Candidate for Senate Elizabeth Warren Says:
“I hear all this, you know, ‘Well, this is class warfare, this is whatever. No. There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own — nobody.You built a factory out there? Good for you. But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police-forces and fire-forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn’t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory — and hire someone to protect against this — because of the work the rest of us did.
“Now look, you built a factory and it turned into something terrific, or a great idea. God bless — keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is, you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.”
Frankly Francis Says:
After we each follow our natural compulsion to sing a verse of “Kumbaya,” let’s take a look at what is going on underneath those words.
To gender neutralize the common phrase – no one is an island. We all exist in society because of mutual cooperation. And I think even the dimmest of us knows, no matter what our circumstances, we all have had help along the way. But…
To Ms. Warren’s point, note that she repeatedly says “the rest of us paid for” throughout her argument. She never says “we all paid for” or “the rich along with all other Americans paid for.” She, for some reason, excludes the rich as paying for anything that they utilized, while the rest of us subsidized their success.
Well then, who did pay for that?
Now considering that at least 46% of all Americans pay no federal income taxes at all, almost half of us paid for nothing she mentions but got the benefit of all that stuff.
According to the National Taxpayers Union, in 2009, the top 25% income earners paid 87.3% of all income taxes.
I think one might make a reasonable case that the rich that Ms. Warren castigates did indeed pay for almost all of what we collectively have. And they have already paid for the next kid who comes along too. Such inconvenient truths for Ms. Warren’s argument, I am almost sorry to mention it.
President Obama Says: “There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me — because they want to give something back. They know they didn’t — look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something — there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there.”
“If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.”
Frankly Francis Says:
First, I am pretty sure that Al Gore built the Internet, but regardless, and let us not re-write history here, it was built for the purpose of information sharing, not so that all the companies could make money off of the Internet. Entrepreneurs saw an opportunity to improve the market for consumers – they took significant financial risk and effort to provide that. Everyone has benefitted from the creation of new jobs, a more efficient economy, better processes and services for consumers, and that also includes the government receiving additional tax revenues.
President Obama says that there are a lot of smart people out there. I completely agree, but being smart, in and of itself, does not produce a successful business or riches. It requires much more than that.
And President Obama says that there are a lot of hard working people out there. Of course there are. Not to be callous, but if just hard work actually meant anything, I think you would find the rich furiously digging ditches with small hand shovels.
Success does involve hard work and smarts, but it also requires taking personal and financial risk, being innovative, being intensely committed to succeeding as a way of life, and being responsible to the people that you employ, amongst even more energy and time consuming things. A little old fashioned luck never hurts either as it is a highly competitive undertaking – 80% of small businesses fail within their first five years.
If it were easy, everyone would be doing it.
Speaking of our public school system, there were a couple of teachers in my youth that were inspiring, but most were not. Most were just collecting their paychecks. And I am not saying that doing the job expected of you and being compensated is wrong, but that is not praise worthy either. Should we receive extra special attention for doing just what we are being paid to do?
You are right President Obama when you say “Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive,” – that somebody would be the Founding Fathers who risked their lives to publish the Declaration of Independence, the men and women in military service who gave their lives for our freedoms, and then to all of the working Americans who turned that into a reality through their efforts and drive, in spite of government’s corruption and its waste.
But hear this –
Matt Welch Says: “Note here how all government spending is equated to roads, public education, and electrical power, which–despite massive spending increases–account for a very small fraction of federal spending. You could (and should!) lop the federal budget in half without touching these line items.”
“Note, too, how increased government spending has not noticeably improved the very areas of service Warren names. K-12 results are flat over 40 years despite more than doubling per-pupil spending. The electricity grid is inefficient, wasteful, and expensive. The latest federal transportation bill continues squandering money without building or maintaining anything near highway capacity, and is best described as “pathetic.” We are getting much less return on our “investment,” while being asked to pony up more.”
So the old axiom that when the government does it, “you pay twice as much to get half as much” may well in spirit apply here.
One might get the feeling from the foregoing that the government thinks it has been slighted for its efforts and deserves more credit…perhaps a lot more credit.
It seems that the government is really serious about this, and with the erosion of so many of our civil liberties, just to be personally safe, it might be wise to thank the government when you receive your Eagle Scout award, when you accept that Oscar at the Academy Awards, when you invent the next life changing advancement, when you graduate from an academic institution, when the government approves your marriage license…whenever you have the selfish notion that you actually did something.
There’s much being made about having your privates groped or doing a radiated digital strip tease in order to board an airplane these days. Emotions are running high on both sides of the issue.
Has it really come to this?
So how did it come to this?
Social and political issues are not typically one-offs. They are usually part of an intertwined pattern of events and circumstances… actions and reactions.
This is how I sort it:
America has had its hand in foreign countries for a long while now. Post World War II, American foreign aid in rebuilding decimated nations and economies was certainly noteworthy. America was viewed pretty well throughout the world.
It went to our heads.
We decided that we knew better.
We felt a deep obligation to mold the world in our own image.
America began meddling in affairs of other countries using money to get its way, commencing military affairs and even using black ops assassination teams. We began an all out effort to deploy our military everywhere. We propped up tyrants at the expense of their citizens. We became involved in combat operations all over the place. America made a pre-emptive strike against Iraq. From there we began openly utilizing methods of interrogation that involve torture.
Some people do not like being subjected to the atrocities committed by their puppet government held in place by the Americans. Some people resent the fact that American military actions result in the deaths of their innocent loved ones. Some religious folks truly believe that American presence on their soil is sacrilegious to their beliefs.
Some of all of these types of people had their lives so shattered by American actions in their lands that they vowed to make America hurt. Terrorism resulted.
That’s the way it works – you get in somebody’s face, they get back in yours. Guaranteed blowback.
For the record, I strongly condemn the initiation of violence.
Well as it turns out, we still have this wonderful, if not completely forgotten and misused document known as the constitution which very clearly states that the federal government is responsible to the people for the defense of America – note the word “defense.” It also clearly states that Americans cannot be subjected to unreasonable search.
We the people need to understand that when we gave up our liberty, the terrorists won.
Now try this on:
Isn’t it ironic that when America is the world’s most powerful country, that we are actually more at risk and more afraid to live on our own soil? All of our great power and force has only brought violence directly to us.
Here’s Bill Bonner’s take:
We’ve never been mistreated by an agent of the TSA. Bullied, yes. Threatened, yes. They’ve been impolite on occasion. We’ve been patted down so vigorously we didn’t know whether to leave a tip or lodge a complaint.
But we try to maintain a sense of humor.
“The trouble with you, is you just don’t get it,” said a paranoid friend lately. “Can’t you see? This TSA has nothing to do with keeping out bad guys. It’s about keeping us in. They’re not really there to make the airlines safer. Instead, it is just a preparation. They are getting Americans accustomed to following orders, standing in line, and acting like half-wits. They are also training up a whole class of goons. These guys don’t ask whether it really makes sense to pat down girl scouts and look at old ladies naked. They just do whatever they’re told to do. And they probably enjoy it.
“There are always some people like that – ready to be concentration camp guards and exterminators. The TSA program helps the authorities identify these people.”
“Why”” we asked.
“Who knows…maybe they just want power. Maybe they just want a docile population so they can do what they want.”
A few years back we took a family trip to NYC. We were selected for the enhanced search. As American citizens with no cause for suspicion, I was humiliated when I saw my nearly 80 year old mother-in-law’s arms out in the “airplane” position. I understood how the Nazis pulled off the Holocaust.
I get the feeling that a lot of people are under the mistaken impression that submitting to the government mandates is necessary for the privilege of flying. But Americans never sacrifice their constitutional rights to the government.
As bizarre as it seems today, in truth, it is the government’s obligation to protect our rights – not take them away.
When you board a plane, if you have not given the authorities reasonable grounds to search you, then they cannot legally search you. It’s that simple. It really is. Seriously, it really is.
And I don’t want to hear that tired line, “if you have done nothing wrong, you have nothing to fear.” The very existence of that line gives one much to fear.
If you believe that the government’s rules and actions are protecting you, I would respectfully ask you to think that through again.
I’ve heard some comments from those in support of cooperating with invasive body inspections that if someone doesn’t want to go through the procedure, that’s OK – they should take another mode of transportation. I would suggest that if you are willing to give up your liberty by complying with unconstitutional actions then it is you who should find another mode of transportation.
Don’t let them touch your liberty.
P.S. I don’t vouch for the accuracy of the following demonstration of the radiation strip scanners, but on the surface it seems reasonable. Be forewarned that it is graphic and should not be watched if you are sensitive to reality.
It being Memorial Day, with the recent activity in Congress to finally do the right thing in this regard, and MOST importantly for the gay soldiers who have served in our military and died for our freedom, I submit the following, which I originally published in January 2009.
I abhor discrimination in any form. It is insidious – the social and economic costs are enormous. The lives that are diminished because of it reflect the real loss that our society endures. It is just plain common sense that we all lose out when we deny opportunity to those willing to take it.
Gay people cannot serve in America’s military. I’ve never understood the argument that someone’s sexual orientation affects their ability to do a job. I do understand that homophobic attitudes certainly impair the ability of gays to function in any capacity.
Under President Clinton, in order to compromise the rules regarding gays, the policy for all sides of the issue became, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” This is patently unfair. A person’s sexual orientation should not be a matter that needs to be revealed or hidden.
Yet, somehow this is still an issue. We need to get past it.
As a veteran of the US Air Force, I can say this… I was always proud to serve beside anyone else (gay or straight, black or white, believer or non-believer, etc.) who took the oath of serving in the military as seriously as I did. Can’t think of anyone I served with who didn’t feel the same general way.
And for those of you still clinging to the foolish concept that being gay is a choice, then I pose the following: If you believe being gay is choice, then you, yourself, should have the ability to choose to feel the same way emotionally and sexually to members of your own gender as you do about the other gender. If you cannot honestly do this, then you are on the road of awareness headed towards reality. On the other hand, if you can honestly do this, you probably have a suspicion that you may have been programmed bi-sexual.
However, the foregoing test is irrelevant when it comes to anyone’s rights as an American. It is important for all of us that gay people have the same rights as straight people because, ponder this, when anyone’s rights are infringed, everyone’s rights are infringed.
To the Gay Community, my apologies as you continue to face this discrimination, along with the other needless indignities you still endure. May it end soon.
Recently a death row inmate requested the firing squad as a final parting gift from the State of Utah.
I find it odd how odd America can be. In terms of a massive, centrally organized national government, we are gaga to emulate the experience of the far older Europeans, but unlike them we continue to have some serious interest in executing criminals…perhaps we just cannot let go of our puritanical past…
…and Frankly Francis, as usual, against the grain, is right where he is accustomed to finding himself: in favor of very limited national government and opposed to the death penalty. (Note to Self: if all else fails establish the single resident country of FranLand, name myself Ambassador to the U.S. and get full diplomatic immunity – yeah, that should work just fine.)
But if I am murdered, God forbid, please do not execute my killer. Mind you, I am not saying that I’d be in favor of letting that person walk the streets again. In that circumstance, I’d like to figure a way for that person to work for the benefit of my heirs…but I digress.
Murder – To kill (a person) unlawfully and with malice
Capital Punishment – Penalty of death for a crime
Throughout recorded history, governments and religions have freely dispensed the death penalty. Things, in their often circuitous way, move forward. In recent times, most of the generally considered civilized world has abolished capital punishment.
Old Testament Religion: The Principle of “An Eye For An Eye”
Pretty simple. You kill someone; the state kills you in return. Fair is Fair. You get what you give. There is ample religious support for this practice and it is very literally still used in parts of the world.
It should be noted that this also requires “stoning” to death your neighbor for adultery or homosexuality, amongst other things.
New Testament Religion: The Principle of “Turn the Other Cheek”
In spite of its idealism, we haven’t gotten there yet. I’m not thinking that we will be incorporating this into our jurisprudence any time soon.
But considering that in America, we have gotten the church out of the execution business, it leaves the job to the government.
Some Other Factors Against Capital Punishment
The government does, unwittingly or intentionally on occasion wrongfully accuse a citizen of something that they did not do. No one should die because of that.
When someone is executed, if it turns out that the individual was innocent, there is no redress – the wrong cannot be made right.
The death penalty has been shown to be used disproportionately against the poor and minorities in its application. If we are to keep it, then it needs to be applied equally.
It can be argued that life in prison, without parole, is a worse fate.
Killing someone is still (perhaps fortunately) not a “neat” process. Many executions are messy and are seen as cruel and unusual punishment by a significant number of Americans.
There are conflicting studies on whether capital punishment reduces serious crime, but the conflicting results should cause us to further study the issue.
When Something Is So Wrong It Can’t Be Right
I think that taking someone’s life is about as wrong as wrong can be…so wrong that it can never be right. We really need to get past killing each other and well, violence of any sort. We are a long ways from there, and we may never get there, but taking capital punishment out the hands of the government would be a very big step forward.
There really does not appear to be a definitive answer regarding the use of or the abolishment of the death penalty. Both sides make compelling arguments.
While always open to better understanding the opposing point of view, I remain against capital punishment and hope that Americans will join the many other people on this planet that have come to the same conclusion.
As each President before him has, President Obama renewed the U.S. Trade Embargo with Cuba the other day. I am reminded that sometimes bigger problems are more easily resolved when smaller problems are dispensed with.
So, let me suggest that we get rid of one needless albatross around our neck – our foreign policy towards Cuba. It is beyond overkill when one considers our relationship with China. We deal with the Communist Chinese, why not the Cubans?
History Since the Spanish-American War, we have incessantly meddled in affairs of state in Cuba. I’m not apologizing for America in this regard, but I’m not sure that history speaks all that well of U.S. actions during the last century. We have, in effect, laid siege upon Cuba in the hopes that if we could deny them enough quality of life type things, they would, in their hunger and despair, rid themselves of their form of government.
What They Did The installation of a communist government was of great concern and then the missile crisis really freaked us out. Perhaps they killed JFK? And of course, they have not had the courtesy to convert to a democratic way of life or at least overthrow Fidel Castro’s regime.
What We Did Our communist phobia (indeed a serious matter) has led to disproportionate treatment of our neighbor in the Gulf of Mexico. Naturally, CIA sponsored assassination attempts, support of overthrow efforts, such as The Bay of Pigs Invasion, along with the trade embargo leave the Cubans in the arms of their socialist comrades. Hello Hugo Chavez!
So? We should get over it. I think it is time we put the past behind us and once again become good friends with the Cubans.
If the Cuban people dealt with American tourists and benefited from trade with America, things would change favorably. Let’s whip some American capitalism and dollars upon the Cuban people and see what that does to their hearts and minds…
Cuba has been a much loved place by many Americans. In the past, Havana rocked. American writers, especially Hemingway, certainly were fans. Not to mention that I Love Lucy’s Ricky Ricardo is from Cuba. Babalu! And then there are those Cuban cigars.
I’ve been suspicious about the sage financial advice provided by the media, especially from people that yell a lot. The Daily Show’s segment (above) confirms my cynicism.
I am amazed that the media, and the government as well, can so easily get away with such abuse of fiduciary responsibility. On the other hand, it doesn’t seem that the American people really care about it either…Could there be a connection?
I feel compelled to comment upon the notorious dope smoking photo of US Mega Olympic Champion Michael Phelps – As a society, we seriously need to grow up.
Perhaps Michael Phelps smokes marijuana, perhaps he does not – I don’t care either way. We do have a picture of him hitting a bong, which he apparently does not deny.
Michael Phelps Doing What He Does Best
If it’s true, then we would all have to face the fact that you can win more gold medals in Olympic history and still smoke grass.
Is our civilization crumbling? Is the sky falling? Are we all lost?
When I was much younger, I realized that sooner or later, we would be able to rationally think through our position on marijuana and then re-legalize it. I still feel that way, but had no idea that the “later” would be so much later.
And to the Barney Fife Sheriff down there that has spent unbelievable amounts of money and manpower to get to the bottom of this heinous crime, I am truly glad that you are not my Sheriff. I suspect that the victims of rape, murder, assault & robbery in your jurisdiction wish that they had received the same amount of dedication of time and resources as the Michael Phelps photograph.