Happy Birthday Jesus! Homelessness, Wall Street Greed and Christmas Drone Strikes

by lizard

Today is Jesus’ birthday. Last night we attended a church service because I want my kids to have a little more context than getting gifts, plus my parents really wanted us to attend. Considering how I approached church as an entitled suburban teenager who liked Pantera and Marilyn Manson, I figured I owed them. And it was nice to be in a church on Christmas eve. But there will always be a part of me that rebels against religious lip-service to peace and joy when so much awful, violent, evil shit goes down around the world.

First, the awful. Poverty and homelessness will continue to worsen in the coming year because there is no political will to do even meager things, like extend unemployment, expand social security, or raise the minimum wage. There are glimmers of sanity on the horizon, though. Phoenix, for example, is claiming to be the first city to end chronic homelessness for veterans.

Three years ago, a state coalition aimed at ending chronic homelessness among veterans identified 222 living in Phoenix. As of early November, 56 remained, but a $100,000 allocation of funds enabled the city to house them all as of midweek, winning what the mayor’s office described Wednesday as a friendly competition with Utah’s Salt Lake City to become the first U.S. city to do so.

“Phoenix can take its place as role model city for gratitude and care towards veterans,” Mayor Greg Stanton said in a release.

Nice to see a city tackle a tough issue without criminalizing sitting on the sidewalk, like Missoula did a few weeks ago, led by “progressive” LGBT advocate, Caitlin Copple. I don’t know if Caitlin reads this blog, but if she does, I would hope she would take a little time to read about how Jimmy Lee Ferguson—a homeless veteran—died on a sidewalk in Missoula two years ago.

Another article I think everyone everyone should read posted today at the LA Times, written by Montana native Les Gapay, and it opens with Les hearing about another homeless man dying of exposure:

Recently, in my old hometown in Montana, a man died of exposure. According to news reports, he was a Wal-Mart employee in the town of Miles City, homeless and living in his car when the weather plunged to 27 degrees below zero.

We tend to shrug off the homeless when we see them pushing their shopping carts or holding up signs asking for money. They’re mentally ill, we assume, or drug addicts. But I know from experience that a lot of the homeless are like that man in Montana: struggling to make it but not quite able to.

For the 6 1/2 years I was homeless, I never had a shopping cart, nor did I have a mental illness or a drug problem. I was just a regular guy out of work in a poor economy. I did writing work while living out of my pickup truck at campgrounds, but I never made enough to rent an apartment until I hit Social Security retirement age and qualified for low-income senior housing. When you don’t have much to start with, it’s easy to fall off the edge.

Now, for a totally obscene contrast, watch Alexis Goldstein break down the 91.44 BILLION dollars Wall Street has set aside this year for bonuses:

If that doesn’t turn your stomach, check out how enthusiastically Wall Street high rollers cheered the depravity depicted in Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street. These people are monsters, and if there is a hell, Wall Street will be well represented.

As bad as our domestic situation is, at least we don’t have to worry about drones (yet) blowing us up. While most people take some time off to be with friends and family, the Great War on Terror plugs on with a Christmas drone strike in Pakistan. Last year America blew up people in Yemen for Christmas. I guess it’s a new tradition.

Israel is also in the midst of some Christmas-time killing. Last year I wrote a post titled Pillars of Lies, describing how Israel employed deceitful justification for enacting another Gaza slaughter. This year, IDF forces have killed a 3 year old Palestinian girl in retaliatory military strikes:

A three-year-old Palestinian girl has been killed in a series of retaliatory Israeli strikes on the Gaza Strip.

The attacks came hours after an Israeli civilian was shot dead by a Palestinian sniper while repairing the border security fence.

Israel’s military said its aircraft and tanks had carried out strikes on several “terror sites”, including a weapons manufacturing base.

Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip, said it was a “dangerous escalation”.

Hamas official Mushir al-Masri said on al-Aqsa television that Israel would “pay the price for these crimes” and he said Hamas and other Palestinian organisations were considering an “appropriate response”.

If Palestinians acted like Israelis for every violation of the post-Gaza-slaughter ceasefire, then maybe Israel would actually have something to worry about.

I wonder if our media would be more interested in this story if the 3 year old was an Israeli.

I sometimes wish I could just ignore this stuff, but I can’t.

I can hear my kids playing with their new toys in the background. We had a great feast tonight at my parents house, and tomorrow I’m going to do some shopping. I am incredibly blessed and privileged. Maybe that’s one of the reasons I feel compelled to pay attention to what’s happening to the people who don’t have the luxury of being born into a loving, supportive family in one of the richest nations on earth.

  1. $91.4 Billion. That’s a real disconnect with reality on their part. Do they know that many people in this country feel like emptying the contents of their stomachs when they hear such?

    I’m sure several of the big Wall Street players own some of the K street lobbying firms that hire Congressmen to push their agenda as soon as the poor bastards arrive in Washington.

    And then we get stuck with those schmucks for 6 years, or longer if they ingrain it in our consciousnesses that we need them and their prominent committee placements. Listen, I don’t need politicians, never have – they need me. It’s called a vote. Or do they need votes anymore?

  2. Billings Dad

    Lizard – I’m not trying to be a smart ass, but do you realize that the majority of the homeless population is homeless because of bad decisions they’ve made, and not the fault of anybody else ?

    • lizard19

      how do you arrive at that conclusion?

      • Billings Dad

        Because I’ve known some, and actually tried to help them. Among the homeless I’ve known there was lots of problems with alcohol, problems with modern chemistry, and associated behavioral issues that lost them their jobs, and got them alienated from their family support. If you were kind enough to give them a new coat and a room to sleep in, a certain percentage would trade the coat for a quart of beer, and tell you lies about what happened, etc. until you got tired of them too and boot them out of the room you gave them to sleep in.

        • lizard19

          Billings Dad, while there are no doubt poor decision that people make in their lives, there are also factors beyond the control of individuals. for example, people don’t get to choose what kind of family they’re born into, and people don’t get to choose the genetics they inherit.

          I do find it interesting you choose to focus on the homeless issue this post touches on, but not the criminal malfeasance of Wall Street.

          do you think Wall Street deserves bonuses for the job they’ve done in the years since the worst economic crisis America has seen since the Great Depression?

    • JC

      So they deserve what they get, in your estimation?

  3. “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly the speck out of your brother’s eye.” – Matthew 7:1-5 (ESV)

  4. Big Swede

    “Monsters on wall street”, I thought of this clip.

    Frankly, with the current direction we’re going we all could be homeless.

  5. Turner

    Is it time yet to agitate for a system that is mainly socialist with small scale well-regulated capitalist ventures? Large capitalism is way beyond immoral. It’s the greatest danger to the planet.

    • lizard19

      my 2 cents, let the agitation of the system itself expose the failure of the whole dog and pony show. and keep it local. that’s the best we can do.

    • mike

      You are a moron.. do you think you’d have your iPhone with central planning, didn’t think so. You seem to espouse a system that discourages innovation and progress.

      Have to add that history has shown your delusions are just that, that you can’t see it is laughable.

      Innovation that has resulted from the profit motive has fed millions of people, corrupt crony capitalism by governments that we prop up, I won’t disagree.

      You seem to think government is a panacea, history shows the utter bullshit of this assertion. Let’s look at collectivist states run by the likes of Morales, Maduro or Castro 2.0, they are failed states with runaway inflation that is hurting their people, so let’s hear your apology for their shitty lives because down the road your take means someday your idea of a “workers paradise” will emerge.

      History shows dolts like you are like terrier dogs, nipping at heels, but inconsequential in the long run.

      You are flipping clueless and if you fantasize that most of the folks that work for a living buy your bullshit.

      • Steve W

        Mike, if brains were electricity you couldn’t light a one watt bulb,

        Just my two cents :)

        • Greg Strandberg

          I have to agree somewhat, but at least on this comment you presented a bit of an argument instead of just insults.

      • lizard19

        I deleted two of your redundant comments, mike, and I probably should delete this one, but I’ll let it stay, for now.

      • Turner

        I don’t believe in the naïve Marxist idea of a “workers paradise.” But neither do I believe in the “invisible hand of the market.” Large corporations need to be brought under government control to keep them from inflicting such “innovations” as credit default swaps and fracking on us.

        I’m not against small scale capitalism. I’m against the corruption of the electoral process and our federal and state governments by large scale capitalists like the Koch brothers and large corporations like Boeing and Goldman-Sachs.

        I’m mystified by people like you who embrace those who are so eager to harm everyone but the rich and privileged. Are you one of them? Or are you just a wannabe?

        I don’t own an iphone or any other hand-held device. I’m getting along quite well without them.

      • JC

        Mike, .go read this article at Forbes.com about how the federal government is responsible for much of the innovation that went into the iPhone and the internet. Then come back and have an intelligent conversation, instead of your late night drunken rants

  6. Big Swede

    In response to Turner’s comment.

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