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Archive for the ‘poverty’ Category

Fuck the Super Bowl!

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on February 5, 2016

Huffpost Impact article:

Protestors Want San Francisco To ‘Tackle Homelessness’ Before Super Bowl
“You can spend $5 million on a big half time party. You can spend $5 million on a big show. But you can’t feed homeless people?”

Krithika Varagur
Associate Editor, What’s Working, The Huffington Post

A woman holds up a pair of signs as police look on during a protest to demand city officials do more to help homeless people outside Super Bowl City, a pro-football's weeklong theme park near the famed Ferry Building in San Francisco on Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016. Dozens protested what they say is San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee's plan to push homeless people out of the scenic bay-front Embarcadero, where Super Bowl festivities are being held. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

A woman holds up a pair of signs as police look on during a protest to demand city officials do more to help homeless people outside Super Bowl City, a pro-football’s weeklong theme park near the famed Ferry Building in San Francisco on Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016. Dozens protested what they say is San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee’s plan to push homeless people out of the scenic bay-front Embarcadero, where Super Bowl festivities are being held. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

As the host of this weekend’s Super Bowl, San Francisco has spared no expense, erecting a huge “Super Bowl City” compound for the event.

This perceived excess angered homeless advocates in the Bay Area, a few hundred of whom protested at the compound on Wednesday afternoon, according to KTVU. They asked the city to spend more money on its thousands of homeless residents.

“You can spend $5 million on a big half time party. You can spend $5 million on a big show. But you can’t feed homeless people?” asked a protestor named Joshua Shrader, according to Time.

The protesters set up a “tent city” outside the Super Bowl City compound and were fairly orderly. The organizers, led by the Coalition on Homelessness, met with police to set its parameters beforehand, according to SF Gate. They called for San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee to invest $5 million, the approximate cost of the Super Bowl, in housing and social services for homeless people.

Lee has become unpopular among homeless advocates for saying, with regards to homeless people during the Super Bowl, “They are going to have to leave.”

The city has been accused of moving homeless people out of sight to keep up appearances before the Super Bowl. In response, city officials say they are only trying to help the homeless during severe El Niño rains.

“Our only goal is to help people in out of the rain, and it has nothing to do with the Super Bowl,” Trent Rhorer, head of the city’s Human Services Agency, told SF Gate.

But Jennifer Friedenbach, executive director of the Coalition on Homelessness, told Time that homeless people are being illegally searched, cleared from encampments, and ticketed for arbitrary offenses like “sitting or lying.”

By the protest’s end, many homeless people left to find places to sleep for the night, according to SF Gate. One 61-year-old homeless woman, Cynthia Lee, told the news outlet, “I think if San Francisco has money to throw at the Super Bowl — even if it brings in tax money — they should give us places to live.”

INDEPTH SUPER BOWL ARTICLE
from 48Hills by Tim Redmond

Posted in Bay Area, homeless, life, poverty, San Francisco, San Francisco Bay Area, SFGate | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Annual Practice: Giving to Panhandlers

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on December 31, 2014

ows_140244198068966National Academy of Science Report Shows US Poverty Rate To Be 15.8 Percent
Every year, I take out $100 in $5 bills and distribute the cash to panhandlers during the holiday season as a gesture of good will. I have a few rules. I start the giveaway the day after Thanksgiving and finish by New Years Day. And I give only to people actually asking for money, either verbally or with a sign. I’ve never, ever had a problem giving away 20 $5 bills to different people down on their luck during the holidays every year.

panhandle1355445620-5127465929_b0beb23c3d_zPanhandling
Full disclosure: I tend to give my “spare change” to panhandlers all the time. Also, my wife and I give regularly to charity through more institutional channels. I started this holiday practice when I had the money to spare, inspired by having been down-and-out, homeless, and pennyless for a period in my own life. Yeah, yeah, there’s the argument posted by many a municipality that giving money to panhandlers only perpetuates the problem, that the money I give only goes toward alcohol and drugs, and that I need to be giving to charity instead. Having experienced the good cheer and sliver of hope when somebody surprised me with a gift of cash when I was homeless, and having realized how much time and effort it took to get out of a similarly bad situation in my life, I never begrudge a bit of cash to the less fortunate, even if that money goes toward self-medicating or feeding an addiction. Americans tend to be so fucking puritanical and moralistic, always willing to look down on the foibles or sins or bad habits of others. Plus, in my experience, those who demand that I forego giving to panhandlers and donate to charity instead are often singularly lacking in personal charity and the impulse to give to formal charity.

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I was startled when I first came upon panhandling in Paris. The nature of the begging in the City of Light is, in itself, a kind of theater, a performance of misery and supplication so overt that it is meant to be visually overwhelming. And yet, most everybody in Paris does exactly what most everybody in American cities does when confronted by such begging, they walk right on by.

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What really pisses me off is that all the anti-panhandling talk frequently comes from conservative Republican types who have nothing bad to say when the panhandler in question is a US corporation coming hat in hand looking for a bailout from the federal government to cover its losses due to shit business practices or an economic downturn. And that’s on top of the economic subsidies (read charity) that governments give to business as part and parcel of what’s laughably called the free market. As a taxpayer, I have absolutely no say in this type of charitable giving to corporations or giving to corporate panhandlers. Yet I have to listen to oh-so-entitled corporate owners, their representatives, shills and hacks, berate me for giving my spare change to the begging poor. The fucking nerve!

Posted in economics, life, Paris, poverty, San Francisco | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

USA! We’re Number One!

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on October 29, 2013

It’s official. The United States is #1 at creating rich people. Here’s the chart (based on this study):
original
The consequences of this “wealth creation” is an ever widening gap between rich and poor, the decimation of the American middle class, the potential for societal segregation, social unrest and class warfare that is exacerbated by such class dynamics. This income gap is the highest since the “Roaring 20s.
20130911_inequal1
What’s more, even prominent moderate-to-liberal individuals are beginning to see this as a problem.

Then, there’s so many other ways that the United States excels at being #1 in very bad shit. Here are the graphic representations, including the first one mentioned above:
MaternityLeave_1USExceptionalism_Vacation_0
USExceptionalism_SickDays_1EducationSpending_1
EducationSpending_1-1MilitarySpending_0
USExceptionalism_WeaponExportsUSExceptionalism_PrisonPop
USExceptionalism_GunsUSExceptionalism_Sweetner_0
CalorieConsumption_1USExceptionalism_HealthCareCosts
USExceptionalism_DrugCostsFirstDayDeaths_0
SuperRich_0Inequality_0
Makes you fucking PROUD to be an American! Third World Banana Republic, here we come!

Posted in American Empire, capitalism, corporations, homeless, life, politics, poverty, United States of America, US economy, US middle class, US military, US society, US working class | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »