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The portrait is Charles Darwin, age 31, in 1840

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Map of Archaic Ancestry

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Homo Erectus food processing

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Comment by Drew Carpenter on September 21, 2013 at 5:08pm

Of course I was not saying that we should abandon the poor. I'm saying that we need to be smarter about the way in which we help them so that we can move as many people as possible away from dependency. The most important part of that is to do things in a smarter way, and the first place I would start is by raising the minimum wage. All work needs to pay a living wage, and I don't accept any excuse for its not doing so. The conservatives always scream that it is a job killer but it always seems to have the opposite effect. 

Yes, poverty is a fact of life. But to just accept is as a permanent fact of life and continually treat the symptoms rather than the disease is the real cop out. We will never eliminate it completely but it is a goal that we should always be working towards. We will always have a welfare system, but a system that feeds on itself is a failure.

Yes, Obama had to clean up the mess. And I think he did a pretty good job. Despite all the hand-wringing, the tarp proram was a success and the money has been coming back in. 

I don't believe in trickle down economics, not at all. They may like to say that "a rising tide lifts all boats," but as long as more and more money is flowing into fewer hands, that idea is a failur. I would never associate redistribution of wealth with trickle down. Just the opposite. And I don't depend on corporations for job growth. Education is the key, and not the way we have been doing it. Our public schools try to give everyone the same liberal arts education whether they are suited for it or not. There is a point where we need to direct these kids into job skills, and since we have failed to do so for this long, we need to offer that opportunity to the adults who have no skills. the problem with the existing programs is that they dole out money to companies that charge way to much and provide too little in return. I don't see that changing as long as special interests have so much influence over dems and repubs. And yes, that comes back to no programs getting any traction that looks beyond the next election cycle. That is true even when officials are newly elected, because their are always votes two years down the road that even four and six year term pols have to worry about. In case you are wondering, I'm registered as a democrat and vote almost exclusively democrat. That doesn't mean that I am happy with what they are doing. And yes, I'm a dem because most of the extremists are on the republican side. And that shift of so much of the middle too the Reupblican party is largely responsible for the dems moving too far too the left.

It seems silly to associate with me Ayn Rand simply because I believe in finding a better way to do things.

Comment by Christopher Lowe on September 21, 2013 at 4:21pm

Poverty is a fact of life. What would you do about the down and out? Would you go for the "tough shit" attitude of the Tea Party based on their worship of their demi-goddess Ayn Rand? She has to be the most heartless and self centered writer in the modern era. 

There was a culture of misleading marketing combined with bundled trading that lead to the mortgage crisis. No one was brought to justice for this borderline fraud and ethical travesty. Obama was left to clean up the mess and at least he stepped up to the plate, and without relieving homeowners of their obligations, allowed relief by providing funds until their mortgages could be renegotiated. I do agree that that should not come from the taxpayers like you. The mortgage lenders who put these people in such a life ruining position should pay. And pay big time! They deserve to.

Redistribution of wealth is a red herring. With trickle down, all that happens is an effort to plug the leaks that cause that trickle. What is wrong with fostering success through job and education programs? Job creators? Give me a F'in break. These so called job creators have been doing there level best to reduce their workforces and tamp down wages for at least 4 decades. They have a lot of gall pretending their interest has anything to do with the workforce. And they have a lot of allies on the right in government. Money does indeed buy influence.

What doesn't get any traction are programs that look beyond the election cycle.

Whose policies put these people on welfare? Whose obstructionist policies keep them on there? Whose business models sap the hope out of gaining a ladder up the social scale?Whose policies prioritize funding your country's ability to bomb the rest of the world to kingdom come a thousand times over as opposed to raising the floor and filling in the cracks for the most vulnerable and at risk among you?

IMO government should be all about the fabric and safety of society. Corporations are big boys who can take care of themselves. They don't give a flying f#@k about the repercussions their business plans may have . Government,  should be in a position to prevent them from behaving badly.

I understand government has some hard choices going forward. Having said that I wonder how you reconcile saying you're socially liberal but a fiscal conservative? These viewpoints seem   to be somewhat in conflict. I empathize with your desire to meet somewhere in the middle but what I've contended all along here is the right is heavily loaded to the far right and has succeeded  in shifting the "middle" way over to their side.

I've been around the block and the world a few times, and I've found secular humanists highly involved in volunteerism, philanthropy and stewardship of the environment. I'll throw my ball in with these people rather than those who are all God and Greed and let the chips fall where they may.


Comment by Drew Carpenter on September 21, 2013 at 1:35pm

The left (dems) has created an entrenched welfare system that rewards recipients for adding to the welfare rolls (having more babies) rather than working to move them back into the mainstream, working class. Giving cell phones to the poor, which Obama did, is taking the welfare system too far. Giving people money to pay for mortgages, which he did, is extreme. It was supposed to be a move to help restart the housing market, and I did not object to the first year program which was a $7500.00 interest free loan paid back over 15 years for new home owners. The next year the amount was up to $8000.00 dollars and never has to be paid back. That is extremist. The money, as always, comes from the middle class, who can no longer afford it. Distribution of wealth in this country is disgraceful and we need to change that. But this is not the way. I will grant you that if the Repubs would quit blocking minimum wage increases, along with job and education programs, then we might eventually accomplish that redistribution. When Clinton was in office he was moving toward what he called workfare, and the system was changing. The dems position on this, or their way of accomplishing a redistribution of wealth, is driving too many voters to the Republican party.

Comment by Christopher Lowe on September 21, 2013 at 4:01am

Drew: "...both parties are failing the middle class by governing through extremist ideologies."

Really? Where are the extremists on the Left (Dems)? Seems to me the Right (GOP) are falling all over themselves to out extreme each other, while the Dems stand squarely in the center. Name 1 extremist policy the Dems own?

Comment by Chad Kreutzer on September 19, 2013 at 7:52am

There may be some like that, Drew, but I think you underestimate belief: especially casual belief. 

Comment by Drew Carpenter on September 19, 2013 at 12:47am

I'm sure there are a lot of moneyed people who actually believe, but I think that for many others it's just an expedience that they feel is necessary to succeed in the the business world.

Comment by Plinius on September 18, 2013 at 11:43pm

I seem to remember a lot of protestants - also in old Dutch books - who themselves made the link between capitalism and religion. They often said things like: "I'm succesfull in business because I'm a good xtian, and my succes in business proves that I'm a good xtian, or god wouldn't have blessed me." 

Comment by Dorian Moises Mattar on September 18, 2013 at 9:10pm

Yes, I grew up in Santo Domingo and Puerto Rico.

It's a nightmare.  My sisters are religious fanatics and so is my mom.  

At least now they respect me and don't bother trying to convert me.

There is all kinds of superstition.

Very sad.

Comment by Nick Sutherland on September 18, 2013 at 8:58pm

Is there anyone from the Caribbean in this group who has any insights on religion in the islands?

Comment by Joseph P on September 18, 2013 at 6:06pm

Well, Jesus could be a vindictive ass at times, too.  The money changers got on his bad side, daring to mix religion and commerce ... hey, wait a minute ...

You can support almost any position, with the Bible, if you pick and choose enough.  Neo-cons, for example, ignore all of the parables, except for the parable of the talents, because that's the only one that in any way supports capitalism.


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