Tag Archives: barbara ehrenreich

The Christian Bible–A Communist Manifesto? Socialist Propaganda? Where is the Gestapo of Righteousness When You Need ’em?

So… the Christian Bible. Do you believe what it says is true? Are you a communist? A socialist? A rebel? A reader of this blog? Wow! That’s impressive!

I’m always amazed by the many people who refer to themselves, and rather sanctimoniously indeed, as ‘Christians’ while they continue to advocate ideas and actions that defy what the Christian bible actually teaches.

I’m no biblical scholar, nor am I the most devout. In fact, I’m rather agnostic these days–unsure about everything. Is there a God? Are humans basically good? Or evil? Are Americans more selfish than the rest of the planet, or are we just playing out the dark side of human drama–human nature at its worst. We’re one of the richest countries in the world but that doesn’t motivate us to make the world better. Our wealth as a nation has just made us greedier, more selfish. So is it better for the spirit to just remain poor? Can you be a good person and be rich? Possibly, the love of money is the root of all evil? Well, that’s what the Christian bible says anyhow…

Whew! That’s too heavy, even for me right now. (It is the holiday season, after all…)

Ehem.

Yet I remain surprised (heck, I’m flabbergasted!) when I meet so-called Christians who support ideas like these:

“Money is great! Ya’ gotta love money, or you’ll be poor! Selfishness is good! Don’t share/Don’t care!  And power over other people too–that’s great! We need to control others. God wants us to be rich! Greed is good! We should want more, more and more! The homeless choose to be homeless, so we shouldn’t help them. We shouldn’t provide safety nets to help the poor because the poor are lazy, don’t want to work, are making bad choices, etc. ”    __the propaganda machine, a.k.a., various mainstream media sources in the usA… (sic)

(And then I meet people who are not Christians, sometimes are atheists, and they can be the kindest most loving people without a big, strong hyper-masculinized god to bully them into being nice ’cause otherwise they’ll go to hell! How do they do it?)

Oh yes, there’s lots more propaganda I could discuss here, but just for the sake of saving time and space, let’s talk about the poor, the homeless, those who are suffering economically. Should we help them? Should we budget cut programs to help the poor while continuing to give to the rich? ‘Cause ya’ know, the rich are so nice. They want to make money so that they can help us. They don’t make money to enrich themselves and their families. They don’t have selfish motives. They make money so that they can give some back to the rest of us, right?

Yeah, right. That’s why they keep trying to get out of paying taxes ’cause they just love giving back to the society that provided them with the resources they needed to get rich in the first place.

Hmm…

But goshly gosh, it’s Christmas/Kwanzaa/Chanukah/the holiday season/an Atheist’sNightmare, so shouldn’t we all come together as a people and share? At least for now? Share the wealth among each other?

Got plenty of money to go to college? Well, then why not  give someone else a scholarship so that he/she can go?

Got plenty of money and then some, for food? Well, why  not go out and give food to those who need it?

Got plenty of energy and physical strength to do work? Well, why not find an elderly or disabled person who can’t and needs help then mow their lawn, trim their hedges, shovel their snow, cook them a meal, etc.

Why not? Why not help someone else? It’s a great way to meet new people. Think of the new friends you could meet. Think of the many ways that person might end up helping you, might become a shoulder you can one day cry upon when there’s a death in your family, or a person you could go to for advice when you’re facing a problem you can’t solve. We never know how we might help each other (and sometimes in small ways that don’t involve money.) Yes, it may take up a little of our time, but may also enrich us on a spiritual level and make our lives worth living. That is both priceless and timeless.

What are you saying? Are you promoting communism? Socialism? Goshly gosh, don’t you like capitalism?

Nope, I’m talking about kindness, fairness, peace and love. I’m talking about what the Bible that you claim to have read actually does teach:

–that at the end of times, the least among us will move to the top:        “…the last will be first and the first will be last…,”  _Matthew 20:16

that we should give and give willingly, be willing to give the shirt off of our backs:  “Give to anyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.”  _Luke 6:30

“If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone takes your cloak, do not withhold your tunic as well.”  _Luke 6:29

“If you are sued in court and your shirt is taken from you, give your coat, too.” Matthew 5:40

Just be happy with basic necessities. Don’t strive for massive amounts of material wealth:

“But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to be rich, however, fall into temptation and become ensnared by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction.” _1Timothy 6:8-9, New Int’l version

The Lord will provide, so don’t worry about money and material possessions: “If that is how God clothes the grass of the field,  which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you–you of little faith.”  _Luke 12:28

The way we treat the least fortunate among us is the way we’re treating God himself. Can’t give to the poor? Then you are snubbing God himself!: “Truly, I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.” _Matthew 25:45, New Int’l version

“Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter–when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?”   _Isaiah 58:7

But my own personal favorite is this one: “For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” _1 Timothy 6:10, New International version

Occupy Your Mind: Student Loan Debt–How Obtaining a College Education Can Ruin Your Life

In this episode we cover a very censored topic: student loan debt. Disturbing facts about student loan debt are rarely covered by both mainstream and alternative media. Why is this? My guess is that Americans–both liberal and conservative–still have a perception that college graduates are wealthier and more privileged than the rest of us.

Seems there are few Americans left with the empathy, compassion and willingness to understand those who are suffering right here in the USA. A lot of Americans are reluctant to give up the “American dream” mythology. To admit that talented, intelligent and well-educated people often don’t make it unless they were born with a lot of money in the first place is hard–very, very hard for most Americans.

In fact, I would liken it to getting a macho, “man’s man” athlete to admit to having once been sexually attracted to another man or to convincing a nun to admit that abortions are sometimes necessary. Liberal or conservative, democrat or republican, Americans are united on one idea: they’re all a bunch of temporarily embarrassed millionaires, convinced that the system will work for them… someday… eventually… if they work hard enough and maintain a positive attitude.

Consequently, there are still a lot of misconceptions about the student loan issue. Propaganda (a.k.a., “fake news”) proliferating across the media persists that college students aren’t budgeting their money and are recklessly taking out loans they can’t afford.

News flash: College students, by definition, can’t afford to take out loans. They’re students, after all. They apply for financial aid because they don’t have much money. But the government, our educational institutions, and sadly, many of our fellow Americans, have decided that student loans should be provided as a form of “financial aid” to needy students. When will we accept that WE have created this problem, not the students who are being victimized by this faulty system?

Never!

But in case you are interested, I’m listing some facts about  student loan debt that you won’t hear spoken about in many media circles. Read on and be enlightened:

–21 states will take away your driver’s license if your student loans have gone into default. Yep, that’s nearly half the country. Montana, apparently, has overturned the law, but not sure why some “liberal” states such as California and Washington State have maintained such draconian legislation. It seems like common sense that preventing a person from getting to and from work would not help that person to pay off debts, but apparently, common sense eludes nearly half the country. (Heck, look who was just “elected” President!)

–Many states will also take away your professional licenses if your loans have gone into default. So if you’re a hair dresser or have another job that requires licensing, you may lose your ability to work, thus making it harder to pay off that ever increasing debt.

–Once your loans have gone into default, the government may garnish your wages,  your tax refunds and even your social security/disability benefits! So… retirement and disability are out of the question! Don’t get sick! Don’t grow old! Gotta get rich quick!

–Student loan debts ARE THE ONLY DEBTS that cannot be written off in bankruptcy. Billionaires such as Donald Trump can declare bankruptcy more than once after making poor or reckless business decisions. Gamblers and over-spenders can declare bankruptcy. One may buy a house or car that one doesn’t need then declare bankruptcy later on. But intelligent people who simply want to better themselves by obtaining an education have no quarter. We are being discriminated against. Why?

–Propaganda spread back in the 1970s, accusing affluent doctors of refusing to pay off their student loans. A study proved this “fake news” to be exactly that–false! Yet the government began to restrict bankruptcy protections over the next few decades until they were removed entirely. This is reminiscent of Reagan’s welfare queen propaganda that convinced a nation that helping poor people was actually a terrible thing to do, thus justifying Reagan’s harsh budget cuts on programs serving the poor.

(What? Are you suggesting we can’t trust the government? Heavens, no. I’d never suggest such a thing.) Find out more by clicking on the link below:

https://consumerist.com/2015/03/17/you-cant-discharge-your-student-loans-in-bankruptcy-because-of-panicked-1970s-legislation/

One Fraud Case Used to Accuse All Welfare Recipients

How Reagan Killed Welfare

–This is NOT a  “millennial” issue. There are student loan debtors of retirement age who are having their social security/disability payments garnished because of student loan debt.

–The not-so-very-liberal Bill Clinton administration removed bankruptcy protections for student loans in 1998 and decided to garnish social security benefits from debtors in 1996. (Still LOVE Hillary?) Of course our dear friend (fiend?) George W. Bush kindly placed the final nail in the coffin in 2005 with the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention Consumer Protection Act (another Orwellian term for a law that does the opposite of protect consumers. Like the Patriot Act, it’s another fear-based law proclaiming to protect us–while it actually exists to protect them from us. Their fear of us, the people, and a possibility of another revolt similar to that of the sixties when hippies stopped a war and got men putting flowers in their hair.) But never you mind what I have to say. Ignorance is strength, right?

BankruptcyAbusePrevention and ConsumerProtectionAct

FinAid.org Student Loan Bankruptcy Timeline

You know, we Americans may have lost our ability to recognize that we’re all in this together but those in power have not. They truly are in this together. Yes, Virginia, there is a conspiracy. Politics is a game of conspiracies where the powerful struggle to maintain their power over the masses. If you don’t believe in conspiracies then, sorry, but you don’t understand how politics works. The truth is, Democrats and Republicans are both secretly and very deeply in love. Touching, isn’t it?

Touché!

–This is unconstitutional. The Bill of Rights are the first 10 Amendments to the Constitution. They were written to please the colonists who were concerned that the US Constitution was not democratic enough. The Bill of Rights prevented the federal government from taking too much power by granting powers to the people. You can read the Bill of Rights by clicking on the link below:

https://www.aclu.org/united-states-bill-rights-first-10-amendments-constitution

The 8th Amendment clearly states that “excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.” Of course, our government has violated that amendment many times, most disturbingly by the setting up “secret” torture prisons at Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib in an effort to get around our nation’s laws against torture.

Of course, the 6th and 7th Amendments are supposed to guarantee us a speedy trial that allows members of the public or a jury to be present as witnesses. (Witnesses provide important oversight over power.)

But we student loan debtors are granted no such luxury. We are treated like illegal aliens within our own country. In fact, an immigrant could live a better life in the USA than a college grad saddled with massive student loan debt. How can this be?

Well, it seems that laws no longer matter when an ignorant, dumbed-down population isn’t familiar with its own laws and appears to not care anyhow. It’s easy for politicians to break laws them simply create new laws that make what was once illegal, now legal, so they can continue to break laws.

Could this ultimately be the reason for draconian legislation against student loan debtors? To further dumb-down the masses by discouraging higher education? The liberal arts teach us to be philosophical, to question authority, to use our imagination so that we can create a new reality. The liberal arts teach us the mistakes made and lessons learned from history and a lot about human nature. All of this is very useful for creating a better world. Is that way the liberal arts are now being vilified? (With apologies to Meryl Streep.)

By the way, if you have student loan debt, don’t give up. Write to your Congress person and insist that bankruptcy protections be restored. Contact activist groups such as the ones listed below to get involved. Better yet, contact alternative media sources such as TYT Politics, DemocracyNow, et al, and every alternative source you can think of then pressure them to cover this story.

The American people need to know that student loans are ruining lives. This is a serious issue and needs to be addressed. Americans need to be informed. Our politicians don’t care about us, but they can be made to care. They can be embarrassed into caring. Right now, they’re just hoping that Americans won’t find out the truth so they can keep getting away with what they’re doing. So perhaps contacting  Congress won’t work, but contact the media! As many sources as you have time to contact. Let’s get the word out!

Click on the sites below for more info:

StudentDebtCrisis.org

StudentLoanJustice.org

 

 

Does Poverty Within a Society Lead to Tyranny?

Are poverty, austerity and economic inequality connected? Does their combination lead to tyranny? To fascism? Gandhi said that poverty “is the worst form of violence.” Well, fascism is a violent system too. Is there a cause and effect relationship? Are they connected? Do those who wield power know this and use poverty as a weapon to control us?

Whoa! Are you posting wacky conspiracy theories on your WordPress blog? For shame!

Oh no. No wacky conspiracy theories. Just theories. And questions that need answers.

We know that World War II began during the Great Depression, a time when people in countries around the world lived in poverty or near-poverty. Yet even during that dark period of history, some people remained rich. Not everyone was poor and struggling, even during the Great Depression. In fact, not everyone living in the third world is poor. Rich people survive there too. In fact, one of the richest men in the world is a man named Carlos Slim, who happens to be from Mexico. Yet nearly half of Mexico’s population lives in poverty.

http://data.worldbank.org/country/mexico

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/29/mexico-poverty_n_3673568.html

http://www.economist.com/blogs/americasview/2013/06/mexico-s-middle-class

Why is that? Are rich people superior, as some would like us to believe? Do they hold special secrets? Were they working harder, smarter, better? Are they specially-blessed by God? Possibly they used “the Secret” or the “Law of Attraction” to make the “universe” give them what they want?

Or… could it be that the qualities that help people become rich are not qualities most of us want to have—greed, selfishness, ruthlessness, lack of concern for others, extreme narcissism? Could it be that the real secret of success during difficult times is to become a bad person?

Since we all want to be successful, I’m sure, this is something that we don’t want to hear. We’d like to believe that the best people succeed, that the cream rises to the top, right? That is the story that motivates us, gets us out of bed every morning and keeps us smiling at the end of a rough day.

But what if we were wrong all along? What if we have a system in this country that rewards people for being sociopathic, selfish and stingy but penalizes those who practice giving, compassion and kindness? What if financial success is achieved by only a few, most of whom were born with money in the first place? What if our society is actually filled with talented, highly-intelligent, motivated people who can’t succeed because they lack money, connections, or perhaps weren’t born into the “right” class, race or gender?

I think that despite the evidence that points in that direction, most Americans just can’t handle the truth. It’s too depressing.