Jeff Neal for C.U.R.E. - Certain Unalienable Rights Endowment

Archive for April, 2012|Monthly archive page

If you’re in a hole, dig for a couple years longer.

In Opinion on April 23, 2012 at 10:23 pm

In the last 30 seconds or so of this clip (MSNBC Morning Joe clip) the self-proclaimed, dishonest Mr. Small Government Conservative, Joe Scarborough, announces that America ought to solve our nation’s long-term fiscal problems, but only after we take the next 2 or 3 years making them worse by spending our way to an improved economy.

Only someone who has spent too much time being seduced by White House operatives (I think Joe likes being liked) could possibly actually say that out loud and on TV.  And, that is what passes for a “conservative” in the media today – a man who will say to the Democrats “NO” just often enough to pass as someone who doesn’t smoke their weed every minute of every day.

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Where did all our goodness go?

In Opinion on April 23, 2012 at 4:44 pm

A life-long friend sent me this note today:

Is it time or is it place that has made people stop being good?

When we were born in Nashville, there were five hospitals.  St. Thomas, Baptist, Vanderbilt, Meharry, and General.  A Catholic, a Protestant, a private started by a wealthy business man, (Meharry was started with donations from three white brothers who wanted to provide healthcare for blacks), and a public hospital.  When I traveled later in life I noticed this pattern throughout the U.S.  In almost every large city I visited, there was a Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, and a private, sometimes not for profit hospital founded by a rich benefactor.

So, Nashville was not very different from those other places; it must not be place that caused or has suspended goodness.  It has to have something to do with time.

What has happened since the [early] 1960’s that prevents people from being good anymore. What has happened that has led part of America to believe that we will not pitch in together with charities like YMCA, Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, the Red Cross, etc. dang near to finitum?  (That’s Latin, southern style.)  Why does liberalism presupposes that men will only do good when forced?  We know from our experience that men will do good, nay best, when they are free.

The great irony is that only by force, by the reduction of freedom can modern liberalism accomplish their version of ‘good.’  It is the modern day equivalent of the clergy making us sin that grace may abound.

Good questions.

Any answers?

Are any of us free? or are we giving ourselves too much ‘free’ stuff?

In Opinion on April 23, 2012 at 10:31 am

Today, on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, one of the guests unwittingly revealed the thinking behind much of what’s wrong with our society.  The relevant (to my point) portion of the clip is the 15 seconds from 1:20 to 1:35 in the interview – after the 30 second commercial, sorry.  The guest is on the show to promote his recently published book and a medical training program for freelance journalists who are doing their jobs in war zones.  The exchange below is about the training program.  (Emphasis added)

GUEST AUTHOR:  It’s completely free.  The hotel is paid for.  The training is paid for, the medical kit [is paid for].

JOE SCARBOROUGH:  How’s the response?

GUEST AUTHOR:  It’s been great.  We have 100 people on the waiting list; we just need to raise more money.

Since it’s free, it’s no wonder they have a waiting list, right?  But, if it’s free, why do they need to raise more money?

You see, “free” when used in the context of an exchange of a product or service is short-hand for “free of charge to you.”

Nothing is free of charge.  There’s no free health care under ObamaCare, there’s not free education in the public schools, there’s not even a free cookie in a “baker’s dozen” or free channels on basic cable.

As more and more of us let someone else pay the bill, all that free stuff is going to cost us our very life, the only thing that is free.  In America, as constituted in 1789, we are meant to live our lives FREE of being compelled give to or take from other free men, with all of whom we share the quality of having been created equal[ly free].  However, our federal government is actively engaged in the lie that housing, food stamps, contraceptives and other such things are and should be, first, affordable and, eventually, ‘free’

Stop the lies.  Free the poor from the government’s chains before we’re all in the same chains.

 

PS – I do not mean to equate the author’s effort to raise money for an educational program with similar government actions.  The author does not have the power to force anyone to contribute to his cause, and I wish him success.  The government does possess that power.

Peggy Noonan Identifies the Symptons

In Opinion on April 21, 2012 at 11:08 am

A disease, like everything, starts at, uh, the beginning.

In today’s Wall Street Journal, Peggy Noonan writes of America’s Crisis of Character.  Ms. Noonan finds evidence of a decline in our level of maturity, so to speak, in some recent scandals – the GSA in Vegas, Secret Service in Columbia and others.  She suggests that there aren’t enough grown-ups around; casual Friday has led to Ah-What-the-Hell Saturday thru Thursday.

Where’s the beginning?  It doesn’t start with casual Friday.  It’s deeper and wider than that.

The genesis of the decline is many-faceted and has innumerable beginnings.  Hollywood, rap music, pop culture, excessive campaign spending, corporate greed, sexual promiscuity, Fox News, MSNBC, . . . the list is endless.

And, then there’s government policy.  Some people object to high taxes.  Some object to limits on government spending to fix what ails us.

This note suggested a different problem that I think is at the root of our national disease and our lack of discipline.

Some complaints are more apt than others

“It’s my money, stop taking it from me” is a common complaint.  The additional, more important objection is about the effect of government’s use of the money it is taking from us.  When the government exercises powers we haven’t granted it in our Constitution, that very act does harm to our country’s societal fabric, no matter its beneficent intentions.  To ignore that document is to invite harm, in every instance.  Any breach of that contract frays our bond to one another as sovereign individuals, as that, our individual sovereignty, is the essential component of the document.  Any breach can not be said to affect only a few (the rich); any breach affects all; all men are created equal, and government favoring one person at the expense of another is antithetical to the document’s essence and purpose.

Welfare and other programs meant to help the ‘needy’ are perfect examples.  The supposed beneficiaries of government largesse are being enslaved.  Those programs abet dependency and drown the dignity of self-reliance.  Our primary moral obligation – the responsibility to ourselves to live productively – is displaced by the skill of gaming the system.  Don’t produce, we’ll take care of you, is the standard.  Access is the coin of the realm.

Inevitably, living by that standard produces nothing, or, nothing except conceit and rivalry.  Along the way, there’s a widening disconnect between two classes of society, and the government expands to fill the void.  The producers, the ‘rich’ are absolved of any responsibility (“I gave at the [IRS] office”).  The ‘poor’ are taught they owe an allegiance to Uncle Sam, rather than a ‘thank you’ to their helpful neighbor or community church.  They repay their benefactor with a vote, and the trade is even and closed.  That finite trade displaces a better, ongoing trade, in which, if the help is truly helpful, it leads to an improved status and the ability to repay the favor by helping the next unlucky soul, and so on.  My $1.00 for the panhandler is not given so he can buy his next meal, it’s given to enable his next productive act, else I keep the $1.00.

When the federal government replaces individuals and local communities as the dispenser of kindness, a downward spiral ensues.  We experience a culture and set of societal norms that inspire us to wonder every day if we missed the memo that said there’s no longer any meaning to the words normal and responsible, no recognition of what the meaning of the word “is” is.  We experience a crisis of character.

Lower government spending doesn’t help the rich, it frees the poor and builds national character.

Want to help the poor? Want to tax the rich? Will you chose a side in The Civil War II.

In Opinion on April 14, 2012 at 5:31 pm

President’s Weekend Address of April 14

Our president took 4 minutes and 15 seconds in his weekly address to tell us that the economic future of our country hinges on whether or not he can convince enough members of Congress to vote for the Buffett Rule.  We’re told that we need everyone “to play by the same rules” because we have “deficits to close” and we can’t “continue to spend more than we take in” while millionaires and billionaires pay lower tax rates than their secretary.  It’s “simple – if you make more than a million dollars, you should not pay the same tax rate as a middle class family.”  That’s “all there is too it.”  We need to “invest in education, research and new sources of energy.”

Baloney.

The Buffett Rule would purportedly collect $47.5 billion over ten years – the government will spend approximately 100 times that over the same period.  So, clearly this isn’t about the spending or budgetary priorities.

OH, and there’s this.  How is it ‘fair’ that after a person has made more than $X, the rules should change.  Is his next hour of earnings worth less money?  If I’m digging a ditch next to, say, a black man, maybe Michael Jordan’s son, and he has a trust fund that pays him $1,000,000 per year, is an hour of my ditch digging worth more than his?  If not, why should he put less in his pocket for the same amount of labor?  How is that moral?

Our progressive tax code is immoral.  Why should 90% of the country have the power to tell 10% of the country that they have to live by a different set of rules?  How is that just?  What if all the right-handed people (a majority) voted to make lefties pay a tax premium = to 10% of their income?  Would that be moral?  How does making more money make a man less entitled to keep the same proportion of his next dollar of income as his neighbor who makes less money?  “He doesn’t really need it” is not a moral defense, it’s a judgment and a rationalization.  It is an offense to the principle of fairness – fairness absent the skewing effect of envy, that is.

More importantly, what the government does with $3.7 trillion per year is more disturbing as a moral matter than the confiscation of that money from the ‘rich.’  The government is enslaving millions and millions of our fellow citizens by making them dependent on their next government check.  They are locked into a state of mind that stifles their very humanity, their will to produce for themselves, their right to be self reliant, deprived of, dare I say it, their right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  That the government does this in the name of fairness, hiding their sin of buying other men’s lives under the cover of charity and benevolence is clever and grotesque.

America, it’s time to stand up for the poor.  It’s time to stop taxing the rich so that politicians can buy and sell the lives of their entitled classes.  If we don’t stop that crime against humanity, we are not worthy of the legacy our founders offered us, and it’s time to let the collapse occur so free men can start anew and refound a nation that protects the rights our Creator bestows upon every man.

Our first Civil War was over, among other secondary issues, slavery.  So is the one we’re headed for today.  Which side are you on – the slaves or the master?  Are you for freeing the slaves [again] or are you cheering for a benevolent government?  Are you cheering for taxing the rich and empowering the government to enslave more and more of your neighbors?

Choose.  Soon.

To abstain is to enslave yourself; the government will own you whether you’re rich or poor.

Hey, Mom, shut up already.

In Opinion on April 13, 2012 at 3:04 pm

Why is everyone debating the value of motherhood or the virtue of stay-at-home moms vs. moms who draw a paycheck outside of the home?

This clip from CNN started the kerfuffle.

Hilary Rosen of CNN didn’t insult mothers who stay at home.  No, she merely said they don’t count, and that their opinions are not worthy of an airing.  Consequently, in Ms. Rosen’s opinion, Mitt Romney should never waste his time getting input from his wife of 40 years, because she”hasn’t worked a day in her life.”  Then, after that insult (any other way to read it otherwise?) at the end of this clip, she accuses Mr. Romney of being an “old fashioned” man who “doesn’t really see [women] as equals.”

Actually, I would suggest that Mr. Romney does indeed see his wife as his equal, that’s why he looks to her for advice and counsel.  Ms. Rosen is guilty of blatant disrespect of Mrs. Romney.  Ms. Rosen said explicitly that Mrs. Romney had no business expressing her views on economic matters, that her husband’s reliance on her was somehow wrong and ill-advised.  Her attempt to cover up the insult by ‘apologizing’ by way of saying something like ‘a rich woman can’t know what it’s like to be poor’ (true, and a duck can’t know what it’s like to be a frog) doesn’t undo the insult.  It’s merely a distraction, and not an interesting one at that.  I don’t think we want only poor people in government, and I’m certain we don’t want any [more] ducks there, even if we do need some duck experts.

All of this makes me wonder – what other people lose their right to have an opinion because of their status in life? Who else doesn’t count?

Politicians: are they Mockingbirds or Mocking Birds?

In Opinion on April 10, 2012 at 9:14 am

Wall Street Journal’s Wm McGurn addresses Trayvon Martin case – sort of.

Where is Atticus Finch? Everyone seems to be on either Trayvon Martin’s or George Zimmerman’s side.  Atticus Finch was on the side of the LAW.  Harper Lee’s choice to write the book so that Finch’s client appeared to be innocent (though found guilty by the jury) didn’t make Atticus the hero; standing up for the law, BEFORE he knew the verdict, made Atticus the hero.  Who’s taking that position today?  Has anyone stood up for the law, or is everyone, as usual, picking a side, as if they’re watching a football game?

And, when the game is over, since no one stood up for the law, it will be the umpires’ fault when one side doesn’t win and we will experience another national, unbridgeable divide between US and THEM, and ‘justice’ will be a meaningless word in this regard, and increasingly in general.  Today, there are no leaders, no heroes who stand for blind justice and equality before the law.  There are only grotesque politicians who turn every event into a way to gain favor with a voting block in order to advance their own quests for power.

And we cheer it on, oblivious to the disaster that will destroy us when the reign of power politics displaces the rule of law.

My son wrote a text to me last night about today’s politicians.  “What planet are they from?  I can’t imagine using my entire life simply to trick people into thinking I’m smart so they’ll let me control them.”

Son, they’re from planet earth; but not from the republic our founders meant for us to inhabit.  They’ll tug at any loose thread if it gives them more control.  Nothing, not the law, not justice, and certainly not your right to live free will get in their way.  The miracle of America hangs in the balance.

Where is Atticus Finch?