FT210: “Vanity, thy name is liberalism; Liberty, thy name is capitalism.” —Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - February 21st, 2014

Fundamental Truth

Christians believe in the Reward of Hard Work and Shun Idleness for it tends to Invite Trouble

Liberals are very confident people.  As well as arrogant.  Narcissistic.  And condescending.  Which is why they are so secular.  Wanting to take the separation of church and state argument to the extreme.  Attacking and mocking Christianity every chance they get.  As they don’t like anyone judging them.  Or setting some moral standard.  For liberals are a sinful people.

The Seven Deadly Sins are wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony.  Christians try to avoid these.  They forgive their enemies instead of getting angry at them.  They tithe to their church instead of keeping all of their money greedily for themselves.  They believe in the reward of hard work and shun idleness for it tends to invite trouble.  They are humble and don’t strive for attention.  They have strong self-control and make sacrifices for a better future instead of giving in to current wants and desires.  They tend to be happy with what they have however modest their lives may be.  Instead of being envious of others.  They don’t eat, drink or live to excess, preferring to do everything in moderation.  Things you just don’t associate with liberals.

Now think of some liberals you know of.  Think of the vicious things liberal Democrats say about Republicans (such as a campaign commercial showing a Republican pushing ‘Grandma’ off a cliff).  The vulgar things some liberal commentators say about Republican women.  And the ridicule of conservatives on late-night television.  Rich liberals who want to raise taxes on the rich (which includes the middle class) to pay for a generous welfare state while giving little to charity themselves.  As they are far more generous with other people’s money than with their own.  And never risk their own money in risky investments such as Solyndra.  Preferring to risk the taxpayers’ money.

Liberals attack the Rich because they are Envious of their Hard Work and Success

Liberals always want a bigger federal government with an ever-growing bureaucracy.  So they can be career politicians without ever getting a real job where they have to work hard to earn a living.  Liberals like to brag about how smart they are and how brilliant their legislation is.  Taking credit for things they didn’t even do.  Such as President Obama taking credit for the surge in natural gas production done on private land by private companies.  Or boasting how their economic policies are working even though the real unemployment rate is in excess of 13% (when you count those who have left the labor force and those who can only find a part-time job).  And their refusal to admit they wrote a terrible law.  Such as Obamacare.

Liberals never want to wait for anything.  They don’t believe in hard work.  They believe in early retirement and generous pensions.  For their friends in the union.  Like the UAW.  In the public sector unions.  And those in government jobs.  They attack the rich because they resent their hard work and success.  Are envious of them.  And want to punish them because they were never as good as they are.  With higher tax rates.  And punishing regulations.  Hollywood celebrities and the Washington elite live the most extravagant lives.  In some of the most expensive homes which are filled with the finest food, drink and toys.  And when that’s not enough some further their excess with drugs.

These are things you just don’t associate with Christians.  In fact, these are things Christians frown upon.  Even telling their congregation not to live lives like these in their church services.  For these are not Christian lives.  Some people could have everything they could possibly want or desire but are still not happy.  Or are bored because it came too easily.  Or too soon.  Turning to other outlets to excite them.  Alcohol and drugs.  Drag-racing in expensive sports cars on neighborhood streets.  Partying all night in the hottest clubs.  Or blowing a lot of money gambling.  Anything to escape the boredom of an idle life.

For a Better Life we should Shun Liberalism and Embrace Free Market Capitalism

This is why liberals attack Christianity so much.  As well as one other reason.  Because they don’t like believing in a higher being.  For they are so arrogant and narcissistic that they can’t stand the thought of some being that is greater than themselves.  For they hold liberalism sacred.  And if anyone worships anything they want the people to worship them.  Because they believe they are the smartest and the most insightful people in the universe.  Yes, vanity, thy name is liberalism.  Which is why they believe they should control government.  And our lives.  Because they’re smarter and wiser than business owners.  Bankers.  Entrepreneurs.  And market forces.  For they are the higher being.  Not what those silly Christians worship.

A lot of people have felt like this throughout history.  Adolf Hitler.  Mao Zedong.  Saddam Hussein.  Benito Mussolini.  Muammar Gaddafi.  Kim Il-sung.  Kim Jong-il.  Kim Jong-un.  Fidel Castro.  Supreme leaders and ruthless dictators who preferred their people to worship them like a god.  And imposed socialism, fascism or communism on their people.  Using their supreme intelligence and insight to make the state a better place for the people.  Making the state supreme.  While subordinating the individual.  And elevating the supreme leader above everyone.  Something liberals have been trying to do all their lives.  Only without the torture and genocide.

But their efforts share a similar trend with these ruthless dictators.  The quality of life declines under their rule.  Some of the worst places to live when it comes to human rights have been in Nazi Germany, the People’s Republic of China, Iraq, Fascist Italy, Libya, North Korea and Cuba.  While some of the best countries to live in are the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and Hong Kong.  All once part of the Christian British Empire.  An empire that embraced free market capitalism.  And when people practice self-control and make sacrifices for the future engage in free market capitalism they make a better place to live.  At least this is what history has shown us.  So if we want a better life we should shun liberalism.  And embrace free market capitalism.  For liberty, thy name is capitalism.

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Cult of Personality

Posted by PITHOCRATES - February 20th, 2014

Politics 101

Hitler received the Iron Cross for Bravery which carried a lot of Currency in a Militaristic Germany

Adolf Hitler could give a speech that fired up the masses.  People loved him.  The Nazis rose to power by winning elections.  People elected them because they liked what the Nazis were saying.  Things were not that good in Germany.  The victorious Allies blamed World War I on them even though all nations jumped in enthusiastically.  And then to add insult to injury the Allies made Germany pay reparations.  Burdening Germany with the cost of World War I.

This was especially galling as Germany didn’t lose the war.  The war ended in an armistice.  Which is a mutual cessation of warfare.  Not unconditional surrender.  And yet here was Germany.  Being treated as if they surrendered unconditionally.  It made a lot of people feel angry.  And betrayed.  Enter Adolf Hitler.  Who could tap into that anger and feelings of betrayal.

Hitler was a war veteran.  He served as a dispatch runner in World War I.  Wounded by artillery.  And blinded temporarily by mustard gas.  He even received the Iron Cross for bravery.  Although it may have had more to do with spending so much time with senior officers at headquarters that issued those dispatches.  But for a militaristic Germany an Iron Cross carried a lot of currency.

When the Reichstag burned down Hitler blamed the Marxists and turned Germany into a Police State

So Hitler was a brave war hero.  Even though he didn’t actually use a weapon.  Which was a good foundation to build on.  For war heroes don’t stab people in the back after fighting bravely for them in war.  Which is how many Germans felt about the politicians.  Betrayed.  Victims of the evil, conniving politicians.  So the people felt victimized.  And they were looking for someone to stand up for them.  To right these wrongs.

Hitler wanted to be an artist.  But when that didn’t work he turned to politics.  And learned what a good speaker he was.  He even studied how to become a better speaker.  How to look.  How to use his hands.  How to inflect his voice.  His speeches became very moving.  Very dramatic.  He made the defeated Germans feel better.  For he told them that it wasn’t their fault.  It was the politicians, and the Marxists, that stabbed Germany in the back.  And he was the one man that could do something about it.

When the Reichstag burned down he blamed the Marxists.  Who the Nazis shared power with in the Reichstag.  But didn’t want to.  It’s still debated who started the fire (the communists, the Nazis, others) but what it did was allow the newly appointed chancellor, Adolf Hitler, to urge President Hindenburg to suspend all civil liberties so they could hunt these communists down like the dogs they were.  President Hindenburg did.  And the government rounded up the communists.  With them out of the government the Nazis no longer had to share power.  And turned Germany into a police state.  To keep that power.

The Equation Brutal Dictators use to stay in Power is Victimization + Demonization + Emotion = Power

Hitler was charismatic.  He could give a powerful speech.  And after the Reichstag fire he controlled the people.  Using censorship and propaganda he made himself god-like.  The war hero.  The savior of the German people.  To undo all the injustice of the Versailles Treaty.  Standing up to the Allies.  Punishing those who stabbed Germany in the back (first the Marxists and then the Jews).  And restoring German pride.  Because he got even with those who wronged the German people.  The people loved him.  He could do no wrong in their eyes. No matter how much wrong he did.  Which he could hide from the people.  Thanks to his censoring of the free press.  And his state propaganda machine.  Which is why people packed stadiums and the sides of roads.  Showering him with their adoration.

Adolf Hitler was Germany.  Germany was Adolf Hitler.  His national socialism provided for the people.  In return the people were subservient to the state.  Germany was more important than the individual.  And Adolf Hitler was more important than Germany.  So anything he did was okay.  For he could do no wrong.  As there was nothing more important than Adolf Hitler.  For Hitler was a cult of personality.  Above the law.  And god-like.  Where people believed he was the only one that could save the nation.  And would do anything for him.  With the most devout joining the SS.  Fighting with unbounded fanaticism in combat.  And carrying out the Holocaust with ruthless efficiency.  They pledged their loyalty to Adolf Hitler.  Not Germany.  And would do anything for him.  Anything at all.  Even torture and kill their fellow Germans.  If that was what their Führer wanted.

This is how dictators were able to do some of the things they did. Because they were a cult of personality.  Mao Zedong.  Saddam Hussein.  Benito Mussolini.  Muammar Gaddafi.  Kim Il-sung.  Kim Jong-il.  Kim Jong-un.  These brutal dictators were/are all worshipped by their people.  At least the people they weren’t/aren’t torturing or killing.  For they had an equation they used to remain in power.  Victimization + Demonization + Emotion = Power.  Similar to the equation the Democrats use to win elections.  Victimization + Demonization + Emotion = Democrat Votes.  Where they victimize the people.  Find someone to demonize for this victimization.  Such as Marxists and Jews in Nazi Germany.  Or Republicans in the United States.  Then use state propaganda to disseminate their lies.  Like Joseph Goebbels did in Nazi Germany.  And like the mainstream media in the United States disseminates Democrat talking points.  And then use fiery rhetoric to incite the people’s emotions.  Like Hitler, Hussein, Mussolini, Gaddafi, Kim Il-sung, Kim Jong-il, Kim Jong-un and every other cult of personality did.  Like these ‘god-like’ people still do today.

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Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire, Hang them up on Telephone Wire, President Obama

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 12th, 2013

Politics 101

Oppression and Lies are Standard Fare for a Communist Dictatorship

Communists are pragmatic.  They know what they want.  And they do what it takes to get what they want.  For them the ends justify the means.  No matter how horrible those means can be.  And they’ve been pretty horrible.  As communists have been among the greatest abusers of human rights.  Something their people are not too keen on.  As well as those living in the free world.  So communists do something else a lot.  They lie.

When you want to do things against the will of the people you need to either lie to the people.  Or oppress the people with a large police state.  Which can be costly.  Because you have to take care of your police apparatus so they oppress the people and don’t turn on you.  That’s how all dictators stay in power.  Life is horrible in their countries.  But it’s pretty good at the top.  And those who protect those at the top.  North Korea still suffers from recurring famines.  Yet those at the top never go hungry.  Or suffer the abject poverty of the people.  And it’s been this way for a long time.  A system maintained with the firm hand of the state.  From Kim Il Sung to Kim Jong Il to Kim Jong Un.  As the Kim family succession continues to keep life horrible in North Korea (see North Korea announces execution of Kim Jong Un’s uncle, Jang Song Thaek by Chico Harlan posted 12/12/2013 on The Washington Post).

There have been no outward signs of instability under Kim Jong Un, and the North has largely maintained its key policies, resisting economic reform, devoting money to its weapons program and maintaining a gulag system for those accused of political crimes.

Kim Jong Un’s uncle was Jang Song Thaek.  I say was for he is no more.  Jang was in the inner circle of Kim Jong Il and thought to be a potential successor.  But that didn’t happen.  As Kim Jong Un had those honors.  But Jang was around a long time.  And knew a lot of people.  Which, of course, made him a threat.  So Kim Jong Un had him arrested, put him on trial for crimes against the state and executed.  Telling the people he was a “traitor for all ages” and was “despicable human scum” and was “worse than a dog.”  He demonized him to get the people to accept that this execution was just.  And to send a message.  He held power.  And anyone thinking otherwise will be demonized and executed.  Standard sort of fare for a communist dictatorship.  Oppression.  And lies.

You get the People to ask for more Government by Buying their Votes with a Cradle-to-Grave Welfare State

A communist state has its drawbacks, though.  The aforementioned abject poverty and recurring famines.  Because as an economic system planned economies just don’t work.  But a free market economy tends to put ideas into people’s heads.  Such as we don’t really need the government as much as the government wants us to believe we need them.  In the movie V for Vendetta this was something Chancellor Sutler impressed upon his lieutenants.  It was imperative to let the people know how much they needed British socialism.  Which is not quite communism.  But it’s anti-free market capitalism just like communism.  And a little easier to sell to the people.  For despite the left’s love affair with communism it is hard to spin that as anything other than it is.  Horrible.  I mean, people aren’t trying to break into North Korea and Cuba.  They’re risking their lives to escape these communist utopias.

So those on the left adopted a new type of socialism.  Social democracy.  Which was communism/socialism lite.  It wasn’t as anti-free market capitalism as communism/socialism was.  So as not to bring about the abject poverty and recurring famines you got with communism/socialism.  And you backed off on the oppressive police state.  Instead, you get the people to ask for more government.  By buying their votes with a cradle-to-grave welfare state.  And a lot of government jobs with decent pay and wonderful benefits.  To make the people love the state.  And impress on them how much they need the state.

Of course this bloated welfare state is costly.  Which they pay for with a progressive tax system.  A tax system that is ‘fair’.  By making the evil rich pay higher taxes so the good poor and the innocent children can have a decent life.  Not just those evil rich people.  And how do you oppose this?  You can’t.  Unless you hate the poor.  And the children.  Which is what the left says about the opposition whenever they oppose new spending.  Or higher taxes.  Of course, having to fight these battles over taxes and spending can be a pain in the behind.  So the state takes care of those in the inner circle of power.  Those who think correctly.  Who help get the people to ask for these taxes and spending.  The media who helps to spread their propaganda.  And the educational system.  That teaches the young to grow up loving government.  And fearing free market capitalism.  Then you add the coup de grâce.  National health care.

President Obama lied over and over again to put America onto the Pathway towards National Health Care

Every communist/socialist dictatorship had/has national health care.  For once the people become dependent on the state for their good health the state has them for life.  And whenever the opposition resists higher taxes for more spending all you have to do is kill some people by making them wait longer for health care that the opposition denied them.  Causing outrage among the people.  Who demand that the opposition stop playing politics with their lives.  The left’s kind of oppression.  Having the people beg for more government.  This is why national health care (or something that will help usher in national health care) is the holy grail of the left.  And why President Obama lied through his teeth to pass the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) into law (see Lie of the Year: ‘If you like your health care plan, you can keep it’ by Angie Drobnic Holan posted 12/12/2013 on PolitiFact.com).

PolitiFact has named “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it,” the Lie of the Year for 2013. Readers in a separate online poll overwhelmingly agreed with the choice…

The Affordable Care Act tried to allow existing health plans to continue under a complicated process called “grandfathering,” which basically said insurance companies could keep selling plans if they followed certain rules.

The problem for insurers was that the Obamacare rules were strict. If the plans deviated even a little, they would lose their grandfathered status. In practice, that meant insurers canceled plans that didn’t meet new standards.

Obama’s team seemed to understand that likelihood. U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced the grandfathering rules in June 2010 and acknowledged that some plans would go away. Yet Obama repeated “if you like your health care plan, you can keep it” when seeking re-election last year…

Also on Oct. 1, insurers started sending out cancellation letters for 2014…

One example: PBS Newshour interviewed a woman from Washington, D.C., who was a supporter of the health care law and found her policy canceled. New policies had significantly higher rates. She told Newshour that the only thing the new policy covered that her old one didn’t was maternity care and pediatric services. And she was 58…

First, they tried to shift blame to insurers. “FACT: Nothing in #Obamacare forces people out of their health plans,” said Valerie Jarrett, a top adviser to Obama, on Oct. 28.

PolitiFact rated her statement False. The restrictions on grandfathering were part of the law, and they were driving cancellations.

Then, they tried to change the subject. “It’s important to remember both before the ACA was ever even a gleam in anybody’s eye, let alone passed into law, that insurance companies were doing this all the time, especially in the individual market because it was lightly regulated and the incentives were so skewed,” said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney.

But what really set everyone off was when Obama tried to rewrite his slogan, telling political supporters on Nov. 4, “Now, if you have or had one of these plans before the Affordable Care Act came into law, and you really liked that plan, what we said was you can keep it if it hasn’t changed since the law passed.”

Pants on Fire! PolitiFact counted 37 times when he’d included no caveats, such as a high-profile speech to the American Medical Association in 2009: “If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what.”

President Obama lied.  Over and over again.  He lied to get this pathway to national health care into law (for once he destroys the private health insurance industry what will be left but a public option?).  And he lied to win reelection.  President Obama lied.  And his fellow Democrats lied.  Over and over again.  To put America onto the pathway towards their holy grail.  National health care.  The linchpin of the massive cradle-to-grave welfare state.  The one thing that allows the state to tax and spend more than anything else.  And puts the opposition into the position of wanting to kill people anytime they oppose higher taxes and more spending.  Which has a lot more staying power than a government shutdown.

What can you say about someone who lies (at least) 37 times?  That person is a pathological liar.  A pragmatic.  A person who believes the ends justify the means.  That the rule of law is only a suggestion.  A person that will say anything and break any law to get what he wants.  And is willing to kill people by taking away the health insurance they liked and wanted to keep.  By taking away the doctor they liked and wanted to keep.  And by taking away the medication they liked and wanted to keep.  Fear and suffering President Obama and his fellow Democrats and supporters in the media and education are indifferent to.  For their greatest concern is how will this hurt President Obama?  This is what those on the left worry about.  Their dear leader.  Not the people.  Just like the inner circle surrounding every tin-pot dictator worry about.  For if the people turn on the dear leader they may overthrow him.  And with him go their privileged lives amidst the abject poverty and recurring famines surrounding them.

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In Exchange for Keeping Ruthless Dictators in Power Loyal Military Officials live Very Good Lives

Posted by PITHOCRATES - November 3rd, 2012

Week in Review

The world has had some horrible dictators.  And still does.  Who have committed horrible acts of cruelty against their own people.  Even though dictators are only one person.  And couldn’t do these things alone.  So they get a little help (see Was a North Korean General Really Executed by Mortar Fire? by MICHAEL MADDEN posted 10/31/2012 on Foreign Policy).

Kim Jong Il had learned the importance of keeping his friends close and his generals closer. Until he assumed the role of supreme leader in 1997 (after a three-year morning period for his beloved father), almost all of his reported public appearances were field inspections of military units. This broadcast the military’s prominence as Kim Jong Il’s most valued political constituency. Under his “military first” policy, the military received priority in the allocation of increasingly scarce food and energy resources, as well as the rights to a number of lucrative foreign-currency generating economic activities. Having given his generals the butter churn, Kim Jong Il handed out the guns. Research and development into nuclear weapons continued, and the development and production of ballistic missiles thrived.

The number of military officials treated to the largesse of Kim Jong Il’s party economy steadily increased. They were permitted fine homes and vacation at exclusive retreats. On state holidays he gifted expensive automobiles, household appliances, and various luxury goods. As with Kim’s close aides in the party, military officials were allowed wide administrative latitude in how they managed the daily affairs of their respective agencies and units. This eventually incited fierce bureaucratic turf warfare among senior security officials. It suited Kim Jong Il’s interests as leader to have his generals squabbling among themselves instead of challenging him.

The key to being a dictator is taking care of the military.  You make sure they have the best food.  And the best stuff.  You make sure their lives are good lives.  In a country where most people quake with fear.  Fearing their government.  And famine.  This is life in North Korea.  Where it goes dark after the sun sets.  And looks like something out of medieval times.  While just across the border in South Korea life is good for all Koreans.  And there is no famine.  Where it is so good for some that Park Jae Sang (PSY) mocks their conspicuous displays of wealth in his Gangnam Style.  A world unknown to the people north of the border.  Unless you’re in the inner circle of power.  Or the military.

Of course you don’t have to live in a dictatorship connected to the inner circles of power to enjoy the very good life.  As governments grow in rich countries they have mountains of tax money to play with.  And those in the inner circles of power have a lot of privilege.  Who get generous portions of that vast tax revenue.  And live a far better life than most others could even imagine.  Even in the United States.  Where some of the richest communities with the highest real estate values are where?  Adjacent to our nation’s capital.  The suburbs of Washington DC.

In the US the ruling elite do not rely on the military to maintain their positions of power and privilege.  They rely on a loyal media.  The universities.  And public education.  Who help the people understand that they should vote for them.  And their very good lives.  Making it a lot easier for them to enjoy the very good life than someone like Kim Jong Un.  Who has to bribe the crap out of the military to prevent them from killing him.  And to put the fear of God into the people to prevent them from killing him.

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Kim Jong Il was as bad as Adolf Hitler when it came to Genocide and Famine

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 24th, 2011

Week in Review

Adolf Hitler was a monster.  His Nazi regime was a killing machine.  But he was just one of many monsters (see Revealed: the gas chamber horror of North Korea’s gulag by Antony Barnett, The Observer, posted 1/31/2004 in the Guardian).

In the remote north-eastern corner of North Korea, close to the border of Russia and China, is Haengyong. Hidden away in the mountains, this remote town is home to Camp 22 – North Korea’s largest concentration camp, where thousands of men, women and children accused of political crimes are held.

Now, it is claimed, it is also where thousands die each year and where prison guards stamp on the necks of babies born to prisoners to kill them.

Over the past year harrowing first-hand testimonies from North Korean defectors have detailed execution and torture, and now chilling evidence has emerged that the walls of Camp 22 hide an even more evil secret: gas chambers where horrific chemical experiments are conducted on human beings.

You read that right.  Genocide.  In North Korea.  Not Nazi Germany.  Under the stewardship of Kim Jong Il.  The Dear Leader.  Not the Fuhrer.  Adolf Hitler.  Different men.  But the same contempt for humanity.

Of course, some have a different opinion of him.  After meeting him in person.  And spending time with him.  Like Madeleine Albright in the Clinton administration.  The administration that gave him the technology for intercontinental ballistic missile guidance systems.  She said he wasn’t peculiar.  He was intelligent.  Well-informed.  “I found him very much on top of his brief,” she said.

This about a man who brought North Korea down to her knees (see Kim Jong Il: Road to ruin by Nicholas Eberstadt posted 12/21/2011 on The Los Angeles Times).

He was also the first ruler of an urbanized, literate society to preside over a mass famine in peacetime: The Great North Korean Famine of the 1990s, which erupted shortly after his father’s death, is believed to have killed hundreds of thousands of his subjects, and perhaps more. (Outsiders cannot know the precise toll; that figure remains a state secret.)

Since the very late 1990s, when North Korea’s famine apparently subsided, the food situation in the country has remained desperately precarious: Resumption of famine has been forestalled only by humanitarian food aid, Western economic assistance and Chinese largesse. Thus Kim Jong Il also earned the lifetime achievement award for overseeing the first industrialized economy ever to lose the capacity to feed itself.

God help the North Koreans.  For their leaders surely aren’t.

Kim Jong Il is dead.  Now the North Koreans can suffer Kim Jong Un.  Considering what Kim Jong Il did after inheriting power from his dad, Kim Il Sung, their future doesn’t look any better.  For the young sons seem to want to outdo their dads in tyranny and oppression.

Sadly, Camp 22 will likely have a prosperous future under Kim Jong Un.  For all dictators have their camps.  Unless Kim Jong Un is a closet capitalist.  It’s unlikely.  For brutal dictators don’t hand off power to nice people.  But one can always hope.  And that’s about all the North Koreans have these days.  Besides genocide and famine.

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LESSONS LEARNED #71: “For socialism to be successful no one can be allowed to escape it.” -Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - June 23rd, 2011

Socialism Oppresses and Kills tens of millions of People

It’s easy to point at Cuba as an example of socialism’s failure.  You don’t even have to go to the island.  You don’t have to study their institutions.  All you have to do is to look at the risks people will take to escape Cuba.  And they take some crazy risks to escape.  They will board some barely-seaworthy water crafts and paddle out into the ocean.  Away from Cuba.  And towards Florida.  Away from socialism.  And towards capitalism.  Away from a wretched life of despair and deprivation.  And towards a life of plenty and opportunity.  As they paddle their way to America, how many people do you think they pass who are paddling their way to Cuba?  How about zero?  Because when it comes to refugees, the direction is always towards America.  It’s never the other way.

And it’s easy to point to Mao in China.  His Great Leap Forward killed a lot of his own people.  And by ‘a lot’ I mean in the tens of millions.  Depending on the numbers you use.  It could have been anywhere between 15 and 50 million people.  The Chinese communists were not the record keepers the Nazis were.  Though the actual number may be in doubt the magnitude isn’t.  In the spirit of brotherly love that is the hallmark of socialism, millions were beaten, tortured and killed to ‘encourage’ acceptance of the forced collectivization of farming.  And the funny thing is (not ha ha funny but funny as in sad and ironic) that after beating, torturing and killing so many people to collectivize farming, the agriculture output plummeted.  Partly because of bad planning.  And partly due to nature.  But local party officials reported record harvests to avoid beatings, torture and killings by party superiors.  So China exported much of these record harvests.  Leaving nothing for the peasants to eat.  Resulting in famine.  Again, the record keeping is sparse.  As they often are when your policies end up killing your own people.  But deaths were in the tens of millions.  The Great Leap Forward was a big push to modernize China.  To industrialize it.  For there was little infrastructure in China.  Most of it was rural.  Dotted with peasant farms.  Stretching across vast lands.  With little ways to move around.  Where you probably died less than a day’s walk from where you were born.  Which made it difficult to escape the Great Leap Forward.  Or Mao’s ruthless communist rule.

And it’s easy to point to the former Soviet Union.  Where it all started.  CommunismJoseph Stalin gave Mao Tse-tung a run for his money in the greatest mass murderer of all time contest.  Again, the record keeping was a little sparse.  But the Soviets took socialism to a grand scale.  The government controlled the economy.  And your life.  If you grew up in the Soviet Union, you learned how much better it was there than in the decadent West.  Especially the USA.  Of course, when some Soviets were lucky enough to travel outside the country, they learned that their Soviet teachers were liars.  The West was awesome.  Never before did they see such a wonderful world of plenty.  And some Soviets defected to that better life.  Which was a crime.  And a huge embarrassment for the Soviet Union.  Even Joseph Stalin’s daughter (Svetlana Alliluyeva) defected.  Others included Rudolph Nureyev, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Alexander Godunov, Sergei Fedorov, Martina Navratilova, Ivan Lendl and Nadia Comăneci, to name a few (both from the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc).  Some got preferential treatment to keep them from defecting like Katarina Witt.  Or they held family members as ‘hostages’ when some traveled out of the country.  It was a real problem for the KGB.  Who had agents living undercover in the West.  And a lot of them didn’t want to come home.  Of course, there was no such problem with people defecting from the West into the Soviet Union.  There were a few.  Like Lee Harvey Oswald.  But he wasn’t playing with a full deck.  And he did return to the United States.  Because even he found it was better in America.  And he hated America.

It’s easy to point at the big socialist failures.  But just about every story of socialism is a story of failure.  And as different as some of the stories are, they all have much in common.  In particular, the exploitation of the people to serve the state.

In Socialism, Slavery is Freedom

In George Orwell‘s Nineteen Eighty-Four, we see a frightening look at totalitarian socialism.  Big Brother is the leader of an oppressive regime.  Where the government plays with language to control the people.  War is peace.  Ignorance is strength.  And freedom is slavery.  War unites a people against a common enemy.  Who then beg for the government to protect them from this enemy.  And they will suffer through any hardship required to defeat this enemy.  Which makes continued war a handy way to control the people.  And to keep the peace among an unhappy and suffering citizenry that might otherwise rise up and complain.  Or riot.  Or attempt to overthrow the government.

Ignorance is strength.  If you don’t know how rotten your existence is you have no reason to be unhappy.  If you don’t know about that better life on the other side of your border, you have no reason to cross that border.  You’ll stay where you are.  And be a good citizen.  You’ll toe the party line.  Work hard.  Sing party songs.  And be happy.  More importantly, you’ll be subdued.  Easier to control.  And easier to lie to.  There’s a reason revolutionaries rounded up intellectuals and people with glasses (people with glasses can read and may be intellectuals) for ‘reeducation’ during revolutions.  Thinkers are trouble makers.  So it behooves them to keep the people ignorant.  So they don’t get distracted from their patriotic duties.  So they can continue to sacrifice to build a stronger nation.

Slavery is Freedom.  Because slaves never have to make a decision.  Or provide for themselves.  What a joyous and simple life.  Someone provides everything you need.  Your job.  Your clothes.  Your food.  Your home.  Your health care.  And your funeral.  And all you have to do is give yourself to the state.  Give up all your freedoms.  Give up all hope.  All your dreams.  And all of your comforts.  You have no bills to pay.  Because you don’t have anything.  You get up, work, eat and sleep.  Simple.  Easy.  And carefree.  True freedom.  Lucky slaves.

Adolf Hitler was a Socialist

Of course, if you talk to some slaves you’ll probably hear a different story.  Real slaves.  Like 19th century American slaves.  Those working the plantations.  They didn’t all buy that ‘slavery is freedom’ line.  If any did.  Because a lot of them did try to escape.  Just like those who tried to escape from Soviet socialism.  Interestingly, there are similarities between the two.  Because if you take socialism to its logical end you do arrive at slavery.  Friedrich August von Hayek wrote a book about this.  The Road to Serfdom.  Even said that if socialism grew unchecked in a state some guy named Adolf Hitler may come along and create an oppressive state dictatorship.  He didn’t quite say it like that.  But a guy named Adolf Hitler did come along and created an oppressive state dictatorship called National Socialism.  Or Nazism.  Anyway, suffice it to say that Hayek was right.  As proven by people everywhere who have tried to escape their socialist utopias.

Despite popular belief, everyone was not equal in these socialist utopias.  The inner party people lived well.  And their apparatchik.  But little changed for the masses.  In fact, life often got worse for them.  They were hungry, living in crowded quarters, with poor sanitation, some without running water, living in fear of state punishment for breaking a rule or not making quota, days of endless labor, no say in your future, no liberty and little hope for a better tomorrow.  Very similar to a 19th century American slave.

The American plantation is a microcosm of socialism.  The few at the top did very well (the glorious leaders).  Those close to them that ran the plantation (the party apparatchik) did not do as well but did much better than most.  And then there were the slaves at the bottom.  Who were all equal.  Equally miserable.  And without any hope.  Living in fear of abuse for breaking a rule or not making quota.  And working days of endless labor.  This is socialism taken to its logical end.  Which is why people risked death to escape places like the Soviet Union.  East GermanyCzechoslovakiaRomania.  Cuba.  To escape servitude.  Because the state could do anything they wanted to you.  And often did.  Just like a plantation overseer.

Slaves of the Social Democracies Riot

Of course, the critics will say that this isn’t true socialism.  That these are just mad dictators who corrupted socialism in their quest for absolute power.  And I’ll say, well, of course.  You’re right.  But they all used socialism in their rise to power.  Not a one of them said anything about cutting taxes or reducing stifling government regulations in their climb to power.  Quite the contrary.  They used every facet of socialism (egalitarianism, redistribution of wealth, taxing the rich, nationalization of private companies, etc.) in their climb to power.  In fact, one could say that without these tenets of socialism to unwittingly rally the people behind them they could never have risen to power.  Which is why socialism is not just a Road to Serfdom.  It’s a blueprint as well.

Some will roll their eyes at this.  And say Europe is full if social democracies that treat their people pretty damn well.  Let’s call it socialism-light.  These socialist countries have large and generous social welfare programs for their people.  Generous unemployment benefits.  Generous vacations.  Generous health care benefits.  Generous pensions when they retire.  Some at the ripe old age of 50.  A large and generously paid public sector.  Clearly these people aren’t oppressed.  And I’ll agree.  The people receiving these benefits are not oppressed.  But it places an incredible tax burden on those who work.  Who must make continuous sacrifices as their taxes continuously rise.  Let’s call these people slaves-light.  Because they are not allowed to enjoy the full fruits of their labor.  So, yes, the people in these social democracies in general are free.  And happy.  When they’re not rioting, that is.  Like in Greece.  Again.  Where the nation is broke.  And had to borrow money to pay its bills.  Which they have.  But one of the conditions for getting these loans was to cut back on those generous benefits.  Which hasn’t gone over well with the people receiving those benefits.  So they rioted.

Of course they rioted because they had become slaves of the welfare state.  Politicians promised them everything they wanted for their vote.  And delivered.  Until they could deliver no more.  Having become so dependent on the state the thought of taking care of themselves frightened them so that they ran into the streets and started burning things in protest.  The state had no problem keeping these people from escaping their country.  Unable to take care of themselves they were afraid to leave.  But the people with the jobs, and those who created the jobs, that’s a different story.  They could leave.  And a lot did.  So the state made it as difficult as possible for their money to follow them.

You may be able to Escape the Socialist Welfare State, but your Money may Not

New York City is the financial capital of the world.  For now, at least.  It costs a lot to live in the city.  Cost of living is high.  And the taxes are higher.  Way higher.  Which was never a problem for rich people.  Or rich companies.  Rush Limbaugh did his radio program out of New York City for awhile.  But he left because of the excessive taxation.  Went to Florida.  Where there is no income tax.  But every time he traveled to New York City he was required to pay income tax on his earnings for those days in the city.  The New York tax authorities put him through incredible hurdles to prove when he was out of the city.  Showing in multiple ways that he was, in fact, living in Florida.   With receipts.  Phone bills.  Etc.  They put the onus on him.  Said he owed the tax unless he could prove otherwise.

Then came the subprime mortgage crisis that gave us the worst recession since the Great DepressionWall Street income fell.  As did New York City and New York state tax receipts.  People moved out of the city.  Out of the state.  Worked out of their homes.  Some did no work in the state but still kept a vacation home on Long Island.  Desperate for money and unable to keep these people from escaping the state, the taxing authority went after their income.  Said if they spent any time in the state they owed income taxes for the entire year.  Even if you only vacationed for two weeks on Long Island.  While paying the taxes in the state you actually live and work in.  This was worse than taxation without representation.  It was double taxation.  In addition to taxation without representation.

New York City is generous with their social benefits.  Call it socialism-light.  It’s not all out socialism.  But it still suffers from the same fatal flaw.  It doesn’t work well if the people can escape this socialist utopia.  Especially the ones paying the taxes.  As is happening in the social democracies in Europe.  And anywhere where there is high taxation without a secured border.  To prevent the taxpayers (i.e., best and brightest) from escaping.  Like the Soviets did to keep their best and brightest from escaping.  As did the East Germans.  The Czechoslovakians.  The Romanians.  And the Cubans.

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Obama’s ‘help’ may Lose the Middle East to Radical Islam

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 25th, 2011

Libya no Worse than other Humanitarian Crises

Everyone is still asking that question.  Why Libya?  The Middle East and Africa are full of humanitarian crises.  Yet we’re not bombing them.  Is their suffering not as bad as the Libyan suffering?  Or are their people simply not worth saving?  People want to know.  Because people are suffering everywhere. 

[Syria]  Violence erupted around Syria on Friday as troops opened fire on protesters in several cities and pro- and anti-government crowds clashed on the tense streets of the capital in the most widespread unrest in years, witnesses said.  -By Associated Press, The Washington Post, 3/25/2011 

[Bahrain]  Clashes erupted in Shiite villages across Bahrain on Friday as antigovernment protesters defied a government ban on public gatherings, despite a beefed-up presence by the military and security forces.  -By Joe Parkinson, The Wall Street Journal, 3/25/2011 

[Ivory Coast]  Up to one million Ivorians have now fled fighting in the main city Abidjan alone, with others uprooted across the country, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said on Friday as violence escalated in a 4-month power struggle.  – Stephany Nebehay, Reuters, 3/25/2011 

[Yemen]  With hundreds of thousands of rival demonstrators on Sanaa’s streets, soldiers fired warning shots to prevent loyalists whipped up by Mr Saleh’s speech attacking anti-regime protesters on Friday, the Muslim day of prayers and rest… The rallies came one week after a bloodbath in which 52 protesters were gunned down by Saleh loyalists, drawing widespread international condemnation and a spate of defections from within his ruling circle.  -By AFP, ABC News, 3/25/2011 

And there’s more.  Iran.  North Korea.  And others.  It’s everywhere.  Suffering.  But you know why we’re not helping any of these nations?  Because it’s too much for anyone to do.  Suffering is bad but it is NOT the United States’ duty to end it all.  And yet we’re trying to do just that in Libya.  Was the Qaddafi regime a great threat to American security interests?  No.  He’s been pretty quiet since the Iraq War.  He seemed content to oppress his people and leave others alone.  Perhaps the others noted above were even less dangerous than Qaddafi.  Perhaps in comparison they’re just docile pussy cats.

If any Nation Deserves Regime Change it’s Syria

Let’s look at Syria.  They make no secret of the fact that they don’t like America.  Or Israel.  They are behind a lot of unrest in the Middle East.  They want to see the whole region under Sharia Law.  And be less friendly with the West.  As bad as Qaddafi was, he did sell a lot of his oil to the West.  So that would make Syria more of a national security concern than Libya.  But we’re not bombing Syria.  Perhaps the Syrian violence just isn’t that bad (see Resident says troops open fire on protesters in Daraa, other Syrian cities by Associated Press posted 3/25/2011 on The Washington Post).

The violence erupted after tens of thousands of Syrians took to the streets across the country, shouting calls for greater freedoms in support of a more than week-long uprising in Daraa, according to witnesses, activists and footage posted online…

An activist in Damascus in touch with eyewitnesses in the southern village of Sanamein said troops there opened fire on demonstrators trying to march to Daraa, a short distance away. He said there had been witness reports of fatalities, some claiming as many as 20 slain, but those could not be independently confirmed…

About 200 people demonstrated after the Friday prayers at the Thawra Bridge, near the central Marjeh Square, chanting “our souls, our blood we sacrifice for you Daraa!” and “freedom! freedom!” They were chased by security forces who beat them some of them with batons and detained others, an activist said on condition of anonymity for fear of government reprisals.

No.  That isn’t it.  That’s some pretty bad violence.  That’s Qaddafi bad.  Killing your own people.  And it is far worse than what Mubarak was doing in Egypt.  He didn’t turn the army against his people.  And yet Obama said he had to go. But we’re not attacking Syria.  With bombs.  Or words.  Perhaps Syria is a strategic force for stability in the Middle East.  Like how Iraq balanced Iran once upon a time.  We supported Iraq then.  Because Iraq balanced the greater risk in Iran.  Like that old saying.  The enemy of my enemy is my friend.  So maybe Syria offsets the ‘big bad’ in the Middle East.

Assad, a close ally of Iran and its regional proxies, Hezbollah and Hamas, has promised increased freedoms for discontented citizens and increased pay and benefits for state workers — a familiar package of incentives offered by other nervous Arab regimes in recent weeks.

No.  That ain’t it either.  Syria is cozy with all the ‘big bads’ in the Middle East.  The powers that want to kill Jews, Americans and all other infidels.  But wait.  It gets worse.

Shaaban, the presidential adviser, also said the Baath party would study ending a state of emergency that it put in place after taking power in 1963.

The emergency laws, which have been a feature of many Arab countries, allow people to be arrested without warrants and imprisoned without trial. Human rights groups say violations of other basic liberties are rife in Syria, with torture and abuse common in police stations, detention centers and prisons, and dissenters regularly imprisoned for years without due process.

The Baath party?  Sound familiar?  That was the party of Saddam Hussein.  Emergency laws since 1963?  Arrests without warrants?  Imprisoned without trial?  Torture and abuse?  No due process?  This is bad stuff.  What some would call a humanitarian crisis.  Like the one in Libya.  But as bad as that all sounds, it’s the Iraq connection that is most troubling.

Before the Iraq War, Iraq and Syria were close.  So close that many think those weapons of mass destruction we were looking for in Iraq were hidden in Syria during the run-up to war.  We know Saddam had them.  He used them on the Iranians.  And the Kurds.  But he never documented their destruction.  So if he hid them in Syria they may still be there.  They may have been hesitant to use them thus far because we could probably trace them back to them.  Especially if they had Iraqi markings on them.  But if all these ‘democracy’ movements in the Middle East and North Africa gather steam, they could become a problem.  If the region goes Muslim Brotherhood and is closer to Iran and/or al Qaeda, Syria won’t be the only country to see the world the way they do.  And they may feel safe enough to use these weapons.  Should they have them.  Oh, and Israel would be surrounded by countries that have the destruction of Israel at the top of their top-10 list.  And that is very bad.  Because that could start a world war.  Shut off the oil supply to the Western economies.  And plunge the world into a depression.

The Muslim Brotherhood Establishing an Islamic State in Egypt?

So let’s back up a bit.  Let’s take a closer look at these ‘democracy’ movements.  Are they really democracy movements?  Or are they more theocracy movements?  Well, in Egypt, things aren’t looking good for democracy (see Islamist Group Is Rising Force in a New Egypt by Michael Slackman posted 3/24/2011 on The New York Times).

In post-revolutionary Egypt, where hope and confusion collide in the daily struggle to build a new nation, religion has emerged as a powerful political force, following an uprising that was based on secular ideals. The Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist group once banned by the state, is at the forefront, transformed into a tacit partner with the military government that many fear will thwart fundamental changes.

It is also clear that the young, educated secular activists who initially propelled the nonideological revolution are no longer the driving political force — at least not at the moment.

Sound familiar?  This is what happened in Iran.  The young people who started the revolution didn’t end the revolution.  Ayatollah Khomeini ended it.  With one of the most oppressive theocracies in the Middle East.  And those young women in the Iranian Revolution?  They don’t protest anymore.  They live good Muslim lives under Sharia Law.  Whether they like it or not.

“There is evidence the Brotherhood struck some kind of a deal with the military early on,” said Elijah Zarwan, a senior analyst with the International Crisis Group…

 “We are all worried,” said Amr Koura, 55, a television producer, reflecting the opinions of the secular minority. “The young people have no control of the revolution anymore. It was evident in the last few weeks when you saw a lot of bearded people taking charge. The youth are gone…”

When the new prime minister, Essam Sharaf, addressed the crowd in Tahrir Square this month, Mohamed el-Beltagi, a prominent Brotherhood member, stood by his side. A Brotherhood member was also appointed to the committee that drafted amendments to the Constitution.

The big question was would Mubarak turn the army on the people.  Or, should he, if the army would follow that order.  You see, the people respected the army.  Most had family that had or were serving in the army.  The army was good.  It was the security forces the people hated.  Not the army.  It was the army the people thought they could trust.  And now we’re hearing that they struck a deal with the Muslim Brotherhood?  That’s very ominous.  As are the beards.  That’s hardcore, conservative Islam.  Like they have in Iran.  And that sure ain’t what the protestors wanted in Egypt.  I mean, there were women in those crowds.  If Egypt goes the way of the bearded men, these women will never protest anything ever again.  Just like in Iran.

And the lying has begun.  Egypt was a secular country.  But they still had their religion.  It was still a Muslim country.  Like Turkey.  There’s the state.  And the religion.  Both very important parts of life in these countries.  But separate parts.  Now it appears secular means state atheism.  Like in the former Soviet Union.  Or in parts of America where anything goes.  According to the more radical elements in Egypt, at least.

“The problem is that our country will be without a religion,” read a flier distributed in Cairo by a group calling itself the Egyptian Revolution Society. “This means that the call to the prayer will not be heard anymore like in the case of Switzerland, women will be banned from wearing the hijab like in the case of France,” it said, referring to the Muslim head scarf. “And there will be laws that allow men to get married to men and women to get married to women like in the case of America.”

Talk about scare tactics.  If you don’t vote for a more conservative Islam there will be no Islam.  People will be free.  Women will be free.  And gay, I guess.  All horrible thoughts to the conservative Muslim.  And a lot of Muslim men who are just not fans of feminism.

This is not to say that the Brotherhood is intent on establishing an Islamic state…

None of that has changed, Mr. Erian, the spokesman, said in an interview. “We are keen to spread our ideas and our values,” he said. “We are not keen for power.”

He would not comment on whether the Brotherhood had an arrangement with the military, but he said the will of the people to shift toward Islam spoke for itself and was a sign of Egypt’s emerging democratic values. “Don’t trust the intellectuals, liberals and secularists,” Mr. Erian said. “They are a minor group crying all the time. If they don’t work hard, they have no future.”

Warning Klaxons should be going off.  These are things that dictators say before they oppress their people.  Why, you can almost see the reassuring eyes and the soothing voice of Ayatollah Khomeini as he calmed the anxious Iranian people shortly after 1979.  Before those eyes became scary.  And we all saw how that turned out.  Oppressive theocratic rule.  And the odds just got better for the same in Egypt.

Virginity Tests in Egypt

And it’s already started (see Egypt women protesters forced to take ‘virginity tests’ posted 3/24/2011 on the BBC).

A leading rights group says the Egyptian army arrested, tortured and forced women to take “virginity tests” during protests earlier this month.

Amnesty International is calling on the authorities in Cairo to investigate.

It says at least 18 female protesters were arrested after army officers cleared Tahrir Square on 9 March.

It says they were then beaten, given electric shocks and strip searched.

The army denies the allegations.

This isn’t what the women in the crowds were protesting for.  And the reason these women were protesting?  Because they could.  Egypt was one of the most progressive countries in the Middle East.  Women had some of the greatest freedoms enjoyed in a Muslim country.  Not anymore.

A 20-year-old woman, Salwa Hosseini, told Amnesty she was forced to take off all her clothes by a female prison guard in a room with open doors and a window.

She said that male soldiers looked in and took photographs of her while she was naked.

The demonstrator said a man in a white coat later carried out a ‘virginity check’ on her and she was threatened with prostitution charges.

“Forcing women to have ‘virginity tests’ is utterly unacceptable. Its purpose is to degrade women because they are women,” a spokesperson for Amnesty International said in a statement.

Mubarak may have been bad.  But he wasn’t that bad.  The painful moral of this story is to be careful what you ask for.  The enemy you know is often better than the enemy you don’t know.  Unfortunately we sometimes learn this lesson too late.  Including presidents.  For it was a mistake to throw Mubarak under the bus.  Middle East scholars knew it then.  And the rest of us are learning it now.  And now we’re helping to destabilize Libya.  That, too, could turn out to be a mistake.  Because we don’t know who the rebels are.  Just like we didn’t know who they were in Egypt.  So the chances are good that what happens in Egypt could very well happen in Libya.  A “shift towards Islam.”

Of course, there are a couple of countries in the Middle East that probably warrant our involvement.  Two come to mind.  Iran.  And Syria.  Things could only get better in these countries.  Yet we don’t help the protesters in these sovereign countries.  So when President Obama finally tells us why Libya, perhaps he can tell us why not in countries that already hate us.  And while he’s explaining these great mysteries perhaps he can tell us why he’s undermining our allies in the Middle East.  Is there a method to this madness?  Or is it just madness?

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Estate Taxes – Washington’s Insatiable Greed

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 13th, 2010

Taxing the Dead

Liberal Democrats like dead people.  Because when people die, there’s inheritance to tax (see Democrats not pleased with deal on estate taxes by Seth McLaughlin posted 12/12/2010 on The Washington Times).

“If someone leaves an estate of a billion dollars, under their proposal, they would gain $100 million over what the Democrats are proposing for the estate tax,” Rep. Jan Schakowsky, Illinois Democrat, said on MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show.” “Imagine, Paris Hilton will be able to get an extra $100 million under their plan. It’s obscene. It’s absolutely an offense to us and to most Americans.”

A levy on the transfers of big inheritances, the estate tax has become emblematic of philosophical differences that exist on Capitol Hill, where Mr. Sanders and other liberal-leaning lawmakers claim wealthy Americans simply can afford to contribute more to the national kitty and conservatives say the tax does not deliver the bang for the buck that Democrats claim and that the federal government shouldn’t have a financial stake in how people pass along their personal fortunes.

Yeah, but whose money is it in the first place?  And how many times do the rich have to pay taxes on their money?  They tax their income at the highest rates.  They tax their capital gains from Interest and dividends.  And if they’re business owners, they pay a corporate income tax, payroll taxes and other business taxes before they get to pay further taxes on the personal income their businesses pay them.  Tax, tax and tax. 

And they call the rich greedy?

There’s One for You, Nineteen for Me

All right, just how greedy are these rich? 

The first Bush cuts began phasing the estate tax out in 2001 from a top rate of 55 percent to 45 percent in 2009 and then to zero in 2010, with the per-person exemption also rising from $1 million to $3.5 million.

So, if Paris Hilton’s daddy bequeaths her a billion dollars, she gets to keep $450,000,000 while the government gets $550,000,000 (at the 55% estate tax rate).  The government gets more than half of her inheritance.  Schakowsky is right.  I am offended.  I am offended that the government can take over half of anyone’s inheritance while doing nothing to earn that money.  Like the Hiltons did. 

And my advice for those who die, (taxman)
Declare the pennies on your eyes. (taxman)

(The Beatles’ Taxman).

The government wants your money.  They want it when you work.  When you retire.  And when you die.  Have you ever wondered why the government is so opposed to privatizing Social Security?  Because your Social Security ‘retirement fund’ is taxed at 100% at your death.

Public Sector Unions are Expensive

So why do they want so much of our money?  Because public sector unions are expensive (see Government Unions vs. Taxpayers by Tim Pawlenty, governor of Minnesota, posted 12/13/2010 on The Wall Street Journal).

The majority of union members today no longer work in construction, manufacturing or “strong back” jobs. They work for government, which, thanks to President Obama, has become the only booming “industry” left in our economy. Since January 2008 the private sector has lost nearly eight million jobs while local, state and federal governments added 590,000.

Federal employees receive an average of $123,049 annually in pay and benefits, twice the average of the private sector. And across the country, at every level of government, the pattern is the same: Unionized public employees are making more money, receiving more generous benefits, and enjoying greater job security than the working families forced to pay for it with ever-higher taxes, deficits and debt.

It never changes.  The politically connected always exploit the masses.  The only difference today from yesterday’s noble classes and aristocracy is that membership isn’t based on blood.  They don’t inherit title and rank these days.  Which probably explains why the ruling elite has no qualms about a confiscatory estate tax.

Public Sector Unions and Dictators

It’s not easy screwing the masses in a democracy.  You need help.  Some political muscle.  Some guns for hire.

Public employee unions contribute mightily to the campaigns of liberal politicians ($91 million in the midterm elections alone) who vote to increase government pay and workers. As more government employees join the unions and pay dues, the union bosses pour ever more money and energy into liberal campaigns. The result is that certain states are now approaching default. Decades of overpromising and fiscal malpractice by state and local officials have created unfunded public employee benefit liabilities of more than $3 trillion.

Life in Cuba and North Korea is deplorable.  And yet their rulers have held power for decades.  And how did they do this?  Well, life may suck for your run of the mill North Korean and Cuban, but life is very good for those around the dictators.  They take care of the dictators.  And the dictators take very good care of them.  One can’t survive without the other.  So they take care of each other.

Ditto for public sector unions.

Who’s Exploiting Whom?

Once upon a time factories were like Dickens novels.  So the unions organized.

The moral case for unions—protecting working families from exploitation—does not apply to public employment. Government employees today are among the most protected, well-paid employees in the country. Ironically, public-sector unions have become the exploiters, and working families once again need someone to stand up for them.

Government work.  When someone is goofing off at work, the joke is that they’re doing government work.  Because government workers get paid very well.  For phony baloney jobs.  Many of these jobs are so useless that no one would ever notice if we eliminated them.  Life would go on as before.  Well, we would probably be taxed a whole lot less.  But other than that, the elimination of these jobs wouldn’t make the slightest difference in anyone’s life.

But we’re stuck with these jobs.  And we pay for them.  With confiscatory taxes.  Even after we die.  So, like George Harrison said, you better declare those pennies on your eyes.  When they lay you in your coffin.  Because the taxman is coming for you.  And your estate.

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FUNDAMENTAL TRUTH #2 “The international community prefers liberals over conservatives because it’s easier to fool a naïve idealist than a wise realist.” -Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - February 23rd, 2010

IT’S A GENERATIONAL thing.  The young see conservatives as old guys stuck in the past.  Whereas the young see themselves as progressive.  Liberal.  On the cutting edge.  The young look at their father’s generation with exasperation.  They just don’t get it.  Things change.  But their parents are so stuck in their ways that they refuse to see how wrong and misinformed they are.  It reminds me of a classic line from an America great:

“When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished by how much he’d learned in seven years.” – Mark Twain

Of course, it wasn’t the father that learned.  It was the son. 

Kids are always rebelling against their parents.  Always have.  Always will.  Especially while in college.  And after a few classes with a radical professor, that’s it.  They know everything. 

When the hippies of the sixties became college professors everything went to hell in a handbasket.  Once a hippie always a hippie.  Sure, some have cut their hair and most probably bathe now, but they’re just as radical.  Communism has failed everywhere in the world.  Even communist China’s economic boom is due to an infusion of capitalism in their cities.  But you wouldn’t know that on our college campuses.  Not with Che Guevara’s face on T-shirts and classroom walls.  There they still believe the communist Utopian dream.  And they still eschew capitalism.

These professors once said to trust no one under 30.  Now that they’re a bunch of old farts themselves, they’re willing to admit they were wrong on that.  But in their defense, with all the drugs they took they probably never banked on living past 30.  Oh well.  The other things they hated they can still hate.  And they hate just about everyone and everything.  They hate the ‘man’, cops, the military, veterans, the middle class, a job, hygiene, the rich, morality, God, marriage, bankers, their parents, your parents, the Girl Scouts, the pledge of allegiance, our flag, the internal combustion engine, etc.  You name it and they probably hate it.  They probably even hate you.

But the students love these professors.  They rebelled and lived life.  Sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll was their mantra.  And a finer mantra there never was.  To a college kid.  They don’t get morality lectures from them.  Unless you call sparking up a fat spliff with them a morality lesson.   They help make college fun.  No parents.  No rules.  No judgment.  Perhaps an occasional venereal disease but, if you’re lucky, a shot of penicillin will take care of that.  It’s all good, Dad.  Don’t worry, Mom.  If this lifestyle was bad would they give these professors tenure?

The students of these radical professors are learning through tunnel vision.  When it comes to America, they learn the bad but not the good.  When it comes to America’s enemies, they learn the good but not the bad.  And now a lot of these students are making policy. 

THE WORLD’S DICTATORS love these college radicals.  These liberals.  They think alike.  They hate the same things.  And they’re dumb as a post.  This is what the dictators love most.  They may sport those cool T-shirts with Che Guevara wearing a beret but they have no idea that it was Che who helped bring nuclear missiles to Cuba.   That it was Che who wanted to, and would have had not the Soviets stopped his insanity, launch them at America during the Cuban Missile Crisis.  But the liberals love this guy.  So how can the world’s dictators not love them, these poor, clueless bastards?

Two of the largest nations have also the distinction of committing the greatest genocide.  Both of them communist.  China killed about 80,000,000 of her own people.  The Soviet Union killed about 60,000,000 of her own.  But liberals love Chairman Mao (Zedong).  And liberals love Uncle Joe (Stalin).  Communist, socialist, collectivist – they’re all the same.  They’re not capitalists.  Capitalism is cruel and profit driven.  Communism/socialism/collectivism care about people.  Isn’t that nice?  This is what liberals believe.  That’s why liberals are anti-capitalists.  This is what draws liberals to dictators.  And dictators to liberals.  They’re both anti-capitalists.  Dictators care about the people.  Not profits.  Granted, the people that survive the genocide.

This is what the counter-culture hippies are teaching in our universities.  And the young are eating it up.  They don’t understand anything about economics but they know that capitalism is bad.  They don’t know anything about history but know all of America’s mistakes.  And when a dictator says that they care about their people they believe them.  And when they do abuse their people and then deny it, well, they believe that, too.  A tyrannical dictator couldn’t ask for anyone better to negotiate with.  They can literally get away with murder.

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