industry? Really?
   Why do you think women get into those businesses? Because they’re nymphomaniacs and just can’t get enough of Peter North’s one eyed willy?
   I don’t think so. They do it because the need money.
   Why do you think actors work in daytime soaps? Same reason.
   Fortunately Senator Ryan began a hearing Wednesday with the lofty goal of getting to the roots of the poverty problem, called “A Progress Report on the War on Poverty: Lessons from the Frontlines.” The panel will include three “experts,” but no Americans who are actually effected by poverty were allowed to participate.
   What has Congress done to help our economy grow while Obama has been in office? Has it passed any job bills? Don’t look it up (or actually do look it up, don’t trust me), the answer is no, they haven’t. John Boehner, the Speaker of the House, keeps telling us that jobs are the number one priority of the House of Representatives, but hasn’t passed a single jobs bill, and then blames the president for his inaction. “Where are the jobs?” he keeps asking Obama. Well, if they were up your ass you’d know!
   Immigration, nothing done. Build the nation’s crumbling infrastructure, no way. Give tax breaks to the rich, well of course, after all, that’s who we work for. 
   Yesterday 41 Senators, all Republicans, voted to block a bill that would raise the national minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.  
   What would raising the national minimum wage do for the poor, and the general population in  this country? A whole lot it seems.
   It would help 28 million workers overall, whose wages would go up by an infusion of $35 billion dollars, ($35 billion dollars that would quickly return to the economy); 15 million women, who make up almost two-thirds of all minimum wage workers; one million veterans, which amounts to one in ten of all veterans currently working; 21 million children, who would have had at least one parent whose pay will go up; 3.5 million people of color, who make up a disproportionate number of minimum wage workers and whose wages are estimated to increase by $16.1 billion with a $10.10 minimum wage (stats provided by the Economic Policy Institute).   
   Raising the minimum wage would help workers who are still feeling the effects of the 1997/1998 Republican recession. The resulting impact on the overall economy would be demonstrably positive, as minimum-wage workers would spend their new earnings immediately, and not hoard their earnings away like the ultra-rich and large corporations are currently doing, generating a positive impact on the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) and a related modest growth in employment. 
   But Republicans don’t see it that way. The main argument Republicans use in opposing the minimum wage hike is that it will decrease the number of jobs in the U.S. Republicans cite a Congressional Budget Office study that found a $10.10 federal minimum wage would reduce total employment by 500,000 workers in the second half of 2016.  
   But that same CBO study also said that 16.5 million people would see an increase in their earnings if a $10.10 minimum wage went into effect.
   Wow! 500,000 vs 16,000,000, let’s see, which would be more advantageous to help. 
   Oh, by the way, GOP Senators took checks from leading lobbyists representing big corporations opposed to raising the minimum wage. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, for instance, has taken $118,000 since 2008.
   I’m sure this campaign contribution and his no vote were just a coincidence. 
   On the other hand, The National Employment Law Project, a  national advocacy organization for employment rights of lower-wage workers states “The opinion of the economics profession on the impact of the minimum wage has shifted significantly over the past fifteen years. Today, the most rigorous research shows little evidence of job reductions from a higher minimum wage. Indicative is a 2013 survey by the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business in which leading economists agreed by a nearly 4 to 1 margin that the benefits of raising and indexing the minimum wage outweigh the costs.”
   Nobel laureate, Paul Krugman has this to say about this issue: “First of all, the current level of the minimum wage is very low by any reasonable standard. For about four decades, increases in the minimum wage have consistently fallen behind inflation, so that in real terms the minimum wage is substantially lower than it was in the 1960s. Meanwhile, worker productivity has doubled. Isn’t it time for a raise?
   Now, you might argue that even if the current minimum wage seems low, raising it would cost jobs. But there’s evidence on that question — lots and lots of evidence, because the minimum wage is one of the most studied issues in all of economics. U.S. experience, it turns out, offers many “natural experiments” here, in which one state raises its minimum wage while others do not. And while there are dissenters, as there always are, the great preponderance of the evidence from these natural experiments points to little if any negative effect of minimum wage increases on employment.”
   Tom Coburn, the Senator from Oklahoma (of course) believes in the “Free Market,” and doesn’t think we need a minimum wage at all. Don’t believe me? Well, here, he said this yesterday:
   “I don’t believe you ought to interfere in the market,” Coburn said when asked whether the current $7.25 minimum wage was high enough. “I don’t believe there ought to be a national minimum wage.”
   “The fact is if you look at … the good economic models, the benefit is small. The cost of lost jobs is great,” he said. “It goes against the free market principle. We don’t know what the minimum wage should be. How’d they pick $10.10? Why not $22? Why not $100?”
   Why not indeed?
   Earnings for the top 1 percent have gone up 177 percent since 1980. Meanwhile, minimum wage workers are actually making 16 percent less. 
   This kind of thinking is regressive in nature. Republican economics and social positions are regressive, wanting to transport the nation and it’s people to a time when there were no labor laws or protections for workers, women, and children, all to the advantage of businesses. I don’t know about you, dear readers, but I don’t believe Americans fought and died for this country in two World Wars, and a few thereafter, so they could have the honor of becoming serfs to the nation’s wealthy.
   Senator Coburn is advocating for a free, unrestricted business model, one similar to what China is  now enjoying (China's Ruthless Capitalism). 
   I suggest Mr. Coburn relocate, tomorrow if it can be arranged.
   Senator Elizabeth Warren has an opposing view. 
     “In 1968, the minimum wage was high enough to keep a working parent with a family of three out of poverty. In 1980, the minimum wage was at least high enough to keep a working parent with a family of two out of poverty. Today, the minimum wage isn’t even enough to keep a fully-employed mother and a baby out of poverty.
   Something is fundamentally wrong when millions of Americans can work full time and still live in poverty. And something is fundamentally wrong when big companies can get away with paying poverty-level wages and then stick taxpayers with the cost when their full-time workers end up on food stamps and Medicaid.
   I understand that some big businesses might like to keep things the way they are. But I really don’t understand this Republican filibuster. There’s nothing conservative about leaving millions of working people in poverty. There’s nothing conservative about expanding enrollment in government assistance programs. And there’s nothing conservative about preserving a sweetheart deal for companies that would rather milk the taxpayers for more corporate welfare than compete on a level playing field.” 
   Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York issued a clear indication on the Senate floor Wednesday that this fight is far from over: “If we don’t succeed this time…we will bring this bill to the floor again and again and again. Sooner or later we will get it done.”
   A poll was released last week indicating these Republican ideas and policies are out of step with the majority of Americans, despite the constant bombardment of right wing propaganda  presented by Fox News and folks like Rush “Drug Addled Gas Bag” Limbaugh.
      HuffPost/YouGov released findings that  Americans generally think that both the wealthy and the poor ended up where they are more because of the opportunities they had in life rather than because of personal successes or failures (such as the $26.3 billion Alice Walton inherited from her dad vs the $2.53 I inherited from mine (according to the Republicans, my father just didn’t apply himself enough). 
   Another poll conducted by The Wall Street Journal and NBC concluded that 55% of those asked agreed with the statement: “The economic and political systems in the country are stacked against people like me,” while 39% disagreed. 6% were too stoned on legal marijuana to reply.
   Republican policies they would see enacted, like the elimination of social programs designed to help the poor and disadvantaged such as the food stamp program and unemployment benefits, which they’ve already successfully cut, tend to exacerbate the problem. 
   Despite Republican efforts to treasonously  sabotage the national economy for purely political reasons, and despite a lukewarm report on the overall economy, nonfarm payrolls surged 288,000 last month, the Labor Department reported today. That was largest gain since January 2012 and beat economists' expectations for only a 210,000 rise.
   For a nation that is supposedly the richest in the world (after-tax middle-class incomes in Canada,  substantially behind in 2000,  now appear to be higher than in the United States. The poor in much of Europe earn more than poor Americans, and China is expected to surpass the U.S. economy in purchasing power sometime this year) which can afford to spend billions on defense that it doesn’t need in this day and age, and which can find about a trillion dollars a year to give away to the most wealthy of us and corporations, and which purports to be a Christian nation based on the teachings of Jesus Christ, the way it treats the least among it’s citizens is nothing but a national and moral disgrace.

   *A somewhat fatalistic message from George Carlin and The American Dream:
    “There's a reason education sucks, it's the same reason that it will never, ever, ever be fixed. It's never going to get any better, don't look for it, be happy with what you got.  Because the owners of this country don't want that.  I'm talking about the real owners, now.  The real owners, the big wealthy business interests that control things and make all the important decisions. Forget the politicians, they're an irrelevancy. The politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. You don't. You have no choice. You have owners. They own you. They own everything. They own all the important land. They own and control the corporations. They've long since bought and paid for the Senate, the Congress, the statehouses, the city halls. They've got the judges in their back pockets. And they own all the big media companies, so that they control just about all of the news and information you hear. They've got you by the balls. They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying,­ lobbying to get what they want. Well, we know what they want; they want more for themselves and less for everybody else.
   But I'll tell you what they don't want. They don't want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They don't want well-informed, well-educated people capable of critical thinking. They're not interested in that. That doesn't help them. That's against their interests. They don't want people who are smart enough to sit around the kitchen table and figure out how badly they're getting fucked by a system that threw them overboard thirty fucking years ago.
   You know what they want? Obedient workers,­ people who are just smart enough to run the machines and do the paperwork but just dumb enough to passively accept all these increasingly shittier jobs with the lower pay, the longer hours, reduced benefits, the end of overtime and the vanishing pension that disappears the minute you go to collect it. And, now, they're coming for your Social Security. They want your fucking retirement money. They want it back, so they can give it to their criminal friends on Wall Street.  And you know something? They'll get it. They'll get it all, sooner or later, because they own this fucking place. It's a big club, and you ain't in it. You and I are not in the big club. 
   This country is finished.” 

Seattle Business And Labor Leaders give the Republicans in D.C. a big “F--K You" and Reach Compromise For Historic $15 Minimum Wage

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