Letter from the Editor

| August 11, 2011
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I was standing on the Flyer's loading dock last week when I heard a noise coming from the dumpster near the alley. I walked over, looked in, and saw a man going through styrofoam food boxes. He had a plastic bag, into which he'd put a few items of food he'd scrounged.

He looked up, startled, and said, "I'm just looking for something to eat."

"It's okay," I said. I turned to leave, then stopped. I stuck my hand into the dumpster and gave him five bucks. The guy looked at me in surprise, paused for a moment, and said, "Thank you. Do you have a car I could wash or something?"

I said no. He climbed out of the dumpster, thanked me again, and walked off down the alley.

We are in a recession, the experts say. But as Congress and the president diddled their way into creating a "Satan sandwich" deal to raise the debt ceiling, several other ceilings are being breached: There are a record 45.8 million Americans now getting food stamps. That's one in seven Americans who need public assistance in order to eat.

In Tennessee, 1,276,000 people get food stamps. Unemployment is around 10 percent. The economy is in the crapper, pure and simple.

And what do we get from our legislators? Proposals (which have passed into law in Florida and Missouri) to drug-test anyone receiving public assistance. Proposals to strip public unions of their bargaining power. Proposals to make voting more difficult for poor people via voter photo ID laws. Proposals to weaken public schools and fund private charter schools with taxpayer money. Proposals to cut funds from environmental and consumer protection agencies. Proposals to cut Medicare and Social Security, two of the vital safety nets for average Americans.

The middle and working classes in this country are under assault. Corporations have our legislative bodies under control. The deal is simple: If legislators pass laws that favor unbridled profit — including the right to move operations overseas to cheaper labor markets — and keep tax loopholes in place, the corporations assure their reelection with campaign contributions. It is a Satan sandwich.

The Republicans don't have a soul. The Democrats don't have a spine. The president doesn't have a clue.

At this rate, we're all headed for the dumpster.

Bruce VanWyngarden
brucev@memphisflyer.com

Comments (5)

Showing 1-5 of 5

Well whaddya say to that but Amen

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Posted by Chris Davis on 08/11/2011 at 10:25 AM

the situation in Europe is not better! most politicians are corrupt and are not taking appropriate measures to stop the chaos! in my country, Spain there an unemployment rate of 20%, making the young generation better prepared for the story in a lost generation!

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Posted by diana on 08/11/2011 at 11:37 AM

There are lively discussions going on in a variety of forums, not about whether, but when the kinds of uprisings, rebellions and civil disobedience we've seen around the globe, from Damascus to London, will come here, a form of "American Spring", if you will.

With Republicans seemingly at the helm, the Democrats AWOL, corporations and lobbyists buying control of Congress, and income disproportionality getting worse by the minute, protests in the streets of American cities can't be far behind. I think the match that might ignite the tinder box could be Congress messing with Medicare or Social Security, which, thanks to Obama's having put it on the table, it well might.

Oh, and don't just think it'll be grannies and geezers manning the barricades if that happens. Tinkering with "entitlements" (a misnomer if there ever was one) will affect a much younger demographic than just their current recipients. The protests we saw in Madison, WI could very well be the harbinger of a much wider insurrection, the kind Keith Olbermann called for at roughly the 8 minute mark of his "special comment": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ndkRgj6j-Pg

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Posted by M_Awesomeberg on 08/11/2011 at 2:42 PM

Perhaps, Marty. Perhaps you're righ---OOOOH, SHINY!!!! NANCY GRACE IS TALKING ABOUT CASEY ANTHONY AGAIN!!!! AMERICAN IDOL IS ON TONIGHT!!!!....I'm sorry, what were you saying?

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Posted by Packrat on 08/11/2011 at 3:03 PM

Bruce, I am planning to laminate this, glue it to refrigerator magnets, and give it to all my friends. "The Republicans don't have a soul. The Democrats don't have a spine. The president doesn't have a clue." part should be put on billboards all over America. When election time comes, we will have to decide between a the clueless invertebrate, or the soulless bastards who want everyone but the corporations & billionaires who line their pockets, to exist on Satan sandwiches. It's a hell of a note. No pun intended.

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Posted by cd on 08/11/2011 at 6:57 PM
Showing 1-5 of 5

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