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Just received this forward from a friend who's usually pretty sensible.

An oxymoron lesson.....
The Food Stamp Program, administered by the
U.S. Department of Agriculture, is proud to be distributing, this year, the
greatest amount of free meals and food stamps ever, to 46 million
people.
Meanwhile, the National Park Service, administered by the U.S.
Department of the Interior, asks us "Please Do Not Feed the Animals." Their
stated reason for the policy is because "The animals will grow dependent on
handouts and will not learn to take care of themselves."
Thus ends
today's lesson!
Because she's smarter than the average bear and we've been friends forever, I took a minute to reply...

::sigh:: It's catchy and amusing and sounds good, but it's pretty simplistic and very misleading. The SNAP program is actually closer to feeding deer or elk during a really bad winter. The economy has been in the toilet and unemployment has been the highest since the Great Depression for more than six years now. It's not a matter of learning to be dependent, it's a matter of there isn't nearly enough work for everyone who wants a job to have one. Or one that can actually pay the bills. The Park Service is trying to keep the animals from using alternate methods of sustaining themselves, but if those are denied, there are still plenty of meadows and prey out there for the animals to eat. For Americans on SNAP and WIC, etc, the alternative is barren, snow-swept plains. And shame for not being lucky enough to live somewhere with enough work to go around.

 Giant corporations, the stock market and Wall Street are doing better than ever, but the rest of America, the part where most people live and try to survive, is pretty damned bleak. SNAP, WIC and the other safety net programs are being used so much more now because they're NEEDED so much more now. The minute there are real jobs that pay enough to cover the bills, most people are all over them.

There's a huge difference between spending and investing. Those running things right now seem to have forgotten that. There's also a huge difference between investing and speculating. What we need is massive investment to prime the pump of American ingenuity and entrepreneurial drive. And to give average people an opportunity to work and pay their way. Our infrastructure is crumbling because we've been irresponsible and haven't maintained it for decades. It desperately needs to be upgraded so no more bridges fall down, etc. WPA put hundreds of thousands of people to work and did things that needed doing. So did the Interstate Highway system. And Rural Electrification. They also pumped tens of millions into the economy, which circulated and enriched all of us. We can't cut our way out of these problems, we have to prime the pump with massive and intelligent investment, and leash the speculators that stir things up so no one will notice that they're walking off with everything that's not nailed down.

It isn't much, but hopefully it'll do some good. I have sent replies in the past and she's responded well, so here's hoping she passes this one along too.

Originally posted to FarWestGirl on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 03:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Hunger in America.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I'll be in and out later, busy week. n/t (6+ / 0-)

    Information is abundant, wisdom is scarce. ~The Druid.
    ~Ideals aren't goals, they're navigation aids.~

    by FarWestGirl on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 08:42:32 PM PDT

  •  so Yogi is on SNAP? Does he get AFDC for BooBoo? (22+ / 0-)

    Your friend seems oblivious to the fact that most SNAP recipients are kids but right, the wingers also want to do away with child labor laws so we can keep up with Bangladesh.  So put the lil buggers to work in the factories and mines so they can sing for their supper.

    Most SNAP recipients are white and many of them are stalwart GOP.  Many either work the year before or after they receive SNAP.  How fixed is your friend for a sudden disability? Does she have disability insurance or is she ready to budget for UI benefits if she loses the job?  Most Americans' savings have dropped from 6 month's worth of savings to 3 months, due to the economy and not any profligacy on their part.  

    Finally I thought that Christianity teaches that Man is exalted above the beasts.  Wonder what she would think if her employer decided she should be taught to fetch and retrieve or maybe sit up and beg on command?  Or does she already do this to make sure she keeps her job so she does not need SNAP? If so, my bad.

    Finally perhaps she should ponder this old epitaph on a tombstone when she rails about SNAP and lazy recipients:
    As you are, I was;
    As I am, you will be.
    It is the same way with public assistance  

    •  To be clear, this was forwarded to her and on to (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      HeyMikey, blueoasis

      me. She didn't make it up, she was just passing it on. And as I thought about it later, she may be sending them for me to comment on, because she has passed other comments that I've made back down the chain. I haven't asked. Maybe I should. ;-)

      Information is abundant, wisdom is scarce. ~The Druid.
      ~Ideals aren't goals, they're navigation aids.~

      by FarWestGirl on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 08:38:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  There's a flaw in the theory that... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FarWestGirl
      the wingers also want to do away with child labor laws so we can keep up with Bangladesh.
      Bangladesh actually has jobs for them.

      What most SNAP-haters fail to apprehend is that 80% of the people receiving food stamps DO work, they just can't make enough at their minimum wage jobs at WalMart to pay the rent AND put food on the table.

      I suppose they could just forage for nuts and berries.  Or perhaps the NRA would be willing to furnish them all with hunting rifles and ammunition for free so they could feed themselves by their bootstraps or something.

      I'll believe corporations are people when one comes home from Afghanistan in a body bag.

      by mojo11 on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 10:10:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Your friend who is "usually pretty sensible" (15+ / 0-)

    doesn't hesitate to equate poor people with animals.

    Just sayin.

  •  Your friend got this from Mary Franson. (10+ / 0-)

    I believe. She almost lost her next election because of it too. Sadly she won. It was close, a recount.
    see http://www.dailykos.com/... for the full story on her video.

  •  What if we applied that logic to bank bailouts (14+ / 0-)

    subsidies for energy companies, agra business, tax shelters, and all our Fed actions to protect our share of the Free Market?

    Welfare for the rich is fine, feeding starving children a big mistake. Maybe they should be harvested like deer or managed like wolves so as not to encourage human overpopulation pollution and resource war.

    Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

    by rktect on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 03:46:16 AM PDT

  •  Their racist dog whistle. (9+ / 0-)

    It works because America is racist, they are willing to exploit it, and they get away with it.

    That's why I don't care about or respect our "media." If we had a media, crap like this would get exposed. The anti-science loons would be exposed, as well as the election stealing bullies.

    We are what we've been waiting for.

    What is so unnerving about the candidacy of Sarah Palin is the degree to which she represents—and her supporters celebrate—the joyful marriage of confidence and ignorance. SAM HARRIS

    by Cpqemp on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 03:50:22 AM PDT

  •  Your last line: (16+ / 0-)
    We can't cut our way out of these problems, we have to prime the pump with massive and intelligent investment, and leash the speculators that stir things up so no one will notice that they're walking off with everything that's not nailed down.
    is a thing of beauty!  Perfectly well stated.

    Our infrastructure is in such a perilous state that I am fearful that more bridges and dikes and highways will fail causing death and injury.  Sadly, it seems that it takes at least one horrific event to get legislators moving.  

    The failing, 70 year old Herbert Hoover Dike, the levee ringing Lake Okeechobee in Florida, is on the shortlist of unsafe Class 1 dams.  The Army Corps of Engineers has been discharging water from the Lake to help stem the strain on the dike, but that discharge is poising our lakes, lagoons and estuaries.  It doesn't help that we are now in the height of our hurricane season.

    I applaud your well thought out response to your friend's email and have republished to Hunger in America group.

    As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

    by JaxDem on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 03:52:17 AM PDT

  •  Take the "F" off "Frank" (11+ / 0-)

    and you'll have it nailed.

    That's the clever comment.

    The real comment is it is not dishonesty.

    it's friggin mean-spirited stupidity.

    Your fine retort will not be grasped: 'pearls before swine' rule.

  •  People who hate people are into deprivation. (3+ / 0-)

    We could call it sadism, but sadists get involved. Deprivators just intercept what people need to survive.
    "Just say no" covers a lot of territory.

    "No soup for you." No medical attention, education or shelter, either.
    Might as well expect the animals in the zoo to be self-sustaining. If we want humans to be self-reliant, we have to abolish private property.

  •  wasting your time with counterargument (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Matt Z

    The completely infantile and spiteful intent of the message your "friend" sent to you indicates you'd have better luck explaining to  your dog or cat the importance of food stamps. Racist conservatives don't need your "explanations". They already know all the answers, and you're wrong nyah yah, nyah nyah nyah.
    Anybody who tries to have a meaningful discussion with one of "them" is hopelessly deluded. Maybe it makes you feel good writing a DKos diary about your rebuttal to the note, but you really haven't made any change in your "friend" at all.

    Ash-sha'b yurid isqat an-nizam!

    by fourthcornerman on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 06:52:43 AM PDT

  •  What I replied to some people on FB: (12+ / 0-)

    "I find this message offensively un-American and un-Christian. I want you to reflect on what you just posted.

    One of the founders of Soviet communism said "He who does not work, does not eat". (V Lenin) I was taught we are better than that, more compassionate, more civil, that we provided for those in need as well as those who are successful."
    Raised in a Christian household, the God I was taught to pray to demanded we give to the poor: food, clothing and shelter.
    Shame on you and may the God I was taught to pray to forgive you."

    I never heard a peep in response.

    Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree. -Martin Luther

    by the fan man on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 06:57:27 AM PDT

  •  it always makes me a little sad (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TracieLynn, FarWestGirl, HeyMikey

    when people refuse to help out everyone else. Everyone even the most wealthy people in the world at some point needed a break, a helping hand. I still don't understand what drives many to forget this, is it shame? Pride? I really don't know and I don't mean to suggest that person falls into either category.

     

  •  This reminds me (7+ / 0-)

    of the FB posts a conservative acquaintance of mine insists on posting. It says: "Uncle Sam is not your baby's Daddy! Work for it!". I so want to point out to her that her own grandchild and both her children have been on public assistance for a long time. I guess it's different if you are non blah people. ;)

    ~War is Peace~Freedom is Slavery~Ignorance is Strength~ George Orwell "1984"

    by Kristina40 on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 07:18:50 AM PDT

    •  Why don't you? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Kristina40

      If pointing out facts makes them mad and they never talk to you again what have you lost?

      Republican tax policies have led to financial conditions which have caused Republicans to demand cuts to programs they have always opposed.

      by AppleP on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 10:04:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, until last Tuesday (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        FarWestGirl

        she was best friends with my crazy tea party boss but I got fired last Tuesday so yeah...good point. I'm trying to decide whether to diary the whole sordid affair. I can't help but feel she did me a favor after eight years of dealing with racist, redneck patrons and crazy tea party bosses and owners. I'd rather live in a cardboard box than make myself crazy like that again. It wasn't really a surprise but spouting off on fb is a good way to get myself black balled and become unhireable. This is a small town very red area of Florida. I have no doubt politics were a big reason for my firing so until I've secured employment I probably shouldn't poke the dogs with a stick.

        ~War is Peace~Freedom is Slavery~Ignorance is Strength~ George Orwell "1984"

        by Kristina40 on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 10:16:58 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Tell your "friend" she is advocating genocide, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Matt Z

    because that is what these callous "thinning the herd" policies WILL amount to in practice.

    Ask her if she's comfortable with that.

    If it's
    Not your body,
    Then it's
    Not your choice
    And it's
    None of your damn business!

    by TheOtherMaven on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 07:44:14 AM PDT

  •  Misinformed (6+ / 0-)

    It's the Ronny Raygun welfare queen meme.  The "Takers" are gaming the system.  "They should pull themselves up by their bootstraps" claptrap.  (see: Ayn Rand, Milton Friedman)

    It truly amazes me that there are so many otherwise intelligent people who have swallowed these myths hook, line, and sinker.  

    A whole lot of money has gone into propaganda to convince people that the rich deserve to be rolling in dough and the poor deserve their lot in life.  They have no clue that policies and laws are designed, written, and passed to protect the wealthy at all costs even to the detriment of the poor, the struggling working class, and ultimately to the general welfare of society.

    Good for you for not simply ignoring this obvious talking point from your friend.  Good rebuttal to her callous misinformation.

    The difference between a moment and a movement is sacrifice.

    by rlharry on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 07:54:16 AM PDT

  •  Piling on (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Matt Z, FarWestGirl

    There's nothing about that email that's a true oxymoron. What an oxymoron really is:

    a figure of speech that combines contradictory terms
    The only singular phrase from the email is "Please Do Not Feed the Animals."  So, either the sender equates people as animals, or, as Montoya from The Princess Bride says,
    "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."
  •  Your friend, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueyescryinintherain

    if typical of the people who forward this crap, probably didn't read past the second or third sentence. I'd have gone with:

    People aren't animals, and letting children go hungry because their parents can't find work is immoral and unAmerican. The number of people on SNAP always rises and falls with the unemployment rate.

    "A lie is not the other side of a story; it's just a lie."

    by happy camper on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 08:25:11 AM PDT

    •  Because I've known her for the better part of a (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      happy camper, HeyMikey

      decade, I disagree.

      Information is abundant, wisdom is scarce. ~The Druid.
      ~Ideals aren't goals, they're navigation aids.~

      by FarWestGirl on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 08:44:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's why I said (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        FarWestGirl

        "if typical". My point is not to insult youer friend, but that brevity is critical when debunking these sort of things. Your friend may be thoughtful enough to digest all that, but the mouth breathers who sent it to her were most likely short attention span wingnuts. Too much detail bogs them down, which is why they're such easy marks in the first place.

        A brief reply, but still to the point, is good if she might send it along to others, or you can hit "reply to all" and let them all know.

        "A lie is not the other side of a story; it's just a lie."

        by happy camper on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 09:04:11 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Suggestion: send your friend a link. Or several. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        FarWestGirl

        From this June:

        Unemployed Workers Still Far Outnumber Job Openings in Every Major Sector

        The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed job openings falling by 118,000 in April to 3.8 million. Job openings have improved very little over the last year and remain very depressed. In 2007, there were 4.5 million job openings each month, so April’s level of 3.8 million is more than 16 percent below its prerecession level.

        The job openings data are extremely useful for diagnosing what’s behind our sustained high unemployment. In today’s economy, unemployed workers far outnumber job openings in every sector, as shown in Figure A. This demonstrates that the main problem in the labor market is a broad-based lack of demand for workers—and not, as is often claimed, available workers lacking the skills needed for the sectors with job openings...

        ...the job-seekers ratio has improved fairly steadily since reaching its peak of 6.7-to-1 in July 2009. Despite this improvement, odds remain stacked against job seekers; the ratio has been 3.0 -to-1 or greater since October 2008, four-and-a-half years ago. A job-seekers ratio above 3-to-1 means there are no jobs for more than two out of three unemployed workers. To put today’s ratio of 3.1-to-1 in perspective, it is useful to note that the highest the ratio ever got in the early 2000s downturn was 2.9-to-1 in September 2003. In a labor market with strong job opportunities, the ratio would be close to 1-to-1, as it was in December 2000 (when it was 1.1-to-1).

        http://www.epi.org/...

        Job creation for the last 12 months has averaged around 190,000 a month. How about sending your friend this link, at which she can see that rate of job creation will get us back to 2007 levels of unemployment by 2021. (Not a typo; 2021.) Only of course, by then more of those jobs will be part-time or lower-paying than in 2007. http://www.hamiltonproject.org/...

        Send your friend this graph, showing corporate profits are skyrocketing--disproving the notion that to create jobs, we need to direct more money to "job creators": http://research.stlouisfed.org/...

        Send your friend the link to this particularly scary graph, comparing our current jobs recession to every other one since WWII. Point out that for the last several recessions, job recovery for each takes longer than the last: http://www.calculatedriskblog.com/...

        Why do they keep getting longer? What the hell is going on? This is the best explanation I've seen, by Nobel economics winner Joseph Stiglitz (spoiler alert--it's offshoring and automation): http://www.vanityfair.com/...

        "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

        by HeyMikey on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 10:09:49 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Use That Phrase Often!!! (0+ / 0-)
      letting children go hungry because their parents can't find work is immoral and unAmerican...
      By way of introduction, I worked in food banking in Oregon for 25 years before retiring last year. The sentence fragment I'm quoting above, in my years of experience, is the point that usually brings those who seem to want to 'lecture' and finger-point at those receiving charity and food stamps, up short.

      It has the decided advantage of being true! Use it generously!

      Later in my career, I was not involved in public advocacy, such as soliciting support from local Chambers, Kiwanis, Elks and Moose lodges, near as much, but the issue of children not being responsible for where and how they were born is a very sharp sword that will both educate the changeable, and quiet the holier-than-thou self-appointed moral scolds.

      Tom Finlay

      People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome. - George Orwell

      by paz3 on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 10:36:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Yes, my sister (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FarWestGirl

    sent me something about drug testing welfare recipients a couple of year ago.  I reminded her that I was a welfare/SNAP recipient for five years while, as a single parent, I waited tables and got my undergrad degree.  She tried to tell me I was different, but I would have none of it.  I told her I was offended and went on about the job situation, too.  If she still sends that crap out, she no longer sends it to me.

    11:11 being mindful and keepin' it real

    by Raggedy Ann on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 08:25:30 AM PDT

    •  You Were Not Different! (0+ / 0-)
      Yes, my sister sent me something about drug testing welfare recipients a couple of year ago.  I reminded her that I was a welfare/SNAP recipient for five years while, as a single parent, I waited tables and got my undergrad degree.  She tried to tell me I was different, but I would have none of it.
      This seems to be a conservative, and maybe other, theme: Republican embraces gay rights after son/daughter comes out; racist white man acknowledges lack of progress on racism after sincere discussion with black friend, etcetera.

      Those you personally know are not like those 'others' who you don't know, and identify only through stereotypes.

      Every citizen in the US should spend a few days volunteering at a local food pantry, in order to look into the eyes of those who are, in essence, begging for a handout, and how that robs your dignity.

      People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome. - George Orwell

      by paz3 on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 10:44:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I wish folks (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FarWestGirl

    would remember that 'food stamps' is not a program that was begun to help hungry people, but rather as a means of price support for farmers.

    Sure, it helps feed the hungry. But if the hungry can't afford to buy what the farmer produces, farmers lose too. Believe this: if those 46 million stopped buying food, there would be a glut of all sorts of foodstuffs. The price would drop(supply & demand, people), and farmers would go broke in a year.

    SNAP / Food Stamps is for farmers. That people don't go hungry is a beautiful by-product of the program. Remind the GOP of that every chance you get.

    The better I know people, the more I like my dog.

    by Thinking Fella on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 08:26:05 AM PDT

    •  Trouble is (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FarWestGirl

      That when SNAP was enacted, farms were run by actual farmers, not giant industrial complexes that could ship surpluses anywhere in the world.  ConAgra and Tyson are going to make their money no matter how many poor Americans starve to death, they just might have to send their products elsewhere to do it.  Quite possibly to countries that AREN'T willing to let people starve.

      I wonder, if the SNAP recipients began to poach livestock if they'd feel the same way.  After all, that's what those wild animals do when their food supply is eliminated.

      I'll believe corporations are people when one comes home from Afghanistan in a body bag.

      by mojo11 on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 10:22:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  your reply was excellent. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FarWestGirl

    hopefully it will give your "friend" pause
    or perhaps reconsider.

    regardless, it is important to squash these things.
    you never know who might read this and learn how to respond
    should they ever receive this awful thing.

    every adult is responsible for every child

    by ridemybike on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 09:47:00 AM PDT

  •  What the WingNuts Refuse to Admit? (0+ / 0-)

    Is that Food Stamps and AFDC is probably the greatest of the Corporate welfare programs our government has ever created.  Of course, it was not begun with that intent, but as usual, the corporate hooligans figured out a way to let the government support their employees so that they could increase their own executive bonuses.

    My wife, daughter and granddaughters should have more privacy in their doctor's office than I have buying another rifle or shotgun.

    by NM Ray on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 01:00:08 PM PDT

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