Writer and Dean of Science Fiction, Robert A. Heinlein, would have been 95 this month had he lived. Of all his stories and writings, the following is my favorite. In his memory, here is: The Pragmatics of Patriotism by Robert Heinlein On 5 April 1973, I delivered the James Forrestal Memorial Lecture to the Brigade of Midshipmen at my alma mater the United States Naval Academy. As the first half of the lecture, at the request of the midshipmen, I discussed freelance writing. This is the second half: In this complex world, science, the scientific method, and the consequences of the scientific method are central to everything the human race is doing and to wherever we are going. If we blow ourselves up we will do it by the misapplication of science; if we manage to keep from blowing ourselves up, it will be through intelligent application of science. Science fiction is the only form of fiction which takes into account this central force in our lives and futures. Other sorts of fiction, if they notice science at all, simply deplore it -- an attitude very chichi in the anti-intellectual atmosphere today. But we will never get out of the mess we are in by wringing our hands. Let me make one flat-footed prediction of the science-fiction type. Like all scenarios this one has assumptions -- variables treated as constants. The primary assumption is that World War Three will hold off long enough -- ten, twenty, thirty years -- for this prediction to work out. . .plus a secondary assumption that the human race will not find some other way to blunder into ultimate disaster. Prediction: In the immediate future -- by that I mean in the course of the naval careers of the class of '73 -- there will be nuclear-powered, constant-boost spaceships -- ships capable of going to Mars and back in a couple of weeks -- and these ships will be armed with Buck-Rogerish death rays. Despite all treaties now existing or still to be signed concerning the peaceful use of space, these spaceships will be used in warfare. Space navies will change beyond recognition our present methods of warfare and will control the political shape of the world for the foreseeable future. Furthermore -- and still more important -- these new spaceships will open the Solar System to colonization and will eventually open up the rest of the Galaxy. I did NOT say that the United States will have these ships. The present sorry state of our country does not permit me to make such a prediction. In the words of one of our most distinguished graduates in his THE INFLUENCE OF SEA POWER UPON HISTORY: "Popular governments are not generally favorable to military expenditures, however necessary--" Every military officer has had his nose rubbed in wry truth of Admiral Mahan's observation. I first found myself dismayed by it some forty years ago when I learned that I was expected to maintain the ship's battery of USS ROPER in a state of combat readiness on an allowance of less than a dollar a day -- with World War Two staring down our throats. The United States is capable of developing such spaceships. But the mood today does not favor it. So I am unable to predict that WE will be the nation to spend the necessary R&D money to build such ships. (Addressed to a plebe midshipman:) Mister, how long is it to graduation? Sixty-two days? Let's make it closer than that. I have. . .7.59, just short of eight bells. Assuming graduation for ten in the morning that gives. . .5,320,860 seconds to graduation. . .and I have less than 960 seconds in which to say what I want to say. (To the Brigade at large:) Why are you here? (To a second plebe:) Mister, why are YOU here? Never mind, son; that's a rhetorical question. You are here to become a naval officer. That's why this Academy was founded. That is why all of you are here: to become naval officers. If that is NOT why YOU are here, you've made a bad mistake. But I speak to the overwhelming majority who understood the oath they took on becoming midshipmen and look forward to the day when they will renew that oath as commissioned officers. But why would anyone want to become a naval officer? In the present dismal state of our culture there is little prestige attached to serving your country; recent public opinion polls place military service far down the list. It can't be the pay. No one gets rich on the pay. Even a 4-star admiral is paid much less than top executives in other lines. As for lower ranks the typical naval officer finds himself throughout his career just catching up from the unexpected expenses connected with the last change of duty when another change of duty causes a new financial crisis. Then, when he is about fifty, he is passed over and retires. . .but he can't really retire because he has two kids in college and one still to go. So he has to find a job. . .and discovers that jobs for men his age are scarce and usually don't pay well. Working conditions? You'll spend half your life away from your family. Your working hours? "Six days shalt thou work and do all thou art able; the seventh day the same, and pound the cable." A forty-hour week is standard for civilians -- but not for naval officers. You'll work that forty-hour week but that's just a starter. You'll stand a night watch as well, and duty weekends. Then with every increase in grade your hours get longer -- until at last you get a ship of your own and no longer stand watches. Instead you are on duty twenty-four hours a day. . .and you'll sign your night order book with: "In case of doubt, do not hesitate to call me." I don't know the average week's work for a naval officer but it's closer to sixty than to forty. I'm speaking of peacetime, of course. Under war conditions it is whatever hours are necessary -- and sleep you grab when you can. Why would anyone elect a career which is unappreciated, overworked, and underpaid? It can't be just to wear a pretty uniform. There has to be a better reason. As one drives through the bushveldt of East Africa it is easy to spot herds of baboons grazing on the ground. But not by looking at the ground. Instead you look up and spot the lookout, and adult male posted on a limb of a tree where he has a clear view all around him -- which is why you can spot him; he has to be where he can see a leopard in time to give the alarm. On the ground a leopard can catch a baboon. . .but if a baboon is warned in time to reach the trees, he can out-climb a leopard. The lookout is a young male assigned to that duty and there he will stay, until the bull of the herd sends up another male to relieve him. Keep your eye on that baboon; we'll be back to him. Today, in the United States, it is popular among self-styled "intellectuals" to sneer at patriotism. They seem to think that it is axiomatic that any civilized man is a pacifist, and they treat the military profession with contempt. "Warmongers" -- "Imperialists" -- "Hired killers in uniform" -- you have all heard such sneers and you will hear them again. One of their favorite quotations is: "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel." What they never mention is that the man who made that sneering remark was a fat, gluttonous slob who was pursued all his life by a pathological fear of death. I propose to prove that that baboon on watch is morally superior to that fat poltroon who made that wisecrack. Patriotism is the most practical of all human characteristics. But in the present decadent atmosphere patriots are often too shy to talk about it -- as if it were something shameful or an irrational weakness. But patriotism is NOT sentimental nonsense. Nor something dreamed up by demagogues. Patriotism is as necessary a part of man's evolutionary equipment as are his eyes, as useful to the race as eyes are to the individual. A man who is NOT patriotic is an evolutionary dead end. This is not sentiment but the hardest of logic. To prove that patriotism is a necessity we must go back to fundamentals. Take any breed of animal -- for example, tyrannosaurus rex. What is the most basic thing about him? The answer is that tyrannosaurus rex is dead, gone, extinct. Which brings us to the second fundamental question: Will homo sapiens stay alive? Will he survive? We can answer part of that at once: Individually h. sapiens will NOT survive. It is unlikely that anyone here tonight will be alive eighty years from now; it approaches mathematical certainty that we will all be dead a hundred years from now as even the youngest plebe here would be 118 years old by then -- if still alive. Some men do live that long but the percentage is so microscopic as not to matter. Recent advances in biology suggest that human life may be extended to a century and a quarter, even a century and a half -- but this will create more problems than it solves. When a man reaches my age or thereabouts, the last great service he can perform is to die and get out of the way of younger people. Very well, as individuals we all die. This brings us to the second half of the question: Does homo sapiens AS A BREED have to die? The answer is: No, it is NOT unavoidable. We have two situations, mutually exclusive: Mankind surviving, and mankind extinct. With respect to morality, the second situation is a null class. An extinct breed has NO behavior, moral or otherwise. Since survival is the sine qua non, I now define "moral behavior" as "behavior that tends toward survival." I won't argue with philosophers or theologians who choose to use the word "moral" to mean something else, but I do not think anyone can define "behavior that tends toward extinction" as being "moral" without stretching the word "moral" all out of shape. We are now ready to observe the hierarchy of moral behavior from its lowest level to its highest. The simplest form of moral behavior occurs when a man or other animal fights for his own survival. Do not belittle such behavior as being merely selfish. Of course it is selfish. . .but selfishness is the bedrock on which all moral behavior starts and it can be immoral only when it conflicts with a higher moral imperative. An animal so poor in spirit that he won't even fight on his own behalf is already an evolutionary dead end; the best he can do for his breed is to crawl off and die, and not pass on his defective genes. The next higher level is to work, fight, and sometimes die for your own immediate family. This is the level at which six pounds of mother cat can be so fierce that she'll drive off a police dog. It is the level at which a father takes a moonlighting job to keep his kids in college -- and the level at which a mother or father dives into a flood to save a drowning child. . .and it is still moral behavior even when it fails. The next higher level is to work, fight, and sometimes die for a group larger that the unit family -- an extended family, a herd, a tribe -- and take another look at that baboon on watch; he's at that moral level. I don't think baboon language is complex enough to permit them to discuss such abstract notions as "morality" or "duty" or "loyalty" -- but it is evident that baboons DO operate morally and DO exhibit the traits of duty and loyalty; we see them in action. Call it "instinct" if you like -- but remember that assigning a name to a phenomenon does not explain it. But that baboon behavior can be explained in evolutionary terms. Evolution is a process that never stops. Baboons who fail to exhibit moral behavior do not survive; they wind up as meat for leopards. Every baboon generation has to pass this examination in moral behavior; those who bilge it don't have progeny. Perhaps the old bull of the tribe gives lessons. . .but the leopard decides who graduates -- and there is no appeal from his decision. We don't have to understand the details to observe the outcome; Baboons behave morally -- for baboons. The next level in moral behavior higher than that exhibited by the baboon is that in which duty and loyalty are shown toward a group of your kind too large for an individual to know all of them. We have a name for that. It is called "patriotism." Behaving on a still higher moral level were the astronauts who went to the Moon, for their actions tend toward the survival of the entire race of mankind. The door they opened leads to hope that h. sapiens will survive indefinitely long, even longer than this solid planet on which we stand tonight. As a direct result of what they did, it is now possible that the human race will NEVER die. Many short-sighted fools think that going to the Moon was just a stunt. But that astronauts knew the meaning of what they were doing, as is shown by Neil Armstrong's first words in stepping down onto the soil of Luna: "One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind." Let us note proudly that eleven of the Astronaut Corps are graduates of this our school. And let me add that James Forrestal was the FIRST high-ranking Federal official to come out flatly for space travel. I must pause to brush off those parlor pacifists I mentioned earlier. . .for they contend that THEIR actions are on this highest moral level. They want to put a stop to war; they say so. Their purpose is to save the human race from killing itself off; they say that too. Anyone who disagrees with them must be a bloodthirsty scoundrel -- and they'll tell you that to your face. I won't waste time trying to judge their motives; my criticism is of their mental processes: Their heads aren't screwed on tight. They live in a world of fantasy. Let me stipulate that, if the human race managed its affairs sensibly, we could do without war. Yes -- and if pigs had wings, they could fly. I don't know what planet those pious pacifists are talking about but it can't be the third one out from the Sun. Anyone who has seen the Far East -- or Africa -- or the Middle East -- knows are certainly should know that there is NO chance of abolishing war in the foreseeable future. In the past few years I have been around the world three times, traveled in most of the communist countries, visited many of the so-called emerging countries, plus many trips to Europe and to South America; I saw nothing that cheered me as to the prospects for peace. The seeds of war are everywhere; the conflicts of interest are real and deep, and will not be abolished by pious platitudes. The best we can hope for is a precarious balance of power among the nations capable of waging total war -- while endless lesser wars break out here and there. I won't belabor this. Our campuses are loaded with custard-headed pacifists but the yard of the Naval Academy is not on place where I will encounter them. We are in agreement that the United States still needs a navy, that the Republic will always have need for heroes -- else you would not be here tonight and in uniform. Patriotism -- Moral behavior at the national level. Non sibi sed Patria. Nathan Hale's last words: "I regret that I have but one life to give for my country." Torpedo Squadron Eight making its suicidal attack. Four chaplains standing fast while the water rises around them. Thomas Jefferson saying, "The Tree of Liberty must be refreshed form time to time with the blood of patriots--" A submarine skipper giving the order "Take her DOWN!" while he himself is still topside. Jonas Ingram standing on the steps of Bancroft Hall and shouting, "The Navy has no place for good losers! The Navy needs tough sons of bitches who can go out there and WIN!" Patriotism -- An abstract word used to describe a type of behavior as harshly practical as good brakes and good tires. It means that you place the welfare of your nation ahead of your own even if it costs you your life. Men who go down to the sea in ships have long had another way of expressing the same moral behavior tagged by the abstract expression "patriotism." Spelled out in simple Anglo-Saxon words "Patriotism" reads "Women and children first!" And that is the moral result of realizing a self-evident biological fact: Men are expendable; women and children are not. A tribe or a nation can lose a high percentage of its men and still pick up the pieces and go on. . .as long as the women and children are saved. But if you fail to save the women and children, you've had it, you're done, you're THROUGH! You join tyrannosaurus rex, one more breed that bilged its final test. I must amplify that. I know that women can fight and often have. I have known many a tough old grandmother I would rather have on my side in a tight spot than any number of pseudo-males who disdain military service. My wife put in three years and a butt active duty in World War Two, plus ten years reserve, and I am proud -- very proud! -- of her naval service. I am proud of every one of our women in uniform; they are a shining example to us men. Nevertheless, as a mathematical proposition in the facts of biology, children, and women of child-bearing age, are the ultimate treasure that we must save. Every human culture is based on "Women and children first" -- and any attempt to do it any other way leads quickly to extinction. Possibly extinction is the way we are headed. Great nations have died in the past; it can happen to us. Nor am I certain how good our chances our. To me it seems self-evident that any nation that loses its patriotic fervor is on the skids. Without that indispensable survival factor the end is only a matter of time. I don't know how deeply the rot has penetrated -- but it seems to me that there has been a change for the worse in the last fifty years. Possibly I am misled by the offensive behavior of a noisy but unimportant minority. But it does seem to me that patriotism has lost its grip on a large percentage of our people. I hope I am wrong. . .because if my fears are well grounded, I would not bet two cents on this nation's chance of lasting even to the end of this century. But there is now way to force patriotism on anyone. Passing a law will not create it, nor can we buy it by appropriating so many billions of dollars. You gentlemen of the Brigade are most fortunate. You are going to a school where this basic moral virtue is daily reinforced by precept and example. It is not enough to know what Charlie Noble does for a living, or what makes the wildcat wild, or which BatDiv failed to splice the main brace and why -- nor to learn matrix algebra and navigation and ballistics and aerodynamics and nuclear engineering. These things are merely the working tools of your profession and could be learned elsewhere; they do not require "four years together by the Bay where the Severn joins the tide." What you do have here is a tradition of service. Your most important classroom is Memorial Hall. Your most important lesson is the way you feel inside when you walk up those steps and see that shot-torn flag framed in the arch of the door: "Don't Give Up the Ship." If you feel nothing, you don't belong here. But if it give you goose flesh just to see that old battle flag, then you are going to find that feeling increasing every time you return here over the years. . .until it reaches a crescendo the day you return and read the list of your own honored dead -- classmates, shipmates, friends -- read them with grief and pride while you try to keep your tears silent. The time has come for me to stop. I said that "Patriotism" is a way of saying "Women and children first." And that no one can force a man to feel this way. Instead he must embrace it freely. I want to tell about one such man. He wore no uniform and no one knows his name, or where he came from; all we know is what he did. In my home town sixty years ago when I was a child, my mother and father used to take me and my brothers and sisters out to Swope Park on Sunday afternoons. It was a wonderful place for kids, with picnic grounds and lakes and a zoo. But a railroad line cut straight through it. One Sunday afternoon a young married couple were crossing these tracks. She apparently did not watch her step, for she managed to catch her foot in the frog of a switch to a siding and could not pull it free. Her husband stopped to help her. But try as they might they could not get her foot loose. While they were working at it, a tramp showed up, walking the ties. He joined the husband in trying to pull the young woman's foot loose. No luck -- Out of sight around the curve a train whistled. Perhaps there would have been time to run and flag it down, perhaps not. In any case both men went right ahead trying to pull her free. . .and the train hit them. The wife was killed, the husband was mortally injured and died later, the tramp was killed -- and testimony showed that neither man made the slightest effort to save himself. The husband's behavior was heroic. . .but what we expect of a husband toward his wife: his right, and his proud privilege, to die for his woman. But what of this nameless stranger? Up to the very last second he could have jumped clear. He did not. He was still trying to save this woman he had never seen before in his life, right up to the very instant the train killed him. And that's all we'll ever know about him. THIS is how a man dies. This is how a MAN. . .lives! "They shall not grow old as we that are left grow old; Age shall not wither them nor the years condemn; As the going down of the sun and in the morning, we shall remember them..." -Tomb of the Scottish Unknown Soldier, Edinburgh
Sunday, June 3, 2012
Saturday, May 15, 2010
99 weeks of Unemployment is NOT enough!!!
The point of the benefits is to make is possible for the workers to pay their bills, feed their families, and keep a roof over their heads until they can work again.
My husband and I -- both separately and together -- have been writing to you and your colleagues for months.
Apparently, nobody listened.
My husband's Tier 4 unemployment completely ran out in February. Congress has passed two one-month extensions, but that doesn't help the tens of thousands who are in the same boat with us. Those extensions only apply to those still in their 1st through 4th tiers of benefits.
Congress has failed to enact a new 5th tier of benefits. So my husband and I -- along with the thousands and thousands of others who can't find jobs -- now have NO income. We are in danger of losing our Internet and phone, which will make it that much harder to look for work. We're also in danger of losing our homes.
There are no full-time jobs here that will hire my husband at age 57 -- despite the fact that he's a Viet Nam era veteran. He scraps metal with our neighbor -- when the landlord will loan us the truck that used to be ours (the landlord accepted it as payment for one month's rent). Our car doesn't run -- so my husband rides his bike seven miles into town to the day-labor office. In the last week, he has earned less than $30 because there's not enough day-labor work.
That's barely enough to buy toilet paper, shampoo, and dish soap. No way will it get the car fixed.
Unless a new tier 5 is enacted, we'll be evicted -- and homeless -- at the end of the month. We have already received an eviction notice.
I'm disabled and can't work -- yet I'm my third go round of being denied SSD benefits. I also have a compromised immune system and suffer from recurring abcesses. Losing our home and moving to a tent is liable to kill me.
Enact a Tier 5 Unemployment now!!! If you don't... My blood will be on your hands.
Saturday, May 1, 2010
You, Average American, are walking out of the hardware store, where you've just bought a fire extinguisher for your home. On the way to your car, you have to pass a police car, with the officer sitting in it.
You trip, lose your hold on the fire extinguisher, and it falls through his open window and lands in his lap. He jumps out of the car, arrests you, calls his superiors and tells them you're a terrorist with a bomb. You are whisked off into military detention. You don't have Miranda rights. No phone call. No lawyer. They can keep you as long as they want to.
You're now an "enemy belligerent." I hope you said good-bye to your family because they might not see you again for years, and no one has to even tell them where you are.
That's what a bill now in Congress allows, and that's what so dangerous about it.
H.R.4892 : To provide for the interrogation and detention of enemy belligerents who commit hostile acts against the United States, to establish certain limitations on the prosecution of such belligerents for such acts, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep McKeon, Howard P. "Buck" [CA-25] (introduced 3/19/2010) Cosponsors (None)
Committees: House Intelligence (Permanent Select); House Armed Services; House Judiciary
Latest Major Action: 3/19/2010 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the Committee on Intelligence (Permanent Select), and in addition to the Committees on Armed Services, and the Judiciary, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned.
S.3081 : A bill to provide for the interrogation and detention of enemy belligerents who commit hostile acts against the United States, to establish certain limitations on the prosecution of such belligerents for such acts, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Sen McCain, John [AZ] (introduced 3/4/2010) Cosponsors (9)
Committees: Senate Judiciary
Latest Major Action: 3/4/2010 Referred to Senate committee. Status: Read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.
I have spent my working life employed at jobs making about 150% of the poverty level. I have not been able to afford health care insurance for over 30 years. I am one of the "needy" dependent for my health care on our Medicaid program. Indeed, if not for Medicaid, I would not be writing this to you today because I would have died last August.
I have just had to apply for a renewal of my Food Stamps and Medicaid, and have not yet heard if I'll qualify. Yet even I would be willing to pay a little extra in sales and other taxes if it would help poor people keep these needed benefits.
So I'm sick and I'm tired, too.
Tired of being demonized by those equate "providing help to the poor" with "sharing the wealth" and "socialism."
Tired of hearing my own Senator (Kyl) say that Unemployment Benefits are "not a job enhancer, a disincentive."
Tiired of hearing the farcical idea that most legal Americans won't do jobs like mowing lawns, roofing homes, bagging groceries and serving Big Macs with fries. I've worked at all these jobs and worse -- including dipping out a stopped up portapotty with a pail, by hand, for minimum wage. Why did I do these jobs? Because the illegal immigrants had all the good, high-paying construction jobs. My husband and I were once evicted from a trailer park owned by a construction contractor because he would only allow his illegal employees to live there.
My husband John and I have been married for over 15 years. We've been homeless several times, and in three states. We've been homeless - with or without a vehicle to sleep in - for nearly half our marriage. We are now facing the prospect again.
I was born in Covina, CA and grew up in the Los Angeles area. In 1988, I moved to Grants Pass, OR. That's where I met my husband, who was born in Medford, OR. Having both lost jobs, we were homeless when we met, at the Gospel Rescue Mission. We got married in 1995. With Oregon's economy crumbling, we once lived for several weeks on the nickel deposit on aluminum cans, and on glass and plastic bottles. We lived by recycling scrap metal. We lived on day-labor. We lived out of dumpsters. We camped in the woods, and lived on nature's provender. Finally, we had to leave Oregon to find work, traveling from town to town on recyclables we found by the roadside. We tried Las Vegas, and spent five weeks there, surviving by recycling and day-labor. But they wouldn't hire the homeless for fulltime work. So we moved to Prescott, AZ, in 1997, where we still live.
We have bought and paid off three travel-trailer homes, only to lose them again to job losses. I suppose some would call us "po' white" or "trailer trash," and look down on us for all the stereotypic negatives that implies. But we're NOT trash, we're hard-working PEOPLE. We're not lazy. And we're not stupid, either. I got my BA in Philosophy in 1973, having worked my way through college tutoring Natural Deductive Logic. John was pre-med. When he enlisted in the Air Force during the Viet Nam era, he became a Med Tech.
We take whatever job we can find. Our full work history is quite varied.
My husband's letter to Congress
Re: Unemployment Extension Tier 5
I am a VietNam Era veteran.
I was laid off in 2008. I was the manager of a new recycling yard in Prescott Valley, AZ. I have run out of extensions and I am 2 months behind
on my rent. My last check was for $170.00 in mid Feb. I was making around $400 a week at my job, and expected more as the business grew, so the $192 a week unemployment checks were less than half of my wage.
Have I been looking for work?..Of course I have!..any job, even McDonalds, would pay far better than unemployment...there are just no jobs here right now.
I have been forced to put my car up for sale which will make it even harder to find work!..
If a new Unemployment extension doesn't come soon, I will be in a tent with a sick wife.
I am 57 years old and my wife is 59 and homelessness at our age would not only be very hard, it would likely kill my wife.
I really don't know what to do at this point...I am recycling scrap metal and aluminum cans and we are living on about 40 dollars a week that this provides, plus food stamps....
We are only paying $350.00 per month for our small rental, this includes utilities, so we are definitely not living beyond our means!..How do I tell my sick wife that we are losing the little that we have.
I have worked on ranches, in construction, managed 2 recycling yards, and cooked in restaurants. I never believed that a hard working, willing man
would ever be in the situation we are now in.
So to those who demonize the poor by equating "helping the poor" with "spreading the wealth" and "socialism", I suggest you take the:
The Socialist-Free Purity Pledge
"I pledge to eliminate all government intervention in my life. I will abstain from the use of and participation in any socialist goods and services including but not limited to the following:
"Social Security - Medicare/Medicaid - State Children's Health Insurance Programs (SCHIP) - Police, Fire, and Emergency Services - US Postal Service -- Roads and Highways -- Air Travel (regulated by the socialist FAA) -- The US Railway System -- Public Subways and Metro Systems --Public Bus and Light Rail Systems -- Rest Areas on Highways -- Sidewalks --All Government-Funded Local/State Projects -- Public Water and Sewer Services (goodbye socialist toilet, shower, dishwasher, kitchen sink, outdoor hose!) -- Public and State Universities and Colleges -- Public Primary and Secondary Schools -- Public Museums -- Libraries --Public Parks and Beaches -- State and National Parks -- Public Zoos -- Unemployment Insurance -- Municipal Garbage and Recycling Services --Treatment at Any Hospital or Clinic That Ever Received Funding From Local, State or Federal Government (pretty much all of them) -- Medical Services and Medications That Were Created or Derived From Any Government Grant or Research Funding (again, pretty much all of them) -- Socialist Byproducts of Government Investment Such as Duct Tape and Velcro (Nazi-NASA Inventions) -- Use of the Internets, email, and networked computers, as the DoD's ARPANET was the basis for subsequent computer networking -- Foodstuffs, Meats, Produce and Crops That Were Grown With, Fed With, Raised With or That Contain Inputs From Crops Grown With Government Subsidies -- Clothing Made from Crops (e.g. cotton) That Were Grown With or That Contain Inputs From Government Subsidies -- If a veteran of the government-run socialist US military, I will forgo my VA benefits and insist on paying for my own medical care."
If you are NOT willing to take this pledge, then stop with the vitriolic rhetoric and behavior.
If you are NOT willing to take this pledge, fold it until it is all sharp corners, sit on it, rotate counterclockwise, and STRIP YOUR GEARS.
"The genius of our ruling class is that it has kept a majority of the people from ever questioning the inequity of a system where most people drudge along, paying heavy taxes for which they get nothing in return."
"There has grown up in the minds of certain groups in this country the notion that because a man or corporation has made a profit out of the public for a number of years, the government and the courts are charged with the duty of
guaranteeing such profit in the future, even in the face of changing circumstances and contrary to public interest. This strange doctrine is not supported by statute or common law. Neither individuals nor corporations have any right to come into court and ask that the clock of history be stopped, or turned back."
Ninety eight percent of the adults in this country are decent, hardworking, honest Americans. It's the other lousy two percent that get all the publicity. But then, we elected them.
I'm tired of hearing it said that democracy doesn't work. Of course it doesn't work. We are supposed to work it.
We surely must realize that the strangle hold Big Corporations have on the citizens of our country constitutes a greater threat to our security -- and thus the national security -- than the wars or even terrorism. The Corporate
Conglomerates continue to use the "too big to fail" model to destroy the jobs and lives of MILLIONS of Americans, while they feel entitled to use their strength and our taxpayer money to lobby for more benefits for themselves.
We could let them fail if our Congressional leaders weren't being paid in campaign donations to save them. It would be difficult and a bit risky, but it could be done. I've said this before and I'll keep saying it -- We the People demand swift
and forthright action. We the People come first. The Big Corporations fail to realize that by destroying us, they destroy their consumer base. This goes for the medical insurance and Big Pharma companies as well.
Breaking The Monopolies - That's the answer: Cut them down to size, so they are no longer "too big to fail." The United States of America is too big to fail.
They are killing us. It must STOP.
"The Voters' Revolution"
1) Use the Anti-Trust laws to break up AIG (and other corporate giants) so it is no longer possible to be "too big to fail."
2) Reinstate the Glass Steagall Act.
3) Repeal the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1998 and the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000.
4) Demand that the House and Senate set term limits for themselves. No elected legislator may serve more than four terms in office. This acknowledges that it does take some acquired experience to function effectively. They will be placed on probation for the first two years of each term. They will be judged on the basis of accomplishments and not on their rhetoric. A voter's referendum will then be held to determine their performance. If they fail, they will be replaced by a lottery from the pool of registered voters in their state.
5) Demand reform of the system of campaign contributions. Each Legislator may add to their individual "war chests" only the contributions of individuals. All corporate contributions must go into a general fund to be distributed equally to ALL candidates for election. This includes not just the Reps and Dems but the smaller parties as well. This would effectively level the playing field and give us voters more options. "Money talks" in campaigns. We voters must therefore control the money.
6) Eliminate using the filibuster as a threat to force a super-majority vote. Eliminate the filibuster "cloture vote." Make them actually DO a filibuster. Bring out the cots. Lock up the bathrooms. No food, no water. Make the filibuster so difficult to accomplish that Legislators will hesitate before thinking of using it.
7) Eliminate lifetime terms for Supreme Court Justices. Demand the right to recall them by referendum.
8) Repeal all laws or portions thereof which give rights to "corporate persons."