Capitalists beware, Iraq is about to fund socialist countries all over the world, from Angola to China, you read over who is winning the contracts for the oil fields and so far they are mostly State Run Companies... sure, private companies like Exxon and Sun are in there too, but mostly, one could say, Iraq's oil is going to enrich what many view as our idealogical enemies.
Not me, of course, since I have a bit more faith in the state than most people, and whenever I read about the Changes Obama Has Made, I am more hopeful. I think the state should run a lot of shit, personally, and the rich should be more heavily taxed. Why not? Someone has to do it, so we should throw our money into a pool where we have the buying power to make demands of distrubutors, etc.. to bring things like drug care costs down, like a nationalistic, public option would have done.
One thing that is not even talked about in this is Insurance to pay for old folks homes. That used to be a nice aspect of health care. Now, the contract has been broken, in a way. The elderly are told there just is not enough money for society to provide them with a plentiful life. It is just a fucking shame that the elderly and the mentally are housed in shitty little old folks homes all over this city, and indeed, the country. Is this new plan going to force the insurance companies to pony up and pay for those last few years with a place of luxury? Most people hit retirement age and they have actually spent most of their money just living all those years. Some have no property, or savings. MaryAnn's mother, a widow who raised two young children on her own, lived in working poverty after her husband passed away at 40, leaving a 12 year old boy and an 11 year old girl, is on the edge of either living with us, or going into one of these places. She has no idea what they are really like, or she would not even consider the option. Our door is open to her. I use her as the but of mother in law jokes but that is really, really, just joking. She is a sweet lady to me.
I fear the places myself. It could easily happen to me if MaryAnn passed away. I would avoid it at all costs, probably get out of it, but most people are not as smart and resourceful as I am -- they fall into the traps. The same thing happens with out of work people disabled for mental illness, they house them in hotels that give them their meals and small room, in exchange for all but 30.00 of their social security checks.
Right across from our apartment is a shitty home for the elderly and disabled. I see them every time I take the dog out for a walk. This is their fucking story, you asshole world... this is the injustice of the capitalist system, where the concerns of the many are not the concern of most politicians. (Saw a Bono article he wrote that praised capitalism as the great savior; odd to hear that from the man who sang in Rattle and Hum about the excesses of the usa). This country needs to turn more toward social concerns. We need to say that we have grown beyond the idea that there are ANY throw away people. We need to make the prisons places of healing and growth. Everyone knows this is the way to give people a different way to live, a means to fish, as they say.
It is a shame that our elderly are thrown into hell-holes like the one across the street from me. They are treated like throw away people, given tiny rooms and very crappy food -- and so little that the more crafty and mobile among them are out on the street corners begging for enough money to get some more. Right across the street from them, beside me, are six bedroom houses occupied by couples. One has a kid. What is fair in this? Do my wealthy neighbors chalk it up God's will, or their parents, luck, or just a plain lack of true tragedy? Why are they treated so much better by our society than the people across the street? Can we truly blame these people for losing both their legs and being unable to work, or going mad, or just getting too old to care for themselves, and not having enough family around that can help?
This is the systemic problem with wanton capitalism. This country has plenty enough of the free market, we now need to start forcing some changes toward socializing some aspects of our society. This would help in so many ways. For one, the city of Chicago once promised to give free wi-fi to everyone in the city, which would have been a real boon for everyone, especially all the children who are being raised in poverty... but no, the cable companies or whoever got control of wi-fi and their prices exclude this very important segment of our society. These kids need every break we can give them if they are to overcome their circumstances and become law abiding citizens. This is socialization. On a limited scale. Like we have always had, though that safety net has been torn, seriously marred, by the destruction of the union, as well as the faults of the unions (I am not going to defend working with the Mob in any way... that was a mistake, and I was glad to hear the FBI busted a bunch of goons in a union in New Jersey and New York -- in my opinion, the unions that exist now need to push for more leadership roles in the over--all society. They need to make their views on issues known beyond just their union. If people could seriously be stirred up to unionize again, we could collectively bargain). Bono also said something about how consensus thinking did not lead to innovation, because everyone needs a leader. Or most do. That is more bullshit, to me. Maybe I am taking him wrong, but consensus thinking is almost always the way to go. That is why we have the political system that we do, instead of out right fascists. In America, we believe that everyone's view is important, and indeed, that unless you take into account the views from all sides of the round table, your view has blind spots. Of course being artists, Bono and I both have found a place where we work ultimately alone, and now art by consensus could end up sucking because it would diminish individual twists and shit... but that is not politics. Art can comment on politics, but it is still art -- it is not going to pass a bill that harms the elderly, or create a war (most of the time... I seemed to have triggered at least a battle there for awhile when my total war for total peace was more allowed and above ground). My point is that consensus is the way to go. Even if it is messy, and some people are sell outs working against the common good, it is better than allowing the government to be run by one person. That kind of power leads to excess. Bush with no restraints could have easily started a nuclear war. There is something appealing about China's ability to immediately adapt to change, on orders from the government. It is good for them, for sure. But, what do they trade for that? The population is abused, civil rights are shitty, and corruption is rampant... just fucking everywhere. They charged thousands this years and people say it has not even dented the culture of corruption. Without the people being able to force changes, say by voting them out of their position, they become trolls under the fucking bridge.
This is why I really want a socialistic democracy. So many fucking freaks use these words though, skin heads and nazi's and god knows who else, that I need to come up with some other way of saying it... Limited socialism, and limited capitalism. The Free Market has proven to be easily abused, and not at all free to the the people who lost all their money in the recent crash. Now, the Obama folk are responding by creating new Financial Regulations that will finally stop some of their excesses. This is the Government intervening to do something good. Our Goodly President sure is fighting on a lot of fronts. He is like Bruce Lee in a movie, fucking fighting enemies flying at him from all sides. He handles it all like a gentleman and a scholar, a professor in the White House... let alone that he is black, he is a professor. A smart, emotive man who has tried to live a life of service. He can't fix everything at once.
Here in Chicago the problem that has been tearing me up for awhile is how exploited, used, and abused the elderly are in these fucking shit hole homes.
Some want you to believe that there are winners and losers, and since the winners are in control, they take care of their own interests and throw their scraps to the poor, and expect to be given dinners and plaques and kudos on their tombstones for being philanthropists. Now, I do not blame these people for having wealth and nice houses. I am sure they work hard, are industrious and all that. Seemingly they earned what they have. But have the disabled and elderly across the street somehow earned what they have to experience? No. They have been sentenced. Sentenced by the break down of family in this country, by as simple a thing as how easy it is to fly to another city and make a new life. People do it for work, without even considering what they lose. Some people fail in this world, to the degree that the safety net is all that stops them from starvation. I hit this point with my back, after twenty years of working my ass off. I paid a hell of a lot of taxes, here in the Windy City where the sales tax is like 30 cents on the dollar (with some items much higher, like smokes, which go for nine bucks a pack here due to the city and state taxes -- the poor pay these taxes).
We as humans should be able to look at wealth as a resource for the entire world, not just our own portfolio. Should societies winners consider their position like the great landowners in England, like my family, who at least aspired to and were known for taking care of the people in the cities and towns they owned.? Noblesse Oblige was how they stopped revolutions, and raised armies. Keep the people happy. The are of course other options that governments use, from keeping the people beaten down to drowning their minds in slap-happy personality cults.
The population is on the rise, but the baby boomers, that huge splotch of humanity, has changed society with every milestone they have reached. The USA would not have a black president if not for the champions like Malcolm X and Dr. King shaping the minds of youths in the sixties and seventies. I hope that they will change the way we house the elderly and the ill, as well. Health Care needs to provide us enough that we can live out our last years in dignity. I never see this entering the health care debate, and of course the right wing would call it another entitlement (I personally believe everyone is entitled by just being a child of God, regardless of how they have reacted to being a human being in this weird, weird world).
My father smoked his way onto a breathing machine, which landed him in assisted care for the last six years of his life. He was in a great facility, with a caring staff that was charmed by his easy going ways and the high spirits he tried to have when he was talking to people. I don't know what I would have done if he ended up across the street at that hell hole. I would have probably went over there and kicked someone's ass over the supposed lasagna they serve, which is just noodles splashed with tomato sauce -- no cheese, not meat, not enough sauce to even taste. This is no way to treat anyone. Prisoners get better food than these people. And this is systemic in this city. We should be collectively very ashamed about this... but no one seems stirred up. Why the fuck is that? Because it will cost money. Taxes. We are a very rich country. Look at what we spend on a war!!! We neglect the children and the elderly and the sick. We punish them for being 'useless' to the Pharaohs. A family structure would stop this from happening. We have tried, as a society, to promote the family in about every way possible, from tax breaks to tv shows, but our loyalty has shifted to our employers, and even our friends.
Abandoned to the care of the state, these folk are place in homes that take all of their social security and food stamps, and in exchange give them a room and a bed and three meals. They get 30 bucks a month cash, which is three packs of cigarettes around here.
Retirement plans are imploding. A more socialistic way of running this country would say that the government has to do more for these people. No one votes against their own interests, and everyone is going to grow old. This is a working class fear, of course. The wealthy can afford to live in great style for those last few years. The well-insured. Well, is this health care plan even addressing this? Is that the legislation where it should be? Where are the newspaper articles about this? Let alone the outrage...
We have not lost something that used to take care of the elderly in some mythic period of fairness that some people think is in the history of this country, we are actually going to have to create something new. A mentality that no one is worth more than anyone else. That everyone has intrinsic worth. That no one should be punished for having been born into a crippled, capitalist system.
On another note.... I read in the NYT an article I hardly believe, actually, but surely there is some truth here... saying that the country is moving to the right. This is very odd. I think that people are missing out on what Obama has actually done. He has made significant progress in a lot of respects, and is just getting started. I know that politics is ugly no matter how much we want to like the participants. I also know that we are a hell of a lot better off than we would be with more Republican shenanigans. I am not too worried about the polls and Obama. It was bound to happen. He raised expectations very high, and even though he has achieved a lot of milestones, people have tended to focus on his faults, and what he has not achieved.
i think the relentless propaganda from the right is starting to bear fruit, sadly enough. That along with the disappointment of the left has left Obama where he is in the polls. I think when the left begins to balance what Obama has done, as opposed to his predecessors, that we will see he has been a significant force for Good. And by good, I mean very left. Look into how he shut down the arctic oil mining Bush pushed through in his last days, stopped the fed's from messing with medicinal pot, stopped saying we had a right to torture and all the shit that Cheney spews to this day. He has had to make some tough decisions in his first year. He has a job that requires an almost messianic view of the world. He is literally responsible for the future of the planet. He is our president, and I am proud to have voted for him.
I am going to do a show segment on the radio about these folk. I'll interview them and play it. Do some serious research before the report. Well, the next entry is about the radio show, so I will stop here. Sorry to ramble so... this is more a journal than anything else. You never know what the hell I am going to write.
This from the NYT
The public is not only shifting from left to right. Every single idea associated with the educated class has grown more unpopular over the past year.
The educated class believes in global warming, so public skepticism about global warming is on the rise. The educated class supports abortion rights, so public opinion is shifting against them. The educated class supports gun control, so opposition to gun control is mounting.
The story is the same in foreign affairs. The educated class is internationalist, so isolationist sentiment is now at an all-time high, according to a Pew Research Center survey. The educated class believes in multilateral action, so the number of Americans who believe we should “go our own way” has risen sharply.
A year ago, the Obama supporters were the passionate ones. Now the tea party brigades have all the intensity.