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Tavis Smiley Urges President Obama to Take Up MLK's Fight Against Poverty

US Politics & Gov't  (tags: President Obama, inauguration, Martin Luther King, Jr., MLK Day, poverty, bible, fight against poverty )

- 1949 days ago -
With regard to the King Bible being used in this inauguration, I'm feeling ambivalent about that. It's one thing to engage in the symbolism of placing our hand on his Bible; it's quite another to get down to the real work of what King would want us doing.

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Christeen A (368)
Friday January 18, 2013, 1:25 pm
Well said. Thank you.

Terry V (30)
Friday January 18, 2013, 2:04 pm
Thank you

Past Member (0)
Friday January 18, 2013, 2:34 pm
Fifty million Americans living in poverty!!...not acceptable. Thanks for posting.

Kit B (276)
Friday January 18, 2013, 2:37 pm

We are confronted with deep generational poverty, that can not be "fixed" not even by a president. The "fix" is in education, not just education as in "go to school and do your homework", nope that would be simple but that's not the answer. I do believe that if we really want to solve this deep problem that also involves many feelings of insecurity and hopelessness, WE, the collective we need to find time to be in those communities. It might be waking distance or many miles from your home, but you have answers of hope, answers of education, beyond a classroom, answers of caring - just by reaching out your hand to offer hope. That means all of us getting actively involved - taking some time from busy schedules and being there. Take some kids to a park, talk to them, share a picnic, take a walking tour. Stop, look, listen to who they are, what fears they have, offer to help with homework, to be a friend. Schools can help - the first things we could do is offer programs that allow young people a career path for those who may not be college bound. We forget that we still need "blue collar" workers - and they are not born but trained for those jobs. We have many possible options, why not try them all?

Angelika R (143)
Friday January 18, 2013, 2:37 pm
Excellent words there from Tavis-but unreachable goal ( pverty cut in half in 10 yrs, eradicated in 25) with THAT Congress! Thx Sheryl!

Jae A (316)
Friday January 18, 2013, 2:44 pm
Well said and what a travisty for our nations people....while 'some' spend all their patriotic fears and time making sure.. 'they' don't try and take our guns away.....What wonder Congress has sold out to the darkside of Corporate Facism with no concern for the citizens of this nation....they have rightwing mornons for supporters. Push people into proverty... causing many to turn to crime to make ends meet... thus creating a fearing population who in turn go out and by more guns. Obvioiusly the rightwing really does think that firearms can solve all problems, even those resulting from proverty...while not giving a crap about those in poverty.

Yep...anger meter says this is where I stop typing...........

Susan L (150)
Friday January 18, 2013, 2:52 pm
I couldn't agree more! I only wish that we would see more of our Congress people leading the fights on poverty, inequality, gun control, jobs, education, health care and the like. More reason and less extremism. Mr. Smiley makes some very good points, one being "There is a connection between poverty and gun violence" - but let's face it, there is definitely a connection between ALL the above mentioned with poverty. America needs to unite again to solve these problems that the majority of people struggle with daily - instead of pitting one view against the other or taking hard-line stands against things like whether the USA is going to pay it's bills (Fiscal Cliff). Of course we will pay our bills, but don't hold the country hostage for austerity.

Laurie H (817)
Friday January 18, 2013, 6:31 pm
Excellent opinions and very well expressed. Many, many, Americans are all in the throws of deep financial concerns as well as poverty for many. It's about time our Congress started considering the needs of it's citizens, "Do they remember---- the people who elected them---who are now struggling!~ Thank you Sheryl.~

Tamara Hayes (185)
Friday January 18, 2013, 10:10 pm
Wow, so many excellent comments posted here. Kit, you have hit the nail on the head. This an epic problem with one solution. Americans need to stop living in their own private bubbles and start helping thy neighbor. We all have to be the solution. Taking an active role above and beyond signing and sharing petitions. We have to be involved physically within each of our own communities. And starting with the younger generations is paramount. They are the ones who need to know that their future does not have to be bleak. They need to be shown what it means to be a productive member of society by following our lead. Kit has made some fantastic suggestions. Whatever your choice is, I just know that we have to tackle this problem with both feet forward. I believe in the power of the people, I have to, because our government obviously does not believe in us.

Patricia E. G (54)
Saturday January 19, 2013, 12:54 am
Today's poverty issues are not necessarily generational. For many this is a population that has fallen
into poverty or have had poverty thrusted upon them. Many whom have had prosperity have suffered
losses due to circumstances beyond their control, now find themselves in a situation where assistance
is of a necessity. The private sector can help by opening up shelters, giving to Food Banks or handing
out cash. A future without poverty? ...too little, too late.

Devon Leonar (54)
Saturday January 19, 2013, 1:18 am
May the spirit of Martin Luther King Jr give rise to many Dreamers... together all of us in our own unique way shine light into the darkness of ignorance and greed..... There is power in the unity of heart that Dreamers have.... We all have some thing to bring to this table...... I am hoping that what Pres Obama is able to set in motion will be able to be continued in 2016......Good "Democracy Now" show, thanks Dandelion..

john byrne (50)
Saturday January 19, 2013, 2:03 am

Having read the posting I thought why not, if we dont have a goal to aim for & a dream to follow are we fulfilling our existence. lets go for it .

Arild Gone for now (174)
Saturday January 19, 2013, 4:44 am
Just to put an European spin on this: In Spain 50% of young persons are without work - we are talking of a lost generation.The road to hell is paved with good intentions.
Thanks for the post Sheryl and I do agree with you,I just wanted to remind all of you that the world is bigger than the USA.

paul m (93)
Saturday January 19, 2013, 5:45 am

Realy,,,Do you think Obama is going to do anything ??

Ro H (0)
Saturday January 19, 2013, 6:49 am

Sheryl G (363)
Saturday January 19, 2013, 7:31 am
Indeed Arild the world is bigger than the USA. I placed this story on here for multiple reasons. First it is the 2nd term inauguration, that happens on the MLK remembrance day. This is a man of color who is becoming President, be it for second term. Also it is always a good time to remind that for many who are doing well in this Country, a few doing perhaps better than in 07, but for a vast majority little has improved and still more are loosing the last of all they had.

A story to remind us what Martin Luther King Jr. was all about is a story of what Martin Luther wished for not just one people but all people. He spoke out against the VietNam War, he was man who stood up against injustice no matter where it was and that would of included Spain and elsewhere.

Sheryl G (363)
Saturday January 19, 2013, 8:10 am
Another good article Cal left
Hotlink to the article below:
The article
Staggaring statistics in a Country that shouldn't be in this position.

The conversation wasn't even on the Middle Class until the Occupy Movement started but lost this whole time is the poor, those who have lost hope of ever being able to move out of poverty to the Middle Class, those who cling to life barely. That has been lost in the conversation. We have more living in poverty in the United States than there are the number of citizens living in Countires.

Watch Live Feed on C-Span of the Travis Smiley Symposium "Vision for a New America" I'm listening to it now.
Live Feed on C Span


Jaime A (52)
Saturday January 19, 2013, 9:12 am

Terrie Williams (798)
Saturday January 19, 2013, 9:12 am
Being a Socialist, y'all already know where I stand....and it's not going to happen anytime soon if ever at all. That being the case......this Prez can try or give window dressing to trying but, we all know where that's gonna go with this Congress. Nowhere.

Not being pessimistic here, I'm being a realist. Until we get an all Progressive Congress AND a Progressive President, none of what should happen will happen. We can start with 2014....IF people would just wake up and stop falling for the BS lies told by BOTH parties...Smiley sees it, so do a lot of others. Theproblem is, getting everyone to stand up for what is right and JUST and stop thinking about their own bought and paid for bottom lines and best-of-everything positions in life. Like that's gonna happen.

Thanks for the article.

Russell R (87)
Saturday January 19, 2013, 10:02 am
The Hidden Poverty - Shhh! That is something that the World is not to know.

lee e (114)
Saturday January 19, 2013, 10:40 am
Congress is bought out by Plutocrrats - there isn't much anyone can do about this desparate situation, I do help by volunteer work as often as I can, the President has a lot on his plate, but it takes effort on our parts to push for the issues that are so important to us! I'm afraid I "spread myself a bit thin" when it comes tto the issues - Poverty was horrbily absent from this past campaign - perhaps they know what a difficult issue it is -- it's a Mt. Everest!
Tavis is a great voice for the needy! Thanks for the post!

SuSanne P (193)
Saturday January 19, 2013, 10:58 am
Ty Dandelion. I also feel as Terry stated. It is a travesty and I do not feel there will be any change, until the populace awakens. Thank you for this great video, and tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr. I HAVE A DREAM... but not in this lifetime.

Esther Z (94)
Saturday January 19, 2013, 2:14 pm
Very well stated, Kit. Unfortunately, having any sense of generational responsibility, giving of one's self for the greater good, and actually giving money (via taxes, donations, it really doesn't matter.) to help others in need is seem by most of the right wing conservatives as the evil philosophies of communists or socialists! Socialism! Well, that has no place in a country striving to be a Plutocracy, where half of our political system (Libertarian or Repugs, they seem to be all the same.) hold the ideals of Ayn Rand's Objectivism close to their hearts. If only the right wing conservatives would open their minds, and their hearts, and consider any idea, any philosophy, any workable solution that would help those Americans that seem to be falling behind economically, and getting lost in murky waters of poverty. Is that too much to ask? The answer seems to be a resounding YES! What can you expect from a Republican party hell bent on obstructionism, on closing or eliminating(in their words, privatizing.) the Department of Education, Social Security, and Medicare, all social programs created to help those who are not part of the 2%? I think, in order to solve more of our social problems, we need more socialists, more humanists to become public servants, AND we need to get rid of the political hacks who's whole existence is to serve corporate interests, while killing unionized labor. We need more Bernie Sanders and the Dennis Kucinichs of the world to become a better America! I can only dream....

Diane O (194)
Saturday January 19, 2013, 2:17 pm
When our government is taxing business owners at the highest rate in the world (US in top 5 most expensive places to own a business) you have to ask yourself which came first....the chicken or the egg? Businesses have sent their production overseas due to high taxes and outrageous hourly union costs. The unions have simply priced themselves out of the American market and China was patiently waiting in the take the jobs.

And now Dear Leader has added yet another big tax on businesses....enter Obamacare.

Employers are faced with a bottom line revenue that they must meet to pay the bills, salaries and benefits. It directly impacts what they can pay their employees as well as provide benefits. There are millions of Americans who work for large corporations and small businesses who still enjoy good, solid jobs with benefits and they are doing fine. The overwhelming majority of Americans have good jobs and money in the bank. There are many reasons why a small percentage of Americans have lost their jobs, their benefits and find themselves in the unemployment line as either unskilled laborers, undereducated, or they were laid off from their jobs due to a drop in productivity (deep recession) within their company. There are many many factors why some Americans are out of work. Companies respond immediately to higher taxes shedding jobs or moving their companies overseas. Which came first? The chicken or the egg?

You decide.

Terrie Williams (798)
Saturday January 19, 2013, 4:13 pm
Sigh.......wondered when the resident Fascist would show up......therein, I rest my case.


Sheryl G (363)
Saturday January 19, 2013, 4:38 pm
While the U.S. has a high statutory corporate tax rate, U.S. corporations actually pay incredibly low taxes due to the ever-proliferating loopholes, credits, and deductions in the tax code and the use of overseas tax havens.

U.S. corporate taxes that were actually paid fell to a 40 year low of 12.1 percent in fiscal year 2011, despite corporate profits rebounding to their pre-Great Recession heights.

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett has said, “it is a myth” that U.S. corporate taxes are high. “Corporate taxes are not strangling American competitiveness.

Should we lower our wages to meet China's labor force? Perhaps a more level playing field in trade would of served better and tariffs on goods out of China that would of prevented them from being "so cheap".

The Corporations sent their jobs overseas not due to Unions that got "living wages" and other benefits so that we in this Country could have our "bread and roses" too. Life in a decent Country shouldn't be about mearly surviving but in thriving. One only needs to look back in history to understand Corporate and Employers give not one cent more nor even safe working conditions unless forced to do so. The Triangle Fire is a perfect example of that and it was in Unions we got safer working conditions, Child Labor laws, so on and so forth and the CEO's and Employers still had a good standard of living for themselves.

The Corporations went overseas not due to Unions but they could skirt environmental laws, wages laws, worker safety laws, child labor laws, that is why they left. Pay slave wages, work the employees to death with toxins or whatever, dump poisons into their rivers and call it a day.

Lois Jordan (63)
Saturday January 19, 2013, 6:19 pm
Noted. I'm disgusted that the War Machine rattles on while people in America are unemployed and starving.

Past Member (0)
Saturday January 19, 2013, 6:43 pm
This corporate system oppresses the majority of us, crushes the hopes of the working poor just to live decently, and places the burdens of the nation squarely on the backs of all workers in order to enrich the wealthiest members of this system. How much more can Americans take before they walk out into their streets and shout, "Enough!"? We need to be teaching our children one simple truth about this vicious economy: resistance is never futile.

Sheryl G (363)
Saturday January 19, 2013, 7:49 pm
Thank you Brian, well said.

Patrice M (84)
Sunday January 20, 2013, 8:24 am
Corporate outsourcing has proven to be very lucrative. If a corporation pays taxes in the country they manufacture in, they do not have to pay American taxes. Oh, they'll get billions in American corporate welfare, which they can then dump in Cayman banks, because they'd be taxed on it if they dumped it in American banks. Nobody needs to worry about the "plight" of corporate outsourcers, which is what most of the manufacturers are.

If we want to get rid of poverty, we have to address the manufacturing bleed into third world countries that continues to take place. We have to end corporate welfare for outsourcers. Nothing has yet taken the place of our manufacturing base. This is why people are out of work. The GOP will tell you that the unemployed don't want to work, that they are lazy. But you can't get a job when the jobs have all gone overseas and no one on either side of the aisle has done much to bring them back. I do give Obama some credit here, though. He has tried.

Kamila A (141)
Sunday January 20, 2013, 12:44 pm
Paul Krugman has new book out which Bill Moyers endorses as one for President Obama to read, called End This Depression Now!
I encourage everyone to watch this video that sheds a lot of light on the economic situation, much different than what the foolish Republicans tout as solutions:

This is an easy solution if we can get past the idiot Republicans who don't even realize they are as defunct as dinosaurs, but they just keep talking through their a&*$s even when their minds are gone, amazingly ridiculous critters!

Past Member (0)
Sunday January 20, 2013, 4:10 pm
Thank you. This is a good cause. I hope Obama takes up the initiative.

. (0)
Monday January 21, 2013, 10:36 am
TY Dandelion. Sad state that we're in when so many people are working just to survive and can't manage to pay bills or make ends meet.

Diane O (194)
Monday January 21, 2013, 11:01 am
Brian, what all of us should have taught our children is that they must have an education, a trade school, college degree or train for the medical field because they will have to SUPPORT THEMSELVES in this world and their families.

Ask Barack Hussein Obama why he continues to kill the jobs for the middle and lower middle class Americans? Even the fast food industry is cutting back the hours of their employees so that they don't qualify for hospitalization/benefits....ask Obama if Obamacare has done that to these companies across America.

Are you mad? You should be mad at Obama. He has had four years to grow this country and all he has done is stop growth by taxing these companies and mandating that they provide healthcare or will have to pay a stiff penalty. Now every working American is taking home less pay due to the payroll taxes going up.

The middle and lower class income families need to be on their computers 24 hours a day asking Obama what in the hell is going on?

Obama is high on his own power and for the next four years you'll see obamacare premiums soar, a higher tax on the middle class and look forward to your country receiving it's third and fourth credit downgrade because of our debt to income ratio....Obama seems intent on bankrupting your country while leaving less money in your tax home pay.

The liberals deserve what Obama will do to our country over the next four years. 47% of Americans did not vote for Obama in November which should make the election in 2014 an eye opener! In 2010 the American people voted and sent the democrats packing in congress. They can very easily do it again in 2014.

So, I'll remind the liberals...can't find a decent job? Send Obama a text message and ask him why. This economy and continued high unemployment are at Obama's feet now.


Patrice M (84)
Tuesday January 22, 2013, 7:56 pm
Why do republicans like to use Obama's middle name? To give the appearance that he is middle eastern, and therefore a terrorist. What these republicans fail to realize is that, in the eyes of the rest of the country (the majority who are non-republicans and proud of that), the republican who emphasizes the president's middle name just simply sounds racist. And that is sad.

Susan L (150)
Wednesday January 23, 2013, 12:48 am
Touche' Angelica! Very well said. It most likely sounds racist - because it IS!
America! Love it or Leave It - If we put up with George W Bush than Repub/TBaggers can put up with the majority-elected POTUS, Barack Obama.

Patrice M (84)
Wednesday January 23, 2013, 1:18 am
The 47% who did not vote for Obama are largely white male "scions of industry" like the Koch brothers, the GOP, CEOs and Wall Street, bankers, the NRA, the Klan, and other unidentified - as - criminals - yet like Karl Rove. And then, of course, you have the good and decent republican voters who have been hoodwinked by the party's snide and half-hearted pretense of concern for working people. But the GOP doesn't have working people who are savvy. And the republican party will never have women and those savvy voters again. They'll never have the young or the elderly again, either. They will certainly never get women voters - not after declaring war on women in every way possible.

Face it, with regards to the GOP, the Dunces are running the Confederacy. Into the ground.

Sheryl G (363)
Wednesday January 23, 2013, 6:12 am
Obama has wanted jobs, the jobs bills have been killed in Congress, by Republicans.
Republicans Kill Veterans Jobs Bill September 2012

Republicans Block Another Jobs Bill

The ole' bait and switch, the Republicans prevent the jobs and then blame it on Obama because they know many people do not read the newspaper, watch Fox only, and believe the stupid emails that are forwarded around to their "in" box that are loaded with lies.

I'm not a big Obama fan myself, having voted for Rocky Anderson, but don't keep spreading the propaganda with no truth and half truths and also fail to point out where BOTH Party fails. I find this very disengenuous and does not do this Country or anyone any positive good. Once the truth has been shown to you, yet over and over one continues to place out the same untruth out there, then it is more to it than just policy, it is a personal situation. I've always felt much of this is bought out by Corporate corruption and take over for Profit at all cost combined with many, not all, who have hated to see a person of color at the head of this Country.
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