Sunday, March 30, 2008

Thoughts From A Recovering Addict

I find it rather amazing how uninformed the people of this country are in regards to so many issues. Not only are Americans uninformed about many things, a good percentage of us are arrogant and think that we are better than the rest of the world. I witnessed that a lot as a service member assigned overseas. Far too many Americans were unwilling to learn the language or the customs of the host country, and they treated the locals as second rate people. Even back then I was ashamed to be an American because of the way my countrymen acted.

That arrogance is no more predominant than in our governments foreign policy. Does the United States not feel they are the champions of democracy and it is their duty/obligation to ensure that the rest of the world has a democratic system of government? Why are we always trying to impose our values upon the rest of the world?

How many people have stopped to consider that maybe the rest of the world doesn't want our values, our system of government, or anything else that we offer them, (except maybe our money, and lately they don't even want that due to the value of the dollar). Have we ever stopped to consider that the people of the world must find us hypocrites? After all, our country isn't doing too well now, is it? Could it be that the rest of the world does not have that cloud of arrogance impairing their vision and their thought processes. Maybe the rest of the world sees the truth, that the American system, while originally was sound, is now failing and that America is on life support with a terminal condition.

I think it is quite possible that the rest of the world pictures America much like we picture a person addicted to methamphetamines. After all, doesn't a person addicted to methamphetamines live their lives in a drug induced euphoria oblivious to the harm they are doing to themselves? Yet those who are not addicted to the drug can clearly see the damage that the drug is doing to the addict. So, while the addict continues their self destructive behavior, the rest of the people shun the addict in disgust.

Could it be that our arrogance, our ignorance, and our apathy are the drug of choice for Americans, and the rest of the world is just sitting back watching this country implode?

Our country was once the land of opportunity, and arguably the best place in the world to live. Our system of government, while not perfect, provided the best form of government which balanced the rights of the people with the powers needed to maintain harmony between the states.

James Madison once said about our form of government,

“If we resort for a criterion to the different principles on which different forms of government are established, we may define a republic to be, or at least may bestow that name on, a government which derives all its powers directly or indirectly from the great body of the people, and is administered by persons holding their offices during pleasure, for a limited period, or during good behavior.”

Take a second and think about that, re-read it if you must, for it is of great importance. Whatever powers our government has it gets from us. If they abuse it, (which they have), we have the right and the moral obligation to either remove the offenders from office or to take that power away from them altogether. Before that can happen, the people must first become aware that an abuse of power and authority has occurred. That is hard when you are lied to on so many fronts that you have to spend hours seeking out the truth. But as James Madison once said, "Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives." It is therefore your duty, your responsibility to keep yourselves informed.

It is in this context that I like to consider myself a recovering addict. I was at one time just as blind to the truth as the majority of this country. I accepted the fact that America was still the greatest place in the world, (and still could be, but not for much longer), that our government was still the best in the world, and that nothing America did could possibly be wrong.

My withdrawal symptoms were painful. I first had to accept that I had been lied to for most of my life by people who I cared for. I had to accept that these people had been lied to themselves and had bought into the lie. I had to accept that the institutions in place to educate me had lied to me, or worse, knew the truth but were spreading the lie to keep me enslaved for the benefit of some unseen masters. I had to accept that much of what I had been taught about our nations history was a lie, much of what I had been told about my government was a lie, and most of what my government tells me is a lie as well.

Once I accepted the fact that I had been lied to, I had to begin the arduous task of educating myself. To erase everything I had been taught and re-learn the truth concerning two hundred plus years of history is a very time consuming process. I have been in the process of doing that for over four years now, and every day I learn something new. I may never know the full truth, but I am constantly seeking it.

The final stage of my recovery was anger. I became angry at my government for lying to me and abusing the trust I had placed in them. I became angry at the schools I attended for hiding the truth from me, or at least teaching a watered down, politically correct version of it. I became angry at the news media for either openly lying to me, or at least of shielding me from the truth. Finally I am beginning to get angry at the rest of the people of this country who refuse to admit that something is terrible wrong with this country, even when confronted with undeniable facts.

Al Gore recently wrote a book entitled 'An Inconvenient Truth' concerning the subject of Global Warming. I have decided to provide, what I call, a few painful truths that people need to hear about the United States of America.

I am hoping that one of these truths will strike a nerve with you, spark your interest so that you begin to THINK on your own. I am hoping that you will begin to question what you have been taught, and the things you being told. If I can crack open that cloud of ignorance, let one truth filter in, our country may still stand a chance.

Painful Truth Number 1. The United States of America is broke, absolutely bankrupt. Our government does not have a dime with which to buy a cup of coffee without going further into debt. Our current national debt is an astronomical $9.4 TRILLION. That is how much money our country has borrowed from others to keep itself operating.

NATIONAL DEBT CLOCK

I find there is a lot of confusion between the terms the national debt and the budget deficit. In simple terms, if you make $100 a day and you spend $110 a day, the $10 difference is the deficit, it is merely a shortfall of funds. To continue that level of spending you have to use some form of credit, either take out a loan, or use a credit card. The amount you borrow above and beyond what you take in income is your debt. The same principle applies to our government, they have spent NINE TRILLION more than they have taken in in from us in the form of taxes. The interest alone on that debt is over $400 billion dollars a year. To put that into comparison, the average expenditure for education in this country is only $61 billion annually.

Right now, if every man, woman, and child in this country were required to come up with the money to pay their share of this debt, we would, each of us, have to write out a check for $31,000. Yet instead of reigning in their spending our government continues to spend money in a fashion that would put a drunken sailor on shore leave to shame.

Consider that as of this date our government has spent $506 billion on the Iraq War, with no end in sight. That is $341 million dollars a day to fight a war that has no sign of ending. (I am not arguing for or against the justification for being there, just commenting on the cost)

Consider this, although our nation is not taking in enough money to finance it's own operations, yet it intends to give out $1200 stimulus checks to the people in the hopes that the money spent will stimulate our ailing economy and create jobs.

Aside from the fact that the only thing it is going to stimulate is the economy of China I would like to think about that from an economic viewpoint for a just a moment. Consider that the U.S. has a population of over 300 million, and if the government only intends to give that $1200 rebate check to 50% of the people, that still totals $180 billion. Where are they going to get this money from? They are going to have to borrow it, that is where they are going to get it. But hey, it is only $180 billion. What's that compared to $9.4 trillion?

The blame for this massive debt can be laid at the feet of each and every American, as they are unwilling to hold their elected officials accountable. Instead of demanding that our government stop the spending, they hold their hands out to the benevolent government, saying GIMME, GIMME, GIMME! We have untold numbers of people flocking to Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama because they are promising us all affordable health care. The whole entitlement mentality, (which began with Franklin Roosevelt and his New Deal), the thought that the government owes them something, or at least is responsible for taking care of them, at the expense of others is ruining this country and nobody wants to admit it.

Thomas Jefferson once said that "The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not." Jefferson also said "To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical." and, "Congress has not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but only those specifically enumerated."

People have been told by the news media and their elected representatives that our economy is in trouble because of predatory lending practices in the housing market and the associated foreclosures. Just wait until the majority of the baby boomers retire and see what happens to our countries finances then. Are you willing to pay higher taxes so that you can finance their retirement and medical expenses?
Painful Truth Number 2- You as an individual mean nothing to your government. As they run for office they can make all the promises concerning your health and well being they want, but the truth is that once they get into office you are nothing more than a meaningless slave to them.

If they cared why would they allow America, which used to be a manufacturing giant, exporting goods all over the world, to become a nation that imports a vast majority of the things we consume. Our trade deficit with countries like China continue to grow at an alarming rate? Why is it that Made In The USA used to be the standard for quality in the world and is now something which is becoming harder and harder to find?

While it is not funny, I have to laugh whenever my wife's family in the Philippines tell me that they want me to send them goods made in the USA. I tell them to read the labels on the things they ask for, they are most likely made in China, Taiwan, Mexico, Bangladesh, or even their homeland of the Philippines, but most certainly not in the USA.

What has happened to all the jobs in this country? It used to be that when you went to work for a major corporation you were set for life. You received a decent salary, good benefits and a good retirement package. Not anymore, downsizing and plant closures are so common that we have become numb to them, until one of them affects us personally.

Yet why is that the pay of the CEO's of these corporate giants continues to skyrocket? If the minimum wage had kept up at an equal percentage to the pay of the CEO's it would be $26 an hour now!

Our jobs are being lost at an astonishing rate, but the president tells us that jobs are being created. He is partly true, but he fails to mention that they are service oriented jobs. The manufacturing industry, which is the backbone of any economy, has been decimated.

Where did these jobs go? To find out you only have to read the labels on the things you buy. They invariably say, Made in China, Made in Bangladesh, Made in Mexico....Get the picture? Why should these greedy corporate giants pay you a good salary and provide you with benefits when they can find sweatshop laborers in some other country?

Then there is the fact that a good percentage of the remaining high tech jobs have been outsourced to India? What about the importation of slave laborers, commonly known as illegal immigrants, who work for a pittance of what Americans are used to? What about the push by people like Bill Gates to up the number of H1B visas for foreign workers? We are getting squeezed out of jobs with the importation and exportation of our industrial base. Soon we will be a third world nation just like those from which we draw our labor force now.

Yet your government allows this to happen. They refuse to take any serious measures to seal off our border, to impose fines upon companies that hire illegal workers. The news makes a big deal about showing the raids where they round up these illegal alien workers. However, we never hear about any hard time in prison for the employers. If they started having to spend time in prison I bet those jobs would soon be opening up to Americans at decent wages.

On top of that our tax code is set up so that the companies that send their jobs overseas get massive tax breaks. Our government knows this and they thumb their nose at us while our taxes go up and we lose our jobs. Yet we sit back and watch these people blatantly lie to us about creating jobs.

Painful Truth Number 3. Which is a continuation of the preceding, is why is the government allowing this to happen? They are not allowing it to happen, they are orchestrating it! America is owned by the banks, and I do not mean Bank of America! I am talking about the big banks of which the Federal Reserve Bank is but a minor player. These banks pull the strings that make our elected representatives dance.

America had grown to be a huge economic success and that threatened their plans for world governance. It is not enough that they have more money than they could spend in ten lifetimes, they want the whole world to bow to their demands. So they set about to destroy us economically. They bought politicians, the media, then they gained control of our monetary system via the Federal Reserve Act. Once they had control of the printing of our money, and they had a handful of politicians in their hand, our countries fate was sealed.

Now via the FED these banks control our economy by the raising and lowering of interest rates. The FED can create economic booms and downturns at will. On top of that the outsourcing and insourcing of cheap laborers is depressing our wages dragging down the standard of living for American workers.

On top of that our government is spending money like crazy. A good percentage of the money they are borrowing is from the FED, which they create out of thin air with nothing to back it up.

I used to remember my father telling me about all of the gold in Fort Knox which backed up our paper money. It used to be that you could read on a dollar bill that the Federal Reserve Note was exchangeable for gold at any Federal Reserve Bank, not any more. When that gold backing disappeared the FED could create as much paper money they wanted. The result is inflation.

When too much currency is floating around, it loses its values causing things to cost more. You may think that the price has risen, but it hasn't, not that much anyway. Think about it for a moment. Say you have an imaginary economy and there are 1 million pieces of currency floating around to sustain that economy. In this economy you want to buy a dozen eggs. The price of the eggs is, say $1. So you pay for your eggs and all is well. Then those in control of the economy decide to place another million pieces of currency into circulation. Now instead of your money being equal to its full value of $1, it is worth 50%, or fifty cents. The next time you go to buy eggs you find that they have gone up to $2. You say to yourself that prices have risen, but they have not, your money has just become half as valuable due to inflation.

Thomas Jefferson was a very wise man and he made two statements that describe exactly what has happened to this country.

“We must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our election between economy and liberty or profusion and servitude.”

He also said,

“If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their money, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them (around the banks), will deprive the people of their property until their children will wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.”

Painful Truth Number 4, you no longer have any rights. Everyone, or at least I hope everyone, knows what the Bill of Rights is. It is a series of ten amendments to the Constitution that protect specific rights of the citizenry that the government was, under no circumstances to violate. Let's see how well they have done.

The First amendment, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

Let me see now, freedom to freely exercise your religious beliefs...Tell your kids to praying in a school and see how well that goes over. You might just offend someone who does not believe in God. Yet they have the right to play music laced with obscenities that offends you. You can practice your religion as freely as you want, AS LONG AS YOU DO IT INDOORS WHERE NO ONE ELSE HAS TO HEAR YOU. I wonder how well that would have went over with John the Baptist?

That ties in with the freedom of speech as well. If you cannot freely pray or practice your faith, you are not as free in your speech as you thought, are you? Aside from that, try using a racial slur and see what happens, not that I condone using them, but just try it and see what happens. You will be labeled a racist or possibly charged with hate speech. Can't happen? Have you read House Resolution 1592, The Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007? Your freedom of speech is now being monitored and punished according to governmental regulation, and soon your thoughts will be as well.

How about freedom to peaceably assemble? Try holding a rally or a protest somewhere without obtaining the proper permits. See whether you are allowed to continue or hauled off to jail. How free is does your speech sound now? Looks like the first amendment is pretty much shot to bits.

The second amendment. "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."

Do we have a well regulated militia which can provide for the security of free states? Hmmm, if you consider that in modern times the militia is considered the National Guard, I would say the answer is no. Not when their supplies are being used overseas to defend the freedom of the Iraqi people. We can't protect the states too well when their supplies are half way across the globe.

What exactly is a militia anyway? According to U.S. Code, Title 10, Subtitle A, Part I, Chapter 13, § 311 the militia is:

(a) The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the National Guard.
(b) The classes of the militia are—
(1) the organized militia, which consists of the National Guard and the Naval Militia; and
(2) the unorganized militia, which consists of the members of the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the Naval Militia.

Maybe according to section (b)(2) we do have a militia after all. However I venture to bet that the government would never call upon the citizens of this country to defend it from something like, say thousands of illegal aliens crossing our borders in what can only be described as an invasion. No, that just wouldn't do at all! Then again how many people would be willing to, as George Washington once said, "It may be laid down as a primary position, and the basis of our system, that every Citizen who enjoys the protection of a Free Government, owes not only a proportion of his property, but even of his personal services to the defense of it."

How about the right to keep and bear arms not being infringed upon? How many gun laws has our government passed? How much hassle has it become for a law abiding citizen to purchase a firearm? Can you carry a gun on your person without a permit? Need I say more? Looks like the second amendment is shot to pieces as well, (no pun intended).

The third amendment, "No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law." This one, for the time being, is still intact. One for our side.

The fourth amendment? "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

Have you read the Patriot Act in its entirety? Section 213 of the Patriot Act, otherwise known as the Sneak and Peek Provision, allows any federal law enforcement agency to enter your home or business without you being present to collect evidence and they do not ever have to tell you they have been there. This violates the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution.

Sections 202 & 216 also allow any federal law enforcement agency to monitor your internet traffic, read your e mails and intercept your cell phone calls, if they suspect that you are committing a crime. No warrant is required. This violates the Fourth as well as the Fifth Amendment. By way of these two infractions the fourth amendment has been shredded.

The Fifth Amendment, "No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation."

Due process, what's that? Have you read Senate Bill 3930, Pub. L. No. 109-366 Stat. 2600, otherwise known as the Military Commissions Act? If you are defined as a terrorist, whether it be domestic or otherwise, you can now be imprisoned without charges, denied legal representation, and brought before a military tribunal due to the authority granted our government under the Military Commissions Act. Your family may never see your face again, and they have no legal recourse to obtain information regarding your status. The Military Commissions Act thumbs its nose at the fifth, sixth and the eighth amendments as well.

The Sixth Amendment- "In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense."

The Seventh Amendment-"In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law." For the time being this amendment appears to be in tact as well. Our government appears to be happy to allow us to sue each other for any number of frivolous reasons.

The Eighth Amendment-"Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted." What about no bail? (Does the term waterboarding mean anything to you?) This amendment is shot as well.

The Ninth Amendment? "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."

Read that again just to make sure you understand what it says. In common terms, it means this, the federal government cannot pass laws infringing upon a right just because the Constitution does not specifically state that you have that right. You may be hard pressed to find a right that hasn't been legislated upon by your state or local government, but the federal government has no right to pass laws infringing upon a right just because that right is not mentioned in the Constitution. Can you count how many laws violate these unspoken rights? This amendment is a draw because you don't have any rights once you consider that if the federal government hasn't passed a law about them, the state or local governments have.

Finally, the tenth amendment? "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people."

Let me see, where in the Constitution does it give the federal government the power to dictate what can and cannot be taught in our schools? Where does it give the federal government the ability to restrict private use of the airwaves? Where does it say in the Constitution that the government can mandate environmental policies? Get the picture? Those rights are for the states alone and the federal government has no business butting into the rights of the states. So this amendment is shot to pieces as well.

Let's tally up our score. Out of ten amendments, seven are gone, two are wins for us, and the other a draw. Or in terms all you football fans will understand, we have a 2-1-7 record. Not too good. Still think we are free?

Although our government claims that all the things they do are based upon good intentions I would like to remind you what Daniel Webster said about good intentions, "Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority. It is hardly too strong to say that the Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions."

These are just a few of the painful truths I have learned on my journey to freedom from the addiction to ignorance, apathy and arrogance. There are many more, but I hope that I have given you enough reason to question the supposed truth you have been told. However there will always be those who choose to remain in their comfort zone of ignorance and apathy. For those of you who choose this option, for those of you who wish to keep your heads buried in the sand, hiding from the truth of what is happening in this country, I have only one thing to say, 'You know, while you are bent over with your head in the sand with your butt sticking up in the air like that, there is always someone who is willing to come along and screw you."

Our national anthem says that we are the '...land of the free and the home of the brave.' I suggest we change it to '...the land of the meek and the home of the slaves.' As I said, you may think you are free because you don't see the bars to your cell, but they are there, they are invisible, and you have allowed your government to put them there.

16 comments:

Cashu said...

Outstanding, Neal. This has to be one of the finest explanations of how the late, great nation of the United States of America devolved to this current sorry state of affairs.

This column is the perfect compliment to Aaron Russo's film, "America: Freedom to Fascism."

You've got me hooked. Can't wait to see what you write about next... Cashu

broostersmom said...

You have a gift for writing. What you wrote made me almost cry for two reasons: one, you wrote about things of which I have just learned and "soapbox" about all the time now, and two, I don't see how we can ever get our America back again. I want to be a part of fixing the problems but there needs to be many "me's" (not mini me's!) to make it work.

neal said...

Broostermom....I am glad you enjoy my writing. I know how you feel about feeling like we can't get our country back. As long as there are people who will vote for an elected official based upon a few 30 second ads on TV we don't stand a chance. As long as people go back to watching American Idol or NASCAR, or the NFL the day after the elections, we don't stand a chance.

It is hard for people to accept that they have been lied to about so many things. Kind of like the Matrix when Neo is first shown the truth and he almost suffers a breakdown.

The problem with hiding from the truth is that eventually it will find you no matter how well you have hidden. Then people will complain, "Why didn't someone tell me?" And if I sound like I am angry now, wait till that happens!

Anonymous said...

I was agreeing with you until:

[quote]The blame for this massive debt can be laid at the feet of each and every American, as they are unwilling to hold their elected officials accountable. Instead of demanding that our government stop the spending, they hold their hands out to the benevolent government, saying GIMME, GIMME, GIMME! We have untold numbers of people flocking to Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama because they are promising us all affordable health care. The whole entitlement mentality, (which began with Franklin Roosevelt and his New Deal), the thought that the government owes them something, or at least is responsible for taking care of them, at the expense of others is ruining this country and nobody wants to admit it.[/quote]

That's rubbish.

Military expenditure could EASILY be diverted into a comprehensive healthcare programme, with change.

Universal Healthcare is NOT something to degrade as 'entitlement mentality' - WHY shouldn't ALL americans be entitled to healthcare?

The only "entitlement mentality" you should attack is corporate, and elite entitlement. Society IS about entitlement - and about responsibilty to provide such entitlement as healthcare, education, security, community, culture, liberty.........

People ARE entitled to those things - and people ARE responsible for providing them.

neal said...

Anonymous

You are more than welcome to disagree with me, it is your prerogative and your right under the first amendment. However I am also entitled to disagree with you, and this is what I have to say in response.


Since you included that whole paragraph in your post, I am not sure what part of it you consider ‘rubbish’. I am hoping that you only take offense because I brought up the subject of Health Care, as I can deal with that. If, however, you are however claiming that the entitlement mentality in this country is not to blame for a good percentage of our monetary problems, then I don’t know what to say as the facts prove otherwise.

Before I get in to any specifics, I would like for you to read the following quotes by Thomas Jefferson. My thoughts will be included in the parenthesis after each quote.

“A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have.”

(Think about that for a moment. If we let government get so big that they are coddling us from cradle to grave, then they also have complete control over our lives. We would no longer be a free people, instead we would merely be servants to a government that could cut off our benefits if we misbehave or no longer prove useful.)

“To lay taxes to provide for the general welfare of the United States, that is to say, 'to lay taxes for the purpose of providing for the general welfare.' For the laying of taxes is the power, and the general welfare the purpose for which the power is to be exercised. They are not to lay taxes ad libitum for any purpose they please; but only to pay the debts or provide for the welfare of the Union.”

(Read this one carefully, particularly the last sentence. It says that the government is to lay taxes for the general welfare of the Union, not the individual.)

“Congress has not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but only those specifically enumerated.”

(Again, while I do not argue that everyone should be able to have health care, I do not think the Constitution grants the government the power to either mandate it, or fund it.)

“The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.”

(And this is what is happening, our government is no longer doing its job as specified in the Constitution, instead it is making the rules up as it goes, much of the time based upon public opinions, desires, and consequently our nation is floundering.)

“To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.”

(This covers the whole entitlement concept. I do not like having my wages taxed then having that money sent overseas in the form of foreign aid, spent on supplemental income programs for those who cannot find a job, or worse, are unwilling to find a job. I know that jobs are hard to come by these days, but when I go grocery shopping and I see some guy paying for his groceries with food stamps, then pay for his booze with a wad of $100 bills that would make me gag, I get mad. Then when I see them outside loading all that food, which by the way is better than I can afford to buy, into a brand new SUV, I get really mad. So this idea that the government is there to provide for those who are less fortunate is what is the real rubbish in my opinion.)

You say that military expenditure could easily be diverted into a comprehensive healthcare program, with money left over.

Are you talking about the money wasted in Iraq and Afghanistan, or are you talking about the annual defense budget? I agree that the spending in Iraq is putting us into a financial hole we may not be able to climb out of and it should stop. However the fact of the matter is that we are borrowing our country into bankruptcy to pay for it. So we would still have to borrow to pay for any comprehensive health care program.

If you are talking about the annual defense budget, that is another thing altogether. Do you suggest we abandon the military? I was a service member for over 13 years. I know how poorly they are paid, and the first thing they do when military funding is cut, is reduce the pay raises for the troops. They will still find the money to get their new equipment even if it means the troops have to suffer at poverty level.

While I do not support government run health care, if you are serious about it, and you think we should take funds designated from one area where the government spends them to pay for your idea of health care, why don’t we stop the payment of all foreign aid, stop the payment of dues to the United Nations, and stop giving education and other benefits to illegal aliens and their children via the fraudulent interpretation of the 14th amendment.

You say, “The only "entitlement mentality" you should attack is corporate, and elite entitlement. Society IS about entitlement - and about responsibilty to provide such entitlement as healthcare, education, security, community, culture, liberty.........

People ARE entitled to those things - and people ARE responsible for providing them.”

I agree that corporations are neglecting to provide benefits such as health care for their employees, and that is wrong. No argument there. I also think corporations who outsource their labor so they won’t have to pay decent wages or provide benefits is wrong, probably criminally so. However, society as a whole is not responsible for providing ’entitlements’ for others. Charity and other means of donating time, money and supplies are fine, but to mandate it means that it no longer is charity.

Finally, health care costs have gone up due to numerous reasons, one of which is the cost of dealing with the paperwork required by the HMO’s. Can you imagine how much it would go up if the government, which spends $300 for a toilet seat, takes over? If you believe that government run health care would be any better, I suggest you go to YouTube and watch the following video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X_Rf42zNl9U

Finally, when I was born my father used to always tell me that life wasn’t easy, that nothing was guaranteed except death and taxes. In my research I came across a quote by Ben Franklin which says my thoughts better than I could,

“The Constitution only gives people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself.” In other words, it isn’t the governments job to provide you with these ‘entitlements’, and if you believe it is, you do in fact have an entitlement mentality.

TLNL (formerly anon) said...

In reply to neal:

The constitution can say whatever people want it to. It can be amended as necessary.

USA debt must be paid somehow - whatever happens. The most obvious way is to cut spending and raise taxes ie cut massive military spending, raise taxes (especially on the rich).

Nobody wants to hear "Raise taxes!" - but that's the problem, isn't it - that nobody wants to hear it, let alone do it, let alone themselves PAY it. The hard truth is, that is what is needed.

Preventive healthcare, such as in cuba, is cheaper and can be seen as a very positive contributor to "society" - through employment and improvements in general welfare. An ounce of prevention.......etc

Why should healthcare be profitable? Why should education be profitable? Of course these things "cost". But isn't healthcare in and of itself "profitable" - isn't education?

“The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.”

But never forget those "unwilling to work" will always exist - and if not given due respect they will undermine society and democracy themselves. Victorians called it enlightened self-interest........

ie unless positive support is given to "the great unwashed" then support will have to be given them, through prisons, police, justice system etc. It costs approx $60,000 to keep a prisoner per year - money which would never presently be spent preventing someone becoming a criminal in the first place.

Why not just give 'criminals' some of that capital instead ie invest in people, before the need to punish them? (Crime is essentially economic.)

And if anyone believes Government is simply a scheme to provide handouts to the unworthy then I suggest they try to get a handout for themselves. The state seems a bit stingey then, right?

“A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have.”

(Think about that for a moment. If we let government get so big that they are coddling us from cradle to grave, then they also have complete control over our lives. We would no longer be a free people, instead we would merely be servants to a government that could cut off our benefits if we misbehave or no longer prove useful.)


Strangely contradictory? You apparently criticise "entitlement culture" but fear a government able to remove "entitlements"?

Isn't that analogous to saying one is against a government ensuring your human rights because that same government could remove those rights?

IMO such things are issues of democracy - how to make a state responsive to genuine democratic expression.

If the state can be made democratically responsive to social needs such as education, healthcare, security, housing etc - then the likelihood it will be authoritarian and employ arbitrary abusive power is at the same time diminished, else how could it be democratically responsive etc in the first place? The state either IS accountable, or it isn't. No unaccountable state is going to force upon "the people" that which they want.......likewise no accountable state is going to force upon "the people" that which they don't want.

society as a whole is not responsible for providing ’entitlements’ for others.

Yes it is. But likely therein is the essence of our disagreement? :)

Humans are social creatures. Deeply social - essentially social. Each of us has a responsibilty to others - to grant them liberty to do as they wish, for instance. That's a responsibility, yes? Society cannot exist without it?

Anonymous said...

try using a racial slur and see what happens, not that I condone using them, but just try it and see what happens. You will be labeled a racist or possibly charged with hate speech.

What is your point?

What will happen if racial slurs are used? How do you know? Have you experience?

And why shouldn't someone be "labelled" a racist if they use racial slurs? What would you rather they were called?

If you are entitled to use racial slurs freely, presumably the targets of such slurs are "free" to endure them? What sort of liberty is this exactly?

Taking a wild guess, I imagine you "just happen" to be white, right?

neal said...

tlnl-I agree that the Constitution can be amended to say, or grant the government whatever powers and authority we want it to. That could however be akin to opening Pandora's box. However until the Constitution is legally amended to grant the government the powers of providing health care, it is illegal for them to do so, and to make that a campaign promise shows that these people running for office have no regards for the Constitution as written. Now, if they were to be calling for a Constitutional Convention to amend the Constitution so that it would allow for the government to provide health care, I could accept that, as it shows they at least respect the process. However they choose to ignore or violate it at will. And that is what upsets me.

Ah the old mantra of raising taxes on the rich. That alone would not do it. Look at these corporations who move their businesses overseas to avoid paying taxes. Now, if we slap huge tariffs on every item imported for sale, even those items made by American companies in foreign factories, that might help. However, if you just decide to tax the rich, and by rich, I guess you are talking about big business owners, then they will just pack up and take their operations overseas which hurts American workers.

The debt has to be paid, but as any financial advisor will tell you, the first step to getting your finances in order is to do away with frivolous spending. If we did away with all the earmarks, , stop sending huge sums all over the world in the form of foreign aid, do away with many of the entitlement programs, set stricter guidelines on contractors who rape the system, (like Dick Cheney's baby Halliburton), we might be able to get spending under control.

As for preventative health care, that is a joke. Take a walk through the mall, Wal Mart, or any place where people congregate and you will see that people are not concerned with their health until they get sick. Prevention! Stop eating fast foods, pre-packaged poison that you can cook in five minutes in your busy schedule. No more potato chips, sodas, and beer. But that would mean that people would have to eat healthy and nobody wants to take the time to prepare healthy meals. I am two months from turning fifty and I am healthier than most twenty five year olds, and I can work circles around them. Why should I be taxed to pay for them when they refuse to take a proactive role in maintaining their health? Turn the damn television off, get your fat ass up off the couch, and go do some exercise first, then if you have a serious problem I might reconsider my feelings. But when I see the massive amount of junk that people are consuming I have no sympathy whatsoever. Sorry if I sound cruel, but that is the way I feel.

Why should healthcare be profitable? Why should anything be profitable? We live in a capitalistic society and that means people work to better themselves. If we all worked for the common good that would be communism.

Sure there will always be those who are unwilling to work and if we don't subsidize them they will most likely turn to crime. I have a suggestion though, for them to receive their subsidy they should be required to take a drug test. If they come back positive sorry, no money. If they want to receive tax funded subsidies they should at least be spending it on food, not to pay for a drug habit.

I don't think that government is about giving handouts. I applied for help one time when I ran into hard times and was turned down because I had money invested in the market for retirement. To be eligible to receive it I would have had to drain that first. So I suffered until I could get back on my feet. However I work with a guy, a Mexican, who makes a dollar fifty more than I. I know this because we work in a union plant where each position has a set pay scale for each position. His wife works just like mine, but she earns $12.50 an hour working full time. My wife works part time, (20 hours a week) for about 2/3 what his wife makes. Yet he is eligible for food stamps, low income housing, reduced energy bills. All these things due to the fact that he is Hispanic. What the hell gives with that? So I think that many subsidies are not doled out equally according to 'NEED'. And that pisses me off to no end.

That quote by Jefferson about a government being big enough to give you everything you need being able to take it all away is not contradicting itself. It is a warning not to let government get too big. You may have misunderstood Jefferson's intent. He was talking about a government being able to give you all these things, then take other things from you, things like personal liberty and your rights as defined in the Bill of Rights.

Society is responsible for taking care of others, however through charity. It is not the governments job to tax us to do so. We Americans are a charitable people, but when we are taxed to death, our wages stay stagnant while prices are continuing to rise due to inflation, we have less money to donate to charities. Take away the taxes and we have more money to spend on things besides mere survival.


Anonymous-

Yeah, I am white. What has that got to do with it? Listen to rap music, they use the word Nigger all the time. If I were to utter it I would be killed or charged with a racial slur. Do a web search on some of the Hispanic groups who consider Reconquista their right. Listen to some of the things they say about us 'white' folks. It is okay for them to use those racial slurs but we cannot or else we are racist.

We have all black schools, Black/Hispanic heritage month, the NAACP, or the National Counsel of La Raza, yet this is not discriminatory against whites? A little bit of double standards if you ask me.

I judge a person on their ethics, not their skin color. I don't care if you are of any other nationality, I care if you can carry your own weight in society, if you treat me with respect, if you obey this nations laws and customs.

I take offense if someone considers me a racist, or implies it. We all belong to the human race and when any group is set up to promote their race, leaving out the others, it only does more harm than good, it sets up barriers instead of breaking them down.

ladybroadoak said...

Nice try. Passionate.

However, you drank too much of the koolaid, and you think right wing anarchism works.

It doesn't however.

You cherry pick your quotes from The Founding Fathers - it bolsters your racism. GREAT! And that got America precisely? Alot of genodice of native peoples who actually know how to survive in America.

Do you respect native tribes SOVEREIGNTY? Do you respect their rights to SUE federally and at the state level for the destruction of their lands and people?

Thought not.

Soon YOUR water rights will be taken away from you - a fault of Big Government?

No, it's becuZ people like you are so busy pushing for libertarian values and tax breaks for yourselves that you couldn't be bothered to round up your neighbors to pursue IMPEACHMENT.. Your Fearless Leader diverted all your energy.

My suggestion to your dilemma - get off your soapblox for awhile, to study more on the PRECISE history of the United States - particularly the borrowing of the Algonquin League principles in the setting up of the First Amendment. This is the point at which it all went WRONG.

Jefferson and the Indians: The Tragic Fate of the First Americans
Wallace, Anthony F. C., Harvard University Press, 2001, paperback, $18.95

White neoliberal tears over what you guys lost leave me cold.

What did your famlies expect? America was destined to come to the pass it is in. Russo is a True American Patriot; of that I am certain . but I think when he say the cost of LibertarianISM he might have changed his mind! He died using CHEMICALS instead of having access to real natural cures. Cures that are lost because of the supression of ancient North American wisdom. So some of us just go on grieving his loss.

This healthcare is issue is a red herring issue, really. To depopulate (and people of color go FIRST) - the profitability of Big Healthcare will be maintained - so the diseases will just continue to proliferate.

I am a recovering addict for over two decades - and AMAZINGLY I only take thyroxine after all that time and some codeine for fibromyalgia pain .. the rest is ALL natural cures.

But to deny real people diability benefit is so uncompassionate - and there's another place Libertariansim needs to be thrown in a junkcan. And that goes ditto for other libertarians.


Unsoliticted advice: Keep an open and mind and keep writing - you're on the right trail. But the RACISM you show (and the sexism probably) have to to go.

neal said...

I will say this one more time and then I will leave everyone to form their own opinions of me as they wish, I AM NOT A RACIST! You do not know me, you know nothing about my personal life, and for you to make that claim based upon my sentiments about what is happening in this country is lower than despicable.

My father was a racist bastard and I despised him for it. Growing up there was no other race besides whites. Aside from whites there were slopes, chinks, gooks, spics, niggers, coons, and they were all lower class people than whites. That is the atmosphere I grew up in and I HATED IT!

So back off on the racist comments already!

You ask if I respect the native tribes sovereignty and their right to sue? Damn right I do! They got a raw deal from this country and our quest for more land.

I don't know if you like rock n roll, but there is a song by Ted Nugent called the Great White Buffalo. It is one of my favorite songs because it tells of the greed and the wastefulness of the white man. If you don't like rock you might just want to Google the lyrics.

Again you assume to know me when you claim it is because people like me are looking for another tax break instead of impeaching the president. It is unfortunate that you can't see the folder of letters I have written to my Senators, my Congressman, the President, and other elected officials. I have often pushed for removal from office for the president, as well as some of them as well. Again you assume too much with too little information to back up your claim.


I also am aware that, not just in the United States, there is a plan to depopulate the world by as much as two thirds. It wouldn't surprise me that it would follow something along the plans Hitler had as well, weed out the so called weak and inferior races first.

While genocide for any reason is wrong, there is something else that has to be considered. The earth has only a limited ability to supply water, food, and other things to sustain life. When we overpopulate the earth just cannot handle it any more. Look at China, look at India and the problems overpopulation has caused them. I do not condone the killing off of anyone to make room for a particular race. However, people need to stop making so many damn babies. The average size of the white families is shrinking while the immigrants to this country are having five, six kids per family. If people, and by people I mean those of every race, need to survive this has got to stop!

It is my opinion that a good percentage of these so called 'diseases' have a cure already but that they do not want to provide it as the drug companies would go under if disease were eradicated. That is why they are trying to gain control of the health food industry via Codex Alimentarius. They know that natural cures work and they want to gain control of them so that people cannot cure themselves without a prescription for poisons they manufacture.

I do think everyone should have health care, but it should be provided at the work place. Corporate profits are of more concern to them and not the health and welfare of the workers.

Where I work my job title is Utility worker. We jokingly say that we are called Utilities because we are used for all purposes and when we break or no longer are useful we are tossed into the garbage.

That is the philosophy of most businesses, and that is why they are too cheap to provide health care for their employees.

I never admitted that this country was perfect. I never admitted that our system of government was perfect. But it is the best we could come up with and for it to work people have to care and to participate instead of gluing themselves to their televisions watching American Idol or the NFL.

I am learning new things about this countries history almost every day. I cannot say that I know it all, but I am making the effort to learn. And I do not appreciate being lumped in with the rest of the mindless drones in this country by people who make comments like, "White neoliberal tears over what you guys lost leave me cold."

In fact, that comment sounds just a tad racist to me. What do you think?

ladybroadoak said...

I think it's SWEET - you've now taken a STAND.

That is excellent.

But you must admit, there are TONS of covert racists in the Libertarian movement - some out and out eugenics BSers.

I am just saying state's rights doesn't cut it!!

I am very glad you wrote this reply. Not playing "god" or anything, I am just a provoker by nature, in many ways and since someone showed me the way to your soapbox, I thought I would play crowd hecker ..

In this way, we get the DIALOGUE necessary going to get real change and not the phoney stuff.

So, I am not really going to apolgize per se but I am sorry if I made you uncomforable if you don't deserve it.

I too have read the UN global agenda 21 and know alot about bioweapons and other things to boot.

And I don't like the Libertarian way of dealing with it and the full spectrum dominance police state to come. I don't like Ron Paul using earmarks to stay in office when he says nothing about natives in Texas staying in prison as the FENCE is being built (and thank GOD, there was a court decision made lately halting it .. as they RAYTHEON radar would be deadly to ALL.)

Great rant, why not expand it and post it as an actual item? YOu are obviously a gifted writer with PASSION. That is what is needed in the days to come. I really enjoy seeing your HUMANity -

I just get ticked with those who followed The Agenda for the sheeple and didn't work to see that the RULE OF LAW, as set out in the CONSTITUTION got followed!!

I'd really love to read your letters re impeachment. I bet they are The Bomb. As a little clog of sand in THEIR wheels - those neocon jerks and their codependent CONgresspeople - I'd enjoy enjoy finding the literature of our time letting THEM know we are onto THEM.

I do have this one caveat as a disabled person with no family, health insurance from a working place sure wouldn't cut it for me. I would be DEAD. And there are tons of us out here. It enrages me to see CONgress people getting health benefits at "work" when small children can't get health benefits via SCHIP in the US of A - all to keep paying for illegal wars in AFGHANISTAN and Irak and everywhere else. We as adults must speak up for children everywhere around the globe - it's up to US. And yes, the US can afford social welfare programs INSTEAD of lining the already filthy rich pocket$ of people like Hank Paul$on. The guy - and his Goldman $ach$ buddies - just managed to buy out the U$ Trea$ury using Murkans money and got away with the theft.
The hugest leveraged buyout in world history. FOR SHAME!

I have alot to say about MalthusianISM and "over"population which I will save for another day, eh?

But let me say this - that is OUR MONEY, not THEIRS and we should be getting the benefit$ not THEM. This country was taken over in a bloodless coup and Bill Clinton and Hills are NO better than the Bushistas in ANY way. Read Exec Order 12919 to see what I mean ..

Wanna be on my links, or .. ?? Up to you. I can safely send my fellow neocon suffers over here now!! So thanx for that.

From another "useless eater",
who's had addiction "issues"
WHO HOPES YOU DO REAL WELL,
Virginia

neal said...

Virignia-Thanks for the un-apology apology. You can add me to your links if you wish. When I write I feel as though most of the time I am preaching to people who feel similar to the way I do. It is those who are unaware of things that I am trying to wake up. However, up to now I haven't had much luck. How I wish they would just cut the signal for cable and dish TV for a week so that people would come out of their zombie states and start to use their brains, if only for a week. They might learn something that gets them mad enough to get off their asses and do something.

As for the racists in the Libertarian movement, I agree. There are also those who claim to be Libertarians for any number of reasons, none of which has to do with restoring the rule of LAW in this country. For instance those who want marijuana legalized. I could care less if they legalize it or not, but people like that with a particular agenda are too narrow minded and don't see the problems this country faces.

It is the same with those who are openly calling for rebellion. I fear that many of them are just anarchists who want to raise a little hell without regards to whom they hurt.

I only got started learning about these problems about four years ago. Up until then gun control was the issue I focused on. Then came illegal immigration, and from then on I have been learning more and getting madder all the time.

I have this saying I like to use when talking to people, Ignorance can be cured, but apathy is terminal. I think that applies to a good many people in this country and that is what gets me the most, that they couldn't care less. Or maybe they have just been brainwashed into believing that the government couldn't do the things I talk about.

Anyway, feel free to drop by anytime and post your comments. I am always willing to learn from people who have expertise in areas I am not familiar with.

Anonymous said...

On the currency issue:

Benjamin Franklin was AGAINST gold or silver currency.

Indeed, Franklin was certain that silver backed currency led to empoverishment of USA, and was one of the prime causes of the revolution - he believed in paper money because it could be issued AS NEEDED.

Benjamin Franklin’s life spans most of the first epoch of paper money, and he is its most insightful analyst and ardent defender.

Franklin notes that after the legislature issued this paper
money, internal trade, employment, new construction, and the number of inhabitants in the province all increased.


There was considerable resistance from the wealthy and the political elite to a continuation of the paper money experiment for fear that the paper money might depreciate......they wanted a return to gold and silver coins as the only money of the province.

In 1729, Franklin discusses
this issue in the Junto, taking the side of favoring a continuation of the paper money economy.

his pamphlet, a brilliant tour de force, is well received by the common people. The rich, however, hate it, but they have no writers among them able to answer it.

Franklin begins his pamphlet by noting that a lack of money to transact trade within the province carries a heavy cost because the alternative to paper money is not gold and silver coins, which through trade have all been shipped off to England, but barter. Barter, in turn, increases the cost of local exchange and so lowers wages, employment, and immigration. Money scarcity also causes high local interest rates, which reduces investment and slows
development. Paper money will solve these problems.


----------------------------

Anonymous said...

And what's wrong with drugs - especially marijuana?

It's a weed: surely any definition of liberty must include the right to be able to ingest whatever one likes?

It is a waste of resources and plain abuse to criminalise people for taking drugs - it is up to people themselves to decide what they do to themselves. Legalising it ALL would be the single greatest crime reduction effort in human history. It would save money, reduce theft, reduce social antagonism, allow people to make money from their own efforts (producing it) - and just a little taxation would provide all the care necessary for looking after the casualties.

And it would prevent REAL CRIMINALS monopolising one of the largest and most profitable industries in the world. Take it OUT of the hands of real criminals - legalise it all.

neal said...

*A note*


I realize that some people may not want their identities known, but it makes it very hard to reply to specifics when I continue to get posts from "anonymous".

Concerning marijuana, I did not state that I was for or against legalizing it, merely that there were people who supported the Libertarian platform solely on that issue without regards to the many other issues that faced this nation. I could care less if they legalize marijuana. I do think it would be going to far if they legalized heroin, methamphetamines, cocaine, LSD and a host of other drugs. But marijuana would not bother me.

As for Ben Franklin and his paper money, did he not also state that "We issue it in proper proportion to the demands of trade and industry to make the products pass easily from the producers to the consumers"

Paper money is would be fine if it were printed according to Franklin's thoughts. However, when it is printed at will to fund a national debt and floods the market, it does no good, only causes rising inflation and the inability to purchase goods by the consumer.

TLNL said...

Paper money is would be fine if it were printed according to Franklin's thoughts. However, when it is printed at will to fund a national debt and floods the market, it does no good, only causes rising inflation and the inability to purchase goods by the consumer.

Which is quite different to proposing gold-backed currency, right?

I think it is quite possible that the rest of the world pictures America much like we picture a person addicted to methamphetamines. After all, doesn't a person addicted to methamphetamines live their lives in a drug induced euphoria oblivious to the harm they are doing to themselves? Yet those who are not addicted to the drug can clearly see the damage that the drug is doing to the addict. So, while the addict continues their self destructive behavior, the rest of the people shun the addict in disgust.

That's how we socialists view you capitalists.

People complain about the definite outcomes of capitalism, but reject the alternative.

Production is GUARANTEED to move to where returns are highest ie where costs are lowest - where wages and conditions are lowest.

That IS capitalism - that IS competition.

I don't understand why people complain about capitalism in one sentence, but the next insist that capitalism is the ONLY WAY.

It's bizarre.

From my perspective it is because of indoctrination - americans have been brainwashed to reject co-operation, solidarity, community, equality.

They always claim to want these things - but reject the only way to achieve them ie socialism.

For instance, this blog says:

I first had to accept that I had been lied to for most of my life by people who I cared for. I had to accept that these people had been lied to themselves and had bought into the lie. I had to accept that the institutions in place to educate me had lied to me, or worse, knew the truth but were spreading the lie to keep me enslaved for the benefit of some unseen masters. I had to accept that much of what I had been taught about our nations history was a lie, much of what I had been told about my government was a lie, and most of what my government tells me is a lie as well.

Once I accepted the fact that I had been lied to, I had to begin the arduous task of educating myself. To erase everything I had been taught and re-learn the truth concerning two hundred plus years of history is a very time consuming process. I have been in the process of doing that for over four years now, and every day I learn something new. I may never know the full truth, but I am constantly seeking it.


See, this is saying "Everything you believed is untrue - EXCEPT the bad stuff about socialism - that was all TRUE!"

Isn't that what this article is saying?