Article 43


Dying America

Wednesday, August 08, 2018


image: dying america

There exists a common theme amidst these signs of societal decay: The super-rich keep taking from the middle class as the middle class becomes a massive lower class. Yet the myth persists that we should all look up with admiration at the “self-made” takers who are ripping our society apart.
- Signs of a Dying Society, Paul Buchheit, 2015

America’s White Collar Middle Class Takes a Terrifying Slide Down the Mobility Ladder

By Lynn Parramore
Institute for New Economic Thinking
July 24, 2018

The children of America’s white-collar middle class viewed life from their green lawns and tidy urban flats as a field of opportunity. Blessed with quality schools, seaside vacations and sleepover camp, they just knew that the American dream was theirs for the taking if they hit the books, picked a thoughtful and fulfilling career, and just, well, showed up.

Until it wasn’t.

While they were playing Twister and imagining a bright future, someone apparently decided that they didn’t really matter. Clouds began to gather - a ?dark shimmer of constantly shifting precariousness, as journalist Alissa Quart describes in her timely new book SQUEEZED: WHY OUR FAMILIES CAN’T AFFORD AMERICA.

The things these kids considered their birthright - reputable colleges, secure careers, and attractive residences - were no longer waiting for them in adulthood.

TODAY, with their incomes flat or falling, these Americans scramble to maintain a semblance of what their parents enjoyed. They are moving from being dominant to being dominated. From acting to acted upon. Trained to be educators, lawyers, librarians, and accountants, they do work they can’t stand to support families they rarely see. Petrified of being pushed aside by robots, they rankle to see financial titans and tech gurus flaunting their obscene wealth at every turn.

Headlines gush of a humming economy, but it doesn’t feel like a party to them - and they’ve seen enough to know who will be holding the bag when the next bubble bursts.

The “Middle Precariats,” as Quart terms them, are suffering death by a thousand degradations. Their new reality: You will not do as well as your parents. Life is a struggle to keep up. Even if you achieve something, you will live in fear of losing it. America is not your land: it belongs to the ultra-rich.

Much of Quart’s book highlights the mirror image of the downwardly mobile middle class Trump voters from economically strained regions like the Midwest who helped throw a monkey wrench into politics-as-usual. In her tour of American frustration, she talks to urbanites who lean liberal and didn’t expect to find themselves drowning in debt and disappointment. Like the falling-behind Trump voters, these people sense their status ripped away, their hopes dashed.

If climbing up the ladder of success is the great American story, slipping down it is the quintessential tragedy. It’s hard not to take it personally: the ranks of the Middle Precariat are filled with shame.

They are somebodies turning into nobodies.

And there signs that they are starting to revolt. If they do, they could make their own mark on the country’s POLITICAL LANDSCAPE.

The Broken Bourgeoisie

Quart’s book takes a sobering look at the newly unstable bourgeoisie, illustrating what happens when Americas off-the-rails inequality blasts over those who always believed they would end up winners.

There’s the Virginia accountant who forks over nearly 90% of her take home pay on care for her three kids; the Chicago adjunct professor with the disabled child who makes less than $24,000 a year; and the California business reporter who once focused on the financial hardships of others and now faces unemployment herself.

There are UBER-DRIVING teachers and law school grads reviewing documents for $20 an hour or less. Ivy Leaguers who live on food stamps.

Lacking unions, church communities and nearby close relatives to support them, the Middle Precariats are isolated and stranded. Their labor has sputtered into sporadic contingency: they make do with short-term contracts or shift work. (Despite the much-trumpeted low unemployment rate, the New York Times reports that jobs are often subpar, featuring little stability and security). Once upon a time, only the working poor took second jobs to stay afloat. Now the Middle Precariat has joined them.

Quart documents the desperate measures taken by people trying to keep up appearances, relying on 24/7 extreme day care to accommodate unpredictable schedules or cobbling together co-living arrangements to cut household costs. They strain to provide things like academic tutors and sports activities for their kids who must compete with the children of the wealthy. Deep down, they know that they probably can’t pass down the cultural and social class they once took for granted.

Quart cites a litany of grim statistics that measure the quality of their lives, like the fact that a middle-class existence is now 30% more expensive than it was twenty years ago, a period in which the price of health care and the cost of a four-year degree at a public college nearly doubled.

Squeezed is especially detailed on the plight of the female Middle Precariat, like those who have the effrontery to procreate or grow older. With the extra burdens of care work, pregnancy discrimination, inadequate family leave, and wage disparities, (not to mention sexual harassment, a subject not covered), women get double squeezed. For women of color, often lacking intergenerational wealth to ease the pain, make that a triple squeeze.

The Middle Precariat in middle age is not a pretty sight: without union protection or a reliable safety net they endure lost jobs, dwindled savings, and shattered identities. In one of the saddest chapters, Quart describes how the pluckiest try reinvent themselves in their 40s or 50s, enrolling in professional courses and certification programs that promise another shot at security, only to find that they/ve been scammed by greedy college marketers and deceptive self-help mavens who leave them more desperate than before.

Quart notes that even those making decent salaries in the United States now see themselves barred from the club of power and wealth. They may have illiquid assets like houses and retirement accounts, but they still see themselves as financially struggling. Earning $100,000 sounds marvelous until you’ve forked over half to housing and 30% to childcare. Each day is one bit of bad luck away from disaster.

The spectacular success of the 0.1 percent, a tiny portion of society, shows just how stranded, stagnant, and impotent the current social system has made the middle class - even the 10 percent who are upper-middle class, Quart writes.

Quart knows that the problems of those who seem relatively privileged compared many may not garner immediate sympathy. But she rightly notes that their stresses are a barometer for the concentration of extreme wealth in some American cities and the widening chasm between the very wealthy and everybody else.

The Dual Economy

The donor-fed establishment of both political parties could or would not see this coming, but some prescient economists have been sounding the alarm.

In his 2016 book THE VANISHING MIDDLE CLASS, MIT economist Peter Temin detailed how the U.S. has been BREAKING UP INTO A DUAL ECONOMY over the last several decades, moving toward a model that is structured economically and politically more like a developing nation - a far cry from the post-war period when the American middle class thrived.

In dual economies, the rich and the rest part ways as the once-solid middle class begins to disappear. People are divided into separate worlds in the kinds of jobs they hold, the schools their kids attend, their health care, transportation, housing, and social networks - you name it. The tickets out of the bottom sector, like a diploma from a first-rate university, grow scarce. The people of the two realms become strangers.

French economist THOMAS PICKETTY provided a stark formula for what happens capitalism is left unregulated in his 2015 bestseller, CAPITAL IN THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY. It goes like this: when the rate of return on the investments of the wealthy exceeds the rate of growth in the overall economy, the rich get exponentially richer while everyone becomes poorer. In more sensible times, like the decades following WWII, that rule was mitigated by an American government that forced the rich pay their share of taxes, curbed the worst predations of businesses, and saw to it that roads, bridges, public transit, and schools were built and maintained.

But that’s all a fading memory. Under the influence of political money, politicians no longer seek a unified economy and society where the middle class can flourish. As Quart observes, the U.S. is the richest and also the most unequal country in the world, featuring the largest wealth inequality gap of the two hundred countries in the Global Wealth Report of 2015.

Who is to Blame?

Over and over, the people Quart interviews tend to blame themselves for their situation - if only they’d chosen a different career, lived in another city, maybe things wouldn’t have turned out this way. Sometimes they point the finger at robots and automation, though they arguably have much more to fear from the wealthy humans who own the robots.

But some are waking up to the fact it is the wealthy and their purchased politicians who have systematically and deliberately stripped them of power. Deprivations like paltry employee rights, inadequate childcare, ridiculously expensive health care, and non-existent retirement security didn’t just happen. Abstract words like deregulation and globalization become concrete: somebody actually did this to you by promoting policies that leave you high and dry.

As Quart indicates, understanding this is the first step to a change of consciousness, and her book is part of this shift.

Out of this consciousness, many individuals and organizations are working furiously and sometimes ingeniously to alter the negative trajectory of the Middle Precariat. Quart outlines proposals and developments like small-scale debt consolidation, student debt forgiveness, adequately subsidized day care, and non-traditional unions that could help.

America also has a track record of broad, fundamental solutions that have already proven to work. Universal basic income may sound attractive, but we already have a program that could improve the lot of the middle class if expanded: Social Security.

Right now, a worker stops having to pay Social Security tax on any earnings beyond $128,400a number that is unreasonably low because the rich wish to keep it so. Just by raising that cap, we could the lower the retirement age so that Americans in their 60s would not have greet customers at Walmart. More opportunities would open up to younger workers.

The Middle Precariat could be forgiven for suspecting that the overlords of Silicon Valley may have something other than altruism in mind when they tout universal basic income. Epic tax evaders, they stand to benefit from pushing the responsibility for their low-paid workers and the inadequate safety net and public services that they helped create onto ordinary taxpayers.

Beyond basic income lies a basic fact: the American wealthy do not pay their share in taxes. In fact, American workers pay twice as much in taxes as wealthy investors. That;s why infrastructure crumbles, schools deteriorate, and sane health care and childcare are not available.

Most Americans realize that inequality has to be challenged through the tax code: a 2017 Gallup poll shows that the majority think that the wealthy and corporations don’t pay enough. Politicians, of course, ignore this to please their donors.

And so the Middle Precariat, like the Trump voters, is getting fed up with them.

From Depressed to Energized

Quart astutely points out that income inequality is being written into the law of the land. Funded the efforts of billionaires like the Koch brothers, politicians have altered laws and constitutions across the country to cement the dual economy through everything from restricting voting rights to defunding public education.

Several Middle Precariats in Squeezed have turned to independent or renegade candidates like Bernie Sanders who offer broad, substantial programs like debt-free college and universal health care that address the fissures in their lives. They are listening to candidates who are not afraid to say that markets should work for human beings, not the other way around.

If Donald Trump’s political rise can be understood as an expression of the gulf between middle-class citizens and America’s ruling classes, as Quart observes, then the recent surge of non-establishment Democratic candidates, especially democratic socialists, may be the next phase of a middle class revolt.

Recent surprise victories in Pennsylvania and New York in the Democratic primaries by female candidates openly embracing democratic socialism, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who bested Democratic stalwart Joe Crowley by running for Congress on a platform of free Medicare and public college tuition for all, may not be the blip that establishment Democrats hope. In New York, democratic socialist Julia Salazar is looking to unseat long-time state senator Martin Dilan. Actress Cynthia Nixon, running against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, has just proclaimed herself a democratic socialist and promises to raise taxes on the rich and boost funding for public schools. Michelle Goldberg recently announced in the New York Times that “The Millenial Socialists are Coming,” indicating the intense dislike of traditional politics in urban centers. These young people do not think of things like debt-free college or paid family leave as radical: they see it done elsewhere in the world and don’t accept that it can’t be done in America.

Historically, the more affluent end of the middle class tends to identify with and support the wealthy. After all, they might join their ranks one day. But when this dream dies, the formerly secure may decide to throw their lot in with the rest of the Precariats. That’s when you have the chance for a real mass movement for change.

Of course, people have to recognize their COMMON CIRCUMSTANCES and fates. The urban denizens of New York and San Francisco have to see what they have in common with middle class Trump voters from the Rust Belt, as well as working class Americans and everybody else who is not ultra-rich.

If the growing ranks of Precariats can work together, maybe it won’t take a natural catastrophe or a war or violent social upheaval to change America’s unsustainable course of gross inequality. Because eventually, something has to give.


Posted by Elvis on 08/08/18 •
Section Revelations • Section Dying America
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Friday, August 03, 2018

Propaganda American Style Part II

gagged-free-speech.jpg image: gagged free speech

I remember reading about AMERICAN IMPERIALISM and the NDAA:

An amendment that would legalize the use of propaganda on American audiences is being inserted into the latest defense authorization bill, BuzzFeed has learned.The amendment would strike the current ban on “domestic dissemination” of propaganda material produced by the State Department and the Pentagon, according to the summary of the law at the House Rules Committee’s official website.

The tweak to the bill would essentially neutralize two previous acts - the Smith-Mundt Act of 1948 and Foreign Relations Authorization Act in 1987 - that had been passed to protect U.S. audiences from our own governments misinformation campaigns.

The rationale behind the bill is that current legislation prevents the use of propaganda overseas, as American audiences might see it via the internet. The critics say it’s a way of legalizing lying to the the American public.


Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere that poses a threat on the order of that posed formerly by the Soviet Union. This is a dominant consideration underlying the new regional defense strategy and requires that we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power. These regions include Western Europe, East Asia, the territory of the former Soviet Union, and Southwest Asia.

With the recent loss of NET NEUTRALITY:

Wednesday’s move by the Trump administration to end net neutrality marks a milestone in the offensive by the US government and major corporations to put an end to the free and open internet, paving the way for widespread government censorship of oppositional news and analysis.

... we can expect more CENSORSHIP of the news and storytelling by mainstream media.

full-of-crap.jpg rel=image: media is full of crap

Chomsky: Mainstream Media Is “Basically a Joke” Now, And Fox News Is “State Media”
The professor has strong words for America’s most popular press operations.

By Amy Goodman
Democracy Now
August 3, 2018

The New York Times reports special counsel Robert Mueller is scrutinizing President Trumps tweets as part of Mueller’s expanding probe into Trump’s ties to Russia. This latest revelation in the Mueller investigation is part of a nearly 24-hour stream of headlines about Trump, Russia and the administration’s various scandals. But is the mainstream media missing the real stories amid its obsession with Russiagate? For more, we speak with world-renowned political dissident, linguist, author and professor Noam Chomsky on media manipulation in the Trump era.


AMY GOODMAN: We continue our interview with Noam Chomsky, world-renowned dissident, linguist and author, now in Tucson at the University of Arizona. I asked him about a recent mix-up on Fox & Friends, in which the hosts thought they were interviewing former Democratic congressional candidate, a current one, Ann Kirkpatrick of Arizona, who supports Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, known as ICE, but, in fact, they were actually speaking to a Massachusetts Democratic congressional candidate, Barbara L’Italien, who opposes ICE. Here is how the interview started.

SEN. BARBARA LITALIEN: Good morning. I’m actually here to speak directly to Donald Trump. I feel that whats happening at the border is wrong. I’m a mother of four. And I believe that separating kids from their parents is illegal and inhumane. I’m actually Barbara L’Italien. I’m a state senator representing a large immigrant community. I’m running for Congress in Massachusetts. I keep thinking about what were putting parents through, imagining how terrifying that must be for those families, imagining how it would feel not knowing if I’d ever see my kids again. We have to stop abducting children and ripping them from their parents arms.


SEN. BARBARA L’TALIEN:  stop putting kids in cages

ROB SCHMITT: You want to

SEN. BARBARA L’ITALIEN:  and stop making 3-year-olds defend themselves in court.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, Barbara L’Italien said a lot there, but she was then cut off, with the shock of the Fox & Friends crew in the morning that they had the wrong Democratic congressional candidate. But this kind of media activism also just goes to the whole issue of the media, Noam Chomsky, the issue of Fox News becoming really state media, with you have the person who supported the sexual harasser Roger Ailes, Bill Shine, now a top aide to President Trump in the White House. That’s gotten little attention. So you have Fox being a mouthpiece for Trump and a place for him to hear what people have to say, and the other networks very much running counter to Trump, on certain issues, CNN and MSNBC. But your thoughts?

NOAM CHOMSKY: Well, MY FRANK OPINION is that I must say I don’t pay much attention to television, so I don’t know a great deal about it. But, in general, I think the media - first of all, FOX NEWS is, by now, basically a joke. It’s, as you said, state media. The other media, I think, are focusing on issues which are pretty marginal. There are much more serious issues that are being put to the side. So, the worst of - even on the case of immigration, once again, I think the real question is dealing with the roots of immigration, our responsibility for it, and what we can do to overcome that. And that’s almost never discussed. But I think that’s the crucial issue. And I think we find the same across the board.

So, of all Trump’s policies, the one that is the most dangerous and destructive, in fact poses an existential threat, is his policies on climate change, on global warming. That’s really destructive. And were facing an imminent threat, not far removed, of enormous damage. The effects are already visible but nothing like what’s going to come. A sea level rise of a couple of feet will be massively destructive. It will make todays immigration issues look like trivialities. And it’s not that the administration is unaware of this. So, Donald Trump, for example, is perfectly aware of the dangerous effects, in the short term, of global warming. So, for example, recently he applied to the government of Ireland for permission to build a wall to protect his golf course in Ireland from rising sea levels. And Rex Tillerson, who was supposed to be the adult in the room before he was thrown out, as CEO of ExxonMobil, was devoting enormous resources to climate change denial, although he had, sitting on his desk, the reports of EXXONMOBIL SCIENTISTS, who, since the 70s, in fact, were on the forefront of warning of the dire effects of this accelerating phenomenon. I don’t know what word in the language I can’t find one - that applies to people of that kind, who are willing to sacrifice the literal - the existence of organized human life, not in the distant future, so they can put a few more dollars in highly overstuffed pockets. The word EVIL doesn’t begin to approach it. These are the kinds of issues that should be under discussion. Instead, what’s being there is a focus on what I believe are marginalia.

So, take, say, the huge issue of interference in our pristine elections. Did the Russians interfere in our elections? An issue of overwhelming concern in the media. I mean, in most of the world, that’s almost a joke. First of all, if you’re interested in foreign interference in our elections, whatever the Russians may have done barely counts or weighs in the balance as compared with what another state does, openly, brazenly and with enormous support. Israeli intervention in US elections vastly overwhelms anything the Russians may have done, I mean, even to the point where the prime minister of Israel, Netanyahu, goes directly to Congress, without even informing the president, and speaks to Congress, with overwhelming applause, to try to undermine the president’s policies -what happened with Obama and Netanyahu in 2015. Did Putin come to give an address to the joint sessions of Congress trying to - calling on them to reverse US policy, without even informing the president? And that’s just a tiny bit of this overwhelming influence. So if you happen to be interested in influence of “foreign influence” on elections, there are places to look. But even that is a joke.

I mean, one of the most elementary principles of a functioning democracy is that elected representatives should be responsive to those who elected them. There;s nothing more elementary than that. But we know very well that that is simply not the case in the United States. There’s ample literature in mainstream academic political science simply comparing voters attitudes with the policies pursued by their representatives, and it shows that for a large majority of the population, they’re basically disenfranchised. Their own representatives pay no attention to their voices. They listen to the voices of the famous 1 percent the rich and the powerful, the corporate sector. The elections - Tom Fergusons stellar work has demonstrated, very conclusively, that for a long period, way back, US elections have been pretty much bought. You can predict the outcome of a presidential or congressional election with remarkable precision by simply looking at campaign spending. That’s only one part of it. Lobbyists practically writelegislation in congressional offices. In massive ways, the concentrated private capital, corporate sector, super wealth, intervene in our elections, massively, overwhelmingly, to the extent that the most elementary principles of democracy are undermined. Now, of course, all that is technically legal, but that tells you something about the way the society functions. So, if you’re concerned with our elections and how they operate and how they relate to what would happen in a democratic society, taking a look at Russian hacking is absolutely the wrong place to look. Well, you see occasionally some attention to these matters in the media, but very minor as compared with the extremely marginal question of Russian hacking.

And I think we find this on issue after issue, also on issues on which what Trump says, for whatever reason, is not unreasonable. So, he’s perfectly right when he says we should have better relations with Russia. Being dragged through the mud for that is outlandish, makes Russia shouldn’t refuse to deal with the United States because the US carried out the worst crime of the century in the invasion of Iraq, much worse than anything Russia has done. But they shouldn’t refuse to deal with us for that reason, and we shouldn’t refuse to deal with them for whatever infractions they may have carried out, which certainly exist. This is just absurd. We have to move towards better - right at the Russian border, there are very extreme tensions, that could blow up anytime and lead to what would in fact be a terminal nuclear war, terminal for the species and life on Earth. We’re very close to that. Now, we could ask why. First of all, we should do things to ameliorate it. Secondly, we should ask why. Well, its because NATO expanded after the collapse of the Soviet Union, in violation of verbal promises to Mikhail Gorbachev, mostly under Clinton, partly under first Bush, then Clinton expanded right to the Russian border, expanded further under Obama. The US has offered to bring Ukraine into NATO. That’s the kind of a heartland of Russian geostrategic concerns. So, yes, there’s tensions at the Russian border and not, notice, at the Mexican border. Well, those are all issues that should be of primary concern. The fate of the fate of organized human society, even of the survival of the species, depends on this. How much attention is given to these things as compared with, you know, whether Trump lied about something? I think those seem to me the fundamental criticisms of the media.

AMY GOODMAN: Noam Chomsky, world-renowned political dissident, author and linguist, now a laureate professor in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Arizona, Tucson. He taught for 50 years at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Tune in next week when we continue our conversation with Noam Chomsky about Gaza, Israel’s new nationality law, the recent Trump-Putin summit, Iran, North Kora, the war in Yemen and more. In December, Noam Chomsky will be celebrating his 90th birthday.


Speaking of censorship - what do you think of JULIAN ASSANGE:

The failure on the part of establishment media to defend Julian Assange, who has been trapped in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London since 2012, has been denied communication with the outside world since March and appears to be facing imminent expulsion and arrest, is astonishing. The extradition of the publisher - the maniacal goal of the U.S. government - would set a legal precedent that would criminalize any journalistic oversight or investigation of the corporate state. It would turn leaks and whistleblowing into treason. It would shroud in total secrecy the actions of the ruling global elites. If Assange is extradited to the United States and sentenced, The New York Times, The Washington Post and every other media organization, no matter how tepid their coverage of the corporate state, would be subject to the same draconian censorship. Under the precedent set, Donald Trumps Supreme Court would enthusiastically uphold the arrest and imprisonment of any publisher, editor or reporter in the name of national security.

Ecuador may be close to ejecting WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange from its London embassy

By Doug Stanglin
USA Today
July 21, 2018

Ecuador appears to be finalizing plans to withdraw its asylum protection for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange as early as next week, eject him from its London embassy and turn him over to British authorities, according to media reports.

Assange, 47, has been holed up in the embassy since 2012, after taking refuge to avoid extradition to Sweden where he was wanted for questioning over allegations of sexual assault and rape.

Although Sweden has since dropped its investigation into the rape accusation, Assange has chosen not to leave the embassy out of concern that the U.S. would immediately seek his arrest and extradition over the leaking of classified documents to WikiLeaks by Chelsea Manning.

WikiLeaks is also the focus of the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential elections by distributing hacked materials.

Ecuador has grown increasingly unhappy with the asylum arrangement in recent months. In March, Ecuador barred Assange from using the Internet from the embassy for violating an agreement he signed at the end of 2017 not to use his communiques to interfere in the affairs of other states.

Ecuador has toughened its stance following the election in May of President Lenin Moreno, who has described Assange as a “hacker,” an “inherited problem” and a “stone in the shoe.”

Assange, an Australian computer programmer, particularly drew the ire of Ecuador by angering the Spanish government with his support for separatist leaders in Spain’s Catalonia region who sought to secede last year.

The Times of London reported last week that British ministers and senior Foreign Office officials were “locked in discussions over the fate of Assange.”

In addition, RT, the Russian news outlet, quoted unidentified sources as saying Ecuador is ready to hand over Assange to the British authorities “in coming weeks or even days.”

Glen Greenwald, editor of the The Intercept, reported Saturday that he expects Moreno to finalize an agreement with British authorities during his trip to London on Friday ostensibly for a world disabilities summit. Greenwald said Moreno also notably plans to travel to Madrid during his trip.

Greenwald quoted an unidentified source close to the Ecuadoran Foreign Ministry and the president’s office as confirming that Moreno is close to a deal as early as this week.

Greenwald, former reporter for The Guardian, is a journalist and author who writes extensively about national security issues. He published a series of articles about U.S. and British global surveillance programs based in part on classified documents disclosed by Edward Snowden, a one-time U.S. contractor for the National Security Agency, who fled the country and found refuge in Russia.


Posted by Elvis on 08/03/18 •
Section Revelations • Section Dying America
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Saturday, July 28, 2018

Message For 2018 Graduates

 young adult on food stamps

Without firing a shot, a cadre of like-minded interest groups today comprises the Elite - acting as the Nations Board of Directors, so to speak, micromanaging our lives and setting government policy. The mental-health industry is that cadre, and we are its chumps, paying hundreds of millions of dollars to support legislation, purchase medications, and rearrange our lifestyles in accordance with the wishes of a select few who are laughing all the way to the bank.
- Beverky K. Eakman, The New Face Of Psychiatry

The greatest challenge facing mankind is distinguishing reality from fantasy, truth from propaganda
- Michael Crichton (Jurassic Park, etc.)

When the rivers and air are polluted, when families and nations are at war, when homeless wanderers fill the highways, these are the traditional signs of a dark age.
- Pema Chodron, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times

When Things Fall Apart: A Graduation Message for a Dark Age
By John W. Whitehead
The Rutherford Institute
May 21, 2018

Those COMING OF AGE today will face some of the greatest OBSTACLES ever ENCOUNTERED by YOUNG PEOPLE.

They will find themselves overtaxed, burdened with excessive college debt, and struggling to find worthwhile employment in a debt-ridden economy on the brink of implosion. Their privacy will be eviscerated by the surveillance state. They will be the subjects of a military empire constantly WAGING WAR against shadowy enemies and government agents armed to the teeth ready and able to lock down the country at a moments notice.

As such, they will find themselves forced to march in lockstep with a government that no longer exists to serve the people but which demands they be obedient slaves or suffer the consequences.

It’s a dismal prospect, isn’t it?

Unfortunately, we who should have known better failed to guard against such a future.

Worse, we neglected to maintain our freedoms or provide our young people with the tools necessary to survive, let alone succeed, in the impersonal jungle that is modern America.

We brought them into homes fractured by divorce, distracted by mindless entertainment, and obsessed with the pursuit of materialism. We institutionalized them in daycares and afterschool programs, substituting time with teachers and childcare workers for parental involvement. We turned them into test-takers instead of thinkers and automatons instead of activists.

We allowed them to languish in schools which not only look like prisons but function like prisons, as well - where conformity is the rule and freedom is the exception. We made them easy prey for our corporate overlords, while instilling in them the values of a celebrity-obsessed, technology-driven culture devoid of any true spirituality. And we taught them to believe that the pursuit of their own personal happiness trumped all other virtues, including any empathy whatsoever for their fellow human beings.

No, we haven’t done this generation any favors.

Based on the current political climate, things could very well get much worse before they ever take a turn for the better. Here are a few pieces of advice that will hopefully help those coming of age today survive the perils of the journey that awaits:

Be an individual. For all of its claims to champion the individual, American culture advocates a stark conformity which, as John F. Kennedy warned, is “the jailer of freedom, and the enemy of growth.” Worry less about fitting in with the rest of the world and instead, as Henry David Thoreau urged, become “a Columbus to whole new continents and worlds within you, opening new channels, not of trade, but of thought.

Learn your rights. We’re losing our freedoms for one simple reason: most of us dont know anything about our freedoms. At a minimum, anyone who has graduated from high school, let alone college, should know the Bill of Rights backwards and forwards. However, the average young person, let alone citizen, has very little knowledge of their rights for the simple reason that the schools no longer teach them. So grab a copy of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, and study them at home. And when the time comes, stand up for your rights before itҒs too late.

Speak truth to power. Don’t be naive about those in positions of authority. As James Madison, who wrote our Bill of Rights, observed, ғAll men having power ought to be distrusted. We must learn the lessons of history. People in power, more often than not, abuse that power. To maintain our freedoms, this will mean challenging government officials whenever they exceed the bounds of their office.

Resist all things that numb you. Don’t measure your worth by what you own or earn. Likewise, dont become mindless consumers unaware of the world around you. Resist all things that numb you, put you to sleep or help you ғcope with so-called reality. Those who establish the rules and laws that govern society’s actions desire compliant subjects. However, as George Orwell warned, Until they become conscious, they will never rebel, and until after they rebelled, they cannot become conscious.Ӕ It is these conscious individuals who change the world for the better.

Don’t let technology turn you into ZOMBIES. Technology anesthetizes us to the all-too-real tragedies that surround us. Techno-gadgets are merely distractions from what’s really going on in America and around the world. As a result, we’ve begun mimicking the inhuman technology that surrounds us and have lost our humanity. We;ve become sleepwalkers. If youre going to make a difference in the world, you’re going to have to pull the earbuds out, turn off the cell phones and spend much less time viewing screens.

Help others. We all have a calling in life. And I believe it boils down to one thing: You are here on this planet to help other people. In fact, none of us can exist very long without help from others. If were going to see any positive change for freedom, then we must change our view of what it means to be human and regain a sense of what it means to love and help one another. That will mean gaining the courage to stand up for the oppressed.

Give voice to moral outrage. As Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter.” There is no shortage of issues on which to take a stand. For instance, on any given night, over half a million people in the U.S. are homeless, and half of them are elderly. There are 46 million Americans living at or below the poverty line, and 16 million children living in households without adequate access to food. Congress creates, on average, more than 50 new criminal laws each year. With more than 2 million Americans in prison, and close to 7 million adults in correctional care, the United States has the largest prison population in the world. At least 2.7 million children in the United States have at least one parent in prison. At least 400 to 500 innocent people are killed by police officers every year. Americans are now eight times more likely to die in a police confrontation than they are to be killed by a terrorist. On an average day in America, over 100 Americans have their homes raided by SWAT teams. It costs the American taxpayer $52.6 billion every year to be spied on by the government intelligence agencies tasked with surveillance, data collection, counterintelligence and covert activities. All the while, since 9/11, the U.S. has spent more than $1.6 trillion to wage wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and police the rest of the world. This is an egregious affront to anyone who believes in freedom.

Cultivate spirituality, reject materialism and put people first. When the things that matter most have been subordinated to materialism, we have lost our moral compass. We must change our values to reflect something more meaningful than technology, materialism and politics. Standing at the pulpit of the Riverside Church in New York City in April 1967, Martin Luther King Jr. urged his listeners:

[W]e as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a “thing-oriented” society to a “person-oriented” society. When machines and computers, profit motive and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.

Pitch in and do your part to make the world a better place. Don’t rely on someone else to do the heavy lifting for you. Don’t wait around for someone else to fix what ails you, your community or nation. As Gandhi urged: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

Say no to war. Addressing the graduates at Binghampton Central High School in 1968, at a time when the country was waging war on different fields, on different levels, and with different weapons, Twilight Zone creator Rod Serling declared:

Too many wars are fought almost as if by rote. Too many wars are fought out of sloganry, out of battle hymns, out of aged, musty appeals to patriotism that went out with knighthood and moats. Love your country because it is eminently worthy of your affection. Respect it because it deserves your respect. Be loyal to it because it cannot survive without your loyalty. But do not accept the shedding of blood as a natural function or a prescribed way of history - even if history points this up by its repetition. That men die for causes does not necessarily sanctify that cause. And that men are maimed and torn to pieces every fifteen and twenty years does not immortalize or deify the act of war… find another means that does not come with the killing of your fellow-man.

Finally, prepare yourselves for what lies ahead. The demons of our agesome of whom disguise themselves as politiciansחdelight in fomenting violence, sowing distrust and prejudice, and persuading the public to support tyranny disguised as patriotism. Overcoming the evils of our age will require more than intellect and activism. It will require decency, morality, goodness, truth and toughness. As Serling concluded in his remarks to the graduating class of 1968:

Toughness is the singular quality most required of you… we have left you a world far more botched than the one that was left to us… Part of your challenge is to seek out truth, to come up with a point of view not dictated to you by anyone, be he a congressman, even a minister… Are you tough enough to take the divisiveness of this land of ours, the fact that everything is polarized, black and white, this or that, absolutely right or absolutely wrong. This is one of the challenges. Be prepared to seek out the middle ground ... that wondrous and very difficult-to-find Valhalla where man can look to both sides and see the errant truths that exist on both sides. If you must swing left or you must swing right - respect the other side. Honor the motives that come from the other side. Argue, debate, rebutbut don’t close those wondrous minds of yours to opposition. In their eyes, you’re the opposition. And ultimately ... ultimately - you end divisiveness by compromise. And so long as men walk and breathe - there must be compromise…

Are you tough enough to face one of the uglier stains upon the fabric of our democracyחprejudice? It’s the basic root of most evil. It’s a part of the sickness of man. And it’s a part of man’s admission, his constant sick admission, that to exist he must find a scapegoat. To explain away his own deficiencieshe must try to find someone who he believes more deficient… Make your judgment of your fellow-man on what he says and what he believes and the way he acts. Be tough enough, please, to live with prejudice and give battle to it. It warps, it poisons, it distorts and it is self-destructive. It has fallout worse than a bomb ... and worst of all it cheapens and demeans anyone who permits himself the luxury of hating.

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, the only way well ever achieve change in this country is for the American people to finally say “enough is enough” and fight for the things that truly matter.

It doesn’t matter how old you are or what your political ideology is. If you have something to say, speak up. Get active, and if need be, pick up a picket sign and get in the streets. And when civil liberties are violated, dont remain silent about it.

Wake up, stand up, and make your activism count for something more than politics.


Posted by Elvis on 07/28/18 •
Section Revelations • Section Dying America
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America In Collapse 3

inage: the end is near

Here’s How Systems (and Nations) Fail

By Charles Hugh Smith
Washington’s Blog
July 27, 2018

Would any sane person choose Americas broken HEALTHCARE SYSTEM over a cheaper, more effective alternative? Let’s see: the current system costs twice as much per person as the healthcare systems of our developed-world competitors, a medication to treat infantile spasms costs $8 per vial in Europe and $38,892 in the U.S., and by any broad measure, the health of the U.S. populace is declining.

This is how systems and nations fail: nobody chose the current broken system, but now it cant be changed because the incentive structure locks in embedded processes that enrich self-serving insiders at the expense of the system, nation and its populace.

Nobody chose America’s insane healthcare systemit arose from a set ofinitial conditions that generated perverse incentives to do more of what’s failing and protect the processes that benefit insiders at the expense of everyone else.

In other words, the system that was intended to benefit all ends up benefitting the few at the expense of the many.

The same question can be asked of Americas broken higher education system:would any sane person choose a system that enriches insiders by indenturing students via massive student loans (i.e. forcing them to become debt serfs)?

Students and their parents certainly wouldn’t choose the current broken system, but the lenders reaping billions of dollars in profits would choose to keep it, and so would the under-assistant deans earning a cool $200K+ for administeringӔ some embedded process that has effectively nothing to do with actual learning.

The academic ronin a.k.a. adjuncts earning $35,000 a year (with little in the way of benefits or security) for doing much of the actual teaching wouldnt choose the current broken system, either.

Now that the embedded processes are generating profits and wages, everyone benefitting from these processes will fight to the death to retain and expand them, even if they threaten the system with financial collapse and harm the people who the system was intended to serve.

How many student loan lenders and assistant deans resign in disgust at the parasitic system that higher education has become? The number of insiders who refuse to participate any longer is signal noise, while the number who plod along, either denying their complicity in a parasitic system of debt servitude and largely worthless diplomas (i.e. the system is failing the students it is supposedly educating at enormous expense) or rationalizing it is legion.

If I was raking in $200,000 annually from a system I knew was parasitic and counter-productive, I would find reasons to keep my head down and just “do my job,” too.

At some point, the embedded processes become so odious and burdensome that those actually providing the services start bailing out of the broken system. We’re seeing this in the number of doctors and nurses who retire early or simply quit to do something less stressful and more rewarding.

These embedded processes strip away autonomy, equating compliance with effectiveness even as the processes become increasingly counter-productive and wasteful. The typical mortgage documents package is now a half-inch thick, a stack of legal disclaimers and stipulations that no home buyer actually understands (unless they happen to be a real estate attorney).

How much value is actually added by these ever-expanding embedded processes?

By the time the teacher, professor or doctor complies with the curriculum / standards of careӔ, theres little room left for actually doing their job. But behind the scenes, armies of well-paid administrators will fight to the death to keep the processes as they are, no matter how destructive to the system as a whole.

This is how systems and the nations that depend on them fail. Meds skyrocket in price, student loans top $1 trillion, F-35 fighter aircraft are double the initial cost estimates and so on, and the insider solutions are always the same: just borrow another trillion to keep the broken system afloat for another year.



How Life is Going to Change as America Collapses
What Will Everyday Life in a Collapsed America Be Like?

By Umair
July 10, 2018

Indulge me for a moment. Imagine, as I do, that Americas going to go right on collapsing. Who’s going to stop it? After all, in the last week alone, all three branches of government have been captured, at last, by extremists. The judiciary, with the nomination of a justice whod overturn Roe vs Wade, taking the US back half a century. Congress, whose Senators happily tweeted independence day greetings from Moscow. And, of course, the executive, in which a demagogue continued his assault on reason, democracy and truth.

All three branches of government captured mean that there are virtually no checks and balances left, save slender hope here or there, and so American collapse is likely to continue unabated. Into what? Into well, no one knows. Theofascism, maybe. Klepto-authoritarianism, perhaps. Pick your poisons - now shake up the cocktail mixer. Something new, a new form of all the old diseases of the body politic, combined in a strange, novel, lethal way, most probably.

While we cant say what the final form of American collapse will be yet, we can say life is going to change. Faster, harder, and nastier than you think. Here are five ways life is going to change under authoritarianism - and you’d be quite correct to notice, as you read, that they are ways in which life has already begun to change.

(1) What’s Normal Becomes Forbidden. The first thing that happens - at least which people notice - is that things which used to be normal, everyday affairs, happening in broad daylight, now go underground. They happen in secret places, through closely guarded networks, behind closed doors. So thats my first change: parts, my guess is large parts, of American life are going to go underground. Like what? Well, like abortion, quite obviously. But that’s just for starters. Civic organizing, refugee assistance, elderly care, various forms of healthcare, art, music, literature, politics - these will go underground, too. Whatגs the theme of this change? Authoritarian states are Nietzschean places - designed for the survival of the strongest, the predators. And that means that activities associated with taking care of the weak, the infirm, the frail - matters of human fragility, let us simply say - will be driven underground.

So what’s decent and humane and good and right - these things must be done in secret, where no one sees, in authoritarian states, because only what’s indecent and obscene can be done in public, with a proud, cold, calculated smile. Thats how authoritarians, who are mafias, maintain order. By intimidating and punishing, with public example, frightening people into submission. But what does a culture of fear do to a once free society? Well, it has ripple effects, which pulse outward. Soon enough, a society becomes a place of two kinds of people - bellowing demagogues, and frightened cowards.

(Go ahead and look around. Do you see that now-famous lawyer of a porn star who supposes hes taking on the President? See how he bellows and shouts and calls names? What about the many ғanti-Trump GOP men ԗ arent they all a little bit, well, bellicose, abrasive, and nasty, too? All these men are just the same sorts of demagogues in different suits, my friends. You might not like to hear that җ so by all means, think about it carefully. They are hardly FDR, Churchill, or Cicero. Are they after power  or real change, reform, transformation? You judge. Let the point, which is this, stand.)

(2) Silence descends. A culture of fear selects for bullies, on the one hand - and it creates a kind of paralysis in people, on the other. It becomes dangerous to say what you really think. To express how you really feel. Who knows which thug, mafia, scoundrel, might take your words and twist them, shame you publicly, send his goons and dogs after you? Thus, when norms of fear emerge, the tone and tenor of life in a society changes. Free expression withers. Free association wanes. Ultimately, freedom of thought itself is corroded. People become afraid to even think the very things they might be punished for.

So my second change is that the true self of society is lost. People who were once authentic, open, honest, passionate about being so with each other, at least a little bit, grow frightened, when they are not weary, and weary, when they are not frightened. And in between, the idea that society must be a place of people telling one another truths about themselves - how else is a democracy to emerge - is lost. And that is just what the authoritarians want. The coarsening of public life, too, is a kind of degeneration of a republic.

(3) New norms emerge. And that brings me to my third change - life will become obscene. I don’t mean naked people will run down the streets. That’s funny, maybe gross, but hardly immoral. So I mean that moral perversity will soon enough become normal - and what will be abnormal will be moral decency itself. Isn’t it that way already, a little bit? A handful of rich Senators take healthcare away from millions of children - just another day at the office! The pundits gather to discuss it on the nightly news as if they were calculating the value of oranges or cars or shoes. Do you see what I mean by obscenity? But that scene is replayed every day, isn’t it? A whole culture soon shifts as a result of authoritarian’s new norms of control through fear, conformity, and boot-licking - and, morally speaking, ethically speaking, what is abnormal becomes normal, and whatגs normal becomes abnormal. The grotesque triumphs. What was once the better part of a nation, its true self, its nobility and triumph, soon becomes just its despised shadow.

But what does it mean that the obscene becomes the everyday? That the grotesque triumphs? What it really means is that human life itself has become devalued  in a very special way: folded back on itself, to be worth not just zero, but less than zero. How can that be? Well, this change too, has already long begun to happen in America. Think of healthcare: people donגt get it because theyre seen as ғburdens, thanks to a generation or three of crackpot economics, lunatic ideology, and impoverished social thinking. But how can a human being be a burden - ever? You dont know who tomorrow’s Einsteins and Salks will be, and neither do I. The elderly have decades of wisdom and truth to share with us - if only we listen. And so on.

(4) New institutions take hold. But authoritarian states maintain power by building or reconstructing whole institutions whose sole purpose is to devalue human life. Thatגs what Gestapos and Stasis and morality polices are, when you think about it. Soon enough, Americans are likely to live under the thumb of just such repressive institutions  if they aren’t already, whole towns being raided - whose purpose is to control, discipline, and punish them, not liberate and lift and empower them. So my third change, the devaluation of human life, means that genuinely repressive institutions are already emerging, whose goal isn’t to help Americans live better lives - but to prevent them from ever doing so, unless they lick their masters boots, with just enough enthusiasm, to be rewarded with the very freedoms they have last. That fatal calculus is how authoritarians build societies which arent free, but vast hierarchies of flunkies, each more eager than the last, to commit daily obscenities, that are now normal, in the degenerate place a once proud republic stood.

What does the devaluation of human life suggest? It means that there’s no room, rhyme, or reason for a society to invest in people, doesnt it? So the quality of life in authoritarian states, usually, plunges downwards precipitously, ruinously. Consider the effects of appointing a Supreme Court justice who’ll roll back Roe, repeal what little healthcare there is, and loosen gun controls. American life expectancy, which is already cratering downwards at record speed - falling by a year every year -will continue to decline. It’s already five years shorter than in Europe. Soon enough, it will be ten. Where will it end? Who knows?

(5) Life becomes worse. Much worse. That is my fifth change. The life of the average American is going to get worse, much worse, in the hardest and most concrete of terms. Americans will live shorter, meaner, POORER, unhappier, lonelier, and more desperate lives than they already do - and already they are at the bottom of the list of rich countries, if not far below. Their lives will resemble those of RUSSIANS, in a great and funny cosmic irony.

I want you to really understand this point - because it has the truest reason of all behind it. How do the authoritarians really hang on to power, for so long, decades sometimes - even when whole societies seem to despise them? They make everyone powerless. They shatter them inside and out, destroy their social bonds, taking away the resources, institutions, norms, rights, and privileges they once had to live good and decent lives. And then they dangle all those things right back in front of people, saying: if you do what we say - you will live just as well you used to! You will live a normal life again. Wouldnt you like that? All you have to do is lick our boots. Just a little taste. A taste of dirt, for a taste of freedom. Isn’t that only fair? And when a person has been subjugated for long enough, there is little they won’t do, no one they wont turn on, just to get back even a small part of the dignity, freedom, and power they once had.

Do you see how the game works? Authoritarians build societies where the hold the power to take everything away from you - your identity, dignity, pride, place, status, family, rank - nd then use that very threat to tempt you into betraying everything and everyone that you should hold dear. That is the game the Soviets, the Maoists, the Nazis, and all the monsters throughout history have played. Americans, funnily enough, have played it too - with poorer, weaker nations. And the great irony is now they are playing it upon themselves. How foolish. How sad. How strange. Sorry, Americans. Your future is not a happy one.

Now, you are quite right to ask at this (alarming) juncture - but is the way it has to be?!” The answer, of course, is no. The future is like the sky. Nothing is written on it forever. Americans have a few short months to change their destiny. But after those months are gone, alas - the time will have gone, too, when the future could have been altered. Nothing is written on futurity forever. But once the hand of history begins to write, its not so easily stopped.


Posted by Elvis on 07/28/18 •
Section Dying America
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Tuesday, April 17, 2018


image: no job no house

First-Ever Evictions Database Shows: ‘We’re In the Middle Of A Housing Crisis’

By Terry Gross
April 12, 2018

For many poor families in America, eviction is a real and ongoing threat. Sociologist Matthew Desmond estimates that 2.3 million evictions were filed in the U.S. in 2016 a rate of four every minute.

“Eviction isn’t just a condition of poverty; it’s a cause of poverty,” Desmond says. “Eviction is a direct cause of homelessness, but it also is a cause of residential instability, school instability [and] community instability.”

Desmond won a Pulitzer Prize in 2017 for his book, Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City. His latest project is THE EVICTION LAB, a team of researchers and students at Princeton University dedicated to amassing the nation’s first-ever database of eviction. To date, the Lab had collected 83 million records from 48 states and the District of Columbia.

“We’re in the middle of a housing crisis, and that means more and more people are giving more and more of their income to rent and utilities,” Desmond says. “Our hope is that we can take this problem that’s been in the dark and bring it into the light.”

Interview Highlights

On why eviction rates are so high

Incomes have remained flat for many Americans over the last two decades, but housing costs have soared. So between 1995 and today, median asking rents have increased by 70 percent, adjusting for inflation. So there’s a shrinking gap between what families are bringing [in] and what they have to pay for basic shelter.

And then we might ask ourselves: Wait a minute, where’s public housing here? Where’s housing vouchers? Doesn’t the government help? And the answer is, it does help, but only for a small percentage of families. Only about 1 in 4 families who qualify for housing assistance get anything. So when we picture the typical low income American today, we shouldn’t think of them living in public housing or getting any kind [of] housing assistance for the government, we should think of folks who are paying 60, 70, 80 percent of their income and living unassisted in the private rental market. That’s our typical case today.

On the effects of eviction

Eviction comes with a mark that goes on your record, and that can bar you from moving into a good house in a safe neighborhood, but could also prevent you from moving into public housing, because we often count that as a mark against your application. So we push families who get evicted into slum housing and dangerous neighborhoods.

We have studies that show that eviction is linked to job loss. ... It’s such a consuming, stressful event, it causes you to make mistakes at work, lose your footing there, and then there’s just the trauma of it the effect that eviction has on your dignity and your mental health and your physical health. We have a study for example that shows that moms who get evicted experience high rates of depression two years later.

On how landlords go about evicting tenants

It varies a lot from city to city. In some places you can evict someone for being a penny short and a day late and the process is very efficient and quick. In other cities it’s a lot longer and laborious and it’s much more work. We’re only also talking about formal evictions, too. These are evictions that go through the court and there are 101 ways for landlords to get a family out. Sometimes landlords pay a family to leave. Sometimes they change their locks or take their door off, as I witnessed one time in Milwaukee. So those evictions aren’t even captured in these numbers that we have ח which means the estimates that we have are stunning, but they’re also too low.

On the benefits of stabilizing families and decreasing evictions

The more I think about this issue, the more I think that we’ve really had a failure of our imagination and maybe it’s linked to a failure of our compassion. ... When we ask, What can be done if a tenant doesn’t pay rent? Doesn’t that tenant have to be evicted? A thousand things can be done. There’s so much better ways of dealing with this issue than we currently do. ...

Stabilizing a home has all sorts of positive benefits for a family. The kid gets to finish school. The neighborhood doesn’t lose a crucial neighbor. The family gets to root down and get to understand the value of a home and avoid homelessness. And for all of us, I think [we] have to recognize that we’re paying the cost of eviction because whatever our issue is, whatever keeps us up at night, the lack of affordable housing sits at the root of that issue. ...

Stabilizing a home has all sorts of positive benefits for a family.

Matthew Desmond

We know that neighborhoods that have more evictions have higher violent crime rates the following year. You can understand why ח it rips apart the fabric of a community. We pay for that. The top 5 percent of hospital users consume 50 percent of the health care costs. Guess who those people are? They’re the homeless and unstably housed. And so I think we can spend smart or we can spend stupid, and so I think addressing the affordable housing crisis is a win for families, for landlords and for the taxpayer.

Roberta Shorrock and Seth Kelley produced and edited the audio of this interview. Bridget Bentz and Molly Seavy-Nesper adapted it for the Web.


Posted by Elvis on 04/17/18 •
Section Dying America
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