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Poverty Is an Institution it is NOT a "choice"

What is an institution? It is anything that is embedded within our society that we base our laws and policies upon. Websters Dictionary defines an institution as.”… a well-established and structured pattern of behavior or of relationships that is accepted as a fundamental part of a culture, any established law or custom…” The institution of poverty feeds upon racism, sexism (including LGBTQ), classism, ageism and those with disabilities in order to keep it in place.

In spite of the terrible damage this institution causes, as did the Institution of Slavery and racism has for 100s of years, institutions remain in place because they benefit someone. It will remain in place because those in the upper classes depend on this embedded institute for their own benefit, so eradicating poverty is *not* what any upper class people could accept. Instead they like to pretend that poverty is a ”choice’” rather than accepting that fact they enjoy many benefits because poverty is embedded in our society. They prefer to think they do not benefit from an institution that is like a giant spider’s web ensnaring those in poverty while continuing to benefit those “above” them.

What the middle class does not seem to get while they enjoy their dependence on the poor is that this Poverty Institution uses the poor as “canaries in the mine” for making policy and laws. So if the upper classes ~ especially the middle class ~ ignore these laws and policies because they think it will not affect them, they do not seem to get that those same policies and laws can also be imposed on them ~ or that they can be affected and benefit off the suffocating of others.

I can name some ways that the upper classes depend upon the poor, but it would be long and wonky. Suffice it to say many industries make big money off those in poverty, whether it is because of their dependence on cheap labor, gate keeping positions for those who "serve" the poor, our taxes (the poor make the greatest sacrifice for paying taxes than any other class, paying upwards of 12-17% of their meager incomes), tax breaks for the rich who "contribute" with their donations (when actually they contribute nothing because they use mega-nonprofits as their private Cayman Islands), our prison industry, government fees and penalties, rental housing, the medical industry, the list goes on and on...

So in truth while we pretend the poor depend on the upper classes, the reality is that the upper classes depend upon the poor, the institution of poverty for their own benefit. Nobody is going to speak for the poor because if anybody with a shred of morals recognized their own dependence upon "the least among us" and the suffering that dependence causes, then they would actually have to do something about it.

My (more than) 2 cents
Love, Cat

We tried to tell them 20 years ago this would happen

...when they pushed through Welfare Reform. We knew it would lead to more poverty, not less. It is not rocket science here but the hatred for the poor was thick as mud then and still is in many places. Hate to say it but they were right here on DU screaming they shouldn't, "have to support other people's kids..."

News flash here folks about those kids: whether or not you choose to have kids, they are the ones who will pay YOUR Social Security, YOUR Medicaid, fight in YOUR wars, manage YOUR infrastructure, and take care of YOU when you are no longer able to care for yourself. Sooo these families are supposed to be "on their own" while those who "did not want to support other people's kids" feel entitled without paying to line up with their hands out demanding what they think they are entitled to without paying anything. What if these unsupported families said, "Ok you freeloaders, since you did not want to support us, we should be the only benefactors, we don't feel we should have to support those who did not support us. C'mon kids and grandkids, help me only, ~ and as for you you useless deadbeats, you are on your own sucka!"

Before Welfare Reform over 70% of people used welfare for support in order to get training and go to college (since the the other parent could or would not pay child support). Thanks to Welfare Reform they were jerked out of school and forced to find a McJob that would not even pay the rent, plunging them into lifelong poverty. 80% of those women were on welfare from fleeing domestic violence situations ~ and still are. And only 1/3 of those on welfare were and still are people of color ~ but the "face" of welfare used women of color as "demons" to stoke more hate for the poor.

Punish 'em, take way what little support they had and hit the road ~ who cares about the devastation of families, the kids who were left without a home, without decent adult guidance, the lack of decent jobs with decent wages??!! So instead they jacked up the prices for housing, while people rolled in the dough selling their high priced housing to move where the housing was cheaper ~ only to jack those prices up too. Now we have a "housing crisis" and now the prices are still not affordable for anyone.

The Clintons and their supporters cheered on idiots like Judi Gulliani who forced the poor into working for less than $.50 cents per hour"working off their welfare grants" ~ while undermining good union jobs to displace workers with livable wages in NYC (so much for feminism unless it applies to upper income women or women in other countries, forget low income women here). They gave corporations large grants and generous tax breaks for "being so nice" as to exploit these low wage workers who have been forced into lifelong poverty. With HUD money they gentrified inner city neighborhoods so that only the upper classes can afford that housing.

Now they are all surprised the the poor moved where there is more affordable housing ~ where the upper income no longer want to live because it is too far from their jobs, no decent public transportation, no jobs close by, and industry has polluted what was once pristine property.

Listen we told them, we TOLD them what was coming and they refused to listen to us. In every state we told them with little or no media support, no consideration from those in power, or few legislators who supported us (Yea Patsy Mink, RIP!). I myself stood in both US and state legislator's offices with ministers, nuns, priests, teachers, social workers, low income people, students, low income supporters, and so many others ~ but we were laughed off the stage. We were called "idealistic, unrealistic and bleeding heart libruls..."

So now Detroit and many other cites are being devastated because people are too poor to afford housing and are fleeing to the suburbs where no upper income people want to live anymore because their housing is subsidized with HUD money that should be allocated for low income housing but often is not... well surprise, surprise!

My 2 cents,

Cat in Seattle

Been there!

I am also the daughter who has seen the same disgusting crap. My mom and dad were married 42 years when she died of cancer rather suddenly (she did not know she had it until a month before she died). Dad immediately married ~ the exact year after my mother died. We wanted Dad to be happy and in spite of our doubts tried to be as nice to his wife and as supportive as possible. But things began to turn for the worse when she began to lie about us and tell people we were "crack addicts" and other various lies, eventually cutting us completely off from our dad.

Furthermore this harlot was a drunk and pretty much screwed anything that moved. She drunkenly tried to seduce my brother-in-law by rubbing his crotch and looking toward the bedroom. He said he wanted to vomit and refused. So she flew into a rage and told vile lies about him too for months, even claiming she saw him take drugs (NOT!) and that he had tried to seduce her. Besides the fact he is a decent man and would never do such a thing, if you ever saw this old hag, you would immediately know she would be the last person a younger man would want to screw.

We also discovered she had mysteriously "lost" two other husbands in sudden deaths as a "nurse" who promised to take care of these lonely old men. My daughter finally rescued her grandfather, my dad, after his wife had abandoned him to starve, freeze, and die, of course taking all my father's resources with her. He did not know she has gone and he was so scared of her he had stayed in the front room on a bare couch shivering in his underwear for days. This bitch had been withholding his medicines, she has been so psychologically abusive he was in a fetal position on the couch in tears when my daughter and her husband found him, terrified to move for fear she would scream at him unaware she has been gone for more than 2 weeks ~ to live on his dime in a luxurious senior community.

Once Dad got into a warm loving home, he began to think more clearly and filed for divorce,which freed up half of his assets so he could at least be cared for the last few months of his life. He arranged and paid for his grave site to be beside my mom with part of it. My daughter and her husband cared for him until he died ~ unfortunately before the divorce was completed. When my cousin called Wifey to tell her he had passed away she crowed triumphantly, "I got it allllll!" Meaning that she would take all his assets, much of which my mom had inherited from her relatives since the divorce was not completed before he died.

We found out later that the neighbors had called emergency over 20 times the last year of my dad's life, concerned for his safety and her abuse. Adult Protective Services did nothing. They let it happen, and never so much as contacted us, his children. Turns out all they are concerned about is institutions, so whatever horror happens in an elder's home is just fine with them. Hey they get their nice paychecks, their benefits, their retirement, who gives a flying damn about the hell and torture being inflicted on a helpless elder in their own home while being leeched of everything they earned?

APS not only did not do a single thing to help my dad, they could not even take 5 minutes to make a phone call to me his daughter who lived within 2 miles or to find out what I knew. We had been cut off from any communication for years except for a few furtive times when we called him in secret to let him know we loved him and missed him. In desperation to know how he was, we also kept in touch with relatives who were allowed to see him ~ of course because they were not a threat to Wifey's inheritance and it shut Dad up when he was lonely for his family. We knew something was wrong but whenever we had this precious stolen contact, he always put on a face that he was just fine. We found out later his brave face was because she or her son were listening in on the other line unbeknownst to us.

I am glad Mr Kasem's daughter tried to step in, this also happened in WA state to my dad. I suspect Wifey tried to get him to this state because she knew APS nor the law would not do anything to protect abused elders living in their own homes ~ and she would get all his assets, to hell with the suffering she caused just as long as she took over those bank accounts.

If I were married to a man with kids, I would *never* do this to my husband or his family because I know of the agony it causes for the loved ones and for him. I know how to be decent because I was taught the right things by decent parents, and while they also taught me not to brag about my qualities, it helps to know I am a better human being that anything those creeps have in their little finger!

Postscript: The worst thing about this was this subhuman piece of crap and her greedy lawyer went after my daughter and her husband for "wasting" my dad's money on his care ~ and won over $40,000 they were required to pay. Of course Greedy Lawyer got a fine chunk of the estate too ~ that's right I am talking about YOU Jill Bliss, you sharking piece of s**t! My daughter had lost her job because of her care for her grandfather as well as being the mother of two kids.

Even more disgusting, Nurse Ratchet even went after my dad's corpse in an attempt to prevent him from being buried where he wanted to be for eternity and would have won that too except the funeral home refused to release his body to her saying he had expressed his wishes, paid for his burial and they would honor those wishes. Oh thank you Ballard Funeral Home for letting my dad lay with my mom where we can pay our wishes and know where he is!

When Wifey died of alcoholism a few years later, her son, who participated in this abuse, inherited all my mother's assets, and as far as I am concerned they can both fry in hell. As a matter of fact I am glad I do not know where she is buried or I would ...let my imagination go as to what I would love to do to her grave ...!

My 2 cents

(still crying after a decade of mourning)

Cat in Seattle

PeePeeEss: Not one person involved with this abuse has paid a single thing, this is how we treat our elders nowadays. No police investigation, no APS investigation, not one single thing when these criminals should have been frog marched to jail. Indeed they were rewarded with all the assets of their victim in exchange for their torture of an old man who had everything taken from him, even his own family. No wonder Mrs Kasem brought Mr Kasem to WA State. These "officials" and "law" people could care less unless they fear a bad media report for a rest home with a killer nurse on their state funded staff or something. Freaking pigs!

American Safe Families Act=Destruction of Families

The ironically named American Safe Families Act (AFSA) is not "safe" for kids and it is destroying families. Here are a few facts about the ASFA law and what it's consequences:

*AFSA is mandated funding taken out of Social Security. States receive on the average of $2 Billion of federal funding solely for the taking of kids from their families

*AFSA mandates say in essence: "The more kids you take, the more money you will make. If you return these children home, you will LOSE all future and present funding..."

* The cost for taking kids from their families brings funds into DSHS state agencies between $8,000-$10,000 per month per child. It will generate even more funding if the children are deemed "disabled"

*DSHS admits that less than 15% of the kids they take are truly abused. This means that 85% of these children could stay in their homes ~ but it would cost CPS some of that $8-$10,000 to give them services costing less such as energy assistance, affordable housing, food security and medical assistance. Many of these parents are low wage workers with no sick leave or family support and they have to choose between things like taking a day off for a follow-up appointment or making the following month's rent. Clinics and hospitals receive AFSA money for reporting those who do not make those appointments as well as other "abuses".

* At this time CPS case managers and contracted agencies are given immunity even if proven they have committed perjury, intimidation, deliberately overlooked the law, or any other violation that would fine other government employees, put them in jail for up to 20 years, and may even face the death penalty according to the US code, which is above any other laws: . Title 18, U.S.C., Section 245 .

* The most expensive cases of child abuse and neglect that states have brought have been proven as shams. Even the US circuit Court said that CPS is not trustworthy because they have no one to overlook their accusations ~ except within their own internal "investigations" which in essence is the fox watching the chicken coop. McMartin Case in CA, the Massachusetts and Wenatchee Witch Hunts that occurred in the 1980s and 1990s were THE most expensive trials in the histories of their states and all were proven to be utter shams. This is because officials used quack psychological methods now called "False Memory Retrieval" as legal fact. After using kids as their guinea pigs with using them for "studies" they had used kids for years to win their case by getting kids to make false statements in court, this method has since been considered unethical...

However not one counselor, law official, judge, or case manager has faced a single consequence for these false accusations that send hundreds of children scattered, many innocents to prison and destroyed thousands of lives. http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/mcmartin/mcmartinaccount.html https://www.vdare.com/articles/prosecutorial-abuse-the-wenatchee-witch-hunt-unravels-further Indeed many of these prosecutors and their CPS cohorts were elevated into higher positions ~ hate to say it but some of them are Democrats and have served in positions such as university department heads, policy committees, and Attorney General after "making their bones" on these witch hunts. Here is one such Democrat: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/addiction-in-society/201001/martha-coakley-and-modern-witch-hunting-ritual-child-sexual-abuse

False Memory Retrieval has produced numerous law suits from patients who were deliberately misled into thinking their own fathers were rapists using suggestive counseling. It was was an intense and invasive practice that had children make false accusations against their families and community members. It was also used with adults who were counseled into thinking they had been raped and molested as children. This kind of coaching is still used with kids today by CPS workers who can remove a child from a classroom or go behind closed doors with no recording, and interrogate kids of any age with no independent witnesses or any way to prove their allegations that they claim a child has made. They can twist the most innocent comment into a "fact" simply by stating they "felt" that the child was in "imminent danger". Imminent Danger means that even if they didn't find any abuse or any patterns of abuse, the child may be "in danger"" in the future with only the case manager's "feelings" that abuse "could" happen. These allegations are frequently used as fact in court for quick removal of the child, often using police to do so with case manger "concerns" that can later be proven as outright lies ~ but too late to have the child returned to their homes, of course.

* Thanks to ASFA therefore for any American, the use of "imminent danger" means that, regardless of how well loved and cared for a child may be all the time they have resided with the one who love them, any of these government officials can simply state in court that they "felt" the kid COULD be abused in the future in order to remove these kids and place them elsewhere, most often with strangers.

* There is literally no oversight as to whether or not accusations of abuse and neglect are valid. Indeed a case manager can simply point their finger at someone and put the accused on state public record lists for life next to convicted child rapists and murderers without so much as a trial or any way to revoke these accusations after 20 days. The 9th Circuit Court and Supreme Court stated in their rulings with Los Angeles County vs Humphreys that they had little faith in DSHS agencies that because of the lack of external oversight, these accusations were not founded because there was no one else but DSHS themselves to ensure integrity or accuracy. Yet thousands of falsely accused are still on these lists to this day without so much as a trial and these affect background checks for employment, housing and credit with no way of revoking them. http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/10pdf/09-350.pdf

* According to DSHS' own estimates, over 6000 children die yearly while in state care. Legally kidnapped kids are 5-7 X more likely to be abused, raped, molested, and neglected in foster care and adoption than if they had been left in the home. They are more likely to become homeless, go to jail, become drug and alcohol addicted, become teen parents, than if they had been left in their family homes with services costing far less. Anyone can go to an inner city place where these kids gather (most of them are from foster and adoption homes) and hear stories of abuse, rape and neglect that would curl your hair. They will tell you they tried to report their abuse to CPs but since they have been put in chosen "forever homes, or foster homes, CPS will not hear their cries for help. You might also note that, while these kids are shivering in some doorway, DSHS agencies who do not care where these kids are or what is happening to them, are STILL collecting that $8,000-$10,000 per month for that shivering, scared, abandoned foster child.

* Low income families are being targeted for taking kids instead of giving them support that costs literally 1/10th of the cost of CPS invention. Also families of Islam where their kids are placed in Christian foster homes where their children are forced to eat pork and attend church. A dear Muslim friend of mine in MI is at this time trying to change the ASFA law with her Representative (Conyers). they have introduced a bill in the US congress that is garnering over 50% support at this time. Her child was killed while in foster care and she is on a mission that she hopes will change this horrible law, not only for her, but for others who are being targeted. Here is her FB petition page: https://www.facebook.com/events/509459582487595/. I support this dear woman because I personally know of the horrible consequences and corruption that this law creates.

* Entire low income housing communities are being routinely emptied of children, documented in CA, WA, GA, PN, MI, NV, FL, and AZ. This means that every single child has been taken from their parents, especially babies since they are the most adoptable and bring in the most adoption fees. Indeed many mega-non-profits who sponsor low income housing bringing in $millions in housing funds ~ also house adoption agencies generating $millions in government funding, these adoption agencies are "conveniently" located nearby within the same agencies (cough cough while saying "YWCA, Goodwill, and - choke - Salvation Army" ). In homeless shelters CPS worker hover while looking for these children to take, having offices right in the shelters. A successfully taken child can generate up to $5000 in bonuses given to case managers as a reward for taking a child as is written and allocated in the ASFA budget. so, according to those employed with AFSA funding every single parent within those housing units are "abusive and neglectful" and any other children they may give birth to are subjected to be snatched from their mother's arms hours after birth without so much as an accusation, since they now have a legal history of "abuse and neglect". I have seen 10 couples with adoption hopes circling the hospital maternity ward while the formerly accused mother is in labor, who has no desire to give up her baby but will be forced to by the state anticipating rich rewards ~ I am *not* making this up. Oh and screw the maternal or paternal grandparents who would take the child, they are not considered worthy of taking their grandchild, especially since removing the baby would generate $50,000-100,000 adoption funding like one of those 10 couples would bring to CPS and their affiliates.

* In addition to the $2Billion of AFSA funding they are mandated to receive, most states allow CPS to also take 1/3-1/2 of the discretionary TANF (Welfare) budget meant for families needing services. They will take this funding for themselves including housing, cash assistance, child care, medical, housing and food benefits, gutting funding for family support. Then they will deny a family these benefits and can remove low income family's children for "abuse and neglect" This is because their DSHS agencies will receive literally 10 times the money for taking the children rather than the 1/10th it would cost for assisting the family. Even with drug and alcohol addictions, the amazing women at The Rebecca Project have shown a much less costly 80% long term success rate with women who have been in prison that go into in-house drug and alcohol treatment bringing their children with them who also receive counseling and support.

Taking kids from their families is not the answer. Assisting the 85% of the families who need services would, but because of AFSA this is not being done. Removing a parent's rights is like a death and IS a legal "death" for this child and their family. Never again will these kids know their grandparents, their siblings, their relatives, their parents or anything about their genealogy. In turn the birth parents and relatives are left to mourn the loss of their children for the rest of their lives.

I have more, much more that I could say, but this is long enough.

My 2 cents,
Cat in Seattle

Unpaid Work = $450 BILLION a year to replace

We first need to begin to respect and define unpaid work.

According to the AARP it would cost tax payers over $450 BILLION dollars per year if we were to replace the unpaid labor of care giving so women can go out there and make rich men richer saying, "Do you want fries with that?" You can find links and read their wonky report here: http://www.aarp.org/home-family/caregiving/info-10-2012/home-alone-family-caregivers-providing-complex-chronic-care.html

What does this replacement of this unpaid mean, you might ask? Well this is the labor (mostly) women have to do to take care of their children, their elders, and their spouses unpaid and without any consideration for the contributions they make to their communities.

How does this unpaid work contribute to my community or to me, you might ask? Well YOU would be expected to pay that $1/2 Trillion yearly more to build, maintain, and staff facilities in order for someone abandoning their loved ones in order to work for a wage.

(Mostly)women LOSE almost $400,000 over a work lifetime due to this labor according to the AARP and other labor studies.

Social Security calls those years of unpaid care giving "zero years" for the 3 to 5 times in their lifetime (mostly) women make the agonizing decision whether to care for a loved one or work for a wage. This means women who choose to care for this loved one will not be eligible for any pension or Social Security benefits.

If women choose this unpaid labor in order to care for their loved ones, they are most often forced to live off the income of the loved one for the 24/7 unpaid labor that gives them zero benefits such as sick leave, vacation, unemployment benefits, medical benefits or retirement. If they were compensated with a wage according to labor and this AARP study, she would be paid upwards of $137,000 per year for the various tasks she performs such as chauffeuring, cooking, house work, nursing,childcare, elder care, physical therapy, household shopping, and various other tasks that would cost far more of they were sourced out.

Welfare insists that women go back to work when their infant is 3 months old. For a women with a newborn to work for a wage at their McJob, she will make at most $1000 per month while the cost to taxpayers is over $2000 per month for infant daycare alone. Other Over 70% of the McJobs they are forced to work are off hours, evenings, weekends and the like when childcare is nonexistent and if it does exist (my city has ONE off hour daycare at this time) it costs much more. Additional daycare for older potty trained kids can cost from $500-1000 per child per month, also tax paid. For the paid worker, this does not include all the other extra costs they may need such as transportation to work, career clothing, etc. At this time taxpayers subsidize much of this while the McJob yields less than $1000 per month, in essence subsidizing corporations over $4000 more per month so they can pay this McWage.

In contrast if these women were given financial support in order to care for their loved ones, it would cost about $1200 per month, and this includes housing assistance, medical for herself and her kids, and food assistance. If her loved one is an elder or spouse who needs assistance so she can work for a wage, facilities costs could soar to upwards of $8000 per month.

The point is that we seem to "forget" all this unpaid labor that is saving us $Trillions and yet is often not even considered "work". If we were smart, which most of us are not if we do not see this work as worthy, we would realize we would not be burdened with these corporate subsidies, it cost less that 1/5th of what we are paying now to support unpaid labor and give far more stability to families.

My 2 cents (and I have more stats and information)

Cat in Seattle
Board member of P.O.W.E.R http://www.mamapower.org

You don't understand the point of the post ...

If you are a woman and are not comprehensive of the extra burdens you have been carrying well, it is understandable because we older women bought the crap like idiots. We thought that paid work "did something" and all the other work we have been doing unpaid "did nothing" (one of these idiots being me).

1. As a boomer myself who "blazed the trail" for younger women, the following generations still continue having to make those choices as to whether or not to work for a wage because we are burdened with the extra 24/7 work of care giving and it is not just children.

2. Why not allow women the choice to do that work as it was in the past, knowing they will be supported instead of calling it "doing nothing"? Ridiculous as it is, we live in Lala Land by pretending that some fairies magically come in and performs that work because well, paid work is "more responsible". Get it? Whether or not you work for a wage, YOU are doing a huge amount of unpaid work that contributes greatly and then you are told that you "do nothing" important. Do not believe that bunk!

3. As was said in the post, according to the AARP this unpaid labor if, replaced with paid institutions would cost over $450 BILLION A YEAR so women can go out there to make rich men richer saying, "Do you want fries with that?" Additionally creating more institutions so women can work for a wage is simply more corporation subsidies so they can exploit women working for $0.75 for every man's dollar. Again, according to labor statistics and backed up by the AARP report quoted above, women also lose lose over $450,000 over a work lifetime because of the unpaid work of care giving

As a former feminist, you need to understand the "new" feminists of my generation were upper income women. They did not understand lower income women's burdens, especially women of color had always been forced into low waged labor at exploitative slave labor. These bourgeois women did not consider the burdens of lower class women ~ except whenever it was convenient to use us to make political points for themselves.

NOW supported Welfare Reform, applauding as wildly as all the other upper income WHITE men of privilege who created it (I can write about this sometime, believe me the story about how Welfare Reform came about is disgusting). Because well, doncha know raising children, especially POOR children, to grow up to fight in our wars, run our infrastructure, pay our Social Security, and take care of us when we can nop longer care for ourselves, well that work was just "not doing anything". Welfare Reform has caused more abject poverty for women, including middle class women who are now forced to ignore their families and go out there making a buck.

Let me tell you a story of my mother a WWII bride who worked inside the home supporting my father so he could work for their blue collar wages and was treated all her life as if she "did nothing" for our community. She not only raised three children, she sang like a bird and belted out the National Anthem at every community gathering, volunteered in her community, and when she died doctors came to me and told me how blessed they had been for knowing my mother and how much she had taught them, a woman who had a high school education.

As her daughter and young women in the 1970s I became enamored with feminism. One day while having coffee with Mom, I was spouting out about how we women had no choice for a career, how we should be able to go out there and work for the same wages as a man, blah, blah, blah. My mother quietly listened to me and then she said, "Cat, if your generation has their way and expect women to work for a wage that any corporation will pay you the same wages as a man you are wrong. If all you go out there, corporations will simply lower the wages for a man to your wages. If you think you are going to get any help or support with the unpaid work you do, forget it, they already believe you are "not working". No, if you get your way, BOTH men and women will have to work for a wage and women will be stuck with TWO jobs, the job I do AND the job your father does!"

Indeed she was right, that was exactly what happened and is the way it is today.

I realize this is the way it is now, I get that. But what is important for younger women to know is that, it was not always that way and it was not that long ago. My mother felt privileged to be able to raise her kids as her main jobs because her unpaid work was FAR MORE SUPPORTED. Women actually got Social Security to raise their kids when there was no other wage earner in the home.

Just sayin'...

Cat in Seattle

Caregiving = Zero Years for Social Security

Meaning by the subject line that Social Security calls any unpaid care giving a woman does as not deserving of performing any "work" or any consideration while calculating if she will receive Social Security. If she has worked for a wage in her life, it is often WAY less than men because men usually leave that unpaid work to women and do not take as much time off in their work life, continuing to receive wages while their women perform this unpaid labor. This enables men to collect more Social Security than their women do. As a matter of fact according to labor studies, women lose over $400,000 over a work lifetime in paid wages after they have been performing all this unpaid labor ~ and never forget that the loss of those wages are calulated as about $.75 for every man's dollar! Medicare refuses to support relative care givers and often simply dump all the work on women while expecting her to either perform two jobs both paid and unpaid, or to make the sacrifice her loved one needs to do this work for no pay.

Thanks to Welfare Reform, which as well considers this unpaid work as "doing nothing", we often consider that this unpaid care giving "does nothing" for our communities. We often think this care giving tasks for women only is about child rearing. But this is not so. Women are often faced with more than 3 X in their lives where they must make the agonizing choice of caring for a loved one or working for a wage. This is because they also face these choices with their elders and their spouses as well. They are often forced to live off the income of their loved one in order to perform this care and then after this care is done, the kid grows up, the loved one dies, they are left with nothing.

You would be amazed at how many older women live in their cars simply because after this care, there is nothing left for them, because it often uses up the all the accumulated "wealth" and resources of the person for whom they cared. She gets little or no community or government support for the 24/7 care that has no sick leave, no medical benefits, no rest and often goes on for years and years. But her husband and her relatives and the community think she "does nothing" all day while care giving and even call her "lazy".

But the AARP has done some very detailed studies showing that this unpaid work actually saves this country over 450 billion a year! . Why is this? Because it would cost that much to build and maintain institutions to replace this unpaid work so that women can go out there making rich men richer saying, "Do you want fries with that?" You can read about this study here: http://www.aarp.org/home-family/caregiving/info-10-2012/home-alone-family-caregivers-providing-complex-chronic-care.html

Americans in general think care giving is "doing nothing" and this suffering is our fault. They are so focused on how much more valued paid work is that they think that their own mothers who cared for them "did nothing" while performing this work. They stay silent about what could be done to value this work more. They will not even consider the $Billions these women saved themselves so they do not have to pay more taxes to create institutions which would in fact be more subsidies for corporations, not their families.

Other developed and undeveloped countries value this work and support it with such things as paid wages while they are performing this unpaid care giving, medical care, and old age pensions because they consider this work as "counting", it is "doing something" so that women do not suffer in their old age as American women do. They are not like Americans who will say without thinking that anyone performing this unpaid care giving, "Does not work..." They will not even change their way of thinking enough to pay respect and homage to this hard work by simply saying instead, "she works inside the home..."

So while we wring our hands about this report, well we cause this suffering for our own older female loved ones (though I often wonder how "loved" they are).

If there could be anything done about this it would be to change our attitudes about what is "work" as far as what unpaid labor contribute toward their communities. But Americans won't. All we hear is the wild cheering of creating 'jobs, jobs, jobs' as *only* extending to paid labor and not only ignore unpaid care as "doing anything" but actually denigrate and punish older women after they have done this work. They prefer to allow their own mothers to live in a car because see, she "did not work".

Believe me I could write a book about this as I have been advocating for low income people who mostly constitute women for over 30 years. I wish I had the humor of Michael Moore or John Fugelsang to write it or produce a movie, but I am too angry ...

My 2 cents
Cat in Seattle

Sometimes the caseworker is WORSE ...

I am an advocate for people who apply for benefits, and let me tell you the people who get their jobs from being the 'gatekeepers" are just as bad as this other customer.

Recently another advocate was with a person who had been "sanctioned" because she was a disabled mother. She was so sick that had gotten out of the hospital the day before she was supposed to have her "fair hearing" where she could protest the decision. The person who is in charge of setting up these hearings belittled the woman from even applying to be heard. Despondent, the woman decided not to have the hearing. When my advocate friend heard how badly the recipient felt so much that she decided not to go through it, the advocate encouraged her to go ahead anyway. She said, "I cannot guarantee you will not face the same deplorable treatment and belittling or that you will not be told the same things you were told today, but I can guarantee that you will not be alone I will go with you, if you face these people down or you will never get the assistance you need." So the recipient decided to go through the hearing as long as she did not have to face those horrible people alone.

My advocate friend was so angry about the treatment that she called up this person (the woman is called a Fair Hearing Coordinator) and told her, "You are supposed to arrange hearings, you had no right to belittle this woman who has legitimate reasons for her condition. She just got out of the hospital for crying out loud!" The Coordinator was incensed and said, "Are you telling me how to do my job?" My advocate friend said, "Yes indeed Ma'am, that is exactly what I am telling you. I pay taxes and you work for me..." The coordinator said, "Well if I just wanted some time off, I could go to the doctor and get two weeks off if I told them I was depressed or something lame like that. These people just use lame excuses so they don't have to work..."

My advocate friend was beyond angry. She said, "You have decent health care, you have a doctor that has been denied to your client. Your doctor knows you and knows the insurance you have that would cover you for the tests or whatever procedure you need to prove you are too sick or injured enough not to work. If your client were to try to go to a doctor who did not know her since she has to go to a different one every time,they would not give her permission because they do not even have the money to test her or whatever they would need to do. Furthermore you would not even have a damn doctor if it were not for this woman and the others you are paid to serve. THEY are the reason you even have a job!"

The coordinator hung up. This is because she does not want to admit that she lives off the backs of the poor. All this is fine if you have one sprig of heart and know how important your work is for your community. When these workers look down their noses at their clients they seem to forget that they would not even be there if it weren't for the people they hate. If you tell them to get another job if they hate doing it so much, they whine they can't because there are no other jobs that have the pay and benefits, blah,blah,blah.

Well welcome to the club of the people they serve. Because while these case managers would refuse these very same jobs because they will not pay the bills they expect their clients to take them. Then, rather than admit they like to force this kind of work on others just so long as it is not themselves, they wonder why it is that their clients are sick, disabled and unable to work after working those jobs and they like to pretend these people are avoiding working for a McWage. The twisted and selfish attitude is that their clients are "using excuses" not to work those low wage jobs, but of course people like this coordinator's refusal to do them is simply because they "deserve" better pay and conditions and that their client do not deserve the same. In short they are simply promoting those horrible conditions on others so they can keep in their nice cushy positions.

Poverty is an institution it is *not* a "choice" as the upper classes like to believe. Institutions remain in place because they benefit some people in spite of the terrible conditions it imposes on others. Like the Institution of slavery benefited Americans for over 300 years before it was abolished, the Poverty Institution benefits people like this coordinator and thousands of other Americans, not just in their own employment because of the poor, but their dependence on cheap labor, cheap taxes (the poor pay the highest rate of taxes in every state), tax deductions from non-profits for the rich, the extra fees imposed on the poor for not being able to afford "required" things like making a payment on time, the list goes on and on.

It should be admitted and never forgotten that the rest of society depends upon the poor to maintain their own classes. These case managers should be reminded that as is the case in their class and pretty much any upper class, they themselves would not have a job and they depend on the Institution of Poverty for their own benefit.

My 2 cents

Cat in Seattle

CASA does *not* do excellent work

CASAs are made up of mostly childless middle class women who have *no* clue abut poverty, much less about raising children. Getting $Millions in government money, CASA admits to going with CPS recommendations over 97% of the time. So much for being "independent", which they are mandated to be! I have seen CASA go into a courtroom going along with the State's lame recommendations who doesn't even know the name of a child ~ with the CASA nodding eagerly in agreement.

Believe me CASA and GALs are a waste of our tax dollars. While I am suspicious of nepotist family courtrooms with assigned lawyers who stand to keep their case loads by losing their cases rather than winning them (if they give a damn at all), I say get these kids a REAL lawyer because at least their legal representatives have to answer to their Bar Association when they are unethical.

The most egregious thing being done is to let ignorant upper class (who are mostly white) women hold sway in court whose biggest crisis is that her nail broke. All she cares about is the yanking kids from poor families and placing them where they will live in that middle class home with the new car in the garage. Who cares about the hell going on behind those picture window curtains? She has *no* idea about the "wittle baybee" she is supposedly "saving". Like she "saves" anything but herself ... CASAs get away in court with bold face lying and proven perjury yet they still have complete immunity. As a matter of fact this is why they go into the court room with their own lawyer to protect their lily white asses, to hell with anybody representing the kid.

Our streets are full of runaway foster kids (and adopted kids) fleeing from their state paid tormentors. To recommend these houses of torture as "in the best interest of the child" is in great part because of a CASA's recommendations. These kids are raped, starved and beaten like this little girl was. This foster home is not some "abnormal" incident. The kid just raised the red flags because she died and the foster home is caught with their pants down (sometimes literally) is all. Most of the time these kids are just left to suffer.

If you read here that I am beyond disgusted with CASAs and their state-contracted paid cohorts, you are right. For good reason. Every single one of these contracted agencies profit off destroying low income families. In my book most CASAs need to drive their Lincolns home and tend to their broken nails or have a cocktail with Hubby after he gets home from the office, not given any power over something they have *no* clue about.

My 2 cents

Cat in Seattle
Board member of POWER and advocate for low income families http://www.mamapower.org

Corruption also happens in these courts with foster care and adoption ...

...There is a heueueuge industry profiting off the same court system as this judge involving $Billions per state in contracted private corporations and state agencies under DSHS CPS. While a lot of is is "legal" a great deal of illegal activities are simply ignored and become "legal precedence" meaning that the court routinely ignores Constitutional rights and breaks the law and this is supposedly OK.

These agencies get their funding based on Title IV that uses Social Security money for the sole purpose of taking kids from their families. Their mandates in essence say, "The more kids you take, the money you will make. If you return these children home, you will LOSE all present and future funding..."

Each state receives approximately, depending on the state, $1.2 BILLION dollars of this Title IV money. They also go in and take an additional 1/3 of any money allocated for low income assistance in food stamps, medical, housing and cash assistance. I am saying that rather than assist a low income family, they get more money and even TAKE money literally "out of the mouths of babes" in order to take their kids and get 1000% more in funding for doing so. As a matter of fact within the training of my own (WA) state's DSHS, TANF (welfare) case managers are encouraged to report to CPS for anyone applying for assistance.

On the average an agency gets about $8000 per "legally kidnapped" child per month while it would cost less than $1200 of your tax dollars to actually support the family instead. On the ground what this means and transpires into is to target low income families' children using unconstitutional but now state-made unchallenged legal "reasons". They often use "reasons" as vague as mere "concern" without having to prove any proof of abuse at all. Additionally the laws now give case mangers bonuses for each child they successfully take ~ plus the raking in of funding by mega-nonprofits, and all their contracted agencies. All of these people are given complete total immunity for any consequences even after proving in court they have lied. Therefore it is profitable for everyone to take low income family's children. Your tax-paid personnel within DSHS and CPS will pay $thousands for everybody else BUT give any support for the birth family to care for these kids by simply accusing them of some kind of "child abuse". An average adoption brings in an additional $50,000-$100,000 per child.

I used to believe that the kids were truly abused when taken by CPS, but in fact even the Department of Social and Health Services admits that over 85% of these children are not abused. They also know that when they place these children in foster care and adoptions, these children have a 5-7X and greater chance of being physically and sexually abused than if they had simply given support to the families and left the kids in their home.

Rather than support these families, they take kids for many bad reasons. I have personally seen kids removed because the family cannot afford the water or electric bill (MI's private water companies actually pours cement down the pipes of a family with a delinquent bill). I have witnessed taking kids because their family cannot afford the heat bill, they have no telephone. They take kids because a parent could not take the child to a medical follow-up (often because the appointment can only be made at times that the parent is working and if the parent does not work they don't get paid, etc). I have witnessed kids taken because the kid wore the same clothes two times in a row to school, and because the the mother was a new mother and so "did not have the experience to parent" (who was adopted and reported abuse as a child but was never heard or was it addressed ~ until it became convenient to take her baby).

I have witnessed kids taken who have not been abused themselves but because the parent had been sexually or physically abused as children and so even though there is no evidence of their children being abused, because these parents had been abused, they might in the future sexually abuse their own kids. Many of these targeted parents were foster and adopted kids themselves who were abused in state-sanctioned homes. If the parent becomes ill and cannot work for a wage, rather than help the family , DSHS accuses the parent of "maltreatment and neglect" and takes their kids.

I have actually seen a low income housing building completely emptied of children taken one-by one, which the non-profit who owns this building "coincidently" also houses adoption and foster care agencies as well as DV lawyers who like to blame the victim rather than actually support them (cough, cough while saying Seattle YWCA). I have also learned this emptying of buildings of all the children regularly occurs in transitional and low income housing in PN, GA, MI, WA, CA. The only reason I do not mention any other states is those are the ones that I have had meetings with lawyers, clients, and other personnel from these states who have witnesses to these occurrences. NOBODY wants to address this. Rather than support a family, juvenile courts and all their minions get much more funding while mega-nonprofits and private corporations will prosper for simply destroying the family and taking their children.

The going philosophy is that if the children are taken from low income homes and placed in upper income homes, then everything is "fixed". Who cares what happens after that just as long as there is a new car in the driveway and the homeowner is at least middle class? Who cares about the terrible, deep, damage and detachment they impose on these children who will be affected for the rest of their lives or for the possible abuse they may face ~ just as long as everybody BUT their birth families profit? Did you know that a foster home has more legal rights if accused of child abuse than a grandparent who has never abused their grandchildren?

In my state (WA)for instance, just last month a low income couple who the State admitted had never abused their children, lost their 4 children and their parental rights terminated because supposedly they were "slow learners". The last child was taken directly from the hospital after birth (a great piece of "merchandise" since it was a white girl). DSHS got AT LEAST $32,000 per month for this as well as spending $thousands on court costs and contracted agencies. They created extremely high barriers insisting on impossible activities for this couple. For instance, as low wage workers they were instantly expected to become middle class and pay for a 4 bedroom home without any support to do so. DSHS CPS demanded the couple to pay a huge part of their meager incomes in child support while CPS was also receiving all this state and federal funding. CPS also made them pay for all the state contracted mental health "experts" who stood to profit by always going into court with the state's recommendations (and thus ensuring they would keep those contracts coming).

Meanwhile as this case was being prosecuted, they were digging up the bodies of several starved and beaten adopted children this same agency had placed in their "forever home". Using the glowing term "forever home" is an unfortunate description here ... And of course, after jumping through all those hoops and giving all the income they had, this low income couple lost. Not only will these decision makers ever face any consequences at all for permanently placing these dead children in their living hell, these agencies used these parents' kids for profit, knowing full well that nobody, including this couple would have enough resources to go up against the entire state who wanted their children for profit.

Grandparents have tried to save their grandchildren, losing everything, taking mortgages out on their homes (if they have one) and spending their entire nest eggs for naught trying to save their children from the System. They are hardly given a nod in court, considered not as important as the foster home with strangers where their grandchildren languish. They "get" to go through mourning of the legal death of their bloodline while watching their grandchildren sold to the highest bidders. The reason they have no rights and are not considered is that the juvenile courts and all their contracted minions would not profit off the Title IV mandates if they returned these children to their families.

These people well know that supporting families is not only far less expensive, it is more successful ~ even when the adult(s) have substance abuse issues. Adopted and foster children are more likely to drop out of school, become substance abusers, go to jail, become teen parents, and become homeless than if they had been left in the home with support. Yes kids should be taken from homes where they are being burned with cigarettes and beaten ~ but this is less than 15% of the children they take. Most of these families simply need support that costs far less ~ but unfortunately this would result in the loss of funding and profit for juvenile courts, these private corporations, nonprofits, and government agencies, should they do so.

The whole juvenile justice system is rife with tainted personnel and funding and it does not only deal with teens, it deals with ALL cases involving ANY child. Juvenile court is in actually a "pseudo court" that gets to make decisions about people's lives while being aware of where the profit lies. For decades with the use of low income children, they have been creating "legal precedence" for higher courts to use. They are routinely ignoring Constitutional rights impacting higher court decisions ~ especially when it is brought up to the SCOTUS' attention, which has ruled that all are immune, even though many courts have expressed deep concerns about the procedures these pseudo courts use. See the comments made by the 9th Circuit Court in Humphreys vs County of Los Angeles wherte this court openly stated they had little trust in the so-called 'internal" investigations" where the "investigations" are made by the people who are being "investigated". By being a "pseudo court" juvenile court can make accusations without ever having to prove a thing, and simply use vague and unprovable findings such as using someone's "feelings" or even though there is no evidence, they can prosecute people for what *might happen in the future" as fact.

These judges know much of the money that these "juvenile contractors" get is out of Title IV ~ as they themselves receive along with the many private and public agencies standing to get money for "saving the wittle baybees". Most juvenile judges are corrupt because they know what is going on. They have nothing to lose because they are often themselves getting "double pay" for being a juvenile court judge and a regular court judge, collecting twice the pay, accumulating twice the retirement, twice the paid sick leave, and twice the vacation pay for working one job. They well know that most teens who turn to the streets are foster children and adopted kids who have been taken from their family homes that their own courts and personnel refused to support. While being sexually exploited or abused, these kids who try to tell CPS about their suffering are ignored because who cares while letting these kids shiver in a doorway terrified to go to their assigned homes, left to wander the street, when their "forever homes" and all these agencies still get money whether or not the child actually lives in these homes anymore ? If they get in trouble, well it just means more for the courts, DSHS, keeps those judges in that double pay, and more funding for these "private contractors".

I am an activist for low income families. I see this happening every day. I know for a fact that juvenile courts are crooked and involves fraud not only with this judge, but it is happening nationally. Here are some links for those who want to know more:

*The first is the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform: http://www.nccpr.org. They have tons of white papers that have come out of the government, universities, and organizations such as the Casey Foundation about the studies cited on this post. http://www.nccpr.org.

*Here is a group of scrappy WI women who have gone out in their state and recorded what they have witnessed. These low income moms did better wonk work than any wonk in the nation would do about the profit making that comes out of "managing" the poor including CPS activities. Because of their activity, they have caused the prosecution of fraud that forced their legislators to request the return of funding, but they have barely scratched the surface and this activity is happening in every state as it not only involves local agencies, it involves agencies that are national and international: http://www.welfarewarriors.org/mwv_archive/sp09/sp09_milw.htm

*Here is another organization fighting the water rights issue in MI State. Kids are being taken because rather than assist these families with a $300.00 bill, they take the kids and get $8000 a month per child for taking them. You could speak to Maureen Taylor who is a vibrant speaker about this issue: http://mwro.org/

There are more organizations who are becoming aware of their own community's juvenile court corruption and the targeting of low income families. As one of these, I am a board member of POWER, http://www.mamapower.org who is also speaking to this corruption and demanding reform!

My 2 cents

Cat in Seattle
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