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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1050 on: March 27, 2012, 06:59:31 PM »


By MARK HELPRIN
Both in his re-election campaign and as the core principle of his presidency, Barack Obama asks America to cast off reliance on the free market—because, in his characterization, the free market "doesn't work"—in favor of the European model of ever-tightening, ever-regulating, ever-expanding governance. This he does, astonishingly, at the very moment of the European model's long-predictable crisis, collapse, bankruptcy, and devolution.

With his trademark certainty he proposes—indeed, at times commands—that we follow him over the Niagara to which his back is turned. The writer Henry James cautioned that, "It's a complex fate, being an American, & one of the responsibilities it entails is fighting against a superstitious valuation of Europe." Promiscuous endorsement of things European, inveterate in the president's academic coterie, has long been characteristic of American snobs. As Harvard once dispatched missionaries to better the savages, it now sends students abroad so they might better us. To be wrong on both counts requires congenital blindness to the facts, which suggest that despite our own grievous failings Europe is hardly worthy of imitation.

As a museum of culture, it has few competitors. Europeans make better movies; their cuisine is better (except in Eastern Europe, Central Europe, Scandinavia, England, Ireland, the Low Countries, Germany and Switzerland); and they do a better job of suppressing modern architecture, for which they are to be commended.

But in suppressing and over-engineering their economies they court national bankruptcies. Just as reckless are their efforts to ameliorate economic stagnation via the all-guzzling welfare state. Shall we create more jobs by aping Europe, which since 1990 has averaged 9.16% unemployment while ours was 5.95%?

European structural unemployment is supposedly tolerable in the context of less income inequality and greater social analgesia, but although income equality may be the socialist ideal, isn't the more civilized object to provide as abundantly as possible rather than to annihilate the potential for envy? Incomes are perfectly level in the Gulag, whereas in Boston and Singapore they are not.

More to the point, giant social welfare systems cannot but strangle economies the progressive failure of which they are intended to relieve. Differences within Europe itself illustrate the route out of its troubles that it may yet take just as American progressives jump into the hole it is trying to exit. France now has in proportion to its working population 44% more public employees than Germany, and devotes 52.3% rather than Germany's 43.7% of gross domestic product to public expenditure. Do the French, not to mention the Greeks, wonder by what magic Germany achieves its solvency?

Remarkably like the leaders of the bankrupt states of Europe, President Obama believes that the key to prosperity is to regulate, engineer, and direct the economy; to raise taxes; to augment the powers of government; to substitute collective largess for family cohesion; to spend money that does not exist; and, to paraphrase Macbeth, to borrow, to borrow, and to borrow.

Enlarge Image

CloseChad Crowe
 .In supposedly enlightened Europe, political polarization still finds expression in fascism and communism, as illustrated by the French elections of 2002, when, before the economic crisis, parties of the extreme right and left took nearly one vote in five. Should we emulate this, or the devolution of the United Kingdom, Spain and Belgium? The wars in Northern Ireland and the Balkans? The burning cities of France and Greece? Lacking the balance of our federal system, the European Union brutally overrides local preferences, and should Europe unite it will be so dirigiste and brittle a concoction it will disintegrate as surely as any empire. Shall we emulate that?

If our elites think European low birth rates, family disruption, and nihilism are hip, fine, and dandy, they should read Thomas Mann's "Disorder and Early Sorrow" and contemplate the Weimar Republic. Having abandoned the Constitution, American universities now decide representation by race and sex, and embrace speech codes as in much of Europe, where, for example, Holocaust denial is a crime. Though it is a crime against the truth, it should not be a crime against the law, which could as easily prohibit predication of the Holocaust as it prohibits denial. Should this be our model?


Even with indispensable American aid, Europe took seven months to topple a lunatic at not quite the head of a small, corrupt, inexperienced Libyan army equipped with outdated weapons. Britain now has no fixed-wing aircraft carriers, only 25 principal surface warships (half those of South Korea), and fewer than 200 tanks and 200 combat aircraft with which barely to defend itself. That it once morally despaired of self-defense was understandable in light of the pointless carnage of the Great War. But now in light of what? Fluctuating supplies of ganja? Occasional ebbs of upper-class self-flagellation?

Save those of Russia, Germany has the most powerful land forces in Europe, but only one-sixth the tanks and artillery of Iran. No European air force except Russia's is superior to Saudi Arabia's. Such weakness, almost unimaginable only a short time ago, should not be our aspiration, although it has become so. Europe's disarmament renders it virtually unable to contribute to stability abroad (once, the power of Britain alone kept the lid on the Middle East), or to deter war even on its own soil, such as in the Balkans in the 1990s. Europe is now more vulnerable than during the Cold War, and its vulnerability will only increase, stimulating the appetites of a Russia that wants above all to rebound.

If this seems far-fetched, so at one time did the world-shuddering awakenings of the Wehrmacht, the Red Army, and the forces of Imperial Japan. By abdicating its role in a stable military equilibrium, Europe is not for the first time in its long and bloody history careless of tragedy and fate, and in our own imitative disarmament we are following suit.

In short, the president and his progressives are chasing after a specter. Because the president is apparently repelled by the principles of the American Founding and lacks an alternative other than the European model, nothing else is in his quiver as he is driven by the dread of a future absent his omnipresent intervention.

For if he were no longer able to direct an endlessly augmented list of actions, to suffocate fortune and chance in the infinitely growing pillow of regulation and thus settle everything into silence, to sand down every bump, straighten every drawer, comfort every cry, iron every shirt, and protect every frog, what would America come to? We would be even less like Europe, and as anyone can see, in Europe they do everything right.

Mr. Helprin, a senior fellow at the Claremont Institute, is the author of, among other works, the novels "Winter's Tale" (Harcourt) and "A Soldier of the Great War" (Harcourt).
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1051 on: April 06, 2012, 07:48:53 PM »

Not sure when this was written.
================================================

545 vs. 300,000,000 People
By Charlie Reese

Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them.

Have you ever wondered, if both the Democrats and the Republicans are against deficits, WHY do we have deficits?

Have you ever wondered, if all the politicians are against inflation and high taxes, WHY do we have inflation and high taxes?

You and I don't propose a federal budget. The President does.

You and I don't have the Constitutional authority to vote on appropriations. The House of Representatives does.

You and I don't write the tax code, Congress does.

You and I don't set fiscal policy, Congress does.

You and I don't control monetary policy, the Federal Reserve Bank does.

One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one President, and nine Supreme Court justices equates to 545 human beings out of the 300 million are directly, legally, morally, and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague this country.

I excluded the members of the Federal Reserve Board because that problem was created by the Congress. In 1913, Congress delegated its Constitutional duty to provide a sound currency to a federally chartered, but private, central bank.

I excluded all the special interests and lobbyists for a sound reason. They have no legal authority. They have no ability to coerce a senator, a congressman, or a President to do one cotton-picking thing. I don't care if they offer a politician $1 million dollars in cash. The politician has the power to accept or reject it. No matter what the lobbyist promises, it is the legislator's responsibility to determine how he votes.

Those 545 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that what they did is not their fault. They cooperate in this common con regardless of party.

What separates a politician from a normal human being is an excessive amount of gall. No normal human being would have the gall of a Speaker, who stood up and criticized the President for creating deficits. The President can only propose a budget. He cannot force the Congress to accept it.

The Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, gives sole responsibility to the House of Representatives for originating and approving appropriations and taxes. Who is the speaker of the House? He is the leader of the majority party. He and fellow House members, not the President, can approve any budget they want. If the President vetoes it, they can pass it over his veto if they agree to.

It seems inconceivable to me that a nation of 300 million cannot replace 545 people who stand convicted -- by present facts -- of incompetence and irresponsibility. I can't think of a single domestic problem that is not traceable directly to those 545 people. When you fully grasp the plain truth that 545 people exercise the power of the federal government, then it must follow that what exists is what they want to exist.

If the tax code is unfair, it's because they want it unfair.

If the budget is in the red, it's because they want it in the red.

If the Army & Marines are in a foreign country it's because they want them in a foreign country ...

If they do not receive social security but are on an elite retirement plan not available to the people, it's because they want it that way.

There are no insoluble government problems.

Do not let these 545 people shift the blame to bureaucrats, whom they hire and whose jobs they can abolish; to lobbyists, whose gifts and advice they can reject; to regulators, to whom they give the power to regulate and from whom they can take this power. Above all, do not let them con you into the belief that there exists disembodied mystical forces like "the economy," "inflation," or "politics" that prevent them from doing what they take an oath to do.

Those 545 people, and they alone, are responsible.

They, and they alone, have the power.

They, and they alone, should be held accountable by the people who are their bosses.

Provided the voters have the gumption to manage their own employees...

We should vote all of them out of office and clean up their mess!


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ccp
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« Reply #1052 on: April 17, 2012, 01:04:06 PM »

This is a remarkable admission by an ex congressman.  Perhaps it is just perception or the media but it does seem like this President is the most corrupt in my memory:

****Former Dem. Congressman Kennedy Alleges 'Quid Pro Quo' for Access to White House
8:42 AM, Apr 15, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPERS

    Access to the Obama White House is in direct correlation to the amount of money donated to the president's reelection effort and the Democratic party, the New York Times reports today.

The Times reports: "those who donated the most to Mr. Obama and the Democratic Party since he started running for president were far more likely to visit the White House than others. Among donors who gave $30,000 or less, about 20 percent visited the White House, according to a New York Times analysis that matched names in the visitor logs with donor records. But among those who donated $100,000 or more, the figure rises to about 75 percent. Approximately two-thirds of the president’s top fund-raisers in the 2008 campaign visited the White House at least once, some of them numerous times."

But the most explosive allegation in the news story comes from former Democratic congressman Patrick Kennedy, son of the late Ted Kenney, who calls what the Obama White House is doing "quid pro quo."

Patrick J. Kennedy, the former representative from Rhode Island, who donated $35,800 to an Obama re-election fund last fall while seeking administration support for a nonprofit venture, said contributions were simply a part of “how this business works.”

“If you want to call it ‘quid pro quo,’ fine,” he said. “At the end of the day, I want to make sure I do my part.”
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Mr. Kennedy visited the White House several times to win support for One Mind for Research, his initiative to help develop new treatments for brain disorders. While his family name and connections are clearly influential, he said, he knows White House officials are busy. And as a former chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, he said he was keenly aware of the political realities they face.

And Kennedy admits that folks in the White House are checking out the donor records:

“I know that they look at the reports,” he said, referring to records of campaign donations. “They’re my friends anyway, but it won’t hurt when I ask them for a favor if they don’t see me as a slouch.”

Translated, "quid pro quo" means "this for that." As in, if you want this from the Obama White House, then give that (e.g., cash).****
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G M
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« Reply #1053 on: April 17, 2012, 01:08:14 PM »

It's almost like we have some sort of Chicago Corruption on a national scale now. Who could have seen that coming?  rolleyes



This is a remarkable admission by an ex congressman.  Perhaps it is just perception or the media but it does seem like this President is the most corrupt in my memory:

****Former Dem. Congressman Kennedy Alleges 'Quid Pro Quo' for Access to White House
8:42 AM, Apr 15, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPERS

    Access to the Obama White House is in direct correlation to the amount of money donated to the president's reelection effort and the Democratic party, the New York Times reports today.

The Times reports: "those who donated the most to Mr. Obama and the Democratic Party since he started running for president were far more likely to visit the White House than others. Among donors who gave $30,000 or less, about 20 percent visited the White House, according to a New York Times analysis that matched names in the visitor logs with donor records. But among those who donated $100,000 or more, the figure rises to about 75 percent. Approximately two-thirds of the president’s top fund-raisers in the 2008 campaign visited the White House at least once, some of them numerous times."

But the most explosive allegation in the news story comes from former Democratic congressman Patrick Kennedy, son of the late Ted Kenney, who calls what the Obama White House is doing "quid pro quo."

Patrick J. Kennedy, the former representative from Rhode Island, who donated $35,800 to an Obama re-election fund last fall while seeking administration support for a nonprofit venture, said contributions were simply a part of “how this business works.”

“If you want to call it ‘quid pro quo,’ fine,” he said. “At the end of the day, I want to make sure I do my part.”
Related Stories
Obama Fundraises After Debut of 17-Minute Ad
Obama Tries to Rally the Base
W.H. Announces Federal Taxpayer Receipt, Complains ...
Unemployment Gap Remains
Votes per $1,000 Spent in Florida
More by Daniel Halper
Dem. Senator: 'Aim of this Bill Is Not to Lower the ...
'Excuses, Excuses'
DNC Chief Called on to Release Tax Returns
Largest Obama Super PAC Donor: 'Ann Romney Has Never ...
More on James Q. Wilson
Mr. Kennedy visited the White House several times to win support for One Mind for Research, his initiative to help develop new treatments for brain disorders. While his family name and connections are clearly influential, he said, he knows White House officials are busy. And as a former chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, he said he was keenly aware of the political realities they face.

And Kennedy admits that folks in the White House are checking out the donor records:

“I know that they look at the reports,” he said, referring to records of campaign donations. “They’re my friends anyway, but it won’t hurt when I ask them for a favor if they don’t see me as a slouch.”

Translated, "quid pro quo" means "this for that." As in, if you want this from the Obama White House, then give that (e.g., cash).****

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bigdog
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« Reply #1054 on: April 17, 2012, 05:25:46 PM »

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/04/fake-orgasms-and-the-tea-party-just-another-political-science-convention/255909/#.T42jCE6oZc0.facebook

You can't find a Food Network stew any richer than when political scientists gather: vector autoregression analysis, word of growing cheating on political surveys, talk of faked orgasms, and microscopic parsing of President Obama's speeches meld with revisionist takes on the Tea Party.

It happened again when the Midwest Political Science Association drew 5,000 attendees from around the globe to an annual Chicago gathering. The high-brow feast concluded Sunday but not before hundreds of panel discussions and the surfacing of 4,239 academic papers.

Yes, 4,239, and with lots of footnotes, graphs and vector autoregression analyses. Closing my eyes and randomly picking just four papers in the event's 574-page, phonebook-like program, I give you the following:

 "The Effects of Teachers' Race on Adolescent Risky Sexual Behaviors," "The Impact of State Politics and Policy on Fossil Fuel Plant Construction," "Out of Africa: Electoral Failure and the Future of Political Islam in West Africa," and "Political Knowledge of Local Courts: Are Rural Voters More Informed than Urban Voters?"
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1055 on: April 17, 2012, 06:45:54 PM »

Thanks for sharing a bit of the view from your sector in the trenches BD smiley
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bigdog
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« Reply #1056 on: April 18, 2012, 02:11:25 PM »

http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2012-04-15/news/os-trayvon-martin-george-zimmerman-justice-departm-20120415_1_federal-workers-racial-tensions-peacekeepers

When racial tensions flared in Sanford, a league of secretive peacemakers reached out to the city's spiritual and civic leaders to help cool heated emotions after 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was shot and killed in February.

When civil-rights organizers wanted to demonstrate, these federal workers taught them how to peacefully manage crowds.

They even arranged a police escort for college students to ensure safe passage for their 40-mile march from Daytona Beach to Sanford to demand justice.

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bigdog
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« Reply #1057 on: April 19, 2012, 12:58:06 AM »

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2012/04/beards_in_politics_there_hasn_t_been_a_bearded_major_party_presidential_nominee_in_almost_100_years_why_.html



Though the gentlemen who vied for the Republican presidential nomination disagreed on many things, from tax policy to contraception to the feasibility of establishing a colony on the moon, there's one critical issue on which they were firmly in accord: facial hair. This was true of the eventual nominees in the last election, and the one before that, and in every other presidential contest going back to 1916. One hundred years ago, two of the four men running for president were proudly hirsute, as were two of the four vice-presidential candidates. Today, the sitting president can't grow whiskers and his challengers wouldn't dare try. When did the beard lose its political prestige?


 
In his delightful 1930 monograph Concerning Beards, Edwin Valentine Mitchell notes that "the fortunes of the beard have always fluctuated through the ages. It flourishes for a time in full splendor, then diminishes in size, and finally disappears altogether, only to burst forth once more in all its former glory." In much of the premodern era, a healthy beard connoted influence and high status; Mitchell says that "one ancient king actually made a terrible scene because the reigning head of another state sent a beardless youth upon a political errand to his court." The opposite is true, too: Men pressed into servitude were often shorn of their beards as a sign of subjugation.
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ccp
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« Reply #1058 on: April 26, 2012, 01:57:04 PM »

What do others think?  I really don't want to get into how much a first lady spends.  On one hand she is representing the US overseas.   I don't want or expect she travel coach.   I want the first family safe.   OTOH is she travelling the world sightseeing?  Hillary did the exact same thing.  I am not sure about other first ladies.   Certainly the Obamas will be financially secure enough to travel wherever they want after the Presidency is over.   

http://dailycaller.com/2012/04/26/group-michelle-obamas-spain-trip-cost-taxpayers-467k/
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1059 on: May 01, 2012, 08:42:06 AM »



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WpUAFGqwiJY&feature=player_embedded
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1060 on: May 11, 2012, 01:55:26 PM »

"We didn't have this green thing back then"

Checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested to the older
woman, that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags
weren't good for the environment.

The woman apologized and explained, "We didn't have this green thing
back in my earlier days."

The clerk responded, "That's our problem today. Your generation did not
care enough to save our environment for future generations."

She was right -- our generation didn't have the green thing in its day.

Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to
the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed
andsterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and
over. So they really were recycled. But we didn't have the green thing
back in our day.

Grocery stores bagged our groceries in brown paper bags, that we reused
for numerous things, most memorable besides household garbage bags, was
the use of brown paper bags as book covers for our school books. This
was to ensure that public property, (the books provided for our use by
the school) was not defaced by our scribbling. Then we were able
to personalize our books. But too bad we didn't do the green thing back
then.

We walked up stairs, because we didn't have an escalator in every store
and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn't climb
into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks. But
she was right. We didn't have the green thing in our day.

Back then, we washed the baby's diapers because we didn't have the
throw-away kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling
machine burning up 220 volts -- wind and solar power really did dry our
clothes back in our early days. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from
their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing. But that
young lady is right; we didn't have the green thing back in our day.

Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house -- not a TV in every
room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief, not a
screen the size of the state of Montana . In the kitchen, we blended
and stirred by hand because we didn't have electric machines to do
everything for us. When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail,
we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or
plastic bubble wrap. Back then, we didn't fire up an engine and burn
gasoline just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human
power. We exercised by working so we didn't need to go to a health club
to run on treadmills that operate on electricity. But she's right; we
didn't have the green thing back then.

We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or
a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We refilled
writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the
razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just
because the blade got dull. But we didn't have the green thing back
then.

Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes
to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi
service. We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of
sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn't need
a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000
miles out in space in order to find the nearest burger joint.

But isn't it sad… the current generation laments how wasteful we old
folks were just because we didn't have the green thing back then?

Please forward this on to another selfish old person who needs a lesson
in conservation from smartass young people.

We don't like being old in the first place, so it doesn't take much
to tick us off.
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ccp
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« Reply #1061 on: May 11, 2012, 02:32:38 PM »

Interesting post.

Life is seems much more complicated today.

There absolutely is far more competition.

There absolutely is information overload.

Despite all the "advances" are human beings better off?

I don't know.  We could probably debate this for a long time and get thousands of different answers and opinions.

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1062 on: May 14, 2012, 11:39:23 AM »

"This is what I know. Mitt Romney was not at Chappaquiddick. Mitt Romney has not been accused of rape. Mitt Romney did not have an affair with a mob babe. He didn't have an affair with an actress who committed suicide later on. Mitt Romney did not father a child out of wedlock. Mitt Romney did not support the tapping of Martin Luther King's phone. Mitt Romney was never a member of the Ku Klux Klan. Mitt Romney did not lie about his law school grades. Chappaquiddick is Ted Kennedy. Accused of rape is Bill Clinton. Affair with the mob babe and an actress, John Kennedy. Didn't father a child out of wedlock, that's John Edwards and Democrats too numerous to mention. Didn't support the tapping of Martin Luther King's phone, that's Robert Kennedy. Never a member of the Ku Klux Klan, that's Robert Byrd. Didn't lie about his law school grades, that's Joe Biden. All Democrats, and all of those Democrats did those things well after high school. And Obama even wrote in his book 'Dreams from My Father' how he bullied a young girl. And he hasn't even apologized." --radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh
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bigdog
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« Reply #1063 on: May 14, 2012, 02:42:38 PM »

Rush conveniently ignores the sins of Republicans.  While I take his point, it is not as if the GOP doesn't have its share of pretty scummy pols.

In researching a side project, I discovered this: http://www.funeralwise.com/customs/society/gangs

Interesting to me that such a page exists. 
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1064 on: May 14, 2012, 04:05:34 PM »

Forgive the tedium of the question BD, but I understand Rush's point to be the differing consequences with the pravdas for the various transgressions in question.

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bigdog
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« Reply #1065 on: May 14, 2012, 04:50:30 PM »

As do I.  However, I think that he (and often liberals are guilty of the same) makes the claim, and implicitly wants to forget/forgive/cast aside the transgressions of his party and/or ideological sympathizers. 

Forgive the tedium of the question BD, but I understand Rush's point to be the differing consequences with the pravdas for the various transgressions in question.


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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1066 on: May 16, 2012, 08:15:22 AM »

                                                             THE NIGHT WATCHMAN

Once upon a time the government had a vast scrap yard in the middle of a
desert.

Congress said, "Someone may steal from it at night." So they created a
night watchman position and hired a person for the job. Then Congress
said, "How does the watchman do his job without instruction? " So they
created a planning department and hired two people, one person to write
the instructions, and one person to do time studies. Then Congress said,
"How will we know the night watchman is doing the tasks correctly?" So
they created a Quality Control department and hired two people. One was
to do the studies and one was to write the reports. Then Congress said,
"How are these people going to get paid?" So they created two positions:
A time keeper and a payroll officer then hired two people. Then Congress
said, "Who will be accountable for all of these people?" So they created
an administrative section and hired three people, an Administrative
Officer, Assistant Administrative Officer, and a Legal Secretary.

Then Congress said, "We have had this command in operation for one year
and we are $918,000 over budget, we must cut back." So they laid-off the
night watchman.

NOW slowly, let it sink in.

Quietly, we go like sheep to slaughter... Does anybody remember the
reason given for the establishment of the DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY during
the Carter administration?

Anybody?

Anything?

No?

Didn't think so!

Bottom line is, we've spent several hundred billion dollars in support
of an agency....the reason for which not one person who reads this can
remember!

Ready?

It was very simple... and at the time, everybody thought it very
appropriate.

The Department of Energy was instituted on 8/04/1977... ......... ......

To LESSEN OUR DEPENDENCE ON FOREIGN OIL.

Hey, pretty efficient, huh?

AND NOW IT'S 2012 -- 35 YEARS LATER -- AND THE BUDGET FOR THIS
"NECESSARY" DEPARTMENT IS AT $24.2 BILLION A YEAR. IT HAS 16,000 FEDERAL
EMPLOYEES AND APPROXIMATELY 100,000 CONTRACT EMPLOYEES; AND LOOK AT THE
JOB IT HAS DONE!

(THIS IS WHERE YOU SLAP YOUR FOREHEAD AND SAY, "WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?")

34 years ago 30% of our oil consumption was foreign imports.

Today 70% of our oil consumption is foreign imports.

Ah, yes -- good old Federal bureaucracy.

NOW, WE HAVE TURNED OVER THE BANKING SYSTEM, HEALTH CARE,

AND THE AUTO INDUSTRY TO THE SAME GOVERNMENT?

Hello!

Anybody Home?

Signed,

The Night Watchman
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1067 on: May 22, 2012, 10:58:47 AM »

Rational People Fear Big Government, Not Big Business
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
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You cannot understand the left if you do not understand that Leftism is a religion. It is not God-based (some Left-wing Christians' and Jews' claims notwithstanding), but otherwise it has every characteristic of a religion. The most blatant of those characteristics is dogma. People who believe in Leftism have as many dogmas as the most fundamentalist Christian.

One of them is material equality as the preeminent moral goal. Another is the villainy of corporations. The bigger the corporation, the greater the villainy. Thus, instead of the devil, the left has Big Pharma, Big Tobacco, Big Oil, the "military-industrial complex," and the like. Meanwhile, Big Labor, Big Trial Lawyers, and, of course, Big Government are leftwing angels. And why is that? Why, to be specific, does the left fear big corporations but not big government? The answer is dogma -- a belief system that transcends reason. No rational person can deny that big governments have caused almost all the great evils of the last century, arguably the bloodiest in history. Who killed the 20-30 million Soviet citizens in the Gulag Archipelago -- big government or big business? Hint: There were no private businesses in the Soviet Union. Who deliberately caused 75 million Chinese to starve to death -- big government or big business? Hint: See previous hint. Did Coca Cola kill five million Ukrainians? Did Big Oil slaughter a quarter of the Cambodian population? Would there have been a Holocaust without the huge Nazi state?

Whatever bad big corporations have done is dwarfed by the monstrous crimes -- the mass enslavement of people, the deprivation of the most basic human rights, not to mention the mass murder and torture and genocide -- committed by big governments.

How can anyone who thinks rationally believe that big corporations rather than big governments pose the greatest threat to humanity? The answer is that it takes a mind distorted by leftist dogma. If there is another explanation, I do not know what it is.

Religious Christians and Jews also have some irrational beliefs, but their irrationality is overwhelmingly confined to theological matters; and these theological irrationalities have no deleterious impact on religious Jews' and Christians' ability to see the world rationally and morally. Few religious Jews or Christians believe that big corporations are in any way analogous to big government in terms of evil done. And the few who do are leftists.

That the Left demonizes "Big Pharma," for instance, is an example of leftwing thinking. America's pharmaceutical companies have saved millions of lives, including millions of leftists' lives. And I do not doubt that in order to increase profits, they have not always played by the rules. But to demonize big pharmaceutical companies while lionizing big government, big labor unions and big trial law firms, is to stand morality on its head.

There is yet another reason to fear big government far more than big corporations. ExxonMobil has no police force, no IRS, no ability to arrest you, no ability to shut you up, and certainly no ability to kill you. ExxonMobil can't knock on your door in the middle of the night and legally take you away. Apple Computer cannot take your money away without your consent, and it runs no prisons. The government does all of these things.

Of course, the left will respond that government also does good and that corporations and capitalists are, by their very nature, "greedy."

To which the rational response is that, of course, government also does good. But so do the vast majority of corporations, private citizens, church groups, and myriad voluntary associations. On the other hand, only big government can do anything approaching the monstrous evils of the last century.

As for greed: Between hunger for money and hunger for power, the latter is incomparably more frightening. It is noteworthy that none of the twentieth century's monsters -- Lenin, Hitler, Stalin, Mao -- were preoccupied with material gain. They loved power much more than money.

And that is why the left is much more frightening than the right. It craves power.

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DougMacG
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« Reply #1068 on: May 28, 2012, 12:59:26 PM »

Entitled "Why the Euro Failed", this is way too wide ranging to put in the Euro category.  The first half is about why Flight 447 failed and he continues the analogy through the Civil War, Greece, Germany, the Euro and Wisconsin. 6 minutes of your time well spent IMO.

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2012/05/27/whittle_why_the_euro_has_failed.html
« Last Edit: May 28, 2012, 03:19:23 PM by DougMacG » Logged
Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1069 on: May 28, 2012, 02:30:14 PM »

Is there a URL for that?
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DougMacG
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« Reply #1070 on: May 28, 2012, 03:18:48 PM »

"Is there a URL for that?"

Oooops.  Here, and added back to original post.

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2012/05/27/whittle_why_the_euro_has_failed.html
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1071 on: May 31, 2012, 09:47:21 AM »



Culture still matters
 
By Victor Davis Hanson
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | RUDESHEIM, Germany -- This week I am leading a military history tour on the Rhine River from Basel, Switzerland, to Amsterdam. You can learn a lot about Europe's current economic crises by just ignoring the sophisticated barrage of news analysis and instead watching, listening, and talking to people as you go down river.
 
Switzerland, by modern standards, should be poor. Like Bolivia, it is landlocked. Like Italy, it has no real gas or oil wealth. Like Afghanistan, its northern climate and mountainous terrain limit agricultural productivity to upland plains. And like Turkey, it is not a part of the European Union.
 
Unlike Americans, the Swiss are among the most homogeneous people in the world, without much diversity, and make it nearly impossible to immigrate there.
 
So Switzerland supposedly has everything going against it, and yet it is one of the wealthiest nations in the world. Why and how?
 
To answer that is also to learn why roughly 82 million Germans produce almost as much national wealth as do 130 million Greeks, Portuguese, Italians, and Spaniards. Yet the climate of Germany is somewhat harsh; it too has no oil or gas. By 1945, German cities lay in ruins, while Detroit and Cleveland were booming. The Roman historian Tacitus remarked that pre-civilized Germany was a bleak land of cold weather, with little natural wealth and inhabited by tribal savages.
 
Race does not explain present-day national wealth. From 500 B.C. To A.D. 1300, Switzerland and Germany were considered brutal and backward in comparison to classical Greece and Rome, and later Renaissance Venice and Florence.
 
Instead, culture explains far more -- a seemingly taboo topic when economists nonchalantly suggest that contemporary export-minded Germans simply need to spend and relax like laid-back Southern Mediterraneans, and that the latter borrowers save and produce like workaholic Germans to even out the playing field of the European Union.
 
But government-driven efforts to change national behavior often ignore stubborn cultural differences that reflect centuries of complex history as well as ancient habits and adaptations to geography and climate. Greeks can no more easily give up siestas than the Swiss can mandate two-hour afternoon naps. If tax cheating is a national pastime in Palermo, in comparison it is difficult along the Rhine.
 
I lived in Greece for over two years and often travel to northern and Mediterranean Europe and North Africa. While I prefer the Peloponnese to the Rhineland, over the years I have developed an unscientific and haphazard -- but often accurate -- politically incorrect method of guessing whether a nation is likely to be perennially insolvent and wracked by corruption.
 
Do average passersby throw down or pick up litter? After a minor fender-bender, do drivers politely exchange information, or scream and yell with wild gesticulations? Is honking constant or sporadic? Are crosswalks sacrosanct? Do restaurant dinners usually start or wind down at 9 p.m.? Can you drink tap water, or should you avoid it? Do you mostly pay what the price tag says, or are you expected to pay in untaxed cash and then haggle over the unstated cost? Are construction sites clearly marked and fenced to protect pedestrians, or do you risk walking into an open pit or getting stabbed by exposed rebar?
 
To put these crude stereotypes more abstractly, is civil society mostly moderate, predicated on the rule of law, and meritocratic -- or is it better characterized by self-indulgence, cynicism and tribalism?
 
The answers to these questions do not hinge on race, money or natural wealth, but they do involve culture and the way average people predictably live minute by minute. Again, these national habits and traditions accrued over centuries, and as much as politics or economics, they explain in part why Bonn is not Athens, and Zurich is not Naples, or for that matter why Cairo is unlike Tel Aviv or why Mexico City differs from Toronto.
 
There is one final funny thing about contemporary culture. What people say and do about it are two different things. We in the postmodern, politically correct West publicly pontificate that all cultures are just different and to assume otherwise is pop generalization, but privately assume that you would prefer your bank account to be in Frankfurt rather than Athens, or the tumor in your brain to be removed in London rather than Lisbon.
 
A warm sunset with an ouzo on a Greek island beach may be more relaxing than schnapps on the foggy Rhine shore, but to learn why Greeks will probably not pay back what they owe Germany -- and do not believe that they should have to -- take a walk through central Athens and then do the same in Munich.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1072 on: May 31, 2012, 12:17:09 PM »

Second post of the day:


 
Neal Boortz is a Texan, a lawyer, a Texas Aggie (Texas A&M) graduate, and now a nationally syndicated talk show host from Atlanta. His commencement address to the graduates of a recent Texas A&M class is far different from what either the students or the faculty expected. Whether you agree or disagree, his views are certainly thought provoking.

"I am honored by the invitation to address you on this august occasion. It's about time. Be warned, however, that I am not here to impress you; you'll have enough smoke blown up your bloomers today. And you can bet your tassels I'm not here to impress the faculty and administration. You may not like much of what I have to say, and that's fine. You will remember it though. Especially after about 10 years out there in the real world. This, it goes without saying, does not apply to those of you who will seek your careers and your fortunes as government employees.

This gowned gaggle behind me is your faculty. You've heard the old saying that those who can - do. Those who can't - teach. That sounds deliciously insensitive. But there is often raw truth in insensitivity, just as you often find feel-good falsehoods and lies in compassion. Say good-bye to your faculty because now you are getting ready to go out there and do. These folks behind me are going to stay right here and teach.

By the way, just because you are leaving this place with a diploma doesn't mean the learning is over. When an FAA flight examiner handed me my private pilot's license many years ago, he said, “Here, this is your ticket to learn.” The same can be said for your diploma. Believe me, the learning has just begun.

Now, I realize that most of you consider yourselves Liberals. In fact, you are probably very proud of your liberal views. You care so much. You feel so much. You want to help so much. After all, you're a compassionate and caring person, aren't you now? Well, isn't that just so extraordinarily special. Now, at this age, is as good a time as any to be a liberal; as good a time as any to know absolutely everything. You have plenty of time, starting tomorrow, for the truth to set in.

Over the next few years, as you begin to feel the cold breath of reality down your neck, things are going to start changing pretty fast... Including your own assessment of just how much you really know.

So here are the first assignments for your initial class in reality: Pay attention to the news, read newspapers, and listen to the words and phrases that proud Liberals use to promote their causes. Then, compare the words of the left to the words and phrases you hear from those evil, heartless, greedy conservatives. From the Left you will hear "I feel." From the Right you will hear "I think." From the Liberals you will hear references to groups -- The Blacks, the Poor, the Rich, the Disadvantaged, the Less Fortunate. From the Right you will hear references to individuals. On the Left you hear talk of group rights; on the Right, individual rights.

That about sums it up, really: Liberals feel. Liberals care. They are pack animals whose identity is tied up in group dynamics. Conservatives think -- and, setting aside the theocracy crowd, their identity is centered on the individual.

Liberals feel that their favored groups have enforceable rights to the property and services of productive individuals. Conservatives, I among them I might add, think that individuals have the right to protect their lives and their property from the plunder of the masses.

In college you developed a group mentality, but if you look closely at your diplomas you will see that they have your individual names on them. Not the name of your school mascot, or of your fraternity or sorority, but your name. Your group identity is going away. Your recognition and appreciation of your individual identity starts now.

If, by the time you reach the age of 30, you do not consider yourself to be a conservative, rush right back here as quickly as you can and apply for a faculty position. These people will welcome you with open arms. They will welcome you, that is, so long as you haven't developed an individual identity. Once again you will have to be willing to sign on to the group mentality you embraced during the past four years.

Something is going to happen soon that is going to really open your eyes. You're going to actually get a full time job!

You're also going to get a lifelong work partner. This partner isn't going to help you do your job. This partner is just going to sit back and wait for payday. This partner doesn't want to share in your effort, but in your earnings.

Your new lifelong partner is actually an agent; an agent representing a strange and diverse group of people; an agent for every teenager with an illegitimate child; an agent for a research scientist who wanted to make some cash answering the age-old question of why monkeys grind their teeth. An agent for some poor demented hippie who considers herself to be a meaningful and talented artist, but who just can't manage to sell any of her artwork on the open market.

Your new partner is an agent for every person with limited, if any, job skills, but who wanted a job at City Hall. An agent for tin-horn dictators in fancy military uniforms grasping for American foreign aid. An agent for multi-million dollar companies who want someone else to pay for their overseas advertising. An agent for everybody who wants to use the unimaginable power of this agent's for their personal enrichment and benefit.
That agent is our wonderful, caring, compassionate, oppressive government. Believe me, you will be awed by the unimaginable power this agent has. Power that you do not have. A power that no individual has, or will have. This agent has the legal power to use force, deadly force to accomplish its goals.

You have no choice here. Your new friend is just going to walk up to you, introduce itself rather gruffly, hand you a few forms to fill out, and move right on in. Say hello to your own personal one ton gorilla. It will sleep anywhere it wants to.

Now, let me tell you, this agent is not cheap. As you become successful it will seize about 40% of everything you earn. And no, I'm sorry, there just isn't any way you can fire this agent of plunder, and you can't decrease its share of your income. That power rests with him, not you.

So, here I am saying negative things to you about government. Well, be clear on this: It is not wrong to distrust government. It is not wrong to fear government. In certain cases it is not even wrong to despise government for government is inherently evil. Yes, a necessary evil, but dangerous nonetheless, somewhat like a drug. Just as a drug that in the proper dosage can save your life, an overdose of government can be fatal.

Now let's address a few things that have been crammed into your minds at this university. There are some ideas you need to expunge as soon as possible. These ideas may work well in academic environment, but they fail miserably out there in the real world.
First is that favorite buzz word of the media and academia: Diversity! You have been taught that the real value of any group of people - be it a social group, an employee group, a management group, whatever - is based on diversity. This is a favored liberal ideal because diversity is based not on an individuals abilities or character, but on a person's identity and status as a member of a group. Yes, it's that liberal group identity thing again.

Within the great diversity movement group identification - be it racial, gender based, or some other minority status - means more than the individuals integrity, character or other qualifications.

Brace yourself. You are about to move from this academic atmosphere where diversity rules, to a workplace and a culture where individual achievement and excellence actually count. No matter what your professors have taught you over the last four years, you are about to learn that diversity is absolutely no replacement for excellence, ability, and individual hard work. From this day on every single time you hear the word "diversity" you can rest assured that there is someone close by who is determined to rob you of every vestige of individuality you possess.

We also need to address this thing you seem to have about "rights." We have witnessed an obscene explosion of so-called "rights" in the last few decades, usually emanating from college campuses.

You know the mantra: You have the right to a job. The right to a place to live. The right to a living wage. The right to health care. The right to an education. You probably even have your own pet right - the right to a Beemer for instance, or the right to have someone else provide for that child you plan on downloading in a year or so.

Forget it. Forget those rights! I'll tell you what your rights are. You have a right to live free, and to the results of 60% -75% of your labor. I'll also tell you have no right to any portion of the life or labor of another.

You may, for instance, think that you have a right to health care. After all, President Obama said so, didn't he? But you cannot receive health-care unless some doctor or health practitioner surrenders some of his time - his life - to you. He may be willing to do this for compensation, but that's his choice. You have no "right" to his time or property. You have no right to his or any other person's life or to any portion thereof.

You may also think you have some "right" to a job; a job with a living wage, whatever that is. Do you mean to tell me that you have a right to force your services on another person, and then the right to demand that this person compensate you with their money? Sorry, forget it. I am sure you would scream if some urban outdoors men (that would be "homeless person" for those of you who don't want to give these less fortunate people a romantic and adventurous title) came to you and demanded his job and your money.

The people who have been telling you about all the rights you have are simply exercising one of theirs - the right to be imbeciles. Their being imbeciles didn't cost anyone else either property or time. It's their right, and they exercise it brilliantly.

By the way, did you catch my use of the phrase "less fortunate" a bit ago when I was talking about the urban outdoors men? That phrase is a favorite of the Left. Think about it, and you'll understand why.

To imply that one person is homeless, destitute, dirty, drunk, spaced out on drugs, unemployable, and generally miserable because he is "less fortunate" is to imply that a successful person - one with a job, a home and a future - is in that position because he or she was "fortunate." The dictionary says that fortunate means "having derived good from an unexpected place." There is nothing unexpected about deriving good from hard work. There is also nothing unexpected about deriving misery from choosing drugs, alcohol, and the street.

If the Liberal Left can create the common perception that success and failure are simple matters of "fortune" or "luck," then it is easy to promote and justify their various income redistribution schemes. After all, we are just evening out the odds a little bit. This "success equals luck" idea the liberals like to push is seen everywhere. Former Democratic presidential candidate Richard Gephardt refers to high-achievers as "people who have won life's lottery." He wants you to believe they are making the big bucks because they are lucky. It's not luck, my friends. It's choice. One of the greatest lessons I ever learned was in a book by Og Mandino, entitled, "The Greatest Secret in the World." The lesson? Very simple: "Use wisely your power of choice."

That bum sitting on a heating grate, smelling like a wharf rat? He's there by choice. He is there because of the sum total of the choices he has made in his life. This truism is absolutely the hardest thing for some people to accept, especially those who consider themselves to be victims of something or other - victims of discrimination, bad luck, the system, capitalism, whatever. After all, nobody really wants to accept the blame for his or her position in life. Not when it is so much easier to point and say, "Look! He did this to me!" than it is to look into a mirror and say, "You S. O. B.! You did this to me!"

The key to accepting responsibility for your life is to accept the fact that your choices, every one of them, are leading you inexorably to either success or failure, however you define those terms.

Some of the choices are obvious: Whether or not to stay in school. Whether or not to get pregnant. Whether or not to hit the bottle. Whether or not to keep this job you hate until you get another better-paying job. Whether or not to save some of your money, or saddle yourself with huge payments for that new car.

Some of the choices are seemingly insignificant: Whom to go to the movies with. Whose car to ride home in. Whether to watch the tube tonight, or read a book on investing. But, and you can be sure of this, each choice counts. Each choice is a building block - some large, some small. But each one is a part of the structure of your life. If you make the right choices, or if you make more right choices than wrong ones, something absolutely terrible may happen to you. Something unthinkable. You, my friend, could become one of the hated, the evil, the ugly, the feared, the filthy, the successful, the rich.

The rich basically serve two purposes in this country. First, they provide the investments, the investment capital, and the brains for the formation of new businesses. Businesses that hire people. Businesses that send millions of paychecks home each week to the un-rich.

Second, the rich are a wonderful object of ridicule, distrust, and hatred. Few things are more valuable to a politician than the envy most Americans feel for the evil rich.

Envy is a powerful emotion. Even more powerful than the emotional minefield that surrounded Bill Clinton when he reviewed his last batch of White House interns. Politicians use envy to get votes and power. And they keep that power by promising the envious that the envied will be punished: "The rich will pay their fair share of taxes if I have anything to do with it." The truth is that the top 10% of income earners in this country pays almost 50% of all income taxes collected. I shudder to think what these job producers would be paying if our tax system were any more "fair."

You have heard, no doubt, that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Interestingly enough, our government's own numbers show that many of the poor actually get richer, and that quite a few of the rich actually get poorer. But for the rich who do actually get richer, and the poor who remain poor .. there's an explanation -- a reason. The rich, you see, keep doing the things that make them rich; while the poor keep doing the things that make them poor.

Speaking of the poor, during your adult life you are going to hear an endless string of politicians bemoaning the plight of the poor. So, you need to know that under our government's definition of "poor" you can have a $5 million net worth, a $300,000 home and a new $90,000 Mercedes, all completely paid for. You can also have a maid, cook, and valet, and a million in your checking account, and you can still be officially defined by our government as "living in poverty." Now there's something you haven't seen on the evening news.

How does the government pull this one off? Very simple, really. To determine whether or not some poor soul is "living in poverty," the government measures one thing -- just one thing. Income.

It doesn't matter one bit how much you have, how much you own, how many cars you drive or how big they are, whether or not your pool is heated, whether you winter in Aspen and spend the summers in the Bahamas, or how much is in your savings account. It only matters how much income you claim in that particular year. This means that if you take a one-year leave of absence from your high-paying job and decide to live off the money in your savings and checking accounts while you write the next great American novel, the government says you are living in poverty."

This isn't exactly what you had in mind when you heard these gloomy statistics, is it? Do you need more convincing? Try this. The government's own statistics show that people who are said to be "living in poverty" spend more than $1.50 for each dollar of income they claim. Something is a bit fishy here. Just remember all this the next time Charles Gibson tells you about some hideous new poverty statistics.

Why has the government concocted this phony poverty scam? Because the government needs an excuse to grow and to expand its social welfare programs, which translates into an expansion of its power. If the government can convince you, in all your compassion, that the number of "poor" is increasing, it will have all the excuse it needs to sway an electorate suffering from the advanced stages of Obsessive-Compulsive Compassion Disorder.

I'm about to be stoned by the faculty here. They've already changed their minds about that honorary degree I was going to get. That's OK, though. I still have my PhD. in Insensitivity from the Neal Boortz Institute for Insensitivity Training. I learned that, in short, sensitivity sucks. It's a trap. Think about it - the truth knows no sensitivity. Life can be insensitive. Wallow too much in sensitivity and you'll be unable to deal with life, or the truth, so get over it.

Now, before the dean has me shackled and hauled off, I have a few random thoughts.

* You need to register to vote, unless you are on welfare. If you are living off the efforts of others, please do us the favor of sitting down and shutting up until you are on your own again.

* When you do vote, your votes for the House and the Senate are more important than your vote for President. The House controls the purse strings, so concentrate your awareness there.

* Liars cannot be trusted, even when the liar is the President of the country. If someone can't deal honestly with you, send them packing.

* Don't bow to the temptation to use the government as an instrument of plunder. If it is wrong for you to take money from someone else who earned it -- to take their money by force for your own needs -- then it is certainly just as wrong for you to demand that the government step forward and do this dirty work for you.

* Don't look in other people's pockets. You have no business there. What they earn is theirs. What you earn is yours. Keep it that way. Nobody owes you anything, except to respect your privacy and your rights, and leave you the hell alone.

* Speaking of earning, the revered 40-hour workweek is for losers. Forty hours should be considered the minimum, not the maximum. You don't see highly successful people clocking out of the office every afternoon at five. The losers are the ones caught up in that afternoon rush hour. The winners drive home in the dark.

* Free speech is meant to protect unpopular speech. Popular speech, by definition, needs no protection.

* Finally (and aren't you glad to hear that word), as Og Mandino wrote,
1. Proclaim your rarity. Each of you is a rare and unique human being.
2. Use wisely your power of choice.
3. Go the extra mile, drive home in the dark.

Oh, and put off buying a television set as long as you can. Now, if you have any idea at all what's good for you, you will get out of here and get started. Class dismissed.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1073 on: May 31, 2012, 03:23:25 PM »

The Truth
http://www.truthorfiction.com/rumors/b/boortz.htm
The speech is from the pen of Neil Boortz and is posted on his website at www.boortz.com.

Boortz tells TruthOrFiction.com, however, that so far, it's never actually been delivered at a commencement.

He says he wrote the speech about 1997 in protest of never having been invited to give a commencement address.
It became the springboard for his first book, "The Commencement Speech You Need To Hear."
Later he produced an audio CD of the speech complete with crowd noise and applause, which has been aired on his radio program.

Boortz says that although Texas A & M is his alma mater, it is not true that he gave the speech there.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1074 on: June 04, 2012, 05:40:39 PM »



Twilight of the West



By Mark Steyn
June 2, 2012 4:00 A.M.



The Eurovision Song Contest doesn’t get a lot of attention in the United States, but on the Continent it’s long been seen as the perfect Euro-metaphor. Years before the euro came along, it was the prototype pan-European institution, and predicated on the same assumptions. Eurovision took the national cultures that produced Mozart, Vivaldi, and Debussy, and in return gave us “Boom-Bang-a-Bang” (winner, 1969), “Ding-Ding-a-Dong” (winner, 1975), and “Diggi-Loo-Diggi-Ley” (winner, 1984). The euro took the mark, the lira, and the franc, and merged them to create the “Boom-Bang-a-Bang” of currencies.

How will it all end? One recalls the 1990 Eurovision finals in Zagreb: “Yugoslavia is very much like an orchestra,” cooed the hostess, Helga Vlahovic. “The string section and the wood section all sit together.” Shortly thereafter, the wood section began ethnically cleansing the dressing rooms, while the string section rampaged through the brass section pillaging their instruments and severing their genitals. Indeed, the charming Miss Vlahovic herself was forced into a sudden career shift and spent the next few years as Croatian TV’s head of “war information” programming.

Fortunately, no one remembers Yugoslavia. So today Europe itself is very much like an orchestra. The Greek fiddlers and the Italian wind players all sit together, playing cards in the dressing room, waiting for the German guy to show up with their checks. Just before last week’s Eurovision finale in Azerbaijan, the Daily Mail in London reported that the Spanish entrant, Pastora Soler, had been told to throw the competition “because the cash-strapped country can’t afford to host the lavish event next year,” as the winning nation is obliged to do. In a land where the youth unemployment rate is over 50 percent, and two-thirds of the country’s airports are under threat of closure, and whose neighbors (Britain) are drawing up plans for military intervention to evacuate their nationals in the event of total civic collapse, the pressing need to avoid winning the Eurovision Song Contest is still a poignant symbol of how total is Spain’s implosion. Ask not for whom “Ding-Ding-a-Dong” dings, it dings for thee.

One of the bizarre aspects of media coverage since 2008 is the complacent assumption that what’s happening is “cyclical” — a downturn that will eventually correct itself — rather than profoundly structural. Christine Lagarde, head of the IMF, found herself skewered like souvlaki on a Thessaloniki grill for suggesting the other day that the Greeks are a race of tax evaders. She’s right. Compared to Germans, your average Athenian has a noticeable aversion to declaring income. But that’s easy for her to say: Mme. Lagarde’s half-million-dollar remuneration from the IMF is tax-free, just a routine perk of the new transnational governing class. And, in the end, whether your broke European state has reasonably efficient tax collectors like the French or incompetent ones like the Greeks is relatively peripheral.

Likewise, on this side of the Atlantic: Quebec university students, who pay the lowest tuition rates in North America, are currently striking over a proposed increase of $1,625. Spread out over seven years. Or about 232 bucks per annum. Or about the cost of one fair-trade macchiato a week. Which has, since the strike, been reduced further, to a couple of sips: If you’re wondering how guys who don’t do any work can withdraw their labor, well, “strike” is a euphemism for riot. The other week, Vanessa L’Écuyer, a sexology student at the Université du Québec ŕ Montréal, was among those arrested for smoke-bombing the subway system and bringing the city’s morning commute to a halt. But, as in Europe, in the end, whether you fund your half-decade bachelor’s in sexology through a six-figure personal debt or whether you do it through the largesse of the state is relatively peripheral.

In the twilight of the West, America and Europe are still different but only to this extent: They’ve wound up taking separate paths to the same destination. Whether you get there via an artificial common currency for an invented pseudo-jurisdiction or through quantitative easing and the global decline of the dollar, whether you spend your final years in the care of Medicare or the National Health Service death panels, whether higher education is just another stage of cradle-to-grave welfare or you have a trillion dollars’ worth of personal college debt, in 2012 the advanced Western social-democratic citizen looks pretty similar, whether viewed from Greece or Germany, California or Quebec.

That’s to say, the unsustainable “bubble” is not student debt or subprime mortgages or anything else. The bubble is us, and the assumptions of entitlement. Too many citizens of advanced Western democracies live a life they have not earned, and are not willing to earn. Indeed, much of our present fiscal woe derives from two phases of human existence that are entirely the invention of the modern world. Once upon a time, you were a kid till you were 13 or so; then you worked; then you died. That bit between childhood and death has been chewed away at both ends. We invented something called “adolescence” that now extends not merely through the teenage years but through a desultory half decade of Whatever Studies at Complacency U up till you’re 26 and no longer eligible for coverage on your parents’ health-insurance policy. At the other end of the spectrum, we introduced something called “retirement” that, in the space of two generations, has led to the presumption that able-bodied citizens are entitled to spend the last couple of decades, or one-third of their adult lives, as a long holiday weekend.

The bit in between adolescence and retirement is your working life, and it’s been getting shorter and shorter. Which is unfortunate, as it has to pay for everything else. This structural deformity in the life cycle of Western man is at the root of most of our problems. Staying ever longer in “school” (I use the term loosely) leads to ever later workplace entry, and ever later (if at all) family formation. Which means that our generation is running up debt that will have to be repaid by our shrunken progeny. One hundred Greek grandparents have 42 Greek grandchildren. Is it likely that 42 Greeks can repay the debts run up by 100 Greeks? No wonder they’d rather stick it to the Germans. But the thriftier Germans have the same deathbed demographics. If 100 Germans resent having to pick up the check for an entire continent, is it likely 42 Germans will be able to do it?

Look around you. The late-20th-century Western lifestyle isn’t going to be around much longer. In a few years’ time, our children will look at old TV commercials showing retirees dancing, golfing, cruising away their sixties and seventies, and wonder what alternative universe that came from. In turn, their children will be amazed to discover that in the early 21st century the Western world thought it entirely normal that vast swathes of the citizenry should while away their youth enjoying what, a mere hundred years earlier, would have been the leisurely varsity of the younger son of a Mitteleuropean Grand Duke.

I was sad to learn that Helga Vlahovic died a few weeks ago, but her central metaphor all those years ago wasn’t wrong. Any functioning society is like an orchestra. When the parts don’t fit together, it’s always the other fellow who’s out of tune. So the Greeks will blame the Germans, and vice versa. But the developed world is all playing the same recessional. In the world after Western prosperity, we will work till we’re older and we will start younger — and we will despise those who thought they could defy not just the rules of economic gravity but the basic human life cycle.

— Mark Steyn, a National Review columnist, is the author of After America: Get Ready for Armageddon. © 2012 Mark Steyn
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« Reply #1075 on: June 16, 2012, 02:19:26 PM »

Now this is a rant!

Subject: The coming collapse of the Euro

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ez-88_hIrLY&feature=youtu.be
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« Reply #1076 on: June 16, 2012, 05:24:51 PM »

Now this is a rant! 
Subject: The coming collapse of the Euro
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ez-88_hIrLY&feature=youtu.be

Wow. Thanks for that post!  Does anyone feel like they were warned?

The problem (IMO) isn't the Euro, but the failure of the countries within the Euro to pursue responsible economic policies. 

I wonder if any of our 'members of Parliament' used their time on the floor here with that kind of passion and that level of clarity warning us about Fannie Mae, CRAp or ACA before they collapse(d) us.
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« Reply #1077 on: June 18, 2012, 12:03:14 PM »

http://pjmedia.com/blog/is-michael-bloomberg-secretly-a-muslim/?singlepage=true

Sure, people ask it all the time about Barack Obama, but what about New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg? His latest intrusion into the lives of individual New Yorkers — the banning of large sugary drinks, as well as popcorn and milkshakes – resembles in its spirit nothing more than the recent whipping of smokers in the new Islamic state that has just been established in northern Mali.

Bloomberg, in fact, may be more Muslim than the Malians. Mali’s Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa hasn’t yet banned large soft drinks, but Big Gulps are not all that common in Timbuktu, anyway. And he is way ahead of their smoking ban, having already banned smoking indoors everywhere in New York City, and in large portions of the outdoors as well, including Central Park. Bloomberg doesn’t have defiant nicotine addicts whipped as of yet, but you never know; he might decide it’s a good idea to give his anti-smoking laws some teeth.

Of course, Bloomberg isn’t turning New York City into the world’s largest day-care center and nursery school because smoking and drinking a big soda while standing in Central Park is “un-Islamic,” but because he contends that such practices endanger the public health. But that is essentially the same thing; the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa believes that it is better for the public health for the public to follow Islamic law, and ensures the truth of this claim by whipping or otherwise brutalizing those who dare to step out of line. Both Bloomberg and the Islamic supremacists believe that individuals are generally too stupid to be trusted to make decisions for themselves, and think that they have to be forced into doing the right thing as they see it.

AdvertisementThis is the quintessential totalitarian impulse: to exalt the collective over the individual, and to control every aspect, every detail, of the individual’s life, from birth to death, from waking in the morning to going to sleep at night. The struggle against Sharia is a struggle for individual rights, and hence for freedom par excellence. Islamic law mandates denial of basic rights to women and non-Muslims, severe restrictions on the freedom of speech, death for apostates, warfare against unbelievers, stonings for adultery, amputations for theft, female genital mutilation, and polygamy.

Above all, however, it grants to the religious authority a measure of control over the individual that Americans in earlier, more robust ages would have found abhorrent. After so many decades of the welfare system, however, a politician like Michael Bloomberg has become possible; and with his every new and more absurd nanny state measure, he continues to erode our ability to stand up for ourselves and for the individual against state control.

The real question, then, is not so much whether Bloomberg is secretly a Muslim — of course he isn’t — but whether Islamic law is inherently totalitarian and inimical to the spirit of respect for individual rights upon which this nation was founded. And despite all the increasingly frantic mainstream media attempts to obscure Sharia’s true contents and nature from the American people, it is increasingly clear that it is. Sharia legislates for every aspect of human life, such that the pious Muslim faces no ethical difficulties, no moral dilemmas, no hard choices, no tough judgment calls: everything is set out for him to the last detail, and all he need do is obey. This results in a stunting of the moral character that leads not only to the atrophy of the individual’s abilities of ethical discernment, but also to a diminishment of both the value of the individual and the power of the individual in society. Human beings are not individual moral actors, but only subjects of the authoritarian power, who directs them in every detail of how to behave. The human will is cheapened, and human life itself is cheapened.

This is a key reason why anti-Sharia laws in the U.S. are so urgently needed. The United States at its founding accorded an extraordinary and largely unprecedented respect for the individual; the struggle against Sharia is yet another episode in the never-ending war of the bullying authority against the individual will. What played out in National Socialist Germany, as well as in the Soviet Union and other Communist states, will play out again in America as we decide in the coming months and years how much Islamic law we’re going to accommodate, and when (if ever) we’re going to resist the imposition of more: the struggle between the individual and the collective.

Bloomberg and other foolish Western collectivists and soft authoritarians only weaken our ability to resist Sharia, for they accustom us to the coercive impulses it manifests so ruthlessly. But ultimately, the battle has already been won: the human spirit simply does not and will not bear slavery indefinitely. In an indelible image, Alexander Solzhenitsyn likened the survival of the individual will against the all-powerful collective to blades of grass poking through the concrete; our job in the present age, as Islamic supremacist groups do everything they can to halt anti-Sharia initiatives all over the country, is to see that those concrete slabs never get laid down in the first place.



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« Reply #1078 on: June 21, 2012, 01:28:34 PM »

These videos really need to be seen to be believed - along with the accompanying text - so I'm simply posting the link here:

www.theblaze.com/stories/not-fair-to-be-white-see-the-unbelievable-new-campaign-sponsored-by-the-university-of-minnesota-duluth/
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« Reply #1079 on: June 29, 2012, 02:44:47 PM »

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/americas-last-prisoner-of-war-20120607

Here because I don't have a better place for it:


The mother and father sit at the kitchen table in their Idaho farmhouse, watching their son on YouTube plead for his life. The Taliban captured 26-year-old Bowe Bergdahl almost three years ago, on June 30th, 2009, and since that day, his parents, Jani and Bob, have had no contact with him. Like the rest of the world, their lone glimpses of Bowe – the only American prisoner of war left in either Iraq or Afghanistan – have come through a series of propaganda videos, filmed while he's been in captivity.

In the video they're watching now, Bowe doesn't look good. He's emaciated, maybe 30 pounds underweight, his face sunken, his eye sockets like caves. He's wearing a scraggly beard and he's talking funny, with some kind of foreign accent. Jani presses her left hand across her forehead, as if shielding herself from the images onscreen, her eyes filling with tears. Bob, unable to look away, hits play on the MacBook Pro for perhaps the 30th time. Over and over again, he watches as his only son, dressed in a ragged uniform, begs for someone to rescue him.

"Release me, please!" Bowe screams at the camera. "I'm begging you – bring me home!"

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« Reply #1080 on: June 29, 2012, 04:05:22 PM »

OBAMACARE, THE COMMERCE CLAUSE, AND SUPREME COURT DECISION

by Mark Levin on Friday, June 29, 2012 at 11:15am

This may seem a little technical, but it is necessary.  So follow along with me.  A number of politicians and commentators are claiming that the Supreme Court in the Obamacare case "limited" the reach of the commerce clause, i.e., five justices held that individuals cannot be mandated to buy insurance under the commerce clause.  Actually, the five justices did not limit anything.  They simply did not accept the Obama administration's ridiculous argument that inactivity is commerce.  The status quo stands.  However, the bigger point is this.
 
When a court issues an opinion, it is said to be the "Opinion of the Court."  The Opinion of the Court is the controlling precedent.  Chief Justice Roberts wrote the Opinion of the Court for Parts I (background on the Obamacare law), II (the Anti-Injunction Act is not a bar to the lawsuit proceeding and being decided) and III-C (Obamacare is valid under the tax power).
 
But respecting Parts III- A, the commerce clause and necessary and proper section,  Roberts is writing for himself, not for a majority.
 
Furthermore, the Dissent is labeled as: “Justice Scalia, Justice Kennedy, Justice Thomas, and Justice Alito, dissenting.” It is Not labeled as “dissenting in the judgment, concurring in part” or some permutation.
 
You can’t say it was the “opinion of the court” that the mandate violated the commerce clause. You have to cobble together sections where Roberts is writing for himself and the dissent (which isn’t formally joined Robert’s writing), is writing for itself.
Justice Thomas, in his separate dissenting opinion, wrote:
 “The joint dissent and THE CHIEF JUSTICE cor­rectly apply our precedents to conclude that the Individual Mandate is beyond the power granted to Congress under the Commerce Clause and the Necessary and Proper Clause.”
 
Notably, this does not explicitly state that the dissenters joined with the Chief’s opinion respecting the commerce clause (or necessary and proper clause).
If five justices had intended for their view of the commerce clause (and necessary and proper clause) to be controlling as the majority view, they would have said so by joining or concurring in each others' parts.  They didn't.  So, while we can cobble them together, as a formal legal matter, it is a troubling issue.  While the status quo stands re the commerce clause (and necessary and proper clause), there was no formal majority on those issues.
 
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« Reply #1081 on: June 29, 2012, 04:56:50 PM »

Obj:  Good Levin.  (BTW I listened to the whole show per your recommendation)  The best thread for it would be http://dogbrothers.com/phpBB2/index.php?topic=1850.800
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« Reply #1082 on: July 04, 2012, 07:28:52 PM »

The Egyptian Disaster

By Robert Spencer - posted July 2, 2012

No sooner was Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Morsi elected president of Egypt than he announced his determination to work for the freedom of an enemy of the United States: blind sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, who is serving a life term for his role in planning the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Not since Jimmy Carter helped usher in the Iranian Revolution has an American president done so much to aid those who are determined to destroy the United States.

In fact, the parallels are numerous. Carter betrayed the shah of Iran, a longtime U.S. ally who had a dismal human rights record but was generally loyal, and paved the way for the ascent to power of the Ayatollah Khomeini and the Iranian mullahcracy that quickly showed its gratitude to Carter by taking U.S. Embassy personnel hostage, and has maintained a war footing against the United States ever since.

Obama, for his part, betrayed Hosni Mubarak, another longtime U.S. ally with a record of repressive rule, paving the way for the Muslim Brotherhood’s rise to power. And now President Morsi has shown his gratitude to Obama by announcing his determination to free from prison a man who plotted to murder hundreds of thousands of Americans.

It is said that history repeats itself, but it doesn’t do so by means of some automatic, inexorable, deterministic process. History repeats itself because people refuse to study and learn its lessons, and to face the unpleasant facts it presents. Thus, they make the same mistakes their predecessors did. The Obama administration didn’t have to be Carter’s second term, but both Carter and Obama are the products of a political culture that consistently discounts the importance of religious motivations. Informed sources have noted that at the time of the Iranian Revolution, only one book by the Ayatollah Khomeini could be found in the State Department, and no one had read it: no one thought the rantings of an obscure fanatic exiled to far-off France were important. That was the manifestation of a willful blindness to rival that of James Clapper, Obama’s director of national intelligence, who famously labeled the Muslim Brotherhood “largely secular.” In fact, it is the same willful blindness, and it has characterized the Washington establishment’s views on Islam and jihad from Carter’s day until now.

So secular is the Brotherhood that Morsi recently repeated its guiding motto to an enthusiastic crowd: “The Koran is our constitution, the Prophet is our leader, jihad is our path and death in the name of Allah is our goal.” Last week, Yasser Borhamy, a Salafi leader, declared that the Muslim Brotherhood was planning to implement Sharia as the main source for Egyptian law. Noting opposition to Sharia in Egypt, Borhamy said: “What is disturbing in the Islamic Sharia law, is Sharia bothering anyone? We do not say ‘our views on Sharia,’ but we say that we want the Sharia law revealed by God. Would anyone be afraid of the Sharia that establishes justice, [public] interest and wisdom? This is very strange. How is it said that people are afraid of Sharia?”

By “Sharia law revealed by God,” Borhamy meant the Sharia that stones adulterers, amputates thieves’ hands, mandates death for apostates from Islam, and institutionalizes subjugation of women and non-Muslims. If the Brotherhood does succeed in implementing this in Egypt, it will have Barack Obama to thank: his applause for the “Arab Spring” uprisings, coupled with the universal misrepresentation of them in the Western media as outpourings of a longing for democracy and pluralism, has brought us to the inception of an Egyptian regime that is almost certain to go to war with Israel and pursue a path of unrelenting hostility toward its erstwhile patrons in Washington.

Yet even the likelihood that Egypt, long a recipient of American largesse, will become an enemy of America is unlikely to shake those entrenched core assumptions in Washington that got us into this fix. The Obama administration rejects, as a matter of repeatedly stated policy, the idea that Islam has anything to do with terrorism, or warfare against unbelievers, or the legal subjugation of non-Muslims. An Obama official who opined that a Muslim Brotherhood regime in Egypt would likely be an enemy of the United States because of Islam’s core doctrines regarding the evil of the society of unbelievers would be reprimanded or fired outright for “Islamophobia.”

And so what was old is new again: a man who owes his seat of power to the United States demonstrates his hostility to the ones who put him in place. Then it was Khomeini, now it is Morsi, but in both cases it is the same. One wonders how many times Washington will have the luxury of making this same mistake before the consequences become too terrible to bear.

Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and author of the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book, Did Muhammad Exist?, is now available.
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« Reply #1083 on: July 04, 2012, 09:03:23 PM »

"The Egyptian Disaster"
What caught my attention in this post was:

"...the shah of Iran, a longtime U.S. ally who had a dismal human rights record..."
and
"...Hosni Mubarak, another longtime U.S. ally with a record of repressive rule..."

Objectivist1, I understand your post.  All is not roses.  But on this 4th of July, OUR Independence Day, didn't we too fight against "repressive rule"?  Isn't this freedom, isn't this the core
for what America Stands For?  If we can't support freedom, the choice of the people, whether we like their choices or not, who are we?  What are we?
If we support murderous despicable despots, albeit they are our "ally" what do we stand for?
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« Reply #1084 on: July 04, 2012, 09:21:50 PM »

What is so profoundly distressing, frustrating, and indeed enraging to me is how when President Bush nad the neoconservatives sought to get ahead of the curve in this regard, the the Progressives and most of the Dems VICIOUSLY fought him every step of the way with some of them crossing the line IMO to treason (e.g. Pravda on the Hudson and Pravda on the Beach divulging secret military and intelligence operations in time of war.

Although Bush-Rumbo led the Iraq War rather poorly, eventually with the Surge things were turned around-- only to be thrown away by President Baraq.

Where has the support been for the forces of freedom within Iran?

Where has the support been for the Ukraine, Georgia, Poland and other countries of eastern Europe being squeezed anew by the Russians?

One gets the impression that only when is it a friend of the US, that Baraq believes in the opposition, never mind that said opposition only believes in one man one vote one time.

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« Reply #1085 on: July 05, 2012, 07:15:54 AM »

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/didnt-send-your-kids-to-war-you-owe-money-to-those-who-went-fundraising-sponsors-say/2012/07/04/gJQA9496MW_story.html

If you have military-age children who have not served in this decade’s wars, then you owe a debt — meaning money — to those who did. That’s the premise of a new fundraising effort by three wealthy American families who want to help U.S. veterans of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Every non-military family should give something, they said. The affluent should give large sums. No one should think of it as charity, but rather a moral obligation, an alternative way to serve, perhaps the price of being spared the anxiety that comes with having a loved one in a war zone.
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« Reply #1086 on: July 05, 2012, 10:28:00 AM »

Marc is correct, and I share both his outrage and his opinion that treason was committed by the political opposition during this period.  For the full, disgusting story of the Democrat Party's transgressions in the lead-up to the Iraq War, read David Horowitz's excellent book "Party of Defeat."  It chronicles the entire sordid affair, and will enrage anyone who loves this nation and its founding principles.  Unfortunately, and as usual, neither the press nor the impotent Republican "leadership" will bring these facts up and remind the American people (as they ought to be - and OFTEN) of these despicable actions.  Another example of just why we need more individuals like Allen West in Congress.  If the public were reminded of these damning facts, Obama would lose lose in a landslide, and Mitt Romney would not be the Republican nominee.  I strongly encourage freedom-loving people to read Horowitz's book - (or review it again if you've read it.)  It will remind you of just what we are up against - the enemy within.
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« Reply #1087 on: July 05, 2012, 10:33:11 AM »

Obj:

If you have the time, would you provide a summary/review of it in the Iraq thread for us?

TY,
Marc
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« Reply #1088 on: July 06, 2012, 10:04:37 AM »

Alexander's Essay – July 5, 2012
The Imperial Executive

"Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it." --Declaration of Independence (1776)
 
This being the week designated to celebrate American Liberty, I paused to read the Declaration of Independence, as I do every anniversary of its signing. In that venerable old parchment, our Founders reduced to words the eternal source of Liberty as "endowed by our Creator," and then outlined their grievances against an imperial executive who willfully violated that endowment "which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitled them."

The Unanimous Declaration was, in the words of Thomas Jefferson, its principal author, "the declaratory charter of our rights, and the rights of man."

It opens by defining those rights, framing the relationship between the Creator and His people, the people and the government, and then listing how the executive had violated their God-given rights, "all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States."

Among those "injuries and usurpations" committed by the executive, they noted:

"He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good. ... He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them. ... He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers. ... He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance. ... He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation."

The comparison between the imperial powers which gave rise to the American Revolution and the imperial presidency which now threatens the Essential Liberty our Founders fought for, and generations of American Patriots have since defended, is unavoidable.

Barack Hussein Obama recently lamented, "It turns out our Founders designed a system that makes it more difficult to bring about change than I would like sometimes." However, he added, "One of the things about being President is you get better as time goes on." Indeed, he has become quite better at forging ahead with his agenda to supplant Rule of Law with rule of men, in flagrant disregard of his Oath of Office.

The evidence of Obama's self-anointed imperial status is mounting.

He created swarms of "czars" unaccountable to Congress. He circumvented Congress by using the Environmental Protection Agency to implement his cap-and-trade scheme. He used the National Labor Relations Board to circumvent the Employee Free Choice Act. He used the Federal Communications Commission to circumvent the judiciary's proscription on regulating the Internet. He used the Department of Education to force national education standards.

In other cases, Obama has simply ignored the law completely.

He ordered the Department of Justice to cease enforcement of the Defense of Marriage Act. He ordered the Department of Health and Human Services to force private religious institutions to fund abortions and other measures contrary to their Biblical moral code. He ordered the Department of Homeland Security's immigration service to use "prosecutorial discretion" in order to stop the mandated deportation of illegal immigrants.

Regarding the latter, even former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales responded, "To halt through the deportation of some undocumented immigrants looks like a political calculation to win Hispanic votes, and subjects him to criticism that he is violating his oath of office by selectively failing to enforce the law."

Most recently, Obama claimed "executive privilege" to avoid further investigation into "Fast and Furious," a scheme designed to promote the administration's efforts to undermine "the palladium of all rights," our Second Amendment.

Of course, Obama's imperial ascension is fully in keeping with his narcissistic pathology, and he's made plain that he doesn't intend to be constrained by the law.

Soon after his election, his former Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, proclaimed that Obama would use "executive orders and directives to get the job done across a front of issues." And Obama himself boldly decreed earlier this year, "Whenever Congress refuses to act, Joe [Biden] and I, we're going to act. In the months to come, wherever we have an opportunity, we're going to take steps on our own [to implement my agenda]."

In the Declaration of Independence, our Founders' long list of objections to government assault on Liberty closes by condemning the executive "for altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments" and "exciting domestic insurrections amongst us," and notes, "A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people."

Today, Obama's pledge of "fundamentally transforming the United States of America" is brought about by attacking the free enterprise system, by altering our form of government in favor of Democratic Socialism, by pitting one group of Americans against another, and by justifying a domestic insurrection called "Occupy Wall Street."

The Declaration concludes, "And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor."

Fellow Patriots, whether by ballot or bullet box, we must pledge no less to preserve Liberty.

Pro Deo et Constitutione -- Libertas aut Mors
Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus et Fidelis
Mark Alexander
Publisher, PatriotPost.US
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« Reply #1089 on: July 07, 2012, 01:52:21 PM »

A Short History of Congress's Power to Tax

The Supreme Court has long distinguished the regulatory from the taxing power.

By PAUL MORENO - July 6, 2012 - Wall Street Journal

In 1935, Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins was fretting about finding a constitutional basis for the Social Security Act. Supreme Court Justice Harlan Fiske Stone advised her, "The taxing power, my dear, the taxing power. You can do anything under the taxing power."

Last week, in his ObamaCare opinion, NFIB v. Sebelius, Chief Justice John Roberts gave Congress the same advice—just enact regulatory legislation and tack on a financial penalty, as in failure to comply with the individual insurance mandate. So how did the power to tax under the Constitution become unbounded?

The first enumerated power that the Constitution grants to Congress is the "power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States." The text indicates that the taxing power is not plenary, but can be used only for defined ends and objects—since a comma, not a semicolon, separated the clauses on means (taxes) and ends (debts, defense, welfare).


Editorial board member Joe Rago on how Chief Justice John Roberts's rewrite of ObamaCare weakens the Constitution's federalist structure. Photo: Associated Press

This punctuation was no small matter. In 1798, Pennsylvania Rep. Albert Gallatin said that fellow Pennsylvania Rep. Gouverneur Morris, chairman of the Committee on Style at the Constitutional Convention, had smuggled in the semicolon in order to make Congress's taxing power limitless, but that the alert Roger Sherman had the comma restored. The altered punctuation, Gallatin said, would have turned "words [that] had originally been inserted in the Constitution as a limitation to the power of levying taxes" into "a distinct power." Thirty years later, Virginia Rep. Mark Alexander accused Secretary of State John Quincy Adams of doing the same thing after Congress instructed the administration to print copies of the Constitution.

The punctuation debate simply reinforced James Madison's point in Federalist No. 41 that Congress could tax and spend only for those objects enumerated, primarily in Article I, Section 8.

Congress enacted very few taxes up to the end of the Civil War, and none that was a pretext for regulating things that the Constitution gave it no power to regulate. True, the purpose of tariffs was to protect domestic industry from foreign competition, not raise revenue. But the Constitution grants Congress a plenary power to regulate commerce with other nations.

Congress also enacted a tax to destroy state bank notes in 1866, but this could be seen as a "necessary and proper" means to stop the states from usurping Congress's monetary or currency power. It was upheld in Veazie Bank v. Fenno (1869).

The first unabashed use of the taxing power for regulatory purposes came when Congress enacted a tax on "oleomargarine" in 1886. Dairy farmers tried to drive this cheaper butter substitute from the market but could only get Congress to adopt a mild tax, based on the claim that margarine was often artificially colored and fraudulently sold as butter. President Grover Cleveland reluctantly signed the bill, saying that if he were convinced the revenue aspect was simply a pretext "to destroy . . . one industry of our people for the protection and benefit of another," he would have vetoed it.

Congress imposed another tax on margarine in 1902, which the Supreme Court upheld (U.S. v. McCray, 1904). Three justices dissented, but without writing an opinion.

Then, in 1914, Congress imposed taxes on druggists' sales of opiates as a way to regulate their use. Five years later, in U.S. v. Doremus , the Supreme Court upheld the levy under Congress's express power to impose excise taxes.

Then, in 1922, the court rejected Congress's attempt to prohibit child labor by imposing a tax on companies that employed children. An earlier attempt to accomplish this, by prohibiting the interstate shipment of goods made by child labor, was struck down as unconstitutional—since it was understood since the earliest days of the republic that Congress had the power to regulate commerce but not manufacturing. "A Court must be blind not to see that the so-called tax is imposed to stop the employment of children within the age limits prescribed," Chief Justice William Howard Taft wrote in Bailey v. Drexel Furniture Co. "Its prohibitory and regulatory effect and purpose are palpable." Even liberal justices Oliver Wendell Holmes and Louis D. Brandeis concurred in Taft's opinion.

Things came to a head in the New Deal, when Congress imposed a tax on food and fiber processors and used those tax dollars to provide benefits to farmers. Though in U.S. v. Butler (1936) the court adopted a more expansive view of the taxing power—allowing Congress to tax and spend for the "general welfare" beyond the powers specifically enumerated in the Constitution—it still held the ends had to be "general" and not transfer payments from one group to another. After President Franklin D. Roosevelt threatened to "pack" the Supreme Court in 1937, it accepted such transfer payments in Mulford v. Smith (1939), so long as the taxes were paid into the general treasury and not earmarked for farmers.

And now, in 2012, Justice Roberts has confirmed that there are no limits to regulatory taxation as long as the revenue is deposited in the U.S. Treasury.

Are there any other limits? Article I, Section 2 says that "direct taxes shall be apportioned among the states" according to population. This is repeated in Article I, Section 9, which says that "no capitation, or other direct tax, shall be laid," unless apportioned.

The Supreme Court struck down income taxes in 1895 (Pollock v. Farmers' Loan & Trust Co.), on the ground that they were "direct" taxes but not apportioned by population. Apportioning an income tax would defeat the purpose of the relatively poorer Southern and Western states, who wanted the relatively richer states of the Northeast to pay the bulk of the tax. The 16th Amendment gave Congress the power to tax incomes without apportionment.

Other direct taxes should presumably have to be apportioned according to the Constitution. Justice Roberts quickly dismissed the notion that the individual mandate penalty-tax is not a direct tax "under this Court's precedents." To any sentient adult, it looks like a "capitation" or head tax, imposed upon individuals directly. Unfortunately, having plenty of other reasons to object to ObamaCare, the four dissenting justices in NFIB v. Sebelius did not explore this point.

Some conservatives have cheered that part of Justice Roberts's decision that limits Congress's Commerce Clause power. But an unlimited taxing power is equally dangerous to constitutional government.

Mr. Moreno is a professor of history at Hillsdale College and the author of "The American State from the Civil War to the New Deal," forthcoming from Cambridge University Press.
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"You have enemies?  Good.  That means that you have stood up for something, sometime in your life." - Winston Churchill.
Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1090 on: July 13, 2012, 06:01:53 PM »

http://pjmedia.com/rogerkimball/2012/07/12/battling-the-amoeba/?singlepage=true
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« Reply #1091 on: July 14, 2012, 01:17:13 PM »

"Some conservatives have cheered that part of Justice Roberts's decision that limits Congress's Commerce Clause power. But an unlimited taxing power is equally dangerous to constitutional government."

Absolutely.  Mark Levin is correct in saying Roberts has done grave nearly irreversible damage to our republic.  The democrat party, liberal lawyer, union, minority interest cabal is subverting justice in our system to maintain power for themselves.

Our system is in trouble as long as we have half the population voting money for themselves out of the treasury and doing so with complicit polticians.

Rush Limbaugh has finally come and highlighted as a message to Romney.   It ain't about jobs.   It ain't about the middle class.  Both of these are relevent but are only subtle pretetexts to the real issue.

It is the gigantic entitlement state that keeps expanding while those who pay for it are being squeezed.

This is the "issue" of the age for the US.
That is the issue

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« Reply #1092 on: July 14, 2012, 02:09:24 PM »

That and governmental control of economic acitivity a.k.a. fascism.
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« Reply #1093 on: July 19, 2012, 11:51:11 AM »



Alexander's Essay – July 19, 2012
Socialism v Free Enterprise: Translating ObamaSpeak
What He Said v What He Meant
"Here comes the orator! With his flood of words, and his drop of reason." --Benjamin Franklin (Poor Richards Almanack, 1735)
 
Trust me, I never operated a lemonade stand, but I'm the president!

Barack Hussein Obama never so much as operated a corner lemonade stand, but his perspective on free enterprise is certainly getting some traction.

Invoking the two pillars of his re-election campaign, tax "fairness" and class warfare, Obama first focused on the tax piece, asserting, "I'm not going to see us gut the investments that grow our economy."

In ObamaSpeak, "gut the investments" translates as "cut taxes," and "grow the economy" translates as "grow the government." This remark was a smokescreen in regard to Democrat efforts to let the across-the-board Bush tax rates expire, which, in effect, will raise taxes on all Americans who earn a living rather than live on the dole.

To that end, Obama's Senate lap dog, Patty Murray (D-WA), served up this ultimatum: "If we can't get a good deal -- a balanced deal that calls on the wealthy to pay their fair share -- then I will absolutely continue this debate into 2013 rather than lock in a long-term deal this year that throws middle-class families under the bus."

Of course, EVERY aspect of her classist rhetoric requires a secret decoder ring.

"Good deal" means "raising taxes" and "balanced deal" means "more spending." If the Demo-gogues were serious about balancing anything, they'd do precisely what "middle-class families" do during tough times: cut expenses.

"The wealthy" means "tax payers rather than tax consumers." As for paying their "fair share," the producers and job creators who earn $250,000-and-above (which is the target for Obama's looming tax increase) while constituting just two percent of the population already pay 43.6 percent of all federal income taxes. Obama is also keenly aware that the top 25 percent of income earners already pay more than 84 percent of income tax revenues and the top 50 percent of earners now pay almost 98 percent of all income tax revenue collected -- which means he's all but created a voting majority who pay little or no federal income tax.

Clearly, Democrats don't represent the "99 percent." Instead, they pander to the 50 percent who are the beneficiaries of confiscated and redistributed wealth from the other 50 percent. I invoke again the timeless words of George Bernard Shaw: "A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul."

Continuing with the translation exercise, Murray says Senate Demos won't "lock in a long-term deal," meaning "extend tax relief for tax payers," and "throwing middle-class families under the bus" is what Obama and his Socialist Democrats do best.
Every dollar paid into the bloated federal coffers is one less dollar to be spent or invested in the private sector -- where all those "middle-class families" Obama and his cadres use for cannon fodder -- are barely making ends meet.

After pitching his plug for tax increases, Obama then got way off his teleprompted script with the most pointed classist and collectivist rhetoric he has yet to regurgitate: "If you've been successful, you didn't get there on your own. ... If you've got a business -- you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen."

Of course, in the context of his socialist agenda, "somebody else" is his collectivist euphemism for "government," a.k.a. Hillary Clinton's "village."

Finally, he asserted that collectivism is responsible for the existence of the middle class: "So we say to ourselves, ever since the founding of this country, you know what, there are some things we do better together. That's how we created the middle class." (As a half-truth, he may be partially correct. More middle-class folks could be wealthy if socialist government taxes and regulation weren't holding them back.)

According to Obama, then, we owe all that we are and all that we own to government.
Notably, after having presided over four years of a flat-lined economy, despite spending trillions of dollars with nothing to show but trillions of dollars in debt, Obama's chronic Narcissistic Personality Disorder enables him to completely ignore reality.
Every time he diverts from his ObamaPrompter, as he did with his assessment of free enterprise, he exposes his ultra-Leftist agenda. Some memorable examples include his recent assertion that, "The private sector is doing fine," but we need more government jobs. Then there was his infamous comment to Joe the Plumber that we need to "spread the wealth around." My personal favorite, however, was when an open mike caught his whispered assurance to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev: "After my election I'll have more flexibility."

Contemplate those words again: "After my election I'll have more flexibility."

As if he hasn't yet done enough damage to our economy, culture and world standing in his first term? One wonders just what other damage he'd do with "more flexibility" in a second term.

Obama leads his lemmings to believe that business owners are millionaires driven by greed who don't care about the jobs they create and the families those jobs support. In fact, the vast majority of small businesses -- those which make up the foundation of our economy -- are owned by men and women who put in long hours for not much more money than their managers and supervisors. But that's during a healthy economy.

In a failing economy, like the current one under the Obama regime, small business owners who are personally liable for the debt required to operate their businesses, are taking out second home mortgages, maxing their credit cards, and borrowing from relatives and retirement savings in order to keep their businesses solvent.
 
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney wasted no time returning fire in defense of free enterprise.

"The idea to say that Steve Jobs didn't build Apple, that Henry Ford didn't build Ford Motor, that Papa John didn't build Papa John Pizza, that Ray Kroc didn't build McDonald's, that Bill Gates didn't build Microsoft -- you go on down the list ... to say something like that is not just foolishness, it is insulting to every entrepreneur, every innovator in America and it's wrong," Romney said.

He continued, "[Obama's] logic doesn't just extend to the entrepreneurs that start a barber shop or a taxi operation ... it also extends to everybody in America that wants to lift themself up a little further ... [Obama] would say, 'Well, you didn't do that ... you are not responsible for that success.' Obama exposed what he really thinks about free people and the American vision, and government, what he really thinks about America itself. I find it extraordinary that a philosophy of that nature would be spoken by a president of the United States. We have seen what Obama's political philosophy brings and we don't want any more of it!"

Romney closed by asking, "Do we believe in an America that is great because of government, or do we believe in an America that's great because of free people allowed to pursue their dream? Obama attacks success and therefore under Obama we have less success. And I will change that."

National Review's Rich Lowry summed up Obama's theory of economics: "Behind every successful businessman, there is a successful government. Everyone is helpless without the state, the great protector, builder, and innovator. Everything is ultimately a collective enterprise. Individual initiative is only an ingredient in the more important work when 'we do things together.'"

Ronald Reagan observed, "Entrepreneurs and their small enterprises are responsible for almost all the economic growth in the United States."

We still are, and Obama and his Leftists despise nothing more than self-sufficiency, which is the antithesis of the government dependency they promote.

Pro Deo et Constitutione — Libertas aut Mors
Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus et Fidelis
 
Mark Alexander
Publisher, The Patriot Post
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1094 on: July 28, 2012, 12:38:50 PM »


http://www.ijreview.com/2012/07/11663-absolute-must-watch-anti-red-tape-speech-in-house-receives-standing-ovation/
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« Reply #1095 on: July 28, 2012, 01:41:59 PM »

Yes. Great speech!  Anyone who has had their business swallowed up or nearly so by the regulatory red tape can feel that passion.

For me, taxes cost more than food, shelter, clothing, transportation and healthcare combined, but regulations are worse.

A great line in there:

Take the heavy boot off the throat of America's job creators and LET THEM BREATHE!

We spend $1.75 trillion on red tape.  There is your deficit and then some.
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« Reply #1096 on: July 30, 2012, 10:21:25 AM »

Auberon Herbert in "The Right and Wrong of Compulsion by the State" (1894):


We are fast getting rid of emperors and kings and dominant churches, as far as the mere outward form is concerned, but the soul of these men and these institutions is still living and breathing within us. We still want to exercise power, we still want to drive men our own way, and to possess the mind and body of our brothers as well as of our own selves. The only difference is that we do it in the name of a majority instead of in the name of divine right. . . .

In this case the possession of power would necessarily confer upon those who gained it such enormous privileges—if we are to speak of the miserable task of compulsion as privileges—the privileges of establishing and enforcing their own views in all matters, of treading out and suppressing the views to which they are opposed, of arranging and distributing all property, of regulating all occupations, that all those who still retained sufficient courage and energy to have views of their own would be condemned to live organized for ceaseless and bitter strife with each other.

In presence of unlimited power lodged in the hands of those who govern, in the absence of any universal acknowledgment of individual rights, the stakes for which men played would be so terribly great that they would shrink from no means to keep power out of the hands of their opponents. Not only would the scrupulous man become unscrupulous, and the pitiful man cruel, but the parties into which society divided itself would begin to perceive that to destroy or be destroyed was the one choice lying in front of them.

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« Reply #1097 on: August 08, 2012, 08:50:06 AM »

"The Gun Is Civilization" by Maj. L. Caudill USMC (Ret)

Human beings only have two ways to deal with one another: reason and force. If you want me to do something for you, you have a choice of either convincing me via argument, or force me to do your bidding under threat of force. Every  human interaction falls into one of those two categories, without exception. Reason or force, that's it.

In a truly moral and civilized society, people exclusively interact through persuasion. Force has no place as a valid method of social interaction and the only thing that removes force from the menu is the personal firearm, as paradoxical as it may sound to some.

When I carry a gun, you cannot deal with me by force. You have to use reason and try to persuade me, because I have a way to negate your threat or employment of force.

The gun is the only personal weapon that puts a 100-pound woman on equal footing with a 220-pound mugger, a 75-year old retiree on equal footing with a 19-year old gang banger, and a single guy on equal footing with a carload of drunken guys with baseball bats.

The gun removes the disparity in physical strength, size, or numbers between a potential attacker and a defender.
There are  plenty of people who consider the gun as the source of bad force equations. These are the people who think that we'd be more civilized if all guns were removed from society, because a firearm makes it easier for a [armed] mugger to do his job. That, of course, is only true if the mugger's potential victims are mostly disarmed either by choice or by legislative fiat--it has no validity when most of a mugger's potential marks are armed.

People who argue for the banning of arms ask for automatic rule by the young, the strong, and the many, and that's the exact opposite of a civilized society. A mugger, even an armed one, can only make a successful living in a society where the state has granted him a force monopoly.

Then there's the argument that the gun makes confrontations lethal that otherwise would only result in injury. This argument is fallacious in several ways. Without guns involved, confrontations are won by the physically superior party inflicting overwhelming injury on the loser.

People who think that fists, bats, sticks, or stones don't constitute lethal force, watch too much TV, where people take beatings and come out of it with a bloody lip at worst. The fact that the gun makes lethal force easier works solely in favor of the weaker defender, not the stronger attacker.  If both are armed, the field is level.

The gun is the only weapon that's as lethal in the hands of an octogenarian as it is in the hands of a weight lifter. It simply wouldn't work as well as a force equalizer if it wasn't both lethal and easily employable.

When I carry a gun, I don't do so because I am looking for a fight, but because I'm looking to be left alone. The gun at my side means that I cannot be forced, only persuaded. I don't carry it because I'm afraid, but because it enables me to be unafraid. It doesn't limit the actions of those who would interact with me through reason, only the actions of those who would do so by force.  It removes force from the equation... and that's why carrying a gun is a civilized act.

Maj. L. Caudill USMC (Ret.)

So, the greatest civilization is one where all citizens are equally armed and can only be persuaded, never forced.
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bigdog
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« Reply #1098 on: August 08, 2012, 09:30:11 AM »

A great article. Since this is a forum dedicated to searching for truth, I sould say that there is some question as to the author. Here is the same article, attributed to Marko Kloos. (This does not change in any way my appreciation for the article.)


http://munchkinwrangler.wordpress.com/2007/03/23/why-the-gun-is-civilization/
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« Reply #1099 on: August 08, 2012, 11:27:16 AM »

You may well be right.  The piece came to me from someone less than rigorous about his sourcing.  In this case I thought it not to matter, but once again it looks like I've gotten nipped in the butt by this individual.
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