Well well, some of us try-try. We end up having to take pittance jobs, with pitiful nonprofits, where the bottom line is, well, poverty pimping.
So in a time of Covid Capitalism, in a time of quick silver circling the drain, quitting after 5 weeks on the job may appear rash, or self-defeating.
But here is the rub — working in Oregon, on the coast, in areas that are tourist-centric, rural, redneck, we have to juggle our principles and our ethics with the prevailing job market. Social services in USA are feces factories, and in Oregon, we as a state hit rock bottom. Not to take anything away from the rock bottom that Georgia claims, as we see in the Intercept, an article, “Judge, Lawyer, Help, Case Dismissed — Atlanta’s Mental Health Problem — and Ours” by George Chidi:
About 62 percent of Georgians believe they may be foreclosed on or evicted in the next two months for being behind on payments, according to a U.S. Census Bureau survey conducted last month. It is by far the highest percentage in the United States.
There aren’t actually enough marshals to process all of the evictions that are coming. People will be forced from their homes in fits and spurts. Many residents will look for relief from Georgia’s Department of Community Affairs, which has a $1 billion allocation for emergency rental assistance from the federal government.
After eight months with cash in hand, the department had spent about 9 percent of its money. The federal government is probably going to claw some of the remaining cash back.
Chidi’s piece follows one woman, who lives in her feces, half naked, in Atlanta. His perspective is on mental illness, generational trauma, inept systems of oppression, and the disgusting nature of Americans. One super user person — her name is Harmony — has been to court, has been busted, has been ambulanced to the ER multiple times, has been forcefully evaluated and drugged. Tens of thousands a year just for one person. Some super users, as they are called, are costing taxpayers a million bucks or more a year in the penury-ripoff medical-mental health-nonprofit-policing systems of oppression. The housing-first model can’t work in capitalism, and the attendant mental illnesses, outright and brewing, in the tens of millions of Americans will be dealt with (sic) through fines, tolls, penalties, surcharges, fees, taxes, imprisonment, probation, handcuffs, rough sleeping on America’s streets, slow death, traumatic death.
Pretty hardboiled this country, these systems are! And, after five weeks, I had to quit a job where my requirement was supposedly to help people living in poverty, living with mental illnesses, with traumatic brain injuries, with developmental disabilities, get job ready, get their job profiles and interview skills up to speed, and to get them jobs that are in most cases, Customized. That term is a double-edged sword, really, since in Oregon, the job of employment specialists like myself is to to find competitive, integrated employment. That sounds grand, but the reality is most of the clients I have served here at this new ex-company and for years elsewhere need bridges: guys like me speaking with employers, the business’ other employees, with the client, and with an eye to part-time work with accommodations requested, i.e. some tasks removed from the job, some coaching and supervision by the social services’ agency, and a lot of check ins with the employer, as well as natural supports and the client and his or her team of service coordinators, housing support staff, parents, guardians, state brokerages, and state vocational rehabilitation, as well as mental health teams when applicable, supporting him or her.
This shit-show company (the identify and identifying characteristics have been changed herein) has headquarters two hours south of my county, and they have money making services that employ people with DD and ID, and, well, they are run by broken people, the services and the company in general. I’ve written about this before — Social services is populated with people living with a boat-load of chronic illnesses, complex PTSD, even mental illness. There are many in this field with physical disabilities. Unfortunately, these people on the coast, where I live and work, are loud, obnoxious, jealous of people with graduate degrees. They are racist, ageist, plain crude, rude and ugly in the way they talk out of the sides of their mouths. They are American, as American as this new putrid governor of Virginia, Youngkin, another racist, backward, millionaire of the private equity kind (inequity for us, the 80 percent). As American as Hunter Biden. As American as David Duke. Just on a poor scale. Trump and Jerry Springer. So many examples of the sickness of Americans, from academics, to FDA props, to your local gas station attendant.
In my case, the supervisor unloaded on me — on day one — her personal life, her own prejudices, demonstrating all sorts of sad non-supervisorial ticks and attitudes. Unprofessional seems to be her middle name. She had to unload on me about her own broken family background, her own personal struggles, and all of the bad stuff. She’d say, “Well, this is between you and me … and if you try to throw me under the bus, watch out.”
Funny how this field attracts broken people, and when you put these people into a supervisorial role, they take it seriously — boss, man. Broken bosses!
Seriously, a fifty-something single mother of four boys expected the “yes, boss” crap from me. She is seriously flawed, and on day one she trashed the state workers, the counselors I had to work with since they are the people who refer clients to this nonprofit, which profits off of the homelessness, the intellectual disabilities, the mental and psychiatric disabilities, the trauma, the life circumstances of their clients.
Having a supervisor, or manager, telling me “I’m a beaner,” and then laughing that she has “Mexican roots,” and then thinking and saying, “Yes, it may be crude and racist, but I am okay with it.”
A boss who is confused about LGBTQA+, about transgenderism and transitioning, and yet, she has a military-based (Navy) son who is marrying another man, and that is how this redneck, broken world is — still calling people faggot, as an enduring term. She laughed about it.
Again, this messed up, crude, disgusting country (yes, you can call anyone anything you want to in the privacy of your home, in the open air of your backyard and amongst your sick family and friends) is broken from top to down. But this is day one, day two, and on and on, of a low paying job.
I quit yesterday, and my tendered resignation was about all sorts of terrible things this supervisor was doing. You are left out there in the middle of the muck when the boss ma’am is racist, sexist, loud, cussing, and yakking about her dating life, yakking to me, a man disinterested in this crap, and, me, someone who just wanted to get down to brass tacks with clients and their support network.
The company is run by a guy who is ex-military, Army, and the entire organization is full of broken, sick and troubled people. There you have it, no, troubled, sick, broken people working with adults with broken lives, troubled minds, sicknesses from developmental disabilities and beat down emotionally and physically by weathering and the trauma of foster care and group homes and bad-bad families and schools.
At the heart of it all, read Patrick Lawrence, “The Manufacture of Decline — Americans suffer the same disabilities as the Europeans of 1919: They cannot think. They cannot speak plainly among themselves.”
It is sobering, to put the point mildly, to sit in America in 2021 and read the reflections of a writer sitting in Paris 102 years ago. The world America made in the post–1945 years has ended just as the Great War ended the world Paul Valéry, born in 1871, knew as his own.
And Americans suffer the same disabilities as the Europeans of 1919: They cannot think. They cannot speak plainly among themselves.
They are, in a phrase, manufacturing their own decline as they flinch from the world as it is in this, our post–American century.
It makes sense that I would unfold this catharsis from my life in this attempt at closure, at DV, a newsletter, “a radical newsletter in the struggle for peace and social justice.” It makes sense that I tell the world — a few readers — that is — things stink in Denmark, or Detroit, or Oregon. This is called ground-truthing, and as I age out of this society (aging out means that this society gives shit about you, gives shit about your background, gives shit about your great licks and qualities, your travel and depth of life), the micro/macro aggressions heaped up on the feces pile that these people, low or high, rich or poor, broken or semi-fixed, closeted tyrants or semi-narcissists, just grows.
Failure after failure, I have weathered, leaving these trauma-inducing places behind. I have a thousand stories, or more. Maybe the nonfiction book or anti-memoir memoir, about all the people I have worked with, taught, reported on, been with throughout my walkabout. Again, who buys, who reads, who cares?
- How the Salvation Army Lives Off (and thrives with) a Special Brand of Poverty Pimping
Part-One: The Irrationality of Alcoholics Anonymous and the Salvation Army’s Faith-based ‘One Treatment Fits All’
- Brother/Sister Can You Spare a Warm Shelter? What we see behind the faces of a homeless family
- Insanity of Social Work as Human Control — Contemporary penal institutions are not often the penitentiaries themselves, but, are immersed within communities, manifesting in social welfare programming
- Death by a Thousand Cuts: When the Cures of Big Pharma are Worse than the Diseases; The more chemicals, drugs, vaccines, additives, toxins they make, the more difficult it is to escape from big business’ straight-jacket
In this eco-porn world now, where all we hear is about COP26, again, again, and again, Deja vu, the same rotting messages. Climate capitalism has always been the agenda, and so in Glasgow, we expect something different?
Jesus. This is fossil fuel financing, fossil fuel usury, the tipping point of their multiple disruptive economies, pitchman of all pitchmen: Bill Gates.
Gates set off on his environmental crusade aboard a superyacht, which environmentalists say are among the world’s worst ecological offenders. According to Turkish news reports, he sailed the azure waters of the Aegean on LANA, a 354-foot yacht described as “one of the most luxurious superyachts in the world.” The boat includes eight staterooms, a golf range, a cinema room, a pool and massage rooms. It accommodates 12 guests and 31 crew members, and rents for more than $2 million a week, according to a Monaco-based yacht rental service.
LANA was followed by the Wayfinder — a 223-foot luxury “supply boat” that is believed to be owned by the billionaire and was used to house his 30 bodyguards for the weeklong trip, according to Turkish news reports.
[Superyachts like LANA (top) and the Wayfinder are some of the most exclusive in the world and dump 7,020 tons of CO2 a year, making them the worst asset to own from an environmental standpoint. Anadolu Agency via Getty Images]
Really, that is the contrast today, folks — finishing up my time with this poverty pimping outfit at 5 PM PST, Nov. 3, and the kicker is that according to service coordinators in my county, the supervisor for whom I argued failed to do her due diligence around mandatory reporting. Clients who have paychecks shorted, and who have bosses abusing them verbally. Each person in the developmental disability world who claims this to be happening, well, it is called financial exploitation, and as mandatory reporters we have to report it to an investigatory agency. I pushed this anti-Mexican, anti-transgender boss to do something, but her words stuck: “It’s not your job to get into the middle of that.”
Yet, it is our job to report it, alas, and not analyze or parse the words of a person living with developmental disabilities when she or he reports financial abuse/exploitation.
That is a good evening, November 3, to quit this shit job, and leave these bullshit people.
But the fight is on, not just in DD Services. Oregon, the masked-up, blue state, retrograde and defiantly backward place, has these health care outcomes:
- The number of independent hospitals and physicians in Oregon is dwindling. The number of independent hospitals in Oregon has declined by 43 percent since 2000. The share of physicians affiliated with health systems in the Portland metro area grew from 39 percent in 2016 to 71 percent in 2018.
- Oregon’s most competitive healthcare market is not only highly concentrated, but also one of the priciest in the nation. In 2017, Portland had the 14th highest healthcare prices out of 124 large metro areas across the nation. In addition, the amount Oregonians paid for their healthcare increased nearly 29 percent in four years, outpacing the rate of inflation.
- Consolidation could exacerbate health disparities in Oregon. Experts argue that when hospitals raise prices, resources are redirected to facilities that cater to privately insured individuals (who are disproportionately white and high-income) as opposed to those that care for Medicaid patients (who are disproportionately Black, brown, and people of color).
- Following affiliation, rural hospitals are more likely to lose access to services, such as onsite imaging, outpatient nonemergency care, and obstetric and primary care.
- Reproductive, gender-affirming, and compassionate end-of-life care are at risk. Several large, religiously-affiliated healthcare entities are governed by ethical religious directives that prohibit or impose barriers that reduce access to these services. Past mergers have put reproductive, gender-affirming and compassionate end-of-life-care at risk, as could future ones.
And, just in the Portland area, the mental health outcomes, coming to, or already in your neighborhood/city/state:
- Typical caseload: 100+ clients
- Care provider turnover rate: 40%
- Wait time for appointments: 4-6 weeks
It’s no wonder Oregon ranks 51st in the country for mental health outcomes—behind every other state and Washington DC. (source)
Fitting, and so I quit, left, tendered my resignation: This is a crisis beyond crisis,
Clients feel abandoned by staff who leave due to low pay and poor conditions.
— Community Behavioral Health Survey, 2016
Ending with the Intercept story, this is the emblematic one issue tied to a thousand issues of our time. I just do not know how any sane person can look at these judges, cops, DAs, governors, senators, representatives, White House officials, administration armies without the thought of taking an old trusted Louisville Slugger to their blanks _____(fill in the blank).
Harmony lay in a 6-foot-wide stream of her own waste, swaddled in a blanket infused with feces. She propped up her matted head on her right arm, looking up at two downtown ambassadors from the community improvement district who had come out to ask her to move for the fourth time in a week. They needed to pressure wash the sidewalk.
Harmony is not her real name. Atlanta’s powers that be know who she is.
Phillip Spillane, a good friend of mine among the ambassadors, had called 911 to get paramedics to take her to Grady Hospital that Friday. He has made this call about once every two weeks, when the state of Harmony’s squalor becomes too much to bear for an observer with a soul.
I came upon them as paramedics were piling back into a Grady ambulance. I watched them drive away, an impassive expression on the face of the paramedic in the passenger seat as she watched Harmony, who remained on the sidewalk.
It was the same expression on the faces of most of the people walking by. I’ve seen it every time I’ve come downtown to Atlanta to talk with her. It’s not that passersby don’t notice her, but people make an immediate mental calculation about their ability to help someone in this kind of distress. The social reaction — the human reaction — left over is a carefully deliberate nonchalance meant to provide some dignity to a person in a state of public humiliation and to retain some dignity of their own on the scene of a moral catastrophe.
Of course, some people realize that they’re about to step in her shit and can’t keep from scowling.
This story starts with Harmony. It does not end with her. (George Chidi)