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Sunday, October 23, 2016

“We have got this tailspin of culture, in our inner cities in particular, of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working or learning the value and the culture of work.” — Rep. Paul Ryan

“You’re facilitating the problem if you give an animal or a [poor] person ample food supply. They will reproduce, especially ones that don’t think too much further than that.” — former South Carolina Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer

“There are 47 percent who are … dependent upon government, who believe they are victims, who believe government has a responsibility to care for them.” — Mitt Romney

Look at her face.

Spend a few quality moments with that image — her booking photo. Google it if you must, but find the image — her booking photo — and when you do, spend a few quality moments with it. Not so you can be touched by the woeful cast of her expression, not so you can be moved by the tears trickling freely upon her cheeks. Spend that time, rather, so that you can appreciate the realness and individuality of her.

You see, Shanesha Taylor is poor and much of what passes for discussion of the poor in this country is less about people than about types, cardboard cutouts from the overheated imaginations of those who have little idea what poverty even looks like. So study Taylor’s picture in order that you might understand what so many won’t: She is not a type. She is a human being.

Taylor was arrested last week in Scottsdale, AZ, after leaving her two children, ages two years and six months, alone inside a hot car, the doors locked, the windows open a fraction. It was — let’s be real clear on this — something for which there is no excuse, though it’s also something with which we have become sadly familiar. Some people leave kids in the car while they stop for a drink. Some leave them so they can hit the casino.

Taylor left her kids so she could go to a job interview. She is 35 and homeless. She had no one to watch them. She was desperate for work. She took a chance.

Now her children have been taken away and she is facing two felony counts of child abuse.

And Shanesha Taylor is the enemy. Or at least that is the narrative that is relentlessly spun by pundits and politicians on the political right. She is lazy, a taker, a moocher, a scavenger, an animal bred in a culture of poverty with an entitlement mentality and an addiction to suckling from the public teat so overpowering that she lacks even the ability to be embarrassed by her plight. So yes, by all means, cut her welfare, cut her food stamps, cut her unemployment benefits. This is what the right wing says.

  • Independent1

    “So yes, by all means, cut her welfare, cut her food stamps, cut her unemployment benefits. This is what the right wing says.”
    As unfortunate as what Mr Pitts stated is with the above words, those weren’t the only things mindless, clueless Republican governors and legislators cut going in to the Great Recession. They blindly cut budgets at a time when the residents of their states needed help to cope with the downturn the federal government had allowed to happen: cut budgets that through even more people out of work at a time when more than 10 million had already lost their jobs.
    They dumped hundreds of thousands of state employees into the job market when there were no jobs available. All this cut demand in their states for products and services even more, forcing even more out of work onto unemployment; many into homelessness. Which is one reason why, 20 of he 23 states with more than 15% of their residents living in poverty are states run by the GOP. And what’s really unfortunate, is that the GOP really doesn’t care about that statistic; because they’re not living poverty; they have plenty of money in their pockets, even if Shanesha doesn’t and you and I don’t. The GOP has to be voted out of office in 2014 in every state and federal political position that’s being contested.

  • mikem42

    Tell me please, who sucks from the public teat more than Paul Ryan. He is a disgrace to his state, his constituents, his church and the rest of us who would be affected by his so called “budget” plan. He is not the smartest person in Congress by a long shot, but just one of the most cynical. He truly wants this country to fail. I hope Arizona doesn’t execute the poor lady for her heinous crime of job hunting. My God, help these people before it is too late.

    • jmprint

      Well there is Rick Perry, Ted Cruz, and all the republican leeches who think obstruction is what they are paid for while destroying out country.

      • mikem42

        Don’t be so hard on the Texans. They are going to secede and rejoin Mexico I hope.

        • stcroixcarp

          What has Mexico done to deserve this?

    • JSquercia

      Actually doesn’t the fact that she left her kids to go n a JOB interview completely belie that Ryan story of how the poor just want to sit back and enjoy their “easy” life

      • mikem42

        Duz indeed!

  • charleo1

    If history actually repeats itself, Moses should be returning down the mountain any day now. If not Moses, this Country needs someone to grab it by the lapels, and shake some sense into it. And maybe some shame, while they’re at it. For more than five years now, I have held onto the idea, that these politicians like Paul Ryan were making a big mistake.
    That he was not talking to the United States of America I knew. When his
    budget sought tax relief for every corporation, and hedge fund manager,
    and increased the military budget by 50%, and then cut every program, that helped the poor get by, the disabled to survive, and regular folks, Americans, work a day family people, educate their kids, provide medical care, and save for their retirement. I though what a crock! And then when every Republican in Congress voted to turn Medicare into this, privatized ghost of the popular program that has served Seniors so well for more than 40 years, I thought, well they’ve really went too far now! HIs Party
    though, lauded him as a courageous fighter for fiscal sanity. And, nominated him as their Vice President. Along with Mutt Romney. That should have been made the poster boy for everything that had befallen our stricken economy, and the Middle Class in this Country, over the last three decades. They didn’t win, but neither did the Country I thought I knew, teach them the hard political lesson I had been hoping it would. Such heartless, wealth worshiping, snoots. What’s wrong with America? Have we become a Country of loud mouthed clods? Too cynical, and narcissistic, to be anything other than a post apocalypse, zero sum mob, of I’ve got mine Jack, so back away from the bunker, and get! What are these other Americans, I don’t recognize, thinking? When they read, where only 400 Americans in the top one tenth of one percent, have more money than the combined worth of everyone in the bottom fifty percent? That’s all their savings, their homes, cars, 401’s everything!
    Or, do they think about such things? If so, how does that translate into
    the hot anger expressed by a good number of those in that bottom fifty percent, who are absolutely incensed, or seem to be, over the poor receiving food assistance, or that corporate taxes are too high? Yes, these Americans are angry over corporate taxes. Cuts to child care for the working poor, cuts to medical care for at risk children are seen as, getting a handle on our out of control debt. But, billions in subsidies, and hand outs to some of the most profitable businesses, and individuals the world has ever seen. Or spending more on the military, than the next ten Countries combined, with five of those being allies, goes down the gullets of mainstream America, like Southern Comfort on a sultry summer’s eve. America, I guess I never knew ye.

    • Allan Richardson

      I can imagine, as an analogy, a campaign between Jesus and Herod.

      “Jesus says to love your enemies! How will you stop them from ‘lovingly’ invading your country and killing your family if you do not fight back? Jesus is weak on defense; Herod will work with Caesar to keep the Persians from attacking you at home.”

      “Jesus would have our Priests and Levites ruin their purity to stand before God and make sacrifices for you by having them stop and help every bloody victim of bandits they come across — even touching their DEAD bodies. If they all did this, no one would be pure enough to give your offerings to God, but Jesus doesn’t care: he would have all of us act like his beloved SAMARITANS! Herod wants Caiaphas and his men to have the tools they need to serve God on your behalf. Including blood-free unpolluted hands. Jesus throws the Torah on the trash heap to save one life; Herod believes in upholding the Torah.”

      “Jesus loves the poor, but wants to take from hard working merchants, priests, Roman officials and even the King to pay for that help. And eventually, from you. So that YOU end up poor and the formerly poor end up rich. Herod knows there is not enough to share with everyone. Jesus is a dreamer with his head in the clouds. Maybe the rest of him should join it!”

      And all of these would end with something like “paid for by Judeans for Prosperity. I’m Herod Antipas and I approved this message.”

      • charleo1

        Brilliant Allen! Jesus, the bleeding heart Liberal. The wealth
        re-distributor, enabler of the unwashed beggars! Palling
        around with lepers, and questioning the morals of the righteous for stoning harlots. But claims HIs Mother was a
        Virgin! Tell Jesus, we Jerusalemites have seen enough of
        His crony Nathareth style, handouts!

      • sigrid28

        I’m part of the choir that you are, eloquently, preaching to today. The plight of our wealthy brethren reminds me of the storied life of St. Francis, recounted affectingly in Valerie Martin’s “Salvation: Scenes from the Life of St. Francis,” New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2001. She recounts the life of our pope’s chosen namesake, never discounting the complicated irony that is the basis of his sainthood:

        “Born in Assisi, . . . he grew to be a lively young man, fond of music and parties, given to romantic tales, dreams of knighthood, fantastic treasure quests, and prayer in solitary chapels.” (p. 5)

        How like our Republican countrymen. Yet when his wealthy father brought an injunction against him for donating extravagantly to a local church that was in need of repair, something snapped:

        “He stripped off his clothes, placed the money on them, and, standing naked before the bishop, his father, and all present. . . declared . . . ‘not only will I gladly give back the money which is my father’s but also my clothes.'” (p. 5)

        On the odyssey that led him to sainthood, begun as a fit of anger against parental authority augmented by youthful devotion to the church, after the Gospel, it was poverty that showed him the way. His life as portrayed in this book could not be more relevant.

  • latebloomingrandma

    This story reminded me of another example of Republican cognitive dissonance. Remember the instance of the liberal pundit Hillary Rosen chastising Ann Romney for “never working a day in her life” because she was a stay at home Mom? Ms. Rosen was raked over the coals for that one. Mrs Romney worked hard raising 5 boys, no doubt, though she never had the added stress worrying about how to pay the bills or having a food shortage. Plus, if she had to go to work her big decision would be which Cadillac to drive to the job.
    Then we had the 47% taker problem—-those women who don’t know the “dignity of work.” You know, the ones who take welfare because they have little children and probably no spouse. By all means cut them off, send them to work, it’s their own fault they have children and no husband and can’t control their libidos. ( I guess they get pregnant by themselves.) Perhaps no Planned Parenthood within their city, or if there is one, protestors in their face. And no reliable child care anywhere for someone with no money. What’s a mother to do when dealing with homelessness, unless living in a car is “home”? Out of desperation she leaves her kids in a car to go to an interview, completely unmindful of the heat. Her face says it all.

    • Allan Richardson

      I would HOPE that the interviewer would have allowed her to bring the children in with her, but of course any sign that she had any OTHER responsibilities in mind besides doing the job would disqualify her.

      No wonder that African American mothers in the past often worked as domestics, as in the movie “The Help.” At least working for another MOTHER gave them a CHANCE to combine caring for their own kids with earning a living. And even though the SYSTEM was against them, many individual middle class white families tried to compensate by treating them fairly and making allowances for their situations. In some cases, when there was news of Klan riots in the employee’s neighborhood, they invited her and the children to stay with them until it was safe to go home.

      Now it appears that everyone except the very rich is either becoming poor (two-worker families are not prevalent ONLY in order to buy luxuries), or in denial and running up more debt in order to maintain their standard of living, because median wages buy only 70 percent of what they bought in 1970.

  • herchato

    Leonard sometimes you just nail it and it makes me proud that I was born an Aggie. The GOP will usually fight for profits but fighting for people is way past their belief system.

  • DAVE in VA

    I like how you people used a black women for this story that is very sad. That is no bifferent then what the race batter Jesse Jackson would do to tug at the harts of low information people. I like how you think that the Republican party wants to put every one on the streets and fend for themselves that is very sad that you people think like that.I wounder how many of you have went out on a saturday night and helped people in need at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter. How many of you give money to help people out that need it with clothing and other supplies.Jesus said if you fish for a man he depends on you if you teach him to fish for himself he can feed himself and others.

    • dpaano

      Dave…..I and my family do it all the time. Last Christmas, we made over 300 sandwiches, packed them in brown bags with fruit and chips, and we went out to the less affluent part of our town and gave them away…..people were happy and thanked us. It was a very uplifting experience that we’ll replicate every Christmas. We also give food and clothes to our church’s food and clothing bank. I know a lot of people that do the same types of things…..more of them are middle class; few of them are the wealthy 1%, who only seem to give to organizations that don’t really need the money; i.e., donations to UCLA, USC, Berkeley, Cedars Sinai Hospital, etc. in lieu of Food Bank organizations or Habitat for Humanity, etc. I can think of a million things that $1M would do for the poor in lieu of spending it on building another building at a prestigious school so you can have your name on the building.

    • ThomasBonsell

      Where do you get the idea that Jesus said anything of the sort?
      What he did say, and he addressed it to the NATIONS of the world, is that they are to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, heal the sick among other things. Read Matthew 25 to educate yourself.

      • DAVE in VA

        You are correct it is in Matthew. It has bin some time since I have read it.

        • Independent1

          Sorry Dave, there is only 1 verse in the Bible which contains the words TEACH and FISH. And that verse is in Job and has nothing to do with what you quoted.

          That story about Jesus teaching people to fish so they can fend for themselves is a Rush Limbaugh creation – it’s a blatant lie!! Like everything else Rush says.

    • FredAppell

      Hey Dave, I like how you people come on the NM and offer up o solutions to the problems our country faces. Fact is Dave, Republicans actually do want to kick them all off assistance and leave them to their own devices. The article wasn’t condoning her actions regarding her two children, it was attempting to point out that she is doing the best she can with very little to work with. Republicans
      have continually referred to the poor as leaches but when some of these so-called leaches try to do the right thing, the door slams shut.
      Now, if your indicating that you have volunteered your own time to the various programs that you mentioned than I applaud that, sincerely. However, as nice as those things are, they’re only a temporary solution to a much bigger problem.

      P.S. Not all of us are big fans of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton.

    • Independent1

      Sorry Dave, that story you told about Jesus is not in the Bible. It sounds to me like one of Rush Limbaugh’s fabricated fairytales. Jesus never suggested that anyone should foist their resonsibility from helping people by teaching them to fend for themselves – that’s pure nonsense.
      He did tell some rich lawyer who kept claiming how self-righteous he had lived, to sell all he had and give to the poor and come follow him. But of course being a typical conservative, he could never give up his money and give it away – just like today’s typical Republicans.
      Right after that incident he also famously stated that it was impossible for a rich man to get into heaven (those are folks who are wealthy and think more of their money and filling their lives with worldly things than doing onto others as they would have them do unto them).
      And he also did say that Narrow is the way to life and few there be
      that find it. And in case you’re wondering, Jesus was no conservative. The term conservative Christian is an oxymoron.

    • Independent1

      Dave, no one is saying that Republicans want to throw people out on the street, but it’s clear that they’re not overly concerned if their governing policies end up with large portions of the people they govern ending up there. If that’s not the case, explain to me this:

      Why are 20 of the 23 states with more than 15% of their residents living in poverty governed by the GOP?

      Why are 12 of the 15 states that suck the most food stamps and other welfare from Washington governed by the GOP?

      Why did more than 90% of the counties that have people so poor they need food stamps vote for Mitt Romney in 2012?

      Why did virtually every GOP run state choose austerity in 2008 when the economy tanked, cutting budgets and state services to the poor and needy throwing hundreds of thousands of their residents out of jobs, onto welfare while making thousands homeless?

      They obviously don’t care Dave what their policies do to those other than the ones in the 1-5%. They’ll enact every piece of legislation they can find to shuttle more money to those who already have it.

  • dpaano

    Her picture saddens me to my core! There’s NO reason why people should have to make the decision to go to a job interview and leave your children in the car or continue to remain homeless and without a job. By taking away the unemployment benefits, the GOP has taken away the means for someone to get a babysitter so they can go to an interview, taken away their means of using the internet to look for a job, taken away their means for buying gas so they can GET to an interview, and taken away every bit of their self esteem and hope that they have. This is what I see in Ms. Taylor’s photo, and it makes me profoundly sad that we live in a country that allows our citizens to live in poverty!!