Archive for December 20th, 2012
The mainstream media continues to insist that the economy is “getting better”, but the poverty numbers for children and young people just continue to explode. For example, did you know that the poverty rate for families with a head of household under the age of 30 is a whopping 37 percent? Children and young people sure didn’t cause our recent economic downturn, but they sure are getting hit the hardest by it. According to the U.S. Department of Education, for the first time ever more than a million U.S. public school students are homeless. That seems like an impossible number, but it is actually true. How in the world could the “wealthiest nation on earth” get to the point where more than a million children can’t count on a warm bed to sleep in at night? Sadly, a huge number of American children can’t count on a warm dinner either. About a fourth of them are enrolled in the food stamp program. What do you do if you are a parent in that kind of situation? How do you explain to your kids that you can’t afford a nice home like everybody else has or that you can’t afford to go to the grocery store and buy them some dinner?
Young people are experiencing very rough times right now as well. If you are under the age of 30, it is really, really difficult to get a job in America today. The competition for the few decent jobs that seem to be available is absolutely crazy. Unemployment among young people is at a level that we have not seen since World War II, and this is causing major problems.
Even if you do have a college degree, there is no guarantee that you will be able to get any type of a job. In fact, more than half of all college graduates under the age of 25 were either unemployed or underemployed last year. There are millions of very talented college graduates that are waiting tables, making sandwiches or stocking shelves down at the local branch of a global retail conglomerate. Meanwhile, they are saddled with record breaking amounts ofstudent loan debt.
This is easily the worst economic environment that we have seen for young people since the Great Depression of the 1930s. The number of good jobscontinues to decline. Many young people are faced with the choice of taking a bad job or having no job at all.
If you are under 30 in America today, you better hope that you come from a wealthy family or that you have some really good connections, because otherwise the future looks pretty bleak for you.
The following are 20 signs that the U.S. poverty explosion is hitting children and young people the hardest…
1. If you can believe it, a higher percentage of children is living in poverty in America today than was the case back in 1975.
2. More than one out of every five children in the United States is currently living in poverty.
3. According to U.S. Census data, 57 percent of all American children live in a home that is either considered to be “poor” or “low income”.
4. Median household income for families with children dropped by a whopping$6,300 between 2001 and 2011.
6. It is being projected that half of all American children will be on food stamps at least once before they turn 18 years of age.
7. One university study estimates that child poverty costs the U.S. economy 500 billion dollars each year.
8. The 18 to 24 age group has a higher unemployment rate than any other age group in the United States.
9. Young adult employment is now at the lowest level that we have seen since World War II.
10. In 2007, the unemployment rate for the 20 to 29 age bracket was about 6.5 percent. Today, the unemployment rate for that same age group is about 13 percent.
11. Families that have a head of household under the age of 30 have a poverty rate of 37 percent.
12. Family homelessness in the Washington D.C. region (one of the wealthiest regions in the entire country) has risen 23 percent since the last recession began.
13. Since the year 2000, incomes for U.S. households led by someone between the ages of 25 and 34 have fallen by about 12 percent after you account for inflation.
14. In 1984, the median net worth of households led by someone 65 or older was 10 times larger than the median net worth of households led by someone 35 or younger. Today, the median net worth of households led by someone 65 or older is 47 times larger than the median net worth of households led by someone 35 or younger.
15. During 2011, 53 percent of all Americans with a bachelor’s degree under the age of 25 were either unemployed or underemployed.
16. Many young people are finding that they cannot afford to get married these days. Sadly, an all-time low 44.2 percent of all Americans between the ages of 25 and 34 are married right now.
17. Right now, approximately 53 percent of all Americans in the 18 to 24 age group are living at home.
18. The number of Americans in the 25 to 34 age group that live with their parents has grown by 25 percent since 2007.
19. One survey discovered that 85 percent of all college seniors plan on moving back in with their parents after graduation.
20. Overall, approximately 25 million American adults are living with their parents in the United States right now according to Time Magazine.
After reading all of those statistics, do you still doubt that America is in decline? If so, you can find some more shocking statistics right here.
The truth is that it should be painfully evident to anyone with a brain that our economy is not working correctly anymore. We have lots of talented people, but there are not nearly enough jobs and a lot of those very talented people end up sleeping out in the streets.
A recent New York Times article told the story of a young man named Duane Taylor. Sadly, there are way too many young people out there today that are experiencing the same kind of things that he is…
Duane Taylor was studying the humanities in community college and living in his own place when he lost his job in a round of layoffs. Then he found, and lost, a second job. And a third.
Now, with what he calls “lowered standards” and a tenuous new position at a Jack in the Box restaurant, Mr. Taylor, 24, does not make enough to rent an apartment or share one. He sleeps on a mat in a homeless shelter, except when his sister lets him crash on her couch.
“At any time I could lose my job, my security,” said Mr. Taylor, explaining how he was always the last hired and the first fired. “I’d like to be able to support myself. That’s my only goal.”
There are millions upon millions of young people in America today that feel totally lost because they cannot find their places in the world.
They are angry, frustrated, depressed, desperate and disillusioned. They felt like they did everything that the system told them to do, and now they feel like the system is failing them.
An unemployed 2010 graduate of the University of Florida named Lance Fuller expresses similar sentiments on his blog entitled “Voices Of A Lost Generation“…
They are the countless young men and women eager for an opportunity but have found few, if any. They have desirable skills, are highly educated, and are more than willing to work.
Sadly, crippled by college debt and graduated into a struggling economy, they stand little chance to find gainful employment in their chosen fields and take temporary jobs they are overqualified for. They lie waiting for the dream job they went to school for — but it probably doesn’t exist.
My name is Lance and sadly, I share in this story. Like my twentysomething peers, I am one of the thousands of faces of America’s Generation U — Unfortunate, Unlucky, and Unemployed.
I am fortunate that I have never been without money to buy food and have never had to spend a night on the street. But tonight millions upon millions of Americans under the age of 30 will be faced with those kinds of circumstances.
Please say a prayer for them. They didn’t cause the economic mess that we are in, but they are certainly paying the price for the mistakes that were made.
Does anyone out there have a similar story to the ones that were shared in this article? If so, please feel free to share it below. Perhaps your story will encourage someone else out there who is going through a really hard time right now.
The “worst case” in the sequence of events forecasted two days ago in “The Most Critical 48 Hours In The Fiscal Cliff Melodrama Have Begun” is taking shape, with Obama and Boehner not even remotely close to a compromise despite what the media and fly by night sellside analysts will have you believe. Instead what looks almost certain to happen is a House vote on the GOP-proposed Plan B where it will pass, only to be voted down in the Senate, especially with the pre-veto treatment by Obama. The House vote will be preceded by a Boehner press conference in which he will prepare the general public for this one final PR gambit before the House essentially shuts down for the year, as any hope of further Cliff discussion in the Christmas week can be abandoned. So from a timing standpoint:
- House republicans meet at 12:00 pm to discuss the final act of the 2012 season of the Fiscal Cliff miniseries.
- Boehner holds press briefing at 1:15 pm Eastern
- House scheduled to vote on “Plan B” between 7:30 pm and 9:30 pm
Shortly thereafter Senate votes Plan B down and chaos ensues.
Reprinted with permission, in whole as required at the link. Something to ponder….
I want to tell you about my recent death. I will be brief, because I know there are many other stories to be told about my tragic day. I hope that my death brings about the the type of conversation that will help to prevent more unnecessary deaths of teachers and children, or of any persons caught in similar circumstances.
I was a normal person. I liked many of the things that you like. But mostly I loved my children and I loved teaching them. That is what I was doing four days ago on the day that I died, when a man out of his mind attacked us in our sanctuary.
I am sure you already know most of the story, so I won’t reopen that wound if I can avoid it. However, the part that you may not know about, and never hear about is the fact that I was prevented from protecting myself and my children. That’s right, the school board, the state, and the federal government told all teachers including me, that so long as we were on school grounds that we could not defend ourselves against a deranged person, hell bent on killing us.
When the man came into my room armed with a rifle, we were huddled in the corner. He shot me with a rifle several times, the bullets easily passing through my body and through several children behind me. We didn’t have a chance. The inadequate training we received to combat such a person or situation failed. I know you will mourn our deaths, and you should. But when you get to that point of being mad, ask why we were not allowed to defend ourselves? Ask how it is that an unarmed school teacher can be asked to defend themselves and the children under her care against an armed aggressor? Why don’t they ask police to be unarmed and defend themselves against aggressors?
So far, it is nice here in Heaven. We are not beyond The Gates yet – the line is very long. We do have many people from the other side of The Gates who have come out to help us with the transition. Some of them are familiar faces to us, and some are not. Some are helping us grieve, while others are helping us to understand our new reality, but all of us are happy. It is impossible not to be happy here.
I met a fine young man from the military shortly after I arrived here. He is not from this era, but one long before my time. He presented me with this computer so I could write this to you. It was funny when he saw the expression on my face and said, “we have a very special Wi-Fi connection up here.” I couldn’t help but laugh. It’s obvious they have dealt with this before.
I asked him what he wanted me to write. He told me to write whatever I wanted. We both sat silently for a while when he suddenly asked if I had any questions. As I started to speak, he indicated that he could not answer any questions about the other side of The Gate, so I just asked his name.
“John Smith,” he replied, still looking forward at the children standing patiently in line. “I fought and died in the Revolutionary War.”“I am sorry,” I replied. “Why are you sorry?”“Because you died fighting in a war…a very horrible war,” I said to him, the tears starting to well. He was so young. “So did you,” he said as he turned his head to look at me. “That is why I was sent out here for you.” “What?” I said incredulous at his false assertion. With calmness and much love in his teenaged voice he said, “I know it is hard for you to see, or even believe, but you and I fought the same kind of war for the same reasons. The difference is I volunteered for my war and wore a uniform and you did not volunteer. Even your children,” he rotated his eyes towards the line of six and seven year old angels standing in front of us,“fought the war.”“I don’t understand.”“I died in 1778 fighting under George Washington. I was fighting for the Liberties granted to all men by God that had been stolen from us by King George and the British Crown…”
I was a school teacher. I had to cut him off before he went too far. “I know these things, John. I taught school remember?”“Yes ma’am, but did you know about all of the tyrannous legislative Acts imposed upon the people?” “Sure. There was the Stamp Act and the Tea Act that eventually spawned the Boston Tea Party,” I responded. “Yes ma’am, but there were many more, both before and after those most infamous ones. There was the Sugar Act, the Currency Act, the Quartering Act, the Declaratory Act, the Townshend Revenue Act, the Boston Non-importation Agreement, the Boston Port Act, the Administration of Justice Act, the Massachusetts Government Act, Quartering Act of 1774, and the Quebec Act. This was the government’s way of stripping the God Given Natural Born Rights of mankind in the new colonies. These are but some of the things that added to the fuel that became the Revolutionary War. The ‘shot heard ’round the world’ were the attempts by the redcoats to kidnap Sam Adams and John Hancock as well as deny the use of arms by capturing gunpowder.”“That’s all well and good Mr. Smith, but I still don’t understand why you believe I am fighting a war too,” which was more of a question to him than a statement. I was feeling like I was back in school myself.
John continued, “It is not just you, but tens of thousands of you fighting the new Revolutionary War.”“No. You’re mistaken, Mr. Smith.”“Do you believe the Revolutionary War was a good fight? That is was worth the cost?”“Well…yes.”“Do you believe we could have won that war if our motives had not been Just and Right in the eyes of God?”“No. But they were Just. You and your men were fighting for our freedom from unjust laws imposed upon the people by a king across an ocean,” I told him, showing him that I had retained my education about the Revolutionary War. “Do you believe we could have fought a war against the redcoats had we been disarmed?”“Well, of course not!”“Then why would you believe that you could defend yourself and your children against a gunman with no arms yourself?”
I was shocked and dumbstruck. I didn’t believe such a thing…or did I? No, I know that I didn’t believe such a thing. That was ridiculous. My head was spinning. How could he make such an assertion? He doesn’t know me…
“Then why were you unarmed?” he asked softly. “What!?” Could he hear me thinking? “If you don’t believe that you could defend yourself and your children against a gunman with no arms yourself, then why were you not carrying a gun?”“We can’t carry guns in school!” I wanted to be mad, but I couldn’t be. Not in this place. “Says who?”“Says the law.”“What law are you speaking of? God made no such law. God gave you the Right to defend yourself and those in your charge against such aggression,” he stated, still speaking softly. “The laws of the country and state say that schools are ‘gun free zones.’ They even have signs all around the school.”“How did that work out for you and your children?” John asked as he got up and walked away.
Before I had a chance to answer or call him back, a woman on the other side of me, who I never noticed before addressed me.
“He’s right. You were fighting a new war, along with many others who have now passed on. There are still others fighting it now.”“I still don’t understand how I was fighting a war. And who are you?”“It is probably better that I don’t tell you who I am. The news media painted myself and others like me with a broad brush in order to turn the people against us, and I was killed in a fire holding my children. But like you, we were unwittingly fighting the same war.” “Exactly what war is that?” I wanted to know.After a brief pause, she looked up at the line of children, took a deep breath and began, “the war to retain the Rights and Liberties God gave you when you were born…”“I have all of my Rights. What are you talking about?” I interrupted. “Yes ma’am, you do have them, but you don’t practice them for fear of retribution by your government,” the unknown woman said. “No, I did everything I wanted to do.” I told her. “Did you?”“Of course I did,” answering her rhetorical question. “Ok, I believe you. But let me ask you this. If you had to do it all over again, would you have taken a gun to school with you this morning?”“Well…no. I would have gotten fired.”“So it is more important to you to keep your job than your life, or to preserve the lives of those children?” she asked. “What? NO! That is not what I was saying.” I had to pause and collect my thoughts. “I am saying that I am not allowed to have a gun at school, and that if I had taken one to school, and used it to defend myself or the children, that I would have been fired and most likely put in jail,” I restated to her. “My question still stands. You would still choose the shackles of tyranny over the life of yourself and your children. You feared the retribution of government more than you fear the retribution of God,” she said as she looked towards The Gate. “No. That’s not true. I couldn’t…There was no…The laws don’t allow…” She put her hand on my shoulder and looked at the side of my face as I stared at The Gate, “You don’t have to answer to me. God knows that Adam Lanza killed the children, your co-workers and yourself. But he also knows that you chose to follow man’s laws over His laws, for which twenty beautiful children now stand at The Gates waiting their turn to get in, and He may want an explanation for that.”
I went cold. I was numb. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I turned to look at her, but she was gone. As I turned back to The Gate, I saw a police officer and an older military man approaching me. I wondered what was going to happen now.
“Ma’am. We know you may be confused. Maybe even reeling a bit. Sometimes the truth can be harsh and painful. We hope to help you through a little bit more of it,” the police officer said as he neared me.
They each took a seat on either side of me. It was only now that I realized that we were not sitting on anything at all, just air. Maybe that explained the comfort. I wasn’t ready to hear any more, but I was certain they were going to deliver it anyway, even against my objections if I chose to lodge one.
“I’m Officer Tally, and this is Sergeant Munson. We wanted to help you understand a few more things about this morning.”“I am not sure I can take any more guys,” I said meekly. “You can. You’re stronger than you realize,” Sergeant Munson tried to reassure me. “I don’t know about that.” Officer Tally started,“You were taught to put your faith in men like us. Men who volunteered to step in harms way to protect and defend the defenseless, and we gladly did so.” Sergeant Munson continued the thought, “But what they did not teach you was the part about you taking the personal responsibility for yourself in the event we cannot make it in time.”“…and we generally cannot make it in time,” Officer Tally finished. “I don’t understand.” Officer Talley continued, “Using this morning as an example, several people were already dead or injured before the call to police came in. Even though an officer was on the scene within one minute after receiving the call, serious damage had already been done. A mass murder had already been committed in that short sixty seconds. Even after officers entered the building, they saw the gunman enter a room from the hallway. Before they could make it to him, he was shooting teachers and children.” Sergeant Munson continued the conversation, “Had the teachers and staff, including yourself had guns for defense of yourselves and the children and the proper training to use them, the outcome would have likely been much different. The teachers and staff would have been able to attack the shooter from multiple angles and ended the hostilities long before they reached these dimensions,” he was gesturing towards the line of happy children who were talking with other children who had come out from the other side of The Gates. “But…”“There is no but,” the Sergeant calmly stated. “We know what you are going to say, and those measures don’t work against someone who is intent upon killing. Taking guns and weapons away does not prevent mass murderers from committing their acts of violence, it only prevents the unarmed people from properly defending themselves against such people. Connecticut has some of the most oppressive and strict gun laws in the United States, and still the massacre happened there, not in Alaska or Wyoming where gun laws are minimal.” Officer Tally put his arm around me and said, “There was an Assault Weapons Ban that started in 1994 and ended in 2004 that prevented the sale and manufacture of certain types of guns and magazines. There is also the National Firearms Act of 1934 and the Gun Control Act of 1968, but none of these laws prevented Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold from committing mass murder at Columbine High School in 1999. In fact, they broke multiple federal and state laws in the planning and executing stages of their killing spree. Not a single one of the man made laws stopped them, or prevented them from killing twelve children and one teacher that day. But had the teachers and staff been following their Natural Born Rights to self-protection that day, maybe things would have turned out differently.”
On the computer screen in my lap an article appeared. It was an article about mass murders by knife and bomb. Most of these occurred in places where guns had been outlawed. The Osaka School Massacre grabbed my attention, because I noticed that it involved children the same age as mine. The man had used a kitchen knife to murder 8 children and seriously wound 13 more children and two teachers. There was also a story of a man that killed 8 children with a knife at another elementary school. The list was very long, with many different ways that killers had adapted to the laws of the land to use what was available to them to commit their crimes, including knives and explosives.
Officer Tally pointed to the screen, “most people forget that one of the worst mass murders in history was perpetrated by men with box cutters. They were able to kill over 3000 men, women, and children. What would have happened if multiple people on those airplanes had been following God’s laws by carrying guns for self-protection?”“Explosive decompression?” I said rhetorically. “That’s a myth,” the sergeant said, ”unless you were talking about the terrorists suffering from explosive decompression, and then you would be correct.”
I wasn’t, but I let it go.
“Your training wasn’t adequate for what you encountered,” Officer Tally continued. “Your systems of defense were also inadequate. The only reason Adam Lanza didn’t kill more people isn’t because the doors were locked, it was because he didn’t know what he was doing.”“Didn’t know what he was doing? He killed all of these people…and me!” Officer Tally calmly forged ahead, “Had he known what he was doing, he would have brought the shotgun with him and shot the locked doors off of their hinges. With the shotgun, he could have done some serious damage and easily gotten though every locked door with little fanfare.”“Even worse,” Sergeant Munson jumped in, “had he carried a gun that had more power, like the type most hunters carry, he could have shot straight through the walls, even if they were made of cinder block.” I was stunned, “guns can shoot through walls?”
A video of a man shooting a rifle at a cinder block wall popped up on the computer screen. The first round punched a hole the side of a fist in the wall. The second round made the hole the size of a head. It only took a few more rounds for the majority of the wall to collapse. “Yes, quite easily. That is a video of a man using a common hunting rifle. So just having ballistic locked doors and cinder block walls won’t stop a determined assailant. Only equal or greater force will,” Sergeant Munson finished. Looking at her beautiful children, “So we were doomed no matter what?”“No. Not if you, the other teachers, and staff had been armed and had been even minimally trained. You would have been able to confront him with bullets instead of harsh words, because there was nothing you were going to be able to say to stop him,”Sergeant Munson said. “Your mistake was believing in man’s laws over God’s laws,” said Officer Tally.“But we have to follow man’s laws…the Constitution,” I rebutted. “No. God’s laws, and mankind’s Natural Born Rights existed long before the Constitution, long before the existence of the United States, or the nations of Europe, even before mankind learned to write. Man’s Rights are not given or guaranteed by governments. They are not subject to negotiation, dilution, curtailment, distribution, or removal by any man or government. They are YOUR Rights, given to mankind as a gift of Life. Only mankind can protect them, not governments.” I didn’t have anything to say. Everything they were telling me made sense. I was personally responsible for my own life and Liberty. It wasn’t up to anyone else nor any government. I died because I had voluntarily relinquished my Right to self-defense, not because the police had not come to rescue me in time. They would never had made it in time.
“You gave up more than your Right to self-defense, you just didn’t know it,” said a new voice. I looked up and noticed Officer Tally and Sergeant Munson were gone. “I did?” I asked, looking up to notice a vaguely familiar face that I couldn’t place. “Yes.”“In what way?”“Would you have publicly criticizedyour school’s superintendent or the chief of police, if you had had a problem with them?”“Of course not?”“Why not?”“Because I probably would have lost my job?”“So you feared retribution for speaking freely. You gave up your Right to speak your mind,” the now more familiar man said. “OK.”“Would you have driven your car without a license, or registration?”“No,” I answered. Realizing he would ask why, I went ahead, “Because I would get a ticket, or have my car towed, or be jailed.”“So the threat of government punishment kept you from doing it?”“Well…yeah.”“So you allowed the government to convince you that driving a car was a privilege; that it was a requirement to register your car and have a license to drive it. There you gave up your Right to free travel upon God’s earth. Why did they not register horses and wagons, and require licenses?” I was feeling exasperated, “I don’t know.”“Because the government could not convince people that riding a horse was a privilege,” he said. “I could go on, but I think you get the point.”“Yes. I get it: I am dead because I relinquished my God Given Natural Born Right to defend myself in lieu of a false belief that the police could do it for me when seconds mattered. I was not as free as I thought I was because I lived in fear of retribution from my government if I broke their laws. I was put in this unfortunate position by an overbearing government who forced me to choose between my job and my Liberties. And….what am I supposed to do with this information now…now that I am dead?”“Well, when I was killed in a school murder spree over a decade ago, they didn’t have independent blogs like they do now. The internet was not as wide spread as it is now. You have the opportunity to continue the new Revolutionary war from here, at least for a little while. Because of the deaths of these beautiful innocent children, you, and your coworkers, there is talk of more laws that will only weaken other teachers and people of the world like yourself. You have been shown that no law will prevent a mass murderer from doing their evil, but that it will only result in more deaths of innocent people who have been hamstrung by their governments if they further restrict the God Given Rights of self-defense through ill-advised legislation. It has never worked. It never will work. Gun free zones are only free of guns in the hands of people who would stand against a murderer. Write your story. Tell the people that they must not tolerate the reduction of their Rights to adequately defend themselves. Convince them that had you been armed, less people would have died this morning. Show them the Truth, because once seen, the Truth cannot be unseen.“ The man started to walk back to The Gates.
As I was letting his words sink in, he turned and said, “if no one has told you yet, we have special Wi-Fi up here.”