Sunday, September 30, 2012

Obama -- "Piss Christ" OK But Don't Piss on the Prophet of Islam

Ultraliberal and one-time Muslim Barack Obama recently (link):
"The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam. But to be credible, those who condemn that slander must also condemn the hate we see in the images of Jesus Christ that are desecrated, or churches that are destroyed, or the Holocaust that is denied.”
Jesus Christ is just Jesus Christ, but Muhammad is "the prophet of Islam".

So how about this award-winning "artistic" creation of an ultraliberal artist supported by United States government funds, which came from United States taxpayers courtesy of liberal Democrat lawmakers: "Piss Christ" (link; link)?  It's about to open for display at a NYC gallery.  Wikipedia states that "[t]he piece was a winner of the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art's "Awards in the Visual Arts" competition,[1] which was sponsored in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, a United States Government agency that offers support and funding for artistic projects."

"Obama Silent Over Calls to Denounce 'Piss Christ' Artwork":
Religious groups are blasting President Obama for not condemning an  anti-Christian art display set to appear in New York City and one Republican lawmaker said he is “fed up with the administration’s religious hypocrisy.  “Piss Christ,” once branded as a “deplorable, despicable display of vulgarity,” will be displayed ... in Manhattan.... The artwork features a “photograph of the crucifix submerged in the artist’s urine.”  Religious groups and some lawmakers have already started sounding off – and making comparisons to the controversy over a recent anti-Muslim film. The low budget movie “Innocence of Muslims” sparked violent and deadly clashes across the globe.  It also brought strong rebukes, condemnations and apologies from President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and a host of administration officials.
The Obama Administration last week arrested the maker of the allegedly anti-Muslim film in Los Angeles on trumped up charges unrelated to the film, no doubt to appease the global Muslim community, American principles of free speech be damned, and not a peep out of American liberals.  Meanwhile, the US government-funded "Piss Christ" is on display in New York, and the "artist" is still at large.  Think we'll see a "Piss Muhammad" anytime soon, funded by the United States government, no less, and winning awards from culturally self-loathing liberals?  Me neither.  If Christians and Jews would lop off a few heads now and then, as Muslims do, then they would be feared and thus respected by the hateful and godless ultraliberal American elites.

John M Greco

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Lyric Opera at Millennium Park

Lyric Opera at Millennium Park in Chicago on September 8, 2012.  Performers included Susanna Phillips, seen as Lucia last fall at the Lyric, and the Lyric Orchestra and Chorus.  A beautiful evening under the stars, and the rain waited until the concert was over.  Lots of Verdi – the rousing “Va pensiero”, Act One of La Traviata, and a selection from Don Carlo.  Also selections from Cavalleria Rusticana and Act Four of Carmen, and something from that German fellow with all the long operas.    

Cordiali saluti.  R. Balsamo

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Why Do Some Voters Like Socialist Politicians?

Jem From the Web = Jay Nordlinger at "The Corner" at National Review Online:
How do you explain the success of socialist politicians against free-market politicians in democracies all over the world, despite the manifest failure of socialism, and the manifest success of a free economy? 
I remember an answer that Jeane Kirkpatrick once gave.  Their rhetoric is better than ours, she said.  More appealing. They talk of “fairness,” “community,” “solidarity” — “We’re all in it together!”  They also promise to solve your problems by demanding more of others, namely the “rich.” (But the problem with socialism, as Margaret Thatcher noted, is that sooner or later you run out of other people’s money.)
Free-market types, by contrast, talk about “self-reliance,” “entrepreneurship,” “independence” — which, frankly, are words and concepts that scare the hell out of a lot of people.
Free stuff that other people pay for -- what's not to like?  And you need malleable, sheep-like voters -- Sheeple.

JM Greco

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Income Taxes & Fair Shares

Years ago I was driving to the airport in LA and was listening to a talk radio show in which the host played a tape of street interviews with random passers-by, asking each what percent of all federal income tax was paid by the filers with the top 10% of income – i.e., the top 10 percenters.  The results were astounding.  Most people thought well below 10%, and many were in the 1-2% neighborhood.  That is, most people thought that the top 10% of earners paid far less than 10% of all taxes – that they paid far less than their fair share.

Well, according to the 2008 IRS data using adjusted gross income, the top 10% of filers had almost 46% of all income, but paid, not 1-2%, or even 20 or 30% of all income taxes.  With 46% of the income, they paid 70% of the taxes.  The top 1% of earners has 20% of the income but pays 38% of all taxes. 

Now, let’s say 100 people need a road and they build it for $10,000.  Each uses it equally.  Should each contribute equally and pay $100 each?  Would that be fair?  But let’s say these 100 people have different incomes.  So, what if we require each to contribute a fixed percentage of income, so that the higher the income the greater the contribution to the cost of the road.  What if a tax of 10% on everyone’s income paid for the road, with some people paying very little and one person paying 20% of the entire cost.  Would that be fair to everyone?

Let’s take one more step.  What if some people insist that those with higher incomes pay even more than a flat 10% rate for all, which already would have higher earners paying more than their equal share of the road.  Let’s say these critics say that as a person’s income goes up, the percent of income he or she pays for the road should go up progressively, so that the top earner has 20% of the total earnings but should pay 38% of the entire cost of the road, while almost half of the people, who, remember, use the road equally, pay almost nothing.  Now, would that be “fair”?       

Would it be fair if, of all people equally using the road, one person, through his or her hard work and thrift, has 20% of all earnings but foots 38% of the cost of the road?  Finally, what if in fact that was the case, but that one day those paying little to nothing demanded that that the one high earner pay even more than 38% of the cost of the road?  Boy, would that be “fair”?  What if the 55 lowest earners, with 55 votes of the 100 total, voted to make the top 5 earners pay the entire cost of the road?  Would that be fair?  What would be a fair percentage of the road that the top 5 earners should pay for?

Once we move past an equal dollar share paid by all who use the road equally it get a little cloudy.  Once we move past an equal percent of income share paid by all, it gets very murky.  Is “fair” whatever a majority decides?  Is there any limit to how much of the road the top 5 or 10 earners should be made to pay for?

What if at some point the top 10 earners stopped using the road and moved elsewhere.  Would that be fair to those who remained?   
John M Greco

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Mean & Vicious Democrats on Convention Display

At the Democratic Party convention this week, which is not even over yet, among other inanities we've seen:  multiple episodes of Dems analogizing Republicans to Nazis (while decrying the lack of civility (link) in politics, no doubt); one Dem delegate publicly saying (link) she'd like to "kill" Mitt Romney; a Dem county chair from Florida, a Jewish man, saying (link; link) that Christians want Jews slaughtered; an ode to the late Sen Ted Kennedy on Women's night (the only politician with a confirmed kill in the War on Women, as the quip goes); campaign buttons which proclaim "Once you vote black, you never go back -- Obama 2012" (link) (boy that sounds racist); the Dem party national chairwoman Congresswoman DWS caught lying (link; link) about what the Israeli Ambassador said about Republicans (and smearing Republicans in the process); and a night-long joyful celebration of abortion.

And then there's been the stunning fiasco (link) about getting caught taking reference to God and Jerusalem out of the party platform, multiple Dem leaders lying about whether it was true at all and then about how and why it happened, and then the crowning event, the haphazard convention floor voice vote, taken three times, in which clearly the required 2/3 vote was not obtained to reinsert the language but where the convention chair declared the vote successful anyway.

And remember that just a couple of weeks ago Vice President Joseph Biden told a mostly black audience in Virginia, once a slave state, that the Republicans want to "put ya'll back in chains".

They're mean, angry, and vicious.  Not your father's Democrat Party.  Not by a long shot.  What has happened to them?  What have they become?

John M Greco

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

More on Ryan versus Obama on Plans for Medicare

A response to John M Greco’s recent post:  Romney-Ryan versus Obama on Saving Medicare (link):

The economic solutions to Medicare are complicated.  Neither side has something easy to understand for the average person without serious study and probably education in economics and public policy.  I doubt that the question of whether Obama’s plan or Ryan’s plan would take more from the system is very relevant to them.  What is maybe relevant is that Obama's reductions would not be very directly visible to the end user.

People recall George Bush's desire to privatize social security just prior to the collapse of the stock market.  Some people also don't listen well and don't spend a lot of time trying to understand things they are confused by, but they may very well recall an impression they had that someone wanted to reduce their security, while perhaps orchestrating an enormous, unprecedented “giveaway” of their money from government to the wall street private sector.  Ryan’s plan may, rightly or wrongly, bring back such thoughts.

Some people can be greedy.  I heard an interview recently with some Medicare people reveling in the fact that they got hundreds of thousands of dollars health care though Medicare but didn't have to pay anything for it.  They didn't see this as generous or lucky, but rather as well -deserved and not to be disturbed for themselves or their children. They don't want to pay more for it.  Some said they were Democrats, but some also said they were Republicans.

The elderly, people on Medicare, constitute an enormous, motivated voting block with a lot of time of their hands.

So, I think lots of people on Medicare who get out to vote will not vote for Romney/Ryan because they think Republicans want to do away with their current security, even if they could save the system for someone else after they are dead.  It won't take much of a shift for this kind of thinking to influence the election results.  People may be disgusted with Obama, be tired of him and disappointed, but they have little real reason to trust the other side with their security.  The Democrats are bent on giving away government (my) money like drunken sailors, but many elderly suspect the Republicans will too, just to different people. 

The Good Doctor