Tag Archives: homeless

The Fate of The Republic on this fourth of july


Here are some quick reflections on this fourth of July morning.

We are in trouble folks!!! When I read the paper (big mistake), I see the seeds of global decay, social disruption, and future despair dwarfing the present misery. Everyone who has plenty are merrily watching Big Bang Theory and working at their half-way decent job with a half-way decent wage and dreaming of their next vacation, while those who don’t have much continue to struggle. The options for the destitute are few and government is going to provide less and less. This is a recipe for riot and mayhem. When you examine history you can see where all of this leads. Our Republic is split, pretty much evenly, between the rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, the smug and the desperate. As happened in France in 1789, the poor and destitute will not sit idly by watching the rich cavort and flaunt their wealth in their faces. We have an obligation to bring this republic back into balance, but I fear that we have already passed from republic to oligarchy (rule by the rich). Only the rich, such as Mitt Romney, can afford to become President. The rich pull all the strings and continue to feel free to screw the rest of us over at their convenience. It is not a pretty picture. Our republic is in danger of collapse. It isn’t apparent yet, but give it a few years. Twenty years from now will either show that we got our collective act together or we will be actively fighting one another.

China is quietly waiting in the wings. China is preparing for the collapse of the West. They are teaching English to those who will become our future leaders. Could we suffer such a takeover? Quite possibly, we might invite the Chinese in. Chinese style Communism would have a strong appeal to those who have nothing, can expect nothing, and are tired of being the victims of an oligarchy. I am not a Communist or a Socialist, but I can understand the appeal. When you have nothing to eat, nowhere to live, Communism looks like the answer to your problems. We have far too many people on the streets.

Some radical changes are needed and I don’t see anybody stepping up to the plate. There are significant differences between Obama and Romney, but in the final analysis they miss the mark when it comes to having the guts to say that we have to stop being complacent and give up our creature comforts and life of privilege and take responsibility for this republic.

So I don’t feel terribly patriotic on this fourth of July. I don’t feel proud of how we celebrate celebrity, wealth, and treat all of the old liberal ideals with disdain. Our present culture is a culture of death. We are unconsciously embracing disaster, it gives us a sick thrill. We figure we have it coming, others are foolishly looking forward to the apocalypse, thinking they will be taken up into the clouds in a supernatural rapture. This is madness.

However, we have faced disaster before in our history, and we managed to avoid it. Perhaps we can again. There is reason to hope. There are many brilliant people out there. They are building a new paradigm, a new world which will take out the corrupt present paradigm by stealth. There is far too much going on in the world for anyone, myself included, to be able to keep track of. The newspapers have a disaster agenda, fear sells, and so they peddle dread. So I should take that fact into consideration. Much is happening behind the scenes, and the powerful may not be as powerful as they imagine. I sense big changes in the next few decades, both good and bad. I know that within each negative lies a positive and vice versa. It is up to us to provide the tipping point towards disaster or renewal.

My last thoughts? At some point in our own lives and in the life of the republic, something has got to give. Nothing just stays fucked forever. Things change.

No Shelter From This Storm


I'm sorry, sir! You have to move on!

This is a sad post. If you prefer some pleasant distractions check out my other blog, russellpop. It is inspired by a sad little story in today’s SF Chronicle. Peter Cukor, 67, was brutally murdered outside his nice home in the Berkeley hills. He had spotted a young man loitering beside his garage, and went out to tell the man to move on. Given that Peter lived in a fairly secluded area, he undoubtedly thought the young man, Daniel Jordan Dewitt, 23, was up to no good. After confronting Dewitt, Peter Cukor went back inside and called the nonemergency police number. Dewitt must have been somewhat hostile, and Peter preferred to have the police handle it. He didn’t realize he was dealing with a mentally ill person, who could not control his rage. The police were busy monitoring an Occupy Oakland march, as usual. One officer noticed Peter’s call and planned to respond, but was told not to. Trespassing complaints regarding homeless people are a common occurance, and can be ignored.

Peter Cukor became more impatient, wondering why the police had not arrived. Daniel Dewitt was still out there. He may have been taunting Peter. I don’t know. In any case, Peter Cukor made the fatal mistake of going back outside to confront Daniel again. Daniel assaulted him, dragged him into the bushes, and killed him. The police found Dewitt nearby, and arrested him.

This is a tragic story on many levels. It is, of course, tragic for Peter Cukor and his wife. It is tragic for Daniel Dewitt and his mother. It is tragic for the Oakland Police, and Occupy Oakland.

People who have worked hard all their lives to spend their retirement comfortably in a nice house nestled among the trees on a steep hillside, feel safe from the random horror of the urban streets. But they are not. There is no shelter from this storm. The levees cannot hold. In the interest of free enterprise unleashed, our responsibility for the mentally ill, the homeless, and the elderly was abandoned, in the eighties under the conservative messiah, Ronald Reagan. He made the choice to throw the mentally ill onto the streets. Peter Cukor’s blood is on Reagan’s hands. Given the diminishing resources of government on all levels, this situation isn’t going to get any better.

We are all in this together. This is the message I take from such tragedies. The homeless and mentally ill cannot be shuffled from place to place, each person telling them to move on. It just doesn’t work. I do not justify murder, and I can certainly sympathize with Peter Cukor. But I sympathize with Daniel Dewitt as well. I can understand the rage that comes from being told to move on, move on, you are not wanted here. You are not wanted anywhere. Our foolish obsession with wealth, and security will be the death of us. The detritus of society will not and cannot go away. I believe that some of the obsession lately with zombies in our popular culture is a subconscious recognition of the zombie homeless and mentally ill. We must face our responsibilities, and take care of our own. In doing so, we take care of ourselves. We are all in this together.

Big Con 2.0


I have received your RSS feed, Lord Zuck

Well, now I have my cranky pants back on, lest anybody out there was beginning to take a liking to me. I have to admit playing the grumpy old cuss always makes me laugh. I need a few laughs right now. What am I cranky about this time? The stupid internet, that field of mind-numbing banality called Facebook. It is where I spend my time, and it has it’s limitations. You can’t get love from the internet. I have tried. Come on, admit it! You have too. It is ridiculous isn’t it? How desperate is that? That is why people get so addicted and emotionally caught up in their blogs or their status updates, or tweets. Has it come to this? Is this our love life? Is this where we look for validation? I guess so. I have spent many years, hell, decades being painfully lonely. I didn’t realize it all that much at the time, but after getting into this whole Big Con 2.0, I recognize how much I value human contact. Weird that a machine, a cold uncaring bunch of fucking electrons coursing down a wire could mean so much. But it does. Why does it make me grumpy? Because as you may have guessed from Big Con 2.0, I think it is a Con. A big Con.

The actual purpose of Facebook and Twitter and Tumblr  and on and on, is Money. Of course you aren’t surprised by that, but you try not to think about it. It is about how we can sell each other a bunch of crap we don’t need. Why corporate America would want to barrage a penniless population with ads is beyond me. Who is buying all this stuff? Who has the money to spare? I don’t, and I suspect I am far from being the only one. Our corporate culture is what made Facebook rich. We are a goldmine of information for advertisers. Do you have any idea how many Viagra ads I have been bombarded with because I say fuck on my blog? Tons. (ok, I just made that up.) But that is how it works. It is beyond annoying. It is amazing to me that advertisers have never figured out that being annoying doesn’t sell their product. It wouldn’t be so bad, except that we are given the illusion that a real, meaningful connection is being made, when in reality it is about product. That is one of the appeals of Socialism, it takes money out of the picture, and replaces it with contempt, and a begrudging and enforced compassion. Wait, that came out wrong. Let me think! Nope. That’s right. Maybe Socialism sucks as well.

But I have just got to say that when I see Mark Zuckerberg on a video or tv, he seems to be from some other world. I am not entirely sure he is human. If there were an alien invasion, I think it might take the form of something like Facebook. This is how the alien horde is learning about human beings. We won’t be able to resist those swell alien recipes for blueberry crumbcake. But, seriously, the guy doesn’t blink! Anyhow, it gives me the creeps. I think the internet, blogs, and Facebook, Twitter, etc. have great potential to bring us together in a way that could enable all of us to partake of this capitalist paradise. We are in this together. If the unwashed millions go down, the well scrubbed wealthy won’t be far behind.

So I appeal to the self-interest of all you self interested people out there. You are comfortable in your cocoon, absorbed in your personal media while surrounded by a sea of hopelessness. Very little stands between you and that sea. You could join the legion of disgruntled souls like me very easily. Just lose your job, get caught up in horrendous credit card debt, and you won’t give a damn about Josh’s status update, or Brittany’s last tweet. OMG You will be kicking the trash cans and blaming the pigeons for your fate.

Sea of Hopelessness


Perhaps not so tough after all

Today I feel an enormous weight upon my soul. It is hard for me to care about much of anything. I feel as though I am adrift on a sea of hopelessness. I am certain that my circumstances are the cause of a lot of it. Still no job, and no way of meeting March rent. I can’t turn to the same people for help. They can’t afford to support me. I feel resigned to my fate. I also recognize that this is just my mind doing it’s usual thing, focusing on the negative and neglecting the positive. But it doesn’t help a whole lot to recognize this. I think I will get through all this without losing my apartment, but that is just a feeling. I really have no idea what will happen, and I am afraid to be homeless. But enough whining!!

Why even post this? I guess because other people are in the same boat, and it helps to know you are not alone. However, depressed people are avoided like the plague. Nobody wants to get sucked into that sea of hopelessness. I get awfully tired of keeping up the brave face. I get cranky and short tempered. I know I have pissed off at least a couple of people, and that bothers me. I don’t like pissing people off, but I still do it. I guess that is the curse of being human. I had very high ambitions for this blog. Now I am thinking it is taking a toll on my emotional health. At the same time, it is my lifeline. Pacing around trying to come up with some kind of plan for getting a job is exhausting and depressing. I am doing the obvious things, and more. At least my blog gives me a bit of reprieve from the depression. I am genuinely interested in what people have to say, most of the time. Sometimes I just lose patience with precious egos. When my own life is going down the tubes, it is hard for me to be diplomatic. I want to make a genuine difference with my blog and help other bloggers do the same. We need each other. I am not sure it is being too dramatic to say we need each other just to survive.

When I walk outside each day and see people lying on the sidewalk trying to sleep in the freezing cold, I see myself.  It is an outrage that we live in a society that permits this. I consider it outrageous arrogance to allow this homelessness to persist, while enjoying your time at the golf course and spending huge amounts of money on nonsense. It is a crime. But I wonder if I were to win the lottery, if I would be any different. When I read about yet another senseless death of an extremely talented artist like Whitney Houston, it just pushes me a little further out from the shore, into the sea of hopelessness.

Sometimes I feel fearless and like Don Quixote, I am ready to tilt at the windmills. I want to take it all on, be the champion for all the wonderful people that are getting shit on daily by a corrupt, wasteful, and yes I would even say evil, system. There is no love in this fucked up world. That is the credo of the sea of hopelessness, and I gotta tell you it sure feels real. Then I think about the wonderful friends I have, who helped me out with the rent, when I didn’t ask for it. They just did it out of the goodness of their hearts. So I am wrong. I think about the wonderful people who follow my blog, that enjoy what I write. (at least, I assume they enjoy it, I can’t imagine why someone would follow my blog if they didn’t. Unless it was to fuel their anger.) I do provide a bit of a service I suppose, for entertainment at least. So I guess it is just self-pity for me to complain. I come from a family that would not permit self-pity. You were supposed to pull yourself up by the bootstraps. (I never really understood how that works.)  I’ll tell you what worries me about the sea of hopelessness. Once I am adrift in such a sea, I become hard. I become an old, tough bird who doesn’t give a fuck about anything, and that scares me. I see those tough birds all the time, muttering to themselves, kicking the trash cans. (I guess the trash cans committed the offense of not having anything they could eat or sell.) They are so thin, they are essentially a skeleton, barely hanging on to life, and angry as hell. I think of how they will undoubtedly have a sad, bad end. It could be me someday. Ah, yes, more self pity.

So enough of that shit!!! I have picked myself up by my bootstraps, having no idea how I did it, but here I am. My nose is running, my stomach is a little bit upset, but I am alive and ready to take on the world once again! Although I walk along the shore of the sea of hopelessness, I will not get caught up in that vicious undertow. Although everything seems bleak and I have lost my sense of humor, I must carry on. As Scarlett O’Hara said at the end of Gone With The Wind, “Tomorrow is another day!” Boy is that ever redundant! You can feel free to say, “Frankly, Russell I don’t give a damn!” if you want, but I hope you won’t. This is a time when it is far too easy to not give a damn. Life is cheap. Trivial bullshit is king. We need to care. Now, more than ever.

Thankful for my EBT and EDD cards


There is no shame in being a food stamp President. It shows that he has compassion for the unemployed and homeless. I am so sick of the lazy fair conservatives. To say that we are to blame for our situation is absurd. Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich have a lot in common, besides their questionable ethics when it comes to women. They are both social Darwinists. Life is tough and only the tough survive. The rest deserve their miserable existence. This attitude feels so great when the sun is shining on you, as you spend your afternoons on the golf course, The rich and successful deserve our contempt.

There is a stigma in being poor. You are treated like dirt by businesses and banks. I admit to feeling a bit of embarrassment when I take out my EBT card to pay for groceries, imagining what the clerk might be thinking. “Here is another parasite, living off of my tax dollars.” But I am thankful for my EBT and EDD cards. Without them I would be struggling to survive. I still need to receive GA in order to pay my rent. This isn’t because I am a lazy bum. It is because it is difficult for a 58 year old man to get a job in this economy.

While I do not support a totally socialist economy, I do see the need for limited socialism. If these tea party people think we would be better off in a totally capitalist economy, they need to realize that would mean no social security, medicare or medicaid. It would mean no EBT or EDD. We would have to rely on family, friends, charities, and churches. This would not be sufficient to cover everyone needing assistance. An enormous number of people would be left without any resources. Many of them would resort to crime to support themselves. For the elderly, suicide would be seen as the best solution. This is the grim picture of a nation without any form of socialism. At one time this was accepted. It was understood that some people simply don’t make it.

But is this the kind of society we want in the 21st century? EBT and EDD are a life saver for millions. However, more, much more, needs to be done. It is a simply immoral for someone to wallow in wealth, ridiculous wealth, while others are without a home. If they would give up this insane amount of wealth, in exchange for a comfortable, reasonable lifestyle, we could wipe out homelessness and unemployment. In a compassionate, sane, logical, loving society not one single person should be left without food, clothing and shelter. I believe we have the means to do this, not only here in the US but worldwide. What is lacking is the will, the desire to make it so. That lack is the very essence of evil.

Hopefully we can change this situation peacefully. Hopefully, the rich and powerful will recognize the futility of holding on and will become partners in a transformation. But that is pretty damn hopeful. Realistically, some blood will have to be shed. It may be mine. It may be yours. But, regretfully, I doubt the rich and powerful will give up their unreasonable wealth without a fight, and a tremendous fight that would be. Don’t get me wrong, I am not against wealth, I am against unreasonable, insane wealth. Who gets to say what is unreasonable? The same people that get to say that anything is unreasonable, the 99%. The overwhelming majority get to draw the line on what is acceptable. No murder, no molesting children, no hording the resources to such an extent that the rest of us are seriously hurting. Freedom is our right, but it is a responsible freedom.