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Monday, January 26, 2015

40 years wedge war blinds to impenetrable US domestic crises

Abortion a wedge effect not cause: By comparison with real problems, abortion is so minor an “issue”—so off the mark—as to be laughable if it were not for serious damage of distraction that has been committed all these years by individuals’ personal hang-ups and groups’ made-for-media ideological combat of microphones and clever placards.
Commentary by Carolyn Bennett

While I do not forget that people have lost their lives in the United States over the abortion question nor do I dismiss the truth that women’s bodies are their own—and for the same latter reason the question of whether or not to have children is a personal decision to be taken only by an individual woman—I contend that “abortion” is not the real issue. I also do not dismiss the problems of sexual assault—whether in militaries or on campuses, in a woman’s bedroom with her husband (or other partner) or on a corner street, these are not issues of “abortion” or even “women’s rights.”

They are questions of crime and criminal justice. Problems of a broken criminal justice system in the United States, which carries us back to “inequality” – some people are not afforded the same basic human rights as others.

Assault is not the effect, which is often what “the abortion question” is. Having made the woman who is raped (assaulted) the responsible party for a crime that has been committed against her; she is left with the task of getting rid of (aborting) the “bad seed,” so to speak, while the rapist (the assaulter) gets off scot-free.

hat is the issue is the underlying cause, the unhealthy precondition that drives a woman, especially in cases of rape or incest or illness of various kinds, to call for legality of abortions; and others, for their reasons, to oppose such legality. The underlying cause is a broken criminal justice system and the nepotism and institutional cover-up that are prevalent on college campuses, in government and board rooms, and in other sectors of society. Remember a member of the US Supreme Court was rewarded with life membership on the court instead of life in prison (or even made subject to prosecution) after having been accused of sexual harassment of a government worker.

Real issues, critical issues, lie under what wedges (gods-gays-guns-unborns) cloud or cover up globally and domestically: chronic poverty; ill health, education welfare, inequality.

Global poverty (facts)

“The poorest 40 percent of the world’s population” receives only “5 percent of global income”. The “richest 20 percent takes three-quarters of world income.” A 2015 Oxfam report puts the super rich’s (the 1 percent's) share of global wealth at 50 percent by the year 2016. 

This is a criminal and immoral taking, with impunity, of more than one's share, thus creating poverty and endless want everywhere. 

“In 2005, the wealthiest 20 percent of the world accounted for 76.6 percent of total private consumption. The poorest fifth consumed just 1.5 percent. The poorest 10 percent accounted for just 0.5 percent; the wealthiest 10 percent accounted for 59 percent of all the consumption.”

The vast majority of peoples across the world are in dire straits and the United Nations will not meet its Millennium Development Goals, set for 2015, to end even the most severe poverty—because the super powerful and the plutocrats are siphoning off all the wealth and getting away with murder while those who have reasonable wherewithal are standing on street corners peddling propaganda and telling less than the truth surrounding a wedge question and causing years of distraction and dissension among the masses.  

A 2010 modest projection found that “at least a third of all private financial wealth and nearly half of all offshore wealth [would be] owned by world’s richest 91,000 people – just 0.001 percent of the world’s population. The next 51 percent of all wealth [would be] owned by the next 8.4 million — just 0.14 percent of the world’s population.

Almost all of [this wealth] has managed to avoid all income taxes and estate taxes, either by the countries where it has been invested and or where it comes from.

[However], for every $1 in aid a ‘developing country’ receives, more than $25 is spent on debt repayment.

In 2006, the world’s wealthiest (approximately 1 billion people) of a world population of 6.5 billion accounted for $36.6 trillion dollars (76 percent). The world’s billionaires — just 497 people (approximately 0.000008 percent of the world’s population) — were worth $3.5 trillion (over 7 percent of world gross domestic product).
In 2004, the total wealth of the top 8.3 million people around the world had already risen “8.2 percent to $30.8 trillion…,” giving this group “control of nearly a quarter of the world’s financial assets.” 

Others, though, were denied bare necessities. One-fourth of the world’s peoples, 1.6 billion of them, “live without electricity.”

An estimated “790 million people in the ‘developing world’”—almost two-thirds residing in Asia and the Pacific—“are chronically undernourished.” Twelve percent of the world’s population, 12 percent living outside the developing world, use or waste “85 percent” of the world’s water.

an you imagine the compounding of these conditions under endless wars committed by the liberal and conservative, neoliberal and neoconservative partisans on the streets with placards and in the halls of government and corporate luxury within the United States alone, not to mention in Europe?

Domestic poverty (facts)
As the year turned to 2015 the “total resident population” of the United States of America stood at “320,064,285”. Of those, more than 158.6 million were “females” (female population variously reported in 2013 as 161 million, 13 percent black women). And 2012 figures showed “46.5 million people” in this country “were living in poverty,” a figure described as “the largest number” of people in poverty “in the 54 years the Census has measured poverty.”

The majority of the US population is defined as “white,” which means people who, on their census form, wrote or checked “entries such as ‘Irish, German, Italian, Lebanese, Near Easterner, Arab, or Polish.’” The United States Census Bureau defines White people as those “‘having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa.’” This group as of 2013 was estimated at “245,532,000 (77.7 percent)” of the population. Figures in 2010 estimated the number of “White Americans” alone without any other mixtures at 223,553,265 (or 72.4 percent); and “Black Americans” alone without any other mixtures at 38,929,319 (or 12.6 percent).
nd while I don’t have an isolated break out of existing relative percentages in the population, it would appear that the poorest people (and given their relatively low population numbers), often among black women, are not the ones either needing or clamoring for abortions. So it strikes me as curious that all these 40 years or so women with microphones have claimed that black women are in back allies needing this procedure. I doubt very seriously that the microphone holders have first-hand sightings of these “poor women” (of any color) in “back allies” (or even with coat hangers) searching for abortions. It just doesn't wash for me. 

But poverty is overt, visible; and in the shadows, even of the capitol dome in Washington, DC, as well as on the byways and boulevards of many US cities, towns and villages. One in seven people in the USA live in poverty. An estimated one-in-sixteen live in deep poverty, which in 2012 amounted to “20.4 million people.”

Any idiot can see that the issue is poverty, not what to do once another effect becomes evident. Poverty is “a women’s issue.” More than “five million more women than men were living below the poverty line in 2012; and two million more women than men were living in deep poverty.” The poverty rate for women in the 18-62-age group was 15.4 percent. Within that range is a large chunk of the child-bearing period of course; and, unfortunately, childbearing begins barely past the start of puberty when females have nothing—no education, no income or earning power, no maturity or even common sense. Also in 2012:

9.7 percent of non-Hispanic whites (18.9 million) were living in poverty

More than one-fourth of Hispanics (13.6 million) were living in poverty

27.2 percent (est.) of blacks (10.9 million) were living in poverty.

Living in “deep poverty” in 2012 were

12.7 percent of blacks (almost 5.1 million)
10.1 percent of Hispanics (almost 5.4 million)

4.3 percent (8.4 million) of non-Hispanic whites

African American women were unemployed at a rate of 10.5 percent; white women at a rate of 5.8 percent.

In 2010, 21.4 percent of African American women had a college degree or higher; 30 percent of white women had a college degree or higher.

free education, 
gainful work, 
livable wage for all, 
rule of law, 
incorruptible, competent, nonviolent public servants, 
human rights—
and other 
In 2012, though African American women made up 12.7 percent of the female population, they held only 8.58 percent of bachelor’s degrees held by women. The college graduation rate of African-American women” subject to 2004 research analysis “was 24.1 percent and has not increased at the same rate as the graduation rates” of other American women hyphenated white, Latina, or Asian.

While American women in total make up “24 percent of the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) workforce…; only 2 percent of African American women are represented the STEM fields. Compared with “white women,” black American women experience “three times the rate” of “unintended pregnancies.”

Wedge effect not cause

This is barely a cursory view of the case of wedge effect. But as I’ve said, only an idiot (or a deliberately ignorant person) cannot see that “abortion” is not the issue. The real culprit is ignored or covered up by the wedge show.

Underlying causes are at critical issue—not “abortion”. Abortion is a consequence of the condition of society, the ill health of society: its people, institutions, systems, functioning. We are that society.

Underlying causes include a status quo of corrupt government officials and their collusion with corrupt private, nonprofit and NGO sector agents. Apathy and public neglect; breakdowns in the systems of justice and in nonsectarian institutions of public education, health and welfare—a deliberate obliviousness that rises from a citizenry that at once “hates the rich” and at the same time signs on to “get rich” schemes in a never-ending illusion that “I-too” can get equally rich. These massive millions—with a penchant for mindless buying of lottery numbers, casino chips and big-box-store “stuff”—are the foot soldiers in their own destruction, their own impenetrable inequality and enslavement.

Higher–ups and the masses in their ignorance disparage what they term a “sinister socialism” as they co-conspire in the chronic neglect of the public good. A public that is unmindful of the imperative, the essentiality, of everybody’s contribution to the making of a fully functioning society fails to really care for its own. The gods-guns-gays-“un-born” wedges allow us to keep killing and promoting the killing of “foreigners”, bashing immigrants; and putting off our pressing needs to come together, confront and solve our critical domestic problems.

Sources and notes

“Poverty Facts and Stats: Almost half the world — over three billion people — live on less than $2.50 a day,” Anup Shah data updated Monday, January 7, 2013, http://www.globalissues.org/article/26/poverty-facts-and-stats.

“Poverty in the United States: A Snapshot,” National Center for Law and Economic Justice

“Census figures released in September 2013 confirm that record-high numbers of Americans are living in poverty.”

“Fact Sheet: The State of African American Women in the United States,” Center for American Progress, SOURCE: AP/Patrick Semansky

Race/Ethnicity in US population


A lifelong American writer and writer/activist (former academic and staffer with the U.S. government in Washington), Dr. Carolyn LaDelle Bennett is credentialed in education and print journalism and public affairs (PhD, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan; MA, The American University, Washington, DC). Her work concerns itself with news and current affairs, historical contexts, and ideas particularly related to acts and consequences of U.S. foreign relations, geopolitics, human rights, war and peace, and violence and nonviolence. Dr. Bennett is an internationalist and nonpartisan progressive personally concerned with society and the common good. An educator at heart, her career began with the U.S. Peace Corps, teaching in Sierra Leone, West Africa. Since then, she has authored several books and numerous current-affairs articles; her latest book: UNCONSCIONABLE: How The World Sees Us: World News, Alternative Views, Commentary on U.S. Foreign Relations; most thoughts, articles, edited work are posted at Bennett’s Study: http://todaysinsightnews.blogspot.com/ and on her Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/carolynladelle.bennett. http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/08UNCONSCIONABLE/prweb12131656.htm http://bookstore.xlibris.com/Products/SKU-000757788/UNCONSCIONABLE.aspx Her books are also available at independent bookstores in New York State: Lift Bridge in Brockport; Sundance in Geneseo; Dog Ears Bookstore and Literary Arts Center in Buffalo; Burlingham Books in Perry; The Bookworm in East Aurora


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