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Old 12-01-2010, 09:27 PM  
Direckshun Direckshun is online now
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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 12-02-2010, 09:51 AM   #31
Dallas Chief Dallas Chief is offline
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I quit reading at Direckshun and won't apologize for it...
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Old 12-02-2010, 09:57 AM   #32
Donger Donger is offline
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Originally Posted by Direckshun View Post
Well, that's largely because some of us care about striving for better across the entire human race.
I'm right there with you, sugar.
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Old 12-02-2010, 10:03 AM   #33
vailpass vailpass is offline
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I'm right there with you, sugar.


BTW, you mentioned you were recently in Cedar Rapids. Were you chatting with the folks at Rockwell Collins or was it some other business that brought you to my fair hometown, the city of 5 smells? (if I may ask)
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Old 12-02-2010, 10:05 AM   #34
Donger Donger is offline
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BTW, you mentioned you were recently in Cedar Rapids. Were you chatting with the folks at Rockwell Collins or was it some other business that brought you to my fair hometown, the city of 5 smells? (if I may ask)
Other business. And, yes, that's some interesting aroma near that Quaker plant.
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Old 12-02-2010, 10:11 AM   #35
vailpass vailpass is offline
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Other business. And, yes, that's some interesting aroma near that Quaker plant.
Wherever your business took you I trust you were treated well. Did you get a chance to visit the Amana's for some excellent german dining and Amish shopping?
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Old 12-02-2010, 10:12 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by Direckshun View Post
Well, that's largely because some of us care about striving for better across the entire human race.
I want my parents to never die, my kids and family's kids to grow up healthy, smart and secure. But I realize the limitations of my control and the influence of my actions and I've come to peace with the fact that I'm not going to save the world and make the best of preserving what I have while other people may be suffering and other people will be more prosperous than me.

You should try reality, it's not so bad once you accept it.
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Last edited by Otter; 12-02-2010 at 10:55 AM..
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Old 12-02-2010, 10:14 AM   #37
Donger Donger is offline
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Wherever your business took you I trust you were treated well. Did you get a chance to visit the Amana's for some excellent german dining and Amish shopping?
Yeah, nice people. They will become one with the Donger, or be destroyed.

No, I was only in town for one day/night. But, I will check that out next time I'm there.
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Old 12-02-2010, 10:14 AM   #38
vailpass vailpass is offline
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Well, that's largely because some of us care about striving for better across the entire human race.
Sanctimonious little ****er aren't you?
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Old 12-02-2010, 10:16 AM   #39
vailpass vailpass is offline
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Yeah, nice people. They will become one with the Donger, or be destroyed.
No, I was only in town for one day/night. But, I will check that out next time I'm there.


http://www.amanacolonies.com/history.htm
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Old 12-02-2010, 10:21 AM   #40
BucEyedPea BucEyedPea is offline
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Wherever your business took you I trust you were treated well. Did you get a chance to visit the Amana's for some excellent german dining and Amish shopping?
German dining is excellent? Oh my! I'll just have their dessert.
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Old 12-02-2010, 10:22 AM   #41
Donger Donger is offline
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Neat, thanks. I looked up the local restaurants and noticed a bunch of kraut places. Something else, too, but I forget what it was.
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Old 12-02-2010, 10:28 AM   #42
vailpass vailpass is offline
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German dining is excellent? Oh my! I'll just have their dessert.
This variety is. All home grown, served family style. Frigging very good.

http://www.amanacolonies.com/restaurants.htm

http://www.oxyokeinn.com/sites/oxyok...menu_amana.pdf
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Old 12-02-2010, 10:29 AM   #43
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German dining is excellent? Oh my! I'll just have their dessert.
Snooty.
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Old 12-02-2010, 10:29 AM   #44
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Well, that's largely because some of us care about striving for better across the entire human race.
Those of the human race (I presume in the U.S. as this is basically a U.S. issue) that do not strive to become better on their own neither deserve the help to get better or to get better.

Those of us that work do so. When we are displaced we make every effort to again be gainfully employed. I have no problem with people doing that and accepting a hand up from the government/state. Those that just take and take and take need to be cut off. It's mostly not that they can't work, it's that they won't work.

I have all the sympathy in the world for displaced workers and those that are handicapped. Able bodied people that refuse to work because they can depend on a check from the government make me sick.

If you want the human race to be better in the U.S. you need to start working directly with those that will not work because uncle sam is paying their bills and they don't have to get a job.

I would require every person that is able bodied and accepting some kind of government welfare to do the lowest level of labor for the city, county, state, or federal government to get their check. Walk the highways for 8 hours a day picking up trash would be a good way to start them on their way back to being a productive citizen and improve the human race.

No work, no money. After a short period I think many of them would search for gainful employment.
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Old 12-02-2010, 10:33 AM   #45
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