On A Hope And A Prayer

People will hear me rant often enough about the inherent inequalities of the landlord - tenant relationship, and probably wonder what it is that I am babbling on about. Not many Anarchists agree on the principles of private ownership of things like property. I believe that in a truly equal society, shared ownership, or even "rental" type relationships could work out quite nicely, however in the environment we currently live in, this is not the case, and ownership of one's own property is an ultimate goal. Even for an Anarchist.

Lord is the key word here.

When you rent a property, apartment, or studio from a private landlord, you'll quickly find that the owner has a great deal more power over you, than your money has over them. Generally speaking, in most other circumstances, the buyer has more leverage, because the seller needs the buyer to survive. In the case of life necessities, however, the buyer is at the mercy of the seller, or that is to say, the tenant is subject to the whims of the landlord. Since one needs a shelter in this country in order to survive, maintain employment, and maintain some modicum of health and acceptance into society the tenant, or person who cannot purchase a home for whatever reason, becomes a subject to the landlord.

Now before anyone jumps on me for saying all this, I do understand that when someone owns a property that they are renting out, they do retain the legitimate authority over said property. There are laws and liability to be dealt with, and of course protecting one's investment means that, even to me, asking a prospective tenant to abide by some reasonable guidelines is well within reason. The problem I have personally, is when the landlord exercises more control over the tenant than is legitimate, or reasonable. Particularly if said landlord opts not to fulfill their end of the legal, and ethical bargain.

Landlords wonder why they have high turnovers, and can't get "good tenants". Really?

More often than not I have heard from landlords that they choose not to upgrade or improve upon their rentals because the tenants only trash the place, anyway. While I agree that many renters out there really are simply destructive, I have a hard time believing that the millions upon millions of tenants are the equivalent of college students on a kegger rampage.

After hearing about how horrid tenants are for most of my life, I made the choice to always be a considerate tenant, after all, it's the right thing to do anyway. One would think that if landlords are consistently faced with thorns in their sides, a rose would be a welcome change, and so by being considerate, I would become an asset.

How wrong I was. The first apartment I rented when I arrived here, in Anokville I stayed in for about six or seven years. I am a nester, I don't like moving unless my circumstances dictate it. I didn't move until I was married, being that my tiny apartment was simply too small for two people to live in, and not murder each other. In this case, the landlord wasn't too bad, of course the property was owner occupied, so when something broke it affected the whole house and was likely to be fixed quickly.

After all, landlords don't want to live in a broken down house themselves.

Of course the "rules" were incredibly strict to the point that I felt like a teenager again, complete with a curfew. All in all it wasn't a terrible experience, even if the rent was unusually high for the area, and size of the apartment.

The next privately owned apartment I rented doesn't even have a word to appropriately describe how horrendous the experience was. The landlord abused the power of ownership to the extreme points, even so much as blackmailing, harassing, and coercing money out of us while we went without access to water, and lived with insects and unsafe housing. Even then, I still tried to be a good tenant, until my safety, and the safety of my child was compromised by greed.

Swing around to now, I rented from the same landlord as my first apartment. This time however, it is a different home, and it's not owner occupied. That's when reality hit. If it doesn't affect the homeowner directly then it isn't a problem. After renovating the apartment, landscaping the yard, and taking care of the property as a tenant the landlord turned around and has slapped both tenants in the face.

You'd think that after the heroin addicts and prostitutes, two families that actually care for the property would be a breath of fresh air, one worth holding on to, and appreciating. Not so. The landlord has continued to refuse to fix large problems in the house, and treats us, the tenants like spoiled children if something breaks, and we ask for it to be replaced. Of course, legally speaking the landlord is responsible for maintaining and replacing anything they provide with the lease, so structurally and amenities alike are the landlord's responsibility.

Refusal to fix things that were worn out, old, and broken down, never mind those that cause safety hazards when your tenants are excellent, always pay on time, maintain the rest of the property, and increase your property value will do nothing but breed resentment. I have no more desire to make costly renovations out of my own pocket, neither does the other tenant. Of course, the landlord doesn't care, because there was no intent to ever improve the property anyway.

Landlords like this are causing their own problems, and unfortunately there are too many of them out there. They are creating bad tenants.

Get on with it!

What was my point again? Oh, yes, ownership. The anxiety that the consistent fighting over the years has caused is immeasurable. Tenants who are in positions such as I am live in constant fear of eviction, legal or otherwise, retaliation and the general idea that the landlord has far more control over you, your belongings, and your family than anyone should. No matter what you do, or how considerate you are.

That fear becomes real and tangible when you decide to stand up and fight, only to find that suddenly people are "shopping" the apartment a few days later on a "rumor" that the apartment was going to be available soon enough. As if it isn't stressful enough to worry about why the landlord has picked a fight with you, and insulted you for months on end, now you are in real danger of an impending eviction or at the very least, a back door attempt at "getting you out".

If we were even slightly more wealthy than we are now, up and moving wouldn't be a problem. We are not, ergo it is. Add the identity theft problem into the mix, and you can see how regular people, not bums, not slackers, not assholes can be caught between a rock and a nasty landlord.

This must stop, and I am hoping, praying, and keeping my fingers and toes crossed that we can be approved for a mortgage program that was designed for people in our situation, and get the hell out.

Never to be lorded over again.


Don't Confuse Me!!

As much as I love to debate, it would seem that either certain topics, or calender cycles render a fraction of the populace incapable of reading, digesting, comprehending, or even acknowledging facts for what they are, facts.

So, as my addiction love for BlogCatalog and obsessive compulsive research grows, I have found a decidedly lovely T-shirt that has a phrase I may have to steal, and use on unsuspecting debaters:

You can get it here.

It might just replace my "Get over it" mantra that I have been using as of late.


Has O'Reilly gone soft on the right?

While some might think so, I think it's just another wake up call to Americans - even hard core right wing pundits are fed up with the likes of Exxon Mobile.

Read the article and watch the video here on Alternet.

Here is the transcript:


O'REILLY: So here is my proposal. I am asking the five major American oil companies, Chevron, Occidental, Conoco Phillips, ExxonMobil and Hess to donate 2 percent of their profits for the last four quarters to a fund that would help struggling Americans pay their heating bills. In that way, the oil companies could pay back their country, a nation that has allowed them to prosper more than any other concern in the history of civilization. A 2 percent charitable disbursement would alleviate the suffering of tens of millions of Americans and not hurt the oil companies much at all.

Last year, they made a combined $80 billion in profit, a record amount for any industry at any time. Now we contacted the five big oil corporations. And to say the response to my idea was lukewarm is to be kind. Exxon and Chevron pointed out they pay a huge amount of taxes to the government, which is true. But what about directly helping those in need? Not much enthusiasm so far. If just one of the oil companies would establish such a charitable fund, the goodwill that corporation would receive would more than make up for the money spent, as millions of Americans would buy that company's oil over the others. [...]

O'REILLY: All right, with us now, Fox News analyst Karl Rove. All right. I don't know where -- you begin where you want to begin here. I got - I want the oil companies to help out. Is that stupid? Am I naive?

KARL ROVE, FORMER BUSH ADVISOR: Well, look, they pay a lot in taxes. And we actually do have a program, the federal taxpayers pay for, call LIHEAP, for Low Income Housing Assistance, which pays for assistance to people who live in cold parts of the country during the winter, and lower income families who live in hot parts of the country during the summer. And those moneys are probably, you know, have been plussed up the last couple of years and probably adequate to help with most of the problem that we face this fall.

O'REILLY: OK, but there's nothing wrong with the American oil companies kicking in, if they would, this money.

ROVE: Yes.

O'REILLY: -- and saying, look, if you have a problem, we're going to help you because we love America and we want Americans to be warm. I think that would be a good PR thing. I think it's a noble thing to do. Am I wrong?

ROVE: Well, look, the companies have a responsibility to their shareholders.

O'REILLY: Oh, come on. How much money are you going to make? [...]

O'REILLY: In the banking industry, it's competitive. In the oil industry, they operate on the largesse of the government. They and the government are partners, as you know.

ROVE: I disagree with that. I think it's very competitive in the oil business. Who can find it and get it out of the ground at the cheapest price possible?

O'REILLY: All right, well, in my town, the four gas stations on each corner charge the same. [...]

O'REILLY: A couple of pennies for every shareholders. And you're going to be stingy about that so some old lady in Minnesota.

ROVE: Yes, couple of pennies on - they make 8 cents on a dollar. So you're asking them to give up probably about a quarter of that.

O'REILLY: I'm telling you, Teddy Roosevelt would be on my side. Teddy Roosevelt.

ROVE: He wouldn't be in favor of (INAUDIBLE).

Goodness gracious, he's starting to sound like me! Hahaha!



Every now and again I sit back and wonder, in awe about how many people are very, very angry with the US government. I am speaking of US citizens. Sure, everyone has different reasons, but it would seem that at this moment in time, and in the last year leading up to this point, US citizens managed to agree on at least one thing this year, if nothing else.

This government must go for the good of the country.

Although for most, the changing of the guard is good enough. Not for me, obviously, but for most people, it will bring enough change. I wonder what the future will bring...


This video is from last year, but every time I hear this song now, I think about people who have been gathering, protesting, speaking out, I think about all those who may not be doing that but are disgruntled, upset, disappointed, and let down by this administration.

Then I read the comments for videos like this and realize that there really are a few solid idiots left in this world. At least the majority of Americans know the truth now, and realize that this administration has done more damage than can be repaired in the next term. Maybe even in the term after that.

(The song is "Paper Airplanes" by MIA, the comments can be read here.)