Rick Warren: An ignorant claim, a dishonest claim, and a tribal claim

1. The ignorant claim.

This isn’t specifically from Rick Warren’s appearance Sunday on ABC’s This Week, but from a tweet following that depressing interview:

The Church has helped the poor far more than any govt, & for 2000 yrs longer! In 2011 our 1 church fed 70,000 unemployed.

OK, first, let’s say yes, good, yay, bravo for feeding 70,000 people. That’s an unqualified Good Thing for this 20,000-member church to be doing. If every median-sized American church did the same thing on the same scale, each would feed 262.5 unemployed people a year and if every American congregation did this, then the unemployed could all be guaranteed 6.28 solid meals a year! So, again, kudos for that.

But it’s doubly ignorant to claim that “The Church has helped the poor far more than any govt, & for 2000 yrs longer!” No one who has ever so much as glanced at the facts of the matter could even begin to believe this. It’s massively wrong on the facts. Even if we include all private-sector charity (not just “The Church”) and even if we arbitrarily restrict “government” to mean only direct assistance and transfers (and not public health, public education, infrastructure, etc.), the public sector still dwarfs the contributions from the private sphere(s).

Perhaps recognizing that folks like Warren would be reluctant to accept this reality, Mark Galli stated the facts rather bluntly in a recent Christianity Today article:

What these latest findings demonstrate is the church’s relative ineffectiveness and impotency at helping the poor. Some Christian activists have been trying to motivate us to care for the poor by pointing out how they are neglected by society. The state is a clumsy and arrogant institution, they argue, and not doing its job. So the church must step in to make a difference. That means that (1) churches should create their own anti-poverty initiatives (like microfinance), and (2) churches should lobby governments to do better.

These recent economic developments suggest that both of these strategies are either insignificant or relatively ineffective. It is not Christian activism that has created history’s greatest poverty reduction initiatives in India and China. And it is not micro but rather macroeconomics that really makes a difference.

This claim is also confusing in light of Warren’s assertion that “the only way to get people out of poverty is J-O-B-S.” As Kevin Drum noted, that’s a solid plank of the Democratic Party platform, and making sure the poor have decent jobs is something liberals have fought for for more than a century. But does Warren really want to argue that the church has provided the poor with more decent jobs than any government, ever? I know Saddleback has a pretty big payroll, but I doubt it compares to, say, the 1.4 million people employed at the moment as active-duty members of the U.S. military.

Warren also seems to imagine that the relatively recent modern separation of church and state has existed for “2000 yrs.” And that the current global scope of Christianity has existed for all of that time as well. (Or did he mean that only “the poor” within Christendom count?)

But it’s not just that Warren’s tweet is massively ignorant on the facts of the matter, it’s also massively ignorant of what centuries of Christian teaching have said about the responsibility to help the poor. This responsibility has never been regarded as exclusive, competitive and zero-sum. It has always been regarded as universal, mutual and complementary. Any given individual’s personal aspect of that universal responsibility will depend on that individual’s particular role, relationship, station, office, proximity and kinship, but there is no person in any role, relationship, station, office, proximity or kinship who is exempt from that responsibility. The obligation is differentiated, but inescapable.

The idea of an either/or responsibility for either the church or the state is sheer nonsense.

Karoli offers a deservedly blistering response to Warren’s doubly ignorant tweet here. Read the whole thing, but here’s just a taste:

In one breath you express sympathy for the poor, and in the next you scapegoat them.

… Your comments were not pastoral nor were they intended to be. They were purely political, fleshed out in substance by a healthy doses of Fox talkers with their “wealth redistribution” talking points. Your brag tweet about how much good Saddleback church did in 2011 for the unemployed is a big red flag exposing your belief that all assistance comes with strings attached. Whether it’s humiliation for being in need, or giving up the notion that our country should offer fair opportunity to those who need it, there’s a price.

2. The dishonest claim.

You hear people talking ...

On television, in public, Rick Warren repeated a silly, nasty lie that we’ve discussed here before when Charles Colson was shamefully repeating it. Here’s Warren:

There is a redefinition from freedom of religion to phrases — now you hear people talking about freedom of worship. That means it’s limiting what the church does to only what happens in the one hour on Sunday morning as worship. … The Constitution says freedom of religion, not just freedom of worship.

As we discussed when Colson and James Dobson were spouting this crap, this is both a stupid lie and a nasty one.

It’s a particularly stupid lie because it can only be told by someone who is: A) Too lazy to use Google; and B) Unaware that not everyone else is too lazy to use Google.

Like Colson and Dobson, Warren says there exists a secret conspiracy to take away the freedom of religion by sneakily replacing it with the phrase “freedom of worship.” Colson and Dobson both look extremely foolish for peddling this garbage because they both specifically stated that President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were leading this devious war on religion, making the ridiculous claim that Obama and Clinton both refuse to say “freedom of religion.” Again, this reflects not just that Dobson and Colson are brazen liars, but that they’re also old men who don’t understand the Internet and don’t realize how very simple it is for everyone to just look it up and to easily find dozens and dozens of instances of those two officials using the phrase “freedom of religion,” as well as dozens of instances of people like George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan using the not-at-all nefarious phrase “freedom of worship.”

Warren is younger and cagier. He provides a bit of cover for the lie by fuzzing up the details of the conspiracy he claims exists. “You hear people talking,” he says. You know, people. Them.

This lie that Warren is repeating is also a particularly nasty lie in that it can only be repeated by someone who is willing and eager to presume without evidence — indeed, to presume contrary to evidence — that others are secretly demonic. It makes no sense to say this unless one starts with the presumption that Obama, Clinton and those other “people” one hears talking are evil, evil, eeeeevil anti-Christians.

That is where Warren is starting. That is his presumption. Either he has assumed this without thinking he needed  to bother investigating such a claim before repeating it, or else he has investigated the claim, found out it was hogwash, then decided to repeat it anyway. Knowing liar or irresponsible gossip? Either way he is bearing false witness against his neighbors.

This tells us nothing about the current state of the freedom of religion. It tells us a great deal about Rick Warren.

Rebecca Schoenkopf thus treats this claim of Warren’s with all the respect it is due.

3. The tribal claim.

Much of the ensuing press coverage of the Warren/Tapper interview surrounded Warren’s discussion of the theological differences between Mormonism and evangelical Christianity. Don Byrd of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty notes that Warren’s comments came in response to a very strange non-sequitur of a question from ABC’s Jake Tapper:

On yesterday’s ABCNews This Week, Jake Tapper interviewed Pastor Rick Warren discussing matters of faith and politics. Where discussion of one stopped and another started was sometimes hard to tell. Check out this segue:

TAPPER: Mitt Romney will almost certainly be the Republican nominee, and if that happens, as it looks like it will, he’ll the first member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints to be the nominee. A lot of evangelicals have been talking about whether or not Mormons are Christians. Are Mormons Christians?

Wait. What does Mitt Romney’s impending presidential nomination have to do with whether Mormons are considered Christians? What is the glue that holds together the first two sentences above?

Byrd discusses this implicit “glue,” highlighting the church-state concerns that he focuses on at the BJC.

But I see it less as a matter of church and state and more as an example of the tribalism of religious-identity politics.

Tapper’s question, Warren’s ability to follow it and Warren’s ability to answer it without hesitation assume that Warren isn’t there in his capacity as a religious leader or author. The question and the answer both assume, rather, that he is there as the representative of a tribal voting bloc — a special-interest group that understands itself and is understood by others as one faction among others fighting for a large share of the zero-sum pool of societal privileges. Implicit in both the question and the answer is the idea that whether or not a candidate is an evangelical Christian is and ought to be a serious consideration for evangelical Christian voters.

Warren’s discussion of Mormonism clarified the difference between his tribe and Romney’s tribe, but neither he nor Tapper thought it inappropriate to be discussing either politics or religion in such tribal terms.

 

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  • JessicaR

    And yet, I’d admit it, I’m counting on some of that Tribalism to keep Romney out of office. If some Evangelicals can’t be decent human beings, at least their refusal to hold their nose and vote for a Mormon will help keep an awful person, awful for many other reasons beside his religion, out of office.

  • RickRS

    6.28 meal per year.  Thank you, Fred, for showing us the might of the American Church.

    I’m reminded of my mom’s claim that her church’s annual Saturday Thanksgiving dinner is feeding the homeless.  Never mind that the homeless never hears that on the street.  Never mind they have no transportation to travel the 6-8 miles from where they live under the bridge and near a city park to my mom’s church for a single meal on Saturday.  Never mind that the only people showing up are all just the church regulars and their invited friends and family, none whom have any sign of coming in off the street. 

  • Anonymous

    The Church has helped the poor far more than any govt, & for 2000 yrs longer! In 2011 our 1 church fed 70,000 unemployed.

    Maybe, maybe that statement possesses a dim aura of truthiness if one counts those centuries during which the Church effectively was the State, but that would mean throwing in with the Papists, as well as ignoring all the regions of the world where Christianity hadn’t yet spread, not to mention the complete, abject misery, filth and poverty in which most Europeans lived throughout the Dark and Middle Ages (and Renaissance)(and Enlightenment).

    Still, something tells me that no matter what anyone says or house resoundingly his statement is refuted, Rick’s never gonna give it up.

  • Tricksterson

    To be fair it wasn’t just the Catholic Church that prcticed theocracy.  Calvin in Genva, Zwingli in Zurich (or was it the other way around?), Presbytyrian Scotland, England under both the houses of Yudor and Stuart, as well as under Cromwell (and to a lesser extent afterwards) all had theocratic aspects.  Others too I’m sure.

  • Anonymous

    Fair enough. Still, I’m always amused when sectarians claim 2000 years of Christian tradition as their own, but only the good bits.

  • Albanaeon

    There is waaaay to much truth in that statement

  • Anonymous

    JessicaR: I think that the vast majority of conservative Evangelicals will end up voting for Romney.

    But I’m curious: In which states is Romney most likely to suffer because of his religion?  Isn’t Romney likely to win most states with significant conservative Evangelical populations who would normally support a Republican candidate?  Even if his margin of victory in such a state is 5% less than an expected margin for a Protestant Republican, a win is a win.  Is it that the Republicans would be expected to devote more resources to these deep red states — resources that they would prefer to use in purple and light blue states?

  • We Must Dissent

    The “freedom of worship” bit made me think of this propaganda film from 1942. It’s Donald Duck paying doing his part to help the war effort by paying his taxes–“It’s your privilege, not just your duty.”

    It uses “freedom of worship” as one of the freedoms that paying taxes defends.

    http://youtu.be/00u6qUelp6c

  • Anonymous

    It’s Donald Duck paying doing his part to help the war effort by paying his taxes–“It’s your privilege, not just your duty.”

    Off topic, but has anyone seen Draftee Daffy? It’s pretty much the opposite of that Donald Duck ‘toon.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Just watched that Daffy cartoon. Was rather amused by the armchair-warrior gung-honess followed by the most silly attempts at avoiding a duty asked of him by a nation.

    Considering how right-wing jerks like Colson et al blow their own horns so much about the military I wouldn’t be surprised if they all acted like Daffy Duck when actually called on to do their duty, like Rush Limbaugh seeking a deferment due to a pilonoidal cyst (basically, a wart on his ass).

  • The_L1985

    “At least I’m free of that man from the draft board!”
    “Well, now, I wouldn’t say that…”

  • Tricksterson

    But that was produced (as was the poster Fred posted) under the Roosevelt administration and everyone knows that FDR was a secret Commie, or worse a secret Jew!  After all he never presented a birth certificate proving he wasn’t.

  • Lori

    OK, first, let’s say yes, good, yay, bravo for feeding 70,000 people.
    That’s an unqualified Good Thing for this 20,000-member church to be
    doing.

    Maybe after all these years of megachurch BS* my cynicism has just gotten stuck on 11, but I have to ask how confident we are about Warren’s numbers. What exactly did his outpost of Saddleback do that fed 70k unemployed people? I’m not quite going to say pics or it didn’t happen, but I’m not taking it on face value either.

    *It’s also possible that I’m viewing Warren’s claim of megachurch charity through the lens of defense industry job creation claims. I’m currently reading a book about the global arms trade and if that doesn’t make you cynical then Pollyanna needs to turn in her crown because you are the perkiest optimist of them all.

  • Lori

    Oh look. Rick is not alone in claiming that his deeply held Christian faith requires him to treat the poor like crap. Paul Ryan’s budget is apparently all about the Church.

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/04/10/1082200/-Paul-Ryan-ignores-Catholic-bishops-says-screw-the-poor?detail=hide

    I’m only sort of joking when I say that I consider the fact that Warren, Ryan and their ilk have not yet been struck by lightening to be evidence that there is no god.

  • P J Evans

    I’m hoping She’s waiting until they’re all in one place, and then the building will collapse on them.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    From Lori’s Paul Ryan link:

    Those principles are very very important, and the preferential option for the poor, which is one of the primary tenants of Catholic social teaching, means don’t keep people poor, don’t make people dependent on government so that they stay stuck at their station in life.

    That’s not what the preferential option for the poor means. Strict application of Catholic teaching: you’re doing it wrong. Again.

    Also, as someone who was poor and is now rich but was dependent on government welfare for the first two decades of my life to get there, and many of whose family members will always be poor: OMG FUCK OFF PAUL RYAN RICK SANTORUM/WARREN AND ALL WHO SHARE THEIR FUCKED UP RIGHT WING ABOMINATION OF A CULT.

    I have no words to express the depth and extent of my hatred of this bullshit dogma towards the poor which pretends to be Christianity.

    [I admit that I fall short of the calling of Christ because I have immense difficulty being kind to some of those who hate me; just as the above arseholes fall short because they oppress the poor. Hopefully we’ll all get a little closer to where we need to be.]

    tl; dr:  Rage.

  • Emcee, cubed

    Maybe after all these years of megachurch BS* my cynicism has just
    gotten stuck on 11, but I have to ask how confident we are about
    Warren’s numbers.

    My first thought on reading it was that there were a lot of iffy parts to that quotation. Let’s start with how does warren define “fed”? Is that 3 meals a day for the year? One meal at sometime during the year? They handed out bags of peanuts?

    Then there is the “70,000” part. Is that 70,000 individual people? Did you check IDs to make sure no one came in more than once? Or did you give out 70,000 meals/bags of peanuts, and if someone got more than one, you just counted them twice?

    Then there’s the “unemployed” part. How do you know they were all unemployed? Did you make them show their unemployment check at the door before you let them in? Did you get addresses from the state and deliver meals to those houses? If it was a family of 4, are you counting the kids as “unemployed” (which, while technically true, really isn’t what you were implying)?

    My guess is, there is some way he came up with the number that makes some sort of sense, but to try to use it as a bludgeon against government and poor people is pretty despicable.

  • friendly reader

    The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States. (Article VI, paragraph 3)

    But of course, it’s Obama who’s destroying the constitution…

  • Anonymous

    A voter’s decision based on a candidate’s religion would violate the spirit of the Constitution, but not the letter.

  • Lori

     

    A voter’s decision based on a candidate’s religion would violate the spirit of the Constitution, but not the letter. 

    Oh for the love of FSM. A voter’s decision based on a candidate’s religion does not violate the
    spirit of the Constitution, let alone the letter. Voters are free to base their choices on
    whatever criteria they see fit and the Constitution says nothing to the contrary. The Establishment Clause applies to the government, not to voters.

    What violates the spirit of the Constitution is a legislator voting on laws based purely on his/her religious beliefs.

  • friendly reader

    To both you and aunursa:
    My point in the post is that Evangelicals insisting that only a God-fearing Christian can be acceptable to vote for creates a de facto religious test even if there isn’t a de jure one (which would be unconstitutional). Because of the insistence on a popular religious test, no party would consider fielding a non-Christian candidate for president in today’s political climate. Someone Jewish for VP, sure (see: Lieberman), but for president? Rick Warren is going to ask you in front of his church what Jesus means to you, and you better have the right answer. (Romney presumably has prepared an answer ready that doesn’t include “firstborn Spirit Child of the Heavenly Father and Mother.”) Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Neo-Pagans, agnostics, and atheists need not apply.

    Romney might be pushing it given what the theological heterodoxy* of Mormonism, but as Fred has pointed out a hundred times, that’s not necessarily the litmus test anymore. It’s anti-gay, anti-abortion, anti-environmentalism, and for many that’s what makes you a RTC.

    Of course, given Romney’s past he may not be considered a Christian even by that standard.

    *In this context, I’m using heterodoxy in the literal Greek meaning of “other teachings,” i.e. outside the mainstream of a religion’s teaching. I don’t mean to imply that Mormon beliefs are illegitimate, just that their beliefs about God are very, very different from other self-identified Christians. In terms of categories, it’s almost more practical to consider them a new religion that grew out of Christianity.

  • Delcoro77

    Rick Warren is evil. EOL.

  • nirrti

    Of course people like “Pastor” Rick Warren would rather it be left entirely to the church to feed the poor. After all, it would mean no one being helped at all rather than the government actually making a dent in hunger if it’s all left to the church.

    More poor, desperate people means a bigger captive audience in the pews each Sunday. If someone actually did something about poverty, the church wouldn’t have anyone to lord their power over anymore.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charity-Brighton/100002974813787 Charity Brighton

     That, and I suspect that actually eradicating poverty is low on his agenda. I’m not saying he hates the poor or doesn’t care about them at all, but he just cares about preserving the special interests of his elite friends much, much more. Sure, if he could do everything in the world, I’m sure he would get around to it, but it’s way, way low on his priorities.

    What I also found bewildering is the notion that Mitt Romney somehow fails some kind of evangelical litmus test. Say what you will about him as a politician, but his personal life fits perfectly into the “Leave It To Beaver”/1950s TV show image they have of the ideal nuclear family. The fact that several evangelical leaders including Tim LaHaye chose a degenerate serial adulterer over a perfect family man like Mitt Romney should have pretty much put an end to the notion that these guys care at all about morals.

  • http://redwoodr.tumblr.com Redwood Rhiadra

    What I also found bewildering is the notion that Mitt Romney somehow
    fails some kind of evangelical litmus test. Say what you will about him
    as a politician, but his personal life fits perfectly into the “Leave It
    To Beaver”/1950s TV show image they have of the ideal nuclear family.

    Except for the part where they all worship Satan, which is what evangelicals have been teaching their congregations about Mormons for the last hundred years or so…

  • bytebear

     Mormons don’t worship Satan.  But it sure helps those pastors keep their congregants in line with spooky Mormon stories. Unfortunately, he parishioner discovers that it’s their pastor who is lying, and that kind of turns the tables on the situation, doesn’t it?

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    “No one*” ever thinks that *they* worship Satan, ist’s just that Real True Christians know that when *those people* reach their day of judgement and stand before Yahweh, Allah, the Heavenly Father and Mother, Odin, God-but-for-Catholics, or whoever it is they’ve been praying to, He’ll suddenly rip off his mask and reveal that he was Satan all along. And then he will say “HAW HAW HAW”.

    (* Except Satanists. And possibly some of those other less-well-known abrahamic religions that don’t have the same notions about the fall of lucifer)

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    obligatory South Park reference:
    “I’m afraid it was the Mormons. Yes, the Mormons were the correct answer.”
    /obligatory South Park reference

  • http://redwoodr.tumblr.com Redwood Rhiadra

    Actually, the vast majority of the parishoners never discover that their pastor is lying. That would require them to actually investigate what Mormons do believe, which they won’t do because it would expose them to Satan. Nice little Catch-22 the pastors have going…

  • Lori

    This is true.

    I don’t think that the Mormons are really in a position to lecture on that score though.

  • Tricksterson

    Doesn’t matter how good his family life is.  He’s a Mormon and Mormons are heretics end of story.  You couldn’t find a better family man than Obama  (and I’m sure they’ve looked into every possibility of scandal there) and look how they feel about him.  Because he’s a Muslim, which I’m sure they believe even if they don’t have the cojones to say so publicly. :P

  • bytebear

     I can find a better Family man in Romney.  Since this is about charity, let’s compare Obama and Romney,  Romney and his wife have established charitable foundations,  Romney has consistently given from 20%- 40% of his income to charity.  Obama on the other hand, has donated nearly nothing ($1050) annually to charity prior to running for president (then it suddenly jumps but even then only to about 5%).  Sorry, but those are the facts.

    Oh, and Mormonism is about as heretical as Protestantism was to the Catholics in the 1600s, and Christianity was to the Pharisees.  Mormonism is the 4th largest denomination in the US, and in the next few decades will become #2 behind Catholicism as protestantism shrinks based on current growth trends.  Of the top 10 largest churches, the LDS Church is the fastest growing.  Mormons are here to stay.  Get used to it.

  • The_L1985

    Neopagan religions in general, especially Wicca, are growing even faster. We’re not going anywhere, either. :)

  • Tricksterson

    I am used to it.  I have no more against the LDS than I do any other form of organized religion.  Which is to say quite a bit.

  • Lori

     

    Of the top 10 largest churches, the LDS Church is the fastest growing. 

    Not so much as they would like you to believe

    http://www.religiondispatches.org/archive/culture/5611/mormon_numbers_not_adding_up/

    Mormons are here to stay. 

    Yes they are. Very few people dispute that.

     

    Get used to it. 

    No one here has a problem with Mormons existing. Many of us have serious problems with attempts by the LDS church to limit civil rights in line with their religious beliefs. That isn’t going to change either. If the LDS continues to get involved in politics then they need to expect, and get used to, getting push back.

  • bytebear

    Compare to the others.

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/weblogs/belief-blog/2010/feb/12/latest-church-growth-stats-in/

    As for “civil rights” Mormons, like every other person or group has every right to voice their opinion and influence local national laws. If you are referring to California’s Prop 8, you should note that opponents raised more money both in and out of the state. You imply that only one side should be allowed that right. I disagree.

  • Lori

    It’s really impossible to take you seriously when you’re using the Moonie Times as a source. The link I originally posted already talked about the problems with the stats in your link.

    So, on at least two levels try, try again.

  • bytebear

    I cited the Wall Street Journal, NBC, and a simple Google search revealed hundreds of other reputable sources. Sorry, but killing the messenger does not make the message wrong.

  • Lori

    I cited the Wall Street Journal, NBC, and a simple Google search revealed hundreds of other reputable sources. Sorry, but killing the
    messenger does not make the message wrong. 

    The articles in your link bomb were all about Mitt Romney’s charitable giving, which has nothing to do with church growth numbers. You do understand why quoting a more reputable source* on topic A does not get you a pass for quoting a worthless source on topic B don’t you?

    Your source for church growth numbers was crap and the study it quoted has accuracy problem WRT the growth of the LDS church.

    *More reputable being relative and variable for your link list. Fox is basically as worthless as the Washington Times. I’m not going to bother going down the rest of the list.

  • bytebear

    Yes, I was responding to someone who asked me to cite Romney’s charitable givings. So I did.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Romney has consistently given from 20%- 40% of his income to charity. 
    Obama on the other hand, has donated nearly nothing ($1050) annually to
    charity prior to running for president (then it suddenly jumps but even
    then only to about 5%).  Sorry, but those are the facts.

    [citation needed]

  • bytebear
  • http://www.mormon.me.uk/ Dave Sadler

    Lets compare Romney to Brigham Young.
    Brigham had 57 children to 16 different women who produced nearly 1000 Grand Children.

    Romney is falling behind with only 100 grand children.

    The Mormon God on Kolob will not be impressed.
    LOL

  • bytebear

     Have you ever looked into the Mormon humanitarian program?  It’s absolutely amazing.  Every congregation fasts for two meals once a month and donates the money they would have spent to the local bishop.  That gos into a bishops’ storehouse, which is essentially a grocery store with no cash registers. The Bishop finds the needy in his area and makes sure they are given the food. 

    But that’s just the local level.  At the national and international level, they have just built one of the largest warehouses in the world, literally acres of storage for food, clothes and medicine all to be given away for free.  They save enough so when the disaster hits they have the food.  And most of the work is done voluntarily, so you have no bureaucracy issues.  It’s incredibly efficient.  And, no offense to the author, but the government simply cannot match that kind of efficiency.   (By the way, much of the US welfare system was patterned after Mormon methods).

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Uh, Canadians managed to invent bureaucracy-free, streamlined systems of assistance to the poor in the 1950s and 1960s with little help from any Mormons whatsoever.

  • bytebear
  • Lori

      Have you ever looked into the Mormon humanitarian program?  It’s absolutely amazing.  Every congregation fasts for two meals once a month and donates the money they would have spent to the local bishop.  That gos into a bishops’ storehouse, which is essentially a grocery store with no cash registers. The Bishop finds the needy in his area and makes sure they are given the food. 

    Just out of curiosity I decided to check around a bit. If the LDS humanitarian program is so very awesome and so much more efficient than government aid why are a record number of Utahans on food stamps and why is Utah ranked 4th in the nation in very low food security?

    If the LDS church either can’t or won’t even feed the citizens of the state it controls then maybe Mormons shouldn’t be lecturing about the efficacy of Mormon charity vs government aid.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    That said, one thing I noticed is that the extremes of rich and poor seemed a little bit muted in Utah – even the crappier houses in small towns didn’t seem QUITE as crappy, and while I haven’t seen the LDS monuments or whatnot, Salt Lake City impressed me as a city that didn’t have large extremes either.

    I attribute this to the prevalence of Mormonism and the tithing system that acts like an extra tax on those who can afford to pay.

    Granted, this was in 2000.

  • EllieMurasaki

    And, no offense to the author, but the government simply cannot match
    that kind of efficiency.   (By the way, much of the US welfare system
    was patterned after Mormon methods).

    [citation needed]

    And no church can match the government for sheer effectiveness. And the government, unlike the church, is not allowed to put conditions such as ‘worship with us’ on the aid.

  • bytebear

    Sheer effectiveness? Are you kidding me. Have you looked at the boondoggle that is the California High Speed Rail? Wasted money, ineffective plans and bloated bureaucracy.

    As to being “allowed to put conditions” on things, just tell that to the Catholics in Massachusetts. Or next time you think a state wants to change their traffic laws. Sorry, but big government comes with far more strings. At least with private charities, I can choose whom I want my money to go to.

  • Lori

    Sheer effectiveness? Are you kidding me. Have you looked at the boondoggle that is the California High Speed Rail? Wasted money,
    ineffective plans and bloated bureaucracy.

    So the LDS church is building light rail now? And it has less waste than the program in California. Citation needed.

  • bytebear

    No, but if a private enterprise or group of investors build the his speed rail (not light rail) then they would actually come up with realistic budgets and deadlines.

    But, if you want to compare the church’s welfare program to the governments, you can certainly Google enough evidence to show that one is more efficient than the other.

  • Lori

    No, but if a private enterprise or group of investors build the his speed rail (not light rail) then they would actually come up with
    realistic budgets and deadlines.

    Sure. Because private industry is always efficient, realistic and honest. Especially when building infrastructure with tax dollars. That’s one of the major reasons things went so well in Iraq and we should definitely want more of that here at home.

    But, if you want to compare the church’s welfare program to the governments, you can certainly Google enough evidence to show that one is more efficient than the other. 

    The efficiency of church welfare programs is an illusion. Churches provide a fraction of the aid that people actually need, far less than government provides, and anyone who is really difficult to help they simply ignore. Given the situation with food insecurity in Utah I think the LDS should take care of it’s own backyard before Mormons state bragging about how efficient their charity is.

  • bytebear

    Private industry is influenced by competition. The government should encourage competition. But by centralizing control, they are eliminating it, thereby increasing corruption and inefficiency.

    Food insecurity in Utah? Citation please?

  • VMink

    Guess what?  The government did encourage competition for the past thirty years while the financial industry was increasingly unregulated.  It came to a head about, oh, seven years ago.  Maybe you remember that.

    Guess what happened.  No, really, GUESS.

    Your ideal of the laissez-faire unregulated capitalist utopia has failed.  Now get out of the way or help us fix the broken system, but don’t keep saying to “stay the course!”  Staying the course put us up on the shoals.

  • bytebear

    Seven years ago? Try about 5 when Fanny and Freddy burst the bubble on Housing. I do remember Carter though, and I remember how Reagan turned the country around. I remember how Clinton rode that wave of prosperity and then shut down half the military and suddenly we had terrorists dropping our skyscrapers. Yes, I remember.

    The irony is that Obama is now trying to capitalize on Reagan and raising taxes, but he either doesn’t get how Reaganomics works, doesn’t know the Reagan presidency very well, or thinks that 70% down to 30% is an increase in taxes.

  • http://jamoche.dreamwidth.org/ Jamoche

    I remember how Reagan turned the country around.

    Funny, I remember it differently. But then I was living in Texas at the time.

  • P J Evans

    how Reaganomics works
    Short answer: it doesn’t work for anyone who wasn’t already stinking rich.

    thinks that 70% down to 30% is an increase in taxes
    As opposed to the conservatives who think that even a 30% top tax bracket is too high for multimillionaires with multiple residences and bank accounts in tax havens like Switzerland and Jersey and the Caymans.
    You might want to consider that in the 40s and 50s, when the economy was doing well and most people could afford to buy houses, the top tax bracket was 90%. So quit bellyaching about 30%, because it’s as low as in the 1920s.

  • Makabit

    “At least with private charities, I can choose whom I want my money to go to.”

    And that, I would say, is the catch. Because Torah tells me to feed the widow and the orphan, not just some specific widows and orphans I think are worthy of my charity dollar.

  • bytebear

    Does the Torah also say to take away from others by force and give to those that you feel are worthy of their money? I think not.

  • Makabit

    “By force”. Hmmm.

    Yeah, you’re a bullshit artist. Surprised you didn’t say ‘at gunpoint’, that’s usually the next crap talking point.

  • bytebear

    Are you saying there are no consequences for not paying taxes?

  • EllieMurasaki

    As to being “allowed to put conditions” on things, just tell that to the
    Catholics in Massachusetts. Or next time you think a state wants to
    change their traffic laws. Sorry, but big government comes with far
    more strings. At least with private charities, I can choose whom I want
    my money to go to.

    The point of government assistance, and the problem Catholic adoption services keep running into, is that one can’t choose whom one’s money goes to. Can’t discriminate on religion. Can’t discriminate on sexual orientation. Can’t discriminate on anything one might think of to discriminate on.

  • bytebear

    “one can’t choose” That’s the problem.

  • http://willbikeforchange.wordpress.com/ Storiteller

     Anyone who says volunteerism means “no bureaucracy issues” and things are “incredibly efficient” have never done volunteer work outside of an incredibly hierarchical organization where people follow orders because someone tells them to.  They follow them voluntarily, but there’s still definitively someone at the top.  And honestly, that’s not the type of volunteer work I like to do because if someone at the top is giving all of the orders, they’re not listening to anyone below them, including the people they are supposed to serve.  I prefer consensus-based groups that may be less efficient, but involve more respect for everyone involved, whether served or serving. 

    By the way, I too know of a church-based organization that grew out of nothing and does amazing things: http://homecoop.net/  I lived with them for about month, which isn’t long, but long enough to get their philosophy.  And there’s no question that they would love more government support for both their individual work and social services at large.

  • bytebear

    Ok, on the one hand you say that consensus-based groups are better. I have no problem with that. I think there needs to be many different types of programs trying different systems. The systems that work better will last longer. The issue I have is pushing all those programs to the government which is neither efficient nor consensus-based but is a hierarchy with no one to answer to but themselves, and certainly no obligation to provide the best system for the ones they are supposed to be helping, but because the funds come from no real work other than raising taxes, there is no need to try to improve efficiency or reduce costs. Rather, the solution is to simply raise taxes.

  • P J Evans

    Sorry, it’s been demonstrated that government is more efficient than your beloved capitalism. Capitalism didn’t build the interstates; it built toll roads. It didn’t build schools, it built banks that are ‘too big to fail’.

  • bytebear

    Yes, Communism is so much better than Capitalism. That’s why Eastern Europe is so efficient. Hey, but the trains run on time.

  • Matri

    Man, you are strongly determined to stay ignorant.

  • Makabit

    What I also found bewildering is the notion that Mitt Romney somehow fails some kind of evangelical litmus test. Say what you will about him as a politician, but his personal life fits perfectly into the “Leave It To Beaver”/1950s TV show image they have of the ideal nuclear family. The fact that several evangelical leaders including Tim LaHaye chose a degenerate serial adulterer over a perfect family man like Mitt Romney should have pretty much put an end to the notion that these guys care at all about morals.

    As a Jew, I have to say that Evangelicals and Mormons look exactly the same to me. The Mormons just have super-clean living, and some extra prophets and scriptures.

    I do realize that the theological divide runs a little deeper than that, and that I would be scornful of anyone who claimed to ‘not get’ why, say, distinctions between Sunni and Shia were important enough to cause conflict. But at first glance…from a stranger…

  • Green Eggs and Ham

    I call BS on Rev. Rick.  The Church was fully complicit with feudalism.  Feudalism was a protection racket.  Feudalism  insured that most everyone was poor, except for those who didn’t have any shit on them. 

  • The_L1985

    Must be a king, then.

  • Makabit

    The Rick Warrens of the world, I’ve found, tend to claim all the good done by historical Christians for Christianity, and foist off the bad mostly on ‘Catholicism’.

  • John Harland

    I must admit that I really like Rockwell’s Four Freedoms paintings. They’re cheesy and propaganda-y, but charming all the same.

    They also remind me of the spirit of the short film Don’t Be A Sucker!, a fine piece of anti-racist propaganda (which must be a rare thing in itself).

    Really makes me wonder how we got from there to where we are now.

  • The_L1985

    Not just anti-racist, but anti-divide-and-conquer-politics in general.

    If “Don’t Be A Sucker” were required viewing in American schools, we’d be in much better shape.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    After watching that clip* and “Despotism”**, I’ve got to say at least some people in 1946 took home the lessons of power and prejudice from the 1930s and 1940s, and wanted to make sure the USA learned from those experiences.

    —-

    * I first saw it in perhaps 2005?
    ** Another awesome clip. some of the commenters on the prelinger archives made some pointed references to the Bush Administration.

  • Lori

    At least getting a visit for a cheerleader for the LDS is a change from all the pro-Catholic Bishop cheerleaders we’ve been getting recently. 

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    I wonder what church would give me $30,000 for the operation I need. I wonder just what I’d have to do to prove I “deserve” it. Besides pretend to believe something I didn’t believe, I mean — that’s obvious.

  • bytebear

    Well, where are the secular charities?  If you can’t find one that you think is fair, then start your own?  Why wait for the government to solve your problems.  Try solving them yourself.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    Ahahahahah. Hahahah. Hah.

    Start my own charity. When I have a disability that means I can’t work.

    And I should have to go to charity for something that is a basic human right: the right to healthcare. Because that’s more dignified. Right. 

    Try growing some empathy before posting again.

  • bytebear

    A basic human right to what?  Whether it’s the government or your neighbor giving you food, the only difference is who you are begging from.  

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    So it would be more dignified for me to die of hunger. Right.

    You are choosing to be stupid. Amazingly stupid. Really extraordinarily stupid.

  • bytebear

    Every choice has consequences. If you don’t want to die of hunger, then you need to make choices to ensure that doesn’t happen. You just don’t want to deal with those choices, and want the government to magically solve your problems, but they use tax payer money to feed you which means you are ultimately accountable to the rest of America for your food. So you can either get your own food, or answer to the rest of us.

  • JayemGriffin

    I have to say, I’m not totally sure what you’re advocating here. If you cannot afford to buy enough food to feed you and your family, the “choices” I can come up with are: 1. food stamps, which you say are undignified and require being “accountable to the rest of America” (I don’t exactly what that means, but I have an inkling it means giving up at least a few of those pesky “rights” things); 2. charity, which requires convincing whoever you’re accepting charity from that you actually DO need and deserve their help (not as easy as you seem to think); 3. eating out of other people’s trash; or 4. stealing.

    Which option would you recommend?

  • bytebear

    I never said food stamps were undignified, but they hardly come with no strings, and they certainly take away the rights of the people paying for the food (i.e. the tax payer).

    Charities compete for donations, so they are inclined to use their funds more efficiently. They also may require the recipients to try to improve their own status. for example, if you accept food, you may asked to donate in the soup kitchen, or to attend a job training program.

    Charities also have the added benefit that the contributor gets to decide which charity is best suited to support their cause. They may choose LDS social services or the Salvation Army, or the local soup kitchen. They get the choice, and if there is any conflict of values, that’s still their prerogative.

    Government programs remove the competition, they also force the tax payer into supporting a system with which they do not agree. Tax dollars go to Planned Parenthood regardless of choice. Now, you may say, “great, I love PP”, but what if the government decided that it should go to Catholic adoption charities? Or Mormon anti-Gay charities. Whatever you consider heinous and evil. Well, neither you nor I get any choice in the matter.

    I recommend you reach out to your community, be it religious or secular and build up a food bank. The Mormons have done it. The Salvation Army has done it. The Catholics have done it. Where is your community? Why are they the ones leaving you out in the cold eating out of trash cans and/or stealing food? Don’t blame me because your social tribe has abandoned you, and you now have to rely on the government.

  • JayemGriffin

    UM. I’m going to have to ask you to stop RIGHT THE FUCK NOW and go do some research. Cause the Mormons and the Catholics and the Salvation Army are all none too fond of feeding people who don’t meet their exacting standards. Like  single parents, or atheists, or HEAVEN FORFUCKINGBID, anyone who’s LGBTQ. A whole hell of a lot of communities aren’t as welcoming as you think they are, and they are pretty okay with letting the Wrong Kind of People starve. Fine and dandy for the charities, but damn awful for all those people who happen to be the Wrong Kind. Reaching out to your community ain’t going to do much good if they slap you in the face. 

    I’m not blaming you, and you don’t have to get defensive (unless there’s something you feel you need to defend). But there’s a shitload of other issues you’re overlooking here.

  • bytebear

     As a gay man, I can tell you I have never been kicked out of a Salvation Army store, and although I have never asked the Mormons for food, I am sure they would probably help me out if I was willing to volunteer to help in their humanitarian canneries and warehouses. 

    I also know all of those charities have given a ton to hurricane, Earthquake and other natural disasters without checking the sexual orientation or marital status of the recipients.  I also know that Out of the Closet is a good charity and there are many gay sponsored charities out there to choose.

    But what you seem to be saying is that the government is the only alternative to religious charities.  I am saying that you are wrong.  And I am saying, if you want to make a difference then do it, and stop waiting for a politician to solve your problems.  They are very bad at doing that.

  • Jared Bascomb

    You may not have been kicked out of Salvation Army store, but have you sought shelter with your same-sex partner (and child) at a Salvation Army facility? ‘Cause that’s a no-go.

  • http://deird1.dreamwidth.org Deird

    I never said food stamps were undignified, but they hardly come with no strings, and they certainly take away the rights of the people paying for the food (i.e. the tax payer).

    What rights? The rights to watch the peasants starve in the street while mwahahaing and stroking a cat?

  • Beroli

    What rights? The rights to watch the peasants starve in the street while mwahahaing and stroking a cat?

    Unlikely. Having a cat would necessitate caring for another living being.

  • bytebear

    Really? How many peasants are starving in the streets? Seriously. How hard is it to go to a food shelter. Every city has them. No one in America is starving. In fact, we have the highest obesity level in the world.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Obesity is not an indicator of good access to food, ignoramus.

  • bytebear

    Obesity is an indicator that we have enough food to feed everyone, but it is not being distributed efficiently. Again, why is it not efficient?

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Ah, no it’s not. Obesity at the population level is about poor quality, calorie-dense food (concentrated among the poor because good quality food is less affordable). It’s not about having too much good quality food.

    There is actually a whole branch of science that studies this. They’re a lot better informed than some right wing dude on the internet.

  • bytebear

    So, you are saying government sponsored food is better? I can give you plenty of studies on school lunch programs that would disagree.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    I don’t know, man. I don’t live in your bullshit right wing country that attempts to paper over its poverty and inequality problems while maintaining allegiance to bullshit right wing ideology remains the higher priority. Government programs probably aren’t all that awesome when they have to be implemented in the context of ubercapitalism worship. But my comrades here will no doubt provide evidence as to how they’re better than you like to imagine.

  • P J Evans

    Beckwit, obesity is not a sign that we have enough food, it’s a sign that people are getting too many calories, like from eating cheap fast food and junk food. You  might want to visit a supermarket some time, particularly with your wife guiding you, so you can see for yourself what ‘healthy eating’ actually costs.

  • Dan Audy

    Obesity in poor populations is often caused by Protein Calorie Malnutrition where the person is getting sufficient calories from carbohydrates but an insufficient amount of protein.  In addition to building up fat cells (because the body lacks the protein to expend that energy building muscle or tissue) the lymphatic system begins leaking in the stomach region given a bloated and distended belly.

    Beyond that, getting sufficient nutrition is not the same as getting healthy food.  Corn subsidies in particular make processed corn products (in particular High Fructose Corn Syrup) extremely cheap and are thus what many poor people rely on.  The problem with not having efficient distribution is Capitalism which distorts access by income, the only way to overcome it is to use Socialist (like charity or food stamps) or Communist methods in addition to or instead of the Capitalist ones.  I for one am glad that you support the Communist revolution to free us from the scourge of hunger and I’ll save a seat for you at the next ‘Hammer&Sickle Monthly Gathering’.

  • http://deird1.dreamwidth.org Deird

    No one in America is starving.

    Aren’t you just the cutest? *pinches cheeks*

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart
  • bytebear

    All you have done is shown that private charities are needed to feed the hungry, and that they have access to these programs. But when inflation hits because the government has squandered its funds on ineffective programs, those families will be hit hard. And it will be the government’s fault, not feedingamerica.org

  • Lori

     

    So you can either get your own food, or answer to the rest of us. 

    Are you prepared for the rest of us to audit your life and pass judgement on the choices you make with our tax dollars? And yes, you do use our tax dollars so don’t even bother with the whole “I’m not on welfare” line of bull.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     It isn’t magic. It’s THE GOVERNMENT DOING THE THING WE HAVE A GOVERNMENT FOR YOU FUCKING DOUCHEBAG.

  • bytebear

    That is not what the government is for. Read the Federalist Papers, please.

  • VMink

    So you can either get your own food, or answer to the rest of us.

    You are telling this to someone who is in constant pain and cannot get the health care she needs.  You are scum and the best you should hope for is that you are forgotten.

    Answer to us, shittick.

  • bytebear

    This increasingly hypothetical “she” does have to answer to someone. Someone gives her the care she needs. The question is who, and at what cost. The health plan Obama has set forth is now estimated to be double the original cost, and the original cost was immense. He promised it would not affect Social Security or Medicare. Sorry, but the facts are that it is affecting both those programs. There is no free lunch.

    How does the government pay for things. First it taxes people. Then it borrows from other countries. We have trillions in debt already and are borrowing even more. Finally, when you can’t tax or borrow any more, you start printing money. That causes inflation. And guess who pays for inflation? The rich? Sorry, but it’s you and me. Gas prices have increased over 100% under Obama. That’s just the start. You will be affected by these policies. and you may think it’s a free lunch, bur you will pay one way or the other. my hope is that the government will reign in spending, replace bloated inefficient systems with better ones, fire a hell of a lot of desk jockey’s playing Angry Birds all day, and get our national debt down. Then you won’t have to pay $8 a gallon for gas. because, guess what? You will be.

  • Kubricks_Rube

    “The health plan Obama has set forth is now estimated to be double the original cost”

    Not true:

    The total “gross” costs of that eight-year period are now estimated to be just over $1 trillion, or about 8.6 percent higher than originally projected.

    But the CBO also projects that much of the new spending will be offset by penalties paid by employers who choose not to provide coverage to their workers, by penalties paid by individuals who opt not to obtain coverage, by taxing high-cost health plans and by other effects of the law’s coverage provisions.[…]Comparing the eight years that are common to both estimates, the net cost is now predicted to be $772 billion, or about half a percent lower than originally estimated.

  • bytebear
  • Kubricks_Rube

    Your three links use the same CBO estimate that FactCheck does. One even acknowledges that the “doubling” is not based on comparing actual past and present estimates of the same timeframe.

  • bytebear

    Factcheck at best says the truth is somewhere in the middle, but that is still a far cry from what was promised.

  • Beroli

     

    This increasingly hypothetical “she”

    Remarkable. You seriously asserted that the existence of someone who posts here is less real than your reams of ideology and bullshit.

    does have to answer to someone.

    Everyone has to answer to someone. It’s called existing in a society–something that I realize doesn’t mean anything in your fantasies, but means a great deal to those of us who live in the real world.

  • bytebear

    Existing in society is one thing, but squandering resources in a bloated centralized bureaucratic system is not the solution. The solution is many systems working to solve the problem independently. That’s what you don’t get. You think I don’t want to help the poor. but that’s not it. I want the poor the best chance to receive help. and government programs have consistently shown that they increase poverty, decrease self reliance, and cause more problems than they solve.

  • P J Evans

     The she in question is non-hypothetical, and you have yet to answer in any way that doesn’t make you sound even more like a douchebeck.

  • http://willbikeforchange.wordpress.com/ Storiteller

     Gas prices are most affected by the cost of oil, not by taxes or inflation: http://www.eia.gov/energyexplained/index.cfm?page=gasoline_factors_affecting_prices.  The cost of oil is directly related to supply and demand.  The amount of supply from America has been going up since the beginning of the recession.  However, since the beginning of the recession the overall world supply really hasn’t because OPEC cut back when demand went down with the recession.  Since then, they haven’t raised supply much while demand has started rising again, particularly in developing countries like China and India.  (Use has remained flat or gone down in the U.S.) So high gas prices are caused by high demand in countries Obama has absolutely no control over and speculation that the government doesn’t have control over but chooses not to because of conservative policies. 

    As for “desk jockeys playing Angry Birds all day” I personally take offense to that as a federal employee.  I work my ass off as do most of my friends who work for the federal government, thanks much.

  • Dan Audy

     Gas prices are most affected by the cost of oil, not by taxes or inflation:http://www.eia.gov/energyexpla….  The cost of oil is directly related to supply and demand.

    Not true, so very not true.  Oil supply is at a 20 year high and demand is at a 10 year low, yet the price of oil has doubled in the last year.  Currently gas prices are increasing for the exact same reason they did in 2008 – because Goldman-Sachs and other major financial institutions are inflating a commodities bubble that will (again) pop, transferring massive wealth from individual investors (mostly pension funds who for various reasons are typically limited to commodity investments that force prices up) to the financial institutions who sold them the oil futures and assured them that they would increase in value while personally shorting the futures they are selling.  

    The reason this is happening is simple financial deregulation.  Congress passed the Commodities Exchange Act in 1936 to regulate what and how investors could buy and sell certain commodities including agreements to buy certain amounts for specific prices at a future date (called a futures contract) in part as a response to how commodity speculation had helped create the Great Depression.  In 1991 Goldman-Sachs secretly got a letter granting them permission from the CFTC (and by secret I mean that the head of ‘trading and markets’ and the chair of the CFTC didn’t know about it and were unable to see the letters their own commission had issued for several years) to sell oil as a commodity (despite this specifically being the sort of thing they were supposed to prevent). Following the collapse of the housing bubble (caused to a great extent by criminal activity by Goldman-Sachs) they focused on oil futures as a new revenue stream.  It caused billions of dollars in wealth to be funnelled into Goldman-Sachs’ pockets and since unlike most the other bubbles they’ve created no regulation or changes were implement they are repeating the exact same trick they pulled in 2008 again (with the added bonus of increasing the pressure on Obama to rely on their money for reelection and thus kill the chance for meaningful reform or regulation).

  • http://willbikeforchange.wordpress.com/ Storiteller

     I did mention speculation at the end as a cause, although that tends to be more of a shorter-term cause of oil price changes.  I was thinking more long term, in which case supply and demand very much are the forces behind it.  In the long run, oil prices will go up because of China and India, no doubt about it.  In the short term, we’re getting royally screwed over by speculation.

  • Lori

     

    This increasingly hypothetical “she” does have to answer to someone. 

    The she is not hypothetical, increasingly or otherwise. She is an actual person. We know this because we’re not drive-by trolls here to wave the flag or the LDS church and right wing ideology in general. Since you are, and have no clue about any of the people here, you should probably just shut it.

     

    Then it borrows from other countries. We have trillions in debt already and are borrowing even more. 

    So I assume you were against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the post-9/11 national security state and the way we do military spending in general. Because that’s where most of our debt is from.

  • bytebear

    I “wave the flag of the LDS Church” because their program is very good.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204792404577227173888056682.html

  • Lori

     You are still thoroughly failing to grasp the point, which makes it pretty much impossible to have a useful discussion with you.

  • bytebear

    Ditto.

  • Delurker

    Fuck you
    Fuck your whole family and your relatives
    Fuck you
    Fuck all your friends and everyone you know
    Fuck you
    Fuck your little sister and your little brother
    Fuck you
    Fuck your little kittie and your puppy dog
    Fuck you

  • EllieMurasaki

    That is distressingly close to advocating the rape of children and animals. Knock it off.

  • bytebear

    And they call me unreasonable.

  • Tricksterson

    So why are you trying to have one.  Robyrt and aunursa are positively flexible by comparison.

  • Makabit

    Every choice has consequences. If you don’t want to die of hunger, then you need to make choices to ensure that doesn’t happen. You just don’t want to deal with those choices, and want the government to magically solve your problems, but they use tax payer money to feed you which means you are ultimately accountable to the rest of America for your food. So you can either get your own food, or answer to the rest of us.

    This is the second time I’ve started a post in this thread with ‘as a Jew’, but as a Jew, I’m just gonna ask this question: you do realize this is a Christian blog, right?

  • Kiba

    So you can either get your own food, or answer to the rest of us.

    Wow, you are an asshole.

  • Lori

    Well, where are the secular charities?  If you can’t find one that you think is fair, then start your own?  Why wait for the government to
    solve your problems.  Try solving them yourself. 

    Just so you know, if you’re a Mormon trying to convince people that Mormons are wonderful you just blew it. If on the other hand you’re a stealth Mormon-hater trying to convince people that Mormons are jerks, congratulations, you’ve succeeded very well.

  • bytebear

    Sorry, but if encouraging someone to solve their own problems is hateful, then America is far worse off than I thought.

  • Lori

     

    Sorry, but if encouraging someone to solve their own problems is hateful, then America is far worse off than I thought.

    You are hateful and you know it. (Clap your hands) To the degree that America is bad off it’s mostly people like you that are the cause.

  • bytebear

    America is bad off because the housing market was artificially inflated in an effort to increase lower income home ownership. The plan enacted by Fredy and Fanny and Barney Frank caused a bubble which burst. That bubble also increased the size of government and now that we are in the dumps, not one program has been cut.

    The issue isn’t that the government doesn’t have enough money. It’s that it is overspending what it has. The High Speed Rail fiasco in California as an example.

    The other is the Health Care bill. it has now doubled in estimated cost. Even if Obama were to get his Rich tax passed, that would maybe give us another billion dollars into the government coffers. But the annual budget is upwards of half a trillion dollars. so that’s a drop in the bucket. It just won’t cut it. You need a prosperous base of modest tax payers to fill that bucket, and you need to reduce the size. Meaning you need to cut programs, cut spending, and make programs more efficient. Every policy of the Democrats is designed to the exact opposite of that. If you want America to prosper, you better rethink your priorities. And look to solutions outside of government. Simply put. Fix it yourself.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    Okay. I’ll fix it myself. Only, I’m a big believer in collective action, so I’m not stupid enough to try to go it entirely alone. Instead, i’m going to band together with likeminded people to fix it. And we’ll constrain the beneficiaries of our solutions to chip on to pay for it. Every few years, I’ll contribute my voice to the fixing of it, directly on some issues, and on other issues, by appointing a smaller number of people to form the leadership board of our fixing-it-organization.  They’ll be constrained by some kind of legally binding document declaring what they can and can’t do.

    Oh. Right.

  • bytebear

    And in that document, will you limit you scope, and give yourself negative rights, meaning you give the sub groups (states) the right to control themselves. Oh, you forgot about that part.

  • P J Evans

     Have you ever heard of real estate speculators?
    Have you ever heard about the companies that were faking informatioin on mortgage applications, so they made more money but the people who were applying got loans they couldn’t pay off?
    have you ever heard about the banks foreclosing on people who weren’t behind on their mortgage payments, including people who had paid off their mortgages in full?

    You need news sources that aren’t owned by the Tea Party.

  • bytebear

    sources?

  • Dan Audy

    sources?

    Are you incapable of going to google and typing ‘Obesity and Hunger’ or ‘Obesity and Food Insecurity’ and then reading the hundreds of links to news and research that magically appear on the screen.

    Since you obviously are incapable of making the slightest effort to inform yourself or challenge your pre-existing conceptions I did it for you.  Here are a few of the better choices.

    http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/95/5/766.full.pdf+html 
    http://jn.nutrition.org/content/131/11/2880.full 
    http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/118/5/e1406.full 
    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9F04EEDE1F3AF937A25750C0A9669D8B63&scp=1&sq=obesity+and+hunger&st=nyt 
    http://jn.nutrition.org/content/133/4/1070.full 
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=128621057 

  • bytebear

    Umm… studies on food insecurities? They eat more because they were insecure about food as a child. Ok. But then they have to spend more and afford more food. Not because they are starving, but because they are over eating. Try again

  • http://deird1.dreamwidth.org Deird

    Umm… studies on food insecurities? They eat more because they were insecure about food as a child.

    *headdesks into INFINITY*

    Quoth Wikipedia:

    “Food security refers to the availability of food and one’s access to it.”

    It is an actual real thing that happens to real people right now. It involves real, actual, FACTUAL statistics about how much food people have access to.

    But then they have to spend more and afford more food. Not because they are starving, but because they are over eating.

    OBESITY IS NOT ABOUT OVER-EATING. IT IS ABOUT EATING FOOD THAT IS LOW IN NUTRITIONAL CONTENT. THEY AREN’T EATING MORE FOOD, THEY’RE EATING CHEAPER. BECAUSE THEY’RE POOR.

    *takes a deep breath*

    (In future, it might be wiser if I limit my replies to critiquing bytebear’s spelling and grammar with as much pickiness as I can muster. Less rage-inducing, and yet still allows me some form of snark.)

  • bytebear

    You can certainly attack me on my spelling and grammar, and your response would be as meaningless, and dishonest. Smug does not suit you.

  • http://deird1.dreamwidth.org Deird

    You can certainly attack me on my spelling and grammar, and your response would be as meaningless, and dishonest.

    Unless I was making up imaginary grammar rules just to spite you, how exactly would it be dishonest?

    It certainly is a last resort.

    A last resort for keeping my sanity intact, yes.

  • bytebear

    I think you went insane a long time ago, but of course that just an observation.

  • http://deird1.dreamwidth.org Deird

    What was that about personal attacks being a last resort?

  • bytebear

    You don’t get ironic sarcasm, do you?

  • Dan Audy

    Umm… studies on food insecurities? They eat more because they were insecure about food as a child. Ok. But then they have to spend more and afford more food. Not because they are starving, but because they are over eating. Try again

    It is pretty clear that you (a) didn’t read the articles I provided for you, (b) don’t understand the basic vocabulary used in discussing these topics and (c) made no effort to look it up.  If you aren’t going to even make an effort to pretend to be engaged in a good faith conversation, rather than spouting talking points off to keywords like an automated troll, please go away and stop wasting everybody’s time.

  • http://deird1.dreamwidth.org Deird

    It is pretty clear that you (a) didn’t read the articles I provided for
    you*, (b) don’t understand the basic vocabulary used in discussing these
    topics, and (c) made no effort to look it up.

    IKR? Until half an hour ago, I had never heard the term “food insecurity” at all. So, do you know what I did? I googled “food insecurity”. And it told me what it meant! Took all of thirty seconds.

    The fact that bytebear is not willing to do even the barest minimum to keep up with the conversation is just ridiculous.

  • bytebear

    I think you are missing the point. The proposition presented was that Americans are starving. And that obesity is a sign of this starvation. And although the poor are choosing cheaper, fattening food, making them obese, the plain truth is they are eating.

  • Dan Audy

    I think you are missing the point. The proposition presented was that Americans are starving. And that obesity is a sign of this starvation. And although the poor are choosing cheaper, fattening food, making them obese, the plain truth is they are eating.
    But the larger point (and sorry for editing late) is that the government programs are not solving the issue. But liberalism says that government is the only solution, that we must raise taxes, because more money will solve the problem. I disagree. I think we need many programs by as many different groups as we can, to find those that work best, both in feeding the poor, and in lifting them out of poverty. Throwing money at the problem does not work.

    I’m not missing the point but I do see you moving goalposts.  Specifically obesity and hunger are not separate issues in North America (other places in the world are a different story) but rather two aspects of food insecurity.  The poor aren’t choosing cheap, fattening food by any standard definition of choice – their other option is not eating healthy food but not eating food at all.

    Multiple groups running multiple programs addressing the same issue is inherently inefficient because you have the overhead and bureaucracy of each group to manage instead of a single.  The reason we need multiple groups is that (a) no one is actually meeting the needs and (b) those groups are all discriminating on different grounds and we can’t reach universal (or near universal) coverage of those in need without multiple options.  Once you’ve met the need ‘throwing money’ at the problem doesn’t work but until you’ve actually met that need ‘throwing money’ at it is exactly what works (along with reducing barriers to access).

    Invisible Neutrino made a worthwhile comment in another thread which I think covers the issue very well.

    One thing to think about, folks?
    Food banks in Canada didn’t exist before 1982.
    Why?
    Because before then, the welfare state was actually strong enough to not need these stopgap measures. Even the 1982 recession, which pushed our unemployment rate to somewhere around 15%, was expected to be over and the food bank people expected the need to diminish.
    It did not, as evidenced by what Brian Mulroney and Michael Wilson ended up doing by the late 1980s, along with long-term structural changes in the Canadian economy that caused wage stagnation.
    1973 is often termed a watershed year for the USA in terms of economic slowdown and wage stagnation. 1981 is the analogous year for Canada, and it can be traced to the beginnings of the adoption of permanently higher real interest rates than pre-1981 levels.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Your statements regarding food quality for the poor have been discussed as long ago as 1995.

    In short, it’s been well-established for several years now that the way food is prepared in Canada and the USA for those who can’t afford decent food, is a direct contributor to the cruellest irony: The very people who can’t eat well are the ones who end up looking like they do.

    And people like you vilify and hate them for it.

  • bytebear

    And that’s terrible. But government is not the solution. Other solutions are better. Read The Hungry American.

    http://www.amazon.com/The-Hungry-American-Tom-McDevitt/dp/093304612X

    See which groups help the needy the most. Hint: The US Government was the worst.

    Now, I do not necessarily want to say that this book is the end all-be all answer, but I do think we need real accountability and unfortunately I don’t see that being done.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    You forgot about the part where the food stamp regulations tend to be ridiculously asinine in some states. So given the limited $$$$ and the problem of food stamp regulations, guess what? You buy the cheap stuff, which is heavily subsidized in the first place (HFCS, as well as some beefs) and – lo and behold – contributes to overweight.

    Hint: The very same Republicans (and, to be fair, some right-wing Democrats) you probably like are the ones who created this situation in the first place, by being parsimonious with the benefits on the one hand and excessively intrusive on the other.

  • Matri

    Now, I do not necessarily want to say that this book is the end all-be all answer,

    That is exactly what you are saying. Others have provided links to dynamically updated studies. You are saying a book published years ago has more accurate, up-do-date, bi-partisan information.

    And accountability? How much more do you want? The government is accountable directly to the public! Who do you think would have more accountability? The church?

    Have you been living under a rock these past few days?

    Where is the accountability?

  • bytebear

    The government is accountable directly to the public? Wow, I thought Liberals thought they were in the pockets of big Oil and special interests. The public has been shoved aside long ago.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    The government is accountable directly to the public? Wow, I thought
    Liberals thought they were in the pockets of big Oil and special
    interests. The public has been shoved aside long ago.

    — bytebear

    While it is true that there is regulatory capture of government, the fact remains that the right to vote still exists, in the main, and we still, nominally, choose our own leaders. That still counts for something these days.

  • bytebear

    it counts for less and less. you are given two choices put forth by the establishment. The House or representative was supposed to have no more than 30,000 people for each representative, but that was changed to be a fixed number: 435. That now means our representation went from 1/30K to about 1/70 – 1/100K, so our voice is now ever shrinking.

    Add to that the fact that states rights are now a secondary concern for the Federal Government, and the 10th Amendment is weaker than ever.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    You just blew all your credibility out the window. “States’ rights” has been a code word, since just before the American Civil War, for preserving legal discrimination against blacks. George Wallace used to use the phrase. Ronald Reagan used it a few times, too. And since then any Republican who wants to pander to the base throws in a few lines about “states’ rights”.

    Try making your case without pretending that devolving power to individual state governments is some kind of panacea.

  • hapax

     

    The government is accountable directly to the public? Wow, I thought
    Liberals thought they were in the pockets of big Oil and special
    interests.

    Since you like dictionary games, why don’t you try looking up and explaining the difference between “accountable to” and “responsive to”?

    For bonus points, why don’t you tell us what you consider to be “special interests”?  The news sources you seem to favor generally define those as non-whites, non-Christians, non-rich, persons interested in drinkable water and breathable air, women, and people in general.

  • Dan Audy

    I haven’t read it but I will see if my library carries it.  From reading the description of the book and a couple reviews on it I’m not sure that it would support your argument.  Visiting shelters and soup kitchens can be frightening and at times dangerous as they are public places being used by homeless people who have disproportionately high rates of drug and alcohol abuse, and mental illness.  That some small number of them did dangerous and frightening things is not shocking.  What the book doesn’t appear to address is the very Government spending that you say it concludes helps least, I assume both because it would involve committing fraud rather than just lying to people and that it doesn’t fall into the voyeurism of the dejected the book revels in.

    Hopefully I can find it locally or through inter-library loan and get a chance to judge for myself if his premise and conclusions are rushed, poorly investigated and that the writing suffers as he pushes an unsupported conclusion as reviews suggested.

  • friendly reader

    Okay, people “choose” this because they cannot afford anything else. That’s not a real choice.

    It’s rather sad how “choice” is more or less a privilege that not everyone has rather than a right guaranteed to people. But that’s going to involve knocking down privilege, and that’s going to involve – *gasp!* – redistributing some wealth.

    Btw, you ask where the Torah puts down penalties for not giving to charity. I don’t know the law sections of the Hebrew Bible as well as I should, not to mention the Talmud, but in the New Testament, not selling all your property and sharing it equally with the community gets you a divine death sentence.

  • Kubricks_Rube

    But liberalism says that government is the only solution

    No it does not.

    that we must raise taxes

    Sometimes.

    because more money will solve the problem.

    Money will not solve the problem. The poor will always be with us as someone once said. But it will help actual human beings live a little better.

    I think we need many programs by as many different groups as we can, to find those that work best, both in feeding the poor, and in lifting them out of poverty.

    Welcome aboard!

    Throwing money at the problem does not work.

    Because “many programs by as many different groups as we can” are funded by what, first principles and magic?

  • Beroli

    Well, where are the secular charities?  If you can’t find one that you think is fair, then start your own?

    You’re seriously asserting that starting a charity is as easy as wanting to.

    And that wanting the government to do its job is “begging.”

    Try actually reading the United States Constitution some time.

  • bytebear

    Yes, it is. I have started several. The government’s job is to do what we cannot do for ourselves. The welfare system is fairly new, and was extremely controversial when it was enacted. It is hardly a cornerstone of the Constitution. I recommend you read the Constitution, and then read the Federalist Papers and writings of the founding fathers.

  • Beroli

     

    The government’s job is to do what we cannot do for ourselves.

    No.

    But thanks for playing.

  • bytebear

    Uh, yes.

  • http://willbikeforchange.wordpress.com/ Storiteller

     FYI – starting your own charity is wicked hard.  I’ve been working with a group now for two years with an awesome mission (grow food in the city for poor people to eat) that people tell us is awesome and we’re constantly scrambling for a couple hundred dollars here and there.

  • bytebear

    Starting a charity is very simple, logistically at least. It may be hard to gather support, but that’s another issue. I am currently raising money for a friend with cancer, but I find that most people think the government is simply taking care of him and they don’t need to help personally, or they say “I pay taxes”. And studies have shown that charitable giving has dropped drastically since government programs have replaced traditional organizations. So, it’s another example where good intentions have unintended consequences.

  • Dan Audy

    Starting a charity is very simple, logistically at least. It may be hard to gather support, but that’s another issue.

    What a stupid statement.  You can’t just ignore the actual significant obstacles that exist (gaining enough support and money) for creating a charity in favour of a simple subset of obstacles (governmental permissions and tax requirements) and then claim that the obstacles are negligable (well not if you have a quarter ounce of intellectual honesty).  Without the support and money all you have is a  piece of paper not a charity because you can’t actually help anyone with it.

    And studies have shown that charitable giving has dropped drastically since government programs have replaced traditional organizations

    Citation please.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Without the support and money all you have is a  piece of paper not a charity because you can’t actually help anyone with it.

    A piece of paper that costs money, at that! Oh, nonstock nonprofit corporations are exempt from taxes, but to incorporate in Delaware they gotta fork over eighty bucks plus nine per page of the incorporation document, same as any other corporation, and Delaware is, if not the world’s cheapest place to incorporate, certainly near the top of the list.

    And Lliira, if I recall, doesn’t have income. Where is she gonna come up with eighty-nine bucks to start a charitable organization?

  • http://willbikeforchange.wordpress.com/ Storiteller

     In D.C., it costs hundreds to register as a 501c3.  (I think it’s about $700.)  We’ve put on entire summer-fulls worth of gardening workshops on $700 by being cheap about supplies and relying on volunteer labor.  What makes it even harder is that people don’t want to give you money for organizational stuff – they rightly want to give you money for putting seeds in the ground or directly helping people.  But there are a lot of grants and other assistance you can’t qualify for unless you are a 501c3.  Plus, it gives you a lot of legitimacy – people don’t like giving to non-official non-profits partly because they can’t take it off of their taxes and partly because it makes you seem a little untrustworthy.

  • P J Evans

     Charitable giving has dropped, beckwit, because the people who were donating most of the money can’t afford it any more; they’re losing their own income, and some have lost their own houses. (Millionaires don’t give all that much to charity; they prefer stuff that gets more attention.)

    You don’t have a clue how hard it is to set up a charity. It involves lawyers, for one thing, to make sure it’s done correctly. It involves registering with states, in most cases, because there are regulations about how charities can be run and how they can operate. This is why charities are run by large organizations, not small groups, and not single churches.

  • bytebear

    Charitable giving declined after the New Deal. it hardly relates to today’s problems.

  • Makabit

    Well, where are the secular charities? If you can’t find one that you think is fair, then start your own? Why wait for the government to solve your problems. Try solving them yourself.

    When I vote, when I write to Congress, when I support certain sorts of public aid, and request others, I am, in fact, solving ‘my’ problems. I’m working to use the organization by which my society regulates itself to make that society work better, and more justly.

    I realize from what you write that this is not how you frame the question at hand, but merely looking puzzled at ‘why the liberals want government to solve their problems’ is disingenuous.

  • Tyjeff

    When did so many people become “experts” on Rick Warren?  Do any of you attend his church? Have you read his books?

  • hapax

    Good God have mercy.  I started to respond to bytebear, but every one of his post piled false assertions upon misinterpretations upon lies upon out-and-out cruelties, that I gave up.

    I submit that he has spun himself such an epistemological bubble out such purveyors of fantasy as the Washington Times, Fox News, and suchlike extruders of information-mimicking substances that it is pointless to refute them one by one.

    So I leave instead with one general observation:

    We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

    These are the responsibilities of the US Federal government.  Not each individual.  Not private charities.  Not the individual states.  The ability of any or all of these to *supplement* the Federal responsibilities does not permit the government to abdicate them.

    If you have an idea of how the Federal government can do any of these things BETTER, by all means write your Representatives, run for office, and try to sell it to the rest of us by established Constitutional means.

    But in the meanwhile, please stop advocating disunion, endorsing injustice, fomenting domestic abuse, leaving us weak and vulnerable to enemies, promoting general suffering, and ensuring the curse of economic slavery upon me, my friends, my neighbors, and our posterity.

  • bytebear

     Please define “provide” and “promote” and then tell me what the difference between the two definitions are.  Thank you.

  • http://deird1.dreamwidth.org Deird

    Please define “provide” and “promote” and then tell me what the difference between the two definitions are.

    It’s called a dictionary. Do it yourself.

  • bytebear

    I have, and it’s not what you think it means.

  • http://deird1.dreamwidth.org Deird

    I have, and it’s not what you think it means.

    Given that my comments on this thread have included:
    – scoffing at taxpayers’ rights being “violated” by feeding poor people
    – sarcastically calling you cute
    – telling you to use a dictionary
    and nothing else, I don’t think you have the faintest idea what I think the difference between “provide” and “promote” is.

    Pay attention to who you’re talking to.

  • bytebear

    And that changes what exactly?

  • http://deird1.dreamwidth.org Deird

    And that changes what exactly?

    *headdesk*

    *sighs*

    *starts again*

    If you do not know what I think about something, then saying “it’s not what you think it is” is a NONSENSE STATEMENT. I might disagree with you; I might (heaven forbid) agree with you. YOU DO NOT KNOW. Hence, your statement makes NO SENSE WHATSOEVER.

  • hapax

    From Webster’s New World Dictionary, Third College Edition:

    provide: [derivation and obsolete definitions snipped] to make available; supply; afford

    promote: [derivation and irrelevant definitions snipped] to help bring about or further the growth or establishment of /to promote the general welfare/

    and even though you didn’t ask:

    welfare: [derivation  snipped] the state of being or doing well; condition of health, happiness, and comfort; well-being; prosperity

    By which it seems clear that the purpse of the Federal Government is not to merely “make available” health, happiness, comfort, well-being, and prosperity (“Look, there’s LOTS of health and happiness and food and shelter and all those good things around, IF you can afford them or suck up convincingly to the right people”) but to “help bring about” and “further the establishment” of such goods to “the general”, that is, everybody (“Hey, let’s make sure EVERYBODY has some of that yummy health and happiness and food and shelter, even if they’re poor or disabled or gay or brown or Not-Christian or living in the wrong place, and they don’t even have to BEG for it, because it’s “established”, that is, RIGHT THERE EVERYWHERE!”)

    That is, the difference between “providing” the “common defense” — the Federal Government hires specialists to do it FOR us, instead of arming and training every citizen — and “promoting” the “general welfare” — the Federal Government [should] be part of the process of ensuring that health, etc. is established AMONG us. 

    Does that answer your question?

  • P J Evans

     At the risk of being called rude: sideways, with a rusty garden implement.

  • http://jamoche.dreamwidth.org/ Jamoche

    such purveyors of fantasy as the Washington Times, Fox News

    Is it just me, or should the Wall Street Journal go in that list too? I’d never paid much attention to it before but someone’s been leaving one in the common area at work lately, and while I do expect something aimed at WS to be fiscally conservative, the social side of things seems somewhat off. Don’t all those businesses *want* customers?

  • P J Evans

    Is it just me, or should the Wall Street Journal go in that list too?

    Yes, and so should Investors Business Daily (IBD), which may be even worse.

  • Matri

    Using Fox News as a source of facts is like eating lava for your Recommended Daily Allowance of iron and minerals.

  • Lori

     

    Is it just me, or should the Wall Street Journal go in that list too?

    Not just you. It’s OpEd page has always been a joke, but other parts of the paper used to be useful and interesting. Murdoch owns it now. “Nuff said.

  • http://willbikeforchange.wordpress.com/ Storiteller

     Thanks for this ” extruders of information-mimicking substances.”  I’ll have to remember that for the future!

  • Tricksterson

    Lord and Lady help us all if this guy and aunursa should fall in love team up.

  • Jared Bascomb

    I was going to post this earlier . . .

    >>In re: bytebear, and with apologies to Robert Towne

    “I’m a Mormon!” /slap/
    “I’m a Libertarian!” /slap/
    “I’m a Mormon *and* a Libertarian!” <<

    . . . but subsequent postings made me realize that we're dealing with an Ayn Randian. Methinks he eats a page of Atlas Shrugged for breakfast every morning. Just for the roughage, of course.

  • Daughter

    What strings come with food stamps? You have to document your income (and re-verify it every six months), but once you do that, you’re free to spend them as you wish. The only restrictions are that food stamps can only be spent on non-prepared (e.g., not restaurant or deli-cooked) food.


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