"The most significant threat to our national security is our debt," Admiral Michael Mullen, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, August 27,2010


Friday, May 29, 2015

In his own words – Francis Cardinal George (1937 – 2015)

It will come as no shock to our readers – or to the millions who are not – that Chicago, Cook county and the state of Illinois are corrupt to the core.  Not every single person of course, but you will not go broke betting on self dealing by a politician or bureaucrat or union master in these political entities.

But if we just look, even in a very corrupt civil society, we will find, if we are fortunate,  a voice of truth and reason and just cause.
Such was the case with the people of Cook and Lake counties – including Chicago – in Illinois.  They have been blessed with one of the great voices in our history.  A very plain man if you overlook his intellect and his comprehension.  If you can see beyond his foundation and his fundamentals.  His teaching and compassion.  What do we have when we overlook these characteristics of this man?  Well just a fellow who we all might do well to listen to occasionally, think about occasionally, even get down on our knees and say a prayer for occasionally.
Men like Francis Cardinal George seldom appear – and they darn near never appear in Chicago or Cook county or the state of Illinois.
The Cardinal grasps the basic issue – a government creating itself as a religion – slowly, inevitably with the unconscious support of everyone with a claim for something except a guiding principle or fundamental.  A government religion is made for those who see their unique issue as their shining and guiding light.  And the dustbin of history overflows with governments who have followed this path.
Here is Cardinal George speaking --
"I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square.”
And here is the next sentence, “His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history."
The profound reality of these few words; this prophecy; the recognition that we must decline and fail before we can rebuild, is devastating.  But unavoidably true.  And we see it everywhere, but nowhere as overwhelming as in our very own homeland, today.
Cardinal George, RIP.

Please read these words, written very recently by George:
“In this country, we do not fear being killed for our faith. What, then, are we afraid of? We are afraid that the institutions that perform the works of mercy that have been integral to the church’s mission for centuries will be forced to become, effectively, government institutions, given permission to exist only if they do not act as Catholic. At stake are Catholic hospitals, Catholic universities and Catholic social services, precisely as Catholic. At stake also is a society that once permitted many different voices and faiths to contribute to the common good without compromising their collective conscience.
The issue has clustered around the HHS mandate that insists that any institution serving the public must treat women’s fertility as an enemy to be suppressed for the sake of women’s freedom. In fact, the government has made many exceptions to this rule, but has steadfastly refused to exempt Catholic institutions. The issue is therefore in the courts.
The imposition of a definition of marriage that destroys the natural meaning of marital union is becoming another test case for religious liberty. The law now holds that men and women are interchangeable in marriage, as if children did not need both a mother and a father to be born and raised with some security. These are laws that mark societies in decline, demographically as well as morally.
What has happened to our vaunted American liberties? Except for property rights, they are all being traded off in favor of freedom of sexual expression. That “freedom” has become the trump card in almost every social dispute. While the public conversation plays the game of liberal versus conservative, there is really only one issue: freedom versus tyranny, a tyranny masquerading as compassion and suppressing legally differences that seem to threaten abstract “equality.”
Cardinal George was described as one not going gently into that night.  Here is a link to the archive of Cardinal George's columns and thoughts.  Recommended reading - George, In His Own Words: 
http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/cardinal_archive.aspx

Here is the specific link to George on the topic of government supplanting religion:

http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2012/1021/cardinal.aspx 
And here is the specific link to Cardinal George's thinking about marriage:
This very wise man - his words as well as his deeds, are there.  For us all.  Step up, if you so choose, and embrace them.  If you are lost or uncertain, try reading them.  Perhaps, occasionally, ponder his words.  This man is a prophet who lived among us and never sought anything other than truth.
 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Nothing to see here...

"The Federal Trade Commission and 58 law enforcement partners from every state and the District of Columbia have charged four sham cancer charities and their operators with bilking more than $187 million from consumers. The defendants told donors their money would help cancer patients, including children and women suffering from breast cancer, but the overwhelming majority of donations benefited only the perpetrators, their families and friends, and fundraisers. This is one of the largest actions brought to date by enforcers against charity fraud.

According to the complaint, the defendants used the organizations for lucrative employment for family members and friends, and spent consumer donations on cars, trips, luxury cruises, college tuition, gym memberships, jet ski outings, sporting event and concert tickets, and dating site memberships. They hired professional fundraisers who often received 85 percent or more of every donation."
Only thing that seems to be missing from the charges are political activities on the part of the operators.   Which, we think, are not permissible for charitable organizations.
Here is a quote from an IRS bulletin dated November 19, 2007 on this topic – http://www.irs.gov/uac/IRS-Reminds-Charities-and-Churches-of-Political-Activity-Ban
The Internal Revenue Service today reminded section 501(c)(3) organizations, including charities and churches that federal law prohibits them from becoming directly or indirectly involved in campaigns of political candidates.

The prohibition against political campaign activity has been in effect for more than half a century and bars certain tax-exempt organizations from engaging on behalf of or in opposition to political candidates. However, these organizations can engage in advocating for or against issues and, to a limited extent, ballot initiatives or other legislative activities.

“The political contests, especially for president, are starting earlier than usual. The IRS, as it has in the past, wants to remind charities and churches of the ban on political campaign activity. We also want to urge nonprofit and religious organizations to review the guidance we have issued to help them avoid any problems,” said Steven T. Miller, Commissioner of IRS’ Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division.”
Can you think of a charitable or not for profit organization with one (or more) of its operators involved, directly or indirectly, in political campaign activities?
Oh, we just thought of something that we read recently while doing research.   Probably has nothing to do with this essay  – “….the Clinton Global Initiative is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, all fees are considered to be tax-deductible contributions."  Source:  https://www.clintonfoundation.org/
Move along folks.  Nothing to see here.
 

 

Monday, May 11, 2015

Can we overcome….

Recently we were asked – TheFundamentals seems to be dying out – not as many posts – not much vigor – what happened to the fire in the belly – the outcries against politicians, bureaucrats and, eeks, lawyers?

Our answer is this – there is not much new to bring to the table. Everyone of our essays about debt is as true today as when written and posted.  Ditto for those about public employee unions as well as the clogged arteries of commerce, wealth creation and economic growth that government and bureaucrats have destroyed with their self serving burdens.  So we could run repeats – just like everyone else does.
We watch the preemptive candidate for the majority party scheme to win votes.  She is carefully plotting to secure the female vote with her idiotic nonsense about an economic war on women.  She desperately needs their votes.  She has now turned to the black vote.  She will buy it with public monies and with extensions of plantation/slavery thinking because it is all she knows.  Without the black vote and we mean all of the black vote she is just one more washed up politician who knows the world has passed her by – she can’t keep up with it but she is too foolish to retreat and age gracefully.  She does not have one new idea; not one radical idea; not one self responsibility idea. 
The republicans are following the same approach – guarded, afraid to take a position on something as basic as cutting back government; reining in public employee unions; paying down debt; school choice; strict immigration controls; tax and regulatory free economic zones; and most of all this one simple concept – responsibility.  Democracy, freedom, economic growth, etc. are not public rights or constitutional guarantees or some such nonsense delivered by multiple, layered levels of governments.  There is not a particle of a chance that any government anywhere can deliver one smidgen of such a promise or guarantee.
Sure the world has changed.  No kidding.  So what?  It’s always been changing.  A good portion of the change has come from here.  Change does not affect the makeup of a human being.  Marrying your boyfriend, if you are a boy, does not change the needs of a community that wishes to survive; much less grow.  That community still needs something to do; babies to be born; it still needs to compete; it still needs jobs or if the jobs are gone it needs mobility to get to where the jobs are.  That motivation does not come from government.  Government stifles it.  There is not one American welfare program or bureaucracy that exists today that is consistent with survival, growth and success.
The government set up 240 years ago was not about any of that.  And it’s tough to find one candidate who grasps that simple point.  Instead they all substitute their own list of things their government will do for this group and that group, hoping to buy enough votes by November 8, 2016 to get over the top.
Then, along comes Dr. Ben Carson.  Dr. Carson grew up in Detroit – poor.  But he would never claim victimhood.  Why?  His mother would not allow it.  This one defining principle – this rejection or refusal to embrace the politics of victimhood stands in stark contrast to every other announced American politician seeking the presidency.
Ben does not accept victimhood.  Boy is he in for one of the biggest smack a rounds ever delivered. So we ask this question – can we overcome?  Can Ben help American overcome the politics of victimhood?  Heck, we hope he just survives long enough to at least introduce the concept that we are the problem – our way of thinking is the problem – those in power, just as they always have been, are the problem.  The solution – get rid of them.  Can we overcome government?  Can we overcome “victimhood?”

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Lessons from Proposition #1

Here is a lesson in politics.  In economics.  But mostly, in reality.

In the state of Michigan, voters have something called referendums.  A throwback to old fashioned democracy.  The other day, Michigan voters got to vote on the following referendum –
“A PROPOSAL TO AMEND THE STATE CONSTITUTION TO INCREASE THE SALES/USE TAX FROM 6% TO 7%. TO REPLACE AND SUPPLEMENT REDUCED REVENUE TO THE SCHOOL AID FUND AND LOCAL UNITS OF GOVERNMENT CAUSED BY THE ELIMINATION OF THE SALES/USE TAX ON GASOLINE AND DIESEL FUEL FOR VEHICLES OPERATING ON PUBLIC ROADS, AND TO GIVE EFFECT TO LAWS THAT PROVIDE ADDITIONAL MONEY FOR ROADS AND OTHER TRANSPORTATION PURPOSES BY INCREASING THE GAS TAX AND VEHICLE REGISTRATION FEES.”
Not exactly artfully worded – well let’s face it, a discombobulated accumulation of words crafted by the ruling combine – politicians, bureaucrats, union folk, media types and lawyers.  All of whom were solid supporters – strong voices for a “YES” vote.
Now the state of Michigan is not exactly a hot bed of reactionary conservatism.  It is not the home of the tea party; the libertarian movement.  It is the home of many democrats, many democrat politicians; many union types and America’s top failed municipality – Detroit.  Detroit has been referred to as a “reservation” wherein the aforementioned cabal of lawyers, media folk, union folk, bureaucrats, special interest groups and their political servants (i.e. democrats) drive by occasionally and toss in food, blankets, clothing and so forth.  The mythology about Detroit rising from the ashes, ala phoenix is political propaganda.  Camouflage for the idiotic nonsense we know as liberal (i.e. democrat) politics.
In any event, the gang in power, including a bunch of republicans conjured up this back door approach to a tax increase thinking the public would buy into it if it was characterized as the way to improved roads, schools and infrastructure rebuilding.  So they also issued this propaganda to gild the lily:
The proposed constitutional amendment would:
  • Eliminate sales / use taxes on gasoline / diesel fuel for vehicles on public roads.
  • Increase portion of use tax dedicated to School Aid Fund (SAF).
  • Expand use of SAF to community colleges and career / technical education, and prohibit use for 4-year colleges / universities.
  • Give effect to laws, including those that: Increase sales / use tax to 7%, as authorized by constitutional amendment; Increase gasoline / diesel fuel tax and adjust annually for inflation, increase vehicle registration fees, and dedicate revenue for roads and other transportation purposes; Expand competitive bidding and warranties for road projects; Increase earned income tax credit.
You get the idea.  Cut your way through all the propaganda nonsense – it’s a tax increase but trust us say the government cabal – we will rebuild roads, etc.   All will be just hunky-dory.

The voters went to the polls and here is the result:
Proposal 1
Votes
%
Yes
350,742
20.0%
No
1,404,779
80.0%

You are reading the results correctly.  8 out of 10 voters said “NO”.  We don’t trust you.  We know you waste our money now.  We can’t seem to do anything about it but we sure don’t need to feed the pig more.
There are a few politicians who use this expression – elections have consequences.  They use it conveniently when they win.  They use it to claim a mandate.  An affirmation of their propaganda; their rhetoric; their nonsense.
To get 80% of voting Americans to agree on anything these days is not a miracle but it is a message.  The only problem is the message is being sent – it just is not being received.
Prop #1 is a profound message for Hillary, Barack, Bubba and their cabal.  Sent loud and clear.  Not a chance they will receive it much less change their ways.  Every day that passes they move further and further away from reality.  And we don’t see even one republican with the moxie and the spine to seize the moment.