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Christ, but I actually hate these people

Fox News Republicans and Libertarians — every once in a while they do something that just ignites this white hot flash of rage in my brain. I can’t help it. The Daily Show had a segment on conservatives getting angry at poor people for buying good food with food stamps; apparently, it would be OK if they had to use their pittance on garbage and rotting offal, but how dare they buy the same kind of fish rich people would buy!

Average food stamp benefits per person are between $125 and $200, depending on what state you live in, so your dietary budget is $4-$7 a day. You can do OK on that; you’ll be eating lots of filling starchy staples, livening up your meals with a bit of fruit or cheap cuts of meat, and if you economize, you can occasionally splurge on something a bit more luxurious than hamburger. But it does not allow the kind of excess these Fox News idiots are getting outraged over.

I grew up in a family on food stamps, and I knew lots of poor people. Nothing focuses the mind on budgetary discipline so much as the fact that if you overspend this week, you will go hungry next week. I trust the poor to be sensible, because the consequences are dire. Yet these rich assholes who blithely spend as much in a single meal at a fancy restaurant as the poor are allotted for an entire month want to micromanage every penny spent by the unemployed and unfortunate, and congress just made massive cuts to the food stamp program. No, poor people, you aren’t allowed to enjoy anything. It’s all their fault they’re poor.

They remind me of that skeevy ratbag, Mr Pink, from Reservoir Dogs (clip NSFW):

It’s a whole network and a whole political party stuffed full of Mr Pinks.

Their indignation at the possibility that the poor might even get to eat lobster now and then also reminded me of the awful Mr Hawkins. There’s another Pink.

Comments

  1. anteprepro says

    The ridiculous part is that they considered virtually ANYTHING to be too rich for poor people to deserve. Fucking assholes.

  2. mmfwmc says

    Speaking as someone from a country where instead of tipping, restaurants actually pay their staff, I think he’s right. The world would be a better place if it worked his way.

    Of course, if you’re in a country where the staff aren’t paid well – and tips are basically priced into your meal by convention – then it makes you a prick.

  3. says

    Irony: On one trip Down East, I learned that a few generations ago lobster was the po’ folks food, because it was locally abundant and cheap to harvest. Rich people ate beef.

  4. anteprepro says

    Oh God.

    From Josh’s link:

    “I will admit there is a secular argument against abortion,” said Silverman. “You can’t deny that it’s there, and it’s maybe not as clean cut as school prayer, right to die, and gay marriage.”

    Fuck.

    “Because I want a choice,” said Silverman. “I don’t get a choice at the voting booth, ever.” He describes himself as a “fiscally conservative” voter who “owns several guns. I’m a strong supporter of the military. I think fiscal responsibility is very important. I see that as pretty conservative. And I have my serious suspicions about Obama. I don’t like that he’s spying on us. I don’t like we’ve got drones killing people…” In the final analysis, “the Democrats are too liberal for me,” he says.

    Fuuuuuuuck.

  5. says

    @5:
    Secular argument for abortion: 1) Personhood inheres in DNA and 2) Women have no right to evict a parasite from their body.

    No, I don’t agree with either of those premises.

    And he thinks a Republican prez would do the droney-spying stuff less? SRSLY? The whole *system* is rotten, not either of the parties specifically.

  6. twas brillig (stevem) says

    I watched that The Daily Show with equal rage at the “objections” to buying Fish with Food Stamps, or using Food Stamps to gamble at Las Vegas, etc. But what Stewart failed to point out is that, if people are misusing Food Stamps; don’t yell at the Food Stamp holder; yell at the Food Stamp redeemer. It is the Redeemers who are misappropriating the Food Stamps. If you don’t think the Food Stamps (EBT cards) should NOT be used to buy Crab Legs, don’t take the EBT cards from the needy; tell the Crabs Legs seller to not accept EBT cards. E.G. if you don’t like people driving their cars on sidewalks, don’t take cars away from everybody, just make it a law that cars must NOT be driven on sidewalks. These Conservawonks take a single misuse of EBT cards as sole justification to abolish the EBT program. BUT if any Conservawonk uses an EBT card at Las Vegas and wins a big Jackpot, they will announce that they are so clever to have “beaten the system”.</strawman> Loopholes are only for the Conservawonks; anyone else who “beats the system” is a *cheater* and must lose everything. /rant

  7. alexanderz says

    PZ, will you please stop putting autoplay videos on your blog?
    Why can’t you put the video after the “Read more” jump with a small warning?! People ask you about this every time you link to to Comedy Central and you still keep on doing it!

  8. twas brillig (stevem) says

    re @7:

    If you don’t think the Food Stamps (EBT cards) should NOT be used [...]

    inadvertent double negative; disregard. [correction posted here]

  9. says

    They are not supposed to be autoplay. They don’t autoplay for me, so it seems to be a browser-specific quirk.

    I assure you, I hate autoplay with a passion myself!

  10. Maureen Brian says

    This nastiness, for that’s what it is, is further complicated by fashion in the UK.

    The rich, having got bored with eating huge and elaborate meals of the most expensive ingredients, have discovered the stuff the poor have been eating all along – sardines, offal, faggots, kale, rabbit, oxtail, foraged fungi and herbs, you name it – which they now eat in the same fancy restaurants with all the self-importance of someone who just invented the wheel.

    They probably don’t think the poor should be eating the samphire for which they pay 20p per shoot, either.

  11. Merlin says

    I truly wish that Congresscritters, before cutting a safety net program, had to live one year as the average user of said safety net. If they could do it for one year without cheating (using funds or benefits outside of the average income and outside of what is provided for by the program), then their vote is counted and we don’t toss them out onto the street with a bill for time and resources wasted. My experience with my own conservative relatives tells me that they have empathy, but only if it is somehow shown to be applicable to them. An example of this would be my aunt, who after decades of objecting to “entitlements”, recently realized that “Those aren’t entitlements, we paid into them!”.
    What changed? She’s nearing retirement age, and does not have anything saved up in an IRA or 401k.

  12. Ishikiri says

    I’ve long asked for hard numbers backing up legitimate welfare fraud when faced with people moaning about “welfare queens” and people using food stamps for things that they shouldn’t. I’ve yet to get a satisfactory response. I suspect true welfare abusers make up a negligible minority of people on welfare, and even if it were big it would be a drop in the bucket compared to the amount of money we blow on defense. Going by what PZ says, the rich shouldn’t have anything to complain about if buying crab legs for the average food stamp recipient means not eating for 4 days afterwards.

    Living in Japan has kind of brought me around to Mr. Pink’s views on gratuity, though not for his mean-spirited reasons. I don’t like it because it’s too damn arbitrary, and would rather have the restaurant add a service charge to the bill and/or pay their staff an ample wage.

  13. awakeinmo says

    I have noticed that there are a lot of false fire alarms pulled. We should cut funding to firefighters.

  14. says

    It think this stems from some idea that people shouldn’t be allowed to be happy unless they’ve earned it. Poor people haven’t earned it, because if they had, they’d be rich. Rich people have earned it because if they hadn’t, they’d be poor.
    Poor people have two choices: They can stop loafing around and start getting wealthy, or they can accept a standard of living so low that if you subjected a dog to it, you’d get arrested.

    I think these conservatives basically view it as cheating when a poor person tries to achieve a moment’s happiness. If poor people can be happy, that means there’s something wrong. The system must be broken somehow. We know we’ve fixed the system when all poor people are always miserable.

  15. karley jojohnston says

    “I will admit there is a secular argument against abortion,” said Silverman. “You can’t deny that it’s there, and it’s maybe not as clean cut as school prayer, right to die, and gay marriage.”

    Nope. For thinking people it’s pretty much fucking settled. You do not have a right to another person’s body, it doesn’t matter about whether or not your heart beats or how pwecious you are. Period. End. Full stop.

    Abortion rights are as settled as evolution and vaccines. One side has the smart folk and the people that actually help others. The other has the screaming bible thumpers, the terrorists, the harassers and the mewling idiots. It is so goddamn settled.

  16. Gregory Greenwood says

    Lying about something and then manufacturing outrage about it really is a Republican staple (it is also popular among the screechier elements of the Right wing in the UK, especially the Daily Heil and its supporters), the only difference with libertarians is that all of their lying and associated whining comes in the same flavour -1) anything even tangentially linked to the government is automatically bad (doubly so if it actually functions as a social welfare net to protect the poor and disadvantaged, thereby blunting the opportunities to exploit them that might allow the elite to grow even fatter), and 2) the ‘invisible hand’ of the free market is a benign deity.

    Once you view the world in such terms, things like food stamps become and unacceptable fettering of free market enterprise, since apparently having people starve to death is infinitely preferable to putting even the smallest obstacle in the way of corporations gouging the vulnerable, and so the lies begin about food stamps being habitually used to buy luxeries, in much the same way as the anti-immigration brigade in the UK lie about large numbers of immigrant families supposedly living extravagant lifestyles entirely at the expense of the taxpayer, while quietly ignoring the dire straits that many immigrants actually find themselves in.

    When reality doesn’t support their pet obsessions, libertarians and Rightwing ideologues simply invent a new discourse that does, and then shout it from the rooftops. They ultimately come to believe it themselves, substituting obnoxious obsessiveness and sheer volume and persistence for veracity. Rinse and repeat, and you will soon have your own political movement full of Mr Pinks.

  17. twas brillig (stevem) says

    An example of this would be my aunt, who after decades of objecting to “entitlements”, recently realized that “Those aren’t entitlements, we paid into them!”.

    QFT. I, too, am now living on SSDI. It took me long to accept it as NOT a charity; that I paid into that fund for many years while working my brain off, reaping the rest of my salary [I still have to keep reminding myself of that fact]. BUT then, I hear people [retirees] complaining about others receiving SSI and complaining that it is their own money [the retiree's] being spent, money they paid for their own retirement.

  18. Jackie, all dressed in black says

    These are the same people who argue that you can’t be poor if you own a refrigerator. They don’t care about food desserts, crumbling infrastructure, a collapsed economy that made financial security unobtainable for many of us, institutional racism, homelessness, school closings, the needs of our veterans, etc. because they like things exactly this way. I don’t believe for a second that they expect people to pull themselves up by their boot straps. They expect the disparity to grow and they expect to be on the side that benefits from that disparity.

    Poor folks are not supposed to have sex* or eat good food. They are not to experience pleasure in any way or expect a living wage or adequate healthcare. They should not be able to form unions or have any sort of voice. They are to toil away in solemn suffering, serving the needs of their betters until they die. If they live in a ghetto, they are to be inordinately monitored and harassed by the police until they end up filling prisons for profit. What is a privileged kid’s “youthful indiscretion” is a poor kid’s felony. That’s the Republican way. Their American dream involves them living in gated communities, sending their kids to private schools and the rest of us being their feudal slaves.

    If that’s the mentality that American Atheists wants to embrace, they have no business claiming to be “Good without God”.

    *They are not to have access to birth control, be gay or to have children. They only conclusion is that sex is taboo for anyone who isn’t middle class or above.

  19. coffeehound says

    I’m a strong supporter of the military. I think fiscal responsibility is very important.

    Those two sentences don’t belong together if you really want to take a close look at the military budget. Anyone calling themselves a fiscal conservative who supports the current welfare state for companies like Blackwater(or is it Xi now) is an idiot.
    and this

    I don’t like we’ve got drones killing people…”

    is not a conservative value per se, this cuts across demographics, unless you’re like many Republicans, who only seem to get riled up about this kind of shit when a Democrat is in the White House.

  20. Gregory Greenwood says

    karley jojohnston @ 19;

    “I will admit there is a secular argument against abortion,” said Silverman. “You can’t deny that it’s there, and it’s maybe not as clean cut as school prayer, right to die, and gay marriage.”

    Nope. For thinking people it’s pretty much fucking settled. You do not have a right to another person’s body, it doesn’t matter about whether or not your heart beats or how pwecious you are. Period. End. Full stop.

    Abortion rights are as settled as evolution and vaccines. One side has the smart folk and the people that actually help others. The other has the screaming bible thumpers, the terrorists, the harassers and the mewling idiots. It is so goddamn settled.

    Quoted for truth.

    Silverman doesn’t seem to grasp the notion of bodily autonomy at all, or more likely, he is all in favour of his own bodily autonomy, and that of people like him, but his support of it abruptly ends when it gets in the way of him controlling women.

    There is no rational secular argument against abortion. In order to put one forward, you would have to argue that a foetus should be considered to possess superior personhood and a greater right to exist than that of the adult woman who is carrying it. That a non-conscious ball of cells is more a person than a woman with hopes, dreams and ambitions. You would need to assert that the right to bodily autonomy is not absolute, but is actually a limited right that is not afforded to women once they fall pregnant – that pregnant women are second class citizens who are to be denied any right to self determination. It would be nothing less than an argument for procreative slavery.

    Without ridiculous religious claims of magical ‘ensoulment’ of foetuses that afford personhood in vitro – coupled with a refutation of the notion that no person can claim rights in the flesh of another, perhaps the most dangerous precedent imaginable – there is no possible moral or rational basis on which to argue that any of this is a good thing.

    Silverman seems suffer from an unexamined, knee-jerk ‘yuck factor’ when it comes to abortion rights which probably has roots back in a religious upbringing or osmotically absorbed ambient values with a religious base that he has been exposed to through the course of his life. That is what lies behind much of the anti-choice waffle that isn’t expressly based on simple misogyny. He shouldn’t pretend that it is rational, or that it has its roots in secularism and exists independent of toxic religious tropes about the supposedly ‘proper’ role of women.

  21. says

    That’s exactly it. It’s a punitive measure. Poor people can’t afford birth control or can’t afford to raise children? FINE, DON’T HAVE SEX, THEN! Can’t afford decent meals? SCRAPS FROM THE DUMPSTER ARE GOOD ENOUGH FOR YOU, PEASANT. How dare a poor person try to glean some small measure of happiness or satisfaction from the drudgery that is their lives! Maybe if they were miserable and starving, they would get the gumption to get up off their asses and magically have the education they never got, or obtain one of those high-paying jobs that isn’t there! UGH. It’s all just an extension of that just world fallacy where if you’re poor, you must deserve it, so you should be unhappy and struggling at all times because you didn’t have the good sense to be rich. It seems to stem from conservatives’ fear that the world isn’t quite so under their control as they believe it is. Misfortune is always a consequence of something you did or didn’t do, and never something random that just, y’know, happens. UGH redux.

  22. Stardrake says

    And yet, after all the bank fraud, they still love them some big banks….and get all bent out of shape if someone suggests punishing fraudulent bankers.

    When these types of conservative scream “This isn’t a democracy, it’s a REPUBLIC!!!!11111elebenty!!!” they’re really asking for a banana……

  23. Jackie, all dressed in black says

    LOL @ too many “S”s.
    Thanks for catching that, Lyle. I needed the chuckle.

  24. Jackie, all dressed in black says

    *LykeX*
    Well, I can’t type for shit today.
    Sorry about messing up your nym.

  25. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    SCRAPS FROM THE DUMPSTER ARE GOOD ENOUGH FOR YOU, PEASANT.

    Except you shouldn’t dig into dumpsters where people can see you because of the ew factor.

    Something introduced over here, marginally related:
    At designated collection sites (most middle sized to big stores) you get some small change for empty plastic bottles. After this was introduced, people started digging through garbage and collecting plastic bottles to earn some money.

    Politicians were proud of this. Because look, these poor people are using this to earn money. See how nice we are to poor people, doing them a favor and all. Wouldn’t want to just give them some money where we can let them earn it by digging through other people’s trash.

    It’s disgusting. It’s humiliating. But that’s what gives them satisfaction. Poor people being humiliated.

  26. Al Dente says

    I’m getting less and less impressed by David Silverman. So he’s an atheist. Big deal. So is Justin Vacula.
    Silverman’s atheism does not excuse his “fiscal conservatism”, his anti-abortion stance or his pandering to conservatives.

  27. karley jojohnston says

    Why the hell would you try to attract anti-choice people to your secular movement ON PURPOSE? Did it not hate women enough?

  28. says

    This review of Atlas Shrugged was brought up in a recent thread and I can’t help but note some striking parallels with this subject. Maybe these people think that’s the kind of world we really live in.

    After all, this is a book where one of the main characters go from being a grunt mine worker to the boss of the entire company, and manages to revolutionize both the fields of metallurgy and bridge construction despite having dropped out of school at 14.
    Another character somehow manages to build a continent-spanning railroad, despite having no family connections, being described as “penniless”, and without getting any “loans, bonds, subsidies, land grants or legislative favors” of any kind.

    If we imagine for a moment that we lived in a world even remotely resembling that, you can see how under those circumstances, there’s no excuse for being poor. If sheer willpower is the only requirement for startling, world-shaking success, then the reason for poverty simply can’t be anything other than laziness.

  29. raven says

    Ironically, a lot of Christofascist Tea Partier voters are likely to be either low income or 47% government moochers.

    1. The Tea Party center is the south and they lead the nation in poverty rates and child poverty rates. Texas leads in child poverty at 27%. It’s going up.

    There’s a lot of child poverty in Texas, y’all – Daily Kos
    www .dailykos. com/story/…/-There-s-a-lot-of-child-poverty-in-Texas-y-a…‎
    Dec 3, 2013 – There was a 47 percent increase in the rate [sic; actually number] of Texas children living in poverty from 2000 to 2011, according to the Kids …

    2. The average age of Fox News viewers is 68. This is well past the age of Social Security and Medicare.

    It’s always suprising when people vote against their own interests but they do it a lot.

  30. raven says

    We can add poor people to the every growing list of fundie xian hates.

    It’s now women, gays, nonwhites, scientists, educated people, college students, atheists, nonxians, and poor people. I might have forgot some.

    When they get tired of hating everybody else, they hate each other. And when that gets boring, they hate themselves.

  31. Rob Grigjanis says

    Ishikiri @15:

    I suspect true welfare abusers make up a negligible minority of people on welfare

    Yes, and their ‘abuse’ pales in comparison to tax evasion by the rich and corporations.

    The following is for Britain, but I’ve seen similar figures for Canada.

    Indeed, welfare fraud is smaller than accidental overpayments due to error, which totalled £2.2bn (£1.4bn of which due to official error). It’s also smaller than the amount of money underpaid to those entitled to it: £1.3bn.

    Benefit underpayments save us more money than benefit fraud costs us. By the most conservative estimates, tax avoidance and tax evasion outweighs benefit fraud eightfold. But the constant target of argument – “scroungers”, “benefit cheats”, and more, isn’t the well-heeled middle classes who knock a little off their tax return, or the high-rollers with elaborate offshore schemes.

  32. Amphigorey says

    #32 – is he against abortion, though? I don’t get that out of his quote, which just says that he thinks there’s a secular argument to be made against it, not that he’s actually making the argument or is against it himself.

  33. anteprepro says

    `The average age of Fox News viewers is 68.

    Skewed data! That is only because of Fox News having a handful of 1000 year old vampires watching regularly!

  34. Trebuchet says

    Off-topic for alexanderz #8 and PZ #11: It’s not clear if the autoplay referred to in #8 is for the Daily Show video, or for ads that I’m seeing multiple complaints about at other blogs, particularly Ed’s. I’ve e-mailed Ed and Jason, since the “tech issues” button is AWOL.

  35. says

    I know I’ve mentioned this before, but within the past year, my hometown had a huge “welfare fraud” bust that netted a couple of hundred people.

    People were selling their EBT cards (for around half of face value) for cash, which is indeed illegal. But, you know what those awful criminals were using their ill-gotten gains for? Soap. Tampons. Toilet paper. School supplies. Items that are necessary for survival which *are not* covered by SNAP benefits.

    This is why 1) we need to revamp the entire system. Give people money, straight up. If they need shampoo, let them buy shampoo.
    and
    2) In the meantime, when you donate to your local food bank, check to see if there’s a need for personal items &/or school supplies. My regional food bank will accept all sort of toiletries, toilet paper, diapers/wipes, feminine hygiene products, and notebooks/pencils.

  36. says

    As someone’s already remarked upthread, lobster and crab and oysters used to be cheap, abundant, awful food for the poor.

    There used to be a law, in 19th century England, against feeding your workers oysters more than 4 days a week.

    I look forward to the days when ramen noodles and Kraft Dinner are gourmet treats costing 20.00 a serving.

  37. says

    Mostly saving the castigating Silverman for the thread about him, but this bit wasn’t mentioned over there:

    “I will admit there is a secular argument against abortion,” said Silverman. “You can’t deny that it’s there, and it’s maybe not as clean cut as school prayer, right to die, and gay marriage.”

    Yes, I can and do deny that it’s there. People have rights. Hypothetical people don’t (Neither, since this is often brought up in re: bodily autonomy, have former people got rights as far as I’m concerned. Rights are reserved for the metabolically active. Sorry Reg.) The end.
    Ishkiri#15

    I’ve long asked for hard numbers backing up legitimate welfare fraud when faced with people moaning about “welfare queens” and people using food stamps for things that they shouldn’t.

    The people who complain about it never produce these because the actual figures (somewhere a little below 2%, IIRC), make them look like nitwits.

    I’ve yet to get a satisfactory response. I suspect true welfare abusers make up a negligible minority of people on welfare, and even if it were big it would be a drop in the bucket compared to the amount of money we blow on defense.

    Both true. I would also note that their definitions of ‘abuse’ are frankly ridiculous, but that’s a larger discussion. LykeX covers a lot of it in #18, and some others in later posts.
    Stardrake

    And yet, after all the bank fraud, they still love them some big banks….and get all bent out of shape if someone suggests punishing fraudulent bankers.

    A lot of it stems from an inability or unwillingness to understand systems or context at all. Every action, interaction, or occurrence is modeled as an entirely atomized happening with no past, no future, no one affected other the parties directly involved, and nothing occurring except by the free and knowing choice of a sapient being (usually the Market if no specific human can be assigned fault). Thus, the bank fraud is the fault of the borrowers for signing the mortgages, and anything they would define as a crime or problem is the fault of some specific banker or bankers making an illegal choice, and once they’re removed all is peachy again until the next bad apples turn up to act badly.
    It’s a really shitty model, but it explains a lot about the mindset.

  38. Gregory Greenwood says

    anteprepro @ 40;

    That is only because of Fox News having a handful of 1000 year old vampires watching regularly!

    Libertarian vampires? Hmmm.. . Do they blame their victims when they bite them?

    “Its your own fault, you know. I didn’t ask you to have delcious O neg in your veins, now did I? That is all on you. And besides, it is entirely your fault that you are just an ordinary mortal. If you had just had the presence of mind to be born a Slayer, then you could fight me off. And even as a mortal all you had to do was become undead yourself, then you could be chowing down on the bipedal cattle just like me. Heck, you could even have been one of those uncouth hairy lycanthropes I suppose, but no – you were too lazy to be anything but a thoroughly mundane human. You couldn’t even be botherd to take mythology seriously, and carry a fire hardened hawthorn stake and a couple of bulbs of garlic just in case. So you see, the mere fact that I am trying to rip out your throat and drink your blood doesn’t make me the bad guy in this situation. If you are truthful with yourself, you will see that you were really asking for it all along, right down to failing to wear a polar neck and instead flaunting your throat like that. How is any nosferatu worth their fangs supposed to resist?

    Now stop trying to run – you are going to make me miss Bill O’Reilly…

  39. says

    Forgot to mention in comment #40, that the All In segment is 5:51 minutes long, and it begins with a few highlights of other CPAC moments of idiocy. It soon segues into the true story of the boy in the bag-lunch story.

    As it turns out, a real interaction between author Schroff and 11-year-old homeless panhandler Maurice Mazyck in 1986 was the source of the bag lunch story. The Republicans stripped the truth, most of the facts, and the meaning from the story and then repurposed it for an anti-food stamp, anti-welfare agenda.

    repeat of link:
    http://www.msnbc.com/all-in/watch/paul-ryan-uses-a-borrowed-story-186456643512

  40. Maureen Brian says

    Amphigory @ 39,

    Try it this way. If Silverman says he thinks there is a secular case against abortion then either he has thought about it or he is blowing hot air in an attempt to extend his fan-base.

    Assume he has thought about it. If he believes there is really a secular case against abortion then there must be some circumstances in which he would enforce a ban on abortion. Enforce by what means? Enforce on whom? Either that or he belongs to that band of brothers who “of course” wouldn’t completely ban abortion but who feel they have the option / the right / a moral duty to turn the process of getting an abortion into a giant obstacle race. That would be an obstacle race with a death rate attached.

    Eschewing religion, you can only arrive at either of those positions by missing out the point in the discussion where you acknowledge that women are fully human and that, no, you do not have the right to enslave them or to kill them.

    There might, just, be extreme circumstances – the near extinction of an isolated population perhaps – where it would make sense actively to discourage abortion. Even then, if you can’t do it by persuasion then you can’t do it. Full stop.

    There is no secular argument against abortion.

  41. says

    This is a follow up to comment #46. Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich points out that the cuts the Republicans favor will result in poor kids getting a paper bag with no food in it.

    http://www.msnbc.com/all-in/watch/the-truth-about-paul-ryans-brown-bag-story-186476099505

    Republicans have gone after domestic discretionary spending, with 2/3 of their cuts taking money from the poor and lower middle class people in order to give corporate welfare to richer people.

  42. jazzbot says

    In regards to the AutoPlay annoyances, I didn’t have popups on the Internet until I started receiving a mass barrage of them warning me that I needed to update my media player. They were really aggressive and persistent and greatly detracted from the Internet, so I thought I had little choice but to update my media player by clicking on one of the popups. After I got my media player updated, I no longer got that popup, but then I was constantly harassed by every other kind of popup commercials. So I did the Add/Remove programs (or is it Remove/modify?) service in Windows, to remove the media player update and other programs that sneaked in with it (with the same Install date). Afterwards, I had no popups at all for two or three weeks, until I got “found out”, and started getting warnings to update Media Player again. So I repeated the process (it’s quick and easy) and am now free of popups for another couple of weeks, until Media Player starts cluster bombing my computer again.

  43. UnknownEric the Apostate says

    Skewed data! That is only because of Fox News having a handful of 1000 year old vampires watching regularly!

    Actually, it’s that one household on Gallifrey that skews it upward. ;)

  44. says

    jazzbot

    Are you talking about Windows Media Player? If so, you should not be getting pop-up update warnings from it, and certainly nothing that would give the impression of “cluster bombing.” Nor, if you’re getting your updates from the official Microsoft site, should it be triggering further commercial pop-ups and the like. Sounds like you have some kind of adware problem.

  45. Amphigorey says

    #50 – believe me, I’m as pro-choice and pro-abortion as you can get. I agree with everything you said.

    I’m just pointing out that calling Silverman full-on anti-abortion just because he said that he thinks there is a secular argument to be made is an exaggeration. We can’t extrapolate his stance from that one line. Maybe he really is anti-abortion; I have no idea.

    Put another way: There’s an argument to be made for not increasing the minimum wage. It’s not a GOOD argument, but it exists. Silverman didn’t say one way or the other whether he thought the argument he had in mind was a good one, so we can’t really call him anti-abortion, the same way you can’t call me anti-minimum wage.

    He was obviously pandering to conservatives, and whether he should do that at all is another topic.

  46. robro says

    Ishikiri @#15

    I’ve long asked for hard numbers backing up legitimate welfare fraud…

    Essentially “welfare fraud,” like crime, is a conservative hobgoblin that they trot out whenever it’s time to get the gullible white people to vote for them. It’s racist code because of the assumption that the majority of welfare recipients are Black (they aren’t), don’t have jobs (they often do), stay on it for years (they don’t), are on drugs (see below), and have babies just to get benefits…which don’t come near covering the cost of raising a child!? Who would go through pregnancy and raising a child for the pittance in benefits? A better question would be ask why someone spends millions to get elected to a job that pays under $200k/year.

    A typical number for welfare fraud is in the under 3% range. Of course, it’s difficult to get a reliable number because “welfare” isn’t a thing. In this country there are many programs that are lumped into the rubric of “welfare.” These can include food assistance, housing, health care, and even unemployment insurance. These programs are run by counties, states, and the Feds. Getting an accurate idea of how much of the money goes to fraudulent claims is practically impossible.

    One of the more notorious examples of how twisted this gets is Reagan’s Chicago “welfare queen” who he said used multiple names, fake children, etc to bring in $150k a year from the system. There is no proof this person existed.

    My favorite story about welfare fraud is from the mid-90s where Connecticut spent $5 million dollars on a computer system to catch fraud. After 2 years they had found only 6 cases. Of course, the computer system may have been faulty and missed many cases, but it begs the questions of who’s the real fraudster here.

    In 2010 the LA Times reported that an investigation in San Diego County had found 24% of new welfare claims contain some form of fraud. However, their definition of “fraud” was very broad…any error in the application was counted as a fraud whether deliberate or not, or trivial. (here)

    Also along these lines: To prevent drug users from getting high on “welfare,” several states have explored requiring drug tests. Florida briefly did this in 2011 (the program was blocked by the courts). If applicants passed the test, the state has to pay for it. In the 4 months Florida ran the program, 4000 applicants were tested but only 108 failed (2.6%). It cost the state more for the tests than it would cost just to give the damn benefits to the drug users in the first. Again, one has to wonder who the fraudsters were. (here)

  47. says

    I’m reminded of a headdesk worthy bit of conservative outrage. There was a statistic that some large percent of people below the poverty line owned at least one game console.

    Did they bother to think about what “game console” means? It could have meant anything from a then-brand new PS3 down to a refurbished 8-bit NES from a used game store.

    Of course, they were also outraged that a lot of the poor had washing machines and refrigerators.

  48. Menyambal --- making sambal a food group. says

    There’s also the idea that food stamps shouldn’t be used to buy prepared foods. The thought seems to be that the poor should only be able to buy ingredients, and at least do some of the work of feeding themselves.

    The facts are that the poor often don’t have transportation, homes, refrigerators, stoves, fuel, utensils, time and cooking skills. Nor can they buy in bulk enough to economize.

    Most fast-food places have a dollar menu, these days, and they do have tbe economy of scale, and low-wage workers, so prepared foods can be cheaper than expected. Much cheaper than expected by someone who only eats at high-end restaurants, and who has never looked for the cheapest item on a menu. And, of course, fast food is fast, which is needed in the middle of a two-job day.

    I have gone to supermarkets and bought bread and cheese and other things for a working lunch, and it isn’t cheap or practical. I have bought a BIG bag of rice, and lived off it for a month, but that took an investment and an established home.

    Helping people requires getting them what they really need, and giving them enough respect to make their own decisions.

    A few years back, our government was giving billions of dollars to failing banks, and not asking for any accounting of what was done with the money. The people of this country should be treated at least that well.

  49. Pteryxx says

    Crossposted to Thunderdome here so further OT discussion can go over there, plz.

    Re the Comedy Central autoplay problem: a bunch of folks in Mano Singham’s comments cracked it recently. See discussion and followup

    Basically it’s caused by a Freewheel script on Comedy Central that turns autoplay on *when an adblocker is active*. Here’s a specific fix: link to comment thanks to Tomewyrm.

    Note: this only works on Firefox, with AdBlock plus or AdBlock edge.

    Either left click on the AdBlock icon (should be close to one of the corners of your browser) and go to Filter Preferences
    Or you can left click on an empty portion of the page (some text works fine as well), then ctrl+shift+f to bring up your filter preferences for AdBlock

    Make sure you’re on the “Custom Filters” tab
    In the upper right there should be an “Add Filter” button, click that.
    Paste the next line into the text entry box which should appear in the window
    @@||v.fwmrm.net^$object-subrequest,third-party
    Then hit enter and make sure the filter is enabled (via the check box to the left) and refresh this page.

  50. demonhauntedworld says

    One of the more notorious examples of how twisted this gets is Reagan’s Chicago “welfare queen” who he said used multiple names, fake children, etc to bring in $150k a year from the system. There is no proof this person existed.

    Oh, she existed alright – but that anecdotal example was spun into the myth of “welfare queens” being some sort of epidemic.

  51. doubtthat says

    The moral argument is clear to me: no one should be hungry in America in the 21st century.

    What I find doubly obnoxious, however, is that generous food stamps are one of the best uses of federal tax dollars. This is true generally, but since the financial crisis began, the economic argument in favor of food stamps is overwhelming.

    When aggregate demand has crashed and interest rates are at the zero lower bound limiting the fed’s ability to stimulate the economy through rate manipulation, fiscal stimulus is necessary. Ben Bernanke, before being devoured by the hive mind, famously argued that in such a setting any stimulation was beneficial, even just dropping cash out of helicopters.

    Food stamps are even better because they can only be spent. The goal is to promote economic activity, and people have cards that can only be used to consume, there is no way to remove that money from the economy by paying off debt or just storing it away in savings (which is paradoxically bad for the overall economy even if it may benefit the individual saving).

    Not only do we live in a morally corrupt country, but we live in a fucking dumb country. It’s very depressing.

  52. raven says

    What I find doubly obnoxious, however, is that generous food stamps are one of the best uses of federal tax dollars.

    You will have to at least quadruple that outrage.

    SNAP (Food Stamps): Facts, Myths and Realities – Feeding America
    feedingamerica .org/how-we-fight…/snap-myths-realities.aspx‎

    76% of SNAP households included a child, an elderly person, or a disabled person. …. Eighty-three percent of SNAP households have gross income at or below

    1. 70% of food stamp households contain children. 6% contain old people or disabled.

    What do they expect? That we should send children out to forage or put them to work in textile mills and coal minds. Rhetorical question, of course they do.

    2. 60% of households have a working adult. You can easily work at McDonalds, Walmart, or any minimum wage job and qualify for food stamps.

    3. It’s easy to say they should go get jobs? So where are these jobs? Unemployment is 7% and real unemployment is double that.

    It might be time to think about what happens when you have automated a society so much that not everyone is needed to produce stuff we need and buy.

    Tea Partiers/Christofascists run on their Reptilian brain. They don’t think, they just hate.

  53. raven says

    If you look at Tea Party/fundie xian fantasies, they want the worst for the vast majority of people.

    1. Outlaw abortion, outlaw contraception if they can despite its near universal use, 99% in relevant cohorts.

    2. More unwanted kids born to often young single mothers.

    3. Abolish food stamps.

    4. Repeal the Affordable Health Care act and/or refuse to extend Medicaid which all the fundie states have done.

    What could go wrong here? This is sure recipe for herds of desparately poor parents and children. Will they starve? Maybe, what would keep them from just dying in the streets?

    That god they claim to worship looks more like satan than satan does. Hmmm, well I guess satan is unemployed these days too, being redundant and all.

  54. Alan Boyle says

    It might be time to think about what happens when you have automated a society so much that not everyone is needed to produce stuff we need and buy.

    It’s definitely that time. Give it 20 years and I fully expect that almost all driving jobs will cease to exist. It’ll be trivial to have a series of robots/machines that can put a burger or a taco together. Ditto bar jobs—simply have a screen that people can use to enter their order, and get a machine to mix the drinks. It’s very much possible now. In a couple of decades, it’ll also be astonishingly cheap.

    There’s a vile mindset that “welfare” should be no more than the absolute minimum to keep people alive. The idea that we should be trying to address misery as well as starvation is alien to these contemptible conservatives. Yet there is a mindset that is even more fundamental than that—the idea that the purpose of humans is to drive economies, and everyone should be contributing. That “everyone is happy and all needs are met” could be the goal, rather than “everyone is working their backside off (apart from me)”, is a realization that desperately needs to infiltrate the wider mindset.

    There are people working towards this, such as a group campaigning for 20 hours to be the normal work week. False scarcity, BS jobs that exist for the sake of existing (telemarketing, anyone?), and downright ignoring the issue are among the ways society, particularly the hateful wealthy, are trying to keep the old system in place. But it’s simply not feasible for it to continue much longer, we are clearly at breaking point, and something is going to break before too long.

  55. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    It’s easy to say they should go get jobs? So where are these jobs? Unemployment is 7% and real unemployment is double that.

    Gee, lets see what the Dol BLS said (from the previous hate libertarian thread): 3.6 million unemployed and actively seeking jobs. 2.6 million discouraged about seeking jobs, but would take one. In a given month of 2013, 150,000-200,000 jobs available.
    Yep, the right-wing idjits need to quit pretending there are enough jobs available to end unemployment, and people aren’t taking them due to cushier public assistance. Meanwhile, assistance via food stamps and unemployment keep the money flowing in the economy, making it more likely the private sector will be hiring.
    The Rethugs whole idea is to tank the economy, as all their agenda is designed to make things worse.

  56. says

    There’s also the idea that food stamps shouldn’t be used to buy prepared foods. The thought seems to be that the poor should only be able to buy ingredients, and at least do some of the work of feeding themselves.

    Which shows how little those people go to the supermarket.
    The cheapest food I could get that would actually feed us is convenience food. Frozen pizza Margarita is less than a buck a piece. Canned soup is about a buck a can and two make a meal that feeds the four of us.
    That is, of course, not good food, or healthy food. But it’s cheap, it’s fast, it can be prepared while doing other chores. Veggies, even frozen veggies cost much more money and time. Sure, a lettuce in summer is very cheap, much cheaper that a frozen pizza, but you cannot actually live on it…

  57. says

    A lot of the major fraud related to “welfare” or “entitlement” programs comes not from individuals, not from people like Reagan’s infamous “welfare queen,” but from scam artists that run big businesses.

    His name is Gary D. Newsome and he’s at least $22 million richer since 2010 after becoming CEO to Health Management Associates, a for-profit hospital chain based in Naples, Fla., and driving this fraud.

    This month, the Justice Department said it had joined eight separate whistle-blower lawsuits against H.M.A. in six states. The lawsuits describe a wide-ranging strategy that is said to have relied on a mix of sophisticated software systems, financial incentives and threats in an attempt to inflate the company payments from Medicare and Medicaid by admitting patients like an infant whose temperature was a normal 98.7 degrees for a œfever.

    Physicians were pressured, with scoring and tabs kept, to unnecessarily admit patients over age 65.
    Admitting over 50% of Medicare patients got a doctor a “Green” score, those who didn’t play along got a failing “Red” score. Admissions for medicaid patients were similarly inflated. […]

    Having “Retired” at age 55 from HMA, Brother Newsome has been called by the First Presidency [head honchos of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, mormons] to be the Mission President of the Uruguay Montevideo Mission where he has served as Counsilor, stake president counselor, Young Men Advisor and missionary. As mission president he is basically in oversight of administrative, ministerial, organizational and financial matters for the mission.

    “The only qualifications [for Stake President] are that they are honest in their business and financial dealings and that they pay a full tithing. . .”

    I guess you could call it batting .500. Good luck, LDS […].

    This instance of fraud also counts as a Moment of Mormon Madness.
    Daily Kos link.
    http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/update-on-the-cost-of-admission/

  58. says

    “it’s a cruel and Selfish thing…for the upper classes…to refuse to tell poor people ‘keep your knees together before you’re married – that would solve so many of life’s problems.’” That’s Ann Coulter speaking at CPAC today.

  59. speed0spank says

    Currently I manage at a grocery store and it is absolutely true that no matter what someone buys with EBT people have something to say about it. Buy fresh fruit and veggies (which are pricey, especially where I work) and people start talking about how people on SNAP waste their money on that expensive food. If you buy cheap garbage that is not nutritious but is filling they will yammer on about how they waste their benefits on junk food. If you buy prepared foods like sushi, subs, or pasta bowls because you don’t have the energy or time to cook then can you BELIEVE those people on SNAP have the audacity to buy that expensive stuff?! A lot of people think that anyone on SNAP is an unemployed layabout. One time in my years of working there someone bought frozen crab legs with SNAP and that went over about as well as you would expect with my asshole coworkers.
    It doesn’t stop at food, either. If someone known to use SNAP mentions having a new car or even just looks put together with nice clothing they must be scamming the system! If you aren’t walking everywhere and wearing rags then you couldn’t possibly need help!

    I was on SNAP for a while a few years ago and my coworkers used the “but you’re different” tactic with me all the damn time. They would go on a tangent about food stamps for 10 minutes then it would dawn on them that their boss who is listening is too and it turns into “…but some people like you actually need them. That’s different!”.

    tl;dr Some people think they support the world’s economy single handedly and want to be in complete control of poor people’s decisions. If you aren’t visibly suffering then you don’t deserve shit.

  60. says

    Regarding the autoplay issue, Pteryxx is right; Daily Show autoplay can be turned off by telling NoScript to accept MTVN services and telling Ghostery to accept the Conviva and Freewheel trackers.

  61. Azuma Hazuki says

    As much as I hate to say this, Coulter has at least half a point here: if you’re already poor, having kids isn’t going to make you richer. And there is a lot of unprotected sex and other risky behavior going on in low-class areas. Source: my own experience, living the first 27 years of my life in New York City, and not the good parts of it…Harlem, the Bronx, the poorer parts of Queens…

    That said, the obvious solution is better sex ed and making barrer contraception more readily and cheaply available. But of course, no, Coulter wouldn’t want that. Hence why she has only half a point…

  62. David Marjanović says

    On this continent, food stamps were abolished as soon as the after-war period was over: 1950 in West Germany, for instance, 1952 in Austria, 1954 in the UK, 1958 in East Germany.

    jazzbot, you had malware on your computer, and likely still have it. Run an antivirus program.

    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/03/07/david-silverman-cpac-is-crawling-with-closet-atheists/

    If he can get those closet atheists to come out, wonderful.

    It doesn’t look like he can, though.

    They are not supposed to be autoplay. They don’t autoplay for me, so it seems to be a browser-specific quirk.

    For me they used to autoplay, but don’t any longer. I guess some update of Firefox fixed this… except I have the same 27.0.1 as Daz. Surely it can’t be because I have Windows 7…?

    Unlike in Canada, they do play when I click on “play”.

    Anyone calling themselves a fiscal conservative who supports the current welfare state for companies like Blackwater(or is it Xi now) is an idiot.

    It’s Xe, an allusion to the earlier name Executive Outcomes.

    (Another name was Steel Foundation. What next, the Brotherhood of Steel from the Fallout games?)

    is he against abortion, though?

    If he’s not, he’ll go to great lengths not to let his fellow conservatives find out.

    Oh, she existed alright

    :-o
    Bookmarked.

  63. Cinzia La Strega says

    One of my students, a recent immigrant to the U.S., told me she was not allowed to buy “organic” milk for her children with food stamps. The cashier had sent her back to get a carton of the store brand. Just to add to the humiliation, I guess.

  64. David Marjanović says

    Oops. Forgot to refresh.

    Also forgot to mention that I do have Adblock – but not NoScript or Ghostery.

    Hmmm, well I guess satan is unemployed these days too, being redundant and all.

    …You win this thread.

    a for-profit hospital chain

    *blink*

    Why is such a thing allowed to exist? Seriously, I had no idea this was legal anywhere in the world…?!?

  65. nich says

    Inspired by true events!

    Listen people! I wanted lobster once. I got tired of blowing my food stamps on it so I did something about it! I worked my ass off, putting in long hours, always volunteering to stay late to help unload a truck or lend a hand during the big case lot sale. Man was I happy when that paycheck came! Lobster for dinner baby! Of course I was immediately fired for working unauthorized overtime. Apparently Mr. Walton can’t afford HIS lobster if he’s paying me time and a half. How’s he going to fly in fresh caught Maine lobster if he’s paying me 8 dollars an hour? Looks like it’s back to buying lobster with food stamps!

  66. Pteryxx says

    a for-profit hospital chain

    *blink*

    Why is such a thing allowed to exist? Seriously, I had no idea this was legal anywhere in the world…?!?

    Who’s going to write or enforce a law to stop them?

    What’s more, like their Wall Street bank counterparts, the mega-hospital systems, with billions of dollars in revenue, are more challenging to regulate, according to experts.

    Still, when H.M.A. announced the Justice Department’s involvement in the lawsuits, investors and analysts shrugged, and the stocks for both companies involved in the merger barely budged.

    Sheryl R. Skolnick, who follows health care for CRT Capital, recently wrote in a note to investors, “Investors seem to think that D.O.J. investigations, qui tam suits and allegations of serious Medicare fraud are simply a cost of doing business.” Many settlements run only into the tens of millions of dollars. That’s a corporate slap on the wrist for companies whose stocks typically soar when executives push the profit envelope. Only if the penalty is at least $500 million, Ms. Skolnick said, are corporations likely to find the cost a deterrent.

    Source – NYT

  67. says

    It’s hard enough to get by on SNAP.

    It’s harder when you have specific dietary needs, and you get to choose between eating right, and eating for the whole month (while dealing with digestive problems that are easily resolved by eating right).

  68. Menyambal --- making sambal a food group. says

    It is interesting that Reagan’s “welfare queen” actually existed. (Thanks for the link.) But I would not have described her as someone who scammed welfare, at least not as her primary identifier.

    That person was a scam artist of wide-ranging interests and extraordinary skill. The welfare system wasn’t her first victim, nor did she exploit it through obvious vulnerabilities. She had talent and experience.

    Calling her a welfare queen is about like calling Al Capone a tax evader. Condemning welfare because it is vulnerable to career criminals is not a solution, and pretending that welfare was the problem is fundamentally dishonest.

  69. says

    From comment #74:

    If you aren’t visibly suffering then you don’t deserve shit.

    The problem with this attitude is that programs like food stamps usually help poor people to slowly climb out of poverty. You need the nutrition to even get a good education if you are a child, for example. You deserve and need a helping hand way before you start looking like shit.

    You also need to NOT look like shit when you are applying for jobs, so many poor and lower middle class persons take particular care to look put-together and “nice” because that’s what you have to do. Also, what’s with this disdain for poor people who look good? Aren’t you supposed to be all about human dignity … especially if you are a right-wing politician?

    Some people buy ready made food because they cannot pay the electric or gas bills, therefore they have no way to store or cook food. Some people on food stamps don’t’ even have a stove or refrigerator, let alone the electricity or gas to run them. Saying that they are still better off than poor people in India is just stupid.

    Inequality baffles right-wing whackadoodles even more when they deny that inequality exists.

    […] what was also revealed by one CPAC speaker after another is that Republican thinking on inequality is muddled, self-contradictory and, above all else, driven by political necessity rather than actual conviction.

    One of the more obvious signs of how unserious Republicans are when it comes to inequality is their seeming inability to decide whether or not it even exists. Rep. Paul Ryan charged that the only reason Democrats were talking about inequality was because “they’re out of ideas” and “cannot talk about economic growth.” But just a few hours later, Gov. Chris Christie — who, like Ryan, is considered a possible future presidential candidate — declared with absolute certainty that “We don’t have an inequality problem.” The real issue is a lack of “opportunity,” said Christie, who had pretended earlier to be speaking directly to President Obama, telling him “no one cares about your opinion on inequality.” […]

    […] for every example of a conservative acknowledging that something is awry with the distribution of wealth in the U.S. — like when Sen. Ted Cruz lamented how “Wall Street prospers while Main Street suffers” — there was another example of a conservative implying that the whole idea of inequality was bunk — like when Sen. Marco Rubio said the Democrat “always tries to divide people” by telling them “the reason why you’re worse off is because someone else is doing too well.” For every Sen. Mike Lee calling to “end cronyist privilege and corporate welfare … and put America’s political and corporate elites back to work for the rest of us,” there was a National Review editor Rich Lowry calling the president’s focus on inequality a “nightmare” that ran contrary to the spirit of Abraham Lincoln, the president with whom Obama is, in Lowry’s telling, “obsessed.” […]

    So, for some Tea Party and Republican right-wingers, inequality is some sort of myth. For others, lip service is required but action that actually addresses inequality is verboten.

    From what I can see, a right-wing politician like Mitch McConnell will occasionally say the right thing, “the rich have gotten richer, the poor have gotten poorer, and the middle class is being squeezed like never before.” However, McConnell and his ilk will immediately follow up by doing the wrong thing. Say understanding and appropriate things about inequality, and then turn around and promote policies that make inequality worse.

    http://www.salon.com/2014/03/08/wingnuts_baffled_by_inequality_why_theyre_totally_confused_about_how_to_talk_about_it/

  70. says

    You also need to NOT look like shit when you are applying for jobs, so many poor and lower middle class persons take particular care to look put-together and “nice” because that’s what you have to do. Also, what’s with this disdain for poor people who look good? Aren’t you supposed to be all about human dignity … especially if you are a right-wing politician?

    I almost think they like feeling people who look “poor” so they can feel better about their lot in life. Of course, like everything with this you are dammed if you do, and dammed if you don’t. Look good while on some sort of social assistance and you are wasting their damn taxes, but look “poor” and they will look down their noses at you and wonder why you do not take care of yourself better.

  71. says

    My experience with my own conservative relatives tells me that they have empathy, but only if it is somehow shown to be applicable to them. An example of this would be my aunt, who after decades of objecting to “entitlements”, recently realized that “Those aren’t entitlements, we paid into them!”.
    What changed? She’s nearing retirement age, and does not have anything saved up in an IRA or 401k.

    That’s not empathy.
    That’s “It’s different, it’s ME this time!”

  72. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    What could go wrong here? This is sure recipe for herds of desparately poor parents and children. Will they starve? Maybe, what would keep them from just dying in the streets?

    Being cooked as gourmet feasts for the rich. That’s probably the whole idea, actually… >.>

  73. Menyambal --- making sambal a food group. says

    Yeah, there are some people who will just complain or condemn, no matter what. I know a few people that I just don’t talk with, because they always have something bad to say about everyone.

    Conservatives are going to express their contempt for the rest of the people in the world, no matter how they have to twist and turn to do so. They don’t understand why other folks are they way they are, but they know the other folks must be wrong.

  74. vaiyt says

    That’s not empathy.
    That’s “It’s different, it’s ME this time!”

    See also: “My abortion is the only moral abortion”

  75. Pteryxx says

    See also: “My abortion is the only moral abortion”

    Full article here: http://www.prochoiceactionnetwork-canada.org/articles/anti-tales.shtml

    After entering the full waiting room she said to me, ‘My dear Lord, what are all those young girls doing here?’ ‘Same as you’, I replied. ‘Dirty little dames,’ she said.”

    The only moral benefits are my benefits…

    The only moral enjoyments are my enjoyments…

    The only moral bailouts are my bailouts…

    The only moral Stand Your Ground case is my SYG case…

    Works for just about anything, doesn’t it?

  76. throwaway says

    All of the assholes parroting complaints about their taxes going to the less-fortunate that I know: a) are the less-fortunate b) have family that benefit directly c) get most of their taxes back at the end of the year d) are so committed to their unwarranted snobbery they can’t see how this will benefit them indirectly or e) all of the above. I’m so glad I have a heavy bag to come home to after spending any time with them.

  77. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    Isn’t nearly every private hospital a for-profit organization?

  78. unclefrogy says

    I do not believe many (any) of the conservative politicians really do believe that crap full of lies they say in their public speeches at all. It is something they have learned to say to gain political power. It distracts their voters from any chance of realizing where the tax money is really going by playing on the growing resentment of the lower middle classes. You see the middle and lower middle classes are definitely felling stressed. They are working harder and getting less out of it and it as noted has been like that for well over 30 years now. They do not see many of the rich very much other than the celebrities or some of the talking heads on TV, but they see the less well off as they are growing much more common, they are every where. The resentment parasites feed it this distortion and lies and them give them some overly simplistic answers like cut taxes and cut spending. Not telling them that the taxes that will be cut are not theirs but the spending will be.
    Has been working pretty well as it gets worse they can still point to the same evils to blame.
    It is not just robots that have replaced US domestic workers it has been outsourcing a practice of shipping jobs to ultra low wage manufacturers in distant countries. It is a modern tactic that replaced bringing in scab labor that was used in the past. It would not be so bad if the workers were payed an equivalent living wage taking in the local cost of living. Unfortunately it is most often the case that the workers are held in what often resembles some modified form of peonage or virtual slavery. All the profits and most of the benefits going to management and not even to the stock holders.
    Though with the way the economy is domestically with high unemployment and such it is a good thing we can get those cheep imported goods because we can’t afford much else. (at least us underemployed can find a bargain)
    uncle frogy

  79. randay says

    Mitt Romney’s grandfather and his family lived on government handouts when they fled the Mexican Revolution at the early 1900’s. I’d like to see a journalist ask him, and other Republicans, about that.

  80. says

    The problem with this attitude is that programs like food stamps usually help poor people to slowly climb out of poverty. You need the nutrition to even get a good education if you are a child, for example. You deserve and need a helping hand way before you start looking like shit.

    I’d say conservatives are not interested in helping poor people climb out of poverty, no more than they are with alleviating it with “handouts.” They continually come up with bright ideas for restricting what food stamp recipients and other beneficiaries of help programs should be able to do, and often as not those ideas just lock people into poverty permanently. I’m reminded of the time a few years ago when Michelle Obama helped out at a soup kitchen, and some people standing in line pulled out their cellphones to take pictures. Oh, the outcry! Poor people with cellphones! Never mind the fact that a phone is pretty much required for a job hunt.
    Are they just mean, or do they not think through their ideas? I think the answer is “yes.”

  81. Alexander says

    @73 Lynna:

    the sociopathic tendencies of 1% and … right wing people: …

    @97 feralboy12:

    Are they just mean, or do they not think through their ideas?

    I suspect that “sociopathic” and “just mean” are pretty accurate descriptions, given that it appears they think this is appropriate/normal behavior:

    http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2014/02/i-crashed-a-wall-street-secret-society.html

    [Not that the "secret society" aspect isn't revolting enough, but note that the vicious undercutting behavior amplifies when the public eye is diverted. If it were possible, I'd say sociopathy might be an understatement...]