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Crime, Poverty and Education: It’s Not Rocket Science

Posted on Sep 25, 2007
Juvenile inmates
AP photo / Charles Rex Arbogast

Inmates Tone Knight, left, and Derrick Freeman in the courtyard at the Juvenile Medium Security Facility in Bordentown, N.J.  Knight has spent about four years in detention centers for attempted murder but is now on his way out and headed to college.

(Page 3)

Harris: So if you had a solution, you’d probably be the president.

Avni: Well, no, I wouldn’t. That’s the problem. That’s the thing, we all have the solution, teach them, pay attention to them, stop treating them as criminals, you know.

Scheer: Get mentors.

Avni: Get mentors. When you do get mentors, make it easier for them to access the facilities. Apportion more money to schools, provide college scholarships. It’s not rocket science.


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Harris: It’s not at all rocket science. We’ll continue to talk about some ways that we can get at a solution, or some ways that we can begin to rethink this problem, but it saddens me most because we know the answers. And we just won’t make the necessary effort to make the change.

Scheer: What hope is there? It’s the same elected people. They don’t care, right? You talked about that in your piece. I mean, people don’t care. There needs to be something that shakes them up, whether it be Beverly Hills being flooded with trash, or whatever, there needs to be something that shakes up the system enough so that people can get what they need.

Harris: Sheerly, is there no hope?

Avni: Of course there’s hope. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it; so it’s hard. But there’s about 15 different organizations that I could name just off the top of my head that are available in Oakland for helping kids get employment, mentorship, even transportation to school. All sorts of different things that could help them get what they want and get what they need. So, absolutely, on an individual level, there’s not a single person out there that can’t make it if they want to. On an institutional level, to Truthdig listeners right out there, we’re very active on the war. I know that the people who read Truthdig care a lot about what’s happening in Iraq, what’s happening with our presidency. If you also spent one hour a week in your local school, or tutoring some level in juvenile facilities, there is a war going on where we are right now. And you can fight that one, too.

Harris: I think that’s well said. But, just tell me when you have the time to volunteer at juvenile hall? I’m suggesting that the society we’re living in has become so harsh on the average American that the average American doesn’t have any time to really help out the public sector or to give back to the public.

Avni: You can make time.

Harris: They can make time?

Scheer: That’s what I’m saying though, you have to shake up people to let them know that there’s a problem. So many people don’t know there’s anything going on, and, you know, when you have someone who is elected and lives in the hills and doesn’t know what’s going on in West Oakland, that’s a possibility, right? Someone has to educate [Mayor] Ron Dellums and others, other people across the country.

Avni: Well, there’s also a racism issue here. It’s not that people don’t care, it’s that most people who are doing well are in the white middle class, or the Asian middle class, and have really, really strong opinions about what’s wrong with these people, that they can’t get their lives together. So let’s not pretend people are just busy.

Harris: Sheerly, thanks for joining us, and thanks for your candor. If you want to read Sheerly’s work, be sure to go to The name of the piece we discussed today is “It’s the Ecstasy, Stupid.” Until the next time, I bid you farewell for Josh Scheer, for Sheerly Avni. This is James Harris and this is Truthdig.

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By psychology career, June 6, 2011 at 7:30 pm Link to this comment

Criminal psychologists will support this theory as does Sociologists and in fact any one in the academic field of people knowledge and their behaviors, know that education creates not only good employment, but improves self esteem, and opportunities to break the cycle of poverty.

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By CCTV Camera, May 16, 2011 at 8:18 pm Link to this comment

I’m astounded that cocaine has made such a resurgence. Have all our efforts in interdiction in South America been for nought? More and more some sort of liberalization or legalization seems to be a rational route. Take criminals out of the drug game and I bet overall crime statisics drop significantly.

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By ThomasG, January 5, 2010 at 2:48 pm Link to this comment

Addendum to my post on the Count of Monte Christo, Edmond Dantes, being framed, accused, condemned, denounced, and criminalized by a corrupt prosecutor:  Here is the current discussion from National Public Radio, NPR, mentioned in my previous post:

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By ThomasG, January 5, 2010 at 2:37 pm Link to this comment

The Count of Monte Christo, Edmond Dantes, was framed, accused, condemned, denounced, and criminalized by a corrupt prosecutor and recently, there has been some talk on National Public Radio, NPR, over whether or not there is a Constitutional Right in America NOT to be Framed by a Prosecutor, “a Prosecuting Attorney”——to NOT be Framed and Criminalized by “a corrupt Prosecuting Attorney”; if there is NO Constitutional Right NOT to be Framed by a “Corrupt Prosecuting Attorney” in the United States, what does that mean relative to Law and Order within the United States?————This means that because Law and Order that is Legislated and Enforced class and culturally by the American Aristocracy and the American Professional Middle Class, that excludes the American Populace does NOT guarantee a Constitutional Right to the American Populace not to be FRAMED by the exclusively Legislated and Enforced Law and Order of the American Aristocracy and American Professional Middle Class.

What is the meaning of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness with Freedom and Justice for ALL the American Populace, when the words of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness with freedom and justice for all are nothing more than hollow tropes that have objective meaning only to the American Aristocracy and the American Professional Middle Class?———— The meaning is that Orwell’s 1984 has already happened, that no one in the American Populace noticed and that the American Populace ARE “American Proles” that have become the new “American Helots” of Spartan Democracy of the Greeks taking root in the United States; democracy for all of us, “we the people”; but NOT YOU, “The American Populace”.

The United States currently has more people imprisoned from the American Populace for violating exclusively legislated and enforced law and order of the American Aristocracy and the Professional Middle Class, that is NOT inclusive of the best interest and participation of the American Populace, than China and China has ONE BILLION greater population than the United States————This is the reality of American Style “freedom and justice for all”.

Corrupt Prosecuting Attorneys in the United States are only one symptom of many in the United States, where Freedom is a trope and the Life, Liberty, Happiness and Justice that flows from freedom as a trope is objective for “we the people”; and subjective for “the American Populace”.

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By ThomasG, June 4, 2009 at 10:17 am Link to this comment

Tyranny of the Law

The 70% Majority Common Population of the United States do not have the resources to carry out the mandate of class and cultural requirements of law subjectively imposed upon them, without their legislative, judicial and executive participation in promulgation of the law, by the combined 30% minority populations of the American aristocracy and the Professional Middle Class singularity of toadies to the American aristocracy.

The U.S. Government, the American aristocracy and the Professional Middle Class singularity of toadies to the American aristocracy all require resources in order to carry out their self imposed mandates; resources that they all squeeze out ot the 70% MAJORITY Common Population for their own greedy benefit that leaves the 70% MAJORITY Common Population of the United States poor, having nothing but their dreams, subject to law they had no part in making, imprisoned without benefit or participation in the making of the law being used against them and having nothing but their dreams.

The American aristocracy and their Professional Middle Class singularity of toadies to the American aristocracy are, have been and continue to tread heavily on the 70% MAJORITY Common Population of the United States with their subjective law, a population that has nothing but their dreams and do not share in the life, liberty and happiness of the American aristocracy and their Professional Middle Class singularity of toadies to the American aristocracy.

It is time for the 70% MAJORITY Common Population of the United States to wake up from their slumber as sleepers beneath the rails of the vast commercial engine that is the United States, and demand a share of the resources carried by the rails and the trains, rather than to continue to be sleepers beneath the rails bearing all of the weight and receiving none of the benefit.

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By Paracelsus, October 30, 2007 at 11:50 pm Link to this comment

I wonder what is it that makes newly arrived immigrants so good at opening up new shops and restaurants. Perhaps it is that they don’t follow federal wage and hour laws. So then they have extended family that will work and sweat at loss compared to the minimum wage. Some of them do make it eventually and then go legit at regular wages. What I have noticed is that few small businesses are really legit at the beginning. It is only when they have finally established their customer base that they pay all those extra lawful fees and come into compliance with all those laws. Basically to begin a business you have to underpay your family and scoff the law until you can turn a decent profit. Damn that sucks!
I observed this because there was a time I had to work for outfits like this because no one else was hiring.

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By Outraged, October 30, 2007 at 11:31 pm Link to this comment

We always talk of the poor as if its their fault.  They haven’t “pulled themselves up”, worked hard enough or “figured it out”.  Some of the comments were directly in this vein of thinking.  There are now MORE poor people than there were before.  The middle class is losing ground.

Think about it, what is the MIDDLE CLASS doing wrong?  Why haven’t they “pulled themselves up”, “figured it out” or worked harder at it?  It’s fallacious reasoning to blame the poor, even if there are those who are poor and are lazy or idiots (it’s not as if we don’t have the likes of them in the middle class, too).  And it’s fallacious reasoning to blame the middle class because “they’re slipping”.

Everybody wants to rule the world.  If they can’t do that, in order to appease their own ego they try to rule the next class down claiming a supposed, unfounded, superiority of intellect because they have more dollars.  More dollars does not make you more intelligent nor does it qualify you as anything.  A college education will HOPEFULLY make you more educated, but not necessarily more intelligent.  Some walk around as if that 2 yrs. of gen eds. and 2 yrs. of core courses has given them this vast knowledge of the universe.  While this COULD be true, usually it isn’t.

So…what now?  If blue collar isn’t “better” than welfare recipients, and middle class isn’t “better” than blue collar….etc then we could begin to talk and truly find ways to level the playing field.  The majority in each class will never do this voluntarily, because they “know” they are “better” than the ones lower on the totem pole.  They are convinced of it.

The first thing to removing poverty is to stop the war, then SHORE UP the welfare system, change the rules, make it easier and more accessible.  Wages will immediately increase at the lower skilled positions which will force up wages incrementally at every level.  This will result in a more livable wage at entry level positions REDUCING welfare case loads after an initial rise, it will also stop the slippage of middle class wages.

Next, INCREASE regulations on all business and vigorously enforce corporate tax law, close all loopholes.  Make sure they pay their fair share.  Stop the desecration of the environment by industry, this will reduce the need for taxpayer funds in those areas. Eliminate NAFTA and CAFTA.  The largest corps. in the nation have made record, in fact enormous profits off of the backs of the people.  Force a share of wealth and safety, unionize.  Legally decrease the work week, this will open up more jobs.

Simultaneously, DEREGULATE citizens, less fines, less licenses, less jail/prison time(another tax savings)this will free up income which will pour money into the economy and create a more diversified business environment and reverse the monopolization of our nation.  This will stabilize the housing market and force lenders to vie for the consumer dollar.

Basically, we do in reverse what Reagan, Clinton, and Bush have done to our nation, our sovereignty and our humanity.  See….there was a neocon plan and it works….all we need to do is reverse it.

After that’s done I guess we could see what social issues there’ll be left to deal with.  Refine..refine….refine

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By hippy pam, October 19, 2007 at 6:13 am Link to this comment

We need to keep the $$$ in America-for American needs-i.e. Health Care,Education,Creating Employment.There is so much needed right in our own back yard.Who was it said “give them bread and circuses”.The bread is the welfare system and the circus is television consisting of “wrasseling”.Our youth-black,white,whatever color-look to thugs,“dirty” politicians and athletes with criminal records who use drugs.Our young people do not see a future in any other way of life.Make BUSH*T put $$$$ into the things here that need fixing.Make Americe a better place to live.Let other countries worry about their own problems.Tell BUSH*T to stop interfering…

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By voice of truth, October 17, 2007 at 3:18 pm Link to this comment

Everyone knows that education is the way to a better life.  However, so long as young black men are beaten down for learning (that’s a white thing to do) and continue to glorify the thug culture of hip-hop, you are consigning entire generations to misery.

I admit I do not know what the answer is.  But I do know that government dependency as a way of life is not it.  There is no incentive to break the bond.  As for having more children one can’t afford, I find it ironic that hardly anything one does in this country is not regulated.  License to drive, license to marry, license to open a business, etc.  However, the most important thing that any human being can do, reproduce, is just left up to a whim.  Just something I find ironic.

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By Paracelsus, October 16, 2007 at 4:01 pm Link to this comment

@ #107117 by Logician

I am glad you had determined your own destiny. Part of maturity is knowing whom to get angry at. We can scream at the welfare system that we contract to help us out, or we can get angry at our political system that won’t protect our livelihoods. I would rather our government secured our industries at the expense of those who liked imported luxury cars than to battle for better welfare, though it is a big problem. In one case you are a dignified man or woman standing on his own two feet with a job in a factory defending a livelihood. In the other case you are begging for more food stamps. That is more a rearguard action of a retreating army. If Detroit had a healthy economy, TANF, food stamps, and public housing would not be so imperiled. We need to fight for something, not just fight to preserve a system of serfdom. In so many cities there are vast stretches of abandoned commercial properties that could be used for small workshops, vending stalls and little offices. If the large corporations are not using this property, and if the city can take them over for their unpaid property taxes, then they could be leased out to local enterprise for a small nominal sum. Hell for free for a while if it would improve the animal spirits of local businesses.

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By Paracelsus, October 16, 2007 at 9:06 am Link to this comment

#107125 by cyrena

I think of prisons as I would welfare: crutches for a malfunctioning society. What we need are not more prisons and welfare loads, but the building of opportunities for American citizens. The problem with third way politics is that its proponents want to beat their chests in grief over the rest of the world. We need open borders. We need to fund improvements in the third world of their infrastructure. We are the exceptional ones. We need to help out the world that is part of the Gap as the execrable Thomas Barnett would say. What would the world do without us? I think it do damn well!

Whatever happened to “We will import what we need, and the rest we will make by our own hand.” We have these custodial institutions like psychiatry, police, prisons, welfare, and the military that produce no added value. They are parasites oppressing a miserable and restless population. We will protect against against the restless masses, but we will not protect NATIONAL industry! And yes I am a nationalist. What choice do I have? I live here. A pox on internationalism!

I am glad you brought up the driver’s license issue.
Before the auto, there was no license to drive a horse and buggy. There is no license to walk. Now we need a license to drive a car. What is wrong here?

Now we have government licensing free speech. What the hell is a free speech zone but a license to speak in only a certain area!

The point I am trying to make is that we are entering into contracts with government that restrict our freedoms. We are entering into a control grid that is forged by our stoked and bellowed fear and paranoia. So we ask for help from medicines, security, subsidies, and prisons. All of this is done with a volunteering of our own will to paraphrase George Orwell.

A strategy of tensions brought on by the treason, bad faith, and conniving our slave masters is walling up our liberty.

PS Welfare is an expediency. I do not wish to see homelessness and starvation, but I wonder if those on welfare are willing to risk their public housing from an arrest at a protest. It is in these agreement; no renting to felons.

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By cyrena, October 15, 2007 at 12:12 am Link to this comment

Part I of II reply to #107093 by Paracelsus

Actually Paracelsus,

I’m thinking you missed MY point, but it could very well be that I didn’t articulate it properly. What you describe, (back in the good old days) and what #107117 by Logician describes as well, is no longer a reality.

Yes, I was fortunate, and so I very intentionally left home at 18, (and not because I was poor…because we weren’t) but because of the mental illness in my family, that would have definitely left me stuck in a similar bag. And now, I’m the only one who can still think and speak for myself, from a much larger viewpoint than the other members of my family.

So, what I was addressing was the reality of the day, and those – like yourself and Conservative Yankee, who think that welfare should be eliminated. If you eliminate welfare, and people continue to have unlimited numbers of children, for whom they cannot care for, (financially or psychologically) you wind up with what we have now. Which is what this article is about. We wind up with overflowing prisons, (good for the prison industrial complex, but if you’ve spent even an hour of time in any of them, you might get my point). Now I have a colleague that says…JUST BUILD MORE PRISONS. Maybe that would be your answer. But, who funds those?

And, what do we do with those who are in fact mentally incapacitated, to the point of doing lasting damage to their offspring? Well, if you’re like a very few, you (as the child) become the adult, and you raise your parents and other siblings. How many are capable of that?

Got any idea what the high school drop-out rate is now? Well, it’s up to about 33%. Does that sound like the makings of a good society? Is there a time when you might become older, and therefore dependent on the younger generation to provide services for you? ANY services…the type of services for which people need some skill or training? Well, look around, because there are two generations maybe more of walking wounded around, and they are totally incapable of providing that.

Instead, if you have a walk though almost ANY urban area of ANY large city, you will walk through tons and tons, and tons of homeless people. How did they get that way? WHY are our prisons so full. Is there not stuff they could do? Of course there is. But, better to just lock them up. (controlled welfare – who’s paying for that?)

The government tells people that they have to have a license to drive a car. They have to pass a test to get it. (and pay a fee). Think about the other things for which the government demands a license, or at least a demonstration that one can indeed ‘pay the mortgage”. If I wanna borrow some money to buy a home, they will investigate every penny I’ve ever had my hands on, and wanna know where it came from, and they’ll require that I give a dozen references, and you know the drill. All of that, even though they can take the house away at any time, because until I’ve paid every penny back, with interest…it’s still their house.

But, if a 14, 16, 18 year old gets pregnant and has 1, 2, 3 kids. Well, nothing is required at all. No ‘parenthood readiness test”, no concerns about how a 14 or 15 year old might financially provide for this child, and unfortunately, kids don’t come out as adults at birth. So, yeah, I’m sure there were some kids in 17th or 18th Century Europe or even the America’s who could manage themselves quite well at 8 or 9 years old, and maybe even raise their siblings. (at least that’s what the stories tell us). But, I think it’s fantasy now.

I don’t see this as much more than common sense. Multiple cultures have religious ‘laws’ or standards that require a person be employed, or have some way to prove that they can provide for a family, before they can even marry. (and they wouldn’t think of having children otherwise).


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By cyrena, October 15, 2007 at 12:11 am Link to this comment

Part II of II #107093

But HERE, it’s quite the opposite, isn’t it? Nobody much seems to care about the obvious, that kids don’t raise themselves. And heaven forbid one should be smart enough, (even after becoming pregnant at 14 or 15) to seek an abortion. The Christian America has said NO! Those would be the same Christian Americans who call for the total elimination of welfare.

Last month, I went on a ‘research field trip” to Oakland. I got to see the whole shebang. I got to see at least 3 FULL SCALE prostitution/drug/weapons operation – one of them located in a Walgreens shopping area, only slightly off the beaten trail. That alone didn’t bother me a whole lot, until I saw the VOLUME of girls, (not women – GIRLS) 12, 13, 14 years old, lined up in their bikinis, and well skilled in the operation. The pimps were on the other side, doing the drug part of the deal. It was pretty awful, even for me, because I knew Oakland – back in the old days.

Following it up later, (because I really did need to understand the dynamics of this) I discovered that for those girls who DID have ‘parents’ it was their PARENTS that had put them out there. Anybody give ‘em a little education first? Like maybe about birth control, or HIV, or crazy lunatics? Apparently not.

Have you possibly noticed the number of massacres at schools this past decade or so? Perpetrated by kids? I could do a run down. Some of them aren’t even from these non-parented homes, and yet their still so crazy as to just mindlessly start shooting up their colleagues, because of real or perceived grievances. No, Oliver Twist didn’t do that, but then, we’re not there – are we?

So yeah, I DO think that people who don’t want to provide the slightest assistance to these people, (welfare, basic services, education, - maybe you could even have a look at the “new” New Orleans) should in fact consider limiting the number of births that they have. And NO, I’m not talking about forced sterilization, which continues to be practiced on people of color. I’m talking about the multitude of people who have multiple kids, with absolutely no means of caring for them, only to have the “government” take them away later, generally to lock them up in prisons. The welfare system already cuts them off, after so many of these births. It doesn’t seem to have stopped them from having kids for a living. But, nobody wants to pay for them. So yeah, I’d say that you can’t have it both ways.

It’s not the old days anymore, and uncle joe or aunt Martha aren’t chipping in, to take over the responsibilities.

And so far at least, no one here has answered my question of what you plan to do for this MASSIVE population of people who cannot provide for their children, (or themselves) once you’ve eliminated their welfare. So, help me out. Do you have something better? Something REALISTIC. I’m still willing to check on ‘mortgage figures for you, prior to 1930). But, what do you have in mind for NOW? For the reality of the day – in the year 2007?

MY suggestion would be a more equal distribution of wealth and services. Then for sure, there wouldn’t be a need for the government to regulate births, because there IS enough for everyone. But, that sounds far too much like socialism, so needless to say, I’d be burned at the stake for that. Just another name for welfare, eh?

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By Logician, October 14, 2007 at 10:48 pm Link to this comment

Re# 107093 by Paracelsus on 10/14 at 6:17 PM:

Rather interesting point you raise.  Have you read Robert Bly’s “Sibling Society”?  He too addresses the depressing fact of America being a nation of adult children.

He of course takes the slant that it’s our culture causing the as you call it ‘infantilizing’of our populace, with some influence from the government, but I think he misses the point that whether we wish to acknowledge it or not, our government is shaped by us by choice, not fiat.

Having been raised in a ghetto and being the only one of our gang to rise to a better life, I have always lived by the credo that it is I, not my culture, not my skin color, not my society, and certainly not my government that determines who I am and how I will live my life.

As I have progressed through the classes I found that my attitude is almost totally unique.  Let me repeat: the idea that a man, or woman, is the SOLE person responsible for their lot in life (given their physical and mental limitations) is no longer an American ideal, in ANY class.

In every job I’ve held I’ve encountered people of both genders and all levels of skills who simply are not aware of or are incapable of grasping the fact that if they are unhappy where they are they are free to change their situation.  (Before anyone flames me on that point, DON’T BOTHER.  I’ve heard EVERY excuse know to man for why any given person in any given situation CAN’T change their situation.  My reply then as now is: You are right.  If you think you can, you can.  If you think you can’t, you can’t.)

That is why all my friends and relatives remain in the ghetto and I do not: even though we all had the same basic schooling, had the same opportunities, shared the same culture, family lives and neighborhood, they thought they couldn’t leave and I knew I could.  We were ALL told we could better our lots in life, I believed it, they didn’t.

I spent my first twenty adult years trying to get that one, simple idea across to my fellow humans: you are free to shape your life as you wish.  After hearing an endless litany of excuses from “I’m poor” to “My great grand-mammy wasn’t treated right” I realized I was simply pissing in the wind. 

Until we get some adults back in our society, both in leadership and managerial positions, both private and public, we can expect the same crap we’ve heard for over five decades to be accepted and encouraged: “poor me, my life is so bad, yours is so good, it’s everyone else’s fault but my own, now give me money.”

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By Paracelsus, October 14, 2007 at 7:17 pm Link to this comment

#107084 by cyrena

Should government really be in charge of telling people how many children they should birth? I thought it was government who sought our consent. Perhaps government should police my dining habits as well for my own good. I think what was special about this nation was that so many people assumed adulthood at an early age. At age 21 a young man who had proven his mettle could be a sea captain. Most of the founding fathers were in their 20’s when they led the War for Independence. Alexander the Great conquered the most of the Known world before he was 30.
What is it about politics these days that calls for infantilizing citizens(?)? Are we independent agents or are we rats who must respond to the conditioning of our responses? I am glad you brought this up; it makes my point exactly. As long as you are dependent upon government you are forced by some sort of contract to do as the government dictates.

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By cyrena, October 14, 2007 at 6:34 pm Link to this comment

#107037 by Conservative Yankee

Not smearing you at all Cy. I just find this incredibly difficult to believe. (that you are not provided with a single dime for your efforts, that all of your water bills, and gas bills, and electric bills, and food bills are all just right out of your own pocket.

But, since you say so, I’m gonna take your word for it. I might also add that you’re probably the only person alive, who performs this service for ZERO compensation.

But, we STILL can’t eliminate welfare, or your foster kids wouldn’t have their clothing allowance, or any of the other things that are paid directly to the kids, or to you for whatever other expenses they incur.

But, what would be better than the government taking these kids from their homes? Would/Should they leave them in abusive and dangerous enviornments?

I’ll tell you what I’m for. I’m for requiring people to be able to provide for their kids, BEOFRE popping them out. How about, limit - 2, and then you still have to prove that you’re sane, and have a way to provide for them.

Now, it’ll be MY turn to be flammed by all of the Religious fanatics. I can take it though, since I know that kids aren’t ‘born’ as criminals. We make ‘em that way.

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By Conservative Yankee, October 14, 2007 at 1:27 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“Can you tell me how the government paying HIM, to administer these ‘services’ such as health/dental/school/food/housing/clothes/etc, etc, that the GOVERNMENT provides, is NOT ‘welfare”?”

I’ve told you before, BUT I’ll say it again.  I take NO Nada, zero money from the government for caring for children!

What I resent is under our system (and I would prefer a different system)The GOVERNMENT has taken these children from their homes, and has assumed responsibility for them, HOWEVER some States (and Maine is one) refuse to pay for medical care. The Federal government (under Reagan) mandated a “copay” for prescription drugs, and the clothing allowance (paid directly to the children) is inadequate when considering the fury of a Maine winter.

Don’t be like the politicians and smear people with untruths, and half truths.

I said the welfare system damages people on both sides of the line…. You have said the same thing.

I am in favor of eliminating welfare… entirely!

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By cyrena, October 14, 2007 at 8:24 am Link to this comment

#106968 by Paracelsus
#106960 by Paracelsus

Thanks for the rundown Paracelsus,

It was in fact – excellent, for those who are unaware. Believe me when I say that I am. (aware that is) so I understand exactly what you’re saying, and I agree.

As for the suggestion by Conservative Yankee, (on eliminating ‘welfare’ entirely) he’s a bit disingenuous on that. (lack of a better term right now, and I don’t mean any disrespect) BUT, the bottom line, is that while he may say that he doesn’t believe in welfare, he has specifically directed all sorts of attacks at any governmental agency or POLITICIAN who would reduce the availability of funds for his foster children. Can you tell me how the government paying HIM, to administer these ‘services’ such as health/dental/school/food/housing/clothes/etc, etc, that the GOVERNMENT provides, is NOT ‘welfare”?

In other words, if the feds pay him to provide housing for foster care, and the feds provide the money/stamps/vouchers/whatever to pay for the needs of these foster children, how is that different from the government paying it to the parents of ‘welfare’ recipients? And, if we were just going to ELIMINATE welfare, why wouldn’t we ELIMINATE his? Is there somehow a difference is giving the taxpayers’ money to him, (or any other foster care guardians) to provide for these children, than giving it to the parents that are responsible for them? We the taxpayers are STILL providing for these children, (who obviously can’t provide for themselves) and we’re paying him to do it. I’m just not sure how I see the difference. (aside from a White Man’s Burden type mentality) Here again, I think it’s real admirable that there are folks willing to take this on.(raising foster kids) But I think we need to remember that he’s not doing it for “free” and the funds required, are coming from the same place….the taxpayers.

As for ‘eliminating welfare” it’s not a new idea, and it’s already been done. Quite some time back. Nearly 20 years ago, the state of Texas decided they would just ‘cut out’ these benefits, -to see what would happen- Like, would these poor people be able to ‘get along’ without it. They didn’t, (get along without it) and so it only increased the crime, and the desperation, and the illness, and all the rest. It was a stupid thing to do, and they didn’t really ‘care’ how the people got along without it or not.

But, I posed the question to CY, just to see what he might think would be a ‘replacement’ sort of an idea. Now yours are all quite good, (and actually do-able) IF in fact people were genuinely sincere about dealing with the issue. You are. Most are not. They talk a good game, but in the end, it boils down to: “as long as I’ve got mine, for me and mine, I don’t care about anybody else”. Unfortunately, they cannot stretch the concept a little further, to accept the fact that when their neighbors are poor, it eventually is going to drag them down as well. They don’t get that. So, while I agree that the welfare system –AS IT EXISTS NOW- where folks are penalized for marriage, and penalized for having anything, they can not – in all reality- ever climb out of that box.

Now, for your last question here:

....“The problem is I have not been able to get the figures on mortgage indebtedness before the 1930’s. Anybody know where I could get such data online without paying a fee?...”

I don’t know this off the top of my head, but I know several in this community who would. There are a few professors who will have access to this information, or at least be able to direct us to it. I’ll check in with them tomorrow, and let you know.

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By Paracelsus, October 14, 2007 at 6:42 am Link to this comment

#106948 by cyrena

Many of the welfare programs penalize accretion of assets as well as marriage. These need based programs, like SSI, will stop the payment of benefits if the assets are over say $2000. There is even consideration of the value of the car a benefit owner receives. In addition the 4th, 5th, and 2nd amendment rights of HUD renters are severely impinged. There are HUD projects where the manager may “punish” complaining tenants through unscheduled inspections. Also a tenant can be thrown out of housing if only a visitor is arrested on his premises with drugs on him. The tenant need never have been charged. This is in the lease agreement. In addition, thanks to Clinton, a tenant is not allowed to own a gun on a HUD property.

If HUD really cares to improve the lot of the poor then they would make homeownership more possible. In addition TANF should relax the marriage constraint on welfare beneficiaries.

I would like to see welfare not eliminated but made rare. This can be done by letting American business actually make an economic profit without the fear of imported goods. Too many enterprises have negative rates of return. This reflected in credit being so dear and the return on savings so penurious. If the poor could invest in mutual associations that lent out to neighborhood enterprise then we could grow businesses in impoverished areas. In the past if people did not feel good about banks they could put their gold and silver certificates in the mattress.
Now with money creation so prevalent it is wiser to buy cigarettes and beer. Also the marriage constraint of welfare makes promiscuity and illegitimate birth a profitable idea. This seems to come from a slave training manual that provides the elimination of vital males from the household as a method of control and domination.

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By Paracelsus, October 14, 2007 at 5:37 am Link to this comment

#106762 by Conservative Yankee

You could eliminate the whole welfare system, but you would risk insurrection. There is the claim that before we had the welfare state, most of the housing stock was not heavily mortgaged. The idea is posited that Federal Reserve money creation through the 1920’s had begun reversing a trend where mortgage indebtedness was for most only for a period of 7 years. Thus the average working household had more staying power during a recession. But the down turn during the early thirties had called in so many mortgages that it took in the healthy households along with the penurious ones through accelerated demand payment for the lump sum. Thus the scenario is that the Federal Reserve had so indebted the population that it created a worse downturn than otherwise that necessitated a welfare state. The problem is I have not been able to get the figures on mortgage indebtedness before the 1930’s. Anybody know where I could get such data online without paying a fee?

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By Conservative Yankee, October 14, 2007 at 5:35 am Link to this comment
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106948 by cyrena on 10/14 at 3:50 am

“So, if we’re gonna take away the welfare system, what are we gonna replace it with? Anything that might provide a little hope?”

You ass-u-me that the “welfare system” needs replacement, so we are on different planets to begin with. 

What needs to happen is the system which necessitates “welfare” or anything else handed out to “another class of people” by “them that has” must be trashed!  What we’ve got ain’t workin! 

Maybe once when our resources seemed endless, when we called ourselves “the breadbasket for the planet” when we were making all the cars, TV sets, and kitchen utensils, MAYBE (and the maybe is very tentative) then we needed a short term survival program for folks between jobs.

You have been adequate in your assessment of the “welfare programs” (and it is NOT a “welfare program, but many mish-mashed, sometimes overlapping and always inefficient programs.)The reason we keep welfare (as it is) is the same reason we build ships we don’t need, bombs we have too many of, and nerve gas we immediately dump…. JOBS!  we have this lobby that won’t allow us to stop producing some stuff….  ANYWAY isn’t that “welfare” after a fashion? 

Necessities need to be subsidized for everyone, not as a “anti-poverty program.” Energy for homes, (Cooler in Arizona summers, warmer in Maine winters) Food staples (not potato chips, coke and twinkies)and housing costs on an average home.

There needs to be an employer of last resort. Someplace where one can go and get work ALWAYS. There was a commercial (non-government affiliated) facility like this in Worcester Massachusetts in the 1970’s. If you were not drunk, stoned, or outwardly hostile, you could always walk down to “Peak-load Labor Force” stand at the foot of the loading dock, and someone would hire you. Sometimes for the day, sometimes longer.

There needs to be a system of childcare facilities so employees can work without worrying about what’s happening to their children. It is a proven fact that when employees have adequate childcare, they miss fewer work days, arrive on time more often, and have a better work habit, and therefore work record then those who have no child care in place, or child care which they do not trust.

It has been proven to my satisfaction that EVERYONE not deathly ill can work at something. Here 20 miles from where I live on the edge of the end of the world, we have Sunrise workshops (they hire the disabled)
To be continued at a later date.

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By cyrena, October 14, 2007 at 4:50 am Link to this comment

#106762 by Conservative Yankee

Just as a matter of curiosity CY, what exactly would you put in it’s place, if you did away with the ‘welfare’ system, which isn’t really ‘welfare’ at all, but more a way of keeping huge populations of poor and disenfranchised people exactly that - poor, disenfranchised, and powerless to escape it?

Just curious. It’s fine to note the realities of what the system does. Matter of fact, years ago, during the first Watts riots, I remember asking my dad, (because I was pretty young at the time) why the people in Watts, were ‘burning and destroying” their OWN community. It didn’t make a lot of logical sense to me.

He explained, (I guess as best a 12 year old could understand) that it was because it WASN’T ‘their’ community. ALL of the businesses were owned by whites, (actually, mostly Jews) and most of the landlords were the same. IE, none of those who were doing the rioting, had any real stake in the community. A few were hired to work in the stores, and to “sell” to the members of the community at very inflated prices, but none of them owned anything. Rather, THEY were ‘owned’.

So, if we’re gonna take away the welfare system, what are we gonna replace it with? Anything that might provide a little hope? Like maybe some decent opportunities for education?

Just wondering.

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By Logician, October 14, 2007 at 4:34 am Link to this comment

Re:106762 by Conservative Yankee:

How. Dare. You. 

Remove the welfare system?  These people NEED that system!  Why, they are not capable of taking care of themselves!  They are poor people of color!

And if we keep reminding them of that, we’ll keep them in their place.  Oops!  Let that one slip out…Welfare has been, still is, and always will be about keeping people in their place.  It is the most condescending system yet devised by the twisted mind of the privileged class.

Add to the fact that it makes money for those keeping the poor in their place and you won’t see it leaving anytime soon.

Be carefull there, ConYank, too much common sense would burn this blog right off the net…

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By Conservative Yankee, October 13, 2007 at 5:58 am Link to this comment
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106703 by Paracelsus on 10/12 at 8:22

You ask why the poor can not “have anything” when applying for welfare?  I guess some conservatives would counter that if they “have anything” they are not poor.

HOWEVER the grim reality appears to be that the “welfare system” is not designed to “help poor folks” it is designed to “help the landlords, and store keepers who do business with poor populations. 

This is the reason (and I get flamed every time I say this) I believe we should cease the “welfare system in its entirety! The welfare system does no one any good EXCEPT for the vendors (including social service providers) who profit from it.

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By Paracelsus, October 12, 2007 at 9:22 pm Link to this comment

Why is it poor people aren’t allowed to save money or open stock accounts? We all know what house poor means or what land poor means. Yet we have this welfare system that won’t shelter saved wealth from the nosy social workers. It’s as if it is a crime for someone in Cabrini Green to have $10,000 in the savings account. Don’t you think if we allow the poor gather up capital that they could eventually use it as a grubstake to open up a business? We have these asset rules for food stamps and housing that punishes savings and part-time work. You cannot expect some big business to come to Watts and magically open up a factory. Think how more realistic it is to allow a welfare mother and her kin to save money from maid jobs and such to open up a rib joint or hair salon. We have these fake conservatives and weak kneed liberals who want to keep people poor. Look at Detroit. I think it is more practical to allow tenants in a housing project in Detroit to save money witout being punished for it so that they can form a joint stock company to say open up a micro brewery. We seem to have political system that offers high barriers of entry to new business, especially to the poor. I don’t expect transnationals to rescue the poor. I think we would be better off if the welfare poor could open up an account at Scott Trade. At least they could do well enough top buy their own little starter home someday.

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By Conservative Yankee, October 7, 2007 at 5:52 am Link to this comment
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105252 by Dr. Knowitall, PhD, PhD

“You’re obviously both good people.”

Thank you!  The internet is a terrible way to become acquainted…

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By Dr. Knowitall, PhD, PhD, October 6, 2007 at 6:29 pm Link to this comment

Cyrena and ConYank, (There I go again)
Dr. Knowitall, PhD, PhD is my screen name.  It’s more than that, too, but we needn’t go into that.  One commenter about a year ago said about my screen name, “I love it.” I really liked that.
Like most people, I tried to use the good in my childhood to my adult advantage and cast out what I thought was not good.  Funny how that distinction blurs as you get older.  You’re obviously both good people.

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By cyrena, October 6, 2007 at 4:14 pm Link to this comment

#105198 by Conservative Yankee
•  I am sorry about your former circumstances. (#105011 by Dr. Knowitall)  BUT your father sounds like a great guy.

I’m with the PHd doc on this one CY. How does being a loving parent (and a great guy) relate to just having a bunch of kids that one is incapable of providing for? My mother is one of 14 kids. Her own mother was dead at 42, (maybe from having too many kids?) but her father was like the Docs. HE had those “14 Great kids!”

My mother likes to relay the story of how they ALL learned to swim, by her father’s method of throwing them in the river, (generally before they could walk).

Well, she was 4th from the bottom on that chain, so I’m inclined to believe that by the time they got to her, he probably wasn’t teaching her how to swim!! (she survived, and was in fact an excellent swimmer for many years) He was mean, he was a drunk, and the best thing he probably did for most of them, was to “farm them out”. Some were more fortunately “placed” than others. All have lead mostly dysfunctional lives. So, I guess that “loving” stuff wasn’t enough.

•  The good thing is, if you have your PHD, your circumstances must be markedly improved.  That’s a good thing…right?

This isn’t necessarily a “given” that one’s financial circumstances “improve” as a result of a phd. Please believe me on that. I know too many unemployed and hungry PHD’s. Now, one’s personal wealth/knowledge may markedly improve by the stuff required to obtain a phd, but then again, I also know some miserably unhappy folks who also have phd’s.

So, they are not necessarily connected. At least not in the reality of the day.

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By Conservative Yankee, October 6, 2007 at 12:11 pm Link to this comment
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#105011 by Dr. Knowitall, PhD, PhD on

I am sorry about your former circumstances.  BUT your father sounds like a great guy.

After raising over 100 foster children, I (personally) would prefer a father who loves me to wealth. I understand about the frustration of hunger (second hand) I’ve seen it, but have not personally experienced it.  You know, I’ve felt “hungry” when the paycheck was Friday, and I had used too much of my money on booze, so the money ran out Wednesday, but I always had the option of tapping the family, friends, or day-labor (they called it “peak-load” in Worcester when I lived there.)

The good thing is, if you have your PHD, your circumstances must be markedly improved.  That’s a good thing…right?

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By Conservative Yankee, October 6, 2007 at 7:15 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“Still, anything too far to one side or the other, generally doesn’t “work” for long.”


Like the hijacking of my party by the Xtian fundamentalists.

The Hijacking of the Democratic party by the Trial lawyers,

and the hijacking of both parties (Guess what Hil and Rude agree on?) by the “Globalists!

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By cyrena, October 6, 2007 at 2:32 am Link to this comment


...“No, they call us “knuckle-dragging Neanderthals,” or “right-wing nut-jobs.”...

You’re right. There IS one for waiting. I’m familiar with these, now that I think about it.

Thing is there ARE some ‘right-wing nut jobs” around. Then again, there are probably some “left-wing” nut jobs around too!

So, I guess what I’m saying is that there are “nut-jobs” everywhere…front, left, and center.

EXTREMES…of ANYTHING, but particularly in one’s ideology, can be really dangerous. It’s all about “the balance”. At the end of the day, that’s what matters. 

Maintaining it requires constant adjustment. Sometimes more extreme “adjustments” are required…like if I let the housework go too long. Just that much more work, than if I’d been adjusting all along.

Still, anything too far to one side or the other, generally doesn’t “work” for long. It will crash, unless it can “adjust” naturally or artificially.

Such as it is.

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By Dr. Knowitall, PhD, PhD, October 5, 2007 at 4:00 pm Link to this comment

I don’t buy into quotes like “people are poor only if they choose to be” and “people who ignore history are destined to repeat it.”  How one feels about his financial position is one thing, how his financial position is seen by the rest of the world is another.  I admire those who live well below the poverty level and are happy doing so.  The fact remains that there are goods and services available to such people only through the good graces of the “haves,” and how the “have nots” feel about that has nothing to do with the reality of their state of poverty.  I grew up poor while my father claimed to be “the richest man in the world” because he had six great kids.  Bullshit!  He couldn’t pay for food or clothing or medical care with that “wealth.”  We had a house because his father gave him the land and he cut and milled the lumber from his father’s land.  We ate because others were sympathetic and kind to us or we grew a little food and put it by.  If you live poverty, you know it.  If you think it’s a state of mind, you must be so far removed from it that you “must be wealthy.”  It’s typcial crumb throwing by the upper class to the have-nots, calling poverty a “state of mind.”  There.  I redrew.

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By Conservative Yankee, October 5, 2007 at 5:02 am Link to this comment
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104756 by Dr. Knowitall, PhD, PhD on 10/04 at 4:34 pm

“Rich.  With land and/or money.  More than 1/6,000,000,000th of the world’s wealth.”

Then your short thesis contending “anyone who thinks poor is a state-of-mind must be wealthy” is incorrect.

back to the drawing board.

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By Dr. Knowitall, PhD, PhD, October 4, 2007 at 5:34 pm Link to this comment

Rich.  With land and/or money.  More than 1/6,000,000,000th of the world’s wealth.

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By Conservative Yankee, October 4, 2007 at 5:21 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

104735 by cyrena on 10/04 at 2:55 pm

“...does anybody call radical right-wingers “rightists” like they do “leftists”?)”

No, they call us “knuckle-dragging Neanderthals,” or “right-wing nut-jobs.”

Theres a slur for everyone.. no waiting!

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By marilyn washington harrir, October 4, 2007 at 4:46 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thank you for very informative information. Loved your work and will continue to read. good luck i’ll pray for us all

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By Conservative Yankee, October 4, 2007 at 4:30 pm Link to this comment
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104700 by Dr. Knowitall, PhD, PhD on 10/04 at 12:31 pm

“Anyone who thinks poor is a state of mind is probably wealthy.”

...and what’s wealthy, know-it-all?

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By cyrena, October 4, 2007 at 3:55 pm Link to this comment

#104637 by Conservative Yankee on 10/04 at 8:49 am

•  by Dr. Knowitall, PhD, PhD
First off, you are the ONLY / SINGLE / INDIVIDUAL / who has ever put Cyrena and I in the same box!

CY, I had to laugh out loud at this one. You are so right!! Now, THAT should give us all a clue to how much the Doc “knows” – eh? Can you appreciate the irony as much as I? You the Conservative Yankee, and me the global liberal. (I should have never claimed to be a far lefty, especially since I very much resent the term – does anybody call radical right-wingers “rightists” like they do “leftists”?)

Indeed, it’s all in the language. THAT much I’ve definitely learned. Because, in the real context of those terms, I’m actually a CONSERVATIVE, in that I honestly believe in the Constitution, as it has been amended along the way. (I never thought it was too cool that black folks were counted as 3/5th of a person instead of full humans, but that’s the way it was.)

Still, the document/contract/language has attempted to adapt and self-correct over the Centuries, and I’m pretty firmly committed to the value of that. So, we may or may not be in the box on that one.

Meantime Dr. Know-nothing,
You assume an awful lot, and that’s really not good for anyone to do, including a doctor…maybe ESPACIALLY a doctor. If you are still a human being, don’t attempt to assign motivations to groups of ALL people NOW, based on what you think you know of history. Here’s why..

You’ve used now, (on more than one occasion) this broad generalization of 200 years of slavery as the “reason” for the struggles of black folks, TODAY. ALL black folks TODAY. And, while I hate to intrude on your guilt, I’d like to bring you up to speed on reality. TODAY, there are generations and generations of American blacks, that DON’T HAVE A CLUE, about the slavery thing!! Seriously…they don’t. Sorry to burst your bubble. The short of it is that nobody told a bunch of us about that.
As a black child, I attended 12 years of Catholic school all of the 60’s, and into the 70’s. I NEVER ONCE heard a peep about slavery in the US, from a single solitary school teacher or anyone else. I didn’t find out about slavery until MLK started his movement. (my parents had never mentioned it either. Maybe nobody told them either.)

Yes, we DID learn everything there was to know about the Jewish Holocaust of WWII. NO, we didn’t learn, (or I didn’t learn) until much, much later, that the Native American Holocaust was far greater in numbers and damage done to an indigenous population, than what was done to the Jews in their Holocaust.

So, I guess we never had a chance to be so deprived. Never had any reason to blame what happened those 2-3 hundred years ago, because we never experienced “slavery” in that sense. We weren’t hungry, we had clothes, we had a house, and we even had a couple of cars. We attended schools, and my parents both had jobs, and we gave to charity, and to the church, because, well…there were a whole bunch of WHITE FOLKS, that didn’t have it so good. Imagine that.

That is NOT to say however, that I never experience bigotry or hate from white folks, (especially the poor ones) just on the basis of having color to my skin. And of course, it’s STILL that way, today, as I write.

And, it’s NOT that “slavery” that the generations of today are thinking about, when they show up for a job that has disappeared between the time they spoke with the hiring person on the phone, and when they actually showed up for the interview, and it was “discovered” that they were black.

That’s not what I see or feel when I walk in a store (and I don’t have my phd hanging from my neck) and the Asian proprietor follows me around, to make sure that I don’t steal anything. Maybe I should feel “fortunate” that they didn’t just shoot me on sight? 

So, black people today don’t need to reach back to their history of slavery, to have a reason for their feelings of worthlessness. They see it everyday. TODAY.

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By Dr. Knowitall, PhD, PhD, October 4, 2007 at 1:31 pm Link to this comment

Anyone who thinks poor is a state of mind is probably wealthy.

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By Conservative Yankee, October 4, 2007 at 9:49 am Link to this comment
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by Dr. Knowitall, PhD, PhD

First off, you are the ONLY / SINGLE / INDIVIDUAL / who has ever put Cyrena and I in the same box!

As to your thought below:

“For the poor, life on earth often amounts to hell.”

My absolute favorite philosopher of all times says:

“One is only poor, If they choose to be.”

I’ll give you a hint, “poor” has nothing to do with “financially bereft”

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By Dr. Knowitall, PhD, PhD, October 4, 2007 at 7:35 am Link to this comment

Cyrena and ConYank,

  Thanks for your input.  If you are poor and belong to a class that has suffered centruies of systematic oppression by the powerful and wealthy, what reason do you have to hope things will get better for you, especially, as you grow and become aware of the workings of your gov. and society, you see the injustices?  Don’t forget, you’ve learned all along that you don’t deserve any better.  You’re not worth it.
    One of the biggest enemies of the underclass in this country, I think, is the ability and readiness of the upperclass to rationalize the justification for the economic positions of both classes.
    I don’t think I’m blazing new trails of thinking here.  You guys think what you want.
    One more thing:  Marx’s “opiate” quote is valid because wealthy controllers of governments systematically oppress and deny underclasses.  If govs. more equitably served their citizens, there would be little need for religion and a belief in an after-life.  There could be heaven on earth for all, not just the rich, religious control freaks.  For the poor, life on earth often amounts to hell.

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By cyrena, October 4, 2007 at 1:16 am Link to this comment

#104436 by Dr. Knowitall, PhD, PhD

....“I can only suggest to the poor that they try to have faith in an after-life.”....

WHOA!! I KNEW it was coming Dr. Death-for-all. I knew you’d reveal it all in full, at some point in time. That’s why I had decided to ignore your earlier hubris and arrogance about…run along and play nice everybody. Just get out there and work hard. Education is “free”. (Wanna say that to a crowd of angry young orphans as they roam the swampy streets of New Orleans, where there ARE NO SCHOOLS..“free or otherwise”? Or, maybe you should mention that to the kids in Oakland, who wouldn’t have a way to get to a school even if there are a few left).

At least you threw in that reminder though, to the white folks, to “be nice” to their neighbors, no matter what color they are. That should have done the trick Dr. Death. I wonder what happened? OH!! I just realized, all of the juvenile delinquent black kids DON’T HAVE COMPUTERS!! (or access, or know how to work them…oh my). So, I guess that means they didn’t get the memo, eh?

Not to worry. NOW we know what you REALLY meant all along, (which is the standard for your type). Hey, it’s manifest destiny you all. It’s your lot. Just put up with it, (because you’re just well….BORN WRONG) and it’s just not gonna happen for you in this life.

So, here’s what to do. GIVE UP. Don’t even bother worrying about any of this. Accept your bad fate, because….IF there’s an afterlife, you’ll have a second chance. Just get along till you’re dead, and things will be fine then. You’ll be in paradise, and everything you ever dreamed of will come true/

This is how the suicide bombers of the Palestinians are “trained” by their ‘handlers”. They promise PARADISE NOW, and with the life those people have on THIS earth, anything’s better, eh?

Yeah Dr. Death-for-all (but you of course) that’s what I call professional advice. Do you send them a bill, or is it free advice? Be mighty white of you if you did it “gratis”.

You’re scary as hell. Maybe scarier.

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By Conservative Yankee, October 3, 2007 at 2:42 pm Link to this comment
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104436 by Dr. Knowitall, PhD, PhD

“well-off white Europeans have been abasing the poor of every color for centuries, either by commission or omission and it will take a Herculean effort for decades to undo that damage.”

There is good evidence that there were Africans involved in the slave trade on both sides of the pond.

There is undeniable evidence that the South American natives “debased their poor” just aw well as did the Europeans.

The Chinese social structure places poor folks below person hood, and the flesh traders still export “slaves” to Saudi Arabia.

With respect to your opinion, you seem to have fallen for the divide and conquer mantra of the elite.

the powerful, rich, Capitalists who sit on top of everything have no color, race, or creed. They are the most egalitarian folks on the planet.  All you need to join their club is Money, power, or influence, all at a level unimaginable to “the common man”  and they spend much of their time in the business of making us believe it is all the fault, of some peer group to which you do not belong.

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By Dr. Knowitall, PhD, PhD, October 3, 2007 at 1:56 pm Link to this comment

Gary, I agree 100%.  Don’t forget, though, in this country, well-off white Europeans have been abasing the poor of every color for centuries, either by commission or omission and it will take a Herculean effort for decades to undo that damage.  If you’re told long enough that you’re worthless, you believe it.  I don’t think this country, as we know it, is ready to make amends.  I can only suggest to the poor that they try to have faith in an after-life.  They’ll get their reward there.  Death is the great equalizer.

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By garyrose66, October 3, 2007 at 9:32 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It’s really not that hard to figure out.  Without social support from birth to 5 years old kids who are not prepared to become positive members of society are most likely headed towards becoming a burden on society. First draining resources in schools, and creating negative situations to overcome and then as they old enough to generate negative mayhem on the society outside of school, they will drain our resources in the criminal justice system and healthcare system.  However with social support systems (that don’t exist because the powers that be refuse to see past the concept of “why should we give expensive entitlements to the undeserving poor”) that would include universal child care and universal healthcare, and universal preschool, and massive investments in k-12, we would clearly see in 20 years (and it would take “staying the course” on those social systems for at least 20 years) the fruits of this kind of enlightened social policy. More kids growing up to be positive resources for society, less ending up dead or in jail.  It would take money, of course and development of the people and infrastructure to provide child care, pre-school, improved K-12, and real healthcare.  But we seem to have a few billion a week to blow on a criminal war in a distant land for the express purpose of enriching cronies and controlling oil supplies, while creating terror in our citizenry so we need to waste even more money on defending against vague threats from asymetrical warfare.  It seems we are only good at keeping the citizens in a state of terror, and using this system of terror and death to eliminate our civil rights and entrench a police state.  All this while blowing trillions with an opportunity cost of never having social programs that would have a far more beneficial effect on our society.  Our leaders can’t see past the next horse race (er-“election”) and refuse to think in grand long term ways to help the citizens like universal child care, pre-school and healthcare.  They would rather look the other way while we are tasered into Burma-like submission, so they can continue pouring our borrowed treasury dollars into cronies Blackwater wallets.  We’ll be bombing Iran soon to keep the death party going, and the US as a civilization will end fast and hard, just like Rome in 400AD.  Good night and good luck.

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By rowdy, October 1, 2007 at 10:17 pm Link to this comment

eisenhower[sounds jewish] warned us. military industrial complex. manchurian candidate,new version.

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By Conservative Yankee, September 30, 2007 at 10:44 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

IF the government wanted to stop drug trafficking it could. All they would have to do is stop printing bills larger than $100, and make transportation of more than 1K cash, by unlicensed individuals a crime. Tell the truth, what does anyone doing a legal business today need with more than 1k cash?

Personally I would rather make drugs legal. It’s a free country…no?

Secondly, siting around collecting welfare isn’t helping anyone. We should have an employer of last resort. someone who must hire you if you can’t get work elsewhere.
Idle hands are the devils workshop. People can pick Oakland as the target, but I’ve lived in white ghettos where the problem is equally bad. White fathers also leave, white children also use drugs, join gangs, kill people, and go to jail;.

So talk about the divide as we have been doing all my life and go nowhere….or suggest something new and be laughed out of the debate.

The bigger question is do we really wish to solve this problem? Or do we just want to “form a new committee to study it?”

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By Dr. Knowitall, PhD, PhD, September 28, 2007 at 2:00 pm Link to this comment

William, we know why 15-year olds have babies and the reasons are too many to go into here.  We know why black fathers abandon their families and why all the social problems that plague the black community, like gun violence and drugs never seem to be addressed and why African-Americans don’t get the help they need after a natural disaster.  Whites would get pissed off, en masse, if blacks, or even poor white trash were given any special treatment, like help, after a windy flood.  The poor in this country are chopped liver, period, and poor blacks in this country are minced liver.  Why would you or anyone else get the slightest bit annoyed by your gov. helping a down and out person when it can throw trillions away like dustpan dirt propping up its own irresponsibly run corps. or its greedy military killing its own and millions of foreigners in an illegal war thousands of miles away?  A war based on lies?  There are AMERICANS in America who need help, no fault of their own.  They’ll not get it and they know it.  Wouldn’t you want to shoot someone?  Oh, I know what you’re thinking.  You’d go out and get a job.  Enough people have already done that and written books about their experiences.  It doesn’t work.  I think I, and probably hundreds of others, know what has to be done to change things.  It ain’t gonna happen.  People had better stop bearing children if they care about their childrens’ future.

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By William Blake, September 28, 2007 at 9:14 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Are there immense problems in our public school system and in our cities ? Of course. But few- including the above writers -refuse to acknowledge the fundamental cause. It’s about 15 year olds having children- and its been about that since the welfare system was created. But just like you cannot question the influence that the Israeli lobby plays in American Mideast policy without being labelled anti-semtic, you cannot criticze the fundamental flaw of the welfare system without being labelled racist. And that situation is beyond dangerous

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By Dr. Knowitall, PhD, PhD, September 28, 2007 at 3:37 am Link to this comment

Outraged, one would have to be ignorant not to realize/understand “why the trenches are there.”  I don’t see any need to constantly restate the now obvious, which is what Sheer, Avni and Harris are doing and you’ll no doubt do with your upcoming post.  The fact is, everone in a position and having the power to get rid of the trenches either only talks about them or ignores them completely.  That’s the way this world works.  If you’re xtian, you can always look forward to the meek inheriting the earth.

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By Outraged, September 27, 2007 at 10:21 pm Link to this comment

RE: #102883 by cyrena on 9/26

On target as usual.  I also am going to post later on this topic. But because I feel it is SO critical I don’t want to rant, well…I do want to rant but I’m not going to.  Sometimes it not so much being in the “trenches” but more one of recognizing why the trenches are there.  It’s much bigger than the ignorant ideological fixes that are “normally” employed. I had one of the “enlightened” tell me “everyone can work”, I said, “Really… we outta go get those deadbeats out of the hospitals and nursing homes and make them do their part.”

RE: #102928 by Dr. Knowitall, PhD, PhD on 9/27

Thank you so much for the ignorant ideological “fix”.

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By Dr. Knowitall, PhD, PhD, September 27, 2007 at 5:23 am Link to this comment

OK, how about this:  To all you blacks out there, get yourselves educated, it’s free, ally yourselves with your families, stay away from addictive substances, they’ll ruin your lives, shun gangs, keep your living environment in good order and work hard, and, above all, try not to think about the fact that the whites stole, sold and enslaved your people for several hundred years, then set you out on your own to do what you could.  You can make it in America!  And to you whites, there’s more to life than money.  Help your neighbor, no matter what color he is. And support your government in its efforts to bring real equality to everyone.

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By cyrena, September 26, 2007 at 10:22 pm Link to this comment

I get you when you say that I could wait a decade, and nothing will have changed. (or so it seems).

Actually though Doc, if you’d been as many places as I’ve been, you’d see how without these types of debates, Americans grow dumber and dumber by the minute, because….there is NO CONNECTION of the dots.

For you and many others, this social dysfunction seems like a “given”, and discussing it seems of little point. One could say that same about doing the laundry. Why bother to wash the clothes, when they’re gonna get dirty again anyway, and I’ll just have to keep doing this.

So on this, what “new ground” was covered? Maybe not a whole bunch new to us, but what about the kid in Iowa, or the old lady in The Bronx, or even my own sister, whose never lived outside of a relatively middle class urban enviornment, and is relatively well educated. In other words, maybe the “information” isn’t particularly ‘new’, but the AUDIENCE is.

Like, maybe there are still millions of people out there, (who may not have been of “age” to read and comprehend these things) when you or I first started making these connections. How many people do you or I encounter on a daily basis, who don’t know anything about drugs, or being born into hopelessness?

How many of my own students, (who’ve never heard of OAKLAND, ST. LOUIS, DETROT, or New Orleans, besides a dot on a map, or a page in a history book, even have a CLUE to the dynamics of being born into a modern day slavery? THEY don’t live like this!! How would they know what causes this?

Should it matter if my 34-year old colleague believed until recently, that the Kiwi fruit is actually a monkey’s egg, because that’s what her mother told her? In the country that she comes from, that might be what they call Kiwi’s….monkey’s eggs. But, we know better, right? WE KNOW that monkey’s don’t “lay” eggs, and even if they did, they would be eggs, and not fruit. How harmful is it for her to believe that Kiwi’s are monkey eggs? I don’t know…maybe she could live her entire life, without that being a problem.

BUT, do I really want you or anyone to believe, (after a certain age) that money grows on trees, or that Santa Claus manages to cover to globe and get down everybody’s chimmey in the course of 24 hours?

NO!!! I don’t want that to happen, because that kind of ignorance to the real causes of important issues could create some troubles.

So no, I don’t see this as being any more a waste of time as weeding. Yep, I can weed the garden, but new weeds will always grow back, and so I’ll have to teach those younger than I, to be mindful of HOW the weeds get there, and how to try to prevent them, and when to know when it’s time to weed them out, and how to diffentiate between what is a weed, and what is actually a precious commodity that can be used for practical purposes.

It won’t be enough that I’ve already learned this myself, or that I’ve even taught a few others. A decade from now, there will still be people who don’t know that a kiwi is a fruit, and not a monkey’s egg, until we show them the difference.

And, a decade from now, there will still be people who believe that the socio-economic injustices that plague our society, are all the fault of the victims. IE, they are “lazy”, undisciplined, without values, etc, and on top of that, why should anybody expect anything else…after all…they’re black.

If they wanted to be something other than dead-beat drug heads or criminals, then they COULD be? Right? I mean, it’s their own damn fault for taking those drugs to begin with. Why don’t they just “pull themselves up by their bootstaps” like everybody else does, in this “land of equal opportunity”.

Yes, a decade from now, there are those who will still believe that. But, discussions like this might lower the number of those ignorants, even by a handful, and for me, that makes it worthwhile.

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By Dr. Knowitall, PhD, PhD, September 26, 2007 at 5:44 am Link to this comment

Cyrena, my view is that the subject is not BS, but the handling of it is.  Please tell me what new ground they covered and what, productive, you think they accomplished.  You could even wait a decade before responding if you want.  I understand you could say, “Yeah, but if these meetings, conversations, debates and interviews hadn’t happened, things might be a lot worse.”  I still think it’s BS.

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By cyrena, September 25, 2007 at 8:41 pm Link to this comment

#102623 by Dr. Knowitall, PhD, PhD

...“You guys wasted your time.  I hope you got paid a lot putting your heads together.  Bully for you!  Let me help you:  Stop wasting your time on this BS.”

Gee DOC, since this was a “waste” of their time, did you “waste” YOUR time to read and/or listen to the interview, and then leave the post to tell them that they were wasting their time? I mean, since this is all just BS anyway? (never mind the reality of all the murdered people…since it’s all just BS anyway)

Meantime, to the regular gang… Josh, James, Sheerly who brought us this excellent piece, THANKS!!! Excellent interview. I appreciate that you all put your heads together, to bring this to us.

I actually wasn’t surprised by the stats, (even St. Louis). And, that’s the horror of it all. Most other folks don’t know this either, if only because the Dr. Knowitall’s say it’s just bullshit anyway.

And then there are the others who really don’t care a whit, seeing as how these are all “distant” matters, that don’t affect them anyway.

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By Dr. Knowitall, PhD, PhD, September 25, 2007 at 5:41 pm Link to this comment

The reason these problems never get solved is because all people ever do about them is put their heads together and try to figure out why they never get solved. And then, confident that everyone will see and believe that they really tried to come up with solutions, they can, with a clean conscience, go off and spread the imperialist agenda around the world at the cost, this time, of more than two trillion dollars.  You guys wasted your time.  I hope you got paid a lot putting your heads together.  Bully for you!  Let me help you:  Stop wasting your time on this BS.

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