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etc. - a little of this, a little of that - by Oliver Del Signore



Archive for the ‘Freedom’ Category

 

Are some cultures inherently “better” than others?

Friday, August 3rd, 2012

Are some cultures inherently “better” than others?

It’s a question many have pondered and one that is in the news again thanks to the media trying to paint Mitt Romney as a racist who holds that view when he did not say that at all.

What he actually said was:

I was thinking this morning as I prepared to come into this room of a discussion I had across the country in the United States about my perceptions about differences between countries. And as you come here and you see the GDP per capita for instance in Israel which is about 21,000 dollars and you compare that with the GDP per capita just across the areas managed by the Palestinian Authority which is more like 10,000 dollars per capita you notice a dramatic, stark difference in economic vitality. And that is also between other countries that are near or next to each other. Chile and Ecuador, Mexico and the United States. I noted that part of my interest when I used to be in the world of business is I would travel to different countries was to understand why there were such enormous disparities in the economic success of various countries. I read a number of books on the topic. One, that is widely acclaimed, is by someone named Jared Diamond called ‘Guns, Germs and Steel,’ which basically says the physical characteristics of the land account for the differences in the success of the people that live there. There is iron ore on the land and so forth. And you look at Israel and you say you have a hard time suggesting that all of the natural resources on the land could account for all the accomplishment of the people here. And likewise other nations that are next door to each other have very similar, in some cases, geographic elements. But then there was a book written by a former Harvard professor named ‘The Wealth and Poverty of Nations.’ And in this book Dr. Landes describes differences that have existed—particularly among the great civilizations that grew and why they grew and why they became great and those that declined and why they declined. And after about 500 pages of this lifelong analysis—this had been his study for his entire life—and he’s in his early 70s at this point, he says this, he says, if you could learn anything from the economic history of the world it’s this: culture makes all the difference. Culture makes all the difference. And as I come here and I look out over this city and consider the accomplishments of the people of this nation, I recognize the power of at least culture and a few other things.

Do you see racism there? I don’t. I see someone pointing out that more freedom generally produces better economic results than less freedom. The simple fact is that Israel’s economy is much better than that of the Palestinians. And yes, perhaps some of that is due to travel and shipping restrictions, which liberal reporters are quick to point out. But they never seem to mention why those restrictions are in place. If they did, then they’d have to call attention to the many decades of Palestinian and Arab aggression that caused Israel to impose the restrictions, thus belying their original contention of racism.

The fact is, some cultures are superior to others in fostering innovation, risk-taking, and economic advancement for all. Does that make them “better?” I guess it depends on how you define “better.”

I think an easy way to settle such an argument is to look at the number of people who want to go live in a nation. Do you see hoards clamoring to get into Mexico, China, North Korea, or the Palestinian-controlled territories? Or do you see them heading to America, nations in Europe, Australia, and, yes, Israel?

No nation is perfect, especially America. But all-around, it’s still a damn sight better than Mexico or China or lots of other places on the planet, including the Palestinian territories. And all this media baloney aimed at Mitt Romney is little more than an attempt to steer the election conversation away from the horrendous job performance of Barack Obama.

I’m no fan of Romney, as you know if you’ve been reading this blog for awhile. But I’d much rather have a president who believes in American exceptionalism than I would one who goes around the world apologizing for our success and then comes home and tries to turn us into bankrupt Euro-weenies.

What about you?

Do you think some nations “better” than others? If so, in what way(s)?

And which kind of president will you prefer to have come 2013?

 

God Bless America

Wednesday, July 4th, 2012

I don’t know that there has ever been a time in American history when God’s blessing of our nation was needed more. We are headed for disaster and I fear it may take divine or violent intervention to set us back on the right track.

I would much prefer the former as I’m not sure we’d survive the latter.

Following is a recording of what the poster indicates is the original radio broadcast of Kate Smith singing God Bless America. Whether it is or it isn’t, let’s hope He’s listening.

Please enjoy your holiday, but take a moment to remember it’s about much more than barbecues, beaches, and beer.

 

What do you know — a judge who can read the Constitution!

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

Congratulations to this week’s Comment Contest winner — Elizabeth Martin.

***

Those who lament the ongoing destruction of rights and freedom in America often point to politicians and judges who apparently are incapable of understanding the plain, simple English  in the United States Constitution. We all saw one horrendous example of that last Thursday, when the Chief Justice tortured all logic, reason and language to twist his way into supporting Obamacare. But today, I’m pleased to report that in New York, there is at least one judge who may actually have a copy of the Constitution and who appears to have read it.

Fed. Judge Rules Churches Can Stay in Schools for Now

A federal district judge says the city can’t evict churches that have been renting space for Sunday worship services. It’s the latest in a case that has gone back and forth between different courts, with a different result each time — but ultimately little change.

District judge Loretta Preska issued an injunction that allows religious groups to continue to worship in public schools.

Lawyers for the church groups argued that since schools allow student groups to hold prayer meetings and other religious activities on site, it should not be denied to church group when school is not in session.

Judge Preska on Friday again agreed with them and upheld their right to worship.

Click Here to read the rest of the story.

I don’t dare predict what some judge in a higher court will rule one day, but Judge Preska got it exactly correct.

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.

The New York and other states’ laws or rules that prohibit religious organizations from using or worshiping on public property are all based on the big lie that the words above don’t guarantee freedom of religion but freedom from religion. It’s a lie that’s been pushed on America for far too long and I’ve never understood how anyone who got through the sixth grade could not see that it’s a lie.

Laws like those in New York violate not one, not two, but three separate parts of the First Amendment, quoted above.

1. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;

Congress, and by extension all government, may not favor one religion over another or prohibit the practice of any religion. Even Scientology.

Can government force everyone pray in school? No. Can they stop everyone from praying in school? No. Want to put the Ten Commandments on the wall of your courthouse? Fine, provided you don’t try to stop someone else from putting their commandments, or whatever, on the wall, too. It’s simple. Equal access, equal freedom to all.

2. or abridging the freedom of speech

Clearly prayer is speech. Do I really need to explain any further?

3. or the right of the people peaceably to assemble

Again, pretty simple. If your group wants to peaceably assembly in a school classroom once a week to worship L. Rom Hubbard, green aliens, Norse Gods, or anything else, and you can pay the rental fee, why is it the business of anyone else? You can even gather and discuss the non-existence of a deity to your heart’s content in the classroom next door if that’s your thing. Equal access, equal freedom.

The beauty of the Constitution the Founders gave us is that it provides the greatest amount of freedom to the citizens of the nation.

I understand the selfish and greedy and evil reasons why some people want to limit or take away that freedom.

I don’t understand why so many of us have let them do it for so long.

The Founders would long ago have taken up arms and shot the bastards.

We sit around watching Jersey Shore and Dancing with the Stars.

Your thoughts?

 

So…what will Congress next decide to tax you for not buying?

Friday, June 29th, 2012

By now you’ve heard or read that the Supreme Court essentially upheld Obamacare. They did it by first telling Congress they can’t force you to buy health insurance or anything else. But they can tax you for not buying health insurance.

See the difference?

No. I don’t either.

By converting the mandate to buy insurance into a tax for not buying it, the Court told Congress they can tax you for not doing something Congress wants you to do.

Apparently, five of Justices thought this was a perfectly reasonable interpretation of what the Founders intended when they penned the Constitution.

What’s the next thing we’ll be taxed for not buying?

Let’s look at some hypothetical future taxes Congress could well decide to impose:

$$$ Any adult citizen who does not own a late-model, General Motors automobile or truck will have to pay an annual tax of $500. Late model is defined as less than six years old.

$$$ Anyone who does not buy a pair of Nike sneakers each year will be taxed $130.

$$$ All adults who don’t own a smartphone will incur an annual tax of $690

$$$ All taxpayers who do not purchase at least one round-trip airline ticket annually must pay a “non-support of the airline industry” tax of $999.

$$$ All families that cannot provide per-person proof of purchase of 1460 servings of fruit and 1460 servings of vegetables will incur a healthcare offset tax of $1500 per family member.

I could go on and on and on, but you see the point.

The Supreme Court essentially declared freedom of choice dead in America. Or maybe not dead, but taxable.

Can’t you just see all the heads in Washington spinning with visions of all the taxes they can impose, now that you can be taxed for not buying something…or anything?

The conversion of America to socialism, which FDR began in the 1930s, is nearly complete, now.

Comments? Or not.

Does it really matter anymore what any of us “little people’ think?

 

Heckler tells little kids they’ll “burn in hell” for singing “God Bless the USA”

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

Three videos for you today.

Heckler, left, tells youngsters they’re going to “burn in hell” for singing God Bless the USA.

Remember Public School 90 in Coney Island, N.Y., where principal Greta Hawkins pulled Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA” from a kindergarten “moving up” ceremony while keeping Justin Bieber’s chart-topping “Baby?” (“Baby” was later pulled by order of the education department because of the bad publicity.) Well, it’s back in the news.

Republican Representative Bob Turner, who is running for the U.S. Senate, got some kids together outside the school, gave them flags, and they all sang “God Bless the USA,” or tried to. Some presumably Democratic Obama supporters didn’t like the idea and did their best to disrupt the event by shouting at the kids. The loudest mouth of the bunch even yells that they’ll all “burn in hell.” To little kids!

Here is the video. It’s a bit over nine minutes long. The song is a small part of it. The rest is the demonstrators being interviewed, which I found interesting.

Did you notice the cutie on the end of the second row looking at the guy like, “Who is this dope and why is he ruining our song?”

What a sad performance. Not by the kids, but by the adult protesters. It’s one thing to shout down a political opponent. it’s quite another to harass little kids.

If you watched the whole thing, did you catch the woman saying “I don’t believe in using children as an instrument” and the loudmouth saying “You all brainwashing the kids?”

I have to wonder where they were when the following two videos were made.

Apparently, it’s okay to brainwash kids in support of Obama, but not to sing about loving their country.

What do you folks make of all of this?

 

“God Bless the USA” is offensive but Justin Bieber’s “Baby” is okay for kindergarteners

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

According to a story in the New York Post, a Coney Island principal,  Greta Hawkins, ordered that Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA” be pulled from the program because “we don’t want to offend other cultures.” The youngsters had been practicing for months in preparation for their “moving up” ceremony, and the song had been sung by students in prior years.

Principal Greta Hawkins

Parents and students, many of them from the “other cultures” Hawkins purports to be worried about, were upset by her decision, but the New York Department of Education closed ranks and supported the principal’s absurd decision, saying, “The lyrics are not age-appropriate.”

What is “age appropriate” for kindergarteners, other than a medley of Sesame Street songs? Justin Bieber’s “Baby,” which students will be expected sing at the ceremony.

Maybe I’m missing something, but I can’t figure out how a moving, patriotic song that is embraced by millions of people who moved here from “other cultures” is less appropriate than one by a pop culture icon about his girlfriend. One has to wonder just how many of the kids in that kindergarten are already hooking up with each other that Hawkins and the DOE think Bieber’s song is more appropriate.

Here are the lyrics to both. Please, you tell me which you think is more appropriate for youngsters to sing, in school or out.

Baby
By Justin Bieber, Christopher Bria Bridges, Christina Milian, Terius Youngdell Nash, Christopher A. Stewart

Featuring: Ludacris

Justin Bieber

You know you love me, I know you care. Just shout whenever, and I’ll be there
You are my love, you are my heart. And we will never, ever, ever be apart

Are we an item? Girl, quit playin’. “We’re just friends,” what are you sayin’?
Said “there’s another,” and looked right in my eyes. My first love broke my heart for the first time

And I was like baby, baby, baby, oh. Like baby, baby, baby, no
Like baby, baby, baby, oh. I thought you’d always be mine, mine

Baby, baby, baby, oh/. Like baby, baby, baby, no
Like baby, baby, baby, oh. I thought you’d always be mine, mine

For you, I would have done whatever. And I just can’t believe we’re here together
And I wanna play it cool, but I’m losin’ you. I’ll buy you anything, I’ll buy you any ring

And I’m in pieces, baby fix me. And just shake me ’til you wake me from this bad dream
I’m goin’ down, down, down, down. And I just can’t believe my first love won’t be around

And I’m like baby, baby, baby, oh. Like baby, baby, baby, no
Like baby, baby, baby, oh. I thought you’d always be mine, mine

Baby, baby, baby, oh. Like baby, baby, baby, no
Like baby, baby, baby, oh. I thought you’d always be mine, mine

When I was 13, I had my first love. There was nobody that compared to my baby
And nobody came between us who could ever come above
She had me going crazy, oh I was starstruck. She woke me up daily, don’t need no Starbucks

She made my heart pound. I skip a beat when I see her in the street
And at school on the playground. But I really wanna see her on a weekend
She know she got me dazin’ ’cause she was so amazin’. And now my heart is breakin’ but I just keep on sayin’

Baby, baby, baby, oh. Like baby, baby, baby, no
Like baby, baby, baby, oh. I thought you’d always be mine, mine

Baby, baby, baby, oh. Like baby, baby, baby, no
Like baby, baby, baby, oh. I thought you’d always be mine, mine

I’m all gone. (Yeah, yeah, yeah)(Yeah, yeah, yeah)
Now I’m all gone. (Yeah, yeah, yeah) (Yeah, yeah, yeah)
Now I’m all gone. (Yeah, yeah, yeah) (Yeah, yeah, yeah)
Now I’m all gone, gone, gone, gone. I’m gone

Wow! Pretty deep and moving, eh? Can you believe it only took five people to write that song? Amazing!

Now compare that to this.

God Bless The USA
by Lee Greenwood

If tomorrow all the things were gone, I’d worked for all my life.
And I had to start again, with just my children and my wife.

Lee Greenwood

I’d thank my lucky stars, to be livin here today.
‘Cause the flag still stands for freedom, and they can’t take that away.

And I’m proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free.
And I wont forget the men who died, who gave that right to me.

And I gladly stand up, next to you and defend her still today.
‘Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land, God bless the USA.

From the lakes of Minnesota,to the hills of Tennessee.
Across the plains of Texas, From sea to shining sea.

From Detroit down to Houston, and New York to L.A.
Well there’s pride in every American heart, and its time we stand and say.

That I’m proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free.
And I wont forget the men who died, who gave that right to me.

And I gladly stand up, next to you and defend her still today.
‘Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land, God bless the USA.

And I’m proud to be and American, where at least I know I’m free.
And I wont forget the men who died, who gave that right to me.

And I gladly stand up, next to you and defend her still today.
‘Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land, God bless the USA.

Yes, I see it now. Something like being proud of where you live and being free is so much more confusingly complex than understanding all the emotions and feelings that come into play when you break up with your first love.

You see that, too, right?

[Sarcasm off]

Am I just too old to understand the issues Principal Hawkins and the NY DOE see?

Or is this just another example of liberal idiocy and bias in a public school system?

 

Two possibly controversial graphics from readers

Friday, June 8th, 2012

Today’s going to be a very busy one, so a quick post is in order.

Following are two, possibly controversial graphics that arrived in my email box courtesy of Gary D. and John E., respectively.

What do you think of the graphics and the sentiments they convey?

 

 

Ontario government set to bully Catholic schools over bullying

Friday, June 1st, 2012

The assault on religion, particularly Catholicism, is spreading north of the boarder into Ontario, Canada where government officials are preparing legislation to force Catholic schools to recognize and accept gay-straight alliance, transgender, and other such clubs regardless of Catholic dogma that considers homosexual sex a grave sin.

Legislation could force Ontario Catholic schools to recognize gay student clubs

Ontario government officials have committed to a proposal that would expand the Canadian province’s anti-bullying and child protection laws to force schools — including Catholic schools — to recognize “Gay-Straight Alliance” clubs if their students want to start one.

Angry about the potential impact on Catholic educators’ independence, dozens of protesters filled a downtown public square in Toronto on Thursday, calling the move “totalitarian” and “liberty-destroying.”

Should the Catholic Church, or any religion, be forced to act in opposition to its beliefs?

“This is a reminder to the legislators in the pink palace down the street that we will not allow the rights of responsible, traditional, principled Ontarians to be taken away,” Family Coalition Party leader Phil Lees told CityNews Toronto.

An amendment to the Accepting School Act, known in Ontario as “Bill 13,” would prohibit Catholic schools from vetoing the gay clubs. It would also force them to accept the law’s “particular emphasis” on what it calls “LGBTTIQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, transsexual, two-spirited, intersexed, queer and questioning) people.”

Many Catholic schools in Canada already endorse “respecting difference” clubs. Canada’s Catholic School Trustees Association endorsed this solution in January, relying on a loophole that permitted them to give gay students an after-school social option called Gay-Straight Alliances “or another name.”

The new legislative push from Liberal Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty would close that loophole. ”We’re saying we’re going to … send a strong signal to all our kids we’re going to respect you for who you are,” McGuinty said Tuesday.

Complicating the issue is the fact that Catholic schools in Canada receive public funds under a subsidy system that the Canadian Constitution guarantees in Ontario, Alberta and Saskatchewan.

But opponents of religious education are now openly questioning that mandate.

“The real question now is whether Ontario should be required to continue to support Catholic schools. The elephant in the room — public funding of Catholic schools — has become so destructive to fundamental rights and equality it’s impossible to ignore,” Justin Trottier, a spokesman for the Toronto-based Centre for Inquiry, an atheist group, told the National Post in Toronto.

Ontario Education Minister Laurel Broten insisted on Wednesday that public funding of Catholic schools is not an issue the provincial government wants to open up for debate. “We are not willing to embark on a conversation with respect to seeing an end to Catholic education, which is constitutionally protected, or French-language education,” she said.

“Our budget anticipates the Catholic system continuing on,” agreed Ontario Finance Minster Dwight Duncan, the Toronto Sun reported. “There are constitutional imperatives that are unique to Ontario. We’re not looking at that right now.”

Catholic leaders in Ontario argued that government intrusion into their beliefs could spread to other faiths.

“If it happens to us, it can happen to you, on this and other issues,” Toronto Archbishop Thomas Cardinal Collins said in a statement. “When religious freedom becomes a second-class right, you also will eventually be affected.”

Click Here to read the rest of the story.

Here in the United States, we consider the free exercise of religion to be a natural or God-given right, which is what makes the Obama Administration’s birth-control command to Catholic organizations blatantly unconstitutional. In Canada, the government grants rights, so government can take them away, as they are trying to do here.

Cardinal Collins is quite correct that permitting freedom of religion to become a second-class right there will surely result in assaults on the beliefs and practices of other religions. The same is true here in the United States.

There was a time when such intrusions into religion would be unthinkable because politicians knew the people would rise up against them and they’d quickly be out of a job, or worse. But in the 21st century, relatively few pay attention to what politicians do and fewer still appear to care as long as their favorite TV shows air each night and the government benefits appear each month in their bank accounts.

Freedom of religion is as basic a right as is breathing, which is probably why America’s Founders mentioned it first in the Bill of Rights. For most Americans and Canadians, it is their religious beliefs that advise their thoughts and actions in everyday life, that cause them to support or oppose various schemes by the secular government. Once those beliefs are finally suppressed, government will have the freedom to do anything and everything, and the Founders’ vision will have finally been turned completely on its head.

Regardless of whether or not you believe in God, or how you worship if you do, I believe you should loudly and persistently oppose any attempt to abridge religious freedom.

What do you believe?

 

They call themselves progressives, but really, they are regressives

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

For nearly all of human history, people were ruled by barons, caliphs, czars, emperors, fuehrers, kaisers, khans, kings, pharaohs, popes, rajahs, shahs, sultans, and assorted other grand poobahs and/or their female equivalents. Regardless of what they were called, the governing systems were pretty much the same. There were the occasional exceptions — early Greece, for example. But for the most part, it was “Do what I say or else” and the “or else” could be pretty horrific.

A more recent exception is, of course, America, where a bunch of folks decided they’d had quite enough of top-down governing. Instead, they reasoned that men should be able to govern themselves and created a democratic republic for their new nation. But you all know that.

Grand Poobah wannabe

You also know that though the system was not perfect — no system is — it was, by far, the best system devised to date. It still would be if America began deporting socialists and communists as soon as they showed their stripes. Alas, we did not, and look at the mess we’ve gotten ourselves into thanks to them.

What brought all that to mind was my running into the term ‘progressives’ a few times in the same day. It’s the term those on the left use to describe themselves so they won’t have to identify themselves as what they really are — socialists, communists, and other assorted collectivists.

They call themselves ‘progressives’ because they think it makes them sound forward-thinking. Indeed, many honestly believe they really are forward-thinking, with new, exciting ideas about how all the the rest of us should live our lives. But they are not progressive at all. Quite the opposite.  They call themselves progressives, but they are really regressives.

They don’t want you and I to decide for ourselves how we should live. They already know the best way and are prepared not only to tell you how you should live, but to force you to do it.

They don’t want progress at all, but rather a return to the days when all the little people, ie. everyone but them, did what they were told. Or else. They want to add names like governor and senator and president to the list of grand poobahs. They want a return to the days when, for example, Our Dear Leader would be able to declare whatever fanciful idea he had to be the law of the land and the government swords, or these days, guns, would make sure everyone obeyed.

They are, truly, regressives.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not at all interested in someone else telling me how I should live, what I should do, what I should eat, or anything else.

I think it’s time we began identifying these political and social meddlers and busybodies and shipping them over to Europe where they can live with their own kind. Heck, we should send the first hundred plane-loads to Greece so their brilliance can rescue that nation from what their own ‘progressives’ wrought these past decades.

I’m sure Greece and France and Italy and all the rest will welcome them with open arms.

What do you think?

 

‘Toons the American press won’t publish

Saturday, May 19th, 2012

No. You didn’t lose a day. Truth in Toons will be here tomorrow, as usual.

I was going though some old email yesterday and found one containing these political cartoons. Apparently, they originated overseas in 2010, though I don’t know where. (Thanks go to buffalogrammy for sharing them.)

They’re not especially funny, except, perhaps, in a macabre way, but what struck me about them was how they’re still relevant two years later.

Whether or not you like or detest Obama or could not care less either way, you have to admit there is a lot of truth in these ‘toons.

Do you agree or disagree?

Which do you think are the most relevant today?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 


 
 

 
 
 
 
 
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