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Good points, if anyone's paying attention...
Sent as an email attachment by my years-ago high school friend, now my
online correspondent/antithesis .on matters socio-political-economic. His
career involved mathematics at MIT after ranking military status. . . .
Canada's version of David Letterman top 10
TOP-10 "Only In America " Observations
In the original email, the 10 points -- 10), 9), 8), . . . . were all sequential. Here,
I’ve separated them, the “points” in 12 point type, my responses italicized 10 pt.
10) Only in America ...could politicians talk about the greed of the rich at a
$35,000.00 a plate campaign fund-raising event.
My response . . . .
On the same level of “logic” that is involved in the above . . one could state, “only in America
are the rich so absolutely stupid and wastrel that they’d let themselves be suckered into over-
paying so exorbitantly at a campaign fund-raising event.
Or perhaps an obverse “dys-logical” observation would be, “only in America are the rich so
greedy that they’ve amassed excess wealth sufficient that they can so waste it on exorbitant
charges for a meal at a fund-raising event
But the situation is that the rich are “investing” in a campaign. And if the candidate they
are funding is elected, because of the democratic/capitalistic (interface/binary) system of
America, their meal payment will provide a meal ticket for the interests of their “echelon”,
(private, but primarily corporate).
Unless from “dynastic” family endowment, or private sector position pay, politicians would
not be able afford $35,000 dinners. Politicians don’t use that money to buy mansions or
yachts. It goes into campaign expenses, the overwhelming majority of which are paid to private
sector segments such as media political advertising.
9) Only in America ...could people claim that the government still
discriminates against black Americans when they have a black President, a
black Attorney General, and roughly 18% of the federal workforce is black
while only 12% of the population is black.
My response. . . .
It doesn’t seem that “the government still discriminates against black Americans” is an issue
ever mentioned. No doubt some people involved in government are discriminatory, and are
discriminated against in ways. But “the government discriminates . . . .” What sort of specious
reasoning (I can’t even say “logic” here) would extrapolate that ?
People discriminate. There is racial discrimination. There are discriminatory people employed
by, let’s say, UPS. But would the statement “UPS discriminates against black Americans” make sense?
More to the point of the illogic of this . . . . the proportion-statistics are rather ludicrous. Two
Blacks are given as occupying prominent positions. What percent of the Black population is two?
What percent of the federal workforce is two? And of the percent of the workforce compared to 12%
of the population, what are the actual positions held by the 18??
(Rough guesstimate figures here) . . .roughly 95% of the hospitality workforce is none-white while
only 49% of the population is non-white . . . . for one thing, doing the math as math should be done,
especially by someone who’s a mathematician, isn’t rationally applicable. For the second, a significant majority in some position may mean that they’ve only achieved prominence/prevalence in shit-jobs.
8) Only in America ...could they have had the two people most responsible for
our tax code, Timothy Geithner (the head of the Treasury Department) and
Charles Rangel (who once ran the Ways and Means Committee), BOTH turn out to
be tax cheats who are in favor of higher taxes.
What, specifically, is the meaning of “BOTH turn out to be tax cheats who are in favor of higher taxes.”? What tax cheating did they commit? Is favoring higher taxes to be inferred as an aspect of their “cheating”? At least the juxtaposition of “tax cheats” and “favor higher taxes” surely conveys a connection to the naïve or non-thinking reader. (This “contextual juxtaposition” of purported-but-unproven premises was employed by Bush in his spurious connection of Saddam Hussein and WMD to the 9/11 attack). And if the accusation were true regarding the governmental personnel, “only in America”???
7) Only in America ...can they have terrorists kill people in the name of
Allah and have the media primarily react by fretting that Muslims might be
harmed by the backlash.
Well, well. Here again is a case where math mastery should make the mind notice that
a fraction is not equal to a whole. “Only in America . . . can they have KKK lynch people in
the name of white supremacy and have the media primarily react by fretting that Southern
people might be harmed by the backlash.” (Granted, that’s a rather “distorted-analogous”
but you may get my point.
In historic context of actuality, back in the early 1900s there were some Jews who were
almost to the point of anarchy and intensively involved in Communism. “Only in America
. . . . anti-Semitism should be avoided . . . .” . . . and a little later a segment of Italians
engaged in anti-government activities involving a couple terrorist acts and murder. But
would it have been reasonable for no one to be concerned if public opinion (and action)
might get turned against Italians as a nationality (rather than sinning-segment)?
6) Only in America ...would they make people who want to legally become
American citizens wait for years in their home countries and pay tens of
thousands of dollars for the privilege, while they discuss letting anyone who
sneaks into the country illegally just 'magically' become American citizens.
I think “while they discuss letting anyone who sneaks into” . . . .isn’t the issue. It’s
“anyone who HAS SNEAKED INTO”. There are what, millions? Many are fully functional,
integrated, even invested in America. But even considering that some segment may be non-
beneficial to our economy . . . . what the hell is a rational proposal to deal with them? A
Nazi-paradigm of flush them out of their barrios along with a suitcase or two and herd them
onto South-bound freight trains?
5) Only in America ...could the people who believe in balancing the budget and
sticking by the country's Constitution be thought of as "extremists."
One form of extremism is inflexibility. In view of the overwhelming dynamics of
other than documents (people and processes in comparison to penmanship on papers) . .
another “extremism” might be recidivism. Just how stuck should we be sticking to a Constitution
which was formulated for a state of state (and its inhabitants – including slaves) several hundred
years ago? Should we divorce ourselves from globalism and embrace Munroe Doctrinism?
4) Only in America ...could you need to present a driver's license to cash a
check or buy alcohol, but not to vote.
Buying alcohol and cashing a check (and other situations too) require identification, yes. And
it’s only logical that to vote, someone should present some kind of identification. Doesn’t one already have to be registered to vote? Even though I was registered in Franklin, when I went to vote in Shirley I was told I had to re-register.
If a specific “proof of voterhood” document is required, the government should print same and
provide it according to a similar format by which one obtains a social security card. Some people just
don’t have the types of ID that others (the mainstream) do , such as drivers licenses or credit cards.
3) Only in America ...could people demand the government investigate whether
oil companies are gouging the public because the price of gas went up when
the return on equity invested in a major U.S. oil company ( Marathon Oil) is
less than half of a company making tennis shoes (Nike).
To buy tennis shoes or the thousands of other even vastly overpriced consumer shit is really
a consumer choice. To buy gasoline is, for most people, an absolute necessity!! The “filling station
to put on your feet” can be Walmart or even Salvation Army. There’s price-range. There’s choice.
With gasoline, even between all the “competing” branded stations the per-gallon differential is
If the populous had no choice but to pay Nike prices (and within a few cents Adidas or
Converse or other), there’d be bitching too.
Also, what’s the return on equity of oil companies other than Marathon Oil? And what’s the actual basis of “return on equity” calculated by?
2) Only in America ...could the government collect more tax dollars from the
people than any nation in recorded history, still spend a Trillion dollars
more than it has per year - for total spending of $7-Million PER MINUTE, and
complain that it doesn't have nearly enough money.
Tax dollars are collected. Tax revenues are distributed and disbursed. Recipients obtain the
funds (or funding). They don’t take what they get and put it in a pile and set fire to it. They don’t
take it and bury it in the yard or stuff it in mattresses. They redirect it into purchases or investment
or tax payments (and we might think of a couple others).
Specifically where is it leaking out from a recirculation system?
Is money such an existential absolute sine qua non? Does all have to be dependent on such
a construct (coin, scrip, currency, share, sheet of paper) that so takes precedence (even to the level
of destruction of) over the actual, the substantive, the absolute requisites of life and survival? “Hey,
pay me enough and you can dump your toxic waste on the land I own right over this major aquifer!!”?
1) Only in America ...could the rich people - who pay 86% of all income taxes
- be accused of not paying their "fair share" by people who don't pay any
income taxes at all.
Percentiles can be preposterous. When you don’t have enough money to pay for a place to live because you’ve lost your job and can’t get another (and we’ll get into WHAT JOBS?? when I get to the next of our email exchanges) . . . when you don’t have enough money to pay your heat bill . . . .when it’s a choice of going without a meal a day or having your prescription filled . . . . . that someone pays 86% of all income taxes (but still has after-tax even $40,000 left over) just doesn’t involve “fair share”.
You and I are on the lower strata of an echelon so removed from dearth and
deprivation that even neither of us can grasp the scope of reality that
others only know from being submerged without hope to surface. I feel part
of my responsibility as an American is to those others who are my American
countrymen. My fellow-citizens.
Part of that responsibility is for me to occupy a level of self-sufficiency
now and projected for the duration of my life. This includes a level of
(if not luxury) success not attained or attainable by all.
Part of my position I feel provides me the means, as well as the
responsibility, to provide a proportion – a “secular tithe” I call it –
via taxes and also some direct charitable giving.
That someone has to walk while I drive a nice crew-cab
vehicle is acceptable differential. That I could live in limited
luxury (such as Sudbury area senior-condo-or suite) and
another can ill afford a drafty tenement – that’s part of
reality’s varieties of vagary. Even vagrantry happens.
But that I have more security than I absolutely need
and others have but insecurity and insufficiency –
I feel is an imbalance I need to at least contribute to
resolve. And the more of “excess” one has, the more
I feel he should “invest” in the luxury of helping others
than just helping himself to indulgence.
But what I feel and how I function is not, by juxtaposition, a
a condemnation of others. Even those who buy yachts. But, to me, it is
a justification (for the sake of OUR COUNTRY – and not just it upper
class --) that maybe $500,000.00 per year clear after taxes might suffice
for a suitable standard of living . . . even if 88% or higher tax rate . . . . . .