Friday, September 28, 2012

JFK, the 47%, and the Common Good

Guest columnist: 47% should contribute to common good
By Geoffrey G. Fisher, Guest Columnist
Published: Monday, September 24, 2012 at 1:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, September 21, 2012 at 6:56 p.m.
Page 1 of 3
Today, the democratic ethos of our nation is under attack. No longer do policymakers in Washington speak to the need for all to contribute to the common good. Rather, they speak in patronizing platitudes of the constant duty to insulate the "working poor" from any civic responsibility. This patronizing policy would have been rebuked by the working man just 50 years ago, but now many welcome it. Former participants in the body politic are now self-serving observers.
The most blatant example of this loss of self-respect is embodied in the Occupy movements around the country. The protesters saunter out of their L.L. Bean pup tents and reach for the closest placard embossed with the motto "We Are The 99%" -- the implication being that a nefarious 1 percent is scheming to control the lives of the average American.
A disinterested review of Tax Year 2008 from the IRS might provide a much-needed cold shower for these latter-day hippies.
The top 1 percent paid more than 38 percent of the federal personal income tax for the nation.
The top 5 percent paid more than 58 percent of the federal income tax. And what of the bottom 47 percent? They paid nothing. In short, nearly half of the people of the United States paid no federal income tax at all.
Just 50 years ago this past January, President John F. Kennedy challenged the nation to resist the self-indulgent whining that was in its infancy in the nation. On that freezing morning in 1961 he proclaimed: "Ask not what your country can do for you -- ask what you can do for your country."
Either this proclamation is just another platitude destined for the trash heap of political rhetoric, or it is a national motto written and lived by the young president himself -- a man who sought front-line duty during the Pacific theater of World War II and suffered dearly from his experiences.
From Gen. George Washington leading his men across the Delaware River to rout the Hessians at Trenton in 1776, to the first responders entering the towers of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, real Americans have always carried their fair share.
Pandering to the poor
In 1961, a laborer might have stepped into his neighborhood pub to enjoy a hard-earned beer. While the hops filtered through his taste buds and into his nostrils, he would have looked at his hands -- hands swollen from eight hours of manual labor. This working man, most likely a Democrat, would have thought of his wife and children and felt a broad smile coming over his face, a smile of pride and belonging to the national fabric of the USA.
Today, the injustice is not with the 1 percent, but rather with the 47 percent who contribute nothing to the federal coffers. Unfortunately, in a grand strategy of national pandering to today's working poor, our current president would increase the number of people who contribute nothing to their country's national bank account. A skeptic would wonder if the president realizes that his actions are building a permanent majority to vote for him and his Democratic cohorts of the future.
In his groundbreaking social critique of the United States, Australian author Robert Hughes railed against a people he saw as professional whiners. Hughes used his pen in 1993's "Culture of Complaint" to hone in on the central problem of the new American psyche: complete and utter selfishness. Hughes was correct, at least for 47 percent of our population.

Fifteen years earlier, Russian dissentient Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn reached the same conclusion. He delivered the Harvard Class Day Speech ("A World Split Apart") in 1978, focusing on the onslaught of modernization vis-à-vis consumerism and selfishness. The speech was both intemperate, given his status as a political exile enjoying asylum, and brilliant, since Solzhenitsyn identified a serious fissure in our national character.
This highlights the main problem with the Occupy members: They look and act like children. It's time for all adults to grow up and help this great country of ours to recover. One way to do this is for every adult, even if poor, to pay something for the greater good.
To the pampered 47 percent, joining the legions of taxpayers would be one way "... you can do (something) for your country."
Geoffrey G. Fisher is a state-certified history and government teacher working in Southwest Florida. Email:

Obama, Odysseus, and the Sirens of Doom

2012 is arguably the most important presidential election since World War II.  The United States is now at a tipping point between possible recovery and the abyss.  President Obama’s clarion call for hope and change from four years ago turned out to be more Madison Avenue than Main Street.  It’s as though Don Draper of Mad Men fame took a long drag on his cigarette back in season two in 2008 and stood up to emphasize a new idea: an amateur politician from Chicago will wow the populace with his Ivy League education, impressive rhetoric, authentic charm, and most importantly his African heritage.

His arm goes up to cut off questions – don’t worry, no one will say a thing about Barack Obama’s utter lack of experience or his dubious friends from Columbia University or The City of Chicago.  No one will say a thing because we will all be invested in this incredible moment of electing a black man to the White House.  His election will be a national catharsis.

Will Americans once again toss reason and logic to the wind and follow the sweet songs of Homer's Sirens from The Odyssey?  

Unlike Homer’s Odysseus who tied himself to the mast of his ship and put wax in the ears of his sailors to avoid the rocks of doom, President Obama strode around the ship of state, with the swag of Will Smith, and his sailors - ears sans wax.

So where are we today?
  1. We are 16 Trillion dollars in debt, 6 Trillion dollars since Mr. Obama became president.
  2. Unemployment remains above 8% since the president stepped into office. The GDP is growing at an anemic rate of 1.3%.
  3. Bob Woodward says “…people are talking about the fiscal cliff coming…(b)ut the real problem is going to be in February when of necessity, whoever is president, is going to have to go to the Congress and say, we need another trillion dollars, maybe $2 trillion in borrowing authority to pay our debts…(even) Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner is saying ‘We've got to do something. We will trigger…a depression worse than the 1930s.’ ”
In his searing essay, “Puncture the Cocoon of Denial” Mark Steyn wrote, that America’s “(p)ublic debt has increased by 67 percent over the past three years, and too many Americans refuse even to see it as a problem. For most of us, "$16.4 trillion" has no real meaning…”  The song of the Sirens is beckoning another stimulus.  Many now concede that with Will Smith a.k.a. Barack Obama at the helm our national debt will be 20 Trillion dollars by 2016.  STRIKE ONE…But there’s more.

We now know that the president’s handling of our foreign affairs in the Middle-East has been amateur hour without the laughs.  Our embassies were not secure; people in these countries are not enamored with the United States, despite the warm and fuzzy rhetoric out of the White House.  Two weeks ago, Ambassador to the United Nations Dr. Susan Rice was forced to do head-stands on national television in an unsuccessful attempt to portray the president in particular and the administration in general as a well oiled machine.

That notion was put to rest by President Obama’s own words vis-à-vis Egypt: During an interview with Telemundo, President Obama said “(T)he U.S. would not consider Egypt an ally, but we don't consider them an enemy… (Egypt is a) new government that is trying to find its way."  Whoopee!  So what does Mr. Obama do this week at the United Nations in New York City?  He bypasses every international leader in order to appear on The View with Joy Behar and Whoopi Goldberg.  All that is missing is Elmer Fudd appearing in Libya saying: "Be vewy vewy quiet, I'm hunting al-Qaeda with President Obama".  STRIKE TWO.

There’s still more: Mr. Obama has dispelled any notion that he is a transformative politician.  His rhetoric and that of his surrogates has been reprehensible all during this campaign.  Mitt Romney may be a felon, he fires people, takes their money and sends their jobs over seas, and he is even responsible for the death of woman from cancer, and in one commercial he pushes Grandma in a wheelchair over a cliff.  He’s going to put you all back in chains.  The latest outrage comes from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid who said that Mitt Romney has sullied his faith and is not the face of Mormonism.  This may be the lowest blow in presidential politics even surpassing Donald Segretti's heady days on Richard Nixon’s re-election campaign of 1972.  And where is the outrage from the president?  There is none.    Think about it, Reid is trying to inflame hatred against Mormons and the president is quite.  You may argue that his record is a sign of the times, something to be expected, but what you cannot argue is that Mr. Obama is above the fray.  He deceived us with his blarney four years ago.  STRIKE THREE…Mr. President you’re out!  Take Michelle and Elmer Fudd back to Chicago just remember to duck since there’s a war now among black teenage boys.

In short, it is time for progressives to grow up and realize that the grand experiment did not work, not because Mr. Obama is half African but because he was not prepared to be president.

Americans must ask themselves this question (ideally delivered in the voice of San Francisco’s Inspector Callahan): “Can you honestly say that Barack Obama deserves a second term based upon his record?  Now can you…ladies and gentlemen?”  Don’t listen to Obama the Siren but rather listen to both your head and your heart.  America’s counting on you. 

Word total: 943

Geoffrey G. Fisher is a Highly Qualified, state-certified history teacher working in southwest Florida as a guest teacher.  He holds a BA in History from the University of Connecticut and a MA in Public Policy from Trinity College in Hartford, CT.  In addition to teaching he is a former elected official and speechwriter.  Mr. Fisher now writes the political blog: THE THINKING CAP at 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

47% Issue Hits a Nerve with Single Mothers

Dear Jennifer:

I read your response with great care and I feel like I need to respond to a few things.  Over the last three years you have posted the fact that you are a single mother.  You’ve done this either as a sympathy ploy or to suggest you should be admired.  I did not bring your marital status up, you did.

I tried to treat you with the respect of an equal by not patronizing you.  It is a fact that the profile of a single mother with children is the best indicator of economic trauma.  The majority of poor people in this country are families were the head of the household is a single mother.  In the black community it is the main reason for the crushing poverty that engulfs millions of children.  80% of black children are born “illegitimately” without any father.  Our president’s own father took off for Africa and had virtually nothing to do with him.  If it wasn’t for the president’s
Bank-president grandmother and grandfather, Barack II would have become a statistic.  Barack Obama, Sr. was married to different women at the same time and they were both pregnant.  

My main point is still the same; it is shameful for our tax system to allow 47% of America’s citizens to pay no federal income tax.  Even if people are paying 2%, that is something.  Of course people who pay no income tax are indifferent to higher taxes on the wealthy.  C’mon, isn’t the top 10% paying 70% of the bill fair enough?

The individual income tax is now nearly 50% of the entire federal budget.  Your friends speak about payroll taxes but social security and Medicare is a fraction of the individual income tax AND any income tax that is withheld by the IRS is refunded to the 47%.  Jennifer, the overwhelming evidence shows that if the president is re-elected, by 2016, more than half of the country will be living off the generosity of the minority.  That moment will be “Crossing the Rubicon” for our country, we will be on cruise control to become Greece. 

As for you’re the comment regarding your “brother”, I met a young man at your house during college who recommended that we see Marathon Man with Dustin Hoffman.  I remember him because he was embarressed to have graduated from Whittier College, the alma mater of Richard Nixon.  He must have been a friend of the family.

Also, I’m sure you’ve done a great job raising your children and you can take great pride in that feat. 

Finally, when I write best I meant I wish you the best and that there are no hard feelings.  I have found nearly every supporter of President Obama wants to voice their opinions but they do not want to engage in dialogue.  Just look at the hate from Brad Cecil, posted on my feed and by the way to Ima HippyNerd, I’ll debate you anytime, anywhere – then we’ll see who’s confused.  Jennifer, that is why I was disappointed but not surprised at your final salvo:
“I won't share my email with you. I do not want to continue this conversation."  Who’s the child now?


Geoff Fisher

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Mrs. Wasserman Schultz: "NEVER MIND!"

To date I’ve viewed Debbie Wasserman Schultz as a curiosity – she seemed to be a perfect combination of Gilda Radner’s SNL characters Roseanne Roseannadanna and Emily Litella (“Never Mind!”).  Mrs. Wasserman Schultz’s hair seemed to be from central casting – blustery and full of vigor.  In short, she was the perfect selection to chair the Democratic National Committee.

The Fact that this choice was the most prominent Jewish-American woman in Congress was also from the delegate rich State of Florida was no coincidence.  This choice was Political Calculus 101 – the Democrats need to make a play for this swing state and Mrs. Wasserman Schultz was a commando who exudes youth and energy.

Any concerns about her reputation as a tipsy bomb-thrower were abandoned at the DNC.  Last Tuesday the wisdom of this choice is now in doubt.

The Washington Post put it this way: “Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz on Tuesday denied a report from Washington Examiner columnist Philip Klein, who quoted the Florida congresswoman as saying that Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren described Republican policies toward Israel as ‘dangerous’ for the Jewish state…The report from Klein quoted Wasserman Schultz saying, ‘We know, and I’ve heard no less than Ambassador Michael Oren say this, that what the Republicans are doing is dangerous for Israel.’ ”  Yikes!
There was an immediate response (that very morning) from Ambassador Oren: “I categorically deny that I ever characterized Republican policies as harmful to Israel. Bipartisan support is a paramount national interest for Israel, and we have great friends on both sides of the aisle.”  Mr. Oren’s denial was articulate and to the point. 

The same cannot be said of Debbie Wasserman Schultz.  She denied ever suggesting the Oren criticized the Republicans. “I didn’t say [Oren] said that,” she said. “And unfortunately, that comment was reported by a conservative newspaper. It’s not surprising that they would deliberately misquote me.”  Regarding this feigned calumny - Let the truth be told. 

She might have gotten away with this treachery except that The Washington Examiner’s Columnist Philip Klein had a recording of the DNC Chair saying exactly what he claimed she said to a group of Democratic Jewish Delegates – the purpose being to win back Jewish-American voters who are defecting to recent Israel Tourist Mitt Romney.  The audio transcript is clear what she said: “We know, and I’ve heard no less than Ambassador Michael Oren say this, that what the Republicans are doing is dangerous for Israel.”

Mrs. Wasserman Schultz is now not merely a high voltage dynamo for the Democratic Party but she has proven herself both stupid and a liar.  Think about it – Did she actually think Ambassador Oren would remain silent, jeopardizing Israel’s relationship with the Republican Party?  But worse than her stupidity is her brazen lie that borders on treason.  The politics of the middle-east are volatile enough without a U.S. Congresswoman manufacturing malicious confusion to the benefit of our enemies.

Some could argue that it is to the advantage of Republicans to have Mrs. Wasserman Schultz stay on the job.  Her mess is the president’s mess – remember it was her convention that just nominated President Obama for a second term.  However, for the benefit of our country’s position in the world, especially in the Middle-East, she needs to resign both her office as DNC Chair and her office as the U.S. Representative from Florida.  Mrs. Wasserman Schultz, Have you no shame?

Mrs. Wasserman Schultz needs to channel Emily Litella about now – “NEVER MIND!”

Word Count: 580

Geoffrey G. Fisher is a certified history teacher working in southwest Florida as a guest teacher.  He holds a BA in History from the University of Connecticut and a MA in Public Policy from Trinity College in Hartford, CT.  In addition to teaching he is a former elected official and speechwriter.  Mr. Fisher now writes the political blog: THE THINKING CAP at