When people’s health and well-being are based on a home, and a building is useable, a health care corporation leaving it empty is a savagely hypocritical act.. On April 11, 2011, resisters took over a vacant Kaiser Permanente building, and marked this predator medical corporation with a banner reading, “Kaiser Thrives, People Die.”
I have a close relative who is losing all of his teeth because of the lack of available dentistry under Medi-Cal (with the exception of extractions). The policy of not covering dental was first enacted under former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and now is the responsibility of Gov. Jerry Brown.
My relative is risking his health in order to retain one tooth — the last one he can use to chew food. A new lower class is being created before our eyes, one based on the ability to identify Medi-Cal recipients through their lack of teeth.
When one of the Suitcase Clinic speakers asked all those who opposed the anti-sitting law to stand up, virtually everyone in the council chambers stood up, making a very strong statement to the City Council. It had been my hope that the homeless people and street youth who actually sit on the sidewalks would have a chance to speak, but sadly they were denied.
Robert Greenstein of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities notes that Ryan’s plan “would get about two-thirds of its more than $4 trillion in budget cuts over 10 years from programs that help people of limited means ...” The proposed cuts to Medicaid alone would harm states, individuals and health care providers and could cost nearly two million private-sector jobs, according to Ethan Pollack of the Economic Policy Institute.
Economist Dean Baker summed up the Ryan plan eloquently as “government by people who hate you.”
This impassioned cry for justice was made by Servant Brian K. Woodson at a tax day rally at the Federal Building in Oakland organized by the American Friends Service Committee as part of the April 12 Global Day of Action on Military Spending. Woodson is pastor of the Bay Area Christian Connection, an Oakland church with a women’s treatment program and a food program that this year has distributed over 453,000 pounds of food to inner-city residents.
“Aware of the suffering caused by the destruction of life, I undertake to cultivate compassion and learn ways to protect the lives of people, animals, plants, and minerals. I am determined not to kill, not to let others kill, and not to condone any act of killing in the world, in my thinking, and in my way of life.”
— Thich Nhat Hanh, Zen Buddhist monk, peace activist, scholar, and poet
Nearly every homeless organization in Berkeley is now united in opposition to the sitting ban before it has even been introduced at the City Council. Already, some council members that the business associations had boasted were already in the bag are evidently having second thoughts about supporting the ban.
The Hungriest People /
Song by Carol Denney/
the hungriest people in this town/
aren’t starving in the street/
they sit in fancy restaurants/
and worry what to eat/
the poorest people in this town/
without a single doubt/
conspire at boardroom tables/
how to drive poor people out/