Hollywood Used To Get It Right

7 05 2010

I caught the end of Fountainhead just before Gary Cooper‘s character, Howard Roarke stands up to defend himself in court.  I thought it very fitting considering what is going on today in the political realm.  Roarke is defending himself for setting dynamite to a home he designed and that was being perverted, something which no sane person should condone.  His closing arguments are admirable in defending individualism and creative vision, principles upon which this country were founded.

The closing arguments:

Thousands of years ago the first man discovered how to make fire. He was probably burned at the stake he had taught his brothers to light. But he left them a gift they had not conceived of, and he lifted darkness off the earth. Through out the centuries there were men who took first steps down new roads, armed with nothing but their own vision. The great creators, the thinkers, the artists, the scientists, the inventors, stood alone against the men of their time. Every new thought was opposed. Every new invention was denounced. But the men of unborrowed vision went ahead. They fought, they suffered, and they paid — but they won.

No creator was prompted by a desire to please his brothers. His brothers hated the gift he offered. His truth was his only motive. His work was his only goal. His work, not those who used it, his creation, not the benefits others derived from it. The creation which gave form to his truth. He held his truth above all things, and against all men. He went ahead whether others agreed with him or not. With his integrity as his only banner. He served nothing, and no one. He lived for himself. And only by living for himself was he able to achieve the things which are the glory of mankind. Such is the nature of achievement.

Man cannot survive except through his mind. He comes on earth unarmed. His brain is his only weapon. But the mind is an attribute of the individual, there is no such thing as a collective brain. The man who thinks must think and act on his own. The reasoning mind cannot work under any form of compulsion. It cannot not be subordinated to the needs, opinions, or wishes of others. It is not an object of sacrifice.

The creator stands on his own judgment; the parasite follows the opinions of others.

The creator thinks; the parasite copies.

The creator produces; the parasite loots.

The creator’s concern is the conquest of nature; the parasite’s concern is the conquest of men.

The creator requires independence, he neither serves nor rules. He deals with men by free exchange and voluntary choice.

The parasite seeks power. He wants to bind all men together in common action and common slavery. He claims that man is only a tool for the use of others — that he must think as they think, act as they act, and live in selfless, joyless servitude to any need but his own.

Look at history. Everything thing we have, every great achievement has come from the independent work of some independent mind. Every horror and destruction came from attempts to force men into a herd of brainless, soulless robots. Without personal rights, without personal ambition, without will, hope, or dignity. It is an ancient conflict. It has another name: “The individual against the collective”.

Our country, the noblest country in the history of men, was based on the principle of individualism. The principle of man’s inalienable rights. It was a country where a man was free to seek his own happiness, to gain and produce, not to give up and renounce. To prosper, not to starve. To achieve, not to plunder. To hold as his highest possession a sense of his personal value. And as his highest virtue, his self respect. Look at the results. That is what the collectivists are now asking you to destroy, as much of the earth has been destroyed.

I am an architect. I know what is to come by the principle on which it is built. We are approaching a world in which I cannot permit myself to live. My ideas are my property. They were taken from me by force, by breach of contract. No appeal was left to me. It was believed that my work belonged to others, to do with as they pleased. They had a claim upon me without my consent. That it was my duty to serve them without choice or reward. Now you know why I dynamited Cortlandt. I designed Cortlandt, I made it possible, I destroyed it. I agreed to design it for the purpose of seeing it built as I wished. That was the price I set for my work. I was not paid. My building was disfigured at the whim of others who took all the benefits of my work and gave me nothing in return. I came here to say that I do not recognize anyone’s right to one minute of my life. Nor to any part of my energy, nor to any achievement of mine. No matter who makes the claim. It had to be said. The world is perishing from an orgy of self-sacrificing. I came here to be heard. In the name of every man of independence still left in the world. I wanted to state my terms. I do not care to work or live on any others. My terms are a man’s right to exist for his own sake.

Quote courtesy of Wikiquote.


Where Is The Tolerance?

6 05 2010

I find it interesting that if this would have happened in reverse, Mexican flags on the Fourth of July, the ACLU would have been vocally up in arms about this:

MORGAN HILL, Calif. – The parents of five Live Oak High School students met with the Morgan Hill Unified School District Wednesday night to find out why their kids got in trouble for wearing American flag attire on Cinco de Mayo.”I have no problem with them wearing their Mexico flags anything like that; I just thought I’d show my pride, my American pride,” said Live Oak High School student Dominic Macio.

Dominic Macio and two friends decided to show their patriotic pride, and left school early instead of getting suspended. A group of five students wore shirts, pants, bandanas, even shoes with the American flag to school Wednesday. Two of the kids are Mexican American, and didn’t think it would be a problem, but the principal disagreed.

“They told us basically we take it off or we can get suspended, they threatened us with suspension, and so we all decided that we are just going to leave school.” Matthew Dariano

Matthew Dariano also walked out. He told me a lot of students wore American flags today and didn’t get in trouble. His mom who is Mexican American said her son wears the American flag to school regularly.

What lesson in tolerance are we teaching these students if they are forced to suppress their beliefs because it might start a fight?  I believe the bigger lesson should be teaching the Mexican-American children that they need to tolerate the U.S. flag here, no matter what day it is.  Celebrating Cinco de Mayo is a courtesy and displays tolerance and acceptance of the multicultural nature of America, but that seems to be missed in this entire discussion.

Even more disturbing is the difference in these articles.  The quote above is from this article, “Students In Trouble For Wearing American Flag Attire On May 5th” from Fox News channel KCBA.  Reading in the article you will notice that they mention that two of the students that were called on this issue have parents that are considered to be Mexican-American.  Another article: “Students Kicked Off Campus for Wearing American Flag Tees” never mentions that some of the students wearing flag paraphernalia were of Mexican descent.  You might be able to infer that from one of the student’s name which is mentioned, but his appears to be of Portugese descent.

Fortunately the second article does mention that the school board did not agree with the Principal’s decision to force the students to change their clothes or go home.  This would have been a teachable moment of tolerance that was bypassed by the adults in charge.  Apparently they either did not wish to impart that wisdom, or were just intolerant themselves.

Isn’t This Rich Hypocrisy?

24 08 2009

After writing an earlier entry about John Mackey and his alternative Heath reform proposals I came across an article on Michelle Malin’s Twitter feed that covered him as well.  She referenced this article on the UFCW effort to undermine the efforts of Mackey within his own organization to provide for his employees and take over the company he built.  Mackey pays his employees well compared to the average, pays 100% of their health insurance premiums, and employees can participate in stock options purchases.  The UFCW is under the impression they can improve on that, but maybe they have something to learn from this CEO and implement some of his methods within his own organization.

Mackey only takes a $1 per year salary and based on other benefits, effectively makes $33,831 according to her article.  They President of the Local 1288 is listed as making just over $625,000 and most of the people he represents make less than what Mackey does running his own company.  Even the Recorder at one of the UFCW makes over a quarter of a million.  Once again the people they represent get shafted by this organization when it comes to a raise.  The Union elite get a 5.2% raise while its members got a whopping 1.9% or .35 an hour raise.

This hypocrisy even exists with our representatives as they recently received a pay raise themselves which shifts them to over $170k per year.  Sen. Vitter attempted earlier in the year to add an amendment to the spending bill that would eliminate automatic pay raises.  Harry Reid talked him in to taking it out and making it a stand alone bill, which of course failed.  This, by the way is the same Vitter that recently proposed a bill that representatives would be required to be on the same Health Care Plan they passed for the rest of us.

On a continuing basis the same people that are representing us, whether they are union leadership, or our elected officials, worry more about keeping their salaries flowing and their seat of power warm by riding on the backs of others.  The 2010 midterm elections are around the corner. Let us hope our memories are longer than they have been in the recent past and we start to worry more about us, as a unified people living the American Dream, rather than petty squabbles that keep them in power. 

Refusing to Debate on Health Reform?

21 08 2009

Last week John Mackey, the CEO of Whole Foods, wrote an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal that was similar to throwing gasoline on an already fiery debate.  Mackey’s company is suffering a progressive boycot being organized on wholeboycott.com and its related Facebook page.  A recent Huffington Post article covered this would lead you to believe that his only suggestion was to eat healthy with foods sold at his store.  As circumstance would have it, this is far from his only suggestion.  There were actually seven:

    1. Equalize the tax laws
    2. Repeal state laws to allowing competition across state lines
    3. Repeal government mandates
    4. Enact tort reform
    5. Transparent costs
    6. Reform Medicare
    7. Revise tax forms to allow donations

Mackey, I believe has been quoted as being Libertarian, outlines some excellent ideas for reforming the system by increasing competition and allowing more consumer choices.  Mackey may be on to something because tort reform is an idea that is proving to be successful in, you guessed it, Texas.  According to this article, Why Doctors Are Heading for Texas, at the Wall Street Journal in May of 2008:

In 2003 and in 2005, Texas enacted a series of reforms to the state’s civil justice system. They are stunning in their success. Texas Medical Liability Trust, one of the largest malpractice insurance companies in the state, has slashed its premiums by 35%, saving doctors some $217 million over four years. There is also a competitive malpractice insurance industry in Texas, with over 30 companies competing for business. This is driving rates down.

The article goes on to describe some of the benefits that have occurred because of these changes: Read the rest of this entry »

IOUs for Clunkers?

19 08 2009

According to this Associated Press article dealers are starting to abandon the Cash for Clunkers program:

The president of the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association says about half its 425 members have stopped offering rebates from the program because they can no longer afford them.

Mark Schienberg says the group’s dealers have been repaid for only about 2 percent of the clunkers deals they’ve made, leaving many short on cash.

This is just the latest in a chronic pattern of failure for U.S Government management.  The U.S. Post Office, which President Obama is so very fond of mentioning, is a fine example of this.  The difference is that UPS and Fed Ex, the latter of which is contracted by the USPS, were created because of poor quality service by the aforementioned organization.  My own personal experience with the USPS is that my local mail-person never delivers a package the first day, she just drops the pink card to tell me to come pick it up or have it re-sent.  I can never trace a package that has tracing until it has been delivered.

We all have heard the running jokes about Government waste and quality of service or products purchased by the government.  During my time in the military we had to write up requests to purchase router bits from the hardware store in town because the ones from the government catalog were so poorly constructed the carbide tips would be shot across the shop.  Of course that was a very unsafe condition, but the price of them were about three to four times the cost of the ones we purchased from the hardware store. 

I personally do not wish to have an organization’s most infamous saying, “It’s close enough for government work” to have anything, at all to do with anyone’s health care, especially mine.

Where in the world is Chet?

14 08 2009

Chet Edwards, the representative for Congressional House District 17 in Texas, coincidentally my representative, as of early August did not have a Town Hall scheduled.   I perused Edwards’ Congressional Website, to no avail.  I also searched for news articles that may have contained the saime information and the result were a few that claimed he would not be holding any.  I thought this rather disconcerting that he did not consider it his responsibility to hear from his constituents as I was planning on trying to go to one if I can in order to ask questions and express my opinion on what health insurance, not care as it was originally, reform might encompass.

Last year I supported Rob Curnock for his run to unseat Edwards in the 17th House Congressional District.  Thankfully I found on Rob’s Campaign Website there was a town hall schedule so that he might listen to the constituents of the district he is running in.  Curnock is definitely taking advantage of the current political situation to get to know the people in his district, as he should, and capitalize on the groundswell of grass roots support that is rising.  Shortly behind this effort on the part of Rob and his campaign Edwards appears to have come around slightly as he is going to hold his own telephone town halls according to this Dallas Morning News Article.   The appearance is that he decided to have some type of Town Hall once his opponent was providing an ear to the people he represents.

Cap and Trade Petition

13 08 2009

Rick Perry has started a Cap and Trade Petition to battle the Cap and Trade movement in Washington D.C.  Texas has a diversified economy, but the effect this would have on energy production would damage the state’s economy.  With our recent credit upgrade it behooves us to fight this and remain the shining beacon of hope across the nation and leading by example.  As Texans we need to pull our boots on and walk the talk.