Homeless DC

So aside from all the Washington, D.C. weighty monuments to our esteemed values of democracy, freedom, and human rights.


And aside from all the prestigious institutions and people of great power that formulate the policies and rules and keep us abiding by them. 

This is what I see in D.C. 


The plight of the poor, homeless, and downtrodden. 


Those that have fallen by the wayside.


People who are down on their luck.


Human beings–that’s right human beings–that need and deserve help or even just a chance.


Why does anyone have to live–if you can even call this living–like this a couple of blocks from the White House. 


I know there are people all over the world who are hungry, homeless, sick, and abused.


Yet, nowhere is this more stark an example than in the U.S.A where there is such an enormous divergence between “the haves” and “the have nots” and where our values are supposedly bound up with equality, human rights, charity, and kindness.


Yes, we are supposed to be equal in treatment and in opportunity, but we all know that is not really the case. 


Sure, some work hard and others are perhaps lucky/blessed, but then are those that are born with a “silver spoon in their mouths” and excel through a tight weave of corruption, narcissism, nepotism, and abuse.


Yet a real chance for everyone, a living wage, and basic dignity and respect should be afforded to all.


Money and power is ephemeral.  


Those with it, that abuse it, shall see it pass between their fingers ever trying to clutch unto it with dear life. 


Only the way we treat others will last in this world and in the world after. 


Everything goes around and comes around. 


This is the cycle of life and the lot of those who abuse their good fortune as well as those that harness it. 


G-d will judge with His mighty hand and bring to bear the deeds and intentions of those that mock His holy will. 


Because His children lay in rags and heaps, while others dance their folly jig. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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They Really Think They Deserve It

Sometimes I come across people with enormous wealth and power. 


Many wield it like they own it and deserve it. 


I wonder sometimes with billions of other people in the world without adequate food, water, plumbing, medicine, or a solid roof over the heads, how the mighty can think they are above it all. 


Do they look around–do they see anyone else but themselves?


They seem drunk with themselves and what they have–and very overconfident.


Worshipping self and all the honor and materialistic success–they forget where it comes from and what they are supposed to be doing with it to help others. 


Yet, G-d and His angels can strike in but a split second. 


Those that are high and mighty can be brought low and those that are in the depths of despair can be uplifted. 


But at the will of G-d Almighty.


At the top, people may erroneously think and come to believe that they are smarter or more deserving–and so what’s theirs is theirs for the taking and keeping. 


They think “To hell” with everyone else–they are the little people. 


Perhaps, they even come to enjoy squashing them underfoot.


They really believe and savor the power and even think it’s forever. 


Yet the wheel of life turns and often abruptly–illness, accidents, misfortune…it comes seemingly from nowhere when G-d breaths justice. 


How silly of the powerful and wealthy to think they are the untouchable and the forever mighty. 


G-d sees the good and the bad in the people–and ultimately, there is no escape from the King of Kings. 


Wealth and power are earthly and fleeting, but the will of G-d is all that endures. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Some People Got Money

rolls-roycesticker

So we’re in the mall, and right when you walk through the doors is a car in the entrance hall. 


This one is a lovely two-tone 2016 Rolls Royce. 


At just a measly $384,025!


Honestly, the car looked awesome. 


This was no Hyundai or Yugo.


The thing looked like a tank of art on wheels. 


What is amazing is that such an expensive car is on display in the mall…I mean who is the demographic they are trying to appeal to for this?


Well maybe it’s not that bad, since another sign advertises a lease option for just $3,469 per month plus tax for 48 months with $30,000 due at signing…so that still runs you over $50K per year to drive this thing. 


Well I guess if you earnings millions, what’s the big deal anyway!


And out of curiosity, as of 2009, almost a quarter million IRS filings (people and households) show earning of that much or more…nice for them, huh. 😉


(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)

Exceptions To Every Rule

stock-and-pillory

Fair or not, some of us have to live by the rules and others do not. 


As in all history, we have a class society–there are:


– The kings and the commoners. 


– The lords and the vassals and serfs. 


– The elites and the commoners. 


– The majority and the minorities. 


– The rich and the poor. 


– The haves and the have nots.


Or any other number of variations of this.


Recently, with Hillary Clinton and her multitude of scandals, there was some shock that even in modern-day America, she was able to get off scot-free.


And in this great democracy of ours, it was understood to shut up, or else, for not toeing the line. 


The message to everyone was clear: while “the little guy” is made to pay the price for mediocrity, there are some people that will always be above the law!


It was funny-sad, because we don’t want to believe that anyone can really escape from justice–that it can be beaten–although at times, we just have to acknowledge that justice may have to wait and come in the next world from the true Master of All. 


Today, coming out of my building, a dog from a neighbor started jumping (playfully) on my leg and barking–it was sort of hard to get out of there. 


The problem with this scenario was that my building doesn’t allow dogs.  


So out of curiosity, I stopped someone in the building and asked innocently, “I thought dogs are prohibited in this building?”


“Oh yes.” they answer, but seeing this lady with the active dog, they continue, “That lady has an exception from the board!”


We sort of all looked at each other, because this was not a service dog or anything like that, and it obviously seemed unfair that for her there was one set of rules, and for everyone else, another. 


Yes, there is an exception to every rule…some people can basically do what they want by virtue of their power and money or by who or what they know (i.e. can anyone say lots of skeletons in the closets).  


So while the little guy gets locked in stocks and pillories and the key thrown away for maybe the littlest of misdeeds, others are the exception to the rule–and may even become the Commander In Chief.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Sh*t Rolls Downhill

Sewer.jpeg

Just ten months ago was the gigantic Vale and BHP Billiton dam collapse disaster in Brazil.

Enough iron-ore mine waste rolled downhill to fill the Dallas Cowboys’ Stadium more than 11 times–the waste destroyed villages, killed 19 people, and polluted 400 miles of waterways.

But of course, when the report came out this week, all was supposed to be okay, because that’s what insurance and obfuscation about what would be done differently to protect people in the future is all about.

Then yesterday, I stopped by some workmen. 

One was at the top of this hole, and the other was underneath.

Underground, the guy is standing in the muddy water and installing a new meter. 

I talked with the guy above ground about how hard it must be too work in these conditions. 

I asked if there were rats down there, and he said “generally no, because it’s sealed off.”

Yet, it was obvious how tough these jobs are, where people have to get down into the dirty and do the jobs that others don’t even want to think about. 

Further on this, I contemplated how in all jobs and things in life, as they say, “The sh*t rolls downhill!”

Meaning basically that we are still living in a class society, with the elites and everyone else, where the top 1% own as much as the other 99%, and the drudgery of life gets relegated down to the lower-rung masses. 

The lower the rung, the deeper the crap you end up working in and doing for others, and on top of it, getting blamed for whatever goes wrong.

The elites hold the power and can do no wrong, and the mediocrity or impoverished can basically do little or no right–that’s why they presumably are where they are–they deserve it (or so we are led/forced to believe)!

On the TV, I heard on the news, one elite defending the corruption of another senior official, saying they did nothing wrong–even though the evidence has already shown they have and moreover, again and again. 

There is no truth to be found in the world of the elites–they wish and will do whatever it takes–lie, steal, collude, and even kill–to remain the powerful, the rich, the honored, and the noble. 

The rest dig the holes and can bury themselves in it for all the elite are concerned–they stand at the top and the sh*t rolls mightily downhill from there. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Poverty Is An Illness

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Poverty is not just a phenomenon of poor, homeless and hungry people. 

It is a social and economic epidemic, and here are some sobering statistics:

– “Nearly 1/2 of the world’s population–more than 3 billion people–live on less than $2.50 a day.”

– More than 1.3 billion people live in extreme poverty–less than $1.25 a day.”

– “1 Billion children worldwide are living in poverty…and 165 million children under the age of 5 were stunted…due to malnutrition.”

– “1/4 of all humans live without electricity.”

– “80% of the world population lives on less than $10 a day.”

Those empty stomachs, battered roofs, and tattered clothes are leaving indelible marks on so many impoverished people, yet many at the other end of the spectrum are living so high and mighty…it’s a crazy contrast that fails to make any sense. 

Passing by the stronghold buildings of the World Bank in Washington, D.C., I found these striking “End Poverty” t-shirts that they had in their storefront–although I couldn’t help think how far removed this place was from this sorry state of global poverty and chaotic and violent world affairs. 

We are living in an incredible bubble, and while I often hear how grateful people are to be here and have “all this,” somehow I just don’t think we fully get it what’s going on out there! 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

In Every World, The Haves And Have Nots

Haves And Have Nots

So no matter the time nor the society and their particular philosophical, economical, and social creed, there are ALWAYS the haves and the have nots. 


You have your upper caste and lower caste, your rich and poor, your religious elites and laypersons, your Harvard-educated and community college grads, your executive suite and your day laborers, you masters and your slaves, your ruling elite and your plebeians, your hunter and hunted, your VIPs and your Joe Shmoes.


In India, you still have an extensive caste system even today.  In Russia, you have the KGB, the Politburo, and the Oligarchs. In China, you have the Communist Party, the Military elite, and the venture capitalists/billionaires. In Europe, you still have The Queen and vestiges of the old guard monarchies, although gone are the Feudal lords and serfs, instead replaced by the Church and successful business and political elite. In America, ah…money and political power make the country go round. 


Last evening, I watched the movie, Elysium, taking place in a dsytopian future where the Earth has become overpopulated, polluted, and sick, but the elite are riding high on a large circling space habitat called Elysium, where everyone lives in a mansion with pool and lush grounds, eats exquisitely, and has the finest healthcare in machines that can cure everything from lymphoma to do full facial reconstruction in a matter of seconds. 


Whether in the future or the past, the only difference between the haves and have nots is how much the haves have, and how little have nots have not.


Is this societal makeup preordained or is their a way that we can raise the standard of living for everyone AND make it more equitable (unless you consider it necessary for Bill Gates to have $80,000,0000,000 and the homeless person on the street not a dime in his pocket)?


Over and over again, I read how the disparity between rich and poor, powerful and powerless, becomes ever more pronounced:  

– Now for example, CEOs generally earn 331 times (yeah last year it was 354) the amount average workers do and 774 times as much as minimum wage earners!

– Studies that show that Presidential and executive powers continue to expand with eleven reasons why.

– And the richest 1% will soon own more than the rest of the world.


In Elysium, after a lot of sci-fi thriller action and fighting, the protagonist manages to make EVERYONE a citizen of Elysium, so they can all partake of the largess, and at the end the med ships arrive to cure all the sick. 


That’s the movies, but in real life, maybe we will see this only when the Messiah comes or there is a complete shift in the way we think and treat each other. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)