Fun Playing With People’s Lives?

These are my contributions to an FB conversation with one of our city council members and others involved in discussion concerning housing issues in Reno, Nevada where housing prices are going up rather quickly and wages for working and middle class citizens remains flat.  Reno is in the midst of economic recovery; there are new jobs, more jobs and for this reason, more people coming into the area to take those jobs.  As more people come into Reno, there is greater need for housing and, as happens when there is greater need and less to be had, the price of whatever it is that is in short supply.  The problem here is that the stressed commodity is an essential for living a decent life, a decent place to live and many are finding it harder to find decent housing that is affordable.  A considerable number of people, many of them elderly people on fixed incomes and children of parents whose incomes are relatively low, low because of that same economy that is pricing them out of their places of residence.  More jobs, more people, greater competition for jobs, lower wages, more people in need of housing, fewer residences available, up goes the cost for a roof over one’s head.

As I say in the posts below, the problem isn’t something that will be solved by the marketplace because it is market forces that are causing the problem and have been causing the same problems in varying degrees throughout our modern capitalist times.  The answer is not market adjustments—they are long in coming, always partial in solving the problems they cause in terms of people rescued and the goodness of the fix—and short lived as entrepreneurs figure out ways to milk whatever the new reality may be in order to profit better.

So, here are my comments that no one wishes to discuss, the reason for the silence obvious in the fact that the solutions I propose are far too radical.  Of course, it has to be said that PEOPLE LIVING ON THE STREETS OR IN PLACES WHERE THE CONDITIONS ARE HORRIBLE OR ABOUT TO BE KICKED OUT OF THEIR DWELLINGS TO MAKE WAY FOR THOSE WHO CAN PAY MORE THEN THEY, is radical in terms of its effects on those affected.

We will get nowhere in making the society a better one until we do away with what is rotten in it and what makes it rotten.

Post 1

I will take R J up on his suggestion to watch the video. In the meantime, I think it needs to be said that there are ways to have nice and livable cities that are affordable for those with modest incomes. To have such, there needs to be serious consideration of when it is that the market economy does not work, when the market creates circumstances for a good many people that make it impossible to live decent lives. If the ethos of a place is humanity first before profit, then there is a chance that a place can become a truly nice place to live, where most, if not all, of those living there can afford to live decent lives. One way to make the humane city a reality is to enforce living wage requirement–no profits before those who are doing the work are paid enough to be able to afford the decent life. Or, if that is “impossible,” as some in the business community would have it, then serious controls on the prices charged for those commodities that are essential to living a decent life. In general, what has to happen is that we need to be thinking about one another, seeing one another as worthy members of a community in a community that is about, first and foremost, caring about and for one another. I am well aware that this goes against the current capitalist ethos and it is just that ethos that keeps us from making progress on making the places where we live nice places for all who live in them.

Post 2

[suggested once for San Francisco, one respondent to this post thought doing such might be a good idea, if I would pay for their being build]  Maybe we can build low cost housing for teachers, fire fighters, social services workers? Project style housing to keep them nearby? Such has been proposed from time to time in places like SF where those who serve vital needs cannot afford to live on what they make.

Took R J’s advice and watched presentation to council that was quite good. A lot of take-aways and some really important facts to consider in doing what is needed to build a community that is truly by and of the whole of the people. The figures on manufacturing job wages–average $23 per hour vs gaming wages–$11 per hour and the fact that manufacturing jobs are growing in the percentage of jobs they represent, these are tricky because region may be experiencing rise in latter but this is against something close to non-existence that was characteristic of our very recent past. That the great turner arounder of things, Tesla, is paying only $13 is, very disappointing, and what that $13 allows one to pay in rent if he or she is to eat and pay for medicine and clothing isn’t going to be much if the average rent on a place is $1,100 dollars.

Response to my post:

Interesting comment, it’s not the City of Reno only in this issue. What about the Washoe County Commissioners and City of Sparks Council-members. There are several governmental entities in our community. That’s why I realized it bigger than most realize. You need to identify the specific problems before you can find a solution. Watch the video, interesting to say the least.

‪Post 3

Actually, the problem of people being priced out of their lives is a global problem as distribution of wealth grows ever more unequal. This is really only partly about government and mostly about a global economic system that is not very considerate of the needs of a majority of the planets human inhabitants. That even a few MUST live in poverty, live impoverished lives is a sign that it is a problem of inhumanity, the inhumanity of an economic system that has historically proven itself to inspire inhumanity. I realize that some will see this as far afield and it is within the context of the current dominant sensibility. But most do know, at least have a sense of the kinds of cruelty that are excused for the sake of market and market values. Until we, as human beings, come to care so much about our fellow human beings as to sacrifice some of what we have for the sake of others having enough, we will continue to fail at being truly good beings.

Post 4

[Tiny houses are very small spaces in which to house the homeless until they can afford something better]  I think that tiny houses and rent subsidies are needed but they are not solutions. The real solution is that all have access to the equivalent of a living wage and that life essentials, the essentials for living decently (we can talk about what that means) are available to accommodate the living wage. If a business cannot pay its employees a living wage then it is a drag on the community, a promoter of indecency. There are a few places in the world that subsidize businesses trying to get a foothold so that employees can receive the wage they need to live decently. Perhaps there does need to be public investment in housing to make sure that there is enough available as to keep prices for rentals from going through the ceiling, a hedge against those who would benefit from shortages, make a killing off of the misery of those forced out? The same old ways as last time didn’t prevent this time from coming around and if we do again what we have done before we are bound to just get more of what we’ve got. Out of the box is not a bad thing when what’s inside the box is beginning to smell like one of those rooms in the renters’ motels.

 

Asshole, Misogynist, Hillary Hater: Wounds Inflicted by the “Circular Firing Squad”

Nation: Circular Firing Squad

The left is tearing itself apart and, if the schism is to be repaired there will need to be some bluntly honest talk about what the divide actually means and about how to proceed pragmatically while winning through that pragmatism what must be won if justice and equality are to be re-established in this nation. The divide is about truly important differences in the way people understand what is problematic in the society as it currently is, the effects on real people’s lives that those problems cause real people, and what must be done to insure that all of the people benefit from both the economic and political systems that should be shaped by the people’s will and not by a few who buy power with their wealth.

The divide is what divides those who the article says need to find a way to get together. This could happen if an honest and straight to the point discourse is established, one that is not restricted to a party line that must be followed, punishment meted out by the party for those who do not in the form of condemnation for harming the party and standing in the way of it achieving ITS goals.

What needs to happen if any kind of healing is to take place is a lancing of the wounds so that we can know what the real nature of the infection is.  As with any wound that has festered over a period of time, there is bound to be some ugliness released and it is the cause of that ugliness that must be examined and understood before remedies can be found.  It will be found, I think, that, for the party that should be representing those whose thinking causes them to think left needs to remember that a decent political party wins elections by putting before the public ideas that those who make up the public are helped to understand to be good ideas, ideas that have the potential to make lives better, all lives and not just those of a few.

I have experienced the wrath of those who think that I should shut up and get with the program, who think I and those who think somewhat like me brought Trump to office.  They let me know this on a regular basis calling me a Bernie Brother or asshole, a Hillary hater and a misogynist.  I continue find in the ideas Bernie Sanders puts forth the solutions that I know the right ones.  I do not love Bernie because he is Bernie but because he speaks to a truth that I have, through considerable bouts with thoughtfulness come to believe to be a properly generous and humane one.  I never hated Hillary and said many times throughout the latest run and the one before it that she is a brilliant human being who would be a better leader of the nation than most anyone else.  However, studying her politics I am as well convinced that I cannot trust that she would go far enough to change the conditions that I understand need to be changed if the society is to move toward real betterment, toward policies always based in social justice because such policies are the only humane kind of policies.

And the misogyny accusations?  There is not a sentiment that is mine that would have caused me to not vote for Hillary because she is a woman.  The accusations?  They make me seethe because they end the possibility of any kind of honest conversation.

 

 

 

 

BS

 

BS: “Candidate Trump claimed that he would be a President for the working class. Our country is facing unprecedented levels of inequality, and President Trump is showing more concern for handing out tax breaks to his billionaire friends and family than addressing the rising crises that face working Americans every day.”

This should have been THE issue addressed by the democratic candidate because it is the root of most every problem in this society whether it be who can afford health care, poverty, job security, jobs, gender disparities, racial disparities, even the environment for rich people and insanely wealthy companies like Exxon can buy policy and laws that favor their bottom line while ignoring what science says is real and dangerous. Wealth inequality figures into how the educational system operates (private vs public, better schools in wealthier neighborhoods, cost of higher education, tutors for the rich and none for the poor, quality of day care, etc., etc.). Because money is power and power buys policy, democracy is undermined by the way it is distributed and used in our society. SO, WHY THE HELL WAS IT THAT THIS ISSUE WAS NOT FRONT AND CENTER AND WHY WAS IT THAT DURING THE DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION SPEAKER AFTER SPEAKER CHEERFULLY SPOKE TO AMERICA THE WONDERFUL, AMERICA THE GREAT? Did anyone of the party leaders stop to think that the glee might really piss off people who were hurting from what America has become? IT IS THE FUCKING ECONOMY, STUPID, and to ignore this reality for whatever the reasons might be gave good numbers of people to not vote for either candidate or to vote for the candidate who said that things were screwed up and needed fixing? That the person offering the many a way out of their misery, no matter that he was a cheat and lier, should not be so hard to understand why those who were celebrating–party paid for by whom?– the goodness of the system that gave to them a lot at the expense of many others?

Watch Rex

Watch Rex. The Russia thing, I think, is more to do about Exxon than it is about Trump hotels and vodka. The pundit elite, from whom most receive their opinions, do not speak of this, hardly ever ask “Where is Rex.” Exxon is not just a corporation, as Steve Coll, currently the dean of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, explains in his eye-opening book Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power, argues, but a nation onto itself that has had and continues to have great sway over policy makers in the United States and most everywhere else in the world.  Exxon needs, to keep itself as wealthy and as powerful as it has become, large amounts of oil reserves and, with nations around the world declaring for national ownership of the oil fields Exxon wants, it has pushed for policies favorable to its desires, this leading far too often to actions, sometimes wars, that enrage citizens of affected countries.  Many an American soldier has died so that Exxon can continue to rake in huge amounts of money that it uses, in part, to continue to buy influence.

It would be good to remember what was reported in this piece published on the 3rd of December of 2016 http://www.cnbc.com/2016/12/13/exxon-mobil-could-tap-huge-arctic-assets-if-us-russian-relations-thaw.html to refresh memory of who Rex Tillerson is and what it is that might be reason behind foreign policy that is favorable to Russia.

A problem Russia maybe but, more so than its desire to affect American politics is Exxon’s desire to insure access to the vast oil reserves that reside under ground that is Russian property.

 

 

Making Us Susceptible to Dictatorship

From posting on US Department of Education Site, this statement from Betsy DeVos that should raise concern.  Remember that there exists amongst conservatives a profound hatred for curriculum aimed at the the development of critical thinking abilities and a love for regimented instruction that asks students to repeat what they have been told to be true, to do what the teacher and text tell them to do, their teachers told what to teach and how to teach it by those in authority without questioning the value or the goodness of what they are being told to teach.  No Child Left Behind mandated that empirical proof of efficacy be rendered before instructional programs would be funded by the DOE.  Many programs aimed at thinking rather than mandated response to mandated content did not qualify as science-based and were defunded as were school districts that continued to offer professional development programs that taught teachers how to teach to higher level thinking ability.  That the budget DeVos support” ensures funding for programs with proven results for students while taking a hard look at programs that sound nice but simply haven’t yielded the desired outcomes” is rhetoric taken directly from the NCLB mandates, NCLB understood by most sensible educators to have been a disaster, its “basic skills” orientation seen to be a profound dumbing down of the curriculum.  NCLB was, after being in effect for over 10 years, was shown to be a sham supported by empirical research that was manufactured by those who for many years had pushed for direct instruction based school programs, much of the accepted under NCLB research done by those who had created NCLB and its research guidelines and restrictions and who not only created NCLB assessments but profited heavily from the sales of the programs they created, programs that were keyed to the very assessments being used to determine student achievement on NCLB standards.

This is really sick shit, really because the goals of people like the creators of NCLB and DeVos want curriculum that is about control and obedience and not about the growth of individuals’ thinking abilities, not about the development of critical thinking.  Instead, it is about doing what one is told to do without questioning what is being said, what is being taught and the consequences of education that works to these goals is a citizenry that is primed to follow orders, to do what it is told to do by those in authority without ever considering the validity of the authority conferred upon those in authority.

Careful Americans for what is embedded in the cost cutting that DeVos supports is a desire to make people susceptible to the kind of irrational authority that is so prominent in Trumpworld, that was prominent during the last Bush administration, that has allowed people to believe that what is hurting them is good for them when it is not, the pain they feel felt because some are taking what is rightfully theirs and with their approval.

 

From posting on US Department of Education Site, this statement from Betsy DeVos that should raise concern

“This budget makes a historic investment in America’s students. President Trump is committed to ensuring the Department focuses on returning decision-making power back to the States, where it belongs, and on giving parents more control over their child’s education. It also ensures stable funding for critical programs, including Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

“The budget also reflects a series of tough choices we have had to make when assessing the best use of taxpayer money. It ensures funding for programs with proven results for students while taking a hard look at programs that sound nice but simply haven’t yielded the desired outcomes.

“By refocusing the Department’s funding priorities on supporting students, we can usher in a new era of creativity and ingenuity and lay a new foundation for American greatness.”

Tactics

While I do not side with good numbers of those who stand against the current government of Venezuela, I do think that the tactics that they are employing to bring about the kind of change they want are amongst the most effective because they hit at what is usually most precious to those who hold power in modern day societies, the economy that brings them the wealth that brings them the kind of power that allows them to stay wealthy and powerful.  National strikes have throughout history brought about chance, certainly some if not good change, but often change of magnitude.  In the USA, disrupting the economy is the only way, I think, to disrupt the present reality so that something better can replace it.

CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuela’s opposition called on Monday for a national shutdown against President Nicolas Maduro in a major escalation of protests against a leftist government it accuses of flouting the people’s will.

“We are not going to allow the destruction of Venezuela. The whole country overwhelmingly rejects the Maduro regime,” said opposition leader Freddy Guevara, announcing the first 24-hour strike in nearly four months of anti-government demonstrations that have led to some 100 deaths.

The center should not be allowed to hold.

More of that good old Bernie Blather. Joan Walsh, “liberal” commentator for liberal MSNBC keeps telling me that Bernie was the cause of Hillary’s lost election. She did get the nomination, right, and Bernie supported her, right, and therefore, it is understandable why she not only hates Bernie but those who continue to support his ideas. She is representative of a gang of democrats who want to be called the left, who really hate the kind of ideas that are left enough to be

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22 hrs ·

“Austerity” measures being pushed by the global elite and the right wing in this country are nothing short of disastrous. It’s essential that we stand together and fight for healthy progressive reform, and that we don’t give in to these cruel demands.