wOw’s Question of the Week

Deceit and betrayal reigns in America! “Three Cups of Tea” is a crock, Arnold Schwarzenegger fathers a love child, Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s accuser is accused, Anthony Weiner flames out, Casey Anthony goes the way of O.J., and Lance Armstrong may have taken us for a ride. Fun summer entertainment — or disturbing sign of moral decay?

Joni Evans: Fun summer entertainment. It happens every summer….because there’s so little news!!!

(And, come to think of it, not all  of these outrageous antics happened in the summer … they just became news when the summer hit!)
Liz Smith: The distinct sign of “moral decay” I see is a lot of crazy Americans who are so eager for the elected president to fail, and to be driven out of office. To achieve this, they seem frighteningly willing to take a chance of damaging the entire economy and social structure. Such selfish political excesses (concern for oil companies and the rich) are downright unpatriotic.

Mary Wells Lawrence: Bob Strauss, who was important to Lyndon Johnson, Jimmy Carter, George Bush and Ronald Reagan, knew all the girls and boys in government offices in those years. He once told my husband that he was so grateful to the press for hiding the big sex issue in those offices. It wasn’t until the world and our children got used to living with the movie violence and movie sex on television that the press changed too, perhaps to sell more newspapers and magazines.

It’s often the young who start revolutions and the young, fed by a television world, took to the Internet immediately, giving it the permissiveness and openness and leadership that it has. I think there has always been business fraud, violence of all kinds and love children with household helpers (remember Thomas Jefferson.) But the leadership of television and the games children grow up playing and the explosive exposure of every little thing – important or dumb – has magnified the bad side of life. Maybe bad will become boring and we will hide a lot of it again. Some futurist scientists believe that our future nanotechnology will provide implants to cure the urge to badness as it will the urge to smoke or take drugs.  And early religions believed that 2011 and 2012 were seen by God’s messengers as the world’s worst years and the time when the world begins a slow return to its origins and a blissfulness that was the intent.  Some believe that slowly, ever so slowly, we are developing into one world, one family that will eventually put a lid on troublemakers. Lots of books written about us humans — but nobody really knows very much.

69 comments so far.

  1. avatar KarenR says:

    Lazy news coverage, not lack of news.

  2. avatar Bonnie O says:

    I think there is little doubt about the moral decay of our culture.  It isn’t just that sex is viewed just about everywhere (anyone watch a daytime soap lately?) and it isn’t about straight or gay people either … I do not relate what I call “moral decay” to sex.

    What concerns me is the violence and advocation or acceptance of violence in the arts.  What also concerns me is the breakup of the family unit.  Not all children born to single mothers or being raised by a single parent turn out violent, illiterate and just plain nasty but too many do.  We are at a point in our society where excuses are made for bad behavior, especially in the young.  And, sadly, that is where finding a moral compass begins … in the home.  Too many American children, not just children with a single parent,  are being raised without a moral compass and, unfortunately, one of their prominent teachers is what they view on their monitors.  And that leads us back to the growing amount of violence being viewed on their screens, monitors or at their movie theatres.  Anyone watch  some of those video and computer games played by kids?  And those folks in the music industry do not escape from their responsibilies either …. some rap music today is criminal.

    Millions of Americans support the Arts and are agreeable that the government chip in with a grant here and there.  Yet too many of the creative people in the ARTS are letting America’s children down and, as a consequence, America, itself.

    • avatar Joan Larsen says:

      Bonnie, I too agree and believe that “moral decay” is an excellent choice of words to define our world.  Fingers of blame can be pointed in many directions, of course.  My own observations tell me that the media probably is most influencial.  We are bombarded.  For the news media to “compete”, we find ourselves bombarded with every small detail that can be dredged up — and then repeated over and over.  Topics that we, as people, didn’t talk about a few years back are now deemed “acceptable” things to say over dinner.  Now, there is nothing that is so “down and dirty” to say and seems acceptable to do – thanks to the 24-hours-a-day rehash of what used to be considered “none-of-you-business” topics – that we have become immune to (well, almost).  Repeat something enough and we – as a society – become brain-washed.  It must be “all right”, isn’t it?  It is on TV.

      But it is what our children, children at an impressionable age, see and hear — and then, God forbid, COPY — that is most disturbing.  “Starter marriages”, “throw-away marriages”, and no longer the least bit of shock at “divorce” – or changing partners as if it were a party game held in the spotlights speak to the kids – saying it is all right.  In fact, to be with it, it is the thing to do.   

      Does anyone even remember “manners”, how truly good “the innocent times” before the premature adulthood took over?  Things have always happened.  We are not that naive.  But way back then, there was something – now lost – called PRIVACY.  Gone.

      And, as Joni said, in its place is something abhorrant that some of us call “entertainment”.
      And some of us call “moral decay” writ large in our world. 

      Sad.  Very sad.

      • avatar Mary says:

        Good points everyone. 

        I am taking the summer off from the news.  I am trying to read more books, do more activity and am busy fighting beurocracy of our states Workers Compensation system that believes in loading me up with chemicals vs getting the treatment I need to get back to work and running my company while not being able to work which is a trick in itself. But, just another broken system as far as I am concerned.

        The good news?  We are still able to express ourselves and to see that the headliners are not to be trusted.

      • avatar Bonnie O says:

        Mary -  I understand your dilemma.  My sister is battling with her disability insurance and has been for some time now.  She fell at work;  it would seem a simple matter but those disability folks try to fob of the patients with steroid injections, heat compresses … anything but the surgery that is needed.  There are so many cheaters out there putting in disability claims for false injuries that the system is now corrupt.  I hope you are able to receive the treatments that you need.

        This is just another sign of the declining honesty in our culture.

      • avatar Mary says:

        I had approval to do swim therapy for two weeks thru the physical therepy dept. of the hospital and it realy was helping.  At least I felt it was strengthening my back.  But, they did not approve any more than that.  BUT, they do approve of giving me a drug that cost about 100. every two weeks, which I cannot take anymore because my legs swelled up like elephant legs and my muscles felt like I was being tazered.  I had bad hallucinations from it and had to have my friend who is also a nurse come and stay with me because I truly felt I was going to die.  Those side affects finally left after 48 hours of stopping the drug. Now I am on another drug that just makes me so loopy that I am good for nothing. I sleep a lot, my brain is fried from tv and my house is looking pretty bad and I will hire someone to at least come and vaacum and dust and such.  I sleep, get up, shower, get dressed, check email, check in at the office and give a few words of loopy wisdom and direction then exhausted I go back to bed .

        I told my doc that here I have been doing everything in my power to become totally organic, no chemicals and here I am having chemicals dumped on me just to be able to stand up!  It is ridiculous.  He wants to change my diagnosis with the WCB but now they want me to have to hire a lawyer, which I have done, because even though the diagnosis is spot on and the treatment that I need  is about 90% effective and I could be back to work in two weeks with it, they would rather pay long term , give me drugs and leave me disabled for long term.  Makes absolutely no sense.

        But they need to keep their jobs .  I used to not be able to understand why people complained about it, after all they were still getting paid etc. but now I clearly see that it is yet another system that is totally broken and needs a complete overhall.

        Sorry, venting.     Mary

      • avatar Joan Larsen says:

        Mary , , , I am so extremely sorry – not only about your illness, but the frustrations that you must endure.  Having to handle things when one is not feeling well – and things that could be and should be done in a far different manner – only adds insult to injury.  Having to hire a lawyer only makes me sad and truly mad.  For we know, this is not how things should be.

        My heart is with you during your pain and in these trials that test the spirit.  I want you to know that.  May there be a turn of events somehow with an ending more pleasing!!  Joan

      • avatar Mary says:

        Joan, thank you so much for your kind words and encouragement.  It makes me very angry that this system just forces people to get Lawyers to fight for them to get such basic treatment.  The whole WC system is set up to become nothing but a series of Catch 22′s.  I know there are many people out there in the same boat and worse and my heart goes out to them.

        The whole situation has been a big lesson for me and is yet another reason why small businesses have such a hard time.  This is not new, the system has been broken or intentionally set up this way for many years.

        I could have treatment in the sense that I could use my health insurance to take care of my needs, but , my insurance company is not allowing me to do so until I have completed the approval process with WC as they consider WC the primary treating insurance for this case.  So therefore I have no idea why I even would use  my health insurance because if I use them and WC approves my case, then my health insurance will go up and health insurance will only kick it back to WC.  Nuts isn’t it?

        The sun is shinning, the air is clearer and I am going to get it in my head that I am going to make use of this day as much as I can.

      • avatar Baby Snooks says:

        It’s a frustration many of us are finding ourselves having to endure as we deal with a health care system that is run on the basis of “protocol” rather than what is best for the patient.  I could write a book about my experiences the past year in the health care system as I navigated between the private and public health care system. Not really trusting either at this point.

        I was “quarantined” for almost a month which cost mey what very little income I have coming in and needlessly so. When they finally confirmed the actual mycobacteria it turned out I have a non-contagious atypical as well as asymptomatic strain of TB which is a very common and normally harmless strain found in the environment. The same drugs are used but in different dosages. I should not have started treatment until they identified the strain. And certainly shouldn’t have been “quarantined” but that is the “protocol.”

        Being released from “quarantine” I proceeded to the dentist who refused to examine me despite the obvious release on my “online” medical records as indicated by the fact that the TB medications were now being prescribed simply because I didn’t have the “form” required by the “protocol.”

        The real shock came from being told the hospital district aka public health care system does not do cosmetic or restorative work even if the tooth is perfectly healthy. They just pull it. Which no doubt  explains why so many people are walking around without teeth in our country which s not only creates futher problems for them since their jaw no longer has the support of teeth but also in many cases prevents them from finding jobs and getting back on their feet. And no, they do not provide dentures.

        Welcome to America. Which has the best of health care if you have the money to pay for it and the orst if you don’t.

      • avatar Benign Czar says:

        Then the best cource of action to take is to make sure you DO enough in life so you can afford health care.   I am greatly distured by thhe thhought processes that say “those who have worked hard should be punished to take care of those who have done nothing”

      • avatar Baby Snooks says:

        I do hope that Fate visits you as it has others and that you cannot afford health insurance or afford to be able to use it if you have it and find out what the reality is.  Obviously you have no idea what it is.  And instead assume everyone who accesses the public health care system is some sort of lazy bum. Not that it matters but my two previous internists were the chairs of the Internal Medicine Department at the university that staffs the public health care system and I did not have insurance then either but that was in the days when doctors rather than “billing” decided what I would be charged.  In the days when I was sent a bill for it all and paid it as I could. Two of the doctors who have treated me did their residency with one of those internists.  And of course wonder why one of his patients would be in the public health care system.  But there I am. Along with others. Who simply cannot afford the private health care system any longer.  And many are on Medicare.  And cannot afford the co-pay insurance or the co-pay.  Fate.  Not choice.

        I am grateful for the public helalth care system. And wouldn’t think to deny access to anyone. Unlike you.

      • avatar Benign Czar says:

        Heaalth care is a service and must be paid for.  If it is aa “right”, then those who will not pay become the masters and those who are forced at the point of a gun to pay become the slaves.  And the funnist thing…those who do the paying are the ones most denigrated wheneever thhey object to paying even more.   Just out of curiosity, when Obama speaks of “shared sacrifice”, what sacrifice do the parasite classes have to make ?

      • avatar Lila says:

        I had some interesting lessons on honesty when I went to Russia for a temporary assignment. It definitely has some kleptocracy and other serious issues but there were some very nice examples of people taking care of each other, too:

        First off, the buses in St. Petersburg: often jam-packed, but you are obligated to get your money to the conductor even if you can’t reach him/her. The procedure was to pass your money forward via your fellow passengers, and they pass the ticket back to you. “Pfft, this money is about to disappear,” I thought. But no – here came my ticket back to me, WITH MY CHANGE! Holy cow. And it worked every time.

        Also during my stay, I took a US visitor shopping at a park in Moscow and she bought several lacquer boxes; later she emailed me from the States, lamenting that she had walked off from one of the vendors’ booths, forgetting one of her best purchases. Oh, well, she thought, lesson learned. I went by the booth the following weekend and asked the vendor if he remembered the woman and what she had bought. Out came the lacquer box, which he had saved for her for two weeks!

        Small things, but it does help keep up one’s faith in humanity…

      • avatar Baby Snooks says:

        You have to have a “card” in order to use the train then get a free transfer on the connecting buses in Houston which many don’t realize and one afternoon I stood and waited while a woman who didn’t know that pleaded with the bus driver who didn’t care that she had no money left to pay for another ticket. 

        I told him I would pay for her which I did. She thanked me. The bus driver glared at me.  Welcome to America!

      • avatar Baby Snooks says:

        The reality is that the “Objectivism” of Ayn Rand managed to permeate our society and replace morlality with amorality – anything goes as long as it feels good for you. It is the foundation of the “Trickle Down Theory” and the “Noble Lie” which in the end is not noble. This “Objectivism” is why ethics became a dirty word in our vocabulary. As one of our former mayors of Houston put when first running for mayor, it doesn’t matter whether something is ethical. Only whether it is legal. And that is why this country is collapsing. 

        We have become a sociopathic society run for the most part by sociopaths who actually believe their “Noble Lies.”  And worse, quite a few others do as well.   And declare war on those who don’t believe thier lies. Those who believe someone else’s lies.

        Divide and conquer. We  have been divided by design. By soicipaths who forget that a house divided falls. As do their empires. 

  3. avatar Linda Myers says:

    The decay of leadership seems to also contribute. What people valued as leadership in their lives has become transparently lost, creating so many scattered groups without any foundation calling themselves leaders whether political, religious or in business.

    Many tend to look to others for a foundation or example to follow and when that is not present the focus is left in chaos. They lose trust and continue to care less and maybe even become immune to life around themselves, accepting the loss of hope. Much of our elder population feels right now they are without representation or being remembered in Washington as they wait to see if even social security checks will still be available. When the elders or matriarchs of any family begin feeling lost by the leadership they have put their trust in for decades, those feelings and sentiments flow throughout a whole lineage of a family. Watching 800 billion being dispensed and now being told because of a 29 billion dollar interest payment, they should pay by having what personal income they have cut off is only adding to an energy of devastation and loss.

    When the time comes when leadership is again an example to live by rather than decayed, maybe the course will change. Sadly, society is more willing to emulate the level of their focus rather than be accountable for as the person they are. We can play the blame game forever, or become more responsible.

  4. avatar Lila says:

    I agree with Joan and Bonnie – there has been some moral decay. I think it is closely related to self-absorption as well as outright, conscious selfishness. I have long said that selfishness is the root of all evil.

    The boom in electronic “connectedness” does not help. Too many people now interact only very superficially through an electronic device, while ignoring the people who are present – even at dinners, dates, etc. I think being connected through electronics, as opposed to through face-to-face contact, has a socially crippling effect; it stunts our ability to perceive and appreciate what another person is feeling.

    • avatar Linda Myers says:

      Lila,

      I think it is actually scarey the way people create false identities or electronic personalities which they can pull from a hat to represent who they are. Even in person I would wonder who they really are.

  5. avatar phyllis Doyle Pepe says:

    I’m going to go against the grain here and argue that our moral compass has been on a positive trajectory decade after decade. It doesn’t seem like that because we now have news coverage and insight into everything that we never had before. Some have touted the late forties and fifties as the golden era, and in some ways it certainly was, but it was also the era of the Japanese internment, the despicable devouring of Robert Oppenheimer, the McCarthy hearings that ruined countless lives and careers, the deplorable conditions of blacks in our schools and otherwise, the lack of women’s rights…not to mention our blunder in Iran, and I could go on, but the point has been made. As long as human beings are among the living we will have this “moral decay” but the big decays become the small ones as time goes on. It’s a slow slog especially when our Supreme court overturns California’s ban on violent videos for kids under 18. For the five in favor sex seems the horror here, but violence is considered ok. I also am alarmed at our lack of gun control, but so far we haven’t had the kind of JFK, Bobby and Martin assassinations that rocked our world. And today I read where Obama has overturned the long ban on presidents not responding to parents of military suicide victims. One example of that moral trajectory going in the right direction.

    • avatar D C says:

      I’m with Phyllis on this one.  “Moral Decay” is something that our ever-alert news outlets seize upon and flash to the world 24-7.  Once in a while we get some uplifting news, but that’s rare, or relegated to the community newspaper you get for free on Wednesdays. 

      What I see is the biggest problem in this world is “Reality” TV.  Young, impressionable people see the garbage that is presented as reality and BELIEVE that’s the way everyone acts, so they should act that way too.  Parents need to make sure they tell youngsters that Jersey Shore is NOT the way it is — it’s the way those people are told to behave to get higher ratings.  They may not have a script, but they are surely being directed on what to do to get more air time. 

      • avatar Lila says:

        What really chaps me about “Reality” TV is that all of those shows send a message that anyone can be a rich celebrity if they just act outrageous enough. And I fear that many parents don’t talk to their kids enough to make sure they understand that for the other 99.99% of us, we have to behave, stay clear of the law, and be civil to others if we expect to stay gainfully employed.

      • avatar Benign Czar says:

        I wass told this bit of info by my sister the other day….there is a show called “jerseylicious” about a group of “hair stylists”.  My sister goes to that shop and told me that all of the girls on the program aare actresses and do not actuaally work there.   So much for “reality” shows.

  6. avatar Mr. Wow says:

    Well, I hesitate to use the word “fun” in matters that concern dead children, divorce, betrayal, lying, reckless behavior and possible rape.  But…let’s face it, we’ve all had fun dissecting these events.

    Even our “outrage” is kind of fun.  Certainly takes our mind off our own problems, and we are wrapped up in the certainty that we are better people than alleged baby killers, alleged rapists, alleged conniving hotel maids, crazily exhibitionist politicians and a cheating, love-child-hiding ex-muscleman.

    Our purient interst is human nature.  Always has been.  Always will be.  Terrible scandals, murders and other black-hearted deeds are nothing new.  We hear more about it because there are now endless sources of “news.”

    The ancient Greeks talked about moral decay–the young were going to hell in a hand-basket and where were the good days?  You know–The Bronze Age. 

    I am disturbed by reality TV.  This is an abomination that has truly coarsened the culture, dumbed-down an entire generation and encourages rewards for bad behavior. But that’s another subject.  Honestly, we are essentially no more “morally decayed” than we ever were. Perhaps this is not much solace.  In that case, work on coming back as a cat in your next life.

    Our summer scandals?  When the autumn shit hits the fan, we’ll have forgotten all about these messy incidents. Remember–Tiger Woods fell into disgrace on Thanksgiving.

    We’ll all be gossiping and reading and passing judgement on whoever is caught in the cross-hairs of crime, infidelity or weiner-showing. 

    • avatar Baby Snooks says:

      “Schadenfreude, schadenfreude…”  Of late the schadenfreude has taken on a very perverse rather than merely prurient tone.  It is one thing when someone falls off their pedestal. Quite another when they are pushed off.  But of course you have to be doing something to warrant being pushed off, don’t you?

  7. avatar Baby Snooks says:

    And I have to comment about “Three Cups of Tea” and Greg Mortensen and how it has shaken up the philanthripic world which quite honestly needed to be shaken up. Fraud is fraud. And it is a fraud committed by quite a few charitable organizations that survive solely on the “aura” of the organization, often in the society pages, which as we have seen finally is often nothing more than slick marketing and good press.  He was the “partner” of Joanne King Herring, the “heroine” of Charlie Wilson’s War, in her “Marshall Plan” for Afghanistan. Personally I think she should find another country to save. She might start with her own.  The one thing I admired most about Elizabeth Taylor was her looking beyond the “aura” and instead looking at the books. Executive directors driving BMWs and having million dollar fundraising galas that only netted half a million dollars wasn’t her cup of tea. Pardon the pun with regard to the “Three Cups of Tea.” Very empty cups as it turned out. More people should look more closely.  More are as a result of Greg Mortensen.

    • avatar D C says:

      Simple greed.  People used to write stuff like that and call it what it was:  Fiction.  Now they write fiction, and swear it’s fact, to make more money.  Because fact just isn’t quite interesting enough.  Just ask the tabloids that print gigantic headlines along the lines of “BRAD AND ANGELINA EXPECTING QUINTUPLETS!!!  OCTOMOM IS JEALOUS OF NATURAL CONCEPTION!!!

      Maybe I should go write a memoir.  I’ll call it “My Name: A Memoir”, but I just won’t say it’s a fictional memoir of some fictional character’s life.  I’ll make millions and give it to a fraudulent charity — mine.  Nahhh… I think I’ll just go bake cookies instead. 

    • avatar Joan Larsen says:

      Snooks — With the life I lead, you might guess that I might read Outside magazine as my source so often.  They too were caught up in Greg Mortenson, doing whatever they could do in the publicity and financial vein . . . believing in the man.  You might like to read Truth and Consequences in their July issue as to how much they were taken in and how they feel today.

      For a large portion of my life, I was involved in the funding (and how much) for charitable organizations.  You are right.  Each must be looked into closely to see how much actually goes directly to help as what goes into office expenses or “just disappears”.  Fortunately, we now have websites to decipher those facts.

      But perhaps it takes a Greg Mortensen – a man who swept the world off its feet, making us believe that we too could donate, read his book, and “believe” – before he fell from grace.  If any tale is able to alert us, to warn us, to make us stop before blindly writing checks, I believe this story will have more impact.  It has been an education albeit a sad one. 

      • avatar D C says:

        I am a member of a small group of women that meets monthly to socialize, have dinner, and play a silly game.  One of the ladies in the group, the meekest mouse of a woman, is involved currently in a fund-raising effort for what I consider a very worthy cause.  But she recently asked me a question that absolutely floored me.  She asked if I thought it would be unethical for her to give me a set amount of money, then have me give that money back to her charity, and put in for a corporate match through my employer.  I told her that yes, I would consider that unethical, and the subject was dropped, and we moved on to discuss the terrific appetizer.  But I am so disappointed.  I realize she is  trying to meet a goal and her employer has probably applied a lot of pressure (perhaps at the cost of her job) to reach the goal, but this woman is educated, and I know that she knows it was an unethical proposal.  It just goes to show that just about anybody will push the boundaries to see how far they can go these days.  Real integrity is getting harder and harder to find.

      • avatar Lila says:

        DC, I have heard it said: “Integrity is doing what’s right, even when no one is watching.”

      • avatar KarenR says:

        Real integrity is getting harder and harder to find because the wealth gap is playing a bigger and bigger role in society.

      • avatar Baby Snooks says:

        This is a new one to me but the “premise” with regard to the “campaign” is not and has always been a problem with redard to United Way which Joan Larsen and I have always disagreed about but which I still stand my ground about.  While not the only problem with United Way, just the same the “campaigns” are run as if they were contests with corporations seeking to be “Number 1″ and divisions within those corporations seeking to be “Number 1″ and there is still a lot of “subtle” coercion involved.

        Most United Way agencies do provide very needed programs and services but most are also equally generous to their CEOs and “executive staffs” and the “rationale” is alwys that the salaries are comparable to what these people would be earning in the private sector. My response is always that if they need that level of compensation they should return to the private sector. Few would earn anywhere near what they are in the non-profit sector. Which is why they stay in the non-profit sector.

        The Clinton-Bush Haiti Fund is a perfect example of the problem of “charity” in our country  - people gave to the fund to help the people of Haiti recover from the earthquake.  At least a million people are still homeless and hunger and the lack of safe drinking water, not to mention disease, is still rampant. And the money? It is being spent on “studies” to determine how best to help the people of Haiti and to provide “seed money” for “joint ventures” to help the economy of Haiti rather than the people. Very few of whom have ever benefitted from the economy of Haiti.  Although some have. And so the money will go to build hotels and start businesses which will produce profit for the investors and pay very little in wages to the people who are hired and who will return each night to their tents instead of their homes. Questions are being raised. And no doubt to divert attention from the questions instead of answering them finally Bush and Clinton will dispatch their mother to Haiti where she can stand among the people living in tents outside of Port-au-Prince, as she stood among the evacuees from New Orleans in the Astrodome, and talk about how things are working out quite well for them.

        For some there is a lot of profit in non-profit. They are able to buy a bakery with donations and then toss crumbs to the people they are supposed to be helping. 

  8. avatar Simply Me says:

    Disturbing sign of moral decay.  It all goes back to when European Settlers took over the natural way of life from the Natives.  The massacre of an entire culture for the sake of greed–THIS is the tragedy of America.

    • avatar Benign Czar says:

      You really think the taking of land by one group against another only occurred that one time ?
      I hope your grasp of world history is not that tenuous…but given the state of the education system in this country, perhaps you have learned nothing more.   Our moral decay began with the Kennedy administration and the Vietnam War…..the self-absorbed baby boomer generation decided that they would decide on whether anything was moral or not…and 50 years have not resulted in any of them growing up.   Things here will only get worse as a generation that saved nothing and now will demand to become wards of the state will result in an increasingly dysfunctional government….led by immature fools as we are right now.

      • avatar Bonnie O says:

        Benign Czar -  wonderful appelation, by the way.

        I agree with most of your comment.  However, I do believe the generation that will have little sympathy or regard for the older generation are those young folks, now called Generations X and Y ….all under 35.  In about a dozen years when the full force and costs of the baby boomers is felt by the working people, then this country, in my opinion, will be facing a generational crisis never before witnessed.  The young and younger will be against the older and elderly and it will be traumatic. 

      • avatar Baby Snooks says:

        That “generation gap” has already occured and it is traumatic for quite a few particularly those who worked 20 -30 years for a company and found themselves “pink-slipped” and beame “99ers” and who became “99ers”  when they found themselves “too old” to enter the job market again.  So they work part-time. Here and there. And hope they can stay afloat. Although most of course cannot.  And quite a few of this ”younger generation” now in their 20s and 30s and 40s “resent paying taxes to pay for “old people” along with the poor. 

        They call themselves “Young Republicans.”  I believe “Young Predators” is more fitting.

  9. avatar LuckyLady n/a says:

    I could go on and on about “charitable organizations” but I won’t.  I just came in after picking up my mail and tossed it on a table and saw a bunch of Medicare envelopes.  Assuming that they had not covered my last doctor’s visit (he will not deal with them other than to submit the information) I decided to look at them.  They all referred to an appointment I had in March to remove skin cancers on my scalp.  My supplemental health insurance had already paid as had Medicare.  One of the envelopes contained a check for 17 cents and three pages of information why they were sending it.  The other ones contained checks for l cent, 4 cents and 22 cents. all with the same information.  I’m either going to frame them or send them to the White House.  All of that incompetence for 44 cents.  If it were’nt such a pathetic way of doing business I would laugh. Postage, Paper, and People mean money going down the drain.

  10. avatar Benign Czar says:

    To Liz Smith:  it is amusing to read your rant about people wanting Obama to fail….I seem to remember the same thing being done to George Bush.  And…by the way…YES….I do want Obama to fail because his failure means that the country has won.

    • avatar Lila says:

      How in the world do you arrive at the conclusion that the US President’s failure means that the US has won? Won what, exactly?

      • avatar Benign Czar says:

        Since his plan is to destroy free enterprise, punish people wwho work hard and take risks aand reward sloth, his plan is in direct opposition to everything that has made this country the most exceptional place on the planet.  If he fails, then we who make this country what it is will have won….and the parasite class who produces nothing yet expects much, will have lost.

      • avatar Lila says:

        I’d like to see the specific mechanisms of these plans, and I’d like to know WHAT is won, if the US President fails.

      • avatar Benign Czar says:

        I would think that his actions would speak for themselves….more taxes and more spending and more borrowing are a recipe for financial disaster.   An unjustified war of aggression in Libya with no plan for victory…reminds me of the stupidity of LBJ in Vietnam (a war I fought in, by the way)….his use of tax dollars to create a slush fund for Democrat governors and unions (they called it a “stimulus”)….his use of “czars” to circumvent Congress and simply createe regulations foist upon the American public with the force of law….his misuse of the DOJ to allow black racist groups to intimidate voters….hiss unwillingness to protect our borders from foreign invasion….I can go on if you like, but so many people are willing to live with that as long as the get a govt check for doing nothing….a country can only afford a certain number of parasites….then the body begin to die.

      • avatar KarenR says:

        I heard an interesting piece on the radio today. Almost half of the people who directly receive or have benefited from government programs don’t even realize they have.

        Tell me, Benign Czar, have you ever had a student loan or received an education grant? Written of mortgage interest? Collected Social Security or been on Medicaid or Medicare? Collected unemployment? Driven on an interstate or state highway? Enjoyed a National Park? You’re a veteran – do you use the VA system?

        It’s not possible in this country to “live off the system” as is stereotypically portrayed by people like you who seem to think that others are disposable (but, of course, not you or those close to you).

        As far as WHO gets taxed most heavily – I’d be all for a flat tax, no loopholes, because right now the parasites don’t pay enough and that needs to be corrected.

      • avatar Benign Czar says:

        Ok…those are fair questions.  I graaduatedd from high school , then wass drafted into the military, went to Vietnam, lost aa kidney and was sent back home.   I do not use the VA system because the care is so inferior.  I have purchased my own insurance for me and my family ever since I became an independent consultant in 1983.  As for mortgage interest, that is a deduction allowed to ALL people who own a home.  I am not GETTING anything from govt, but paying less…they are hardly the same thing.   Although I am 67 years old, I have never collected social security, unemployment, nor benefitted from Medicare or Medicaid.  By the way, SS and Medicare are b enefits that I’ve been FORCED to pay for, so they can hardly be considered welfare.   I’ve been married for 43 years and my wife has been disabled for 31 of them….I take care of her…not the govt.   I also sent my children to private school, private universities and to advanced degrees….with my own money.  Driving on a highway is a RIGHT, not a privilege, as govt would tell you.  Getting a drivers license is a statuatory right, and cannot be revoked by govt on a whim.  I’ve never been to a national park, although I have no problem with preserving open spaces.  My objection is to things like section 8 housing allowences, or the Earned Income Tax Credit, or welfare or any benefit.  In fact, my own proposal would be to deny voting privileges to anyone who is collecting unearned benefits from any govt agency.  I see no reason for parasites to have any say in how income earned by others is spent by govt

      • avatar KarenR says:

        Ah, the classic verbal reframing of how money flows…”I’m not getting FROM I’m paying less in…”

        And how should it be determined who’s income is just and “earned” and who is underpaid? Pure market forces? Let’s do that, please, because then a hell of a lot of overpaid fat cats are going to come crashing down…

      • avatar Benign Czar says:

        Since a business is a PRIVATE entity except where govt interferes in its operations, how much someone is paid is neither yourr nor my business.   Unlike so many of you on the left, the only person’s income I am concerned about is my own….because it is the only one over which I have direct control.   In some way, I find it quite sad to see how pathetic the average American has become….dependent on govt for everything they have and everything they are.   I am quite happy that I have limited by involvement with govt to begin one of its lowly paid assassins during thhe Vietnam War….may LBJ rot in hell for all time….and, of course, to the interaction of my being extorted by govt for a portion of my labor (that is what an income actually is).   Oh yes, if “fat cats” come crashing down, expect a ton of parasites to wind up dying in the streets when the taxes paid by those “fat cats” are no longer being paid.   An interesting thought…in a state of 37 million people, fewer than 150,000 of them pay 30% of all income taxes….what happens to CA if a few thousand of them leave ?

      • avatar Lila says:

        So… what do you think about the Bush invasion of Iraq? That was proven unjustified and has cost the nation nearly $800 Billion so far.

        And the Bush tax cuts on the rich have cost the US over a Trillion so far. And did that allow the rich to generate more jobs? Um… no. Well, maybe they could have, but they didn’t. And CEO incomes are obscene multiples of what their average workers make.

        Average incomes fell during the Bush years, by more than 5% over year 2000 incomes. More loss of tax revenue, and lower quality of living for US citizens.

        And now the Republicans are insisting that Obama gut what little health care and retirement protections US citizens have, and are still not satisfied; they are on the verge of defaulting for the first time in US history. Let that happen, and watch interest rates climb and the dollar crash, and Joe Average will be the only guy hurt by that. Farmers, homeowners, wage-earners… veterans. Of course Obama will be blamed, but sorry, this is not his doing.

        The Republicans don’t give a crap about you. They are about to ruin your life over a stupid political standoff instead of working together for the good of the US and all its citizens. Wishing failure on our President is self-destructive, short-sighted, and unpatriotic. Wish instead for US success.

      • avatar Benign Czar says:

        I am not talking about George Bush….who has no public office, in case you did not notice.  I am not talking about Republicans either…I am talking about a feckless ideologue who has no idea about what life in the real world is like, because he hass lived in his public office, affirmative action cocoon all of his life.  As far as the debt ceailing is concerned, the ones most affected by that are the parasites who spend their lives waiting for their next govt check.   Since it is CLEAR TO ME that Obama has no interest in anything except the continuance and abuse of his power, I wish him nothing but ill.  He is far more my enemy than any Arab terrorist.

      • avatar KarenR says:

        Honestly, I think *your* greatest enemy is education.

      • avatar Benign Czar says:

        I will happily compare my IQ and knowledge of our history and the current state of the world and the economy to your own any time you like.   And…by the way….seeing what passes for “education” today and seeing how little today’s young people know about their own country, I would call our current education system the biggest wasste of money on this planet.

      • avatar Baby Snooks says:

        You should take a second look at the policies of Barack Obama because they are merely a continuation of the policies of George W Bush which were a continuation of the policies of Bill Clinton which were a continuation of the policies of George HW Bush. All of which have firmly established an oligarchy that has replaced the democracy.  The people simply do not matter. Including you.

        But then I suspect you already know that which is why all your comments seem to be filled with anger. Sounds like you were an angry young man who has become an anagry old man.  With misdirected anger.

      • avatar Mahulda Fite says:

        The “Bush tax cuts on the rich” have not cost the US anything. The US has no money–the government does not generate revenue–the only money they have it that which they take from the citizenry in taxes.  Tax cuts mean people keep more OF THEIR OWN MONEY–the government isn’t giving money to anyone,  just letting them keep more of their own money–oh, how generous of them. 

        So therefore, it is false to say tax cuts cost the government money. There is no output of government revenue (which is generated by taxes) with tax cuts. When the government spends (our tax money), then it costs us.

      • avatar KarenR says:

        So what would you like to disappear first? Public safety? Public health? Roads? National defense? The judicial system? Education? Banking and trade regulations that protect consumers as well as business competitors from unfair practices?

      • avatar Mahulda Fite says:

        First, what does explaining that tax cuts do not “cost” the government have to do with cutting spending?

        Second, nothing will “disappear” (unfortunately). We will have the same bloated government. Cuts only apply to increases in future spending.  I don’t think people understand that, cuts do not mean that something is “eliminated”–they only mean that increases will be 10% for instance instead of 20% for a particular government entity.

      • avatar KarenR says:

        If that’s the case – if everything is fully funded – why is there a budget deficit?

        If income exceeds revenue (creating a deficit) the only way out is to raise revenue or cut spending somewhere. There’s no room for increases, be they 10% or 20%, anywhere AND there will have to be cuts to offset inflation related costs.

      • avatar Mahulda Fite says:

        In government-speak-”fully funded” means increases every year, so if there is no increase, they call it “drastic cuts”.  They don’t operate their “budgets” the same way you and I do.

        And I believe you mean if “spending exceeds revenue”.  Well, you can see how they compensate for deficits–they want to increase the debt ceiling and raise taxes.  They don’t believe in spending withing their means–ie, spending what “revenue” (taxes) that comes in–they spend what they want and worry about the bill later–this is why we are in the predicament we are in. Were they concerned when they passed the 1 tril stimulus that they didn’t have the money to pay for it? Were they concerned when the passed the 1 tril Obamacare and didn’t have the money to pay for it? No. They have gotten away with this for years–spend what they want and pass the bill on for later.

        Do you think if we raise the debt limit again they will stop spending? This happens again and again. They keep passing legislation with more and spending and no money to pay for it. Why should they have more tax money–ie raise taxes? Should we reward their bad stewardship of our tax dollars by giving them more?

        And every Dem who is now complaining about the “Republican’s stubborness” –not one Dem voted to raise the debt limit in 2006–not one. Was that racism?

      • avatar Lila says:

        I see your point, but ECONOMISTS count this as “lost revenue” or a “cost” because we previously HAD this revenue for years, and the 107th Congress decided, in the form of two bills in 2001 and 2003, to cut that source of revenue. Meanwhile, the 107th Congress and the Republican Pres decided to launch the Iraq war on top of the Afghan war. And war is pretty expensive. It’s like a person moving voluntarily to a lower-paying job knowing he already needs a new car, then deciding to buy a Lamborghini.

        On cutting spending: The biggest expenditures of the US government are Defense, Soc Security, and Medicare. The rest can be cut to the bone and won’t make a big difference. This is why it was so fiscally irresponsible to catastrophically INCREASE our defense spending by launching a war of choice, while simultaneously cutting revenue. There was no way to make up, in cuts, for the former income from taxes.

        Independent economists and the Congressional Research Service predict that if the tax cuts continue in force (they were supposed to expire in 2010), it will add more than $3 Trillion to the debt by 2020. 20% of that is plain old debt servicing… paying interest. And THAT will increase even more, if we default. We will have to raise interest rates to continue to attract Treasury buyers (those are our creditors), and that will in turn demolish many citizens’ ability to get credit for cars or farm loans, much less homes.

        Remember the 1980s? I used ALL of my savings to buy my first car for cash, because I could never have afforded the 16% interest they were going to charge me for a loan.

      • avatar Mahulda Fite says:

        It is all smoke and mirrors to call it costs–and only those who benefit politically do so. When the CBO estimates budget projections, yes, they use current revenue streams–but it is still not a cost. They are projections –just like the “surplus” during the Clinton years–all on paper, not real.  And furthermore, these are disingenuous–in reality every time tax rates are cut, the actual revenue, in dollars, to the US treasury goes up.

      • avatar Lila says:

        How do you figure lower taxes increase revenue to the Treasury?

        We lowered taxes in 2001/2003 and revenue DROPPED. The figures I have been citing – nearly a Trillion so far, and another 3 Trillion by 2020 – is not the overall deficit/debt, it is ONLY that shortfall created by NOT collecting taxes that we previously did collect.

        At any rate, whether you call it a cost or not, does not change the fact that the 107th Congress threw away major revenue while simultaneously increasing major costs in the form of war spending.

      • avatar Mahulda Fite says:

        The Bush tax cuts boosted revenue to the federal treasure from 2004-2007–look it up–that’s a fact. Idon’t know where you get your information but you are wrong.

        Also, it is absurd to consider any money the government does not collect, in the future, as a “cost”.  Again, the government has no money of its own–it does not generate revenue in any way–it only collects money from others. It should only spend what it gets. To assume that you should take more and more from people in taxes in order to satiate more and more spending is a reality that politicians have created. Do you always assume your paycheck will go up?  If your paycheck is less the next year, you spend less.  Somehow the US government does not get this concept.  

        The wars have cost less than the stimulus or Obamacare.

      • avatar Mahulda Fite says:

        Also, we don’t have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem. The government has plenty of revenue, they just spend more than they have–year after year.

  11. avatar Benign Czar says:

    Baby Snooks:  precisely why I make it a point to NOT vote for an incumbenet once they have shown me that they are too incompetent or too dishonest or too weak (Obama is the first to be in all 3 categories) to hold high office.   My anger is perfectly directed….it is aimed at an increasingly useless electorate who will vote for anyone who promises them a freebie at someone else’s expense.  As for when I became angry…and why….you have no real clue, but you’re a typical arrogant leftist….no class…no dignity….no intellect.

  12. avatar Mahulda Fite says:

    Interesting that Baby Snooks has the gall to call someone “angry” considering that her every comment is filled with sarcastic anger toward “selfish Republicans” who she thinks should be happily tithing their hard earned money to suppost the other 50% of the country. 

    • avatar Baby Snooks says:

      Since I am a Republican I can be just as angry and sarcastic towards Republicans as I want and certainly towards Democrats, as I often am which you seem to miss, and I don’t recall saying anyone should be “happily tithing” particularly the middle-class which has been destroye by both parties overtaxing them and overspending their money. 

      I have said that some pay very little in income taxes proportionately speaking. And those who support their being able to do so, which includes some Democrats, are indeed acting selfishly or simply hoping it “trickles down.”

  13. avatar Belinda Joy says:

    Moral Decay? No.

    I am one of those people that is constantly bemoaning the changes I see in society and how I long for the “good ol’ days” – I often remind myself the good ol’ days weren’t as good as my foggy memory attempts to convince me they were.

    To be sure, I hate the fact that our schools aren’t teaching the curriculums they once did. I hate the fact that “text speech” is now the norm. Everyone speaks in abbreviated ways and no one writes letters anymore. That newspapers, magazines, books and CD’s are becoming scarce in light of those opting to get their news, music and entertainment online. That Atheism and Agnostics are growing day by day as more and more people are turning their backs on God and Spirituality, choosing to believe in…..nothing. I hate the fact that social networking sites are adding to the false sense of being able to flirt, flash and in some instances cheat, without any repercussions. I hate that “Made in the USA” is now a slogan from days gone by. I hate the fact that when I call a customer service department of a supposedly American company, I can’t understand the person on the other end of the phone.

    I hate the fact that when I turn on Cable news I can’t get just the news without some added editorializing by the reporter. I hate the fact that Congresswoman Gaby Gifford was shot because she is a politician and that President Obama continues to receive more death threats daily than any other president in our nation’s history. I hate the fact that so many people want to legalize marijuana for recreational use.

    All of this annoys me.  But I would not define it as a sign of Moral Decay. And I say that because although all of what I noted distresses me, I also look at all the wonderful aspects of our lives today.

    Under President Obama we have seen some real and tangible advances toward equality for women, minorities and the middle class. Gays and Lesbians are living more and more authentic lives and being accepted as part of society, far more than they ever have.  Medical and technological advances continue to flourish. So much so that we can barely keep up with them.  For the first time in decades more and more people are taking their health more seriously and actually paying attention to what they put in their bodies.  Those of us that want to hang onto our youth and good looks, have products and procedures to do so that our mothers and fathers never had.      

    People have always cheated on their spouses. Kids have been abducted, molested, abused and murdered before. Politicians have lied and misused their power since the beginning of our nation. There has always been racism, sexism and homophobia. The cynic in me would add, and there will always be all of these acts for decades to come.  I don’t see all of the events making the news lately as “entertainment” (and trust me I know what wowowow meant by that – no big deal :-)   I just see this as life. No more, no less. For me it is about keeping things in perspective. For all the infidelity and murders that abound in the news, there is also a lot of good being reported. 

    We’ll know when we are truly facing a crisis in the world when the news is all bad and there are no rays of light to speak of.

  14. avatar GingerSpice says:

    Oh for God’s sake.  I wonder if Liz would have made this statement while under another administration,  “The distinct sign of “moral decay” I see is a lot of crazy Americans who are so eager for the elected president to fail, and to be driven out of office.”

  15. avatar Benign Czar says:

    Funny tthing…I’m sure Liz was applauding when Hillary said that it was patriotic to protest the admimnistration….Bush’s of course.   I have run across nothing more hypocritical than a liberal.