Wally Wonders Why

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Socialism

Socialism III – Nailing Success to a Cross

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See below for update to post originally dated July, 20, 2012

Yes, President Obama may have actually done this in a recent campaign speech which I think will go down in history as one of the most anti-American campaign speeches ever written.  Unlike Christ, though, if we let Success die on a cross it won’t return on the third day.  In is address President Obama makes the following points:

  • America can’t cut anymore spending so we must raise taxes
  • The wealthy should pay those tax increases because they didn’t really earn their money.
  • No one is successful on their own initiative, drive and intelligence
  • Individual people don’t create the environment for success, government does.
  • Anyone and everyone who is successful, owes a debt to our government collective.
  • Our government will collect wealth from those who are successful and then redistribute it to those who they deem as needy and deserving.

The idea of the government centered nation that President Obama talks about isn’t a new idea by any means, it is exactly the same message that famous communist organizer Karl Marx promoted back in the 1800’s.

From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.

It is however, a new idea for a sitting  US president to openly and vigorously promote government controlled collectivism as if it were the American Way.  Government controlled collectivism isn’t the American Way, never has been the American Way, and it is a pretty horrific thought to think that our President thinks that it is the American Way.

The American Way of Life is individualistic, dynamic, pragmatic. It affirms the supreme value and dignity of the individual; it stresses incessant activity on his part, for he is never to rest but is always to be striving to “get ahead”; it defines an ethic of self-reliance, merit, and character, and judges by achievement: “deeds, not creeds” are what count. The American Way of Life is humanitarian, “forward looking,” optimistic.

Will Herberg, Protestant-Catholic-Jew: An Essay in American Religious Sociology (1960)

Our government has never been the center of the American Way, nor the American Dream.  The very idea of America, is the idea of individual liberty, that is individuals pursuing life, liberty and happiness.  People have flocked tot the land of opportunity so that they may have the opportunity to flourish on their own merit, not for the opportunity to have government tell them what they can and can’t do.  People flock from socialist nations, not to them.  When was the last time you heard of refugees fleeing to the Peoples Republic of China or to the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea?  People come to our land of opportunity because they have the opportunity to become successful, but if our government leaders eliminate the opportunity to become successful or simply demonize those who have succeeded, then America is just another hunk of dirt to live on.

President Obama’s perception of America is completely bassackwards.  Here’s some of his own words from that ridiculous campaign speech of his.

-look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something – there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there.

If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business. you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.

The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together.

ABC News – Did Obama Say, ‘If You’ve Got a Business, You Didn’t Build That’?

Most media, both mainstream and independent, seems to have focused on a single phrase,  “If you’ve got a business. you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”   Even though it is ripped out of context, I can’t manage to blame them because it really is a pretty catchy phrase.  I know that I can’t read it without having the MC Hammer song “Can’t Touch This” run through my head. DaDaDaDa..DaDa..DaDa…didn’t build that.   But it really isn’t that phrase alone that bothers me, because anyone who succeeds knows that others were involved and that they have others to thank.

What bothers me the most is his backwards thinking that has individual success as the product of government instead of good government as the product of successful individuals.  Whether through taxes or charity, when people are successful at whatever level, they can and do give back to our nation.  From that individual success roads are made, schools are built and public servants are paid, but government cannot make us successful.   Government can burden us to the point where success is unlikely, but government can’t make someone successful.   If you grew up in America like I did then we all drove the same roads, paid the same taxes, followed the same rules and went to the same schools, yet we didn’t all succeed to the same level.

Success is the realm of the individual ingenuity, drive and perseverance.  When we teach our children that they must look to government for success rather than inside themselves, we have devalued the human spirit and set our nation on a road to ruin.   When someone succeeds in our nation I want us to look at them as a role model not a demon.  I want to look at entrepreneurs, inventors, industrious people, and leaders as heroes.  I want them to receive recognition, wealth and accolades.   And unlike our President, when I see successful people at whatever level of success,  I want to know what sets them apart, what makes them special, extraordinary and what makes them tick. I want to know that given equal opportunity, what makes them successful where others have failed.

We  owe much to those who have figured out how to succeed.  Ingenious, industrious, driven people figure out every day how to become successful.  Some do it with government help, some in spite of government help, and even more others who pull it off without any government help at all.  Some do it for money.  Some do it for fame.  Some succeed because it fills some need inside them to be the best they can be.  Perhaps it is the remnant of a prehistoric survival instinct?   I don’t know, but I do know that it is a trait that should be fostered, not bred out of our society.

And being bred out of our society is exactly what will happen if we all take President Obama’s advice to heart.   Imagine one of the President’s children coming home and showing Dad a great test score.  Then imagine how much enthusiasm they will feel towards future success after Dad tells them they aren’t that smart, that they couldn’t have done that on their own, that without help they would certainly fail and then has them sit down to write out thank you notes to the butcher the baker and the candlestick maker.  And I’m not saying that all the other don’t deserve recognition, but if you don’t recognize and reward the individual effort it took to get the great test score then don’t hold you breath waiting for more good test scores.

When we make success a crime and nail it to a cross for all to jeer at and poke with sharp sticks, who among us will want to succeed?  And when nobody succeeds, we fail.

Also check out these related posts:

Updated 9/16/12

I had to add in this YouTube that I think was created a month or so after President Obama’s original you didn’t build it quote because the video is essentially acting out what I described in the second to last paragraph of this post.

Socialist Cow

commycow-300x234The Facebook page, Bellingham Costco needs a special time just for Americans has been in the news over the past few days because of our ever increasing frustration over the crowd situation at Costco, not because the FB page offers some amazing insight or even humor.  I looked at the page awhile back because my wife had FB-liked it.  I found it to have too much of an anti-Canadian flavor for me and my wife has recently FB-unliked the page for the same reasons.  It’s not that we aren’t just as frustrated as anyone else trying to shop there, we just don’t think that either bashing or appearing to bash Canadians is the answer.  Both of us were interested in the page because we wanted to add our voice to the chorus of people who want the problem fixed, mostly because we used to like shopping at Costco and now we consciously avoid Costco and most of the businesses that surround Costco.

The problem we are experiencing is not with Canadians, but rather, has it’s roots in socialist aspirations on both sides of the border, with socialism being centralized control of the economy in one form or another.  On our side, the people of the Bellingham decided that big-box stores above a certain square footage didn’t jive with their vision of a socially and economically just world, so they asked their city government to ban them.  And the City of Bellingham did just that, snuffing any future expansion that might have eased the situation.  On the Canadian side the people are suffering with higher prices due to current social control of milk production and residual effects from socially controlled/government operated fuel industry that began in the early 70’s and has just recently returned to private ownership.  Even so, according to WSJ Market Watch, “Canadians pay about 33% in combined taxes on average on the price of fuel, and Americans pay about 11%.” I can’t blame Canadians for coming here to shop.  They save so much money that we are like a black market.

I only mention milk and gas because anyone who has been to the Costco in the last year or so knows that Canadians buy milk and gas.  They may buy other things, but they buy milk and gas…and we have a milk cave in our Costco…and it’s dangerous in their…and you don’t send your kids in there alone unless you really don’t like them.

I’ve read all the rumors about people in Canada bathing in milk and such, but really when you look into milk prices you find that the reason all dairy products are outrageously priced in Canada is because dairy is a heavily regulated, in fact socialized industry.  The gov’t decides how much milk consumers will consume and then determines through a quota system, how much milk farms will produce and at what price.  There really is no incentive for a farmer to work smarter or better because they will earn nothing more for their extra work or ingenuity.  That is the problem at the heart of socialism and the reason that Canadians buy cart loads of milk at the Bellingham Costco.  Here’s a great story I ran across about a generational dairy farm and their struggles with the socialized Canadian system.

Ten months ago we sold our eastern Ontario dairy farm and ­relocated on another dairy operation 20 miles away as the crow flies, in northern New York. My son lives on the U.S. farm while my wife and I remain in Canada, from where we are actively involved in the new operation.

Money and freedom were the reasons for our decision. We moved our dairy cattle and machinery south of the border, but sold all Canadian immovable assets. The land, quota and farm buildings came to $45,000 per cow, while 20 miles away we purchased a more modern state-of-the-art operation for $5,200 a cow.

There is no milk quota in New York, so that accounted for $25,000 of the difference in price per cow. The rest was driven by a far higher price for land on the Canadian side, which is due in part to the higher price of milk, since grain prices for crop farmers are the same throughout North America.

Another contributing factor to the land price difference is the American recession causing their banks to be skittish.

Having started our Canadian dairy operation in 1981 with an 18% mortgage and a 21% operating loan, being wary of heavy debt became part of one’s DNA. Hence when my son came home from agriculture college to dairy two and a half decades later, the necessary expansion — which would have brought the farm debt to $25,000 to $30,000 per cow — didn’t balance with my Glengarry Scot sensibilities. The credit would have come courtesy of the government-created and backed Farm Credit Corp., which is Canadian agriculture’s Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.

The average per-cow debt in Canada is $15,000 and it is $1,500 in the United States. The cost of buying an actual cow is the same either side of the border, since the actual net profit after costs and servicing debt is the same on average.

If one simply Googles Census Canada and the Canadian Dairy Commission they will find that Canada’s population has more than doubled since supply management started in 1967 and that — shockingly — the Canadian actual total milk production per year has not changed, other than slightly dipping, over those four and a half ­decades.

The stats show a 19% to 35% larger per capita consumption of dairy products — depending on the category — in the United States, as compared to Canada.  A recent study has shown that the amount of dairy imports into Canada, despite high tariffs, has risen from 8% more than a decade ago to 24% today. In 2008, it was at 17%.

So, rightly or wrongly, unlike so many others, we didn’t base our family’s future on an industry spinning its wheels, plus having an investment-to-earnings ratio similar to where Nortel was when things went into the manure pit.

Quota prices were $1,400 a cow in 1981, rising to $33,000 a cow by 2007. Farm Credit taking quota as an asset — which it didn’t used to be — freed up borrowing to unprecedented levels for dairy producers seen nowhere else in the world. They also kept expanding the payback terms from five to 25 years, so things would cash flow.

Ironically, to service that quota expansion debt, a Canadian producer — despite the continued rising price of milk in conjunction with the quota price increases — had to make milk at U.S. prices.

We made quota payments every month from 1981 to 2010 and that was always the case, although we didn’t go longer than a 10-year quota loan.

Due to milk marketing board quota policies a couple of years later, quota prices were capped at $25,000 per cow. However, it soon became virtually impossible to obtain more quota than for a cow per year, since the quota for sale was prorated and evenly ­distributed among those wanting
to buy.

Before, the highest-quota bidder got as much as he or she wanted. If this sounds like moving from a semblance of the most efficient prevailing to Joseph Stalin-type policies, it is. Totally and completely.

Provincial milk marketing boards were granted enabling legislation under the Milk Act decades ago to do whatever they want. They cost more than $100-million to operate across the nation for 13,000 producers, yet not a single politician of any political stripe has the courage to even suggest reforms at any level. Or, quite simply, removing the marketing boards’ monopoly over producers.

In the dairying sector, it’s laughingly referred to as “the Quebec factor.” Which means tremble in fear if you’re a politician.

Diversity, because of freedom, is prevalent in New York’s Franklin county’s dairy sector. Farmers range from a 2,100-cow producer to the Old Order Amish man who milks 17 and is raising nine children. Or the legal, small raw-milk producer and retailer making incredible profits, who would be arrested if living two miles to the north.

Knowing your farming operation is in a nation where, unlike Ontario, some semblance of property rights is installed in law, gives one the freedom to invest for the future.

The Canadian dairy industry is keeping its system. But it lost my son, whose United Empire Loyalist ancestor built the oldest house in Ontario.

Ludwig von Mises Institute

I hope you caught the part about “some semblance of property rights is installed in law, gives one the freedom to invest for the future.” because minute by minute and day by day this is changing for the worse here in America.  If we don’t watch out what our own socialists are doing, we may someday find ourselves more Canadian than American.

So are we doomed?  No, not at all.  We just need to tear down the wall, take the hammer out of the hands of government and put it back into the hands of producers, retailers and consumers.  We need to focus on real justice.  The kind of justice that allows producers to profit from their labors and ingenuity, the kind of justice that will allow retailers to choose their sources, manage their facilities, make sound business decisions and profit from their hard work and ingenuity, the kind of justice that allows a consumer to choose products they want at a price that is affordable to them.  We need to vote and talk and vote and talk, all about retaining opportunity in our nation.   It isn’t always about community good, it could be about retaining opportunity for individuals to succeed and then give back to the community.

Had either we or our Canadian brethren backed off a little on gov’t control and steered a course even slightly less towards socialism and more towards individual liberty and opportunity, we wouldn’t be having this problem that we now experience.  Canadians could come and visit because they like us not because we have cheap milk and we Americans would find plenty of parking at Costco for us to by our cheap milk, or even to pop into Office Depot without donning a tracksuit for the 5k walk from your parking spot.

Low Voter Turnout

Yes, low voters as well as many Republicans turned out for yesterday’s primary election.  Sorry, couldn’t help myself.  Seriously though, it didn’t take a rocket scientist to predict that there would be exceptionally low voter turnout.  Heck, I could have predicted it.  We had all the makings of an almost non-election, election.

First, we had sunny warm weather leading up to election day

Secondly, there were no important trigger issues like coal, gay marriage, red-light cameras, or state income tax

Next, the non-partisan races featured names that nobody recognizes and they can’t even fall back on party affiliation to help with decisions.  Flip-a-coin or don’t even bother to draw a line even if you completed the rest of your ballot.  Sorry Judicial races just aren’t exciting.

And finally, in representative races where candidates could declare party preference there was really only one viable conservative and one viable liberal candidate in each race,  so vote or not vote, it was pretty easy to guess which two people would advance to the general election.  And if you could already guess who would move on, then what was there to motivate anyone to fill out their ballot, let alone turn it in.

So really, at this point there is very little at stake as the ballots are counted in this election.  And as predicted turnout is very low at around 30% and no surprises are to be found.  In fact even writing this post about the primary is almost boring me to tears, and I would assume the same for you the reader so I’ve included this little clip to brighten things up before closing.

November will be quite different because we Americans will be choosing to retain our American way of life or trading away our success for a few empty promises and dismal socialist future.  That question alone will drive candidate races and that question alone will be the reason I predict we will have exceptional voter turnout come this fall.

Independence Day thought

Over 200 years ago our fathers, through armed rebellion against the British Crown,    brought forth a new nation whose basis of power rested in individual Freedom, Liberty and Rights.

Today we have elected into our nation’s highest office a man who believes that individual freedom, liberty and rights must take a back seat to his form of community good government. 

“The utopian schemes of leveling and a community of goods,  are as visionary and impractical as those which vest all property in the Crown. These ideas are arbitrary, despotic, and, in our government unconstitutional.”  Samuel Adams

History is warning us that we are on a tragic path toward the destruction of our nation at the hands of modern day collectivist politicians. 

On this Independence Day, take a moment and think about how you will exercise your right to vote in August and November.  Will you vote to give up your rights and property to a government who will use them as they see fit or will you vote as our founders fought; for a government which honors individual Freedom, Liberty and Rights?  

We the People.

10 reasons to leave Iraq

LeavingLasVegasIt’s time we all embrace a little change, therefore I who supported President Bush’s leadership in our nation’s defense, have reconsidered our situation in Iraq.

10 reasons to leave Iraq.

  1. If President Obama won’t follow the recommendations of generals in Iraq, then we are no longer in the war with the intent to complete our mission.  American’s are dying without purpose.  Time to leave Iraq.
  2. Captured enemy combatants have proven to be non-returnable, so they will either need to be held indefinitely in our prisons or tried in our civil courts and either convicted or released to walk freely amongst us.  Our military in Iraq is very good at rooting out terrorist, so the longer they stay there the more terrorists we bring home.  We’ve already got enough Islamic extremist, we don’t need to import any more.  Time to leave Iraq.
  3. Americans in Iraq are in range of a soon to be nuclear armed Iran.  If we won’t commit to stopping Iran from developing nuclear arms then our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan are in danger.  Time to get out of range; time to leave Iraq.
  4. Iran and Iraq are easily confused.  One big Iran would be much less confusing, especially to school children.  Do it for the children; do leave Iraq.
  5. Our President Obama has made it a national goal to leave Iraq.  Continuing to spend money on actions that are not aimed at achieving the goals of our nation is just so much more wasteful spending.  Time to cut wasteful spending; time to leave Iraq.
  6. As long as we stay in the Middle East, it is very unlikely that Israel will o’bombacare the Middle East problem.  Time to clear the area; time to leave Iraq.
  7. Our troops are there day in and day out rebuilding Iraq’s infrastructure.  What about employment justice for the Iraqi people.  What gives our soldiers the right to take living wage jobs away from the Iraqi people.  Time to quit helping; time to leave Iraq.
  8. US troops providing education, medical, and basic infrastructure assistance will help the Iraqis improve their own lives and is a very effective way to show good will between our different cultures.  But the different factions within Iraq are the ones who need to show good will towards each other’s cultures.  Time for us to get out of their way; time to leave Iraq.
  9. Has anyone considered the airfare and shipping costs to bring our troops home.  The more troops we send, the more it will cost to bring them home.   And after the worlds most expensive and wasteful healthcare system kicks in we may not be able to bring the troops home at all!  Time to leave Iraq while we can still afford to.
  10. Our nation is in the midst of socialist revolution, a government takeover of our liberty, rights and freedoms.  If our socialist transition is to succeed in the vein of Cuba, China, and USSR then President Obama will need his military here at home to put down resistance from all the backwards thinking, gun clinging, freedom loving Americans.  Time to put the troops to work at home; time to leave Iraq.
  11. How can President Obama apologize for what we’ve done in Iraq, while we are still there doing it?

Yes, there were 11 reasons on my list of 10 because as we are being taught, with socialism it is possible to get more than you give as long as you take more than is right from someone else.  Yes, one of Wally’s reasons was redistributed from someone who I felt had too many reason to leave Iraq.

George Bush Motorway

gbmPresident Obama is on world tour with a stop this coming weekend in Ghana.  In an interview with reporters from allAfrica.com he explained why Ghana is the first stop on his visit to sub-Saharan Africa.

Well, part of the reason is because Ghana has now undergone a couple of successful elections in which power was transferred peacefully, even a very close election. I think that the new president, President Mills, has shown himself committed to the rule of law, to the kinds of democratic commitments that ensure stability in a country. And I think that there is a direct correlation between governance and prosperity.

President Obama goes onto use the word governance several more times in the interview

And so, by traveling to Ghana, we hope to highlight the effective governance that they have in place.

… and we think that Africa – the African continent is a place of extraordinary promise as well as challenges. We’re not going to be able to fulfill those promises unless we see better governance.

Well, a couple of points I would make. Number one, you’re not going to get investment without good governance.

Mr. Obama, trust me we get it.  You, and apparently those who voted for you, feel that prosperity is some how allowed by or flows from government.  And with a Democratic Party Congress, you’ve been able  in your first 6 months in office, to apply more governance to every portion of our lives and economy, and in manwich size portions no less.  So why are we not rolling in prosperity?  Is it right around the corner and we are just too impatient?  Right…I wouldn’t bet on that.  Socialism doesn’t have a very good track record of prosperity.

Say, while you are in Ghana, you may want to flip around the agenda and ask them what it takes to bring prosperity to a nation.  We seem to need help, and they seem to be going the right direction.  Reach across the aisle, extend an ear, they have some good ideas.  Last fall President Kufuor of Ghana visited then President Bush and in his address he mentioned governance as you did, but he also mentioned one extremely important detail that you, my president seem to have missed.

Mr. President, I scheduled this state visit to celebrate the enduring strength of my government, which is our commitment to the practice of good governance, respect for human rights, the rule of law, the different culture of democracy, and promotion of the private sector to become the main engine of economic growth. These principles have gained for Ghana international recognition as a stable and transparent nation, attractive for increased economic investments and activities — and that translates into general improvements in the lives of her people.

Did everyone catch it?  No?  Here it is again.

… and promotion of the private sector to become the main engine of economic growth.

We used to be like that.  We used to have a private sector as the main engine of economic growth.  Our government used to be less of an owner/partner and more of a promoter.   However, over several decades increased government involvement has turned our economic growth to economic decline.  Again, socialism does not lead to prosperity.

So really, seriously, Mr. President listen.  We won’t survive, let alone prosper on the path you are leading us down.  If you won’t take to heart the significant roll that individual liberty and capitalism has in prosperity, then at least ask yourself if it is a lack of audacity or mere arrogance that is standing in your way.

————————————————————–

Here’s a great little Ghanian/US tangent.

Last fall, Rick Warren gave credit when credit was due in the form of a peace award for President Bush, an award I felt was well deserved.  I know that giving President Bush credit for anything positive is a radical notion, yet if you cotton up your ears to the left an left leaning media, all of the sudden there are positive things all around.  We just don’t hear about them.

So listen up to another portion of  President Kufuor’s address to President and Mrs. Bush

… The African Education Initiative, which Mrs. Bush is sponsoring by donating books and other educational resources to promote literacy among the youth of my country. (Applause.)

The African Financial Sector Initiative which avails to Ghana access to the U.S. Ex-Im Bank and OPIC. The President’s Malaria Initiative, which is helping many nations on the continent of Africa, including Ghana, in our fight against perhaps the biggest killer disease on the continent of Africa. Then President Bush’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief which has dramatically increased financial resources to Ghana and other afflicted countries in the fight against the pandemic. (Applause.)

These are only some of the great benefits to Ghana and some other African countries, which can only be described as your humanitarian policies to Africa, Mr. President.

When was the last time you read anything in American press about the humanitarian George Bush?

And how about this little piece of trivia.

A strategic road in the capital city, Accra has been named after the President of the United States of America, George Walker Bush.

President John Agyekum Kufuor, who announced his government’s decision on Wednesday at a state banquet in honour of President Bush and his wife Laura, said the gesture was in appreciation of the contributions of the US President to the development of Ghana and other parts of Africa.

George Bush Motorway

Some got a little chuckle from Ferndale Mayor Gary Jensen’s joke comment about renaming 2nd Street in honor of President Obama if he were to visit our town.   Wally wonders what route President Obama will take traveling through Ghana’s capital. :)

By the way, the street formerly known as 2nd avenue would become dead to me.

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