Monday, July 19, 2010

When Obstructionism is Just Plain Evil. Like Now.

Anyone know what the national unemployment level is now? It's high; quite high. Maybe not as high as it was a few months ago, but when it's around 10% (which, I believe, is about six percent higher than anyone would ever expect it to be), or even, more realistically, 15%, it's definitely not a good thing.

What makes the numbers even more ominous is the fact that so many people have been out of work for so long. Six months or longer...sometimes a year and a half.  We can thank the de-regulation of various industries and the vagaries of the free market for the current hell we are experiencing. Guess who was largely responsible for that? 

(Note: I think the people who voted for the politicians who were behind the financial crisis ought to pay reparations to help support out-of-work Americans. That would be a help. I also think they should probably perform eight years of community service, but I'm too nice to say that out loud).

How, you may wonder, do people survive and feed their families when they are unemployed? They collect unemployment insurance.

It's a handy social program that everyone who works pays into, and if you are out of work, then you can collect. For a while (the exact amount of time varies constantly).

Unemployment insurance is by no means a perfect thing; it doesn't really pay enough, just enough for people to scrape by, month to month. It's certainly not enough to pay a mortgage. It might help with gas for the car and groceries, though.

I am collecting unemployment right now. I am not ashamed; it's my right, and I've paid into the system for a good 20 years.

My paycheck as a teacher was so small that my unemployment payments aren't that much less (except for the niggling fact of health insurance; COBRA eats up my entire monthly unemployment take), so because I've had help, I've been okay so far.

What I found most charming (sarcasm!) about losing my job is that the engineers of my job loss specifically said, to my face, they hoped that after they pushed me out of a job, I would lose my house, and they hoped that I, and my family, would starve and "die in the street." They said it would be laughable and highly entertaining to watch.

Can you believe that? It's God's honest truth. You can't make this stuff up (a big reason why I love nonfiction), and yes, there were witnesses.

I was shocked, appalled, outraged when I heard this--yes. I was even more disgusted that two other people sat there while it happened like a pair of Magoos, uncomprehending and sadly oblivious to the threats (or simply in denial because they share those warped politics).

They call themselves Christian? They call themselves Catholic? Hypocrites. Seriously!

Lack of caring about other people, I see now, must be a conservative thing. Who else could consciously push people out of work just to be mean, turn their back on problems for which they are largely responsible, and even prepare to "laugh" when others are suffering? 

How else can this be interpreted by me or anyone else, especially when the Republicans in Congress keep trying to block extensions of unemployment insurance payments while families quite literally are starving and in danger of losing their homes?

(See the president's take on Republicans holding the unemployed hostage, while they play cruel and idiotic political games:)

Every time I see one of those goons on television talking smack about how, because of the deficit (which was run up by You Know Who) "we need to figure out how we're paying for unemployment" before we pay the unemployed a very basic (and earned) subsistence wage, I want to scream. We pay for unemployment with paycheck deductions, with taxes.

To block extension of unemployment benefits to suffering people is, I think, pure, uncaring, absurd evil.

How could anyone in a position of power block progress, block votes, and blither and blather and twiddle thumbs while people are actually hungry and homeless and in need of help? It's truly hard to fathom how anyone could think that's the right thing to do.

I don't expect unemployment insurance to last forever, and I don't necessarily think that it should. But when people are visiting food pantries and soup kitchens (I am not, but I've read about many people who've had to do this since their benefits ran out and they can't find enough work to support themselves, and since they are in limbo while obstructionists toy with their very survival), that is not acceptable. It is not sensible politics; it is not in any way reasonable.

This just in: Democrats are taking care of the problem. As usual. Go, Dems! They're the good guys.

A civilized society does not shrug its collective shoulders and say, "Heh. Sucks to be you! If you're starving, it's because you're lazy and anyway, you probably deserve it."

This is not about laziness; it's about lack of available work that pays a livable wage. Those people visiting the food pantries are, in many cases, working. They are doing whatever they can to survive. It is unconscionable that certain politicans (and people behind them) refuse to help.

Really, what work is out there? I've had plenty of trolls write about me and say that I should be sent to the Gulf to clean up the if I'd committed a crime somehow and needed to redeem myself through hard labor in a hellhole of heat and contamination, a hell I had no part in causing.

I've had others say: "Send her to North Philly to teach and see how she likes that!"

Guess what? I've already done that, volunteered my time to help children of immigrants learn English. What good have the trolls done for society, besides complain about anyone with a brain and attack good people who call them out on their intolerance?

Someone even said I need a "spanking." Are you kidding me? Because I dared to speak out?

All this experience has done to me is make me more likely to speak out and stand up for the people who have been getting screwed over by obstructionists who only care about money, not other people, not actual life. I am more inspired than ever to push hard for what's right, for positive change, for exposing the evil of obstructionism and certain kinds of misguided politics.

I hope more people think, now, about how their politics might be affecting everyone else. I have always thought that way; I have only wanted the best for everyone around me. 

Apparently, meanness can spread like leprosy, but I am glad to see news anchors routinely telling off the politicians who blabber proudly on TV about how they've been blocking the extension of unemployment insurance payments, for no good reason--except to be a pain in the butt.

I hope more people will speak out about all the injustices I've listed here.

I hope more people will realize that when we help others, we also help ourselves.

I also hope this post helps someone the very least, I hope it helps them to open their eyes and their mind.

Just Say No to the Party of No...Just Say No to Obstructionism and Meanness.


  1. all the flailing, hysterical behavior from emotionally and intellectually retarded (in the literal, not ad hominem, sense) right wingers has an analogy when you look at their place in the grand scheme of things:

    "You'll Never Take Me Alive, Coppers!"

    they see their wages falling, their kids getting dumber, the jobs disappearing and the influence of "their" country fading in the world and, since they aren't that bright, have no idea what's happening and go straight to Panic Mode. it's like the line above or a similar character from a war movie that snaps and starts firing his gun in every direction.

    they simply can't control themselves. if they were in a war-torn area of the middle east, they'd be suicide bombers. luckily for them (and anyone around them), they're mostly middle to upper-middle class white guys and for the time being have the luxury of getting off their la-z-boy now and then to yell at black people, the unemployed and "communists" (i'd bet big money that the ones wishing for your death are HUGE glenn beck fans.)

    anyway, i came across this by random while searching google and it's refreshing to see someone in such a bad situation writing so calmly and rationally about it instead of watching from the other side via fox news and foaming at the mouth about "those lazy unemployed taking 'MY' money!" your point about reparations was actually brilliant: if a collective majority puts a george bush in office, they lose the right to whine when the country goes down the toilet and takes those of us without trust funds with it. don't want "your" tax dollars going to our UI checks? then learn to read and quit putting robber barons in public office.

  2. The thing that is most troubling to me is that the folks who behave the worst continue to get the attention and no punishment for their behavior. The likes of Glenn "I'm going to incite a RIOT on 8/28/10" Beck have been permitted and rewarded with monetary contributions by not only individuals but CORPORATIONS....The Party of "NO" have continued to say no without any repercussions to their careers nor to their salaries...

    The people who forced the issue of your firing are evil and fall into the description of Catholic, "Holier than Thou", hypocrites; plain and simple. The President, VH, and Principal, DD, should have been fired...)That I would like to see!!) The smug attitudes and the deer in the headlights looks are not worthy of the school for which they are employed.
    The members of Congress who continue to punish the American people with the withholding of unemployment coverage are the people who supported Bush/Cheney as they brought our country to its knees with 2 WARS THAT WERE UNFUNDED so how can they justify their stance? Well, the same way that the W's justify their behavior as acceptable. All of these miserable a-holes will experience KARMA; you get what you give. If you send out negative energy, you receive it back 10 fold....Who knows, maybe they already are God willing.............

  3. Ah, yes, the wars that made no sense, cost us a trillion dollars and have accomplished nothing. I hate the wars; this all comes back to those wars (and war is how certain people have always made money...the corporate war profiteers).

    Is Glenn Beck saying that? I had no idea. I can't stand to look at his face. He is a morning zoo radio disc jockey turned pundit...much like Taranto at the WSJ who attended a glorified community college and now hangs with the conservatives as if he's part of the moneyed scene. I guess one can only hope to move up in life...after all, it's the American Dream, right? Can't mess with that, can't let people realize they have no chance because big money interests are keeping them down.

    I hope I didn't come across as negative, here; I just want people to wake up and realize how "sensibility" is actually rather savage sometimes.

    Thanks for reading!



  4. Wow, you really don't have a clue do you? Unemployment rate of what,9.5%? In your dreams.
    Even though the anointed one promised that the unemployment rate would not go over 8% if he could just get that 800 billion dollar stimu-slush bill passed post haste here we sit with an unemployment rate solidly in double digits. Ugh feels like the Carter administration all over, but worse.

  5. Kevin, are you suffering from memory loss? Do you recall who was actually responsible for the financial meltdown, the one who was in power when things turned to shite? Hint: you voted for him.

    And now your homeboys try their hardest to make it impossible for Obama to fix Bush's mess.

    Nevertheless, slowly but surely, he is doing that.

    You will be eating those words. In the meantime, I hope you have the flu on election day.

    I am well aware of the "real" unemployment rate. It's the one Bush and Company were hiding for so long.

  6. EC, kicking ass and taking names as usual. Good on you. Excellent post. I, too, am getting very hot under the collar when I see the "goons" on TV.

  7. I was laid off from my job in publishing 16 months ago. Through no fault of my own I am now spending my life savings on rent and food. After nearly 5 years at the company I received no severance.

    I worked my way through college and earned a masters degree. I've applied to hundreds of jobs, went on ten interviews, and taken classes to try to make myself more marketable but I've only received one job offer and it was rescinded 4 days later without explanation. Unemployed feels like the new leprosy.

    This situation is scary and depressing, and I can understand why others would chose to blame the victim or ignore it because it is hard to accept that something this devastating can happen without cause or cure.

    The 90% who still have their jobs ARE scared they could be next. This is why they are spending less. I just wish they would spend less AND demand government intervention.

  8. Thanks, Dave. Donna Brazile just sent out a well-worded mass e-mail about the unemployment obstructionists...



  9. Heddy, I really feel for you. I used to work in publishing...was your firm commercial or academic? I did both, way back when.

    Long-term unemployment is a newish problem that we (as a nation) have to deal with now in humane ways. It makes me crazy to read about people unable to get jobs because "they've been unemployed too long" and businesses are leery of them. Talk about a Catch-22.

    I also really feel for older workers who need to keep working but can't get anyone to give them a job.

    It's not lack of looking or trying that's the problem. It's a systemic disorder that does indeed need government intervention (incentives? rewards?) in order to be solved.

    Best to you.


  10. I'm shocked that anyone could tell to another human being that "they hoped that after they pushed me out of a job, I would lose my house, and they hoped that I, and my family, would starve and "die in the street." They said it would be laughable and highly entertaining to watch."

    Wow. So much hatred - and that was in a Catholic school? Mind-boggling. I think that in general, people react very strongly (far beyond what would be rational or reasonable) when they feel threatened somehow. Not physically - but when they feel their sense of identity or values are threatened.

    Since we already have religious schools, will we have someday in our country all-Republican schools or all-Democratic schools, so that parents can have their children raised in the same political environment that they have at home? Will the polarity of the political debate reach that extreme? (Does anyone know if it would be legal?)

    Also, I agree with the commenter who basically said that employed people hope so badly unemployment won't happen to them that they want to believe the unemployed deserve their fate somehow. Hopefully with this economy, everyone is becoming aware that very good people are being laid off too through no fault of their own.

  11. Aurelie,

    You raise an interesting question about schools possibly being divided by parental politics. And yet, my whole point all this time has been: let your kids think for themselves. Obviously, kids just repeat what they're told at the dinner table...until they get to college and their eyes are opened, as usually happens. To be a well-rounded, thoughtful person, though, it always helps to have been exposed to a wider swath of the world and more ideas than just one.

    Your last point--wow, I really hope people haven't forgotten that cheaper overseas outsourcing has led to much of the unemployment woes. I really worry about people who have been laid off for that reason because it seems deeply unlikely that they will find the same sort of work ever again.

    The world is changing and people need to be aware and to adjust accordingly.

    We require so much money to live at a normal level here in the U.S.--it's just not feasible that things can go on this way. At the same time. the richest people are getting tax cuts left and right, and we're paying for useless, inhumane, pointless wars, and we wonder why we don't have any money?

    What I want to see now is the ACLU dealing with issues of political discrimination. It's becoming more prevalent and ever-scarier.

    Thanks for reading.



  12. Anonymous of 7/26 from 1:51 p.m. I will not allow a weirdo like you to abuse me on my blog or any other place. I traced YOUR IP address and found you are in Georgia somewhere. I am the goddess of all comments on my own blogs, so you need to deal with it. I am glad to see that "Will Sherman" became so much nicer.