Archive for the Patriotism Category

Why I Am Proud to Be A U.S. Citizen

Posted in First Amendment, Government, Patriotism, Philosophy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 3, 2014 by Xajow

I have talked here many times about the foolishness of politicians and some of the ways I think the U.S. government is doing things that keep making things worse here in the United States. But despite all of that, I do love this country, these United States of America. Since Independence Day is nigh, and before I go back to all of that criticism, I would like to talk about part of why I am proud to be a citizen of the United States. Continue reading

Happy Saint Crispin’s Day

Posted in Argumentation, Patriotism with tags , , , on October 25, 2013 by Xajow

Why do I wish you a happy Saint Crispin’s Day? Because I am a fan of Shakespeare. What does that have to do with it? Come and read a brilliant bit of writing, and perhaps you shall see. Continue reading

More Annoying Political Comments

Posted in Deregulation, Economics, Fairness, Government, In the News, Patriotism, Politics, Propaganda, Running for President, Taxes with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 5, 2012 by Xajow

I really should be leaving this stuff alone, but certain things just irk me. This time, it is a quote from the mayor of Newark, New Jersey, Cory Booker. Continue reading

Happy Independence Day!

Posted in Patriotism with tags , , , , , on July 3, 2012 by Xajow

Yeah, I know I am a day early. But likely I will not post tomorrow.

The U.S. is screwed up in several ways. But I still love this country. I am an American, and I like it. Yeah, I am going to be a little jingoistic. Get over it.

I love this country. I love that even though it is screwed up in some ways, it is still a land where people care about liberty. I love that the U.S. was founded by a bunch of malcontent rebels who stood up to power and declared they would buckle under it no more.

I love that we are so prosperous that many here who consider themselves poor would be considered wealthy in many other nations.

Do I love everything this country ever did? No. Do I think we are the best nation, yeah, I really do. I know part of that is because I was born here. Had I been born elsewhere my opinion might be different. But I don’t care. I was born in the U.S.

I am American, and proud to be so.

Happy Birthday, America! Happy Independence Day!

 

Senator Chuck Schumer Is Appalled

Posted in Economics, Government, In the News, Patriotism, Philosophy, Politics, Taxes with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 26, 2012 by Xajow

Via reason.com, I came across an article in the politics section of the Huffington Post about Senator Chuck Schumer being “appalled” that his proposed plan to punish people for renouncing their citizenship would ever be compared to, frankly, similar legislation that was passed in Germany in 1931. According to the video at the top of the Huffington Post article, Senator Schumer believes that and similar comparisons are “absurd” and “odious”. Why? Senator Schumer explains in the video:

The law Mr. Norquist refers, references in Nazi Germany was purely discriminatory. It targeted a particular race of people, the Jewish people, and punished them for nothing other than being Jewish and exercised freedom of movement. It was meant to constrain that freedom by forcing Jews to reside inside Germany. Our proposal targets no single race, creed or class. It doesn’t punish you for factors beyond your control, like who your parents were. It applies based on actions you take, namely disowning the United Stated to avoid taxes. Our law is not triggered by a wish to travel beyond America’s borders, or even reside permanently in a foreign country. It’s the act of renouncing one’s U.S. citizenship for the purpose of avoiding taxes that triggers our bill.

Don’t be so sure. According to the Wikipedia page about the German law:

The Reichsfluchtsteuer (“Reich Flight Tax”) was a capital control law implemented in order to stem capital flight from the Weimar Republic. The law was created through decree on 8 December 1931 as part of the “Fourth Decree of the Reich President on the Protection of the Economy and Finance and on the Defense of Civil Peace” (“Vierten [Not-]Verordnung des Reichspräsidenten zur Sicherung von Wirtschaft und Finanzen und zum Schutze des inneren Friedens”), as published in the Reichsgesetzblatt 1931 I, pp. 699-745. The Reichsfluchtsteuer was assessed upon departure from the individual’s German domicile, provided that the individual had assets exceeding 200,000 RM or had a yearly income over 20,000 RM. The tax rate was set at 25 percent.

During the Third Reich, the use of the Reichsfluchtsteuer shifted away from dissuading wealthy citizens from moving overseas. Rather, the departure of Jewish citizens was desired and permitted by the Nazi government — even after the Invasion of Poland — until a decree from Heinrich Himmler forbade Jewish emigration on 23 October 1941. The Reichsfluchtsteuer was used as a “partial expropriation” of the assets of Jewish refugees who were persecuted and driven to flee their homeland.

In other words, the German law was initially passed before the Nazis came to power and, at least initially, targeted people of wealth rather than race.

Senator Schumer also goes on to say

I know a thing or two about what the Nazis did. Some of my relatives were killed by them. And saying that a person who made their fortune specifically because of the positive elements in American society, in turn, has a responsibility to do right by America is not even on the same planet as comparing to what Nazis did to Jews.

Basically Senator Schumer is trying to claim his proposed legislation is nothing like the Reichsfluchtsteuer because he is not doing what the Nazis did to he Jews. Yes, no one is claiming Senator Schumer or Senator Bob Casey (the cosponsor of the bill) are out to kill people who are renouncing their U.S. citizenship. That does not mean, however, that the proposed legislation bears no resemblance to the Reichsfluchtsteuer. And the fact that Senators Schumer and Casey are being more egalitarian in who they seek to punish does not mean this law is patriotic or a good idea.

But the good senator was not finished. In the video he also says:

Mr. Saverin is, in essence, an economic tax dodger. And once upon a time, the right-wing castigated draft dodgers for failing to heed their nation’s call. Those who fled the country were vilified as cowards, as self-absorbed traitors. Yet in this case, the same exact kind of unpatriotic, un-American behavior is actually being defended by the right-wing. It’s off the deep end.

Wow. Several objections immediately come to mind. The left once lauded draft dodgers. They also have tended to disprove of criticism of draft dodgers. And no, a person renouncing U.S. citizenship to avoid taxes (if that was Mr. Saverin’s intent) is not exactly like avoiding conscription by leaving the country. Obviously just leaving the country is not the same as renouncing U.S. citizenship. What is telling in this is that the senator wants to equate conscription, something we stopped doing in the U.S., with his notion that people who are economically successful in the U.S. automatically owe the U.S. government anything the U.S. government says they do. Which is does not put a favorable light on the proposed legislation.

But wait, there’s more.

According to the article:

Schumer added that he found it troubling that conservatives would lionize someone like Saverin, who was called an American hero on Forbes’ website.

“Can you believe it? An American hero? Renouncing your citizenship now qualifies as heroic for the hard right wing?” Schumer said.

[…]

“This has gone so far, this idolatry they have taken to such an extreme end, [that] they make Eduardo Saverin into their patron saint,” Schumer said. “In the name of low taxes for the wealthy, they have lionized an inherently unpatriotic person.”

“It is scary. It is a scary, absurd place where even a tax dodger who renounces America for his own 30 pieces of silver is celebrated as a patriot and an American hero. It is perverse,” said the senator. “I am appalled by making heroic a man who renounces citizenship to escape a tax rate of capital gains of 15 percent.”

Whoa there, senator. You are the one clearly going off the deep end. Thirty pieces of silver? What is scary is a U.S. senator trying to equate Mr. Saverin’s renunciation of U.S. citizenship with the betrayal of Jesus. People should be appalled by the senator’s serious lack of perspective. His comments are absurd and border on the asinine.

Mr. Saverin dropping his U.S. citizenship (for which he turned in the paper work in January of 2011 let us not forget) is not a betrayal. The man will still be paying taxes to the U.S. government. That Senators Schumer and Casey are having a hissy fit over the fact that Mr. Saverin managed to escape merely the capital gains tax is ridiculous. And if Mr. Saverin renounced his U.S. citizenship to avoid taxes, I wish he would take this opportunity to throw this back in the faces of the senators and claim his expatriation as a protest against unfair taxation. Which would be a protest with a great American tradition. (Boston Tea Party ring any bells?)

“Loyalty Day”

Posted in Government, Patriotism, Politics with tags , , on May 2, 2012 by Xajow

Does anyone else find it a little bit creepy that America now has a “Loyalty Day”?

LOYALTY DAY, 2012

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

More than two centuries ago, our Founders laid out a charter that assured the rule of law and the rights of man. Through times of tranquility and the throes of change, the Constitution has always guided our course toward fulfilling that most noble promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve the chance to pursue their full measure of happiness. America has carried on not only for the skill or vision of history’s celebrated figures, but also for the generations who have remained faithful to the ideals of our forebears and true to our founding documents. On Loyalty Day, we reflect on that proud heritage and press on in the long journey toward prosperity for all.

In the years since our Constitution was penned and ratified, Americans have moved our Nation forward by embracing a commitment to each other, to the fundamental principles that unite us, and to the future we share. We weathered the storms of civil war and segregation, of conflicts that spanned continents. We overcame threats from within and without — from the specter of fascism abroad to the bitter injustice of disenfranchisement at home. We upheld the spirit of service at the core of our democracy, and we widened the circle of opportunity not just for a privileged few, but for the ambitious many. Time and again, men and women achieved what seemed impossible by joining imagination to common purpose and necessity to courage. That legacy still burns brightly, and the ideals it embodies remain a light to all the world.

Countless Americans demonstrate that same dedication to country today. It endures in the hearts of all who put their lives on the line to defend the land they love, just as it moves millions to improve their communities through volunteerism and civic participation. Their actions help ensure prosperity for this generation and those yet to come, and they honor the immutable truths enshrined in our Nation’s founding texts. On Loyalty Day, we rededicate ourselves to the common good, to the cornerstones of liberty, equality, and justice, and to the unending pursuit of a more perfect Union.

In order to recognize the American spirit of loyalty and the sacrifices that so many have made for our Nation, the Congress, by Public Law 85-529 as amended, has designated May 1 of each year as “Loyalty Day.” On this day, let us reaffirm our allegiance to the United States of America, our Constitution, and our founding values.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim May 1, 2012, as Loyalty Day. This Loyalty Day, I call upon all the people of the United States to join in support of this national observance, whether by displaying the flag of the United States or pledging allegiance to the Republic for which it stands.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this first day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand twelve, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-sixth.

BARACK OBAMA

No, seriously, this seems creepy to me. The federal government has established a day to celebrate loyalty to the country. How is this not creepy? Does this set off the Orwell alarm for anyone else?

What if President George W. Bush had done this? Would that not have been pretty loudly condemned by liberal/progressive folks like Obama?

Don’t get me wrong. I like the idea of people focusing on the common good and liberty and equality and justice and trying to make the country better. But what all that means to me is quite different from what it apparently means to Obama.

But even without that, it’s “Loyalty Day”! It sounds Orwellian to me. It sounds (dare I say it… yes, I do) fascist to me.

Mind you, it’s not just Obama. The U.S. Congress did this too. Repubcrats and Demolicans both made this happen.

Creepy I tell ya! Creepy!

More Proof the Obama Administration Doesn’t Get It

Posted in Economics, Morality, Patriotism, Politics, Taxes with tags , , , , , , , on April 13, 2012 by Xajow

Over at The Caucus, the (a?) political blog at The New York Times, is a quote from a recent Joe Biden speech.

“Wealthy people are just as patriotic as middle-class people, as poor people, and they know they should be doing more,” Mr. Biden said. “We’re not supposed to have a system with one set of rules for the wealthy and one set of rules for everyone else.”

For the love of pizza… Really? Later on the Times blog post says,

But aides to Mr. Obama are hoping that Mr. Biden’s speech will begin to shift the debate about taxes on the wealthy from an abstraction to one that focuses directly on Mr. Romney.

Mr. Obama’s aides hope to achieve that by using the term “Romney Rule,” which they believe will force Mr. Romney to acknowledge that opposing the president’s proposals would benefit him personally.

So the Obama administration is supporting this speech. Clearly the Obama administration does not get it.

First of all, if some wealthy people want to be patriotic and give more money to the U.S. government, no one is stopping them from doing so. They are free to write the IRS a bigger check than required. They are, as even a lowly schmoe like me was able to find out, free to send money as a gift to the U.S. Treasury. For those of you wealthy folks who missed my earlier comments on this, the address is:

Gifts to the United States
U.S. Department of the Treasury
Credit Accounting Branch
3700 East-West Highway, Room 622D
Hyattsville, MD 20782

If you think I am making this up, feel free to go to the U.S. Treasury’s own website and see for yourself. http://www.fms.treas.gov/faq/moretopics_gifts.html
Yep, that is a .gov web address.

The point here being that if some wealthy people want to give more money to the U.S. government, then they should do so without insisting on higher taxes. If this is really about patriotism and supporting the country, then stop making it about taking other people’s money. Because when you push for taxes, you are exactly making it about taking other people’s money. The desire to tax—i.e. force—other people to do something you apparently cannot be bothered to do voluntarily is not patriotism.

Second, if we are “not supposed to have a system with one set of rules for the wealthy and one set of rules for everyone else,” then why is the Obama administration pushing for exactly that? A “Buffet Rule” by its very definition is a different set of rules for the wealthy.

I wonder if these politicians even care about the duplicitous nature of the things that come out of their mouths. They are brazen about it. The more they talk, the more convinced I am that they believe the American people are idiots. And for some reason, we keep propping these politicians up. So long as they promise us something for nothing, apparently we don’t care about the lies they tell either. Maybe we are idiots.