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On Flags and Country

9 Jul

Flags. Man, have we seen a lot on flags lately. Of course, I’m referring to two flags in particular, both of which that incite feelings of hatred, discrimination, division and/or exclusion. One was created purposely to incite those feelings; the other was created to show solidarity among one group of people being excluded and discriminated against.

In this blog, I’m going to address the controversies surrounding the Confederate Battle Flag. While the Supreme Court ruling confirming gay Americans have the same rights to marry as heterosexual Americans is very important, I’ll have to save that for another day. There’s just no way to fit both in one blog.  In this blog, I will not be advocating the total ban of the Battle Flag, removal of Confederate monuments, changing street names, etc. Don’t go getting your panties in a wad before we even begin, okay? I will be addressing only FACTS, my favorite of all the f-words. I will include source material so all of you can look this stuff up for yourself if you think I’m bullshitting.

Buckle down, this one is going to long. There will be material used that should be offensive to you. I will not edit facts just to be politically correct or downplay what happened here in my beloved south. The rewriting of history is how some of us have been misled to believe in false ideologies. You have been forewarned.

Bitch of the Moment:

I am as southern as it gets. I have lived in the south my entire life, with the few months here and there that I lived in a small town in Illinois. I was born and raised in Little Rock, Arkansas and currently live in the Baton Rouge, Louisiana area. All I have to do is speak, and people instantly know what part of the country I am from – I have a truly horrendous, southern accent. I love sweet tea, gossip and crawfish boils. The food, the weather, the landscape and the flora of the south are all very near and dear to my heart. I even love the humidity (yes, I’m odd – I can’t live without humidity as my eczema-ridden ass would dry up completely without it). I could not imagine living anywhere else in the U.S.

Here in the south, I have seen the Confederate Battle Flag displayed prominently and proudly more times than I could ever count. When I was young, many people I knew displaying the flag in and around their homes, family or otherwise, were racist. That’s not an assumption, it’s fact. Some friends couldn’t even go to a friend’s house for a sleepover if that friend’s mother was married to a black man. Where at all possible, separation of races was not encouraged but demanded in these white, southern homes. This wasn’t the 50’s or 60’s, folks. This was the late 80’s and 90’s. There is a portion of this nation’s 30-somethings who were raised this way. Unfortunately, some are now passing that legacy of hate down to their children.

Some of you may be thinking, ‘Well, that’s not how I was raised. I’m not a racist. I display the flag to show my southern heritage as I’m proud to be from the south! The flag is a symbol of states’ rights and not racism.” Great. I’m genuinely ecstatic you didn’t grow up around those types of people. If you see all people as equal, without any prejudgments based on skin color or that race’s culture, you are a phenomenal human being. I, too, am proud to be from the south as I stated above. However, the Confederate Battle Flag and the Confederate Flag (yes, they are two different flags) are not symbols of states’ rights. Even if they were about states’ rights, what was the biggest “right” that the Confederate states were fighting to keep? They both absolutely represent racism, and the only heritage they symbolize are the southern heritage of racism and slavery. There is a reason the Battle Flag was/is flown during lynchings and KKK rallies and was adopted by those defending segregation in the very same states that fought for slavery.

Stay with me, here come the FACTS. When you see a (*), there will be a link taking you to the source material.

First, we have to have a little history lesson before we can get to the actual design of the Confederate flags and their intended meaning as told directly by those that designed them.

What caused the Civil War?

Abraham Lincoln was elected President on November 6, 1860. He was known to the slave-holding states as an abolitionist and hostile to slavery.* Lincoln’s first inauguration was held March 4, 1861. Before Lincoln took office in March 1861, seven states had already seceded from the Union to form a new “permanent federal government”, the Confederate States of America (South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas). On April 12th, South Carolina (the first state to secede from the Union), fired on Fort Sumter in Charleston, which was held by the Union. The attack on Fort Sumter initiated the Civil War. Four additional states would join the Confederacy shortly thereafter (Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee and North Carolina).

Why did the Confederate States secede?

Only four of the eleven seceding states issued formal declarations of causes for secession. Those four were: South Carolina, Mississippi, Georgia and Texas.* The other seven states issued ordinances announcing their secession from the Union. Those seven were: Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee and North Carolina.*

I cannot list every single declaration or ordinance of secession in this blog as it would make it an unbearable read. However, the four states that issued formal declarations of causes for secession make it explicitly clear their reasoning for abandoning the Union (soon after ruled illegal*), and those reasons were the preservation of slavery and the superiority of the white race.

Of the seven remaining states that seceded, Virginia and Alabama reference aligning with slave-holding states in the Confederacy to end the slave-holding states’ “oppression”*. That oppression being the abolishment of slavery.

Louisiana did not reference slavery in their ordinance, but they did in their letter urging the state of Texas to secede from the Union*.

Arkansas, like Louisiana, did not reference slavery in their ordinance. However, my home state tried to have the U.S. Constitution amended to end the “hostility to the institution of African slavery, as it exists in the Southern States, …”*.

Florida apparently drafted a declaration of causes but the committee formed to draft it was dismissed before it was completed. Only an untitled and undated draft remains in the State Archives of Florida*. If this is truly a genuine draft of Florida’s declaration of causes written sometime in February of 1861, it definitely references the preservation of slavery and the inferiority of Africans to whites, stating, “Their natural tendency every where shown where the race has existed to idleness vagrancy and crime increased by the inability to procure subsistence”. As a bonus, this draft also refers to President Lincoln as “an obscure and illiterate man…”. Florida – Keeping It Classy Since 1861.

North Carolina and Tennessee are the only two Confederate states that simply withdrew without mentioning causes.

For those not keeping count, nine of the eleven states that seceded from this country and by their actions caused the largest loss of American soldiers’ lives to date (620,000*), did so to protect the rights of slave owners. Their main objective was to maintain control of their “property”. Slaves were so dehumanized that they weren’t even referred to as people.

In the very likely event that some of you can’t be bothered to click on the (*) links I have so painstakingly provided for you, here are a few gems from those sources (these are all verbatim – I will not correct spelling, grammar, etc.):

Excerpts from Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union, adopted December 24, 1860:

“But an increasing hostility on the part of the non-slaveholding States to the institution of slavery, has led to a disregard of their obligations, and the laws of the General Government have ceased to effect the objects of the Constitution. Here is where the states’ rights argument falls apart. If the seceding states were FOR states’ rights, they wouldn’t have protested other states enacting laws that protected people from degradation and entitled them to the basic, human rights that all Americans are guaranteed. But again, the Confederacy didn’t see slaves as people, they were “property”.  The seceding states were acting against OTHER states’ rights.

It goes on to state: “Those States have assume the right of deciding upon the propriety of our domestic institutions; and have denied the rights of property established in fifteen of the States and recognized by the Constitution; they have denounced as sinful the institution of slavery; they have permitted open establishment among them of societies, whose avowed object is to disturb the peace and to eloign the property of the citizens of other States. They have encouraged and assisted thousands of our slaves to leave their homes; and those who remain, have been incited by emissaries, books and pictures to servile insurrection.” OMG! They gave them books! The horror!

Lastly: “A geographical line has been drawn across the Union, and all the States north of that line have united in the election of a man to the high office of President of the United States, whose opinions and purposes are hostile to slavery. He is to be entrusted with the administration of the common Government, because he has declared that “Government cannot endure permanently half slave, half free,” and that the public mind must rest in the belief that slavery is in the course of ultimate extinction.” That statement says volumes. South Carolina did not want slavery to become extinct so they said, “Fuck you, guys! We’re out!”

Excepts from A Declaration of the Immediate Causes which Induce and Justify the Secession of the State of Mississippi from the Federal Union, adopted January 9, 1861:

Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery— the greatest material interest of the world. Its labor supplies the product which constitutes by far the largest and most important portions of commerce of the earth. These products are peculiar to the climate verging on the tropical regions, and by an imperious law of nature, none but the black race can bear exposure to the tropical sun. These products have become necessities of the world, and a blow at slavery is a blow at commerce and civilization. This statement isn’t buried in the declaration. It’s starts with the second sentence. Fearing they would have to expose themselves to the tropical sun and actually get their hands dirty OR god forbid, hire workers that would be treated humanely and would receive actual payment for their labor, Mississippi seceded to ensure the prosperity that slavery afforded them.

That we do not overstate the dangers to our institution, a reference to a few facts will sufficiently prove. It advocates negro equality, socially and politically, and promotes insurrection and incendiarism in our midst…. It has enlisted its press, its pulpit and its schools against us, until the whole popular mind of the North is excited and inflamed with prejudice.  Equality? Well we certainly couldn’t have that, could we Mississippi? I think it’s hilarious they complain about prejudice against them.

Excerpt from Communication submitted by Geo. Williamson, Commissioner from the State of Louisiana to the Texas secession convention, written February 11, 1861:

Louisiana looks to the formation of a Southern confederacy to preserve the blessings of African slavery, and of the free institutions of the founders of the Federal Union, be­queathed to their posterity…. Louisiana and Texas have the same language, laws and institutions. They grow the same great staples—sugar and cotton. Between the citizens of each exists the most cordial social and commercial intercourse…. both States have large areas of fertile, uncultivated lands, peculiarly adapted to slave labor; and they are both so deeply interested in African slavery that it may be said to be absolutely necessary to their existence, and is the keystone to the arch of their prosperity. Sounds a lot like what Mississippi had to say, huh?

Louisiana remembers too well the whisperings of European diplomacy for the abolition of slavery in the times of an­nexation not to be apprehensive of bolder demonstrations from the same quarter and the North in this country. The people of the slave holding States are bound together by the same necessity and deter­mination to preserve African slavery. Nothing needs to be said here.

Excerpt from the draft of Florida Declaration of Causes:

By the agency of a large proportion of the members from the non slaveholding States books have been published and circulated amongst us the direct tendency and avowed purpose of which is to excite insurrection and servile war with all their attendant horrors. A President has recently been elected, an obscure and illiterate man without experience in public affairs or any general reputation mainly if not exclusively on account of a settled and often proclaimed hostility to our institutions and a fixed purpose to abolish them. It is denied that it is the purpose of the party soon to enter into the possession of the powers of the Federal Government to abolish slavery by any direct legislative act. This declaration is by far my favorite. The whole thing just rambles on aimlessly and it’s the only one that directly insults Lincoln. “Oooooooh, sick BURN! We really stuck it to him.” I can just imagine them giving each other high fives and slapping each other on the ass.

Now class, what have we learned from our little history lesson? After reviewing the materials outlined, what seems to be the prevailing cause for the secession of Confederate states that led to the Civil War? It’s okay, you can say it. Slavery. That’s right, A+ for all of you.

On to the flag(s)! I can’t link to an electronic source for this part. So here is the source material that you can look up if you wish. The part on the Confederate flags starts on Page 383: Our Flag: Origin and Progress Of The Flag of the United States of America with an Introductory Account of the Symbols, Standards, Banners and Flags Of Ancient and Modern Nations By Captain George Henry Preble, U.S.N., 1872. 

The Flag(s) of The Confederate States of America

All Three Versions of the Flag

The Confederacy had several issues with the design of their flag.

The first version, the “Stars and Bars” was meant to look similar to the Union flag. They were essentially stripping the United States flag of “their stars and bars”. The issue with this flag was that it looked too similar to the Union flag. During battle or in undesirable weather conditions, it was too hard to tell the flags apart. It proved problematic during the First Battle of Bull Run.

The second version of the flag sought to end the confusion and to completely separate the Confederacy from the Union. The man who designed the “Stainless Banner” was William T. Thompson, Editor of Savannah Morning News. As he was the Editor of the “News”, he had the free reign to publish his intent with regard to the flag’s design. I’m very glad he did. Directly from the man himself:

Our idea is simply to combine the present battle flag with a pure white standard sheet; our southern cross, blue, on a red field to take the place on the white flag that is occupied by the blue union in the old United States flag or the St George’s cross in the British flag. As a people we are fighting to maintain the heaven ordained supremacy of the white man over the inferior or colored race a white flag would thus be emblematical of our cause. There it is in black and white. This isn’t conjecture; this isn’t a broad interpretation – this is directly from the man who designed the flag that was to represent this new government. This is the heritage he sought to convey.

But again, the Confederacy had issues with this version. As it was on a predominantly white sheet, when the flag wasn’t flying at full mast, say on a windless day, it looked like the flag of surrender or truce.  You can see why that would cause problems.

The third and final version, the “Blood Stained Banner”, kept Thompson’s original design but added a vertical red bar to the end to prevent it being seen as a flag of surrender. Mr. Thompson, once again, took up his pen to state:

Such a flag would be a suitable emblem of our young confederacy, and sustained by the brave hearts and strong arms of the south, it would soon take rank among the proudest ensigns of the nations and be hailed by the civilized world as THE WHITE MAN’S FLAG. By the way, I didn’t capitalize that last bit. That is exactly as it was published. There shouldn’t be any confusion over what he meant. He emphasized it for us.

The Confederate Battle Flag

The Southern Cross

This is not the flag of the Confederate States of America. This is the Confederate Battle Flag. It was designed by Colonel William Porcher Miles. Col. Miles doesn’t say much in as far as what he wished the flag to convey. He mainly spoke of preserving the red, white and blue in the flag and avoiding religious objections by having the cross displayed diagonally instead of upright. However, he did write this with regards to getting recognition for designing the Battle Flag after the war was over: It is certainly not worth while for us vanquished Confederates to contend among ourselves for the honor (if there be any honor in it) of having designed it and cheerfully would I yield my own pretensions to any merit whatever in the matter. The very man who designed this flag said he would gladly give up any claims to it. If the creator of this flag found no honor in it, why should we 150 years later?

Even Robert E. Lee distanced himself from this flag or any other divisive symbols from the Civil War that his side lost. He declined invitations to be honored from the Gettysburg Battlefield Memorial Association, stating, “I think it wiser moreover not to keep open the sores of war.” Even in death, Lee abstained from promoting the Confederate cause. There were no flags flown at his funeral, Confederate or otherwise.

This was the flag flown during battle by the Confederate soldiers. It’s the banner under which men fought and died to enact secession, with the ultimate goal of preserving slavery. It’s not a symbol to be proud of or one that should be used to express our southern heritage. It definitely should not adorn any state or federal building in this country, as that flag does not represent the United States of America. It represents separation, not unity.

If you bothered to click on the (*) links above, you’d know that no state may secede from the Union (U.S. Supreme Court case, Texas vs. White, 1869). Therefore, this is a flag of treason. Sugar-coat it anyway you want, that’s what it is. If a large group of individuals today decided to shed allegiance to the U.S., and carried out an attack on a U.S. military installation, would they be called heroes or domestic terrorists? If you are a proud to be an American and love the freedoms you enjoy as a citizen of this UNITED country, this flag does not represent that sentiment.

Conclusion

Now, I said in the beginning that I do not advocate the total ban of the Battle Flag. I believe this flag does have its place.

It belongs in museums and textbooks, so that future generations can learn from our past transgressions. Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. I don’t believe the flag or what it represents should be white-washed or revered as some sacred artifact from the South’s glorious past (Texas, do you hear me?). It should be represented as what it was and still is, a symbol of degradation and oppression.

It also has its place in Civil War reenactments. These are historical demonstrations and they provide valuable learning opportunities. These reenactments are a way to remember the 620,000 fallen soldiers and they provide a historical perspective on the turbulent times during the Civil War. Not all soldiers who fought for the Confederacy were bad people who advocated slavery; many were there unwillingly (look up the Confederate law of national conscription if you want more info on that). They died fighting a war they did not volunteer for and as such, they deserve to be honored along with Union soldiers who died in battle.

It also has a place in individuals’ homes if they wish to display it. We, as United States citizens, are free to express ourselves. If someone wants to fly this flag on their property, they have every right to do so. I don’t want to live in a country where personal expression isn’t allowed. However, just know if you do decide to fly this flag in or around your home, you are being judged. Anyone displaying the Confederate Battle flag will be judged in the same manner as those judged for flying a Nazi swastika or an ISIS flag (again, they have the right to do so if they wish). All three flags symbolize genocide, oppression and discrimination. If that’s what you wish to convey, go ahead and fly the Southern Cross. If it’s not, I beseech you to reconsider and find a flag better suited to represent your “southern heritage”. The only flag I plan on using to display my “southern heritage” is a New Orleans Saints flag. Can I get a “Who Dat?!?”

I’m proud of this flag. Who Dat?!?

Bitchin Moment:

I can’t leave without saying at least one thing about marriage equality: Love won!

Liberty & Justice For All

Liberty & Justice For All

Later Bitches!

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Momma, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Douchebags

8 Dec

Bitch of the Moment:

Now I know what you’re thinking: “She’s not going to call children douchebags, is she?”

Yes, she is.

Admit it, you’ve all thought it. Kids can be douche-y sometimes. There is no age minimum on the ability to exude douche-like behavior.  Sometimes, just sometimes, you witness a kid doing or saying something so abhorrent or tasteless that you say to yourself (or aloud like I do,) “What a douche!”

I want to tell you about the little douchecanoe that inspired this blog. I do not know this child. I’ve never laid eyes on this child nor heard him speak. With all that said, I know he is well on his way to becoming a Class A douchenozzle. I know this because of what he told my child.

About a week before the election, the Oldest came home from aftercare quite worried. As I was making something resembling dinner, he told me in a very concerned voice that we just HAD to vote for Romney. Now, this took me back because the Hubby and I never talk about politics with our son. I wasn’t aware that my son even knew that Romney was running for President. You all know by now who I was voting for but my son did not. I have not and will not push my political agenda/opinions on my children because I do not want to indoctrinate them into my way of thinking. I want my kids to think for themselves, to be capable of critical thought. I know, the horror!  Besides, the fucking kid is 6 years-old! Why on Earth would I tell my kid who they should want to vote for 12 years before it’s even a possibility. I digress.

I got my wits about me and asked him WHY we just HAD to vote for Romney. Again, looking very anxious and concerned, he says, “Because if Obama wins, he’s gonna kill all the white people!”  What. The. Fuck? My kid was sitting in front of me about to cry, thinking if the current President won the election he was going to die because he was white. This bitch went RED! What racist, piece of shit told my son this nonsense? Who was going to incur my wrath and be on the receiving end of a right and proper bitch-slap?Gathering all the restraint I could muster, I asked him where he heard that statement.

I was expecting an adult’s name. I don’t know why but I did. Children (at least kids I surround my family with anyway) usually don’t emit such derogatory sentiments. We live in the deep south. Good ol’ boys are alive and well and…..well, stupid. It’s not uncommon to hear the “N” word thrown around carelessly at all-white functions that involve alcohol, football or spicy, boiled crustaceans on a newspaper-lined table. Luckily, I haven’t heard it dropped around my kids by anyone I know otherwise they wouldn’t know us anymore. BitchinMommy don’t play that. Back to the douchehat at hand.

My son tells me that a kid that he talks to at aftercare warned him what would happen if Obama won. I had to sit and explain to my child that his President was NOT going to kill him simply because he was white. That the President had already been in office for four years and so far had not killed one white person because they were born white. I explained to him that the kid who told him that did not know what he was talking about. I told him the kid was stupid. Yeah, I told my kid that another kid was stupid. If he’s “grown” enough to be handing out political advice to my six year-old, he’s grown enough to be called an idiot. Finally, I told my son that when he’s old enough, he would be able to form his own opinions on who he should vote for and should never let someone else’s fear-tactics and prejudice influence his decisions. He should seek FACTS (you know how I love those) and then choose the candidate who represents his views the best. He said, “Okay, Mommy” and then went about playing Angry Birds, waiting on his pseudo-dinner to be finished.

This kid may not be a full-fledged douche yet, but he’s well on his way. He could wind up turning into a decent, unbiased man who loves all people equally. I’m not going to hold my breath. And who’s to blame for this boy’s ignorance now and the possibility that he will fall off into the Douche Abyss as an adult? You know who. His parents/guardians/mouth-breathing bigots, etc.

Even if you are a shitty parent, your kid wants to be just like you. “Mom” and “Dad” equal God on the lips of children. At the end of the day when everyone else thinks you’re a complete twatwaffle, your kid loves you. They hang on your every word and emulate you at every given opportunity. They are watching you, studying you, soaking it all in. They truly are sponges. Once they’ve absorbed enough, they are going to start wringing it out all over the place, regardless if it’s appropriate to do so. Any parent who has dropped F-bombs in front of their kids can attest to that as fact. I’ll never forget the first time my kid yelled “Motherfucker” across a playground. A word he had learned because he had sat too many times in traffic with Road Rage Mommy.

This kid is learning to be a bigot at home. He’s regurgitating sentiments he hears from the adults he trusts the most. Sentiments that may get him a good ass-beating if repeated in front of the wrong audience. To instill hatred of any kind in your children is despicable on a level that can’t be measured. You are limiting their possibilities, their growth as people before they’ve even had a chance to really experience the world and wonder where life will take them. You are ensuring the next generation of douchebag-backwash, because honestly, they are what’s left of you in the end.

I was nice this time by only saying the kid was stupid. The next time my son comes home repeating shit from this little sponge-of-hate, I’m going to send him back with a few gems to repeat for the whole Douchebag Family to enjoy.

Bitchin Moments:

Today was pretty bitchin’. It was Free Food Friday at work. The first Friday of every month, my firm caters breakfast for everyone in the office. Good breakfast, not hard biscuits and day-old donuts. Also, for the first time in a long time, I got to enjoy lunch with the Hubby. I got to meet some of his co-workers and enjoy a delicious Five Guys burger. Dayum, Dayum, Dayum! (If you don’t get it, go to youtube and type in Dayum. It’s worth it.) Lastly, Santa Clause made the rounds in the office and left us all a very nice CASH Christmas bonus which was sorely needed as bills took most of our paychecks this week.

We have most of our Christmas shopping done so that’s a relief. I braved the Black Friday crowds and actually scored some really good deals. It really wasn’t that bad this year. I cheated a bit, though. I didn’t go right when everything opened up. I waited about two hours. The crowds had died down, there was still plenty to choose from and I didn’t have to wait in line to check out. So all-in-all, I kicked Black Friday’s ass. Woot!

I’ve started couponing again. I had been slacking for a while and my checkbook definitely showed it. Since I’ve started back, I’ve made some of the best scores I have EVER made. One trip to Walgreen’s netted me $30 in products for 15 cents plus tax. The next day, I nabbed $60 in products from Rite Aid for 18 cents plus tax. I couldn’t believe it. You’d have thought I won the Powerball. I was that stoked. I need to post the pics and contents but that shit ain’t happenin’ tonight, this morning, whatever. I’m doing good just to publish this blog. I’m not going to push it.

Later Bitches!

Welfare Recipients Want My Money (all $4.74 of it)

2 Aug

Bitch of the Moment:

By posting this, you're telling everyone, "I am an amazing douche nozzle!"

I prefer my tasteless ecards to contain typos and punctuation errors. It adds to the credibility.

Does this look familiar? Have these insulting, derogatory pieces of garbage been cluttering up your Facebook news feeds? When I don’t have anything of substance to say and I’m not busy wiping snot, cooking dinner that no one eats or wondering what I’ve stepped in, I too post ecards on my news feed. The difference is: mine are funny, this one is not. It’s mean. It’s belittling. It’s kicking those that are down. Even if its intent is to criticize only a select demographic on government assistance, it is hurtful to ALL those unfortunate enough to require help.

I am starting to avoid Facebook. The constant stream of hateful, nonfactual and racist sentiments that constantly invade my attempt to escape reality are honestly depressing me.  I am struggling to find good in those around me. I was clueless as to the number of my “friends” that are incapable of critical thinking. The sheer amount that will believe anything they come across because it feeds what they think they “know” is astonishing. Get your facts from credible sources, folks. Someecards.com, Fox News, CNN and the I_wanna_blow_a_teabagger.com ain’t it. And so help me, if you take any cues from Rush Limbaugh, make yourself an appointment ASAP because you’ve been eating lead paint or have suffered a brain injury.

I think it’s safe to say you all know which way my political dick sways. I’m as liberal as they come. I’m so far left, it’s amazing I don’t have sex with trees. I look within myself to determine what is right and just and that’s the path I take. My path is just a little more green than most, maybe even rainbow. Having said that, I do not berate those who do not share my views and opinions. You’ll never hear me say, “I hate Conservatives,” or “I hope all Republicans die.” (BTW, I’ve had several of my “friends” post statements such as those about Democrats and Liberals.) We all have the right to our opinions and to voice them. That’s what makes America great. What I have a problem with is when opinions are passed off as truth when they have absolutely no basis in fact. Political strategists selectively edit and twist information (or just plain make shit up) and feed it to the masses like mother’s milk because they know people will latch on to the tit and suck it dry. No one bothers to check where the mother’s milk comes from, however. Turns out, mother is “the man” and they’ve been sucking his dick for years. So THIS mother is going to lay down some facts for you. They’ll be hard to swallow at first, but it’s good for you. Better than the “milk” you’ve been getting from the man at any rate.

I will cite all my sources for those of you who doubt what I’m going to say here. I will not be getting my information from blogs, party-specific websites or someecards. http://www.IwannahaveObamasbabies.com will not be referenced either so have no fear. Here goes:

What is “Welfare”?

Do any of you know the definition of Welfare and what it entails? You do? Well, just for shits and giggles, I’m going to lay it out for you anyway:

Welfare: Statutory procedure or social effort designed to promote the basic physical and material well-being of people in need. (http://oxforddictionaries.com)

What it entails:

*Unemployment (Unemployment Trust Fund, Unemployment Recovery efforts, Railroad & Federal Unemployment – this is mainly Federal unemployment extension benefits – not regular benefits provided at state level and covers all federal civilian and MILITARY unemployment benefits [http://www.policyalmanac.org/social_welfare/archive/unemployment_compensation.shtml])
*Food and Nutrition Assistance (SNAP, WIC, Commodity Assistance [food banks,] Child Nutrition Programs [school lunches,] Funds for Strengthening Markets, Income & Supply [something to do with the purchase of fresh fruits & vegetables for distribution to schools and service institutions by the Secretary of Agriculture]) If your kid gets free or reduced lunch at school, you are on “The Welfare.”
*Housing Assistance (1st Time Home Buyer’s tax credit, tenant-based and project-based rental assistance, grants for states that opt for housing projects in lieu of low-income housing credits [that’s fucked,] home investment partnership program, housing for the elderly) I now know I was on “The Welfare” when I received the 1st Time Home Buyer’s credit when I bought my first home.
*Earned Income, Making Work Pay, and Child Tax Credits (various tax credits for people who WORK or have EARNED INCOME, and/or have children)  Most everyone I know is on “The Welfare” since they receive one or more of these tax credits.
*Supplemental Security Income (support for low-income elderly, blind or disabled people which includes expenditures for administrative costs and RECOVERY efforts. Also covers survivor benefits http://www.ssa.govIf your spouse has died and you receive SSI benefits because you are raising their child, you are on “The Welfare.”
*Civilian Employee Retirement and Disability (part of Worker’s Comp) (just what it says – government employee retirement funds – but you don’t hear of folks bitching about this) 
*Child Care, Foster Care, and Adoption Support (Adoption tax credits, foster care payments, Federal share of child support payments, child care assistance programs, early education and afterschool programs) If your child attends Head Start, you are on “The Welfare.”
*Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (time limited assistance for needy families) I do not know anyone currently receiving TANF benefits, none that have told me anyway.
*Railroad Retirement and Additional Income Security (part of Worker’s Comp) (retirement pensions, social security equivalent and unemployment for rail workers, District of Columbia Federal Pensions, Black Lung Disability & disabled coal miners benefits – seriously WTF?) If you have Black Lung and receive benefits, you are on “The Welfare.” Again, WTF? Who the fuck has Black Lung these days?

(Breakout of how Income Tax is distributed from http://www.whitehouse.gov )

How many of you thought it was just free checks, food stamps and WIC? But guess what, it goes beyond that. Each one of those categories consists of MANY sub-categories, some of which I listed. How many you ask? Total, there are around 117. Don’t believe me? I’ll even throw the conservatives a bone. You can see all the sub-categories that make-up Welfare at http://www.usgovernmentspending.com. This is a pro-teabagger, conservative site but they have government budget and spending information that dates back to 1902. I do not take into account any numbers they list as estimates or guesstimates, and you shouldn’t either. If it’s not an actual statistic, it’s ignored.

So, of those numerous sub-categories, which one makes up what most people define as Welfare that robs hard-working Americans of their money to give to those that “refuse” to work? Here you go:

TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families): Cash assistance program providing assistance to needy families. (Department of Health & Human Services) This is what a lot of people commonly think solely makes up Welfare. This does not include food stamps. (Food stamps will be covered in the next blog.)

  • How long can recipients draw assistance? Some people think you can sit back and collect cash as long as you want, living the high life on all that free money. FALSE. There are time restrictions. An adult can only draw funds for a total of five years in their lifetime, and that’s only if they meet requirements. (DHHS.gov)
  • What are the requirements? A family of four can only make up to $1,178 in gross monthly income (remember folks, that’s before Uncle Sam takes taxes and you pay premiums for whatever insurance benefits you may or probably don’t have.) There are also countable resource amount restrictions. CARS ARE NOT CONSIDERED COUNTABLE RESOURCES! More on that later in the food stamp blog. (DHHS.gov) Oh, just an FYI: If our needy family is a single parent household and is fortunate enough to collect child support, states can count that as unearned income and does factor into eligibility requirements. (TANF Ninth Annual Report to Congress)
  • How much will recipients get? The benefit standard for a family of four is $500 a month. (DHHS.gov) Math time. Yay! If your gross income is $1,178 a month, after a standard deduction rate of 25% is taken for insurance premiums (if they have benefits) and taxes, your take home amount will be around $884. Add in the possible $500 benefit and your needy family has a monthly income of $1,384. That’s $16,608 a year to support four people. I’m sure they’ll use that exorbitant amount of money to furnish their mansions.
  • Who are the recipients? There seems to be a running consensus among my “friends” that only African-Americans are on “The Welfare.” Why would I say that? Maybe it’s the thinly-veiled, racist sentiment shown in all those oh-so-funny ecards. I guess they could be implying the rims, Kools and 40’s were bought by Sissy Lynn from the mountains of West Virginia using our tax dollars…but I doubt it. Regardless, the consensus is FALSE. The Ninth TANF Annual Report to Congress (http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ofa/data-reports/index.htm) was released in May of this year for FY 2009. As of 2009, 33% of 1,726,560 families receiving TANF were African-American. 31% of those families were white. The number of African-American families utilizing TANF assistance has decreased every year since 2004, while the number of white families has increased. Here’s another fun fact: The African-American numbers include African-American and white bi-racial persons. The white numbers? Nothin’ but crackers. We wouldn’t want to sully our demographic by including half-breeds would we? Even with that information taken into account, I’m willing to bet that whitey has bypassed the African-American/bi-racial demographic since 2009 (we already have in SNAP recipients – info on that later.) We’ll find out next year when the Annual Report is released for FYE 2010.

Also, when you hear people wailing about all the good-for-nothings living it up on the taxpayer’s dime, it’s always referencing   someone at the grocery store dressed to the nines, with a Coach bag and the latest electronic gadget buying soda and doughnuts with food stamps or TANF money. You know who they don’t mention? The largest demographic receiving assistance from the government: children. The 1,726,560 families that made up TANF recipients in 2009 consisted of 4,041,344 people. 973,580 were adults and 3,067,764 were children. For the math-challenged, that’s 76%. What a bunch of lazy, little shits we have in America. Why don’t they pick themselves up by their bootstraps and become honest, tax-paying members of society like the rest of us? Isn’t there a sweatshop somewhere they can work at in order to support their families instead of wasting more of our tax dollars attending public school? We all know Welfare kids aren’t going to graduate high school anyway, right? If someone is going to post snide, demeaning commentary on Welfare recipients for the world to see, I want to see them ball up and post something in that vein. Let’s see how many “likes” they can get on that ecard – which I’m positive they would get many. At least you’d know who you can clean out of your friends list that week.  At the end of the day, you can infer all you want about the adults utilizing the TANF program even if you are completely full of shit. Whether you think it’s laziness, irresponsibility and/or greed that got the adults there – kids didn’t fucking ask to be born into a poor family. They didn’t make any financial or personal decisions that resulted in them requiring government assistance in order to have the bare essentials most of us take for granted. Toothpaste, diapers, clothes and shoes are luxuries to most of these kids. As a former child recipient of government assistance, I can state that as fact.

  • What are WE paying for TANF? “We” don’t care about those needy families, do we? What do “we” care about? ME! That’s who. So how much does it cost ME to “support” these lazy freeloaders? Spending for FYE 2012 is budgeted at $3.729 trillion (usgovernmentspending.com.) Of that astronomical figure, $17.2 billion is budgeted to be spent on TANF. That’s .46% of the total spending budget. Less than half of 1% of MY tax dollars helps ensure someone less fortunate than ME can keep their lights on or put gas in their cars so they can get to (or look for) the jobs everyone says they don’t have (or don’t want.) If you do nothing else with the information I’ve spent hours collecting for this blog, do this:
    • Go to http://www.whitehouse.gov/2011-taxreceipt.  You can enter information from your last tax filing on this site and it will tell you where your tax dollars went. Or, you can do as I did and take your last pay stub and input your YTD tax withholding to see where your money would be allotted  this year. Wanna know what MY contribution to TANF is so far this year? I’ve got nothing to hide. So far, the big, bad, Socialist, Obama government has allotted $4.74 of my tax dollars to help those less fortunate than me. Well, fuck! I guess that means I’ll have to skip that grande, half-fat, no foam, caramel mochaccino this month so the 2 million+ needy families on TANF don’t freeze to death this winter. I’m so fucking oppressed. *side note: $53 of my money has gone to Research, Development, Weapons and Construction. Nice. Can’t wait for you all to see how much of your tax dollars are going to Defense and Pensions. It’s AWESOME.

We all know how bad it is out there these days. Things are getting better, not by leaps and bounds like we’d like but the mass layoffs have died down. The jobs, however, haven’t been raining down from heaven. People can’t find work. Most of the people affected by the Recession of 2008 where people like you and me. People with good jobs, a mortgage, 2 cars and kids. We weren’t rich but we were stable and happy. In the blink of an eye, people lost everything. First their paychecks, then their homes, then hope.  They didn’t give up and decide to live on government assistance. They looked for work, some are STILL looking for work. What about Taco Bell? Why can’t they go work at fucking Taco Bell? Because Taco Bell won’t fucking hire them. FedEx won’t hire them to drive a truck. Why? They’re overqualified. No one likes hiring folks they know aren’t going to stick around if they find a job in their field of expertise. Also, the 20 year-old manager at Taco Bell doesn’t like it when the help is smarter than he is. Might show him up and take his job. Also, if they were lucky enough to get hired on at Taco Bell, they’d still need (and would still qualify for) TANF benefits. You can’t support four people on $8.50 an hour. Ask me, I should know. I can regale you with childhood stories of sleeping in a car for more nights than I care to remember because we couldn’t afford a place to stay, not even a hotel.

My husband was laid off on February 20th in 2009. He had worked for the world’s largest retailer in IT for seven years, had a degree and was young. He should have had no problem finding a job right? It took four months. We are still recovering from the hole we fell in during that time. We were lucky. He did get a severance package, all of which was used to get us out from under our house we had to sell so we didn’t go into default. A lot of people laid off didn’t get severance packages. Still playing catch up, we decided last fall that I had to go back to work provided I could find a job that would cover the cost of daycare and still help pay the bills that were starting to overwhelm us again. I, too, worked for the world’s largest retailer as a contracts administrator and as a VP assistant. I should have easily found a secretarial job, data entry position, something. I applied everyday for three months. I only had three interviews that entire time. I was applying for receptionist jobs towards the end. When I did find work, it was a temporary position. No benefits, no long-term guarantees and not a whole lot of money. I was fortunate enough to get offered a permanent position and I’m thankful everyday for it. Others out there have not been as fortunate. One of my friends was laid off in California in February of 2009 as well. She worked in sales. Again, nothing too technical or specialized, so it should have been easy for her to find work. She was out of work for ten months. She didn’t find another job until she moved back to our home state.

Don’t make assumptions. You don’t know these people receiving assistance. You don’t know how they got to where they are or what they had BEFORE they required help from the government. The fact that someone drives something other than a piece of shit does not mean they are scamming the system. It could mean it’s a family member’s car or that they had a nice car before they lost their job, or their spouse died or they got divorced. Just because the girl buying groceries with an EBT card has an iPhone doesn’t mean she used her Welfare check to buy it. She could have been given that phone as a gift or got it as a hand-me-down. Every time I upgrade my phone, I give my old one away to someone who could use it and most times it’s a really nice phone. Don’t assume anything. Take the time to get to know some of these “freeloaders” and see if you really ‘know” anything at all.

Some people abuse the system. I won’t ever deny that. There’s always going to be people out there that take advantage of any situation. This isn’t happening with Welfare as often as some like to spew it is, but it does happen. If you know someone who is taking assistance under false pretenses, REPORT THEM. You wanna do something about your $4.74 being squandered? Do your part as a citizen and make a fucking phone call instead of bitching from your porch. I’ll do you a solid, here’s the number:  1-800-447-8477. That’s the Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services. Be part of the solution by doing something. Posting snarky ecards and Rush Limbaugh soundbites doesn’t make you part of the solution … I’m too nice to say what it really makes you.

That’s all for now. I really hope that some of you have learned at least one thing from all this information I have gathered. I know I learned a lot more than I expected to. Have questions or want more information on something specific? Leave ’em in the ol’ comments section. I’ve already started the food stamp blog. I should have it out next week. Hopefully, there will still be some of you around to read it.

Later Bitches!

Nothin’ but the Facts, Ma’am

20 Feb

Warning: This blog is the first full-on bitch post. I may start rating them in the future so you can decide if you want to read or not. I’d rate this one an Average Bitch since there aren’t any F-Bombs. Or maybe Preachy Bitch. 🙂

Bitch of the Day (actually, it’s a perpetual bitch, but whatev):

Believe it or not, I really don’t like conflict. If I know a confrontation is coming, my heart rate accelerates to the point I think my heart is going to burst out of my chest while my ears turn beet red and itch so badly I could scratch them off.  I will literally spend an entire day rehearsing what I’m going to say in my head so when things come to a head, I have a script to go by. A girl’s gotta be prepared. I get all amped up, ready to put the smack down when I find out that the other party involved had no idea there was a conflict scheduled for the day and it was all just an unfortunate typo. It’s actually a let-down sometimes when things don’t blow up. Therefore, in order to save myself all that effort, stress and high blood pressure, I avoid conflict like the plague when I can.

There are certain topics I avoid in conversation to prevent conflict: religion, politics, abortion, welfare (or any kind of social aid) and global warming. There’s more but those are the big ones.  Some people know what team I bat for so-to-speak on most of those issues but not what position I play on the field. Here’s evidence of what lengths I go to in order to avoid these topics: I’m almost positive that besides my hubby, only my sister and my best friend know what religion I subscribe to. EVERYONE knows what my husband’s beliefs are as he is very vocal about it. I, however, never discuss it. My mother doesn’t even know. When it’s brought up in conversation, I blend into my chair and disappear for all intents and purposes. And no one has bothered to ask, so it works out. Maybe one day I’ll share. Today is not that day. But now you get the point.

So. To come out and speak at length on any of those topics, you really have to demonstrate an unimaginable  level of ignorance that leaves me no choice but to tear you a new ass. That brings us to the status update from Thursday: “Every time you open your mouth, I am surprised at the amount of stupid that falls out of it. #STFU”  This is the G version of what I really wanted to say. I don’t really give two shits what your political affiliation is, who you pray to, if you are pro-…well, I do care about that one but that’s another blog. In any case, I respect everyone’s choices and opinions on the first two items so long as their arguments are coherent, well-thought out and based largely on FACTS. An atheist would argue that religion is not based on facts, but we’re not going there. We’ll say facts based on the best documentation we have, i.e. Bible, Koran, whatever the hell the crazy Scientology guy wrote, etc. Again, you believe whatever you want, honey. But at least take the initiative to know what the hell you’re talking about and stop making shit up. If you can’t take the time to know all the details about YOUR affiliations or beliefs, please for the love of Pete, shut the hell up about mine and everyone else’s. It really makes you look like a schmuck. And no one likes a schmuck. Which might explain why the person who offended me so has lost most of their friends. Hmmmm.

See, whenever someone pisses me off – on politics specifically – I don’t immediately respond. I actually take the time to research the topic at hand, verify if my layman’s knowledge on it is well-based or flawed. Sometimes, I find I am wrong (don’t tell anyone.) At least I take the time to find out before I respond with FACTS. Recycling horseshit you saw on some dunce’s cable show or God forbid, Fox News, does not make you an expert on anything. It makes you sound stupid and smelling of horseshit. AGAIN, I don’t care what your affiliation is. But have enough sense to not take anything at face value. Get in there and dig out the truth. Don’t be lazy. If there’s a bill you think you should be against because everyone in your party is against it, read the damn bill. Don’t just join the mob blindly. If you think America is becoming a Communist country because of Healthcare Reform (which is one the stupidest f’ing things I’ve heard in a long time,) again, read the bill. If you still hate it after reading it and making sure you understand it, then at least you’re well-informed. I’ll respect you in the morning.  www.factcheck.org is your friend, people. As is www.irs.gov, www.snopes.com, www.politifact.com and www.truthorfiction.com. Get the facts before you word vomit all over my day and incur my wrath.

*EDIT* I have been working on this blog a little here and there over the last couple of days. I had the Bitch of the Day already completed before the whole breastfeeding argument came up that I posted on Facebook this weekend. If you missed it, just go through my posts. I’m going to start referring to it as “Nipplegate.” There may be a blog later. Anyway, it just serves to reiterate what I said above. Fox “News” is bullshit-on-a-stick on its best day. If you take the time to research most of what they report, you’ll find you have been misled. They manipulate information to validate whatever nonsense they are trying to pass off as truth. They know most people won’t bother to check their statistics because they think we’re lazy, easily led automatons at best. Prove them wrong. Don’t rely on a cable news show, no matter what end of the political spectrum they seem to favor, for your information. I’ll STFU now 🙂

Bitchin’ Moment of the Day:

I would just like to say how proud I am of my baby sister. She is in her second semester of college and she’s kicking ass. She had a 4.0 for her first semester and she’s on track to do it again. I can honestly say that I didn’t know if she would ever go to college. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not because I didn’t think she was intelligent enough or that she lacked the desire to. I’ve always known that she could do it if given the opportunity. Opportunity came and she’s worked her ass off ever since. It’s not been easy attending school full-time with two small children but she’s not allowing anything to get her off track. I am the proudest big sister there ever was. I love you, Doodlebug.  (She’s totally gonna kick my ass for calling her that!)

I actually have one more Bitchin’ Moment. My awesome brother-in-law came over and charged the A/C in my truck. Yay! My babies aren’t going to melt now.  It’s too damn hot here in the dirty south to not have air conditioning. Even in February. He really is the best brother-in-law ever. He used his lunch break to come all the way to our house just to take care of me. He didn’t even think twice about it. That’s how he rolls. I love him to pieces.

Later Bitches!

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