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Hillary was wrong. Most of Washington is wrong. It doesn’t take a village.

7:17 am in Uncategorized by Liz Berry

Crosspost from IfLizWereQueen

It doesn’t take a village–It takes you!

That will be the theme of my  campaign for US Congress 2012 that I’m kicking off in a few days with a homemade sign in my own front yard.

I’ve been giving a lot of thought over the past month as to whether I want to even try to make a difference by running as an an independent candidate for the US 32nd Congressional District.  (Winning would almost be like getting the Booby Prize because then I would have to go to Washington and be in close proximity with these people.)  I’m so disgusted and fed up with the leadership of both parties.  One bunch is as greedy and selfish as the other.  Neither party represents  80% of Americans.  The overwhelming majority of Congress are in it for themselves.  All you have to do is look at their votes and look at the increase in their net worth over the past 3 years while the majority of Americans have been going down the tubes many of them losing their jobs and homes.

Here in Dallas, a city located in my district, we have over 175,000 children living below the poverty line–enough to fill the .Dallas Cowboy stadium (seating capacity 80,000) more than twice.  Imagine that!  a city right here in my district with 175,000 in need, going to bed hungry.  That is a disgrace.  And this is just one city in my district.  There are other cities as well.

And how does the current US Representative of the 32nd district, Pete Sessions, represent  these children and their parents?  Not very well.  If he did, we would not have over one-third of the children in our district living below the poverty line.  And how does Mr. Sessions run his campaign?  He runs his campaign like they all do–by appealing to the richest of the rich for donations.  By holding exclusives parties that cost more to attend than many Americans earn in  month, or in some cases several months.  This is democracy?  Not by my standards.  For example, Mr. Sessions held a ski party fund raiser in Park City Utah.  How many parents of those children living below poverty level in Mr. Sessions District do you think attended that party?

Mr. Sessions is a Republican, but the Democrats do the same thing.  Until more than a few people called them on their hypocrisy, Michele Obama was was supposed to be the key speaker at a reception (Nov 1, 2011) at the Westin Oaks in the Galleria at Houston. Later in the day, she was going to be a special guest at the home of Laura and John Arnold for a private reception and dinner. John Arnold was a former natural gas trader for Enron.  The Houston Chronicle reported:  The super-wealthy hedge fund manager and his wife will introduce Obama to individuals who paid $10,000 for the privilege or couples who paid $15,000. There’s a bargain-basement price, as well — $250 per person to attend the cocktail party earlier in the evening.”

There is much more to Mr. Arnold than that. In 2001, as it was going down the tubes and thousands of American’s pensions with it, Enron paid Mr. Arnold an $8 million bonus.  When Enron collapsed in 2002, he founded Centaurus with his previous year’s bonus. How about that!  Arnold didn’t skip a beat, nor did he lose one cent of his $8 million dollar bonus.  Thousands of Enron employees were not so lucky. They lost their pensions they had tied up in Enron’s 401K retirement plan.  His company now has as much as $3 billion in assets under management.  His employees include several big name energy traders including ex-Enron President Greg Whalley.  And guess what?  Mr Arnold is part of an organization pushing to convert public pensions — including teachers, police, firefighters and others — to 401(k)-style plans.  Sure you betcha. Then people like Mr. Arnold can skim off the top and leave the rest with nothing–just like he did with Enron employees.

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Description of the Campaign that I will run.

I got sidetracked.  (The stuff goes so deep that it is difficult to not get lost in the muck.)

1.  I will not take a cent of campaign contributions–not even from the people in my district.

2.  I will begin on Saturday (March 3) by posting my first homemade campaign sign in my yard.  (I’ll post a photo of it on this site)

3,  Whether people in my district vote in the primary on April 4 is up to them.  If they are completely disgusted with both parties, I advise them not to because in Texas, if  you vote in the primary, you cannot sign the ballot petition of Independents like me.  It’s considered as voting twice.  However, if you do want to vote in the primary, you can still vote for me in the fall if I garner enough signatures to get my name on the ballot.

4.  In the months of April and May I will be walking around my district gathering signatures for my ballot petition.  At that time I will ask all who sign my ballot petition to do this:
a.  Make two homemade signs saying “It doesn’t take a village-  Vote for Emma Berry 32nd US District”
b.  Put one sign in your yard and give the sign to another person in the district asking them to do the same thing.
c.  Then instead of giving money to support me, give as much as you can to help someone in the 32nd district. who needs the help.
d.  Then contact me with the story of what you did.  Tell others about your story. Your story will mean more to my election than thousands of dollars contributed to my campaign.

AND THAT’S MY CAMPAIGN STRATEGY.  Will it work?  I don’t know.  That’s entirely in the hands of about 600,000 people who reside in the 32nd district.  But just imagine if it does work.  What does that say?  A campaign won without a cent. What does that say about the possibility for good?  It gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “pull yourself up by your own bootstraps” doesn’t it?  Not only should we pull ourselves up, we should bring others with us.  As long as we have even one boot in the boat, we can offer a hand to someone who is drowning.

Perhaps I”ll brand my campaign:  As long as you have one boot still in the boat . . .

We need more truth-tellers in Congress and fewer professional politicians

6:40 am in Uncategorized by Liz Berry

“The deficit was caused by two wars not paid for, huge tax breaks for the wealthiest people in this country, and a recession as a result of the greed, recklessness and illegal behavior on Wall Street. And if those are the causes of the deficit and the national debt I will be damned if we’re going to balance the budget on the backs of the elderly, the sick, children, and the poor. That’s wrong.” – Bernie Sanders

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If the people in the 32nd District of Texas elect me as their U.S. Representative, we will have one more truth-teller in Congress.

It all comes down to whether the people all across the USA want someone who profits of the backs of the 99% or someone who will represent the majority in their Congressional District. And for me, it comes down to whether the citizens of the 32nd Congressional District of Texas will be willing to get out there and talk to people alongside me to help me win. If so, we will make history together and show others who come after us that democracy is not about who has the most money.

I’m not running my race with money.  I’m running an all-volunteer race with citizens from my district who care.  Beyond a $5 donation, if that, I will not be asking constituents of the 32nd district to donate a cent. It is a demonstration of warped values for candidates to be spending hundreds of thousands of dollars and even millions on their campaign. In 2008, even before her campaign was half over, Hillary owed Mark Penn $6 million for work as her pollster.  That’s an obscene waste of money when people all across America are going hungry and need jobs. The Democrats are as bad as the Republicans on the issue of fund-raising.  There is no degree of separation between the two parties.

The 435 Congressional Districts all over the USA average 600,000 people.  If even one third of the people in my district donated $5 to my campaign, that would be $1 million dollars.

If I got that much money for my campaign, I would take volunteers to work with other citizens in the district to create a cooperative business for my district using those donations as seed money. That would be far better advertisement for my campaign than any fancy TV ads that I could run on corporate owned media.   Representatives are supposed to represent the constituents in their district–not themselves and not Wall Street corporations.

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Like many politicians, Pete Sessions cares more About money in his campaign coffers than he cares about the people in his district.

US Representative, Pete Sessions from the 32nd US Congressional District reported a net worth of $3,376,000 in 2008 and a net worth of 4,904,000 in 2009.  Thus in the time period in which 2.6 million Americans in 2008 and 4.7 million in 2009 lost their jobs, Mr. Sessions made $1,528,000 off his Wall Street investments.

To put this in better perspective fully illustrate how Sessions and other members of Congress ere making millions off the backs of working Americans:  From 2008 up through today, the money that Wall Street makes and pays to their shareholders like Sessions primarily comes from corporations cutting costs by firing workers and selling off assets. Thus it is no hyperbole whatsoever to say that Sessions and others like him in Congress are literally making fortunes off the backs of working Americans.

Is this the kind of representation you want, someone who profits off the backs of the majority,  or do you want someone who will make the best decisions for the majority of those in the 32nd district?   That is the question that the people of my district will decide, but one thing is certain:  I plan to make sure that the majority of them are fully aware of what they are choosing and how it affects the lives of the people in their community.

Already Mr. Session has been filling up his campaign coffers with donations from the rich. For example, a fundraiser was held on September 11, 2011 at the Caves Valley Golf Weekend for Pete Sessions.  I doubt there was a single constituent from the 99%  in Mr. Sessions district who even knew about that event, much less attended it. Cave Valley is a very expensive and exclusive golf course in the D.C. area.

But don’t worry if you missed that event because you will get a second chance on February 23, 2012.  Mr. Sessions has a Park City Ski Weekend fundraiser planned.  He will share the proceeds of this event with two other of his Republican cronies: Jeb Hensarling and  Greg Walden.

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Pete Sessions does not represent the children in his district.

So while Pete Sessions is busy working the campaign circuit on the playgrounds of the rich and adding hundreds of thousands of dollars to his campaign coffer, the children in his district are suffering.

The majority of the people in the 32nd district, located in Dallas County, are not doing so well–especially our children.  The annual report on the health and quality of life of Dallas County’s children is out this week.  The report titled “Beyond ABC: Assessing Children’s Health in Dallas County” states 18 percent of all children in the county are uninsured. That’s more than twice the national average.

More than twice the national average of children are uninsured here in Dallas County and 37% of the children in the city of Dallas alone live in poverty–that’s a whooping 192,500 children.

Dallas has a mayor who dresses up like a Dallas Cowboy for Halloween, but someone needs to tell Rawlings and Pete Sessions that Halloween is an every day affair for  192,500 children living in poverty in the city of Dallas today (even more in the county). That’s enough to fill up the Cowboys Stadium twice.  Pete Sessions should be addressing issues such poverty in Dallas County, but I guess he is too busy on his golf and ski fund raising junkets to bother.

Join me. Run for office as an Independent Candidate in 2012–for any office. If I can do it, you can do it.  We have a choice to make now.  Either we are going to change the destination of our nation by getting in the driver’s seat, or we are going to continue to remain as passengers in a bus that is headed for the cliff. If you  are sickened by the thought of becoming a politician, there is a good chance that you may be the right person for the job.  Serving should be a duty–not an ambition.

New York Times article pokes fun at Occupy Wall Street

6:58 am in Uncategorized by Liz Berry

Cross Post from IfLizWereQueen

An article appeared sometime late yesterday (Sept 23) in the New York Times titled “Gunning for Wall Street with Faulty Aim”.  It pokes fun at the protesters depicting them as silly misguided adolescents that the  cops, the  private equity and hedge fund traders (yes the same ones who are dismantling our economy) are benignly tolerating like friendly uncles patting children on their heads.  They can afford to benignly tolerate these youth.  Many of the protesters, ironically, are likely children and grandchildren of people like Henry Kravis who has earned his current net worth of $3.9 billion by purchasing companies all over the USA, running them into debt, firing the employees, and then finally selling off all their assets–in short, dismantling Main Street.

The article mockingly downplays the number of participants for Occupy Wall Street by trying to leave the false impression that there are only a 100 or so participants.

Here is a paragraph from the article by Ginia Bellafante for a sample of the overall tone.  Ms. Bellafante has a tone that is as apathetic as she accuses the protester of Wall Street to be– reporting  20.1 percent poverty in New York City  as if somehow it is the fault of the protesters because their revolution isn’t stronger and doesn’t include some of these poor people.  Why aren’t some of these 1.6 million living in poverty there at Occupy Wall Street. [Note:  if Ms. Bellafante is a reporter, perhaps she should get and find these people and ask them herself.  Seek that truth and tell that story. She may have difficulty finding the poor people in Manhattan since most poor people can't afford to live there.]  However, instead, like most of her counterparts in mainstream media, poverty gets barely a passing mention as an issue and it reported as a dry statistic.

” . . Last week brought a disheartening coupling of statistics further delineating the city’s economic divide: The Forbes 400 list of wealthiest Americans, which included more than 50 New Yorkers whose combined net worth totaled $211 billion, arrived at the same moment as census data showing that the percentage of the city’s population living in poverty had risen to 20.1 percent. And yet the revolution did not appear to be brewing. . .”

from:  Gunning for Wall Street with Faulty Aim

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IfLizWereQueen Comments

I couldn’t help but wonder  if perhaps Ms. Bellafante has written similarly sarcastic articles regarding the Tea Party protests, or if perhaps those were of a different slant.  But indeed, she did slyly allude to a valid question even if she did not pursue it:  Where are the poor people? The report regarding 20.1 percent poverty in New York City means that New York City has 1,600,000 people who are living in poverty. Where indeed are these people?

Well, let us look at the demographics of Manhattan, the place where Occupy Wall Street is happening.  There we might find at least part of our answer:  the poor by and large do not live in Manhattan.  They subsist in the surrounding areas.  Those who are in Manhattan are generally there for the day to clean the houses of the rich and perform other service jobs for the rich.  Perhaps if Occupy Wall Street had a Good Fairy Godfather such as the Tea Party’s David Koch who will spend millions to bus people to their events, protests like Occupy Wall Street might get a better draw.  Perhaps the kids should appeal to billionaire Soros for a bus.

Really, Ms. Bellafante and the New York Times and Mayor Michael Rubens Bloomberg (net worth $18.1 billion):  Do you think that a poor person out of work living in the Bronx is going to spend, even if they have it,  $25 for a 7-day pass to get to and from Manhattan [to attend a protest]?  What planet do you live on?  Many of the poor of America don’t even understand what is happening to them.  Instead of reporting on poverty and its relationship to what the people on Wall Street are doing, corporate media paid writers like Ms. Bellafante are busy construing articles to either make it look like “ho hum, just a bunch of misguided kids acting out” or implying that the poor are lazy and poverty is a matter of individual responsibility in the USA.

Although there are sure to be a few thousand poor living hidden away on Manhattan, most of the 1.6 million NYC citizens living in poverty do not live in Manhattan.  They could not afford it.  As of 2002, Manhattan had the highest per capita income of any county in the country.  The Manhattan ZIP Code 10021, on the Upper East Side is home to more than 100,000 people and has a per capita income of over $90,[000] . Manhattan has the second highest percentage of non-Hispanic Whites (48%) of New York City’s boroughs, after Staten Island (where non-Hispanic Whites make 64.0% of residents).  You need to look elsewhere for the poor in New York City, but you will have to look because most of the 1.6 million living in poverty are hidden–in places where people like Henry Kravis and those walking down Wall Street don’t have to see them.

Five years ago in 2006 the Mayor’s Commission for Economic Opportunity stated that 50 percent of the children born in New York City are born in poverty. This translates into more than 300,000 children in the city not having health insurance.  What is being done for these children?

 

Poverty. What is it? Are you poor? How do you know?

7:45 am in Uncategorized by Liz Berry

Repost from iflizwerequeen

Yes, Eloise, cat food is cheaper.*

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Poverty can be defined in many different ways. Some attempt to reduce it to numbers, while others argue that a more ambiguous definition must be used. In the end. Most economists and social workers today use a combination of two ways to define poverty: social and statistical.

STATISTICAL DEFINITIONS OF POVERTY

Prior to using a statistical tool to measure poverty, many make a good case that you must first determine if you want to measure income or consumption amounts.  Income refers to the amount of money someone makes while consumption refers to the monetary value of the goods that person actually consumes.  If you earn $4 a day but are able through some other means such as food stamps to consume $5 a day, your yearly income would be $1440 but  your yearly consumption would be $1,860.

Relative Poverty Measurements

One example of the statistical method is the “relative poverty” index, which the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) uses. The poverty line is set at about one-half a country’s median individual income. If your income falls below that line, you are considered poor.

Relative poverty measurements can be fine can be fine for country-wide measurements if the country is small, but it has some obvious major drawbacks in global use or even in uses in countries as large as the USA.

Absolute Poverty Measurements

Absolute poverty defines poverty as the state of living under a certain, pre-determined amount of income or consumption. The international poverty line for absolute poverty set by the World Bank in 1990 is $1-a-day.  People living at or below this level are said to be in extreme poverty. [Interesting, isn't it, bankers defining absolute poverty.]  The $2 a day limit is the world standard for poverty.

$14.40-a-day Poverty Line: The absolute poverty line sometimes used in industrialized nations instead of the $1/$2-a-day lines used by the World Bank. The line is set at $14.40 to adjust for different standards of living between industrialized and developing nations.  [NOTE:  In the USA we have 48 possible poverty thresholds that vary according to size and age of members of a family.]

SOCIAL DEFINITIONS OF POVERTY

Social definitions of poverty are delineated according to a lack of essential items such as food, clothing, water and shelter. At the UN World Summit on Social Development, the ‘Copenhagen Declaration’ described poverty as “…a condition characterised by severe deprivation of basic human needs, including food, safe drinking water, sanitation facilities, health, shelter, education, and information.” When people are unable to eat, go to school, or have any access to health care, then they can be considered to be in poverty, regardless of their income.

There are also those who say that “you are as poor as you feel.” A Japanese ministry’s survey asked people if they considered themselves as being poor and 59 percent answered “yes,” a new record. That may not qualify as “poor,” but it’s got to mean something as writers Phillip Brasor and Masako Tsubuku pointed out.  [Source]

It’s interesting that almost 2/3′s of the population of Japan consider themselves to be poor. My guess is that if you asked a representative sampling of the US population, in spite of the fact that 77% of us live from paycheck to paycheck, that not even half of them would consider themselves as “poor.”  I think in great part this is due to the excellent propaganda system of the corporate sponsored mainstream media here in the USA that keeps alive the myth of “making it big someday.”

Empowerment is another factor to consider.  This refers to the ability of an individual to make choices regarding his or her life.  Often the poor are not empowered.  They are forced to work at certain jobs or do certain things and often this state of existence can be linked to poverty.  When people are disempowered, many times they are in poverty. Speaking of disempowerment of the poor, I hope that those who persist in thinking that there is a difference between Democrats and Republicans will remember that a Democratic majority in BOTH houses voted in 2010 to defund ACORN on the flimsy evidence of a known right-wing operative, James O’Keefe. ACORN’s only crime is to empower the poor by registering them to vote and informing them of their Constitutional Rights.

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* You probably have noticed by now that I question everything including motives and statements from everyone, even my friends. At Firedoglake, a site whose bloggers I agree with at least 90% of the time, they have been closely following and taking a highly proactive stance on monitoring and speaking out against proposed cuts to Social Security.  Updates on these activities are filed under “The Cat Food Commission”. Today, I asked myself:  ”Is cat food really that cheap?”  Several of my friends have cats and complain about how expensive cat food is.  I did a little research this morning and found out that the answer is “yes it is” — cat food is cheap if you are comparing it to human food. Even using the absolute poverty measurement for extreme poverty of $1 a day, one could have a can of cat food from Trader Joe’s at 60 cents a can, eat some grass from the local park, drink water from a public fountain and still have 40 cents to save for a rainy day,

Addendum: Don’t take that free water from a USA public fountain for granted.  It could well be privatized  [monetized] in the future and in order to get a drink one might have to deposit a quarter in a slot on the fountain.

Stop buying the Welfare Myths of the Rich

9:38 am in Uncategorized by Liz Berry

Regardless the decibels of the blowhard wealthy anti-welfare megaphones and those of their mainstream media sock monkey pundits against welfare, studies show that in welfare states poverty decreases after countries adapt welfare programs.  Empirical evidence suggests that taxes and transfers considerably reduce poverty in most countries whose welfare states commonly constitute at least a fifth of the GDP.

In a study comparing countries before and after implementing social welfare program, Bradley et al. measure the poverty both in relative and absolute terms.  These are the findings as shown in a table found on WIKI: