Archive for the ‘The Economy–Wealth & Poverty’ Category
Yesterday, Victoria over at Short White Coat, Inc. wrote a penetrating post about the intersection of poverty and health problems in the US, reflecting on her work with AIDS patients who were exiting the criminal justice system, she lamented the reality: despite her training and intentions, these people faced such a host of social, legal, and medical problems that their futures seemed bleak, their challenges intractable:
My patients felt they had paid their debt to society, but society would not give them a chance. Most had limited education and job training, and during the recession, it was difficult enough to find a new job without a conviction. Prior to incarceration, many had suffered mental illness, including substance addiction and depression. All of them now faced complicated HIV medication regimens and doctors’ appointments despite frequently unstable housing, transportation, and employment status. After release, many met criteria for devastating post-traumatic stress disorder, some resulting from horrifying events occurring while under the “care” of the State. Almost all were from poor backgrounds and the majority were people of color. During the interviews, many expressed themes of detachment, a sense of alienation from society starting in childhood. Some intimated a sense that outcomes many Americans view as basic rights or inevitabilities were never options for them, like freedom from an abuser, a safe home and school environment, or deciding what to be when they grew up.
by: MJ Rosenberg on March 5th, 2013 | 3 Comments »
Check out this piece in the Jerusalem Post. It notes my prediction that AIPAC could suffer a “backlash” if aid to Israel is exempted from sequestration but says that the lobby is “doubling down” on achieving it.
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), which opened its annual policy conference on Sunday, will take to Capitol Hill Tuesday for a morning of lobbying, including a push to provide Israel with its full $3.1 billion in military aid for 2013 and 2014, as well as $211m. in additional funding for the Iron Dome missile-defense system. AIPAC will also promote legislation designating Israel a “major strategic ally,” a new alliance status that may help it keep its aid.
The lobbying agenda did not reference funding for joint missile defense programs, which the Pentagon will consider when divvying up its budget cuts. The other two lobbying agenda items will be devoted to legislation on Iran, one in the House, and one in the Senate.
It then added: “Some critics worried that attempts to exempt Israel from painful budget cuts while the rest of the US was forced to absorb them would cause a political backlash.”
by: MJ Rosenberg on March 1st, 2013 | 1 Comment »
It turns out that some key right-wing bloggers (including Seth Mandel of Commentary) have been on the payroll of the anti-Semitic, gay-baiting and repressive government of Malaysia.
by: MJ Rosenberg on March 1st, 2013 | 10 Comments »
Douglas Bloomfield, who served as AIPAC’s chief lobbyist for more than a decade, reports this week that the lobby intends to insist that the United States not include Israel’s $3 billion grants package in the sequester that goes into effect today. Writing in the New York Jewish Week, Bloomfield says:
At a time when sequestration is about to take a big bite out of the Pentagon budget, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) will be sending thousands of its citizen lobbyists to Capitol Hill next week to make sure Israel is exempted from any spending cuts.
This could prove a very risky strategy at a time when millions of Americans will be feeling the bite of the sequestration debacle, from the defense budget to the school lunch program.
But not aid to Israel, which will be untouched if AIPAC gets its way.
by: New Monastic -- Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove on February 27th, 2013 | Comments Off
Today Christians in Durham join sisters and brothers around the world to begin the season of penance that we call Lent. Pastors and priests call us to “remember you are dust and to the dust you shall return.” Recognizing that our sinful inclination is toward hubris, we dedicate forty days to the imitation of Christ’s humility through the practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.
But this year, Christians in Durham face a challenge: we cannot give to the beggar on our city’s streets because panhandling has been outlawed in Durham.
In a consensus agenda that City Council unanimously passed at their December 2012 meeting, ordinance #14375 went on the books, effective January 17, 2013. Council has been adamant that this new ordinance does not outlaw begging in Durham. And on that point, they are technically correct. The new ordinance only outlaws begging on the medians and exit ramps where our most vulnerable neighbors have been standing to ask for our help in recent years. To these neighbors, the distinction makes little difference.
I swore I was not going to write about the gun debate that has followed the latest mass murder. It seemed an exercise in futility. Trying to convince people that they are wrong on gun control is like trying to influence their views on abortion. Attitudes and opinions are fixed on the issue. There is little chance that one more opinion will change them. Recently, the conversation took an interesting turn, one that is new to the ongoing debate on gun control. The idea that we have to have personal weapons to fight our own government went from being a fringe idea to a mainstream argument, defended by conservatives and many pro-second amendment liberals.
It has been obvious to every thinking American for some time that something is terribly wrong with our current government. If we could agree in what that was we might be able to fight it without resort to guns. The nation is nearly evenly divided between those who fear a socialist takeover and those who believe that the problem is growing corporate dominance of government to the extent that it is leading to fascism, if it has not already arrived. If we do not come to a common understanding of what has gone wrong with the US system of government, it is likely that the incidence of political violence will continue to increase until we are subject to a violent crackdown by the very police state that so many of us fear.
I first met Father Robert A. Sirico at a conference in western Connecticut 13 years ago. Sirico is a big man who bears a family resemblance to the character Paulie Walnuts on The Sopranos – his older brother, the actor Tony Sirico, played the part – and his commentaries have frequented the Wall Street Journal and other high-profile media outlets. His writing sparkles, but the talent is marshaled in the service of basically one thing – promoting pure, unbridled capitalism.
At that conference in the summer of 1999, I interviewed Sirico and asked a question that alluded to his “conversion” – the priest had related that as a young man in the 1970s, he led a dissolute, confused (and left-leaning) life, before committing himself ultimately to the Catholic faith of his childhood in Brooklyn. I was thrown off a little when he replied, “Which conversion?” Sirico had also told me about his turn toward free-market thinking (in his twenties), but I hadn’t realized that he saw this change of political perspective in such a religious light.
by: Sharon Delgado on February 6th, 2013 | 1 Comment »
As a new Tikkun Daily author, this is an introduction to the themes I will cover in my postings to this blog. Many of these themes are covered in detail in my book, Shaking the Gates of Hell: Faith-Led Resistance to Corporate Globalization, which makes the case that today’s dominant global economic system, based on unrestrained free market capitalism, is damaging the human family and destroying the earth. The book is a call to action and a call to spiritual renewal. It proposes a way for people of faith and conscience to join together to resist corporate domination and to work for a peaceful, just, and sustainable world. My blog postings to Tikkun Daily will touch on these themes and will relate to the following three aspects of globalization:
1) Corporate Globalization: This is the current system of global economic integration, dominated by transnational corporations and based upon the ideology of Market Fundamentalism. The U.S. military/industrial complex enforces this interlocking network of political, economic, military, and ideological institutions, which Walter Wink calls the “Domination System.”
I just came back from a superb meeting on affordable housing at Sacred Heart Community Services, an agency known for practical, street-level work. Then I started talking about the issue with friends. Here are a few jolts that stuck with me:
- In Silicon Valley, the greater San Jose area, the list for subsidized housing is around 40,000 names long; it would be longer, but they aren’t taking names any more, so we can’t know the true extent of need.
- Even veterans have been bounced from one agency to another with no one making help a priority. One of them, an articulate person not immediately recognizable as homeless, attended the meeting. He said he had been homeless “only a couple years.”