By Walter Davis
December 26, 2011 (San Diego)--They celebrated in glee as leader after leader, government after government came under pressure in The Middle East as the Arab Spring unfolded. Now, enter the American Fall. The Occupy Movement is well underway and appears to be here to stay. Mainstream media puppets voice the same message, “They are not stating a clear objective”, as if they do not understand the plight of the American people.
The grievances are quite clear to those who care.
Millions of Americans have had their homes stolen by banks in foreclosure actions, the same banks that received bail out tax dollars. Insurance company lobbyists have ensured that millions of American citizens are impeded from acquiring quality health care. Food prices continue to skyrocket; a bag of frozen strawberries can cost $11.00. Greedy gasoline companies fuel cars and inflated prices by increasing prices to over $4.00 per gallon for gasoline.
While half the American population suffers in poverty/low income 3, the Huffington Post reports that CEO pay has risen 27 to 40 percent in just the last year 1. An Associated Press report indicated that “Among those requesting emergency food assistance, 51 percent were in families, 26 percent were employed, 19 percent were elderly and 11 percent were homeless.3”
A CEO making $5 Million Dollars a year is making $13,699.00 per day.
In California, The National Center for Children in Poverty sights the low income level for a family of four at $44,100 per year2, a little more than three days pay for an average CEO. The same report indicates that 54% of Black children (280,607), 60% of Hispanic children (2,759,940), 28% of Asian children (267,505), 54% of Native American children (16,267) and 22% of White children (586,846) live in low-income families in California.
Elderly people who survived World War II and the violent 20th century are now finding themselves turned away when they need help to eat; a national shame.
These statistics are staggering. In San Diego County, El Cajon has consistently been at the top of the poverty list on the Center for Policy Initiative poverty reports.
While the greedy million dollar CEOs of American companies flourish in their offices in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Diego, their gift of poverty spreads on an international level. In the Congo, the living wage is $300 per month4. Most workers make less than a dollar a day in gold mines and other dangerous jobs in which children are used in labor. If a $5 million dollar CEO gave up just one day’s pay, 46 families in The Congo would have living wages for a month.
Migrant workers are paid only a fraction of a living wage in the United States and worldwide. Large corporations like Philipp Morris and Sara Lee victimize poor people worldwide in the coffee, food and tobacco industries with low wages while CEOs get huge bonuses7, 8.
According to a recent report in the Nation of Change, in 2010 17.2 million American households suffered hunger (classified as food insecure)5 – the highest level on record.
According to Wikipedia, the top 1% saw their incomes rise 275% between 2007 and 2010. The bottom fifth saw an increase of only 18%6
The food industry is poisoning the American people with automated processes and imports from overseas markets that do not observe food safety.
A recent report by Dr. OZ supported by Consumer Reports confirms that apple juice imported from China and other countries contains more than six times the allowed amount of arsenic. The highest levels were reportedly found in Gerber Baby apple juice 9. The way wheat is processed in this country is resulting in the deaths of many Americans as indicated in a report by M.H. Panhwar 10.
There are numerous reports of lead toys from China and poisoned candy from Mexico and antifreeze in imported toothpaste..all in the name of saving a buck in processing. Republican efforts to stall leadership appointments in consumer protection agencies are criminal. Our government has failed to protect the American people from corporate greed.
Government officials eagerly send American young people to die overseas in campaigns to promote “freedom” and voting rights.
These same officials are attempting to eliminate as many young people’s rights to vote in America by employing voter suppression 11, 12. GOP officials in many states are targeting the population segments that are likely to vote for Democrats by developing aggressive suppression tactics.
These include creating tougher voter ID requirements; young people with college not state IDs because they are studying in a new state, elderly people who do not have birth certificates because they were not issued one at the time of birth. Hurdles are being created to stop people from getting state IDs including charging $200 for birth certificates and steep fees for IDs to target the poor, minorities and poor Whites.
GOP officials are attempting to intimidate voter registration groups like Acorn and the League of Women Voters by using steep fines for minor registration errors. They are also attempting to eliminate same-day registration. They want to curtail early voting and ban previously convicted people from voting as Florida did during the Bush election by throwing out thousands of legitimate voter’s ballots.
State budgets for polling and registration offices have been gutted due to tight funds. People who have lost jobs and suffered foreclosed homes are finding their lives in upheaval. Many have new addresses and cannot register or they will wait until the last minute to register and find that they cannot due to ID requirements.
So while young Americans go overseas to fight wars for the Corporatocracy to ensure the safety and voting rights of foreign citizens, more young people are dying on the streets of Chicago and New Orleans monthly than in all the service men killed in all of the current wars. These deaths are the result of misguided drug laws that punish citizens perpetually and waste tax payer money.
While mainstream news puppets continue to show the destruction of the American family as a failure of “moral” standards, they fail to point out the corruption of the family court systems. CPS and family court judges as well as other attorneys are making salaries averaging $149,000 per year and up. One does not have to look far to see the numerous Facebook groups and other grassroots organizations that are bringing the criminal activity of the family courts to the forefront. A good example of this is the California Coalition for Families and Children http://www.thepubliccourt.com 13.
In a barbaric method, this country continues to allow a court system to put people to death even when it cannot fairly decide minor divorce cases. This country still puts people in prison for having a plant while allowing toxic alcohol and cigarettes to remain on the market.
The American people have a plethora of legitimate complaints regarding their liberty, pursuit of happiness and financial well being. We saw the Arab Spring. Now, we see the American Fall. Could this be an indication of the fall of America or, are the American people approaching a much more humane, higher level of civilization? Do the American people have the temerity to demand a civilization where people are valued more than money?
Walter Davis is head of the San Diego Community Coalition, authors a syndicated newspaper column and assists nonprofit and community groups develop media campaigns, including public access television programming. The opinions expressed in this column reflect the views of its author and do not necessarily reflect the views of East County Magazine.
1. Huffington Post. U.S. CEO Pay Jumps Minimum of 27 Percent Last Year, Survey Finds. 15 December 2011. 15 December 2011. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/14/ceo-pay-sees-huge-boost-survey_...
2. National Center for Children in Poverty Mailman School of Public Health Columbia University. California Demographics of Low-Income Children. 6 December 2011. 6 December 2011. http://www.nccp.org/profiles/CA_profile_7.html
3. Yen, Hope. Associated Press – Yahoo Finance. Census Shows 1 in 2 People are Poor or Low-Income. 15 December 2011. 15 December 2011. http://finance.yahoo.com/news/census-shows-1-2-people-103940568.html
4. Solidarity Center. Where We Work – Democratic Republic of the Congo. 20 December 2011. 20 December 2011. http://www.solidaritycenter.org/content.asp?contentid=883
5. Garofalo, Pat, and Waldron, Travis. Nation of Change – Hunger in America, By the Numbers. 4 December 2011. 4 December 2011. http://www.nationofchange.org/hunger-america-numbers-1322411569
6. Wikipedia. Income Inequality in the United States. 20 December 2011. 20 December 2011. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Income_inequality_in_the_United_States
7. Schmidt, David. Progress in San Diego Television Show. 5 August 2011. 20 December 2011. http://youtu.be/MyDk3J1cTb0.
8. ITN News. Indonesian Baby on 40 Cigarettes a Day. 28 May 2010. 20 December 2011. http://youtu.be/x4c_wI6kQyE
9. FOX News. Consumer Reports Study Backs Dr. Oz’s Claim About Arsenic in Apple Juice. 30 November 2011. 20 December 2011.
10. Panhwar, M.H. Wheat: A Wonderful Grain Which We Have Converted Into a Deadly Poison. 20 December 2011. 20 December 2011. http://panhwar.com/Article111.htm
11. Rosenfeld, Steven. AlterNet. GOP Voter Suppression Plan: Seven Tactics To Block Your Vote in 2012. 20 December 2011. 20 December 2011. http://www.alternet.org/story/153509/
12. Brown, Jeanne. Progress in San Diego TV Show. Common Cause. 19 April 2011. 20 December 2011. http://youtu.be/UG7T_pVO3Lg
13. Tadros, Emad and Lasher, Eileen. Progress in San Diego TV Show. The California Coalition for Families and Children. 16 March 2011. 20 December 2011. http://youtu.be/-2aW5EzX1iY