AMERICAN EXCEPTIONALISM


AMERICAN EXCEPTIONALISM: GOVERNMENT OF THE PEOPLE, BY THE PEOPLE,FOR THE PEOPLE -- ECONOMIC FREEDOM BASED ON FREE MARKET INNOVATION AND ENTREPRENEURISM -- WEALTH CREATION AS A SOURCE OF GREAT GOOD FOR THE DISADVANTAGED -- IMMIGRANTS PROVIDING UNPARALELLED ETHNIC, RELIGIOUS, RACIAL DIVERSITY -- OUR MILITARY PROVIDING AND PROTECTING WORLDWIDE INDIVIDUAL FREEDOM.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Truth On Tax Rates - Is It Time For Change?

Here is what happened on January 1, 2014

Top Medicare tax went from 1.45% to 2.35%
Top Income tax bracket went from 35% to 39.6%

Top Income payroll tax went from 37.4% to 52.2%
Capital Gains tax went from 15% to 28%
Dividends tax went from 15% to 39.6%
Estate tax went from 0% to 55%

These taxes were all passed only with Democrat Party votes, no Republicans voted
for these taxes.

These taxes were all passed under the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare.

Democracy Under Attack In America - Exploding The Myth: Republicans Are The Problem

Wall Street Journal - October 29 , 2014

With Election Day approaching, so is the democratic day of reckoning for the Democratic Senate class of 2008. Those are the Senators who gave President Obama and Nancy Pelosi the accidental 60-vote supermajority they needed to pass the burst of liberal legislation in 2009-2010 that had been pent-up for a generation—especially ObamaCare.
Now these Senators are all again on the ballot, most of them pretending in one way or another that they have had little to do with that agenda, or want to reform it, or are really the solution to gridlock.
The truth is that they are the main Washington problem. As President Obama said last week, they “are all folks who vote with me; they have supported my agenda.”
They have also been handmaidens to Harry Reid , the Majority Leader who has devoted the last four years to protecting Mr. Obama while turning the Senate into the world’s least deliberative body. Next Tuesday’s vote is above all a referendum on whether the Senate will spend two more years in this Obama-Reid dead zone.
Start with the unlikely way some of them won election in 2008. Alaska Democrat Mark Begich barely beat Ted Stevens after Justice Department lawyers withheld exculpatory evidence in a corruption case against him. A jury found Stevens guilty eight days before the election. Mr. Begich won by 47.8% to 46.5% on false pretenses and deserves defeat now on those grounds alone.
But there’s also his record, or lack of one, including the startling fact that he has never been allowed a roll-call vote on an amendment he has offered. Not once in six years. This is because Mr. Reid has deliberately blocked the normal flow of Senate debate so Democrats won’t have a voting record that folks at home might notice.
Or take Minnesota’s Al Franken, who trailed Republican Norm Coleman on Election Day but strong-armed a legal challenge to win the recount by 312 votes. He then became the 60th vote for ObamaCare, and now he is running for re-election by claiming he wants to repeal the law’s medical devices tax that is unpopular in Minnesota. Too bad Mr. Reid has blocked a binding vote on repeal so Mr. Franken and other Democrats can claim to favor repeal without having to do it.
Then there’s Jeanne Shaheen, the New Hampshire Democrat who won in 2008 by opposing the war in Iraq and embracing all things Obama. She too was the decisive vote for ObamaCare. Now she too claims to want to fix it, not that she has succeeded in getting a vote to do so.
Amid the health-care rollout in February, Ms. Shaheen said “I think we need to fix the things that are not working, and that’s what I am committed to.” But by Oct. 22 she had backtracked to proposing merely “an independent CEO and advisory committee that would oversee the health-care website, because we saw some issues with the rollout of the website.” Translation: If she wins, she’ll do whatever Mr. Obama asks.
We could continue down the list: Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Mark Udall of Colorado. They are all Mr. Obama’s children and Mr. Reid’s lieutenants.
In the media’s telling, gridlock in Washington is due to tea party pressure on House Republicans to resist Mr. Obama’s agenda. There is some of that, reflecting different views of government. But at least the House debates and votes in plain sight. Mr. Reid won’t allow the normal give and take of democratic voting and accountability that is the reason to have a legislature.
The Reid shutdown runs even to the core legislative function of funding the government. The House has passed seven of 12 annual appropriations bills, most with big bipartisan majorities. Chairman Barbara Mikulski has passed eight of the 12 out of her Senate Appropriations Committee, and Republicans wanted to debate. Mr. Reid blocked a floor vote on every one.
The GOP has wanted to put Democrats on record on Mr. Obama’s regulatory overreach, such as targeting coal for extinction, or on the Administration’s refusal to fast-track approval for natural gas exports that might help Europe become less dependent on Vladimir Putin . No votes allowed.
Wyoming Republican John Barrasso kept a running tally of Mr. Reid’s amendment blockade through July. In the previous 12 months Senators introduced 1,952 amendments—1,105 from Republicans and 847 from Democrats. Mr. Reid blocked all but 19.
Legislation? Mr. Reid has blocked at least 10 bills sent to him by the House that passed with notable bipartisan support. Some 35 House Democrats voted with Republicans to delay ObamaCare’s employer mandate; 46 Democrats voted to expedite the approval of liquefied natural gas exports; 130 Democrats voted for patent-reform legislation; 158 Democrats voted to expand access to charter schools; and 183 Democrats voted (in a bill that passed 406-1) to exempt certain veterans from the ObamaCare employer mandate. Mr. Reid’s response: No debate, no vote.
As the election nears, many voters are asking if a Republican Senate would make a difference. The Beltway media line is that it wouldn’t, which ignores that Mr. Reid’s tactics are an historic aberration. How could the Senate possibly be any worse? Mr. Obama would retain his veto against legislation passed by a Republican House and Senate, but at least the legislators would have to vote and be accountable. At least Congress would again resemble a democracy.

All Gave Some - Some Gave All

A Golden Oldy - Worth Seeing Again and Again!!

http://www.youtube.com/v/AgYLr_LfhLo?version=3&hl=en_US&rel=0

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Conundrums Of Socialism In America

 
      1. America is capitalist and greedy - yet half of the population is subsidized.
 
      2. Half of the population is subsidized - yet they think they are victims.
 
      3. They think they are victims - yet their representatives run the government.

      4. Their representatives run the government - yet the poor keep getting poorer.

      5. The poor keep getting poorer - yet they have things that people in other
          countries only dream about.

      6. They have things that people in other countries only dream about -
          yet they want America to be more like those other countries.

 

     

Friday, October 10, 2014

America's Greatness - Lessons From The Past


TO ALL THE KIDS WHO SURVIVED THE 1930s, '40s, '50s, '60s and '70s!!  (Old stuff - worth repeating)
 
First, we survived being born to mothers who may have smoked and/or drank while they were pregnant. They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can, and didn't get tested for diabetes.
 
Then, after that trauma, we were put to sleep on our tummies in baby cribs covered with bright colored lead-based paints. We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, locks on doors or cabinets,
and, when we rode our bikes,we had baseball caps, not helmets, on our heads. As infants and children, we would ride in cars with no car seats, no
booster seats, no seat belts, no air bags, bald tires and sometimes no brakes.. Riding in the back of a pick- up truck on a warm day was always a special treat.
 
We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle. We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle, and no
one actually died from this. We ate cupcakes, white bread, real butter, and bacon. We drank
Kool-Aid made with real white sugar. 
 
And we weren't overweight. WHY? Because we were always outside playing...that's why! We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on. No one was able to reach us all day.    -And, we were OKAY.
 
We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride them down the hill, only to find out we
forgot the brakes.. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem..
 
 We did not have Play Stations, Nintendos and  X-boxes. There were no video games, no 150 channels on cable,  no video movies or DVDs, no
surround-sound or CDs, no cell phones,  no personal computers, no Internet and no chat rooms.
 
WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found  them!
 
We fell out of trees, got cut, broken bones and teeth and there were no lawsuits
from those accidents. We would get spankings with wooden spoons, switches, ping-pong paddles, or just a bare hand, and no one would call child
services to report abuse. We ate worms, and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever.
 
We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays, made up games with ticks and tennis balls, and -although we were told it would happen-
we did not put out very many eyes. We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or
rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them. Little League had tryouts annot everyone made the team. ose who didn't had to learn o deal with disappointment. Imagine that!! The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard mof. They actually sided with the law!
 
These generations have produced some of the best isk-takers, problem solvers, and inventors ever. The past 50 to 85 years have seen an explosion of innovation and new ideas.. We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned
how to deal with it all.


 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

A National Travesty - Too Many American Blacks Trapped In Poverty

Who is to blame?  More important - what can Americans do to make things better?

A black commentator's honest - heartfelt perspective:

http://www.thepoliticalinsider.com/rush-limbaughs-call-screener-liberalism-destroyed-black-communities/

Leadership Vaccuum - Our Roost, Obama’s Chickens


Victor Davis Hanson - Hoover Foundattion National Review
Often, crazy things seem normal for a time because logical catastrophes do not immediately follow.A deeply suspicious Richard Nixon systematically and without pushback for years undermined and politicized almost every institution of the federal government, from the CIA and the FBI to the IRS and the attorney general’s office. Nixon seemed to get away with it — until his second term. Once the public woke up, however, the eventual accounting proved devastating: resignation of a sitting president, prison sentences for his top aides, collapse of the Republican party, government stasis, a ruined economy, the destruction of the Vietnam peace accords that had led to a viable South Vietnam, the end of Henry Kissinger’s diplomatic breakthroughs, and a generation of abject cynicism about government. Did Nixon ever grasp that such destruction was the natural wage of his own paranoia?
In the post-Watergate climate of reform, for nearly three years a na├»ve Jimmy Carter gave utopian speeches about how American forbearance would end the Cold War and create a new world order based on human rights — until America’s abdication started to erode the preexisting global order. Scary things followed, such as the fall of the shah of Iran, the rise of Iranian theocracy, the taking of American hostages in Tehran, revolutions and insurrection throughout Central America, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, radical Islamists taking over Mecca, more gas lines, continued stagflation, and China invading Vietnam. Did the puritanical Carter ever understand what might be the consequences of his own self-righteousness in an imperfect world?
Barack Obama likewise has done some crazy things that seemed for years to have no ramifications. Unfortunately, typical of the ways of Nemesis (a bitter goddess who waits until the opportune moment to demand payment for past hubris), suddenly the bills for Obama’s six years of folly are coming due for the American people.
When a president occasionally fails to tell the truth, you get a scandal like the monitoring of the Associated Press reporters. When a president serially fails to tell the truth, you get that plus the scandals involving the IRS, the NSA, the VA, Benghazi, and too many others to mention.
The same is true abroad. The American public hardly noticed when Obama recklessly withdrew every peacekeeper from Iraq. Did he not boast of “ending the Iraq War”? It did not mind when the U.S. posted dates for withdrawal from Afghanistan. Trashing all the Bush–Cheney anti-terrorism protocols, from Guantanamo to renditions, did not make much sense, when such policies had worked and, in fact, were of use to Obama himself. But again, most Americans took no note. Apparently the terrorists did, however, and they regrouped even as the president declared them “on the run.”
Lecturing Israel while praising Islamist Turkey was likewise ignored. America snoozed as its president insidiously redefined its role in the Middle East as secondary to the supposed pivot to Asia. Each new correction in and of itself was comparatively minor; but in aggregate they began to unravel the U.S.-inspired postwar global order.
At first, who cared whether Iran serially violated every Obama deadline on halting nuclear enrichment? Did we worry that Libya, where Obama was proud of having led from behind, was descending into Somalia? Few Americans were all that bothered over Obama’s empty order to Syrian president Bashar Assad to step down, or over Obama’s later vacuous red-line threats that bombs would follow any use by Assad of chemical weapons.
Few noted that Obama lied to the nation that a video had caused the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi, that Obama had known who the real terrorist perpetrators were but had ordered no immediate action to kill or capture them, and that Americans had been engaged in mysterious and still unexplained covert activities in Benghazi. After all that, we still shrugged when the president traded five top terrorist leaders for an alleged American deserter.
Trashing George W. Bush’s policy toward Vladimir Putin while promising a new reset approach (illustrated with a plastic red button) to an aggressive dictator raised few eyebrows at the time. Nor did many Americans worry that our Pacific allies were upset over Chinese and North Korean aggression that seemed to ignore traditional U.S. deterrence.
We were told that only Obama-haters at home had catalogued the president’s apologies abroad, his weird multicultural bowing to authoritarians, his ahistorical speeches about mythical Islamic achievements, his surreal euphemisms for radical Islam, terrorism, and jihadism, his shrill insistence about civilian trials for terrorists and closing Guantanamo, or the radical cutbacks at the Pentagon, coupled with the vast increase in entitlement spending.
But after six years of all that, our allies have got the message that they are on their own, our enemies that there are few consequences to aggression, and neutrals that joining with America does not mean ending up on the winning side. The result is that the Middle East we have known since the end of World War II has now vanished
Supposedly crackpot fantasies about a worldwide “caliphate” are becoming reified. What were once dismissed as conspiracy theories about an “Iranian arc” —  from a nuclear Tehran through Syria to Hezbollah in Lebanon to the borders of Israel to the Shiite minorities in the Gulf kingdoms — do not seem so crazy.
The idea of visiting the Egyptian pyramids or hoping to reengage with a reforming Libya is absurd. The best of the Middle East — Israel, Jordan, Kurdistan — no longer count on us. The worst — ISIS, Iran, Syria — count on us to remain irrelevant or worse. Old allies in the Gulf would probably trust Israel or Russia more than the Obama administration. In the next two years, if Obama continues on his present course, we are going to see things that we could not have imagined six years ago in the Middle East, as it reverts to premodern Islamic tribalism.
The same trajectory has been followed on the home front. Americans at first were amused that the great conciliator — and greatest political recipient on record of Wall Street cash — went after the rich with an array of hokey epithets and slurs (fat cats, corporate-jet owners, Vegas junketeers, limb-lopping and tonsil-pulling doctors, business owners who should not profit, or should know when they have made enough money, or should admit they didn’t build their own businesses). Few connected the dots when the polarizing attorney general — the John Mitchell of our time — referred to African-Americans as “my people” and all the rest of the nation as “cowards.” Did we worry that the craziest things seem to come out of the president’s own mouth — the Trayvon-like son he never had, the stereotyping police, the absence of a “smidgen” of corruption in the Lois Lerner IRS scandal, or the mean Republicans who “messed” with him?
The president before the 2012 elections lamented to Latino groups that he did not have dictatorial powers to grant amnesty but urged them in the meantime to “punish our enemies” — a sort of follow-up to his 2008 “typical white person” incitement. Who was bothered that with “a pen and a phone” Obama for the first time in American history emasculated the U.S. Border Patrol, as part of a larger agenda of picking and choosing which federal laws the executive branch would enforce?
Those choices seemed to be predicated on two extralegal criteria: Did a law contribute to Obama’s concept of social justice, and did it further the progressive political cause? If the answer was no to either, the statute was largely unenforced. No president since World War II has done more to harm the U.S. Constitution — by ordering the executive branch not to enforce particular laws, by creating by fiat laws never enacted by Congress, by monitoring the communications of journalists and average Americans, by making appointments contrary to law — to the apparent yawns of the people.
Too few also seemed to care that almost everything the president had promised about Obamacare — keep your health plan, retain your doctor, save money on your premiums, sign up easily online, while we were lowering the annual deficit and reducing medical expenditures — was an abject lie. In such a climate, Obama felt no need to issue accurate data about how many Americans had lost their health plans, how many had simply transferred to Obamacare from Medicaid, how many had actually paid their premiums, or how many were still uninsured. The media ignored the serial $1 trillion deficits, the chronic high unemployment and low growth, the nonexistence of the long-promised “summer of recovery,” and the nonappearance of “millions of shovel-ready and green jobs.” The fact that electrical-power rates, gasoline prices, and food costs have soared under Obama as wages have stagnated has never really been noticed. Nor have the record numbers of Americans on food stamps and disability insurance.
Meanwhile, as Obama has refused to enforce immigration law, the result is chaos. Tens of thousands of children are flooding across our border illegally, on the scent of Obama’s executive-order amnesties. Advocates of open borders, such as progressive grandees Mark Zuckerberg and Nancy Pelosi, assume that these impoverished Third World children will not enroll in the private academies attended by their children or grandchildren, or need housing in one of their vacation estates, or crowd their specialists’ waiting rooms. They do not worry about the effects of illegal immigration on the wages of low-income Americans. Dealing first-hand with the ramifications of open borders is for unenlightened, illiberal little people.
Obama’s economic legacy is rarely appreciated. He has institutionalized the idea that unemployment between 6 and 7 percent is normal, that annual deficits over $500 billion reflect frugality, that soaring power, food, and fuel costs are not proof of inflation, that zero interest rates are the reward for thrift, that higher taxes are always a beginning, never an end, and that there is no contradiction when elite progressives — the Obamas, the Clintons, the Warrens — trash the 1-percenters, while doing everything in their power to live just like them.
We are the roost and, to paraphrase the president’s former spiritual adviser, Obama’s chickens are now coming home to us.

http://www.thepoliticalinsider.com/barack-obama-respects-marines

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

America's Greatness - An Exceptional US Postal Worker

Letter delivered to the US Post Office

Dear God,

Will you please take care of my dog?

Abbey died yesterday and is with you in heaven.

I miss her very much.

I 'm happy that you let me have her
as my dog even though she got sick.
I hope you will play with her.

She likes to swim and play with balls.

I am sending a picture of her so when you see her you will know that she is my dog.

I really miss her.
Love, Meredith

The letter was put in an envelope along with a photo of Meridith and Abbey - with Meridith's return address - addressed to God. Several stamps were added since "it would take lots of stamps to get the letter all the way to heaven" Meriidith and  her Mom took it to the Brook Hollow Texas post office and dropped it in the letter slot.

Three days later -  a package wrapped in gold paper arrived on Meridith's front porch. Inside the package -  a book by Mr. Rogers: "When A Pet Dies". Taped to the inside front cover - the following letter:

Dear Meredith,

Abbey arrived safely in heaven.
Having the picture was a big help
and I recognized her right away.

Abbey isn't sick anymore.


Her spirit is here with me just like it stays in your heart.

Abbey loved being your dog.

Since we don't need our bodies
in heaven, I don't have any pockets to keep your picture
in so I'm sending it back to you in this little book for you to keep and have something to remember Abbey by.

Thank you for the beautiful letter and thank your mother
for helping you write it and sending it to me.

What a wonderful mother
you have. I picked her especially for you.

I send my blessings every
day and remember that I love you very much.

By the way, I'm easy to find.
I am wherever there is love.

Love,
God



True story: Photo of Meridith Scrivener daughter of Joy and Greg Scrivener - Brook Hollow, Texas :

 


 


Monday, September 8, 2014

Why Do Teachers Unions Hate Eva Moskowitz? More On An "American Hero" Ed Reformer Springing The Minority Poverty Trap

By Jonathan Chait NY Magazine

If you were to compile a list of American heroes of social justice, Eva Moskowitz would be near the top. Her network of Success Academy Charter Schools has been a staggering triumph of upward mobility, helping hundreds of mostly poor, mostly minority children selected at random to achieve academic success on par with or even beyond that of wealthy, privileged suburban children. And Moskowitz is a hero to some, but mostly she is a beleaguered figure of controversy.

The reasons for Moskowitz’s controversial standing, as itemized in this mostly favorable New York Times Magazine profile, are many. She makes a lot of money. (“That Moskowitz’s wealthy board members choose to highly reward her track record — her salary and bonus for the 2012-13 school year totaled $567,500 — only adds to the union’s fury.”) She is brusque (“I asked Michael Mulgrew, the president of the union, why Moskowitz stirred such anger in him and his membership. “It’s her conflictual way of approaching everything,” he says. “It’s, ‘I’m going to show we’re better than public schools.’”) She raises money from wealthy people. (“[Diane] Ravitch indicted the hedge-fund titans and business moguls — including Kenneth Langone, a founder of Home Depot, and the Walton family of Walmart — who put their weight behind promising charter schools, leading their boards and lending political clout.”)
Given that brusqueness was also the thing that annoyed people about Michelle Rhee, I would guess it is an occupational requirement for a driven idealist who struggles against an entrenched bureaucracy. I have no particular problem with a person who successfully educates underprivileged children earning half a million dollars or raising money from otherwise unsavory characters. I’m more interested in the fact that Moskowitz’s schools, which are open to all and take applicants by random lottery, produce eye-popping test scores whose performance stands the test of rigorous controlled studies
Moskowitz’s network hires non-union teachers, who are paid well but can be fired for non-performance and provide their students with extended learning time. 
Not long ago, I described the split within the Democratic Party as centering around “whether public services should be designed for the benefit of providers or consumers.” Some readers objected that that description, and fair enough — opponents of education reform certainly do argue that their policies would benefit children. But it is also demonstrably true that some of the opposition to education reform is driven by a belief that it unduly prioritizes educational results over the welfare of incumbent teachers.
One recent Washington Post column defended teacher tenure laws specifically as a means of preserving jobs for the black middle class. The author, Andre M. Perry, did a poor job of defending his thesis even on its own terms — he asserted that eliminating tenure laws leads to a reduction in black teachers without presenting any data to support the claim. Indeed, according to the National Education Association, 30 percent of charter-school teachers are minorities, compared to 17 percent of traditional public-school teachers. (The comparison is not perfectly fair to traditional public schools, since charters operate disproportionately in urban areas.) But that is beside the point. More noteworthy is Perry’s frank admission that urban schools should not maintain a singular mission of educating children, but should balance that mission with providing jobs to adult employees:
"The education-reform community has convinced us that closing the achievement gap by any means necessary is a worthy, final end. No. Education is just one path toward a stronger community.  …
Schools should develop minds, train future workers and enrich communities through employment opportunities for its members."
The same premise comes through in a column by Justin Minkel, published in Valerie Strauss’s anti-education reform blog. Minkel argues, “We don’t need to swap out all the bad and mediocre teachers for better teachers, anymore than we should swap out our struggling students for more advanced students.”
If you believe schools should be designed solely to promote education, then this equivalence is bizarre: Getting a quality education is a universal right, while holding a teaching job is not. Why should we treat these conditions as equivalent? On the other hand, if you consider teachers and students to be stakeholders with equal rights, to be balanced about equally, then the anti-reform line makes obvious sense.
Update: Since numerous comments have complained about it, this seems like a good time to bring up in a more sustained way my wife's work. My wife, Robin Chait, works in education. She currently works for Center City Public Charter Schools in Washington.
Robin has worked in a number of capacities: as an analyst at the U.S. Department of Education, as a public school teacher in Washington via the D.C. Teaching Fellows program, as an analyst at the Center for American Progress and then at the Office of the State Superintendent of Education.
Do I claim my views are independent of Robin's? Absolutely not: My views are utterly dependent on hers. Enjoying the benefit of her deep, thoughtful knowledge of education policy is one of the smaller perks of being married to Robin Chait. I have learned more about education from Robin than anybody else, though she should not be held responsible for my writing, since, among other reasons, my grasp of the issue pales next to hers.
It is clearly the case that Robin broadly favors education reform. As the chronology of her career demonstrates, the causal mechanism is: Robin supports education reform --> Robin works for charter schools, as opposed to the reverse.
I have brought up her work before, and the reason I haven't done so more often is that I've been reluctant to boast. If my meager attempt at modesty appears to some critics to be a form of subterfuge, this is the opposite of my intention. I am extremely proud of my association with her. If you think I am a proxy for Robin's views on education policy, you are giving me far more credit than I deserve. I wish I knew enough about education policy for that to be true.
Read a related article published in the New York Times Magazine September 3, 2014
NYT Magazine: The Battle for New York Schools: Eva Moskowitz vs. Mayor Bill de Blasio