Quick Notes: Peg Aloi, Rachel Pollack, Michelle Bachmann, and Patheos Move Notes

First off, welcome to Patheos everyone! I’m still getting used to the new digs, but so far the hitches seem to be relatively minor. One thing, the comments from Intense Debate are still in the process of being exported to Disqus, our new commenting system. The comments themselves are safe, but it may take a bit before they all appear. So please be patient as we get that worked out. Now then, let’s start off with a few quick notes shall we?

Peg Aloi Talks Medieval Horror: Over at TheoFantastique Pagan media/movie critic Peg Aloi has a podcast chat with  John Morehead about religious themes in the film Black Death.

TheoFantastique Podcast 2.2 for 2011 is now available. In this edition my special guest is Peg Aloi, a religion scholar and film critic and who maintains her own blog at The Witching Hour, who engages me about the film Black Death directed by Christopher Smith. In this interview and dialogue, Peg and I discuss the film cinematically, as well as its religious elements (bringing together our different religious traditions, an idea I first suggested at The Wild Hunt), and how this film may, in the words of Smith, function as a dark parable for our times. TheoFantastique Podcast 2.2 can be listened to by clicking this link, and downloaded here.”

Peg’s work is always worth checking out, whether she’s interviewing exorcists or doing scholarly reviews, so head over to TheoFantastique and listen in.

Rachel Pollack on Tarot: In advance of the upcoming Omega Institute Tarot Conference Mary K. Greer interviews famed Tarot expert Rachel Pollack (of Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom fame) about her career, and how she keep the subject of Tarot fresh after 40 years.

“I have never walled Tarot off into its own corner.  To me, Tarot is the world, so as I learn more about anything I think of how it can apply to Tarot.  For instance, just yesterday I read an intriguing idea about the story in Genesis that God took a rib from Adam and made Eve.  At first glance, this seems very sexist, and has been used  to describe women as inferior.  But the writer I was reading looked at the fact that chimpanzees have 13 ribs and humans have 12.  Thus the creation of woman was the evolutionary change from ape to human.  Women can be said to introduce human consciousness.  How does this affect Tarot?  Well, for one thing we find Adam and Eve in the Rider version of the Lovers, so now we can consider new and interesting points about that card.  But it also opens up the relationship between the male and female cards, such as the Magician and the High Priestess, or the Empress and the Emperor.”

The whole thing is certainly worth a read. I had the privilege of  interviewing both Mary K. Greer and Rachel Pollack last year, talking about psychic services and the law.

The Extremism of Michelle Bachmann: Michelle Goldberg at Newsweek/Daily Beast does a profile of Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann’s “unrivaled extremism.” Paying special attention to her history of opposition to gay marriage.

Lots of politicians talk about a sinister homosexual agenda. Bachmann, who has made opposition to gay rights a cornerstone of her career, seems genuinely to believe in one. Her conviction trumps even her once close relationship with her lesbian stepsister. “What an amazing imagination,” marvels Arnold. “Her ideology is so powerful that she can construct a reality just on a moment’s notice.”

Of course, she isn’t just extreme in her opposition to LGBTQ equality,  I’ve covered at some length her unfortunate views regarding the equal treatment and rights of minority religions as well, culminating in her support for pseudo-historian David Barton. Now that Bachmann seems to be holding pole position as the Christian conservative candidate to beat after her performance at the recent Republican presidential candidate debate in New Hampshire we’ll have to take seriously the possibility that she could be on the ticket in 2012.

That’s all I have for now, have a great day!

About Jason Pitzl-Waters
  • Anonymous

    Omega’s been doing Tarot workshops for some time now, and they look fantastic. I’d love to see Omega start to feature other important Pagans for their three-day or week-long workshops. They certainly offer plenty of other non-Abrahamic religious and philosophical speakers.

  • Ed the Pagan

    Congratulations on the new move. It is something that will make it far more sustainable.

    As far as Bachmann, she has a ability to become president at this point. extreme views not withstanding, she has the ability to drive against a bad economy, bad faith on Obama’s part of the war, and also the racist/religious/white flight fears of the middle class. She is not establishment, and as a woman, can drive a form of campaign that could make attacking her, strengthening her. It is a dangerous dynamic, but she could take the nomination.

    If you doubt this, did you think Obama was going to win at the first democratic debate, or did you write him off. The only person I personally know he did not was my son. Everyone else did, and yet here he is as president.

    • Sarah

      Minor objection. She’s ‘not establishment’? She’s entering her 4th year as a US representative. I know that’s not long term, but she’s certainly no outsider.

      • Ed the Pagan

        Well, agreed see is no outsider to Washington, she merely has the perception of a outsider, which is enough. That if the establishment figures attack her, then this perception increases.

  • A.C. Fisher Aldag

    Yeah, Jason, you really need to go on the daily show, and talk about Mad Michelle as well as David Barton. If Goldberg runs, all of the moderate Republicans, Gay Repubs, and Pagan / Polytheist Repubs (and there are a bunch of us) will flee the party in hoardes, and we will be stuck with four more years of Obama-nation. Everyone I know who is conservative voted Green, Libertarian, or even (shudder) Democrat to avoid Sarah Palin as V.P. They will likely do the same with Misanthrope Michelle.

    • Dea Syria

      Why you support a party, the majority of whose members look froward to see you condemned to a place far worse than Auschwitz, for a rather long period of time?

      • http://PaganCenteredPodcast.com Dave of Pagan Centered Podcast

        Considering the political parties of elected Pagans, I am confused by your statement. Care to specify which party?

      • A.C. Fisher Aldag

        Because I am a business owner who is tired of hemorrhaging tax money for unsuccessful “social welfare” programs. Because I want less government. Because I want a return to values espoused by our Constitution. Because I believe that we require a strong military for our safety and protection. Because I believe that abortion is the legalized murder of a living human person. Because I think that permissiveness about drug abuse has gotten our country into a huge mess, socially, financially and legalistically. Because I think that free trade is a good thing. Because I am tired of special interest groups being promoted at the expense of the taxpaying majority. Because I believe that lowering taxes on businesses creates jobs. Because I am furious that Mr. Obama keeps giving handouts to other nations to prop up their decaying government, when our own infastructure is vastly in need of repair, and our military, police, and other helping professions need the money more than, say, Mexico. And because I think that the Democrat Senator from New York is a wanker. And remember, YOU asked me.

        • http://www.thehighwayhermit.com James Bulls

          I’m confused: you’re against both social welfare programs and abortion? So… women aren’t allowed to abort their fetuses, but they are allowed to neglect their children? Hmm….

          • A.C. Fisher Aldag

            Don’t necessarily wanna hijack Jason’s blog w/ this political debate, but I must point out that there is something called responsibility. Birth control is free, I mean, um, paid for by MY taxes, at the local health department. Condoms are 75 cents in any vending machine bathroom. Use them, and abortion for convenience will become unnecessary.

            I’m perfectly fine with social welfare programs, paid for voluntarily through charity. Please don’t ask me to pony up to pay for others’ irresponsible behavior. We have the constitutional right to be secure in our property — taxing me to pay for other people’s mistakes is called “stealing”.

          • Thriceraven

            And then there are those (like myself) who manage to get pregnant while both responsibly taking the pill (which I paid for out of pocket) and while using a condom. While I know that most unwanted pregnancies happen due to people not taking good precautions, some do happen when people are doing what they can to prevent them. These systems are not fullproof.

          • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

            Well, despite good intentions, it seems the subject DID in fact hijack Jason’s blog. Perhaps a later post about Conservative Pagans will be appropriate. People could explain their views and debate on the topic could ensue.

            My original point was that most conservatives do not agree with religious right candidates such as Michelle Bachmann. Most moderate conservatives do not care if Gays marry or if Pagans have civil rights, as these issues are already covered by our Constitution.

            So if Bachmann get on the ticket as the candidate for president, you Dems should be happy, because Mr. Obama will be president again, and you can continue to bleed us taxpayers dry to pay for WIC for children whose FATHERS should be SUPPORTING them… sorry… um, I meant, you’ll have four more years of wonderful compassionate care from a liberal government.

          • Anonymous

            Wait, I’m confused. How is the 6% of the budget that is spent on WIC, Medicaid, Medicare, etc. going to bleed you dry; but the 30% we spend on ‘Defense’ isn’t? Basic math, mate.

          • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

            Social programs, including Medicare, Medicaid, WIC, food stamps, socialized medicine, cash payments, free housing, free heat, school lunches (when they’re already getting food stamps!) etc. etc. are more than 30% of our budget.

          • Tomb

            Which would you cut? Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid or Defense…
            Its either the Socialist Health Programs or the Military…

            Thats why I am a Liberal, I don’t want to cut either!

          • Elnigma

            A person is not denied WIC if they are married, so I don’t know why you bring that up. Qualification is based on income.

          • Elnigma

            Also, I don’t understood opposition to WIC. Do you really feel it’s a waste of our taxes to help support the pregnant or people with small children with milk, formula, eggs, peanut butter, and condoms?
            If it does to you, that seems hard-hearted.
            WIC is not commonly abused. You don’t see people on the street hawking their food to be able to buy drugs. No, people are eating that food.

          • Morningdove3202

            I was on WIC, and I’m married with a husband who worked hard at a job that didn’t pay him what he was worth. WIC and Angel Food Minstries, and our home garden and home raised chickens got us through some hard times. Not only that, WIC lent us a breast pump for FREE while my son spend 11 days in the NICU. If I had not had the help with the pump, I would have had to use formula! It’s not easy being a stay at home parent on a single income, but being stretched very thin beats letting other people raise my kids. Now my husband has a better job, and we no longer qualify for WIC, it’s a good system, and I’m grateful to have it. We have used it for a period of time with both of our kids and we have never had food stamps or any other assistance.

          • http://sarenth.wordpress.com/ Sarenth

            The charity programs don’t have the infrastructure or ability to deal with the problems that many of these maligned social welfare programs do. That, and their scopes go into areas that some charities refuse to; watch how well a conservative Christian charity takes care of homosexuals. Look at how effective traditionally conservative-run sex education programs work. Charities have even more limited funding and capability to operate than many government programs do.

            You’d be cutting off the poor from services that keep them from starving just to put extra money in yours and companies’ pockets. Recent cuts from my state government looks like it may cut off another 6,000-10,000 women and children out of WIC (Women, Infants and Children)* in the name of tax cuts of the rich and stopping ‘the redistribution of wealth’. It’s reverse-Robin Hood, and I’ve only ever seen conservative budgets operate this way.

            *http://www.milhs.org/tag/wic

          • http://PaganCenteredPodcast.com Dave of Pagan Centered Podcast

            It was only voted on in committee, so there’s still time to stop it once it hits the floor. The amount they want to cut is the amount they claim the oil companies get in subsidies, so cut the subsidies to pay for WIC.

            If people are so insistent on cutting WIC then provide these women a way out of needing this assistance (and not by shoving papers and statistics around either).

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PMTLR3IIGKPHZ2YNU3PDXWK4WA Kenneth

            So if you or one of your parents makes the “mistake” of living long enough to develop Alzheimer’s, you’ll forgo Medicare because it’s money “stolen” from others? You’ll suck it up and foot the $5,000 a month nursing home cost for the 10 years or so it takes to die? I would have to assume so, since you’re taking a stand on principle….

          • Anonymous

            This sort of argument only makes sense if, to begin with, you give him back all the taxes he has paid in the course of his life. Otherwise you are saying, in essence, that in order to be opposed to what he considers state sanctioned theft he has to have allowed himself to be the victim of it then forgo any so-called benefits from it.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PMTLR3IIGKPHZ2YNU3PDXWK4WA Kenneth

            The fallacy of the hardcore anti-tax crowd is the notion that they’re being “robbed” because they pay in and everyone else is the parasite. If he, and most other people really did an honest accounting of what they paid in and what they receive, they’d find that their taxes are not that bad of a deal.

            All of the people who fancy themselves true libertarian bootstrap capitalists in fact benefit enormously from other people’s taxes. Most areas of this country would not have paved roads if they did not get back more than they paid in. Everyone who has ever had a public school education did so because their schools “stole” money from seniors and childless couples to pay for it.

            I also bring up Medicare because virtually everyone in the system now will draw three times in benefits as what they paid in. Like I say I don’t see any of the purists refusing those “ill gotten gains” for themselves. For many conservatives these days, government money is only “welfare” and “theft” when the benefits accrue to someone poorer and darker than themselves. When the money sloshes into their trough, then its something they “earned.”

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bryon-Morrigan/100000104778250 Bryon Morrigan

            Indeed. It’s just code words…the kind of thing that the GOP started doing as part of the “Southern Strategy.” For example:

            “You start out in 1954 by saying, “Nigger, nigger, nigger.” By 1968 you can’t say “nigger”—that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states’ rights and all that stuff. You’re getting so abstract now [that] you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites.

            And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I’m not saying that. But I’m saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me—because obviously sitting around saying, “We want to cut this,” is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “Nigger, nigger”.” — Lee Atwater, discussing Conservative code words in 1981

          • Elnigma

            About what you call “ill-gotten gains” – how about you help reform the law. When people complain about Medicare costs, why is it for patients that have full private insurance such as BCBS, they let the insurance companies duck out of paying first for patients over 65?

            The law *requires* it be charged to Medicare first. If you are 65 or older you can’t even see a local doctor with BCBS paying unless said doctor accepts Medicare.

          • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

            Actually, both of my parents worked hard for years, sacrificed, saved and invested their money and paid for their retirement out of their own pocket… which is the same thing that I intend to do. We also work and buy insurance so that we won’t need to steal or beg from others if we get ill.

          • http://PaganCenteredPodcast.com Dave of Pagan Centered Podcast

            Most insurance plans in the US have a donut though (often between <=100,000 and 1,000,000+). Admittedly, Obamacare did do something noticeable to ensure most conditions are now covered but private insurance is not perfect, unless you just happen to have 900k hanging around in a liquid or semi-liquid (forgot the correct economic term, sorry) savings.

          • Elnigma

            You haven’t much experience actually using health insurance if you think it’ll cover your expenses if you get really ill.
            What you’ll face is rejected claims, co-insurance payments, co-payments. And you think you can avoid Medicare after 65 but doctors are required to take Medicare before accepting your insurance, so you probably won’t be able to see the doctors you like most/need to see because they won’t accept Medicare.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bryon-Morrigan/100000104778250 Bryon Morrigan

            Indeed. Insurance…especially medical insurance…is the only industry that I know of where the business model is based around the customer paying the highest amount for the worst service. Normal businesses succeed based on giving their customers the best service for the best price, in competition with others. Insurance companies only succeed by ensuring that they DON’T give you what you paid for! And if they DO have to pay for your procedures, they ensure that they jack up your payments, in order to keep their profits soaring. They make money by exploiting the sick, and they have no business operating in a civilized society. They should be outlawed completely.

          • Caravelle

            How was the child who is being neglected (and not necessarily because the parents are bad – they could be juggling three jobs to put food on the table) irresponsible ?

          • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

            Most women who abort are single, and that in and of itself is irresponsible behavior. Most, as in around 85% were not using birth control. Doubly irresponsible.

          • Anonymous

            [citation needed].

          • Caravelle

            I wasn’t talking about the woman. I was talking about the child. How was the child irresponsible ?

            (well, I guess babies can’t marry, so the baby is single, and apparently being single is in and of itself irresponsible behavior. Is that what you’re getting at ?)

          • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

            Okay, so the baby’s parents were irresponsible. Is that a good reason to kill it?

          • Caravelle

            Of course not. Nor is it a good reason to let it starve, or freeze, or be neglected and uneducated. Hence everyone’s suprise at your having something against social welfare programs.

          • Apuleius Platonicus

            “Most women who abort are single”

            TRUE. 83% of women who have abortions are unmarried. But how is “that in and of itself irresponsible behavior.” That makes no sense at all. Are you saying that it is “responsible” for married women to have abortions, but this somehow becomes “irresponsible” if a woman is unmarried? WTF?

            “85% were not using birth control”

            FALSE. Half of women who have abortions were using birth control when they became pregnant. Duh. Birth control is effective (although far from 100%), so naturally unplanned pregnancies are higher when birth control isn’t being used. And again I say: Duh.

            Consider: You are arguing that women who have abortions are irresponsible. Hmmmm. So these “irresponsible” women should … what, exactly? Become mothers? Really? THAT is your argument? Are you some kind of Planned Parenthood triple-secret-agent?

            [stats from National Abortion Federation: http://www.prochoice.org/about_abortion/facts/women_who.html

          • Crystal7431

            Birth control fails and I’ll go out on a limb here (which I don’t usually do because it’s my business) and say I can tell you from personal experience. Do you know how many women get pregnant on birth control? It’s probably more than you think.

          • Elnigma

            Birth control isn’t free. Besides if it is free where you are that’s a social medicine type program you probably are still against.

          • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

            And condoms are 75c in vending machines, foam is $10 for a package of ten. If men want it, THEY can pay for it, not the taxpayers.

            If a woman isn’t worth $1.75 to a man, then why, oh why, is she surrendering the pink to him? And if she is stupid and irresponsible enough to do so, why, oh why, must **I** have to pay for it?

          • http://profiles.google.com/vanye111 Jason Hatter

            Price has gone up a bit on the condoms, at least in my experience in Michigan. They seem to be going for $1.25 now. $4 for a box of 3 in the local gas stations “medicine” aisle.

          • Elnigma

            That’s still cheap, and though they don’t always work, they’re safer than using nothing.

          • Elnigma

            People get pregnant sometimes using those two types of birth control (combined, even!)
            when you were talking about “free” I figured you might be under some delusion about the pills which also many women can’t take.
            A woman usually can’t get more permanent and reliable methods free and generally would be refused even the option if they were childless or with less than 2 children and were themselves under 26 years of age.

            Why must you have to be given anything, either.

      • Mageprof

        The fall of the cards is absolutely random, and provably so.

        Whatever truth emerges, does so in the dialogue between the querent and the reader, provoked by the cards or by anything equally evocative. But this dialogue lets a skilled reader bring up things that the querent has not yet recognized as relevant to her situation, and that the reader had not seen at all before the dialogue started.

        And cold reading can be an enormously valuable technique in and of itself, quite apart from tarot or any other machinery of divination.

        • Mageprof

          Sorry about this. It was supposed to go as a reply to another comment by Dea Syria. Still getting the hang of the new system . . .

      • Joseph

        I hate to break this to you, but the vast majority of Democrats are Christians, too.

      • NorseAlchemist

        Um…do you have proof of these accusations?

    • A.C. Fisher Aldag

      I just noticed that I wrote Goldburg instead of Bachmann. Oops.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bryon-Morrigan/100000104778250 Bryon Morrigan

        I wondered about that! I was like, “Who the f— is Goldberg? Jonah Goldberg?”

        • A.C. Fisher Aldag

          Michelle Goldman wrote the article about Michelle Bachmann. None of whom are related to Michelle Obama or Michelle Branch.

  • Chas Clifton

    I did some contract work for Patheos when the site was being created. I think that everything I wrote was discarded–because back then they were changing their minds weekly about what they wanted it to be. But they have survived, so good for them. (And I got paid eventually.) Web publishing is so changeable–I am glad that you are keeping the basic rights to The Wild Hunt in case you must move elsewhere some day.

    • Apuleius Platonicus

      Well, I guess its a good sign that they at least contacted you (and even paid you). It shows that they had the right intention and at least some idea of what they were doing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bryon-Morrigan/100000104778250 Bryon Morrigan

    Hey Michelle Bachmann: The Taliban called…they want their ideology back…

    • Apuleius Platonicus

      Yeah, and the Jerk Store called, too.

    • Joseph

      Are there any actual quotes of Bachmann herself standing against the rights of minority religions? Or are these constant imprecations against “her unfortunate views regarding the equal treatment and rights of minority religions” all based on guilt by association? Just because she endorses a particular historian doesn’t mean she necessarily shares all of his views on every subject, and just because she donates money to a drug rehab project doesn’t mean she endorses every whacko paragraph on their website.

      Is there anything from the woman herself on this? Has anyone actually asked her if she shares Barton’s views on the applicability of the First Amendment solely to Christians? Has she come out against the pagan circle at the Air Force Academy, or anything?

      Personally, I was a bit more upset by Ron Paul’s statement during the debate that the First Amendment meant that “Congress should never prohibit the expression of your Christian faith in a public place”.

      Funny, I always thought it meant all faiths. So much for the vaunted libertarian.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bryon-Morrigan/100000104778250 Bryon Morrigan

        Michelle Bachmann: A Right-Winger who wants theocratic laws based on a Middle-Eastern religious text, opposes gay marriage, supports people who call for the execution of homosexuals, opposes abortion, opposes Feminism, and thinks that, “…not all cultures are equal.”

        The Taliban: A Right-Wing organization that wants theocratic laws based on a Middle-Eastern religious text, opposes gay marriage, supports people who call for the execution of homosexuals, opposes abortion, opposes Feminism, and thinks that, “…not all cultures are equal.”

  • http://www.tigerseyetemple.org Dan Miller

    Was able to log-in with my name via FB. Hate posting under anything other than my real name. Transition looks good so far.

    • http://www.wildhunt.org/blog/ Jason Pitzl-Waters

      There are several different login options. So if a Disqus account
      gives you no joy, maybe you could login through Facebook?

      • http://www.tigerseyetemple.org Dan Miller

        Yep, linked my Disqus account with my FB account. All is good. Thanks Jason.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=501005243 Alison Leigh Lilly

    A quick comment on the move: Not sure if this is intentional or not, but the Wild Hunt RSS feed is now only publishing excerpts instead of the full post. I for one always find excerpted RSS feeds annoying and tend not to click through. But I wanted to hop over here to give you a heads up, in case it was unintentional.

    • http://www.wildhunt.org/blog/ Jason Pitzl-Waters

      WordPress defaults to excerpted posts when installed. I have changed
      this and all future posts should show up as full text.

  • Pitch313

    When I think of politicians as zombie invaders who shamble around eating our brains and making mashups of all our pop culture legacy (e.g., the First Amendment & Zombies!; Paul Revere’s Ride & Zombies!; Howdy Doody & Zombies!; Ayn Rand’s Objectivist Salon & Zombies!;)…everything makes sense to me & Zombies!

  • http://www.thehighwayhermit.com James Bulls

    Jason (or anybody else who knows) – I don’t understand: does this mean that your articles will be published in the Patheos Pantheon feed (published twice, both at TWH and at Patheos?), or does this mean that your content will only be here at TWH? Confused…

    • http://www.wildhunt.org/blog/ Jason Pitzl-Waters

      My posts will appear primarily here, but Patheos has the ability to
      publish them elsewhere on the site if they’d like.

  • Dea Syria

    You’re not worried about promoting tarot, which is a confidence trick based on various techniques of cold and hot reading? Despite the fact that divination does not work, and cannot work? Is inherently a fraud?

    • http://PaganCenteredPodcast.com Dave of Pagan Centered Podcast

      Considering it’s often used as a peer-therapy technique rather than divination-for-profit in Pagan communities, I don’t see what the big deal is.

      • http://twitter.com/TheJeopardyMaze _

        Now, as a student of Tarot and Astrology, I’ll have to disagree. People who practice divination more often than not do not have a background in therapy. I have started doing research in to traditional astrology recently because I am interested in actual answers that could not be otherwise be figured out other ways, especially most of modern astrology. But therapy? Not without a license.

        Unfortunately, I am also not cut out for divination apologia, at least any time soon. But defending the practices as merely a form of self-help is, to put it politely, an insult to the history of these traditions.

        If people need psychological help, then diviners aren’t the place to go, and should seek out people who have had an education and degrees in the practice instead.

        • http://sarenth.wordpress.com/ Sarenth

          What is there to disagree with? I have seen professional counselors use Tarot as a peer-therapy technique and have spoken with counselors who use them, for instance, in LGBT-related therapy where gender binaries and polarities are trying to be figured out.

          Sometimes people can afford the $20 but can’t afford a therapist. Sometimes a person would more trust a diviner than a therapist, whether that is because of a reader’s reputation or the tendency of our society to look down on anything resembling or suggesting mental illness. Perhaps this is not the best way of going about things, but it is what people have come to Tarot readers with. It isn’t psychological counseling, but it can be helpful and can be therapeutic, so I wouldn’t knock it either. Again, professional counselors can and do use the Tarot right alongside other techniques.

          • http://twitter.com/TheJeopardyMaze _

            Well, using it to supplement something you earned a degree for is one thing, but it’s not a substitute for those suffering from PTSD and similar problems. Thus, my issues with confusing one kind of discipline with the other.

            but it is what people have come to Tarot readers with.

            People also come to them to ask questions about job opportunities, if their spouse is cheating on them, if so-and-so is a great future lover and business partner, etc as well. Astrology and geomancy tends to be a bit more reliable, as long as it’s done correctly and not tainted with new age rhetoric I’ve seen so much in so many books these days.

            I guess my main problem is this tendency in the pagan and divination community is confusing religion, spirituality, and divination with healing and therapy. There seems to be this impression that divination is only useful for psychology, not day to day real life uses from the mundane (where are my socks?) to the more important (when is the best time to open my business?).

          • http://twitter.com/TheJeopardyMaze _

            I also find it kind of odd that members of a community centered around a group of religions would have a problem with fortune telling. Even back in my atheistic days I thought it was hypocritical to be a believer but dismiss astrology and other forms of divination. But I’m only speaking for myself.

          • http://sarenth.wordpress.com/ Sarenth

            “I guess my main problem is this tendency in the pagan and divination community is confusing religion, spirituality, and divination with healing and therapy. There seems to be this impression that divination is only useful for psychology, not day to day real life uses from the mundane (where are my socks?) to the more important (when is the best time to open my business?).”

            Ohhh ok. I see where you’re coming from. According to what sources I’ve seen, at least from Greece, ‘mundane’ things were actually consulted on, as were who would win the next horse race, up to deeply impacting things likes whether to go to war or not.

            I tend to use divination for a lot of things, including what might be considered ‘mundane’. I may approach the tools themselves as sacred tools, but given I believe physical existence is part of the sacred, I think that practical answers from our divinatory tools are as valid as psychological ones. For myself, I don’t dismiss astrology per se, but I don’t know it well enough or know people I trust enough to trust it. I hope that makes sense.

          • http://www.thehighwayhermit.com James Bulls

            The main problem I see in the pagan and divination communities isn’t that they confuse religion, spirituality, and divination with therapy as it is that the people providing these services confuse therapy with pastoral counseling. When a Muslim goes to his Imam for help, that’s not therapy – that’s pastoral counseling. When a Christian goes to his bishop, that’s not therapy – that’s pastoral counseling. And when a seeker comes to me for a reading, I’m not providing therapy – I’m providing pastoral counseling. Speaking only for myself, I make it clear to new clients before I read for them that I am not a psychiatrist, psychologist, job coach, or other licensed “helping” professional, but that I am offering a means for them to examine themselves from another perspective. I, as do many other pastoral counselors, advise my clients that I am not qualified to act as a physician or mental health counselor and in cases where a client needs help I refer them to a professional or simply don’t read for them. There are many people in the divination community who make the terribly unprofessional and unethical choice of pretending to be as qualified and as helpful as physicians and mental health counselors, but there are also a lot who strive to provide ethically sound services without confusing pastoral counseling (as might be provided by a Bishop, Imam, or leader of any other religious group) with actual therapy.

    • Thriceraven

      Many (including me) don’t do Tarot readings for anyone but themselves or close friends and never for pay. I find it not so much a diviniatory technique but a way to quiet the mind and focus on archetypal images that help me access my own decision making processes. Some people sleep on life decisions or quandries, some of us reach for our pack of Tarot cards. Fraud is not inherent to the system.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PMTLR3IIGKPHZ2YNU3PDXWK4WA Kenneth

        Fraud is not inherent to Tarot because it does not purport to deliver any supernatural answers or forknowledge of the future. It is nothing more than a method to help understand where you are headed in your present course. Its a way to “think over” your situation with the subconscious mind, a way to get a broad view of the situation where your other senses may be focused too closely on it to easily see it from other angles.

        I don’t do divination for trivial things, and when I do, it has always proven to be a valuable tool. It’s not something I use in lieu of “normal” reasoning, but in addition to. When I make major life decisions, I like to assemble information from many sources and see what the “weight of evidence” tells me. I usually find that Tarot (or other divination), usually confirms what I already “knew” down in my gut, but which I harbored some uncertainty about because I either didn’t want to believe it or felt like I was too invested in hoping for it that I could no longer make an objective call. Tarot or Runes were that reality check.

        • Dea Syria

          Tarot cards are also the usual starting pint for the confidence trick known as “The Great Trick of the Gypsies” and no doubt many others.

        • Dea Syria

          Tarot cards are also the usual starting pint for the confidence trick known as “The Great Trick of the Gypsies” and no doubt many others.

    • http://www.thehighwayhermit.com James Bulls

      I spend a lot of time reading what the Skeptic community says about divination, and I think they have a very one-sided view on the matter. Fellows such as James Randi do a good job at busting the frauds who use cold, warm, and hot reading techniques to make a buck. They do an excellent job showing how frauds can use NLP, hypnosis, and simple open-ended questions to create the illusion of gained knowledge. And they do an outstanding job of illustrating how recipients of card readings selectively filter the message to gloss over the misses and remember the hits. I think it’s good and right that there are people in the Skeptic community who make it their business to bust the frauds who’d use parlor tricks and confidence games as tools to con a mark; however, I don’t think the Skeptic community has a full appreciation for how cartomancy is used in a religious setting to provide a means of pastoral counseling and spiritual guidance.

      • Dea Syria

        If you want counselling, better to have psychoanalysis, if you want guidance, better to read Epictetus.

        • Anonymous

          Epictetus was a Stoic, and as a general rule Stoics accepted the efficacy of divination. In the specific case of Epictetus he did not have much to say on the subject, but he did not question whether or not it “worked”.

    • Mageprof

      The fall of the cards is absolutely random, and provably so.

      Whatever truth emerges, does so in the dialogue between the querent and the reader, provoked by the cards or by anything equally evocative. But this dialogue lets a skilled reader bring up things that the querent has not yet recognized as relevant to her situation, and that the reader had not seen at all before the dialogue started.

      And cold reading can be an enormously valuable technique in and of itself, quite apart from tarot or any other machinery of divination.

      • Dea Syria

        In that case it seems the cards would get in the way the kind of discussion that takes place during psychotherapy.

        • Mageprof

          I am not a psychotherapist and have never been to one, so I have no idea what kinds of discussion take place during psychotherapy. Thus I can’t speak to your comment very well in any direct fashion.

          What I am is an old man equipped with almost 70 years of life experience, a storyteller with 400 years of my own ancestral stories, and a scholar with 40 years teaching the young at an Ivy-league University.

          After so many years of talking with my students, and saying or doing what I can to encourage them to endure and to survive, despite the half-understood griefs and horrors within their own (often highly privileged) lives, there is no tale of family dysfunction, no perversion or “abnormality” of behavior, that can surprise or appal me. (Nor were my own ancestors any better: the stories I can tell of their lives and misdeeds might, I have been told more than once, serve to illustrate an advanced course in abnormal psychology.) Yet I know that I have made a significant difference in the lives of many of these students, for they take pleasure in keeping in touch and telling me how their lives are unfolding after college.

          What I could do for these students was not a science, or even a scientifically based art. I simply showed and made clear to them, talking one on one, the fullness of our common human condition, the humanity that they and I shared in all its strengths and weaknesses. I offered, to the extent I could, everything I had of wisdom and compassion. It was a poetry of survival and endurance that I offered, not any form of healing based on science or empirical knowledge.

          And the tarot cards (and other forms of divination) made it possible for me to do this with greater power than I could ever have done with the aid of reason and empirically based scientific knowledge.

          There are some skills that are not improved, but crippled, by the application of reason and empirical, scientific knowledge.

      • Dea Syria

        In that case it seems the cards would get in the way the kind of discussion that takes place during psychotherapy.

    • http://ianphanes.livejournal.com/ Ian Phanes

      I find it interesting that both of your comments on this post are expressed in absolutist and confrontational language. I have no idea what your intention really is, but these two comments make you look like a troll.

      • Dea Syria

        I am horrified whenever I see anyone deceived, whether it be by the Republican Party, or by Religion. That anyone could actually believe that divination is real…its just staggering.

        Incidentally, I’m a classicist and an specialist int he Greek Magical Papyri and Middle and Neo-Platonism, which is why I’m simultaneously attracted and reppeld by Neo-paganism.

        • http://badocelot.com badocelot

          I’m horrified whenever I see anyone buffaloed by evangelists, be they believers or skeptics.

          For my own part, I have never seen a believer in psi, astrology, tarot, homeopathy, etc.[1] so viciously mock a skeptic for their doubt as I’ve seen skeptics mock believers for their belief… for example, contrast your own posts here to those responding to you. You are the one being hostile.

          [1] And actually, homeopathy and astrology are too incredible for me, and I can’t even endorse the Tarot with any real confidence.

          • http://www.wildhunt.org/blog/ Jason Pitzl-Waters

            On a personal level, I prefer to engage with Tarot as one of the most
            successful collaborative art projects I’ve seen, with several
            different artists reinterpreting the classic symbolic images for their
            own purposes.

            Even Andy Warhol got in on it:
            http://www.warhol.org/webcalendar/event.aspx?id=3002

    • Daniel

      I am sorry, because I am sure you are sincere, but believe me – I have been reading cards since 1986. I know what “cold reading” is and I am lousy at it. If I am reading cards, I see the cards and I know what they mean in context (though if I am rusty, I can be slow on the uptake). I have personally experienced genuinely, specifically predictive results with Tarot, on matters I had no prior awareness of, and if I had it would have been sensible to predict otherwise than I (accurately) did.

      When I read professionally, I was charging for sitting around, dressed in a costume and discussing my work (and giving directions to shows, bathrooms, ATMs) for nine hours a day. If someone didn’t feel that my reading had been helpful or accurate, they got a full refund. Over 10 years, I built a returning clientele. I never claimed to be psychic or to predict the future – only to demonstrate authentic fortune-telling with Tarot, as entertainment.

      Have people used fortunetelling in con games? Yes. Do you disbelieve in investment because people play Ponzi schemes?

      Don’t libel people’s profession. It’s rude.

    • http://badocelot.com badocelot

      “Despite the fact that divination does not work, and cannot work?”

      You’re welcome to draw your own conclusions about Tarot an divination in general (but do at least read some of the evidence in favor of precognition, such as Dean Radin’s “The Conscious Universe”).

      But this “cannot” attitude disturbs me. The laws of physics are actually inductive generalizations; the Universe is not bound to them. Drawing concrete metaphysical conclusions from them — such as the idea that divination is “inherently a fraud” — is sheer dogmatism.

      If there is evidence for the existence of precognition (and I believe there is based on the evidence from parapsychology as well as personal experiences), then the laws of physics can and must change to fit the new data. To argue that this cannot happen is little better than arguing that geocentrism must be kept because that’s what Aristotle or the Bible taught.

    • Eileen Hall

      I imagine not, because it isn’t. And anyone whose ever used tarot is going to laugh at you. Perhaps you should learn a little more about what you’re spouting off about before you make ridiculous assertions

  • Anonymous

    Poking my head in here from the Slacktivist’s blog to say ‘hi’ and start reading your blog. Don’t mind me. ^_^

    • http://www.wildhunt.org/blog/ Jason Pitzl-Waters

      Welcome!

  • Bryan Cederberg

    Solution to the gay marriage debate:

    Marriage should not be recognized by the government. If folks want to marry they can go to their religious community (or secular equivalent) and request a ceremony. If the community/leader/(etc.) accepts they/(s)he/(etc.) will set a date where magic words will be spoke, fairy dust will be sprinkled, a glass will be stepped on; whatever floats their spiritual boat and completes the transition.

    Let me now clarify my position: I believe that marriage is sacred. The government has no business in sacred affairs. They are a secular institution and should remain so. If the people tell their government to recognize domestic partnerships, that’s okay. However, the popular argument about gay marriage being an affront to religion (and all that is holy, etc.) will no longer hold water. Politicians will no longer be able to hide their bigotry in the sanctuary of religious fervor.

    • Caravelle

      Heya Jason, welcome to here ^^
      @Bryan : Your solution doesn’t solve anything for the people who don’t believe marriage is sacred. To some people marriage is a public commitment between people who love each other. To others it is a set of legal and fiscal privileges that make life as a couple much easier.

      The former I suppose could muddle through : secular institutions would be created (in which case, which to choose ?) or people could do their own ceremonies (but inventing rituals from scratch isn’t easy for everyone, and some people like participating in a socially-accepted widespread template).

      For the latter, there we have a serious problem. Basically, getting government out of the marriage business means abolishing marriage as a legal construct. I’m sure it’s possible, it might even be a good idea, but Holy legal mess Batman.

      • Anonymous

        @Cara: the proper response to that would be have them incorporate. As a corporation, they can have as many participants as they want, capital is still accrued in the family name, etc.

        The taxation issue would be difficult, but not impossible – just replace “married couple” with “M-Type corporation” (I don’t know, I just made that up – there may in fact be an m-type corporation already) and leave the rates and tax breaks the same as for ‘married filing jointly’.

        • Caravelle

          Right, and custody of children, hospital visitation rights, testifying in court, how does a corporation structure deal with that ?
          Anyway even if incorporation were a better system for couples than marriage is, that still leaves us with having to modify every single law that refers to marriage or spouses. Again, I’m sure it’s possible, but I don’t see how it’s worth the hassle.

          • Ed the Pagan

            Actually a closely held family corporation can deal with this, if properly structured. It has worked well for several Poly Groups.

          • Lonespark

            That’s good to know.

  • Angiportus

    Some people have 12 ribs on 1 side, 13 on the other. Are they fully human?

    • Elnigma

      I’m tempted to say “No” for humor’s sake

  • Seven Exiles

    I find it hilarious that this post has attracted a sidebar ad from Bachman’s campaign

    • http://www.wildhunt.org/blog/ Jason Pitzl-Waters

      The perils of keyword-based advertising I suppose! I’ll talk to the
      Patheos people about it. They say I can block stuff that my readers
      might find offensive.

      • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

        Why would that be offensive? Readers of your blog will have the opportunity to go to her website, read what she has to say on issues, and readers of your blog will then likely choose to not vote for her.

        • Joseph

          Agreed. Jason seems to fall into the false trap of “pagan=liberal”. It is not so.

          • http://www.wildhunt.org/blog/ Jason Pitzl-Waters

            Huh? I’ve never said one had to be liberal to be Pagan.

          • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

            Dear Jason, sometimes you DO assume that all Pagans / Polytheists are liberal, making posts that seems that we all feel that certain values should be ours, just because we are Nature Spiritualists. Yeah, citation needed. I’ll look it up soon. There was one recently about “A woman’s right to choose” for instance.

            Perhaps a post on Pagan Conservatives is in order?

          • Henry

            there are occasional adjectives used which does imply a more liberal slant like in the above “unfortunate views” although “unrivalled extremism” was the Daily Beast’s characterization. A use of more neutral language might have been chosen. But hey, that’s modern journalism. No one just reports the news objectively any more.

          • Joseph

            Not explicitly, I’ll grant you. But you do seem to proceed from the assumption implicitly. For instance, just here you stated “I can block stuff that my readers might find offensive.”

            Someone is going to be offended by something. Why would you automatically assume your readers would be offended by it? Just the latest example of the phenomenon I’ve noted over the years.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bryon-Morrigan/100000104778250 Bryon Morrigan

            Why would someone be offended by it? Because Bachmann is a Christian Dominionist, and proud of it. You might as well get all ruffled if Jason said he’d remove pro-Osama bin Laden advertisements from the sidebar.

            However…any Pagan…hell…any Non-Christian…who would even consider voting for someone like Bachmann…is either ignorant or suicidal…and likely both.

          • Joseph

            “Bachmann is a Christian Dominionist”

            Source? Preferably something from Bachmann herself, since you claim she’s “proud of it”, rather than some left-wing conspiracy blog.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bryon-Morrigan/100000104778250 Bryon Morrigan

            I see that you must be on the “ignorant” side then… How about you just click on the “Michelle Bachmann” tag at the bottom of this article. You’ll find plenty of examples of her promoting Christian Dominionism, with her buddies David “If it ain’t Christianity…it ain’t religion” Barton, and Bradlee “Islamofascists are more moral than Americans, because they execute gays” Dean.

            I have a sneaking suspicion though…that no amount of proof will dissuade you if you’ve made it this far. I mean, the amount of cognitive dissonance required to not realize that Bachmann is a Dominionist…when it’s pretty much her whole platform…is astounding…

          • http://www.wildhunt.org/blog/ Jason Pitzl-Waters

            You’re reading an awful lot into that comment. I wouldn’t lightly ask
            for an ad to be blocked, but I’m made uncomfortable by political ads
            on my site, but any party.

          • Anonymous

            Agreed. I don’t like political ads on any of the religious blogs I read (Pagan and non-Pagan alike) simply because I like to keep the two separate as much as possible.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PMTLR3IIGKPHZ2YNU3PDXWK4WA Kenneth

            Anyone who exercises critical thought these days (or has shown evidence of having read books) is branded a “liberal” these days.

            I think you ought to consider blocking some stuff. Not because it’s offensive, but annoying and counterproductive. There ought to be some guidelines for keeping things on some track of the discussion and to prevent this from becoming hijacked by people with partisan agendas, left or right wing.

            This is a pagan blog, not a political one. Not to say that being pagan puts us above or outside politics, but most such partisan battle blogs are all about heat and shed no light on anything. That kind of atmosphere will quickly kill all that you have worked to make Wild Hunt if you let it.

          • Apuleius Platonicus

            “Agreed. Jason seems to fall into the false trap of ‘pagan=liberal’. It is not so.”

            FALSE. Jason has opinions, like everyone. And these of course are reflected in his work. And there is nothing wrong with that.

            If you honestly find specific instances where you think this “false trap” is in play, then you should point that out when and where it happens. But making random and vague statements accomplishes nothing.

          • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

            First I would like to say, that I really do love this blog, that it offers important news and debates for Polytheists & Pagans. Jason really does try to maintain objectivity. But occasionally, a liberal comment does sneak in… Here is a tiny example from “Unleash the Hounds”dated 3 June:

            “I guess conservative non-Christians are too small a group to get equal time. Meanwhile, the Republican wave of 2010 has brought with it a wave of social conservative anti-abortion legislation. What’s next on the social agenda once these states have hamstrung women’s right to a legal medical procedure?”

            Ummm, more women (and men) would use birth control, and fewer would become pregnant, I’ll warrant. And that would be a GOOD thing.

            Perhaps this is a small minority opinion, yet I know over 50 people who self-identify as Pagan or Polytheistic, who are against abortion for convenience, who advocate personal responsibility. Let’s hope it’s a trend.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PMTLR3IIGKPHZ2YNU3PDXWK4WA Kenneth

            I could buy that reasoning but for one thing: The social conservatives you claim kinship with on the abortion issue have NO interest in personal responsibility. They are motivated by a desire to control women according to a Biblical worldview. They are not advocating birth control over abortion. They fight birth control tooth and nail. They want a Saudi-like society where women have absolutely no say over their own bodies or any other aspect of their lives. They would (and have) banned all forms of sex education that teach methods of birth control or stray in any way from their abstinence-only ideology.

            They would also be perfectly happy to micromanage personal medical decisions for all of us. What types of therapies can be developed, access to pain control, even the final decisions about how to live out our final days. In 40 years of living, I have not personally known any woman who elects abortions as a method of birth control or something casual. Most pagan women I know are all about personal responsibility. The current crop of Republicans in this country are not at all their allies, nor ours.

          • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

            Citation? :-) Which moderate Republicans are advocating theocracy? As I’ve mentioned, several times, I favor moderate conservatives and oppose Bachmann as too extreme, too right wing, and too available to the Christian religious minority.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PMTLR3IIGKPHZ2YNU3PDXWK4WA Kenneth

            Moderate Republicans are next to extinct and the few that remain bow and scrape to the agenda of the nutjob wing. That entire party dances to the tune of Bachmann and her like these days.

            True conservatism ie Barry Goldwater and William F. Buckley, has nothing at all to do with today’s group. Todays group is a lobbying wing for corporate oligarchs. At the street level, the movement is largely a brownshirt one rooted in nativism and a Christian Taliban.

        • Harmonyfb

          Maybe because Bachman has insinuated that non-Christians are unfit for office? Just a guess.

  • Charles Cosimano

    I might be tempted to vote for Palin if only for the comic value of it, but Bachmann is just too far out on her limb. On the other hand maybe some rope on her limbs might…

    Oh, the jokes are going to fly from this election.

  • Anonymous

    Bachmann makes my list of Top Five Reasons to Fear 2012. [[shivers]]

    • Apuleius Platonicus

      It’s all part of a truly Diabolic plot, methinks. It’s the old “one-two punch”. Standing next to Sarah Palin, Bachmann is a freaking Rhodes Scholar!

      • Anonymous

        oh gods, isn’t that a scene out of nightmare, those two on a ticket together…

  • http://badocelot.com badocelot

    Man, Jason just moved this thing to Patheos and already the comments have gotten 100% more hostile…

    • Eileen Hall

      …and for some reason you can reply to *some* replies, but not others. And of course it’s the easily refutable, nastier comments that can’t be replied to. :P

  • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

    The comments got so small, I could no longer see to reply.

    I am shocked that Pagans / Polytheists seem to be so terribly against personal responsibility, and expect “the Government”, which is middle-class taxpayers like ME, to bail other people out of their self-induced problems… Babies do not just happen. And there are ways to prevent them from being conceived.
    Isn’t personal responsibility one of the cornerstones of using magick? Isn’t it one of the noble virtues (under honor)? Why has responsibility become such a dirty word? Why do some people expect that I should owe them a living?

    Our little occult store closed because we were paying 64% of our income in taxes. YES, it was really that high. Over 30% of the federal budget goes to all the entitlement programs, counting social security. Our new state governor lowered the small business tax to a reasonable 4%, so that we could finally re-open a business and employ a few people. This isn’t “greedy” or “self-serving”… business owners could not afford to pay the crushing taxes to support all of these so-called “social programs”.

    This is why so many of our friends and neighbors voted for Republicans… even though some of the conservative candidates do not support civil rights, gay marriage, and alternative religions. We simply cannot afford to support those individuals who refuse to be responsible any more. Hence, we voted from the pocketbook.

    • http://www.wildhunt.org/blog/ Jason Pitzl-Waters

      I’m not going to comment on current politics either way, but will note
      that the (pagan) Roman Empire did have social welfare programs. So if
      someone wants to be against social welfare programs, cool, but there’s
      nothing that makes that stance more (or less) “Pagan”.

      I’d also ask folks to keep these debates civil. This isn’t aimed at
      anyone in particular, I’m just asking.

      • Anonymous

        Ancient Pagan societies, as a general rule, placed great value on social welfare. Both “philanthropy” and “liberality” were highly regarded virtues in Greco-Roman society in particular. Roads, bridges and aqueducts do not pay for themselves. And neither do “bread and circuses”.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bryon-Morrigan/100000104778250 Bryon Morrigan

      So you would support Christian Supremacists who, “do not support civil rights, gay marriage, and alternative religions,” simply because of economic reasons? Remember what Samuel Adams had to say about thinking like that?

      “If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquillity of servitude than the animating contest of freedom, — go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen!” — Samuel Adams

      Sorry, but I will always choose Liberty and Civil Rights over money.

      • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

        Nope, which is why I’m not voting for Michelle Bachmann, as stated above. I noted that many of ourfriends and neighbors did vote for extreme conservatives, however. I attempt to vote for moderate conservatives, and when they’re not available, greens or libertarians. Getting upset over having to pay 64% of my income in taxes — when I, as stated, am middle class — doesn’t strike me as “Love of money”. That’s another Liberal Lie, trying to portray middle-class Americans who own small businesses as greedy, money grubbing and uncharitable, when we want to support our own families first. And what about our right to be secure in our property? That is a civil liberty, as well.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bryon-Morrigan/100000104778250 Bryon Morrigan

          Your comment is based on 2 big misconceptions:

          1. That Liberals are never middle-class business owners, and therefore care little about middle-class businesses…(and as someone who used to own a retail store, I find your 64% figure to likely be an exaggeration, I might add…Prove it.)

          2. That Liberals want to raise taxes on the middle-class. We support “Progressive Taxation,” which is the idea that the more money a person/entity makes, the higher a percentage of income is taxed. This is why we’ve been trying to roll back the “Bush Tax Cuts” on only the people making more than a quarter of a million dollars a year. The idea that Obama is trying to raise taxes on the middle-class is absurd. Most people earning less than $250k/year actually saw their taxes lowered under Obama.

          • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

            Bryon, The only way I could prove it is to allow you to look at my tax papers, which is not gonna happen. In 2008, when my store closed, we were paying federal income tax and state income tax, on income earned by my husband’s job, our farm, and our business; business and employment tax (in MI, that was the huge one); federal social security tax and a tax that goes to support various socialist programs including medicaid; tax on some merchandise, sales tax, and a city income tax for our store; a different sales tax for things we personally bought, including gasoline (also huge in MI; neighboring IN is nearly 25c less per *gallon*; property tax — small on our home in the country, enormous on our store in a crappy inner-city neighborhood; and several other taxes. Our accountant added it up and it was SIXTY FOUR percent of our income, AFTER deductions.

            Yes, that is real. I nearly dropped my teeth. Other merchants in our chamber of commerce reported similar problems with being taxed out of business. We work hard, and we resent all these taxes, many of which go to support people who refuse to work. Part of Michigan’s high tax problem is we’re having to pay back Mayor Kwami Kilpatrick robbing Detroit’s city funds and social services, but that is a whole ‘nother topic.

            Now that we have a Republican governor, our business / employment taxes went from around 33% of all income to 4% of the income earned by a business, for small businesses earning under a certain amount of money, and employing fewer than 20 people. Mr. Obama has not done crap for me… our Republican governor, state representatives, and congressional reps HAVE.

          • Eileen Hall

            So you’re just going to ignore both his points and go on pushing your ridiculous assertion that liberals are neither middle class nor business owners, and want to raise taxes on the middle class, despite all evidence to the contrary?

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PMTLR3IIGKPHZ2YNU3PDXWK4WA Kenneth

        I think it would make an interesting and relevant discussion if we focused it less on partisan politics and more on the various historical and pagan perspectives on charity and responsibility. There is a rich and varied and deep collection of traditions in pagan societies and moral codes about the tribe’s collective responsibilities toward its member and of the individual’s responsibility to the clan and to self-sufficiency. No, you don’t have to be liberal at all to be pagan, but I find it very difficult to fathom how one can be an Ayn Rand every-bastard-for himself libertarian in a system of religions which holds interconnectedness as a fundamental understanding of reality.

        My own understanding as a pagan derives from a sense of balance. To me, our obligations to each other derive from my understanding of how the gods relate to us. The gods don’t tolerate welfare bums. They expect you to work hard and smart, do everything in your power to succeed and to undertake even the impossible task when honor demands it. HOWEVER, they aren’t heartless. If they see you’re pulling 110% and stumble, as humans will, they’re happy to help and there’s no shame in taking that help.

        So it is from tribe to individual, in my book. We don’t owe anyone a living for sitting on their duff, but likewise, its a fact of life and biology that all of us sooner or later will need help and will need to draw on whatever system of support exists more than we are able to pay into it at that time. I’ve been at both ends of that transaction. Many years of paying taxes and health insurance premiums and unemployment insurance etc. that supported other people. On the other hand, I’ve had times where I needed a $30,000 surgery and suffered two years of unemployment, despite hundreds of applications, two college degrees and a willingness to work almost any job under the sun.

        In a sense, I see the whole thing along the lines of pagan notions of hospitality. It ought to be granted liberally, accepted graciously, not abused, and repaid or paid forward.
        How exactly that translates to political policy is a thornier question, but I think pagan values can inform the debate in ways that are not being seen in any existing political party we have.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bryon-Morrigan/100000104778250 Bryon Morrigan

          Bottom line: All of this Ayn Randian “personal responsibility” nonsense is primarily the residue of 19th century, Victorian, “Protestant Ethics.” It’s a philosophy based on PUNISHMENT and personal perceptions of what’s “fair,” rather than what is best for society.

          MY personal philosophy regarding criminal justice is summed up with one sentence by Cicero: “Salus Populi Suprema Lex Esto.” (Let the safety of the people be the highest law.)

          A great example of the opposite perspectives in conflict here is in regards to Rick Scott’s new law in Florida requiring drug tests for certain welfare benefits. Plenty of otherwise intelligent people have been saying, “This is a good idea!” and “Yeah! That’ll teach ‘em!” types of things…showing the aforementioned Victorian weltanschauung regarding criminal justice.

          But if one looks at the welfare of society as a whole, do we benefit from this law? Not in the slightest. In fact, from a pragmatic point of view, it’s easy to see that such laws actually work CONTRARY to “Salus Populi Suprema Lex Esto.”

          Why? Is anyone here naive enough to actually believe that taking away some drug-addicted poor person’s welfare check is going to make him/her pull up his bootstraps and go get a job? What do you think will REALLY happen? If you answered, “They will commit crimes to pay for their drugs,” then you’ve obviously done your research.

          So…the state pays out a little less money in welfare to some drug addict, the Objectivists feel better about themselves, and the crime-rate goes UP (which in itself means that the state will now likely be spending MORE on law enforcement than they saved by cutting welfare…)

          This is all very elementary if you think about it.

          Yes, some drug addict getting a few hundred bucks of everyone else’s tax money every month isn’t “fair” to those who pay taxes and work. But is the alternative “better?” Contrary to what you may think…nobody stops doing drugs because of coercion.

          Me? I’d rather pay a few extra taxes and worry less about my family members getting car-jacked or murdered over a few dollars.

          “Salus Populi Suprema Lex Esto.”

          • http://PaganCenteredPodcast.com Dave of Pagan Centered Podcast

            I think the problem with a lot of my fellow fiscal conservatives is they’re focused on the short-term gain of treating welfare as a financial issue rather than the long-term gain of treating this like a psychological health issue.

            On the different topic of crime, I forgot who or when, but there was a good documentary about how Canada stopped following the US’s foot tracks in disciplining their population somewhere around the 60s and 70s and switched from just incarcerating people towards a system of actually diagnosing the core issues affecting a person and fixing those instead. Now Canada has earned a stereotype of having little crime, and they probably (overall) aren’t spending nearly as much as we are maintaining so much of our incarcerated population.

            Sure, treating everything as a need for psychological help or education has its slippery slopes, but I’d rather be fixing problems and in the process making people better people than just using punishment to deter undesired behavior people have a strong desire to pursue consciously or unconsciously.

          • Harmonyfb

            It’s a philosophy based on PUNISHMENT and personal perceptions of what’s “fair,” rather than what is best for society.

            Much anti-abortion rhetoric is this way, as well, taking a ‘you play, you pay’ stance which makes children as a *punishment* rather than a blessing (which is why so many of seem to only care about babies and their mothers until they’re born, at which point they’re painted as ‘irresponsible’ welfare cheats.)

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PMTLR3IIGKPHZ2YNU3PDXWK4WA Kenneth

      Really. You’re going to tell me that Republicans have ANY credentials whatsoever as a force for responsible spending? If you can say that and walk a straight line, you’re either working for them or haven’t paid much attention to public events for the past 20 years. Republicans have controlled the White House and/or Congress for most of the past 30 years. When they didn’t, they still controlled the boundaries of the public agenda. When exactly was their golden era of low taxes and low spending? Did I miss it? I did have a binge period with Jack Daniels circa 1989.. They did manage to almost zero out taxes and regulations for Fortune 500 companies and actively assisted them in offshoring as many jobs as possible. It created no new jobs or re-investments, but speculation bubbles instead. Your taxes as a small business owner and mine soared to pay for all that.

      The Republicans also managed to spend over $1 trillion to fight a war which was fought for some mix of sport and to enrich corporate interest. It had no basis whatsoever in any rational national security interest. Since it was all borrowed money, it will be more like $3 trillion when its all said and done. Your grandchildren will still be paying for that one. We spend many, many hundreds of BILLIONS of dollars on ultra high-tech fighter jets to fight an enemy who exists nowhere on this planet. These tools are virtually worthless against the enemies we do have. How do these things jive with “personal responsibility?

      We’ve had multi-billion dollar bailouts for mega corporations who are “too big to fail.” The taxpayers bit the bullet for criminally reckless misconduct. Pure nanny state socialism for billionaires. The real budget breakers are 1)A national defense budget which is large enough for several entire planets, let alone one country. 2)Medicare and Social Security, which deliver many times in benefits as employers and individuals (mostly middle class or better) have paid in. Of course in your narrative, and that of the Tea Party/Republicans these days, none of that really matters. To your mind, the real problem is some black mom somewhere getting a government check to have babies. That was never more than a tiny drop in the bucket of our country’s problems and cash welfare assistance has been all but ended in the past dozen or so years.

      At the real risk of being blunt or even uncivil, if you’re voting Republican from the pocketbook, you’re either one of the richest 10% of Americans or a damn fool. On top of that, you’re voting for people who are openly boasting of their plans to create a Christian theocracy and to make you a second class citizen.

      • http://PaganCenteredPodcast.com Dave of Pagan Centered Podcast

        So, based on this above post, Democrats are completely helpless and ineffectual, thus not worth voting for?

        • http://sarenth.wordpress.com/ Sarenth

          Considering the Democrats’ lack of willingness to stand up to Republican positions, letting them define the debate as well as frame it, and more often than not being complicit in many of the above problems I have with them, I am finding the Democrats also problematic to vote for.

    • Caravelle

      Again… How is making sure that the children of poor parents still get food, clothing, care and education “bailing other people out of their self-induced problems” ? When did those children induce their own problem of being born poor ?

      • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

        Cara, how about making sure that poor parents have fewer children? Having a baby when you* have no income, aren’t in a committed relationship, and / or are using illegal drugs, is irresponsible. Paying people to do so is also irresponsible.

        Why are folks advocating either giving handouts or killing the unborn children? Why are we not insuring that these “poor parents” stop breeding? I went and checked; here in MI, condoms ARE free at the health department. 75 cents in the gas station vending machine. You can’t afford that, what makes you think you can afford a baby? So, don’t breed. That simple.

        If you reward people for bad behavior, they continue with bad behavior. Our new governor has proposed two years on welfare, and you’re done. Voluntary sterilization is another suggestion. If you wanna scam benefits, you get clipped. If “poor parents” neglect their children, take drugs while on Welfare, how about taking the kids away and giving them to a nice married Gay couple with a decent income?

        BTW I am legally blind, I qualify for all kinds of “benefits” but I would rather die than beg charity. It is dishonorable.

        * The general “you”.

        • Shallot

          Alice, I can understand your frustration with people who have children that they aren’t financially or emotionally ready for, but you’re generalizing too much about people who receive benefits. I’ve known maybe a half-dozen folks on welfare, and they didn’t resemble anything you described.

          I knew two mothers with children, working full-time or pretty close to it. Both were married at the time that they had their kids. Should they have anticipated that they would be single moms? I knew one man who developed a chronic disease, and the medical bills and his inabilities with work had pretty much wiped him out. The last ones were teenagers–all from homes with problems, but they were trying to make something of themselves. It’s just hard to get started when you* have nothing, and when any setback knocks you right back to nothing.

          Maybe I’m lucky, and I met the few virtuous poor folks in my small city, but I doubt it. And I can’t see how time limits, voluntary sterilization, and breaking up families would do anything but kick people who are already down.

          *also general you

          • Allofthemwitches

            As someone who has worked at a juvenile home, in public schools, and as a case manager I have to say that in my experience I’ve seen:

            A culture of folks who understand the system and are willing to fulfill the minimum obligations in order to maintain a welfare lifestyle.

            I’ve seen hardworking individuals who desperately want to work, but sometimes fall on hard luck – especially in today’s economy.

            Poor kids with immature and irresponsible children do come to school at a disadvantage – it’s tough to concentrate when you have to worry about what might be going on at home.

            No matter what anybody thinks ‘blood is thicker than water’. It’s near impossible to have a reasoned conversation with someone about family, despite the abuse that may be taking place.

            Welfare and unemployment are more effective at stimulating the economy than tax cuts to large corporations (who get their own form of welfare from the Federal Government).

            When considering social programs you must also take into consideration how they function on a local level. For instance, crime in my community has been significantly lower in Summers where large City work programs are taking place.

            There are less jobs out there than there are people willing to fill them. So saying ‘get off welfare and start working’ isn’t as simple a proposition as it seems.

            Globalization and greed are killing the middle class. You cannot compete with slave labor overseas.

            All this talk about taxes, what about inflation?

            Parents are far more influential on a child’s progress than teachers.

            There are large segments of poor communities who look at welfare as ‘free money’ that is owed to them.

            Kids need to learn about heroes instead of victims. People aren’t inclined to play a game they believe is rigged against them.

            Race politics serve our masters well. Divide and conquer.

            Affirmative action doesn’t affect rich whites who already have the proper connections for it to be a non-issue. It’s a way of pawning off responsibility to those souls whose ancestors probably had nothing to do with slavery in the first place. This makes poor and middle class whites angry (justifiably), but more often than not at the wrong group of people. Another example of how the upper classes throw scraps from the table and watch fights begin. It’s much easier to pick the pockets of a person who is distracted.

            Man I could go on and on. I guess my point us that these conversations aren’t as simple as our political culture makes them out to be. What I’ve seen so far in the discussion on this thread are two standard types of arguments. People have to be careful not to let our media define the arena for the debate.

            That said:

            I’m in favor of a social safety net.
            I’m against illegal immigration.
            I oppose free trade in the guise of crony capitalism.
            I’m in favor of holding welfare recipients responsible; drug tests, sterilization for the duration of the benefits, and impeccable school attendance for children (including suspensions) should all be expectations for any sort of assistance – free money ist free, people should know when they’re under the government’s thumb; if they don’t like it, they can always refuse benefits and find a different way to make a living.

          • Elnigma

            sterilization for the duration of the benefits,
            If a woman is allergic to copper and can’t take hormones, how would you do do this?

          • Allofthemwitches

            Good question. I’d provide her an appropriate alternative and make it clear that she will lose benefits if she becomes pregnant.

          • http://PaganCenteredPodcast.com Dave of Pagan Centered Podcast

            Just a head’s up – there is a woman who travels the world to get crack addicts and other people she does not feel are being socially responsible to go infertile, in exchange she pays them when they do so:

            http://abcnews.go.com/Health/International/us-woman-pays-british-addicts-kids/story?id=11916808

            As for illegal immigration, that problem is like saying “man, we really need to keep that river water in the river” after the Mississippi River has just broke through its banks and flooded a town under 30 feet of water.

            Now what are we going to do? I recommend somehow making this weakness into a strength somehow, maybe sales taxes to get them to help pay for the government programs the rest of us are paying for.

          • Allofthemwitches

            I would close up shop overseas, and put our troops on the border. Then I would implement amnesty for those who are already here, but at a price (military service, volunteer hours, fines, etc.).

          • Lonespark

            Well said. It can be ridiculously difficult to get something really effective done.

            I don’t quite understand why some people are against illegal immigrant labor and also against unions.

          • Irishchicka

            How are you planning to temporarily sterilize men?

            There are non-hormonal and copper free contraceptives for women, but how are you going to handle the men?

        • http://sarenth.wordpress.com/ Sarenth

          As someone who volunteers at a crisis center where we do intakes of people in rough situations, I can say that most people who come in have tried, but through life situations, or just plain bad luck, have fallen on hard times. I don’t blame them for their plight; I am there to, where able, help them figure out what they need and get what I can to them in aid. It isn’t a hand out; they have to be able to do certain things, but it *is* a hand up. That is what most social welfare programs are. They’re designed to be as fraud-free as possible while doing the most good to the most people who *need* it. These people didn’t *want* to fall on hard times, and anyone who thinks that is lying or fooling themselves. I know of no one that I have seen on the street begging for money or walking into the center or in person otherwise who *wants* to be poor, or reach out for help. It takes a lot of guts to be able to say to anyone, *especially* a stranger “I need help.”

          WIC isn’t a picnic, and the updates can be hard when you fall on hard times and they cut food money from you, the staff sometimes won’t get back with you, and oh, by the way, rent is due and you’re down to your last pack of diapers. Pile all that on top of trying to better yourself through working your butt off and trying get an education to boot, and life is hard enough without people kicking you while you’re down, calling you ‘irresponsible’. Especially when you’re doing all you can just to make ends meet. I call *that* cold, heartless, and cruel.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PMTLR3IIGKPHZ2YNU3PDXWK4WA Kenneth

            You’re right, and in addition, we forget that there are entire industries which feed on poverty and profit enormously from helping to keep poor people poor. Government agencies who foster dependence and dole out dribbles of assistance which are just enough to survive, never enough to help transition to something better. You have the dozes of payday loan places which extend these people survival money…at 300% interest. The prison industry, which is far more about profit than rehabilitation or public safety, the state lottery, which encourages grossly unrealistic hopes if only people will convert their meager funds to tickets each week…

            The other dirty secret of all this is that we have ZERO mental health service for most people in this country. Most of those living on the street have raging mental illness. Their ultimate options for “treatment” are prison and the morgue.

            Yes, people do become and stay poor through their own choices and attitudes, but the vast majority of us on this board are exactly one job and one major illness away from serious “Big P” poverty, work ethic and personal responsibility notwithstanding.

          • Lonespark

            This is true. It costs a ton of money to be poor. Rent, bus fare, quarters for the laundry, a million other things that are sunk costs for someone with enough savings to own a house, a washing machine, good food storage and prep faciities…Out-of pocket costs for glasses/contacts, for visits to the dentist that can’t be avoided…there’s still way too many people without health insurance, fundraising for major surgeries by washing their neighbors cars.

          • Lonespark

            It takes so. much. time. to look for jobs. Once you have kids, unless you have family members who can watch them for free, or you have a really good program to subsidize daycare, it’s incredibly difficult to get work. In a great economy I guess that would be less true. I’d also like a flying unicorn that barfs Belgian waffles.

        • Caravelle

          What an evil comment.

          It ignores my point completely : that the children are innocent so this talk of “responsibility” doesn’t apply to them.

          In doing so it completely ignores those children, completely focusing on punishing the bad, bad parents, making the children props of some welfare queen instead of people in their own right.

          The one bit that does propose a solution *for the children* is cold and unrealistic and phrased strangely. “If” “poor parents” neglect children ? Do parents who are poor not exist ? Do some of those parents’ children not fail to get many of their needs met ?
          As for cold : taking children from their parents should be a last resort, not something blithely suggested in the same breath as sterilization as a solution to poverty.
          As for unrealistic : not enough nice married gay couples around. How much money are you willing to pour into the foster system ? It would need to be much more than now for sure.

          Then there’s the question “how about we get poor parents to have less children”. Aside from ignoring the fact that poor people will never have zero children (if anything, people can become poor. Noticed the unemployment rate lately?), it’s completely wrong on how to go about it. The way we get poor people to have less children is through sex education, cheap and available contraception, and *cheap and available abortion*, because the former two aren’t 100% effective.

          Taking away people’s benefits won’t make poor people have no children, for a few reasons. People can become poor. People can become pregnant after taking all steps to avoid it. And even with benefits having children is a huge drag on one’s time, money and prospects, especially for people who can’t afford nannies, daycare and the like, so the idea that benefits encourage poor people to have children is just strange. Nobody has children for the money.

          Also, this comment criminalizes poverty. Being poor now becomes sufficient reason to take children from their parents or to have the choice between starvation or dishonor – wait, dishonor AND sterilization.

          And systems that criminalize poverty (many have existed in the past, and many exist today) do not reduce poverty. They entrench it, because they put in place positive feedback loops that make it hard to get out of poverty and easy to fall in it.

          So that is why that comment was evil.

          • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

            Sorry you feel that way. My experience of poverty hasn’t been like some of the people who’ve posted here, who’ve worked in social welfare. My experience of poverty has been my neighbors, who use methamphetamines, collect more money on welfare than my husband and I make working, ignore their children, drop out of school, steal from me and other neighbors who actually work, sell their food vouchers for drugs… THAT is “evil”. One young lady, a meth addict, is 22 and has four children, pregnant for the FIFTH time, and she is the fourth generation on Welfare. She is using drugs while pregnant. THAT is “evil”. You’d not advocate taking those poor children away, and giving them to someone who can look after them properly?

            I can respect the opinions and stories of those who actually work with the impoverished, who have a different experience. I am finding it difficult to see as credible, those who have some liberal storybook notion of poverty from something they read in the NY Times or saw on the CBS news. Who are all theory and no action. Where are your suggestions for improvement, besides raising taxes on the middle classes to support these unsustainable programs that don’t appear to be working?

            BTW, these people I’ve mentioned appear to be white and of European descent, so the false accusations of racism are completely unwarranted. It’s a distraction tactic. Attempt to make conservative politics racially charged rather than advocating solutions. (That last was not directed at Caravelle).

            Speaking of illegal immigration… my neighbors who are farmers tell me they cannot find enough workers to pick fruit, haul it to market, can or freeze it, here in America’s heartland. So they hire immigrants. They pay a wage that is better than, say, Wal-Mart. Why, then, are folks complaining there aren’t enough jobs? Yes, it’s hard work, but if my blind 50-year-old ass can do farm labor, why cannot able-bodied people who are now collecting entitlements? There aren’t enough jobs… that spoiled Americans wish to do. Yeah, that comment was likely “evil” too…. Gods forbid we ask people to be responsible and functional.

          • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

            The irony of that comment was just pointed out to me by a bystander… Killing babies = OK. Advocating VOLUNTARY sterilization = evil. Liberals have very strange perceptions of right and wrong.

          • Elnigma

            Maybe they were mixed up about the “voluntary” part.
            Interesting thing about your comment is that you are for socialized medicine but only if it involves the poor being sterilized. Why not just be for socialized medicine?

          • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

            I’m for helping those who really, really need it. Did you know that the “rich”, those who make above $100K / year in income, over 65, still qualify for Social Security and Medicare? Those programs were supposed to help the aged and ill who couldn’t afford to pay for their own care. Ronald Reagan and Strom Thurmond both received SS and Medicare… on the working class’s dime.

            I am for voluntary sterilization so that people who have already proven that they cannot care for their own children, financially and otherwise, will not have more children — this will reduce abortion, the number of neglected children, and our taxes. If I found myself without an income, the last thing on earth that I would do would be to inflict that poverty on children whom I love.

            What I completely fail to understand is the attitude of “Go ahead, breed indiscriminately… then you can either kill it, or we will force someone else to support it”. This is encouraging responsibility HOW? It would be much better to say, “Sorry, you have two kids already that you can’t afford to take care of. You must get clipped, or you’re not getting your benefits raised”. This is completely fair, just reasoning.

          • http://PaganCenteredPodcast.com Dave of Pagan Centered Podcast

            The dumb and irresponsible survive as the smart and responsible die off in evolutionary pressures (slowly drowned out of the local gene pool).

          • Caravelle

            The problem with only helping deserving people is that you need to screen the undeserving out. This means you’re adding hassle that the deserving will have to go through. The better the screening, the worse the hassle, the more you’re punishing the deserving people you wanted to help.

            The fact that rich people get Social Security and Medicare is completely indifferent to rich people; they don’t need the money. However the fact that poor, sick, old people don’t have to jump through hoops proving they’re sufficiently poor, sick and old to get Social Security or Medicare is quite valuable to poor, sick, old people who don’t have the time, money or energy to jump through hoops in the first place.

            As to why your sterilization plan works better than free contraception and sex ed I’m not sure. You realize sterilization isn’t 100% either, right?

          • Elnigma

            Yes, rich people and corporations are collecting large amounts of benefits and tax breaks and the government pays for Medicare in cases where the insurers should. And all while benefits to veterans, the poor and the middle class, and WIC gets cut.

            Yes, there are people who are severely irresponsible as parents. And I think paying for them (or anybody else who wants) to quit having children when already many of theirs is at risk is a good use of tax funds.

            And there’s the endless wars whose mission purposes get ever more vague. And increasing new war and “Security” departments given blank checks. And vast funding for war technology and permission and ability to bypass the Bill of Rights.

            All while the economy is on a downturn and the infrastructure is crumbling down because of lack of maintenance and education funding gets cut down.
            It’s infuriating.

            Sadly, there’s not many Congresspersons I see of either party who aren’t a joke. Most of them on both sides voted for this mess.

          • Shallot

            Argh, the space is almost too small, but I wanted to respond to this. I’ll try to keep it short.

            We agree that people shouldn’t have kids that they can’t take care of. But conservative policies don’t have a net effect of reducing pregnancy. Comprehensive sex education and women’s healthcare do, plus side benefits like cancers caught early and fewer STDs. I don’t like abortions, so I vote for pro-choice policies that don’t treat pregnancy as a punishment for sex.

            The language you’re using in your arguments is also really jumping out at me. Talking about people “breeding indiscriminately” makes them sound like animals. There’s nothing that “these people get up to” that doesn’t happen in all walks of life. They are not the Other; they are us, and I never forget that I could be in their shoes.

          • Caravelle

            What I advocated isn’t killing babies and what you advocated isn’t voluntary sterilization.

          • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

            Yes, it was, please go back and read my statement again. I checked, please check as well. “Voluntary sterilization is another suggestion.”

            Someone else advocated temporary sterilization, my solution would be permanently cutting and cauterizing fallopian tubes and seminal vesicles.

          • Caravelle

            I’ve read your statement, and you can say “voluntary” all you want that won’t make a choice where one of the alternatives is starvation a free choice.

          • Guest

            More its like why farmers and many in construction and cleaning service won’t hire American citizens. Though it’s not technically legal to hire without all the application forms, social security, etc. filled out. if you hire immigrants as day-workers since many are illegal, they can skip the high quantity of forms or worry about extra expenses. They can just pay cash at the end of the day and they’re gone. They’re less likely to be fined or have to pay extra expense for hiring them then they would citizens by the US government should they were just paid cash for the day without documentation.

          • Elnigma

            Um.. It sounds like you’ve lived in a neighbourhood before with some rotten people in it, but did you actually see someone out on the street selling their WIC vouchers? Did anybody actually buy their eggs and milk away?

          • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

            Actually it was someone who gave their Bridge Card (which replaced food stamps) to another individual to buy food, who then paid the seller about 50c on the dollar, who THEN (I am told) obtained meth… confirmed by the seller, who was bragging about it.

            Also, I did media work for an organization who formerly had the WIC account for this area, and I was approached numerous times about doing the same deal.

            Nice, law abiding, compassionate folks have no screaming IDEA what these people get up to.

            How do I know this? These individuals call themselves “Pagans”, and because I am also Pagan, they think that I will be complicit with their lawlessness. And NO, complaining to authorities does NOT work.

            To separate the actual needy Moms who are caring for their children, we MUST drug test all Welfare and WIC recipients.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bryon-Morrigan/100000104778250 Bryon Morrigan

            I see that you ignored my previous post specifically outlining why drug testing welfare recipients leads to nothing but higher crime. Pity…

          • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

            Not ignored, disagreed. And for more crime, we still have second amendment rights, and the ability to defend our property.

          • Elnigma

            About defending property — That’s an impression you have that’s wrong. In many states, if someone comes to steal from you you’re only allowed to shoot them for it if they actually try going inside your house and threaten you bodily.

            Exceptions are given for police officers.

          • http://PaganCenteredPodcast.com Dave of Pagan Centered Podcast

            That is not the case in Texas. A threat or suspicion is sufficient, tested in 2009 or 2010.

            However, I will say that many US states are liberal and will grant the thief pain and suffering and damages, even if they’re stealingfrom you.

          • Elnigma

            Jason,
            these comments are getting squisehed

          • http://www.wildhunt.org/blog/ Jason Pitzl-Waters

            Yeah, sorry about that. I’m going to get a new theme that will expand
            and give us more room. I may also limit how deep a thread can go.

          • http://sarenth.wordpress.com/ Sarenth

            Lol

          • Elnigma

            though you rail against it, I figured you actually hadn’t seen WIC abused. You just confirmed you were incorrect.
            WIC has no street value. The Bridge card (WI) and Food stamps are not the same as WIC vouchers.

          • http://PaganCenteredPodcast.com Dave of Pagan Centered Podcast

            YOU BRING UP AN EXCELLENT POINT! Holy crap, I’ve never seen my neighbors eat, defecate or sleep. I must use your logic to provide they never engage in these activities regardless of likelihood!

          • Elnigma

            I hope your podcast is cleverer than this.

          • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

            Someone can take their card, buy someone else groceries, and get paid cash money for them… pennies on the dollar. They then use the money for drugs. That IS abuse of the system.

          • Caravelle

            Sorry you have such terrible neighbors. They don’t represent everybody on welfare though. And I still fail to see how cutting off welfare would help the children. Sure, CPS can take your neighbor’s kids (haven’t you called them yet ?). I’d be more sanguine about it if CPS weren’t overworked and the foster system completely messed up. You haven’t said how much funding you’d add to their budget by the way.

            But tons of poor people aren’t on drugs, or neglecting to use birth control, or grossly mistreating their children. They’re just poor. How does your super plan deal with those people’s children ?

            And you keep claiming that social programs don’t work which is plain strange. I’m sure some social programs work worse than others, but all advanced democracies have welfare programs to various extents and poverty is considered to be much better nowadays than it was in, say, Victorian times. And other places characterized with extreme income inequality.

            Besides, there’s the economic benefits. Tax cuts and stimulus money is much more effective when given to people who actually spend it on non-luxury items.

          • Lonespark

            One social program that doesn’t work is sticking kids in foster care. Even if they end up getting adopted fairly quickly by a stable family, older kids especially face a lot of challenges, and many, many kids never get that chance. When there’s severe abuse or another untenable situation, it has to be done. But it’s never, ever something to be done lightly, and it doesn’t get the parents off drugs…in fact, I know of studies that have shown the opposite.

          • Lonespark

            I’ve had some experiences like those, in meth neighborhoods and crack neighborhoods, even though I was finanacially better off then than I am now. But it’s not like all poor people use drugs, all drug users are poor (and certainly drug dealing can be a fairly reliable way to become less poor, in the absence of other options of personal feelings of fidelity to the legal system.)

          • http://sarenth.wordpress.com/ Sarenth

            I had neighbors like that. When I lived in my old trailer park, I used to have a meth lab next to me prior to it getting busted, and had a crack house kiddie corner where the kids were used as mules. I’ve seen the ‘dark side of poverty’, but you know what? Most people who come in for help aren’t like that. Most people who come in for help are law-abiding people needing a hand up for hard times. Why is that so hard to give?

            Many of the Republican policies, at least in my state if not nationally, are about taking money from middle and low-income people and subsidizing the rich. As an example, state workers’ pensions are getting deeply slashed, despite some working 30-35 years banking on those pensions being there, and the services to the poor are all but disappearing. Some are only allowed to stay on for 2-5 years, depending on what it is, then good luck after that point. Many of the people who would benefit from these social programs payed into them while fully employed and working hard, paying taxes just like anyone else. That we take those benefits away from them, and others in their time of need, to me, *is wrong*. I appreciate that you have a different perspective. I simply find it antithetical to my own.

          • Eileen Hall

            There’s nothing about the social safety net keeping your meth head neighbor’s children with her. Why haven’t you called child services? You’ve made it clear that you aren’t against removing children from even hardworking, non drug using poor parents.

        • Lonespark

          Isn’t there a Cara who posts regularly here? Cara…Schultz, maybe, a Hellenic Recon? So, it’ll probably less confusing to refer to Caravelle by her full name.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bryon-Morrigan/100000104778250 Bryon Morrigan

            I was just about to point that out…especially since the “other” Cara is a hardcore Conservative…

          • Lonespark

            Right. Extra confusing.

      • Lonespark

        Are you the Caravelle from Slacktivist, by chance?

        • Caravelle

          Yep. It’s the same Disqus account I’m using too.

    • Lonespark

      I am EXTREMELY confused by your series of comments that seem to imply that government programs somehow prevent people from being responsible for themselves or their kin.

      I get the part about people not wanting to pay taxes to support other people’s families or towns or whatever. I think it’s short-sighted and unpatriotic, but I can at least understand the argument.

      But are you really arguing that the existence of foodstamps prevents people from wanting to earn more money to buy better food and to out to restaurants and buy fancier kitchen gadgets? That the existence of WIC means all pregnant women and mothers would rather buy only the approved brands and sizes of approved items at the approved stores, even if they had more choices? That no one would ever want to get a job that offers real dental and orthodontic insurance, because Medicaid covers emergency procedures? That all of us laid off scientists and engineers and teachers and etc. just want to sit around on our butts, living it up on our $240 a week (yeah, that’s the AZ rate, I know it’s a little higher elsewhere), rather than actually using our skills and talents to contribute to the economy, to get a place to live, to buy new clothes for our kids? Really?!?

      • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

        Most of them don’t seem to want to, no. They seem to want to sit around their trailers, using meth and watching “Wheel of Fortune”, while their kids run in the street, wearing T-shirts in a MI winter, and their teens run wild… sorry if that is offensive, but it happens to be MY personal experience. And why, oh why, must I pay for that? If the adults were threatened with starvation, perhaps then they’d be motivated to work. I really don’t think they’d care, much, if their kids were taken, they’d just have more.

        • Lonespark

          As far as I am aware, being faced with starvation doesn’t lead to drug addicts suddenly becoming sober, contributing members of society. In my personal experience it leads to more scamming, more theft, more violence. If you think the money is ill spent on food stamps and would be better spent on intensive rehab programs, you’re probably right. I think those would take more funding, probably.

          • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

            Said Lonespark, “As far as I am aware, being faced with starvation doesn’t lead to drug addicts suddenly becoming sober, contributing members of society.” No, it leads to them dying. I’m gonna get told again how evil I am by the bleeding-hearts, but… so what? They chose that lifestyle. No, I do not buy into the liberal agenda about addiction being a disease. It is a conscious, intentional choice of behavior.

            Intensive rehab sometimes works, but more often not; there are extremely high recidivism rates. Again, because it is a behavioral choice. INtensive rehab paid for with MY taxes seems like a complete waste of money.

            I would say that a much better use of tax dollars is taking the children and setting up better caregiving homes and facilitating adoptions. The adults have already chosen to ruin themselves, the kids have a chance of becoming productive and leading happy, decent lives.

          • Caravelle

            Yes, letting the poor people die ! What a simple and elegant solution ! It’s incredible that nobody ever thought of it before. I wonder how come poverty didn’t disappear once and for all two hundred years ago, when the modern safety net didn’t exist.

          • Mr Willow

            “No, I do not buy into the liberal agenda about addiction being a disease. It is a conscious, intentional choice of behavior.”

            Malarkey; it is a disease brought on by the ills of society producing sadness in an individual. Above all else, every drug (and I presume you mean ‘hard drugs’ here like meth, cocaine, etc. in addition to alcohol) functions as a numbing agent to those taking them.

            They (the drugs) are numbing them (the user) to their poverty, the fact they can’t afford healthcare, the fact they can’t afford to get their children a decent education, the fact that they perhaps can’t eat that particular day, and, on a wider level, the fact that society in general doesn’t seem to give two shits about any of these avoidable problems. What else are they to do? You’ve made it abundantly clear that you view them as some sort of parasite. And who are you–who is anyone–to aid a leech? Perhaps they should all commit suicide? Yeah, that will fix society. *cough, cough*

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bryon-Morrigan/100000104778250 Bryon Morrigan

            No, it leads to them committing more crimes, more people getting robbed, assaulted, and murdered. If you’d actually read a single book on criminal justice theory, you’d know that this is verifiable fact.

        • Caravelle

          Well if it’s YOUR personal experience then it must be perfectly representative of the whole phenomenon, the plural of anecdote is data after all, and all the commenters here whose personal experience said something different must have been hallucinating.

          And the idea that a meth addict would be motivated to work by starvation is pretty laughable. They’re meth addicts. Why doesn’t the need to pay for all that meth not already motivate them to work ? But of course if it did, who wants to hire a starving meth addict in this economy ? They’re much more likely to steal and deal drugs.

          And still no info on how cutting welfare would improve their children’s lives.

          • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

            As I’ve stated several times, remove the children from their scabrious homes.

            People are clamoring to adopt, and are going to Asia and Africa to find children to raise. If American children were made available for adoption, rather than allowing them to be reared in a nasty impoverished home where the “parent” is laying around stoned, (a liberal policy, BTW) it would solve two problems, abortion and allowing welfare cheats and dope addicts to keep having kids. No payments would be required for adults who have chosen a destructive lifestyle, while the children are cared for in loving homes.

            As I have also stated several times, I believe the experiences of those who have worked in social services, who have a different perspective. The rest of youse guys, I think, are just gassin’, repeating a fairy tale that you’ve heard or read in the liberal media. The experiences of many, MANY of my fellow conservatives mirror exactly what I am stating… people taking a handout, using it for drugs, neglecting their children, being lazy and refusing to work. No one has as yet explained why I am obligated to support that unworthy and dishonorable lifestyle.

          • Caravelle

            Believe it or not, people aren’t clamoring to adopt meth babies, let alone older children. That’s one reason international adoption is so popular : the children tend to be younger and healthier.

            Children taken from such a household will spend a long time in the foster system, often their whole life as a minor.
            So again, what’s your plan to improve the foster system in the US ?

            As for other people’s personal experience, I’m sad to see that you are indeed assuming bad faith. I had hoped I was being hyperbolic when I talked about hallucinating. It’s interesting that you do accept the testimony of those who worked in social services. If you accept their experience, and they say that all people on welfare aren’t derelict meth addicts, then the question remains : how do you deal with those who aren’t, and their children ?

        • Harmonyfb

          You know, in all the years I’ve known people on public assistance (including members of my own family), I’ve only known one person who abused the system (and yes, she was a waste of oxygen…but she was one bad apple among a whole barrel of folks who just needed a little help.)

          At one time, my widowed great-grandmother, 75 years old, frail and diabetic, lived in public housing, collected food stamps and her meager savings (from a lifetime of farming) just about paid for utilities and insulin. According to you, she should have just sucked it up and starved to death, I guess.

      • Harmonyfb

        I get the part about people not wanting to pay taxes to support other people’s families or towns or whatever.

        I don’t. And what I really can’t understand are people who are angry and insistent that their taxes not be used to support “those people” (in their mind, poor=criminal), but they say nothing about their taxes propping up the giant corporations which buy the politicians who are supposed to be working for the citizenry, not for corporate interests.

        If it’s a choice between making sure small children can eat and keeping Wal-Mart from having to pay any taxes, guess which side this Pagan falls on?

    • Eileen Hall

      “I am shocked that Pagans / Polytheists seem to be so terribly against personal responsibility, and expect “the Government”, which is middle-class taxpayers like ME, to bail other people out of their self-induced problems…”

      Somehow I’m not shocked at all that you are willing to broadly lie about the motivations of other Pagans.

  • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

    One more, then I am done… some of this conversation has deteriorated into personal attacks and name-calling, false accusations, and general nonsense.

    I think that many people here have a bad perception of what conservatism really is. They hear the most vocal, hateful propositions from the Religious Right. They hear denouncements such as this from Liberals: “Chasing Evil: Video: Four Minutes Of Religious Hatred”, using the most volatile speakers. (Sorry, for some reason, the link won’t post… it is available on You Tube under that title) This is like judging all Polythesists / Pagans by the most extreme, which we as a group do not like when it happens to us.

    How about the media offers views of some moderate conservatives, for a change?

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bryon-Morrigan/100000104778250 Bryon Morrigan

      con·serv·a·tism (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/conservatism): The disposition to preserve or restore what is established and traditional and to limit change.

      Conservatism is, by definition, opposition to Egalitarian social reform, whether for non-Christians, homosexuals, women, or anyone else. If someone is Right-Wing on “economic liberty” issues, but Left-Wing on “social liberty” issues, then that person is “Libertarian,” not “Conservative.” A “Conservative” is in favor of “economic liberty” and “social authoritarianism,” whereas a “Liberal” is in favor of “economic authoritarianism” and “social liberty.”

      Most modern Americans calling themselves “Conservative,” are actually better described as “Reactionary,” which is defined thusly:

      re·ac·tion·ar·y (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/reactionary): of, pertaining to, marked by, or favoring reaction, especially extreme conservatism or rightism in politics; opposing political or social change.

      “Moderate Conservative” is an oxymoron…as is “Moderate Liberal.” “Center-Right” or “Center-Left” are better descriptors. For example: Regardless of the propaganda on Fox News, Obama’s policies are best described as “Center-Left.” Examples of “Center Right” would be Arlen Specter, Scott Brown, and Charlie Crist.

      • http://PaganCenteredPodcast.com Dave of Pagan Centered Podcast

        So libertarians (not to be confused with the Libertarian Party) are neither liberal nor conservative?

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bryon-Morrigan/100000104778250 Bryon Morrigan

          Exactly. That’s why they are always trying to get you to take the Nolan Chart test: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nolan_Chart

        • Anonymous

          In fact, Libertarian used to be almost exclusively associated with the left, and with the most radical, indeed revolutionary, elements of the left. Emma Goldman, Mikhail Bakunin, people like that.

          Any system of exploitation is absolutely incompatible with genuine libertarianism. Exploitation requires repression, and organized repression requires Police, Prisons, the Military, Laws and a “Justice” system that are all tightly controlled by the exploiters.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PMTLR3IIGKPHZ2YNU3PDXWK4WA Kenneth

      Produce a moderate conservative movement and then we’d have some views to discuss.

    • Elnigma

      The usual “slanders” include:
      Some would rather see millions killed by war and/or poverty than see a few drug addicted “welfare queens” scam the system.
      The health care plan they really hold to is “don’t get sick”.
      The populace should be kept in general fear of each other so they are easily controlled
      It’s perfectly fine destroying the environment since the good guys will escape this Christian nation during the Rapture anyway.

      Said perceptions are all so unfair.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PMTLR3IIGKPHZ2YNU3PDXWK4WA Kenneth

        These perceptions are unfortunately gross oversimplifications, but they’re also drawn from very well established patterns of speech and action by conservatives, or rather, neo-conservatives.

    • Shallot

      … I think I’m done, too. I can’t find any common ground other than what I’ve already said, and some of the recent comments have made me too angry to type a response. Generally speaking, you’ve called friends of mine lazy and implied that my father should have died before I was born. I’m sure that wasn’t your intention, but that’s what happens when you generalize about “those people.”

      One more question, though, and I don’t mean it to be confrontational: do you consider yourself a moderate conservative? I don’t find your views any more palatable than Michelle Bachmann, just less Christianist, but I’m not sure where you belong in the grand scheme of things.

      • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

        I consider myself to be a moderate conservative. I am for Gay marriage — covered by “the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. Obviously for rights of minority religions.

        What, exactly, did I say that said your father should’ve died before you were born? How about all of the people that are saying abortion is a wonderful thing… they’re saying that babies should die before they are born, aren’t they? Very glad MY dad wasn’t killed by his irresponsible single mother in the 1920s… and yes, there was abortion then, of the herbal variety. Instead he was raised by family members and was a very productive person.

        On my FB, someone just sent me a wonderful article about two gay men who adopted TWELVE children. Twelve. Some seem to be special needs children. That’s what I’m talkin’ about! Yeah!

        I am for taxpayer sponsored benefits for those who CAN NOT work, as I believe I’ve stated here, many times. People who are too ill, too aged, or too handicapped to be employed. However, I can and do work, and I am legally blind and survived cancer, so a person who claims they cannot work had better be well and truly handicapped. Drug addiction isn’t a handicap. Neither is being unwilling to use birth control. Sorry if that includes your circle of friends, but I am standing by my beliefs. Which someone ASKED me to post, before all the attacks began.

        • Shallot

          If I’ve caused you to feel attacked, I’m sorry; that wasn’t my intent. I joined in the conversation because your beliefs seemed rooted in the idea that people on welfare were different from hardworking folks like yourself. I wanted to point out that it wasn’t true. I know because “those people” are my people. I don’t talk about it, because it’s nobody’s business, but my responses before may be hard to understand without context.

          Alcoholism and drug addiction run through my family like a plague. My dad’s worst times were before I was born, when my mom and dad lived in the projects. I’ve heard stories, and I remember some terrifying Mel Gibsonesque lapses, but he was a dry drunk for most of my childhood. Mom stayed because there were times when life was normal, and because divorcing him with 3 kids (one an oops on the pill) would have guaranteed deep poverty. In my teens, Dad got some stability from a mix of prescription antidepressants and antipsychotics. It’s not a cure, but it’s better than before. Makes me wonder about his brothers and sisters, some of whom didn’t make it.

          I ended up a teacher, so I see a lot of kids. What I see is not that my poor kids act differently, but their actions are perceived differently. The Christian girl who got pulled from sex ed and later knocked up on prom night vs. the school slut whose birth control failed. Who was being more responsible? Wealthy parents are no more or less likely to abuse or neglect their kids. And I’ve seen how hard it is to get out of poverty, because there’s no margin for error. I let a girl stay in my house for a year after her mom kicked her out at 18. Her savings was wiped out by an abscessed tooth. Could I have done any better at her age, if I couldn’t depend on my family? I could keep going, and I feel like I’m rambling, but the sum of my experiences does not support the idea that there’s anything better about non-welfare people.

          As a result, responsibility becomes a lot harder to gauge, and punishment becomes less attractive. I can’t look at a drug addict and judge whether he’s doing it for fun or if he’s self-medicating a mental illness. I don’t like the idea of abortion, but I don’t want a judge to decide who deserves one, and conservatives here in Ohio don’t seem as interested in preventing pregnancies as much as keeping women pregnant. I support policies that give all people a chance to better themselves through education and health care, and if they choose not to, their kids still have a chance to be fed and healthy and educated. So that makes me a bleeding-heart liberal, I guess.

          Sorry about the wall of text, Alice. I’m not sure if I even want a response, because writing all this makes me feel pretty vulnerable, but you seemed to be arguing in good faith. I hope it helps you understand where I’m coming from.

  • Allofthemwitches

    Not sure… a condom and super glue?

    The guys don’t tend to stick around anyways. Men usually live off the women they’re pleasuring. Sometimes they make money dealing drugs. Does the prison system count as welfare?

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PMTLR3IIGKPHZ2YNU3PDXWK4WA Kenneth

      The prison system does indeed count as welfare….for prison guard and police unions and for the vast infrastructure of well-connected contractors for the industry.

      • Irishchicka

        Sorry but could you explain that a little more? I’m sleep deprived right now, but it is coming across as accusatory that cops and guards are some how to blame for the prison population.

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PMTLR3IIGKPHZ2YNU3PDXWK4WA Kenneth

          As a quick answer, the California prison guard union spends enormous sums lobbying for legislation designed to increase prison sentences for a wide array of crimes. They take an unusual interest in public policy, and one that is very obviously motivated by their own financial interests.

          • http://sarenth.wordpress.com/ Sarenth

            I’m glad you clarified; in my state, prison guards, unions, etc. are getting horked over a barrel right now. What I thought of when Bryan asked “Does the prison system count as welfare?” I thought of this:
            http://www.gastongazette.com/news/bank-58397-richard-hailed.html

          • Anonymous

            I “liked” this post because of the use of the word “hork”.

  • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

    One last comment, then I am well and truly done with this subject. A reader called Mr. Willow wrote that drug abuse… ” is a disease brought on by the ills of society producing sadness in an individual.”

    Plenty of people undergo sadness at the troubles we face in our society. They do not all become drug addicts. Those who experience severe grief, loss of family members, undergoing terrible disasters, do not all become drug addicts. This is a just another wretched excuse for some individuals’ bad behavior. I believe that those who perform social services call making excuses for the dope addict’s using of drugs is called “enabling”.

    Mr Willow goes on to state, “They (the drugs) are numbing them (the user) to their poverty, the fact they can’t afford healthcare, the fact they can’t afford to get their children a decent education, the fact that they perhaps can’t eat that particular day, and, on a wider level, the fact that society in general doesn’t seem to give two shits about any of these avoidable problems. What else are they to do?”

    What ELSE are they to do? Are you KIDDING me? This is the type of liberal reasoning that utterly infuriates conservatives. It actually raises the blood pressure of most of the liberals whom I know, as well.

    Let me get this straight… someone is having trouble affording food for themselves and the people they supposedly love… so they spend what little money they have on illegal drugs? And we, as a society, are suppose to feel compassion for this self-destructive, irresponsible, totally irrational behavior?

    And we are not only supposed to feel sorry for these self-destructive people, not only make excuses for their harmful actions, we are also supposed to make sacrifices and PAY for them? That is INSANE. I’m sorry, am trying not to call names or make personal comments… but that type of reasoning is just simply untenable. What makes you think that, if I give up, say, new school clothes for my child, and give the money to the drug addict, that they’re gonna stop being hungry, and not simply use MY hard earned money to just buy MORE DRUGS? Brilliant.

    Social service workers: Don’t these “anonymous” or “twelve step” programs advocate NOT giving money to people who are just gonna use it to purchase more substances? Don’t they tell family members to not give the person any money, any handouts, to NOT enable them?

    And what about those who use drugs who actually have considerable resources? Are they taking drugs because they’re sad, or because they WANT TO? (At least I am not being told that I owe THEM a living, too!)

    Liberals, are you really listening to yourselves?

    Fine, if you want to throw away YOUR money, I am not stopping you. This is America. We have freedom. You could also spend your money on a bridge in Iowa, because someone tells you they are sad, and that would make them feel better. But please, stop raising MY taxes to pay for other people’s wretchedly irresponsibly harmful behavior choices.

    • Mr Willow

      “Plenty of people undergo sadness at the troubles we face in our society. They do not all become drug addicts. Those who experience severe grief, loss of family members, undergoing terrible disasters, do not all become drug addicts.”

      No, of course not. I never implied that (or at least I did not intend to). Most drug addiction comes not from one calamity, but stems from a much broader cultural problem: deep dissatisfaction in the state of one’s life or the state of society.

      Most people, when they think of a drug addict think of one thing: a poor person. They never consider if they were born poor, into a family that had been in poverty for two generation or so, that hadn’t the opportunity to be educated because of a poorly funded public school system, that attempted to get a job several times over but was unsuccessful because they had no education, so the only place that would hire them was either some industrial plant, where they stamped license plates, that offered little to nothing in the way of quality workplace conditions, or a fast-food restaurant. In either place on would eventually become depressed, so in lieu of a general sense of self-worth–deprived of them by a justifiably perceived apathetic population to their plight–they start drinking or begin using elicit substances. In both cases they are shutting out the world by numbing their senses to society and its apathy (or hostility) toward them.

      Since they cannot be educated, because nowadays it costs a small fortune to be so (you know, because public programs–which include public schools–are not funded properly, because what could be going to such a useful program instead goes toward a fancy new tank, and private schools–to not even mention college–are generally out of the price range of poor people most likely to become addicted to drugs), they can never escape their menial, tedious, depressing job, their poverty, their poor neighbourhood, their ghetto. And all this could have been avoided if people, ostensibly like yourself, do not want to realise that so long as some of us suffer, we all suffer. (see Bryon’s response to the same post as mine, in which he asserts–quite appropriately–that if deprived of welfare checks to pay for their addiction, those addicted will simply commit robbery. Either way, they will get money. One way, however, harms ‘upstanding’ society)

      Interestingly, the other thing that most people associate with drug addiction are celebrities. Again, they become involved with drugs because they are dissatisfied with their lives. They wanted to live the high life; they just didn’t expect all the exposure (naïvely, perhaps).

      The difference between the two groups of people, of course, is that one has the money to afford some manner of rehabilitation and one does not. And the reäcation from society in general only serves to bolster the feeling of apathy a poor person perceives from those around them. When a celebrity relapses, everyone seems to feel sorry for them, and when some random poor person does so (presuming they could obtain the rehabilitation they required and were not simply incarcerated), everyone sees them as a drain on society.

  • http://nike2422.livejournal.com/ Hoi Polloi

    No one screams louder and more shrill about addicts and all of the ills they bring upon society like an ex addict. They are so high and mighty and quick to judge anyone else who struggles with the same substance dependence they had. And since said hypothetical ex drug addict is now anti drugs, they have to do a one eighty on everything else they once believed in. Like switching their opinion on universal health care, abortion and so on.

    About that issue with WIC, food stamps and Bridge Cards being used to pay for items other than what they are intended for. Our hypothetical ex drug addict’s “personal experience” with this comes from when they would accept these same forms of payment from room mates who shared living space with them possibly?

    If said room mates also abuse drugs and perhaps utilize the house phone they just used their food stamps to pay for part of the bill to contact their dealer, the hypothetical ex addict may insist they don’t, because the ex addict paid for their habit by dealing, and now the FBI may have their phone tapped.

    Because abusing drugs takes up so many resources, our hypothetical drug addict’s spouse enters the military just to get a job. This doesn’t stop our hypothetical ex drug addict from taking one of their drug using room mates into their bed and becoming pregnant by them. No chance of this going sour any time in the future; it’s all hypothetical anyway.

    Of course when it does finally go sour hypothetically it will be time to scream about drug abusers and now irresponsible they are, and suddenly become a conservative because those other evil drug addicts learned how to cheat the system from said hypothetical ex drug addict AND THAT’S NOT RIGHT. Acting all noble and better than everyone else they used to associate with will shield themselves from the reality that they are one of those evil, tax-sucking, lazy people too. From this they will generalize that every single person who uses public assistance to make ends meet must be just as horrible as they USED to be and something should be done to stop them! This hypothetical broken record of a rant has been screamed from the sanctimonious soap box of all that’s wrong with the world according to said hypothetical ex drug addict for going on 15 years. The best thing to do if you’re sick of hearing it is to block them so you don’t have to read their illiterate, illogical rantings any longer, then go out and find those people who will put your faith back into humanity again.

    Hypothetically.

    • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

      Oh, look, a witch war… the same that Hoi Polloi, aka Nike of Nike’s Temple, aka Kelly Weaver, is famous for.

      • Caravelle

        That’s just… wow. I don’t even know how to respond to that.

        Do you realize that what you say only makes sense if everybody is like you ? If you’re the gold standard by which humanity is to be judged ?

        You don’t see a fallacy there ?

        You remind me of back when I tried to understand love, and figured that since I’d never fallen in love the whole phenomenon had to be made up.

        I changed my mind when I realized that tons of evidence points to romantic love existing and I can’t generalize from my single experience when evidence points the other way.

        People are different. And all evidence shows that addiction is hard to overcome for most people. Even near-impossible for some.

        • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

          Most of what Kelly / Nike / Hoi Polloi has written is not true. She has been internet stalking me for years. I have always written the truth as I know it. And I use my real name, not a pseudonym. Kelly has used her status as a Wiccan minister to counsel people, then broadcast their discussions as gossip… when she isn’t downright making stuff up.

          However, it was true that I was an addict, 35+ years ago. I have written about it extensively online, and in other forums… prolly will write about it on my own website, as well, if I consider it helpful to anyone. It began as an addiction to prescription painkillers after the same accident that blinded me. Turned into street drugs. Yes, including opiates, Grimmorrigan. I maintain that if I can stop using drugs, anyone can.

          Psychological addiction is hooey. It was not that hard. I have helped 46 people that I know of to quit (well, their own hard work and will-power did that, I just gave suggestions & support). And I have zero, zip, nada, tolerance for people who make excuses, take handouts, and act needy because of addiction. Let alone abandon their children.

          • Caravelle

            Whatever lies Hoi Polloi said about you aren’t relevant as I (and everybody else who was shocked by your comment) have only responded to what you said.

            As for addiction, nice, you’re generalizing from n=46 instead of n=1, that makes it so much better. I’m surprised that those 46 people needed hard work and willpower to beat their addiction though, what with it not being a struggle or anything.

            (come to think of it, all of your arguments here have been based on personal anecdote. Are you aware of the issues with that ?)

          • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

            So is all the rest of the media, Caravelle. When something says “based on a study” or “based on a poll”, do you believe they don’t deliberately find those individuals who support their position?

            Naturally, social service agencies wish to show their service is needed, valuable, so they can continue to scam money to finance it. Job security.

            The fact that I have 46 successes, and most programs have hundreds of thousands of fails, shows that I did something darn well right. Or that people who have difficulties with addiction aren’t as weak and needy as government employed social workers and liberal enablers think… that they can find strength and be capable, without any interference from Big Government.

            Of course, it’d be better and smarter not to get caught up in the first place!

            As for struggle… yeah, working and striving and achieving and succeeding at anything DOES take initiative and hard work and strength. It does not take millions in federal aid, and hundreds of studies, and years of time, and constant monitoring, and all the things that “the government” (taxpayers) currently provide.

          • Grimmorrigan

            Sorry, I would rather trust educated medical opinion rather than an amateur who is more interested in presenting themselves in a positive light and cannot tell the difference between personal anecdote and actual research. I’m sure you’ll have an anecdote about a doctor/academic/guy in a tie who was wrong about something once and therefor hold that all professional doctors/academics/guys in ties are wrong.
            I’ll let you get back to reading Calvin and Rand now. You’ve given us a good chuckle here. Thanks!

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PMTLR3IIGKPHZ2YNU3PDXWK4WA Kenneth

            If quitting drugs “wasn’t that hard,” you didn’t have an addiction. You had a physical dependence. Huge, huge difference, and any qualified medical or psychological professional will back me on this point. Anyone dosed with opiates in any significant time and amount will develop a tolerance and experience withdrawal symptoms, often very severe, upon sudden discontinuance. Others have unresolved underlying pain issues that are unbearable without the drug (unless otherwise treated). That is not the same at all as true addiction.
            Addiction, real addiction, is a lifelong disease and one that will progress without proper treatment, even if you’re abstinent from the drug. That doesn’t mean addicts can’t quit and can’t get well, but it’s a lifelong process, not something you quit and leave in the rear-view mirror one day. Yes, willpower is important and so is taking responsibility for oneself. They are crucial to recovery, but they are not enough. The notion that one can get over addiction simply by “sucking it up” or by being coerced by the criminal justice system is barbaric and archaic and has an indisputable centuries long 100% track record of failure. In sheer numbers and percentage of population, we incarcerate more of our people than any civilization in human history, including totalitarian regimes like the Soviet Union, China and apartheid South Africa. Most of that derives in one way or another from the War on Drugs. According to the “get tough” approach, we should be the safest and most sober society in history. (laugh track here)…

      • Anonymous

        While I applaud you for kicking whatever habit you had (and I do think that’s an immense thing to be proud of) I must state that not everyone is like you (thank goodness, I would not want multiples of anyone, myself included), kicking a habit is something quite a few just do not have the willpower or means to do so. They just don’t. It’s great that the circumstances you had enabled you to do so but a lot of people don’t have them, hence the drug epidemic.

        As for never being on public assistance…um okay? Congratulations? Did you want a cookie or something?

      • Grimmorrigan

        Good for you. Apparently you were not physiologically addicted to heroin or alcohol which can kill you in withdrawal if things are not done exactly right.

      • Anonymous

        “Yup, I did drugs 35 years ago… which is how I realize that anyone can quit. I could, so can anyone else. I have written about this publicly and shared how easy it is to quit… NOT a struggle.”

        sweet tap dancing jesus.
        W … T …. F ???
        RUFKM????
        YCMTSU!!!!!!!!!!

        • Grimmorrigan

          I don’t know if she is doing it for the “lulz” but she is certainly getting “lulz”.

    • Grimmorrigan

      Can I get a hypothetical reference for this? Also love you Japan before/after pics.

    • Grimmorrigan

      Can I get a hypothetical reference for this? Also love you Japan before/after pics.

  • Caravelle

    Okay, the threading’s gone too far to reply directly to Alice but that post really needs responding to, so I’ll do it here.

    “So is all the rest of the media, Caravelle. When something says “based on a study” or “based on a poll”, do you believe they don’t deliberately find those individuals who support their position? ”

    You’re doing it again. You form your opinions based on anecdote and presuppositions and you assume everybody does the same. Not so. It’s telling that you bring up the media, as if they were a standard. Do you know the difference between a journalist and a pollster ? Or a scientist ?
    As a matter of fact, I don’t believe that people doing studies and polls deliberately find those individuals who support their position. Short of fraud and incompetence of course; in fact I’m pretty sure that pollsters who do this are committing fraud. There are tons of ways of making a poll come out the way you want it, if a pollster is going to pre-select individuals that blatantly they might as well make up the results wholesale. Fivethirtyeight caught a pollster doing just that a few years ago; they could tell by analyzing the poll results. And all the non-fraudulent ways of massaging statistics are known and can be checked, which is why it’s always good to look at the actual study or poll. Do you know what to look for ? Did you even know there ARE things to look for ?

    “Naturally, social service agencies wish to show their service is needed, valuable, so they can continue to scam money to finance it. Job security.”

    Okay, you were already assuming bad faith from people who disagree with you but are not in social services, now you’re outright accusing social services themselves of being a scam. Would you still say you “believe the experiences of those who have worked in social services” considering what you think of the organization they work for ?

    “The fact that I have 46 successes, and most programs have hundreds of thousands of fails, shows that I did something darn well right.”

    I’ve actually been brushing up on my statistics these last few days so this is especially hilarious to me right now.

    So anyway, I guess the answer to “Are you aware of the issues with [basing arguments on personal anecdotes] ?” is a big “no”…

    • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

      As a sterling example, look at the way the media, the government, and various agencies have treated Wicca and Paganism over the past fifty years. Hasn’t been a lot of truth there, wouldn’t you agree? A high number of citations is not equal to truth.

      As a media person myself, I’ve interviewed many, many people. Truth is the sum total of various anecdotes and personal experiences. Some of these are subjective. It’s the SOURCES that must be questioned. What is the motivation? What is the reward?

      If a person who is a social worker says, “Yeah, I have seen some people be helped by social services”, I am likely to believe them. If the agency representative, the administrator of the institution makes a statement, then I question them. What is their motivation?

      If you think that individuals who report “facts” for liberal media sources are objective, you’re sadly mistaken.

      • http://sarenth.wordpress.com/ Sarenth

        Conservative, liberal, in the end the two big questions I have is: what does it do? How well does it do it?

        If a social services program gives people a hand up so they can get out of a bad situation, such as an abusive relationship, rent they can’t afford due to some unforeseen problem that crops up, or gives food to people that need it, and does it with an overall net gain for a community and the people served, I consider that a good. If the program does not deliver needed services, is a demonstrated failure, is corrupt, or feeds more problems than it solves, I consider it an ill. Short-term solutions do not equal long-term fixes, and this is a problem with a lot of charities.

        A lot of government programs have a vested interest in getting people off the streets and keeping them off of them because it serves the overall good of the communities they serve. It can stimulate positive growth in a community, whether this is in terms of lessening crime or increasing housing and economy. Keeping people in their homes is of interest both to a renter/homeowner, and the landlord/lease/loan holder (barring criminal actions, threats to others residents, things like that). The loss of one’s home or place of living puts stress on others, not just in the form of one more person on another’s couch or the street or turning to crime or drugs or something else, but economically speaking, more abandoned homes depresses communities’ economies by driving down the value of adjacent homes and communities, and driving up factors that make communities less inviting to potential homeowners/renters/etc. This, in turn, drives away business, kills competition, and after a while of this devastates communities. It’s a snowball effect that, not nipped in the bud in little ways through community services and support, can wreak havoc in local, then macro economies. Yes, charities can and often help in cases like these, but many lack the regular financing to be handle the sometimes varied amount of needs to be met in situations like these. Some simply don’t have the training, or infrastructure to, and/or are too limited in scope to be able to handle the variables that may need to be met to keep a person in housing, or help get people off the street. Again, the problem comes down to charities having the funding and, possibly, the coordination to effect long-term change in people and communities as is needed in situations like I described.

        There’s no question that facts and figures can be manipulated. However, when you say “look at the way the media, the government, and various agencies have treated Wicca and Paganism over the past fifty years” which branch of government would you like me to look at? If I’m looking at the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships the data available and my interpretation of it might be very different than if I am looking at, say, 501c3 status with my State or finding a Pagan chaplain in the military. I will agree with you that the sources must be questioned, and cui bono? is a question often on my mind when I look at them.

        I would doubt whether or not anyone reports facts without bias; liberal, conservative, independent, or otherwise. It’s part of critical thinking to question things, and I would hope that suspension of that would be odious to people regardless of political spectrum. When a good number of people who are educated and accredited in their field come forward with data I am more likely to accept their findings than I might be with a lone contrary voice. It depends on what information I am looking at, what personal experiences have informed me, what the contrary voice(s) are, and if other data and my own experience bear it out. That said, I may be totally wrong in any judgment I render.

        This is where I often have a problem with conservatives I have run across, off and online, and especially in government positions as they stand: they can be as wrong as they like, but they’re still going to push for the positions they believe in. Conviction, to a point, can be an admirable trait. However, when professionals in the field for things you’re making laws for are all but screaming at you not to do it, it may be time to perk your ears and listen. When conservatives in my state talk about balancing the budget, they’re talking about doing it on the backs of the poor and middle class by slashing pensions for state workers, cutting down social services and safety net programs, and cutting education budgets. They’re not talking about taxing the richest 1-25% higher, nor Fortune 500 companies. State and local governments are giving out corporate welfare the same as ever, yet we “cannot” find the funds to pay police or not cut food to children. They’re talking and crafting legislation based around taking from those who are trying to make it on what life has given them, or on what they’ve built for themselves and giving it to those who already have the most. It often is not about balancing the budget, but gutting the working and poor classes so the rich thrive. We were told during the last round of cuts to social programs and education that the corporate welfare attracted businesses, but employment is getting worse, not better.

        Then there is cost-of-living. While people may be employed, and this helps to increase employment statistics, many workers’ wages are not rising and more and more people are hitting the wall for cost-of-living.
        As a personal example, when I worked for retail I started off in 2005 at $7.25 an hour. After 4 years I was raised to $7.75. The cost of food in 2004 was about $5,781. In 2009, the cost of food was about $6,372. A $591 rise that, with the little I was making, if I did not have food from my folks or college, would have eaten better than half of what I made. That was just food, mind you, never mind all the other stuff that makes up the Consumer Expenditures report.

        Sources for my rough statistics are here:
        http://www.bls.gov/cex/csxann04.pdf
        http://www.bls.gov/cex/csxann09.pdf

        Not everyone is lucky to have a supportive family, or community, or able to go to college. Not everyone has the support structure I am blessed to have had. Not everyone has had the opportunities I have had, whether by personal choice, discrimination, life circumstances, etc. Not everyone has the ability, let alone the willpower, or even the opportunities, to better themselves in the ways you have. You have an incredible story, and I applaud you for working through addiction and troubles in your life, but not everyone has the ways and means, or at times, willingness to do what you did, have done, or continue to do.

        • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

          That was a really good, well thought out answer.

          It’s Midsummer, and too beautiful of a day to argue politics any longer. Have a blessed day!

          • http://sarenth.wordpress.com/ Sarenth

            Thank you Alice. Blessings of Midsummer to you. Thank you for talking with me. Gods bless.

      • Caravelle

        Lol, did you even read the comment you’re responding to ? I couldn’t care less what the media says, and I want to say it’s even more telling that you ARE part of the media but I’m not quite that cynical. I’m sure most journalists aren’t as ignorant as you are.

        Truth isn’t “the sum total of various anecdotes and personal experiences”. Building a model of general truth just from anecdotes and personal experiences is subject to many well-known biases, which is why science (and polling) have elaborated many methods to avoid those biases and arrive at more accurate conclusions than mere anecdotes and personal experiences can achieve. “More accurate” certainly isn’t “perfect” but “perfect” is off the table anyway.

        And you’re right questioning the source is extremely important, however “motivation” and “reward” aren’t the only questions. Another important one is “method”. How do they know what they claim to know ?

        “If a person who is a social worker says, “Yeah, I have seen some people be helped by social services”, I am likely to believe them.”

        How about if they say “Most people on welfare aren’t cheaters, or hapless meth addicts, or particularly irresponsible” ?

        “If you think that individuals who report “facts” for liberal media sources are objective, you’re sadly mistaken.”

        If you buy the conservative meme that the media is liberal you’re the one who’s sadly mistaken. But that’s hardly a surprise : your epistemology appears to be all wrong.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X