USA 2012 Veterans Day homily – minority report

Today’s editorial in The Key West Citizen (keysnews.com) lamely tries to make amends for last Sunday’s editorial endorsing Mitt Romney. Meaning, I continue not holding my breath that The Citizen will come clean about its Mitt Romney endorsement, which I heard last night over dinner is said to have been written by Paul Clarin, The Citizen’s Publisher. I told the person who passed the rumor along, if Clarin wrote it, he sure is a lousy writer.
My dinner companion and I both had heard that former County Mayor Shirley Freeman, usually outspoken, a Democrat, and a volunteer member of the Editorial Board, was seriously put out that her name was shown above the Romney endorsement, of which she knew nothing until it was published last Sunday.
If Shirley, in fact, was seriously put out, how come she did not say so in a letter to the editor? How come she did not tell the public who wrote that editorial, and that Tom Tuell, The Citizen’s Editor, removed his own name from the Editorial Board members who were credited with the editorial, but he left all the other Editorial Board members’ name in plain view? More to the point, my dinner companion, a Republican, and I wondered why Shirley didn’t resign in protest from the Editorial Board?
I told my dinner companion, who was Larry Murray, holding a PhD in History from Michigan State, that The Citizen is not a free press. He asked on what I based that? I said, on the editorial endorsing Mitt Romney and how it was handled by The Citizen. And, on what had seen of The Citizen since arriving in the Keys in late 2000. I said, back in the old days, the free press was important in America. It defined America. Larry said, back in the old days, American newspapers were political rags trying to shape public opinion to match the rags’ opinion, and newspapers have been doing it ever since, citing Hurst and other well-known examples.
I should have added, the press, expanded to television, which did not exist in the old days, brought an end to the seriously stupid war in Vietnam. Alas, the press did not deal responsibly with the seriously stupid wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
My opinion… not one American soldier in either Bush war protected America … the US Armed Forces should have told President Bush they were not going to fight his seriously stupid wars, which have a lot to do with the financial disaster in which America drowns today. I’d love to see The Citizen, a Navy town’s newspaper, take on Presidents Bush and Obama, and America, over Iraq and Afghanistan. But I’m not holding my breath on that, either.
Received this forward yesterday from a North Georgia amigo. I do not vouch for the forward not being invented or tampered, but it demonstrates something really important, which I address in my trailing comment:
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Perfect  Chech Quote
This quote came from the Czech Republic. Someone over there has it figured out. It was translated into English from an article in the Prague newspaper Prager Zeitungon: “The danger to America is not Barack Obama, but a citizenry capable of entrusting a man like him with the Presidency. It will be far easier to limit and undo the follies of an Obama presidency than to restore the necessary common sense and good judgment to a depraved electorate willing to have such a man for their president. The problem is much deeper and far more serious than Mr. Obama, who is a mere symptom of what ails America . Blaming the prince of the fools should not blind anyone to the vast confederacy of fools that made him their prince. The Republic can survive a Barack Obama, who is, after all, merely a fool. It is less likely to survive a multitude of fools, such as those who made him their president.”
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No fan of Barack Obama, I felt the same way about the multitude of fools who made George W. Bush their president, among which Prince-makers I gather the alleged Czech author fits in perfectly well. That aside, the Czech people generally have no fondness for military aggression, having suffered plenty of that at the hands of the Nazis, the Soviets, and foreign invaders before then. If the Czech people think ill of Barack Obama, I imagine is it because he accepted the Nobel Peace Prize while he waged two seriously stupid George W. Bush wars. And then the multitude of fools who elected him because they were sure he was a man of hope, reelected him.
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Also received this forward yesterday from a snowbird Republican amigo, to which I added a few thoughts in CAPS:
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Subject: Plan to fundamentaly change America forever and its working better than they hoped..
President Obama’s Wealth Destroying Goal: Taking The ‘Curley Effect’ Nationwide
Detroit
It’s hard to think of anything more perverse in American politics than the Curley effect. The Curley effect historically has been an urban phenomenon, but President Obama seems bent on taking the entire country down this wretched path.
OH, I CAN IMAGINE SOMETHING MORE PERVERSE: G.W. BUSH AND HIS REPUBLICAN PARTY AND MOST OF THE REST OF AMERICANS FALLING FOR OSAMA BIN LADEN’S SCHEME TO LURE AMERICA INTO TWO UTTERLY STUPID AND RUINOUS LAND WARS IN ISLAMIC COUNTRIES, WHILE CUTTING TAXES ON THE RICH MOSTLY.
As defined by Harvard scholars Edward L. Glaeser and Andrei Shleifer in a famous 2002 article, the Curley effect (named after its prototype, James Michael Curley, a four-time mayor of Boston in the first half of the 2Oth century) is a political strategy of “increasing the relative size of one’s political base through distortionary, wealth-reducing policies.” Translation: A politician or a political party can achieve long-term dominance by tipping the balance of votes in their direction through the implementation of policies that strangle and stifle economic growth. Counterintuitively, making a city poorer leads to political success for the engineers of that impoverishment.
A COROLLARY IS SEEN IN THE AMERICAN MILITARY ESTABLISHMENT, WHICH CONSUMES ABOUT ONE-HALF OF AMERICA’S ANNUAL BUDGET – MORE THAN ALL OTHER COUNTRIES IN THE WORLD SPEND ON THEIR MILITARY – AND WHICH IS MADE UP OF US CITIZENS WHOSE FAMILIES HAVE LESS MONEY. I WAGER MY REPUBLICAN FRIEND AND THE AUTHOR IF THIS ARTICLE, AND WHOEVER FOWARDED IT TO BEGIN WITH, DON’T HAVE ANY RELATIVES IN U.S. UNINFORM IN IRAQ OR AFGHANISTAN, OR ANYWHERE. A REVERSE CURLEY EFFECT – THE RICH GET THE POOR TO FIGHT THE RICH’S WARS.
Here’s an example of how the Curley effect works: Let’s say a mayor advocates and adopts policies that redistribute wealth from the prosperous to the not-so-prosperous by bestowing generous tax-financed favors on unions, the public sector in general, and select corporations. These beneficiaries become economically dependent on their political patrons, so they give them their undivided electoral support-e.g., votes, campaign contributions, and get-out-the-vote drives. Meanwhile, the anti-rich rhetoric of these clever demagogues, combined with higher taxes to fund the political favors, triggers a flight of tax refugees from the cities to the suburbs. This reduces the number of political opponents on the city’s voter registration rolls, thereby consolidating an electoral majority for the anti-wealth party. It also shrinks the tax base of the city, even as the city’s budget swells. The inevitable bankruptcy that results from expanding expenditures while diminishing revenues can be postponed for decades with the help of state and federal subsidies (“stimulus” in the Obama vernacular) and creative financing, but eventually you end up with cities like Detroit-called by Glaeser and Shleifer “the first major Third World city in the United States.” The Curley effect is extensive. Perhaps you have seen the chain e-mail listing the ten poorest U.S. cities with a population of at least 250,000: Detroit, Buffalo, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Miami, St. Louis, El Paso, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, and Newark. Besides all having poverty rates between 24 percent and 32 percent, these cities share a common political factor: Only two have had a Republican mayor since 1961, and those two (Cincinnati and Cleveland) haven’t had one since the 1980s. Democratic mayors have had a lock on City Hall despite these once-great and prosperous cities stagnating on their watch. This is the Curley effect in action.
Let me comment on the city on that list that I know the best-Detroit. (I grew up a few miles from its city limits.) In the 1920s, Detroit was arguably the richest city in the world. Today it is broke-a shadow of its former self after 51 years of Democratic hegemony and a Curley-like agenda.
DARN, ALL ALONG I WUZ THINKING DETROIT GOT SO BAD OFF BECAUSE U.S. PEARL HARBOR LOOKOUT AUTOMOBILE EXECUTIVES AND MOST AMERICANS DIDN’T WANT SMALLER, MORE FUEL EFFICIENT CARS AND TRUCKS LIKE THE JAPANESE WERE MAKING AND SENDING TO AMERICA. AND NOW CHINA OWNS AMERICA.
I’m going to say something provocative that leftists will surely quote out of context, but it needs to be said: Detroit was a lot better off in the 1950s, when the city funded one of the best zoos in the country but had not yet built today’s gravy train for favored segments of the human population. Detroit’s decline has paralleled a shift toward funding far fewer zoo animals and far more human beings. Critics may take this to mean that I value animals more than people. On the contrary, it is because I value humans more than animals that I find the policy shift to be morally offensive in addition to being so obviously destructive economically. It is bad enough to see a trapped lion carrying 80 pounds of flab that a lion in the wild would never have, but why would you reduce human beings to a similarly pathetic dependency? The bars that ensnare humans behind the economic and psychological cages of the government dole may not be physical, but it is pathetic to see people reduced to lives of unproductive idleness and despair, all in the name of “compassion” and, of course, for the sake of cementing Democratic mayors in office. What is most troublesome about the Curley effect is that it is spreading beyond its historical setting of cities. Entire states-most notably our most populous, California-are manifesting all the symptoms of the Curley effect: Democrats enjoying electoral hegemony; businesses and middle-class individuals, more Republican than Democratic, emigrating to states with less oppressive tax regimes; reduced job opportunities; a budget careening toward bankruptcy.
HMMMM, WONDER HOW COME THIS ESTEEMED, ACCORDING TO SOMEBODY, ECONOMIST AUTHOR DOESN’T MENTION THE BAIL OUT OF WALL STREET, THE BANKS, FREDDIE AND FANNIE, THE AUTO MANUFACTURERS, FORTUNE 500 COMPANIES, ETC., REVERSE CURELY EFFECTS FOR WHOMEVER’S STOCK PORTFOLIO WOULD BE CRUSHED WITHOUT THOSE BAILOUTS? BAIL OUTS PAID FOR WITH MONEY UNCLE SAM DID NOT HAVE – HE SAID HE BORROWED IT, I SAY HE COUNTERFEITED IT.
The ultimate political prize for the Democrats, of course, would be to control the national government. (Note: Yes, I know that technically we have a “federal” government, but if Big Government Democrats find a way to forge a permanent majority, you can kiss the last vestiges of federalism goodbye.) Everything Obama has done has been designed to strengthen Democratic constituencies (e.g., stimulus spending steered predominantly toward unions and strategically allied state and municipal entities; waivers from Obamacare for unions; a hefty 23 percent increase in the Index of Dependence on Government during Obama’s first two years) and to weaken Republican constituencies (e.g., making small business formation more difficult by impeding venture capitalists; refusing to amend Sarbanes-Oxley; using Dodd-Frank regulations to discourage loans; fewer waivers from Obamacare; proposing lower tax rates for large corporations, but not on the “S” corporations that are the preferred choice of small business owners; constant efforts to raise taxes on the “rich”-which means, as we’ve seen in Detroit, California, and other Curley effect victims, higher taxes on the middle class).
G.W. BUSH AND THE REPUBLICANS WENT TO WAR IN IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN WITHOUT RAISING TAXES TO PAY FOR THOSE WARS. THEY PRINTED MONEY ON THEIR COUNTERFEIT PRESSES TO PAY FOR THOSE SERIOUSLY STUPID WARS.
Obama’s smash-mouth, Curley-like politics is all about choosing winners and losers. Reread his State of the Union address from January, and you see a parade of proposals to take from A to give to B, to encourage businesses to do C and discourage them from doing D. Indeed, Obama seems incapable of suggesting a single economic policy that does not redistribute wealth from his political opponents to his political allies. The message is clear: He wants Americans to be dependent on the government; consequently, he is hostile to the private sector, because a vibrant private sector enhances economic independence and self-reliance.
AMERICAN POLITICS IS ALL ABOUT CHOOSING WINNERS AND LOSERS, AND THE REPUBLICANS AND TEA PARTY-IERS ARE JUST AS GUILTY OF IT AS THE DEMOCRATS. ALL THREE PARTIES HAVE BECOME FULL-BLOWN RELIGIONS, WITH THEIR RESPECTIVE DOGMA, FACT-TWISTING, SELECTIVE MEMORY AND HABITUAL FINGER-POINTING. THE TRUE LEVELER IN THIS CONFLAGRATION IS A BALANCED BUDGET. WITHOUT IT, THERE IS NO HOPE FOR AMERICA TURNING AROUND. A BALANCED BUDGET WILL CAUSE SQUEALING AND WAILING AND GNASHING OF TEETH IN ALL THREE PARTIES. THE ODDS OF A BALANCED BUDGET NEXT YEAR ARE ZERO-MINUS-SQUARED. THE ODDS OF A BALANCED BUDGET THEREAFTER DECREASE GOEMETRICALLY.
If Obama and his fellow progressives succeed in applying the Curley strategy on the national level, Americans will no longer be able to move to a new city or state to escape the withering economic impact of Curley-effect policies; their only option would be to leave the country. However, it appears that Obama has anticipated that response. To close the escape hatch from an Obama-Curley American, the president signed the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act that mandates closer monitoring of Americans’ offshore accounts. apparently approves of policies to impose financial penalties on anyone desiring to give up U.S. citizenship, and periodically calls for “global minimum taxes.” The Curley effect already has inflicted great economic damage on important American cities and states. It now presents an existential threat to our entire country. That one of our major political parties has based its own success on such a ruthlessly cynical strategy is disgusting, if not diabolical. How we get off this suicidal path is one of the most urgent challenges facing us today.
Dr. Mark W. Hendrickson is an adjunct faculty member, economist, and fellow for economic and social policy with The Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College.
DR. HENDRICKSON, I ONLY TOOK A B.A. IN ECONOMICES AT VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY. EVEN SO, IT AIN’T EVEN A LITTLE HARD TO SEE THAT YOU NEED TO RUN IMMEDIDATELY TO YOUR NEAREST EYE DOCTOR AND GET YOUR VISION CHECKED. HOWEVER, A BRAIN TRANSPLANT MIGHT BE THE ONLY REAL HELP. WITH A BRAIN TRANSPLANT, DR. HENDRICKSON, YOU WILL SEE THAT YOU WERE PISSING IN AN OCEAN, WHEN WHAT YOU COULD HAVE DONE INSTEAD WAS MOVE YOURSELF TO WHEREEVER YOU HAD SET UP YOUR OFFSHORE BANK ACCOUNT, AND SITTING UNDER A BEACH CABANA, OR ON A SKI LODGE BALCONY, OR ON YOUR SAIL BOAT OR YACHT YOU COULD HAVE HAD YOURSELF SOME FUN.
MEANWHILE, SINCE I ALSO HAVE A MASTERS IN TAX LAW, AS WELL AS THE REGULAR LAW DEGREE, MIGHT I ALSO SUGGEST THAT ELIMINATING ALL DEDUCTIONS IN THE US TAX CODE AND USING A SIMPLE, SANE GRADUATED TAX ON ALL EARNED INCOME ABOVE A MINIMUM AMOUNT MIGHT SLOW DOWN THE DEMISE OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.
AS WOULD SAID USA MINDING ITS OWN STORE HENCEFORTH, INSTEAD OF EXELLING AT PISSING OFF FOREIGN COUNTRIES, ESPECIALLY ISLAM, WHICH, IN CASE YOU DIDN’T DO THE MATH YET, OUTNUMBERS USA POPULATION BY ABOUT 3-1.
MIGHT HELP USA A WEE BIT, TOO, AND THE REST OF THE WORLD, IF SOME SMART USA SCIENTIST, OR SOME SCIENTIST SOMEWHERE ON THIS PLANET, INVENTS AN AUTOMOTIVE ENGINE THAT CONVERTS WATER TO HYDROGEN FOR FUEL, AND RELEASES OXYGEN TO REPLENISH THE ATMOSPHERE.
MAYBE IN THOSE WAYS AMERICANS CAN STAVE OFF A WHILE LONGER HAVING TO SPEAK CHINESE ALL THE TIME.
DARN IF I  CAN FIGURE OUT HOW YOU LEFT THE CHINESE OUT OF YOUR DIATRIBE, DR. HENDRICKSON. OH, MAYBE YOU HAVE A COMPANY IN CHINA MAKING STUFF ON THE CHEAP TO SEND TO AMERICA TO SELL TO RICH AMERICANS, SINCE THE POOR AMERICANS WHO LOST THEIR JOBS WHEN YOU CLOSED YOUR AMERICAN FACTORY CANNOT AFFORD WHAT THEY COULD AFFORD BEFORE YOU PUT THEM ON THE UNEMPLOYMENT ROLL. NEVER KNOW WHEN THAT OLD CURLEY EFFECT WILL CURL AROUND AND BITE YOU IN THE ASS, IS THERE, DR. HENDRICKSON?
SLOAN BASHINSKY
LITTLE TORCH KEY FLORIDA
GOODMORNINGFLORIDAKEYS.COM
GOODMORNINGKEYWEST.COM
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About Sloan

That's what this website is about, also goodmorningkeywest.com and goodmorningbirmingham.com. If you can't get a publisher to take on your wacky musing, you do it yourself.
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