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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, 08:35 AM   #91
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Originally Posted by Direckshun View Post
That's an incredibly reasonable point of view.

I take it that you believe hope is a negative influence on the human condition, rather than a positive.

Or you believe every person in existence only matters insomuch as they affect your own life personally.

Hope is a positive influence when used appropriately. Despair is a negative influence , and represents a sacrifice of hope for things that matter.

Despairing over a situation that you can't effect is a selfish and stupid act that negatively affects the people around you. There's no point to it except to make the people you interact with miserable. You are sacrificing good will and positive influence in your own life for despair over a situation that you can't affect, and would need to relocate in order to truly affect.

Despair and hope are opposites, by the way. Wasting either of these emotions for situations that you can't control or have any effect on seems like a huge waste of time when there are real things that you can be doing in your own personal life that can/will actually matter.
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Old 12-03-2010, 08:38 AM   #92
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Originally Posted by Jenson71 View Post
Save your woe for little Kennedy on the playground.
Actually, it's the woe for the kids that she is bullying. Of course, she's bullying other kids because somewhere in her life she is being bullied herself. You're right that I should save my woe for her, because it might actually matter - rather than wasting my time despairing that we're not doing enough for the Iranians.
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Old 12-03-2010, 08:54 AM   #93
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Originally Posted by Direckshun View Post
That's an incredibly reasonable point of view.

I take it that you believe hope is a negative influence on the human condition, rather than a positive.

Or you believe every person in existence only matters insomuch as they affect your own life personally.
What silly suppositions.

To address the first, I think that it's a good thing for the hope you waste on hopeless things to lessen over time. I said, "it's a waste of time pouring hope into vessels that aren't capable of containing it." You seem to be one of those who has bought the idea that we are capable of solving most of our problems. I've let my subscription to that package lapse. While hope is vital for me, and I would guess that the same is true for you, we probably couldn't agree on where it is that hope can find a sustainable foothold.

To address the second, you go too far. I think that every person matters, but not to me. It's true that I don't care deeply about you. I'm sure that you'd agree that that would be an inappropriate waste of time. I am interested in how you vote, and I'm interested in learning more about the solutions you think we may have for our problems, because I might have to prepare for the unintended consequences of your actions. The people I care for, the people for whom I invest my hope, aren't in this conversation today. It's just you and me and the pixels.
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Old 12-03-2010, 09:05 AM   #94
Direckshun Direckshun is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ClevelandBronco View Post
To address the first, I think that it's a good thing for the hope you waste on hopeless things to lessen over time. I said, "it's a waste of time pouring hope into vessels that aren't capable of containing it." You seem to be one of those who has bought the idea that we are capable of solving most of our problems. I've let my subscription to that package lapse. While hope is vital for me, and I would guess that the same is true for you, we probably couldn't agree on where it is that hope can find a sustainable foothold.
I hope that later, when you're not on ChiefsPlanet trying to outflank everybody in the attitude department, you're not actually of the opinion that hoping for better for people, even in the face of insurmountable odds, is a waste of anything.

I'm still trying to determine how hoping for the people of Burma affects anybody's life in ANY WAY.

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Originally Posted by ClevelandBronco View Post
To address the second, you go too far. I think that every person matters, but not to me. It's true that I don't care deeply about you. I'm sure that you'd agree that that would be an inappropriate waste of time. I am interested in how you vote, and I'm interested in learning more about the solutions you think we may have for our problems, because I might have to prepare for the unintended consequences of your actions. The people I care for, the people for whom I invest my hope, aren't in this conversation today. It's just you and me and the pixels.
It just amuses me that you believe in this idea that hope is a finite resource, and therefore is capable on being "wasted."

That really is a goofy thing to believe.
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Old 12-03-2010, 09:10 AM   #95
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Originally Posted by Direckshun View Post
I hope that later, when you're not on ChiefsPlanet trying to outflank everybody in the attitude department, you're not actually of the opinion that hoping for better for people, even in the face of insurmountable odds, is a waste of anything.

I'm still trying to determine how hoping for the people of Burma affects anybody's life in ANY WAY.



It just amuses me that you believe in this idea that hope is a finite resource, and therefore is capable on being "wasted."

That really is a goofy thing to believe.
Sometimes I think my very careful choice of words is lost on you.
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Old 12-03-2010, 09:10 AM   #96
Direckshun Direckshun is offline
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Originally Posted by Taco John View Post
Hope is a positive influence when used appropriately. Despair is a negative influence , and represents a sacrifice of hope for things that matter.
What narrow definitions, for both terms.

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Originally Posted by Taco John View Post
Despairing over a situation that you can't effect is a selfish and stupid act that negatively affects the people around you. There's no point to it except to make the people you interact with miserable. You are sacrificing good will and positive influence in your own life for despair over a situation that you can't affect, and would need to relocate in order to truly affect.
This is about as close to being fluff as it gets.

1. There doesn't need to be any point in hope.

2. The idea that expressing concern over the plight of freedom in lands that thirst for it is a drag on my life is about the goofiest thing you can argue. You and ClevelandBronco are in a race to the bottom this morning.

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Originally Posted by Taco John View Post
Despair and hope are opposites, by the way. Wasting either of these emotions for situations that you can't control or have any effect on seems like a huge waste of time when there are real things that you can be doing in your own personal life that can/will actually matter.
I don't understand your insistence in the exclusivity of what a person can hope for.

Hope is not a mathematical number. Hoping for the people in foreign lands doesn't deter or weaken my ability to hope for the people here. It's been my experience that it actually strengthens my ability, and sharpens it.
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Old 12-03-2010, 09:11 AM   #97
Direckshun Direckshun is offline
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Sometimes I think my very careful choice of words is lost on you.
How does my concern (hope OR despair) over foreign peoples affects your life in ANY WAY?
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Old 12-03-2010, 09:14 AM   #98
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Oh for God's sake. Direckshun, you hoping that some kid in Somalia has a better life does nothing for that kid. It just makes YOU feel better about yourself.
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Old 12-03-2010, 09:15 AM   #99
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Direckshun, you hoping that some kid in Somalia has a better life does nothing for that kid. It just makes YOU feel better about yourself.
Even if that were true, exactly what is wrong with that.

Think, and then answer. What is wrong with that.
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Old 12-03-2010, 09:15 AM   #100
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Originally Posted by Direckshun View Post
How does my concern (hope OR despair) over foreign peoples affects your life in ANY WAY?
I've already told you. You and people like you help elect well meaning fools and I have to deal with the consequences.
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Old 12-03-2010, 09:17 AM   #101
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Even if that were true, exactly what is wrong with that.

Think, and then answer. What is wrong with that.
Nothing, but some real assistance would be better, no? Like sending money or aid. You know, something of tangible value.
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Old 12-03-2010, 09:17 AM   #102
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I've already told you. You and people like you help elect well meaning fools.
So again you're making the implication that I am going to march to the polls to vote in people in favor of occupying Burma and Iran?

You're making a shit ton of suggestions. Maybe it's time to make your routine retreat to the "I actually don't give a shit about this issue" excuse.
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Old 12-03-2010, 09:18 AM   #103
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Nothing, but some real assistance would be better, no? Like sending money or aid. You know, something of tangible value.
Exactly. Nothing.

Holy shit I hope TJ and CB are reading along: there is nothing wrong with that.
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Old 12-03-2010, 09:18 AM   #104
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Originally Posted by Direckshun View Post
So again you're making the implication that I am going to march to the polls to vote in people in favor of occupying Burma and Iran?

You're making a shit ton of suggestions. Maybe it's time to make your routine retreat to the "I actually don't give a shit about this issue" excuse.
Are you having this conversation with me, or with someone that is speaking for me in your head?
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Old 12-03-2010, 09:20 AM   #105
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Originally Posted by ClevelandBronco View Post
Are you having this conversation with me, or with someone that is speaking for me in your head?
Make the case, CB: how does my concern, hope OR despair, for a foreign peoples, affect your life in any way.
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