Saturday, November 30, 2013
AP Poll: Americans Don't Trust Each Other
Saturday, 30 Nov 2013 09:08 AM
We're not talking about the loss of faith in big institutions such as the government, the church or Wall Street, which fluctuates with events. For four decades, a gut-level ingredient of democracy — trust in the other fellow — has been quietly draining away.
These days, only one-third of Americans say most people can be trusted. Half felt that way in 1972, when the General Social Survey first asked the question.
Forty years later, a record high of nearly two-thirds say "you can't be too careful" in dealing with people.
An AP-GfK poll conducted last month found that Americans are suspicious of each other in everyday encounters. Less than one-third expressed a lot of trust in clerks who swipe their credit cards, drivers on the road, or people they meet when traveling.
"I'm leery of everybody," said Bart Murawski, 27, of Albany, N.Y. "Caution is always a factor."
Does it matter that Americans are suspicious of one another? Yes, say worried political and social scientists.
What's known as "social trust" brings good things.
A society where it's easier to compromise or make a deal. Where people are willing to work with those who are different from them for the common good. Where trust appears to promote economic growth.
Distrust, on the other hand, seems to encourage corruption. At the least, it diverts energy to counting change, drawing up 100-page legal contracts and building gated communities.
Even the rancor and gridlock in politics might stem from the effects of an increasingly distrustful citizenry, said April K. Clark, a Purdue University political scientist and public opinion researcher.
"It's like the rules of the game," Clark said. "When trust is low, the way we react and behave with each other becomes less civil."
There's no easy fix.
In fact, some studies suggest it's too late for most Americans alive today to become more trusting. That research says the basis for a person's lifetime trust levels is set by his or her mid-twenties and unlikely to change, other than in some unifying crucible such as a world war.
People do get a little more trusting as they age. But beginning with the baby boomers, each generation has started off adulthood less trusting than those who came before them.
The best hope for creating a more trusting nation may be figuring out how to inspire today's youth, perhaps united by their high-tech gadgets, to trust the way previous generations did in simpler times.
There are still trusters around to set an example.
Pennsylvania farmer Dennis Hess is one. He runs an unattended farm stand on the honor system.
Customers pick out their produce, tally their bills and drop the money into a slot, making change from an unlocked cashbox. Both regulars and tourists en route to nearby Lititz, Pa., stop for asparagus in spring, corn in summer and, as the weather turns cold, long-neck pumpkins for Thanksgiving pies.
"When people from New York or New Jersey come up," said Hess, 60, "they are amazed that this kind of thing is done anymore."
Hess has updated the old ways with technology. He added a video camera a few years back, to help catch people who drive off without paying or raid the cashbox. But he says there isn't enough theft to undermine his trust in human nature.
"I'll say 99 and a half percent of the people are honest," said Hess, who's operated the produce stand for two decades.
There's no single explanation for Americans' loss of trust.
The best-known analysis comes from "Bowling Alone" author Robert Putnam's nearly two decades of studying the United States' declining "social capital," including trust.
Putnam says Americans have abandoned their bowling leagues and Elks lodges to stay home and watch TV. Less socializing and fewer community meetings make people less trustful than the "long civic generation" that came of age during the Depression and World War II.
University of Maryland Professor Eric Uslaner, who studies politics and trust, puts the blame elsewhere: economic inequality.
Trust has declined as the gap between the nation's rich and poor gapes ever wider, Uslaner says, and more and more Americans feel shut out. They've lost their sense of a shared fate. Tellingly, trust rises with wealth.
"People who believe the world is a good place and it's going to get better and you can help make it better, they will be trusting," Uslaner said. "If you believe it's dark and driven by outside forces you can't control, you will be a mistruster."
African-Americans consistently have expressed far less faith in "most people" than the white majority does. Racism, discrimination and a high rate of poverty destroy trust.
Nearly 8 in 10 African-Americans, in the 2012 survey conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago with principal funding from the National Science Foundation, felt that "you can't be too careful." That figure has held remarkably steady across the 25 GSS surveys since 1972.
The decline in the nation's overall trust quotient was driven by changing attitudes among whites.
It's possible that people today are indeed less deserving of trust than Americans in the past, perhaps because of a decline in moral values.
"I think people are acting more on their greed," said Murawski, a computer specialist who says he has witnessed scams and rip-offs. "Everybody wants a comfortable lifestyle, but what are you going to do for it? Where do you draw the line?"
Ethical behavior such as lying and cheating are difficult to document over the decades. It's worth noting that the early, most trusting years of the GSS poll coincided with Watergate and the Vietnam War. Trust dropped off in the more stable 1980s.
Crime rates fell in the 1990s and 2000s, and still Americans grew less trusting. Many social scientists blame 24-hour news coverage of distant violence for skewing people's perceptions of crime.
Can anything bring trust back?
Uslaner and Clark don't see much hope anytime soon.
Thomas Sander, executive director of the Saguaro Seminar launched by Putnam, believes the trust deficit is "eminently fixable" if Americans strive to rebuild community and civic life, perhaps by harnessing technology.
After all, the Internet can widen the circle of acquaintances who might help you find a job. Email makes it easier for clubs to plan face-to-face meetings. Googling someone turns up information that used to come via the community grapevine.
But hackers and viruses and hateful posts eat away at trust. And sitting home watching YouTube means less time out meeting others.
"A lot of it depends on whether we can find ways to get people using technology to connect and be more civically involved," Sander said.
"The fate of Americans' trust," he said, "is in our own hands."
Associated Press Director of Polling Jennifer Agiesta and AP News Survey Specialist Dennis Junius contributed to this report.
© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
What Are Your Odds Of Dying At The Hands Of A Terrorist? A Doctor? A Prescription Overdose? Interesting Point Of View
Terrorists Among Us
November 25, 2013 by Bob Livingston
The headline from ABC News was designed to startle: “Exclusive: FBI Video Shows Al Qaeda in Kentucky Handling Heavy Weapons.”
The story went on to relate that an al-Qaida-linked terrorist who had fought in Iraq and killed American troops had settled in Kentucky. He was one of possibly “dozens” of terrorists allowed in the country because of a flawed refugee vetting program.
The “terrorist,” Waad Ramadan Alwan, was recorded in 2010 by the FBI expertly “field stripping” a Russian-made weapon during a sting operation. There were also still photos of Alwan and another man handling missile launchers and grenade launchers. The weapons, we’re told, were supplied by the FBI after they were rendered “inoperable.”
The two terrorists were arrested in 2011 and later pleaded guilty to terror-related crimes. We are led to believe they are now safely ensconced in some Federal hoosegow at an undisclosed location, though the way some of the accused 9/11 hijackers, Osama bin Laden, Anwar al-Awlaki and other “terrorists” have been disappeared and reappeared over the dozen years since the War on Terror began in 2001 should leave everyone skeptical.
This is a non-story. It occurred three years ago. It was resolved two years ago. So what was its purpose?
As I said earlier, it was designed to startle. It was a propaganda piece for the state security apparatus, which must keep an ample amount of fear ginned up to keep the populace accepting of the growing police state. It goes along with the intermittent alerts we get from the state propaganda machine warning of imminent terror attacks that never occur, always based on “chatter” gleaned by the spying apparatus.
It turns out the FBI is the common denominator in all recent terror attacks and “attempted” terror attacks on U.S. soil. In fact, as Randy Weaver and the Branch Davidians learned, the FBI is a terror organization all its own.
So either the FBI was the terrorist organization or FBI had created and armed the terrorists or the FBI knew the terrorists and allowed them — either through design or incompetence — to carry out their terror attacks (as in the case of 9/11 and the Boston Marathon bombing).
Using these and other “terror” incidents, the psychopathic elected parasite class, their bureaucratic enablers and the Federal government security complex have created what they consider justification for liberty-stealing laws like the USA Patriot Act and National Defense Authorization Act, the Gestapo-like Department of Homeland Security and its evil stepchild, the Transportation Security Administration, and the National Security Agency spying apparatus. These and other programs have turned a once-free United States into an Orwellian nightmare of “stop and frisk” policies, roaming spy mobiles, no-fly lists and Stasi-like “See something, say something” home spying programs. And for the most part, Americans have accepted it as a way of life with hardly a whimper of protest.
President Barack Obama said last week on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” that the odds of people dying in a terrorist attack are a lot less than dying in a car accident. It may be the only true statement uttered in the past five-plus years by the undocumented usurper and fraudulent occupier of the people’s house. Yet he continues advocate for more tyranny in the name of safety, citing the constant threat of terror as the reason for its necessity.
And while there may indeed be al-Qaida-linked terrorists and al-Qaida-wannabes in the United States, note that they’re here because the U.S. has allowed them in. But they are not the terrorists we need to fear, nor are any more regulations needed to make us safer from them.
The terrorists we need to fear come from within — particularly from our own government. Statistics show that Americans are far more likely to die at the hands of police than terrorists. At best count, 19 Americans have died on U.S. soil at the hands of terrorists since Sept. 11, 2001.
In New York alone last year, more Americans died by police gunfire than at the hands of terrorists around the world. Many of those shot were unarmed, including 10 innocent bystanders, nine of whom were hit during one incident. Another four were hit — one fatally — when an officer’s gun discharged accidentally. Across the country there many more of these instances.
As we’ve noted many times here, police are increasingly taking a “shoot first, ask questions later” attitude when dealing with the public.
Police are becoming increasingly militant and increasingly militarized. It’s a disturbing trend. Ostensibly as preparation for response to a terror attack and as crime-fighting vehicles, police departments across the country are obtaining — for the cost of shipping — military surplus armored vehicles. Small-town police departments are lapping them up.
In an effort to justify stricter gun laws — like a ban on so-called “assault weapons” — Attorney General Eric Holder conceived Operation Fast and Furious, a tactic of allowing weapons to be sold by gun dealers along the Mexico border to known drug traffickers. The result has been shooting deaths of innocents using those illegal guns on both sides of the border. Included in that list is Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.
The medical mafia — which includes the Food and Drug Administration and the medical-industrial complex — is responsible for thousands of deaths each year based on a big lie. The big lie fostered by orthodox medicine is the totally false notion that drugs heal. Drugs do not heal! They only mask symptoms. Orthodox medicine should properly be called symptomology.
Let’s think about the No. 1 killer disease in America: heart disease. It kills 600,000 people annually, despite medically and FDA-approved procedures and drugs.
Heart disease is in reality a deficit of whole foods that feed the human heart. The medical establishment will not tell you this. With drugs and open heart surgery we feed the medical establishment instead of our bodies.
This is one of many deceptions in America. Another huge one is the cancer disease. There are two truths that we should know that most doctors at every level do not know, hence the millions who have died a premature and miserable death.
First: Cancer is systemic. This simply means that in most situations if one has any cancer manifestation, he has it like Rover, he has it all over. This means that (in most cases) cutting a cancer out will change nothing but may in fact make the patient die quicker with more suffering. Systemic means all over! So the whole body must be treated instead of “cutting it out.”
There are clinics in the U.S. and Mexico treating the whole immune system with no surgery. Yet they are frowned upon and denigrated by the medical establishment.
Second: The “treatment” of cancer in the U.S. is not medical therapy. Cancer is an industry for profit. Cut, operate, poison with chemotherapy, burn with radiation are the only options allowed in the U.S. This system causes cancer!
A baby is far more likely to die at the hands of Planned Parenthood than at the hands of a terrorist. A person is far more likely to die from excessive alcohol abuse than at the hands of terrorists. A person is far more likely to die from a reaction to an FDA-approved prescription drug than at the hands of a terrorist. A person is far more likely to die even from a sexually transmitted disease than at the hands of a terrorist. The list goes on and on.
But the establishment will continue using fear tactics making laws and creating more bureaucracy in order to “keep us safe” from “terrorists” and feed the state security apparatus.