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Sunday, August 12, 2012

Les Misérables –The Crime of Being Poor

Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door.
Inscription on the Statue of Liberty by Emma Lazarus.
The Statue of Liberty, perhaps the most iconic image of the United States of America, is a representation of Libertas, the Roman goddess of freedom, who strides forward, trampling a broken chain, and bearing a torch and a tabula ansata, a tablet evoking the law, upon which is inscribed the date of American independence. Designed by Frédéric Bartholdi and dedicated on October 28, 1886, the statue was a gift of the people of France.
The seven rays, which are a halo or aureole, evoke the sun, the seven seas, and the seven continents, and represent another means, besides the torch, whereby Liberty enlightens the world.
Sadly, Lady Liberty must be shedding tears.
Civil war? What does this mean? Is there any foreign war? Is not every war between men, war between brothers? War is modified only by its aim. There is neither foreign war, nor civil war; there is only unjust war and just war.

Today, Mitt Romney in introducing Paul Ryan as his vice-presidential running mate, declared war on the poor, the LesMisérables.  Those who are deemed “The Miserable, The Wretched, The Poor Ones, The Wretched Poor, or The Victims.”  Wait, scratch “victims” because Romney/Ryan see them as only victims of their not trying harder.
Victor Hugo, the famous French novelist, perhaps addressed it best in his 1862 novel Les Misérables:
So long as there shall exist, by reason of law and custom, a social condemnation, which, in the face of civilization, artificially creates hells on earth, and complicates a destiny that is divine, with human fatality; so long as the three problems of the age—the degradation of man by poverty, the ruin of women by starvation, and the dwarfing of childhood by physical and spiritual night—are not solved; so long as, in certain regions, social asphyxia shall be possible; in other words, and from a yet more extended point of view, so long as ignorance and misery remain on earth, books like this cannot be useless.
“So long as there shall exist, by reason of  law and custom, a social condemnation, which, in the face of civilization, artificially creates hells on earth…”

Welcome to 2012.
That Mitt Romney is a very rich man is a given.  That Mitt Romney understands the plight of average Americans is very much in doubt.

“I’m in this race because I care about Americans,” Romney told CNN’s Soledad O’Brien after his resounding victory in Florida. “I’m not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there. If it needs repair, I’ll fix it.”
Mr. Romney says that his statement that "he does not worry about the poor" was taken out of context.  Yet reports show that Romney's tax plans would shift the burden of taxes toward the poor.  According to a recent survey by The Associated Press, the number of Americans living at or below the poverty line — now 16 percent — is at its highest point since President Johnson declared a war on poverty in 1964.  Cleary we have not won this war.

“We’re accused, by the way — in our party — of being the party of the rich,” Romney said. “And it’s an awful moniker, because that’s just not true. We’re the party of people who want to get rich. And we’re also the party of people who want to care to help people from getting poor. We want to help the poor."
With help likes this who needs enemies?
A new ad from Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney accuses President Obama of “gutting welfare reform.” According to an article by Joan Vennochi in opening this line of attack, Romney is resurrecting an old stereotype — the lazy, greedy welfare recipient, who will do anything to avoid honest employment — and reviving an old line of attack against Democrats as enablers.
Sister Campbell said “Recent advertisements and statements from the campaign of Governor Romney demonize families in poverty and reflect woeful ignorance about the challenges faced by tens of millions of American families in these tough economic times,” stated Sister Simone Campbell. “We are all God’s children and equal in God’s eyes. Efforts to divide us by class or score political points at the expense of the most vulnerable of our brothers and sisters reveal the worst side of our country’s politics.”
“He thinks they’re lazy,” Campbell said.
Franciscan Action Network (a group of Franciscan) spokesman Lonnie Ellis told The Huffington Post that what Romney is doing is "worse than ignoring" poor people. He said Romney is essentially criticizing President Barack Obama for helping out low-income individuals. "It's saying look, 'President Obama is actually supporting poor people too much, or he's just giving a free ride to poor people,'" Ellis said. "So it's actually using poor people in a really bad way."
We see, like all new converts to a religion, his conversion intoxicated him, he plunged headlong into adhesion, and he went too far. His nature was such; once upon a descent it was almost impossible for him to hold back. Fanaticism for the sword took possession of him, and became complicated in his mind with enthusiasm for the idea.

"I like being able to fire people who provide services to me," Romney said at a breakfast in New Hampshire.
Fellow Republican, Rick Perry, has said that Romney is "slightly out of touch with the economic realities."  Newt Gingrich characterized Romney’s actions at Bain Capital as "rich people figuring out pretty clever ways to loot a company," and has previously said Romney should give back the money he's earned from "bankrupting companies and laying off employees."
A-a recent report by the Wall Street Journal shows that 22 percent of the companies in which Bain invested either went bankrupt or shut down, and another eight percent lost all money Bain invested.
He caught glimpses of everything, but saw nothing.

In a disturbing twist, Huffington Post reports that "Mitt Romney Started Bain Capital With Money From Families Tied To Death Squads."
At a certain depth of distress, the poor, in their stupor, groan no longer over evil, and are no longer thankful for good.

The selection of Mr. Ryan, the chief architect of the Republican Party’s plan for tax and spending cuts and an advocate of reshaping the Medicare program of health insurance for retirees spells trouble for the poor.
Mr. Ryan has proposed sweeping changes in entitlement programs like Medicaid and Medicare, which insure more than 100 million people and whose costs account for more than one-fifth of the federal budget. Ryan’s budget plan would cut food, medical, education, and housing assistance from the neediest Americans. It would also transform Medicare from a guaranteed health insurance program, to a voucher plan that would hand government checks directly to for-profit insurance companies. The vouchers are designed to pay for only a portion of health care premiums, and does not contain any assurance that people with pre-existing conditions would even be able to find an insurance company willing to cover them.
When Representative Paul Ryan was 16 years old , tragedy struck his family. His 55 year old father had passed away from a heart attack. Young Paul Ryan found his father’s lifeless body and was burdened by the fact that he had to tell his mother and siblings of this horrible situation.
After his father’s passing, young Paul Ryan started collecting social security benefits until the age of 18 years old. He took this benefit and saved it for his college education. Representative Paul Ryan is one example of the millions of people whose lives have depended on our social contract with the American people. Without this benefit, his mother would have had to make even tougher decisions and Representative Paul Ryan may not have been able to pay for his college education. This social contract lifted him and his entire family out of a tough situation.
This brother... felt obliged to give alms to the poor whom he met, but never gave them anything more than coppers or worn-out sous, finding thus the means of going to Hell by the road to Paradise.

Not to be outdone, talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh and conservative pundits are coming down hard on Romney’s point: that the poor have a safety net, “and if there are people that are falling through the cracks, I want to fix that.”
“The safety net is one of the biggest cultural problems we’ve got!” Limbaugh said. We had better be worried about it just like we had better get angry over Obamacare. Obamacare is worth getting mad about. Mitt said that it wasn’t. This biz, ‘I’m not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there’? Right, the safety net is contributing to the destruction of their humanity and their futures!"
Yes, Orwell would be proud. Limbaugh, a pseudo-spokesman for the Republican party, says that the very safety nets which Mitt Romney is not concerned about are the CAUSE of the destruction of the Les Misérables. Yes, providing food for the starving and shelter for the homeless is the reason “those people” are Les Misérables. Shame on us for not throwing them into the street so that they may better themselves.
Let us never fear robbers nor murderers. Those are dangers from without, petty dangers. Let us fear ourselves. Prejudices are the real robbers; vices are the real murderers. The great dangers lie within ourselves. What matters it what threatens our head or our purse! Let us think only of that which threatens our soul.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops declared “The proposed cuts (by Representative Ryan) to programs in the budget reconciliation fail [the] basic moral test.”
In April 16 and April 17 letters to the House Agriculture Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee addressing cuts required by the budget resolution, Bishop Blaire said “The House-passed budget resolution fails to meet these moral criteria.” Bishop Blaire also wrote that cuts to nutrition programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP- food stamps) and the Child Tax Credit (CTC) will hurt hungry children, poor families, low-income workers and other vulnerable people. Additionally, he wrote that if cuts to the federal budget need to be made, savings should first be found in programs that target more affluent and powerful interests.
The truth is that his budget hurts those Jesus called the "least of these" in society and that is why so many religious leaders - including Roman Catholics - have blasted his budget proposals.
How frightened hypocrisy hastens to defend itself.

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) dismissed the concerns of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in an interview with Fox News on Thursday, after the powerful advocacy group criticized his budget for “failing to meet [the] moral criteria,” of protecting human dignity, prioritizing the needs of the hungry and homeless and promoting the common good. He also suggested that the criticism itself might not represent the Bishops’ consensus view — an insinuation the group directly rejects.
“These are not all the Catholic bishops, and we respectfully disagree,” Ryan said.
It is a pity that I am ignorant, for I would quote you a crowd of things, but I don't know anything.
In a recent New Yorker profile, Ryan called Ayn Rand a key inspiration in his life. His coming-of-age moment featured Rand. Ryan went on to say that Rand's works are required reading for his staff. "The reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand," he went on to say. "And the fight we are in here, make no mistake about it, is a fight of individualism versus collectivism."
Ayn Rand, an atheist and anti-religionist, is the heroine of the hyper-individualistic, anti-government wing of the Tea Party movement.
Faithful America has launched a campaign to encourage Ryan to put down the conservative writer Ayn Rand, who advocated selfishness, and pick up the Bible. The group said his budget plan “reflects Ayn Rand’s love of greed and contempt for the weak by giving huge tax breaks to millionaires while making deep and harmful cuts to programs that protect seniors, struggling families and the middle class.”
Sister Simone Campbell directs the group Network, organizers of a multi-state “Nuns On The Bus” tour by Catholic Sisters opposed to U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget. As the bus tour launched in Ames, Iowa, she said the Ryan budget hurts the poor while giving tax breaks to the rich – the so-called ‘job creators.’
[Sister Simone Campbell]: “Not only have I yet to see a job, I’ve yet to see any salary increases for folks who work so hard day in and day out. (Applause) But what I have seen are CEO salaries that continue to skyrocket. It’s shocking – that CEO’s would get an increase when the very people who create their wealth don’t. That’s wrong in a nation that holds itself out as a democracy of we, the people.”
Not being heard is no reason for silence.
Catholic nuns have begun a bus tour to spread the word about what it means to be a Christian and how you cannot call yourself one if you support the Paul Ryan budget plan.
“It is one thing to have political differences, but to try to hide a budget that will devastate people and claim that it is supported by your faith is unacceptable. He is wrong and he needs to be told so,” Sister Simone Campbell told CNN.
In fact, the Ryan budget cuts focus squarely on programs that hurt the poor and help the rich, which is the exact opposite of the teaching of Jesus Christ in the Catholic Bible.
As ThinkProgress reported, NETWORK, a Catholic social justice advocacy group, has supported the national "Nuns On A Bus" tour, which is aimed at highlighting the negative effects of Ryan's proposed cuts, and invited Romney to spend a day with Catholic nuns helping the poor in their communities. _____________________________________________________________________________________
Where the telescope ends, the microscope begins. Which of the two has the grander view?

Keep the spirit of 24601 alive.


  1. But that is the problem, everyone has their sacred cow, if the right would give a little in the areas of defense spending and taxes, and the left in the areas of social spending, we could erase our deficits in less than a decade.
    We have all become idealogs, so locked into this left/right paradigm that we refuse to give an inch for fear of "losing" to the other side, and all the while we are all losing.

  2. Rupert Murdoch tweeted: "Thank God! Now we might have a real election on the great issues of the day. Paul Ryan almost perfect choice." GOD? What is Murdoch's faith? Spying on people's lives and trying to force his ideology down throats of USA citizens through his faux news FOX? Craig NYC

  3. To see these two clown standing in front of Battle Ships shows all we need to know about their plans. UK

  4. So Romney decided on Damien for his VP. Check out the widow's peak and features. Someone please check under his hair for the dreaded 666. anonymous in Florida

  5. Republicans have always dreamed of ending Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. In addition, Ryan hopes to eliminate education programs like Head Start (preschool for poor children). Republicans always argued that family and charities should care for the elderly and the poor. So, If it is to Romney & Ryan, bring back the long soup lines of the 1930's while Romney accumulates more tax free millions in Switzerland, Bahamas and the Caymans! Fuck the GOP! Sara B. -----Boston

  6. Great use of Les Misérables to frame the reality of ROMNEY/RYAN. God help us!! Frustrated in North Carolina

  7. Theme Song:

    The unofficial, but utterly appropriate, song for the Ryan-Romney campaign: "Kill The Poor," by the Dead Kennedys.

    Don Handy

  8. Two R's, don' make a right, they make a FAR right. Women, seniors, children, and persons with preexisting conditions will suffer. We need a civil war to divide the Dems and the Reps, then we will see how many of the women, seniors and poor will find their religion will not pay the bills and take care of the sick. I feel for you Poor Blokes over in the States.

    Judd W. Hoppers Crossing Victoria Australia

  9. Google "woman up" pavilion at republican convention sponsored by Eric cantor They are going to tell women how conservative policies are good for them and their families. Poppycock!

  10. Les Misérables or I should say the author of the work really nails the human condition and the insanity of how people treat other people horribly in so many circumstances. I'm excited to see Ann Hathaway in the movie version of Les Mis!!! I pray for America. Nicky

  11. Both Romney and Ryan are lead by their faiths. How can Paul Ryan call himself a christian when all of his actions are the opposite of the word of god. Americans and their hypocritical religious faiths. Do they really believe the shit they shovel?

  12. It is so funny that Paul Ryan loves Ayn Rand! He was too stupid to release before he told the world she is his favorite thinker, that she is an atheist. What a dim whit Ryan is!

  13. How do people of great wealth sleep at night and justify they should pay lower tax rate than do the educators who teach their own children, who make shit for pay? It boggles my mind. No one is asking the wealthiest to pay a higher tax %, WE JUST WANT THEM TO PAY EQUAL TAXES.

  14. "Les Misérables –The Crime of Being Poor" What a fucking joke this article is. Are you serious? I can just hear Éponine singing "On My Own" from the sappy broadway show now. LMFAO! You fucking whining liberals make me want to puke. Life isn't a fictional, gay broadway show. Life IS about personal responsibility and people in bad life conditions can only blame themselves for the life they have. If they don't like it, change it. The victims get addicted to the suffering. We each control our own destiny. ROMNEY/RYAN 2012! Let's get this Socialist out of the white house.


    1. Shouldn't that be Ayn spelled with a "y".

  15. Ann, you sound like a heartless person. Why so angry?


  16. Like the writer of this article mentions; Paul Ryan, by his own admission, is a believer in and admirer of Ayn Rand and the ideas she advocates. If you have not read her books you should. Then you decide.

  17. Ryan budget increases defense spending $8 billion over $546 billion agreed to under the Budget Control Act! Do you hear that world? WAR WAR WAR

  18. Romney should have ended before it got started--- but they still listen to Sara... ??? Finally a president that comics don't have to just let the tape roll to hear/ see a joke- but Romney/Ryan, that's no laughing matter. Economic and humanitarian devastation are far too evident in that ticket.

  19. Here's Paul Ryan's Research Book. His record on Veterans and Injured Veterans is a TRAIN WRECK. He voted against dental care for POWs, The new GI Bill, and voted for several bills opposed by the Disabled Vets of America. Todd K.

  20. It's now crystal-clear: Mitt Romney is the reverse-Robin Hood! He and his running-mate will take from the poor and give even more to the rich!

    Mitch in Jersey City

  21. Mitch- Stop with the stupidity! How in the world will they take from the poor? Where are your facts and not your slander? Really! Bob

  22. BOB! Check out this to see how Paul Ryan's buddy Eric Cantor's will take from the poor. Here are some facts.

  23. Wake up you stupid liberals; you think next years crop is going to be any better (YOU'RE the religious arbitors of climate change)? You imagine your precious Obama, given his PROVEN RECORD of fiscal and economic failure, is going to "Hope" things "Change"? Dream on... he cares less if any of you or your children live or die... at least until past the election.

  24. Who in their right-mind would want this Ayn Ryan acolyte a heartbeat away from the President? Mitt has just had his "Palin" moment and it will not play well in Peoria or anywhere else. All the Dems have to do his concentrate on Florida and remind seniors of Ryan's stands on Social Security and Medicare and the election is over. I doubt Ryan can even move the vote in his home state of Wisconsin. Mitt may have solidified the Tea-Party, but he alienated the few independent votes left up for grabs.

  25. "Why not focus on excesive and unecessary military billions?"...
    In staging his event in front of a war ship, I think Romney sent a pretty clear message that if elected he'll cut the hell out of everything, EXCEPT defense. Now all of that defense lobbying money will flow like water into his pac's accounts. Cue the ugly, lying ads against the President.

  26. Great article. I too believe that we the people should live in a land where those among us who are the most fortunate help create an environment to help those with the least have the same chances. Anything else seems barbaric. I'm disillusioned and losing hope because there seems to be more hate then kindness in America.

  27. Did Paul Ryan play Eddie Munster on the Munster TV show as a child? They are dead ringers for each other with their widow's peak vampire hairline. The hairline must be why Ryan is called the vampire-eyed granny starver by some in the press.

  28. I love the traveling NUN bus tour taking on Paul Ryan. I'm not religious but she speaks the truth. Sister Simone Campbell rips Paul Ryan a new A-Hole!
    She so simply and clearly explains what every ignorant American should know! She should be a politician. She is a brilliant.

    Sister Simone Campbell says that they would not be on this silly trip if not for Paul Ryan’s exclamation that it was his Catholic teaching that guides him to hate democracy and the poor. Watch!

  29. "Keep the spirit of 24601 alive." Prison number for Jean Valjean the protagonist right? It's like the black guy who gets 2 years for stealing a home depot drill while the rich white bankster swindles millions and gets off. Life is not fair and even for all at birth. Your article using this analogy works well. America has lost its way.

  30. News stories say Paul Ryan came from wealthy family but yet he collected social security when his father died when he was a teen? I'm confused, which is it? It would be even worse if he collected hand- outs from GOV and he wasn't really even in need. What a phony.

  31. True greatness and wisdom comes from the deeds one does for others; as opposed to those which enrich oneself. The GOP are cowards.

  32. I found it appaling when Romney said poor people have a safety net. What would that be a lifetime of worries and angst? I never heard anyone poor think they had it easy. I have heard rich people complain that being wealthy is a burden. If it is such a burden maybe they would like to trade places for a lifetime of misery. Sean writes about the reforms Romeny must make, I have no problem cutting taxes but as a daughter of an elderly parent who has money, it is asounding to see how quickly he would be desitude without medicare. See even the well to do will suffer from your reforms!