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In one of the many comment threads here I was challenged by the question whether we were worse or better off than the populations of Revolutionary France or the population at the end of Tzarist Russia. My response was based on social status. The homeless must demean themselves frequently just to survive.

This breaks my heart.

 To know that families are so low on resources that the Republicans have so effectively slashed the safety nets that this child knows that rodents are food.




We have failed as a Nation. We no longer promote the general welfare. Our Do Nothing Congress has enabled the profiteers to drive families to the edge of desperation.

Originally posted to Income Inequality Kos on Mon Feb 13, 2012 at 10:49 PM PST.

Also republished by ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement.

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Comment Preferences

  •  yes but the latest polls show good news for Obama! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    commonmass, Horace Boothroyd III

    and that, after all, is all that we should care about.

    Do I sound bitter?

  •  That video is pretty devastating, and (6+ / 0-)

    the levels of poverty in a nation like this are shameful.

    But, better off than late tsarist Russia? That's a pretty easy one to answer: we are better off in just about every single conceivable way.  Outside the major cities we're talking about life expectancy in the mid-50s (!), poverty to the point of utter privation, high levels of homicide, high level of susceptibility to crop failure and widespread famine, and if you were Jewish, state-sponsored raids and destruction of your homes; inside the cities political violence to the point of massacre, and a nascent industrial working class that was largely uneducated, unorganized, and had no choice but to take the fallout of bad policies on their backs.   World War I broke them completely.  Whatever evils came later, that revolution happened for a reason.

    They even had a term for the level of misery they sustained: оскудение центра, or "impoverishment to the very core".  That is a despair almost beyond the power of language.

    None of that excuses what this little girl and her mother, or others like them, have to go through.  Misery doesn't need comparisons.

    Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

    by pico on Tue Feb 14, 2012 at 12:44:09 AM PST

    •  Remember the story of Hansel and Gretel? (7+ / 0-)

      We forget that the witch was FATTENING them up to consume later.  
      Human husbandry also aims to consume, a little bit at a time, over a long period until there is nothing left to exploit.
      There are some things worse than death and being routinely abused or deprived of what is necessary to live well, instead of merely surviving, is at the top of the list.

      Perhaps it is necessary to specify that obedience is abusive when it is accompanied by the deprivation of our human rights.
      Of course, children in the U.S. have no human rights. They are the property of their parents and their parents should be satisfied that their property rights are being recognized.  Because, after all, property rights have always been more important than human rights.

      What's the objection to contraception but an effort to preserve man's property rights in his sperm?

      People to Wall Street: "LET OUR MONEY GO"

      by hannah on Tue Feb 14, 2012 at 01:48:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I have no idea (0+ / 0-)

        how your comment is relevant to mine, but... cheers?

        Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

        by pico on Tue Feb 14, 2012 at 01:54:30 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The point is that we have an (7+ / 0-)

          exploitative society and whether people are starving or fattened with foodstuffs that make them sick, the problem is that they exist to be abused and the abuse is disguised by "guaranteeing" property rights.
          That's the grand bargain the "ownership society" has been sold.
          Be glad you get to own something, even if it's just your child, and behave yourself.  That's the conservative prescription for society.
          An ownership society is one in which the individual gets to own himself and nobody owes him anything.

          People to Wall Street: "LET OUR MONEY GO"

          by hannah on Tue Feb 14, 2012 at 02:23:20 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Tsarist Russia did not start off (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Horace Boothroyd III

      the way it ended up, nor did the Marie "let them eat cake" meme dominate all of France's lifetime. This is the way the world works. It is stable and people get use to that level and then it changes. Those changes can lead to good or bad outcomes. It is up to us to decide what we will put up with and what we want changed. It has been said that we get the government we deserve. But we have become global now and we can see the mirror of our government in other governments around the world. But we don't have stability at all now, in any corner of the world. And we don't have much time to deal with Global Warming, unless God sees fit to have 10 or so volcanoes erupt.

      What is inordinately irritating is that we are supposed to have brains. We are supposed to be able to make decisions using said brain power.  What a crock. We humans are pushed by our peers to accept the unacceptable (a la rethugs and their "champions"). We are protective of our "clans" in a way that leads us to narrow our vision and hampers our ability to see a bigger picture. I have to say that in our hubris to think we are the "top of the chain", we have a lot of work to do yet.

      Congress is at 9% approval rating - within the +/- of making herpes more popular than congress! - Webranding

      by glitterscale on Tue Feb 14, 2012 at 09:32:15 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Do you really know how tsarist Russia (0+ / 0-)

        started off?  With a brutal tyrant who created a personal gang of shock troops to ride into villages not under his power and burn them to the ground, murder its inhabitants, etc.  His heritage? One of the nation's worst famines, and deepest periods of despair, and they have a name for that period, too: смутное время, or "time of troubles".  So I don't think your observation is particularly relevant here.

        The problem with these threads is that people have all kinds of theories about how the world works and try to fit them to paradigms that make for ill fits.  That's the reason I inserted myself in here... No reason to run afoul of history if it's not necessary to make the larger point.

        Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

        by pico on Wed Feb 15, 2012 at 01:03:16 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I've said it before and I'll say it again (9+ / 0-)

    opposing and rolling back Movement Conservatism and Movement Conservative policy is a moral imperative, an ideological goal for those who believe in good governance, but it is also a domestic national security issue.

    Movement Conservatism doesn't just not work, it fails catastrophically.

    The conservatism of old gave us the fruits of the Gilded Age and the absolute empowerment of Oligarchs and robber barrons ended with nations in fiscal ruin and global wars against fascism. The people that worshipped the Gods of the Gilded Age and their ideal version of how America should be were also the same people who would have watched burn Europe burn and entire ethnic groups of people be exterminated like vermin in camps from afar if Pearl Harbor hadn't been bombed.  

    What has happened since 1964 and the crushing defeat of Barry Goldwater and his politically martyred zealotry is that the modern Right has doubled down and married John Bircherism with the worship of the wealthy at all costs.

    This state of affairs is, in my estimation, the greatest current existential threat to the longterm survival of the United States we have faced since the end of the Cold War. More people will die because of the fallout of Movement Conservatism's stranglehold on American politics that by any terrorist attack. The Right doesn't blow up buildings, highways, and bridges screaming oaths, they let the buildings, highways, and bridges, along with the greater society around them, crumble. They do the intellectual equivalent of blaming firefighters for the existence of arson and cops for the existence of muggers, and then they grossly underfund the firehouse and the police station and blame the firefighters and policemen's union for fires and crime being out of control.

    A great deal of the Movement Conservative Right's success has been enabled.

    Yes, there is by apathy by some, by many, but, especially in the last 40 years, that has been frosting to the Movement Conservative Right we see today. Apathy can be because of laziness and stupidity, but it can also be a biproduct of an unopposed malignant force. Of a Democratic Party that meekly accepts Republican smears of it and runs from defending itself and its principles. The media is a tool of the Right because non-Movement Conservatives watched it happen and were concern trolled into navel gazing and endless self-criticism sessions about if the Right 'had a point' about us the whole way. What Movement Conservatism has been is enabled. Enabled by a self-defeating mindset of meeting zealots halfway, for the sake of meeting them halfway and the sake of that alone. Enabled by some of those very same champions sent to DC tasked with opposing it and rolling it back being half-hearted as they walk a wall.

    In what other political party, other than the modern Democratic Party, would Joe Lieberman be greeted with a standing ovation of applause and cheers in the US Senate chamber by his own betrayed peers for the gift of endorsing the GOP and campaigning with him, even claiming the standard bearer of his own party would go so far as to allow terrorists to murder Americans if the champion of his own party was elected?  

    No wonder so many people think of the Democratic Party as weak and cowardly, think liberals are bad, and stay home when they are needed to come out and fight the most.

    You have to make an argument to win an argument.

    Everything you see around you is the fruits of negotiations with people who would never negotiate with you. Abortion rights under seige joined by contraception being under seige. Wage stagnation, privatization, and Right to Work laws suddenly joined by making Unions virtually illegal by criminalizing trying to achieve basic rights through collective bargaining.

    1992-2012 has been entirely a referendum on "reasonable centrism", triangulation, and bipartisanship for bipartisanship's sake. "We must look forward and not back", one of the hallmarks of Democratic crowing, has led to the reality that an Iran war could be sold the same way, by the same people, as the Iraq war, and the same people who caused the real estate bubble will be able to blow up more an more bubbles again tommorow.

    Let nobody look at how the Democratic Party does business and dare them pawn off the sorry state of affairs we are in soley on the GOP and the Right. To blame the voters for the Democratic Party and it's problems. The Right is malignant, and the Democratic Party wants to concede that the cancer can have the right foot and the left arm to the elbow, but no more. We have standards.

    One of the most dangerous aspects of the modern Movement Conservative mindset is the idea that America should be assumed to be immortal, and that their utopian mindset about an America that is governed purely by survival of the most financially fittest serviced by a wide ocean of serfs to hold them up in style is the most lasting.

    This is dangerous.

    Yes, it is more humane, progressive, and noble to provide a social safety net. It's the right thing to do. It strengthens the national character which only makes us a stronger country. The part of us as a people that is not willing to lie down and allow the selfish, the greedy, and the layabout rich who have inherited wealth that turns them into Golem with his precious ring engineer a socially darwinistic dystopian nightmare out of a dream. The Right is always willing to drone on and on and on about 'bleeding heart' liberals and cast rhetorical yarns about strawman hippies and drum cicles.

    But there is another side to social justice for all, and for providing a social safety net for those who have, oftentimes through no fault of their own, fallen low in life that is just as important as it being morally right.  

    An America with a strong heart and soul is a lasting America that will march down through the ages carrying many more to a shot at seeing the hopes and dreams come to be.

    The elephant in the room is the reality that people under extreme duress, especially those who have children and elderly among them to take care of and watch over, will not willingly choose to slowly get pushed from the margins to the graveyard by starving to death quietly in a calm obedient manner.

    Things can and will destabilize.

    If you are a liberal, or a true moderate, understand that you are not just more humane, or more inclusive, you also walk a wall. You believe in feeding the hungry because it's the right thing to do, providing a social safety net to help the sick and the aged because it's the moral thing to do, dare I say the Christian thing to do to risk evangelical ire, but also understand that you do it to preserve the nation.

    An America with a heart and soul will be a strong America, for many reasons, but a big reason that is rarely focused on is that an America with a heart and soul, with social justice, social mobility, and where hardfought rights are steadfastly defended and are things that cannot be negotiated away as bargaining chips, that is a land will never be on fire because people with nothing left to lose are rioting and looting in the streets.

    I am from the Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party

    by LeftHandedMan on Tue Feb 14, 2012 at 02:05:25 AM PST

    •  To be blunt (9+ / 0-)

      disregard the excoriations of anyone who absolves or excuses the Democratic Party, or any Democratic pol no matter who he or she may be, from its and their own major role in bad electoral outcomes and policy results and who condemns you for not joining them. Or who excepts outcomes and events they would never, ever tolerate from a Republican President because their team is up, and it's only immoral, expedient for expediencies sake, and self-destructive when a Republican does it.

      A Party that refuses to make a partisan ideological argument for itself as an answer, and fights against the people who wish to put in place policies that harm millions for the benefit of the few, who refuses to understand that they work for the people, and not the other way around, is a party that is deeply responsible for its own calamities and misfortunes and needs an enema if it's ever going to successfully counter, let alone roll back, the Right.

      In the dark new age of Citizen's United, the ultimate scar that will remind us for years to come just how great a failure that triangulation, and bipartisanship for bipartisanship's sake, and negotiations with those who are clearly acting in bad faith was as a way of countering Movement Conservatism, and how it helped to put that scar on our national face as a people, we cannot afford more of the same. We can't afford more Senate chambers full of "our" people whose idea of smart politics is rousing applause and cheers for Joe Lieberman endorsing John McCain and calling Barack Obama a man who would let the terrorists kill his fellow Americans, and who are more harsh on those who reject this than those who did it.

      And we really can't afford "we must look forward, not backwards" becoming the new institutional poison we chug in the name of long term self-defeating expediency.

      I am from the Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party

      by LeftHandedMan on Tue Feb 14, 2012 at 02:32:17 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Your concluding sentence addresses what (8+ / 0-)

      conservatives fear, the only thing they fear and which actually prompts their repressive measures.  Which is why they've been buying off the people whose human rights they don't respect with the "safety net" of material "benefits."  It's like streaming music into the milking parlor to content the cows, immobilized in the stanchions and serviced front and back by an automated feeding and waste removal system.

      That humans are not proper object for human husbandry, even the kinder/gentler version that's replaced the abomination we know as chattel slavery, has not fully registered.  In part that's because the subjugation has taken place behind the veil of money, as well as the perversion of the law. The latter is not new.  It's been with us ever since the ownership of purchased people was recognized in the Constitution as an appropriate practice.  Indeed, the ownership of humans persists as a legal practice in the ownership of children by their parents. The legal ownership of people has, rather perversely, served to justify the general deprivation of human rights.  That is, people get to own somebody but, in exchange, their rights to sustenance, mobility, association, creation and recreation are all dependent on obedience to the law. The law giveth the ownership of things (property rights) and taketh away man's properties (human rights).  Money makes it possible for this to be accomplished without much notice, until the property is all gone.

      For a while, the American people thought that they still owned their land in common, as members of the public. Then, when they ventured outside their cages on wheels, they suddenly discovered that exercising their inherent properties (speaking, walking, sitting, lying down, etc.) are dependent on whether they have money to purchase their expression (Reagan's "I paid for this microphone). "Public" has been turned into a holding category for things some wealthy person doesn't yet want to own.

      All of which is to suggest that the American people aren't in the street because they don't own enough things; they are in the streets because they are tired of being owned--because things are not to be owned, but owed. Things are not to be accumulated and hoarded; things are to be shared, if human rights are to be respected.

      Ownership needs to be replaced by obligation.  Conservatives, being self-centered, have a really difficult time with social obligations.  Most can't even bring themselves to say the word. They get stuck at socialism.

      People to Wall Street: "LET OUR MONEY GO"

      by hannah on Tue Feb 14, 2012 at 02:54:39 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, I think your comment (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Horace Boothroyd III

        is the theoretical other side of the very real poverty coin Horace shows us.  Wealth disparity and its world theory, neoliberalism or neoconservatism, is destroying not just the nation but the world.

        And it does not appear importuning the system to do otherwise will work.  There are solutions though.  First, regulate the shadow banking industry, which the world wide austerity measures are designed to protect.  I would suggest a small trading tax that would not just create income for the government, but make all financial instruments transparent.  

        Second, make all trade agreements fair trade agreements, requiring labor and safety standards, including wage, organization and environmental standards, including taxing lost distance shipping of heavy items to internalize environmental costs.

        Greed's self-regulation is collapse. So is delusion's.

        by Publius2008 on Tue Feb 14, 2012 at 07:43:03 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I'm shocked that you are shocked. (0+ / 0-)

    Come to underground Vegas, or NY.

    You don't see the depression all around you because it is hidden. Be afraid when it it comes out. We'll be coming for you.

    "I don't need a script to tell the truth" Ed Schultz, Feb. 4 2010

    by BusyinCA on Tue Feb 14, 2012 at 02:29:29 AM PST

  •  To paraphrase John Lennon ... (4+ / 0-)

    - where the country's economy would be now, if the GOP actually helped instead of hindered

    - how many more jobs there would be if the GOP was not at war against Unions

    - where Energy would be if the GOP embraced research (that created jobs)

    - where US infrastructure would be if the GOP supported transportation

    - how many fewer poor there could be, how many fewer hungry if the GOP was not at war against social programs

    - what the reputation of the USA would be is the GOP had not pushed for war in Iraq

    "The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously." -- Hubert H. Humphrey

    by Candide08 on Tue Feb 14, 2012 at 05:34:01 AM PST

  •  Horace, try and get a grip!! (0+ / 0-)

    Its a sad case but  looking at that kid she seems to be adequately dressed and fed, as do all the rest of the kids siitting there. Is there ANYONE else out there eating rats in America? Or is one "Maybe" case enough to set you offf to running anround and screaming? (I know what the answer is)
    .  I guess youre too white and rich to know that poor people everywhere eat rodents. Ever hear of squirrel pie? Lot of folks eating it here in America.

    We haven't failed as a country! We spend considerable portion of our budget promoting the general welfare!
    And your continuiing to hysterically post the "OMG America Is Horrible!!" video du jour just goes on and on.

    Happy just to be alive

    by exlrrp on Tue Feb 14, 2012 at 06:21:31 AM PST

    •  I'll say it for you: snark. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Horace Boothroyd III

      Greed's self-regulation is collapse. So is delusion's.

      by Publius2008 on Tue Feb 14, 2012 at 07:44:46 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'll say it myself: hysterical--oh whats the word? (0+ / 0-)

        Bull Crap, as I  heard someone say somewhere else..

        I  know I'll get enough flames for this to toast marshmallows but this kid and her mom don't have to eat rats---and we only have the  word of a 6 year old in a very contrived setting that they are--- there's things to help them within easy reach. School lunch programs, food kitchens, shelters. Its not America's fault if they cant find these things.
        This is nothing but a slander on America by someone who does it a lot.

        Happy just to be alive

        by exlrrp on Tue Feb 14, 2012 at 08:20:11 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  What if the mom is an undocumented immigrant? (0+ / 0-)

          What if she has mental health issues and has been excluded from social programs due to behavior control issues?

          What if that cherub like face is due to a diet guarantees to produce diabetes.

          And don't call a LGBT person hysterical it is HR'able.

          Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.

          by Horace Boothroyd III on Tue Feb 14, 2012 at 08:45:26 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  How do you know this is not the absolute truth? (0+ / 0-)

          And children aren't sold into sexual slavery here either...rainbows and sunshine all year long....

          This child look like she is telling the 100% truth and I believe her, absolutely.

          We are in desperate times...absolutely.

          btw...the family shelters in our area of MA are full..with a waiting list EVERY NIGHT, also you have to drive to the pantry (thus you need a car or money for the bus) and there is a 3 hour wait for food...and this is the civilized part of the country.

  •  When I went to India about 5 years ago (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Horace Boothroyd III

    there were women who slept in the toilets at the airports. They would hand out toilet paper to you and you were to tip them, because that is what they lived on.

    There is one airport in the us which now has attendents who look for your tips. How long will it be before we have people sleeping and living there?

    Congress is at 9% approval rating - within the +/- of making herpes more popular than congress! - Webranding

    by glitterscale on Tue Feb 14, 2012 at 09:21:14 AM PST

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