Videos Of Police Abuse Are Just The Tip Of The Iceberg.

The video showing the murder of Walter Scott has re-ignited the debate over police abuse by showing the cold-blooded murder of an unarmed 52-year-old man who was running away from a cop. But this video is no less alarming than other videos showing the strangulation death of a man for selling untaxed cigarettes; the merciless beating of a woman by a cop on the side of a freeway; the shooting death of a young man shopping at Walmart; and many more.

Indeed, the video of Walter Scott’s murder is no more disturbing than the video of the shooting death of a 12-year-old for playing with a toy gun in Cleveland and the video showing the shooting death of a mentally ill young man by two officers in St. Louis. Although neither of them were shot in the back, they were killed without warning despite the fact that they posed no real threat to the officers or anyone else. It’s clear that the child was given no warning – no commands. He was gunned down within seconds of the squad car’s arrival. Likewise, the mentally ill young man was gunned down within seconds.

There was no attempt to de-escalate the situation. No attempt to use non-lethal means. The cops simply resorted to the most expedient and lethal option available to them. They were not charged. They were not reprimanded. They were not reassigned. Indeed, they likely would not have been subjected to any scrutiny had it not been for the videos. Given that understanding, imagine how many such incidents are never uncovered; never recorded; never publicized; never investigated.

To understand why, we have to look at the causes of which there are many.

First, too many cops have selected their profession for the power it gives them. They enjoy the power afforded them by the badge. They enjoy making ordinary civilians uncomfortable in their presence. They like giving orders.

Second, too many cops have a sense of relativism. They believe that their abusive behavior is justified by the fact that they are called upon to deal with “the bad guys.” If the bad guys are hurt by their response, so be it. They had it coming.

Third, studies have shown there is little difference in the psyche of cops and criminals. They both like to break rules.

Fourth, many police departments prioritize military service in their hiring practices. That may be admirable, but merely having worn another uniform and having been trained in the use of weaponry does not necessarily qualify someone to be a cop. Their duties are significantly different. Professional soldiers are accustomed to taking orders, and often those orders are to shoot first and ask questions later.

Fifth, our police forces have been unnecessarily militarized. Police officers now have body armor, helmets, shields, semi-automatic handguns, assault rifles, armored personnel carriers and more. In just a few decades, they have gone from the community cop on the beat to a paramilitary force – and if you have big boy toys the desire to use them is almost irresistible. In day-to-day encounters with the citizens they are sworn to serve and protect, cops too often reach for a gun, instead of a baton or taser.

Sixth, our police officers are poorly trained in dealing with the mentally disturbed or with criminals armed with less than lethal weaponry. That is why six cops unload their firearms into a 95-pound mentally ill woman armed with a kitchen knife when any moderately experienced martial arts student could disarm and control her using only their hands. Much of the training cops do receive comes from seminars sponsored by weapons manufacturers and taught by military contractors.

Seventh, cops are protected by police unions. I am a firm believer in the need for labor unions, but police unions have taken representation to a whole new level. In many cities, it is virtually impossible for a police chief to fire an abusive cop. The dismissal must first be approved by the union and often the chief is fired before the rogue cop. That is why, after shooting an unarmed Michael Brown, the first call Officer Wilson made was to his union rep who told him how to report the incident and what to say.

Eighth, few communities have civilian review boards. As a result, ordinary citizens have little input with regard to police behavior. Too often, the police are allowed to investigate themselves.

Ninth, the fact that cops so quickly resort to drawing their guns is, at least partially, the result of our insane gun laws. Police have to assume that everyone they confront is armed with a gun. They may fear that they will be outgunned. This is especially true if the responding officer is on his, or her, own.

Tenth, cops have intense loyalty toward each other – their “brothers and sisters in arms.” They are reluctant to interfere with another officer’s abuse, let alone to report or testify against a fellow officer.

Eleventh, most Americans naively believe that abusive cops are a tiny minority of the men and women in uniform. They don’t even want to think of the possibility that the problem is widespread. But, in reality, there are precincts and entire police departments that are corrupt. If I have personally witnessed cops on the take; if I have witnessed verbal and psychological abuse by cops; if I have seen African-Americans pulled over for driving while black; if I have watched and reported cops for beating individuals for no apparent reason; if I have seen cops rousting the homeless, trashing their meager possessions and dumping them outside the city limits; if I have witnessed a gang of cops macing, kicking and beating a man already handcuffed and lying on the ground – if I have seen these things without actually looking for them – then such abusive behavior is far more prevalent than most people can imagine.

Make no mistake, a few videos and the mandated use of body cameras will not put an end to police abuse. That will only happen when ordinary citizens demand better.

Greed Versus Poverty.

“For the first time in history it is now possible to take care of everybody at a higher standard of living than any have ever known. Only ten years ago the ‘more with less’ technology reached the point where this could be done. All humanity now has the option of becoming enduringly successful.” – Buckminster Fuller, 1980.

I recently spotted this quote on Facebook and it made me think: What is the true state of the world in 2014? How far have we come since 1980?

Well, here are the sobering statistics:

– According to the human rights group, Walk Free, 36 million people live in slavery worldwide.
– In the US, approximately 250,000 women and children are held as sex slaves.
– In the US, nearly 2.5 million children were homeless at some point in 2013.
– In the US, 48 million people live in poverty.
– Worldwide, more than 3 billion people – nearly half the world population – live on less than $2.50 per day.
– In the US, 1 in 6 children don’t have enough to eat.
– Worldwide, 1 in 8 people suffer from chronic malnourishment and approximately 5,000,000 children die of malnutrition each year.
– Worldwide, many millions of people don’t have access to clean water.
– Worldwide, billions of people don’t have access to modern medical care.
– In the US, approximately 12 million people don’t have access to affordable health care even after implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
– Worldwide, climate change causes 350,000 deaths each year and that number is certain to grow.

As Fuller stated, it is now possible to solve these problems. Yet too many voters still believe in the fraud that is called “trickle-down economics”…a trickle that never comes. Too many politicians would rather give the wealthy and large corporations another tax cut than help these “freeloaders.” Others are too busy campaigning for office to be troubled with real problems. And the political problems aren’t just in the US. The rest of the industrialized world is not much better. Much of Europe has fallen back into recession as the result of economic austerity programs. In response, their populations have taken a nasty turn toward fascism.

We should all strive to avoid blaming others for our lack of progress and, instead, look for solutions.

Imagine what could be done to improve lives if the US corporations that have $2.1 trillion stashed in offshore tax havens paid just 10 percent in taxes on that money. Imagine if corporate CEOs devoted just a portion of their multi-million dollar annual salaries to pay their employees a living wage. Imagine if all of the world governments agreed to cut in half the $1.75 trillion in annual military spending and dedicated it to giving people access to health care, food and clean water. Imagine if our politicians weren’t bought and paid for by corporate lobbyists who are rewarded with billions in government contracts…more than $4 trillion between 2007 and 2012. Imagine if the billions dedicated to lobbying was used, instead, to help end human suffering.

We certainly have the means to achieve Fuller’s vision. All we need is the will (and the heart) to demand it.

Stone Cold GOP.

I can think of no better way to describe Teapublicans’ failure to extend benefits for the 1.3 million long-term unemployed. After all, these are people who, through no fault of their own, are hanging on by their fingernails. Instead of offering them a hand, Teapublicans seem unwilling to give them anything but some nail clippers.

Nevertheless, Democrats have refused to give up on the unemployed. Not only have they called for an extension of benefits, they have pushed numerous bills that would result in job creation. In response, Teapublicans not only refused to act. They demanded more cuts which, according to most economists, would result in even more unemployed. Worse, as the benefits were expiring, Teapublicans took to the airwaves to blame the victims for their plight and to call them moochers!

By contrast, Democratic Senator Chris Murphy spent a day with the homeless in order to better understand their situation. His “guide” was a homeless man who had overcome a difficult childhood with a drug-addicted father. Having worked many years in sales, he lost his job and his home. He now spends his days looking for work and just trying to survive.

Such stories are not uncommon.

Very few of the homeless are lazy layabouts. Many are addicted or mentally ill. And many others are ordinary people who worked hard, played by the rules and found themselves in financial trouble after losing their jobs or encountering medical problems that they couldn’t afford…often despite having insurance.

For example, one of my friends contracted throat cancer resulting in laryngectomy (removal of the voice box) and causing him to lose his job as a telemarketer. That, in turn, caused him to lose his home. An Army veteran, he was too proud to accept offers to stay in friends’ homes. Instead, he survived by showering and changing clothes at the YMCA, using computers at the public library to apply for jobs, reading, visiting the offices of friends, and riding the buses at night. (The bus became his bedroom.) Once a month, he treated himself to a room at a inexpensive motel. His only source of income was a small (very small) check for a military disability. He wasn’t even eligible for SSI.

My friend despised the stench, noise and prostelityzing of church-sponsored shelters. He thought homeless camps were dangerous. So he lived this way for more than a year before he finally received additional disability compensation from the VA.

Tell me, Teapublicans, exactly what made my friend a moocher? What made him so undeserving in your minds that you would deny him, and people like him, unemployment benefits or other forms of help? What would you have him do? He couldn’t ask for job interviews over the phone. He had no phone, anyway. He couldn’t apply in person. As a black man with no ability to speak, most of those he encountered turned away from him. If he handed them a note, they assumed he was trying to rob them!

Aside from his few friends, the only people who would engage him were children. They were fascinated with his stoma (the hole where his larynx used to be) and with the electrolarnyx (the electronic wand that can be used to produce a robotic-like voice).

My friend’s story was worse than most (he has since passed away), but the point is the same. Most of the people who are now without unemployment benefits have similar stories. And Teapublicans seem to think they are disposable.

A New Kind Of Pope.

Much has already been written about Pope Francis, but I can’t resist adding my two cents worth. For much of my life I found myself contrasting various religious leaders. The most remarkable contrast was between the Dahli Lama and Pope Benedict XVI.

Where the Dahli Lama sought to find the similarities of all religions, too often Pope Benedict focused on issues that divide. While the Dahli Lama dressed in the simple robes of a monk and eschewed the trappings of power and wealth, Pope Benedict seemed to embrace them. While the Dahli Lama displayed humility and humor, Pope Benedict too often allowed the Church to condemn those who strayed too far from his conservative viewpoint. Indeed, under Pope Benedict, the Vatican chastised a group of American nuns for placing too much focus on poverty and economic injustice, the core teachings of Christ.

Under the leadership of Pope Benedict, many bishops and priests felt comfortable engaging in partisan politics; some even threatening parishoners that they would “go to hell” if they voted for the wrong candidate. Worse yet, under Pope Benedict, several Archbishops continued to give cover to predatory pedophiles within the Church.

Enter Pope Francis.

Suddenly, we have a Pope who speaks for the poor and the downtrodden. In fact, he intentionally chose to be called Pope Francis in honor of the patron saint of the poor. This is a Pope who denounced runaway greed and economic inequality; who condemned the “idolatry of money;” who stated that the Church has spent too much time focused on social issues such as abortion and gay marriage; who even went so far as to say that atheists and non-Catholics would be redeemed by doing good. He has embraced the homeless and even washed the feet of prisoners. Pope Francis not only speaks about the principles of Christ. He follows them.

What a refreshing change!

I’m not Catholic, but I believe that our purpose in life should be to help others; to be kind. And I agree with author Thomas Cahill who said, “There are really only two movements in the world. One is kindness. And the other is cruelty.” Let’s all try to embrace the first.

For more insights into the “People’s Pope,” I encourage you to watch Bill Moyer’s interview with Cahill. I’m sure you will enjoy it.

The Conservative War Against Labor.

In the years following the Great Depression, labor unions were popular and thriving. The Wagner Act of 1935, also known as the National Labor Relations Act, guaranteed workers the right to collective bargaining and the right to strike. As a result, union workers, particularly those in mining and manufacturing, experienced dramatic gains in salaries and benefits, along with safer working conditions.

Corporations didn’t give up these things without a fight. But public sentiment was temporarily on the side of workers and World War II demanded unity between corporations and unions.

The end of World War II and the beginning of the Cold War gave corporations a new opportunity to undermine unions with the rise of Sen. Joseph McCarthy (R-WI) and his House Un-American Affairs Committee (HUAC). Likely emboldened by President Truman’s loyalty program intended to discredit Democratic rival Henry Wallace (former V.P. to FDR, nuclear disarmament advocate and pro-labor candidate) prior to the 1948 presidential election, McCarthy launched a witch hunt in search of communist sympathizers. News of the Soviet Union’s growing nuclear capability spawned a national paranoia that allowed McCarthy to portray labor unions as a communist front .

By the time McCarthy’s lies and un-Constitutional tactics were exposed, hundreds of Americans had been imprisoned, thousands more had lost their jobs and tens of thousands had been investigated. The victims included those who had supported Wallace, civil rights leaders, union leaders…even the unions’ rank and file.

The unraveling of the HUAC may have posed another setback for corporations and the wealthy, but McCarthy’s accusations left many suspicious of organized labor, even as labor unions continued to help build the middle class. Finally, in the 1980’s, anti-union forces suceeded in electing a president sympathetic to their cause – Ronald Reagan. When the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (PATCO) went on strike, violating a law banning strikes by government workers, Reagan fired all 11,345 members who failed to return to work.

Reflecting on the event, former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan commented, “His [Reagan’s] action gave weight to the legal right of private employers, previously not fully exercised, to use their own discretion to both hire and discharge workers.”

The war against unions resumed in earnest.

Corporations began sending jobs offshore in search of labor willing to work for low wages and without benefits such as health insurance, disability insurance and unemployment insurance. The export of jobs also eliminated the need for worker pensions. (In the years since Reagan’s election, more than 85,000 defined benefit pension funds have been eliminated.) Many of the jobs that can’t be exported, like those at Walmart and McDonald’s, now pay so little that their employees require public assistance. And with fewer workers eligible to pay dues, many labor unions have been weakened.

Meanwhile, management compensation has soared. The savings on labor costs has resulted in million dollar annual salaries and bonuses for executives.

With money comes influence allowing corporations and industries to successfully lobby Congress for subsidies, tax write-offs and lower tax rates. In addition, many corporations have been allowed to avoid taxes by creating Post Office box “headquarters” in off-shore tax havens. The resulting drop in tax revenue led to increased deficits and greater debt. But, rather than rewrite the corporate tax code and raise taxes on those who could afford it, conservatives have seized the opportunity to cut social programs. They not only cut food stamps. They have targeted Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security, as well.

Not surprisingly, conservatives have also taken aim at the labor unions which represent government workers, such as teachers, firefighters and police. In particular, they want to eliminate government pensions. The argument is that, if private workers don’t have pensions and benefits, why should government workers? If successful, conservatives will have turned the clock back to the gilded age; the days prior to labor unions; the days of extreme wealth and extreme poverty.

Some say that we already have two Americas. I would argue three.

One is the America of the one percent; those who make lots of money and pay little to no income tax; those who can buy influence by donating to political campaigns and build new businesses with government subsidies financed with the taxes paid by others.

The second is the America of hard work, limited upward mobility and shrinking investments. In this America, you work ever longer hours in order to meet the corporate demands of increased productivity. Each year, you are forced to do more with less. For you, retirement may be little more than a dream. And for your children, college will become a financial burden they may never be able to repay.

The third America is one in which people work for so little money they can’t afford many of the necessities of life. According to the Working Poor Families Project, one in three American families are now among the working poor. One in six Americans and one in four children don’t know where the next meal is coming from, or even if there will be a next meal. In this America, more than 630,000 are chronically homeless and 3.5 million will experience homelessness in a given year. For many of these people, there is little hope that their circumstances will change. They not only lack political influence, many face new laws and obstacles intended to discourage them from voting.

Both President Obama and Pope Francis have recently called economic inequality the biggest problem we face. But President Obama can’t reduce inequality in America by himself. We will need a Congress that represents all Americans. We will need a sympathetic and unified citizenry. And we will need organized labor.

(As a footnote, I should make it clear that, having become part of middle management almost immediately following college graduation, I was ineligible for union membership. But, like most Americans, I was able to take advantage of the improved working conditions, salaries and benefits negotiated by labor unions.)

The Tao Of Politics.

I am not a Taoist. Nevertheless, I have learned that the philosophy of Taoism has much to offer. The Taoist concept of Yin and Yang holds that nothing is ever entirely black or white; hard or soft; good or bad. Taoism teaches that good people can do bad things. It also teaches that those we consider bad can, on occasion, do good things.

This is particularly true as it pertains to politics.

For example, I know many who are otherwise caring, loving people who would deny food, shelter, health care and other human necessities to the unfortunate simply because their Republican Party preaches personal responsibility. They have become convinced that the poor are merely taking advantage of those of us who have been successful. They want to believe that the majority of the poor are lazy. Such thinking allows them to look the other way when they see someone who is in desperate need of help.

They cannot conceive that someone can work hard and still struggle to feed their families because they are underpaid by large, greedy corporations. They falsely believe that minimum wage jobs are entry level jobs that are the first step up the economic ladder. In past times, that may have been true. But in today’s economy, with many of our high-paying jobs now shipped offshore, for many people, the economic ladder has been pushed aside by greedy corporate executives.

Many Republicans refuse to accept that the American Dream no longer exists for many people; that the US is not the land of opportunity it once was; that no amount of hard work can pull many of the unfortunate out of poverty; that the US now has less upward mobility than most of the rest of the industrialized world.

As a result, many good Republicans cheered when the federal government cut $5 billion from the annual budget of SNAP (food stamps) – an amount equal to all of the charitable organizations in the nation (501c4 “charities” such as American Crossroads and FreedomWorks, not included). The same people who would gladly give food and money to a family member or neighbor are still clamoring to cut another $4-40 billion from SNAP at a time when 1 in 6 Americans and 1 in 4 American children are dealing with hunger.

These grinches are not bad people. They are simply uninformed or misinformed.

These champions of personal responsibility and faith are convinced that social safety nets are not only unnecessary. They believe that social programs are creating a culture of dependence. They believe that the minimum wage, labor unions and government regulation are threats to our economy.

They believe that subsidies and giveaways to large corporations are good. But that subsidies and giveaways to people are bad. Why? If it’s true that corporations are people, shouldn’t they both be treated equally? If a half dozen banks are considered too big to fail, shouldn’t group consisting of millions of poor Americans also be considered too big to fail?

Taoism teaches that all things are part of a greater whole – the great Tao – and that if you harm another, in reality you harm yourself. Caring Republicans would be wise to keep that in mind.

If Corporations Are People…

In its Citizens United decision, the US Supreme Court ruled that corporations are people – with all of the rights of individuals. The “justices” didn’t mention the responsibilities that go along with those rights. Like the responsibility to care for your neighbors.

But, just for a moment, let’s assume that those five old men in black robes who voted in the majority were right. If corporations really were like people, one-sixth, including their CEOs, would be unable to afford health insurance. One-sixth would not have enough food to eat. They would not be able to afford lobbyists. Few would have pension plans and large investment accounts. Most would not be able to retire when they became elderly. And most would not have enough money to contribute to political candidates.

If corporations were like people, they would not be able to negotiate a plea after committing illegal acts, then pay a small fine and deny any admission of guilt. They would go to prison.

If corporations were like people, they would receive no tax-free subsidies to acquire space and land. They would have to pay property taxes on their buildings. Other states and cities would not offer them millions in incentives to relocate. All but a tiny percent would have to pay their fair share of sales taxes and income taxes.

And what if the members of Congress were like the people they’re supposed to represent?

Instead of being paid $174,000 per year, representatives would be paid an average salary of $50,502. Half would make less than $27,000 and 16 percent would live in poverty. Some would be hungry and homeless. They would have no staff to do their work for them. They would actually have to read the bills before they vote.  And they wouldn’t begin fundraising and campaigning for the next election the day after they’re elected.

We’ve come a long way from the representative government our Founders envisioned. A lo-o-o-o-o-ng way!

Who Speaks For The Poor And The Hungry?

Not Republicans. They continue to vote to cut unemployment benefits, food stamps, Head Start, minimum wage, labor unions and public education. Indeed, last year’s standard bearer was caught on tape deriding the bottom 47 percent for paying “no taxes” and wanting “free stuff.” Certainly not the Tea Party parasites. They contemptuously refer to the working poor as “freeloaders.”

Even Democrats seem far more concerned with the middle class and labor unions than the poor.

Christian churches? Some actually care enough to try to help. But many of today’s mega-churches are mere social clubs, more interested in politics and social engineering than the poor and the hungry. They talk about “tough love” to “free” the poor from safety net programs that they claim create dependency.

As a result, many of the nation’s poor are left to survive any way they can in our cities’ ghettos and in small rural communities. One in six don’t know where their next meal will come from. Many of these people work, but are paid so little, they can’t afford to live. Many single parents make less at the available jobs than the cost of day care, so unless they have friends or family who can babysit, they can’t afford to work. Thousands of families are homeless despite working one or more jobs. (Imagine a family trying to make ends meet in a large city on $15,000-$20,000 a year.) And none have health insurance, so they can’t afford to seek help unless it’s an emergency.

Despite all of the stark, all too depressing evidence of poverty in the US, few in government are motivated to help. After all, the poor can’t afford to make campaign contributions. They have no lobbyists to finance political campaigns. They can’t afford to wine and dine elected officials on junkets to resorts and exotic places.

Even when the working poor do have a roof over their heads and a small budget for food (usually the result of food stamps), the food they can afford is loaded with more sugar and fat than nutrition. This not only affects their health. It contributes to our nation’s obesity problem and rising health care costs.

And for the children of the poor, good luck with school. It’s hard to concentrate on assignments with your stomach growling. Not surprisingly, most schools in impoverished areas are underfunded and overpopulated. With few resources and large class sizes, teachers do what they can before they pass the struggling children along to the next grade. Moreover, because of their work schedules, many parents have little time to help their children with homework…homework they, themselves, may have failed. This all but ensures that the family economic problems continue generation after generation.

How can we change things?

To begin, we can raise the minimum wage. (No one who works a full-time job should be paid a wage that leaves them below the poverty line.) We can fully fund programs such as food stamps, instead of cutting them as Teapublicans demand. We can fund Head Start, unemployment benefits and welfare (welfare for the poor, not corporations). We can create safe and affordable day care programs for low income families. We can make certain that all schools are adequately funded and we can create after-school programs for children who want to put in the extra work to succeed. We can make sure that every American has access to health care…especially preventative care. We can drop the farm subsidies for big corporations and redirect them to small independent growers who make fresh and healthy food available to poor neighborhoods.

If you think our nation can’t afford to fund such common-sense humane programs, think again. We need only take a fraction of the money from our bloated war industry (In a country that has spent all but a few years of its history engaged in war, calling it a defense department is a misnomer.).

It’s long past time that our nation invested in people not corporations…humanity not war.

GOP’s Age Warfare.

Teapublicans always whine about what they refer to as “class warfare” whenever anyone wants to level the playing field between the wealthy and the middle class. But now they are waging a war on those 50 and older by trying to privatize Social Security and Medicare. To push their agenda of destroying “entitlements,” the Tea Party says these safety net programs are unfair to millennials who have to contribute to the programs.

Would the millennials rather contribute to their parents when the safety nets fail?

Would they rather take in their elderly parents and grandparents? Would they prefer to offer them transportation, feed them, clothe them, provide elder care, track their meds, and bathe them? Would they like to cover their health care costs?

There’s a reason that most civilized nations have safety nets, such as Social Security and Medicare. It’s because most compassionate people would rather not see the elderly broke, hungry, sick and homeless. The large corporate masters of the Republican Party and its Tea Party parasites, on the other hand, only care about their bottom lines. If increasing profits hurts some people, so what? Their overpaid and overstuffed executives won’t have to worry about retirement, and neither will their parents. In most cases, they can simply send a check to help out poor ol’ Mom and Dad.

Has it really come to this? Is the new GOP strategy to pit one generation against another? Has the GOP tired of taking money from the working poor and food stamps from children? Are the elderly the last people standing between them and the tax-free government they desire?

These words may seem cynical. But that’s far better than the cynical actions of today’s GOP.

Families In Deep Doo-Doo.

It seems that nearly every week, a new study is released that shows the growing income disparity in the United States. Recently, an Associated Press survey found that 80 percent of adults in the US face near-poverty and unemployment at some point in their lives. Another study by the International Human Rights Clinic at New York University’s School of Law found that 1 in 6 (50 million) Americans face food insecurity, including 17 million children.

Now, the medical journal Pediatrics has published a study measuring the psychological impact on mothers who are unable to afford diapers.

The study, “Diaper Need And Its Impact on Child Health,”  by a group of Yale researchers, found that 30 percent of mothers have struggled to pay for diapers and more than 8 percent of low-income mothers reuse soiled diapers! Not surprisingly, the researchers concluded that the lack of clean diapers “seriously affects maternal stress, child health, and child development.”

So, in the richest nation on Earth, a large percentage of our people can’t tend to the needs of either end of a baby!

We have millions who can’t afford the most basic necessities despite working full-time jobs. We have tens of thousands of homeless – many of them families and veterans. And, instead of passing laws to raise the minimum wage; instead of eliminating tax loopholes that encourage companies to ship manufacturing jobs overseas; instead of passing bills to help create jobs here at home; House Teapublicans plan to cut $40 billion from our food stamp programs over the next 10 years.

It will be difficult since the House has only 9 scheduled work days between now and the end of September, but I’m certain they’ll find a way.