WELFARE, MY ASS

I'm tired of all these conservatives crying about how the poor just want hand-outs. That they are lazy, parasites just sucking the life out of this country. I'm a social worker by training, a true social worker. Not one that opted to become a therapist without actually having to go to medical school. Not that there is anything wrong with that, those caseworker thrapist types are very much needed as well. It's just that i'm more of a community development, community organizer type. I beleive in teaching people how to navigate the system to make where they live a better place, I beleive in self determination for the community, that they should take charge of the policy and determine for themesleves the type of comminity they want. I leave the pyschological navigation to the "therapist," I have my own psycho socio issues to contend with.

The way many people define welfare in this country is the aid provided to the poor and indigent. They make the word entitlements something bad. The fact of the matter is that that word entitlement simply means some you are entitled to. For example you work a job and a portion of your earnings are deducted for things like FICA (social security) and unemployment disability benefits. While you are healthy and working you are contributing to these funds. Its like putting money into the bank for a rainy day. The thing is that when that rainy day comes (you retire, you get hurt on the job, you lose your job) and you attempt yo make a cash withdrawal you are put there a seroies of obsticles and worse, you are made to feel as if you are requsting a hand out. REMEMBER, YOU CONTRIBUTED TO THIS so yes, you are ENTITLED to receive these BENEFITS.

Now the real definition of welfare is taking something (as in from the government) for which you are not entitled, as in, for example, using a federal jet to fly from country to country for your honey moon. Or, flying to your golf resort everyweekend on the taxpayters dime. That is welfare and no, they are not entitled to those.

Welfare is when your mega corporation which gets defined as "to big to fail" fails and brings this country to the brink of depression and the governemnt rewards you by bailing you out. The is insane yet the socalled conservatives do not see it that way. They see that as business as usual but a poor person asking for a plate of food, or assistence in finding a decent place to live, that they see as wrong.

Now that I put my mindset with regards to welfare into prespective, here is a bit of information many Americans do not even know about.

So in 1928 the stock market crashed, gee I w onder why, I wonder if corporate greed had anything to do with it. They say history repeats itself and I'd venture to say that when the housing bubble burst it was almost a repitition of the stock market crash of 1929.

Anyway, President Franklin D. Roosevelt instituted many programs to help lift the spirits of the many downtrodden and people left destitute by the depression in this country. Public works that put the unemployed back to work but back to work rebuilding the infrastuctureof this country. They build roads, dams, bridge and highways. He instituted the prgram called AFDC (Aid to Families with Dependent Children) what the conservatives labled welfare and have been whining about ever since, he instituted Social Security a program to ensure that when citizens became old and could no longer work they would at least have some form of income. Enter the FCC, the Federal Communications Commission, a government branch created to ensure communication amoung and between citizens in time of crisiss.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt
President Franklin D. Roosevelt

And now A snapshot of the history of the Federal Lifeline Program

It was in 1934 under the leadership of President Franklin D. Roosevelt that the Federal Communications Act of 1934 was enacted which created the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) with the opjective of regulating interstate communication and establishing a nationwide communication and radio system that would be available to all Americans.

In 1985, during the Ronald Regan Presidency, the Lifeline Assistance Program was established to help provide low-income families with affordable, basic, landline telephone options. This was a program that not to many people knew about, certianly not anyone in the urban centers of America. So here's the thing, this prgram was inplemented to ensure that everyone had a means of communication so that in the event of a national crisiss people could call out for help. This program was a paid telephone service. Thats right, you read that right. At a time when most of us could not afford to excist, at a time when telephone service was still considered a luxury by many of us, the government was footing the telephone bill for many people. Now, knowing the racist stance of many in government historically and during Reagan's presidency can you guess who was getting their phones paid for? I'll give you a hint CAUCASIANS.

While Bill Clinton was President the Telecommunications Act of 1996 created the Universal Service Fund (USF). This Act states that all telecommunications carriers must contribute to the USF, which is used to provide low-income families with Lifeline Assistance. Then in 1997 the Universal Service Administration Company (USAC) was created to manage the four aspects of the USF (High Cost Program, Low Income Lifeline Program, Schools and Libraries Program, and Rural Healthcare Program) and to collect contributions from telecommunications carriers for the USF. The USAC is an independent, non-profit company that is regulated by the FCC.

It was in 2005 while George W. Bush was president that wireless telephone service aka cellphones were included into the Lifeline Assistance Program.

However it was in 2012, during President Barrack Obama's tenture that the FCC adopted a reform that eliminated waste, abuse, and fraud, and saved the nation over two billion dollars during the first three years that it was in effect.

President Barrack Obama
President Barrack Obama

On March 31, 2016, while Barrack Obama was still President, the FCC adopted a comprehensive reform and modernization of the Lifeline program. Included in this Modernization Order was the proviso that broadband must be a support service in the Lifeline program. The FCC then established minimum service standards for Lifeline-supported services to ensure maximum value of these universal service dollars, and established a National Eligibility Verifier to make independent subscriber eligibility determinations.

East Harlem

East Harlem, USA

Born in Mother Cabrini hospital New York, NY. First 2 years of life lived on West 103rd Street. At the age of 2 my family moved into the Thomas Jefferson Houses in East Harlem, part of the NYC Housing Authority and soon thereafter referred to as "the projects."

This was a mixed  community where we, Puerto Ricans were the minority. I attended public schools beginning with grade school, PS 102, then on to Thomas Jefferson Junior High School 117, and finally Benjamin Franklin High. At the time, Franklin was the worst school in the city. In fact the year prior to my entering, the principal was murdered and hung from the flag pole in front of the school.

The community was in turmoil. As more Puerto Ricans moved into the community, more of the white residents began moving out. This is why the term "white flight" was coined. The community was inundated with heroin, and I saw a generation of people I grew up with and attended school with become addicted. Then it happened, both East Harlem and the South Bronx became blighted. Landlords began paying thugs to set their properties on fire. After a while both of these communities looked like war torn Beirut.

This blight spread to all the urban areas in New York City. This was the 1960's and into the 1970's. The country was undergoing a social revolution. Men started wearing long hair, the "Afro" was in style. Blaxploitation films were in vogue. Superfly, Shaft, Dolemite, Foxy Brown, Cotton Comes to Harlem and many others.

East HarlemThe white college kids began a movement that was dubbed the flower power movement. This movement birthed a subset called the Hippies. White kids were rioting on college campuses and many were shot and killed by the police and/or National Guard. Five white kids killed at Kent State. These white kids were protesting the war in Viet Nam.

Meanwhile in Los Angeles a group of African American college kids, tired of the deplorable conditions minorities were forced to live in and of being harassed by the police formed a militant group called the Black Panther Party. This was a political organization but because they wore black berets and were outspoken at a time when blacks were second class citizens, the media made them out to be anti american. This was so far from the truth. The black panthers set up day care centers and provided free lunch and vaccinations to the community. J. Edgar Hoover was still the head of the FBI and had black agents infiltrate the panthers.Black Panther Party J Edgar Hoover

On the East Coast a group of Puerto Rican college kids formed their own political party called the Young Lord Party. Again because this was a group of minorities wearing red berets, they to were branded radical, anti american. The lords, following the format laid out by the Black Panther's began clothing drives, feeding the community, setting up day care centers and providing vaccinations.

Young Lords Party

The political structure in New York City consisted of a Board of Estimates. This was a very exclusive club made up of a very small group, the President of each Borough. Corruption was rampant. After much struggle and several of the Borough Presidents getting arrested the system was changed. With this change came the ability for minorities to finally play a role in City Government. The first Black Borough President was a native Harlemite named Percy Sutton.

The first Puerto Rican Deputy Mayor was Hernan Badillo; in Harlem Charles Rangel was elected to the congressional seat vacated by Adam Clayton Powell; and in East Harlem a vociferous Puerto Rican woman named Olga Mendez was the first Puerto Rican woman elected to the New York State Senate, while Angelo Del Toro was the Assemblyman.

 

Their were riots on college campuses but the State of New York was shaken when a riot erupted in the State Prison named Attica.

Son of Sam
"Sam Made Me Do It" David Berkowicz, Son of Sam

The 1960's and 1970's was a time of massive change and disruption in America. It was the time of Drugs, Sex and Rock n Roll. Also during this Period of time Charles Mason and his "family" murdered 5 innocent people in California, one of which was a pregnant Bianca Folger. This was the era of Malcolm X, the Black Panthers, the Young Lords and Son of Sam the insane man that when caught said that a dog named Sam told him to go on his murderous spree.

My life in East Harlem, now referred to as "El Barrio" was not all bad though. I went to many house party's, had my share of girl friends, and enjoyed good friends. I remember how exciting it was when the Planet of the Apes movie was released. My life long friend, Ruben M. and I saw every one of the Planet of the Apes movies. I also remember seeing my first Woodie Allen movie "Bananas". Of course, who could forget Psycho, Rosemary's Baby, The Exorcist and the Omen. While I was to young to see any of them, but this is the ear of the X rated movie. Linda Lovelace was the first super star PornStar. Another x rated movie I was to young to see was The Devil in Miss Jones.

In music, it was Diana Ross and the Supremes, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, the Temptations, and Smokey Robinson. We Puerto Ricans had our own music to. There was what came to be known as Latin Soul with singers like Jimmy Sabater, and Joe Bataan. It was also the time of the Latin Music Explosion. This music was so hot that it was dubbed "Salsa" a name that continues to denote this hot, funky Afro- Carribean music. Then there was another music explosion, it was called Disco. Clubs like studio 54 put this era on the map. Disco music was so popular that movies were made about it. The most famous being "Saturday Night Fever" staring John Travolta with music by the Bee Gees "Stay'n alive"and the Trammps singing "Disco Inferno."

Saturday Night Fever

The very first discotheque I ever went to was called "The Steps" it was on 14th Street between First and Second Avenues. I was 14 years old. Back then they were still not called disco's. They were called juice bars because they did not have a liquor license and all they served was fruit juice and soda. Shortly thereafter discos began popping up all over the place, the rest, as they say, is all history.

That's a snapshot of my life in East Harlem.