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Archive for the ‘war on poor people’ Category

Before WW2, a house was something you lived in. There were no 30 year mortgages — there were one year personal loans backed by property, which had to be renegotiated each year. These loans were for only up to 50% of the price of a home, so you had to save up at least 50% to buy a home. The end result was that most homes owned by regular working people were modest and often built by the people who lived in them. In the big cities, most housing was rental housing, though the burgeoning middle class could afford the new brownstone townhouses that were being built in places like New York City because they were relatively affordable.

Before WW2, once you bought a home, you expected to live in it for the rest of your life. You didn’t want its value to appreciate because that would result in higher property taxes. Houses were not piggy banks. They were not a savings instrument. They were a place to live.

Starting after WW2, you had Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and FHA loans and VA loans and so forth. The 50% deposit before the war became a 20% deposit, or even less with the FHA and VA loans. What this caused was housing inflation. With more money going into a fixed stock of housing, the price of housing rose. This in turn encouraged builders to build more housing, often better housing than the existing housing stock, which encouraged people to sell their current house and buy a bigger / better house. People started wanting the value of their home to appreciate because when they sold their current home and bought up to a better home, that meant they could buy a bigger / better house. Then once people reached retirement age, it meant they could buy a smaller house in a cheaper part of the country and bank all that appreciation as income for their retirement.

Sometime in the 1970’s, people who owned houses realized: If we don’t allow more houses to be built, demand for our houses will go up, and then we will be able to get more money when we sell our house! This realization didn’t happen nationwide. It happened mostly in affluent cities like San Francisco and New York City. NIMBY-ism became predominant in those cities. Anything that could cause a decline in the price of a house became basically illegal — including the construction of high density housing, the construction of housing for the poor or mentally ill, and so forth. And as the price of housing increased every year but no new homes were built, the poorest of the poor started being thrown out on the streets and told “Sorry, the American Dream is not for you. Live like a stray dog, not like a human being.”

So now the streets of major cities are clogged with homeless people, a large number of whom are mentally ill, who use the sidewalks as toilets because there are no public toilets, and the homeowners in these cities are outraged, outraged I say. But for some reason, their own part in this outrage never seems to occur to them. Strange, that, eh?

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San Franciscans raise $46,000 to stop homeless shelter in wealthy area. Apparently they prefer the homeless to be sleeping in the streets in their area (which is close to transit and services, thus why the homeless hang out there) rather than being in a shelter receiving services.

There’s something about being wealthy that seems to suck the soul out of people. They lose all empathy, all willingness to interact with people not exactly like them, and become Smaug the Dragon huddled miserably on top of their pile of treasure glaring gimlet-eyed around them viewing anybody not them as a threat to be driven away with fire if at all possible, or at least with lawyers, pretty much the same thing actually when you think about it. I don’t know if it’s just that you have to be a vicious sociopath to become rich in the first place, or if it’s the wealth that makes you an ass, but there seems to be very few rich people who are actually good people, and if you look at their background, usually they are the few rich people who came from lower class or diverse backgrounds. The rest… are asses. Asses who worship a bad science fiction writer who wrote crappy books about the power of individual achievement while she collected social security and started some pseudo-philosophy called “objectivism”, which can be summed up in five words: I got mine, fuck you.

And sadly those asses, these small minds huddled atop their piles of hoarded treasure, run the world.

— Badtux the Hobbit Penguin

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Well, not the Christ guy, anyhow. The only Jesus in El Cajon’s city government, apparently, is the gardener.

Twelve people have been charged with a misdemeanor for feeding the homeless in El Cajon, California.

Now, if you read the Bible, Jesus Christ had a lot to say about caring for and feeding those in need. E.g., ““Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.” (Luke 3:11). Or “Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’” (Matthew 25:37-40). Then there’s his disciples, e.g., “If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” (James 2:15-17).

But Jesus Christ doesn’t live in El Cajon anymore. The people there in the El Cajon city government may claim to be Christian. The police officers handcuffing people for the crime of feeding the poor may claim to be Christian. But those are empty claims, as empty as proclaiming themselves to be unicorns or cotton candy trees. Because Christians follow the teachings of Jesus Christ, which are pretty clear about feeding the poor: You do it. Because that’s what followers of Jesus do.

It’s pathetic that twelve people who for the most part express no particular faith are more Christian than all these people in the El Cajon city government who claim, despite all evidence to the contrary, to be Christian. The hypocrisy never ends. “Christians” who don’t follow the teachings of Jesus Christ continue to be a pox on the land. So it goes.

— Badtux the Hypocrisy-scryin’ Penguin

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RE: The Medicare cuts forced by the new Republican tax bill:

There are people who vote for the “Leopards Eating Faces” party then are surprised that the leopards actually ate their faces. But they’re outnumbered by far by the delusional morons who claim that no, the leopards did *not* eat their faces (as the blood from the raw meat of their ripped-off faces drip onto the carpet). Or who claim that no, it wasn’t the “Leopards Eating Faces” party that ripped off their faces, it was that woman, over there, who isn’t an elected official and holds no government position of any sort, who actually ripped off their faces. NOT the members of the “Leopards Eating Faces” party.

This has been the most bizarre time in my entire adult life. WTF, people? If you elect a party into office that promises to cut Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security, why would you be surprised and upset when they actually do so?! Elect the “Leopards Eating Faces” party into power, and that’s what they do — they rip off people’s faces!

– Badtux the Baffled Penguin

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Researchers find that 40% or more of residents of a neighborhood in Lowndes County, Alabama, have or have had hookworm.

This is a disease of extreme poverty that results in anemia, confusion, extreme lethargy on the part of its sufferers. The end result was generations of Southerners stereotyped as lazy and dim-witted. It was eradicated, people thought, by septic systems and shoes. But now it’s back.

And don’t think this is just a disease of poor blacks. Some of my white relatives in Louisiana are living under similar conditions where they regularly come into contact with raw sewage pouring out from underneath their decrepit trailer homes. Really, they were living under more sanitary conditions before they got indoor plumbing — outhouses, at least, didn’t drizzle raw sewage onto the ground. But the Public Health Service that eradicated hookworm by building twenty million outhouses in the 1920’s and 1930’s is long gone. As are the outhouses, and people for some reason don’t want to go back to using outhouses, they insist on using the toilets that deposit raw poop straight onto the ground outside their decrepit trailer homes.

There are two other alternatives that at least sort of resemble a toilet in that you don’t have to go outside your house in the middle of winter and sit on a cold outhouse toilet seat — composting toilets, and the Incinolet. The wiring in many of these homes won’t support an Incinolet, and nobody is pushing or subsidizing composting toilets as a solution. Not to mention that composting toilets are rabidly opposed by the poor people who would use them, “we want to just sit down on our toilet and flush like you rich people, we don’t want to have to mess with throwing dirt in with our shit and turning a handle and such.” That’s if they even know composting toilets exist — most don’t, because we no longer have a Public Health Service that is focused on sanitation, and county health departments only fine people, they don’t educate people, so nobody contacts the county health department asking what they should do.

And the result of this Libertopia, where nobody enforces sanitation laws or helps poor people comply with sanitation laws, is the return of a parasite that plagued the South for centuries and led to all the stereotypes of lazy stupid Southerners… yay, Libertopia! But maybe that’s the point. If you keep them lethargic they won’t rise up in rebellion. If you keep them dazed and confused, they won’t vote for the Democrats who could help them. Why, if you’re a Republican, a hookworm epidemic or a brain-invading parasite epidemic is exactly what you want! Yay!

– Badtux the “Libertopians are idiots” Penguin

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A spoon, you say? A spoon with spaghetti sauce residue on it? What’s that got to do with the drug war, you say?

Ask Ashley Gabrielle Huff about that.

After a spoon was found on her during a traffic stop, a spoon she insisted was last used to eat Spaghetti-O’s at the office for lunch, Ashley Gabrielle Huff was kept in jail awaiting trial on bogus meth charges due to astonishingly high bail despite the fact that she had no criminal record, was married, had children in the schools, and otherwise was no flight risk. She was ready to plead guilty and forever give up her voting rights just to get out of jail if they gave her time served. Then the lab results came back, months after the spoon had been submitted to the state crime lab: Spaghetti sauce.

Just as she’d insisted from the beginning.

Our drug war is ridiculous. A spoon? That was all they had, a spoon, and purported residue on said spoon? Yet that was all it took to deprive her of her rights and put her in a cage for months.

The reason I bring this up is because there is now a widespread movement amongst progressives to reform the bail system to do away with injustices like that. Bail bondsmen in the state of California are outraged about it, but the fact of the matter is that most people in jail are not there because they’ve been sentenced for a crime. They’re there because they can’t afford bail. And while they’re in jail, they’ve lost their job, their children may be in foster care, their home was repossessed or they were evicted with no ability to retrieve their belongings, their college kicked them out for non-attendance and kept their tuition money, and otherwise had their lives destroyed.

It’s one of the few things that the progressive Left and the libertarian Right agree on: the bail system is broken, it enriches bail bondsmen and local sheriffs who run jails at the expense of poor people and taxpayers, and needs to be fixed so that people who aren’t a flight risk have bail set according to their income, not according to some fixed schedule writ in stone.

Which means: entrenched people who benefit from the current system are keeping it from happening.

For now.

— Badtux the Criminal Injustice Penguin

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Paul Krugmen explains:

Back in the 60s and 70s — which I, sad to say, actually remember — there was much talk about the disintegration of the black family and of African-American values more generally, and how that was the root cause of America’s poverty problem. And the social dysfunction was clearly real. But was it cause or effect? William Julius Wilson, in When Work Disappears, famously argued that it was a symptom: good jobs in inner cities, where African-American men could take them, went away, and the cultural changes followed.

So, how could you test that hypothesis? Well, here’s an experiment: change the structure of the economy in such a way that a large class of white men — say, white men without a college degree — similarly lose access to good jobs. If Wilson was right, we’d expect to see a sharp decline in stable marriages, a rise in unwed births, growing drug use, and other forms of social disruption.

Which, uhm, is what we’re seeing amongst poor whites today.

Seems like all the bigots who said poor blacks’ values were the cause of their social dysfunction were just that — bigots. Otherwise they’d be talking about how poor whites’ values are the cause of their social dysfunctions today — the decline in stable marriage amongst poor whites, the rise in unwed births, growing drug use, etc.

Reality: It’s tough being poor. It grinds people down. Communities made up primarily of poor people become dysfunctional in many, many ways. Claiming it’s their values making them poor was a cheap shot then, and it’s a cheap shot now, though it’s a cheap shot that I occasionally make because the parents of these same poor whites whose society is disintegrating were the same bigots who claimed that it was black cultural values that were the cause of social dysfunction in the black community.

But our lizard overlords are great at making us fight each other rather than unite to fight our lizard overlords, so I guess guillotine time is going to be a while. If ever.

– Badtux the Poverty Penguin

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We should be grateful, I suppose. They could kill more, after all. It’s what cold-blooded lizard people from planet Sociopath do — come up with new and better ways to kill human beings, who they view as prey, not as fellow travelers in life.

So, the Congressional Budget Office has now scored the new Republican health care plan. Here’s what they conclude:

  1. Massive tax cuts for billionaires
  2. Massive tax hikes for non-billionaires (the “healthcare tax”, which may not be taken out of your paycheck by government, but it’s taken out of your paycheck nevertheless).
  3. 1/6th of the population uninsured as the individual health insurance marketplace goes into a *literal* death spiral and
    those on Medicaid lose their coverage.

    But hey, I’m sure all that money that the billionaires get as tax cuts will trickle down to the rest of us, just like it has during the past 30 years of stagnant or declining real salaries for white males… i.e., just like a two-story outhouse.

    Alrighty, then!

    – Badtux the Snarky Penguin

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In the aftermath of Trump revealing highly sensitive and classified information to the Russian Foreign Minister, Russia Today oops RT.com has a puff piece with Vladimir Putin playing a piano entitled “Putin trying to decide on song to play for Trump during Trump visit next month.” I have a suggestion.

On a more serious note: It’s no longer a secret that white people are killing themselves at increasingly high rates. Opiate addiction and suicide are cutting short the lives of increasing numbers of white people — especially poor white people.

Yet — this isn’t happening to black people, or to Hispanic people. Just to white people.

Why? Some researchers think they’ve found the answer:

Q: When you looked into inequality and hope, you found some really interesting differences between poor whites, blacks and Hispanics, right?

A:Yes. One of the things we find is that there is really low optimism for the future among poor whites, and desperation and suicide. Even though Hispanics and blacks are equally poor and probably more disadvantaged on many fronts, they maintain much higher levels of optimism about the future, and they’re not suffering from the same levels of suicide and depression.

Now, I don’t know about Hispanics, but I taught plenty of poor whites and poor blacks back during my teaching days. So I think about the poor white people that I taught, and the poor black people that I taught, and what was the biggest difference between them, and what it boils down to is respect. R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

Specifically, the black kids damn well respected learning and professionalism. The black boys in particular might put on some attitude, but you go in there wearing a suit and tie and shiny black shoes instead of dressed like some high school kid and you’re strong and professional, and they respect the fuck outta that — and the girls especially responded. As did the parents. Now, there’s problems in the black community, I won’t deny that. But lack of respect for learning isn’t one of them, and neither is lack of respect for professionals. In fact, black women are on track to become the most educated group in America. A larger percentage of black women are in college than is true of any other group. Even Asians, the supposed “model minority”, send a smaller percentage of their population to college.

The poor whites, on the other hand… they didn’t respect learning. That was “egghead stuff”. “Why do I need to learn this?” was the constant plaint of their kids. They had no respect for intellectuals or professionals of any kind, who they viewed as “disrespecting them” by using all them thare big words with, like, more than four letters ‘n’ stuff, y’know. Education was treated with suspicion and professionals were as well.

Needless to say this completely limited their options when things didn’t go well. Meanwhile, blacks know why they haven’t gotten their slice of the American pie — white people been keeping them down. But not out. They have 150 years of survival experience dealing with what white people been dishing out and white people still ain’t managed to knock’em out. And now that their women folk at least are getting educated, and white people seem to be killing themselves off… fuck, why *shouldn’t* they have hope that their future may be better than their past. I mean, 160 years ago they were fucking slaves, and now a black woman is the billionaire owner of a television network! So yeah, things might suck — especially for black men, who have their own issues — but hope ain’t dead for them.

But for the poor white trash class that despises education and “desk jobs”? Whose sole aspiration was to be a truck driver or a factory worker or a miner, and never had any dreams beyond that? Well, their dream jobs are going away — even truck drivers are going to be an extinct species within the next forty years as self-driving trucks become the norm — and shit, what more do they have to hope for? They despise education and “desk jobs”, but that’s all that the economy is producing other than McJobs, so they end up sayin’ “will there be fries with that order sir?” at the local McFood joint and taking the proceeds and shooting up heroin and killing themselves.

So yeah, I ain’t surprised by this study that looked at “hope” showing that poor whites have less hope for their future than blacks and Hispanics. When you’ve systematically shut off all avenues for entering the professional classes by disdaining education and “desk job” people… well fuck. You might as well just go out in the cow pasture and shoot yourself in the head, already. Poor white trash culture is a sick culture, even sicker than black culture (where there is a lot of despair on the part of a large minority of black males, but that’s offset by the fact that black women are pulling above their weight class), and I suspect we’re going to see a lot more dead bodies — and not a helluva lot of good coming out of white trash America, where the politics of spite are still the rule. Where if they’re underneath a highway bridge living in a cardboard box cooking a dead pigeon over a hobo stove, they’ll gladly vote for someone who’ll take their hobo stove away if it means that the black guy the next bridge over don’t even have a cardboard box.

Well thing is, they done this already, and the black guy the next bridge over, he asked his woman for another cardboard box and she gave him one. So now what?

Well, you know the answer to that one. They be killing themselves with opioids and despair. How dare that black man get a free cardboard box from his baby momma!

And so they kill themselves.

– Badtux the Hope Penguin

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Remember this asshole?

Thumbs up, y’all!


What an asshole. Hundreds of thousands died because of this asshole and his posturing. Now, let’s look at another group of assholes:

House Republican sociopaths on parade


They were high-fiving each other and shouting “Mission Accomplished!” because they, too, have condemned hundreds of thousands to die by depriving them of healthcare. More particularly: By removing the requirement that insurers offer insurance to people with pre-existing conditions.

Who has a pre-existing condition? Pretty damn well all of us who are past age 40, people. It’s called “living life”. Everybody gets there eventually. I know I’m personally uninsurable if insurers are allowed to deny coverage. Too much wear and tear over the years, plus chronic allergies, genetic in nature, not because I lived wrong. Thing is, anybody who is of a certain age has this wear and tear. It’s just how human bodies age. And there’s millions of people in my boat, any of whom will die if they have a heart attack or get cancer and they don’t have health insurance.

Sociopaths. We are ruled by sociopaths. By cold-blooded lizard people who view human beings as prey, not as fellow travellers in the human race. And people will die if this bill makes it through the Senate, guaranteed.

– Badtux the Healthcare Penguin

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