28 January 2018

Working and Poor People Are Worth Dying For

The prospect that the European Union—and the UK (or any other country for that matter) staying in it, two separate issues, mind you—is a good thing is just as valid as the hypothesis that Hillary Clinton was a good choice for POTUS because she wasn’t Trump.  A case in point is the very recent reversal of Italy’s 5-Star Movement on the EU’s deficit limit of 3% of a member state’s GDP from opposition to acceptance. 

When I posted an article about that to Facebook, I remarked, “In other words, ‘we accept the limitations and strictures and deficits of neoliberal socioeconomic anti-humanism, thereby surrendering our principles and claim to status as anti-establishment’, as well as revealing the party’s anti-establishment stance to be nothing more than a pose adopted to become the establishment.  Like the slaves who dream of becoming the masters rather than of freedom for themselves, much less for the people they supposedly serve.

During the Great Depression, the governments of most of the world used increased budget spending to deliver their people out of the ruins created by the 1% of that time, and little resembling such an effort has taken place to cure the Great Recession.  Instead, we the people of the world have only been inflicted with more and more austerity, so that the rich get richer while we all get poorer.  I’m so glad the world’s stock markets are doing so well, but as Stieg Larsson noted, the stock market has fuck all to do with the economy.  Therefore, this 3% limit accepted by the 5-Star Movement in Italy is yet another instance proving that the EU as an organization is nothing more than a shithole operating for the benefit of the wealthy few.

The leaders of our countries treat social welfare benefits not as if they were created to serve the needs of the people who receive them but as if they were created to enable their corporate sponsors to pay their employees less.  Workfare, means testing, work requirements, and other such demeaning, humiliating ways of mistreating people in need are not about lifting people up but grinding them down, making them feel helpless. weakening their will to fight back, make them feel as if their poverty is their own fault rather than the fact that the few at the top horde to themselves resources far beyond what they need.  Mind you, many of these abuses did not originate with the Tories in the UK or the Republicans in America, many were first instituted in the USA by New Democrat Bill Clinton and in the UK by New Labourite Tony Blair. 

Those last two groups, Clinton’s New Democrats and Blair’s New Labour, are as fucking useless as the reformists in the Islamic Republic of Iran and the CHP in what is becoming the Islamic Republic of Turkey.  As opposition, Turkey’s CHP is to Erdogan and the AKP and Iran’s reformists are to Khamenei and the Revolutionary Guard are slaves who want only to become masters, just like the New Dems and New Labs are to their counterparts to whom they want to do nothing more than replace.

The Obama presidency was such a fucking waste of potential and a betrayal of hope, as great a betrayal, in fact, as that perpetrated by his successor upon his own supporters.  When he came into office as POTUS, Obama had a supermajority in Congress.  He could have passed single-payer healthcare that included price controls on drugs, he could have passed welfare changes that were actual reforms rather than deforms, he could have enacted changes beneficial to Afro-Americans, but he did none of those things.  He did not do those things, because he did not really want to do any of them, which anyone paying attention would have noticed long before the 2008 primary.  Like too most of his fellow Dems, the greed of the few was and still is more important to the one who promised hope and change than the needs of the many.

Obama revealed his true colors soon after his inauguration in March 2009, behind closed doors away from public view, mind you, when he met with the lords of Wall Street on the then recent crash and Great Recession which began then and is still continuing, at least for most people.  “My administration is the only thing between you and the pitchforks,” he told them.  “You guys have an acute public-relations problem that’s turning into a political problem.  And I want to help.  I’m not out there to go after you.  I’m protecting you.”  And you have to admit that he that on that, at least, he was good at his word, else he would not be getting $400,000 for a one hour speech to the 1%.

Recently, Donald Trump issued an executive order allowing states to to institute work requirements for people receiving Medicaid.  As originally structured, Medicaid covered only those whose income was below a certain level and were pregnant women, children and young adults up to age 21, parents or caregivers of those children, women in need of breast or cervical cancer treament, Supplemental Security Income beneficiaries, and those who have received an SSI check and Social Security check in the same month at least once since April 1977. 

One of the undeniably good things Obamacare did was to expand those eligible for Medicaid beyond that narrow scope to all persons with income below 133% of the poverty line.  Unfortunately, states with mean, stingy legislatures like that of my own successfully sued in the U.S. Supreme Court to allow states to opt out of that, which the Republican-controlled General Assembly of the State of Tennessee promptly did, with the Republican governor’s signature.
Despite the fact that the General Assembly rejected Medicaid expansion, leaving those eligible to that limited list above, Republican Speaker of the Tennessee House Beth Harwell, who is a candidate for governor in the next election, almost immediately introduced a bill to put that indignity which Trump inflicted on the poor into effect.

Unlike the thankfully failed repeal of Obamacare at the national level, this change does effect me directly, or at least would if our state’s Republican-controlled legislature had not shitcanned the Medicaid expansion authorized by Obamacare.  Because of that, at 54 years old, I have not been to a doctor in nearly ten years.  However, it does or at least could effect those like me.  So I will fight back, even if it means I have to go on hunger strike if Speaker Harwell’s latest cruelty is passed.  Poor and working people, people like me, are worth dying for, and so is our dignity.

Afro-Americans voting for a Clinton are like working-class whites voting for Trump.  You get the betrayal you voted for.  The white liberal dog-whistle racism that first became acceptable under the Clintons is what has allowed Trump-style racism to flourish.

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