Wednesday, July 27, 2011

102 Things NOT To Do If You Hate Taxes

102 Things NOT To Do If You Hate Taxes

May 18, 2011
By Stephen D. Foster Jr.
So, you're a Republican that hates taxes? Well, since you do not like taxes or government, please kindly do the following.
1. Do not use Medicare.
2. Do not use Social Security
3. Do not become a member of the US military, who are paid with tax dollars.
4. Do not ask the National Guard to help you after a disaster.
5. Do not call 911 when you get hurt.
6. Do not call the police to stop intruders in your home.
7. Do not summon the fire department to save your burning home.
8. Do not drive on any paved road, highway, and interstate or drive on any bridge.
9. Do not use public restrooms.
10. Do not send your kids to public schools.
11. Do not put your trash out for city garbage collectors.
12. Do not live in areas with clean air.
13. Do not drink clean water.
14. Do not visit National Parks.
15. Do not visit public museums, zoos, and monuments.
16. Do not eat or use FDA inspected food and medicines.
17. Do not bring your kids to public playgrounds.
18. Do not walk or run on sidewalks.
19. Do not use public recreational facilities such as basketball and tennis courts.
20. Do not seek shelter facilities or food in soup kitchens when you are homeless and hungry.
21. Do not apply for educational or job training assistance when you lose your job.
22. Do not apply for food stamps when you can't feed your children.
23. Do not use the judiciary system for any reason.
24. Do not ask for an attorney when you are arrested and do not ask for one to be assigned to you by the court.
25. Do not apply for any Pell Grants.
26. Do not use cures that were discovered by labs using federal dollars.
27. Do not fly on federally regulated airplanes.
28. Do not use any product that can trace its development back to NASA.
29. Do not watch the weather provided by the National Weather Service.
30. Do not listen to severe weather warnings from the National Weather Service.
31. Do not listen to tsunami, hurricane, or earthquake alert systems.
32. Do not apply for federal housing.
33. Do not use the internet, which was developed by the military.
34. Do not swim in clean rivers.
35. Do not allow your child to eat school lunches or breakfasts.
36. Do not ask for FEMA assistance when everything you own gets wiped out by disaster.
37. Do not ask the military to defend your life and home in the event of a foreign invasion.
38. Do not use your cell phone or home telephone.
39. Do not buy firearms that wouldn't have been developed without the support of the US Government and military. That includes most of them.
40. Do not eat USDA inspected produce and meat.
41. Do not apply for government grants to start your own business.
42. Do not apply to win a government contract.
43. Do not buy any vehicle that has been inspected by government safety agencies.
44. Do not buy any product that is protected from poisons, toxins, etc…by the Consumer Protection Agency.
45. Do not save your money in a bank that is FDIC insured.
46. Do not use Veterans benefits or military health care.
47. Do not use the G.I. Bill to go to college.
48. Do not apply for unemployment benefits.
49. Do not use any electricity from companies regulated by the Department of Energy.
50. Do not live in homes that are built to code.
51. Do not run for public office. Politicians are paid with taxpayer dollars.
52. Do not ask for help from the FBI, S.W.A.T, the bomb squad, Homeland Security, State troopers, etc…
53. Do not apply for any government job whatsoever as all state and federal employees are paid with tax dollars.
54. Do not use public libraries.
55. Do not use the US Postal Service.
56. Do not visit the National Archives.
57. Do not visit Presidential Libraries.
58. Do not use airports that are secured by the federal government.
59. Do not apply for loans from any bank that is FDIC insured.
60. Do not ask the government to help you clean up after a tornado.
61. Do not ask the Department of Agriculture to provide a subsidy to help you run your farm.
62. Do not take walks in National Forests.
63. Do not ask for taxpayer dollars for your oil company.
64. Do not ask the federal government to bail your company out during recessions.
65. Do not seek medical care from places that use federal dollars.
66. Do not use Medicaid.
67. Do not use WIC.
68. Do not use electricity generated by Hoover Dam.
69. Do not use electricity or any service provided by the Tennessee Valley Authority.
70. Do not ask the Army Corps of Engineers to rebuild levees when they break.
71. Do not let the Coast Guard save you from drowning when your boat capsizes at sea.
72. Do not ask the government to help evacuate you when all hell breaks loose in the country you are in.
73. Do not visit historic landmarks.
74. Do not visit fisheries.
75. Do not expect to see animals that are federally protected because of the Endangered Species List.
76. Do not expect plows to clear roads of snow and ice so your kids can go to school and so you can get to work.
77. Do not hunt or camp on federal land.
78. Do not work anywhere that has a safe workplace because of government regulations.
79. Do not use public transportation.
80. Do not drink water from public water fountains.
81. Do not whine when someone copies your work and sells it as their own. Government enforces copyright laws.
82. Do not expect to own your home, car, or boat. Government organizes and keeps all titles.
83. Do not expect convicted felons to remain off the streets.
84. Do not eat in restaurants that are regulated by food quality and safety standards.
85. Do not seek help from the US Embassy if you need assistance in a foreign nation.
86. Do not apply for a passport to travel outside of the United States.
87. Do not apply for a patent when you invent something.
88. Do not adopt a child through your local, state, or federal governments.
89.Do not use elevators that have been inspected by federal or state safety regulators.
90. Do not use any resource that was discovered by the USGS.
91. Do not ask for energy assistance from the government.
92. Do not move to any other developed nation, because the taxes are much higher.
93. Do not go to a beach that is kept clean by the state.
94. Do not use money printed by the US Treasury.
95. Do not complain when millions more illegal immigrants cross the border because there are no more border patrol agents.
96. Do not attend a state university.
97. Do not see any doctor that is licensed through the state.
98. Do not use any water from municipal water systems.
99. Do not complain when diseases and viruses, that were once fought around the globe by the US government and CDC, reach your house.
100. Do not work for any company that is required to pay its workers a livable wage, provide them sick days, vacation days, and benefits.
101. Do not expect to be able to vote on election days. Government provides voting booths, election day officials, and voting machines which are paid for with taxes.
102. Do not ride trains. The railroad was built with government financial assistance.
The fact is, we pay for the lifestyle we expect. Without taxes, our lifestyles would be totally different and much harder. America would be a third world country. The less we pay, the less we get in return. Americans pay less taxes today since 1958 and is ranked 32nd out of 34 of the top tax paying countries. Chile and Mexico are 33rd and 34th. The Republicans are lying when they say that we pay the highest taxes in the world and are only attacking taxes to reward corporations and the wealthy and to weaken our infrastructure and way of life. So next time you object to paying taxes or fight to abolish taxes for corporations and the wealthy, keep this quote in mind…
"I like to pay taxes. With them, I buy civilization." ~Oliver Wendell Holmes

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Wrong Side of History

Pharaoh instead of Moses.
Caesar rather than Christ.
   Wealth over God.
   Privilege and power.
   Grab the sword.
   Enslave others.
   Mistreat the poor.
   Pillage the earth.

The wrong side of history:
   Apartheid in South Africa.
   Hitler and his hatred.
   The Berlin wall.
   The smell of napalm in the morning.

The choices we make against the will of God … choices that diminish love rather than build it up … negative thoughts; bitter feelings … the darkness we welcome and the light we shun.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Iowa GOP Pledge - Some Thoughts

More children live today with their parents than at the end of the 19th century; many children, then, were orphaned when Mom died in childbirth or Dad was killed in a farm or industrial accident. Many children went to orphanages, or lived with grandparents, aunts and uncles or neighbors. Came across the stats on this a few years back.

The claim about broken families today has been a part of the culture war propaganda developed by the far-right and folks like James Dobson in the last 25 years.

Yes, we have problems today, but the real challenge is to describe them accurately and historically.

To blame this on some kind of a spiritual breakdown is just plain absurd, though it makes for good pulpit talk.

In reality, we can trace our current problems in the family to: 1) lack of decent jobs, 2) lack of affordable health-care, 3) the destruction of our schools by gutting the tax base and attacking teachers, 4) lack of adequate public transportation, 5) environmental degradation in our cities, 6) horrible diets loaded with Iowa Sugar for millions of poor families, 7) the draining away of our moneys from helping the poor and putting more and more resources into the pockets of the wealthy through tax-cuts and big subsidies for agri-biz and oil.

To even suggest, as Vander Platts does, that "slave children" might have been better off is such a horrible distortion of fact as to defy comprehension.

A sane person would never write anything like that, and decent people would never put their name to it like Bachmann and Santorum did.

Vander Platts' church, Cornerstone World Outreach in Sioux Center, IA is a hideous place full of falsehoods and fascism. Everything else in that Pledge is hideous beyond belief.

He's a sick, sex-obsessed man, and utterly hungry for power.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Differing Visions for America

Been reading "Undaunted Courage" as of late, about the Lewis & Clark expedition to the Pacific.

At the time of their adventure, 1803, the nation was already struggling with competing visions - the Federalist and the Republican, and how to read the Constitution.

The differing visions polarizing today's politics are not much different, though within each of these visions, there is always some degree of fluidity - e.g. Rick Perry's GOP and that of George W. Bush.

Jefferson, a Republican, a strict constructionist on matters of the Constitution, nonetheless played his hand big when it came to financing Lewis & Clark and making the Louisiana Purchase.

I find it encouraging to read, simply because it encourages me to stand firmly for my view of things, even as I consider other points of view. Yet the vision that energizes me has long been a part of our nation's conversation.

It doesn't help, as some conservatives suggest, that Obama is a Marxist. Not at all, for Obama's vision is very much rooted in the American Dream. No doubt, Rick Perry's vision is rooted there as well, or even that of Paul Ryan.

America's unique political climate has allowed these competing visions to grow and prosper at varying times in our history, enriching our national experience.

Pushing deeper, these competing visions seem to be rooted in human DNA.

And they are clearly reflected in the Bible as well - with it's competing visions: the expansive world of Isaiah and the narrower world of Kings and Chronicles - each asking the question: What is God's vision? For Kings and Chronicles, God's vision is "Israel First." For Isaiah, the whole wide world is God's objective, and Israel is a tool toward that end, and never the end itself.

When Jesus enters the scene, he clearly goes with Isaiah, and when Paul begins to write, he, as well, aligns himself with the larger picture, seeing the church, not as an end in and of itself, but rather as a tool, a means, toward the larger picture of God's love for the whole wide world and the eventual redemption of creation!

We'd all like to think that our view of things is the best, and if we're readers of Scripture, that our understanding of the Sacred Text is more accurate that someone else's.

Who knows ... but this much can and must be said: there are competing views of the world in the Bible, views similar to the current debates in our national and local politics. Not that there's a direct correspondance (there never is), but enough similarities that allow us to compare and contrast.

For most of my adult life, I've tried to read the Text fairly, and I've tried to learn something of American history, even as I've searched my own life-experience and story to discern how I've been shaped and why I value what I do.

In the long run, I think it's a mystery - as Paul puts it, "Now we see in a mirror darkly, but then, face-to-face."

In the meantime, it's incumbent upon all of us to stand where we stand and to affirm the values we hold dear, even as we try, with all our might, to hear what others have to offer, and to learn from them, modifying our own views as we go along, yet to sharpen our views, too.

It's a great debate, and much is at stake.

May God grant to all of us a certain generosity and kindness.

But courage as well. The undaunted courage of solid convictions founded upon the bedrock of knowledge acquired through the discipline of research, with reflection upon such knowledge in long hours of consideration and conversation.