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Adam Alexander
08-19-2005, 12:01 PM
Over the past months, I've seen a couple threads that either 1)refer to our "modern" society, and 2)the appall that people experience when a fight is not stopped ("how can people stand by?").

In both cases, I think these people are living by a "higher" standard or "higher" morality...and I imagine that most people interpret this to be what Aikido is all about: A higher morality.

However, I think the definition behind O'Sensei's use of the word "higher" (atleast it's Japanese comparable:)) may be different than these people's definition of "higher."

Anyway, I'm not trying to be negative about it. I just think it's an issue of people giving humans more credit than is justified: They think our nature's changed in the past 4,000 yrs. (or millions of years, whatever you belief).

I'd say that that's consistent with my findings of people: Most people I encounter think that the world is a good place where humans will rise to their highest potential...and that people prefer to do the right thing for the right reasons.


However, everything I read is consistent with my experience: Our society is no different than it's ever been. Except, people have access to more crap (designer jeans, televisions, etc.).

The only thing that I can see different between three hundred yrs. ago and now is: harnessed electricity, internal combustion engines and transistors.

Those are great gains, but they're only in the productivity of humans. However, I see no evidence that the nature of mankind has changed.

So, please, for a heart-broken idealist, give me an example that shows that humanity has changed.

Neil Mick
08-19-2005, 05:01 PM
So, please, for a heart-broken idealist, give me an example that shows that humanity has changed.

Change is not perfect, nor even complete. In the 20th C, we invented the atomic bomb and perfected new and better methods of killing, but we also see the rise of peace movements that decry the rush to war.

In the Vietnam War, it took 5 years for anyone to mount a visible protest. Soldiers were reviled, for their participation in an unjust war.

In the 2nd Iraq invasion, there was a worldwide protest one month before there were even boots on the ground. The perception of the average soldier is much more positive, and realistic.

Also in the 20th C, we saw the blossoming of the feminist, environmental, and civil rights movements in the US. Before these movements gained momentum, feminism was seen as a quaint pastime for rich women, environmentalism was seen as backward neo-Luddism, and civil rights workers were met with lynch-mobs and scorn.

In the 19th C, there were no child labor laws, no social security, no weekend work-breaks, and no unions. Strikes and protests from the eevel Socialists changed all of that.

Sure, certain current mass-murdering leaders can turn back the clock and halt, or blunt, these advances (for a time), but the struggle for human social evolution is hard-won, and constant. It only stops when we accept the lies of the Powers That Be, about ourselves and our past. We stop growing as a species when we forget who we are, and how we got here.

Adam Alexander
08-20-2005, 12:50 PM
I wouldn't say that some changes in legislation reflect a change in nature. Reflect a change in access to power: yes. Reflect a change in nature: Not a chance. Further, I think it probably serves to cushion people from the reality of the world.

On that note, I think that the idea that "today's society" and it's superficial advances (relative to nature) serve to give individuals the misconception that what we're going hasn't been experienced time and time again in the past.

Legislation, technology? It's all superficial.

James Davis
08-20-2005, 08:59 PM
I think that there have been improvements. I see them in the behavior of the teenagers that I train. Aikido has changed me for the better in that I'm more apt to let the stupid things slide and stand up for the things that matter. It's our responsibilty to improve OURSELVES. This is why I have a lot of respect for anyone who's a martial artist, regardless of their style. If someone has the gumption to get up and train in an effort to improve theirself, I think that's just great. Changing the world for the better starts in your head, and with your own behavior.

Ronjon, the fact that you can look at the world around you and see the potential for something better speaks volumes about what your training has done for you. Keep at it, and try to bring about change in the attitudes of those you train. :)

Adam Alexander
08-21-2005, 02:02 PM
1)I think that there have been improvements. I see them in the behavior of the teenagers that I train. Aikido has changed me for the better in that I'm more apt to let the stupid things slide and stand up for the things that matter.

2)the fact that you can look at the world around you and see the potential for something better speaks volumes about what your training has done for you.

1)Improvements from when? No doubt, some individuals do improve as individuals. However, that's consistent with my understanding of human history--there's always been certain individuals who'll work to improve themselves. Unfortunately, there's the other group/s who's been here the same length of time, having the same effect...those who do not look inward.

That's why there's been no change and why I don't believe the "higher" humanity exists or ever will exist. Some people are selfish, some are altruistic--there's an equilibrium that will always exist (I think)...atleast I see no evidence whatsoever to suggest that it'll change.

2)I think that's a misapplication of credit. It's the person I am, not the training.

Lots of people train and don't see a thing like that. Lots of people don't train and do see things like that.

Neil Mick
08-21-2005, 03:30 PM
I wouldn't say that some changes in legislation reflect a change in nature. Reflect a change in access to power: yes. Reflect a change in nature: Not a chance. Further, I think it probably serves to cushion people from the reality of the world.

On that note, I think that the idea that "today's society" and it's superficial advances (relative to nature) serve to give individuals the misconception that what we're going hasn't been experienced time and time again in the past.

Legislation, technology? It's all superficial.

We'll just have to agree, to disagree. Or, at least: agree to a difference in terminology.

Legislation not reflecting a change in "nature?" Certainly not: man has been essentially the same creature since we evolved into our present form of homo sapiens. That's likely to never change.

Changes in legislation, however: DOES reflect a change in attitude, and perspective. Just look at the changes in civil rights legislation, for example: from the ill-conceived Dred Scott decision (which considered a black man to be 3/4 of a person), to the civil rights legislation of the '60's. The change reflects a change in how we perceive ourselves, and others.

Regarding legislation "cushioning reality:" not sure what you mean. Pls elaborate.

Adam Alexander
08-22-2005, 12:00 PM
1)Changes in legislation, however: DOES reflect a change in attitude, and perspective. Just look at the changes in civil rights legislation, for example: from the ill-conceived Dred Scott decision (which considered a black man to be 3/4 of a person), to the civil rights legislation of the '60's. The change reflects a change in how we perceive ourselves, and others.

2)Regarding legislation "cushioning reality:" not sure what you mean. Pls elaborate.

1)I think the only change in attitude and perspective that is highlighted here is the change in attitude and perspective of the oppressed...the civil rights laws were not given out of altruism. The black community's unrest was a threat to stability and I think that's why they were "granted" their "rights."

2)I think reality is that there's only one person in this world who'll do the right thing for you...that's you. However, seems like the average person I encounter believes that the world owes them something...and it's affirmed by legislation--even the legislation that you refered to.

My experience is that there's little to no sense of individual responsibility and as a result, the government is allowed to be a father of sorts.

Adam Alexander
08-22-2005, 12:35 PM
I had to run out for a minute and couldn't finish the last one.

As I was saying, people think that the government is a body that helps. However, history proves that the more government interferes, the less good it does.

Not only that, the more government is allowed to do beyond necessity, the further the door for misuse is opened.

It just amazes me. What I understand our government to be based on--nature-- is bastardized to support usurpers of all makes.

Don't get me wrong, folks should have their rights. However, the government isn't supposed to grant them, it's supposed to avoid interfering with them.

markwalsh
08-22-2005, 04:50 PM
Neil - Uplifting first post, cheers. You're clearly getting too much sun in Sanata Cruz. Go live in England for a bit, or house trade with Jean over the winter :)

There's two basic ideas about folks that have been battling out for a while:

1. People are basically good and should be left alone to get on with things. French then American idea I think. Also zen.

2. People are basically bad so they need to be controlled. Dates back to The (story of the) Fall. Leads to rules and taxes (watch both liberals and conservatives go running).

Jean - I'm a bit confused as to which side you stand on here? Me, it depends what side of the bed I wake up in.

Neil Mick
08-23-2005, 12:43 AM
Neil - Uplifting first post, cheers. You're clearly getting too much sun in Sanata Cruz. Go live in England for a bit, or house trade with Jean over the winter :)

There's two basic ideas about folks that have been battling out for a while:

1. People are basically good and should be left alone to get on with things. French then American idea I think. Also zen.

2. People are basically bad so they need to be controlled. Dates back to The (story of the) Fall. Leads to rules and taxes (watch both liberals and conservatives go running).

Jean - I'm a bit confused as to which side you stand on here? Me, it depends what side of the bed I wake up in.

LoL, good to see you on aikiweb, Mark (HEY! How come YOU get the cool UN flag, as your home country? :) ). Just my 2 cents...of course, I inevitably think it's option 1. Also, of course, I have my rationale...if anyone wants to hear it.

In the meantime, back to you, Jean.

Adam Alexander
08-23-2005, 12:44 PM
Come on, Neil. Of course, I want to hear it.

On being conservative or liberal, I'd say neither as I understand them to be.

I like government to stay out of gun-control...I also like them to stay out of both abortion decisions and retaining "God" in the pledge.

I like them to be heavily into environmental issues and the real defense of our country...however, I think being "hard" on crime is being soft on individual responsibility.

And most of all, I'm opposed to centralization of power in the federal government which, both liberals and conservatives, seem to be proponents of big government...just different areas...the former, where big government will induce greater dependence on the politician which equals more power and more votes; and the latter, big prison systems and defense projects which result in more money/power for the companies serving those sectors...killing people and imprisoning people...who'd of thought you can make money off it?

Soylent green is people?:)

So, where do I go? I don't know, so I just b*tch:)


On which side of the philosophical fence people fall on...

Yup, I'm familiar with the argument. However, that's not quite my understanding...there's a third...People are essentially selfish and will act in their best interest if left to themselves (Adam Smith...I'm tackling "Wealth of Nations" right now). Given the option of starvation or work...they'll choose which they like best.

On the groups, I'd say there's members of all three. However, the growth of the lazy folks, I suspect, is the result of government interference--social programs and excessive legislation.

Krista DeCoste
08-23-2005, 04:12 PM
Social programs and excessive legislation cause lazy folks? I don't agree. Maybe that's because I have known people trying to live with the support of social programs and i would characterize none of them as lazy. What would be an example of excessive legislation leading to laziness?

Krista

dyffcult
08-23-2005, 11:14 PM
Okay...highly political...but just my personal position, no attacks on others :-) (Brenda loves general discussions, must be her legal background showing through :-)

Only read the last few posts...at least recently, forgive me if I missed something.

Jean....I hate to tell you, but you are a conservative...at least in the traditional meaning of the word. Conservative originally meant that the government should remain as small as possible, implementing only those laws that keep us all from killing or harming each other. [i.e. A conservative would oppose abortion legislation (government has no business legislating either morality or a woman's control of her body Ė and letís face it, that is the basis of the matter...religion or privacy); would oppose any type of gun control (legislation would not dictate what guns you own, but what you do with those guns Ė and letís face it, criminals donít care about laws and so gun control laws have no effect on them); and would oppose any type of "hate crime" legislation (we don't care why you murder someone, we only care that you murder them.)]

Individual people and organizations are expected to handle all the other problems (i.e. homeless, charity, etc.)

Additionally, personal responsibility was a big thing...plan for your own retirement, take care of your own health (if you smoke, you will die; if you weigh 300 pounds, donít climb to the top of a ladder that clearly states a weight limit of 250; a heart attack because you eat three Big Macs a week for twenty years is not the fault of MacDonalds; sticking a 250 degree cup of coffee between your legs while driving is probably a bad idea and may result in severe burning...)

Governments cannot legislate morality....bigots etc., simply go underground and we all disagree as to what the supreme being wants...just look at all the different christian and muslim religions, let alone the jihads and every other belief system on the planet. Traditionally, conservatives believed in finding the least common denominator and creating laws to enforce that. All else should be political/religious activism upon the parts of those so concerned. The rest of us can just slam the door in their face when they come calling.

The whole idea behind the American Constitution and the Bill of Rights was that the federal government would leave everyone alone to pretty much follow their own path so long as they didnít step on others too much. (And there in lies the massive quandary.)

Krista stated:

Social programs and excessive legislation cause lazy folks? I don't agree.

Actually, I think they create generations of dependence. And more than one of my African-American friends has stated that they believe the social welfare programs have been tuned to create dependence, apathy, and reliance. I personally believe that there are people out there who need help. And I also believe that there are people out there who believe that the government should take care of them simply because of the situation of their birth. The system needs revamping. Unfortunately, I have no training in that area and have no positive comments on how to make it better.


As to standing by....on more than one occasion I have made myself an obvious witness to a confrontation. Generally, I found my willingness to observe what will happen, with no indication that I will act, sufficient to defuse the situation.

Do I believe people are better than they once were? Probably not. But I do believe that as we all find that more then our basic needs have been met (food, clothing, shelter) we become more willing to challenge others to behave appropriately. Unfortunately, I think that there is a great middle ground of comfort.....(i.e. Many people work from the belief that they have more than most and are therefore not willing to risk their comfortable position to challenge those things that make they uncomfortable or that in their gut they know is wrong because they are afraid of losing what they have.)

However, I do believe that a larger portion of the population is willing to risk more to fight for what they believe and challenge situations they perceive as wrong. Nope, canít point to a study or statistics, just my belief. So I do believe that there is hope for us yet.

Brenda

Hogan
08-24-2005, 08:39 AM
Social programs and excessive legislation cause lazy folks? I don't agree. Maybe that's because I have known people trying to live with the support of social programs and i would characterize none of them as lazy. What would be an example of excessive legislation leading to laziness?

Krista

Excess legislation creating social benefits, i.e., (i) social security, whereby the people, instead of providing for their own retirement, now rely almost exclusively on getting by on social security (which was never the intent - it was supposed to supplement your own plans) - they become lazy, figuring the government will provide for them, (ii) welfare benefits, when the amount of the benefit outstrips the amount of money they would earn at a job, so the person stays home, becomes lazy, and collects welfare checks rather than working for a living - and this I have seen first hand in my own family, (iii) scholorship / entry programs that create 'special' opportunities for people that have been 'shut out' because of their skin color, they create people who become lazy when the people, instead of making something of themselves by their own hard work, rely on government aid to get them into programs - they figure, why bother to get good grades when I can get in or a scholorship because of the color of my skin ?, (iv) government programs that provide for more money to women based on the number of kids they have, and the women stay home collecting more and more money, but negelecting their own kids because of laziness, (v) government aid to artists that provide for a living for people that normally, in the free economy, would not be able to suport themselves because they suck as artists, and since they are lazy and can't work in the real world they rely on aid to live and have nothing better to offer.

Want more ?

Adam Alexander
08-24-2005, 12:21 PM
LOL. Nice responses, I couldn't say it better.

Brenda, Yeah, I think of myself as a classic conservative. However, I've been leaning towards more business controls...particularly environmental.

However, seems like anyone conservative has a bible in their right hand as they're telling everyone else how to live, so I think the common definition has/is slipped/ing into newspeak.

Krista, Yes it causes laziness. I have yet to see a welfare recipient at the library studying to learn a trade. I have yet to hear of a middle-aged person voting down social security just because it's a load of crap...However, they'll always say "I paid my dues."

The welfare recipient doesn't go out of their way to make a long-term better life for themselves and the social security beneficiary-to-be feels entitled because they sat on their laurels while bad legislation was/is allowed to be maintained. Rather than accept that the consequences of not being involved in getting rid of social security after it's necessity had passed is the loss of the money they "invested," they try to rob the next generation.

That's human nature. Do only what's necessary. Seek comfort.

I guess there's no need to tell my antedoctes about working 80-100 hours a week trying to eek a living out of my own business while paying around 30% taxes--plus workman's comp and liability insurance--that I got off my a** and started while my neighbors with their dirty kids were out blowing their "earned income credits" on La-Z-Boys and computers.

Yeah, welfare's great.


BTW, if there's people out there on welfare or whatever, doing what it takes to make it better...great. However, I'd say that those people would of gotten the help through charity that I might have given rather than the charity that was taken by force through taxation.

For every person helped, there's plenty of us hurt. And there's the crux: Someone will always be hurt. However, if government stays out of the way, those hurt will be the ones who contribute the least...not those of us who'll do better.

Neil Mick
08-24-2005, 03:33 PM
I have yet to see a welfare recipient at the library studying to learn a trade.

Whoah! I miss out on a few days, and the fora go all Conservative :freaky:

Too little time to respond in full: but I completely disagree. I have seen hardworking ppl on the dole struggling to climb out of poverty.

It's so easy to look around your own environment and assume that all the rest of the world works this way. If a few African American's feel that welfare doesn't work, then it must be so.

In a word...no. It just ain't so. Sure, there are some backsliders, but a system isn't completely corrupt if there are a few cheaters. That's the problem with the critics of welfare: they always start with examples of the worst of the worst, in their analysis.

Pol's like to get a few quick and easy votes by decrying the "welfare queen's" who take advantage of the system, while never finding out the truth. The truth is that our pol's don't know jack about the struggling poor. When they cut welfare: they don't care about "reform," or "reality on the street." All they care about is the bottom line, and making some of the wealthier constituents happy.

Please, all of you who decry welfare here are engaging in a form of classist racism. Notice? No one here is decrying the REAL welfare cheats (i.e., big business...Halliburton, et al), who take truckfuls of money away from the Fed. I'm willing to bet that none of you here are black, poor, or needed assistance yourselves.

Take a little test: how many of you here decrying the "lazy" welfare recipients are imagining an African American in your heads, as you type? Even tho, the majority of the poor are white? No need to report your answers.

Hogan
08-25-2005, 10:16 AM
Whoah! I miss out on a few days, and the fora go all Conservative :freaky:


As it should be....

;)


Please, all of you who decry welfare here are engaging in a form of classist racism. Notice? No one here is decrying the REAL welfare cheats (i.e., big business...Halliburton, et al), who take truckfuls of money away from the Fed. I'm willing to bet that none of you here are black, poor, or needed assistance yourselves.
Take a little test: how many of you here decrying the "lazy" welfare recipients are imagining an African American in your heads, as you type? Even tho, the majority of the poor are white? No need to report your answers.

All the abuses I gave above were done by whites, not blacks.

Neil Mick
08-25-2005, 04:14 PM
All the abuses I gave above were done by whites, not blacks.

Nonetheless, my original contention stands:

Sure, there are some backsliders, but a system isn't completely corrupt if there are a few cheaters. That's the problem with the critics of welfare: they always start with examples of the worst of the worst, in their analysis.

Just to take another example: my current partner used to live in a fishing community, in Alaska. Now, a lot of Alaskan's are seasonally employed: during the fishing season (about 1/2 the year) they work in a highly dangerous and labor-intensive job. The other half of the year they mostly get by on the dole, as there is very little work, year-round.

This is just one example of many that blows your notions of "lazy backsliders" all to hell. Need more?

Adam Alexander
08-25-2005, 04:22 PM
1) I have seen hardworking ppl on the dole struggling to climb out of poverty.

2)It's so easy to look around your own environment and assume that all the rest of the world works this way. If a few African American's feel that welfare doesn't work, then it must be so.

3)That's the problem with the critics of welfare: they always start with examples of the worst of the worst, in their analysis.

4)When they cut welfare: they don't care about "reform," or "reality on the street." All they care about is the bottom line, and making some of the wealthier constituents happy.

5)Please, all of you who decry welfare here are engaging in a form of classist racism. Notice? No one here is decrying the REAL welfare cheats (i.e., big business...Halliburton, et al), who take truckfuls of money away from the Fed. I'm willing to bet that none of you here are black, poor, or needed assistance yourselves.

6)Take a little test: how many of you here decrying the "lazy" welfare recipients are imagining an African American in your heads, as you type? Even tho, the majority of the poor are white? No need to report your answers.

1)I wouldn't say that all people on it are cheats...however, it's not enough to justify robbing from the working class to give to the poor.

Freedom of choice...selective charity is the way:)

2)For me, it doesn't have to do anything with race.

3)And you'd start with the best, right? Of course. That's the way it should be.

4)I don't think a pol's motivation is relevant...I don't care why you cut welfare, social security and other stimuli to promote social regression...I just want it cut.

I don't know about wealthy constituents, but I do know about me. I grew up on welfare. And, over half the kids in my neighborhood grew up on welfare.

I know welfare. I'd bet that I know it like very few people.

5)Classist racism? Classism, yes. Racism, no.

This is the way it should be. Some will rise, some will sink. That's life.

With limited legislation, the creme will float to the top. The other stuff (I don't know anything about cows) will sink. However, in the welfare state, the cream is stuck under legislation and cannot float.

As far as the "real cheats": No doubt. That's an excellent demonstration of why the system doesn't work. The rich have the power. They don't pay. Instead, the weight is borne by the middle-class.

Good point: The middle-class is brought down by the welfare state.

6)I'm more than happy to report. I'm white. I grew up on Focus:Hope block cheese and powdered milk.

Cupboards loaded with black and white cans and boxes.

My friends as kids were the same. And, most of them were white.

Here's the image that I've got: Seeing A LOT of parents who went to the bar and smoked cigarrettes...where'd they get the money?

Everyone gets to eat meat everyday even though it's expensive and unnecessary.

I could give you lots of examples of welfare abuse that I witnessed first hand.

But, the best one is that I had crack dealer friends who used to get paid in food stamps.

Or, the drunk woman down the street who'd trade her food stamps for fifty cents on the food stamp dollar to buy beer on a regular basis.


Washington isn't close enough, nor are the state capitols, to dole out my money.

I think you're also engaged in classism. You think the lowest aren't able to help themselves.


On the Alaska example. Exactly: They depend on tax dollars to feed themselves every year? What a bunch of BS. If you know that you're not going to have a job, then you deserve to starve.

Perfect example.

Adam Alexander
08-25-2005, 04:27 PM
Darn, one thing...

Re: A system isn't corrupt if there's a few cheats.

Agreed. The system is corrupt because it's based on the idea that humans will not overcome. The system, although having occasional good deeds to it's credit, offers a cultural evolutionary stimulus that encourages laziness and dependence.

Neil Mick
08-25-2005, 04:50 PM
1)I wouldn't say that all people on it are cheats...however, it's not enough to justify robbing from the working class to give to the poor.

Freedom of choice...selective charity is the way:)

Personally, I think we should massively defund the biggest backslider in the world--the Pentagon, and all its revolving-door corporate welfare reciprients--and put it into education, free healthcare, and a base dole for everyone.

If everyone gets about $8k/year...not enough to live comfortably (if all you want to do is be a couch potato), but enough not to starve.

That's the part you forget, when you slam welfare...there are STILL ppl starving in this country. Backsliders don't starve: starving ppl will do almost anything NOT to starve.

I don't think a pol's motivation is relevant...I don't care why you cut welfare, social security and other stimuli to promote social regression...I just want it cut.

Pennies withheld from starving kids (let's face it, here: welfare is not exactly a budgetbreaking slush fund...certainly, it cannot hold a match to "star wars," or some of the other "brilliant" new ideas from the Pentagon), and bushels of money for the big corporations...this seems like a messed-up system, to me.

I don't know about wealthy constituents, but I do know about me. I grew up on welfare. And, over half the kids in my neighborhood grew up on welfare.

I know welfare. I'd bet that I know it like very few people.

Yes, I suppose you do.

But, I also know of several cases of ppl who were injured or disabled; and welfare and similar types of assistance were the only means available to them. Again, it is so easy to blame the lowest, poorest sectors of our society, and ignore the real fatcats getting all the bennie's.

This is the way it should be. Some will rise, some will sink. That's life.

With limited legislation, the creme will float to the top. The other stuff (I don't know anything about cows) will sink. However, in the welfare state, the cream is stuck under legislation and cannot float.

I could well use the same analogy for Bush (as, I imagine, he often rationalizes, to himself). Like cream (soiled, rancid cream, but cream, nonetheless :yuck: ), W's fortunes have floated to the top, while others, less "fortunate" than W, sinks.

Or, the drunk woman down the street who'd trade her food stamps for fifty cents on the food stamp dollar to buy beer on a regular basis.

You know: I have no problem with this. I employ the "never judge unless you walk a mile in their shoes" yardstick. If someone's life is so messed up that they need alcohol to make it all better, who am I to come down and punish them, for this? Certainly, they could use some oversight and counseling, but I don't think it at all fair to punish all welfare reciprients just because a few ppl decided to medicate their troubles with liquour or cigarettes.

Whenever a politician lags in the polls, out come the classist slurs against the "welfare queen." I highly recommend reading "The Myth of the Welfare Queen," (http://www.meredithmaran.com/mag_chrn_queen.htm) by David Zucchino.

The Myth of the Welfare Queen is a powerful rebuttal of the specter that's been wielded by those who have worked to dismantle the welfare system: the welfare scammer. Ironically, it was not a Republican administration but Bill Clinton who dealt that system its most lethal blow. On August 22, 1996 Clinton signed the 'welfare reform act,' thereby eliminating 13 million people, including 8 million children, from the AFDC rolls. Author David Zucchino writes, "...few of the Senators and congressmen who voted for the welfare bill had ever met a person on welfare, and even fewer had attempted to find out precisely what welfare recipients did with their government checks."

Pulitzer Prize-winning Zucchino spent six months doing exactly that. "If there were any Cadillac-driving, champagne-sipping, penthouse-living welfare queens in North Philadelphia," Zucchino writes, "I didn't find them." After reading his compelling, well-researched, highly readable account, the reader is convinced that if such abuses were the norm, Zucchino would have uncovered them. "What I found instead was a thriving subculture of destitute women, abandoned by their men and left to fend for themselves and their children, with welfare and food stamps their only dependable source of income."

In the course of reporting on the life of welfare recipient Odessa Williams, Zucchino traces the modern history of the African-American people. Williams, legal guardian of her four grandchildren, began working in the fields of Georgia when she was five years old. Along with five million other African-Americans who left the South between 1940 and 1970 in search of work in Northern factories, Williams' mother Bertha moved to North Philadelphia in 1950-"arriving just in time to stand helplessly by as the American urban manufacturing economy collapsed." When the available migrant farm labor-and her body-gave out, Bertha became the first Boone to go on welfare. She wouldn't be the last. After her husband left her with eight children and no job, Odessa signed up for public assistance in 1967, receiving $75 a week. When she re-applied nearly 30 years later, Odessa was shocked to be allotted only $25 more for the support of her four grandchildren.

I think you're also engaged in classism. You think the lowest aren't able to help themselves.

The disparity btw the rich and poor is growing. Please. When the top 2% make more than the lower 75% combined, it is hardly classist to suggest that the doling out of resources is skewed an needs to be tilted back in the other direction.

On the Alaska example. Exactly: They depend on tax dollars to feed themselves every year? What a bunch of BS. If you know that you're not going to have a job, then you deserve to starve.

Spoken like someone who has never been in a similar situation, before. Tell you what: YOU go to a seasonal workplace like Alaska and try to get work on the off-season. I imagine that you'll be singing a different tune.

The standard of living is very low in places like these. Ppl aren't dining on cavier and champagne, in Alaska (well, I imagine they get a lot of fish, but not due to the fat welfare checks...that's a fact).

The system, although having occasional good deeds to it's credit, offers a cultural evolutionary stimulus that encourages laziness and dependence.

...agree to disagree. I have heard more than a few ppl (mostly poor, working mothers) claim that without welfare and food stamps, they'd be either dead; still poor; or in desperate straits.

Adam Alexander
08-25-2005, 05:12 PM
Like I said, I know welfare.

I also know seasonal work...I was in MI for most of my life!!!

Yeah, I guess it's a case of agree to disagree...you think it's okay to take from a person who works an extraordinary amount of hours to give it to someone who might be drinking it up, smoking it up, snorting it up or whatever.

It's as much theft in my book as Bush's war.

Neil Mick
08-25-2005, 05:15 PM
Yeah, I guess it's a case of agree to disagree...you think it's okay to take from a person who works an extraordinary amount of hours to give it to someone who might be drinking it up, smoking it up, snorting it up or whatever.

It's as much theft in my book as Bush's war.

I think we have some lines of agreement. I think that the tax structure should be re-structured. The rich get away with far too many bennie's. Welfare should not be solely put on the backs of the dwindling middle-class.

Hogan
08-25-2005, 06:27 PM
I think we have some lines of agreement. I think that the tax structure should be re-structured. ....


FLAT TAX !!!!

Neil Mick
08-25-2005, 07:05 PM
FLAT TAX !!!!

Yes, and no. I think that the flat tax is a good idea in part, but it needs work.

Also, where the budget is allocated needs drastic overhaul...at least, from a perspective of classist equality (gods, did I just say that? :freaky: )

dyffcult
08-25-2005, 10:33 PM
A couple of thoughts....

Sometimes I really wish I had a great filing system so that I could easily reference the things Iíve read. Unfortunately, I donít. So you will just have to take my word for the following, or not.

Thought one:

Once upon a time, some group decided to compare individual charitable contributions of the present to those before Roosevelt took office...and I donít mean Teddy. Accounting for inflation, etc., they discovered that the amount of money available for charitable contributions pre-Roosevelt from the government and individual donations (including joe tax payer) greatly exceeded the current amounts Ė including every penny spent by every State and the Federal government on every form of welfare conceivable.

Basically, Joe Taxpayer now donates far less because he assumes what is taken out of his paycheck is sufficient. Unfortunately, given government bureaucracy, it is not.

Time and time again it has been proven that private enterprise can handle money much more effectively than any government. Most good charities keep their administrative costs under 10% of the total donated. I shudder at the thought of what that percentage grows to when the IRS, Congress, and various agencies, their laws, regulations, internal policies, etc. have all been factored into the equation. Just the amount of money spent on employing the people who write the regulations, determine the legality of the regulations, and then defend those regulations in court challenges staggers the mind.

Thought two:
Jean, Neil....have either of you evaluated the FairTax concept? No more income tax, inheritance tax, etc. 23% federal tax on all new purchases. Only new....used has no tax. General rebate to cover basic cost of living purchases (though this is where it gets sticky...what is basic? And of course, somewhere down the line, that will get increased, eventually resulting in a new income tax to cover the basics for all other people) Businesses, farmers, etc. that purchase items for their business, no tax. Sufficient income to cover all government programs currently in existence, and then some.

Thoughts three:
Welfare queens donít concern me. All government allocations will create windows for fraud. Just the way of bureaucracy.

What does concern me is the fifteen to seventeen year old girl who was raised on welfare and sees nothing wrong with it. So she gets pregnant, and then starts her own generation of the welfare family. America is in the fifth or sixth generation of welfare families. A temporary bit of assistance has become a lifestyle. The idea of ďI am owed thisĒ even though nothing has ever been put in. This is where the concept of dependency (laziness possibly, but I see it more as complacency) comes into play.

As to any person who works a seasonal job and expects the state to carry them for the other six....move. Migrational farm workers in the western states learned a long time ago that you follow the harvest. They also learned to encourage their children to get educated so that they would not have to work in the fields. [Please, no comments about field workers and the abuses they suffer. Before that idiot Brown cancelled the bursura program, most field workers came legally to the States for the harvest only, paid taxes, and then went back to Mexico to live in relative luxury compared to their ďeducatedĒ brethren (i.e. teachers, clerks, etc.)]

Alcohol and drugs...not on my money. If I have to budget for beer because Iím paying for food for your family....you better be sure that money is spent on food. Welfare is for ďnecessitiesĒ and last time I checked, neither alcohol nor cigarettes were considered health enhancing (well, okay, except for those alcohol-heart studies)

There are people who need a little bit of help over the rough spots. As their fellow human beings, we should help them. However, it is not my job, or duty, or responsibility, to pay for the entire life of someone else.


Just food for thought, and mostly my own opinion...

Brenda

James Davis
08-26-2005, 10:30 AM
check out fairtax.org

Hogan
08-26-2005, 10:32 AM
check out fairtax.org


FLAT TAX !!!!

Neil Mick
08-26-2005, 01:40 PM
A couple of thoughts....

Sometimes I really wish I had a great filing system so that I could easily reference the things I've read. Unfortunately, I don't. So you will just have to take my word for the following, or not.

Thought one:

Once upon a time, some group decided to compare individual charitable contributions of the present to those before Roosevelt took office...and I don't mean Teddy. Accounting for inflation, etc., they discovered that the amount of money available for charitable contributions pre-Roosevelt from the government and individual donations (including joe tax payer) greatly exceeded the current amounts -- including every penny spent by every State and the Federal government on every form of welfare conceivable.

Basically, Joe Taxpayer now donates far less because he assumes what is taken out of his paycheck is sufficient. Unfortunately, given government bureaucracy, it is not.

Time and time again it has been proven that private enterprise can handle money much more effectively than any government.

I am sitting in the state that suffered through the deregulation fiasco that was directly tied to the Enron boondoggle. Subsidiaries of Enron, in concert with our governors, conspired to pull the wool over our eyes, claiming that deregulation would mean that we could use whatever energy company we liked, that big gov't would step aside and allow the market to decide who could provide the better service.

In reality, deregulation meant that greedy brokers could play fast and loose with supplying energy to consumers, causing blackouts and pocketing the money that already paid for this energy.

From my experience, gov't oversight of services is often inefficient, and overpriced. But, private contractors are less motivated to provide safe, efficient service because profit is the bottom-line mantra for these service providers. Given a choice btw profit or safety, a corporation will choose profit every time. They are legally bound to do so.

Another example, is "charter schools." San Francisco toyed with a private corporation (called Edison Corp) taking over a public school. Surprise, surprise: the teachers privately reported that they were pressured to emphasize good grades over understanding the material, and some parents noted a general decline of quality of materials (textbooks).

Edison had to get that bottom line, and damn the quality of education. It's the same story almost every time a private corp takes over what used to be a public municipality. In fact, this is the central problem with the Occupation in Iraq: private contractors with no oversight or the same restrictions as regular military are now in positions of doing the tasks that the military used to do. This war is unique in many reapects, but private contractors have made oversight and responsibility a murky area.

Jean, Neil....have either of you evaluated the FairTax concept?

No, I have not. I'll look into it.


What does concern me is the fifteen to seventeen year old girl who was raised on welfare and sees nothing wrong with it. So she gets pregnant, and then starts her own generation of the welfare family. America is in the fifth or sixth generation of welfare families.

What care I, about some young woman in need of counseling, in the face of huge welfare cheats like the Pentagon, which lost $5 BILLION dollars, and they have no idea (or so they say) where it went?

A temporary bit of assistance has become a lifestyle. The idea of "I am owed this" even though nothing has ever been put in. This is where the concept of dependency (laziness possibly, but I see it more as complacency) comes into play.

Think about a hospital. Sure, there are some malingerers in there; but would you suggest closing down the whole hospital because of a few bad apples?

Or, what about the joint contracting project in the basement, wherein the gov't gives a billion dollars for some questionable experiments that will likely never be used, and they occasionally "lose" huge chunks of this grant?

I don't know about you: but I would be far, far more concerned about that disreputable basement operation, than in closing the hospital to get to the malingerers.

The sad thing is that politician's seem to agree with your tactic. Forget about all the corporate handouts, they say. The "welfare queen" is the cause of it all.

In the late 19th Century, you might be surprised to know that pol's and groups were demonizing the poor in exactly the same manner; except that the evil backslider was the alcoholic. Well, temperance groups and Prohibition did not solve the world's problems, and cutting welfare doesn't seem to help the poor, either. Clinton did that in the '90's, and I still see the homeless suffering.

Neil Mick
08-26-2005, 01:45 PM
FLAT TAX !!!!

I think Lassie's trying to tell us something... ;) :cool:

("Ruff!"

"What is it, girl?"

"Ruff! Ruff!"

"You say that Jimmie's trapped in the bottom of the well?"

"Ruff! Ruff!"

"and you managed to get the jeep and winch and pull him out?"

"Ruff!!"

"and you have the bad guys tied up around the oak tree?"

"Ruff!"

"Good girl!")

Hogan
08-26-2005, 03:26 PM
I think Lassie's trying to tell us something... ;) :cool:

("Ruff!"

"What is it, girl?"

"Ruff! Ruff!"

"You say that Jimmie's trapped in the bottom of the well?"

"Ruff! Ruff!"

"and you managed to get the jeep and winch and pull him out?"

"Ruff!!"

"and you have the bad guys tied up around the oak tree?"

"Ruff!"

"Good girl!")


1st laugh I had all day....

Neil Mick
08-26-2005, 04:40 PM
1st laugh I had all day....

Excellent. :cool:

Hogan
09-08-2005, 07:34 AM
Lassie's back...

Looks like the Fair Tax is a little bit weak....

http://money.cnn.com/2005/09/06/pf/taxes/consumptiontax_0510/index.htm



FLAT TAX !!

Adam Alexander
09-08-2005, 11:24 AM
Yeah, I've been holding my opinion on that one so far...Smith, in "The Wealth of Nations," put some work into taxes and difficulties relating to them...However, I haven't gotten that far in the book, so, no sense in complaining about the consumption tax until I have an idea.

However, I believe that the paragraph:

Right now in Washington, a group of top policy experts and former lawmakers appointed by President Bush are hammering out a proposal to overhaul the tax system. Supporters of the FairTax, backed by a grassroots network of 600,000, have worked hard to keep their plan on the panel's agenda. The panel is holding public hearings in September, and the report is due at the end of that month.

is the author trying to strong-arm the consumption tax into relevance with Bush's overhaul.


I also think the "tax rebate" is a load of crap. Only because it's based on Federal figures ("experts" at work again) and, of course, it's a big country--one average is suitable for the whole country?

Adam Alexander
09-08-2005, 11:47 AM
1)I am sitting in the state that suffered through the deregulation fiasco that was directly tied to the Enron boondoggle. Subsidiaries of Enron, in concert with our governors, conspired to pull the wool over our eyes, claiming that deregulation would mean that we could use whatever energy company we liked, that big gov't would step aside and allow the market to decide who could provide the better service.


2)In the late 19th Century, you might be surprised to know that pol's and groups were demonizing the poor in exactly the same manner; except that the evil backslider was the alcoholic. Well, temperance groups and Prohibition did not solve the world's problems, and cutting welfare doesn't seem to help the poor, either. Clinton did that in the '90's, and I still see the homeless suffering.

I didn't notice you posted this till now.

On #1) Yup, and it's a damn shame that rather than the middle-class recognizing that that's the consequences with playing in the big-league and accepting it, they want everyone else to fix it.

If, rather than expect the government to hold their hand through the RISKY stock market, they stopped messing around with it, we'd probably have a cleaner environment, less hunger, higher employment and tighter knit communities BECAUSE they'd be forced to look for investment potential in the communities they know, rather than giving it to some clown CEO to globe-trot to a cheap-labor country.

The problem is that FDR threw away the opportunity given by the Great Depression to bring this country back from the cultural catastrophy that occurred with the slaughter of American men in WWI.

Hoover's philosophy of individual independence could have brought the "Brave" back to the home. Unfortunately, the welfare junkies (that's the poor and middle-class) swallowed the promises that de Toqueville (sp?) warned about in "Democracy in America."

Enron was the result of irresponsible investors disregarding human nature.

Maybe, if the President would of said that when it (Enron) happened, the people of New Orleans would of recognized that they're responsible for themselves and wouldn't of expected the government to clean up the mess caused by their poor voting practices or poor choice of living area.

2)I tell you, Neil, we're on the same page when it comes to Bush being a snake and the war being a bunch of B.S. However, I think that the result of the welfare state on the culture of the U.S. was beautifully illustrated by the refugees out front the dome when they were chanting "we want help."

Why weren't they chanting "We need help?" Or, "Please, help us?"

Because, people who dont' feel like they're owed, ask or express how they feel--they don't demand it.

Although welfare (SS, assistance, disability, etc.) have helped many individuals. The consequence is a severe decline in the culture to a state of entitlement and dependence.


Whoops, one other thing. I don't think that corporations and rich should get away with all the crap they do. However, two wrongs don't make a right...and that's what I think you're trying to imply.

If our people recognized their role in the government (and that can only happen when they no longer trust it--welfare, in all it's forms, encourages it) then the corporate and rich benefits would decrease.