Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Bush Economy, Unemployment and Suicide

     For a host of reasons, I have made it my policy for now not to go public with my own personal situation.  At least not yet. I deal with my own personal pain and suffering mostly by focusing on making a change and fighting for the countless numbers of others whose plight is far worst than my own.

     Last night I was in a DM chat with a twitter friend of mine when it suddenly got quite personal for both of us. It turned out that this twitter friend and I share many of the same challenges in life much of which is caused by the severe devastation of the Bush Economic Policies. Our chat went on for quite some time until late into the night. Finally, I told him I was feeling exhausted and need some sleep. I did my best to encourage him and told him to be strong and keep fighting for the change we ALL desperately need.

     This morning I woke up and checked in on the twitter front. In my 'Mentions' column was two tweets directed at me from two different people. One contained a letter the other a video. Both were in essence companion pieces relating to the quiet desperation of the unemployed.  I did numerous versions of 'ReTweeting' them both, before combining them together in one tweet. I sent that tweet out in various forms; some to the general twitter community and some directed at particular friends asking them to consider posting them on their blogs and websites.

     Before I show you the video and letter, I want to first have you take a look at this graph I got from Netroots Nation 2010 in Las Vegas. It was one of several graphics that AFL-CIO President Richard L.Trumka used during his address to the convention. 

AFL-CIO President Richard L.Trumka

Here is the chart he showed us at NN10

     When he showed the chart my mouth dropped open. It may well be the most powerful single graphic I've ever seen. And having majored in political science and being a life-time political junkie, I've seen a grip load of charts. So why was I so impacted by this one?  Simple answer. There, in one single easy to read chart, is the entire truth of why we are in the record deficit we are. Low and behold it has nothing to do with the "Tax and Spend" Democrats or the bleeding heart liberals or Social Security, or HCR, or the cost of rebuilding our infrastructure. In reality it has nothing to do with that 'black president' that teabaggers want so desperately to blame while they remained so deafening silent under Bush.  

     Ever since we elected 'that black guy' President, the GOP in Congress have been the Grand Obstructionist Party in Congress telling the American working families that we can't afford to give them health care because of the deficit; we can't rebuild our aging highways and bridges because of the deficit; we can't afford public education because of the deficit; we can't afford to deal with the foreclosure crisis or the resulting homeless because of the deficit; we can't afford to feed starving poor children because of the deficit. But most germane to this post; we can't afford a job stimulus or extend unemployment benefits because of the DEFICIT.

     In essence, if you listen to every GOP member of Congress, or the main stream media (MSM), or the dumbass teabaggers, they will ALL tell you that there is not a single thing that government can do for the American families, for the working middle class, or for the poor because of the deficit.  They want to convince you that the richest most developed country in the world can not afford to care for the least fortunate amongst us.

     And all of those arguments are based upon the deficit.  And worse they want to put the blame on the federal deficit on Obama, the Democrats and their out of control spending on social programs aimed at helping Americans who are suffering from the devastating effects of eight years under the Bush/Cheney economic policies.

     So when I saw that chart, I had this total epiphany of how absolutely wrong they are. Sure, like every other progressive out there we had always been asking questions like; "why is there always money for wars but not for (insert social program here)?" Or: "why should the federal government bail out the banks that caused the foreclosure crisis and not the resulting homeless?" But in the back of our minds we are thinking that the initial stimulus bills and other social programs Obama and the Democrats in Congress had passed were responsible for a much larger portion of our federal deficit than the real facts would support.

     So after I got back from the Netroots Nation Convention in Las Vegas I did a quick internet search to locate that chart. I found it first on someone's blog; Here it is on the original website for 'The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities in an article called: 

Critics Still Wrong on What’s Driving Deficits in Coming Years

     I quickly downloaded it to my computer and then posted it on my account HERE, so I could share it on twitter.  I started putting out a series of tweets (@larrydhalstead). It appears all of my twitter friends had the same impact as I did from looking at the chart and immediately started retweeting my tweets.  Within 24 hours I had hundreds of retweets and over 3,000 views of the chart. Anyone on twitter knows that those numbers are just phenomenal.

     Americans across this great country are hurting bad. They are suffering as the direct result of the economic policies of the Bush/Cheney regime. 'Trickle-down economics' in the end was nothing more than the rich pissing all over the middle class. The closing of factories and businesses have hurt working families by the millions. The trillion dollars spent on wars for oil is an obscene amount of money, every penny of which could of, and should of been spent on rebuilding our infrastructure, creating jobs, developing green energy, providing health care, better education, investing in science and technology, and the list goes on and on.

So back to those two tweets.  First here is the video which came to me by Cindy P. who goes by @CharlieAndMe on twitter: 

     The letter was sent to me by someone who appropriately uses the name 'Ineeda Job' aka @ExtendUENow and sent the letter as a link in the following tweet:

#TwitterMarch Another #99er Suicide Attempt. Al's not living in his Van anymore.He's on Life Support in the ICU.

It is with GREAT sadness that I tell you that one of of our Members of the Unemployed-Friends Forum has attempted suicide.

Al was a 99er, living in his car, and left his family with the American Red Cross. Please pray for Al and his family.

Re: Searching For Someone On The Forums
by BrucePAUE Today at 2:35 am

      Well whoever it is I hope they read this. I can't think properly right now. Around 2pm on Tues afternoon I received a visit from a member of our local fire company. They came to my house and told me to sit down. I knew I was about to receive bad news. 
     With tears running down his eyes he informed me Alex has shot himself in the head in the woods someone found him laying along the side of his van. Alex attempted suicide by shooting himself in the head. Alex is in intensive care at the local hospital but to be honest it isn't looking good at all. His sister called me and she told me he has severe swelling of the brain. Doctors have drilled several holes in his skull to contain the swelling. He is currently on life support and his wife and son are going to be by his side tommorrow. They couldnt make it today for some reason. 
     Reason I am posting this here is because I know Alex has posted here he showed me this forum because I too am unemployed. He called you guys his support group. Alex is a 99er so please please if you feel stressed or feel the urge to commit suicide talk to someone. 
     Alex was not only my neighbor but he is my best friend. Alex has helped so many in this community and everyone in our small community knows Alex and his family. Alex worked at one job all his life and got laid off few years ago when his company went out of business. 
     I feel so bad about this I should have known something was up. Mon night Alex walked over to my place and wanted to give me his laptop computer because he knew I sold my computer to feed my baby boy. Alex looked really wore out at the time mentally and was losing weight like crazy because he was walking to apply for jobs. 
     Alex wouldnt accept a ride or accept a meal without putting up a fight. He used to say I am no charity case. Ok I am sorry for blabbering on just needed to talk to some people. However I am greatly upset about this but we need to keep up the fight for 99ers all over. Lets fight for Alex by calling emailing or faxing. I will be doing so for now on.


Tracy Solomon said...

Well written Larry about a topic that shouldn't be in this country. A country that reaches out to so many others (which I feel is a great endeavor) should reach out to its own people as long as they are in need. You help people help themselves. You don't leave them in desperation. You and I feel the same on this. I will RT this. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

Ramonas Voices said...

Stunning graph. Excellent post. Found your link on Twitter and I'm glad I did!

The more we can shine light on the destructive Bush policies, the better. We can do better. We MUST do better. The Republicans are a lost cause but there's still hope with the Dems. They need to be reminded of their history. They were the friends of the working man (and woman). Without them we never stood a chance. Without them now we don't stand a chance.

Will RT. Thanks, Ramona

meme said said...

Great post Larry! My hubby & I both lost our jobs two months apart. It has been a long and scary path that we have walked. My hubby got a pt job the first of this month and I received a call this morning with a job offer. We now have a little hope but are still scared to death, you see we are making have the money that we did. Will we make enough to live on, we don't know yet. But we do have enough to eat. My thoughts and prayers are with the 99ers and the unemployed. By the way, my new job is at an employment agency so now I get to help those in need, just like us and the millions of others.

Left Coast Oracle said...

Thanks, Larry, for posting this. I will share it with folks who need to read it because they just don't get it. They actually believe the crap about 99ers being lazy.

Jenny said...

Thank you Larry for you courage in open discussion and honest representation of the plight of the 99ers. I am a 99er out of hope. Was continuing to file for UE benefits although I know I no longer 'qualify' since I've been out of work for 120 weeks. I wish the state of Illinois would have included a cyanide pill or two in their response. I've lost my career, home, credit rating, health insurance, 2 beloved cats and now my dignity. For whatever reason God has left me single and childless and with a family that has no clue to the pain I am suffering and all my friends have disappeared. Every day I fight the urge to end the pain. I will not be classified as a suicide attempt- but rather a 'successful' suicide. At least I can accomplish that.
So, so very sad that a once kind, vibrant, productive, educated woman has been reduced to a pile of lazy, useless shit. Looks like I'm done.

Elsa said...

Great post, but this is much more than a post to me, my brother in law also attempted suicide, shot himself in the head w/357, survived, but now missing half his face.
He had insurance, he was "lucky" or was he, still
will suffer his whole life w/bush's "trickle down" ecomony. He's lost his job, they will lose the house soon. BTW, he's a republican, he sat out of vote. Palin scared him.

Elsa said...

Great post, but this is much more than a post to me, my brother in law also attempted suicide, shot himself in the head w/357, survived, but now missing half his face.
He had insurance, he was "lucky" or was he, still
will suffer his whole life w/bush's "trickle down" ecomony. He's lost his job, they will lose the house soon. BTW, he's a republican, he sat out of vote. Palin scared him.

StCyrlyMe2 said...

Very well written Larry as most everything you write.

I thank you so much for all that you do in the fight for justice for everyone.

You are a wonderful person