Posts Tagged social safety net

Giants Unite To Shove Dangerous Pollutant Down Poor People’s Throats

In a massive whitewashing campaign of the most callous kind, Peabody Energy Corp., the world’s largest private-sector coal company, launched a public relations and advertising campaign last month extolling the virtues of coal energy for poor people.

A Peabody press release announcing the campaign, called Advanced Energy for Life, argues that lack of access to energy is “the world’s number one human and environmental crisis.”

Peabody’s proposal to solve this crisis? Asking the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to stop setting pollution limits on coal-fired power plants. Those pollution rules are meant to address climate change caused by greenhouse-gas emissions, a global problem that has the . Burning coal generates carbon emissions as well as hazardous pollutants such as mercury, lead, and benzene, .greatest effect on poor countries according to the American Lung Association

Burson-Marsteller, the world’s largest PR firm, and its subsidiary, Proof Integrated Communications, are working behind the scenes on Peabody’s PR effort. Burson-Marsteller spokesman Paul Cordasco confirmed to The Huffington Post that the company is working on behalf of Peabody. Peabody spokeswoman Beth Sutton said “Burson-Marsteller and several other firms are providing support for the campaign.”

Burson-Marsteller has a long history of working on PR campaigns that downplay or contradict established health concerns. The Guardian has described Burson-Marsteller as “the company that governments with poor human rights records and corporations in trouble with environmentalists have turned to when in crisis.”

The firm worked for Union Carbide after its poison gas disaster in Bhopal, India, killed 3,800 people in 1984. It has also worked on behalf of governments accused of human rights abuses, including Nigeria and Indonesia.

Environmental groups said Burson-Marsteller’s role in Peabody’s campaign isn’t surprising:

Burson-Marstellar has spent decades working for some of the world’s worst perpetrators of human rights and environmental abuses,” said Kert Davies, director of the Climate Investigations Center. “So Burson-Marsteller are well suited to help Peabody push dirty coal to the world’s poorest people, at a time when everyone from the World Bank to the U.N. are warning us climate change will hit the poor first, and hardest.”

But, let us keep voting against government regulation of such things because they are so bad and socialist and take away our god-given freedoms as Americans (to be exploited…) blah blah blah yawn.

Yes, the government giving money to people so they can eat is a hand-outs and a giant waste of taxpayer money. And the government enacting policies and regulations that protect the air you breathe, the water you ingest, and the food you eat is, at best, nothing of value—and, at worst, a job-killing regulation that impedes the success of people who want to get rich dumping toxic waste into the ground, in the air and soil, food and water where people getting hand-outs live. Let them eat toxic-waste laced bootstraps.

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Consequences of Apathy

The Huffington Post, every now and then as part of a PSA or something, dedicates a post to the “Faces of Drugs Arrests” – supported by Rehabs.com as a follow up to its anti-methamphetamine campaign “Horrors of Meth.”

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“Faces of Drug Arrests,” is a series of shocking images, depicting the decline of different “suspects” (suspects of what? drug abuse?)  physical appearance over the years via their mugshots. The individuals shown were all arrested for drug and drug-related offenses involving meth, heroin, cocaine, and prescription drugs.

The ugliest thing about this post is not so much the ravaged faces of these drug addicts, but the comments section of the Huffington Post where people admonish these individuals as “disgusting” beings who hopefully never have kids.

One commentator, who neither knows any of these individuals or their stories and backgrounds and thus their experiences and how they came to be where they are, writes quite presumptuously that “they no longer care where they are or whether they’re about to die.

Others casually “other” the people depicted in the images, commenting on how “irresponsible” it is of them, especially when “these people” have children of their own.

One reader had the following to say “There’s NO REASON for anyone to continue to abuse themselves to this extent – help is readily available pretty much everywhere. These types of addicts just don’t want to take the effort necessary to clean themselves up. Yes, I know that’s not the case with some addicts, but in these cases…..?” 

“They are disgusting.”

“They are irresponsible.”

“They don’t care.”

“They don’t want to make the effort.”

Yes, because clearly mentally healthy, stable people enjoy becoming emotional and physical wrecks as a result of heavy drug use. Because, thank the spaghetti monsters that be, drug addiction is not a disease at all.

No one in these comments has even noted the fact that these are mug shots taken from arrests, as in these people whom everyone is summarily dismissing, judging and spitting on as disgusting, irresponsible, worthless wrecks have been criminally persecuted and incarcerated for their drug use.

And neither does anyone – neither the HP article nor the commentators – find it either problematic or acknowledge the fact that drug addiction is an illness that requires medical treatment of those who are using drugs, instead of criminal retribution.

No one is wondering, or is the least bit bothered, that instead of health and treatment these people are being treated to prison instead. “Hell [typo and I am keeping it there] Help is readily available” one commentator casually states. When in reality, no actually, help is not readily available.

The fact that these people have been booked and charged with a crime instead of being sent to rehabilitation to treat their illness should have given you a clue. That, and that in this country trying to get insurance companies to pay for meaningful drug rehabilitation programs is almost impossible, not to mention that government-run rehab programs, as far as they do exist, are terribly funded, ineffective and hard to get into.

So no, it is not “readily available.” Where have these people been? Canada? Germany?

Most importantly, there is a human being behind every mug shot depicted in this PSA; a human being with their own life’s stories, paths and trajectories. No one knows what has taken place in their lives leading them to resort to drug use and the addiction that comes from it. To judge them as if one did is mendacious.

Sending someone who suffers from the disease of addiction to jail is no different than incarcerating someone suffering from cancer or Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s.

Moreover, since low-income and/or racial minorities are disproportionately incarcerated for drug use, this undertaking has, essentially, become another way of criminalizing the poor for being poor.

Now what if all the taxpayer money that’s used arresting, processing, trying, probably public defending and jailing drug addicts  were instead used toward social programs that would support such people in the first place? What if instead of jail time, we offered help? How about trying to find out what those ills were that got them into heavy drug use in the first place, instead of making this ridiculous, callous assumption that they are there because they enjoy being there, because they made that choice and because they devalue their lives?

Although I do wonder how people who have been outcast and thrown away by society as disgusting, irresponsible worthless wrecks are going to “love themselves.”

People in this country tend to criticize “government hand-outs” and talk about the social safety net like it’s a giant waste of taxpayer money—a “wealth redistribution program” to steal rich folks’ money and give it to the poor. And they do not see the moral failing in such an argument because the same people that talk about social safety net programs as being a waste of money have no problem seeing that very money be used to send sick people to jail (or support defense contractors, oil companies, corporations, banks and the wealthy in the form of tax exemptions etc).

Unworthy of Help

The thinking that one needs additional negative consequences for harming one-self assumes that whatever situation one finds one-self in is not sufficient consequences. Even if someone is in an incredibly terrible situation of their “own making” (which is an extreme oversimplification as no one lives in a vacuum)  somehow that’s not enough punishment in and of itself.

The thing I truly abhor about this kind of rhetoric and way of thinking is that even if, given the same set of circumstances, I or Joe Green over there, would have emerged differently than someone else: So what? Different people are different.

And even in cases where someone is in a terrible situation because of their own making and bad choices: So what? Why is that justification to not help them?

I fully understand the value of consequences for harming others. I will, however, never understand the alleged value of consequences for harming oneself.

This calculated, cultivated lack of empathy in our society for anyone who isn’t successful, healthy, wealthy and “wise”, is very disconcerting and quite visible in the face of every person in these mug-shots.

Love, empathy and compassion are necessities if we are going to make it as a peoples and nation. They are not luxuries.

I wish people who just casually judged, blamed and dismissed a person in peril like that, praying self righteously to their “God” that the drug addicts in the mugshots may not have any children, would, instead, pray to their “God” that these people who are undoubtedly suffering, get the help they need – which would necessitate voting for programs that aide such people as opposed to voting for policies and politicians that do everything they can to dismantle the programs that aide these people.

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Just Get A Job At McDonald’s and Let the American Dream Begin

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When people are struggling financially, such as being unemployed, on welfare, on disability or in any other circumstance that has rendered them poor and without income, the stereotypical, go-to phrase of bootstraps bullshittery is always “go get a job at McDonald’s, buddy“. Usually this phrase is uttered by people who themselves never have worked at a place like McDonald’s (or Burger King or any other similar fast food joint) and who view not working at a shit-hole like that as a contemptible refusal by alleged “lazy freeloaders” to pull themselves up by their bootstraps to finally stop mooching off of hard-working, honest, supposedly bootstraps-pulling individuals.

Oh you know, if it were me I would totally lower myself and go work for McDonald’s”  says some dipshit one percenter who was escorted out of government offices with seven figure bonuses made entirely possible by a tax-payer funded bail out for an economic meltdown he and his colleagues caused across the financial world, in collaboration with the majority of the US Congress.

The rhetoric here is “you work hard, you create your own luck, and you gotta believe anything is possible“blah blah blah.

The irony of this type of callous, rancid rhetoric, of course, is that people who do work at places like McDonald’s or Burger King etc,  do not even get paid a livable-wage which they then could supposedly use to pull themselves up by their bootstraps to realize their American Dream.

Striking McDonald's worker Bartolome Perez, 42, protests outside McDonald's on Hollywood Boulevard as part of a nationwide strike by fast-food workers to call for wages of $15 an hour, in Los Angeles

Earlier this month, McDonald’s employees in California, Michigan and New York have filed class-action law suits against McDonald’s alleging that McDonald’s has engaged in systematic wage theft.

“The suits allege that McDonald’s has forced employees to work off the clock, not paid them overtime and struck hours off their time cards.

We’ve uncovered several unlawful schemes, but they all share a common purpose — to drive labor costs down by stealing wages from McDonald’s workers,” said Michael Rubin of Altshuler Berzon LLP, an attorney who represents California workers.

The employees in Michigan allege that they would start getting paid only when customers walked into the restaurants, even if they showed up to work hours earlier.
New York McDonald’s workers, who filed their case in federal court ,claim the fast food chain did not reimburse them for the cost of cleaning uniforms. They say it drives some workers’ real wages below the minimum wage, which is a violation of federal labor law.

Since 1985, the Labor Department has found that McDonald’s and its franchises have had to pay back wages more than 300 times for Federal Labor Standards Act (FLSA) violations.

These types of exploits are not just confined to McDonald’s, however.  Burger King, most notable among a myriad of companies out there, is another avid exploiter.

As the truly sad and somewhat harrowing accounts of fifty-year-old Glenn Johnson who gets paid $14,000 a year (that is $1,166 a month) working at a Miami-area Burger King, just minutes away from the fast food company’s corporate headquarters, show, even if your company does not actively steal from you, as a regular employee in the fast-food industry, which many, including the Burger King spokesperson believe to “provide an entry point into the workforce for millions of Americans,” you still cannot make ends meet despite working full-time and working hard.

Note how the bootstraps rhetoric is not just about working but working hard. “You work hard, you create your own luck, and you gotta believe anything is possible” it goes. Thing is, that is just not how it always goes.

Glenn Johnson is a man who, much like many other men and women out there, does work hard, to the point of exhaustion, yet is still struggling.

Come work for us for scap wages and the American Dream can happen to you, too!!

Come work for us for scrap wages and the American Dream can happen to you, too!!

He gets paid $7.93 an hour, no benefits, no health-care. When he gets sick or feels sick, he gets some Tylenol or VapoRub or some other over-the-counter medication as even going to the hospital will cost him $1,000 off the bat. This means that Mr. Johnson is also not having access to preventive care and thus is not getting routine physical check-ups, which are especially important for someone his age.

His rent is $765 a month, which takes up more than three weeks of his paycheck, and he also has to pay for utilities and food as well as gas to put in his car so he can get to work. This does not leave much for anything else, including paying for his health-care.

An individual like Mr. Johnson, with his level of income, may, under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, be eligible for government subsidies of his premiums but he is not eligible for government subsidies of his deductibles and actual health-care costs (because that would have actually been a policy helping people, so, naturally, it was voted away).

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Note that someone who only makes $14,000 a year does not even qualify for the low/zero deductible Gold and Platinum plans under Obamacare, he only qualifies for the Silver and Bronze ones, both of which have, relatively speaking,  astronomically high deductibles, from $5,000 to $10,000.

How can someone whose yearly income is $14,000 ever come up with a $10k or even $5k deductible?  That $10k may as well be a million because he doesn’t have that either. Affordable, I think not, Mr. President.

In addition to the fiscal strain, Mr. Johnson also has to content with the emotional strain of working such a minimum-wage job without having the means to do anything else beside work. He just does not bring home much to do anything else with, such as go on vacation. He seems just like another indentured servant. He often comes home tired and exhausted, unable to do anything but eat dinner, take a shower, watch some TV and go to bed, just so he can start the same thing tomorrow.

He does not get any benefits, therefore, he is also not eligible to go on vacation or take a week off or even afford to get sick – not that he could afford going on vacation if he wanted to. Additionally, he has to content with abusive bosses and managers.

It is just a demoralizing existence. And he is not the only one.

All the while, Burger King has been posting a 37 percent in its quarterly gains.

The comment section of the Huffington Post, where Mr. Johnson’s story was first published, reeks of the same old garbage, out-of-touch bootstraps narratives and other associated Gordon Gecko prosperity dribble blaming Mr. Johnson for the fact that he is getting paid scrap wages without benefits or anything else and that he clearly seems unwilling to pull himself up by his bootstraps.

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Some people state that it is Johnson’s fault for being 50 years old, working in the same place for the past thirty years and still making about the same amount of money. “Why was he not promoted?” they ask or “does he have bad work ethics? A bad attitude?”

People blame him for being a “loser” who is merely choosing to work at Burger King. As if Mr. Johnson was offered a host of opportunities for a better job and income yet inexplicably chose to work a minimum-wage paying slow death.

As if the ability to make the best choices in life was not often dependent on one’s socio-economic situation in society as well as race, gender, bodily ability, abuse and a host of other factors that systemically place certain people on trajectory-fucking paths and disadvantaged positions vis a vis people who enjoy a host of privileges – such as being born white, straight, able bodied and wealthy or any combination thereof.

Privilege gives people freedom of choice, it gives them options, which, in turn, allow making good and prudent decisions possible. And isn’t that what poverty is ultimately about? That one’s choices shrink in proportion to one’s wealth whereby the less you own, the fewer choices available to you?

Poor people are often blamed for their situation, as if they were born into privilege and wealth and always functional, loving, non-abusive families with a myriad of choices available to them while inexplicably making the bad ones to their own detriment.

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As I have mentioned before, this delusion – or lie may I dare say – that sheer will power can make individuals transcend barriers, the glass ceiling, and overcame systemic inequalities, is precisely the kind of misleading bullshit that the likes of Romney (and even the President) and other one percenters regurgitate when speaking to the masses of people who are navigating a tedious existence of one paycheck/crisis away from destitution without any real prospects for improvement in sight, thanks to a host of middle-class busting policies by both of our parties and a practically non-existent social-safety net.

These are the things that, contrary to popular (and it appears even professional belief)  cannot be ameliorated with mere sheer individual will-power, as individuals cannot be tasked to solve and overcome systemic issues.

That Burger King is paying its employees scrap wages without any benefits whatsoever, and is not required to do so by law, is a systemic issue.

fast foodPeople who admonish Glenn Johnson and millions of others like him for not having made “better choices”, for having “chosen” “loser vocations” thus not working a great job with great pay, are missing the point, which is that a) not everyone is born into the right set of circumstances and that regardless of that b) not everyone in society can be rich.

Professions in hospitality and janitorial services are, traditionally, not the kind of jobs that make people rich.  Especially the fast food industry is notorious for abysmally low wages and as generally being in the lowest paid job category. People are often not expected to remain in them for long and only be taking on such a job if all else fails (unless, of course, you are in a huge recession where even skilled workers cannot find jobs in their trained professions so they have to work for such places). This high turn-over in employees has played to the advantage of the fast-food industry that is bringing in record profits, because labor leaders often have not made an effort to organize these workers into unions to increase their collective bargaining power. Given the immense advantage owners can take of this situation, it is unlikely that they will support for changes to occur.

Yet, they are professions that are both needed and do require hard work.

However, without a meaningful social safety net in place as well as meaningful labor laws and protections, people just eek by an existence, slide down the ladder until they hit bottom, or in this case Burger King and McDonald’s – the go-to employers people evoke when admonishing and vilifying  welfare recipients and the poor in general.

Mr. Johnson deserves to be working in a job, whatever that job may be, that pays a livable wage, that offers him benefits in the form of vacation and sick leave, that accommodates disabilities, that requires mandatory minimum wage increases in regular intervals. He deserves to not find himself a paycheck away from destitution, he deserves to have something to show for after a life-time of working hard in a vocation of his choice (or not of his choice, but out of necessity) instead of destitution, poverty and exhaustion while the company he works for posts record profits with a few on top reaping all the benefits.

There was a time in this country, not too long ago, where if you worked full-time, no matter what you did, you could afford to live like a human being. Now, it’s almost impossible for an unskilled worker to get a full forty hours, lest their employer have to fork over their paltry ‘benefits’ package. Even if they did, minimum wage is not enough to pay the bills or live the kind of dignified life resembling that of a human being. This is why the middle class is dwindling and why our economy can’t get back on its feet.

Poverty is destabilizing on many levels and the health of any society is generally measured by the existence and health of its middle-class. A healthy middle-class is indispensable for the smooth functioning of a democracy.

But sure, let’s blame the poor and dismiss them by suggesting they shut up complaining and just go work at McDonald’s to make their (American) Dream come true, even though the wages places like McDonald’s and Burger King pay are not fit for a dog,  while playing the violin for the “poor” billionaires who feel threatened and whine about having to endure bad press.

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Welcome to the United Oligarchy of America Where Over 50% of Congress Members Are Millionaires

In a democracy, it is important that those who make decisions on behalf of the people who elect them into office are also personally affected by those decisions. Such a premise is crucial for the functioning and integrity of a meaningful democracy.

If those in charge are wealthy entities or part of an extremely privileged, wealthy class not affected the least bit by the policies they output, then they not only become practically elected kings but they are also not likely to enact policies that would affect anyone but those very privileged, wealthy entities they themselves are part of.

One of the reasons that our lawmakers, including the President, have not made creating a meaningful social safety net for citizens a priority is that most of them are all wealthy and seldom, if ever, affected by lack of a social safety net and even most of the policies they draft. (If you don’t believe me and think welfare recipients have it so good, I challenge you to conduct a little experiment on you own by pretending to be unemployed/disabled/in need of welfare and see for yourself just how much money you would qualify for from our generous welfare system. I’ll eat my words and make a public apology if the amount of money you are going to get is actually going to enable you to properly live for one month – i.e. pay rent, pay necessary bills, transportation, health care, food etc. Dogs in a pound require more money than the meager “social safety net” this country pays human beings).

Congress, A Millionaire’s Club

A few months ago I wrote about the United States Congress being a millionaires club with 238 of the 535 “public servants” (Congressmen) having a net worth of at least one million dollars, effectively making them members of the 1%.

According to OpenSecrets.org that number has risen to 268 in 2012. In other words, now over half of our lawmakers are wealthier beyond the wildest dreams, and possibilities, of most Americans they govern.

That is a problem.

As OpenSecrets points out “while members of Congress have long been far wealthier than the typical American, the fact that now a majority of members are millionaires represents a watershed moment at a time when lawmakers are debating issues like unemployment benefits, food stamps and the minimum wage“; all policies that affect people who are not part of the 1%.

It is no surprise, then, that our lawmakers are not making the strengthening and expanding of a social safety net, including a public option in health care, their priority and in fact, go after so-called “entitlement” programs everytime they talk fiscal responsibility and budget – as if it was welfare recipients, food-stamp recipients, the elderly, the poor and disabled that caused the economic meltdown and not the very entities our lawmakers have been deregulating for decades because they do line their corrupt pockets.

Whether social security is depleted or not will not affect a single member of Congress or their families. When the government is shut down for weeks leaving millions of people without a paycheck and other direly needed services, our lawmakers continue the gamble and casually use the livelihood of those people as a bargaining chip to extort more unconscionable concessions out of the other party. And they do so casually and while taking their time because whether the government is shut down for three weeks or for three months, they still get their $174,000 a year salaries.

Nothing screams "we are just like you" that wearing a several thousand dollars gown and posing in a mansion. Thank you Michelle Obama for showing us that, just like  most Americans, you can sport a $5000 gown and $800 shoes while still being "just like us."

Nothing screams “we are just like you” more than wearing a several thousand dollars gown and posing in a mansion. Thank you, Michelle Obama, for showing us that, just like most Americans, you can sport a $5000 gown and $800 shoes while still being “just like us.”

A member of Congress – even the President himself who has done his share of rubbing his wealth and privilege into the face of the American people  – never has to worry about needing unemployment benefits, disability benefits, Medicare, social security, housing or nutrition assistance. They never have to worry about fair wages, not having access to quality and affordable health care, that they will lose their homes or how to send their kids to college. They are sitting cushy and pretty on their constitutionally guaranteed salaries, pair of $800 Jimmy Choos (our “man of the people” wife’s favorite shoe designer) plus all the bribes they can get from the robber barons of big industry and the financial world that line their pockets.

It is no coincidence that most of our lawmakers, even Democrats, have, overall, prioritized doing the bidding for the wealthy and corporations – at the expense of everyone else and under the guise of “hard work” and “The American Dream.”  They are so far removed from what real life is actually like for the entities they govern, they are not likely to especially care about addressing the very issues that those entities struggle with.

It is an especially cruel irony, therefore, that the individuals behind the Occupy Wallstreet movement, for example, – i.e. the 99% – have to look at these very dishonest crooks in Congress – the one percent – to do something about the 1%. It is absurd. It’s like asking the thieves to please do something about the thieves.

Of course our lawmakers are not going to do anything that may jeopardize the lucrative positions they are in. They are not going to cut off the very lifeline (or money line) that fleeces their pockets.

Coupled with the democracy-obliterating Citizens United ruling by the Supreme Court (whose members will also never be affected by the decisions they make as most of them will be dead in less than a decade), it is now almost guaranteed that only those with immense wealth will win Congressional and presidential elections to ultimately make decisions about a social safety net they will never need.

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Ethics Lower Than That of Child Molester

While most folks cannot wait to retire from the mostly wretched, soul quashing, often underpaid and stressful positions they have been trapped in for the past several decades, officials in the executive branch, Congress and senior congressional staff members seem to be getting their second wind once their jobs in the public sector end.

Apparently you can never be too old to retire from exploiting America and our corrupt politicians certainly have never met a constituent they were not willing to sell out to corporations and big business vultures for good money.

Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, for example, who oversaw the Obama administration’s response to the 2008 financial crisis (thanks Obama for yet another completely competent decision)  will take his spin through the revolving door this year by joining private equity firm Warburg Pincus. Geithner followed the lead of former Treasury heads Robert Rubin and John Snow in making the move from Pennsylvania Ave. to Wall Street, where financial firms pay top dollar for former top government officials’ experience and connections.

Interesting to note is that Geithner managed the government bailouts of Citigroup, Bank of America and General Motors Corp., among others. While he was also in charge of lobbying Congress to pass the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which brought tighter regulation of financial institutions with the aim of preventing another crisis (not really), I think it is pretty safe to assume that he made sure to sweeten the deal for Wall Street as much as possible resulting in a watered-down policy aimed more at keeping critics quiet while giving them a sense that something was done rather than actually changing the way Wall Street does things. I mean have you heard of anyone in Wall Street getting in serious trouble or even face criminal charges since the 2008 crash? Yeah I didn’t think so.

The graph below shows Geithner’s employment timeline and the extent to which he has been going back and forth between private sector and public sector positions – ethical concerns that one may influence the other or pose a conflict of interest be damned.

Geithner employment timeline

The website http://www.opensecrets.org has compiled an entire list of politicians who have been profiting heavily from this revolving door by selling out hard working Americans and the poor, elderly and disabled of this country whose votes they secured to the vultures of the financial, defense, energy and pharmaceutical industries without compunction.

The graph illustrating Geithner’s employment timeline is pretty much the same for most politicians.

Well, it’s good to know that India is such a corrupt country and we here in the US aren’t.

Geithner employment timeline 2

Another bunion on the face of not only humanity but especially this country, Joe Lieberman, has announced today that he has joined the private equity firm Victory Park Capital, where he will serve as chairman of the firm’s Executive Board. Of course he will.

Lieberman retired from the U.S. Senate in 2012 after serving for 24 years. In 2006, he was reelected to the U.S. Senate as an Independent after being defeated in the Democratic primary election.

While in the U.S. Senate, I fought for policies that would allow small businesses to thrive,” Lieberman said in a statement. “I look forward to a long-term partnership with Victory Park Capital that will position the firm for continued growth.”

Note that Lieberman is almost 72 years old, but apparently greed knows no age limit and this sorry excuse for a human being just cannot help spending his last few years on this earth to fuck everything up for generations to come.

Also note that private equity firms are not “small businesses” nor do they work for the interests of small businesses. They are vultures and run the type of schemes that got this country into the fiscal mess it is in today. Not that the crisis hurt them, of course, because us 35%-tax-rate-paying peons ended up bailing out their 0%-tax-rate asses.

Also interesting to note that almost all of these people call themselves pious, god fearing Christians out there to do god’s work blah blah wet fart.

Well at least our policy-makers are being consistent; obvious and greedy yes, but consistent.

I must say, however, that given that many, if not all, of our lawmakers seem to have been taking public sector jobs not to serve their communities or this country but to manipulate and mold the government to serve the narrow interests of corporations  and the wealthy – with the added bonus of securing themselves lucrative positions guaranteed to influence government and corporate policies – it’s truly a wonder that anything gets passed that doesn’t exclusively benefit the wealthy and powerful.

While Edward Snowden has to rot away his life in exile for having exposed government crimes, these treasonous assholes get to sit nice and pretty on cushy salaries and health care that the tax dollars of the 99% pay for while they are working to make things happen for the 1% who don’t pay a dime in taxes. That these opportunistic parasites get to continue making the law of the land and called patriots is nauseating.

Woody Allen once remarked that politicians have the ethics of a child molester – or actually a notch underneath that of a child molester. Given the above and the general state of this country for the past twenty to thirty years, coupled with the completely ineffective, almost parasitic Congress of last year and the general state of affairs, I am coming to realize just how true those words are.

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