Barack Obama’s Patriotism (and mine too)

Barack Obama has been accused of being un-patriotic, and therefore, anti-American, because he doesn’t like the American national anthem, doesn’t like saluting the American flag, and doesn’t like wearing American flag pins.

Which definition of patriotism are we using here?

According to [ http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/patriot ], a patriot can be:
1.) a person who loves, supports, and defends his or her country and its interests with devotion.
-OR-
2.) a person who regards himself or herself as a defender, esp. of individual rights, against presumed interference by the federal government

I think it’s obvious that while most conservatives and Republicans, including John McCain, would regard themselves as personifying the first of these two, many, if not most liberals and Democrats, including Barack Obama, would lean towards the second definition to identify themselves as patriots, as would I. This is because the second definition allows you to remain an independent individual who is able to question the government and it’s motives and actions, whereas with the first definition, you pretty much have to do what you are told, regardless of any ethical, moral, or logical objections.

Now that we have established that there are two types of “patriots”, perhaps you can see how having moral objections to ceremonies worshiping symbols doesn’t mean that a person hates their country, but only necessarily implies that they either are not big on symbolism and ceremony, which is a trivial, cosmetic, personal choice that should not be a big deal to anyone, or that they refuse to put faith in symbols and ceremony unless certain conditions are met wherein those things are backed up by methods and actions that they can believe in.

I personally disagree with some of the content of our anthem, and no longer salute the flag, and refuse to wear red white and blue symbols of an American ideal which is far from our American reality, but that does not make me a terrorist or a traitor or a threat to our national security.

Maybe, like me and many other American citizens today, Barack is ashamed of what our country has become, and finds it hard to submit himself to displays of blind, unquestioning patriotism to symbols that now represent a nation far removed from what it was supposed to be.

Perhaps, as I do, Barack has ethical objections to some of the content of the anthem. In particular, I take offense to the lyrics “Oh, say! does that star-spangled banner yet wave … O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?”, due to the bitterly poetic irony that our freedoms are being stripped away by our own government and the corporate and foreign interests which seem to have far more power over it than “we, the people” do, and as such, we are no longer nearly as “free” as we were when this song was popularized. And as or bravery, is empire building for profit an act of bravery? Is attacking a stone aged people who use sticks and stones and old, malfunctioning Russian guns and missiles with our vastly superior technology so that we can meddle in the affairs of a region to control the oil interests of our ruling elite really that brave?

Of more likely, he finds the fourth verse, which is far less well known than the first, to be problematic to him personally:

“Oh, thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav’n-rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust”:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

America is supposed to have separation of church and state and be a multi-cultural melting pot with freedom of religion. These lyrics imply that God (the Judeo-Christian God, I assume) not only endorses America above all others (which is laughable), but actually helps us to achieve military victory in violent conflict with other nations. Perhaps Obama, as a Muslim, or if he is a Christian, as a person of middle eastern and Muslim descent, feels, as I do, that this kind of Religious-Patriotism is a dangerous thing that promotes violence between faiths and cultures. I don’t think God supports one party in a war any more than choosing a side in a football game, despite what players seem to think.

The Pledge of Allegiance asks one to be even more unquestioningly obedient to the actions of one’s government, while also being exclusively monotheistic:

“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands: one Nation under God, indivisible, With Liberty and Justice for all.”

I for one will not swear my allegiance to any one. I choose to lead rather than follow. I choose to be “free” and “brave” and make up my own mind by observing and thinking and feeling, rather than by being told what to believe and accepting it because some authority declares itself an authority.

And how is their liberty and justice for all, when only the two corporate candidates are allowed in the debates because the corporate sponsors are afraid that someone might say something anti-corporate and pro-people and incite a riot. Not very free or just, huh? How is their liberty and justice for all when the rich buy their way out of prison, and usually even out of trials, for conspiracy, mass-murder, and theft of billions of dollars from millions of people, while the poor rot in jails for far lesser offenses, like using herbal pain relievers that God made for them rather than support pharmaceutical companies that poison the masses?

I was an Eagle Scout, and used to be all about flag etiquette and the other symbolic aspects of being a so called “patriot”. Then I grew up and learned that the America I live in doesn’t always represent truth, justice, and freedom. I realized that powerful financial interests had long ago taken over my homeland, and turned it into an uncaring, unfeeling, corporate behemoth stomping on the weak at home and abroad in the endless pursuit not of happiness, but of the almighty dollar and the power that it brings over others.

Perhaps Barack, as I do, takes such great offense to some of the things that America has done and is doing, to people of other cultures and colors and faiths, and even to it’s own poor and working classes, that he doesn’t want to salute the flag or wear flag pins or whatever other ceremonial patriotic gestures that the average person does, until these injustices are corrected to his satisfaction. As a man who talks about hope and change and fighting against racism and intolerance, I would be willing to bet that he has intentions of making America a place that he and I and other similar minded folks can once again be proud of.

Maybe once we stop letting the rich drive the workers into poverty, and stop having privatized corporate wars for profit, and start acting like a moral, ethical nation again, I could bring myself to wear a red white and blue flag pin. Maybe Obama will too…

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I am a logical, open-minded, liberal, progressive, radical, green, independent individual living in the heart of Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas, amongst apparently brainwashed conservative southern Baptist Republican zombies. I'm tired of the lies of the government and their media mouthpieces and their corporate masters. I'm tired of the cheating and the stealing and the killing. I'm ready for the future. But the only way we are going to fix things is to all band together and say NO MORE! We have to start punishing the rich white collar criminals as harshly as the poor black blue-collar criminals, if not more so. And I'm tired of cults (AKA religions). They are dangerous, divisive, and delusional. We should evolve past religions towards a global humanitarian ethics. We should move away from a new world order and get back to city states with local democracy, power, food, and water.

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6 comments on “Barack Obama’s Patriotism (and mine too)
  1. common tater says:

    I am sure you will feel really free in a socialistic society. Unless you will be one of the lucky few Elite leaders, then you will be less than nothing and with no voice to object. You should really look at the common people living under socialism, that’s you, a little guy. You will be less than nothing and the elite won’t care what you think. There may be problems in this country, it isn’t perfect, but you don’t see people dying to leave, just dying to get in. That tells me that we have a better country, even with it’s faults than anyone else has, but you and your ilk are throwing the baby out with the bathwater (to use a phrase probably older than you).

  2. markbaland says:

    I would prefer socialism (although I doubt that is going to happen) to the fascism that we are currently under. I would assume that my “ilk” feel the same. And as for throwing the baby out with the bathwater (a phrase older than I with which I am familiar nonetheless), if we are talking about conservative Republicans as the bathwater, that would make the babies environmental destruction, war profiteering, and welfare for the rich only (tax breaks and bail-outs). I think those are babies that we can do without…

  3. common tater says:

    IF you pay taxes you either have paid LESS taxes in the past 8 years than before (you probably don’t have that comparison) or you are making a lot more money than you were 8 years ago (again you probably don’t have anything to compare there either). You no doubt believe what you say is true and without anything to compare it to it is easy not to see anything other than what you are told by your college professors if you had any. In other words, you have no life experience upon which to base the mindless crap you profess to believe. As I said you THINK you’d prefer socialism. Have you ever really seen people living under socialism? I have, firsthand and it isn’t pretty. The government takes care of everyone, well not exactly, it’s really only the few who are in power. Maybe you think that will be you, but just because you think you’d be a good leader won’t make it so, except in a makebelieve world where you really don’t have to accomplish anything to be great. Why aren’t people flocking to those socialist countries to live? Because it’s better HERE, and it has been for about 200 years. I agree with you on one thing, the rich have too many tax breaks and loopholes here, this country has gone soft but it isn’t going to be any better with Obama.
    What environmental destruction are you speaking of? The one where we use our own natural resources? This ocuntry is more environmentally concious than any other. Or are you speaking of this country not using it’s own resources and depending on other countries to drill for oil and gas. Do you think these other countries are drilling and mining with the environment in mind? Not even. Take a look at the pollution they are creating, oh I forgot you probably haven’t ventured outside the safety of this country to see what’s really going on in the real world.

    Sorry, but your very statements give me every reason to believe that you live in a state of mind where you have all these utopian beliefs about how great things are under socialism without taking the time or effort to find out the truth. You are just the kind of sucker Obama was playing to and now you can see how much better things will really be. Of course, if you, as I suspect, believe people shouldn’t drive cars (no need to if you don’t have a job), don’t have much future in the world except what the ObamaNation will provide you like welfare, don’t have the initiative to see the world except as it is told to you by the likes of Michael Moorer (ever wonder why he isn’t down in Cuba enjoying all that socialized medicine he’s so fond of?) then you’ll be perfectly happy with the new administration. You can skateboard down to the welfare office and pick up your check, and wait for months to see a doctor if you need one (check with the Canadians if you don’t believe it), maybe you’ll get one of those “green” jobs and make lots of money … of course if you do you’ll be in the rich category and Obama wants to take part of what you earned and spread it around to those who don’t have the initiative to work … so enjoy yourself if you ever get out in that big scary real world.

  4. markbaland says:

    “IF you pay taxes you either have paid LESS taxes in the past 8 years than before (you probably don’t have that comparison)
    or you are making a lot more money than you were 8 years ago (again you probably don’t have anything to compare there either).
    You no doubt believe what you say is true and without anything to compare it to it is easy not to see anything other than what
    you are told by your college professors if you had any. In other words, you have no life experience upon which to base the mindless
    crap you profess to believe.”

    I’m not even making enough to owe taxes. I am 35. I am a single dad. I don’t know what gives you the impression that I am young and inexperienced, or that I am some mindless product of overbearing college professors. I graduated with a philosophy degree 14 years ago. I was quite a political and sociological researcher in college, as well as studying the world’s major religions and spending time in holy houses of all faiths. I have had over 50 different kinds of jobs. I have EXPERIENCE, thanks.

    “As I said you THINK you’d prefer socialism. Have you ever really seen people living under socialism? I have, firsthand and it isn’t pretty.”

    1.) As a poor person, yes, of course I would prefer socialism. It is the wealthy who prefer and enjoy the benefits of capitalism. Study some history, and you will see what I mean.
    2.) As a poor person, I haven’t been able to do much world traveling, sorry.
    3.) Where is it that you witnesses socialism, out of curiosity?

    “The government takes care of everyone, well not exactly, it’s really only the few who are in power.”

    And this is different from our present situation, how, exactly?
    I never said that socialism is perfect, but capitalism, in practice, is every bit as corrupt as communism, in different ways.

    “Maybe you think that will be you, but just because you think you’d be a good leader won’t make it so, except in a make believe
    world where you really don’t have to accomplish anything to be great.”

    I would be a GREAT leader, if I were a dictator. As a bureaucrat I would suck; I don’t have the patience to work with a team of idiots, liars, cheaters, and thieves.

    “Why aren’t people flocking to those socialist countries to live? Because it’s better HERE, and it has been for about 200 years.”

    I won’t argue that the quality of life is not too bad here. I never said I want to live in Russia or China or Iraq or Afghanistan, or some horrible place. I would however, from everything I have read, seen, and heard, in the media, and from people who have lived or visited there, rather live in Canada, Europe, or the Netherlands than here in the corporate-worshiping, war-mongering, polluting USA.

    “I agree with you on one thing, the rich have too many tax breaks and loopholes here, this country has gone soft but it isn’t going to be any better with Obama.”

    You may be right. I am hoping that you are not. I think the democrats and republicans are both corrupt sell-out parties. If they weren’t, they wouldn’t have corporate sponsors who control what they are allowed to say and see to it that they get airtime. I voted for Nader. He is an outspoken individual who has been an active advocate of the US people all his life. But he didn’t have a chance, seeing as how he didn’t get enough corporate media exposure and wasn’t even allowed in the debates. But that’s the way the evil, greedy bastards in charge want it. The Demo-Repub monopoly of power are getting paid off to allow the oil industry to cause global warming which is melting Greenland, the north pole, and Antarctica, and will be directly responsible for flooding 60% of the Earth’s population, when, if we were allowed to generate our own power with wind turbines and solar arrays, which is not legal in most towns, and power our cars with fry grease, which is being outlawed to prevent oil revenue losses, these disasters could be easily averted.

    “What environmental destruction are you speaking of? The one where we use our own natural resources? This country is more
    environmentally concious than any other.”

    One aspect of the environmental destruction that I am speaking of is the “war on terror” which is an excuse for a war to secure oil rights for the rich who prevent the spread of alternative energy, both by lobbying and by buying patents and then not using them.
    As for America being the most environmentally conscious, I can’t argue whether or not we are the most conscious, but we are not the most successful in acting on that conscience. Israel’s leaders just switched the country to all electric vehicles. The European union’s bullet trains use a fraction of our antique airlines. You really need to do some research somewhere other than the 700 Club and Fox News and the George W. Bush Presidential comic book library.

    “Or are you speaking of this country not using it’s own resources and depending on other countries to drill for oil and gas. Do you think these other countries are drilling and mining with the environment in mind? Not even. Take a look at the pollution they are creating,”

    I never said that all other countries are not damaging the environment. You are using Conservative arguing tactics: the domino fallacy of logic, misdirection, and sarcasm.

    “oh I forgot you probably haven’t ventured outside the safety of this country to see what’s really going on in the real world.”

    Oh, my bad, with the rising price of electricity, gas, and food, I can barely afford all three plus rent. I’m a bad person for not
    embezzling public money to fund my world adventure.

    “Sorry, but your very statements give me every reason to believe that you live in a state of mind where you have all these utopian beliefs about how great things are under socialism without taking the time or effort to find out the truth.”

    I don’t believe in Utopia. Human nature makes paradise impossible. But I know that things can be better. Getting Bush and Cheney out of office is a step to a better life for not just the USA, but much of the world.

    “You are just the kind of sucker Obama was playing to and now you can see how much better things will really be.”

    I didn’t vote for Obama. I am not a sucker. Obama was not playing to me. If he was, he wouldn’t have mentioned nuclear and “clean” (HAHA) coal in the debates. But I think Obama is an infinitely better choice for the American people at large than John McCain would have been, except maybe for Joe The Plumber.

    “Of course, if you, as I suspect, believe people shouldn’t drive cars (no need to if you don’t have a job), don’t have much future in the world except what the ObamaNation will provide you like welfare, don’t have the initiative to see the world except as it is told to you by the likes of Michael Moorer (ever wonder why he isn’t down in Cuba enjoying all that socialized medicine he’s so fond of?) then you’ll be perfectly happy with the new administration.”

    So, somehow Obama is going to be worse for employment than what we have had the last 8 years? He’s going to have to try really hard to suck as bad as Dubya and Dick. As for Michael Moore, while I don’t doubt that he downplays some facts that are counter-productive to his points, and plays up those facts that support him (just as almost every documentary film maker does), the country and the world would be better off with more investigative journalists stirring up information that is unflattering to those with the power and wealth.

    “You can skateboard down to the welfare office and pick up your check, and wait for months to see a doctor if you need one (check with the Canadians if you don’t believe it),”

    I know Canadians. My ex-wife is Canadian. Her sister, in Canada, who has many health problems, and is poor, is well taken care of. Here, she would be dead. Perhaps that would be well suited to your Nazi-Republican Social Darwinism sensibilities, but I think she’s better off alive.

    “maybe you’ll get one of those “green” jobs and make lots of money … “

    I would love to get a “green” job, so I am not contributing to disaster and death and can leave my son a better world.

    “of course if you do you’ll be in the rich category and Obama wants to take part of what you earned and spread it around to those who don’t have the initiative to work …”

    Not all the people who aren’t working or who are poor lack initiative. Some lack education. Some lack the physical ability. If I ever get rich, and I can help others by paying higher taxes, or donating time, effort, and money, then I will be proud and happy to do so. I’m not one of those sick, greedy people who needs to build an infinite amount of money in accounts that I will never be able to use, at the expense of the well being of others, just so my descendants can be spoiled snobs who do the same.

    “so enjoy yourself if you ever get out in that big scary real world.”

    I’ve been surviving the big scary real world for some time, and raising a child in it. Have fun in your brainwashed fantasies.

  5. Common Tater says:

    >I’m not even making enough to owe taxes. I am 35. I am a single dad. I don’t know what gives you the impression that I am young and inexperienced, or that I am some mindless product of overbearing college professors. I graduated with a philosophy degree 14 years ago. I was quite a political and sociological researcher in college, as well as studying the world’s major religions and spending time in holy houses of all faiths. I have had over 50 different kinds of jobs. I have EXPERIENCE, thanks.
    Your views reflect the influence of the liberals who have taken over our institutions of higher learning. The field of your studies is rife with liberal professors. Funny though that liberalism is so intolerant of any other view. If after 14 years with a degree and having 50 jobs you don’t earn enough to pay taxes you’ve either had a lot of hard luck or your attitude or work ethics have held you back.
    >1.) As a poor person, yes, of course I would prefer socialism. It is the wealthy who prefer and enjoy the benefits of capitalism. Study some history, and you will see what I mean.
    My family was not well off enough to send me to college, but I think I have enjoyed the benefits of capitalism. I was able to get a job, several in fact (not near 50 though) and I have studied some history and other subjects enough to get a degree; however, I had to do that at night.
    >2.) As a poor person, I haven’t been able to do much world traveling, sorry.
    My first travels were dictated by being drafted into the military. My later travel was because I took a job overseas.
    >3.) Where is it that you witnesses socialism, out of curiosity?
    Cuba, Hungary and France.
    >The government takes care of everyone, well not exactly, it’s really only the few who are in power.
    And this is different from our present situation, how, exactly?
    The government isn’t supposed to take of you. This country was founded on the principles of self reliance NOT government entitlements. It was founded because the people were tired of government (a king) and the want of freedom. That is why the Constitution does not tell you what the government owes you, but what the government is not supposed to do. The rest is supposed to be up to us.
    >I never said that socialism is perfect, but capitalism, in practice, is every bit as corrupt as communism, in different ways.
    Our country is full of corruption, in business, in politics, in personal lives, but it’s a human trait, not because capitalism is a corrupt way of government.
    >I would be a GREAT leader, if I were a dictator. As a bureaucrat I would suck; I don’t have the patience to work with a team of idiots, liars, cheaters, and thieves.
    Anyone can be a great dictator. The only person you have to please is yourself. There are plenty of bureaucrats in socialistic societies. Aren’t they just government officials following inflexible rules? I expect you’d find lots of them to be idiots, liars, cheats and thieves. Of course as a dictator you could have them shot or beheaded. On the other hand if you are not the dictator you can be shot or beheaded with no recourse. Things haven’t gotten that bad here – yet.
    >I won’t argue that the quality of life is not too bad here. I never said I want to live in Russia or China or Iraq or Afghanistan, or some horrible place. I would however, from everything I have read, seen, and heard, in the media, and from people who have lived or visited there, rather live in Canada, Europe, or the Netherlands than here in the corporate-worshiping, war-mongering, polluting USA.
    Most socialistic countries become horrible places to live as opposed to becoming better. That is until the people get enough and overthrow the government, although most of the time the replacement is no better. It sounds like you would be better off living in another country since you don’t like it here and Canada isn’t really that hard to get to.
    >I agree with you on one thing, the rich have too many tax breaks and loopholes here, this country has gone soft but it isn’t going to be any better with Obama.
    >You may be right. I am hoping that you are not. I think the democrats and republicans are both corrupt sell-out parties. If they weren’t, they wouldn’t have corporate sponsors who control what they are allowed to say and see to it that they get airtime. I voted for Nader. He is an outspoken individual who has been an active advocate of the US people all his life. But he didn’t have a chance, seeing as how he didn’t get enough corporate media exposure and wasn’t even allowed in the debates. But that’s the way the evil, greedy bastards in charge want it. The Demo-Repub monopoly of power are getting paid off to allow the oil industry to cause global warming which is melting Greenland, the north pole, and Antarctica, and will be directly responsible for flooding 60% of the Earth’s population, when, if we were allowed to generate our own power with wind turbines and solar arrays, which is not legal in most towns, and power our cars with fry grease, which is being outlawed to prevent oil revenue losses, these disasters could be easily averted.
    Wow, we agree that both political parties suck. There is not enough difference between them, but to me that means they both are selling our country down the river. I would not have been much happier if McCain won than I am that Obama won. Neither one of them is for protecting our country, but Obama has surrounded himself with too many radicals, from ones who want the UN to govern the world, to ones that want to keep us from voicing our own independent thoughts, to ones that want us to give most of what we earn to the government so they can decide where to spend it (Remember Obama and Joe the Plumber? That’s socialism). I’d rather have the choice of how much I want to give of my paycheck to what charity than have that decided for me by someone who may feel totally different than I do. I have been a registered Dem, and a registered Rep, but in the general election I have always voted as an Independent no matter which party I was registered as. I don’t think you can blame all the “global warming” on the US. I happen to side with the approximately half of the scientists who are now convinced that Al Gore’s (a politician NOT a scientist) theory is a congame. Even if it’s true, the solution the government has is to stop pollution in the US while putting no restrictions on the “developing” countries which means their polluting will be increasing each year since they are by definition “developing.” I don’t know where you live but I traveled the US from 1999 – 2007 and have seen solar panels in a lot of places and wind farms too. I saw my first solar homes in Atlanta as early as the early 1980s. As for running your car on fry grease, there isn’t that much available, and who knows how much damage is done to people’s health producing it? But there are hybrid cars and they are becoming more available. Our auto industry didn’t learn from their first warnings about energy as far back as 1973. I don’t happen to believe the government should put the country another trillion dollars in debt to make sure they do, but that’s another thread.
    >What environmental destruction are you speaking of? The one where we use our own natural resources? This country is more environmentally conscious than any other.
    >Bullshit! Israel’s leaders just switched the country to all electric vehicles. The European union’s bullet trains use a fraction of our antique airlines. You really need to do some research somewhere other than the 700 Club and Fox News and the George W. Bush Presidential comic book library.
    I was speaking of the environmental impact of producing oil and gas for energy. Brazil stopped selling vehicles that don’t run on ethanol several years ago too, but how many cars are there in Brazil and Israel? Bother together probably don’t total the number in CA. Traveling across either country is the equivalent of driving across a couple of states. What would happen to the cost and availability of electricity if everyone suddenly had a car they could plug in to the power grid? If you have a car, would you like it if the government said you have to scrap it and buy a new electric one in x years? We had the best, most dependable train system in the world at one time, but the unions pretty much put them out of business. Yeah, I’m pissed too because no one in our government has had the foresight to prepare for the future which has become now. We can’t practically switch overnight from what we have to the new technology even if we could wave a magic wand a create all the new technological wonders we want overnight, but we could have prepared responsibly, but look at Congress now that gas is less than $2.00 a gal they are talking about adding more tax. I wonder if Obama is going to build us a new rail system where we can run bullet trains? I haven’t heard any of that on his agenda. Yes, Fox News is ONE of the news sources I watch, not the only one, but I do prefer to hear more than one side of a story which they do a better job of than most. I quit regularly watching the network news long ago when I realized I was only hearing the network owner’s version of the news. I don’t like being told someone’s opinion as a news story.
    >Or are you speaking of this country not using it’s own resources and depending on other countries to drill for oil and gas. Do you think these other countries are drilling and mining with the environment in mind? Not even. Take a look at the pollution they are creating,
    >I never said that all other countries are not damaging the environment. You are using Conservative arguing tactics: the domino fallacy of logic, misdirection, and sarcasm.
    I was merely pointing out that socialistic countries are not doing any better job of protecting the environment than we are so I wouldn’t look at them as models of what we should become. I don’t know how that connects to the domino fallacy of logic, I don’t even know what that is. I know about the domino theory as it pertains to democracy and other governments. I’m not trying misdirection either, just answering your points. I will admit to some sarcasm which seems not to be only one sided.
    >oh I forgot you probably haven’t ventured outside the safety of this country to see what’s really going on in the real world.
    >Oh, my bad, with the rising price of electricity, gas, and food, I can barely afford all three plus rent. I’m a bad person for not embezzling public money to fund my world adventure.
    I haven’t embezzled any money and I don’t think a person has to in order to travel. At least that has been true in the past, everyone’s economic situation has been drastically altered this year, probably Bush’s fault .. oops sarcasm again. Between the current economy and being a single parent I can see your being a responsible parent is more important at this time in your life. I don’t know about your past. I know right now I can’t travel like I could at one time, without embezzling or stealing.

    >I don’t believe in Utopia. But I know that things can be better. Getting Bush and Cheney out of office is a step to a better life for not just the USA, but much of the world.
    I don’t think either of us is going to convince the other about our difference of opinions here. I believe that if Bush and Cheney had not been in office we would probably have been attacked again after 9/11. I am not exactly sure how they managed that since they have done little in some respects like the borders and immigration screening, but I think you have to give them credit for keeping the homeland from being attacked directly. I know, you don’t, so we disagree. I see Obama as an agent of change, just not for the better. He has already started in his first full day in office making a big production of change in the way things are done by signing an executive order that no lobbyist will work in his White House for any agency/dept related to their lobbying activities then he promptly appoints not one but two and grants waivers to his executive order, then appoints a guy as Treasury Sec who everyone can see cheated on his taxes, and on and on. Congress is no better, they approve them, so I don’t see anything better coming. I think you must like children since you are being a responsible single parent, well as promised during the campaign Obama has already approved spending money to fund abortions overseas and has promised to sign the Freedom Of Choice Act which sounds great except that is actually restricts freedom in that it uses your or excuse me, MY tax dollars to fund abortions, now that’s making the country better. I know, you think he is better for the country, we disagree.
    >I didn’t vote for Obama. I am not a sucker. Obama was not playing to me. If he was, he wouldn’t have mentioned nuclear and “clean” (HAHA) coal in the debates.
    I may have misjudged who you voted for, but apparently from your support for his socialistic ideas you believe he will make this a better country. I don’t, but that’s because as I stated above I don’t think giving most of my money to the government to spend is anything other than socialism and I don’t believe in that form of government. The government is already too much involved in my life, from taxes to regulations and seeing the mess they have made of the economy and even trying to fix it I certainly don’t have confidence in them handling my healthcare or anything else they don’t have to.
    >So, somehow Obama is going to be worse for employment than what we have had the last 8 years? He’s going to have to ry really hard to suck as bad as Dubya and Dick.
    Actually I believe your research will show that employment was good for the first 6 of those 8 years. Obama’s own staff doesn’t agree with him on the number of jobs he claims he will create. In fact his own numbers keep changing. You don’t have to get that from Fox News just check the internet for some of his speeches. He does say that he will put a lot more people on the government payrolls, 80% of one category of job growth he said would be in the public sector, your oh excuse me again, MY taxes will have to pay their salaries.
    >I know Canadians. My ex-wife is Canadian. Her sister, in Canada, who has many health problems, and is poor, is well taken care of. Here, she would be dead. Perhaps that would be well suited to your Nazi-Republican Social Darwinism sensibilities, but I think she’s better off alive.
    I know some Canadians too. A good friend of mine is a retired (on disability) plumber who did not have all those kind words for their system. In fact I recall during a visit to the states while waiting for treatment he explained that although he could not receive his treatment for another several weeks he had to return to Canada after a certain time. Being out of the country too long would cause him to loose his medical benefits until the next open season when he could re-enroll. So I guess different people there have different experiences. I don’t know why you figure your ex-sister-in-law would have died if she was here since federal law won’t let hospitals turn you away even if you can’t pay. As I said before, you’d probably be better off if you moved to Canada. You know you don’t have to sneak into the country unless you are wanted or are declared an undesirable.
    >I would love to get a “green” job, so I am not contributing to disaster and death and can leave my son a better world.
    Good luck. I hope your son can live in a better world, but if you raise him to believe that the freedom he has just because he is born here is a bad thing and not to appreciate that a lot of people helped make this a free country (all wars were not for oil, you’d be living in Nazi Germany today if not for the self sacrifice of many) and you tech him that the government can and should do everything for him rather than using his own initiative it’s not likely that he will be any happier here than you are.
    >Not all the people who aren’t working or who are poor lack initiative. Some lack education. Some lack the physical ability. If I ever get rich, and I can help others by paying higher taxes, or donating time, effort, and money, then I will be proud and happy to do so. I’m not one of those sick, greedy people who needs to build an infinite amount of money in accounts that I will never be able to use, at the expense of the well being of others, just so my descendants can be spoiled snobs who do the same.
    True not all people who don’t work lack initiative, lack of education is almost always due to lack of initiative. Look at Obama, he was poor, at least relatively. I hope you’ll save this and read over it again when you become rich, it would be interesting to know if you will still feel happy to pay the government higher taxes (higher than what?) and let them decide who to help and how to help them. You see under socialism you don’t even have the option of deciding who you think you’d like to help. Since there is little incentive or opportunity to be productive, most aren’t so a lot of people need help. I hope you don’t have the idea that I am rich or ever have been. I’ve worked since I was 14 and fulltime since I was 18 and I’m still not rich.
    >I’ve been surviving the big scary real world for some time, and raising a child in it. Have fun in your brainwashed fantasies.
    Like I said, neither of us is going to change the other’s mind so I’m through with this conversation. Since it’s your blog you have the last word. So have at it and I hope you are not disappointed with your new president.

  6. markbaland says:

    “Your views reflect the influence of the liberals who have taken over our
    institutions of higher learning. The field of your studies is rife with liberal
    professors. Funny though that liberalism is so intolerant of any other view.”

    Conversativism is about keeping things the same. Liberalism is about fixing
    things that aren’t right. Being tolerant of one another would be counter-
    productive to the goals of either side. As soon as everything I see wrong
    with the country (and maybe the world) is finally fixed (which will never
    happen) I will become the conservative, wanting to keep things that way.
    But then, a new breed of liberals will emerge, with crazy ideas like “we
    should start a war”, “we should pollute more”, and “we should take more
    money from the poor to make the rich richer”.

    “If after 14 years with a degree and having 50 jobs you don’t earn enough
    to pay taxes you’ve either had a lot of hard luck or your attitude or work
    ethics have held you back.”

    In all fairness, it started out a lot of hard luck, which led to a weaker
    work ethic, which I eventually overcame, but am still experiencing “hard
    luck”

    “The government isn’t supposed to take of you.”

    I disagree. If the government is going to take care of the interests
    of the rich by being paid off to allow them to do what they need to
    do to make more money, including taking our jobs oversees, reducing
    our benefits, charging us more for products and services, and polluting
    our environment, they should have to look out for “the people” as well,
    if they are to continue to claim to be “of the people, by the people, and
    for the people”…

    “This country was founded on the principles of self reliance NOT
    government entitlements.”

    Then big business should not be subsidized, bailed out, and given tax
    cuts. They too should be self reliant.

    “It was founded because the people were tired of government (a king)
    and the want of freedom.”

    It was founded by wealthy merchants who wanted to be wealthier,
    and rallied the poor to fight the British, making the poor think that
    their lives would be significantly better, while, in reality, the accent
    of their masters was the only change.

    “That is why the Constitution does not tell you what the government
    owes you, but what the government is not supposed to do. The rest is
    supposed to be up to us.”

    If the federal government existed in a more minimal way, as Libertarians
    wish, then I would agree with you. However, since the US government
    has bloated into an instrument for corporations to make more money
    off workers and customers, I feel it’s important to balance this with
    some concern for the will and the needs of the people as well. If not,
    then we really should just have an actual revolution.

    “Our country is full of corruption, in business, in politics, in personal
    lives, but it’s a human trait, not because capitalism is a corrupt way of
    government.”

    I agree that corruption is human nature. Capitalism is based, in large
    part, on greed. Greed is human nature. Corruption is inherent in greed.
    When greed grows past the point where one can acquire honestly and
    fairly, corruption ensues.

    “Anyone can be a great dictator. The only person you have to please is
    yourself. There are plenty of bureaucrats in socialistic societies.
    Aren’t they just government officials following inflexible rules? I
    expect you’d find lots of them to be idiots, liars, cheats and thieves.
    Of course as a dictator you could have them shot or beheaded. On
    the other hand if you are not the dictator you can be shot or
    beheaded with no recourse. Things haven’t gotten that bad here – yet.”

    I am glad that you included “yet”. If a person has enough power to
    influence enough people in a way that upsets the revenue streams of
    those in power, those people can be assassinated or framed, every
    bit as easily here in our capitalist democracy as they can be in a
    socialist dictatorship.

    “Most socialistic countries become horrible places to live as opposed
    to becoming better. That is until the people get enough and overthrow
    the government, although most of the time the replacement is no better.”

    True. But somehow I doubt that life is going to be getting worse for
    the average American under Obama than it was under Bush. He is
    already signing legislation to help ensure fairness for employees.
    Bush never did anything to directly benefit the masses. Anything
    good that happened for the common person under his administration
    was an unintentional by-product of something he did for the rich,
    but I can’t remember a single good thing the government has done
    for me in the last 8 years.

    “It sounds like you would be better off living in another country since
    you don’t like it here and Canada isn’t really that hard to get to.”

    I totally agree with you. If I can ever afford it, I will move to Canada.

    “Wow, we agree that both political parties suck. There is not enough
    difference between them, but to me that means they both are selling
    our country down the river. I would not have been much happier if
    McCain won than I am that Obama won.”

    Ideally, I would prefer an independent president and a congress of
    independents, but in lieu of that, I prefer the Democrats who will
    make life easier for those who have it rough than the Republicans
    who will make life easier for those who already have it easy.

    “Obama has surrounded himself with too many radicals,”

    Desperate times call for desperate measures. Conservatives have not
    solved our problems, so it makes sense to try more “radical” measures.

    “ones who want the UN to govern the world,”

    Ideally, there would be no state, or national, or international government.
    All towns and cities would be independently governed by councils of the
    wisest young, middle aged, and old people, balanced out among classes,
    races, genders, and occupations, and these independent villages would
    peacefully coexist without war. However, since human nature doesn’t
    make this possible, and we already have states and nations, if we are
    to move forward as a world working together, and not one ripping
    itself apart, I think one world government and currency would be
    a good thing. In fact, I am sure you would find it to socialist, but all
    nations’ goods should be worth the same amount; their labor should
    be worth the same amount, etc… That would prevent the victimization
    of third world countries by the rich in the developed countries, and
    would help keep jobs for the poor and middle classes in the developed
    countries.

    “ones that want to keep us from voicing our own independent thoughts,

    I don’t think Obama or any other liberals or democrats are trying to
    get rid of freedom of speech. If anybody has been guilty of that,
    traditionally, it has been the other side.

    “ones that want us to give most of what we earn to the government so they
    can decide where to spend it”

    Most? Obama has not proposed a 51% tax on anyone. Although I think
    for those making millions and billions, that would be fine. The rich enjoy
    the luxuries of travel and infrastructure and leisure so they should
    help pay for the maintenance of it.

    “(Remember Obama and Joe the Plumber? That’s socialism).”

    I remember Joe the Plumber. Obama wants to make things easier for
    the plumbers who can’t feed their kids. McCain wanted to make things
    easier for the Plumbers, International, Inc. who don’t want to wait
    an extra month to buy a new jet.

    “I’d rather have the choice of how much I want to give of my paycheck
    to what charity than have that decided for me by someone who may feel
    totally different than I do.”

    If human nature were not selfish and greedy, that would work. However,
    I am not sure about you, but most people who use that argument don’t
    want to donate to charity; they just don’t want to share with those less
    fortunate. And the greed of the wealthy turns on them, because the
    less they pay the poor and the more they charge the poor, the more
    desperate and violent the poor become, and they turn on the wealthy,
    robbing and killing them. If the ruling class doesn’t adequately care for
    the working class, the working class doesn’t work as hard for them,
    and their productivity and profits go down, and crime against them
    goes up. It’s synergy. It’s the circle of life. And it is way, way out
    of balance right now.

    “I don’t think you can blame all the “global warming” on the US.”

    I haven’t and I won’t.

    “I happen to side with the approximately half of the scientists who are now
    convinced that Al Gore’s (a politician NOT a scientist) theory is a congame.”

    It’s a pretty elaborate con game. I wonder where he keeps the giant
    machines that are so obviously having an effect on the planet around us?
    Or are you saying he is some kind of magician?

    “Even if it’s true, the solution the government has is to stop pollution
    in the US while putting no restrictions on the “developing” countries
    which means their polluting will be increasing each year since they are
    by definition “developing.”

    Wrong.

    The US can set a good example, by not bailing out the big 3 auto
    companies unless they start producing hybrids and electrics.
    We can make it legal for people in all 50 states, regardless of how
    much land they own, to generate as much of their own power as they
    want with clean renewables. We can stop electing representatives
    and senators who accept oil bribes. We can put up wind farms,
    solar arrays, and hydrodynamic devices everywhere that we can,
    like in national parks, on interstate right of ways, and unincorporated
    lands nationwide.

    AND, we can place trade embargos and other types of sanctions
    against countries like China, who is the second biggest polluter, and
    closing in on the #1 spot. Almost all of that pollution is created by
    manufacturing products for American consumption. The Chinese
    have no environmental protection agency. American companies like
    Wal-Mart, instead of paying Americans decent wages to make our
    own products, under environmental scrutiny, instead increase their
    profit margins at the economic expense of the common US citizen,
    to whom they provide no manufacturing jobs, at the expense of
    the average Chinese person, who works and lives in poor conditions,
    and at the expense of the environment, which China does not protect.

    “I don’t know where you live but I traveled the US from 1999 – 2007
    and have seen solar panels in a lot of places and wind farms too. I saw
    my first solar homes in Atlanta as early as the early 1980s.”

    I live in Texas, which is the most anti-green energy state. As for
    solar panels and wind farms, they are slowly creeping up around the
    USA, but about the only place that they are popular and well-known
    is in California, where the government is on-board with conservation,
    providing tax breaks and other incentives for going green.

    “As for running your car on fry grease, there isn’t that much available,
    and who knows how much damage is done to people’s health producing it?”

    There is a lot available. It is currently mostly thrown away. It has
    almost zero carbon emissions. It smells much better than gasoline.
    The only disadvantage is it makes you want to eat.

    But there are hybrid cars and they are becoming more available. Our
    auto industry didn’t learn from their first warnings about energy as
    far back as 1973. I don’t happen to believe the government should put
    the country another

    “Brazil stopped selling vehicles that don’t run on ethanol several years
    ago too, but how many cars are there in Brazil and Israel? Bother together
    probably don’t total the number in CA. Traveling across either country
    is the equivalent of driving across a couple of states.”

    Yes, so imagine the difference the USA could make by doing the same!

    “What would happen to the cost and availability of electricity if everyone
    suddenly had a car they could plug in to the power grid?”

    If the people currently employed refining, transporting, and selling gas
    were instead re-employed making solar panels and wind farms to create
    more electricity, then electricity, although in greater demand, could stay
    around the same price.

    “If you have a car, would you like it if the government said you have to
    scrap it and buy a new electric one in x years?”

    Part of the billion dollars a day currently being spent on the war with
    Iraq, which is about oil, for the most part, could be spent to convert
    American’s cars and/or help them upgrade to electrics.

    “We had the best, most dependable train system in the world at one time,
    but the unions pretty much put them out of business.”

    Do you mean truck driver’s unions or train employee’s unions? In either
    case, I think unions, while I am sure that they can be troublesome for
    executives, are essential for ensuring safe work environments and good
    pay and benefits for workers.

    “We can’t practically switch overnight from what we have to the new
    technology”

    That is true, but it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t get started now,
    and do it as quickly as possible. As a wise man once said, “The journey
    of a thousand miles begins with a single step…”

    “I wonder if Obama is going to build us a new rail system where we can
    run bullet trains? I haven’t heard any of that on his agenda.”

    I haven’t heard of the new administration doing that, but it would be
    great!

    “Yes, Fox News is ONE of the news sources I watch, not the only one,
    but I do prefer to hear more than one side of a story which they do a
    better job of than most. I quit regularly watching the network news long
    ago when I realized I was only hearing the network owner’s version of
    the news. I don’t like being told someone’s opinion as a news story.”

    Agreed. I try to get my news from many different sources, usually
    websites, since they are usually 12 hours ahead of the television.

    “I was merely pointing out that socialistic countries are not doing any better
    job of protecting the environment than we are so I wouldn’t look at them
    as models of what we should become. I don’t know how that connects to
    the domino fallacy of logic, I don’t even know what that is. I know about
    the domino theory as it pertains to democracy and other governments.
    I’m not trying misdirection either, just answering your points. I will
    admit to some sarcasm which seems not to be only one sided.”

    My apologies. I did get kind of aggressive, insulting, and judgemental.
    It is just that I feel very strongly about my position, and I get
    frustrated sometimes when I feel that people are trying to ignore
    the future and stick with the status quo.

    “I haven’t embezzled any money”

    I must have not completed my thought. I didn’t mean to insinuate
    that just because you had traveled that you had embezzled. I was
    thinking of something else and my thoughts ran together.

    “I don’t think either of us is going to convince the other about our
    difference of opinions here.”

    Unfortunately not. It would seem that experiences in life drive a
    great many people to opposite extremes. I do appreciate the
    discussion, however.

    “I believe that if Bush and Cheney had not been in office we would
    probably have been attacked again after 9/11. I am not exactly sure
    how they managed that since they have done little in some respects like
    the borders and immigration screening, but I think you have to give them
    credit for keeping the homeland from being attacked directly. I know,
    you don’t, so we disagree.”

    It’s hard to say. I have to admit that an aggressive, almost paranoid
    defense posture may have helped to keep us safe, but a misguided,
    mismanaged, offense has helped to make us a target, so it may all
    balance out.

    “I think you must like children since you are being a responsible single
    parent, well as promised during the campaign Obama has already approved
    spending money to fund abortions overseas and has promised to sign the
    Freedom Of Choice Act which sounds great except that is actually restricts
    freedom in that it uses your or excuse me, MY tax dollars to fund abortions,
    now that’s making the country better.”

    I think you are being ironic here, saying that you don’t support abortion.
    I don’t like abortion either, but if those kids aren’t aborted, it will mean
    more unwanted kids, many of whom are poor, and will have more of YOUR
    tax dollars spent on them, so choose your poison…

    “The government is already too much involved in my life, from taxes to
    regulations and seeing the mess they have made of the economy and even
    trying to fix it I certainly don’t have confidence in them handling my
    healthcare or anything else they don’t have to.”

    Well, maybe if Obama can get things passed to allow workers everywhere
    to unionize without fear of retribution, then we, the workers can fight
    for what we want and need, against the corporate lobbyists, allowing us
    to achieve what is required without continuing to need the government to
    intervene and give back some of what is taken.

    “Actually I believe your research will show that employment was good for
    the first 6 of those 8 years.”

    When it comes to Bush’s effect on employment, I am less concerned with
    statistics and more with my experiences, which is that the same kinds of
    jobs I used to do pay less, and are less common, and everything costs
    more. Surely you are not a social darwinist, believing that the government
    should allow inflation to spiral out of control with no adjustments to
    taxes and wages until some people just can’t afford to live and die out?

    “Obama’s own staff doesn’t agree with him on the number of jobs he claims
    he will create. In fact his own numbers keep changing.”

    Well, I would assume that most of those changes are based on research
    and advisement and working with multiple departments, not schizophrenia.

    “He does say that he will put a lot more people on the government payrolls,
    80% of one category of job growth he said would be in the public sector,”

    Well, if private industry isn’t willing or able to provide jobs to the people
    who have made them their money by making and selling and buying their
    wares, it’s only fair that the same government that they lobbied to
    allow them to do as they please in the past now helps the people who
    have suffered.

    “your oh excuse me again, MY taxes will have to pay their salaries.”

    I take it that you are upset, feeling that myself and other people who
    are currently unemployed or underemployed are sucking up your
    taxes. Perhaps, if some day in the future, our roles are reversed,
    you would prefer to starve in the cold while I enjoy my good times?

    “I hope your son can live in a better world, but if you raise him to
    believe that the freedom he has just because he is born here is a bad
    thing and not to appreciate that a lot of people helped make this a free
    country (all wars were not for oil, you’d be living in Nazi Germany today
    if not for the self sacrifice of many) and you teach him that the
    government can and should do everything for him rather than using
    his own initiative it’s not likely that he will be any happier here than you are.”

    I am not teaching him any of those things. And as for the Nazi thing,
    the fact that some wars are more justified than others doesn’t mean
    that I have to condone all wars.

    “I hope you’ll save this and read over it again when you become rich,
    it would be interesting to know if you will still feel happy to pay the
    government higher taxes (higher than what?) and let them decide who
    to help and how to help them.”

    If I ever get rich, it will be in some way that doesn’t require me to
    abuse and victimize others, as many in business and politics have done.
    And, if I ever get rich, I will know that my taxes are going to create
    a better society, which will be OK, knowing that I have to live amongst
    those less fortunate, and remembering how it was to be one of them.

    “Since there is little incentive or opportunity to be productive, most
    aren’t so a lot of people need help.”

    I realize that. Europe, for example, is experiencing the harsh reality
    of a burgeoning welfare population. That is why I think that capitalist
    desire, tempered with some socialist compassion, is the best solution.

    “I hope you don’t have the idea that I am rich or ever have been. I’ve
    worked since I was 14 and fulltime since I was 18 and I’m still not rich.”

    I don’t know if you are rich or not, nor is it important to my arguments.
    Whether you are making $30,000, $300,000, or $3 million a year, you
    are arguing against changes in society which will benefit many people
    who are having a tough time, many of whom have worked long and hard
    with nothing to show for it.

    “Like I said, neither of us is going to change the other’s mind so I’m
    through with this conversation. Since it’s your blog you have the last word.
    So have at it and I hope you are not disappointed with your new president.”

    I hope so as well.

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Mark Baland


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