Friday, April 20, 2012

Jury Duty

I got a summons in the mail today informing me to show up for jury duty on May 1.  Of course I'm happy to comply with jury duty is as it is American as baseball and apple pie.  However the information on the notification has a lot to be desired, especially for us who do not go downtown all that often.  I got called to a cattle call at the convention center to decide my eligibility to be a juror (of course by a political appointee). 

There is no street address as to where I need to appear other than the "Memphis Cook County Civic Center", a place where I have never been in 17 years I've been here, because there was never an event there that I was interested in participating in there.  Parking info and a map with a few directions might help a bit too.

Come on Shelby County Tennessee, you need to help us comply with the law.  I honestly do not mind serving, but help us out a little.  An address, a map to the parking garage and a diagram to the room where we have to meet in this massive behemoth of a building would be nice.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Random thoughts about the 99% versus the 1%

As President Obama and the Democrats continue to rail against the alleged unfairness of wealthy people being wealthy, while the poor in this country have to drive 5 year old cars, live in smaller apartments and houses, and forced to live on their our welfare money in the form of EBT debit cards; Americans need to be a bit less myopic and understand just who the 1% are in most of the 3rd world, and just how bad do the 99% have it in the worst of these countries.  Our poverty line would be considered middle class in most of the developing world.  When you can own a house, a car, have a steady income, however meager it might be, that is in no way, shape or form considered poor in 90% of the world.  These people are called consumers in countries like India, Vietnam, the Philippines and Mexico.

The idea that working hard, making your fortune, often creating many jobs and developing wealth, and getting to keep the fruits of your labor is not unfair in a free market economy, and the US constitution makes no provision for punitively seizing private property to redistribute to those who have not fared so well.  That idea is Marxist in origin and is alien to our society (at least until the age of Obama).  Unfortunately, in the past 50 years, the poverty pimps have propagated the idea that society owes the "poor" a certain standard of living, and in the current class warfare rhetoric of Obama, it has gotten some steam amongst the left leaning electorate, and certainly among unions, welfare, and some medicare and social security recipients.

 I've been fortunate to travel the globe since a young age, and got to see how things are elsewhere up close and very personal.  The violent anarchists, communists, hippies and slackers at the Occupy protests who claim to be the 99%, are wrong, just plain pure and simply wrong not only by American standards, but on a global standard, they are the 1%.  At their "camp sites" they had food, clothing, shelter, and allowed to protest, at least until they became violent law breakers.  Even then, in some cities, the police did nothing.  Good luck with that protest in 95% of the rest of the world.

Instead of working within the most open, just economical system in the world, they take the street to demand that we turn over our wealth to them, an unruly mob.  Meanwhile, the American mainstream media were celebrating these people while denouncing the Tea Party activists who want nothing more than a return to constitutional government that exerts minimal regulation on society based on the US constitution, as a bunch of racist, violent gun toting, inbred rednecks.

This clash between ideologies between limited government constitutionalists, and big government statists and socialists will be the crux of the upcoming election.

This brings be back to the truly poor people verses the rich people in the 3rd world.  I'm going to use the example of the Philippines, a country I know a lot about.  Roughly 2% of the population own 95% if the wealth in this country.  Imelda Marcos, the widow of former dictator Ferdinand Marcos and her children are still involved in government there, swindled billions of dollars out of the country, and own huge portions of the economy.  Another family, the Ayalas, literally owns the central business and shopping district of Makati in Metro Manila.

These are also the king makers in an incredibly corrupt series of governments that dates back to independence from the US in 1946.  There is no social safety network in any way, shape or form.  You either figure out how to survive or you die, plain pure and simple.  This is life in the 3rd world.  The odds of ever rising beyond abject poverty are against the 99% from birth, however, for those that do, they still have to deal with obstacles such as kick backs and corruption at every turn for a would be store keeper, business owner, and property developer.  Nothing happens without greasing the palms of politicians, and those who have lived off the backs of the 99% for decades.

For many people the way out of this poverty is to move abroad, either by observing the potential host country as legal immigrants or guest workers, or as illegal fence jumpers that continue to pose both economic as well as national security problems for the US and many other countries.

I have a good friend that I've written about here before, who in Barack Obama's own words was not born with a silver spoon in his mouth.  Unlike Obama, Ron did not go to Harvard and Columbia Universities.  He grew up poor, after Muslim jihadists burned down his family home and murdered his father in the Philippine province of Zamboanga del Sur in western Mindanao.

Ron worked hard throughout his teen years, got in a very good state technical university and graduated with honors.  He had a tough time getting work at first, took some crappy jobs working call centers, and eventually working as an Information Technology teacher at a local high school.  The money was not good, and through no help of the 1% or the government managed to get work in Singapore, at first being exploited by the 1% who run that autocratic island nation.  However, step by step, he has been making progress, and will soon start a new job, making better wages, though still not as good as citizens of Singapore, and hopefully this is yet another stepping stone to a better future. Ron is way too busy to Occupy Singapore (as if that would be permitted EVER) trying to build a future.

Getting ahead in the developed world, and especially the USA is a piece of cake compared to the obstacles that get in the way of smart, ambitious people in the 3rd world, but even they have opportunity in many places, with education and and hard work.

I won't publish his resume here, but it is impressive for a young man of 26.  Any serious inquiries can contact me on twitter @keith_martin2

The OWS people can all go to hell as far as I'm concerned.  They are slackers who want to live off the fat of the land and do nothing to earn it.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Is America Losing its Intellectual Edge?

Tina Korbe over at noted today that many people who immigrated to the US have been moving either back home or another country because the opportunity is just not here anymore.  The recession and anemic recovery have not provided many jobs for either native born Americans or those who decided to make the US home, and it is somewhat understandable that these folks will move away to pursue their dream.

To me the bigger question is, has America lost its edge?  Have we been so straddled by government regulations and work rules where neither a small scale inventor or a mega-giant company can no longer produce anything due to regulations upon regulations that unelected government bureaucrats impose on a daily basis, not to mention  royal decrees executive orders sent to us on a daily basis by "The Man of the People".

We no longer teach our children American history, geography, and civics, and instead teach touchy-feely things like social studies, that teaches nothing about American history, or our society as a special and unique civilization, but preaches that all cultures are equal.  Devout Muslims will not agree.  To them, reestablishing the caliphate and imposing Sharia Law, a 7th century code of law is foremost.  Many of them walk amongst us.  Leftists in our own country don't look at us as anything particularly exceptional, and routinely criticize the 18th century founding fathers for their failings, based on 21st century standards.  Hey lefties, how about a few comments about your leftist heroes like Marx, Lenin, Mao, Stalin and most notably from t-shirts, Che?  How many people did they murder.

Once we brainwash our children that America is not a special country, a constitutional republic, that limits what the government can not do, rather than one like the European Union that tells it's subjects exactly what rights they have, we are doomed as a country.   The public school system is well on the way to doing just that thanks to the teachers' unions and politicians who enable them.

Getting back to Tina's piece,  I think we lost a generation, with some notable exceptions.  Both of my 20-something nephews have rejected liberalism (unlike their father) and have worked for their spending money since they were both 14 at McDonalds and other minimum wage jobs in high school, and even throughout their college years.  They are products of a broken marriage, and neither parent has a lot of money, but these young men turned out well, because of their shear determination to do well and get a good education.

There is hope for America's youth, provided that they get back to the basics and learn about our history, learn subjects like science and engineering, and avoid useless degrees in a high tech society such as gay and lesbian studies, or literature from the Benin Kingdom. (look it up on your own).

I talk to young people all the time and I always encourage them to stay in school and get training in either a high tech job, some sort of business skill, or take up a trade where they can make more money than either of the 2.  When your furnace goes out on a -10 degree night, how much good will a professor in Anastasi studies do for you?  A HVAC technician, though not a sexy job, can make you very well to do, especially if you own your own business.

America can return to excellence, but not so long as we are just another unexceptional country, no better or worse than, Germany, Egypt, Iran or the oh so wonderful Democratic People's Republic of Korea.