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  1. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by AllanAllen
    You guys sound like ignorant assholes. Real music or not, it's still someone begging for change on the street. The busker getting into a lexus is about as real as the woman who had a dozen kids by a dozen different daddies to live off the welfare.
    In the video I posted, the fake busker gets into a car driven by another and leaves the scene of the scam. The car is not a Lexus, but this man evidently is not a struggling musician. Only a fool would knowingly give money to a fraud.

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  3. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by Litterick
    In the video I posted, the fake busker gets into a car driven by another and leaves the scene of the scam. The car is not a Lexus, but this man evidently is not a struggling musician. Only a fool would knowingly give money to a fraud.
    It must be hard being so angry at nothing.

  4. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by AllanAllen
    You guys sound like ignorant assholes. Real music or not, it's still someone begging for change on the street. The busker getting into a lexus is about as real as the woman who had a dozen kids by a dozen different daddies to live off the welfare.
    I stand by my statement.

  5. #29

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    My old roomate worked with a guy who was married to a sweet woman named Caire. Claire would always hand money over to beggars on the subway platform. Her husband told her, you shouldn't do that, they just use that money to buy drugs and alcohol. Claire replied back " no, they need that money to buy food"!. No honey, they spend it on drugs. Okay said Claire, I'll bring them some food and prove it to you!. So Claire set of to work the next day armed with some fruit. When the first person who asked her for a handout she said, "no I can't give you any money today but here's an orange you can have"...the reply came back..." I don't want your fucking orange you stupid bitch". Claire stopped handing out money on her way to work.

  6. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by whiskey02
    My old roomate worked with a guy who was married to a sweet woman named Caire. Claire would always hand money over to beggars on the subway platform. Her husband told her, you shouldn't do that, they just use that money to buy drugs and alcohol. Claire replied back " no, they need that money to buy food"!. No honey, they spend it on drugs. Okay said Claire, I'll bring them some food and prove it to you!. So Claire set of to work the next day armed with some fruit. When the first person who asked her for a handout she said, "no I can't give you any money today but here's an orange you can have"...the reply came back..." I don't want your fucking orange you stupid bitch". Claire stopped handing out money on her way to work.
    I never give money but I’ve rarely had food rejected. I usually say hi, ask about their day and offer the food. 95% of the time they’ve taken it and they’ve been thankful. I’ve lived in a few places in Europe, NY, LA, Bay Area. Some heartbreaking stories. In LA I talked to a homeless person that was a musician and could read in bass clef better than me.

  7. #31

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    It comes to us all...


  8. #32

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    I find it amusing that the two teleprompter readers are so outraged at people “pretending to play music and taking money for it” when everyday they pretend to tell the truth and take money for it.

  9. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by BickertRules
    I find it amusing that the two teleprompter readers are so outraged at people “pretending to play music and taking money for it” when everyday they pretend to tell the truth and take money for it.



    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

  10. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by AllanAllen
    It must be hard being so angry at nothing.
    I stand by my statement.

  11. #35

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    Personally I'm ambivalent about it. If I come out of a supermarket and see someone busking I don't really care if they're miming, playing for real, or whatever, it's up to them. If I like the sound I might stick a coin in, if not, not.

    I notice it's a violinist who's making all the fuss and I'm wondering what her agenda is. Is she thinking 'I work long and hard and these guys are taking the mickey' or is it something else? I agree there's a scam element about people turning up in plush cars with expensive equipment, pretending to play like they were broke, and being driven away again. That's obvious. Or displaying a sob-story sign about their sick mothers or something, that's obviously a scam too.

    But, if I may point out, none of it is illegal. It's not illegal to busk and it's not illegal to mime or pretend.

    I've seen real scammers on the street. I remember a girl that I passed one day, sitting there, dishevelled, crying here eyes out. I gave her something and had a word and moved on. I saw her again doing the same thing in different places every day. Then one evening she came round a corner with her friends, clean, nicely dressed, laughing while they headed off to a club or something. Then later there she was crying her eyes out on the street again. So that was obviously a scam designed to get money from people.

    So I don't know. If people want to part with their cash to phony players, so be it. We're assuming, of course, that they don't realise it's phony but we don't know that. Maybe they know and don't care.

    Like I said, at the end of the day it's not illegal and giving is voluntary. Getting angry about it is a personalised reaction to do with oneself rather than the players, so one can't blame the players. And anger doesn't accomplish much. I just look on it as one of those things, part of life's tapestry. If you don't like the look of it, don't give.

  12. #36

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    I have never actually witnessed the phenomenon in the OP, and take the truth of it with a grain of salt. This has the hallmarks of a prank or stunt to me, so I'm not going to get worked up about it.

    However, living where I do I have witnessed all kinds of other panhandling "scams". I put "scam" in scare quotes because in the grand scheme of things I don't see a whole lot of difference between a person who is some combination of poor/mentally ill/addicted/homeless making up a story about why he needs the money and another in the same straits who tells the unvarnished truth or says nothing. It's still a poor/mentally ill/addicted/homeless person begging for money on the street. The real scam is that our society makes it so easy for people to fall to the bottom and so difficult to help them up, and that we appoint ourselves judges of others so easily, not that some at the bottom are not as virtuous as we prefer. If you actually encounter a lot of homeless people/panhandlers you reach a point of saturation. You can't give to or care about everyone. So it's inevitable that we start drawing lines of some sort and mark some as worthy of charity and others not. I do it too (I am not a virtuous person). but I try to be aware that I'm doing it and not be too self-righteous (and yes, I'm aware of the irony of saying that in what could be construed as a self-righteous post).
    Last edited by John A.; 01-28-2022 at 12:25 PM.

  13. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by John A.
    I have never actually witnessed the phenomenon in the OP, and take the truth of it with a grain of salt. This has the hallmarks of a prank or stunt to me, so I'm not going to get worked up about.

    However, living where I do I have witnessed all kinds of other panhandling "scams". I put "scam" in scare quotes because in the grand scheme of things I don't see a whole lot difference between a person who is some combination of poor/mentally ill/addicted/homeless making up a story about why he needs the money and another in the same straits who tells the unvarnished truth or says nothing. It's still a poor/mentally ill/addicted/homeless person begging for money on the street. The real scam is that our society makes it so easy for people to fall to the bottom and so difficult to help them up, and that we appoint ourselves judges of others so easily, not that some at the bottom are not as virtuous as we prefer. If you actually encounter a lot of homeless people/panhandlers you reach a point of saturation. You can't give to or care about everyone. So it's inevitable that we start drawing lines of some sort and mark some as worthy of charity and others not. I do it too (I am not a virtuous person). but I try to be aware that I'm doing it and not be too self-righteous (and yes, I'm aware of the irony of saying that in what could be construed as a self-righteous post).
    Yeah, there's a 6 corner intersection I pass frequently near my house that is frequently occupied by panhandlers...it's actually a pretty desolate spot, you have a cemetery, a shuttered flower shop, a shuttered corner store, a cabinet makers shop and a mostly vacant business strip building, that has like a law office and a vein clinic and not much else.

    The strip mall (I guess you'd call it that) has an electronic marquee that actually displays a message saying "Do NOT give to panhandlers, they work in teams and work set hours."

    I always found it kind of weird...I mean, so what if they work set hours? You think anybody is getting rich off this? You think people making good money would demean themselves and stand out in the cold with a sign begging for spare change?

    My take on beggars/panhandlers/and yeah, even buskers/street erformers, is always "if it feels right and I got a little cash to spare, then fine." I go with my gut. I'm sure my gut's been wrong sometimes, but that's just how it is.

  14. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by John A.
    I have never actually witnessed the phenomenon in the OP, and take the truth of it with a grain of salt. This has the hallmarks of a prank or stunt to me, so I'm not going to get worked up about it.
    There's a video, John.

    Pretender Buskers

  15. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont
    they work in teams and work set hours."
    When I lived in London some of the busking hot spots were controlled by whoever owned the location. In Covent Garden (the old fruit/veg market, now an upmarket shopping centre) they had particular places, set times, and you needed the daily permit.

    Busking — buskersofcoventgarden

    I never went there or saw it so I don't know the quality. A lot of students and semi-pros used it for practice and/or rehearsal so I doubt if there was any faking going on.

    Elsewhere, it was simple. Set up somewhere and do your thing. Most players and street performers were quite accomplished (I knew most of them). I never saw any outright scamming. I'm not even sure what scamming would be in that context.

    What's portrayed in the video here is a new one on me. But absolutely nothing to do with poverty or homelessness, that's for sure. Those who came into that category didn't busk musically because they couldn't, they just sat and begged.

  16. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    There's a video, John.

    Pretender Buskers
    I saw the video. There's enough gullibility going around to allow for interpreting that as the scam it's reported to be or as punking the newsreaders. So I take it with a grain of salt. Neither possibility changes the rest of my thoughts.

  17. #41

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  18. #42

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    I'm not actually sure about the role of the police in this. What the players are doing isn't illegal. Beggars have been using sob stories and fake claims since the beginning of time. Or tucking a leg inside a trolley and pretending to be disabled. Or feigning mental illness. Or pretending to be poverty-stricken when they're not.

    It's up to the public what they do about it. Giving is 100% voluntary - which is why it's not illegal. But the police seem to be taking on a sort of nanny-role to protect people against being duped for activities that, though morally dubious, are within the law as it stands.

    I don't think that's their remit. Nice of them, but not actually their business. Their business is crime.

  19. #43

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    I'm not actually sure about the role of the police in this. What the players are doing isn't illegal. Beggars have been using sob stories and fake claims since the beginning of time. Or tucking a leg inside a trolley and pretending to be disabled. Or feigning mental illness. Or pretending to be poverty-stricken when they're not.

    It's up to the public what they do about it. Giving is 100% voluntary - which is why it's not illegal. But the police seem to be taking on a sort of nanny-role to protect people against being duped for activities that, though morally dubious, are within the law as it stands.

    I don't think that's their remit. Nice of them, but not actually their business. Their business is crime.
    OK, not fake. Changes nothing about the rest of what I said.

  20. #44

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    Quote Originally Posted by John A.
    The real scam is that our society makes it so easy for people to fall to the bottom and so difficult to help them up, and that we appoint ourselves judges of others so easily.
    Absolutely. In my younger days it was mostly old servicemen who wanted money for booze, which was okay in its way. These days it's often for drugs and I think that's a different ball game. My next donation could kill someone so I tend to leave the druggies alone.

    Mental cases usually don't need to sit on the street because they have a support network so we don't get many of them, if at all. Music players are okay, though. They make a few quid practising in public or singing their songs, which doesn't hurt anyone. And some of them are very good.

    As Jeff said above, it's really a question of using your judgement each time.

  21. #45

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    Absolutely. In my younger days it was mostly old servicemen who wanted money for booze, which was okay in its way. These days it's often for drugs and I think that's a different ball game. My next donation could kill someone so I tend to leave the druggies alone.

    Mental cases usually don't need to sit on the street because they have a support network so we don't get many of them, if at all. Music players are okay, though. They make a few quid practising in public or singing their songs, which doesn't hurt anyone. And some of them are very good.

    As Jeff said above, it's really a question of using your judgement each time.
    In the US, there is very little in the way of support for people with mental illness, and no nationwide effort of any kind to deal with either mental Illness or provide shelter to people who lack shelter. Every locality deals with these problems largely on its own organizationally and financially, but the scope of the problem is beyond what a local government (even one as large as NYC's) can handle.

    There are thousands of people living on the streets and in the subway without any shelter in NYC (estimates range into the 10s of thousands, but there's no reliable census). There is a system of public shelters, but it is insufficient, and plagued by crime. I pass dozens of floridly mentally ill people every day on my way to work, and others in varying states of extreme distress (if not literally raving mad). It's hard to convey how barbaric poverty and mental illness in the US can be.

  22. #46

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    It's the same in the Houston area. There are small towns under most of the freeway overpasses, populated by the homeless, and most are homeless because of mental illness. They have zero chance of getting or holding any job. Once Bush the younger came to town, and the cops ran all of them out along his motorcade route. Thousands of people out in the streets in the winter, with no other place to go. Once my wife got a call about a woman who needed a place to stay for a few days, so we drove across the county to pick her up. She stayed with us for several years, off and on. It was like having a two-year-old child. Her mental problems prevented her from working. We tried for a long time to get her employed, but there was no chance she could keep a job for more than a couple of days. We were the responsible payee for her munificent government disability payments of ~$300/month, which we supposedly kept for her rent and board, but actually put most of it in savings for her. She went in and out of mental hospitals, but kept being released. She wasn't quite insane enough to be incarcerated, but too insane to keep any job. Finally my wife gave up when we got a call in the middle of the night to come get her out of jail. She had slipped out of the house to go up to a liquor store a few blocks away and was arrested while banging on the door and shouting to be let in, at about 2AM. My wife just couldn't take it any more, and I had been fed up for a very long time. I think that woman was fairly typical of the homeless. We used to go downtown near Christmas and hand out soup and sandwiches, often stocking caps and the like, under the overpasses. They were always well-behaved, got themselves in orderly lines, and were grateful, especially for the hats. There is almost no support at all for the mentally ill or homeless people here. The local governments and most of the citizens try to just ignore them until they become too inconvenient, and then they try to get rid of them. There is no help, no empathy, no caring. And all the hating is done in the name of Jesus. Joel Osteen's church refused to allow any homeless or dispossessed people stay in their buildings after Harvey, until shamed into it after the crisis was over. The very thought of a government run by religion terrifies me. A Taliban by any other name is the same.

  23. #47

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    Quote Originally Posted by John A.
    In the US, there is very little in the way of support for people with mental illness, and no nationwide effort of any kind to deal with either mental Illness or provide shelter to people who lack shelter.
    I know, I thought you'd bring that up. I've seen the pictures of Skid Row and all that. Mind you, our prisons are full of mentally ill people. You've got to be seriously bonkers before they put you in Broadmoor or somewhere like that. In London there are plenty of shelters for the homeless but it's also a fact that many of them refuse to use the system for various reasons of their own.

    There are thousands of people living on the streets and in the subway without any shelter in NYC (estimates range into the 10s of thousands, but there's no reliable census). There is a system of public shelters, but it is insufficient, and plagued by crime. I pass dozens of floridly mentally ill people every day on my way to work, and others in varying states of extreme distress (if not literally raving mad). It's hard to convey how barbaric poverty and mental illness in the US can be.
    Why do you think, in a wealthy country like yours, that should be? Yours is a very success-oriented society. That might have something to do with it. Any ideas?

  24. #48

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    I know, I thought you'd bring that up. I've seen the pictures of Skid Row and all that. Mind you, our prisons are full of mentally ill people. You've got to be seriously bonkers before they put you in Broadmoor or somewhere like that. In London there are plenty of shelters for the homeless but it's also a fact that many of them refuse to use the system for various reasons of their own.
    First, there's no skid row per se anymore. The Bowery (a street once lined with flophouses and missions) has been gentrified, and the alcoholics and punch-drunk ex-fighters who are maybe your idea of "homeless" are gone. Now, we have people in terrible straits scattered all over the city (with some areas having larger concentrations than others) in doorways, train stations, parks, etc. I don't want to get too deeply into the history and politics of this (I know a good bit of it, but am not an expert). Where we are now, long story short, in most of the US because there is no systematic structure in place for keeping people who are poor and and have the sorts family and/or mental-health and/or substance problems that make them unable to manage their lives out of homelessness, and there are a lot of such people. There is a hodgepodge of insufficient public and not-for-profit services that keeps some afloat. Many of the rest wind up on the streets and/or in and out of jail. The level of support in NY is relatively high compared to most of the rest of the country (partly due to a series of court orders and a high degree of public outcry), but nowhere near sufficient.

    In New York, there are public psychiatric hospitals for people in acute illness who meet criteria for commitment (for which there are high barriers, for good reasons). But such commitments are typically only for as long as it takes to get someone stabilized with medication and released back into the same maelstrom they came from. There is a huge support gap for people who are not that acutely ill but who can't manage well on their own.n There are public shelters in NY, but not enough beds in them, and conditions are very bad, so many people refuse to go into them. Again, there is a long social, political, and legal history to how it got to be this way, but getting into that would require thousands of words (and it's not my specialty, so I'd get a lot of it wrong).

    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    Why do you think, in a wealthy country like yours, that should be? Yours is a very success-oriented society. That might have something to do with it. Any ideas?
    We are wealthy in terms of mean, but not median. There are tens of millions of extremely poor Americans. We have an antipathy to effective social welfare programs and a refusal to acknowledge and address socioeconomic inequality that I find mind-boggling. We have systemic bigotry that deems it OK for people of some heritages to live under worse condition than people of other heritages. We have a pervasive ideology that blames people for factors outside their agency. Why we are are this way is a bigger subject than I can tackle.

  25. #49

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    Quote Originally Posted by John A.
    First, there's no skid row per se anymore.
    I know, it's an old term, but I've seen that street where there are tents from one end to the other and I couldn't remember the name of it, so I just said Skid Row.

    The Bowery (a street once lined with flophouses and missions) has been gentrified, and the alcoholics and punch-drunk ex-fighters who are maybe your idea of "homeless" are gone.
    I knew a guy called Marty (dead now) who was born in the Bowery. His father was a rabbi there and Marty was a maths professor. I don't have any ideas about the homeless, I know about it.

    From your descriptions I don't think life where you are is really much different than anywhere else. Obviously details will differ but most of the set-ups you've talked about exist in most European cities. Those caught up in it and those familiar with it will have the same kinds of stories about it all too. I guess it's just a fact of life.



    After I'd posted earlier I googled various things. Some reports about physical health and mental care put the US right at the top of the list, others said France, Luxembourg, Sweden, etc, were best... and so on. I had the impression it was all rather vague and depended on who was asked :-)

    ... I've forgotten what the original subject was now!

    Oh, yes, buskers

  26. #50

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    I know, it's an old term, but I've seen that street where there are tents from one end to the other and I couldn't remember the name of it, so I just said Skid Row.



    I knew a guy called Marty (dead now) who was born in the Bowery. His father was a rabbi there and Marty was a maths professor. I don't have any ideas about the homeless, I know about it.

    From your descriptions I don't think life where you are is really much different than anywhere else. Obviously details will differ but most of the set-ups you've talked about exist in most European cities. Those caught up in it and those familiar with it will have the same kinds of stories about it all too. I guess it's just a fact of life.



    After I'd posted earlier I googled various things. Some reports about physical health and mental care put the US right at the top of the list, others said France, Luxembourg, Sweden, etc, were best... and so on. I had the impression it was all rather vague and depended on who was asked :-)

    ... I've forgotten what the original subject was now!

    Oh, yes, buskers
    We got onto this diversion because of your comments about your perception of panhandlers and of support available for the mentally ill, and I tried to amplify what I see as big differences between these phenomena in Europe/UK and the US. You seem to think the situation is pretty similar, but I assure you it's not. The US is consistently at the bottom of all the charts of health outcomes among developed countries, as well as for other measures of social welfare.

    Regarding the Bowery, I grew up less than half a mile away. There's a stretch of it that was skid row (in the sense of a specific area with a concentration of people "on the skids", as distinct from temporary homeless encampments/tent cities) until pretty recently. It's part an area that was always a blend of OK but poor, not OK (as in very dangerous), and industrial/commercial. When I was growing up in the 70s, the bad parts were really bad (like post-apocalyptic "Escape from New York", you dare not go there alone bad), but gentrification started in the 80s. The skid row stretch of the Bowery was pretty much the last piece of the immediate area to gentrify. There were stories in the news only a few years back about the last of the flophouses closing.

    Part of the Bowery is the restaurant-equipment-supply district. Further downtown, it blends into Chinatown (which has expanded to take over what was once a heavily Jewish area and Little Italy). There's also a stretch of it that's a jewelry district. The (in)famous CBGB was on the Bowery, in the middle of the skid row section.
    Last edited by John A.; 01-30-2022 at 01:07 PM.