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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, 09:22 AM   #106
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Originally Posted by Direckshun View Post
Make the case, CB: how does my concern, hope OR despair, for a foreign peoples, affect your life in any way.
You do realize that it's affecting his life right now, yes?
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Old 12-03-2010, 09:23 AM   #107
Direckshun Direckshun is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Donger View Post
You do realize that it's affecting his life right now, yes?
You lost me.
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Old 12-03-2010, 09:25 AM   #108
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Originally Posted by Direckshun View Post
You lost me.
You and he are having a discussion on ChiefsPlanet about your empty belly-aching right now. That is affecting his life.
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Old 12-03-2010, 09:26 AM   #109
Direckshun Direckshun is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Donger View Post
You and he are having a discussion on ChiefsPlanet about your empty belly-aching right now. That is affecting his life.
Pfft. Cry me a river, and use the tears to wash the sand out of your vagina.
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Old 12-03-2010, 09:29 AM   #110
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Originally Posted by Direckshun View Post
Pfft. Cry me a river, and use the tears to wash the sand out of your vagina.
It's okay, sugar. Don't dispair. But, don't ask specific questions if you don't want specific answers.
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Old 12-03-2010, 09:30 AM   #111
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Direckshun View Post
Make the case, CB: how does my concern, hope OR despair, for a foreign peoples, affect your life in any way.
You've apparently ignored everything I've said above. Until you quit rephrasing my position, thereby changing my meaning, I will not argue against the voices in your head.

But briefly:

Hope what you will. I care not until your hope becomes something I am forced to accommodate. (But, since you do vote for like-minded dreamers, I am forced to accommodate your misplaced hope.)

Much like wealth, hope is infinite and it can also be frittered away and wasted.
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Old 12-03-2010, 09:33 AM   #112
Direckshun Direckshun is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Donger View Post
It's okay, sugar. Don't dispair. But, don't ask specific questions if you don't want specific answers.
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.
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Old 12-03-2010, 09:36 AM   #113
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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.
You asked: "how does my concern, hope OR despair, for a foreign peoples, affect your life in any way."

You got an answer and you apparently don't like it. That's fine.

As to it being a waste of time, sure it is. Just like you despairing over some kid in Somalia. All it does is make you feel good about yourself. It doesn't help the kid at all. But, I'm sure he appreciates your 'effort.'
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Old 12-03-2010, 09:38 AM   #114
Direckshun Direckshun is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ClevelandBronco View Post
Hope what you will. I care not until your hope becomes something I am forced to accommodate. (But, since you do vote for like-minded dreamers, I am forced to accommodate your misplaced hope.)

Much like wealth, hope is infinite and it can also be frittered away and wasted.
As much as I agree with your last line there (and I genuinely do), I fail to see how anything I've said in this thread about Iran and Burma specifically is anything you have to accomodate.

Name one American action regarding those two states that I've advocated in this thread.

You can't. That's a position TJ and you invented due to the voice in YOUR head that YOU invented. So who's misrepresenting who now?

After the noise you're making dies down, we can agree that nothing I've said in my fifth point affects your life one way or the other, and that you've effectively spent your time in this thread doing nothing more than trying to soothe your paranoia that it might.
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Old 12-03-2010, 09:39 AM   #115
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Originally Posted by Donger View Post
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.
Yeah, but the discussion of it is a positive. Our ability to communicate is what brings about change in human events, right?

Not that a mere discussion on this forum will produce the change, but it is more than just inwardly hoping.
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Old 12-03-2010, 09:39 AM
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This message has been deleted by Direckshun. Reason: Jenson said it better. As per usual.
Old 12-03-2010, 09:41 AM   #116
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Yeah, but the discussion of it is a positive. Our ability to communicate is what brings about change in human events, right?

Not that a mere discussion on this forum will produce the change, but it is more than just inwardly hoping.
It's only a positive if it leads to action and actual, tangible help. Sans that, it is just mental masturbation.
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Old 12-03-2010, 09:44 AM   #117
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jenson71 View Post
Yeah, but the discussion of it is a positive. Our ability to communicate is what brings about change in human events, right?

Not that a mere discussion on this forum will produce the change, but it is more than just inwardly hoping.
As they say, talk is cheap.
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Old 12-03-2010, 09:44 AM   #118
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Direckshun View Post
What narrow definitions, for both terms.
I prefer the word 'precise' to narrow. I prefer narrow definitions to broad, sweeping, flowery ones.



Quote:
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.
There doesn't need to be any point in hope. That's about the goofiest notion that I can imagine, but it gives me some real perspective on the Obama campaign, so thanks for that.

I'm not here to tell you to stop expressing concerns for pointless causes that you can't affect. I'm just here to laugh at how stupid you are for doing it.


Quote:
I don't understand your insistence in the exclusivity of what a person can hope for.
You're changing the terms of the discussion. Now you're talking about "hoping" for pointless things, when previously you were talking about "despairing" over them. Sounds like a vicious cycle of pointlessness to me, which should give you some insight on why I exclusivly give my hope to things that have a point and actually matter. It's a personal choice. I don't need to sacrifice my family and friends to hopeless, pointless causes that cause me to despair.



Quote:
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.
Hope isn't a mathematical number, but time is.
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Old 12-03-2010, 09:45 AM   #119
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Old 12-03-2010, 09:47 AM   #120
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Originally Posted by Direckshun View Post
Name one American action regarding those two states that I've advocated in this thread.

You can't. That's a position TJ and you invented due to the voice in YOUR head that YOU invented. So who's misrepresenting who now?
I'm actually more interested in American inaction toward Iran as you hope for democracy to arrive there (as if Iranian democracy would somehow solve our problems with those loons).

I'll give you a pass on Burma. I'm not even shaving these days.
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