How Fox Is Hurting America

As if a thinking person needed any more reason to see the Fox “News” empire for what it is, try the following video clip of conspiracy tramp—and “official blogger for the Republican National Convention in 2008—Pamela Geller, from her appearance on Eric Bolling’s “show” on something called FOX “Business” Network.  I said “business” network.  Most of us know, though, that the real business of Fox is destroying President Obama.

I warn you, if you have one cell of decency in your body and you love your country, this will piss you off:

In case you don’t know much about Pamela Geller, besides her Sharia-law-is-coming crusade against Islam, here is an excerpt from Wikipedia about her blog, Atlas Shrugs:

Controversial postings on “Atlas Shrugs” have included a number of false claims,[47][48] including that Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan (who is Jewish) supports Nazi ideology (accompanied by a fake picture of her in a Nazi uniform),[49] a video suggesting that Muslims have sex with goats, a doctored photo showing President Obama urinating on an American flag[12] and false claims that Obama’s mother was involved in pornography and that Obama “was involved with a crack whore in his youth”.[50][51] Geller has also posted accusations against President Obama of anti-Semitism and doing the bidding of “Islamic overlords,” while her site posted a posting by another writer who, inter alia, suggested without any evidence that the President is the “love child” of Malcolm X (Geller herself says she does not believe that Obama is Malcolm X’s love child, and never did).

Geller is, come to think of it, a perfect fit for Fox.

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35 Comments

  1. Jo Ellen

     /  April 28, 2011

    You’re right – pisses off EVERY cell in my body. And, I do love my country!! Geez a patriot that is a liberal Democrat – go figure!!

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  2. Jim Hight

     /  April 28, 2011

    What a true dumbass. Anyone who watches the falsehoods and idiocy called FOX “News” needs to have their head examined. These clowns don’t know a thing about the news. Their only point in existing is to bash Obama, represent the wealthy, and be the Republican parties whore. Yes, it pisses me off and makes me wonder about the sanity of the millions who watch it.

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    • Jim,

      Hopefully there aren’t millions who watch Fox Business, since it is struggling to get on cable systems, as I understand it. But the point is that there seems to be no limits on what Fox will broadcast. No standards, no standards of decency, when it comes to President Obama. It’s really a sad state of affairs and it must eventually lead to such cynicism about our government that it will be impossible for any party to govern the country.

      Duane

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  3. I can understand the president’s decision to release the long form – he was trying to squelch the distraction. That a major TV network still panders to the lunatic fringe on the subject is both appalling and interesting.

    This appears to be a good test case to observe the effects of the ever-evolving internet “cloud” on the viral false memes that feed confirmation bias. I submit that this is new. We are in unchartered territory, and the outcome may determine whether a representative democracy is still a viable form of government. I personally know otherwise intelligent people who are vulnerable to this. :sad:

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    • Jim,

      It’s funny but I have wondered the same thing about the continued existence of a representative democracy in the age of instantly propagatable misinformation. In fact, it scares me greatly to ponder, but hopefully I’m just under the influence of our present age, what with talk radio and Fox and the right-wing nuttery on the Internet (the left-wing nuttery is relatively weak).

      Hopefully, I can make a more sober assessment, after our black President is either defeated in 2012 or after he serves his second term. In thinking a lot about the Civil War lately, I’m struck by how similar are some of the currents in our culture these days to those running in the mid 19th century. But the Internet and cable TV and talk radio amplifies, it seems to be, the effects of the turmoil we see around us.

      I hope we’re worrying over nothing.

      Duane

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  4. “I warn you, if you have one cell of decency in your body and you love your country, this will piss you off:”

    I promise to be duly pissed off as soon as I stop laughing. Nobody in their right mind is going to buy any of this. In the long run this “birther” nonsense is going to come back and bite the republican’s in the backside. I’m in contact with outspoken republicans daily and they’re praying for this nonsense to disappear and be forgotten before Nov 2012 rolls around. Let FOX keep making joke out of right-wing politics it has got to be to our long-term advantage. After all no one who seriously watches FOX is going to vote Democratic anyway.

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  5. Let us take some comfort in the fact that FOX Business Network has almost no audience. Haven’t checked the Nielsen numbers lately, but they were well under 100K not too long ago.

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  6. ansonburlingame

     /  April 29, 2011

    To all,

    As the usual naysayer in comments on this blog (I even wonder why I persist in doing so. I sure won’t change any minds here) I can only say that if I wanted to go tit-for-dat with Duane in representing the idiotic from the left I am sure I could do so handily. But why waste time watching MSNBC for starters. I have better things to do which does not involve staying glued to Fox News either. I like to READ for one thing, even Glen Lyons and Duane Graham, God forbid.

    Now I find it interesting that Duane now wonders about the “future of democracy” around here dependent upon whether Obama is reelected in 2012. OMG! I don’t even wonder about the future of democracy in such a case but for sure I worry about the looming “cliff” no matter who is elected!

    I am indeed concerned about the future of our country in terms of it’s past, a strong, independent and vibrant nation holding firm to some really long held principles like LIBERTY, at least liberty as I interprete it.

    I worry about far too many clinging to the federal government for more and more to meet their wants, not just real and justifiable NEEDS. Food, clothing and shelter for ALL for sure. But Souls Harbor does quite well in my view to meet that basic need. If someone chooses to be homeless as a result of choice in lifestyle, particularly a lifestyle involving alcohol or drugs then Souls Harbor is all they really need and deserve in my view. Treatment for that disease as well. But in that case is it FREE of all charges. All it takes is the will to pursue it.

    State of the art, top line health care for all. Forget it. No way does any country demonstrate the means to afford such health care. EOL care that goes to extremes to prolong life, no way, but then we can all argue about the definition of extemes. And when we do government absolutely stalemates in that debate. Somehow the cost of EOL care must become individual choices and I know how to deal with that as an individual. But I have no idea how to force others to make the same choices that I hope I make or my family makes if I am unable to do so.

    Medicare is a very selfish debate right now. Of course everyone, me included would like to at least keep it as is. NO ONE wants to have less either now or when they reach the age of 65. But how to pay for it, we politically go all over the map and government thus far again stalemates.

    National security? Well government does not usually stalemate on that issue. Even now a Democrat, a decidedly anti-war one (is there a pro war Democrat or even Republican?), fights when he sees it as necessary. But when either a Dem or REP does so, all hell breaks loose from the other side. And for sure when it comes to VITAL national security issues, government stalemates again. Solve the problem of defining VITAL and at least we could fight in a united way. But not today with communications as they now have become.

    And I won’t even mention the stalemate, probably to be perpetuated for a long time, over debt and deficits. That argument it seems to me will take a real “cliff” to fall over for all of us before we “unstalemate”. And the Great Recession is only a bump in the road towards that eventual ‘cliff” if we the people do not get our act together.

    Economically, want to see America 20 or 30 years from now? Look no farther than Europe today, unable to mount an attack on Libya of any substance, must less a real jihad if it ever occurred. And for sure unable to provide health care for all at levels acceotable to “all”.u

    There are many that would like today to trade say 5 aircraft carrier battle groups for more health care. Well I know for sure the effects of reducing or Naval power (go read Mahan) but that money going into health care would not reduce the population on a given night in Souls Harbor by a whit!

    For sure the subject of this blog, the lady on Fox News sounds like a right hand crazie. But there are enough left hand crazies out there to balance her out for sure.

    And in the meantime, honest men and women stalemate each other over the real issues before us. That is not a failure of democracy, as I see it. It is a failure to do collectively the next right thing for ALL Americans without catering to “slices” of Americans.

    Anson

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    • [If someone chooses to be homeless]

      Sorry anson, I had to stop reading your comment right there.

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  7. “If someone chooses to be homeless as a result of choice in lifestyle, particularly a lifestyle involving alcohol or drugs then Souls Harbor is all they really need and deserve in my view.”
    Do you have any idea just how insane that sounds? I can only assume that you didn’t read the statistics that I posted in another thread on this very subject.

    Did you read the part where the homeless include:

    “40% are families with children—the fastest growing segment.
    “ 5% are minors unaccompanied by adults.”
    “1.37 million (or 39%) of the total homeless population are children under the age of 18.”
    “22% are considered to have serious mental illnesses, or are disabled.”
    “23% are veterans (compared to 13% of general population).”
    “25% were physically or sexually abused as children.”
    “27% were in foster care or similar institutions as children.”

    With all of the statistics listed above the only group that you saw fit to mention was the “30% who have substance abuse problems,” and most of them by the way have an underlying mental illness. Substance abuse is often just their way of avoiding the nightmares that they have to live with every time they’re sober. Then there’s the “44% who reported having worked in the past week” but can’t find affordable housing.

    What really saddens me is that the only solution you were prepared to offer was Souls Harbor, a Baptist ministry. I have no doubt that many of the homeless are helped by religious charities, but these charities simply don’t have the resources to offer a comprehensive solution to the problem. There are similar charities here in Florida as well but on a cold night they are often overrun and ill equipped to help everyone. Remember that’s in one of the warmest states in the union. Countless numbers of the homeless die every year from hypothermia across the country because they have no place to go.

    The homeless don’t need more preachers hollering “fire and damnation” at them, they need shelter and food as well as psychiatrist, psychologist, social workers, and doctors. Which flop house or soup kitchen would you suggest we send our homeless children too? I’m certain that the cost of Flop House and Soup Kitchen educations for them would find favor in a republican budget.

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  8. ansonburlingame

     /  April 30, 2011

    HGL,

    Be assured I don’t try to wade through statistics very much. Anyone can make a case with statistics one way or the other.

    I will note in counter to your statistics the observation, stated before, by a former governor of Texas that 80% of the jail population in that state is there as a direct result of alcohol or drugs. 80%.

    ANYONE in Joplin needing food, clothing and shelter can receive same ANYTIME by simply going into Souls Harbor or Water Gardens or other programs providing care. So why do some choose to live on the streets instead?

    Well HGL, to get into those places individuals must be sober (out of safety concerns). Choose to drink or use and then one must live on the streets.

    How many “families” are in shelters simply because dad or mom are drunks or adicts? No kids don’t make that choice but those ultimately responsible for them do all the time.

    If we solve the problem of addiction, I mean really solve it and prevent it I bet our homeless problems would go down by 70-80% right out of the gate.

    But hell, we can’t even keep them sober when we “lock them up”. Something about freedom of choice it seems and not using the power of government to MAKE someone live a “clean and sober” life.

    And don’t forget that the seeds of homelessness begin in the past in many cases with terrible choices. I wonder how many homeless folks today never graduated from a FREE public high school. Somewhere along the way most homeless folks made terrible personal choices and now suffer the consequences.

    No one that I know of became homeless because someone held a “gun” to their head. And even after becoming homeless there are a world of opportunities to fix that problem. But it takes hard work to do so which ultimately is an individual choice, in my view.

    And no, I do not put money in the hands of those with the placards asking for such. I have a very good idea where that money goes. But my wife does it all the time and we don’t argue about such indiviudal sentiments or call each other idiots or God forbid quote statistics to each other.

    Anson

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  9. “I will note in counter to your statistics the observation, stated before, by a former governor of Texas that 80% of the jail population in that state is there as a direct result of alcohol or drugs. 80%.”

    The number of substance abusers who are in jail is completely unrelated to the number of substance abusers who are homeless, although many do become homeless, but then that’s another social problem we have to deal with. There are far too many non-violent people in prison for possession and substance use and like the homeless issue it is largely a medical problem.

    “ANYONE in Joplin needing food, clothing and shelter can receive same ANYTIME by simply going into Souls Harbor or Water Gardens or other programs providing care. So why do some choose to live on the streets instead?”

    In Tampa we have the Salvation Army and Metropolitan Ministries providing temporary shelter and food. Under most normal conditions they can help, but when it gets cold there simply isn’t enough space to house them all which leaves many fighting the cold in an open field. Anyone in Joplin might seek help from Souls Harbor if they are able to make their way to it. Most homeless people have to find a well hidden and uninhabited area of their city to camp for the night. More often than not those areas are many miles from the nearest available shelters. So what you’re suggesting is that tired, dirty, often sick, and hungry people should walk miles to get a food and then after hearing an unwanted sermon, burn off the calories walking back to their patch of dirt. Did you know that most charities such as the Salvation Army have two week sheltering limits?

    “Well HGL, to get into those places individuals must be sober (out of safety concerns). Choose to drink or use and then one must live on the streets.”

    So in short they’re willing to help those who no longer need help?

    “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? 5 And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, `Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost.’ 7 Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” Jesus

    Greedy selfish right-wingers are fond of over quoting statements and statistics such as ““If someone chooses to be homeless as a result of choice in lifestyle,” and “If we solve the problem of addiction, I mean really solve it and prevent it I bet our homeless problems would go down by 70-80% right out of the gate.” Right-wingers do it because it gives them a reason for doing nothing and to absolve their consciences for having done nothing.

    You would of course be making a fools bet. For starters nowhere near “70-80%” of the homeless are addicted to anything. This will be the third time I’ve pointed you to this statistic, “30% have substance abuse problems,” perhaps you’ll remember it this time or least prove it wrong. Also, addiction isn’t the problem it’s a symptom of a real problem which is mental health.

    “But hell, we can’t even keep them sober when we “lock them up”. Something about freedom of choice it seems and not using the power of government to MAKE someone live a “clean and sober” life.”

    What part of mental health problems as the underlying cause don’t you understand?

    “And don’t forget that the seeds of homelessness begin in the past in many cases with terrible choices.”

    You mean like the “40% who are families with children,” the “5% who are minors unaccompanied by adults,” or perhaps the “23% who are veterans” stupid enough to fight the wars of uncaring rich people?

    “No one that I know of became homeless because someone held a “gun” to their head.”

    The problem is Anson that you don’t know anything about the homeless and really don’t want to.

    “And even after becoming homeless there are a world of opportunities to fix that problem. “

    That’s what I’ve been saying but it takes funding for housing, food, doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers. To do less is to do nothing.

    “But it takes hard work to do so which ultimately is an individual choice, in my view.”

    I see you need a little more absolution? You needn’t worry about absolution because a concern for absolution requires empathy and you seem to display very little that.

    “And no, I do not put money in the hands of those with the placards asking for such.”

    I got the part where you won’t help financially but whether you like it or not they have a right to live and holding signs on a street corner is just one way to do it.

    If you don’t want to give the homeless money then go to Burger King and McDonald’s or whichever is in the areas you find the homeless and purchase $1 hamburger certificates and pass a few of those out instead. I don’t mind handing over a couple of dollars to the homeless because I can afford it. Yes many will use my money to buy alcohol, but that’s not for me to judge. Have you ever seen someone detox right in front of you? It’s not a pretty sight because you might also be watching a human being die.

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    • hlg – great response. You speak for me as well. May I add for the consideration of he-who-beleives in ‘blaming the victim’, far too many of these homeless are children. I’m wondering what choices they made? Damn filty children.

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    • HLG, Anson,

      I hate to interrupt your discussion, but I must comment on at least one of the issues raised: putting money “in the hands of those with the placards asking for such.”

      I almost never pass such people by without putting some money in their hands. Oh, I realize that some, or even most of the money, may go to booze or drugs or whatever. But I tell myself: So what? So what if a person in that situation uses the money to escape for a while from the plight he or she confronts? Recently I gave money to a woman who I knew—because I had met her before in a different part of Joplin—who was telling me a lie when she told me her “hard luck” story. She told me a complete lie when she was asking me for money. I knew it and told her just to ask me for money without the story. It was okay to just ask. Later the same day I saw her and her male companion, whom she had previously told me was too sick to go to work, in Wal-Mart. I said something to her to remind her that she didn’t have to lie.

      But I still ask myself, What kind of life are these two living? Isn’t it worth a few bucks to keep them from otherwise starving to death? If you could have seen both of them you could easily see that there isn’t an employer in Joplin who would hire them. There is exactly no chance that either one of them could get a job. So what if they conspire to get a few bucks from a few strangers who have it to spare? What harm is done? These folks have figured out a way to keep their heads above water. And no matter if we think they “deserve” their fate, what a fate it is. And, in my opinion, it diminishes all of us, if we allow such people to simply starve and die, no matter why they are in the state they are in.

      And if you want to look at it from a purely practical point of view, if they weren’t scheming to get a few bucks on Range Line road, they might be up at Snob Hill breaking into the house of a certain Joplin blogger.

      Duane

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      • Duane – how sweet to be reminded of gentle truth and simple kindness.

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        • Moe,

          Thanks for posting the response on your blog. My reply on your site was probably a little too personal, but I sensed something untoward in the comment by Alan. I just get tired of hearing that “pull yourself up by your own bootstraps” stuff. Sometimes that’s just not possible.

          Duane

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          • His was untoward and yours was appropriate. I think Alan’s view and judgement of things like this are completely colored by his politics. And yes, it is all that ‘bootstrap’ crap.

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      • Just posted your comment at my place.

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  10. @ All,

    I can see both sides here of the discussion about the poor, and I find Duane’s rationalization for giving a handout particularly poignant. His motive is clearly a genuine feeling of shared humanity and sympathy for those who have come to their own forks in the road and taken the wrong ones. The dilemma is compounded by the stark fact that all humans in this world are born unequal. We are unequal in intelligence, in physical attributes and attractiveness, in health (both genetic and environmental), and in societal (governmental) support.

    Many are doomed from the moment of birth by the circumstances of their parents, and those derive from choices and imposed conditions that are impossible to untangle. It brings Elvis’ song, “In The Ghetto” to mind. In America we have the established meme for equality of opportunity, but it is only that, opportunity. But that is more than many in the rest of the world have.

    I see no hope of completely correcting the conditions of poverty, poor choices or individual excess without violating free will. These conditions will exist so long as human nature endures. As the Bible says, the poor will always be with us. But I submit that the effort to deal with the problem is inextricably tied to our tribal natures. We are social creatures, interdependent and yet competitive.

    If we did not occasionally reason as Duane does in his striking story, we would be less than human. But Anson’s reasoning appeals to common sense. If one believes in free will, and the alternative would seem dehumanizing, then one must believe that correct forks can be chosen and redemption can be encouraged and facilitated.

    If all one does is facilitate a lifestyle less-harmful than a criminal career, that is not progress to my mind. I would rather contribute to something like the Joplin Community Clinic which at least deals with obstacles to potential self-help efforts. (There is an inspiring story in today’s Globe on how new X-ray equipment detected a poor woman’s cancerous dental tumor.) It’s a matter of efficiency because the pool of human need has no bottom. It may be that the middle course is the best one, and that is the one I choose.

    In the final analysis, dealing with differences and disparate fortunes will always be a continuum. We should try to fix it, but it will always be a mystery and complete success will never be achieved. William Blake knew it too.

    Human Abstract, by William Blake

    Pity would be no more,
    If we did not make somebody Poor;
    And Mercy no more could be,
    If all were as happy as we;

    And mutual fear brings peace,
    Till the selfish loves increase;
    Then Cruelty knits a snare,
    And spreads his baits with care.

    He sits down with holy fears,
    And waters the ground with tears;
    Then Humility takes its root
    Underneath his foot.

    Soon spreads the dismal shade
    Of Mystery over his head;
    And the Caterpillar and Fly
    Feed on the Mystery.

    And it bears the fruit of Deceit,
    Ruddy and sweet to eat;
    And the Raven his nest has made
    In its thickest shade.

    The Gods of the earth and sea,
    Sought through Nature to find this Tree,
    But their search was all in vain;
    There grows one in the Human Brain.

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    • So well said Jim and thanks for the Blake! A little poetry on Sunday morning hit the spot.

      I pretty much agree with what you’ve said and as you can see I was touched by Duane’s comment.

      It comes down to the obligation to keep trying – even when we know we can only mitigate, not cure. To try to help those we can and maybe forgive those we can’t. I do beleive that the best way to do that is through a societal structure committed to education, nutrition and health, shelter – those things which allow humans to flourish so they can themselves protect the next generation.

      Cycles and clycles and cycles.

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      • Just so, Moe. Blake wrote two centuries ago and the essence of the problem hasn’t changed. Thanks for your thoughtful comment.

        Jim

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      • Moe,

        You know, you have summed it up perfectly:

        It comes down to the obligation to keep trying – even when we know we can only mitigate, not cure. To try to help those we can and maybe forgive those we can’t.

        Thanks for that.

        Duane

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    • Jim,

      Thanks for the thoughtful comments. I just want to say that I watched a conservative I respect, David Brooks, on C-SPAN yesterday. His discussion was fascinating. It applies here in that brain science and psychologists and sociologists are confirming the truth that we are social animals and that we are better when we move away from the radical individualism that lurks in our national DNA and in our politics. And, as humans, we are not just rational or emotional creatures, but a blend of both. We would be mentally deficient if we weren’t. I like to look at the interplay of reason and emotions in the human brain like electromagnetic waves. I know you know what I mean by that, Jim.

      You’re seeking the middle way is admirable, but sometimes there is no middle way. There are only the incorrigibles in the street who will not yield to our pleadings to do better and who will, as you suggest, frustrate our attempts to “fix” them. I completely agree that we need to do all we can to get folks on the “right” track, which in our country is to become a net contributor to society. But there remains a few, whether it be genetics or upbringing or a combination of both, who won’t yield.

      Finally, I want to ask you, Jim, if you agree with this sentiment, expressed by Blake:

      Pity would be no more,
      If we did not make somebody Poor;
      And Mercy no more could be,
      If all were as happy as we;

      Do you agree with it in the sense that there is something built into the structure of the universe that makes this sentiment true? Or is it simply an artifact of our ad hoc reasoning about the human condition?

      Duane

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      • I do indeed agree, Duane. It goes to the meaning of life. Whatever that is, it must be more than materialism, and it must be more than egoism. It can, IMHO, be summed up in several ways, but among those is that the Journey itself is more important than the Goal.

        A yet different Blake quote also says it:

        “Without contraries is no progression.
        Attraction and repulsion, reason and energy,
        love and hate, are necessary to human existence.”

        — Wiliam Blake, The Argument

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      • To be more specific, Duane, I see that I did not answer your specific question about the nature of the quote. It is my opinion that we humans are programmed by evolution to care about the members of our own tribes because, ultimately, we and others in society are interdependent for our shared safety. That is a meme rooted in reality and I believe it to be the foundation of what we call morality.

        That said, such a rational description should not detract from the poetic beauty of our shared humanity. As Blake implies, it is “necessary to human existence”. It exists in dynamic tension with our competitive instincts.

        Jim

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  11. Jim

    While I can understand the need to accept differing points of view, there are just some views that I find intolerable, such as those degrading to the human condition. It doesn’t mean that I can’t respect the person whose views I’ve found disagreement with, but neither can I censor my responses to them for the sake of seeking common ground when it comes to morality. I’ll leave that up to the Democrats in the Congress and the White House who’ve become quite good at it. The fact that issues can have two sides doesn’t mean that they can be reconciled when it is a question of right and wrong.

    In the course of my profession and in life I’ve encountered many homeless people. One example was an old man with hunched shoulders trying to stay alive. He wore a pair of dress slacks, a polo style shirt, and at first glimpse he seemed reasonably well groomed. This first encounter was while I was exiting a shopping center. He stood at the Traffic Light while it was red hurriedly handing out what appeared to be newspapers. A couple of people rolled down their windows, accepted the paper, and handed him some money. I called him over to my vehicle and hand him some money just as the light turned green and drove on. I looked at the paper in my seat and noticed that it was a local free paper called Tampa Bay Times (TBT).

    My first impression of him as I drove on was that he was a retired senior struggling to get by on Social Security and was just “trying to make ends meet, “and rather than openly asking for help his pride drove him to at least provide some service for what he received. I encountered him several times more standing in the same spot handing out the latest copy of TBT to those few who were prepared to give and I always gave. When winter came I noticed him standing at his spot less and less often because it can get pretty cool at times even in Tampa. Then one day I noticed that I had seen him for some time, he seemed to have disappeared altogether.

    I didn’t encounter him again until spring had arrived only this time he was standing in front of a pharmacy near the University of South Florida. He didn’t see me approaching on foot because he was too busy foraging through a garbage container looking for something to eat. I stopped to introduce myself and then began having a conversation with him just to be friendly and to hear his story. As it turned out he was homeless and living in the field across the street in an empty lot just south of the University. Although he was old enough to receive Social Security he had never even thought of applying for it. It quickly became obvious that he simply didn’t have the mental faculty to understand the process and he had no living family members who could assist him.

    I went into the drug store and purchased him some food to eat. While he was eating I contacted some associates who are in the mental health profession and made arrangements for a social worker to contact him. I called the Salvation Army and made arrangements for shelter and food while he received medical care and a thorough psychological evaluation. This man had never been in prison, he wasn’t abusing drugs or alcohol, and he wasn’t mentally insane. As it turned out he was mentally handicapped with an IQ of 63. This alone would qualify him for social security disability and on top of that he had Kyphosis. In all probability he was cared for by family members until they died and then he was left with no one to care for him but the streets.

    Giving a few dollars to help those in need makes many of us feel good about ourselves, so for those that don’t give, think of it as a personal mental health expense, but in the end our handouts are only making the intolerable a little less intolerable. In order to resolve this blight on the American conscience we need to recognize that we have a moral obligation to provide a more comprehensive solution to these members of the human race. Even though many us don’t want or have asked for this burden, the homeless still belong to us all, and it’s time that we brought them home. We aren’t going to achieve that by leaving it to handouts and local charities. This isn’t about who’s right or wrong, it’s about the realization that we will only be able to correct this corruption of the American spirit, through the force of government whether we like it or not.

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    • HLG,

      I want to thank you for the story you related. I wish everyone could read it. I especially want to call attention to the last paragraph you wrote, which I found utterly fantastic:

      Giving a few dollars to help those in need makes many of us feel good about ourselves, so for those that don’t give, think of it as a personal mental health expense, but in the end our handouts are only making the intolerable a little less intolerable. In order to resolve this blight on the American conscience we need to recognize that we have a moral obligation to provide a more comprehensive solution to these members of the human race. Even though many us don’t want or have asked for this burden, the homeless still belong to us all, and it’s time that we brought them home. We aren’t going to achieve that by leaving it to handouts and local charities. This isn’t about who’s right or wrong, it’s about the realization that we will only be able to correct this corruption of the American spirit, through the force of government whether we like it or not.

      Wow.

      Duane

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  12. Yours is a touching and poignant story, HL. I have a sister, 13 years my junior, who but for state-supported programs and facilities and my own presence might well have ended up identical to the subject you describe. I have gone to great lengths to design a special-needs trust for her that dove-tails with her SSI income and with the benefits she receives at a group home. She has, thanks to all of that, a semblance of a life that wouldn’t otherwise exist.

    And this raises the problematic subject of organized, tax-exempt charities. There are many that do good and many that are, frankly, a cancer on the public’s good intentions. This makes government’s involvement all the more vital.It is clear to me that even though I favor limited government, I believe it has not just an important but an essential mission in caring for people like your elderly man and my sister.

    That said, the questions of substance abuse and mental illness, IMO, far outweigh society’s burden for such as those two. And that burden seems to be growing.

    Thank you for your thoughtful contribution to this discussion.

    FYI, I posted twice previously on the charity aspect at these links:

    http://jwheeler59.wordpress.com/2010/08/27/alms-to-riches/

    http://jwheeler59.wordpress.com/2010/04/03/charity-begins-at/

    Jim

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    • Jim,

      I want to say that between your comments here and HLG’s and Moe’s that it helps heal me from watching part of Tibor Machan’s appearance on C-SPAN today. The libertarian philosopher would make a farce out of the sentiments expressed here about the government involvement in such things as you guys mentioned. I’m amazed that his views continue to attract people, especially people in the Tea Party. It’s really sad that there are still two very different views of how to organize society, even after more than two hundred years of living together.

      Duane

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  13. ansonburlingame

     /  May 2, 2011

    To all,

    No way can or should I refute the stories above. They are real and there need to be ways to resolve such stories. Jim, fortunately has been able to do so, at least while he still lives in one case. Show me a way to “fix” each of the stories and those like them and you will find a supporter.

    BUT, you cannot refute my own personal observations and experiences as well. There are MANY “out there” that MUST help themselves first before ANY social program can really help them live a productive life to contribute to society. Give a man a fish…….. sort of thing. And many will absolutely REFUSE to learn to fish but will take all the fish society will give them.

    HGL to tell me I don’t know anything about homelessness is wrong. I could use other words but will be polite in this serious subject. Refering to Snob Hill is wrong as well Duane. Some people are living on Snob Hill only by the “grace of God” (spriitual renewal).

    I will also suggest that if or when society, particularly medical science learns to “fix” the disease of addiction a very large number (we can debate the statistics) will be removed from the roles of the homeless and instead not only survive but lead PRODUCTIVE lives for the rest of their lives. And their children will do so as well. I have seen it happen first hand on countless occassions and need no lectures on THAT subject.

    Anson

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    • Following up on HGL’s comment I will add that homeless people – ill, insane or drunk or high or whatever – are properly government’s business. To put it in words you might agree with but that distress me, it’s government’s business to ‘get them off the street. Off my street’.

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  14. “BUT, you cannot refute my own personal observations and experiences as well. There are MANY “out there” that MUST help themselves first before ANY social program can really help them live a productive life to contribute to society.”

    Many of them would help themselves if they could just get their intelligence raised, depressive illnesses under control, or schizophrenia in check. Especially all those homeless minors refusing to grow up faster. Remind me to tell you the story of a very pretty young lady with schizophrenia to whom some of us affectionately referred to her as Princess Diana. Some of the time she would drop by prim and proper, and on other days she would show up dressed like a tired and torn prom queen in a frilly dress that was dirty and tattered. Her disorder is simply too severe for her to be living on her own collecting a disability check, but that’s another story.

    There are no other workable solutions to resolve health care or homelessness outside of government intervention. Homelessness and health care are services that like the United States Armed Forces simply will not work if left to independent citizens and the free market. Independent citizens can’t muster the resources and organizational skills necessary to facilitate either, and the free market would place profit over people. Imagine if we decided to let the free market take control of our military? How long would we remain a free people?

    The free market has no heart or soul and it can’t feel love or offer friendship. Its only purpose is the bottom line and if that goal can’t be met to the benefit of people then people will lose for the sake of profit every time. When every cost cutting measure has been cut, then all that’s left is cutting people, along with their well being and lives. The only heart and soul in this country to the benefit of the people is the People. Remember it’s our government and our money so why shouldn’t we use some of it to the good of everyone where the free market has clearly failed? You don’t want your tax dollars going to health care and the homeless and I don’t want mine going to wars of choice so in the end it’s a wash.

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  15. ansonburlingame

     /  May 3, 2011

    Moe,

    “It is government’s job to get them off the streets”. And therein lies the dispute.

    We have traded back and forth anecdotes to support our individual views and of course neither side has “given” to any degree. Hlg above continues with IQ, mental illness (which addiction certainly is), and other forms of for now “incurables”.

    I respond with “curables” that I have observed repeatedly by simple hard work and real personal committment to a better life, starting within the “soul” of humans that are not living a good life.

    Try this approach. For the truly insane, why does not government in fact care for them to “take them off the streets” whether they want to go or not? But today when government tried to do so it would be confronted with a civil liberties “mob”.

    As for the addict that in fact can cure himself I suggest leave him ON the streets until he himself decides to live a better life and take advantage of FREE programs for recovery. Yet I am called or inscinutated that I am some sort of uncaring, greedy, Snob Hill, fat cat.

    In the aggragate, my call is to teach a man to fish, first and foremost. If he cannot “learn” to fish because of a diagnosable disease, then TAKE him off hte streets as a matter of safety.

    But if he refuses to learn to fish for whatever reason, then just what do you expect government to do that is within the financial reach of any government. The left will suggest that it IS within the financial reach of government to keep on GIVING the man a fish, whatever it costs and to give up say 5 carrier battle groups in doing so (cut defense spending).

    And then another Libya rears its head!

    Whatever happened to the saying of “help those that cannot help themselves”. The left seems to say that NO ONE can help themselves which is ridiculous. In my view well over 50% of those on the streets are perfectly capable of helping themselves, just like high school dropouts or welfare moms, etc.

    But government is unable to decide that matter of personal choice and how it affects living conditions. Government and the left only looks at the living conditions and calls for ever more spending to cure the conditions without recognizing the underlying causes of the conditions in the first place and treating those causes as a matter of priority.

    And the left believes they hold the moral high ground in such a debate and has done so now for well over 70 years. Well one way to leave that “high” ground, real or imagined, is to fall off a “cliff”.

    Anson

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  16. ansonburlingame

     /  May 3, 2011

    to all,

    this rather long exchange is interesting to me. I have now posted a blog at http://ansonburlingame.wordpress.com/2011/05/03/more-on-social-justice
    in an attempt to make some other suggestions or at least challenge the views of the left. Comments would be appreciated thereto.

    anson

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  17. “Hlg above continues with IQ, mental illness (which addiction certainly is), and other forms of for now “incurables”.

    I respond with “curables” that I have observed repeatedly by simple hard work and real personal committment to a better life, starting within the “soul” of humans that are not living a good life.”

    I used IQ in a previous post because it was based on a genuine experience where no client privilege issues were involved. Mental disorders such as bipolar disorder, severe depression, and schizophrenia have no cure, so good luck with your “curables.” Many disorders however are treatable with medication that will abate the symptoms enough for the inflicted to function, but that takes a political will to mobilize manpower and money. Blaming the victim is a common form of right-wing denial so you’re not alone. You see if it’s their fault then you’re all absolved of any responsibility, so it’s OK to spend our money on killing people instead.

    It’s really an easy issue to resolve! Just ask FOX News. All one has to do to accept your premise of “curables” is to believe that there are people who would rather be addicted, sleeping alone in a field, cold, sick, starving, and without hope. When all they need is the desire, some heavy duty bootstraps, and Arnold Schwarzenegger to get them back on their feet. After all who really wants to come home to a warm house where there’s plenty of food, and a soft cozy bed with someone to snuggle up to? Yummy, dumpster buffet “that’s what’s for dinner!”

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