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Honest, Decent Human Beings

February 27, 2014

Yesterday, I went to the two year anniversary demonstration of outrage at the murder of Trayvon Martin.  We consider George Zimmerman a murderer in spite of the not-guilty verdict because the evidence showed that Martin was not the aggressor.

Many people I know were there, including people who think that the Twitter accusations that I “act entitled” on my blog are absurd.  If anyone is acting entitled, it’s the business masquerading as a non-profit that gets $118 a day to help me but provides next to no service.

@Wolfknight74 is so deranged he thinks that it is better for me to take a minimum wage job in which the probability of severe injury or death is above 90% for me to not work.  After the action, I took the subway one stop to David Friedman’s Wednesday night class.  There were no seats on the Subway.  As I was walking to the building, one of the class regulars got out of the cab and saw me.  She thought I looked in really bad shape physically.  I told her it was because I had been standing for the past two hours (with the aid of the cane that was significantly aiding me to walk).  These are the things my Twitter cyberbullies cannot understand, but that everyone who sees me in person for any length of time can. At the Citizens United anniversary protest, Lorna Shannon from Fed Up, a group that wants to nationalize the Federal Reserve Bank, had tears on her face when I told her the story of how I became homeless. These two women are examples of the way honest, decent human beings respond.

Not so with Paul Jardine, who scheduled a meeting with me at the shelter at 11 AM, and he had so little respect for my time that it was after 1 PM before he actually saw me. He has slicked back hair, earrings, and wire all black over his short, fat figure, looking like casting central for a Latin mob boss. He was railing about how he thinks I have a sense of entitlement, insisted I didn’t know what I was talking about with regard to the $3,500 per person per month figure that has been reported from sources as progressive as Picture the Homeless to as reactionary as The New York Post. (Examples: http://nyccli.org/the-issue/the-problem/, https://www.change.org/petitions/mayor-bloomberg-provide-housing-for-the-homeless-of-new-york-city, http://picturethehomeless.org/blog/node/362, http://www.westsiderag.com/2012/09/04/crowd-demands-more-aggressive-action-on-homeless-shelters, https://usa.ashoka.org/fellow/timothy-carpenter, http://nylsfa.org/testimony-on-the-2013-2014-new-york-state-housing-budget-hearing/, http://queenscrap.blogspot.com/2009/11/many-hostels-are-illegal-conversions.html, http://nypress.com/city-sues-over-rejection-of-shelter-funds/, http://www.economicsofrecovery.org/mentalhealthnewsarticles.html) As shown in previous posts, I accused the shelter of having a budget of $23,000 per day. NAICA Bronx Park Avenue is a 200-man shelter. $35,000 times 200 divided by 30 days is a daily budget of $2,333.33 per day, so I was being very generous in rounding it down. It was telling that he changed the subject when I suggested opening the books.

He, however, said it was “telling” about the state of my mental health that I had been in the shelter system for close to 21 months without finding permanent employment. This is the same sort of mentality the cyberbullies on Twitter have. “If 2,300 people choose not to meet you based on your resume, it’s a reflection on your mental health.” That is complete non sequitur. It’s interesting how these right-wing thieves think that independent incidents have a cumulative effect, but also hold the idea that if one can stand for five minutes, one can stand for eight hours without any noticeable difference, which no one who actually sees me believes. The cumulative effect of pain becoming progressively worse the more I stand strikes them as impossible, but the idea that individuals that are getting hundreds of job applications for one position that don’t select me prove something about my competence or even insanity. Such people are clearly incapable of rational thought, with no comprehension of probability, weak job markets, people with less experience competing with those who have more, and the fact that there are more active job seekers than their are open positions regardless of qualifications. According to Heidi Shierholz, citing the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of February 11, 2014, “[T]here are 10.4 million job seekers and only 4.0 million job openings, meaning that there are only enough job openings for 38.5 percent of job seekers. This means that more than 60 percent of job seekers were not going to find a job in December no matter what they did.” (http://www.epi.org/publication/years-recovery-began-jobs-60-job-seekers/ , emphasis hers). Since I have had a response rate to my applications of 0.8%, it cannot reasonably be judged that my lack of employment is any failing on my part, through how I present myself in an interview, and if I meet or exceed all posted qualifications for a job, it cannot reasonably be considered my fault if I am not contacted to interview for any given position. Mathematically, each one must logically be regarded individually, not cumulatively, or else it is conspiracy theorizing. I seriously doubt hiring managers contact every hiring manager they know for possible dirt on each job applicant.

Nevertheless, the staff at NAICA is adamant that I should be submitted for mental health supportive housing. I have not been given the full details of who is going to be doing the examination. the only information I have, as yet, received, is that it is near the McDonald’s at the Mount Eden Avenue stop on the 4, which was the stop to get to my old neighborhood before I moved to Jacksonville. Considering that I had a mental health examination upon my entry to Project Renewal with a result of “no diagnosis,” which was also the result of my intake for VESID/ACCES, which helps disabled people find work, I hope they aren’t planning to send me a crooked doctor who diagnoses people the way those who are paying want them to say.

The most “telling” aspect of all this, is that they acknowledged that all my complaints were based on factual evidence, mistakes made, and legitimate concerns. Their problem with me is that I complain too much. As far as I am concerned, I complain in direct proportion to the problem. Do I complain because I don’t like the food? Absolutely not! I don’t like the food that they provide, but everyone who says that I have complained about that is a liar. I have complained that the food at other shelters has made me sick, but a number of intellectually dishonest people have equated that with not liking the food. If I were going to complain about the foot, I would have demanded that they provide healthy vegetarian options, but even though I want that (I was barely a pesco-pollo vegetarian before I became homeless, and more of a pescetarian), something that no shelter that I know of, and only two soup kitchens that I know of, provide (for which I ask any time the entree is red meat, something I have to just bear at other places), but I have never made such a demand. The only reason that I am even talking about it here is because it is a complaint that I have not made because I think it’s out of bounds. I do not think complaining about laundry procedures, semi-confiscation of electric razors, banning of laptops, running out of food less than halfway through the meal period, or keeping restrooms locked that they are too lazy to clean are at all out of bounds.

The title of my post comes from Danny (Pete Postlethwaite)’s speech in Mark Herman’s 1996 film, Brassed Off, in which “honest, decent human beings” are, because the coal mining company closes, going to be forced to dissolve their community and relocate separately, as many obnoxious fellows on Twitter advise me to do, despite my involvement in various church and community groups, and the fact that I have built up a network of connections here over the past ten years that, as an introvert, take a long time to build. They even expect me to sell off the contents of my storage and go somewhere where I’ll have to walk miles to work, assuming that I can even find a job, and end up in a state with no right to shelter if I can’t. Their way out is winning a music competition that leads to a recording contract. I thought the British film went a little too Hollywood by centering on a formula romance for much of the film, although it is based on the Grimethorpe Colliery Band, which got a recording contract, including for the music in the film, and survived the closure of the colliery. It’s easy to find honest, decent human beings outside my life in the shelter, but hard amongst the shelter staff and among people on Twitter, or right-wingers with capital.

I think one of my networking contacts may have a job for me. I will update readers of my blog when I learn more.

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