Michigan's Poor Children Face An Uphill BattleWritten by Brian McAfee
MUSKEGON -- Michigan's poor are having an increasingly hard time making ends meet, according to a recently completed study, and numerous social service organizations throughout state.
According to 2003 Market Basket Survey (which measures buying power of poor), cash assistance and food stamps, which make up all poor receive, covers only 5 percent of income needed to pay for food, clothing and housing. One year ago, Public Assistance provided 60 percent.
"That's a very dramatic drop, one I haven't seen in seven or eight years that we've been doing this," stated Ellen Speckman-Randall, executive director of Michigan County Social Services Association, which conducted annual survey.
From a Muskegon Chronicle article on subject: "According to survey, a family of three would qualify for $9,830 a year in government cash assistance, food stamps and a back-to-school clothing allowance. That same family would spend an average of $18,137 in rent, utilities, transportation, food and clothing."
Cash assistance grants have not increased for ten years under conservative Republican Gov. John Engler. And now, with a new governor, Jennifer Granholm, improvement is unlikely because of state's projected $1.7 billion deficit.
Child and Family Associates see an urgency in public need particularly for children. One reported suggestion is an added one-cent tax on each can of beer, to generate $20 Million, with money to be used to increase back-to-school clothing allowance from $25 to $100 -- much more than just this is needed to ensure well being of poor children.
What Is American Interventionism Really About?Written by Brian McAfee
Brian McAfee 2838 Mason Muskegon Heights 49444 MI USA (231) 737-8726 firstname.lastname@example.org
What Is American Interventionism Really About?
By Brian McAfee
The war is, for most part, over. Iraq has been liberated, country is in a shambles but Halliburton is on hand to rebuild. Most of troops are back home or on their way. With apparently overwhelming public support, why were those Pesky demonstrators out there? All across U.S., in Europe, in India, pretty much everywhere. After all, isn't Saddam Hussein most evil man on earth, a blight on planet? Well, yes he is, as are Osama bin Laden, Taliban, Manuel Noriega. All bad bad men, with one thing in common- 20 years ago we (the U.S.) armed, trained and financed them.
Manuel Noriega was a well paid CIA man, "our man in Panama" as it were. Heavily involved with cocaine trafficking, he was convicted and imprisoned in '89 after a closed door trial, leaving a cloud over CIA of apparent involvement of drug smuggling and involvement in crack epidemic in our inner cities. Osama bin Laden first surfaced in Afghanistan in 1979 with U.S. armed trained and financed Mujahideen, a violent group of Islamic fundamentalists. They overthrew Soviet supported government in Kabul and replaced it with a number of successive theocracies notorious for their human rights abuses and treatment of women and girls. They evolved into Taliban. The green jacket bin Laden has been seen in since 9/11 is a U.S. military issue from days of his partnership with U.S. when he was fighting against other "Great Satan", Soviet Union. The current situation brings us to 50 year mark of excessive intervention that has resulted in massive bloodshed throughout third world.
In 1953, elected president of Iran, Mohammed Mossadegh, decided to nationalize his country's oil supply, for usual reasons, infrastructure, health care, and education. This, of course, outraged U.S. and Great Britain who of course thought oil was theirs. After a short time it was. They instilled Shah, Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, who lived a life of indulgence for next 25 years. The SAVAK, Shah's secret police which had close ties to CIA, any perceived threat or demonstrations for democracy were met with imprisonment, torture and sometimes death. Under guidance of CIA, leftists were primary target for SAVAK and in 1979 when Islamists swept to power under Ayatolla Khomeini, there was little Shah or SAVAK could do about it. They fled to U.S. In '54 another elected president, Jacobo Arbenz, decided it would be a good idea to nationalize some of unused land in Guatemala, one of poorest countries in world, land though not being used, was claimed by United Fruit a U.S. owned company that was under control of U.S. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles. And, you guessed it, elected president had to flee. Guatemala has been run by a military dictatorship. Over a hundred thousand poor and indigenous people have been killed and our bananas are cheap.
In Congo in 1960 U.S. had a problem, there was a new political leader on rise, and he was concerned about poverty and justice in his country. They had just come out of racist and colonial yoke. The CIA got on it. The next year Patrice Lumumba was dead and U.S. had another dictator in Mobutu. Indonesia in '65 was probably an exciting place to be, colorful, politically lively, a strong left and an equally strong right and a charismatic if somewhat bizarre president Sukarno was leading a fledgling democracy. Indonesia, even then, was a major oil producer. Of course U.S. government was concerned and CIA was quite active, a little too active, they planted a story of an eminent communist takeover and gave right wing military a list of "communists" that they wanted dead. The military and Suharto dictatorship exceeded list by between half a million to a million in one of worst massacres of 20th century. (Sukarno having been kicked out of presidency in U.S. planned and sponsored coup). Ten years later Indonesia story takes another turn. East Timor, newly independent former Portuguese colony is under threat from Indonesia. The U.S. gives a green light for a takeover to Indonesia, giving them U.S. weapons and their blessing in a state visit [Ford and Kissinger] as their plane is leaving tarmac Indonesian military makes its move invading poor island made up of very poor Aboriginal people. The Indonesian military being very cruel, over time killed about 200 thousand of island's 800 thousand inhabitants.