Like a modern day Paul Revere I travel across our country calling the British are coming, the British are coming, although this time it is a much more sinister enemy that is coming to take our country.
I was the assistant curator of Old South Meeting House for several years during the bicentennial sharing the story of the Boston Tea Party to visitors and scholars. After working at Old South I was employed by the National Park Service and lectured at Bunker Hill and other revolutionary sites for two years. The Sons of Liberty organized the rally 1773 at Old South and marched to the harbor dumping tea into the bay to protest “taxation without representation.”
Shortly after the December 16, 1773 Tea Party my Great Grandfather’s Great Grandfather James McHenry was recruited by Benjamin Rush to join in the resistance and in June 1775 McHenry traveled from Philadelphia to Cambridge Port in Massachusetts to organize a field hospital. The Sons of Liberty asked McHenry to prepare to receive wounded patriots who may be injured in the battle at Breeds Hill in Charlestown which today we call the Battle of Bunker Hill. McHenry met George Washington during this time. McHenry was on Washington staff during the revolution, was jailed by the British, signed the United States Constitution and was Secretary of War under Washington and Adams. As Secretary of War he was the founder of the United States military.
Once again America is faced with the problem of “Taxation without Representation” by unelected corporate leaders controlling our government. The Citizens United Supreme Court Case has provided an opportunity for corporate rulers to buy every election and has erased the democratic ideals of our founding fathers of “one person one vote” from American Democracy. How many Americans can pay millions to run a candidate for office or buy the votes of legislators? In 1773 the King of England was taxing the colony to pay for his war against France. Today transnational corporate executives are buying politicians and legislation that is transferring our tax dollars into their off shore bank accounts. Taxation with out representation that could threaten our democracy if we don’t take action today.
The Tea Party has been manipulated by billionaires who inherited their wealth from families that exploited the American people to build their fortunes and extracted the nations resources at our expense. The platform created by these billionaires without your input will harm the rank in file of the Tea Party, transferring your taxes to these unelected secret rulers. Increases in military spending are directing your Social Security and Medicaid towards corrupt contractors unaccountable to the public. Unaccountable to the honest Tea party supporters like yourself.
America is fast becoming a failed state and if the unelected leaders of your Tea Party succeed, the United States will be looted and doomed to a future where only the wealthiest survive behind their gated walls or off shore in one of their mansions too many to count as John McCain admitted during the Palin/McCain run for our highest office.
Do you really believe that privatizing social security will guarantee the retirement of Americans? If you have a 401 K plan or know of anyone who does you can see that for yourself that you will be doomed to work until the day you die if social security is eliminated. The people that control the Tea Party eliminated the jobs of millions of Americans seeking the lowest wages in placed like Asia and Latin America. They drove up the cost of medical care to the highest level on earth forcing Americans to often trade their homes for healthcare. Taxpayers bailed out the leaders of the Tea Party when they looted the stock market and drove credit card rates and bank over drafts to rates forcing families into poverty. Over 40 million families depend on food stamps because of the policies implemented by the Tea Party leaders and their friends. Mortgages are under water and over three million families face foreclosure on their homes each year. The economy is in a wreak and if the Tea Party is able to achieve all its goals America will be a failed state.
As an American patriot with a family history of defending our country I urge you to take back the Tea Party and redirect its platform to return the United States to a democracy. Our national deficit is caused by the transfer of our taxes to the richest half of a percent of corporate leaders, the very men that have attempted to enlist us in their campaign to cut state and federal funding for education, healthcare and social security.
A country of homeless, unemployed, uneducated and unhealthy can not survive long. Share this letter with your Tea Party friends and organize a campaign to remove the billionaires like the Koch brothers from your leadership. The speak for us yet provide no funding for our local efforts. We see that the leadership is relying on dishonesty and threats of violence to continue their campaign to seize the commonwealth of our nation. We can’t stand with people that are so ruthless.
End taxation without representation and support policies that will bring real security and democracy to the United States. We can see that people all over the world are rising up against the global austerity program forced on the public by the leaders of the Tea Party and their dictator friends over seas. From Ireland to Egypt, to England, Greece, Libya to Oman, Iraq and Iran people are organizing to end the greedy policies of the ruling elite. We all struggle to pay our bills and are fearful of the future. A true democracy free from international corporate financing is urgently needed.
Join the uprising today before it is too late. Unite with all workers and don’t let the corporate rulers divide us into liberal and conservative, Republican and Democrat. We are being robbed by both parties. Rush, Beck and O’Reilly speak for the billionaires not for us. Groups like Americans For Prosperity and The Club For Growth don’t support the American people and are promoting policies that are destroying our country redirecting our tax dollars to the bank account of a few super wealthy families that do not share our love for our country. We are all sinking together so talk with your liberal friends and organize to end the corporate strangle hold on or media, government and future. Don’t let America become a failed state.
Thank you so much for your consideration and time. God save America! God save the world!
Jonathan Keith McHenry
Great grand son of the great grand son of Doctor James McHenry signer of the U.S. Constitution and former Secretary of War under Washington and Adams. Father’s father was a medic in the trenches of Europe in World War I, Mother’s father was OSS officer in Burma during World War II. I was born in West Germany while my father was stationed with the Third Armored Division with Elvis Presley
You can contact me at Jonathan McHenry firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling toll free at 1-800-84-1136
The Homelessness Marathon is an annual 14-hour radio broadcast featuring the voices and stories of homeless people from around the United States. Segments for this broadcast are produced by community radio stations across the country and live call-ins happen all night long via a national toll-free number. Topics to be covered include: the impact of foreclosures on homelessness, results of a new study of homeless mortality, homeless teens, and new technologies for safe, inexpensive, and legal shelter.
The 14th Annual Homelessness Marathon will originate from Kansas City, MO, with the broadcast on WPKN commencing at 10:00 PM on the evening of February 23, 2011, and ending at 9:00 AM on the morning of February 24th. Host locations in Kansas City are a couple of organizations that have been active in addressing the homelessness issue there: Care of Poor People, Inc. and Hope Faith Ministries. The host station this year is Kansas City’s 100,000 watt community radio station, KKFI.
A full schedule of the planned segments and scheduled discussions can be found here
(Note that all times on that schedule are Central, not Eastern.) Beginning Wednesday, February 23 at 10:00 PM and continuing all night until Thursday, February 24 at 9:00 AM
There are two call-in numbers for the Homelessness Marathon:
TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
O.K. let’s start simple, because this is a story with as many characters as War and Peace, and about as interesting, although a lot shorter, thankfully… but:
If you have the slightest humanity to care if the giving of food by one freeborn human to another is OUTLAWED under the guise of “caring for the homeless” – you will read onwards.
the following people either by voluntary or paid impetus are seeking to introduce a bylaw (smacked down by public opposition back in 2007) that would make illegal soup runs and food handouts inside Westminster council’s boundaries – or subject to a £2000 fine for each person (homeless or otherwise) served…
Basically 4 people from BID itself, 5 Coppers, 4 ‘public servants’ (2 of which didn’t turn up-natch), 6 private company representatives and 3 charity wallahs
Have decided… in their democratic wisdom…
One of the few ‘perks’ of being homeless in London is free food. Sure you may queue up for ages for it. Sure you may not like what you get. Sure you may feel demeaned and more desperate after eating it than before, sure it may not even turn up… but at least as they say:
“no-one goes hungry in London.”
Yet let me tell you – that fact – is not down to Westminster council. It is not down to any multi-million pound charity. It is not down to Victoria Business in Development or whatever they call themselves.
It’s down to decent businesses with real concern for humanity – and decent people with similar concern, NOT attending meetings, NOT publishing ‘tweets’, articles, blogs, press releases etc.
People who DO. Not people who TALK about DOING. Good People now being cast as the bad – thanks to the aforementioned people and others.
Those people who go out and get leftover food, move it to a known place like Howick Place in Victoria, Temple, or Agar St off the Strand and make sure it gets distributed to as many people as possible.
It is down to these people that it can be said: “No-one goes hungry in London”. Even though – that isn’t really true.
These people get NO SUPPORT.
They get BBC articles questioning their motives and use.
They get highfalutin research smacked in their faces from the LSE and those who wasted good charitable donations on ‘Research’.
They get condescended to by the do-gooding centrally funded government best friends charity crowd.
Next up for these people, the baddies, the ‘soup run users’, the ‘soup run providers’ and the next Oliver Twist dwelling in this Divine Comedy we call London?
Police Harassment – concocted and agreed by a board of less than twenty people – for all the ‘Baddies’ in our little story. According to Victoria BID – the following options will be used against soup runs and others planning to keep on serving the people who need food passing through or staying in Victoria.
But don’t take my word for it. Here’s the evidence. Straight from the minutes of this nefarious group’s meeting.
Ian Hicks (IH) stated that a multi agency approach will be taken where possible to deliver an effective service and where legal possibilities exist, his Officers will use them to best effect.
- S.27 Alcohol dispersals
- Group dispersal order
- Public Order offences
- Obstruction of the Highway (Lying over the pavement to cause an obstruction)
- illegal parking of the Soup vans
IH agreed that pressure should be employed to influence change at Government level.
Where necessary, the safer Streets Homeless Unit and Safer Neighbourhood Business Team could share resources to ensure maximum impact.
It was raised that the Mayor of London’s commitment to zero rough sleeping by December 2012 should be capitalized on and support gained.
Evil doesn’t always come packaged in a dark cape and a snarl. You can’t always recognise it even when it’s talking to you. I am not a Christian, but Jesus was never more right than when saying: ‘by their fruit shall you know them’.
I don’t want to live in a world when a couple of business shirts, some charity bods, a Mayor, and a few ‘public servants’ oh and a pub landlady and some coppers can dictate whether it is or is not illegal to give and receive food. Yet that is the world we would live in were it not for us to oppose these insects that purport to represent us and ‘care’ about us at each and every turn.
From the Business leaders who never get their noses out of Government and profit by their involvement – Community leaders persay on various boards of ‘worthy’ orgs, who by sheer luck alone run a web-design firm that, lo! Does the websites for the same ‘worthy’ orgs.
To Policemen more concerned with image management and ‘liaising’ rather than “protecting the children of the poor and punishing the wrongdoer.”
To ‘Public Servants’ charged with helping those people so poor they NEED a soup run to SURVIVE – those nincompoops who think you can push the poverty, the desperation, the depression of spirit they have caused with their taxes, their charges, their rents... just out the way…just far enough… into the next ‘public servants’ jurisdiction.
They think they can just ban its food source and it will go away and the uproarious international gang bang loosely based around sport known as the Olympics can go off lacking not only terrorism, but also the sheer shock horror or any given Olympic tourist seeing some over bearded homeless guy eating a sandwich in the street THAT THEY DIDN’T PAY FOR.
OH. MY. GOD. How will Britain’s Image Survive!?!?!?
A big disappointment is in store for these people.
Don’t these people have anything better to do?
They do, but they ain’t ever done it before, so why start now?
Nearly Ten years ago – they wanted to fine homeless people £500 – for bedding down in Westminster. They got told to ‘go do one’ then. They’ll get told to ‘go do one’ again.
Now they want two bites at the Cherry for illegitimately the (very environmental) sharing of leftover food. Something that – the companies that give, the volunteers that distribute, and the people in need who receive it – all – have no problems with.
No large Homeless organisation has the nuts to stand up and say NO to this. Hundreds of small volunteer led organisations will suffer, but you won’t hear their pleas on the BBC, or the Guardian, or the Free Papers.
They need your support to keep on doing what they do and they need your support to ensure they can still do it – unmolested by the police or the officers of Westminster council.
London is the capital of the British. If they ever succeed in making the sharing of food illegal – we will have taken the last political u-bend towards a fascist state. A state when the council has more interest in where the food that’s going in your mouth comes from, rather than the concern, that you have enough food to put in your mouth in the first place.
When that moment comes. I will enter lawful rebellion against the State. Because a state that stops people sharing food under the guise of ‘helping the homeless’ – is no longer a state that I can be a part of.
Part of the problem, of course, is that some homeless people will be widely scattered in side streets, alleys, parked cars and other places where they’re hard to find. One client at So Others Might Eat has spoken of spending three days in a trash chute.
Communities try to count homeless people because it’s a requirement for receiving funds under three so-called Continuum of Care programs. These programs are administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. So communities have to use HUD’s definition of “homeless.”
According to HUD, people count as homeless if they are in:
– Emergency shelters
– Transitional housing, including hotel or motel rooms paid for by vouchers
– “Places not meant for human habitation such as cars, parks, abandoned buildings and on the street”
So people are not counted as homeless if they’re living doubled up with friends or relatives or if they’re in camping grounds or cheap motels because they can’t afford a month’s worth of rent or a security deposit. Nor are children counted if they’re in institutions because their parents are homeless.
Granted, it would be difficult to count homeless people doubled up or in motel rooms they’re paying for themselves. But ignoring the fact they exist is hardly an answer. And that’s what HUD did in using the homeless count and other data based on its definition to report on the extent of homelessness in the country.
As a result, neither the Congress nor the American public has a realistic view of how many homeless people there are.
And, if we don’t know that, how can we know, except anecdotally, how well–or poorly–existing programs are working?
The last Congress considered bills that would have expanded the HUD definition of “homeless” as part of the reauthorization of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act. It will have another chance when it returns to this unfinished task.
What Congress should do is controversial, but the debate is really about who should be served by the COC programs.
This is–or should be–a separate issue from the issue of how we count homeless people.
Who would of thought counting could be so complicated?
This map (Link below) serves as a database of January 2009 point-in-time counts that have been reported in the media or on Continuum of Care websites. Red markers indicate reports of increases and green markers indicate media reports of decreases. Yellow markers indicate reports of increases in some subpopulations and decreases in others. Links to news story’s or CoC websites are included.
The flicker of CNN and YouTube videos of torched buildings and angry young people standing on tanks and swarming the streets of Egypt and Tunisia are the only evidence of insurrection that catches our attention.
Those of us who worship democracy, our political version of American Idol, eagerly see these furious mobs as the beginning of a democratic movement in the Islamic world. The shut down of the internet was the final straw, the ultimate sign of a government that oppresses its people.
Could you imagine the Obama administration shutting down Twitter, Facebook, and the Internet, denying Americans access to their favorite pastime? Never. Democracy is our demagogy.
Many people see those brave men and women storming the streets and government buildings in North Africa as rightfully rising up against their country’s rampant poverty, unemployment and oppression.
Poverty, unemployment and oppression. Sound familiar?
An American Problem
The problems we are hearing about in these struggling nations sound similar to our own. Sometimes we forget about such human issues since some television shows mask our societal problems.
We crave for shows that idealize wealth—MTV’s Cribs or Real Housewives of some wealthy neighborhood in America—just so that we don’t have to think about the struggles of poverty in our country.
But poverty in America is real.
You talk to any American local law enforcement or political leader and they can tell you where impoverished Americans live. And I do not mean the rundown neighborhood on the other side of the tracks. I am referring to homeless Americans living along the river just west of downtown, in the alleys of that dangerous neighborhood, or in the hills just north of town.
Last week, I was talking to a City Council member of a well known West Coast city, and he had no difficult identifying where his homeless population resided in his district. Homelessness has become integrated in America’s landscape, like the prevalence of strip malls on every corner.
More than a million Americans have been homeless for some period of time in the past year.
I wonder what would happen if a million fed up homeless Americans finally said enough is enough. Could they become angry enough over the lack of employment, the dearth of affordable housing, and the violent treatment many receive on the streets, to start an uprising?
Many homeless Americans are already turning to social media as an outlet for their rage and disgust for a society that allows humans to live on the streets. Kevin Barbieux, The Homeless Guy, has been blogging for years. Eric Sheptock has become known for using Facebook to advocate for homeless persons, and the website We Are Visible, created by Mark Horvath, is poised to get many more voices of the homeless heard.
Could homeless social media activists stir up the rage among homeless Americans?
Oppression, unemployment and poverty are not just Northern African struggles. They are also prevalent in America. Ironically, homeless Americans are already on the streets, just not yet transitioning their poverty into rage.
Most of us who are housed see homelessness as a nuisance, a blight on America’s landscape. But for those who struggle on the streets battling freezing weather, empty stomachs, and young bullies who beat up on homeless persons, homelessness is not a nuisance. It is oppression.
I wonder if the tipping point for rage against homelessness will occur when homeless Americans use their large numbers to object to this country’s policies against poverty.
Or will an uprising have to wait until housed Americans join them?
Photo credit: lbai Lemon
Author – Joel John Roberts is the CEO of PATH Partners (People Assisting The Homeless), the LA Homelessness Examiner writer for Examiner.com, publisher of Inforum, frequent writer of opinion pieces on homelessness and housing, and the author of the book, “How To Increase Homelessness.”