Sunday, August 26, 2012

Culture and Immigrants

There have been many emails circulating regarding immigrants and acceptance of the home country's culture, efforts to support diversity, tolerance and other similar concepts. One of the recent emails I read attribute statements to Australia and the Prime Minister. Upon searching Snopes the email has mis-attributed the statement and associated quotes, thereby undermining the content.

We expect accuracy and the practice of sending the message with misleading attributions has overshadowed the message itself.

I have included the contents of the message…... 

.....Muslims who want to live under Islamic Sharia law were told on Wednesday to get out, as the government targeted radicals in a bid to head off potential terror attacks.


.... Quote: 'IMMIGRANTS, NOT AUSTRALIANS, MUST ADAPT... Take It Or Leave It. I am tired of this nation worrying about whether we are offending some individual or their culture. Since the terrorist attacks on  Bali, we have experienced a surge in patriotism by the majority of Australians.'


'This culture has been developed over two centuries of struggles, trials and victories by millions of men and women who have sought freedom.'


'We speak mainly ENGLISH, not Spanish, Lebanese, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, or any other language. Therefore, if you wish to become part of our society, learn the language!'


'Most Australians believe in God. This is not some Christian, right wing, political push, but a fact, because Christian men and women, on Christian principles, founded this nation, and this is clearly documented. It is certainly appropriate to display it on the walls of our schools. If God offends you, then I suggest you consider another part of the world as your new home, because God is part of our culture.'


'We will accept your beliefs, and will not question why. All we ask is that you accept ours, and live in harmony and peaceful enjoyment with us.'


'This is OUR COUNTRY, OUR LAND, and OUR LIFESTYLE, and we will allow you every opportunity to enjoy all this. But once you are done complaining, whining, and griping about Our Flag, Our Pledge, Our Christian beliefs, or Our Way of Life, I highly encourage you take advantage of one other great Australian freedom, 'THE RIGHT TO LEAVE'.'


'If you aren't happy here then LEAVE. We didn't force you to come here. You asked to be here. So accept the country YOU accepted.'........


We have seen similar positions and statements.  Many are threatened by change and on initial reading I readily accepted the message. Who invited them and how dare they force our culture to change?

We all want to welcome immigrants. The assumption is they want to benefit from our economy which is a direct beneficiary of our culture.  The problem comes not when they want to celebrate their home culture here; it is when they expect us to change our culture to accommodate theirs. 

We can accommodate other cultures however; it must be a reciprocal arrangement. We must be allowed keep our culture. 

This is the challenge all for us.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Back in Chains remark and Romneys' Taxes


Face the Nation and Meet the Press both discussed Vice President’s Biden’s statement to a predominately African audience stating that Romney would “put y’all back in chains”.  Democrat Senator Dick Durbin could only say that Biden was not a racist. No one said VP Biden was a racist. But he brought race into the arena by his comment what Romney was going to do to them.  The issue is not that Joe Biden was racist. VP Biden implied by his comments that Romney and the GOP were racist. This is inflammatory, inaccurate and inappropriate. It was an example of the tactic to attack and distort rather than respond to the matter at hand. It is insulting that the political operatives don’t respond directly to questions but instead twist the reply with spin and misdirect the focus. Why is it so difficult to admit a mistake, apologize and move on? The issue becomes the intransigence to admit wrong. Is the process that viscous? If this was a gaffe, isn't an apology in order? I think so.

Our respected Governor O’Malley was on Meet the Press and VP Biden came up as did Romney’s taxes. I thought it interesting that on the topic of taxes mention was made that neither McCain nor Kerry released all their tax returns in the prior elections. Who knew?  We all know Romney is successful financially. As a result he utilized legal tax planning options which are not readily available to the regular citizen. From the returns already released, the Democrats have been in attack mode relying upon class envy and selective disclosure. They assert that Romney’ effective tax rate was below 15% and well below the normal middle class tax rate. But they have been careful not to say how much in dollars Romney paid in taxes nor his philanthropic or charitable contributions. For Romney to release more tax returns he is playing into the hands of the Democrats by providing them additional data to obfuscate and use to divert the attention of the electorate from the more important issues such as Budget, Government Spending, Increasing National Debt, Social Security, Medicare, Entitlements and needed Tax Reform. This list goes on.

As someone who can read a tax return, I question the Democrats honesty and ability to accurately review and then report on the legality and propriety of Romney's previously filed tax returns. First and foremost it isn't their right to examine his returns. This is confidential as they should be and if there is something wrong with the returns it is the responsibility of the IRS to examine the returns. Has anyone made any assertions that  there is anything wrong or illegal on Romney's tax returns? I have not heard any. But the assertions are more inflammatory in that he did not pay a high enough tax rate, he has Swiss Bank Accounts or accounts in the Cayman Islands or other off shore locations. These attacks are more to inflame class envy and class warfare.  They imply he isn't American enough and that we should question if he was patriotic enough in his financial activities?

Finally, from a famous statement made by a respected jurist which most tax professionals are familiar:  “Anyone may so arrange his affairs that his taxes shall be as low as possible; he is not bound to choose that pattern which will best pay the Treasury; there is not even a patriotic duty to increase one’s taxes… for nobody owes any public duty to pay more than the law demands.  Taxes are an enforceable extraction and not a voluntary contribution.”  Judge Lernard Hand, Gregory v. Helvering, 293 U.S. 465 (1935)

Friday, February 03, 2012

POTUS Shame on you

The White House blog has posted an article which defends the new regulations by HHS and the mandate to religious institutions.

 http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2012/02/01/health-reform-preventive-services-and-religious-institutions

This post has been challenged and refuted by the United States Council of Catholic Bishops and they actually assert that the White House has misrepresented this mandate.

 http://www.usccb.org/news/2012/12-020.cfm 

 Who do you believe?

Our President and the White House or the Catholic Bishops?

It seems that we have been presented with a serious moral dilemma. We all want to think that our Government is not playing politics and can be relied upon to accurately communicate with the citizens under it's protection. We expect that our Leaders are honest and upright, not manipulators or devious. In Civics class we were taught to look up to the President and take for granted that we could count on everything they said and everything he did was for our best.

My first experience with this was in December of 1968 when I received a personal letter from the President of the United States, Richard Nixon which started: Greetings. The next thing I knew I was wearing Army Olive Green in basic training at Ft Bragg, North Carolina. In barely over 6 moths later I was on a Flying Tiger Airplane landing in Cam Ranh Bay, South Vietnam. Yes, the President was looking out for me as was the Congress, etc.

From this point on I became a bit jaded and realized that the Government is not interested in me or in my well being unless they wanted something from me; my service, my support or my money. Otherwise they wanted my silence.

Actually, I learned that rather than trust the Government, we needed to watch the Government and we needed to be on guard against the overreaching power grabbing which politicians were perpetrating.

Now we are confronted with a challenge.

People of faith are now presented with a mandate which will force them to subjugate their principals and participate in purchasing mandated insurance or be fined and punished in some manner for not having Government Mandated insurance coverage which violates the morals which we are guided to accept and believe by our Church.

The President and the then Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and many proponents for the Health Care Legislation assured those who were concerned and requesting a conscience protection, that they need not worry.  There was no intention to force anyone to comply with the legislation at the cost of their moral beliefs. They were promised a conscience protection.

We see here and now that comments made in asking for support are worthless once the vote is cast and the position won.

Shame on you Mr President and shame on us if we don't remember this in November and vote accordingly.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.   Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Ephesians 6:12~13




Friday, August 05, 2011

Proposal for Amendment to the Constitution

This is from an email which is in circulation which I wanted to post on this blog.

It isn't perfect but it addresses a number of issues which have frustrated many of us. Maybe if a Grassroots effort gets momentum, some of these issues will be addressed, possibly by Amendment and possibly by legislation.

The problem now is that we have the fox guarding the hen house. We are the chicken being plucked!

.....................

The 26th amendment (granting the right to vote for 18 year-olds) took only 3 months and 8 days to be ratified! Why? Simple! The people demanded it. That was in 1971...before computers, before e-mail, before cell phones, etc..

Of the 27 amendments to the Constitution, seven (7) took 1 year or less to become the law of the land...all because of public pressure.

Congressional Reform Act of 2011

1. Term Limits. 12 years only, one of the possible options below..

A. Two Six-year Senate terms
B. Six Two-year House terms
C. One Six-year Senate term and three Two-Year House terms

2. No Tenure / No Pension.

A Congressman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they are out of office.

3. Congress (past , present and future) participates in Social Security.

All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people.

4. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.

5. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.

6. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.

7. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.

8. All contracts with past and present Congressmen are void effective 1/1/12.

The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen. Congressmen made all these contracts for themselves.

Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and back to work.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Importance of Redistricing and the Tennor of Legislature

As we enter into the process of sculpting the Legislative Districts for the State of Maryland, we need to look past boundaries and seriously consider the impact these new districts will have on our Country, Our State and ourselves. If we continue to have districts which are politically drawn with unstated but implicit goal of safe seats for the "party faithful" and if the "party faithful" are fanatically "left" or "right", then we will guarantee a continuing dysfunctional Congress.

When it passed the law requiring single-member elections, Congress also created some vague rules for drawing the boundaries of congressional districts; each state's voting districts were supposed to be geographically contiguous, compact in shape, and roughly equal in population.

But those rules were pretty loose and subjective, which opened the door for state politicians to pull all kinds of shenanigans in drawing district boundaries for partisan gain. This is known as gerrymandering—the manipulation of the boundaries of congressional districts to serve the interests of the political party drawing the boundaries. (The odd-sounding name comes from founding father Elbridge Gerry, who was serving as Governor of Massachusetts in 1812 when he drew up the state's legislative districts to favor his own Democratic-Republican Party. Gerry's critics thought that one of the resulting districts, a snakelike creation stretching northeast from Boston, looked like a salamander—a monstrous creation they called a "Gerrymander." From http://www.shmoop.com/legislative-branch/house-of-representatives.html


As the Sunpapers so accurately noted, there is little moderation in Congress and few members are "middle of the road".

Thanks to gerrymandered congressional districts that mean many representatives face competition only in their party primaries, there are few centrists left, and members of both parties' fringes not only have an incentive to embrace extremism but reason to fear for their re-election prospects if they don't. The Baltimore Sunpapers Editioral August 2, 2011.


If the constituents are moderate, then how do we end up with "representatives" who do not represent our ideals and principals? The simple reason is that we have abandoned responsibility.

We as a citizenry have abdicated our role to be involved in our government and have allowed party “hacks” and “zealots” to take control of the local County Party and Central Committees.

Is it any wonder that the individuals who are supported by the local party are carbon copies of the ideology of the Central Committee? That the candidates are extreme and not moderate? That collectively we hold our nose when we cast our votes?

The Calendar for Public Hearings on Redistricting has begun.

Here is the calendar, we need to take notice, educate ourselves and let our voices be heard,

Public hearings will start at the designated time and end following the last testimony of registered persons.

The hearings and start times will be:
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
The Universities at Shady Grove
Building #1 Auditorium
Starts at 7:00 p.m.
9630 Gudelsky Drive
Rockville, MD 20850 (Driving Directions)
Parking in lot 2
• Public Testimony Advance Sign-in

Friday, August 12, 2011
Morgan State University
Student Center - Calvin & Tina Tyler Ballroom (Campus Map)
Starts at 7:00 p.m.
1700 East Cold Spring Lane
Baltimore MD 21251 (Driving Directions)
Park in the stadium parking garage (13 on map) and take bridge on 3rd level into the Student Center
• Public Testimony Advance Sign-in
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
College of Southern Maryland
Center for Business and Industry, #113 (Campus Map)
Starts at 7:00 p.m.
8730 Mitchell Road
La Plata, MD 20646 (Driving Directions)
Park in lots 2, 6 & 7 – Most convenient to BI
• Public Testimony Advance Sign-in

Saturday, August 27, 2011
Harford Community College
Amoss Center (next to Harford Technical H.S.) (Campus Map)
Starts at 11:00 a.m.
200 Thomas Run Road
Bel Air, MD 21015 (Driving Directions)
Parking all around school
• Public Testimony Advance Sign-in
Saturday, August 27, 2011
Towson University
Stephens Hall Theater (Campus Map)
Starts at 2:00 p.m.
8000 York Road
Towson, MD 21252 (Driving Directions)
• Public Testimony Advance Sign-in

Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Anne Arundel Community College
Center for Applied Learning & Technology (CALT) 100 (Campus Map)
Starts at 4:00 p.m.
101 College Parkway
Arnold, MD 21012 (Driving Directions)
• Public Testimony Advance Sign-in
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Howard County
Wilde Lake Interfaith Center, Room 4 (Campus Map)
Starts at 7:00 p.m.
10431 Twin Rivers Road
Columbia MD , 21044 (Driving Directions)
• Public Testimony Advance Sign-in

Friday, July 29, 2011

Open Letter to Washington about the Budget

It has been over 800 days since our Government has had a budget.

This is not a GOP or Democrat issue, it is a symptom of dysfunction resulting from a misguided intransigent positioning along party lines. I am concerned with belligerent, opposition Senator Reid has taken in regard to the budgets which have been passed by the House of Representatives.

As elected officials our Representatives and Senators have the responsibility to put COUNTRY FIRST, above party interest and above the next election.

If a serious, even flawed, budget is presented, please work to bring it to the floor for debate and passage. It may not be a Democratic budget, but we have not seen a budget from the Democrats.

As the Government looks to determine who to pay and who not to pay, let me suggest that unless and until a budget is passed and signed into law, no one in the Legislature or Executive Branch be compensated or have expenses paid or reimbursed. None have earned remuneration until they do.

We will all watch to see what action and resolution is made of this crisis, it will significantly influence who returns after the next election.

Please cross over party lines and work towards a compromise, be a statesman you were elected to be.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

What a Game

Last night I thought I was going to a baseball game with the O's vs the Nationals but left with a football game score of 17 to 5. Two touchdowns and a field goal vs a filed goal and a safety. Great temperature and low humidity, friends all around a great night for baseball. Then the opening pitch and the slide down began. The Nationals had a exceptional game 6 home runs! The O's just demonstrated their pitching problems and lack of offense. However 5 runs with good pitching should win games.

All in all at least it took my sorrows away from the economy, our representatives in power etc, but on looking again our nemesis remains connected to DC, only this time it's the baseball team.

If the Rapture is coming, I am unconcerned that any from Capital Hill or the White House will be with us. If they are, then God really is a mystery!