Burch: Barely human

Thursday, October 4, 2012 at 9:05pm
By Michael R. Burch

In a recent article for The Contributor, a Nashville monthly newspaper that employs homeless and formerly homeless people as vendors, a street-seller who identified herself as Jeanette B. recounted how a customer said something ugly to her and, rather than just letting it go, she replied, “Hey, I am a human being.” His response was a sneering, devastating “barely.”

Here is what Jeanette B. wrote about her feelings: “I cried a little — because he’s right. In the eyes of Metro I am an eyesore, someone to harass for trying to do simple things like sleep. To businesses, I am someone to ask to leave, to tell that I am not allowed to use their restrooms.”

But of course the bigot was not in any way “right.”

Here in Tennessee we are seeing such bigotry not only on our streets and in our restaurants, but also in the halls of legislative power and even in conservative churches that constantly deride President Obama and Democrats for trying to “do too much” to help the poor, sick and elderly.

And now we have a man — I have come to think of him as Bishop Romney — who is a step from the presidency and in my opinion represents the worst of all three worlds: business, political and religious.

There seem to be two very different versions of Christianity at work in the world today. One looks to the good example of Jesus Christ in his earthly ministry and operates with compassion for the less fortunate. A much darker version of Christianity seems intent on separating the wheat from the chaff, and sweeping the chaff away, to make life easier for the affluent. This darker version of Christianity is chauvinistic, autocratic and demands conformity to its narrow-minded, Dark Age vision of how “good people” should look, act and probably smell.

Willard Mitt Romney once served as a bishop of the Mormon church. I do not want to put his faith on trial, especially when I see the same sort of bigotry in other ultra-conservative churches such as the Southern Baptists, who are headquartered here in Nashville. But please allow me to point out three things about Bishop Romney that make me think he is unfit to be elected dogcatcher, much less president:

(1) He said that 47 percent of Americans feel “entitled” to housing, food and health care. This suggests that in a land of plenty he thinks nearly half the population is not entitled to a decent life, since a decent life requires housing, food and healthcare.

(2) He toured a Chinese factory where 20,000 girls and young women lived and toiled in a factory complete with guard towers and barbed wire. Rather than reporting this outrage to our government and the American public, it seems Romney invested millions of dollars in the Chinese company that owned the factory, at one time owning nearly 10 percent of its stock, before finally cashing out.

(3) Later, as his Bain Capital group aggressively closed American factories, outsourcing American jobs to low-wage countries, it seems Bain-owned companies may have adopted the methods Romney saw being used in China. For instance, Bain earned $242 million by pressuring Dade International to take on massive debt in order to buy back Bain’s shares in the company. The result was large-scale job elimination. According to a Huffington Post report, some fired workers would “get an hour’s notice before being shown the door.” Fred Gregory, who assisted a plant closing in Miami, said that he stopped eating at the cafeteria because, “I didn’t want to see the women crying. You could walk in there and hear a pin drop. You could see the emptiness. It was just huddled-up sheep. It was pathetic. It was heartbreaking, heart-wrenching. You just want to hug them.” According to Gregory, the plant added higher fencing and concertina wire. Every day, a pair of security guards would check his backseat and trunk to make sure he wasn’t stealing office supplies. “It was all so well orchestrated,” he said, “and so evil.”

I do not want to see such suffering here in America, so that the affluent can become even richer at the expense of ordinary Janes and Joes. If Bishop Romney can see such things in China, without offering a word of protest, and do such things to American workers, without an ounce of remorse, what might he do to us, once he has the power of the American presidency in his hands?

Is it the street vendors and factory workers who are barely human, or their heartless overseers like Bishop Romney?

Michael R. Burch is a Nashville-based editor and publisher of Holocaust poetry and other “things literary” at www.thehypertexts.com.

Filed under: City Voices
Tagged: Michael Burch

147 Comments on this post:

By: yogiman on 10/5/12 at 12:32

Wrong again, Mike,

If Obama gave certified proof he was eligible for that office I would readily accept it. But until he continues to spend millions to keep his identity hidden, I'm going to "stay in the race".

And as the old saying goes, "Time will tell". How are you going to react when time proves he's a usurper of office?

I'll also maintain congress is the biggest worry we have. Obama is just one man in the pot. Congress is 100s to 1 in this scheme. And you can throw the Supreme Court (in name only) in that ring with them.

By: brrrrk on 10/5/12 at 12:32

Loner on said

"The consensus among the libs is that Mitt was "on something" the night of the debate...hopped up....suspiciously animated....wired.....maybe"

Could it be that he was riding the brown horse.... Coca Cola?

By: Loner on 10/5/12 at 12:36

Pswindle...Mitt knew that the liberals would take his notes and put them on the internet, for all to scoff at...he instinctively covered his own ass.

Slack, your commentI actually made me laugh out loud....I can see Biden with the rubber chicken and a pot, channeling FDR...then Ryan dons an Oscar Mayer paper hat and apron and then whips out a huge, inflatable hot dog as a counter-move....a little dog & chicken comedy would be most welcome.

By: yogiman on 10/5/12 at 12:37

Mike,

You say Obama risked money on investments. Whose money was he risking? It was ours, yours and mine and all of our other tax payers.

OK, he may have had a few bucks in those billions he was "investing". But he wasn't going to take the full brunt if it plopped.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 10/5/12 at 12:43

[fail]

By: Loner on 10/5/12 at 12:44

Could be, Brrrk, maybe he was main-lining straight syrup? The brown horse...."El Coca"....Mitt is no "dark horse", but he could be riding the brown horse?

Let's urine test these guys...breathalyze them...take blood, hair and DNA samples too....let's subject them to what the average American citizen is subjected to....hey, if that sort of screening is necessary to be a garbage man, it ought to be required of the POTUS/US CINC.......Drug Wars Suck.

By: budlight on 10/5/12 at 12:44

You know Burch, I am not sure if you have read the application for the Contributor. It says "are you now or have you ever been homeless". I know a guy - personally - whom I shall not name. He worked for them while he had a home in his name in Sylvan Park. It was not anyone's fault but his own that any money he made did not go to the mortgage, but to his beer budget.

He was NOT homeless when he worked there. He bragged to me about his big money he made there. I even saw him on several occasions at off ramps or on ramps in WEST END.

Sorry, but you are wrong. Everyone is not a bigot. Just because we don't agree with you doesn't make us bigots.

By: budlight on 10/5/12 at 12:52

And Obama was drousey and lethargic. Qualudes? Maybe. But he was sure disinterested, distracted and out of touch.

I doubt if Mitt Romney could change the face of China. No other president before him, including Obama, has done so. Why would you expect Mitt to do more than anyone else with China.

By: Loner on 10/5/12 at 12:55

Another piece of anecdotal hearsay evidence from our beloved Bud....and another strong denial of the charge that she is a bigot....methinks the woman doth protest too much.....but she does make a convenient foil for caustic commentary...and she is not stuck on a single issue, like you know who....Bud adds color to the forum....the troll just adds bitterness.

By: yogiman on 10/5/12 at 12:57

bfra,

What does that (click) (fail), I clicked and failed?

By: yogiman on 10/5/12 at 1:01

Was that 999 you saw on his forehead, Loner, or was you standing on your head?

By: Loner on 10/5/12 at 1:05

Bud knows Qualudes....I believe that part of her narrative....she wrote: "I doubt if Mitt Romney could change the face of China. No other president before him, including Obama, has done so. Why would you expect Mitt to do more than anyone else with China."

Bud missed the point, of course, Romney & Bain were investing in this Chinese prison-factory, they were NOT trying to change things in China at all....Romney liked what he saw there.....he invested in it....he would bring those Chinese working conditions and "wages" here, if he could. I

If Americans would simply ditch their labor unions and go to work in prison factories, for subsistence wages, then America could once again rule the economic world...according to Mr. Romney et al....that's his unspoken plan for the 47%....prison factories and starvation wages....Achtung Moochers...RAUS!!

By: Loner on 10/5/12 at 1:06

(click)

By: Ask01 on 10/5/12 at 1:09

To accentuate the 'barely human' aspect, let us never, ever forget some utterances from Willard's camp.

From Mrs. Willard, the "you people" comment.

From Willard himself the '47% he doesn't care about' comment.

He doesn't care about anyone who might demand a living wage from him and interfer with his amassing more money than he could possibly ever spend.

By: Mike Burch on 10/5/12 at 1:14

Budlight,

I never called "everyone" bigots. But I have eyes and ears, and a functional brain.

I was a Reagan Republican, and I have watched the GOP descend into bigotry and religious fanaticism. I left the party because I understand where it's been heading for years, and why.

I have attended Christian churches in the South and around the world. The "Bible believing" churches refuse to admit or even discuss all the terrible verses in the Bible that command racism, intolerance, slavery, sex slavery, the stoning of children, etc. The pastors lie, the Sunday School teachers lie, and the gullible people in the pews soak up the lies, and repeat them to their children. No one who has actually read the Bible and has a sound mind and good heart can possibly believe that all the Bible was inspired by a good God. Perhaps parts were, but certainly not all. And yet the churches and the GOP want to keep women and gays in the Dark Ages, insisting that they know "God's will." No one can know God's will by reading a book that says fathers can sell their daughters as sex slaves (Exodus 21) or that girls who can't prove their virginity on their wedding nights can be murdered by their husbands (Deuteronomy 22). The Bible is full of such verses, many of them attributed to the greatest of all Hebrew prophets, Moses.

I believe in being honest. The combination of bigotry and bad religious thinking is turning the GOP into a madhouse. Virtually every plank in the Republican platform is backward-looking, regressive. And the GOP's budget math just doesn't add up, as Obama and Clinton have explained, unless we intend to make the rich richer and force everyone else to suffer.

By: yogiman on 10/5/12 at 1:15

Call it what you like, Loner. I call it sweet music. And if you think you'll like to work for the government again in a different manner, vote four your favorite usurper in office again.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 10/5/12 at 1:21

Here's some insight into Romney's character:

http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/11610-when-bishop-romney-came-to-call

How could I be tried for excommunication when I had long ago quit the church? Throughout our brief encounter, "Brother" Romney expressed no curiosity as to why we were facing each other. He stood braced at the doorway like a high school jock, smirking at the world. Did he care to know why I had quit the church? Did he question his own authority to take action against a person he had never met? Did he wish to engage in a conversation about religious beliefs? The answers clearly were: NO, NO and NO.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 10/5/12 at 1:22

"Romney's surreal visit left me quite shaken, but with my soul intact. I knew I would not attend my "trial," feeling the church had no authority over me - but at the same time, I understood the anger and disgrace my parents would feel on my behalf. I phoned them immediately and they were outraged. In an effort to "defend" me, they contacted several authorities in the Mormon hierarchy and were told by one that "young Romney" was a bit of a zealot and was overreacting to my desire to be left alone by the church. Most Mormon bishops look the other way when members of the church depart. Excommunication is usually reserved for flagrant acts of blasphemy or for transgressions including adultery, something Romney would know. Bishop Romney, like many Mormons, simply could not understand why others might wish to quietly leave the fold or follow another path. For him, punitive action apparently seemed necessary. After all, he's the guy who later said he liked to fire people."

By: yogiman on 10/5/12 at 1:24

brrrrk,

In you 10:52 post you remark; "...seriously, are there no morals; no principles on the right? Is it win at all costs with complete disregard for being honest with the electorate?"

Could you re-post that remark and change the word "right?" to "left"? I feel that would simplify it better.

After all, how much truth has Barack Obama told us? What morals was (and is) he using to lie like hell to us?

By: Mike Burch on 10/5/12 at 1:29

Loner,

I agree. The fact that Romney invested millions of dollars in what sounds like a slave labor compound where 20,000 young girls (probably orphans with no place else to go) worked for little or nothing in the way of pay, says worlds.

You said, "Romney liked what he saw there.....he invested in it....he would bring those Chinese working conditions and "wages" here, if he could."

I think he may have done just that. If you study what the people who managed and helped close factories owned by Bain have said, it seems that Bain chose to erect higher fences, to use concertina wire, and to employ security guards to inspect the cars of workers as they left, to make sure they weren't smuggling out pencils and paper clips.

These were not "normal" plant closings, but something much darker.

According to a Huffington Post report, some fired workers would “get an hour’s notice before being shown the door.”

Fred Gregory, who assisted a plant closing in Miami, said that he stopped eating at the cafeteria because, “I didn’t want to see the women crying. You could walk in there and hear a pin drop. You could see the emptiness. It was just huddled-up sheep. It was pathetic. It was heartbreaking, heart-wrenching. You just want to hug them ... It was all so well orchestrated, and so evil.”

Bishop Romney probably did learn a thing or two in China. It seems he learned that if factories stop seeing workers as human beings, and more like expendable worker bees in a giant hive, the kings and queens of industry can thrive.

He seems to see American workers the way Nixon saw Vietnamese peasants: as expendable.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 10/5/12 at 1:30

http://www.alternet.org/belief/mitt-romneys-role-mormon-bishop-shows-his-extremist-religious-beliefs

Hayes, the divorced, unmarried mother of a 3-year-old daughter, was struggling as a nurse’s aide in a working-class suburb of Boston. She had little in common with the successful Bain executive, but the request wasn’t as odd as it might seem. Hayes was a Mormon. Romney was her bishop. Romney walked into her small apartment, made small talk and then commanded her to give her baby up for adoption after it was born. He was her bishop, and as she knew, Mormonism disapproved of single motherhood. Hayes said no.

“Well, this is what the church wants you to do, and if you don’t then you could be excommunicated for failing to follow the leadership of the church,” Romney said, according to Hayes in an interview with Boston Globe journalists Michael Kranish and Scott Helman . Romney denied he made that threat, although he did not dispute the incident.

By: Rasputin72 on 10/5/12 at 1:31

After reading the tripe about the homeless and wretched failure wanting to uphold her dignity I chose not to read further for fear of apoplexy.

I did however come to the conclusion that Mike Burch and I are both left wingers. Burch is slightly to the left of Jesus Christ and I am slightly to the left of Attila the Hun.

The name Coleman does ring a bell but I cannot put a face to that name.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 10/5/12 at 1:33

When the religious part of any person’s life becomes the dominant force for their their time, attention, and focus, they become a “religious leader” and not a political leader. Just as we have never elected a Priest, Rabbi, or Minister to the office of President, we should not elect a Bishop of the Mormon Church to the position of Commander in Chief. The reason is that when a person becomes so devout as to be such a leader in their religion, religious beliefs necessarily become the dominant force in their lives. While political positions may be important to a candidate, a religious leader like a Priest or Rabbi must necessarily place their religious beliefs ahead of any political ideologies. Therein lies the difference between a President who is religious, and a president who is the leader of a church or temple.

http://malialitman.wordpress.com/2012/08/28/revelations-regarding-bishop-romney/

By: budlight on 10/5/12 at 1:51

: Loner on 10/5/12 at 12:55
Another piece of anecdotal hearsay evidence from our beloved Bud....and another strong denial of the charge that she is a bigot....methinks the woman doth protest too much.....but she does make a convenient foil for caustic commentary...and she is not stuck on a single issue, like you know who....Bud adds color to the forum....the troll just adds bitterness.

Of course, you are the last word in everything on the planet and elsewhere.

By: BenDover on 10/5/12 at 1:58

Burch et al. respond that it's obvious Romney built his fortune atop slave prison labor yet offers no evidence... only confirmative conjecture from the well-worn 'Romney bad!' neural path scratched into the otherwise smooth surface of his atrophied cerebrum.

I reiterate my criticism as it still stands whole and tight regardless of Burch's imagined straw boogie man, Evil Mittens.

To think that not expanding our government social safety net beyond "Obamaphone!" is the same as Mr. "Get a Job" who was so rude to Jeanette B is ludicrous. Mr Romney is in no way unsympathetic to Jeanette B... the 47% comment was an acknowledgement that it makes little sense to spend people's campaign contributions on votes that have already been bought with taxpayer dollars. The word in business is being 'effective' with your resources. To extrapolate this into saying Romney doesn't care is absurd and the guilty by association with the slimeball who was rude to Jeanette B is itself a slimeball thing to do. Romney gave over $4.3 million to charities last year and his tax burden of over $3 million went to fund countless government programs beneficial to the poor. How much did you give last year Mr. Burch.

Your cheap shot about the imprisoned China girls is also a huge distortion. That fence didn't keep the girls in. It was to keep other people out who would try to come into the plant and squat for jobs.

Then you distort his business record where he took the money of private investors and turned around failing US businesses SAVING and CREATING jobs unlike the faux 'saved or created' bullsh*t touted by Obama and Biden with their failed and ineffective stimulus sponsored by our involuntary tax dollars.

Overall you are one warped little cookie, Mike Burch, whose worldview based on clinical levels of confirmation bias is sometimes astounding.

By: bfra on 10/5/12 at 2:01

(click) (fail) X 2

By: Loner on 10/5/12 at 2:05

Bud shows her fondness for the lone one: "Of course, you are the last word in everything on the planet and elsewhere."......thanks, Bud, flattery will get you everywhere.

By: govskeptic on 10/5/12 at 2:12

I'm looking forward to more of Mr. Burch's experience as a business tycoon and
the management tools he employed based on the lack of anything Machiavellian.
Maybe it's just me, but I read more that sounds like Rev Jerry Maynard than Jack
Welsh or my hero Lee Iaccoca. That college photo from TTU would be a bonus,
and make for a great teaching & editorial experience for writer and readers.

By: Loner on 10/5/12 at 2:13

I gotta run, kids...had a great time here, today...later!

By: yogiman on 10/5/12 at 2:17

B2,

Many people thought like that about John Kennedy in 1960 because he was a Catholic. Like you people are doing today, they proved themselves wrong.

By: govskeptic on 10/5/12 at 2:21

I'm looking forward to more of Mr. Burch's experience as a business tycoon and
the management tools he employed based on the lack of anything Machiavellian.
Maybe it's just me, but I read more that sounds like Rev Jerry Maynard than Jack
Welsh or my hero Lee Iaccoca. That college photo from TTU would be a bonus,
and make for a great teaching & editorial experience for writer and readers.

By: yogiman on 10/5/12 at 2:24

They don't "offer" evidence, BenDover, because they don't have any. It's like them ridiculing me about Barry's legal eligibility yet none of them have refuted my argument.

Just prove he's in that office legally, folks. It's as simple as that.

By: bfra on 10/5/12 at 2:28

(click) (fail)

By: yogiman on 10/5/12 at 2:29

Ask01,

Tell me, if you was making a comment to a group of people, how would you address them (depending on the phrase you're using of course); you people or y'all?

Now, where are the Romneys from: Down here, or up yonder?

By: Captain Nemo on 10/5/12 at 2:50

I have seen many these so-called homeless people sailing (sic) the contributor on the street corner and at the end of the day they drive away in their fancy Cattoelacts. (sic)

B. Itch

By: bfra on 10/5/12 at 2:53

Nemo - LOL on the B. Itch so true, so true

By: slacker on 10/5/12 at 2:56

Nemo, if you saw one wearing a cummerbund, and driving a Dodge Dart, that was Rasp.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 10/5/12 at 2:58

slacker, did he upgrade?

By: Captain Nemo on 10/5/12 at 3:00

With the off button in uses, it is fast to get caught up with the goings on at NCP. Ha, Ha, Ha.

By: bfra on 10/5/12 at 3:00

Nemo - Don't forget the grey poupon stained black ascot. If someone mentioned a polecat, I bet B. Itch would run across one under her bridge & post the entire encounter on the board. Whether it happened or not.

By: Captain Nemo on 10/5/12 at 3:06

Living under the bridge no wonder she can't keep a job.

By: slacker on 10/5/12 at 3:06

nazi, he did. Rasp. got his 8 track fixed, and a new muffler.
After Rasp. calls it a day, he motors over too Bobbie's Dairy Dip, listening to Slim Whitman tunes blasting from his 8 track.
Its the best part of Rasp. day. Rasp. is looking forward to the big turkey dinner at the mission, on Thanksgiving.

By: Captain Nemo on 10/5/12 at 3:10

slacker, are you calling Rasputin a bid turkey?

By: bfra on 10/5/12 at 3:11

slacker - Feel sorry for those at the mission, Raspy will eat it all (entitlement, you know) so no one else can have any.

By: Captain Nemo on 10/5/12 at 3:14

I ain’t no(sic) bigot, but I don’t won’t one of them in my neighborhood.

B. Itch-

By: slacker on 10/5/12 at 3:17

Nemo, Rasp. wears his top hat to the big Thanksgiving feed at the mission.
He demands that the volunteers serve his table, and gentlemen friends first.
They say: ''certainly Mr. Rasputin.''

By: Captain Nemo on 10/5/12 at 3:24

Grandpa, why are the people at the Mission jealous of you?

Son of Son of Rasputin.-

By: Captain Nemo on 10/5/12 at 3:26

Is that Dodge Dart of Rasputin, Mustard colored, slacker?

By: slacker on 10/5/12 at 3:38

Nemo.. yes it is. Sounds like you've seen Mr. Rasputin, cruising out to Bobbie's.

By: Captain Nemo on 10/5/12 at 3:56

slacker I have not seen it, but I have heard people talk about it. It seems that it clashes with the gray life style of the underclass.