Parshat Terumah

This weekend we studied the Torah portion Terumah, Exodus 25:1-27:19. God outlines to Moses the plans for the construction of the Mishkan, the traveling tabernacle the Israelites carried while in the wilderness. God, the Ruler of the Universe, dictates the elements of the construction of the Mishkan-the cloth it’s made of, the setting of the jewelry, the fixing of the poles for setting up. This shows God intervening in the concrete affairs of humans.

This work requires the efforts of the entire community and its skills-stonemasons, carpenters, weavers, tailors, etc.; in fact, it symbolized and embodied the community, showing that each person, and each class in the community, has a role to play in the community’s development. 

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I Was The Victim of Bullying, Part 2

Having been bullied and harassed as a kid, it distorted my perception of myself. It make me try to adapt myself to each person I came across, fearing they would not approve of me and reject me as a person. It made me think of myself as helpless and powerless, like anyone could do what every they wanted to me and get away with it.

I always tried to prove to others, particularly those in positions of authority over me, that I was indeed, in spite of my faults and imperfections, a good person and truly wanting to do good. But the teachers and principals of the school, and my own dear parents, still acted like I want no good for anything, and the cause of all the teasing and harassment placed upon me-and my inevitable and natural violent reaction against it.

Again, if you are the victim of bullying and harassment, I urge you to, at your first opportunity, get on the first bus out of that area you’re enduring it at. Fortunately for me, I did not even think of suicide, but too many other kids suffering bullying could no longer take it, and killed themselves. You deserve better than that, and those who are tormenting you are not worth the suffering you’re going through. Go someplace where there are supporting and loving people around you, that is what you deserve.

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I Was The Victim of Bullying

All throughout my childhood and adolescence-in school, Sunday School in church, and the Boy Scouts-I was, all day, every day, subjected to harassment, teasing, and bullying. I was mocked for being “fat,” like my body weight made me a terrible horrible person and less than human; that came up a LOT. I was also not to them a “man,” I cried easily, and I-like any normal person would-got angry and would lash back at what they did to me.

Often I would try to fight back, and then I, ME, would be sent to the principal’s office for causing fights. I would be the one lectured about not being violent and told to be peaceful, while THEY, the OTHER kids, boys and girls alike, were never told to leave me be.

(I have to confess-sometimes I would lash out at my tormentors, I would hit one of the girls, and then I, ME, would be the bad guy, the ogre, the terrible person-was that the plan? they enjoyed getting me in that kind of trouble- and the teasing I received was ignored; for that, I ask my women friends for forgiveness.)

When I did try to complain, I was mock, “You can’t fight your own battle, yo gotta have them stick up for you,” like it’s a bad thing. I was mocked for getting angry about it, what I couldn’t take it, and all I had to do was ignore the teasing and harassment, but they still kept at it.

A couple of faculty members told me that I like to be teased, that it made me the center of attention-was THAT the only way I could get recognition, be being everyone’s scapegoat? Often they mocked and belittled me like they were joining in on the fun at my expense. I had to put up with that crap all through to the start of my college career, and only by getting out of that small town full of small-minded people was I able to escape.

This is, I hope, a way to encourage anyone out there reading to never think you deserse that, because you don’t. You are worthy of love and respect as a human being. If you are a kid having to endure such harassment and bullying, I urge you to get out of that situation as soon as possible-it will be a tough adjustment, but remember, you are SO worth it.

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Study Shows Richest 0.00025% Owns More Wealth Than Bottom 150 Million Americans

Source: Study Shows Richest 0.00025% Owns More Wealth Than Bottom 150 Million Americans

Here are the results of your “free market.” It works for those who are already super wealthy, but it’s hell on those who are on the bottom, the workers and consumers who really make the economy work. This is the kind of thing that triggers revolution; is THAT what’s next for America?

Philly For Change, February 6, 2019

This Wednesday, February 6, I joined in the meeting of Philly For Change, held at Tattooed Mom, 5th and South streets in Philadelphia. Philly For Change is a progressive group, borne out of the Howard Dean campaign in 2004.

We listened to candidates for various municipal offices, who are running in the primaries on May 21. Addressing us were candidates for Common Please Judge: Wendi Barish, George Twardy, and NIcola Serianni. For City Council at Large, there was Beth Finn, and for Sheriff, there was Rochelle Bilal, President of the Guardian Civic League, the association of African-American law enforcement officers in Philadelphia. For City Commissioners 9responsible for the election system in the city), addressing us were Luigi Borda, Jen Devor, and Marwan Kreidie (full disclosure, I know Marwan from back at Temple). All of these candidates spoke to us how their lives affected their decision to run for office, not for their benefit but for the good of the community. These were everyday people having to deal with the social system, and they want to make it better for all.

Lisa Deeley, Chair of the City Commissioners, spoke to us about the Commissioners’ web site, https://www.philadelphiavotes.com/ .The deadline for registering to vote in Pennsylvania i February 11. Eric Thut, Executive Director of Netroots Nation (https://www.netrootsnation.org/), told us about the group’s upcoming convention on July 11-13, to take place in Philadelphia.

Mitch McConnell reveals that the Republican party is fundamentally opposed to democracy

In case anyone was in need of a reminder that President Donald Trump is far from being the sole source of corruption and depravity within the Republican Party, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is happy to make that point clear as he denounces the Democratic Party efforts to secure voting right

Source: Mitch McConnell reveals that the Republican party is fundamentally opposed to democracy

Here it is, the Republican party, which portrays itself as the party of average REAL Americans, is calling for the suppression of votes by traditionally marginalized groups.

The Mason Missile, January 29, 2019

Greetings!

The shutdown of the federal government-and the forced unemployment, or employment without pay, of approximately 800,000 federal employees- is AT LAST over. The almost 800,000 federal workers included air-traffic controllers, TSA agents screening bags at airports, EPA and OSHA technicians inspecting the safety of the environment and worksites, inspectors of food and drugs, Coast Guard personnel and FBI agents; civil servants (like I was for the City of Philadelphia), not well paid but earning a living, sustaining our families and ourselves, working people like you, the focus of vilification by right-wing propagandists for decades; like the school teachers in Michigan under Scott Walker-how many bought into the slander that Walker put upon them, that they were such horrible people because they (allegedly) had such great pay and benefits, sue to their having a union-so, instead of breaking their union and taking away their benefits, why don’t such people JOIN a union, so THEY can get such goodies? There are people like this, who are in a miserable situation, and instead of joining others to alleviate their situation, they want others to also be miserable. (I grew up among people like that.)

THESE are the horrible federal “bureaucrats”  the right-wing propagandists have for decades, have vilified as oppressing the American people-particularly the entrepreneurs who just want to do their capitalist thing and make all Americans prosper-a myth typified in the ravings, uh, writings of Ayn Rand, and which they tried to implement into public policy-weaken workers’ unions; hamper regulations on their activities-pollution, investments, workplace safety, equal opportunity and discrimination; lessen taxes on corporations so they “can invest in new equipment and hire more workers”; and diminish welfare benefits, even those for the elderly, children, and retirees.

It never works out like that in real life. Taxes are cut for corporations and the uber-wealthy, and they invest their extra money in offshore bank accounts- as was shown in the cases of the Paradise Papers and the Panama Papers. The environment is mangled due to greater pollution from car exhaust, chemicals spilling into rivers (thus contaminating sources of drinking water), excessive mining creating earthquakes, polar icecaps melting, and other forms of meteorological disasters. Factories, instead of hiring more workers in THIS country, set up in low-wage regions that have no real worker protections-and finally end up in nations with repressive governments who happily accommodate the companies’ anti-union mood.

In the new model of capitalism-as was practiced my Mitt Romney and his alma mater, Bain Capital- a hedge fund purchases a corporation, loads it up with debt it could not possibly pay off, then sells off parts of it, increasing the profit for the investors-and leaving workers without pay, without work, and without hope-except for some raving maniac who wants to float into office by telling jobless workers that their REAL enemy is the dark-skinned “inferiors” who live off welfare, who commit crimes, who use the government for their advantage (like no one should?), and who want to rape your sister.  

I always wondered why conservatives and other corporate apologists have a hatred for welfare: it can’t just be their whining about “lazy welfare bums who don’t work”-cutting their welfare benefits would never close any federal deficit, and sick, elderly people and children, aren’t in any shape to work some jobs.

Plus, with the globalization of the economy, with the shifting of investments, and factories, from one low-wage regions of the country to the next-and even from one low-wage country to the next- jobs aren’t always available, with factories closing down, leaving workers unemployed, and so they’re not able to purchase goods at local stores, closing them down in turn; and local governments can’t collect as much as before in taxes, thereby having to cut back services.

There are several factors to this conservative welfare bashing;

With a welfare system and a labor movement, workers could maintain a level of independence-not complete, but some-from corporate managers, who believe their own propaganda about their own infallibility in managing the economy.

It creates a scapegoat like I said earlier, a THOSE PEOPLE for working people only slightly higher up the economic scale, who are also trying to pay bills and get by.  Throw race into the mix, and you get a source of division which politicians, subsidized by corporations, love to exploit-and working and low-income people of BOTH races remain in the same difficult economic situation. For the white working class, the false drug of “racial superiority” does no good.

As a working person, a trade unionist, and as a Democratic Socialist, I must continue to point this out and work to correct it. Bye!

Town Hall for Medicare for All

On Saturday, January 26, I attended a town hall meeting held at the Church of the Holy Trinity, 1904 Walnut Street in Philadelphia, for Medicare for All, sponsored by the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), along with the National labor Campaign for Single Payer, CWA District 2-13, Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees-IBT, PASNAP, and UNITE-HERE, among others.

The speakers included Ed Mooney, Vice-President of CWA District 2-13, who spoke of the health care issue from the perspective of contract negotiations, and of the fight to implement in this “land of the free” a national-wide health insurance plan, as in Canada; and Michael Lighty, a fellow in the Sanders Institute and leader in California’s campaign for a single-payer system. Questions were taken from the audience.

The idea of health care as a commodity has led to a deterioration in health care, in spite of increasing costs. The time is NOW for a single-payer plan , as in Canada, to cover every American, no matter what their station in life, for health insurance. That would be one less source of anxiety alleviated from the minds of most Americans.

‘Fundamentally inhumane’: 26 billionaires now own as much as the world’s 3.8 billion poorest people

While the wealth of billionaires increased by $900 billion last year, or $2.5 billion a day, latest Oxfam report on inequality shows ‘this bonanza has not been felt by the poorest half of the world, which saw its wealth decline by 11 percent.’

Source: ‘Fundamentally inhumane’: 26 billionaires now own as much as the world’s 3.8 billion poorest people

The extremes of wealth and poverty increase every day. The ancient Greeks knew this was the beginning of social upheaval, revolution, and the death of the nation. But does our “leadership” in Washington know this? Hell no!

So, we’ll just have to take maters into our own hands, Americans!