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Old 12-01-2010, 09:27 PM  
Direckshun Direckshun is offline
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Five reasons why I occaionally despair.

Five problems I perceive that I simply don't think we're capable of solving.

1. Ever-continual tax cuts for the rich. I believe in the power of capitalism, and that those who do well and produce much deserve to have more. I have been on both ends of that dynamic and I can appreciate its impact on society as a whole. But the widening gap between the rich and everybody else is incredibly disturbing to me.

During a recession in which the rich did well but the middle class was pounded and poverty expanded, I fail to see why the rich deserve ever-continual tax cuts that are increasingly disproportionate to their share of the economy. The constant fight to keep these people from paying more taxes, and putting their fair share into a system from which they've been fortunate enough to prosper is the ultimate triumph usurping of patriotism.

And unfortunately, the rich will win this fight every time. The taxes they are responsible for will forever slide down and down, leaving either one of two things in its wake: a weakened America that cannot pay its bills, or the emergence of an didactic oligarchy in the wake of an American government that was once capable of providing for those who struggle.

2. State secrets. The Wikileaks experience has taught us a few things over the course of the past few months, and it's this: the contempt those in power (governmentally, financially, and in the media) will forever be the greatest against those who expose state secrets, not against those that utilize secrecy to achieve some disgusting ends.

WikiLeaks has shown us some truly startling things, like live-action combat mistakes, tens of thousands of casualties being hidden from the public, and the corrupt dealings of governments as they interact with one another. But for every fascinating revelation, there are a thousand revelations that are ordinary and boring. Ordinary and boring! Why does the government, in its vast commitment to keep everything behind closed doors, need to keep ordinary, everyday dealings in the shadows?

Interpol has issued a warrant for Julian Assange. It will greatly restrict his movement, and he will likely rot in a jail cell for the rest of his life. And yet another great voice in the fight for government transparency will be neutralized by the vast powers of those who run the world. I fear that in the future, voices like his will be forever harder to hear.

3. Cutting down the deficit and debt. On this very forum, somebody posted a link to an exercise where you could cut down the deficit. It was so easy, and so simple, that it's absolutely shocking we haven't been able to do it already. Until you look at where the cutting needs to take place: defense and Medicare.

Our inability to ever figure out a way to cut down on defense is amazing to me. But even our ability to cut the production of things we never use and don't help us -- like "lazer plane" -- was continuously met with opposition. It took a miracle just to get us that far. There's simply no fighting all the districts across the country that cost us a ton of money in manufacturing and shipping. There's no fighting the vast contractor infestation that is excessive, expensive, and destructive.

Medicare is even more vexing, because while it's conservatives that largely resist the necessary vast cuts needed in defense, both conservatives and liberals resist the necessary vast cuts needed in Medicare. It feels as though there is no way to scale this mountain.

4. Our complete disdain for civil liberties. I think the shocking slide of civil liberties, starting with the eroding right to privacy and finally the slow grind into due process has been particularly disheartening. There has been so much said on the subject at this point, I don't have too much to add. Except that our irrational, excessive fear of terrorism has stretched from self-parody at this point to straight on constitutional erosion.

I do not fear terrorism. I don't fear them attacking me. I don't fear them attacking any of you. I don't fear them attacking New York City. I don't fear them attacking the ones that I love. And I have a hard time imagining anybody else here really does. I mean, really. Terrorists?

And yet we live in a society where the laws continue to reflect the understandable paranoia we felt at the turn of the century. And while the TSA flap was encouraging, I suppose, it was just a speed bump in what will be a continuing rollback of civil rights all in the name of protecting us from the Bad Guy Of The Month.

5. The juntas in Iran and Burma. There are few stories I follow more diligently than the international spread of democracy. But in this day of increasing technology which gives individuals the power of communicating better, and increasing one's knowledge of what the rest of the world possesses, governments also gain sophistication needed to fend off any assaults from their citizens, for good or bad.

In the case of Iran and especially Burma, bad. These are two countries starving for democracy that simply can't get it because those power won't give it up.

In Iran, you have people that have tried revolting against the government in the most democratic way possible: demonstrations and protests that involve Iranians of every walk of life AND BOTH GENDERS, while doing so without guns and weapons, and getting beaten down every time by the entrenched military government and the thugs they hire to terrorize their neighbors.

Burma is an even more hopeless cause, because the junta there will fire live rounds into crowds, imprison anybody that says the slightest thing against the government FOR DECADES, and they purposefully starve their population while shutting down the internet so they can't reach the outside world.

Both of these countries are international hostage situations, pure and simple. International opinion does not budge them. The options for these countries are seemingly hopeless.
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Old 12-03-2010, 10:06 AM   #136
Direckshun Direckshun is offline
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Originally Posted by Donger View Post
Really? You told us that you despair and that you hope, but you won't tell us if you've ever done something actually tangible, meaningful and of value for those who cause you such anguish?
I share only what I do on this board. Not anything away from the board.

Any personal information I share today inevitably feeds ad hominems in the future.

We've had this discussion. I just don't share personal information.
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Old 12-03-2010, 10:06 AM   #137
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Originally Posted by Direckshun View Post
If a voluntary conversation on ChiefsPlanet with me is the fullest extent to which my concern regarding Burma affect's your life, then you're wasting your time bitching about it.
So, do you support a kid in Burma? Or anywhere else? There are hurting kids all over the globe.

We donate monthly to Meserette, a girl in Ethiopia. We have for 5 years.

You can send stuff through several groups. Compassion International is the one I go through.
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Old 12-03-2010, 10:10 AM   #138
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Direckshun View Post
I share only what I do on this board. Not anything away from the board.

Any personal information I share today inevitably feeds ad hominems in the future.

We've had this discussion. I just don't share personal information.
I see. So, you won't tell us if you've actually done something of value to help these poor people, but you will tell us that you feel sorry for them?
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Old 12-03-2010, 10:10 AM   #139
Direckshun Direckshun is offline
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Originally Posted by Hydrae View Post
This is just my perspective on what they (especially ClevelandBronco) are trying to say. Given your concerns (hope, despair, whatever) for these people in other lands it stands to reason that you would be more likely to vote for an individual who shares those concerns and would be more likely to try to do something to change the situation and thus spending American money to try to affect change. This then can have a direct affect on every one of us.

Make sense?
Yes, a little more. I bolded the part that meant something to me.

I do not favor American freedom exercises in Iran or Burma. Nor does Obama or any Democrat I've read. No invasions or occupations.

I see little harm in diplomatic actions with Burma, such as economic sanctions or press releases, or meeting with democratic heroes or expressing our concern for the Burmese people. But we've been doing that for decades and there's nothing controversial about it. The cost to the taxpayer is absolutely minimal and is far within the reach of what everybody who isn't an isolantionist has advocated as a basic responsibility of the federal government.
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Old 12-03-2010, 10:11 AM   #140
Direckshun Direckshun is offline
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Originally Posted by Donger View Post
I see. So, you won't tell us if you've actually done something of value to help these poor people, but you will tell us that you feel sorry for them?
I will share what goes on between my ears intellectually, morally, and emotionally. But my participation on this forum ends there.
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Old 12-03-2010, 10:12 AM   #141
Direckshun Direckshun is offline
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Originally Posted by ClevelandBronco View Post
You've already acted. You voted for this president who has chosen to act by waiting for this strangely magical democracy to arrive in Iran while you all hope really hard together. He sold you on hope, and you shelled out your vote. Now I get to deal with the foolish consequences.


You lost me.
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Old 12-03-2010, 10:14 AM   #142
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Originally Posted by Direckshun View Post


You lost me.
With my first post.
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Old 12-03-2010, 10:15 AM   #143
Direckshun Direckshun is offline
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Originally Posted by ClevelandBronco View Post
With my first post.
What's your opinion of the Burmese plight?

Well... I'm assuming you know more about Iran. So let's go with Iran.

What's your opinion of the plight of freedom in Iran? Just generally speaking.
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Old 12-03-2010, 10:20 AM   #144
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So, do you support a kid in Burma? Or anywhere else? There are hurting kids all over the globe.

We donate monthly to Meserette, a girl in Ethiopia. We have for 5 years.

You can send stuff through several groups. Compassion International is the one I go through.
This is the same attitude most liberals have. Personally they are open to empty gestures, showing "awareness" or "feeling somone's pain". But when it comes to the actual measures that would make a real difference, the solution is always that there ought be a law - there ought to be a law that doesn't affect me.

The banner always reads "Someone else should fix this", and someone else should pay for it too, of course. After all they've got organic groceries and Priuses and skinny lattes to pay for.

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Old 12-03-2010, 10:29 AM   #145
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Originally Posted by Direckshun View Post
What's your opinion of the Burmese plight?

Well... I'm assuming you know more about Iran. So let's go with Iran.

What's your opinion of the plight of freedom in Iran? Just generally speaking.
I haven't bothered to form any opinion at all regarding Burma, and I've already stated that I don't think that democracy in Iran will solve any of our problems with them.

But you used the word freedom this time, so let me address that word specifically. To the extent that the Iranian people achieve a greater level of freedom, that means that they'll be that much freer to make choices that may or may not be not in our best interest. I find it difficult to assign any value to their freedom without knowing what they'd do with it. I wouldn't say that freedom is experiencing some kind of especially compelling "plight" in Iran.
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Old 12-03-2010, 10:34 AM   #146
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Originally Posted by Direckshun View Post
I will share what goes on between my ears intellectually, morally, and emotionally. But my participation on this forum ends there.
I don't see the difference it would make if you shared, "I care about the starving kids in Somalia AND I send them money."
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Old 12-03-2010, 10:38 AM   #147
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Originally Posted by Norman Einstein View Post
So, do you support a kid in Burma? Or anywhere else? There are hurting kids all over the globe.

We donate monthly to Meserette, a girl in Ethiopia. We have for 5 years.

You can send stuff through several groups. Compassion International is the one I go through.
Scam. By the time they finish paying for the filming equipment for the commercials, salaries, and other overheard, the little child gets a new cotton t-shirt that some other third world child spent 4 hours in a factory stitching. Then the t-shirt is ripped off by her uncle and is used for hanging a rival barbarian tribe member.
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Old 12-03-2010, 11:35 AM   #148
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Originally Posted by Donger View Post
I see. So, you won't tell us if you've actually done something of value to help these poor people, but you will tell us that you feel sorry for them?
He only feels sorry for them when he's logged in to ChiefsPlanet. Other than that, he doesn't care.
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Old 12-03-2010, 01:38 PM   #149
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Scam. By the time they finish paying for the filming equipment for the commercials, salaries, and other overheard, the little child gets a new cotton t-shirt that some other third world child spent 4 hours in a factory stitching. Then the t-shirt is ripped off by her uncle and is used for hanging a rival barbarian tribe member.
You might think so, but I get letters from her as well as pictures. There has also been trips by independent investigators that check out Compassion Inernational with no complaints or discrepancies. Over head for that organization is a minimum. (There are no filmed commercials that I've seen, but please provide a link if you know of any.)

You do realize you are speaking of something you obviously know nothing about ... right? If you don't realize it, time to face reality.
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Old 12-03-2010, 01:42 PM   #150
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Originally Posted by Norman Einstein View Post
You might think so, but I get letters from her as well as pictures. There has also been trips by independent investigators that check out Compassion Inernational with no complaints or discrepancies. Over head for that organization is a minimum. (There are no filmed commercials that I've seen, but please provide a link if you know of any.)

You do realize you are speaking of something you obviously know nothing about ... right? If you don't realize it, time to face reality.
The letters are written by a 36 year old gas station clerk in New Jersey. The pictures are of his neighbor's children.
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