Feb 19 Meeting Report – Proposed E-mail Campaign Re “Hunger in America”

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johnkarls
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Joined: Fri Jun 29, 2007 8:43 pm

Feb 19 Meeting Report – Proposed E-mail Campaign Re “Hunger in America”

Post by johnkarls »

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Usually no meeting report is prepared unless we are bombarded by inquiries about what happened.

Numerous inquiries have been received about our Feb 19 meeting on Hunger in America.

Accordingly, following past practice Yours Truly has prepared the following report from his notes.

And each participant of the Feb 19 meeting is invited to post any additions/corrections s/he deems appropriate.

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Significant Background Matters

Two days before our Jan 15 meeting on “REPRISE: A Marshall-Type Plan For Palestinians,” we issued under our “Short-Fuse Notice” procedures (described on the face of Sec. 3 of www.ReadingLiberally-SaltLake.org) a Six-Degrees-Of-Separation E-mail Campaign in a Jan 13 e-mail to our 170-plus members entitled “EMERGENCY - YOUR SIGNATURE NEEDED BY THURSDAY - UTAH TAXING GROCERIES OF OUR NEIGHBORS LIVING ON LESS THAN $2.00/DAY.”

[Our 2/7/2018 meeting 2 years ago had focused on “$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America” by Johns Hopkins Prof. Kathryn J. Edin and U/Mich Prof. H. Luke Shaefer (Houghton Mifflin - 2015).]

When we met on Jan 15 re the Palestinian issue, the participants voted for “Hunger in America” as the focus for our Feb 19 meeting.

And since we had already focused on “$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America” for our 2/7/2018 meeting, the focus book for our Feb 19 meeting became the classic in the field – Barbara Ehrenreich’s “Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America.”

The “classic” because like “Black Like Me,” Barbara Ehrenreich decided despite having a PhD in Cellular Immunology (and having already authored 14 award-winning books on social-action issues) that she would experience what it is like (despite remaining white) to be a waitress, hotel maid, cleaning woman, nursing-home aide and Wal-Mart sales clerk – just like John Howard Griffin darkened his skin sufficiently to experience what it is like to be black.

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Utah Sales Tax vs. National Minimum Living Wage

At the time of our Jan 15 meeting, we had no idea whether the referendum on the Utah sales tax would be successful.

In response to our weekly e-mail of Sat Jan 18, there were 14 RSVP’s for our Feb 19 meeting which appeared headed toward a second-level e-mail campaign in the wake of the presumed-failure of the referendum.

HOWEVER, on Wed Jan 22, it was announced that the referendum petition had obtained enough signatures (8% of voters statewide and 8% of voters in each of 15 of Utah’s 29 counties -- NB: Our Jan 13 EMERGENCY E-MAIL had asked all of our 170-plus members NOT ONLY to sign the petition BUT ALSO, in forwarding the “emergency e-mail” to friends in an unending chain, to give extra thought to whom they might know in other Utah counties).

AND on Thurs Jan 23, the Governor and legislative leaders announced that they would repeal the sales tax increase.

ACCORDINGLY, our weekly e-mail of Sat Jan 25 thanked all of our participants for the part they had played in the referendum’s success.

AND announced that our “Hunger in America” focus for the Feb 19 meeting would shift from the Utah Sales Tax to the national issue described in “$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America” which documented that the U.S. has 5 million homeless INCLUDING 3 MILLION CHILDREN living on less than $2.00/day.

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Cyber Warfare Against Our Feb 19 Meeting

The shift in focus from the Utah sales tax to the national issue of 5 million Americans INCLUDING 3 MILLION CHILDREN caused an unprecedented churning in our RSVP’s for Feb 19 --

Of the 14 RSVP’s who responded to the Utah sales tax issue, 10 immediately withdrew.

However, 4 new RSVP’s after the shift in focus for a new total of 8 RSVP’s kept us above our minimum quorum of 6.

The 8th RSVP was Kael Weston, a long-time member and a candidate for Utah’s 2nd Congressional District.

So our Sat Feb 1 weekly e-mail to our 170-plus members mentioned that Kael would be participating on Feb 19 on the assumption that quite a few members would RSVP in order to meet Kael and work alongside him on “Hunger in America.”

DISASTER!!!

Dreamhost.com provides the platform for both our www.ReadingLiberally-SaltLake.org website and our ReadingLiberally-SaltLake@johnkarls.com e-mail.

Our weekly e-mails are sent pre-dawn on Saturdays.

And before dawn on Sat Feb 1, a hacker or hackers had caused our website to crash. And the hacker(s) were sending out fake e-mails from ReadingLiberally-SaltLake.@johnkarls.com.

But since the hacker(s) were never identified by Dreamhost (despite assistance from my daughter Hilary Karls who is an MIT graduate and Silicon Valley software engineer for Uber), who knows whether the sabotage was prompted by Kael Weston’s RSVP or whether that was coincidence.

It took 6 days for Dreamhost to restore our website and e-mail!!!

[This is NOT the first time we have been the target of cyber-warfare -- please see the 4 postings in Sec. 2 of www.ReadingLiberally-SaltLake.org.]

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Quorum Collapse

A week before our Feb 19 meeting, one of our RSVP’s was hospitalized with pneumonia and another was forced to withdraw because his wife accepted a dinner invitation and required him to accompany her.

Since we were once more on the “knife edge” of only having 6 RSVP’s which meant that, assuming no walk-on’s, a no-show by one of the 6 would mean a quorum failure, I made special pleas to two other social-action organizations in which I participate which explained all of the foregoing.

No bites from the 12 attendees of the first organization’s Feb 14 meeting or from the 35 recipients of the Feb 14 e-mail sent to the other organization’s members.

And sure enough, one of our remaining 6 RSVP’s came down with flu.

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Summary of Feb 19 Meeting

After selecting as the topic for our March 18 meeting “Money in Politics: Michael Bloomberg & Tom Steyer, et al.” we turned to the Suggested Discussion Outline [available at viewtopic.php?f=579&t=1890&sid=ccea2d97 ... 56bcb000b3] and the e-mail text for the Proposed Six-Degrees-Of-Separation E-mail Campaign. The text of the proposed e-mail is reproduced below the next set of asterisks.

That proposed e-mail “says it all” --

(1) “$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America” by Johns Hopkins Prof. Kathryn J. Edin and U/Mich Prof. H. Luke Shaefer (Houghton Mifflin - 2015) had documented that America has 5 million homeless INCLUDING 3 MILLION CHILDREN living on less than $2.00/day.

(2) $2.00 a Day is only a small fraction of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Official Estimate of the cost of food at home -- even the cheapest of 4 plans.

(3) “Obviously, America’s 5 million homeless INCLUDING 3 MILLION CHILDREN living on less than $2.00/day -- and probably many millions more -- are either starving or eating garbage.”

(4) And a reputable poll (which should be easily replicable) reported that 94% of Americans agree that “people who work full-time should be able to earn enough money to keep their families out of poverty.”

(5) Accordingly, the e-mail concluded by requesting the addressee to campaign for raising the national minimum wage AUTOMATICALLY EACH YEAR to match the “poverty guidelines for, say, a family of four.” [While restricting the amount employers can deduct for food and housing, such as on a farm, to “cost” for IRS purposes.]

Four of the five attendees of our Feb 19 meeting favored the proposed e-mail without change.

The fifth opposed the e-mail no matter how it might be changed because he believes that there should be no minimum wage -- that anyone who cannot earn enough to eat should depend on the charity of relatives and nobody should look to government in order to avoid starvation.

BTW, “$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America” DID TAKE INTO ACCOUNT FOOD STAMPS in documenting that 5 million Americans INCLUDING 3 MILLION CHILDREN live on less than $2.00/day. However, the measurement of $2.00/day did NOT take into account the national “school lunch” program which provides that during the school year, children will at least be able to eat 5 out of 21 meals.

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The reason for providing the following text of the Proposed Six-Degrees-Of-Separation E-mail Campaign considered, as described above, at our Feb 19 meeting is that everyone has “freedom of speech” and can, therefore, launch her/his own Six-Degrees-Of-Separation E-mail Campaign by sending the following e-mail to her/his favorite presidential candidate (or to any other decision maker s/he desires) AND BY ALSO SENDING it to all of her/his friends requesting them to do the same in an unending chain.

We typically provide the text in situations such as this where we just miss our official criteria for approving an official e-mail campaign -- viz., a minimum quorum of 6 with no more than 1 dissent.

[Here, as explained, we had no more than 1 dissent but were one short of our minimum quorum of 6.]

The text --

To: [Your Favorite Presidential Candidate]

Topic: Solving HUNGER IN AMERICA

Dear

Re: HUNGER IN AMERICA

Thank you for all of the efforts of you and your team to serve America!

However, you may not be aware that America has 5 million homeless INCLUDING 3 MILLION CHILDREN living on less than $2.00/day as documented in “$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America” by Johns Hopkins Prof. Kathryn J. Edin and U/Mich Prof. H. Luke Shaefer (Houghton Mifflin – 2015).

And that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Official Estimate of the Cost of Food at Home was (per the USDA’s most recent update for Feb 2017) –

$42.50/week or $6.07/day for a male age 19-50 – thrifty (vs. low-cost, etc.) plan
$37.60/week or $5.37/day for a female age 19-50 – thrifty (vs. low-cost, etc.) plan
$21.60-$35.60/week or $3.09-$5.09 for a child depending on age – (vs. low-cost, etc.) plan

Obviously, America’s 5 million homeless INCLUDING 3 MILLION CHILDREN living on less than $2.00/day – and probably many millions more – are either starving or eating garbage.

Meanwhile, a reputable poll has reported that 94% of Americans agree that “people who work full-time should be able to earn enough to keep their families out of poverty.”

And we believe that your own pollsters could easily replicate that.

Accordingly, it is respectfully suggested that you vigorously campaign to raise the national minimum wage AUTOMATICALLY EACH YEAR to match the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services poverty guidelines for, say, a family of four.

And, BTW, when employers provide food and housing such as on a farm, they only be permitted to deduct from the minimum wage the COST (for IRS purposes) of providing the food and housing rather than whatever they want as is currently permitted.

Naysayers will argue that increasing the minimum wage will increase unemployment, but the same argument was made by Plantation Owners before the Civil War. But just like our economy survived the abolition of slavery, it can survive raising the minimum national wage to match DHHS poverty guidelines.

Thank you for your consideration.

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