Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Cutting Programs for Homeless Veterans So Rich Slimeballs Can Avoid Taxes

In a state that is near the top of the national chart in food insecurity, Governor Rick Scott (Republican of Florida) took time this holiday to pass out Thanksgiving dinner to about 1,000 families at a shelter in East Naples. The shelter’s program fed about 7,000 families last week, with roughly 200 volunteers packing and distributing meals.

“I care completely about all [homeless relief] programs,” said Scott while handing out food. However, he displays an odd way of showing it, as his sweeping budget cuts this year ended funding to veteran and farm surplus programs that helped the homeless. To justify those cuts, Scott simply explained, “All the programs are very important, but nobody wants their taxes to go up."

Republicans sicken me, to my very soul.

One Jacksonville homeless shelter official noted that Scott “zeroed out all homeless funding” — $7 million worth — in his budget proposal. That funding supported programs dedicated to homelessness prevention, housing initiatives, and programs that “re-house” people once they’re on the street. “Not only that, he took out the line items so it can never be funded again,” said the official.

To show how much he cares about the homeless, Scott went further by vetoing $12 million in funding that the state legislature had passed to support homeless veterans. There are an estimated 17,000 homeless veterans in Florida — the most of any state.

Nationwide, according to the most recent statistics, 75,609 veterans are homeless on any given night and twice as many experience homelessness during a year. Right now, the number of homeless Vietnam era veterans is greater than the number of service persons who died during that war. Already, veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan are appearing in the homeless population, all across the US.

A few weeks ago, I read this article in the Boston Globe, about Occupy Boston bringing together veterans, students, and the homeless (some are all three). I'll post it below. Just remember, fellow citizens, that signing a "no tax pledge" is dangerous and stupid, and a lot of people are watching their lives get turned upside down because of the no tax gimmick. In America today, we are engaged in class-warfare unlike anything we've seen before. The very wealthy have done extremely well over the past two decades, while the poor and middle class have not. If this continues, the US will become a "Banana Republic," with no middle class, a small minority controlling the machinery of government, and wealth concentrated at the top among a very small number of people (less than one percent).

We won't even take care of our veterans just to avoid tax increases on the rich? What has become of us? This country has become a moon-cast shadow of what it once was, and it makes me sad and very angry.

The Boston Globe article:
Students, homeless, veterans find common ground at OCCUPY BOSTON By Martine Powers, Boston Globe Staff

Their identities are as diverse as their demands: born-and-bred Bostonians, students from elite universities, homeless people, veterans, owners of small businesses. They are people who, in other times, would seldom cross paths or purposes.

Now, they huddle under the same ideological umbrella: Occupy Boston.

Cheri King, 36, is one of them. Four months ago, she was caring for her dying mother at a hospital in Arizona. She quit her job to provide full-time care. Now, after moving to Boston to find a job, she is homeless, shuttling from shelter to shelter and, for the past week, living at the camp of Occupy Boston.

She has been living on the streets since August, she said, but in that time she has quickly come to know the injustices of homelessness. “It hasn’t been that long, but it feels like it’s been forever,’’ said King.

King ended up at Occupy Boston, she said, because she feels safer there than in a shelter: no curfews, no fight for beds. Still, she said, many people in the Occupy Boston movement do not understand the challenges she and other homeless people face.

When the police approached Monday night, she crossed the street to watch from a distance; she said she cannot afford to be arrested, because it could jeopardize her ability to get a job or a spot in a shelter.

“A lot of people here are just playing house,’’ King said. “They have a home to go to or a dorm to go to or a dad or a mom to bail them out if they get in trouble.’’

When Bob Funke, 59, was 12 years old, he marched with his neighbors for civil rights. They were Jewish, he recalled, and explained to him the terrible things that could occur when people are afraid to do what is right.

Occupy Boston, he said, awakens those same activist feelings inside him.

Funke spent 13 years on and off in the military, and he served in Vietnam. Now, he is unemployed. He and other members of Veterans for Peace have been at Occupy Boston since the first day, he said.What he wants is a job, for the wealthiest Americans to pay for higher taxes, and an end to American-funded wars overseas.

Now, his son, who lives in Lincoln, Nebraska, has also joined the Occupy movement. “He called and said, ‘Dad, I’m involved with this thing now!’ ’’ Funke said. “It’s really got momentum.’’

Next to Funke was Lisa Doherty, 56, munching on a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich while waving at motorists honking their approval.

Doherty has spent her whole life in Charlestown; since losing her job three years ago, she has moved in with relatives who live nearby.

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