Making a List

 

  I ran into someone who asked me why I picked on the editor of the Warren Tribune, WKBN’s Dan Rivers and the cast of the “Traci and Friends” radio show so much? I have said many times that my main goal is a better world for my children. To get that better world we have to remember the saying, “If you want a better world start with your own backyard.” That is what I am doing by pointing out the constant lies by people in our local media. These local media liars manipulate those in our community and hinder real and necessary change.  I won’t apologize or ease up on these media hacks until they become part of the solution instead of the problem.

  That being said let me start with the area buffoon of the week award. That award goes to Stick’s one of the cast of liars over at WSOM’s radio talk show “Tracey and Friends.” The other day Stick’s said, “The poor in our country have it a lot better off than the poor in other countries.” I’m singling Sticks out but all the “Friends” have said this at one time or another. The “Friends” are just that part of the middle-class that can be expected to say such things because they are defenders of the wealthy. Such people are called, conservatives and do the dirty work and bidding of the rich powers that be. Some of these conservatives are editors and radio show hosts and pick up paychecks to bash the poor and defend the wealthy. These people in the media call the wealthy a new name, “job creators.” Never mind that these “job creators” get corporate welfare from taxpayers and mostly create jobs in China.

  Mother Theresa said, “It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving” and “Give, but give until it hurts.”  Should we do something of a Christian nature like Mother Theresa suggested?  Instead we could use Stick’s logic and save money. I’ll think about that the next time I park at the Covelli Center and a homeless man wonders out from under the bridge. When he asks if I can spare some change I’ll have a new answer for him. I’ll say something that will bring him more joy than any amount of money I can give him. I’ll tell him, “You might be poor and homeless but you have it better off than the poor and homeless in other countries.” I’m sure he’ll feel so blessed he will run back under the bridge to share this joyous message with the other homeless. It seems like a cold, callous, cheap and soulless thing to say to me. Then again maybe I’m wrong as the crew at “Tracey and Friends” like to claim they are “real Christians” doing the work of God. I guess we have a different God and Bible. My Bible doesn’t have all the gay bashing in it that their Bible does. I guess I have that liberal Bible version where Jesus said many things about helping the poor such as the short and sweet,  “Proverb 22: “Happy is the generous man, the one who feeds the poor.”

  Conservatives love to portray the poor as a bunch of leeches getting welfare and living large off our tax dollars. These same conservatives will never mention corporate welfare that goes to the greedy and not the needy. Social welfare is such a tiny part of the budget it is not worth talking about. What is more interesting is asking how the poor get by (even with social safety nets). I would have to say without Mrs. E working that on my wages I would easily be considered poor. With the both of us working it still seems hard to get by every month. We certainly don’t live large at all and when you get older like us you realize you can do without a lot of things. What we can’t do without are the constant monthly unexpected expenses to fix our home and automobiles.

  We have two cars that we bought used, one is 7 years old and the one I drive is 13 years old. Our house is fairly small and over 50 years old. With an old home and old cars problems constantly pop up. These bills to maintain and insure cars and a house really limit us from putting much money away for retirement. Add to that loans we are paying off for our two kids college education. My father didn’t retire until he was 82. I am convinced and accepting of the fact I will be in the same boat if I live that long. I have an acre to mow and my 17-year-old riding mower had the transmission die last year. To get it fixed was going to cost more than I purchased the mower for. The last several years I kept the mower running by jerry-rigging it with baling wire and duct tape. I’m sure that is probably what poor people do also and it wasn’t really a safe thing to do. We really had to shuffle some expenses and shop very wisely to get a new mower.

  A few months ago I had to put all new tires on both cars as they were getting thread bare and dangerous to drive on. Have you priced these size 16 and 17 inch tires? I paid more for tires than I use to pay for a decent used car. It made me wonder how bad are the tires on poor people’s cars and how could they afford new ones. I see ads on Craig’s List for used tires for sale and I guess that is the answer. Mrs. E is terrified of driving in the rain and I can’t imagine how nervous she’d be driving on used tires. A few months back I had to get brakes put on both cars in the same month. Do you ever think about how poor people can’t afford to maintain their car’s tires, brakes and suspensions? Did you ever think about how their not being able to afford those things puts all of us on the highways in danger? Do you think poor people have money to pay for car insurance?

  None of the electric windows on my 13-year-old car have been able to go down for over a year now. We do what a lot of people do we put it on the list of things that need repaired when we have the money. It was certainly on the bottom of the list in the winter but now that it’s summer I think having windows that open should move up the repair list. I’d say especially since the electric sunroof won’t open and the air conditioning barely works. I’m not very mechanical but I can MacGyver up some temporary fixes which unfortunately have to last longer than they should. The rubber around my car door is ripped and the wind was howling in. I tried to buy a new seal but the only thing available was a kit for all four doors that was in the hundreds of dollars. I couldn’t afford that so I got out the liquid rubber and super glue and made my own section of seal.

  A few months ago I was driving to work and my brakes went out on me as I was going down a steep hill. I had to use my emergency brake, some prayers and downshift the transmission to stop. I knew the brakes were recently new but I remembered that the mechanic who installed them told me my brake lines were really rusty. I had budgeted for the brakes but had no extra money to pay for new brake lines at that time. I now realized that was coming back to haunt me as I drove about two-miles and left the car at a brake shop and got a ride to work. The shop repaired the line that rusted through and the lines to the other three wheels. It was a couple of hundred dollars and I was lucky I had a charge card. We have a charge card which we only use in times of emergency. I contemplate how many poor people have or can even qualify for charge cards and wonder what they do in times of emergency. If I was poor I would have had another solution to a rusty brake line. I would have looked to see which brake line was leaking brake fluid and pinched it closed with a pair of pliers and drove just having the other three brakes working. It would have been my only solution and how risky is that for me and everyone else on the road?

  Then there are all the problems people have with their homes. This month I had squirrels in my fireplace staring at me. I had to spend $450 to get caps and screens installed on my chimney. I had to spend another $150 to capture and relocate the squirrels. It was either that or let squirrels stay in my house and eat the wiring and possibly cause a fire. During the winter it was over $1,000 for a new furnace motor.  Last summer was $6,000 to shingle my roof and another $1,000 for windows as I had water coming in around them. If I didn’t fix the windows and roof I was looking at getting mold in my house. My kitchen is the original 50 year-old one, I need cabinets, carpet, doors, flooring, siding, a new drive, gutters, plumbing updates, a new electrical box and my basement is leaking. Those are just the things I know about and who knows what monthly surprises I will face. Last month I spent two days trying to unclog a garbage disposal before I paid a plumber to come. I’m stuck with this house as I could never afford to get this place in proper shape to sell. Like most other Americans the high price of gasoline has really cut into our paychecks. I’d love to own a hybrid car that gets three-times the mileage on a gallon of gas that our old beaters get. A new car is so far down our list of things we need that it would have to jump up to even see the bottom.

  I really hate having to spend my retirement funds just to maintain an old house and two old cars. What must the poor feel like to have to live with many of the problems we can at least pay for? Our poorest workers on minimum wage have the corporate owned media attack them any time they mention raising the minimum wage. The IUE union workers at Delphi in the past voted for a second tier of workers making less money. On their next contract the workers voted for a third tier. The UAW has now gone along with auto corporations and approved a second tier making half as much as the first tier at auto plants. You’ve heard it said that our kids probably won’t have it as good as we did. When our workers and unions vote to allow the next generation of workers to be paid less and have less benefits it’s easy to see we have met the enemy and he is us. Did workers on these fist tiers think people making less on second and third tiers would pay any less than them for rent, gasoline, utilities, cars, groceries or on surprise expenses that pop up every month? These tiers should actually be spelled, “tears” because that is what they are for the younger generation of workers.

  I’ve heard people complain that people on welfare seem to dress very well.  I guess people would be happier to see the poor dirty and in rags. I had someone I know who is poor and frequently homeless tell me he goes to thrift stores for all his clothes. He looked very presentable the last time I saw him and said he had spent less than $10.00 total on the shirt, pants and shoes he was wearing. I believe him because I have been thrift store shopping myself for a few years now. We are all finding ways to get by and we all have our lists of things that need fixed. The things on the top of the list needing fixed are those that might cause us the most harm if not repaired. If we look at our nation the thing causing us the most harm is an economic system that only benefits a tiny minority at the top. The defenders of this system will tell you, “Our nation’s people have it better off that the people of other nations.” You can run around with your finger in the air yelling, “We’re number one” if you want to fall for that B.S. If you open your eyes and look around you will see the rich are getting richer and poor are getting poorer. Those of us in the vanishing working and middle-class aren’t even on the powers that be’s list of things to repair and improve. They are all about maintaining the present Status quo and the only change you’ll get from them is pocket change. While you accept the pocket change they will ridicule you calling you a deadbeat and say, “You poor in our country have it better off than the poor in other countries.”

  Paid media goons like the “Friends” defend the “entitled” rich Status quo and spread lies against the poor because it is their job. Greed mongering buffoons like Sticks are content to call themselves Christians and ease their consciences about ignoring the poor by elevating the status of our nation’s poor vs. the poor of the world. Poor is poor and all the poor of the world are our brothers and sisters and deserve our help. If we put helping the poor of every nation at the top of our lists of most important things we’d be on our way to a better world!

  National brain-dead politician of the week is New Hampshire State Senator Stella Tremlay see why here. What kind of voters elect such imbeciles?

The ongoing assault against the 99%.

On May 7th Vote Yes on the Youngstown Community Bil of Rights.

George Jones RIP April 26, 2013.

George Jones: “Wild Irish Rose”

“Small Time Laboring Man”

“Poverty is the worst form of violence.” ~ Gandhi

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