Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Why so many abortion workers have turned pro-life.
Abortion rights activists have long preferred to hold themselves at some remove from the practice they promote; rather than naming it, they speak of “choice” and “reproductive freedom.” But those who perform abortions have no such luxury. Instead, advances in ultrasound imaging and abortion procedures have forced providers ever closer to the nub of their work. Especially in abortions performed far enough along in gestation that the fetus is recognizably a tiny baby, this intimacy exacts an emotional toll, stirring sentiments for which doctors, nurses, and aides are sometimes unprepared. Most apparently have managed to reconcile their belief in the right to abortion with their revulsion at dying and dead fetuses, but a noteworthy number have found the conflict unbearable and have defected to the pro-life cause.
In the aftermath of Roe v. Wade, second-trimester abortions were usually performed by saline injection. The doctor simply replaced the amniotic fluid in the patient’s uterus with a saline solution and induced labor, leaving it to nurses to dispose of the expelled fetus. That changed in the late 1970s, when “dilation and evacuation” (D&E) emerged as a safer method. Today D&E is the most common second-trimester procedure. It has been performed millions of times in the United States.
But although D&E is better for the patient, it brings emotional distress for the abortionist, who, after inserting laminaria that cause the cervix to dilate, must dismember and remove the fetus with forceps. One early study, by abortionists Warren Hern and Billie Corrigan, found that although all of their staff members “approved of second trimester abortion in principle,” there “were few positive comments about D&E itself.” Reactions included “shock, dismay, amazement, disgust, fear, and sadness.” A more ambitious study published the following year, in the September 1979 issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, confirmed Hern and Corrigan’s findings. It found “strong emotional reactions during or following the procedures and occasional disquieting dreams.”
Another study, published in the October 1989 issue of Social Science and Medicine noted that abortion providers were pained by encounters with the fetus regardless of how committed they were to abortion rights. It seems that no amount of ideological conviction can inoculate providers against negative emotional reactions to abortion.
Such studies are few. In general, abortion providers have censored their own emotional trauma out of concern to protect abortion rights. In 2008, however, abortionist Lisa Harris endeavored to begin “breaking the silence” in the pages of the journal Reproductive Health Matters. When she herself was 18 weeks pregnant, Dr. Harris performed a D&E abortion on an 18-week-old fetus. Harris felt her own child kick precisely at the moment that she ripped a fetal leg off with her forceps:
Instantly, tears were streaming from my eyes—without me—meaning my conscious brain—even being aware of what was going on. I felt as if my response had come entirely from my body, bypassing my usual cognitive processing completely. A message seemed to travel from my hand and my uterus to my tear ducts. It was an overwhelming feeling—a brutally visceral response—heartfelt and unmediated by my training or my feminist pro-choice politics. It was one of the more raw moments in my life.
Harris concluded her piece by lamenting that the pro-choice movement has left providers to suffer in silence because it has “not owned up to the reality of the fetus, or the reality of fetal parts.” Indeed, it often insists that images used by the pro-life movement are faked.
(Pro-choice advocates also falsely insist that second-trimester abortions are confined almost exclusively to tragic “hard” cases such as fetal malformation. Yet a review of the literature in the April 2009 issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology found that most abortions performed after the first trimester are sought for the same reasons as first-trimester abortions, they’re just delayed. This reality only intensifies the guilt pangs of abortion providers.)
Hern and Harris chose to stay in the abortion business; one of the first doctors to change his allegiance was Paul Jarrett, who quit after only 23 abortions. His turning point came in 1974, when he performed an abortion on a fetus at 14 weeks’ gestation: “As I brought out the rib cage, I looked and saw a tiny, beating heart,” he would recall. “And when I found the head of the baby, I looked squarely in the face of another human being—a human being that I just killed.”
In 1990 Judith Fetrow, an aide at a Planned Parenthood clinic, found that disposing of fetal bodies as medical waste was more than she could bear. Soon after she left her position, Fetrow described her experiences: “No one at Planned Parenthood wanted this job. . . . I had to look at the tiny hands and feet. There were times when I wanted to cry.” Finally persuaded to quit by a pro-life protester outside her clinic, Fetrow is now involved in the American Life League.
Kathy Sparks is another convert formerly responsible for disposing of fetal remains, this time at an Illinois abortion clinic. Her account of the experience that led her to exit the abortion industry (taken from the Pro-Life Action League website in 2004) reads in part:
The baby’s bones were far too developed to rip them up with [the doctor’s] curette, so he had to pull the baby out with forceps. He brought out three or four major pieces. . . . I took the baby to the clean up room, I set him down and I began weeping uncontrollably. . . . I cried and cried. This little face was perfectly formed.
A recovery nurse rebuked Sparks for her unprofessional behavior. She quit the next day. Sparks is now the director of a crisis pregnancy center with more than 20 pro-life volunteers.
Handling fetal remains can be especially difficult in late-term clinics. Until George Tiller was assassinated by a pro-life radical last summer, his clinic in Wichita specialized in third-trimester abortions. To handle the large volume of biological waste Tiller had a crematorium on the premises. One day when hauling a heavy container of fetal waste, Tiller asked his secretary, Luhra Tivis, to assist him. She found the experience devastating. The “most horrible thing,” Tivis later recounted, was that she “could smell those babies burning.” Tivis, a former NOW activist, soon left her secretarial position at the clinic to volunteer for Operation Rescue, a radical pro-life organization.
Other converts were driven into the pro-life movement by advances in ultrasound technology. The most recent example is Abby Johnson, the former director of Dallas-area Planned Parenthood. After watching, via ultrasound, an embryo “crumple” as it was suctioned out of its mother’s womb, Johnson reported a “conversion in my heart.” Likewise, Joan Appleton was the head nurse at a large abortion facility in Falls Church, Virginia, and a NOW activist. Appleton performed thousands of abortions with aplomb until a single ultrasound-assisted abortion rattled her. As Appleton remembers, “I was watching the screen. I saw the baby pull away. I saw the baby open his mouth. . . . After the procedure I was shaking, literally.”
The most famous abortion provider to be converted by ultrasound technology, decades ago, is Bernard Nathanson, cofounder of the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws, the original NARAL. In the early 1970s, Nathanson was the largest abortion provider in the Western world. By his own reckoning he performed more than 60,000 abortions, including one on his own child. Nathanson’s exit from the industry was slow and tortured. In Aborting America (1979), he expressed anxiety over the possibility that he was complicit in a great evil. He was especially troubled by ultrasound images. When he finally left his profession for pro-life activism, he produced The Silent Scream (1984), a documentary of an ultrasound abortion that showed the fetus scrambling vainly to escape dismemberment.
This handful of stories is representative of many more. In fact, with the exception of communism, we can think of few other movements from which so many activists have defected to the opposition. Nonetheless, the vast majority of clinic workers remain committed to the pro-choice cause. Perhaps some of those who stay behind are haunted by their work. Most, however, find a way to cope with the dissonance.
Pro-choice advocates like to point out that abortion has existed in all times and places. Yet that observation tends to obscure the radicalism of the present abortion regime in the United States. Until very recently, no one in the history of the world has had the routine job of killing well-developed fetuses quite so up close and personal. It is an experiment that was bound to stir pro-life sentiments even in the hearts of those staunchly devoted to abortion rights. Ultrasound and D&E bring workers closer to the beings they destroy. Hern and Corrigan concluded their study by noting that D&E leaves “no possibility of denying an act of destruction.” As they wrote, “It is before one’s eyes. The sensations of dismemberment run through the forceps like an electric current.”
Saturday, January 23, 2010
Long time Anti-Gun Advocate State Senator R.C. Soles, 74, shot one of two intruders at his home just outside Tabor City, N.C. about 5 p.m. Sunday, the prosecutor for the politician's home county said.
The intruder, Kyle Blackburn, was taken to a South Carolina hospital, but the injuries were not reported to be life-threatening, according to Rex Gore, district attorney for Columbus, Bladen and Brunswick counties.
The State Bureau of Investigation and Columbus County Sheriff's Department are investigating the shooting, Gore said. Soles, who was not arrested,declined to discuss the incident Sunday evening.
"I am not in a position to talk to you," Soles said by telephone. "I'm right in the middle of an investigation."
The Senator, who has made a career of being against gun ownership for the general public, didn't hesitate to defend himself with his own gun when he believed he was in immediate danger and he was the victim.
In typical hypocritical liberal fashion, the "Do as i say and not as i do" anti-gun activist lawmaker picked up his gun and took action in what apparently was a self-defense shooting. Why hypocritical you may ask? It is because his long legislative record shows that the actions that he took to protect his family, his own response to a dangerous life threatening situation, are actions that he feels ordinary citizens should not have if they were faced with an identical situation.
It has prompted some to ask if the Senator believes his life and personal safety is more valuable than yours or mine. But, this is to be expected from those who believe they can run our lives, raise our kids, and protect our families better than we can.
I would like to add that this is not atypical of the left with their elitist attitudes. California's Senator Diane Feinstein has long been an anti-gun activist and yet reportedly has her own hand guns.
The same is true with many Hollyweird leftists. You may recall Rosie O'Donnell purportedly inviting Tom Selleck to come on to her TV talk show years ago to plug a new movie he was doing at the time.
Friday, January 22, 2010
I am very proud of the person she has been in the past and has become in the present. She has always been very bright and had a quirky sense of humor. (No idea at all where the humor part comes from! :) )
I have seen her dedicate so much of her time to help those less fortunate than her simply for the joy of doing so. She spent her last two summers helping out people living at two of the poorest Indian reservations in the country by doing any number of things from taking care of children there to helping paint houses of the people living there. She WANTED to spend part of her summer vacation doing this.
Her sense of justice is more highly tuned than mine ever was at her age, and perhaps so even at my current age. I have tried to teach her what I know over the years, along with her mom. In doing so, it is not unusual for her to end up teaching me even more than I ever taught her. She truly has grasped the best parts that we had to offer as her parents. I am very proud as her Father, and thankful to God to be blessed with such a wonderful daughter.
Happy birthday, honey! I love you with all of my heart!
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Sunday, January 17, 2010
So far over this past year, you have taken away my favorite dancer, Michael Jackson, my favorite actor, Patrick Swayze, my favorite actress, Farrah Fawcett, my favorite comedian, Soupy Sales, my favorite pitchman, Billy Mays and my favorite sidekick, Ed McMahon.
Just so you know, my favorite politicians are Barack Obama, Joe Biden , Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi.
PS: This is just a joke for all of you fan's of socialism/Marxism out there! So chill!
Friday, January 15, 2010
The email text is to follow but I wanted to identify the source of the email I received as being sent to me via the Knights of Columbus, which is a fraternal organization of Catholic gentlemen which has the purposes of supporting Christ's commandments, the Catholic Church, and the community at large through charitable activities. (I am a proud member of our parish's council.)
Here is the text of the email:
San Francisco, Calif., Jan 13, 2010 / 05:46 pm (CNA).- Archbishop George Niederauer responded today to Rep. Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) recent comments that she has "some concerns about the Church's position respecting a woman's right to choose." Justifying her decision to support abortion by citing her free will "is entirely incompatible with Catholic teaching," the archbishop insisted.
Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi told Newsweek's Eleanor Clift in a December 21, 2009 interview that she disagrees with the Church on certain issues but considers herself a "practicing Catholic."
"I have some concerns about the church's position respecting a woman's right to choose. I have some concerns about the church's position on gay rights. I am a practicing Catholic, although they're probably not too happy about that. But it is my faith. I feel what I was raised to believe is consistent with what I profess, and that is that we are all endowed with a free will and a responsibility to answer for our actions. And that women should have that opportunity to exercise their free will," Pelosi said.
Archbishop Niederauer countered in his January 13 column, "Embodied in that statement are some fundamental misconceptions about Catholic teaching on human freedom." God gave human beings the capacity to choose between good and evil in order to give them the gift of freedom, even at the cost of many evil choices, the archbishop said.
But this gift of freedom, the freedom wrongly cited in justifying a woman's right to choose, among other fallacies, does not justify the position that "all moral choices are good if they are free," insisted Archbishop Niederauer, because "the exercise of freedom does not imply a right to say or do everything."
Addressing those who advocate for "reproductive choice" while claiming to be Catholic, Archbishop Niederauer emphasized, "it is entirely incompatible with Catholic teaching to conclude that our freedom of will justifies choices that are radically contrary to the Gospel—racism, infidelity, abortion, theft. Freedom of will is the capacity to act with moral responsibility; it is not the ability to determine arbitrarily what constitutes moral right."
The belief in the validity of arbitrarily determining right and wrong is widespread both in and outside of the Church, the archbishop noted.
Touching on the meaning of one's conscience, the San Francisco archbishop described it as "the judgment of reason whereby the human person, guided by God's grace, recognizes the moral quality of a concrete act. In all we say and do, we are obliged to follow faithfully what we know to be just and right."
"As participants in the life of the civil community," Archbishop Niederauer wrote, "we Catholic citizens try to follow our consciences, guided, as described above, by reason and the grace of God. While we deeply respect the freedom of our fellow citizens, we nevertheless are profoundly convinced that free will cannot be cited as justification for society to allow moral choices that strike at the most fundamental rights of others. Such a choice is abortion, which constitutes the taking of innocent human life, and cannot be justified by any Catholic notion of freedom."
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Scott Brown is the Republican candidate running for the senate to fill the vacancy created upon Ted Kennedy's passing. He is running against the Democratic state attorney general for this seat in what is arguably the bluest of all states in the nation.
And do you know what?!? Polls show he has a real chance of winning! If he were to win or even pull off a narrow defeat, certainly THAT should terrify the Democrats in the coming November elections when they cannot even hold what they deem is "Ted Kennedy's seat" in the state of Massachusetts.
Regardless of the outcome next Tuesday, I really like what I have heard thus far from Mr. Brown. He does indeed get it that We The People are his boss, should he pull the upset win.
Monday, January 11, 2010
By ROSS DOUTHAT of the New York Times
Published: January 10, 2010
Liberal democracy offers religious believers a bargain. Accept, as a price of citizenship, that you may never impose your convictions on your neighbor, or use state power to compel belief. In return, you will be free to practice your own faith as you see fit — and free, as well, to compete with other believers (and nonbelievers) in the marketplace of ideas.
That’s the theory. In practice, the admirable principle that nobody should be persecuted for their beliefs often blurs into the more illiberal idea that nobody should ever publicly criticize another religion. Or champion one’s own faith as an alternative. Or say anything whatsoever about religion, outside the privacy of church, synagogue or home.
A week ago, Brit Hume broke all three rules at once. Asked on a Fox News panel what advice he’d give to the embattled Tiger Woods, Hume suggested that the golfer consider converting to Christianity. “He’s said to be a Buddhist,” Hume noted. “I don’t think that faith offers the kind of forgiveness and redemption that is offered by the Christian faith. ”
A great many people immediately declared that this comment was the most outrageous thing they’d ever heard. Hume’s words were replayed by Jon Stewart on the Daily Show, to shocked laughter from the audience. They were denounced across the blogosphere as evidence of chauvinism, bigotry and gross stupidity. MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann claimed, absurdly, that Hume had tried to “threaten Tiger Woods into becoming a Christian.” His colleague David Shuster suggested that Hume had “denigrated” his own religion by discussing it on a talk show.
Somewhat more plausibly, a few of Hume’s critics suggested that had he been a Buddhist commentator urging a Christian celebrity to convert — or more provocatively, a Muslim touting the advantages of Islam — Christians would be calling for his head.
No doubt many would. The tendency to take offense at freewheeling religious debate is widespread. There are European Christians who side with Muslims in support of blasphemy laws, lest Jesus or the Prophet Muhammad have his reputation sullied. There are American Catholics who cry “bigotry” every time a newspaper columnist criticizes the church’s teaching on sexuality. Many Christians have decided that the best way to compete in an era of political correctness is to play the victim card.
But these believers are colluding in their own marginalization. If you treat your faith like a hothouse flower, too vulnerable to survive in the crass world of public disputation, then you ensure that nobody will take it seriously. The idea that religion is too mysterious, too complicated or too personal to be debated on cable television just ensures that it never gets debated at all.
This doesn’t mean that we need to welcome real bigotry into our public discourse. But what Hume said wasn’t bigoted: Indeed, his claim about the difference between Buddhism and Christianity was perfectly defensible. Christians believe in a personal God who forgives sins. Buddhists, as a rule, do not. And it’s at least plausible that Tiger Woods might welcome the possibility that there’s Someone out there capable of forgiving him, even if Elin Nordegren and his corporate sponsors never do.
Or maybe not. For many people — Woods perhaps included — the fact that Buddhism promotes an ethical life without recourse to Christian concepts like the Fall of Man, divine judgment and damnation is precisely what makes it so appealing. The knee-jerk outrage that greeted Hume’s remarks buried intelligent responses from Buddhists, who made arguments along these lines — explaining their faith, contrasting it with Christianity, and describing how a lost soul like Woods might use Buddhist concepts to climb from darkness into light.
When liberal democracy was forged, in the wake of Western Europe’s religious wars, this sort of peaceful theological debate is exactly what it promised to deliver. And the differences between religions are worth debating. Theology has consequences: It shapes lives, families, nations, cultures, wars; it can change people, save them from themselves, and sometimes warp or even destroy them.
If we tiptoe politely around this reality, then we betray every teacher, guru and philosopher — including Jesus of Nazareth and the Buddha both — who ever sought to resolve the most human of all problems: How then should we live?
It’s reasonable to doubt that a cable news analyst has the right answer to this question. But the debate that Brit Hume kicked off a week ago is still worth having. Indeed, it’s the most important one there is.
Sunday, January 10, 2010
Needless to say that is unequivocally false and Ms. Pelosi knows it! Evidently she has had multiple conversations with the bishop of her diocese on the subject and yet continues to hold firm to her position.
The Catholic blog I was reading stated that in such a case excommunication was probably not in order.
First, let me digress a moment and say what excommunication is. Excommunication is done so that a parishioner is no longer allowed to partake of the sacrament of the Eucharist... Holy Communion. It does not mean that they are kicked out of the church, as everyone has a right to enter God's house and thereby hopefully repent of their sins... especially those that have been excommunicated.
And that gets to the point of excommunication. It is up to the bishop of each particular diocese to choose whether to excommunicate a parishioner and this is never done for light reasons as it is indeed the most serious penalty the Church can impose. For Catholics this means that an excommunicated member would no longer be able to partake of the sacrament of the Eucharist and receive the actual presence of our Lord in doing so.
A Bishop is supposed to use excommunication only as a last resort if he thinks by doing so it will serve as a wake up call and bring the straying parishioner back into the faith in accordance with Christ's teachings. If, by excommunication, it would only serve to drive the person in question further astray, then the penalty should not be used.
This is where I have issues with this. Perhaps I am a bad Catholic or perhaps I simply am still too ignorant of all of the aspects thereof, but I find that excommunication for someone such as Nancy Pelosi is indeed in order here.
Ms. Pelosi, in light of her status, power, and access to the bully pulpit, has incredible power to persuade people. When she knowingly espouses an evil as acceptable and claims that it is not in conflict with Catholic teaching, she is committing an egregious sin.
How many cafeteria Catholics, luke-warm Christians, or those that are ignorant of Christ's teachings have justified supporting or even getting an abortion because of Pelosi's public statements?
If her Bishop were to excommunicate her, this would show the people across our nation that Pelosi is indeed wrong. I would hope that this would bring her back into the fold of the faith, but even if not, for the Catholic church to stand by and not admonish her severely and publicly only serves for the Church to be complicit in this act of evil in my opinion.
Finally, I do not hate those that seek or have had abortions. I rather feel profoundly sorry for them and pray for them. I suspect that most people having had abortions are often conflicted and troubled for the remainder of their lives for this act. I shudder at those with the lack of conscience that are not troubled by this.
That being said, it is our duty as human beings, and certainly as Christians, to protect innocent unborn life and by allowing Nancy Pelosi to continue to spout her support of abortion, and then have the audacity to attribute it as being permissible under the Catholic faith, well I think the time has long come for the excommunication of our Speaker of the House. One would hope this happens soon so that more evil can not be promulgated under the false notion of being permissible by Christ's own church.
Friday, January 8, 2010
The Republicans lost any semblance of having the high ground on fiscal matters when they ran congress during George W. Bush's presidency. So as a reward, we got the Democrats taking over and President Obama coming in and then consequently spending more than the previous 43 presidential administrations ever did...COMBINED.
Time is running out if we don't fix this problem. With 12 Trillion dollars in official debt and an actual amount of debt far closer to $74 Trillion dollars for our nation, we will not long survive if we do not pull back on the reigns and preferably shoot the damned nags pulling the wagon that is our congressional spending.
With 300 million people in this country, each person's share of the debt to bring us to a balanced check book would be just shy of a half million dollars per person. That would make for 1.5 million dollars for me, my wife and youngest daughter still living in our house. I don't know about you, but I don't have that much money in my account, and despite the Democrats' efforts to the contrary, I refuse to give up all that I have earned in taxes for their asinine and un-Constitutional spending.
Several trillion dollars of our financed national debt is coming due in a year. When we try to go and refinance it, at what will almost assuredly be a higher interest rate, we will only exacerbate an already dangerously critical problem.
I would suggest that congress and our enlightened president stop spending ANY money on everything except that which is explicitly authorized under the United States Constitution. And those things which are authorized, it would be a danged good idea to cut way back on budgets for those items too. We sure as hell do not need to be adding illegally legislated health care costs and cap & tax costs to a nearly bankrupt budget already.
I suspect it is already too late and our country will indeed fall within a generation because we the people will not hold our representative government accountable. We will go the way of the Soviet Union and their ruble currency. The only way this doesn't happen is for us to educate people and demand an end to this right NOW.
I have permanently attached a counter to the top of this blog to show what our debt as a nation is. It is critical that we find a way to make this start counting down the other way... and damned soon, or the end of the great American experiment in self government will come to an end.
So much for the most "transparent administration in history". Perhaps they will televise the debates on C-SPAN on health care AFTER they pass this abominable legislation. The only good thing is that I don't think the House and Senate will be able to reconcile some moster hybrid bill that they will be able to pass... Thank God!
Thursday, January 7, 2010
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Our founders set the foundation for a nation that was not based on a monarchy or even a class system as were most European nations of that era. With a strong reliance on John Locke, our founders believed in natural law and that our rights were derived from God and not from other men, and especially not from government.
The founders in their brilliance created a masterpiece in our United States Constitution which had the purpose of limiting the powers and rights of the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. In other words, its purpose was to tell the government what it specifically was allowed to do and what it was not allowed to do.
Evidently our federal government has forgotten our history and has chosen to ignore the wisdom and profound law of the land in our Constitution. They do so at their own peril and even more importantly at the peril of our nation. It was for the exact same usurpation of rights, egregious taxation, and soft tyranny that our founders risked and fought a revolution after declaring that they no longer would live under the rule of a tyrant king.
They stated this in the following excerpt from the United States Declaration of Independence:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. (emphasis is mine)
With such timeless wisdom espoused in the Declaration of Independence and the fact that there are scores of millions of Americans that still know, honor, and are willing to sacrifice to ensure that this greatest of all nations does not end up on the ash heap of history, one has to wonder if President Obama and those in congress that continue to govern against the will of the governed see the potential dangers they are fomenting on our country.
Now I am not one that has ever been radical enough to think that a new revolution could occur in my lifetime in America, but if those in power continue to thwart the Constitution and the will of the people with their hoax and chains they can believe in, then perhaps a real tea party could indeed be the result of their intransigence.
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
Perhaps he is hoping that the voters will forget his egregious vote when he comes up for re-election in 2012, but somehow I don’t think people are going to forget this vote. As President Obama’s spiritual advisor and friend of twenty years (Reverend Wright) said, “the chickens will be coming home to roost”!
Rasmussen just released results from a poll conducted on December 29th of Nebraska voters and they are decidedly very unhappy as a whole with Senator Nelson. While Senator Nelson won his seat in 2006 with an overwhelming 64% of the vote then, this recent poll pitting Senator Nelson against incumbent Republican governor, and potential opponent for this seat in 2012, Dave Heineman would win right now with a 61% to 30% voter margin.
Nebraskans’ approval rating of the recent senate health-care deal is at 17%. 64% of them oppose the health-care overhaul proposed, which includes 53% of them strongly opposing it.
Even if Senator Nelson were to try and redeem himself by ultimately voting against the final reconciled health care bill when it comes up for its final vote, 47% of Nebraskans say they would still vote for governor Heineman for the senate versus 37% for Senator Nelson.
The Employee Meeting:
I would like to start by thanking you for attending this meeting, though it's not like you had much of a choice. After all, attendance was mandatory. I'm also glad many of you accepted my invitation to your family members to be here as well. I have a few remarks to make to all of you, and then we'll retire to the ballroom for a great lunch and some employee awards.
I felt that this meeting was important enough to close all 12 of our tire and automotive shops today so that you could be here. To reassure you, everybody is being paid for the day --- except me. Since our stores are closed we're making no money. That economic loss is mine to sustain. Carrington Automotive has 157 full time employees and around 30 additional part-timers. All of you are here. I thank you for that.
When you walked into this auditorium you were handed a rather thick 78-page document. Many of you have already taken a peek. You were probably surprised to see that it's my personal tax return for 2008. Those of you who are adept at reading these tax returns will see that last year my taxable income was $534,000.00. Now I'm sure this seems rather high to many of you. So ... let's talk about this tax return.
Carrington Automotive Enterprises is what we call a Sub-S - a Subchapter S corporation. The name comes from a particular part of our tax code. Sub-S status means that the income from all 12 of our stores is reported on my personal tax return. Businesses that report their income on the owner's personal tax return are referred to as "small businesses." So, you see now that this $534,000 is really the total taxable income - the total combined profit from all 12 of our stores. That works out to an average of a bit over $44,000 per store.
Why did I feel it important for you to see my actual 2008 tax return? Well, there's a lot of rhetoric being thrown around today about taxes, small businesses and rich people. To the people in charge in Washington right now I'm a wealthy American making over a half-million dollars a year. Most Americans would agree: I'm just another rich guy; after all ... I had over a half-million in income last year, right? In this room we know that the reality is that I'm a small business owner who runs 12 retail establishments and employs 187 people. Now here's something that shouldn't surprise you, but it will: Just under 100 percent ... Make that 99.7 percent of all employers in this country are small businesses, just like ours.
Every one of these businesses reports their income on a personal income tax return. You need to understand that small businesses like our s are responsible for about 80 percent of all private sector jobs in this country, and about 70 percent of all jobs that have been created over the past year. You also need to know that when you hear some politician talking about rich people who earn over $200,000 or $500,000 a year, they're talking about the people who create the jobs.
The people who are now running the show in Washington have been talking for months about raising taxes on wealthy Americans. I already know that in two years my federal income taxes are going to go up by about 4.5 percent. That happens when Obama and the Democrats allow the Bush tax cuts to expire. When my taxes climb by 4.5 percent the Democrats will be on television saying that this really isn't a tax increase. They'll explain that the Bush tax cuts have expired .. Nothing more Here at Carrington we'll know that almost 5% has been taken right off of our bottom line. And that means it will be coming off your bottom line.
Numbers are boring, I know ... But let's talk a bit more about that $534,000. That's the money that was left last year from company revenues after I paid all of the salaries and expenses of running this business. Now I could have kept every penny of that for myself, but that would have left us with nothing to grow our business, to attract new customers and to hire new employees. You're aware that we've been talking about opening new stores in Virginia Beach and Newport News . To do that I will have to buy or lease property, construct a building and purchase inventory. I also have to hire additional people to work in those stores. These people wouldn't immediately be earning their pay. So, where do you think the money for all of this comes from? Right out of our profits .. Right out of that $534,000. I need to advertise to bring Customers in, especially in these tough times. Where do you think that money comes from? Oh sure, I can count it as an expense when I file my next income tax return . But for right now that comes from either current revenues or last year's profits. Revenues right now aren't all that hot ... so do the math. A good effective advertising campaign might cost us more than $300,000.
Is this all starting to come together for you now?
Right now the Democrats are pushing a nationalized health care plan that, depending on who's doing the talking, will add anywhere from another two percent to an additional 4.6 percent to my taxes. If I add a few more stores, which I would like to do, and if the economy improves, my taxable income ... our business income ... could go over one million dollars! If that happens the Democrats have yet another tax waiting, another five percent plus! I've really lost track of all of the new government programs the Democrats and President Obama are proposing that they claim they will be able to finance with new taxes on what they call "wealthy Americans.."
And while we're talking about health care, let me explain something else to you. I understand that possibly your biggest complaint with our company is that we don't provide you with health insurance. That is because as your employer I believe that it is my responsibility to provide you with a safe workplace and a fair wage and to do all that I can to preserve and grow this company that provides us all with income. I no more have a responsibility to provide you with health insurance than I do with life, auto or home owner's insurance. As you know, I have periodically invited agents for health insurance companies here to provide you with information on private health insurance plans.
The Democrats are proposing to levy yet another tax against Carrington in the amount of 8 percent of my payroll as a penalty for not providing you with health insurance. You should know that if they do this I will be reducing every person's salary or hourly wage by that same 8 percent. This will not be done to put any more money in my pocket. It will be done to make sure that I don't suffer financially from the Democrat's efforts to place our healthcare under the control of the federal government. It is your health, not mine. It is your healthcare, not mine. These are your expenses, not mine. If you think I'm wrong about all this, I would sure love to hear your reasoning
Try to understand what I'm telling you here. Those people that Obama and the Democrats call "wealthy Americans" are, in very large part, America 's small business owners. I'm one of them. You have the evidence, and surely you don't think that the owner of a bunch of tire stores is anything special. That $534,000 figure on my income tax return puts me squarely in Democrat cross hairs when it comes to tax increases. Let's be clear about this ... crystal clear. Any federal tax increase on me is going to cost you money, not me. Any new taxes on Carrington Automotive will be new taxes that you, or the people I don't hire to staff the new stores I won't be building, will be paying. Do you understand what I'm telling you? You've heard about things rolling downhill, right? Fine .. then you need to know that taxes, like that other stuff, roll downhill. Now you and I may understand that you are not among those that the Democrats call "wealthy Americans," but when this "tax the rich" thing comes down you are going to be standing at the bottom of the mud slide, if you get my drift. That's life in the big city, my friends ... where elections have consequences.
You know our economy is very weak right now. I've pledged to get us through this without layoffs or cuts in your wages and benefits. It's too bad the politicians can't get us through this without attacking our profits. To insure our survival I have to take a substantial portion of that $534,000 and set it aside for unexpected expenses and a worsening economy. Trouble is, the government is eyeing that money too ... and they have the guns. If they want it, they can take it.
I don't want to make this too long. There's a great lunch waiting for us all. But you need to understand what's happening here. I've worked hard for 23 years to create this business. There were many years where I couldn't take a penny in income because every dollar was being dedicated to expanding the business. There were tough times when it took every dollar of revenues to replenish our inventory and cover your paychecks. During those times I earned nothing. If you want to see those tax returns, just let me know.
OK ... I know I'm repeating myself here. I don't hire stupid people, and you are probably getting it now. So let me just ramble for a few more minutes. Most Americans don't realize that when the Democrats talk about raising taxes on people making more than $250 thousand a year, they're talking about raising taxes on small businesses. The U.S. Treasury Department says that six out of every ten individuals in this country with incomes of more than $280,000 are actually small business owners. About one-half of the income in this country that would be subject to these increased taxes is from small businesses like ours. Depending on how many of these wonderful new taxes the Democrats manage to pass, this company could see its tax burden increase by as much as $60,000. Perhaps more.
I know a lot of you voted for President Obama. A lot of you voted for Democrats across the board. Whether you voted out of support for some specific policies, or because you liked his slogans, you need to learn one very valuable lesson from this election. Elections have consequences. You might have thought it would be cool to have a president who looks like you; or a president who is young, has a buff body, and speaks eloquently when there's a teleprompter in the neighborhood. Maybe you liked his promises to tax the rich. Maybe you believed his promise not to raise taxes on people earning less than a certain amount. Maybe you actually bought into his promise to cut taxes on millions of Americans who actually don't pay income taxes in the first place. Whatever the reason .. your vote had consequences; and here they are.
Bottom line? I'm not taking this hit alone. As soon as the Democrats manage to get their tax increases on the books, I'm going to take steps to make sure that my family isn't affected. When you own the business, that is what you're allowed to do. I built this business over a period of 23 years, and I'm not going to see my family suffer because we have a president and a congress who think that wealth is distributed rather than earned. Any additional taxes, of whatever description, that President Obama and the Democrats inflict on this business will come straight out of any funds I have set aside for expansion or pay and benefit increases. Any plans I might have had to hire additional employees for new stores will be put aside. Any plans for raises for the people I now have working for me will be shelved. Year-end bonuses might well be eliminated. That may sound rough, but that's the reality.
You're going to continue to hear a lot of anti-wealth rhetoric out there from the media and from the left. You can chose to believe what you wish .. .but when it comes to Carrington Automotive you will know the truth. The books are open to any of you at any time. I have nothing to hide. I would hope that other small business owners out there would hold meetings like this one, but I know it won't happen that often. One of the lessons to be learned here is that taxes ... all taxes ... and all regulatory costs that are placed on businesses anywhere in this country, will eventually be passed right on down to individuals; individuals such as yourself. This hasn't been about admonishing anyone and it hasn't been about issuing threats. This is part of the education you should have received in the government schools, but didn't. Class is now dismissed.
Friday, January 1, 2010
By BEN STEIN
Published: July 13, 2008
AS my fine professor of economics at Columbia, C. Lowell Harriss (who just celebrated his 96th birthday) used to tell us, economics is the study of the allocation of scarce goods and services. What could be scarcer or more precious than love? It is rare, hard to come by and often fragile.
My primary life study has been about love. Second comes economics, so here, in the form of a few rules, is a little amalgam of the two fields: the economics of love. (I last wrote about this subject 20 years or so ago, and it’s time to update it.)
In general, and with rare exceptions, the returns in love situations are roughly proportional to the amount of time and devotion invested. The amount of love you get from an investment in love is correlated, if only roughly, to the amount of yourself you invest in the relationship.
If you invest caring, patience and unselfishness, you get those things back. (This assumes, of course, that you are having a relationship with someone who loves you, and not a one-sided love affair with someone who isn’t interested.)
High-quality bonds consistently yield more return than junk, and so it is with high-quality love. As for the returns on bonds, I know that my comment will come as a surprise to people who have been brainwashed into thinking that junk bonds are free money. They aren’t. The data from the maven of bond research, W. Braddock Hickman, shows that junk debt outperforms high quality only in rare situations, because of the default risk.
In love, the data is even clearer. Stay with high-quality human beings. And once you find that you are in a junk relationship, sell immediately. Junk situations can look appealing and seductive, but junk is junk. Be wary of it unless you control the market.
(Or, as I like to tell college students, the absolutely surest way to ruin your life is to have a relationship with someone with many serious problems, and to think that you can change this person.)
Research pays off. The most appealing and seductive (that word again) exterior can hide the most danger and chance of loss. For most of us, diversification in love, at least beyond a very small number, is impossible, so it’s necessary to do a lot of research on the choice you make. It is a rare man or woman who can resist the outward and the surface. But exteriors can hide far too much.
In every long-term romantic situation, returns are greater when there is a monopoly. If you have to share your love with others, if you have to compete even after a brief while with others, forget the whole thing. You want to have monopoly bonds with your long-term lover. At least most situations work out better this way. ( I am too old to consider short-term romantic events. Those were my life when Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon were in the White House.)
The returns on your investment should at least equal the cost of the investment. If you are getting less back than you put in over a considerable period of time, back off.
Long-term investment pays off. The impatient day player will fare poorly without inside information or market-controlling power. He or she will have a few good days but years of agony in the world of love.
To coin a phrase: Fall in love in haste, repent at leisure.
Realistic expectations are everything. If you have unrealistic expectations, they will rarely be met. If you think that you can go from nowhere to having someone wonderful in love with you, you are probably wrong.
You need expectations that match reality before you can make some progress. There may be exceptions, but they are rare.
When you have a winner, stick with your winner. Whether in love or in the stock market, winners are to be prized.
Have a dog or many dogs or cats in your life. These are your anchors to windward and your unfailing source of love.
Ben Franklin summed it up well. In times of stress, the three best things to have are an old dog, an old wife and ready money. How right he was.
THERE is more that could be said about the economics of love, but these thoughts may divert you while you are thinking about your future.
And let me close with another thought. I am far from glib about the economy. It has a lot of pitfalls facing it. As workers and investors, we know that many dangers lurk in our paths.
But so far, these things have always worked themselves out and this one will, too. In the meantime, they say that falling in love is wonderful, and that the best is falling in love with what you have.
Ben Stein is a lawyer, writer, actor and economist. E-mail: email@example.com.