Tag Archives: middle class

Epidemics in Black and White…The End of the War on Drugs

The “crack epidemic” of the late 80’s and early 90’s is over. One of the key racial hypocrisies of the response to the epidemic was to make sentences for possessing “crack”, used by black folks, about 5 times worse than cocaine, the same drug – used by whites.

Now we have a “heroin epidemic”, but the legal and legislative response is almost invisible. Indeed, you wouldn’t even know this was going on if you watched the evening news.

That’s because about 90% of the new addicts are white, don’t live in the city…And start using heroin as a cheaper substitute to the drugs they have been stealing out of Mommy and Daddy’s bathroom cabinet.

The move now is to “treat” addicts.

Having some experience in dealing with that with a friend – that is one long hard road. I went to some of those meetings in support, about 5 years ago, and was stunned by what I saw. I remember years ago the streets of downtown Baltimore being covered by heroin addicts – mostly black, mostly from the ghetto. Baltimore during the 8070′ through the 90’s had the largest population of addicted in any major city. These folks at the the new meeting were mostly white, mostly the addicts were kids under the age of 25, and we mostly from middle class families. And it is driving ancillary crime in rural and suburban areas to support their habits.

But heaven forbid we fill the jails with white addicts.

The end of the senseless “War on Drugs”, is indeed all about racial politics.

A photo of Courtney Griffin, who died of a heroin overdose in 2014, with her sister Shannon, left, and her mother, Pamela.

In Heroin Crisis, White Families Seek Gentler War on Drugs

When Courtney Griffin was using heroin, she lied, disappeared and stole constantly from her parents to support her $400-a-day habit. Her family paid her debts, never filed a police report and kept her addiction secret — until she was found dead last year of an overdose.

At Courtney’s funeral, they decided to acknowledge the reality that redefined their lives: Their bright, beautiful daughter, just 20, who played the French horn in high school and dreamed of living in Hawaii, had been kicked out of the Marines for drugs. Eventually, she overdosed at her boyfriend’s grandmother’s house, where she died alone.

“When I was a kid, junkies were the worst,” Doug Griffin, 63, Courtney’s father, recalled in their comfortable home here in southeastern New Hampshire. “I used to have an office in New York City. I saw them.”

Noting that “junkies” is a word he would never use now, he said that these days, “they’re working right next to you and you don’t even know it. They’re in my daughter’s bedroom — they are my daughter.”

When the nation’s long-running war against drugs was defined by the crack epidemic and based in poor, predominantly black urban areas, the public response was defined by zero tolerance and stiff prison sentences. But today’s heroin crisis is different. While heroin use has climbed among all demographic groups, it has skyrocketed among whites; nearly 90 percent of those who tried heroin for the first time in the last decade were white.

And the growing army of families of those lost to heroin — many of them in the suburbs and small towns — are now using their influence, anger and grief to cushion the country’s approach to drugs, from altering the language around addiction to prodding government to treat it not as a crime, but as a disease.

“Because the demographic of people affected are more white, more middle class, these are parents who are empowered,” said Michael Botticelli, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, better known as the nation’s drug czar. “They know how to call a legislator, they know how to get angry with their insurance company, they know how to advocate. They have been so instrumental in changing the conversation.”

Mr. Botticelli, a recovering alcoholic who has been sober for 26 years, speaks to some of these parents regularly.

Their efforts also include lobbying statehouses, holding rallies and starting nonprofit organizations, making these mothers and fathers part of a growing backlash against the harsh tactics of traditional drug enforcement. These days, in rare bipartisan or even nonpartisan agreement, punishment is out and compassion is in.

The presidential candidates of both parties are now talking about the drug epidemic, with Hillary Rodham Clinton hosting forums on the issue as Jeb Bush and Carly Fiorina tell their own stories of loss while calling for more care and empathy.

Families meet at a Counseling Session and pray for their family members and friends who are addicted.

Last week, President Obama traveled to West Virginia, a mostly white state with high levels of overdoses, to discuss his $133 million proposal to expand access for drug treatment and prevention programs. The Justice Department is also preparing to release roughly 6,000 inmates from federal prisons as part of an effort to roll back the severe penalties issued to nonviolent drug dealers in decades past.

And in one of the most striking shifts in this new era, some local police departments have stopped punishing many heroin users. In Gloucester, Mass., those who walk into the police station and ask for help, even if they are carrying drugs or needles, are no longer arrested. Instead, they are diverted to treatment, despite questions about the police departments’ unilateral authority to do so. It is an approach being replicated by three dozen other police departments around the country.

“How these policies evolve in the first place, and the connection with race, seems very stark,” said Marc Mauer, executive director of the Sentencing Project, which examines racial issues in the criminal justice system.

Still, he and other experts said, a broad consensus seems to be emerging: The drug problem will not be solved by arrests alone, but rather by treatment.

Parents like the Griffins say that while they recognize the racial shift in heroin use, politicians and law enforcement are responding in this new way because “they realized what they were doing wasn’t working.”

“They’re paying more attention because people are screaming about it,” Mr. Griffin said. “I work with 100 people every day — parents, people in recovery, addicts — who are invading the statehouse, doing everything we can to make as much noise as we can to try to save these kids.”

An Epidemic’s New Terrain

Heroin’s spread into the suburbs and small towns grew out of an earlier wave of addiction to prescription painkillers; together the two trends are ravaging the country…

Deaths from heroin rose to 8,260 in 2013, quadrupling since 2000 and aggravating what some were already calling the worst drug overdose epidemic in United States history.

Over all, drug overdoses now cause more deaths than car crashes, with opioids like OxyContin and other pain medications killing 44 people a day….Read the Rest Here

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Posted by on October 31, 2015 in The Post-Racial Life


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Why Obamacare Is Here to Stay

It is really very simple. The essence of which is captured by the following three images…

The post-Raygun destruction of the American Middle Class not only means a loss in ages. Faced with ballooning medical costs driven by private insurers, companies have shifted payment of health coverage off the “benefits” list and onto the shoulders of the employee. Now, even your average college grad is only one illness away from poverty.


And then – there is Mom…

The biggest non-criminal racket in the world is care for the elderly in the US. Conservatives would have you believe it is “Death Taxes”, which is a crock designed to fool the stupid into believing that the $10,000 a month it will cost you to put Mom or Dad in a senior center is irrelevant. For most of the middle class anymore, there quite simply isn’t any intergenerational wealth being passed on because of this.

Let’s be very clear. There is going to be a war in America on this come next election cycle. It is going to get ugly, when folks wake up and see these images with their mother, their kids, or brother or sister…

Even Tea Bagger hog calls to racism against the black President doesn’t trump mom dying.

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Posted by on October 6, 2013 in Domestic terrorism


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If There Were a 1% Debate… MLK vs. Romney

What would MLK do? What would MLK say?

There is very little evidence that MLK would have anything good to say about today’s Republican Party. Indeed – for many folks today’s Republican have gone about as low as you can go.

Here is a mash up of points by MLK and “Willard” Romney…


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American Tent Cities

What is the difference between Picture 1 and Picture 2?

But they live here and allowed me inside

Picture 1


Picture 2


Picture 1 is in America – right here in New Jersey. It, and the “Tent City” it is in, are all some luckless Americans have to live in anymore.  Picture 2 is of a Tent City in Haiti.

They, a poor country to begin with,  suffered a massive earthquake, destroying tens of thousands of homes and villages… These Americans are trying to survive the impact of conservatism in America, where our country’s jobs and manufacturing have been sold to the lowest bidder, and 28% of the Middle Class has fallen into poverty. Millions of Americans have lost their jobs, with no chance of getting them back anytime soon. Millions of Americans have lost their homes due to predatory lending and the bust of the Credit bubble. Millions try and survive without Healthcare.

It is the Second Great Depression.

I see Rick Perry, the Governor of Texas leading in the Republican Primaries bragging on his Texas Economic Miracle…

Except it seems that the Texas Economic Miracle is about as fake as the Texas Education Miracle under the last Texas Governor to run for the Presidency.

Texas ranks 6th in terms of people living in poverty. Some 18.4% of Texans were impoverished in 2010, up from 17.3% a year earlier, according to Census Bureau data released this week. The national average is 15.1%.

And being poor in Texas isn’t easy. The state has one of the lowest rates of spending on its citizens per capita and the highest share of those lacking health insurance. It doesn’t provide a lot of support services to those in need: Relatively few collect food stamps and qualifying for cash assistance is particularly tough.

Lot of folks figured out former Governor, former President Bush was “all hat an no cattle” to borrow a Texas phrase. Seems that Governor Perry doesn’t even have the “hat” part right.

Which is why the Tea Party Republicans are trying so hard to sell racism against the nation’s first black President…

Instead of politics.




Posted by on September 19, 2011 in Domestic terrorism


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Verizon – The Straw That Broke the Camel’s Back?

Can You Hear Me Now?

Been wondering for years when exactly the isht was going to hit the proverbial fan in this country. Workers have been disenfranchised in the millions, their jobs outsourced in an economy where even doing all the right things and punching all the right educational and academic tickets is no assurance of a basic wage…

Well… The strike at Verizon may have finally lit the fuse.

Verizon Strike Update: Company Calls in Hundreds of Non-Union Replacements

Verizon called in hundreds of non-union employees and additional management to fill in for striking workers as the work stoppage by unions enters its tenth day.

The company said the replacements are handling customer service and network operational duties.

“We’ve called up hundreds of additional employees in the last few days,” said Verizon spokesman Rich Young.

“Our plan is to do what we have to do to keep our networks running. By and large, 10 days into the strike, our networks are performing solidly.”

Meanwhile, the Communication Workers of America union said that more than 100,000 people have signed a petition asking the company’s chief executive to start serious negotiations with strikers.

The union claims that Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam is “trying to push Verizon workers out of the middle class.”

Much of the impasse between Verizon and unions, including the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, centers on $1 billion in concessions that the strikers claim the company is demanding from them.

Union officials, who say they don’t want to lose their members’ free health care benefits, assert that since Verizon is a very profitable company (and has paid in excess of $258 million over the past four years to five top executives); the workers shouldn’t be forced to make such sacrifices.

“We will never have an economic recovery if profitable companies like Verizon can demand huge concessions from workers,” said CWA Communications Director Candice Johnson.

“You don’t build a middle class by cutting workers’ wages, benefits and standard of living,” she added. “That’s just one reason why Verizon is becoming synonymous with VeryGreedy.”


Posted by on August 16, 2011 in American Genocide, American Greed


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Fight Against Charter Schools Moves to the Suburbs

2009 CREDO Report Stanford University -

Charter School advocates have expanded their desire to “corporatize” and privatize education to the suburbs, even pursuing establishing specialized Charter Schools in well to do areas with excellent school systems. Unlike in poor areas where parents have little political clout – suburban residents are pushing back hard against what they see as a drain upon the resources of their school systems, and a ripoff of their tax dollars.

Charter School Battle Shifts to Affluent Suburbs

MILLBURN, N.J. — Matthew Stewart believes there is a place forcharter schools. Just not in his schoolyard.

Mr. Stewart, a stay-at-home father of three boys, moved to this wealthy township, about 20 miles from Midtown Manhattan, three years ago, filling his life with class activities and soccer practices. But in recent months, he has traded play dates for protests, enlisting more than 200 families in a campaign to block two Mandarin-immersion charter schools from opening in the area.

The group, Millburn Parents Against Charter Schools, argues that the schools would siphon money from its children’s education for unnecessarily specialized programs. The schools, to be based in nearby Maplewood and Livingston, would draw students and resources from Millburn and other area districts.

“I’m in favor of a quality education for everyone,” Mr. Stewart said. “In suburban areas like Millburn, there’s no evidence whatsoever that the local school district is not doing its job. So what’s the rationale for a charter school?”

Suburbs like Millburn, renowned for educational excellence, have become hotbeds in the nation’s charter school battles, raising fundamental questions about the goals of a movement that began 20 years ago in Minnesota.

Charter schools, which are publicly financed but independently operated, have mostly been promoted as a way to give poor children an alternative to underperforming urban schools — to provide options akin to what those who can afford them have in the suburbs or in private schools.

Now, educators and entrepreneurs are trying to bring the same principles of choice to places where schools generally succeed, typically by creating programs, called “boutique charters” by detractors like Mr. Stewart, with intensive instruction in a particular area.

In Montgomery County, Md., north of Washington, the school board is moving toward its first charter, a Montessori elementary school, after initially rejecting it and two others with global and environmental themes because, as one official said, “we have a very high bar in terms of performance.”

Imagine Schools, a large charter school operator, has held meetings in Loudoun County, Va., west of Washington, to gauge parental interest in charters marketed partly as an alternative to overcrowded schools.

In Illinois, where 103 of the current 116 charter schools are in Chicago, an Evanston school board committee is considering opening the district’s first charter school.

More than half of Americans live in suburbs, and about 1 in 5 of the 4,951 existing charter schools were located there in 2010, federal statistics show. Advocates say many proposed suburban charters have struggled because of a double standard that suggests charters are fine for poor urban areas, but are not needed in well-off neighborhoods.

“I think it has to do with comfort level and assumptions based on real estate and not reality,” said Jeanne Allen, president of the Center for Education Reform in Washington, which studies and supports charter schools. “The houses are nice, people have money, and therefore the schools must be good.”…

The bigger problem, at least to my mind, is that despite a few exceptionally performing Charter Schools – the vast majority perform no better, and often worse than the schools they supposedly were designed to replace. Indeed, when comparing “Apples to Apples”, elite and selective public Schools versus Charters… It’s no contest. And while the concept of “special purpose” Charter Schools with specialized curriculum, WTF are we doing this when school districts across the country are cutting basic programs and laying off teachers because of the economic disaster the conservatives made of America?



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Woman Who Confronted Obama on Economy, performance – Loses Her Job

Seriously doubt anyone had anything to do with this…

Except the piss-poor economy. But Velma Hart, who took President Obama to task on his failure to live up to expectations, has lost her job as CFO of AmVets – a Veterans Service Organization.

Mrs. Hart called President Obama out on the economy, his timid progress in achieving change, and his failure to live up to the ideals expressed during his campaign.  She isn’t the only one who has been saying it.

As we watch the chickensqat maneuvering of the Lame Duck Democrat Congress – we have to wonder if the Dems have learned their lesson yet.

Woman Who Confronted Obama on Economy Has Lost Her Job

Velma Hart, a woman who got President Obama’s attention when she said she was “exhausted” from defending him and his policies, has lost her job as chief financial officer with a Maryland-based veterans group.

Hart has been laid off by Am Vets, but not because of any failure of her part. “She got bit by the same snake that has bit a lot of people,” Am Vets Executive Director Jim King told the Washington Post. “It was a move to cut our bottom line. Most not-for-profits are seeing their money pinched.”

At a townhall meeting carried by CNBC in September, Hart told Obama that she and her husband thought “we were well beyond the hot-dogs-and-beans era of our lives.” But, she continued, “it’s starting to knock on our door and ring true that [this] might be where we’re headed again. And quite frankly , Mr. President, I need you to answer this honestly: Is this my new reality?” In response, Obama told Hart her family’s hard work should be rewarded and assured her, “We’re moving in the right direction.”

But the president got a earful at the event in Washington. “Quite frankly,” Hart said to him, “I’m exhausted — exhausted from defending you, defending your administration, defending the man for change I voted for and deeply disappointed with where we are right now.” Because she is an African-American and was speaking bluntly to the first black president, Hart’s comment were seen as evidence that Obama was losing ground with some of his core supporters.

At Am Vets, Jim King said he had not considered the irony of Hart being let go just two months after her emotional face-off with Obama. “She was at the townhall as a private citizen,” he said to the Post. “Whatever she had to say were her own thoughts.” Hart would not discuss the matter when contracted Monday by the newspaper.

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Posted by on November 23, 2010 in Stupid Democrat Tricks


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