Posts Tagged ‘poor people’

How the Middle Class is its Own Worst Enemy

June 19, 2011

By Jacqueline S. Homan, author: Classism For Dimwits and Divine Right: The Truth is a Lie

Pseudo-progressive group MoveOn.org posted on its site a 2 minute video featuring Robert Reich, the former Labor Secretary under the Clinton presidency. The video, titled “The Truth About the Economy”, gave a very abbreviated half-of-the-story illustration of the cause for the middle class’s current plight. But it completely whitewashed and ignored the role that the middle class played in its own demise by deliberately hurting the poor during the “better times” of the Reagan Revolution followed by the Clinton-era of prosperity.

The middle class suburban-dwelling voters — most of them white males with “soccer mom” wives — literally drove the Welfare Reform engine which eliminated what miserly inadequate safety net there was for the poorest of the poor on the very bottom economic rung (most whom are women).

Now that many in the middle class are falling into poverty as the long-term unemployed middle-aged are jettisoned and left on the permanently unemployable scrap heap, the middle class is outraged. They’re demanding a bigger share of the pie for themselves while still begrudging the very poor even the tiniest morsel. They never learn. You’d think that the middle class would “get it” by now, but I won’t hold my breath.

Almost all of the posters commenting on the Robert Reich video whined about the loss of their middle class living standards. But they refused to see that what is now being done to them they first did to the poor, and therefore set the stage for their own demise. Karma is a bitch.

None of them cry “restore the safety net for the poor” — it’s all about the middle class, as if they’re the only ones with valid economic claims. They refuse to admit that in order to “save America” by “saving the middle class”, they first needed to start by defending the least empowered and most vulnerable citizens at the very bottom economic rung that were targeted by the Reagan Revolution. But instead of saving the poor, they destroyed the poor and they’re still doing it. And by the evidence in the voluminous comments stream on MoveOn’s site, no one in the middle class has any remorse about that.

Major Disconnect is What Happened to the Middle Class

Between 1990 and 1997, the National Student Loan survey by Nellie Mae reported that students borrowed $140 billion to meet their college education expenses. Over 25% used credit cards to help augment their education costs. All of the surveyed respondents had non-education related debt, too. The majority of respondents also said that unaffordable student loan debt caused them to do one or more of the following: drop out of college, delay or forego homeownership and buying a car, or having children.

According to Business Week in 1994, “Tuition and fees have risen 94% since 1989, nearly triple the 32.5% increase in inflation. Even as a college education has become the litmus test in the job market, the widening wage chasm has made it harder for low-income people to go to college. Kids from the top quarter have no problem: 76% earn bachelor’s degrees today vs. 31% in 1980. But less than 4% of those in the bottom quarter families now finish college vs. 6% back then [in 1980].”

While job opportunities rapidly disappeared for women without college degrees, wages for the working class were falling and college costs surpassed the cost of living index — leaving America’s poor marginalized and economically excluded from the dot com prosperity of the Clinton years — former president Bill Clinton didn’t lift a finger to help the poor who had been devastated by the previous 12 years of Reaganomics as the Reagan Revolution machine mowed down the poor and crushed the underprivileged underfoot. Reagan was twice elected by a middle class voting majority.

During Clinton’s two-term presidency, not one of the budget cuts to the now-eliminated social programs for the poor (including restoring the funding for Pell grants that the Gramm-Rudman Bill slashed) had been reversed. While the poor suffered from being trapped in miserable poverty with no way out, the middle class was living large; buying suburban McMansions, mutual funds, stocks and bonds — while criminalizing the homeless and scoffing at the poor who weren’t making it, telling us that our conditions of poverty and deprivation were our own fault for “not trying hard enough.”

How the poor were supposed to “bootstrap” their way up out of poverty and into mainstream middle class America remained unanswered and ignored. All was well in white male dominated middle classdom, to hell with poor women who had no chance at all of ever being able to make it thanks to a legacy of sexism, job discrimination, and pervasive misogyny on top of the additional systemic barriers of classism. It was the middle class majority voting constituency that voted for Reagan (twice), George Bush I, George Bush II (twice), and former-House Speaker Newt Gingrich and shaped economic and social policy during Clinton’s presidency.

Public opinion polls and Freudian psychoanalysis techniques were used by Stanford researchers to help the Clinton administration get a feeling for the political pulse among the middle class majority. The feedback provided by those research polls shaped social and economic policy and dictated the language of the draconian Welfare Reform Act of 1996.

Now in 2011, many who had previously enjoyed middle class comforts and security are crying foul. They wonder how the government could let things get so out of hand and ask how a regime of inverted totalitarianism could sneak up on them. Wiping the Rip van Winkle sleep dust from their eyes, they angrily blame the Republicans and sell-out “Blue Dog” Democrats for the assault on unionized public sector employees. But where were these same disgruntled middle class voices these last 30+ years that the War on the Poor was launched in full swing? What did they think would eventually happen to the middle class after three decades of destroying the poor? The writing was on the wall in 1985, in 1996, and in 2001.

The red flags were raised repeatedly throughout the late 1980’s and 1990’s by scholars and researchers like the folks at United for a Fair Economy, the Brookings Institute, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities; homeless activists like Marian Kramer and Cheri Honkala with the Kensington Welfare Rights Union, and Keith McHenry who founded Food Not Bombs.

Scholars and authors like Dr. Michael Parenti, Jonathon Kozol, Vine Deloria, and indigenous law professor Robert A. Williams had all in their own ways made multiple contributions to the literary world highlighting the mounting despair, injustices, inequality and poverty. How many educated middle class folks read their works? It’s not like all the warnings weren’t there. The middle class knew. They chose to ignore it when all was fine in their own little worlds.

In Michael Parenti’s 1997 book Blackshirts & Reds, everything was practically drawn out in crayon for middle class Americans who love to boast of their superior literacy and academic achievements while praising the unparalleled value of their “print culture.” Too bad most of these educated high achievers didn’t read Parenti, who eloquently mapped out for them how “rational fascism” renders service to capitalism and how corporate power undermines democracy because plutocrats always choose autocrats. They put their literacy on a permanent vacation as they swayed to the seductive tempo of the “ownership society” song that the klepto-plutocracy sold them.

When the Chickens Come Home to Roost

In 2011, public sector employees in Wisconsin — from teachers to police to firefighters to welfare caseworkers — howled in protest at the looming specter of more measures assaulting what remained of unionized workers’ rights. They’re up in arms that Democrats operated in cahoots with Republicans and powerful union bosses to sell them out.

But who did these disgruntled middle class workers vote for during these past 30+ years? Did they vote for some of the same elected officials and lawmakers that built lucrative political careers by hurting the poor, particularly poor single mothers? Did they heed the previous warnings of creeping fascism and the rise of inverted totalitarianism?

Instead of being too preoccupied with reading their 401(k) statements and the latest issue of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition, they should have read Michael Parenti’s Blackshirts & Reds. Everything now being visited upon the middle class now was done before in history; workers and the poor were crushed underfoot to protect the interests of capital, which finally turned with rending claws on the middle class.

In 1924 in Germany, Social Democrat officials in the Ministry of Interior used Reichswehr and Free Corps fascist paramilitary groups to attack leftist demonstrators. They imprisoned 7,000 people. In 1932, three candidates ran for president in Germany: Conservative Party candidate Paul von Hindenburg, Communist Party candidate Ernst Thaelmann, and Nazi candidate Adolf Hitler. In his campaign, Thaelmann argued that a vote for von Hindenburg was a vote for Hitler and Hitler would lead Germany into war. The bourgeois press, including the Social Democrats, denounced Thaelmann’s claims as “Moscow inspired.”

Right-wing governments have always been about maintaining the existing order of unearned privileges and calling it a “free market”; keeping the world safe for the empowered hierarchies and wealthy classes of the world which overwhelmingly have a white male face. Meanwhile, leftist “totalitarians” wanted to abolish exploitative property systems and create a more shared and egalitarian economic system. The left’s favoring the have-nots over the haves made them the hated targets of the unjustly enriched beneficiaries of unearned privilege.

That’s why any real democratic movement that tried to relieve the misery and suffering of the poor has been villainized over and over; having to defend their position. And when the majority of that public is comfortably middle class, they’re not interested in rocking the boat to save the poor whose life chances and human rights they’ve jettisoned. Even the most sincere anti-communist progressives wilted in fear of being accused of being “Communist” or a “socialist.”

Many of the so-called leftist intellectuals cheered the undermining and overthrow of communist and socialist governments in the former Soviet Union and the East Bloc nations throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s. They thought that democracy would finally have its time in the sun. But they knew better because among these left-leaning intellectual circles it was widely known that the IMF and the multinational corporations of Western Europe were the prime forced that actively undermined and overthrew Soviet communism and socialist economies in the former East Bloc. The pseudo-left thought they would finally be free of the communist albatross, or, as Richard Lichtman put it, “liberated from the incubus of the Soviet Union and the succubus of Communist China.”

As part of the overthrow of communism, “free market” right-wing forces in various Eastern European nations received financial backing and organizational assistance from US-financed agencies such as the National Endowment for Democracy — the AFL-CIO’s Free Trade Union Institute, which was in bed with the CIA.

Meanwhile, capitalist restoration impoverished the former East Bloc countries and the former Soviet Union and undermined many Third World liberation struggles against the tyrannical yoke of colonialism. Those Third World nations no longer received any aid from Russia and the fall of Soviet communism and East Bloc socialism opened the door for a whole new crop of neo-fascist right-wing governments to spring up; ones that worked hand-in-glove with US/Western Europe counter-revolutionaries and trans-national capitalist interests around the world.

In the immortal words of Richard Levins, “Capitalism with a human face has been replaced by capitalism in your face. So, in the new exuberant aggressiveness of world capitalism we now see what communists and their allies have held at bay.”

That Dreaded C-word

Because American-style cowboy capitalism has enjoyed cult status, it was taboo to utter the C-word (“class”). The only times the C-word may be used is in its linguistic power to reaffirm the rights of the exploiter classes and defend the system of unearned privileges that serve to guarantee a permanent pool of exploitable surplus labor — most whom are members of oppressed groups, women and racial minorities.

The C-word is allowed to be used when prefaced with the word “middle” or as a suffix on the word “under” — as in “underclass”, the desperately poor struggling on the margins of society on the very bottom economic rung, who get the least of everything while being blamed for their victimization. Political pundits, poverty pimps, talking heads, and right-wing hacks in the media and well-heeled “experts” get offended at any reference to an owning class and screech “class warfare” at the most subtle hint that the rich are oppressing the poor.

But references to the negative stereotypes of the very poor in the underclass are acceptable because they reinforce the existing social hierarchy of unearned privileges and justify the abuse and deprivation routinely heaped upon America’s most downtrodden. The savage realities of classism and the oppression of the very poor by the middle class is whitewashed and obscured by an ideology summed up in the following credo: “We’re all middle class and we’re free to be as economically successful in life as we want because America is the land of opportunity.”

What they leave out, however, is “whom.” America is the land of opportunity for whom? In a capitalist society, somebody always has to lose so that someone else wins. Somebody always has to get left out. Somebody always has to be at the bottom. The “opportunity” to escape the crushing stranglehold of deep poverty is nearly non-existent for the majority of the poor, especially for poor women — particularly poor women over age 40 that have been unable to get any kind of job after several years of searching. There just aren’t enough opportunities, jobs, and lucky breaks to go around for everybody. And it is overwhelmingly poor women who are bypassed for what scant opportunities remain.

All conservative ideologies justify the draconian treatment of the poor and discrimination against women and all other existing inequities as “the natural order of things.” But if the rich and comfortably off middle class — who are overwhelmingly white males — are so naturally superior in talent, skills, and social worth, why then must those who already have everything be provided with so many unearned privileges under the law, so many bailouts, tax write-offs, subsidies, price supports, and a host of other special considerations at the public’s expense?

And what exactly are those naturally superior talents of society’s favorite sons? Their naturally superior abilities seem to lie within an array of unethical and illegal subterfuges such as job discrimination, price-fixing, collusion, stock and commodities manipulation, insider trading, fraud, tax evasion, harmful products, unsafe workplace conditions, environmental destruction, and the violent enforcement of unfair competition and stealing credit for others’ work and ideas. At that, the overprivileged overclass is a resounding success.

So what exactly are these self-appointed demi-gods contributing or producing to justify their favored treatment over everyone else? By all accounts, the only things being produced and reproduced are oppression, discrimination, theft, social misery, and injustice. Not exactly the stuff they deserve so many rewards for. Yet, middle class America bought into the “ownership society” lie propagated by rich white men who elected themselves king of the planet. The middle class shut their ears and eyes to the harsh truth about poverty in their own backyards. The middle class has always been part of the problem.

Those who have never gone without medical and dental care, heat in the winter, or hot water to bathe properly because of being repeatedly denied opportunities for a good job due to gender/race/age discrimination on top of the barriers of systemic classism had convinced themselves that bad shit only happens to bad people, that “giving money to the poor only hurts them” (justification for being selfish), and that George W. Bush was right when he said, “We’re all middle class now.”

No Virginia, We Are Not “All Middle Class Now”

In 1999 just three years after the Welfare Reform Act of 1996 was passed, a study by the Urban Institute found that nearly 3 in 10 low-income families were unable to pay their rent or mortgage or utility bills and nearly half of all low-income families had difficulty affording food. Low-income workers increasingly had to turn to food pantries which, like homeless shelters and other charities, could not meet the rising need.

In its 1998 survey, the US Conference of Mayors found that requests for emergency food assistance rose by 14% in 1997 and 1 out of 5 requests for food assistance went unmet. The American Journal of Public Health reported in 1998 that 10 million Americans (including 4 million children) didn’t have enough to eat. The majority were families with at least one employed adult.

In 1999, a team of researchers, scholars and social justice advocates published a 94-page booklet citing all of the growing problems of mounting poverty that was becoming increasingly inescapable, a burgeoning permanent underclass, and a shrinking middle class. The booklet includes 9 pages of credible source citations from reports compiled from the data provided by multiple government agencies and private charities and university studies. Some of those reports were from those who were on the inside of policy-making; not people with a “political agenda.”

A February 2006 report from America’s Second Harvest, the nation’s food bank network, found that 45% of their clients reported having to choose between buying food and paying utility bills.

The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) that is supposed to help the poor with basic utilities has always been underfunded. Since utilities have been deregulated and public protections from price-gouging in the form of rate caps have been removed, the problem has been made worse.

In 2002, the Joyce Foundation reported that in the wake of welfare reform and utility deregulation, those who had left welfare after their five-year lifetime limits were up were still poor, if not poorer. Throughout the American Rust Belt, the following percentages of people whose utilities had been cut off as of 2002 were:

  • 15% of Wisnconsin’s poor
  • 15% of Ohio’s poor
  • 25% of Indiana’s poor
  • 11% of Michigan’s poor

In 1988, only 37% of the poor got energy assistance from LIHEAP and what they got was not enough to stave off utility shut-offs. In 2000, only 20% of the poor got helped due to LIHEAP funding cuts. The middle class convinced themselves that “there is all this help out there” for those in dire straits. But nobody wants to talk about the outcomes for all the poor people who are increasingly turned away: all the hypothermia deaths and residential fires caused by desperate poor people resorting to unsafe alternative heating sources.

In March of 2010, David Fox of the National Low-Income Energy Consortium said that prior to funding $1.8 billion in funding cuts for LIHEAP in 2010; only 20% of all eligible extremely poor households were able to be served. After the funding cuts in 2010, only 10-15% of the poorest of the poor will be able to get helped.

Given the number of long-term unemployed whose benefits ran out in 2009 (only 40% of American workers are eligible to receive unemployment benefits), in addition to the already suffering 5 million jobless poor who were poor single mothers booted off of welfare but unable to get or keep any job and whose sole income is food stamps, the number of US households without life-sustaining utilities reached 10 million as of December 31st 2010. Consequences of utility shut-offs include homelessness, illness, death, poor child development, and the disintegration of families.

According to the annual survey conducted by the National Energy Assistance Director’s Association (NEADA), 60% of LIHEAP recipients couldn’t pay their utility bills because they lost their jobs or had a reduction in income. 92% of LIHEAP recipients had a pregnant woman, an elderly person, or a child in the home.

The truth about unearned privileges, job discrimination, and lack of enough jobs for everyone in need of a job who is able to work, poverty in America with a wealth of information about it has always been out there. This isn’t news. How can anyone lucky enough to be middle class today in 2011 say they “didn’t know” what was going on and where this country was headed? Sorry, I’m not buying it.

Like the “good Germans” 75 years ago who claimed they “didn’t know” what the industrial and financial elite and their Nazi government was doing to the Jews, America’s middle class has always known what was being done to America’s poor. 84% of those struggling below poverty in this country are WOMEN. The middle class didn’t care. They didn’t have a problem with all of the redistributive injustices caused by capitalism (which is, essentially, a gender war) until they found themselves under the firing line of capitalism’s Hotchkiss guns.

And even now, most of the middle class you see whining and howling about assaults on their “rights” are cutthroats and back-stabbers who would stick it to their own less fortunate family members who have fallen on hard times in order to “keep theirs.” Trickle-down economics was supposed to stop at the middle class and never reach the “undeserving” poor whose throats they’ve always been eager to cut to advance their own agenda and class interests — which almost always, without exception, are aligned with the rich whom they jealously aspire to become.

If the poor on society’s margins on the very bottom economic rung harbor any hostility, resentment, and distrust for the now-disgruntled middle class, it is wholly justified.

http://youtu.be/JTzMqm2TwgE

Harvard and Princeton Sociologists Resurrect the“Culture of Poverty” During the Worst Recession Since the 1930’s

October 22, 2010

Jacqueline S. Homan, author of Classism For Dimwits and Divine Right: The Truth is a Lie

In the October 17th, 2010 New York Times article, Culture of Poverty Makes a Comeback by Patricia Cohen, labeling the poor as “the Other”, as “less than” and as morally and socially defective by Princeton and Harvard sociologists and various other poverty pimps has made a resurgence and is now once again in vogue. The article cited former Assistant Labor Secretary Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s description of urban poverty in terms of race and a culture that was a “tangle of pathology” of unmarried mothers and welfare dependency couched as moral deficiencies to blame the poor for their own misfortune.

Moynihan’s analysis appeals to politicians who bandy the poor around like a political football, especially conservatives and moderates (Reagan Democrats), and led to the passage of the Welfare Reform Act of 1996, which placed a lifetime limit of five years, regardless of one’s ability to get a living wage job. This was more generous than the draconian measure that Clinton initially proposed: limiting welfare to two years.

Neither proposed welfare reform bills, including the one that was passed in 1996,  came with the guarantee of a right to a living wage job; or any job at all.

Clinton, like his predecessors Reagan and Bush the Elder, and both parties of Congress declared war on this nation’s poorest, most economically vulnerable and socially disadvantaged citizens: poor women and children and the disabled. These measures were largely the result of the influence wielded by purveyors of the “culture of poverty” school and all its tangential deficit theory views about the poor.

The article quoted coddled Ivy League members of America’s selfish class, as if their bovine excreta passing for “research” were some sort of infallible gospel.

Princeton sociologist Douglas S. Massey argues that Moynihan was unjustly maligned, saying, “We’ve finally reached the stage where people aren’t afraid of being politically incorrect.”

Cohen’s article mentioned that at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association, attendees broached the subject of the “culture of poverty.” In Spring of 2009 in Washington DC, social scientists participated in a Congressional briefing on the “culture of poverty” linked to a special issue of The Annals, the journal of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. The introduction proclaimed, “Culture is back on the poverty research agenda.”

How convenient for the resurgence of this deficit theory view of the poor to come on the heels of the worst economic depression since the 1930’s where we now have one in seven Americans living below the federal poverty level. How convenient, indeed, that the entire discourse shifts the burden of poverty from government and the most privileged members of society onto the backs of the poor.

Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) said that the “culture of poverty” views “play an important role in shaping how lawmakers choose to address poverty issues.”

This blame-the-victim claptrap is propagated by those with the most interest in preserving a system of unearned privilege. Blaming the poor for their misfortune is nothing new, but such views that shape social and economic policies never include the views, experiences, and voices of the poor at whom said policies are aimed.

Also quoted in the article was Harvard sociologist Robert J. Sampson who conducted a well-funded and large study of the poor conducted in a way to assign personal value judgments against the poor and confirm his own class bias using the “culture of poverty” school of thought. His experiment entailed dropping fake letters on the streets of a poor Chicago neighborhood to see if anyone would pick them up and return them. Sampson said he studies inequality and that the dominant focus is on structures of poverty, and suggested that the poor are amoral with no respect for the rule of law because they “believe that laws were made to be broken with impunity.”

It is beyond arrogant for those who have received the most advantages and benefits from an entire system of unearned privileges to authoritatively proclaim that it’s the undeserving, defective poor who need to be “fixed” and taught how to get with the middle class program, and then call such ideas “scholarship.”

There is nothing that remotely passes for intellectual and academic honesty in a study that was undertaken with confirmation bias reeking with the stench of classism.

Poverty pimps who advance the “culture of poverty” school despite knowing better, do so to curry favor and receive social prizes and rewards from the corporate ‘Massas’ who endow their academic department chairs, fund their research, and pay them to serve as “policy experts” in right-wing think tanks.

Capitalism is based on entitlement, and as you go up the economic ladder, attitudes of self-importance and entitlement increase. But we never talk about the culture of greed and getting ahead at all costs that is so prevalent among the middle and upper classes who think they have a “divine right” to come first.

The notion that the misery and deprivation commensurate with grueling poverty is merely the “undeserving poor” getting their “just desserts” for being morally defective is not an original idea. It is rooted in Protestant Calvinism — the Calvinist deficit theory view of the poorest and most downtrodden people is predicated on the ideologies of predestination.

The argument for the “culture of poverty” has been internalized these past 30 years by lawmakers from both sides of the aisle who say that social security is a “milk cow with 310 million tits”; that unemployment benefits (which only cover about 40% of the unemployed) makes the jobless “lazy” and encourages them to buy drugs; that the miserly inadequate food stamps allotment in post-welfare reform America makes the recipients rich and causes obesity; and that the solution for 50 million uninsured Americans, 44 million struggling in unrelenting misery below the poverty level, and for the 35 million ill-housed, are more vouchers, more “free market” capitalism, and more budget cuts for food stamps, Medicaid, and Medicare to pay for middle class unemployment benefits extensions — leaving the poorest of this nation’s jobless to starve to death given that food stamps is the sole income for six million of the most disadvantaged and unemployable jobless.

As it stands, deregulation of utility monopolies in tandem with deep cuts to the already underfunded LIHEAP program, which provides very stingy and inadequate help to only 20% of the eligible poor while 80% of the poor are turned away, has resulted in nearly ten million US households suffering without at least one life-sustaining utility. The increasing number of casualties among the poor from freezing in unheated homes and apartments or fatal residential fires caused by unsafe alternative heating methods in a desperate attempt to avoid freezing to death, evidences only some fruits of the “culture of poverty” school’s bitter harvest of classism.

The past three decades of abusive social and economic policies justified by the “culture of poverty” amount to one sordid continuum of human rights violations against the “undeserving” poor. For those who have unfairly benefited from a legacy of unearned privileges, including advanced educations at prestigious universities, to use their privileges like a cudgel to beat the poor into the ground and crush them underfoot for personal gain and accolades under the guise of “scholarship” is sociopathic.

We don’t have a “culture of poverty.” We have a culture of capitalism that promotes, perpetuates, and maintains classism — the least challenged bigotry that is responsible for the most social harm. We have a capitalistic society that touts greed and self-centered entitlement as a virtue. We have an architecture of aggression in which capitalism’s biggest losers (poor women) are set up and labeled as “the Other”; devalued and unacknowledged.

"Classism For Dimwits" by Jacqueline S. Homan

This culture of capitalism is centered on the idea that wealth and privilege is sacrosanct, that only the “fittest” deserve anything and to hell with those of us who have been socially excluded and economically marginalized in order to make way for the spoiled, overprivileged alpha dipshits of this society to grab everything they can latch their greedy grasping meat-hooks onto; without a shred of remorse for the human casualties they leave in their wake.

Since cultural norms, mores, and trends are largely defined by the higher status and more affluent classes, this “culture of poverty” was created by the privileged. The injustices and social ills framed by deficit theory thought are not caused by “just a few bad apples.” They’re caused by a cultural ethos; a sociopathic one that is reflective of the dominant class’s “values.”

It has not escaped the notice of those of us who struggle in poverty and who agitate for social justice that the government is described as “democratic” when it serves only the interests of the privileged and economically powerful elements of our society. In the words of Michael Parenti: we have a “democracy for the few.” And whom this “democracy” serves was made painfully obvious by the absence of poor people’s voices.

When poverty is couched in euphemisms that really mean race and gender, it’s a deliberate attempt to justify classism and legitimize the economic terrorism and social repression visited upon the poor of all races and genders. Being black, being a woman, or even being a single mother doesn’t make one poor — abusive social and economic policy and discrimination does.

Raising rhetorical questions associating crime and poverty in terms that label the poor as “criminals” is a deliberate promotion of prejudice. The poor are routinely denied employment opportunities because there is now a widely held view among human resources personnel and corporate employers that the poor are a bad risk for hiring because they’re likely to steal. Asking why the poor “break the law with impunity” implies that they’re not punished — an outright fraud when everyone knows that the poor overwhelmingly comprise the US prison population. It further ignores the fact that when people see those with lots of money and privilege breaking the law on a grand scale with impunity, there is a loss of respect for any law.

The “culture of poverty” claptrap also led to the assumption that poverty can be reduced to a lifestyle choice — something former House Speaker Newt Gingrich claimed from his bully pulpit during the Clinton administration as he cheered the Welfare Reform Act of 1996. The Welfare Reform Act of 1996 threw this nation’s poorest and most socially disadvantaged families and individuals under the bus; 99% whom were women and children (only 1% of AFDC recipients were able-bodied men) under the guise of “personal responsibility” — a unilateral social contract best described as a policy of Benign Neglect in which the entire burden of poverty was dumped on the poor while society and government did nothing to guarantee poor women living wage jobs with health benefits, child care help, and assistance in obtaining reliable transportation.

Former Wisconsin governor and US Department of Health & Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson provided the template for the Welfare Reform Act of 1996 is one of the “pro-life” religious conservatives who would deny poor women access to birth control and abortion while cruelly leaving poor single moms and their babies utterly destitute if society failed to provide the supports required for poor mothers to enter the workplace and guarantee them living wage jobs with health benefits.

Since the enactment of Welfare Reform, Tommy Thompson (and other political leaders who swallowed the “culture of poverty” pablum spoon-fed by Ivy League “poverty experts”) defeated measures to track the outcomes of all the poor women and children thrown off of welfare after exhausting their five year lifetime limit, regardless if they were able to get a job.

Are the promoters of the “culture of poverty” school proud of these “scholarly” achievements that encouraged nationwide mother-mugging and framing poverty as a “choice?”

There is a fundamental mathematical theorem that has been proven over 200 years ago, named after mathematician and clergyman Thomas Bayes, who studied how to compute a distribution for the probability parameter of a binomial distribution. Bayes’ Theorem treats conditional probability and the outcome based on the relationship of the conditional and marginal probabilities of events. One of the most simple and basic mathematical statements of Bayes’ Theorem is:

P(A|B) = [P(B|A)*P(A)/P(B)]

{Read as: “The probability of A given B is equal to the probability of B given A times the probability of A, all divided by the probability of B.”}

where :

P(A) is the marginal probability of event A. It is “prior” in the sense that it takes nothing into account of anything known about event B.

P(A|B) is the conditional probability of A, given B.

P(B|A) is the conditional probability of B, given A (also called the “likelihood”)

P(B) is the prior or marginal probability of event B and acts as a normalizing constant.

Theorems analogous to this one cover situations entailing more than two events. Applying Bayes’ Theorem to the existing axioms and theorems of calculus, we can describe the marginal probability distribution of a variable to a data set where the likelihood function is the probability of “y” successes in “x” trials for a binomial distribution, in the set of all real variables. (The most common application being in the study of voting patterns and employer drug testing).

More famous applications of Bayes’ Theorem are the Monty Hall Paradox and the Principle of Restricted Choice, which proves with a mathematical certainty that making the “right choices” 100% of the time is impossible. It is therefore intellectually dishonest and morally bankrupt to frame the discussion of poverty in terms that blame the poor for their poverty by reducing it to “lifestyle choices” and the “culture of poverty.”

It is no secret that middle and upper class people also frequently screw up and make the same “poor choices” as poor people. But the difference is that the outcome is totally different; such that it does not punish them with lifelong destitution and misery. It is also known that the middle and upper classes have a lot more options available to them while options for the poor are really a Hobson’s choice (either way, you’re screwed). Any well-funded and large “study” of poverty that makes personal value judgments about the poor based on whether or not anyone in a poor neighborhood picked up fake letters deliberately dropped on the street is shambolic. So here’s a thought for future “poverty studies”:

Being poor is being fetishized, demonized, and infantilized by teams of “poverty experts” from the middle and upper classes.

Being poor is hoping you and your disabled spouse make it through winter alive without freezing to death, or dying in a house fire from a space heater mishap after your gas got cut off because they raised the rates by 20% and you can’t afford the bill.

Being poor means nothing around your run-down home ever works and everything is in serious disrepair because there’s no money, or way of getting money, to fix what’s in disrepair.

Being poor and white means being an invisible non-person.

Being poor means you have no pictures of your “ancestors” — or even of yourself and your sister — after being evicted where anything you might have had got taken away from you when your roach-infested ghetto apartment got padlocked.

Being poor is a lifetime of everything always getting taken away from you.

Being poor is being wrong even when you’re right.

Being poor is never fitting in.

Being poor is guilty until proven innocent and still getting slapped with unaffordable fines or a criminal conviction regardless.

Being poor means never getting a chance your entire life, and then having some self-centered privileged person tell you how poor they are when they enjoy far more economic opportunity, comfort, and security than you will ever get a chance to have — especially if you’re still poor by the time you’re middle-aged (and therefore unemployable) after an entire lifetime of never getting a chance for a good job, no matter how hard you tried.

Being poor means going hungry at least two or three days out of each month for years.

Being poor is living in a neighborhood where you can’t put chairs or a couch near the window because of the drive-by shootings.

Being poor is dying or becoming permanently disabled from pregnancy and childbirth complications.

Being poor is facing having to go blind from glaucoma because there really isn’t “all this help out there.”

Being poor is losing a leg from diabetes complications because you couldn’t get the help you needed to afford diabetic supplies and the low starch/low carb low MSG diabetic-friendly foods so you could manage your diabetes better in the first place.

Being poor means that your only interactions with middle class “professionals” are through bullet-proof glass windows at government agencies and welfare offices after waiting all day to be “served”, and then being told “sorry, we can’t help you.”

Being poor is everyone who isn’t poor wondering why you went back to the abusive asshole (whom you hope won’t kill you) who gave you that black eye when it’s either that or live on the streets with NO way to get a living wage job and get on your feet and support yourself after your 30 day time limit at the battered women’s shelter is up.

Being poor means you have to choose whether you have electric or gas, or food or a roof over your head.

Being poor means you don’t get the early preventive glaucoma treatment options to save your eyesight, while being told that you don’t deserve your eyesight because you’re just a “loser” who “blames everyone else for your problems” — it’s never the fault of employers who refused to hire you at a good job with health benefits, and it’s never society’s fault for being too selfish and punitive to have a safety net for the economically excluded.

Being poor means access to dental care is a luxury that is as far out of reach for you as a day trip to Sedna.

Being poor is getting denied even a minimum wage job in retail or as a supermarket cashier where you must face the public because of your visibly decayed/broken/missing teeth as a result of never having access to decent dental care — while everybody else who has never been anywhere near as poor as you or for as long as you, tells you that it’s all your own damn fault that you don’t have any teeth and lack the “right image” to be “deserving” of a job because you were “too stupid to brush your teeth properly.”

Being poor means dying a lot younger than those who lived in middle class comfort for most, if not all of their lives.

Being poor means suffering with an untreated UTI until it goes into your kidneys because you couldn’t afford antibiotics.

Being poor means you can’t even get a chance for a minimum wage job at Wal-Mart because your credit is poor due to poverty — which is, by definition, not enough income to afford your basic needs, including utilities, let alone afford an expensive emergency room bill because you didn’t have a good job with health insurance when you got that UTI or that abscessed tooth.

Being poor means that even if you go into unaffordable debt for a Bachelors degree from a state college in order to be “worthy” of a chance for a job, you still won’t get one because your visibly decayed/broken/missing teeth, a big gap in your work history of menial jobs, your lack of the proper clothing and a car, and your address is in the “wrong” side of town — all which serves to alert the employers’ middle class gatekeepers that you’re “not a good fit” for the office culture and that you “lack work ethic.”

Being poor means that nobody cares about you, your problems don’t matter.

Being poor means that no matter how hard you try and whatever you try, you never get a break but you sure get a generous helping of middle/upper class social Darwinist lip service, condescension, and personal value judgments that they call “advice.”

Being poor is always being told that it’s your own fault you had to suffer without getting your needs met your entire life because you’re nothing but a “loser.”

Being poor (if you’re white and female) means that decent paying blue-collar “men’s jobs” are never afforded to you so you can support yourself without having to resort to prostitution or stripping.

Being poor (if you’re white and female) means you’re never good enough to be wanted, loved, married and supported by some middle class mother’s grad school bound son because everybody knows that poor white women are all nothing but “whores who get pregnant only for the welfare check” — or “gold-diggers” who have no social status and cultural capital to bring to the table.

Being poor (when you’re white and female) means never being wanted or accepted. It’s getting left on the shelf since poor white males either see you as a burden they can’t afford/don’t want, or if they DO commit, you frequently become a punching bag for them to take out their own frustrations and resentment at their own oppression.

Being poor is being begrudged any pleasure in life; even the most basic human need to have sex because your birth control options are very limited and if you get pregnant, you have no money to travel to get an abortion and pay for the procedure.

Being poor means any hopes, dreams and aspirations you might have once had got crushed out of you and ground underfoot.

Being poor means you don’t get to have any hobbies because all the cool stuff costs a lot of money — which you don’t have.

Being poor means owing a lifelong debt of nothing but misery and deprivation to the comfortably off for the status crime of being born into “their world.”

Being poor means your suffering and misery doesn’t matter, only those who are poor in other countries are worthy of middle/upper class concern.

Being poor is when middle class people with advanced educations read what you write, they act shocked that you’re actually smart and educated too.

Being poor is having scars that will never heal.

I cannot speak from the perspective of a poor white male or a poor person of color. I am a poor white female that was a homeless orphaned teen who endured danger and deprivation on a daily basis on the streets in a Philadelphia ghetto, so my experience is a white female urban one. I am a 43 year old woman who did “all the right things” and who has no criminal record, but I never made it out of poverty because I never got a chance.

I can count the number of times on one hand that I’ve had access to medical and dental care throughout my entire life. I saw one of my neighbors lose her leg to diabetes for lack of help. I saw another neighbor die at age 37 from an abscessed tooth. I face possible blindness from glaucoma that I got diagnosed with three weeks before my 43rd birthday this past May for which I have yet to get any help outside of universal health care to afford the routine monitoring and possible future treatments in order to preserve my eyesight — a cruel blow for someone in poverty whose life is already difficult enough and whose only outlet is reading books and writing.

I could certainly go on with more on what being poor is, but I think I’ve illustrated enough for you to get my point. I have over 40 years worth of life experience in the trenches of poverty, suffering because of inequality and classism in addition to all the “gender taxes” too. You don’t get to be more of a poverty expert than that.

Jacqueline S. Homan,

Author: Classism For Dimwits

Capitalism’s Legacy, the Auschwitz of Palestine and the Attack on the Free Gaza Flotilla

June 6, 2010

Jacqueline S. Homan, Author: "Classism For Dimwits", "Nothing You Can Possess", "Eyes of a Monster," and "Divine Right: The Truth is a Lie"

Israel’s government claims its military was defending Israel against “terrorists” aboard the Freedom Flotilla that was bound for Gaza with humanitarian aid for Palestinian refugees in Gaza. The coalition of international human rights volunteers had no guns. The IDF was heavily armed.

Israel controls all entry points to Palestinian territory in Gaza — which is not part of Israel — essentially blocking access to Palestine. Journalists, doctors, students, and humanitarian aid volunteers have all been denied access to Gaza. The Palestinians who struggle to subsist there are locked in. They cannot leave except through points of entry and exit controlled by Israel — including by sea. They languish in destitution.

Their homes and infrastructure destroyed by IDF bulldozers, tanks, and heavy artillery, Palestinians have no means of building their own viable society. They are denied the means to provide for themselves the most basic of human needs. One and a half million people are living there in the largest open-air concentration camp in the world.

Israel deploys well-heeled, well-armed military forces against a trapped and defenseless civilian population in Palestine, deliberately keeping Palestinians from being able to build and sustain viable life. Israel controls everything that enters or exits Palestine by air, land, and sea. Not just the ingress and egress of people; but medical equipment, food, building supplies, textiles, children’s toys, and school supplies. It’s not about defense against “terrorism”, or about Israel’s “right to exist.” It’s about a vicious form of capitalism known as colonialism. Consider:

All of humanity can be divided into three groups — A, B, and C. Group A is made up of those who live primarily off of stock dividends, interest payments on their bond investments, royalties on their land and mineral rights, inherited money, and rents for their real estate. In other words, Group A derives its livelihood from passive or unearned income generated from the capital it owns.  Groups B and C comprise the remaining 99% of humanity. Group B lives primarily off of wages, salaries, tips, commissions, fees or pensions. Group C are those remaining billions of people across the world who don’t even get that — they live hand-to-mouth on whatever crumbs they can scrounge.

Group A obtains wealth by imperialist or colonialist measures by deracination— driving the people off of the land either by genocide, incarceration, or other means of expulsion, and de-skilling and disenfranchising the remainder by forcing them to work for subsistence wages out of lack of options. Group A can also be called the “Owning Class” since they own most of the world’s resources and means of production. Group A also owns a lot of the government or the state.

Group A has very politically active elements that make careers out of protecting the interests of Group A. Those politically active members of Group A become presidents, parliamentarians, prime ministers, Congressmen, Secretary of the Interior, Secretary of the US Department of Defense, CIA directors, Joint Chiefs of Staff, FBI directors, military intelligence, etc., whose function is to keep the world safe for the Fortune 500 companies — the people in Group A — so that they can extract the value from the natural resources and exploit the surplus value from the labor of Group B, and squash any populist uprising.

In order to deracinate Palestine — including Gaza, the West Bank, and Arab communities within Israel itself — Israeli military operations have damaged infrastructure and the Israeli government crafted a list of forbidden goods that cannot be delivered by humanitarian organizations to the Palestinians which have absolutely nothing to do with Israel’s right to defend itself against terrorism. Instead, it has everything to do with ethnic cleansing and genocide with land expropriation as the motive.

Imperialist governments of the West have long defended Israel’s right to exist. Since its artificial creation by European and American heads of state in 1948, Israel has only allowed its indigenous Arab peoples — the Palestinians — the right to barely subsist. Power and privilege are a dangerous narcotic; more potent and addictive than any opiate. Violence used to protect privilege destroys those who bear the brunt of its force, and it consumes those who use it to become masters of the universe.

Israel uses sophisticated aircraft and navy vessels to bomb densely crowded refugee camps, schools, apartment blocks, mosques, and slums. To attack a population that has no air force, no air defense, no navy, no army, and no artillery units, no mechanized army or command to control — and calling this “war”  — seems ludicrous. But in a sense, it is a war — a class war.  It’s class genocide. For its victims, capitalism is cruelty; not freedom.

Israel speaks to Palestinians in the language of intimidation, contempt, and death.

Those who orchestrate such aggression do not understand the insatiable rage born of long-standing policies of humiliation, violence, and human rights violations. A mother whose child dies because of a lack of vaccines or proper medical care does not forget.

A child that witnesses his sick or injured grandmother dying while being detained at an Israeli check point does not forget.

Pregnant women denied access to hospitals who suffer permanently maiming injuries from difficult labors and births; and who are stripped of their dignity by being forced to give birth in front of a hostile audience of gawking, lewd, racist soldiers that harass them in their most vulnerable state — peering between their legs while pointing a loaded gun at them — do not forget.

Parents who carry their child’s broken body to a bombed out hospital do not forget.

These crimes against humanity are engraved forever upon their memory. They sear the psyche and become like a virus in those who survive. Is it any wonder that 71% of Palestinian children interviewed in Gaza recently said that they wanted to be a suicide bomber?

The collective refusal of our government, our media, and our scholars to speak out in defense of the rule of law and fundamental human rights exposes our shambolic espousal of “freedom” and “democracy.”

The blind acceptance of Israel’s pogroms against Palestinians cloaked under the pretense of Israel’s “right to exist” contradicts reason as the images of the victims of Israeli policy seep out from behind the sealed ghetto of Gaza before the world’s eyes. It is a betrayal of the memory of all those killed in other genocides in other times and in other lands.

The lesson of the Holocaust was not that Jews are eternal victims. The lesson of the Holocaust is that when you have the capacity to stop genocide and fail to do so — regardless of who carries it out and who is targeted — you are culpable. And certain US government leaders, lawmakers, and multinational corporations are very culpable. The F-16 fighter jets, the Apache helicopters, and the 250 lb smart GPU-39 bombs are all part of the multi-billion dollar annual military aid package that the US gives Israel.

Dispossessed and disenfranchised children trapped win the world’s largest open-air gulag are being killed right now with US-made weapons. The American public’s indifference to this suffering and injustice should come as no surprise as capitalism’s architecture of aggression led us to go along with the program of killing even more women and children on a grander scale in Iraq and Afghanistan — so much so that Afghan women and girls who were atrociously oppressed under the Taliban are now fleeing in terror of their “liberators” — into the arms of Taliban mujahedeen.

From December 27, 2008 to January 18, 2009, Israel launched a brutal attack on 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza. On March 9, 2010, a group gathered near the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York and began reading from the Goldstone report; the UN fact-finding mission on the Gaza conflict. Afterwards, hundreds of human rights activists and concerned citizens formed a single file procession to carry the evidence revealed in the report to the Waldorf Astoria where a gala was organized by the Friends of the IDF to honor Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, the Israeli commander-in-chief of the military forces during Operation Cast Lead — the Israeli massacre of Palestinians in Gaza. Over 1,400 Palestinians were killed by Operation Cast Lead alone.

This operation entailed the IDF’s use of depleted uranium weapons against the civilian population of Gaza, resulting in loss of sight and limb amputations. Cluster bombs and depleted uranium usage is prohibited under the Geneva Convention and international law. Yet, the very ones responsible for these crimes against humanity were honored at a $1000/plate dinner at the Waldorf Astoria — raising $20 million for the IDF through a US tax-exempt organization, “Friends of the IDF.” We are judged by the company we keep.  We should beware of what sort of “friends” we choose.

One of the authors of the Goldstone report, Colonel Desmond Travers, was interviewed by Rory McCarthy of the UK Guardian. Travers said that the IDF attacks were “intentional and precise and carried out for the purpose of denying sustenance to the civilian population. Gaza is the only gulag in the Western hemisphere; maintained by democracies, closed off from food, water, and air.”

Although both sides of the conflict are culpable, the degree of Israel’s culpability was far greater because of the extreme power differential. Travers said IDF tactics included “hostage-taking, felling of homes, destruction of the judicial police infrastructure, destruction of hospitals and medical infrastructure, destruction of the agricultural, water, and sewage infrastructure.”

Israel claimed this massacre was an “error.” The orchestrated mechanized maiming and killing of civilians; the deliberate targeting of schools, hospitals, homes, and mosques is not something that happens by accident.

Israel claimed that mosques and schools were frequently used to store caches of weapons. But the UN mission found no such evidence of that. Travers says those claims are part and parcel of a negative propaganda campaign that stereotypes Palestinians (and Arabs in general) and such prejudicial unfounded claims would never withstand criticism by the world community if leveled against any other group.

“During the height of the troubles in Northern Ireland, if a British public figure or military official had said, ‘Catholic churches were warehouses for Semtex’ there would have been an international outcry, especially in the Catholic world over such a slur.” ~ Colonel Desmond Travers

But the Catholic world enjoys something that Palestinians do not: enormous wealth and centuries of unearned privilege. The Vatican is the world’s oldest imperialist multinational corporation. Privilege insulates its beneficiaries from the consequences it poses to others. Privilege is the central ingredient in imbalanced and unequal relationships. Capitalism and all of its varying forms — imperialism, fascism, feudalism, and colonialism —  require imbalanced and unequal relationships in order to thrive.

Capitalism is an architecture of aggression built upon the exploitation, disenfranchisement, coercion, intimidation, and dehumanization of others.

When you can see that a group is female, disabled, old, or a different race, that makes it easier to target and oppress them. Thus, capitalism’s “winners” get what they’ve got unfairly and protect their gains by breaking the backs of their victims — namely, those who dare to defy capitalism’s injustices of discrimination and the social damage inflicted by expropriation and the crushing of capitalism’s victims on a playing field that is anything but level.

If capitalism’s “losers” get restive, they are swiftly reminded of “their place.” They’re harshly pressed back in line and their backs crushed — their hopes, dreams, and aspirations for a chance in life bulldozed and run over — like 23 year old Rachel Corrie, the unarmed peace activist deliberately hewn down by an IDF-driven Caterpillar D9 armored bulldozer on March 16, 2003 in Gaza. The cold-blooded murder of a 23 year old American college student was no more of an accident than colonialism — or any other form of capitalism — is. To believe otherwise is to believe there is capitalism without capitalists, imperialism without imperialists, fascism without fascists, and colonialism without colonists.

You don’t have colonialism without colonists, capitalism without capitalists, or imperialism without imperialists.

These things don’t just happen in a vacuum. Left to their own devices, they devour themselves after consuming their hosts. Only the rule of law and a strong enough collective backbone of can prevent the social destruction and collateral damage left in capitalism’s wake. And international justice needs a spine of our collective human solidarity that is too strong to be crushed by tyranny, bribery, divisiveness and intimidation and to oppose death squads, slave labor, torture, artificially created poverty by capitalist disinvestment, armored bulldozers and all of the ideologies that promote discrimination and the dehumanization of others.


Utopia For the Rich, Dystopia For Everyone Else

June 4, 2010

Jacqueline S. Homan, Author: “Classism For Dimwits”, “Nothing You Can Possess”, “Eyes of a Monster”, and “Divine Right: The Truth is a Lie”

The following article was submitted to Alan Colmes’ site at Liberaland whom I occasionally write for as a guest author. Apparently, this piece was a bit too liberal for Liberaland. So it is being re-posted here and also submitted to other alternative media venues. It is highly controversial and steps on more than just a few privileged and very ruthless toes. For that reason, Alan Colmes (whom I do respect, BTW), understandably feared potential reprisal if he kept this piece at his site.

I am not, however, afraid of the rich and shameless capitalist class of misogynists, bigots, and social parasites who have left me and countless other Americans poor, without a chance or hope for good jobs, and a chance in life despite having done “all the right things.” In a nation without enough jobs that pay a living wage to go around for everyone, guaranteeing that women (capitalism’s biggest losers) and unemployed workers over age 40 will be excluded regardless of education, skill sets, and experience — I have little left to lose. I would rather die on my feet than live on my knees.

[Originally posted in Liberaland by Jacqueline Homan • June 3, 2010, 4:29 AMET ]

New Mexico-based investors teamed up with Samsung Heavy Industries to build a fleet of floating castles to serve as a safe haven for the uber rich. Wall Street’s darlings have planned billion dollar luxury liners to keep the poor, starving masses at bay after they’ve plundered them in case their gated communities are besieged by hordes of pissed off Americans posed to take a cue from Hannibal’s invasion of ancient Rome. And why would the masses be feared? Maybe they’re enraged at the economic cannibal class of social parasites who have forcibly relieved them of their social programs, jobs, homes, and pensions.

The first of these sea-faring fortresses has already been named “Utopia.” The $1.1 billion dollar ship is due to be launched in 2013. Orders are already being taken to buy one of the Utopia’s 200 or so mansions for sale ranging in price from $4million for a small luxury condo to $26 million for 6,000 square foot estates. The Utopia’s largest mansion is 40,000 square feet priced at $160 million. These are permanent residences.

The Utopia has plenty of recreation opportunities on board to amuse its inhabitants: outdoor movie theater, casino, golf course, nightclubs, restaurants, and upscale clothing boutiques for the “Stepford” wives of the “masters of the universe”, and a water park with a rock climbing wall. The Utopia is 1,000 feet long, almost as long as a nuclear powered Nimitz class aircraft carrier.

This concoction is a laissez-faire Tea Bagging oligarch’s wet dream — a means to escape without having to face the masses of vulture capitalism’s impoverished losers or be accountable to the government they’ve bought that tricked out like a gaggle of hookers for some token baubles from K Street’s coffers.

“Classism For Dimwits” by Jacqueline S. Homan

Since these plutocrats grew rich from exploiting  America and other nations’ peoples across the globe, they have plenty of leisure time and money to fund think tanks that promote right-wing totalitarianism like the Cato Institute and projects like the Seasteading Institute. The latter is run by Patri Friedman, grandson of disaster capitalism’s guru Milton Friedman, and is financed by ultra right-wing Facebook investor and PayPal founder, Peter Thiel.

Last year, Thiel wrote, “I no longer believe that freedom and democracy is compatible” around the same time that Friedman announced, “Democracy is not the answer.” Thiel believes that America went to hell in a hogcart ever since women were enfranchised with the vote. Their neocon drivel was published by the billionaire Koch family Libertarian dispensary Cato Unbound. Friedman’s solution to Thiel’s democracy dilemma is to build off-shore Libertarian compounds where social Darwinism rules.

While Thiel and Friedman hash out the details for their Libertarian “haven”, the Frontier Group investment firm entered the actualization phase with the Utopia. The Frontier Group is an offshoot of the Carlyle Group. It was founded by some of the big names from Carlyle, which  was the private equity firm that brought American right-wing oligarchs like former CIA director and former president George Herbert Walker Bush together with billionaire buddies from Saudi Arabia — the Bin Laden family — all of whom  profited enormously from the War on Terror launched by their spawn: George W. Bush and Osama Bin Laden.

The Frontier Group’s founding director is Frank Carlucci, former chairman of the Carlyle Group from 1989-2005. Frank Carlucci (a.k.a. “Creepy Carlucci” and “Spooky Frank”) is one of America’s fortunate sons who attended Princeton where he roomed with Donald Rumsfeld. At age 30, Carlucci was appointed vice consul of the US embassy in the Congo — the African nation that suffered one of the worst human rights violations under European imperialist colonialism: the Belgians exterminated nearly 10 million Congolese between 1885 and 1908 and introduced the barbaric practice of hacking off the people’s forearms to terrorize them into submission. This remained a widespread practice that Foday Sankoh’s R.U.F. routinely employed in DeBeers’ blood diamond zone of Angola, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.

When the Congo was granted its independence, America’s elite didn’t like the way the Congolese voted. Carlucci was implicated in facilitating Patrice Lumumba’s murder[1] two months after his popular election. Lumumba was dismembered and his body parts dissolved in sulfuric acid after he was overthrown in a CIA-backed coup which installed Joseph Mobutu, the dictator who embezzled more than any other corrupt African dictator.

“Nothing You Can Posses”, by Jacqueline S. Homan

After his role in destabilizing the Congo, Carlucci transferred to the embassy in Brazil in time for the fascist military coup in 1964. After Brazil, Carlucci went on to become deputy to his old Princeton buddy, Donald Rumsfeld, in the Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) under the Nixon administration where Dick Cheney was making his bones. The first thing Carlucci, Rumsfeld, and Cheney did was purge the agency of “subversives” — staff who might be sympathetic to democratic principles. Approximately 25% of the OEO staff was fired. After gutting the OEO, Carlucci was appointed ambassador to Portugal where he ensured that the Communists who overthrew Portugal’s dictatorship were overthrown themselves by pro-IMF “moderate” socialists. Later, Carlucci returned to DC to a job as the CIA’s second-in-command under the Carter administration.

After the Reagan Revolution in 1981, Carlucci was appointed as Deputy Defense Secretary. In 1983, Carlucci left his cabinet position to head up Sears World Trade, a company involved with shady arms deals and described by Fortune Magazine as a front for CIA and military intelligence operations. After the company’s collapse, Carlucci was rewarded by Reagan with the job of National Security Advisor and Defense Secretary based on his “merit.”

In 1989, Carlucci became chairman of the Carlyle Group and used its prestigious A-list as a lobbying force to get corporate welfare in the form of generous defense contracts paid for by the taxpayers — while extolling the virtues of the “free market.”

Carlucci is among his peers in social parasitism at Frontier Group, whose executive ranks overwhelmingly comprise rich white males on the Who’s Who list of Carlyle directors, such as former McDonnell-Douglass CEO Sanford McDonnel and Riggs Bank former director Norman Augustine. Rigss’ legacy is pregnant with endless scandals, including money laundering  for Augusto Pinochet’s stolen loot — blood money expropriated from Latin America’s “dirty war” and Operation Condor victims. One of Riggs’ top executives was Jonathan Bush, uncle to Dubya.

The Libertarian brainchild of the Utopia is the uber-rich’s fantasy-come-true where they can flee social repercussions for their actions of economic cannibalism. Being “responsible for your actions” is the Kool-Aid flavored pablum that serves as the mass line to cover up the class line.  Those who create the biggest messes leave their victims to deal with the fallout. The Libertarian non-aggression principle, as stated by the Cato Institute, apparently does not apply to damage inflicted on others caused by abusive economic and social policy that promotes age, race, disability and sex discrimination that Libertarians, neocons, and neoliberals think should go unfettered by “Big Government.”

How ironic that the same people who arrange their system of unearned privilege to steal your last penny and keep you from getting on your feet have the moxy to sell you the notion that they should be free from regulation. Anyone not in the top 10% who is led to believe that they would benefit from such as system ought to be arrested for possession of brains with intent to use.

______________________________

[1] Stockwell, John “In Search Of Enemies

SC Lt. Gov. Bauer: Free School Lunches Encourage \'Stray Animals\' to \'Breed\'

January 25, 2010

South Carolina's "pro-life" Republican Lt. Governor Andre Bauer

This “pro-life” religitard doesn’t connect unborn “babies” with eventual children that he does not want to feed…since the poor are like stray animals, according to him.


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