Tom McLaughlin

A former history teacher, Tom is a columnist who lives in Lovell, Maine. His column is published in Maine and New Hampshire newspapers and on numerous web sites. Email: tommclaughlin@fairpoint.net

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Wagon-Pullers Getting Tired


Got an over-the-table job? Paying taxes? Paying for your own health insurance? Well, you’re pulling the wagon. If you’ve been pulling it very long, you’ve noticed that it’s getting heavier. That’s because there are more people riding and fewer pulling. How long can this go on? Not forever, that’s for sure and the load is about to get even heavier - much heavier. How long before the wagon runs into the ditch and everybody falls off?

Do you know people who work, but make make most of their money under the table? Who don’t pay taxes? Don’t pay medical insurance? If you’re like most of us you don’t just know them, you’re related to them. They’re everywhere. They ride the wagon when they get sick or injured, but they don’t take their turn pulling it. They walk alongside and snicker at the rest of us in the harness.

But you get your medical insurance free because your employer pays it, you say? There’s no such thing as free. For those with, say, an Anthem family policy, it costs more than $50 a day and it’s part of your compensation whether you know it or not. Your employer knows it because he figures it into the cost of employing you. He could give you the $50 and let you send the check to the insurance company, but then the government would take some of it too and you’d pay even more. Nothing is free. Somebody pays. The wagon-pullers pay.

How many people do you know who have gone on disability? How many of them are actually disabled and unable to work? How many have grossly exaggerated their ailments to “qualify” with the help of lawyers from Binder and Binder? I bet you’re related to some of them too. Most of us are.

“The trouble with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money,” said former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. The wagon-pullers either quit or collapse in harness and that’s happening already in the UK. It’s nearly bankrupt. With it’s enormous social programs and surging illegal immigrant population, so is California. The whole USA headed down the same road - and with “bailouts” of a trillion here and a trillion there, we’re picking up speed.

The $825 billion “economic stimulus” package is being shaped by the Democrats in control of Congress and the White House as I write. Obama’s chief economic advisor, Robert Reich, testified before Congress, saying: “I am concerned, as I’m sure many of you are, that these jobs not simply go to high-skilled people who are already professionals, or to white male construction workers.”

Hmm.

Not only will we have increasingly socialist tax policies, money raised will be spent according to race. I thought the Obama Administration was going to be the first “post-racial” presidency. Did I miss something? Reich went on to say: “Criteria can be set so that the money does go to others - the long-term, unemployed minorities, women - people who are not necessarily construction workers or high-skilled professionals.”

Hmm.

Obama says he wants to build roads and bridges and other infrastructure with all that money. He assures us that there are plenty of these projects “shovel-ready” all around the country, just waiting for the funds to go ahead. I can see myself now - being stopped by a chubby wagon-rider with an orange vest, a walkie-talkie, and a STOP sign on a pole in front of a government work crew standing around, leaning on those shovels and smoking cigarettes.

Later, when I drive over one of those “new-infrastructure” bridges, I’ll remember that there weren’t any “highly-skilled, white professionals” involved in building it and I’ll thank God if I make it to the other side.

President Obama told Joe the Plumber he would “spread the wealth around” by raising taxes on the “rich.” Trouble is, the “rich” are paying most of the taxes already and, if you’ve worked all your life and you’re still alive, you’re one of them. As a teacher with a wife and three kids thirty years ago, I was “poor” - officially under the federal poverty line. I’m still a teacher, but with two additional part-time jobs, a working wife and four grown-and-gone children - but now I’m “rich.” Rich and poor are not static categories and my story is not unusual. The top half of American earners pay 96% of federal income taxes. The bottom half pay less than 4%. If you factor in the “earned income tax credit,” most of that bottom half pay less than nothing; they get paid instead. Yet Obama and Pelosi want to give them a rebate! On what? You have to pay first to get money “back.” Let’s just call it what it is - a massive redistribution of income from wagon pullers to wagon riders.

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

When Will We Wake Up?


What is it going to take for Europe and America to realize the threat? Radical Muslim terrorist groups like Hamas, Hezbollah, al Qaida and others won’t stop until the world is under Sharia law. Don’t know what that means? It means stoning to death adulterers, homosexuals and apostates (anyone who leaves Islam), killing sisters, wives, daughters who “dishonor” the family by wearing bikinis or otherwise dressing like most women in the west do, and beating women if they disobey their husbands. Sounds farfetched, you say? Well, according the BBC, no less a person than the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, claims “Sharia law in UK ‘unavoidable’.”

On New Years night a few weeks ago, young Muslims in France rioted. They burned 1147 cars in several French cities. It’s not the first time this has happened and French police were out in force. Still, there were 30% more cars burned this year than last. French media won’t call the rioters Muslims however. Their politically-correct, multicultural denial doesn’t allow them to. Instead, domestic terrorists are simply called “youths.” Car burnings are getting routine for the French. “Even during tranquil periods, an average of 80 vehicles per day are set alight somewhere in the country,” claims the San Francisco Chronicle. “‘Burning cars is rather typically French, said Michel Wieviorka, a French sociologist who has studied the phenomenon.” Uh-huh. Just the usual mischief by those pesky French “youths.” Nothing to do with Radical Islam. Move along folks. Nothing to see here.

In Sweden, rapes by Muslim immigrants and their offspring are skyrocketing, quadrupling in twenty years. Sweden’s liberal immigration policies have allowed huge numbers of unassimilated Muslims to upset their multicultural bliss. It’s getting harder to tolerate intolerant Muslim immigrants when they disdain Swedish women. According to Islam-watch.org, one named Hamid said, “‘It is not as wrong raping a Swedish girl as raping an Arab girl. The Swedish girl gets a lot of help afterwards, and she had probably f***** before, anyway. . . . It is far too easy to get a Swedish whore…… girl, I mean,’ says Hamid, and laughs over his own choice of words.”

Such attitudes are common in Europe lately. According to the Copenhagen Post: “An Islamic mufti in Copenhagen, Shahid Mehdi, has sparked political outcry from the left-wing Unity List and right-wing Danish People's Party, after stating in a televised interview that women who do not wear headscarves are ‘asking for rape.’”

“Public outcry,” huh? Not enough of an outcry to call Muslim terrorists what they are though. Just those pesky “youths” again. Is it an unwillingness to admit their embrace of multiculturalism - the idea that all cultures are equal - has been wrong all along? Or is it just plain fear of radical Muslim terror? Both, I suspect, but more the latter. They spend a lot of time patting themselves on the back, claiming to “speak truth to power,” but at bottom, western media simply lack courage.

And the nice schools Europeans built for immigrants to attend? Those mischievous “youths” are burning them. “[W]e are close to the point where a majority of pupils have a foreign background, which is to say that either they or their parents come from a country outside Sweden,” says Alan Widman, member of Sweden’s parliament about the situation in the city of Malmo. Where outside Sweden Mr. Widman? He won’t identify foreigners as Arab Muslims, even when they’re torching schools at the rate of one every other day and shouting “Allahu Akbar.”

The canary in the coal mine for western civilization is Israel. It’s under constant assault from Radical Islam. Yet when they retaliate against rocket attacks from Hezbollah or Hamas, the western media condemn them instead of the radical Muslim terrorists who attack them. Indeed, a worldwide intifada has erupted all over Europe, Canada and the USA - http://www.zombietime.com/zomblog/?p=230 (a very scary link). Muslim marchers in Fort Lauderdale called for Jews to go back to the ovens.

If you think our “relations” with radical Islam are going to change with the election of Barack Obama, think again. They’re already burning his posters while shouting “Death to Obama” in Iran.

My fear is that it’s going to take something far more drastic than September 11th to wake up Europe and America - like the loss of a whole city to a smuggled nuclear device. A majority of Europeans and far too many Americans cling to their belief that we must continue to tolerate the intolerable, continue to celebrate multiculturalism and diversity - even if it kills us.

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Whither Men?


My wife is apolitical. That’s good, I suppose, because it’s not a source of conflict. She’s simply not interested in politics, and I’m passionately interested. We seldom discuss it but when we do, she can offer insights I cannot see. Once in a while, I’ll call her into the room when someone is speaking on television. I’ll ask her to watch him or her for a few minutes and then tell me what she thinks. I’m not so interested in her thoughts on what the person is saying as much as what she thinks of the man or woman as a person. That’s one of the things my wife is good at: getting clues about what people are like. Never having seen the person before, she’ll suggest personality traits he or she possesses which later turn out to be right on the money. I’ve learned to trust my wife’s instincts about these things. She’s seldom wrong.

Today’s politics is tomorrow’s history. I watch what’s happening now and study what’s occurred throughout the ages. I want to understand it all. I never will, of course, but I won’t give up trying.

I’m the one who picks the movies we rent from Netflix and they include many documentaries and historical fiction because I’m a history teacher. War movies and westerns don’t interest her, but sometimes she’ll watch a film made from an historical novel if it shows good character development. During battle scenes, she’ll often comment about how brutal men are, saying things like, “They’re the ones who start wars. Women don’t do that.”

She’s right, of course, but it bothers me to hear it. Sometimes I take it personally as a representative of manhood, especially if I identify with the character who is fighting in whatever film we’re watching. I think, what choice does he have? The guy finds himself living in a certain time and place, and circumstances pull him into conflict. He’s faced with choices ranging from bad to worse and does what he thinks is right, or whatever is the least wrong. Most often, a man uses violence after another man or group of men crowd him in some way or threaten his family, or his community, or his way of life, or his principles, and he’s forced to do brutal things. Even if he was a gentle, sensitive person beforehand, the circumstances he must work through change him.

Those are my rationalizations at least. Men are brutal, or at least capable of brutality if it becomes necessary. Maybe it’s testosterone. Maybe it’s that Y chromosome. Maybe there’s something wrong with us. Maybe. It has to be considered. If we believe we evolved into the kind of men we are, should we be trying to evolve into some other form of male human who isn’t as prone to violence? Or would that go against our nature and precipitate even more problems? I see western culture attempting to shift away from a martial approach to aggression and toward a conciliatory one and it makes me uneasy. My instinct tells me, strongly, that this is not the way to be. We don’t need any more metrosexuals. We need more warriors. We need a citizenry which recognizes that our country needs warriors and values them.

For example, I’m seeing more “War is not the answer” bumper stickers. I’d like to ask drivers of cars adorned thus: “What is the question?” For some questions, war is most definitely the answer. If the question is: What should we do about several million Radical Muslims who want to make the world Muslim and force us all to live under Sharia law? My answer is: Are you kidding? What if they’re dying to kill us the way they did on September 11th? My reaction is: Kick Radical Muslim ass. Don’t stop kicking until they surrender unconditionally. Root them out from wherever they’re hiding and kill them. After London, Madrid, Bali, Mumbai, Gaza, why is anyone still asking the question?

Over Christmas break, I spent time with several young American warriors. They’re former students, sons of friends, and relatives. They know who our enemy is, they know what has to be done, and they’re willing to risk their lives to do it - all for our sake. It troubles me that we’re becoming a country that doesn’t appreciate them enough. A majority of Americans like this just elected a new president who is about to take over as commander-in-chief. He’s a great talker, but talk is cheap. Does he have what it takes to lead these marvelous young men and thousands of others like them? I’m not confident that he does.

Vice president-elect Joe Biden told us Barack Obama will be tested by our enemies in the first six months. I have little doubt about that. Then he said: “[W]e're gonna need you to use your influence, your influence within the community, to stand with him. Because it's not gonna be apparent initially, it's not gonna be apparent that we're right.”

Based on what I’ve heard those two guys say on the campaign trail, I believe him. It hasn’t ever been apparent to me that they’re right, and I don’t really expect that to change, but I’ll wait and see.

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Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Call Them What They Are


Hamas political poster, West Bank 2007
Vote for us. We'll kill Jews.


Most of the world is condemning Israeli “aggression” in the Gaza Strip. Are they crazy? Looks like it. I’m talking about the rest of the world, not Israel, which is trying to stop Hamas terrorists firing rockets from Gaza which they’ve done every day for years. That’s not crazy. That’s survival. Western media endlessly shows us Palestinian civilians killed by Israelis. They don’t mention that Hamas shoots rockets smuggled from Iran into Israel from Palestinian schools, hospitals, mosques, and civilian homes.

Most of the media won’t even call Hamas terrorists terrorists. Instead, they say “militants,” or civilians, or even “refugees.” Refugees? From where? They live in Gaza, which used to be part of Egypt, but was taken over by Israel when Egypt invaded from Gaza in 1967. Israel also took the Sinai Peninsula, but gave it back. Why? The deal was: Israel gives the Sinai back to Egypt - Egypt accepts Israel’s right to exist. That’s all.

Why doesn’t Israel give the Gaza Strip back too? Easy. Egypt doesn’t want it. Nobody does. Why? Because it’s full of crazed, Radical-Muslim terrorists, that’s why. Egypt would have to be nuts to take back the Gaza Strip. Egypt remembers what happened to their president, Anwar Sadat. He was machine-gunned by Radical-Muslim terrorists after signing the Camp David Accords with President Jimmy Carter and Israeli Prime Minister Manachem Begin and thereby accepting that Israel has a right to exist. He was machine-gunned by Radical-Muslim terrorists just like those who make up most of the population of the Gaza Strip.

Notice that I’m saying “Radical-Muslim terrorists” a lot? I have to, because the alleged “journalists” in the rest of the world won’t call them what they are. Perhaps you think I’m over-reaching by calling most Palestinians terrorists, but a majority of them voted Hamas into power, knowing full-well that Hamas was dedicated to the destruction of Israel - not the peaceful coexistence with Israel as a neighboring Palestinian state - but its utter destruction and killing of its Jews. You want to call them innocent civilians? I don’t. They don’t want a Palestinian state as much as they want Israel gone. You can’t negotiate with people like this. Israel is doing what it must do to survive.

And by the way, Palestinians danced in the streets when they heard about the September 11th attacks, but except for Fox News, western media didn’t want to show you that either.

Why do our alleged journalists refer to Palestinians as “refugees” and not as terrorists? According to Wikipedia: “The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) defines a Palestine refugee as a person ‘whose normal place of residence was Palestine between June 1946 and May 1948, who lost both their homes and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict.’” Yeah, the older ones lost their homes and means of livelihood in that conflict. They chose to leave Israel 60-62 years ago because they knew their fellow Arabs in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt planned to invade and kill all the Jews. Arab Palestinians believed they could return afterward, and get much more than they left if all the Jews were dead, but that isn’t the way it turned out. Invading Arab armies were humiliated by those pesky Jews in their tiny country, who had their own army for the first time in two thousand years. Arabs called it Al Nabka - “The Disaster.” It was as if five strapping high school boys jumped a kindergarten kid and got thrashed. Their self-induced humiliation only made them hate Israel more.

They tried again to destroy Israel in 1967 and in 1973 with the same result. Palestinian Arab “refugees” bet on the wrong horse every time. They’re still “refugees” only because they’ve been supported by the United Nations for the past sixty years. If not for all those billions in refugee relief, they’d be force to really make peace. But they don’t want peace. They want Israel gone. After sixty years, that’s still what they really want. Sure, they want a Palestinian state, but not next to an Israeli state. That’s why they voted Hamas into power. Meanwhile, they want to keep the money flowing in from the UN, the US, and the EU, who all believe they’re helping “refugees” According to ProcCon.org, it’s “the equivalent of $1,330 per Palestinian. By comparison, the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe after World War II provided $272 per European (in today's dollars).” As long as the money flows, the “refugees” don’t have to worry about supporting themselves. They can concentrate full-time on terrorizing Jews. When I was in the West Bank a year and a half ago, most of the Palestinian men I saw were hanging around smoking cigarettes. The only ones I saw working were a few shopkeepers, cab drivers and waiters. Garbage was everywhere, but I didn’t see anyone picking it up. Why should they? They were second and third generation “refugees” supported by dollars and Euros from the west. Let the west clean up the garbage.

If we support Israel’s right to exist, we must stop subsidizing Palestinian Arab “refugees.” It’s the only way this festering sore will ever heal.

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