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The portrait is Charles Darwin, age 31, in 1840

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Comment by Joan Denoo on September 22, 2013 at 12:30pm

Religion used as tool for exploitive capitalism

Drew, I have talked to many people who use their belief in religious teachings to justify all kinds of nefarious actions and they are not exceptions. Some religious use their beliefs to justify family violence, exploit the poor, manipulate the weak, and take advantage of the gullible. 

As an atheist, I suppose I take more notice of these situation than some, however, I see non-religious people reaching out to others in need or in pain and do not need the motivator of religious beliefs to get them going. I agree with your assessment about the homeless and diversion of funds for defense spending.  

Chad, Yes, there are so very many adults who just can’t care of themselves, whether because of mental or physical disabilities. I worked for 20 years as a teacher and counselor, for community colleges, boys’ ranches, battered women and children programs and teaching in a prison preparing long-term prisoners to re-integrate into community life. As your girlfriend noted, we need community hospitals and shelters for those who can’t care for themselves. I wish it were not so. 

We are not safer because some are homeless, hungry, diseased, mentally and/or physically disabled. People who work for a living and those who live off their capital need to share in the burden of caring for such individuals and families.  


Comment by Drew Carpenter on September 22, 2013 at 11:56am

The homeless population in this counrty went from a rather small number to a huge and still growin number when Ronald Reagan decided to "mainstream" the mentally ill who were "healthy enough to live on heir own." They put thousands out on the streets by cutting funding. It was framed as a humanitarian issue, but of course it was just another way to shave expenses from the federal deficit to add to the defense budget.

Comment by Chad Kreutzer on September 22, 2013 at 10:24am
Drew, I'm sure there are some cynical people who are just using religious language to manipulate the masses, and those people, although I think what they're doing is unethical, at least I can wrap my mind around and approach on a reasonable level expecting them to respond reasonably. The problem is, coming from an Evangelical background, I can tell you a disturbing number of people--no matter how wealthy or "educated"--genuinely do believe. And that is what I find scary and dangerous for America.

Regarding the mentally ill, my girlfriend is a mental health professional, and seeing her work, what people are going through, and the number of homeless who just can't work, I have become convinced that we need to, in some way, bring back the state hospital system.
Comment by Drew Carpenter on September 22, 2013 at 12:30am

You know, I never paid any attention to them until they "got in trouble." I am a fan now. 

Comment by Christopher Lowe on September 22, 2013 at 12:27am

I assume you're a Dixie Chicks fan then :)

Comment by Drew Carpenter on September 22, 2013 at 12:17am

I am "blessed to live in state that made Perry our longest serving governor and produced, in my opinion, the worst president we have ever seen. Texas was always a solidly democratic state until about thirty (read: Ronald Reagan) years ago. Now it is almost impossible to elect a democrat. Of course, the repubs have played a lot of dirty games with redistricting to help keep it that way.

Comment by Christopher Lowe on September 22, 2013 at 12:12am

In God's Country it seems convenient to foist problems upwards to the big guy in the sky and thus shirk responsibility. Remember Gov. Perry holding a rally to pray away the drought? Need I say more?

Comment by Drew Carpenter on September 21, 2013 at 11:59pm

Joan, do you think that people like Blankfein really believe that? Or are they just posturing to try and convince the gullible? It's disgusting either way, but I'm always curious about their sincerity. 

Comment by Christopher Lowe on September 21, 2013 at 11:57pm

And may God bless their bank accounts! Elizabeth Warren is slowly accumulating power and influence. Though it may be too late to chase these people out of Dodge for past deeds, maybe a warren lead group will put teeth in the regulations. Maybe with consequences for once. Reinstituting Glass-Steele (SP?) would go a long way  to getting some good behaviour out of the banks as well. Being used as guinea pigs for theories designed to line their pockets is dangerous and foolhardy way to run, heck, not the American economy, but the world economy. It's not monopoly money.

Comment by Drew Carpenter on September 21, 2013 at 11:50pm

Chris, Referring back to what you said here:

"Then there are those that simply cannot function in society. They just can't." 

This is where I feel that we are failing our citizens more than anywhere else. We stigmatize mental illness and emotional instability instead of sympathizing and offering the help that people need. My home state, Texas, is probably the worst example of this. Some other states offer better programs, but here there is virtually nothing available for them. This is especially true for men. Some people, as you said, will never be able to function on their own. And their are some who could if they were given help in the form of counseling, medications, etc. All I ever here people in this part of the country discuss is how expensive it would be to offer this kind of help. Even if it is costly, it should be offered purely for humanitarian reasons. But even if we ignore the humanitarian aspect, I don't know how to make these people (so called conservatives) understand that there is a huge financial cost to not doing it. Maybe I'm wrong, but I have to think that in the long run that cost is greater.

You were correct earlier when you stated that we will have to make some difficult choices in this country. The interest on our deficit is so large that if we did not have it we could easily fund all of the social programs that we have now and still offer more.

I worry about extremists in both parties because our politics and our people have become so polarized that we can't get anything done. There was a time when we were able to accomplish some things by compromise. Now, no one wants to credit the other side with having any validity to their ideas. As for the republicans, they seem to be driven soley by ideology at this time. That is the death of rational thought, in my opinion.


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