They have reason to be a teensy bit upset...just watch:
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And how long would it take to pay this debt off?
Hope and Change, Baby!
When conservatives care about the poor and conservatives offer ideas to help the poor, and conservatives suggest that the poor would rather have a paycheck than a food stamp, the very liberals who have failed them at places like the New York Times promptly scream “racism,” because they have no defense for the failure of liberal institutions which have trapped poor children in bad schools, trapped them in bad neighborhoods, trapped them in crime-ridden situations. Liberal solutions have failed, and their only answer is to cry “racism” and hide.
A decade ago, New York City officials were so reluctant to give out food stamps, they made people register one day and return the next just to get an application. The welfare commissioner said the program caused dependency and the poor were “better off” without it.
With millions of jobs lost and major industries on the ropes, America’s array of government aid — including unemployment insurance, food stamps and cash welfare — is being tested as never before. This series examines how the safety net is holding up under the worst economic crisis in decades.
Now the city urges the needy to seek aid (in languages from Albanian to Yiddish). Neighborhood groups recruit clients at churches and grocery stores, with materials that all but proclaim a civic duty to apply — to “help New York farmers, grocers, and businesses.” There is even a program on Rikers Island to enroll inmates leaving the jail.
“Applying for food stamps is easier than ever,” city posters say.
The same is true nationwide. After a U-turn in the politics of poverty, food stamps, a program once scorned as “welfare,” enjoys broad new support. Following deep cuts in the 1990s, Congress reversed course to expand eligibility, cut red tape and burnish the program’s image, with a special effort to enroll the working poor. These changes, combined with soaring unemployment, have pushed enrollment to record highs, with one in eight Americans now getting aid.
As with any social program, there are many people on it who are indeed needy, but the article makes clear that the revival of food stamp popularity has more to do with state and local officials who are glad to curry favor with local constituents using federal dollars.
Since they're not paying for it, local officials and a network of aid organizations happily aid the federal government in recruiting more food-stamp recipients, regardless of how much they actually need the assistance. Meet Juan Diego Castro, who demonstrates how the system works:Juan Diego Castro, 24, is a college graduate and Americorps volunteer whose immigrant parents warned him “not to be a burden on this country.” He has a monthly stipend of about $2,500 and initially thought food stamps should go to needier people, like the tenants he organizes. “My concern was if I’m taking food stamps and I have a job, is it morally correct?” he said.
But federal law eases eligibility for Americorps members, and a food bank worker urged him and fellow volunteers to apply, arguing that there was enough aid to go around and that use would demonstrate continuing need. “That meeting definitely turned us around,” Mr. Castro said.
Literate people obviously have many advantages over people who are illiterate. Even after Eastern European languages became literate, it was a long time before they had such accumulations of valuable written knowledge as Western European languages had, due to Western European languages’ centuries earlier head start.
Even the educated elites of Eastern Europe were often educated in Western European languages. None of this was due to the faults of one or the merits of the other. It is just the way that history went down.
But such mundane explanations of gross disparities are seldom emotionally satisfying — least of all to those on the short end of these disparities. With the rise over time of an indigenous intelligentsia in Eastern Europe and the growing influence of mass politics, more emotionally satisfying explanations emerged, such as oppression, exploitation, and the like.
Today, in America, many denounce the black-white gap in economic and other achievements, which they attribute to the same kinds of causes as those to which the lags of Eastern Europeans have been attributed. Moreover, the persistence of these gaps, years after the civil-rights laws were expected to close them, is regarded as something strange and even sinister.
Yet the economic disparities between Eastern Europeans and Western Europeans remain to this day greater than the economic disparities between blacks and whites in America — and the gap in Europe has lasted for centuries.
Focusing attention and attacks on people who have greater wealth-generating capacity — whether races, classes, or whatever — has had counterproductive consequences, including tragedies written in the blood of millions. Whole totalitarian governments have risen to dictatorial power on the wings of envy and resentment ideologies.
Intellectuals have all too often promoted these envy and resentment ideologies. There are both psychic and material rewards for the intelligentsia in doing so, even when the supposed beneficiaries of these ideologies end up worse off. When you want to help people, you tell them the truth. When you want to help yourself, you tell them what they want to hear.
Pres. Lyndon Johnson’s “war on poverty” — a war that we have lost, by the way — bankrolled all kinds of local “leaders” and organizations with the taxpayers’ money, in the name of community “participation” in shaping the policies of government.
These “leaders” and community activists have had every reason to hype racial resentments and to make issues “us” against “them.”
One of the largely untold stories of our time has been the story of how ACORN, Jesse Jackson, and other community activists have been able to transfer billions of dollars from banks to their own organizations’ causes, with the aid of the federal government, exemplified by the Community Reinvestment Act and its sequels.
Racial anger and racial resentments are the fuel that keeps this lucrative racket going.
It’s traditional at this point for non-Paulites to say that, while broadly sympathetic to his views on individual liberty, they deplore his neo-isolationism on foreign policy. But deploring it is an inadequate response to a faction that is likely to emerge with the second-highest number of delegates at the GOP convention. In the end, Newt represents Newt and Huntsman represents Huntsman, but Ron Paul represents a view of America’s role in the world, and one for which there are more and more takers after a decade of expensive but inconclusive war. President Obama has called for cuts of half a trillion dollars from the military budget. In response, too many of my friends on the right are demanding business as usual — that the Pentagon’s way of doing things must continue in perpetuity. It cannot.
I would hazard that the recent video of U.S. Marines urinating on Taliban corpses is a coarser comment on the same psychosis, and the folly of fighting a determined and murderous enemy by distributing to your officers bulk orders of that charlatan’s bestseller Three Cups of Tea. There is a logical progression from three cups of sweet tea to those acts of micturition that the Pentagon would do well to ponder.
The incident, though, reminds us of the contradictions of the American experience since 9/11, warped by both technology and politics. Abu Ghraib, where a few guards humiliated Iraqi prisoners (most of them terrorists with blood on their hands), was rightly condemned as both immoral and harmful to our mission. But it was a product of poor officer command and control at the prison, and no more a reflection of George Bush’s supposedly aberrant ideology than are urinating Marines of Barack Obama’s Afghan policy — and yet Abu Ghraib was often portrayed in the media as the touchstone to the Bush follies and crimes. One of the advantages of Obama as commander-in-chief (one at least) is that we will not see the Taliban corpses on posters throughout Europe and on American campuses as conveying some existential “truth” as we did the Abu Ghraib photos.
We are in an Orwellian situation when the media seems to think that the unfortunate but common dark side of war is somehow a carry-over from the Bush administration, one that now burdens Laureate Obama with responsibilities not of his own making. We’ve seen that assumption repeatedly over the last three years, when war critic Obama campaigned on blasting the Bush anti-terrorism protocols, then decided as president that they were useful and so adopted or expanded them, and then never quite explained to the American people the turn-around, but most certainly felt he was not a fair target for the anti-war fury he had a bit earlier helped to create but which mysteriously vanished in late January 2009.
One final example of the paradox: While we must ensure that urinating on enemy dead is an isolated and one-time occurrence, it seems to me, in terms of flesh and bone, as morally ambiguous or unambiguous as sending a Predator targeted assassination drone — its use expanded sevenfold by Barack Obama — as judge, jury, and executioner, to take out suspected terrorists — and everyone in their general vicinity, in a foreign country that we are not formally at war with. Selective outrage is a dangerous thing....
After Vietnam, our politicians demanded that our armed forces be trained to wield the most lethal weapons ever made, with the moral and cultural sensitivity of Peace Corps volunteers. To anyone who knows history, our troops have met this challenge with overwhelming and unprecedented success — as our real record in Iraq and Afghanistan attests.
But it has left our military trapped in a strange double bind, one reflected in the furor over this video. If Somalis drag our dead through the streets or Iraqi insurgents dismember captured Marines or the Taliban gang-rape and mutilate women to enforce their vicious version of sharia law, the media treat it as irrelevant to understanding who we are fighting, or why. They even suppress those stories and images — such as the beheadings of Daniel Pearl and Nick Berg. Their grounds for that censorship is that such reporting might “inflame hatred” — in other words, make us fight harder.
On the other hand, if an American warrior oversteps civilized bounds, his behavior becomes proof that our mission is a moral failure and no longer deserving of support.
The source of America’s prosperity is no secret: our economy has historically been freer than those of almost all rivals. Unfortunately, that advantage–the essence of what America is all about–is being lost.
The Heritage Foundation has released its annual Index of Economic Freedom, and the United States has slipped to tenth place, trailing Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, Canada, Chile, Mauritius and Ireland
Bill Gates, with Microsoft Office, ended the need for thousands of accounting firm employees and typing pools (there are more than 1/3 fewer secretaries today than in 1980, totaling roughly 1.5 million jobs). Apple's Steve Jobs, well he probably ended the jobs of quite a few of Bill Gates' former employees by out-teching the master of tech.
The problem with the entire discussion is that jobs are being used as the only measure of the "good" done by Romney. Profits are also good as they allow companies to grow and as they return capital to investors who can then fund the creation or growth of other companies. Indeed, despite our being surrounded by Keynesian-thinking politicians who believe that nothing is as important as consumers having spending money, the indirect benefits to society of profits to investors are arguably at least as large as the indirect benefits of employment.
So the president has proposed to streamline a number of agencies in the federal government. He claims to be trying to eliminate redundancy and duplication, but it’s clear that something else is going on.
Clearly President Obama has decided to join the Republicans in throwing widows and orphans into the snow. By suggesting that we cut vital government services, he wants to tell autistic children “You’re on your own.” He has decided to diminish “who we are” as a nation — a people who do “great things together.”
There’s a very troubled company out there called U.S. Government, Inc. It’s teetering on the edge of bankruptcy. And it badly needs to be taken over and turned around. It probably even needs the services of a good private-equity firm, with plenty of experience and a reasonably good track record in downsizing, modernizing, shrinking staff, and making substantial changes in management. Yes, layoffs will be a necessary part of the restructuring.
A quick look at the income statement of this troubled firm tells the story. Just in the past year (FY 2011) the firm spent $3.7 trillion, but took in only $2.2 trillion in sales revenues. Hence its deficit came to $1.5 trillion.
Advertisement Just in the first three months of the new year (FY 2012), the firm’s troubles continued. Outlays for all purposes came in at $874 billion, but income was only $554 billion. So the shortfall was $320 billion. No hope of a self-imposed turnaround here. Indeed, both the senior management and the board of directors show no signs of making major changes to their business strategy.
Hope for future profits? That’s out of the question. The firms only chance of survival is a takeover.
Children are being abandoned on Greece's streets by their poverty-stricken families who cannot afford to look after them any more.
Youngsters are being dumped by their parents who are struggling to make ends meet in what is fast becoming the most tragic human consequence of the Euro crisis.
A man is facing child cruelty charges after his 13-month-old daughter was found alone in a tent in the Occupy DC camp at McPherson Square.
There is something telling about what Peter Wehner at Commentary rightly called the “casual cruelty” of Eugene Robinson. The Left endlessly trumpets its “empathy.” President Obama, for example, has said that what he looks for in his judges is “the depth and breadth of one’s empathy.” As he told his pro-abortion pals at Planned Parenthood, “we need somebody who’s got the heart — the empathy — to recognize what it’s like to be a young teenage mom.” Empathy, empathy, empathy: You barely heard the word outside clinical circles until the liberals decided it was one of those accessories no self-proclaimed caring progressive should be without.
Indeed, flaunting their empathy is what got Eugene Robinson and many others their Pulitzers — Robinson describes his newspaper column as “a license to feel.” Yet he’s entirely incapable of imagining how it must feel for a parent to experience within the same day both new life and death — or even to understand that the inability to imagine being in that situation ought to prompt a little circumspection.
I frequently use psychiatric and psychological concepts to describe behavior in this blog, and because of that, many people accuse me of labeling anyone who disagrees with me politically as having a mental illness.
This is not true; and it suggests that most of these critics know little about psychiatry, psychiatric diagnoses, or psychological defenses.
While I do believe that some of the people I describe might indeed have a mental illness; and that some are, in fact, perfectly healthy but simply malevolent or evil; it is simply not the case that by exposing certain psychological defense mechanisms that explain their behavior, I am giving the political opposition a medical/psychiatric diagnosis. Nevertheless, if a particular diagnosis fits, I am perfectly content to let them wear it.
In discussing psychological defense mechanisms, what I am trying to do is understand how and why people behave in the way that they do. Describing psychological defenses is not the same thing as "making a diagnosis" for one very simple reason. All humans utilize psychological defenses, all the time. Both Democrat and Republican; Left and Right. Good and Bad.
Psychological defenses are involuntary, regulatory coping processes.
By themselves, defenses are not evidence of "illness". When used, they may appear to be "sick," evil, or even irrational, but basically, they reflect a creative adaptation to the world.
George Vaillant, a brilliant researcher in this area, and a Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard, uses the analogy that defenses mechanisms are deployed in a fashion similar to physical symptoms-- such as a fever, cough or elevated white blood cell count. All of the latter physical symptoms occur when an individual is coming down with an illness.
Vaillant points out that the body reacts to the environment with these physiological responses in order to prevent or ameliorate the attacking illness. Without these normal physiological responses, we would be at the mercy of many illness and die.
In similar fashion, the psychological defenses are employed by the ego to respond to a threatening reality. With varying levels of success, our defense mechanisms ameliorate, distort and/or transform reality in order to protect our psychological self. The healthier and more mature defenses are a remarkably creative synthesis of our conflicts, needs and external reality; a synthesis that enable us to both give and receive pleasure in life.
Some defenses may be considered "immature" or even completely out of touch with reality; while others are "mature". This is not necessarily a value judgement, since it only reflects the fact that throughout development from childhood to adulthood; certain psychological strategies are generally discarded in favor of healthier and more effective strategies. The difference between the two types--mature and immature--is that the psychotic and immature defenses may cause considerable human misery and are, in the long run, not particularly adaptive or healthy. In some cases, they can even distort or warp reality to such an extent, that the person using the defense puts his life (and possibly others lives) at stake.
This is a very high price to pay to avoid a reality that is unpleasant or unacceptable.
Thus, when I see the predominance of "immature" strategies (e.g. projection, fantasy, acting out)--and/or some of the more primitive and potentially psychotic strategies (denial, distortion, paranoia)--being used by supposedly grownup adults, I begin to look around for explanations of their conduct that are not being acknowledged.
When I observe such strategies being used by large groups or even nations, I cringe; because the liklihood of a large number of deaths and considerable human misery is an almost inevitable outcome.
Santorum’s respect for all life, including even the smallest bleakest meanest two-hour life, speaks well for him, especially in comparison with his fellow Pennsylvanian, the accused mass murderer Kermit Gosnell, an industrial-scale abortionist at a Philadelphia charnel house who plunged scissors into the spinal cords of healthy delivered babies. Few of Gosnell’s employees seemed to find anything “weird” about that: Indeed, they helped him out by tossing their remains in jars and bags piled up in freezers and cupboards. Much less crazy than taking ’em home and holding a funeral, right?
Ring out the new, ring in the old.
No, hang on, that should be the other way around, shouldn’t it? Not as far as 2011 was concerned. The year began with a tea-powered Republican caucus taking control of the House of Representatives and pledging to rein in spendaholic government. It ended with President Obama making a pro forma request for a mere $1.2 trillion increase in the debt ceiling. This will raise government debt to $16.4 trillion — a new world record! If only until he demands the next debt-ceiling increase in three months’ time.
At the end of 2011, America, like much of the rest of the Western world, has dug deeper into a cocoon of denial. Tens of millions of Americans remain unaware that this nation is broke — broker than any nation has ever been. A few days before Christmas, we sailed across the psychological Rubicon and joined the club of nations whose government debt now exceeds their total GDP. It barely raised a murmur — and those who took the trouble to address the issue noted complacently that our 100 percent debt-to-GDP ratio is a mere two-thirds of Greece’s. That’s true, but at a certain point per capita comparisons are less relevant than the sheer hard dollar sums: Greece owes a few rinky-dink billions; America owes more money than anyone has ever owed anybody ever.
In short, the means of creating unlimited wealth weren't really stumbled upon by human beings until the rise of industrial capitalism. Human beings had finally discovered the key to economic growth, which came down to the magical combination of individual liberty, free markets, strong private property rights, sound money, and the rule of law. And then get the hell out of the way.
And even then, it took several hundred more years to tame the "boom or bust" cycle [oops!], to the point that people no longer expect economic recessions, much less, depressions. It is now as if people imagine that unlimited economic growth and prosperity are the norm instead of an extraordinary deviation from the past. And with that, a sense of entitlement is nurtured, which in turn is rooted in what the psychoanalyst Melanie Klein called constitutional envy....
In other words, communism is our default state (as seen in our immediate families), whereas certain traits and habits of mind associated with capitalism must be learned, among them, trust of the stranger, the tamping down of envy, a focus on the future instead of the present, and an understanding that economic exchange isn't a zero-sum game....
For the vast majority of human beings, liberty is not a particularly important value, much less the most important one. They would just as soon barter it away for security, as they have done in western Europe.
Once you understand this, then much about the left begins to make sense. In Europe, we can see how the welfare state puts in place a system of incentives that creates a new kind of enfeebled man, but that's not exactly correct. In reality, it simply reveals man for what he is -- a lazy, frightened, selfish, superstitious, instinct-loving and lowdown rascal. Leftism aims low and always reaches its target.