“I think America’s greatest moral failure in my lifetime has been that we … still don’t abide by that … basic precept in Matthew that: ‘whatever you do for the least of my brothers, you do for me.’ And that notion of − that basic principle applies to poverty. It applies to racism and sexism. It applies to, you know, not … thinking about providing ladders of opportunity for people to get into the middle class.”
By Chuck Baldwin
January 26, 2010
People of goodwill everywhere are rightly sympathetic to the plight of hundreds of thousands of innocent Haitians in the aftermath of the terrible earthquake that rocked the island country. Private donations and volunteer efforts are pouring into Haiti from all over the globe—especially from the United States. This is a good thing, right? So, why am I troubled?
Simply put, I cannot remember such an all-out “relief effort” by our nation’s military and government forces following a natural disaster anywhere—ever! Not even New Orleans, Louisiana, and surrounding Gulf Coast communities here in the homeland received the kind of attention from Washington, D.C., that Haiti is receiving.
According to Agence France-Press (AFP), “The US military is ramping up its mission in quake-hit Haiti, with 20,000 US troops expected to operate on ground and offshore by Sunday [January 24], the US commander overseeing the region said.”
No doubt, this would include ships and personnel from the USS Carl Vinson carrier group. Cost to US taxpayers to send an entire carrier group—along with more than 20,000 (so far) military personnel—to Haiti already numbers in the multiplied millions of dollars. It is also almost certain that there will be no quick exit from the island nation. There never is. In other words, our military presence (dare I say occupation?) in Haiti will doubtless last for years. At least, that’s the way Latin American and European countries see it. And they are probably right.
Suffice it to say that the United States military is now completely in charge in Haiti.
by Ron Gaudio
Jan 20th, 2010
Davy Crockett (1786-1836), was an American legend, remembered especially for his bravery in the battle of the Alamo. But there was a far more significant battle that he fought to preserve the liberties of American citizens, back in the time when politicians took the Constitution seriously.
One day, when Davy Crockett was serving in the House of Representatives, a bill came up to appropriate money for the benefit of a widow of a distinguished naval officer. As usual in Congress, flowery speeches were made, not so much to convince the House, since most felt that it would pass easily, but to afford the opportunity to connect ones name with the popular bill. Before the Speaker called for the vote, Representative Crockett arose and what he said surprised his colleagues:
“Mr. Speaker — I have as much respect for the memory of the deceased, and as much sympathy for the sufferings of the living, if suffering there be, as any man in this House, but we must not permit our respect for the dead or our sympathy for a part of the living to lead us into an act of injustice to the balance of the living. I will not go into an argument to prove that Congress has no power to appropriate this money as an act of charity. Every member upon this floor knows it. We have the right, as individuals, to give away as much of our own money as we please in charity; but as members of Congress we have no right so to appropriate a dollar of the public money. Some eloquent appeals have been made to us upon the ground that it is a debt due the deceased. Mr. Speaker, the deceased lived long after the close of the war; he was in office to the day of his death, and I have never heard that the government was in arrears to him. This government can owe no debts but for services rendered, and at a stipulated price. If it is a debt, how much is it? Has it been audited, and the amount due ascertained? If it is a debt, this is not the place to present it for payment, or to have its merits examined. If it is a debt, we owe more than we can ever hope to pay, for we owe the widow of every soldier who fought in the War of 1812 precisely the same amount. There is a woman in my neighborhood, the widow of as gallant a man as ever shouldered a musket. He fell in battle. She is as good in every respect as this lady, and is as poor. She is earning her daily bread by her daily labor; but if I were to introduce a bill to appropriate five or ten thousand dollars for her benefit, I should be laughed at, and my bill would not get five votes in this House. There are thousands of widows in the country just such as the one I have spoken of, but we never hear of any of these large debts to them. Sir, this is no debt. The government did not owe it to the deceased when he was alive; it could not contract it after he died. I do not wish to be rude, but I must be plain. Every man in this House knows it is not a debt. We cannot, without the grossest corruption, appropriate this money as the payment of a debt. We have not the semblance of authority to appropriate it as a charity. Mr. Speaker, I have said we have the right to give as much of our own money as we please. I am the poorest man on this floor. I cannot vote for this bill, but I will give one week’s pay to the object, and if every member of Congress will do the same, it will amount to more than the bill asks.”
by Jack Rawls
To my sisters and brothers living in poverty,
You’re probably surprised to receive this since we don’t get much mail other than foreclosure and eviction notices, but it’s important for us to begin talking to each other, and I’m hoping this is one way to get the conversation started.
I don’t have to tell you that we can’t expect to receive much help from anyone these days. The politicians have spent all the government money on fighting wars and helping bankers, so there’s nothing left for health care or public works, jobs or college for our kids. At least that’s what most of the Democrats and all the Republicans claim, and they’re backed up on this by all the radio and TV talkers.
Big surprise, huh? Nobody ever pays attention to us except when they claim we all drive Cadillacs. It makes them feel better when they cut what little help we do get if they can claim we’re all lazy, crazy, drug-addled and sexually loose. The millions who are joining our ranks these days because they’ve lost their jobs, lost their houses and lost their credit will soon learn what it’s like to live poor in America. Not only do you have to struggle to keep a roof over your head and food on your table, but you also get to hear constantly that you’re inferior as a human being in every respect.
I know some of us had great hopes that things would be better with this new President, but I think it’s starting to sink in that he’s not going to be able to do much even if he wants to. Early on, he and his advisors decided that it would be better to keep things pretty much as they were with the banks and insurance companies and all the rest. Otherwise, they feared, tens of millions of the “middle class” — those people who are two or three paychecks away from being poor like us — would be thrown onto the trash pile along with us. They paid the ransom money to Wall Street, backed off making any real changes in the system and prayed that things wouldn’t go completely to hell.
What the government has done wasn’t aimed at us. Cash for Clunkers was a bust for us. They’re trashing the only cars we can afford and making parts more expensive for those of us lucky enough to own some piece of crap that we try to keep running. I, for one, don’t begrudge those auto workers who might get to keep their jobs because of Cash for Clunkers, but why do they have to crush cars that we could use to get around? How things affect poor people just never enters into the calculation. The cavalry ain’t comin’. In fact, it’s getting worse.