Hope for Humanity?

As all of you can gather from my previous blog-post, and comments on other’s blogs about this last weekends multiple mass shootings and massacres, I was much more effected by them than in others past. That is not at all to say that the long, long list of all our country’s prior mass shootings, going as far back as 1966 at the University of Texas, Austin tower massacre, are any less crushing to me. They are! Every single fatality, every single wounded survivor scarred, perhaps permanently maimed, and those families having to deal with the life-altering aftermath and long, long, road of recovery, are all remembered and they all deeply effect me. This past weekend was especially gut-ripping heart-piercing because of how quickly they occurred in about one week. That is extremely disturbing for me. Actually, beyond disturbing.

But as luck would have it, in a small way, I was fortunate to catch last night on PBS American Experience their excellent documentary about Woodstock 1969. How timely it was. However, as I watched, my own memories of what took place at Woodstock were clouded, not like this show. It was different in some/many ways compared to what these actual attendees, band members, event coordinators, and journalists (actually there the entire 3½ days) interviewed and they interviewing fans, filming, photographing were saying in 1969 and was now made into this documentary. Clearly, I had been shown and told a distorted version and reports about the festival from what I now suspected were anti-Woodstock people, anti-Hippie people, anti-freedom people, pro-Warring people, all of whom would’ve had me believe their perceptions. Their presupposed conjectures while, ironically, not even there or within 5-miles of the ’69 festival. Imagine that.

I was determined to watch every single second of Woodstock: Three Days that Defined A Generation! Why? Because I wanted to know with all the major potential disasters I was foreseeing, I had to know the end results, about the injuries, the utter failures, Mob-panics turned into sheer chaos to survive, and therefore, probable casualties/deaths. What was going to happen and how bad was this going to end?

∼ ∼ ∼ § ∼ ∼ ∼

If any of you plan to watch it—and I highly recommend you do—then I won’t give too many spoilers. But there were two segments I found deeply profound, spiritual in the sense that had one been there, in those days and nights, by early Sunday you would have known beyond any doubt… you were part of something incredibly monumental, uplifting, and proof of what a half-million or so decent men, women, young boys and girls, and children, toddlers and babies, were all capable of doing, having received, and gave, helping… because it was just the decent thing to do. All these human virtues were undeniable, unavoidable as told by every person there.

When Jimi Hendrix came on stage Monday, (calm down Arkenaten!) toward the end of his set, he played The Star-Spangled Banner, a once-in-a-lifetime version of the national anthem. Spectators said it was an artform beyond verbal description. Hendrix had added his styled sound-effects dispersed throughout the anthem, like ‘rockets and bombs bursting in air.‘ Many fans picked up on his guitar-violence, death and carnage of war, the Vietnam War, and broke down in tears. The thousands there had lost dear ones, family members, brothers, husbands over there in the jungles and rice-fields. Other fans were speechless for several minutes after he finished, frozen in their postures their mouths gawked by what they just heard, felt, and witnessed.

Jimi’s encore song was Hey Joe. Perhaps one of his greatest songs ever.

As the end of the festival was drawing near, much of the crowd wanted to see/meet and hear from the owner of the farm and land they were on:  Mr. Max B. Yasgur. He was politically Conservative and had had serious reservations about what he had approved and more so when he saw how so much bigger and challenging the event became in just the first day! In the end, even he was astonished:

Today, in our current state of affairs in the 21st century, I would have been dumb-founded by what happened and more… by what did not happen! I would’ve been speechless given those 1969 events and what happened between July 28th and August 4th, 2019… and too many other times since 1966 on the campus of the University of Texas, Austin. Amazed would be an insane understatement.

Woodstock 1969 showed me that even during one of our nation’s most turbulent, bloody, violent two decades in the Cold War, the 1960’s and several major assassinations of peacemakers—John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr, and Robert Kennedy—that about 400,000 to 500,000 “people” (labelled derogatorily Hippies by pompous Conservatives) CAN INDEED conduct themselves exemplary over 3-days and 3-nights crammed onto one little farm to share music, fun, love, drugs (of course), and peace—only one accidental death during the 3½ days—and exhibit kindness to total strangers.

Yes, humanity’s best is absolutely possible! Half-a-million people packed into a few acres, outdoors, with security/police named “Po-lease” (i.e. hospitality) not legitimate police officers, and so potentially volatile to panic and countless other possible flash-points, proved it does happen, and ended instead with no violence whatsoever. Better yet, no serious problems to the chagrin of Conservatives who prior wanted to shut down the festival or were hoping it would have horrible injuries and fatalities! That is what they had warned to newspapers and TV reporters.

What really moved me was that when natural weather-forces moved-in coupled with the opposition of bigoted, arrogant, slandering Conservatives labeling the event a pending or complete disaster and certain subsequent humanitarian rescue… the Hippies of Flower-power, cannibus, and LSD helped each other for FREE! They worked together, volunteered to resolve many arising problems! Apparently it was contagious. The tiny town of Bethel’s residents pitched in to provide food for all the festival-goers! Are you FREAKIN’ KIDDING ME!!!?

People… WordPress readers… THAT is what an intelligent species does full of compassion, unity, selflessness, understanding, and embracing pure HUMAN connection. You don’t even have to belong to any nation, any charity, any political party. It’s JUST. NOT. THAT. COMPLICATED.

What a spectacle. What an epiphany those four days must have been… intimately amongst 400,000+ others you had not known before that Friday! Wow. My hope in and for humanity, decent caring people—if any Woodstock-goers would’ve ever been called that by 60’s ultra-Conservative Americans—but human beings being very human, were part of something bigger than self, glad to help each other while having fun openly, loving freely, dancing, smiling and never once considered gun-shots to be a fix, ever. YES… my belief in humanity’s finest virtues were restored, are restored. At least from Hippies in 1969 they are.

However, I think there are some/many today equal to those good Woodstockers who were grossly stereotyped and wrongly judged as useless before anything started Aug. 15, 1969. Because there are many of us today, many decent people like them in 1969, who know violent-hate or verbal-hate can be stopped and will not be tolerated, ever. Let’s not forget we have many, thousands, millions who know what the right thing to be, say, and do is really about, what it actually looks like, sounds like, and behaves like… for anyone from anywhere on this beautiful planet.

————

Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always — Stop Stereotyping & Hating

Creative Commons License
This work by Professor Taboo is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at www.professortaboo.com/contact-me/.

Can Hatred Be Eradicated?

This post was inspired by a 3-day trip I recently took to family in a tiny, rural town in central Texas.  Over the course of two evenings we had some energized political and social discussions regarding the United States, both past and present, and our nation’s “current health” or standing in the world.

It seemed our energized discussions and some debates were inevitable (at least for us outspoken ones) given that most of the headline news was and has been the ongoing 2020 Democratic debates by TWENTY-SEVEN Presidential candidates. Our heated debates were further fueled by the fact that the current POTUS spends more time on Twitter than he does matters of State or his marriage. Plus, out of six adults, I was the only Independent and anti-Trump voice in the room.

One single subject of many argued, or in the case of the four ultra-Republicans in the room rallied around, was America’s world image of strength, power, and dominance—in the form of Biggest Brother (Bully?) on the block. It was begun by one man’s example of the U.S. buying and building the Panama Canal, ‘a feat of marvel and American power, wealth, and supreme engineering for the benefit of all humanity.’ When they paused to breathe, I asked him and his excited party-proponents “Did that include the Panamanians too and their well-being and future?” There was a long pause of silence and puzzled expressions.

None of them had any significant, factual, historical knowledge of Panama and Central America prior to 1903. And there was as much naivety about post-1914 Panama and the context surrounding the Hay–Bunau-Varilla Treaty up to and including the Torrijos–Carter Treaties of 1977. They only learned and/or read in American school books or American news articles what agreed with them. When I briefly elaborated on the 1977 treaties involving Democrat President Carter, several of the men pounced on his presidency in hateful ways. I could no longer get a word in they became so incensed. It was as if I was watching them spray high-octane propellant onto each other as my Mom had to leave the room. She was the only patient, peaceful, understanding Moderate in the room, though completely drowned out.

I can never seem to be less amazed, shocked, and disturbed about how very, very little historical context our generation of Americans, born from say 1930 to say 1970—that is FULL historical context from all perspectives!—they actually possessed. They have essentially ONE, personally fed to them chosen lens they viewed history and current events (both of which are inseparable!) to formulate their unyielding, uncompromising lifetime posture. The tiny perspectives are colossally astounding!

Since it is impossible to post about all the subjects we argued and discussed, I’m picking this single, multi-faceted subject we argued:  Punishments. Over the last many decades and centuries the precedence of punishment for Hate-Crimes, War-Crimes, Heinous Crimes/Massacres, and Genocides have been foolishly and inconsistently set on an ever increasing global jurisdiction of law.

∼ ∼ ∼ § ∼ ∼ ∼

There’s one way, out of a few, to determine whether or not you are to some large or small degree a racist, or bigot, elitist, xenophobe, partisan, antagonist, hero or villain, segregist, war-criminal or misanthropist. But not now. I will share a reliable litmus test at the end of this post.

Is extreme human rage and hatred genetic, hereditary? Or is misanthropy taught and learned over time? If the latter, then it can be untaught, unlearned… or so the logic goes. For humanity’s last 3-4 millenia, or I should say MAN’S (the male gender’s) last several millenia, what have we learned about hatred that becomes mass genocide, gendercide, infanticide, pedicide or familicide, etc? Why does it continue? As the dominate species on the planet, do we perpetuate heinous acts of slaughter toward strangers and opponents?

Our behavior in the ancient past is a list of human hate-to-carnage on enormous scales and they are far too numerous to recount in this blog-post. But four of them are well-known among historians:  the Assyrians in northern Mesopotamia, the Greeks at Melos, the Israelites against the Midianites near Elath, and the Romans at Carthage—about 150,000 people, all considered by many historians as the first full-blown genocides.

As far as body-counts, the human race’s nine largest verified genocides and heinous war crimes have been:

  1. Master Plan for the EastNazi Third Reich, 1941-1945, around 13-million plus.
  2. The HolodomorSoviet Union, 1932-1933, 7.5 million Ukrainians.
  3. European HolocaustNazi Third Reich, 1941-1945, 6-million Jews.
  4. Polish ExterminationsNazi Third Reich, 1939-1945, around 3-million Poles.
  5. Cambodian GenocideKhmer Rouge Regime, 1975-1979, about 3-million.
  6. Indonesian GenocideRepublic of Indonesia, 1965-1966, about 3-million.
  7. Bangladesh GenocidePakistan Islamic Military, 1971, some 3-million.
  8. Armenian GenocideOttoman Empire, 1915-1922, about 1.8-million Armenians.
  9. Kazakh GenocideSoviet Socialist Republic, 1931-1933, 1.75 million Kazakhs. Note: let it be known that the United States is historically part of other atrocities and war-crimes as well. Click here for truncated list.

At least five mass genocides and war-crimes have happened in our current 21st century, three of them are ongoing today in Myanmar, Sudan, and Syria-North Iraq. Clearly, the war to end all wars philosophy has not and is not working. Individuals, regimes, and governments are still using violence and slaughtering on industrial scales to resolve differences or take what they want. Why? There is a discernible pattern of this human psychology and behavior manifested over history. And after some 140,000 years of evolution, we humans are masters of repackaging, disguising, and justifying!

Stage I — Fanning the Flames of Paranoia

In all historical cases of human atrocities and crimes on incomprehensible scales, the individual ego is the categorical starting point. A person’s developed and learned stereotyping pathology: Me against Them is based not only in evolutionary tribalism, no matter if it is right or wrong, accurate or inaccurate, but it also flames fear and/or ignorance. If a person’s fears and ignorance are correctly identified and are similar or identical to that person’s primary home/community/region, then a person of charisma and cunning (Ego) can exploit those individual and group dynamics for personal and tribal gain.

One modern case-in-point of psychological, covert manipulation of populaces was the 2014-2018 scandal, downfall, and expiration of Cambridge Analytica in London. The tactic that clients of Cambridge Analytica (CA) utilized was the identification of an individual’s, then a group’s, followed by a community’s and region’s political hot-points—or fears and ignorance—based upon a comprehensive 70,000 to 100,000 data-points of one person without their consent or full knowledge (stolen). Then those individual’s data-sets were compared-contrasted to other individuals (near and far) in geopolitical data-sets. These colossal data-sets were compiled on millions and billions of electronic-connected people by CA Ltd, sorted, and handed over to CA’s multi-million dollar clients, who then turned around and targeted individuals, groups, and organizations with weaponized propaganda. This fraudulently flamed people’s natural and learned Me versus Them paranoia. It systematically perverted and distorted political facts and blatantly undermined and vandalized once protected mechanisms of democracy. This is why Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg were deservedly slapped with an unprecedented $5-billion dollar fine by the Federal Trade Commission. The one word reason? Accessory. Or more precisely, Passive Accessory.

Need a prime example of passive accessory?

Stage II — Feeding Depraved Indifference
Oskar-Groening-circa-1941

Oskar Gröning c. 1941

The 93-year old Prussian-born man Oskar Gröning, willingly joined the Schutzstaffel or SS of Nazi Germany in 1940. He was legally charged in Germany 70-years later as an accessory to murders he allowed and was complicit in the summer of 1944 while stationed at Auschwitz. His 2014 indictment and 2015 sentencing was ground breaking for international as well as German law, to say the least.

Of course, in all cases of lifelong imprisonments, or death sentences, and cases of national and/or global reach, let alone the sensational accounts of Holocaust events, there was very heated debate and controversy to the purpose of imprisoning a 94-year old geriatric person with significant health concerns. But Oskar Gröning was not your typical SS soldier. He was an accountant who also confiscated Jewish materials and wealth for his Nazi regime despite never using his own hands to murder anyone.

Therefore, in a bigger general sense, Oskar Gröning was a victim of mob-fueled volatile influence and taught (forced into?) depraved indifference as a teenager and young adult. But the desensitization grows like aggressive cancer. He  willingly and knowingly perpetuated and passed on, or enabled more depraved indifference upon others. Sadly and more horrifying was this passivity, theft, and lethal application was allowed and implemented upon small children, toddlers, and infants. In his case, on at least 300,000 lives while stationed at Auschwitz. That was only within two months time, 16 May 1942 to 11 July 1942!

One particular example Gröning cited himself was watching an SS Guard on the off-load ramp to the line of train-cars snatch by the leg a crying baby from the mother’s arms and like swinging a baseball bat slammed its body and head against a half-ton truck until the infant stopped crying… dead, blood (and matter) splattered everywhere. Gröning’s words, rather calm words actually.

Gröning went on to say matter-of-factly ‘that it would’ve been more humane to shoot both the baby and mother at close-range, quickly killing them with one bullet. That’s how I would’ve done it’ he explained. It was the 20th century.

Why is this window of time and human behavior so critical to learn from? Were not the Nuremberg Trials sufficient, the final verdict to stop forever these types of extreme barbarity? Read on.

Stage III — Establish Fear of Consequences Against Doubters

To keep strict total control of the masses, or a dictator’s followers or minions, or say an individual supreme leader, President, King, Caliph/Grand Mufti, Pope, or cult of personality, establishing an extreme fear of brutal consequences upon followers who doubt or question that supreme individual’s authority is an age old repeated tactic dating back at least 4,000 years, likely much more. The tactic has been repackaged, renamed, and disguised an infinite amount of times and ways throughout humankind’s history.

The degrees of consequences or punishment against dissenters, doubters, skeptics, traitors, etc, have varied as well, but with the same goals achieved upon the masses:  assimilation, Monism, and total obedience. Those too have also been repackaged, redefined, and disguised repeatedly throughout humanity’s history. There are three types I personally think are the best examples of total control by extreme fear and consequences. This can also be termed forced assimilation or coerced assimilation and they come in many guises. I will list only three.

  1. Ethnic assimilation — this is often nationalism, or hyper-patriotism on steroids. If a majority of a population seek strictly a homogeneous identity—not pluralism or diversity, i.e. one race, one religion, one language, and one culture/tradition—and are willing and very aggressive to achieve and protect (spread?) this ideology at all costs, that is forced ethnic assimilation. Almost the entire 19th and 20th-centuries are littered with forced ethnic assimilation:  Imperial Japan (Ryukyuans), Nazi Germany of course, Soviet Russia (South Ossentia-Georgia), and the United States (Native American Indians) have histories of forced ethnic assimilation.
  2. Political assimilation — this typically happens with refugees or immigrants expelled from their native lands for various political reasons, primarily because they are simply minorities there with little-to-no voice, economic, or political clout. When they arrive in their new country, by their 2nd generation the same conditions and sociopolitical treatment back in their homeland then gains momentum in their new country. Example? Jim Crow laws—today repackaged and covertly disguised in the private and public sectors for many new minorities. One such political assimilation today are our At-Will labor laws. Should a wrongful termination law-suit be filed, guess who has the financial clout/leverage to drag the law-suit out and/or make it financially unfeasible to finish? The single ex-employee or the business/corporation?
  3. Religious assimilation — forced conversion of minorities to a state or majority belief-system, or its opposite secularization, has been part of humanity’s behavior and historical record since well before the 3rd millennium BCE. The forced assimilations of Jews from ancient Syro-Palestine to Europe are very well known. Typically and gradually this is done by restricting the minorities (or perceived threats/enemies) from social, economic, educational, and political access or participation, i.e. more and more isolation. Example? Several years ago I applied for a teaching position at a private, Christian Liberal Arts college, but was denied a final interview and hiring because of my personal Humanist Freethinking beliefs. Although the college could’ve easily fabricated a legit state-federal explanation to any investigating authorities, I was completely qualified for the position… with the exception of my own personal, non-Christian off-campus world-view. It wasn’t forced religious assimilation at that point, but if educator jobs were near impossible to land in a majority (overwhelmingly?) Christian-Fundamental nation, they certainly would’ve progressed toward that end. The same scenarios take place in many radical Islamic regions. There is no difference.
Stage IV — Turning Decent People into Slaughter Machines

Tip:  Be careful when you assert that this slaughtering behavior happens only to others, but never to yourself when thrown into mob-herd violence and pandemonium or when there is no escape from the system, the machine. You probably do not know yourself enough when exposed daily to extreme duress and fear for an extended period of time; months, years, most of your life. One doesn’t know with any certainty what it is like to walk in someone else’s shoes for 1,000 or 5,000 miles until they actually do it. History has shown time and again humans are quiet capable of the most horrific acts. It happens even to the best of people.

That said, thankfully modern scientists, cognitive neurologists, counselors, embryologists, pathologists, geneticists, psychologists, paleoanthropologists, historians, et al, are discovering every year that we can now recognize the early signs/symptoms of an impending Slaughter Cult and their leaders. Since at least the Nuremberg Trials and the recent formation of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Netherlands, humanity as a general whole is on its way to further establishing accountability for behavior and enforcement against any national leaders and their members/military for crimes against humanity, including massacres and genocides. However, there is still much to be changed, done, and collectively fought for and defended.

Most people today may be unaware that most/many of the judges at the Nuremberg Trials were German-Nazi sympathizers. This was the reason why so many Nazi war criminals received, in world-opinion, light sentences and punishments or were never pursued. Without realizing it the Allies, reformed Germans, and perhaps the rest of the interested world set a precedence for future war-criminals. This precedence of getting away with it and the historical fact that other later tribunals or international courts followed suit, thus creating (though in slightly reduced occurrences) our perpetual genocides and crimes against humanity still happening to this day and since the European Holocaust. Yes, progress has been made in little steps, but they have not eradicated genocides and wide-spread misanthropy.

What is perhaps alarming (disturbing?) to most/some proud, patriotic Americans is the fact that the United States government endorses and helps enforce the ICC trials and decisions on foreign leaders and nations, BUT does not allow the ICC (or any nation) to bring the U.S. or U.S. leaders to trial for any crimes against humanity (100-years ago, 70-years ago, during Vietnam, Afghanistan, or Iraq, or last year), let alone be convicted. Here once again, precedence is set for radical exceptions, if it can be called that! Russia has made the same self-proclaimed exemption. Therefore, this implicitly tells the world there ARE INDEED people and nations above laws for humanity. With that precedence set since post-1945, then yes, even decent Americans can be made into slaughter-machines if they follow their Leader(s) wherever and however in all capacities, ala General Jacob H. Smith, Lt. Col. Oliver North, so on and so on. We can be made into obedient robots.

And this following 11-minute video sums up exactly how a once humane, kind, helpful, patient, tolerant, collaborative,  tactfully determined and compromising child, adolescent, person or group can be turned into the antithesis of those traits and into an indifferent, hateful, slaughtering machine by the same personality types:

A Precedence of Exoneration

Now we have an idea why the worst forms of hate, slaughter, and genocide of entire groups or populations are still happening in the 21st-century in several parts of the world. These cult of personalities still believe (as our current POTUS does) they are untouchable, above the laws, and even if caught will glide through the sentences given by a weak and disunited, non-unanimous international court. This explains why a man such as Oskar Gröning (above), who indifferently stated, ‘it would have been more decent and quick to just shoot the baby and mother at close-range with one bullet’ escaped any sort of justice for the remainder of his life. Accessory to complicit genocide behavior was exonerated, excused, acceptable in 1945. For the most part misanthropy, hate crimes, genocide on industrial scales are still exonerated in 2019.

So back to my initial question at the start, are you a racist, or bigot, elitist, xenophobe, partisan, antagonist, hero or villain, segregist, war-criminal or misanthropist? Can you become an accessory to any of those behaviors?

Who do you think you are? A hater or a lover? Fighter or Peace-maker? These questions can be answered by your own knowledge-base and breath of your first-hand experience. Just ask yourself, How large, how vast is my world-wide cultural library, past and present? How frequently do I add to it, revise it, and correct it? Is it a 10 x 10 x 8-foot unit/container or is it a multi-story Library of Congress, of Britain, of Canada, or Russia? Be honestly raw with yourself and I think you’ll have a more true answer.  🙂

————

Creative Commons License
This work by Professor Taboo is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at www.professortaboo.com/contact-me/.

Black Underworld Inc. – Conclusion

Since the 1900 U.S. Presidential campaign and election the Red, White, and Blue stars and stripes firmly became the offspring of the colonial Imperialist family of powerful nations that were Belgium, Great Britain, France, Denmark, Holland, Spain, Portugal, Russia, and Sweden. After the victory of the Spanish-American War (Part I) it cemented our ‘divine right to prosperity and exploitation‘ of weaker people and put us at the same carnivorous dinning table as the other nine juggernaut nations. With the Monroe Doctrine enforced and the Spanish colonies of the Philippines, Guam, and Puerto Rico acquired from a defeated Spain, hungry insatiable American mercantilism then set out to “civilize and industrialize” Central and South America for the next two centuries (Part II) with very minimal to no investment back into local infrastructure or economies of those Latino countries.

Two hundred years of exploiting Central, Caribbean, and South American resources without significant reinvestment into those cultures saw the U.S. father and nurture the current Pan-American immigration crisis (Part III) which in turn fathered and nurtured our illegal domestic Grey and Black Underworld markets done primarily by American business owners/contractors and corporations. These two underworld markets—the white-collar grey market and the criminal black market—have sprouted a most inhumane insidious 14-tentacle monster of which I examined briefly five specific, toxic, anti-social markets (Part IV). In this final fifth part, with thousands and millions of Latinos fleeing their homeland and the U.S. created immigration crisis in Central America, why would these legal and illegal Latinos want to risk their lives, enter, and work for shitty wages in the United States when here in the American nightmare (not dream) there is an obnoxious, rising, threatening socioeconomic inequality and homeless problem for those very people? Is this simply transference of crises from one spot to another?

History has shown repeatedly that these are the very sociopolitical conditions that set in motion civil unrest and revolution. Was it not ironically the exact same despair the Latinos are fleeing in their homelands and more ironically, unless you are a Native American descendant, what most of our own ancestors in the 18th and 19th century escaped from in Europe to start a better, freer life in the United States? Bizarre? History repeating itself? A classic Euro-Asian socioeconomic stratification simply redressed then brought across the Atlantic Ocean.

Primary Causes of America’s Homeless/Housing Problem

Through mechanisms such as scapegoat contracting by American business owners, suppression of state minimum compensatory wages, skyrocketing tuition for trade-school, under and post-grad degrees, the persistent climb of housing and rent, all stimulate a corporate grey market followed by the criminal black market. The latter two markets exploit the chronic desperation of the struggling bottom percent of society. From Bloomberg Businessweek:

A toxic combination of slow wage growth and skyrocketing rents has put housing out of reach for a greater number of people.

The reason the situation has gotten worse is simple enough to understand, even if it defies easy solution: A toxic combo of slow wage growth and skyrocketing rents has put housing out of reach for a greater number of people. According to Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored housing giant, the portion of rental units affordable to low earners plummeted 62 percent from 2010 to 2016.

Rising housing costs don’t predestine people to homelessness. But without the right interventions, the connection can become malignant.

President Ronald Reagan dubiously argued that homelessness was a lifestyle choice. By the mid-2000’s, though, the federal government was taking a more productive approach. George W. Bush’s administration pushed for a “housing first” model that prioritized getting people permanent shelter before helping them with drug addiction or mental illness. Barack Obama furthered the effort in his first term and, in 2010, vowed to end chronic and veteran homelessness in five years and child and family homelessness by 2020.

Rising housing costs are part of the reason some of those deadlines were missed. The Trump administration’s proposal to hike rents on people receiving federal housing vouchers, and require they work, would only make the goals more elusive. Demand for rental assistance has long outstripped supply, leading to years-long waits for people who want help. But even folks who are lucky enough to have vouchers are increasingly struggling to use them in hot housing markets. A survey by the Urban Institute this year found that more than three-quarters of L.A. landlords rejected tenants receiving rental assistance. […]

Then there’s the moral argument for action. “It’s outrageous to me that in a country with so much wealth—and certainly enough for everybody—that there are people who lack even the basics for survival,” says Maria Foscarinis, founder and executive director of the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty. […]

But efforts to build are often delayed or blocked by people who don’t want homeless or lower-income people nearby. A strong undercurrent of Nimbyism—motivated by fear of falling property values, ignorance, racism, or concern over crime—can get nasty. Opponents of proposed homeless shelters took to the streets to protest in Koreatown and spewed boos and catcalls at a town hall in the beach community of Venice. (emphasis mine)

The poignant article goes on to say that doing nothing isn’t doing nothing.” Doing nothing ends up costing everyone more money, more resources from law-enforcement, and drains an already strained, under-funded public mental-health and drug rehab system but continually feeds its (very profitable) prison system. Blaming those who are trying to get their feet back under themselves, back above water, is in fact the least productive way to solve the crisis. The fact that the U.S. is and has been the wealthiest, most capable nation on the planet to fix these 20, 50, or 100-year chronic socioeconomic problems is not just mind-boggling, but shamefully embarrassing.

Examining four indicators of U.S. income per capita, Kimberly Amadeo of TheBalance.com reports:

Fewer than 30 percent of American adults have more education than their parents. As a result, economic mobility has worsened.

According to Zillow.com’s home value/price index, as of May 14, 2019, the median home value/price was $226,700 for an average 2,687 sq ft home. This however, is not the listing price. And the majority of American home-building corporations, for some not-so-mysterious reasons, construct single family homes around 2,500 sq ft—it’s more safely profitable for them and their lending corporations. To determine what it is state-by-state go here.

The U.S. Census Bureau’s latest numbers for median income per capita can be found here, but nationally as of 2017 it is just below $32,000 per year for legal U.S. citizens. Most loan-financing/home mortgage lenders require that applicants for a 30-year house mortgage earn between $58,200 to $64,400 minimum gross household income annually. However, this amount and interest-rate (5%) reflect an applicant(s) near excellent credit score(s). A large percentage of lower middle-class and lower-class Americans that have been living paycheck to paycheck (approx. 70% – 79.3% of the population) do not have excellent or even above-average credit ratings for such decent mortgages. This leads us to renting costs in America.

According again to Zillow.com’s indices, the median list-price rent index as of March 2019 in the U.S. was $1,675 monthly, or for a 12-month lease $20,100 annually. But here’s the catch. Most all private-sector leasing-management corporations require the renter(s) to earn 2- or 3-times that rental amount in net wages. Therefore, $1,675 jumps to either $3,350 to $5,025 monthly, or $40,200 to $60,300 annually. If some renters are on the cusp of their leasing requirements, then housing managers demand a hefty upfront deposit which ends up disqualifying many/most applicants living paycheck to paycheck.

We are back to reality, our chronic homeless dilemma and crisis as the wealthiest nation in the world.

America’s Chronic Homeless Problem Provides More Exploitation

The 2018 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress provided by the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), reports that between 2016 and 2018 that instead of the downward trend since 2012, homeless and unsheltered numbers rose across the nation by 10% (p. 13, Exhibit 1.1). They are expected to continue rising under current unchanged socioeconomic and political conditions. However, this can be slowed or stopped in two to four years if changes are made in those same influencing factors, reversed and returned to pre-2016 trends in six years with significant changes.

2018_12_20_Forbes_Homeless_People

My hometown of Dallas, TX is not listed in these 10 worst cities, however, as the state’s largest metroplex and one of the nation’s largest metropolises it has its serious homeless problems too. Our Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance reports to-date Dallas and Collin Counties (the latter is one of the wealthiest counties in Texas) have risen by 9% since 2016 with a 16% increase in Emergency-Sheltered homelessness. As mentioned at the end of Part III, I have three personal stories to share from homeless individuals within 1-mile of my home.

Homeless-faces

Faces of our homeless

Three Dallas Voices of Homelessness

One of my first impressions after briefly speaking with these homeless, sometimes just loitering before moving down the street, is that homelessness is not represented by one gender or one particular race. That’s one false notion those far removed from the struggle have of these unfortunate situations. The other impression I found which wasn’t much of a surprise to me were their backgrounds and stories.

The majority I spoke with came from situations of unstable families while children and/or teenagers. With one man I spoke with he had been abandoned by his biological dad and step-mother at the age of thirteen. For all the others I spoke with their backgrounds were all too familiar. Drug abuse and dealing, alcohol use and abuse, and often the two dysfunctions were accompanied by physical and sexual abuse/assaults.

Every single person I spoke to with drug, alcohol, and sexual/physical abuse histories had indeed been in rehab treatment programs, several times, but without the financial means to even complete a 30-day, much less 60-day program, facilities could not keep them more than 10-12 days. Some could only detox for three days and had to be discharged. And those facilities are the state- and federal-supported programs, not the highly expensive private clinics and hospitals with adequately staffed premier doctors, nurses, and counselors. Regarding those nice private hospitals, one homeless gentleman told me those are the places and beds for the best insurance policies or rich parent’s kids. I knew exactly what he meant. Mom and myself dealt with the same difficulties and oddities with my own sister the last 40-years. Still do. My sister has been homeless and living on the streets many times in her life.

Ricki
Originally from Ardmore, a small town in Oklahoma, Ricki was about 30-35 and when we talked on a partly cloudy, sunny day she had left a downtown shelter that had been overcrowded and her bed was infested with bed-bugs. She showed me her waist and stomach covered in bites and welts. I asked her how long she’s been homeless, since I was 19. Did you finish school, I asked. No, because my momma was alcoholic, unmarried and I got tired of the abusive men that came and went. Ricki had moved out as a teenager with no high school diploma to escape one or two domestic problems to take her chances on different bigger problems. Her older sister had done the same about three years earlier than she and not faring any better. Her sister has been in and out of homeless shelters and alcohol-drug rehab houses in Little Rock, AR.

Ricki was also manic depressive and recently diagnosed (inside a low-cost county hospital) with Type 1 diabetes. Most of the time she can’t afford both meds, sometimes neither of them. Her combination of emotional and medical problems—most likely other secondary psychological issues I’m assuming too—meant one med without the other kept her in constant volatility with one or the other for all these years. This was my guess anyway. The low-wage jobs I was able to find and keep for a month or two, she explained the supervisor didn’t have any patience with my mistakes and knew nothing about mental-illness. This was one primary cause for Ricki’s chronic homelessness for 11-12 years.

When I asked her if there was one wish she could have granted for the next 6-12 months, what would it be? She answered, If they would just give us some place to go where we wouldn’t get run off every other night, or after a week or two, that would work for me to get on my feet. She had a point. If you have to keep worrying about your next meal(s) and where you will sleep for the night or next week, it makes it much more difficult to be reliable for a boss at a low-paying job. I thought it pointless, probably an insult to ask if she had means of transportation to get to and from a job.

Adam or “Addie”
Addie is a 34-year old male originally from Georgia, but recently from Mississippi, which was what struck up our first conversation. A military brat/kid, he moved around many times; four times before he was age twelve. In Mississippi was where the U.S. Marine Corp. recruiter talked him into enlisting, told him he would see the world and become a new man. During boot camp in San Diego, CA, Adam was smoking weed with other recruits, but he was the one busted and made the example to his recruit-class.

He moved back in with his dad in Mississippi, but being former military himself his dad soon kicked him out. I tried for a couple of months living with an aunt in Ohio, he shared but she had too many strict rules. Many friends-with-couches later and only a diploma, Addie eventually ended up in DFW, sometimes in a shelter, other times on the streets.

Everything has a long line at shelters that often takes an hour or two to stand in, and sometimes you don’t get what you wait for. Beds are often infested because they’re not regularly sanitized. Roaches everywhere getting into your stuff. The staff-workers have their favorites and don’t treat everyone equally. And temporary affordable housing for us takes a long, long time to obtain. Why? It’s non-existent or too expensive in DFW. I want to work, hold down a job, but it all seems like a Catch-22.

Bouts of alcoholism have crept into Adam’s hard times. When I saw him last he was considering drifting up toward Kansas City for the summer (cooler temps) if he was put off again or kept on the housing waiting list at two shelters a fifth time.

Walter

Walt inside the library

Walter
Walt is a former truck-rig driver from Ft. Worth, TX. He is about 47 – 50 years old, I’m guessing, and due to his high blood pressure from being severely overweight—he says from always being on the road/highway living in his rear cab for 330-days out of the year—lost his CDL (commercial driver’s license) because of those medical problems. In our conversation Walt exhibited several signs of depressive disorders so I asked if he has ever been seen by a psychologist or psychiatrist.

Yes. Once right after I got out of prison and then through my caseworker at the shelter. I asked him what they said. That I needed both counseling [psychotherapy] and regular anti-depressant meds for at least two years. Of course I asked how that was going. I can’t afford it after a week or two. Walter said it had been over a year since he has done any counseling or had meds. When I asked about family his entire affect changed. He started talking about his mother and father, in broken mumbled sentences, but then had to stop. He had no idea how they were or where they were—his mom disappeared when he was little. The last time Walt saw his dad was 1984 and of all places… Richardson, TX, just 10-minutes away.

I asked Walt that other than truck-driving, once he reacquired his CDL, has he been able to find work:

For the last two years I’ve been trying to get into a program for housing for the displaced. After you stand in line for your caseworker for hours, you are usually told it is pending or I’ve been told I don’t fit their requirements. At most shelters you must stand in line by 2:00pm to secure a bed. If you get to your caseworker by 4:30pm, you have much less time to walk everywhere seeking a low-wage job. But sometimes you have to choose between a bed for the night or a possible job you’ve already applied for months earlier. Because I don’t have semi-permanent housing I can’t clean-up and dress to look my best at any job interview. [he gave a half chuckle]

Though not all homeless cases are mental-illness related, America’s public mental-health, mental-illness infrastructure and operation is for the most part only one fragile cog in our nation’s dysfunctional three-cog public services. The second cog is our Homeless-to-Housing cog. It fluctuates greatly and is rarely the same from year-to-year or elections-to-elections. The third cog is thriving and over the last 2-3 decades has become profitably fatprisons.

US Social Services

Should you want to view the other 94 – 95 U.S. companies clearing profits from county and state corrections facility services, click here. The grossly disproportionate social needs wheel above begs the question, What is the real priority for American businesses and their government constituents? Then ask yourself why can’t housing projects, and state/county mental-health programs keep up with a noticeably smaller (yet fast growing) percentage of the population? Any bets whether you are back to the first question of priorities?

There is another alarming ripple-effect of the U.S. corporate grey market and black underworld/market destabilizing the nation’s struggling middle-class and sinking lower-class:  a falling life-expectancy. Neurosurgeon and Emmy-winning CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta, hosted a special HBO documentary called One Nation Under Stress and examined the reasons for the historic decline in life-expectancy inside the world’s wealthiest country who ironically has spent the most on healthcare by any developed nation around the globe.

If you are unable to watch or stream the HBO documentary, here is a 25-min overview of Dr. Gupta’s findings. He reveals the multiple causes all pointing to one single epidemic:  the chronic, prolonged levels of abnormal stress. I highly recommend watching this documentary and sharing it with family and friends. If you don’t have anyone close suffering from long-term stress and its many side effects, then watch it as an introductory briefing so you might recognize the many symptoms and one day help a stranger or acquaintance.

∼ ∼ ∼ § ∼ ∼ ∼

Now that this five part series is concluded and covered the entire historical spectrum from 1900 across the North, Central, South Americas and Caribbean, to recent and present-day criminal and corrupt back-office, domestic businesses, to the end product of an ill, decaying middle and lower socioeconomic class in the U.S., share your thoughts or questions below. I hope this series and the discussions will cause you to ask yourself, What more can I do? Then inspire to act.

———

Creative Commons License
Blog content with this logo by Professor Taboo is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://professortaboo.com/contact-me/.