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Humans are a social species, equipped with few defenses against the natural world beyond our ability to acquire knowledge and stay in groups that work together.  We are particularly susceptible to glimmers of novelty, messages of affirmation and belonging, and messages of outrage toward perceived enemies.  These kinds of messages are to human community what salt, sugar, and fat are to the human appetite.  And Facebook gorges us on them — in what the company’s first president, Sean Parker, recently called “a social-­validation feedback loop.”
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Sure, it is a golden age of free speech — if you can believe your lying eyes.
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There are, moreover, no nutritional labels in this cafeteria.  For Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, all speech — whether it’s a breaking news story, a saccharine animal video, an anti-Semitic meme, or a clever advertisement for razors — is but “content,” each post just another slice of pie on the carousel.  A personal post looks almost the same as an ad, which looks very similar to a New York Times article, which has much the same visual feel as a fake newspaper created in an afternoon.
What’s more, all this online speech is no longer public in any traditional sense.  Sure, Facebook and Twitter sometimes feel like places where masses of people experience things together simultaneously.  But in reality, posts are targeted and delivered privately, screen by screen by screen.  Today’s phantom public sphere has been fragmented and submerged into billions of individual capillaries.  Yes, mass discourse has become far easier for everyone to participate in — but it has simultaneously become a set of private conversations happening behind your back.  Behind everyone’s backs.
  —  Zeynep Tufekci
From his article: “It’s the (Democracy-Poisoning) Golden Age of Free Speech
Appearing in: Wired Magazine, dtd: February 2018
On-line at: https://www.wired.com/story/free-speech-issue-tech-turmoil-new-censorship/
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On This Day In:
2018 Silence Presence
2017 Feeling Small Standing In Front Of My Shelves
2016 Show Willing
2015 If He Only Knew…
2014 Dared To Love
2013 Strong Kung-Fu
2012 Two Tribes
2011 Made Any Assumptions Lately?

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Capitalism, however, has been here before.  One of its great historic strengths has been its ability to reform and change shape as social needs and democratic demands shift.  In the late 19th century, parties of the right in Europe brought in a wave of progressive reforms to suit the times, from expanded union rights to the social insurance that began the creation of the modern welfare state.  In these cases, there was a pragmatic and also a moral imperative at work to improve the lives of ordinary citizens.
Yet today, politicians and thinkers have largely stopped making the case for capitalism as a moral good.  What we have instead are abstract ideas about the supremacy of markets.  At the same time, the surges in inequality seen in country after country are corroding the moral principles that underpin capitalism.  The ethical basis for capitalism must be that it offers better life chances for a majority of citizens.  If it is failing to do that, what is the justification for its dominance as an economic system?  Little wonder that a Gallup poll found only 45% of U.S. young adults view capitalism positively, a 12-point decline in just two years.
Artificial intelligence has the potential to alter our lives to an even greater extent.  AI is best understood not as an upgrade of our existing structures but as a general-purpose technology (GPT), like electricity or the steam engine.  GPTs are transformative in their social and economic impacts, reaching into every aspect of life.  “Some people believe that it’s going to be on the scale of the Industrial Revolution,” says Demis Hassabis, the AI expert who co-founded the pioneering machine-learning company DeepMind.  “Other people believe it’s going to be the class of its own above that.”
The crucial factor for managing these changes is time.  In 1900, the proportion of the U.S. population who worked in agriculture was 38% and the proportion who worked in factories was 25%.  Today only 1.5% of the population works in agriculture and 7.9% in factories.  So there’s been a catastrophe of unemployment?  Absolutely not: the losses were more than made up for by growth in other sectors of the economy, which went from providing 24 million jobs in 1900 to some 150 million today.  Most of the new varieties of work simply didn’t exist at the dawn of the last century.  Given time, we know from experience that a society can manage this kind of transition.  The question is, do we have that time?
…Think about what the working life will be of a person who can expect to live for a full century.  What can we say about the likely span of her economic and political life?  The only absolute certainty is that it will involve change.  It will not be static.  It will not involve doing the same thing in the same place over and over again.  Unless we are all prepared for change, we are not prepared for the coming world of work.
At the individual level, the prescription for what we should do to prepare for this new landscape is relatively straightforward.  For a life of multiple careers and skills, people need an education that prepares them for a lifelong process of training and retraining.  They will need, more than anything else, to learn how to learn.  Flexibility and resilience will be crucial.  It won’t be easy, but at least we can see it clearly.  At the level of society it is harder.  Let’s be honest: this is a vision of insecurity, projected across a working life.  It is a clear principle of economic and political history—one we’re relearning today — that humans hate insecurity.
What we need is to rethink the relationship between the individual, the corporate sector and the state.  In recent decades, we have seen a “great risk shift” — to borrow the term of the Yale social scientist Jacob Hacker.  Individuals in temporary, insecure, giglike employment are taking on risks that used to belong to the corporate sector.  Not coincidentally, the share of GDP going to the corporate sector as profits has risen and the share accruing to labor as pay has gone down.
That trend, and that risk transfer, are not sustainable over time.  We need a social safety net focused on career support rather than just simple unemployment benefits.  Companies and individuals and the state must work together to build an enhanced and more flexible version of the welfare state that overlaps with lifelong training and education.
The architects of this new industrial revolution, by the way, agree with this proposition.  Yann LeCun, the chief AI scientist at Facebook and one of the pioneers of deep learning, said recently that every economist he has spoken to agrees that governments must take measures to compensate for rising inequality brought about by technology.  “All of them believe this has to do with fiscal policy in the form of taxing, and wealth and income distribution.”
We also need a functioning marketplace.  The collapse of U.S. government action in the area of antitrust and competition law has led to a damaging concentration across most industries — from cable TV to airlines, online advertising and farming.  While a new generation of robber barons controls huge sections of the U.S. economy, corporate profits surge, wages stagnate, and fewer ordinary workers have reason to believe in the capitalist system.
The final component of what we do next concerns not what we do but what they do — “they” meaning the elites who have profited most from the trends of recent decades.  Quite simply, those elites have to pay their taxes.  They have to stop using offshore havens and accounting tricks to hide their wealth from the societies in which they live and from which they make their profits. Instead of founding think tanks and gorging on discussions about improving distant lives, they have to attend to the lives around them in the places they actually live.
A new emphasis on the role of the nation-state; a new partnership between the state and the private sector and the individual; new action on lifelong learning and training; higher and fairer taxes; less security for big corporations: these things shouldn’t be unthinkable.  It is strange and sad that the least likely thing on my wish list is the idea that elites will change their behavior.
But elites may have to change if they don’t want change to be imposed on them.  This coming wave of technological transformation has the potential to be the most serious challenge modern capitalism has faced.  For people who don’t have the chance to change and adapt and reskill, a pitiless world ruled by algorithms and machine learning, in which they have no utility, no relevant skills and no security, could look completely unlivable.  Facing that prospect, the populations of the developed world may do things that make the current populist moment look polite, low-key and lawful.
— John Lanchester
From his article in Time Magazine (dtd: Feb4/11, 2019): “Economy: Leveling The Playing Field
The article also appears online as: “The Next Industrial Revolution Is Coming.  Here’s How We Can Ensure Equality
The link to the entire online version is: http://time.com/collection/davos-2019/5502589/next-industrial-revolution/
[Please note: This article is extensively quoted without permission from the author or from Time Magazine.  I personally subscribe to the physical version of Time Magazine and have done so for almost 50 years now.  I make no claim to ownership of the article or its ideas.  I do NOT normally post so extensively from an article, but this was (to me) a powerful article about the future of civilization, so I have made an exception.  The ellipses indicate where I have edited out portions of the article.  I hope neither the author nor Time Magazine will object to my editing or use of the article.  Obviously, I encourage all of my readers to go to read the original.  —  KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2018 New And Old
2017 Ever
2016 At The Center
2015 True Value In Life
2014 A Potential To Be Concerned
2013 Fine No More
2012 Have You Checked Your Height Lately?
2011 Are You Convinced?

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PITY THE NATION

(After Khalil Gibran)
Pity the nation whose people are sheep
And whose shepherds mislead them
Pity the nation whose leaders are liars
Whose sages are silenced
And whose bigots haunt the airwaves
Pity the nation that raises not its voice
Except to praise conquerers
And acclaim the bully as hero
And aims to rule the world
By force and by torture
Pity the nation that knows
No other language but its own
And no other culture but its own
Pity the nation whose breath is money
And sleeps the sleep of the too well fed
Pity the nation oh pity the people
who allow their rights to erode
and their freedoms to be washed away
My country, tears of thee
Sweet land of liberty!
Written by:  Lawrence Ferlinghetti
[Please note:  “Khalil Gibran” is also spelled “Kahlil Gibran“.  The latter is how I “normally” spell the name as this is how it appears on the several books I own.
I found this as a posting on FaceBook by an old friend from grammar school:  Mit (Mithras) Maurille.  Part 1, yesterday’s post was found on the internet.  It is available on multiple sites.  —  KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2017 Good Blogs, Too
2016 My Prediction For #AmnestyDon
2015 Worth A Try
2014 I’m Feeling It
2013 May I Have A Little More, Please?
2012 Increasing Doubt
2011 You Can’t Touch This

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This is a test.  This is only a test.
Facebook has funked us up so we have to post to a page instead of to our normal timelines.  I love technology…  If you are looking for me on Facebook, try:  http://www.facebook.com/kmabarrett.blog/
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On This Day In:
2017 A Good Habit
2016 The Minds Of Trumpism
2015 Expressing Nonsense
2014 A Real Fight
2013 Unravelling
2012 I Resolve
2011 Practice, Practice, Practice
2009 Phoenix Trip (July ’09)

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I don’t know about anybody else, but for the last week I have been deluged by NRA and gun-rights sponsored ads on WordPress, FaceBook, YouTube and in my emails…  All of messages / ads are trying to push the idea that the government is coming for your weapons, you won’t be able to protect yourself, your family or your home and you need to act now to understand and protect your 2nd Amendment rights.  I guess we know which side “social media” sites are on…  I guess I’m just curious if anyone else out there is experiencing the same increase.
I reckon a bunch of high-school kids in Florida have put the fear of God (and common sense) into the NRA and they’re willing to open up the purse strings “biggly” to nip this movement in the bud before young Americans start having nation-wide marches in every major city in America later this month.
Kids: ask your political representatives if they will refuse all funding from the NRA, gun companies and corporate sponsors of the NRA.  Look for the large individual donors…  Always remember “follow the money…”
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On This Day In:
2017 Talent Hates To Move
2016 Looking To November
2015 It Isn’t The End
Prospero’s Precepts
2014 Friends
2013 Learning Bitter
2012 Remembrance, Minstrels & Going Off To War
May I Have More Happiness, Please?
2011 There Is No God, But God
2010 Another Running Book…

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Me and Sean Xmas As Kids

Me and Sean Xmas As Kids

Here’s a photo my brother Sean recently posted to Facebook.  It’s a X-mas photo circa 1960 / 61.
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On This Day In:
2015 Oh, To Be Vulnerable
2014 Neglected Horror
2013 The Price Of Illusions
2012 Once Again
2011 And The “Market” Isn’t Always Right

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The following conversation has been lifted from Facebook.  It was started by my cousin Adrian’s posting of a speech by Tom Woods at Mises University. Basically, he’s hustling his latest book and using the libertarian university as a forum for promoting his views on Austrian economics.  At any rate, I watched the entire speech (52 minutes) and he’s a pretty good salesman – both for his book and for his “snake oil”.  That’s obviously a derogatory term – and it is meant to be.  As a speaker he provides just enough facts so a non-informed person will agree / recognize truth (“establish comfort in the audience”) before he pokes fun at his adversary (they must be wrong because they’re silly and I must be correct because I’m funny) and then delivers his “ultimate” truth – the solution to the world’s (and your) problems.
Lacking the intellectual integrity to present the strengths of the opposing view and the weaknesses of his own position, you (the viewer) are left to research this background before you can make your own informed decision of the validity of his ideas.  But then again, if you’re at the speech, you’re probably already familiar with Woods background and you’re aware he wants to get rid of some Constitutional amendments and return to the Constitution as it was intended by the Founders / Framers. In fact, although not stated in his speech, Woods’ actual position is he would like to get rid of the Constitution and return to the Articles of Confederation.
Anyone interested in researching either Mises University (Institute) or Tom Woods may click through to:
http://mises.org/
http://www.tomwoods.com
Anyway, the following is the conversation I had with my cousin and a Facebook friend of his (Ron Gawthorp) – the only editing is the removal of times posted and Like’s – oh, and I underlined the titles of two books:
Kevin Barrett
Woods makes a number of interesting comments (one of which is what “caused” the California energy crises).  When you investigate them though they are either incorrect or an interpretation of selective factors which he wishes to emphasize to support his economic (Austrian) view of the world.
Woods claims it was “government” regulation/deregulation interfering with the market.  This is true as far as it goes, but it is questionable whether this was the core cause of the problem.  I believe the government acted to protect the interests of the utility companies and large users of electricity (corporations) instead of the household retail purchaser of energy.  The companies merely acted in their own self-interest and they couldn’t care less about individuals.  But again, this is just a single factor.
“What I can measure exists.”
“You can’t manage what you don’t measure.”
You continue to post these speeches by “libertarian” and Austrian economists.  While I understand (and sympathize) with the view we need as small a government as possible.  To me, that means “to achieve the goals we as a society agree to in a democratic election”, not “no government at all because governments are inherently diabolical”.
Ron Gawthorp
Certainly there must be regulation.  A ‘government’ without regulation is no government at all.
Liberals chant “you can’t legislate morality” while at the same disconnected moment demanding government control of everything.
But there must be a body that governs.  However, the framers of the constitution created a government with limits.  Democratic elections shouldn’t be allowed to result in a fundamental change in the constitution just because of an election.  At some point (as has happened to the US over time), the nature of the country becomes drastically different from what the framers intended.
Kevin Barrett
The problem with Austrian economics is it surrenders to the idea that economics and society are too complex to measure and quantify.
It is observational and lacks predictive value.  These are not “bad” and do not make the ideas, theories and conclusions themselves incorrect or invalid.  It simply makes them less useful (to me) in helping to manage (going forward) or understand the world we live in (or hope to live in).
Austrian economics proposes “here are some observations we can all agree on (axioms), but the world is too complex for us to measure, so let’s all agree on my interpretation of the observations and do this.  But the reality is – we don’t agree on the observations or the causes of the observations – they are not axioms or axiomatic.  AND because they are not (axioms) and you don’t agree we can measure the complex real world, we can neither agree on what we do see nor agree on what we can measure to plan/manage the future.
For example, even if I agree with the objections about the Fed and fractional-reserve banking, the theory offers (and is unable to offer) any explanation for the economic collapses which have occurred throughout history PRIOR to either the Fed or F-R banking.  Again, it neither explains prior occurrences nor allows us to predict the future.  What good is it as a theory if it only proves itself with 20-20 hindsight?
Pls provide a list of three or four substantive/authoritative references so I can familiarize myself with the Austrian side of the argument.
Incidentally, I do NOT consider libertarianism to be the same as this.  I quite agree with much of what libertarians believe, particularly on defense and social issues.  I am surprised that you do (say you are libertarian) as you seem to be supportive of pro-government interference in abortion and gay marriage.
Kevin Barrett
Hi Ron,
I AM a liberal (and I know many liberals) and very few of us chant “you can’t legislate morality”.  Of course you can – see the 18th Amendment.  The problem is it doesn’t make for good law or public policy.
The framers of the Constitution recognized there will always be conflicting aims/groups in society – executives tend to become dictators, representatives tend to anarchy and mass rule, and senates tend to support the status quo and do nothing or inhibit the other two to the benefit of the current elite.  There is supposed to be tension in our form of government.  It is (was) built into the system.  This was the founders way of ensuring liberty through the competition of ideas in an open market (regular elections).
Democratic elections are the ONLY legitimate way of changing the Constitution and they must be allowed to continue to do so.  Do not misinterpret my statement.  I do NOT mean the election itself.  I mean the election of representatives (executive, reps and senate) and their following the Constitutional process for amending the Constitution.
I only partially agree with your statement that the “nature of the country becomes drastically different from what the framers intended”.  For example, the Framers never “intended” for Senators to be elected by the people.  They intended for the State governments to elect the Senators.  This means if you controlled the State, you could “elect” whomever you wanted to the Senate.  We amended the constitution so this would be by popular vote (rather than representative vote).
This did not change the nature of the country nor reflect a change in the nature of the county.  The country remains a representative federal democracy (republic).  What changed was the general opinion, that individuals could make the decision of who should represent them in the Senate, as opposed to trusting the State government (“our betters”) to put forward their choice for us.  I view this as more freedom, not less – even though it is not what the Framers “intended” (agreed to).
Adrian Vincent Yanez
Your interpretation of events is the one that was offered by the people who wanted to remove the power to appoint senators from the State.  The actuality is this.  The founders wrote the constitution with the appointment of senators by state legislature because they new that a Senator would have an extended term of six years, effectively leaving the electorate without elective recourse to control that senator and his policies for his term.  The state legislator who voted for the appointment of a senator had a term of 2 years and hence the electorate had recourse to discipline the senator indirectly by not re-electing any legislator who voted for a senator who, in the mind of the electorate, had not honored the wishes of the electorate.
Adrian Vincent Yanez
It changed the character of the republic by concentrating the power to central control.  Hence, we have since seen senators and representatives who are moved about the country to run for offices in locales that they have no real connection to.
Adrian Vincent Yanez
Please pick up a copy of “The Charitable Anathema” by Dietrich von Hildebrand.
Ron Gawthorp
I’m not liberal, and I’m not so much conservative.  I’m Catholic.  That certainly puts me more in the conservative group, even though I accept very few things entirely except for the Catholic Church and her teachings.
At what point does the country become a socialist republic?  How large does the government have to become?  How much does the government have to own?
Ron Gawthorp
I don’t agree with everything Woods says about government, but his work on the Church is outstanding.  If you haven’t read “How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization“, I highly recommend it to see how the Church laid out the framework for just systems of governance, and how we all take for granted that our way of life in the West (whether or not we know it) is indebted to the Church.
Kevin Barrett
Adrian,
No, actually, my “interpretation” is from a study of political science for over thirty years.  And, yes, the amendment was “meant” to decrease the power of lifetime politicians at the state level appointing cronies to the Senate.  It was not meant to weaken the states as the states kept the same number of senators in the Senate.  The states all had various lengths of terms for their legislatures so your argument of the time factor for re-electing state representative is nonsensical.  In any case, do you seriously believe you (the state rep) getting turned out after two years mattered to me (the senator)?  Indirect influence… what an amusing concept!!
The founders on the other had wrote the Constitution the way they did because they wanted a stabilizing force in Congress at the national level.  Most of them did not trust the “common man” to vote correctly on issues they had little time or inclination to study.  The House of Reps was meant to be the populace house – where the riff-raff could be elected and have their say.  That’s why they have the two-year re-election.  Election by the state legislature was meant to promote the idea of States supporting the Senate’s actions.  Finally, election by the legislature removed the requirement to campaign for office.  Whichever party was in control of the state would “appoint” its Senator.  Supposedly, this left a Senator “free” to contemplate the great issues of the day without being accountable to the common voter.
There are also the historical (limited) communications factors which we don’t need to cover here.
I do not disagree with your point the amendment changed the government.  It shifted power from the States legislatures to the peoples of the various States.  My point above still is true – you only get two per State.  Your second statement about “moved” to get elected is irrelevant as we have always had “carpetbaggers” running for office.  The fact that some do it for a national office is no different than doing it for mayor or governor.  So what point are you trying to make?  And they “move”, they are not “moved”.  Each state gets two. As for the House of Reps getting redistricted…  That’s a completely different conversation.
Are you recommending “The Charitable Anathema” for economic understanding or religious?
And yes, I am aware this issue is being pushed by the “Tea Party”.  What a surprise it is that they want democracy removed from the hands of the actual voters and re-instated in the State legislatures.  It removes that whole “nasty” business about campaigning to be elected, doesn’t it?
As for amending the Constitution to return the country to “founding principles” (I believe that is a Tea Party claim) – as a principle – the founders set the Constitution up to be flexible – but not easily.  If you’re going to criticize the Amendments, why do you stop with just the ones you object to?  Why not get rid of them all?  The founders wanted a strong Federal government.  That’s why the Bill of Rights were NOT in the Constitution.  The amendments were meant to limit the power of the Federal government.  They still do.  Do you really want to return to the bedrock Constitution?  Do you want to give up freedom of speech, the press, the right to bear arms and to not be forced to testify against yourself?
No, thank you!!  I prefer to not amend the Constitution and to keep my right to vote for my Senators…
Kevin Barrett
Ron,
I am a lifetime Democrat – progressive on many social issues, conservative on many defense/security issues.  I am a Roman Catholic and practicing.  I “returned” to my faith about 10 years ago when I had a crisis, prayed to God, and God delivered me.
The Church is an institution of men.  As such, it has all the frailties and failings of man (hence the recent sex scandals and cover-ups).  But it is also guided by the Hands of God and the Holy Spirit.  Over time, God moves it (and us) to greater acts of truth, kindness, tolerance, love and acceptance of others.
There are lots of minor things I’d like to see or go back to – I’d like to have a Mass in Latin every once in a while.  Not because it is better than English or Spanish or Polish, but because it was a common Lingua Franca and I drew comfort from the thought I could go anywhere in the world and still understand what was going on in the Mass at any given moment.
I have monitored my cousin’s postings and his friends and I find them amusing (but also strangely hurtful to me).  I do not know how God will judge me (hopefully with loving forgiveness), let alone how he may judge others.
I do know I prefer to have the priest facing me and in the center of the church (although both took getting used to).  Particularly since my return to the faith, I find seeing the host and wine increases my faith rather than diminishes it.
Adrian commented (in another post) about this (the current Mass) being lateral instead of vertical.  I can see this point of view.  I simply don’t agree with it and pray for him (my cousin) because our common faith (lateral) IS focused on the transfigured Body and Blood as the priest raises it to God the Father and says: “This is the Lamb of God…”
We are looking at Jesus being lifted up to the Father – a link between us and a symbol of God’s continuing love and renewed contract with Man.
So, yes, I much prefer the current celebration to the “hiding” of the Host behind the priest when they faced away from the people.
As for dancing in “modern” celebrations – no, I can’t stand it either.  I personally find it ego gratification by the dancers and their families; but I admit, I’m an old fuddy-duddy and think there are appropriate times for dance – just not during the Mass.  I also don’t care for the congregational responses during Christmas and Easter Masses. But, again, that’s just me.
I ask only that you (and cousin Adrian) pray for me as well.  We will each be judged by our own faith and acts (but a few extra prayers never hurts).
I don’t know what tipping point makes us a “socialist republic”.  I don’t know how large the government has to become.  I don’t know how much the government should own.  But in the end, as we are the government, I want a government able to protect us from other governments.  I want clean air, water and earth. I want safe roads and airways.  I want a safe work environment.  I want my employer to contribute 6.5% ON TOP OF my salary towards my retirement.  Actually, I want more than that, but it’s a good minimum.  I want a professional fire department and police.  I want safe food and someone working to stop new (and old) diseases and warning me when terrible storms are coming.
If those things make me a socialist (I don’t think they do!), then I guess I’m a socialist.
I also want a government which supports education for ALL.  I want everyone to have the opportunity to maximize their individual contribution to our country.  I want higher estate taxes, because you can’t take it with you and your kids didn’t earn it – you and your wife did.  I want to earn as much as I can – by my thrift and by my labor, but most of all by my opportunity and my ability.  If I have to “earn” 10 million dollars to take home 1 million, then I will.  Because it is
Kevin Barrett
‎(Sorry, hit the wrong key…)
Because it is by God’s graces that I have the ability, the opportunity, the education and the freedom of my American birthright to earn that much money… and 1 million dollars is still 50 times more than someone else with less ability and opportunity (luck) will ever earn.  So why am I belly-aching about being taxed 90%.
Believe it or not, back in President Eisenhower’s day, the tax rate for the highest income was 90%.  And yet, we still had people getting rich.  How ever did they manage under such a Socialist government?
Kevin Barrett
Ron,
If I can find Wood’s book at the library or used I will read it.  I would not normally pay for this type of book (Austrian economics or Libertarian politics or religion) new unless I feel it is a classic in it’s field.  I will look for it based on your recommendation.
Note: I did not try to “classify” the type of religious book this may be.  From viewing my Wood’s speech on government and my cousin’s other Facebook entries, I can only assume it (the book) will be “ultra” conservative.  While I feel the Church is subject to review by both the “liberals” (which I don’t consider myself to be) and the “conservatives” (which I also am not) – my impression is some of his postings have contained content which, while well intentioned, have bordered on heresy and Protestantism under the guise of “conservative” Catholicism.
Having made this note, I feel compelled to add it is well known how much the Church, as an institution, contributed to the continuation and growth of Western Civilization – art (painting and sculpture), music and science.  It’s limits and failings (the Inquisition for example) are also well documented.
Still, I believe the Church is guided and protected by the Holy Spirit – “As for me and my house, we shall serve the Lord!” (Joshua 24:15)
As an addendum, there is currently no Constitutional method for recalling a member of Congress (or any Federal official) as near as I can tell.  They can be expelled, but as near as I can tell the only way for the populace to get ’em out is to vote ’em out next time around.  A State may pass a law establishing a method for recall, but there is no reason to believe it would survive a court challenge if it (the recall) were successful.  That would almost certainly take a Constitutional Amendment!
And finally, a comment on the use of the word “liberal”.  I am a “Liberal” politically speaking.  I am not a “liberal” religiously speaking; I am commanded (and I honestly try) to “Love my neighbor” and I try not to judge lest I be judged too.  I am happy anytime anyone goes to Church.  I am not happy anytime anyone makes a show of being at Church.  I FIRMLY believe in the separation of Church and State.  I have my doubts about “Liberation Theology”, but if the Church will not defend the poor, the weak, the homeless, the oppressed and the ill – who will?

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