Sunday, October 24, 2010

Socialism Or Not, It's Only Right...!

I read the following on CNN today:

(CNN) -- One man was electrocuted and his female partner was severely burned after the couple attempted to steal copper wire from a vacant property in Southern California, police said.  "I believe they thought the power was off," said Lt. Keith Hupp of the South Gate Police Department. "It was a pretty ugly scene," he added.

A witness said he rushed to the site after hearing an explosion. "I just heard a loud explosion and a lady screaming, just screaming like crazy, so I walked over there and I seen her like half burned, and she was just like crying, asking for help for her husband," Jose Carrasco told CNN affiliate KABC. 
Police said they believe they found the couple's children -- ages 3 and 6 -- waiting in a truck near the vacant property when they arrived at the scene Saturday afternoon. The woman was being treated for severe burn injuries and listed in critical condition Saturday night, Hupp said, and the children were in the custody of protective services. Police have not released the names of the victims pending notification of next of kin.

I haven't been able to get that image out of my mind. And then tonight I watched a segment on "60 Minutes" about people in California who had done everything right -- got an education, worked hard, had good jobs, and then lost everything through unemployment. Many of them have Masters Degrees and PhDs, and they're resorting to working in Walmart, or rifling through trash bins for pop bottles to sell. Most of them are facing homelessness when their benefits run out and they can no longer afford to stay in their homes. And then I wondered if the family in the CNN news story mentioned above might be in that same situation.

When I read the news story, I was shocked -- no pun intended -- at the heartless comments left by people, saying this couple had deserved to die, and they should be awarded the Darwin award.  Hardly anyone had any compassion for them.  I read the other day that over 4,000,000 Americans are homeless, and 25% of them are children.  Another several million are reaching the end of their 99 weeks of benefits.  What on earth is going on?  How did a country like America get into such a predicament, and what can they do to fix it?  I know that sounds rather simplistic, but I don't have any knowledge of economics.  However, I think we all have some experience of humanity.  Shouldn't folks to be doing more to help their fellow down-and-out neighbours?  Or does that involve that term -- socialism -- that our friends to the south seem to dislike so much.

From my extremely limited understanding, capitalism doesn't owe any explanation to anyone except the shareholders.  So what good does it do to have iPhones made in Shenzhen, China, if no one in America can afford to buy them anymore, because all the jobs have gone to -- China?  Foxconn, the company who makes iPhones and iPads employs 250,000 at one plant alone in China, and last year the company made $2.3 billion.  One employee of Foxconn, a college graduate who works in product development, earns $293 a month.  $293 a month!

I feel so sad for the family who lost their father in the horrible accident in California.  I think he must have been desperate.  I hope someone steps forward to take care of that family, and all the other families in that situation.  Socialism or not, it's only right.


Firefly the Travel Guy said...

Sounds very similar to what is going on here in South Africa. Copper thieves are running rampant.

the walking man said...

Them that make the hateful spite filled comments when these things happen are that portion of the population which still has food and a table to put it on. When that changes, and change it will, the comments will change.

I doubt there will be anything but a huge medical bill for this woman when she recovers and her husband will sit in the morgue for two or three years until the county cremates him and buries him with other cadavers that no one could afford to pay to bury.

When you have extreme conservative ideologues who say to the nation vote our way or we will start to murder them we do not agree with then you are looking at a nation on the tipping point of insanity.

The entire world feeds from the American tit and now that it has gone dry America is easily forgotten.

People will do what they need to do and then take the violence a step further to survive. And the government response will be battle tested troops deployed on the streets under the guise of insurrection.

The next ten years are going to be pivotal for America if we do not go back to thinking of ourselves as a non-conquered people. And YES we have been conquered on all fronts, political, social, economic and most importantly spiritually. The extremists are winning because their shriek is louder than the calm rational talk of the middle ground.

June said...

Sadly, as you know, it isn't only in California that people are running out of money and options.
It seems to me that the people who are so indignantly righteous are the secure retired ones and those who inherited money. They have theirs and they won't give it up.
Or else those mean-spirited commenters are in denial: "It can't happen to me because I live right!"
It makes me very angry, and scared. It could happen to me!

June said...

....and immediately after I read you this morning I read David Marshall here:

It is the perfect response to The Angry Ones.

DJan said...

I will go over and read that Wordpress blog June mentions after I comment here. Jo, you have no idea how bad it has gotten here in the US. I agree that the ones leaving those comments (which I cannot let myself read or I fear getting polluted by them) are filled with hate and fear. The walking man's comment is so true. I am so worried about the future of our great country.

Anonymous said...

I know that there is no perfect system but runaway capitalism and the worship of the individual is certainly a lot worse than any ills of socialism.

PhilipH said...

A disturbing tale. I'm just wondering how the new austerity cutbacks on welfare in the UK will work out.

It's supposed to be 'fair' according to David Cameron and Nick Clegg of the coalition govt. But it looks like it's 'the poor' who will be hit the hardest.

The thieving bankers will still get their obscenely high payouts and their champagne parties - and this is MOST UNFAIR.

Charlene said...

I saw the segment that you mention last night on 60 Minutes. Well educated hard working formerly middle class people reduced to being poor. The woman going to the food pantry for free food particularly hit home. I wonder, did she when working contribute to the pantry? This is something we can all do.

Would that the extremely wealthy would give the money they save in taxes to the poor.

I'm sure someone who believes we should balance our budgets on the backs of the poor will be happy to tell you how we got into this situation. I do not believe this is just a group of "southern" people.

In Jefferson County Kentucky, which has less than 90,000 children in public schools, it's been estimated 10,000 only eat one meal a day at school and live on the streets at some time during the school year.

Socialism is government ownership of the means of production.

Welfare is a government solution to a human problem and exists in all societies; capitalistic, theocracies, communism, etc. If we, who have so much, were to give to those who have so little, government would not be needed to help. Remember that when you hear angry people rail against "welfare." Consider how many successful people got welfare at some point in their lives; WIC milk, Section 8 help, food stamps, public education, free lunches, public university educations, etc.

The Bug said...

I'm somewhat of a lefty, so I agree with you that it's only right!

I also agree with the walking man - and I find it pretty scary. Dr. M & I live on the edge - if either of us lost our jobs we'd be done for. We got ourselves into our mess - I'd like to have the opportunity to get out of it without declaring bankruptcy.

Rebecca Nelson said...

Lots of things I'd like to say here but I will refrain and say only this one thing...

None of us are above hitting rock bottom. My best life-lessons were learned while being in the pit and looking up at the mountain.

"If there but by the grace of God, go I..."

Maybe it's time we invite the Most High BACK into our daily lives. Seems to me we've really made a mess of things...

Yep..."We". That means all of us.


Unknown said...

What sucks is that it's actually really easy to forget how bad things are for so many people here. I go about in blissful unawareness until I watch the news or listen to pulbic radio. Then I remember how many people are jobless and hungry. I don't know how long it will last but just about anything is better than this.

I haven't been to the dentist in 11 years. Good thing I have great oral hygiene!lol I'm a 28 year old with no insurance. That sucks.

Paula Slade said...

It is very sad. I know so many who are suffering in this economic downturn, and our middle class has all but disappeared while our politicians wrangle on.

We need more than a touch of Socialism here, we need kindness that comes from a charitable heart.

Unknown said...

Don't forget that much of the media is now controlled by people like Rupert Murdoch who runs Faux News. Sensationalism "sells" and keeping people ignorant and fearful is exactly what they want. The opposite of fear is love, I believe, and as The Beatles once sang, "Love is all there is." That's the one principle that has always guided me, and it's failsafe. Remember the horse, Artax, in "Never-Ending Story?" He becomes mired in quicksand because of his sadness and doubt, and is forever lost? In other words, "Do not focus on where you do not want to go."

Indian Pundit said...

""From my extremely limited understanding, capitalism doesn't owe any explanation to anyone except the shareholders. So what good does it do to have iPhones made in Shenzhen, China, if no one in America can afford to buy them anymore, because all the jobs have gone to -- China?""


Chinese and Indians can buy them!!

Fact is: EVILS of Capitalism is hitting home now. USA after the end of second World War has been the global leader and promoter of Global Capitalism. It forced , abused , threatened other countries to open its markets for US corporations and in the process millions and millions of people got killed with westerners remaining clueless-thanks to Capitalist-run media.

Read what happened in Haiti:

"One employee of Foxconn, a college graduate who works in product development, earns $293 a month. $293 a month!"

For your information , guys in China and India work in "product development" for about that much money or for maybe about a 100 dollars more....its a free market economy after do i know that???i am one of them!!!!

Finally Read this book:

Also read the first reviewer in the Amazon site...!

Russell said...

Can't add anything that hasn't been said by those before me. But, yes, very sad.

Charles Dickens would feel right at home, wouldn't he?

I am reminded of the Christmas Carol and how the Ghost of Christmas Present introduces Scrooge to two children: "This boy is Ignorance. This girl is want."

Provocative post.

Anonymous said...

Seems indeed as if only time will be able to judge human life and its content; this read like the first chapter of a long story.

Please have a good Tuesday.

daily athens

heartinsanfrancisco said...

People have been stealing copper wire for a long time, and it's terribly sad that anyone's life should ever come to this. The woman will probably lose her children, who will be separated, and there is something fundamentally wrong in a society that throws away its citizens instead of helping them.

twebsterarmstrong said...

Such stories are tragic. I am sorry for this family and their loss.

But I would like to point out that while we Americans are crying about running out of money and options, we are also crying about illegal immigrants who are in our country doing the work that we Americans deem too low to do. Case in point: the illegal immigrants who are working in our Pacific Northwest orchards. That work is back-breaking, menial labor. It is difficult for these orchards (cherry, apple, you name it) to hire American workers to do this labor.

Yet, there are people in this world who are willing and able and eager for such employment.

So...what's the answer?

Wolynski said...

I watched that 60 minutes - from middle class to menial minimum-wage labor in the blink of an eye. Frightening if you're middle class.

And you're right about the lack of compassion - if you're poor, it's your own goddamn fault.

America is still the richest country in the world - shameful what's happening here. 1% own 25% of the wealth and it's getting worse - that might be the problem.

Don't know what the answer is, except that we're heading in the wrong direction.

Great post.

fiftyodd said...

Amazing that copper is such a sought-after metal. I was about to say we have this kind of theft in South Africa all the time - Oh, I see Firefly has commented. I was listening to the BBC radio this week to hear a police report on exactly the same thing over there

Leo said...

"[i]capitalism doesn't owe any explanation to anyone except the shareholders[/i]"

Loved this phrase so much!

Mia said...

People fear what they don't understand and the average American doesn't understand that capitalism doesn't equal democracy and socialsm doesn't equal dictatorship.

There are a lot of incredibly hateful people in this world and I think they all want to leave comments on as many websites as they can.

Cedar said...

The powers that be in the U.S. (those powers being large corporations that send out millions of dollars in lobbyist money) are trying to keep the population dumbed down. They want just smart enough to push the buttons, shuffle the papers and add up the numbers, but not smart enough to formulate our own opinions and ideas about what it going seems to be working.

KeesKennis said...

To all the lefties above.
Where has socialism/communism ever worked?

I have not paid a dime in taxes to any government during the past 15 years and I have more success stories you can swing a cat at.

Govern yourselves with limited government.
It works for me
Vote for Sarah Palin.