Category Archives: Politics

New Poem: The Ugly Bird

Old Man Downsized

Male, white supremacy is an ugly bird
It rears its head at childbirth as this truth comes to be heard
Doted on, spoiled and privileged so how would a small child
In ignorance carefully taught with words and imitation
That men are superior to women in every situation
Girls are emotional, Feminine is silly and frivolous
Men only are obviously fit to rule, stoic and without emotion

Those who complain of discrimination and harassment are
obviously losers
This world is a tough place, there’s no room for the weak and
As they’ve been taught with their high school jock mentality
Say you’ve had a hard life, they’ll say, “I think everyone has”
Point out to them they have advantages and privileges
They’ll say, “What does it matter?”
It only means that people have to try harder                                                    If it’s that bad just find another job, that’s always the solution

Secure in their minds that old, white men in dark suits, the only
ones fit to lead are taking care of everything
If they’re put in a situation where they are treated equal
They cry reverse discrimination to tilt everything back in their

With no ambition, confidently waiting for their parents to die
So that with an inheritance they will be richly rewarded
Their friends convince them the key to happiness is avoiding
Convinced of their superiority and that all they have
is through their own hard work and ingenuity
Don’t mention to them the hard work of their wives
or their faces will grow red with anger
Getting in good with the bosses is the key to an easy life
When confronted with tough issues
They switch to talking about sports, something important
When workers stick up for their rights
They know whose side they’re on
And make it a race issue with divide and conquer tactics

Insecure about their own social position, unhappy with their
Lashing out with jealousy, any reason to hate to justify what is
If their self esteem is hurt, simply drop more bombs
So they can watch it on their televisions
And cheer with glee and they can gloat

This ugly bird consumes the nest, worries the mother
And feeds upon the young
War is peace, Love is hate and Ignorance is bliss
Just as the book of prophecy says


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NPR, Political Propaganda and Syria

November 1st, 2015

I turned on my car radio early this morning in a small town I happen to be in only to find an NPR affiliate, public broadcasting station delivering the morning news. It started with a fluff piece about an actress who is making a name for herself for being a rather eccentric, bad girl. Then it turned to the more serious news. The other stories seemed to have some credibility until a news piece started about what is going on with the war in Syria. News about Syria was one of the most important things I wanted to hear. The level of misleading the public with political propaganda journalism was so bad that I wondered how credible any of their news reporting is although I suppose NPR might report honestly about something if there is no hidden agenda reason for them to do otherwise.

What really struck me as being the most obvious example of manipulating information toward a particular political agenda was that NPR claimed to be delivering “the news” but I realized they were reporting old information. Instead of reporting on the success of Russian air strikes, cruise missiles from Russian navy ships, Hezballah fighters from Lebanon and Iranian ground troops NPR was reporting about ISIS having victories with attacks that included one initiated with car bombs. NPR reported about ISIS gains in Syrian towns and territories but an observant listener would have noticed that NPR mentioned that these things were events from: “a month ago” and “two months ago”. It was blatantly obvious that NPR was trying to downplay the success of Russia, its allies and the Syrian military in destroying ISIS which is now on its way to non-existence in Syria. Further NPR repeated the official Barack Obama administration and American government line that Russia was not really attacking ISIS targets at all. This part in fact was a one hundred percent, total lie.

The fact that NPR which is considered by many to be an “alternative” news source would engage in supporting a fictional account of events to make the American people believe that Syria, Russia and their other allies which now include Iraq, Iran, Hezballah and China are losing the war against terrorism when in fact they are being victorious is as bad as any war propaganda that the American people have ever been exposed to. When one considers the level of propaganda during war time that Americans have been subjected to in the past including the undeniably obvious example of the Vietnam War in more recent history why should we be surprised? It is a little more sensitive and controversial to speak of the war propaganda from previous war time histories in America that often included racism and xenophobia as tools especially since so much of this history is clouded with feelings of patriotism. However at this point our greatest protection from potentially rogue government in our own country is to question what we hear as the “official government story” and the media that reports along the same lines.

Oil Spill in Santa Barbara 5-20-2015


Photo by Edward McCabe


On Wednesday an oil pipeline ruptured and spilled oil that eventually made its way to the ocean and along the Santa Barbara area coastline. Estimates so far are that approximately 105,000 gallons of oil were spilled. The oil spilled for a few hours before it was shut off. The pipeline that ruptured moved oil from an onshore oil facility to processing plants in other areas. The oil spilled into a culvert, then went under a highway and into a storm drain that spilled into the ocean.

Scenic coastline was effected and two state beach parks were closed over the Memorial Day weekend. The oil spill was not as huge as the previous oil spill in 1969 that had a disastrous effect on wildlife and tourism. Crews have been busy containing the oil spill at sea while others are cleaning up the beaches. Environmentalists are trying to save the lives of wildlife such as sea birds. There are two species of sea birds in the area that are considered to be endangered species. There is a snowy plover reserve in the area that is off limits to people specifically to save this endangered species.

This oil spill comes at a time directly after the voters of Santa Barbara County voted against a measure on the ballot to not allow fracking in the county for either onshore or offshore oil extraction. The fact that citizens had to work so hard to collect enough signatures to put it on the ballot only to be defeated by millions of dollars of direct mail advertising from the oil companies is an example of the flaws in the democratic process of government. Voters in the North County where people are employed in onshore oil drilling operations may have been fooled by the claims of the oil companies that not allowing fracking would destroy jobs. This claim of course was not true because conventional oil extraction provides the local jobs and there would be no significant increase in oil production jobs by allowing fracking.

The oil spill in Santa Barbara in 1969 is credited by many as starting the environmental movement. Conservative Republican, Bob Lagomarsino, who was the representative from the district changed his views about environmentalism because of the 1969 oil spill. Rep. Lagomarsino who was on the powerful defense committee was primarily interested in bringing jobs to the area with military bases and defense contractors. He not only changed his views about environmentalism but he, also, decided that the area needed a better economic base than relying on federal defense contracts.

This new oil spill may not be as huge as the 1969 oil spill but it will supply more fuel in the local area to environmentalism and the need for political reform by bringing back painful memories. The heartbreaking imagery of the oil contaminated beaches and dying sea life are back and it must make people shake their heads, asking the question, “How could this happen again?”

Former CIA Agent Sentenced for Leaking Secrets to Journalist


Photo by Tiago Moisés

Jeffrey Sterling received a lighter sentence than the 20 years prosecutors wanted for leaking secret information to a writer. He only received 3 1/2 years. The writer, James Risen, published a book with the information in 2006 called ‘State of War.” The secret information was about a CIA asset from Russia, code named Merlin, who in 2000 gave flawed plans to build nuclear weapons to Iran in the hopes of delaying their nuclear weapons program according to the report from NBC news.

Just as I was taught that the Russian people didn’t believe what they read in their own press during the Cold War I question this piece of journalism in the American media. First it really bothers me that we have an agency of the government known as the CIA that has been proven to have infiltrated the American press as well as everything else to propagandize the American people with their own political philosophies. To accomplish this they have perpetrated information campaigns full of outright lies to deliver to the American people. Worse yet in our current times mainstream media news services now openly admit they receive information directly from the CIA and consider their liaison with the secret, spy agency indispensable to carry out their function of delivering information to the American people. It has recently been reported that the CIA edits and approves scripts for television and movies.

During the Ronald Reagan administration CIA agents were planted in the Los Angeles Times as reporters .   They were sent to Central America to report on the Contras in Nicaragua.  They returned only to deliver the slant that the Reagan administration was giving to the people.   They were discovered and fired by the Los Angeles Times.

The American people at one time understood that their military used Army and Navy intelligence during time of war.  With the invasion of Iraq the American people have now been treated to the spectacle of the mainstream media and the American government speaking openly about this “secret” organization being involved in daily military operations.  Like the reporters who were “embedded” with American soldiers during the invasion the CIA has now become embedded in the minds of Americans as indispensable to military operations.

In this world of espionage clearly the CIA feels it has the right to control information.  How do I know that this entire escapade of selling bad blueprints for building nuclear weapons to the Iran government isn’t just another CIA media campaign?


Democrats Who Voted For The Keystone XL Pipeline

oil firePhoto from Library of Congress

Perhaps many Americans are unaware of the importance of the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline project and its political importance in both Canada and America.  In fact it is an issue that puts a spotlight on everything that is wrong in American politics right now.

First, it is important to understand what the project consists of and why environmentalists are adamantly opposed to it.  The oil development project consists of extracting oil from sands that are saturated with tar.  This tar is known as bitumen.  This is nothing like normal oil operations.  This involves oil extraction techniques known as fracking.   Vast amounts of heat, water and chemicals are used to extract the tar from the sand, silt and clay.  Already in California it has been discovered that oil companies have illegally dumped three billion gallons of toxic water polluted by fracking into California’s aquifers.  Aquifers are underground water supplies.   In addition the amount of water used for fracking in drought stricken California is a scandal in and of itself.

Just recently there has been a natural gas leak that forced people to be evacuated from their homes in eastern Ohio due to a fracking incident.  Last summer a fire broke out in eastern Ohio at a Halliburton fracking site that spilled thousands of gallons of toxic chemicals into an Ohio river.  Last October in eastern Ohio a rupture spread natural gas and methane forcing the evacuation of over 400 families.  One worker was killed in a fire.  In another rupture several acres of woods caught on fire.  In Canada indigenous people have been removed from their land and have fallen victim to rare cancers and other diseases due to tar sands oil extraction.


Illustration by Dominique Chappard

The Keystone XL Pipeline project has become a lens into the current dirty politics at work in Washington.  It was used to keep long-term unemployed people from receiving the Federal Unemployment Extension after their state unemployment benefits ran out.  Speaker of the House John Boehner refused to allow a bi-partisan Senate passed bill to renew it for five months with retroactive payments as an emergency measure to help the unemployed by passing it on to President Obama asking him to add a jobs creation bill to it.  This is the first time in American history that the House of Representatives has not passed a Federal Unemployment Extension benefits bill after it has passed the Senate.  These are nasty times in American politics and the long-term unemployed have been used as a bargaining chip.

President Barack Obama did not even bother to call John Boehner on the issue.  One of his greatest failures as president is his inability to work with the Republican leadership.  Unfortunately the jobs creation bills that were passed by the Republican majority in the House of Representatives all included approving the Keystone XL Pipeline, tax cuts for the largest corporations and wealthiest people and reductions in environmental laws.  This is why the Senate which until recently was under Democratic control would not allow a vote on these House passed bills.  Meanwhile all of the jobs creation bills sponsored and approved by the Democrats and Obama have not been allowed to come to a vote in the House under the leadership of John Boehner.

In fact the leadership of the Republican party has been taken over by the Tea Party, a group that pretends to be grassroots but is really funded by the multi-billionaire Koch brothers.  When David Koch ran for president as the Libertarian candidate he had a platform that included abolishing minimum wage, social security, unemployment payments and privatizing the post office.  The Koch brothers heavily fund the political campaigns of John Boehner and Mitch McConnell.  Mitch McConnell is now the Senate majority leader.  He is known for his extreme right wing views.  He was tape recorded in a conversation with the Koch brothers in which he bashed minimum wage, unemployment benefits and student loans.  He is known for bashing consumer financial protections and environmental protection laws.

Democrat Senator Mary L. Landrieu of Louisiana voted for the Keystone XL pipeline.  In Louisiana’s primary system if no single candidate gets enough votes there is a run off election between the top two candidates in December.  The Democrats failed to supply Mary L. Landrieu’s campaign with the promised one million dollars to defeat Republican candidate, Bill Cassidy, choosing instead to use the money in other campaigns.  This shows how in the current American system financial contributions to political campaigns from the districts or states in which a candidate is running do not win elections.   Not only can multi-billionaires such as the Koch brothers help to decide elections in small states like Kentucky where right wing Mitch McConnell is from but the Democratic National Convention and its Republican counterpart can help to decide local elections with their treasure chest of campaign money.  The only reason I can think of that Mary Landrieu would vote for the environmentally unsafe Keystone XL pipeline which would terminate at a processing plant in nearby Texas is to appear to be pro-business and pro-jobs .  This, in spite of the fact that nationally the pipeline would create few jobs and displace farmers.  She had lost much of her electoral base because Hurricane Katrina caused many blacks who traditionally voted Democrat to leave the state.  Mary Landrieu lost in the runoff election.

Among the other Democrat senators who voted for the Keystone XL pipeline were: Mark Begich, D-Alaska, Michael Bennet, D-Colo., Thomas Carper, D-Del., Robert Casey, D-Pa., Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., Kay Hagan, D-N.C., Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., Mark Pryor, D-Ark., Jon Tester, D-Mont., John Walsh, D-Mont., Mark Warner, D-Va.

In March of 2015 the Senate failed to override President Obama’s veto of the Keystone XL pipeline bill that passed the Congress after the Republicans took control of the Senate at the beginning of the year.  The reason for this article is to remove the certainty that the mainstream mass media seems to put in people’s minds that the two major political parties always vote in a block without dissension in their ranks.  I, also, wanted to point out that without dissension within the ranks of the political parties there really is no democracy.  This is compounded by the current  system of financing political campaigns that undermines the ability of voters within voting districts to decide on who their representatives are.




May Day 2015


Photo from Library of Congress

May Day is a holiday that is mainly ignored by most people in the United States of America. People act rather oblivious to any mention of it. When it is mentioned some will say, “That’s when they dance around the May Pole, right?” If I mention something about an international workers solidarity day they will say, “There was a riot called the Haymarket Riot wasn’t there?”

In fact May Day started as a celebration of the beginning of Spring. Its roots go back to pagan times in Europe. Some say it began with the Greeks and Romans and the Roman celebration honored Flora, the goddess of Spring. The holiday spread throughout Europe. In some celebrations the dance around the May Pole created a pattern of ribbons of different colors.

In America it is said that the Puritans suppressed the May Day celebrations because of their pagan origins. The Puritans, it is said, disliked the fertility connotations of the Spring ritual thinking them to be licentious.

Unfortunately May Day for many Americans has come to represent radical elements among the labor movement because of the scandal of the Haymarket Riot of 1886. No one has been able to prove who was responsible for the bomb that exploded when labor activists met to protest police brutality that resulted in one death during a labor strike in Chicago. In 1889 labor organizers in Paris declared May Day as International Workers Day calling for an eight hour work day.

This May Day there are many labor rallies and protests planned. In America organizers are adding the issues of immigration reform, racism and police brutality to workers’ rights issues.

Just as many turn their noses up at mushrooms because Christianity persecuted and even executed natural healers who used mushrooms for medicinal purposes as being pagan priests and priestesses so Americans turn their noses up at any notion of celebrating May Day due to prejudices going back to ancient times.

Welfare In America Is Almost Nonexistent!

Photo from Library Of Congress

Welfare In America Is Almost Nonexistent!

One of the biggest misconceptions and disinformation campaigns that exists in America is a never ending belief shared by many Americans that there are “all these people on welfare who sit around getting paid for doing nothing”.  Those of us who are socially conscious, compassionate people who have taken the time to get the correct information about what the lives of people are like who are on welfare in America know that being poor in America is not a position anyone would want to be in.  In spite of that fact many middle class Americans who have fallen into being among the long-term unemployed because of the great recession are shocked to find that they do not have the safety net that they thought they were paying for all these years with the taxes they have paid when they were working.

It turns out it has been a great illusion.  The systematic right wing bashing that has been taking place in America over the course of decades has taken its toll on the American poor and is now ravaging the lives of those who were formerly middle class Americans.  The propaganda term for this has been for decades “Welfare Reform”.  I myself have asked the question, “How long can conservative politicians keep on talking about welfare reform?”  How can they keep reforming welfare over and over again decade after decade? Just as politicians all hopped on the band wagon of wanting to say they had helped to author “the toughest get tough on crime legislation” making it difficult for judges to be able to do their job correctly in handing out sentences corrupt politicians who have no other issue to run on keep talking about people being “paid to do nothing”.

Here in California if someone becomes one of the long-term unemployed and applies for “assistance” from the county social services department they will find that all they will get is $194 a month in food stamps. To do this they cannot have much in a bank account.  They can get $93 in cash assistance but if they make even that amount from some source of income then there is no cash assistance.  Food stamps, also known as EBT, can only be used for food and not soap, toilet paper, tissues, etc.  A single person can only get $300 for rent and only if the person who is renting agrees to accept that amount for rent.  The money has to be paid directly to the person being rented from.  If a person reports getting any other income at all it will be deducted from the cash benefit and the rent. So if a person gets $100 in that month there is no cash benefit and the social services department will only give the person who is charging rent $200.  All of the $100 has to go to make up the difference in rent.

How do people live you may ask?  That is what a lot of people who were once middle class working Americans are asking.  The fact is that the truly poor understand the system.  The middle class find themselves in a dilemma.  Any loan they may get from family has to be reported and is considered income.  So if family helps with rent there is no food stamps, no cash assistance and no subsidizing of the rent payment.  This means those who understand the system know they have to stick together with other people who all live together in a household so one will say they are renting for the $300.

Clothing-Shoes-Accessories-Secondhand-Market__IMG_8691_cr-348x480Photo by

Under this system it is painfully obvious that welfare mainly exists in California for immigrant farm workers who work seasonally.  In this system then big agribusiness that depends on migrant workers is being subsidized by the tax payers so it can make its huge profits.  A person does not have to be a legal resident to get food stamps or to apply for a family member such as their own child.  This of course is so that people will not go hungry in this “great” country or go without healthcare.  This is a good thing but some people know how to earn money that is not reported and that is another way that they are able to survive.  The social services system in effect turns honest people into committing welfare fraud just to survive.  Migrant workers can more easily evade reporting than the average middle class American could ever do.  Do people go hungry in America? Yes! More and more Americans do including veterans.  Are there not housing projects and housing assistance for poor people?  Yes, but this is primarily for low-income working and retired people who pay very low rent.  When an immigrant worker lives in a housing project but works as a maid in a luxury hotel this means that corporations that make huge profits are the real money makers from social services, not the poor.

If a long-term unemployed, middle class American has no more unemployment payments and has a minor child in the household will they get help from social services to stay in their home, have food and cash assistance?  No! They have to be reduced to absolute poverty.  People like this have to move in with a family member or live in a vehicle such as a motor home.

The Republicans and Democrats both have political motives for keeping the myth alive that there is a welfare state in America.  For the Republicans it is a way to stay elected by telling the American people they will kick people off of welfare to save them tax money. For the Democrats it is an illusion that America is a compassionate, progressive, modern democracy that takes care of its people. Neither of the two major political parties want the American people to know what a mess they have made of this “great” country.






book-1371887441RUpPhoto by George Hodan



When I was a little boy in the nineteen-sixties my mother always had a subscription to Readers Digest. Every issue of Readers Digest had at least one section if not more than one in different places in the magazine known as,”Humor in Uniform” which featured humorous anecdotes and jokes about military life. Readers Digest, also, had articles concerning the Roman Catholic Church such as articles about the American Archbishop, the Pope and about priests. Readers Digest, also, had sections with religious humor about priests and ministers. During this post World War II period I suppose it only seemed natural for Readers Digest to have humor about military life especially since with the Korean war as well many American men and women had served or were serving in the military.

Like the vast majority of Americans in the early sixties I did not even know that a country existed called Vietnam. When rumors started spreading because of families having sons who were in combat and even being killed in Vietnam the American government echoed by the mass media claimed there were only American military advisers over there and the US military was not actively involved in combat. Later as more information kept coming back from Vietnam via the soldiers themselves who were over there the American government and the American mass media finally admitted that American soldiers were involved in front line combat. As thoughtful observers of the current war in Iraq point out that when there is a war there is another war going on over the control of information and the control of the minds of the people, so it was then during the Vietnam war only with different strategies. At first reporters were not allowed into the combat zones in Vietnam and when they finally were allowed American opinion about the war started to change.

As an idealistic, young boy who had a scholarly nature my concern for all the problems in the world led me to wanting to read about the Vietnam war and understand what was really going on there. Since Readers Digest ran so many articles about the Vietnam war I read volumes in Readers Digest about the war. It wasn’t until the 1980s when I found an amazing book called,”Cold War America”, by Lawrence S. Whittner that I finally read the truth about the Vietnam war. It was then that I became fully aware that everything I had read in Readers Digest about the Vietnam war was all lies. The lies were obviously on purpose.

no-warPhoto by X posid

It is a sad commentary that the lies in Readers Digest mirrored those of more than one American government administration with both Democrats and Republicans alike and was in effect all that most Americans really believed about the war. It is obvious the earliest victory of the war was getting so many people to live and die for a lie. As a young boy when I read Readers Digest’s version of the war I was lead to believe that the war started because North Vietnam invaded a sovereign country, South Vietnam, for no other reason than to spread Communism throughout the world. We were taught then and Readers Digest confirmed it that according to Communist philosophy Communism can’t work unless the entire world is under a Communist system therefore Communists are dedicated to conquering the entire world. We were taught then and the officials of the American government informed us, also, about the “domino principal”. According to them the “domino principal” meant that if one country in Southeast Asia fell to communist rule then another would and then another with the final object being the spread of communism all over the world.

When I read “Cold War America” by Lawrence S. Whittner I learned that in fact at the beginning of the Vietnam War North Vietnam was not even involved. In fact North Vietnam did not even want to be involved in the war. The war began when South Vietnamese people started an organized resistance movement to free their country of foreign corporations and governments that were stealing the natural resources of South Vietnam and exploiting the South Vietnamese people in the process. Among the many aberrations of the foreign nationals in Vietnam including the French was keeping the Vietnamese people in total poverty while making massive profits so much so that young Vietnamese girls were forced into prostitution, a sex trade that still goes on to this day in much of Southeast Asia. The foreign nationals, including America, kept this system of exploitation in place by supporting a right wing, dictatorship government in collusion with organized crime.

The organization that was engaged in an armed conflict with the corrupt Saigon government and the foreign nationals was called the South Vietnamese Liberation Army. The French were tired of the never ending war in Vietnam and wanted to get out. That is when the American military became actively involved in combat. From the beginning of the US military involvement in the war the American Air Force started bombing Vietnamese villages indiscriminately killing South Vietnamese people who were not even members of the South Vietnamese Liberation Army and even killing Vietnamese people who were supporters of the Saigon government. This caused many Vietnamese people to turn against the Saigon government and the foreign nationals and join the South Vietnamese Liberation Army. The South Vietnamese Liberation Army in fact was not Communist at all but there were Communists among them. Eventually the carnage and the savagery of the Saigon government, the American military and its allies made the country of North Vietnam feel compelled to enter the war and Communist China said it would provide supplies and support to liberate the Vietnamese people from the oppressors.

At the beginning I mentioned the humor in uniform and the religious references in Readers Digest. I did not mention yet the anecdotes about military chaplains who are members of religious clergy such as rabbis, priests and protestant ministers who are military officers. Obviously Readers Digest as a publication has a purpose. There is a reason why it tells brazen, political lies while tying religion and military together. Those of us who are knowledgeable about propaganda techniques understand that media outlets in collusion with political factions have created what we call “misguided patriotism” which is something people cling to with religious fervor. I am always trying to explain to people that there is a real patriotism that is loyalty to the country and the people not to any government. When people consider it to be unpatriotic to question, to criticize and to choose not to participate in a war they are part of a system of fascism unwittingly.

Stories Of The Long-Term Unemployed In America


Illustration by Petr Krotochvil

As the November 2014 elections come closer with elections for the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate as well as important propositions for American voters to vote on no one single issue seems as important as the plight of the long-term unemployed in America who are victims of the Great Recession that fell in 2008. This single issue could in fact be the tipping point for the outcome of the elections more than any other.  It is amazing that both of the major political parties are avoiding mention of it as well as the media that is in bed with them because this issue points out the failures of the American government to turn the economy around and bring prosperity.  I could go on about the importance of it and how it is related to the other important issues being discussed with these elections coming up but it is better if I let the long-term unemployed speak for themselves.

Stories Of The Long-Term Unemployed

“My dad, S, killed himself March 16, 2009 because he ran out of money and could not find work. My whole family had been devastated by the economy. He was 61 years old and could not take it anymore. He could not figure out how to keep the electric on, buy food, or keep a roof over his head. A day before his electric was to be shut off, and 2 weeks away from eviction, my dad took the hardest walk of his life. He left a note on the dining room table for my sister and I. His suicide letter said ‘I love you. I had to do this. I ran out of money. I wish you both luck in your lives’. He left the door unlocked with the door key left in the lock. He carefully laid out two suits for us to pick from to bury him in,”

I was let go from cash a job I had. I am really upset. And I have to move cause I was finally evicted. At least I found a place, but now with no job. My son is 22 and has Lupus and many other health issues. He was denied disability. We have to fight it. You tell me how  this is fair??”

The problem with our system is that there is NO help until you are homeless. and then not much at all I have went from 6 figures to well below poverty and still don’t qualify for a damn thing.
They kicked all men off of general assistance for the most part and now they have women qualifying for less and less food assistance and cash assistance goes down for every extra child.
soon there will be no safety net programs at all. If I were in canada they would be giving me disability while they find out exactly what is wrong with me. I have a friend from detroit with two little kids that has been fighting for disability for over 5 years. She has MS and they KNOW THAT! Its proven!
My friends and family in canada shake their heads when they hear these stories. They do pay more % in taxes but do you know what? thier wages are MUCH MUCH higher! All of my family in Canada are living the american dream…..
I am a man that has paid into these programs for 35 years. I have played by all of the rules. Im suppose to be on a very strict diet or I WILL DIE!!!!
They offered me,,,,,,  15 stinking dollars per month, I literally feel betrayed by my country.

“My name is Rocco, and like Trista, I too have been suffering from the loss of federal benefits. While my wife goes to work, I’ve been staying at home to conserve fuel. I’ve been losing weight from eating less, so my family has more on their plates. It feels like the government and big business expect more and more while trying to give back as little as possible. Soon my internet connection will be shut off and since most companies don’t offer paper applications, how will I find work then? Walking around for miles a day, asking for an application that may or may not be available?”

“Thanks to sequestration and the ripple effect of the gridlock in congress…. the small R&D company I worked for had to make difficult cutbacks. I was one of the those laid off. Was let go at the end of the month, so had no extension of health care benefits (employer neglected to send COBRA), 1 child, single mother so no other income. Have been constantly looking for 6 months, spending most of my day looking and rewriting my resume for jobs. Never hearing back . I’ve received about 1 interview per 25 applications sent in. ”

“I’m educated with a variety of skills, but I’m about to become under employed, simply because my benefits are running out this week and I have not heard back from the numerous suitable jobs I want. I need to survive.
Now I have to struggle to find part time or something with a schedule to support my single mom lifestyle. I won’t be able to afford daycare on that kind of salary. Unsure if I’ll be able to afford my apartment I live in.
Most jobs on the market pay too low or have bad hours, and by too low, I’m not talking about expecting 100k jobs. I’m talking about 30k a year is suitable. So too low means a salary below that.
For someone with a bachelor’s degree and 20 years of work experience.”

“My state unemployment expired in the middle of battle with cancer. I appealed to the state of WA. They paid me one week of compensation in 2013; then assigned me to federal emergency unemployment compensation which, as you know, has not gone anywhere.”

“I know at least 10 people who have graduated from college in past yr or more and can’t find regular good paying jobs….some are delivering pizza, etc.”

” I don’t see any mention of an extension for unemployment benefits in 2014 for those who are still out of work and out of benefits, like my son, who is in the age range listed. We’re starving over here. It would be nice to see some articles that take this into account since there are a whole hell of a lot of us out here who can’t sleep without worrying about how to eat tomorrow. No one wants to talk about that reality.”

“The company I work for closed at the end of February. My unemployment insurance lasted 18 weeks. I am in a very bad place and need help right now and there is no place for me to get it. My unemployment was $158 a week and now I don’t even have that. I have gotten zero interviews for any of the jobs I have applied for and I am a 52 year old college graduate.”

“Many unemployed in philly and south jersey. Avoid Atlantic City NJ as it is one big crime scene! Only going to get much worse with the 5th casino closing in 9 months. Meanwhile, Camden NJ, with the highest crime rate, has a senator heading up a foreign relations committee?”

“I totally am convinced at this point that the politicians blocking the chances to receive temporary assistance to the long term unemployed are not for their constituents who are affected by this misfortune through no fault of their own, who have tried so very hard constantly & vigilantly faxing, calling, emailing & physically, until the benefits that made it possible to do all that stopped. How can a perspective lead or future employer get in contact if all services are terminated! ! These Politicians are only looking out for their deeper pockets and for the Wealthy who fill them!…”

“The rate of the calls has stopped because they’re telling people to stop claiming the benefits in some States.  My goodness, Who’s paying these people not to report the real truth.”

“I was laid off in March and soon my California benefits will be toast. I’ll be ok for quite awhile still but I feel bad for those who’ve got to raise families and the loss of their benefits means no income. So then they’ll just end up on welfare. Not seeing how that saves anyone any money. Just taking money from one budget instead of another.”

“There is no welfare for the middle class in California. All you get is food stamps and even that was cut back on so it’s not enough to survive on.”

“My vehicle has over $3000 in repairs. I have LITERALLY NO INCOME! The only reason why I still have peace is because I pray and put my trust in the Lord. I must say that He has come through for me miraculously! I know I should be panicking by now, but I have this “everything will be ok” attitude. This unexplainable peace!”

“They don’t care one bit of our struggles. They claim there are more jobs, but they have taken all the good ones and in return they created low income jobs. You can’t make it on a low income job. It’s not possible to survive. They still count that as a job??? Yes they do…”

“there are over 7 million and counting in GA so that is a big issue for GA and in most areas the pay is very very low but apts high because it’s good for them since the housing industry is bad. I see more of middle class filing bankruptcy and at food banks”

“I worked for 25 years at the same company and was laid off with a few others earlier this year. My benefits are about to be gone but I’ve got other funds put away that I was hoping not to touch at this stage in my life. I’m 56. Unlikely I will find something comparable to what I was doing. I was offered a greeter position at Walmart the other day. I said thanks and just started laughing. I feel for those people who are trying to support and provide for their families.”

“Of course the un employed number continues to go down. I have now reached the one year mark and am no longer able to file a weekly report. When contacting the UE office they advised me even though I was still seeking employment not be able to file a report. I asked why not as I was not employed at this time. I was advised
after one year they no longer track anyone who has not found a job as they system is not large enough to maintain the high volume of un employed. Therefore you no longer exist and have become no one. I am 56yrs of age and let go from my previous job for no fault of my own. I got replaced with a young in experienced person for 2/3rds of my wage. Despite the fact I was a salary employee who worked 14 hr days 6&7 days week and did not take vacation time because there
was no one to fill in in my absence so everything piled up if you were out. Now they have a person who has a family and a life who  struggles to work an 8 hr day and only 5 days a week. They are now looking to hire another person to keep up with the work load..”

“I am a 58 yoa, multi degreed professional, including a doctorate, who was unemployed for more than two years. In sheer desperation I markedly “dumbed down” my resume, dyed my hair, thought like the Marine I am and managed to land a job mildly related to my field paying about a third of what I used to make. I have to swallow my pride each and evey work day and essentially function at the level I am expected to. There are always choices and sometimes one just has to bear the unbearable. My heart goes out to all my brothers and sisters who are similarly situated and have yet to have the luck I had to find even this job.
This is a structual change and much of the population is in the cold hard light of day is surplus. Yet we will not simply vanish and will continue to struggle to survive as long as we draw a breath……….”

“I am 57. I obtained my Bachelor’s degree in English before I got married and started a family. As my children got to school age, I went back to school for nursing. After my husband died 17 years ago, I worked my way up the corporate ladder to the executive level in the healthcare industry. I was also a certified childbirth educator who taught at our local hospital for years. Then I got my Master’s degree in Corporate Communication. I am a freelance writer and I also started my own business, helping people with their career development.
But after I was laid off two years ago from my full time job, I could not find work. I sent out hundreds of resumes with no responses. My consulting business dwindled, as people could not afford the luxury of a career coach. I ended up helping people who were out work for no charge. It was bittersweet to watch these people find work when I couldn’t.
I have MS, which has worsened dramatically since I was laid off. I can now no longer walk and I am too sick to work, which is what I want to do more than anything. I am losing everything I worked so hard to build. When my unemployment ran out two months ago, I literally had no income. I scraped by somehow and luckily was just approved for disability. On disability I will have an annual income that is less than one fifth of what I have made in the past and places me just above the poverty level.
I still cannot believe it. If it could happen to me, it could happen to anyone.”

“I’m 69, and can retire with a pension and social security. So why am I still working? My son is a recent college graduate who has yet to find a job (suprised?). For me to help him out I need to keep working. Sorry for some other young person who might step into my position, but now I am holding two households together.”

“This piece must re read in conjunction with the article about student debt. Even if we assume that many of these graduates will find gainful employment – admittedly, an assumption not borne out by reality – it is unlikely that they will provide any sort of boost for the economy because they, and their parents, will be paying student debt for the nexzt 10-15 years, further aggravating the cycle of decline.
Also, while it undoubtedly would be political suicide for the party in power to do so, it’s long past time that unemployment statistics included those who are no longer looking for work.”

” In 2009, I along with seven others were laid off from a private college in South Carolina. All over the age of 40, most over 50 and more than 50% women. In the years to follow more than a dozen others have been let go.
My immediate supervisor told me he was instructed to build a case against the highest paid employees of the department as we could be replaced by young employees in a year. Upon meeting with HR it was explained the termination was unfounded and had been changed to a layoff. The others I spoke to who had been cut told similar stories. There was no forewarning, no severance, just the call to the office at 4:30 on Friday.
Being over 50, it is incredibly difficult to find gainful employment, especially when the person you interview with is barely out of their teens. The assumption is that no one gets laid off from a college and we must have done something to deserve it. And since they have changed the termination to a layoff, they skirt the issues of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA).
In this case, a simple campus wide furlough of one day would have saved everyone’s jobs. But it wasn’t considered. Oddly enough, there was no moratorium on purchases of Ipad’s and Iphone’s for the administration.”

“i’ve been looking for a job over a year. No, Mitt Romney I have not been sitting on my duff playing tiddlywinks. I have applied for well over a thousand jobs. I have the spreadsheet to prove it. I have a top tier education and decent experience. I apply for jobs I’m underqualified for as well as overqualified for. I get interviews but no offers. I’m going to be 46 in la few weeks. I have no family and friends became scarce when I got laid off. Nina Simone was right when she said “nobody knows you when you’re down and out”. Suicide is always in the back of my mind which is sad because I don’t want to die but I cannot find a self-supporting job and I have zero support. I am completely alone. My confidence is at an all time low and my spirit is broken. Washington doesn’t care about people like me. Ageism is something that our government refuses to acknowledge let alone do anything about. My unemployment was slashed dramatically as a result of the sequester and I’m living on beans and rice now but at least my rent is paid. What happens if my unemployment expires and I still don’t have a self-supporting job and my rent is no longer paid and I lose my home? That’s easy. I kill myself.”

“I was trying to commit suicide two weeks ago but was stopped by police after one of my facebook friends called 911 after seeing my post. I was sent to a psychiatric ward for slightly more than a week and then was released a week later. I was out of job for almost two years despite my stellar work experience and credentials which include a STEM PhD and MBA from top universities. I had offered employers working for them for free for months just to prove my worth and yet no one was willing to take up my offer. I was excluded out by my age (mid 40s) and the length of my unemployment which I could never change. I was consumed by an overwhelming sense of hopelessness. I truly and still believe that my death will be the best solution for all. Although I do understand that my death will cause lots of agony for those who still care about me, yet I am the one who suffers 24/7 with no hope in sight while my loved one will suffer only in the short term (hopefully). I often think that if people like myself are intentionally ignored by the job market, what is the odds for the rest of the population? If I could not even make it in my 40s, what makes me thank I can survive in my 50s and so on? We obviously have an over population problem, I am willing to rid of myself for the sake of the social good, but will you?”

“Why aren’t people talking about age discrimination at a major level? I have been unemployed for more than five years. I have had training to add new skills to two degrees. Training and education mean nothing if no one will hire you. I live in a “right to work” state where corporations can do anything and government is in collusion in perpetrating this endemic discrimination …Companies aren’t afraid of older workers — they can and do anything they want. I have done everything a person can do to get a job and survive. I’m a woman alone and nobody cares. That’s why the suicides have gone up drastically.”

“People looking for work are about twice as likely to end their lives as those who have jobs.
In the United States, the suicide rate, which had slowly risen since 2000, jumped during and after the 2007-09 recession. In a new book, we estimate that 4,750 ‘excess’ suicides — that is, deaths above what pre-existing trends would predict — occurred from 2007 to 2010. Rates of such suicides were significantly greater in the states that experienced the greatest job losses. Deaths from suicide overtook deaths from car crashes in 2009.” – This last quote is from: