William Thien

Archive for June 2012

During the last presidential campaign The Honorable Senator John McCain of Arizona was heard to make the comment that his competition meant to implement what was essentially a “redistribution of wealth.” It was code-speak in that it meant money and the wealth of one class of people would be taken from them through taxation and government programs and redirected to others. Nothing was said by McCain as to where that money would come from and who would receive it. But one can assume that the money would come from those who have money and go to those who don’t. Or, one could assume that the money would come from those who have some money, such as the middle classes, and go to those who have a lot of money, the very wealthy, which has been happening a lot lately for example in the Wall Street scandals. What is important about Senator McCain’s comment is that it demonstrates how powerful the state can be in taking money from one class and giving it to another, whether the money is going up the socio-economic ladder or down.

What is even more important about Senator McCain’s comment is that it draws a picture of the power and behavior of government revenue activity. It shows an understanding and a righteous fear of how government can spread the country’s wealth around, often without the consent of the population.

Obviously Senator McCain’s comment fell on deaf ears during the campaign because he was not elected.

We are aware that it is the desire of many candidates to take money from one social class and give it to others. Many of us feel that is not entirely honest behavior, particularly when the money is taken from those who have earned it and given to those who have not. Many believe those who earn more should pay more in taxes even though when paying at a lower tax rate they still pay more in taxes than the average citizen (though rarely do they use more government services, often using fewer services so their tax burden is often much less, so why should they pay higher taxes?). And this is how the redistribution of wealth question is brought to the fore.

So, there are the re-distributors of wealth in the political arena. We know this to be true. We know there are those who would take from one class and give it to another. We know there are those who would take from one class and spread it amongst all other classes.

But what about those who concentrate wealth? What about those who would take from everyone, through taxation perhaps or through dishonest manipulation of the financial markets, and concentrate all of that wealth amongst a small percentage of the population? The mere fact that someone can raise the question of a re-distribution of wealth raises the opposite question, what about the concentration, the consolidation of wealth?

Though many conservatives believe it is not right to take from those who have earned it, whether they be poor, middle class, or wealthy and give it to those who blatantly have not earned it, we must also be aware that it is also not right to take from those who have earned it and give it to those who would take it whether they need it or not.

Re-distribution of wealth can go more than one way. You can spread it among the masses, or you can concentrate it to a few. Either way, it is wrong to use the government to re-distribute wealth, a sentiment upon which many of us can agree.

Copyright © William Thien 2012

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The problem with Modern American Politics is that it is offered up to the American Public in the form of a machine language. Modern American Politics is binary thought in its purest form. Modern American Politics is to a greater extent comprised of two parties, two powerful media wielding, media cajoling, dissent stifling parties. Modern American Politics is Democrat vs. Republican. It is yes or no. Like a machine, Modern American Politics is ‘on or off’. It is ‘us vs. them’. It is ‘good vs. evil’. Like a computer’s binary thought, Modern American Poltics is 0 or 1. In its current form Modern American Politics is a machine language. You are either for us, or you are against us. Particularly divisive, if we continue down this path the country will suffer.

Seemingly extreme at both ends, one party or the other, Modern American Politics offers little middle ground and as a result those in the middle classes suffer the most as both sides tug at middle, tug at the middle for taxes, tug at the middle for political ground, yank the middle to the limit.

One can see evidence of division in the elections with close presidential race after close presidential race as voters go to the ballot box to make a choice of what is often referred to as “the lesser of two evils.” There it is again. Yes or no. On or off. 0 or 1. Two choices. Machine language.

Is this part of the design of our political system or is there something going on behind the scenes, something preventing general consent?

Given the circumstances, why hasn’t a third party begun to take hold in a significant way? Is it due to the massive amounts of money the two major parties have? Why hasn’t the media helped bring the country out of this condition? Is the media a whore and at the same time the Judas to be bought by the two major parties with the intent of stifling upstarts? Should the media have conditional right such as free speech?

The media certainly love this perpetual campaign advertising season the country seems to have been in for the last several years with recall after recall and contentious battle after contentious campaign battle. Where is campaign finance reform? You don’t hear the media asking that question, do you? No, they are making too much loot. At our expense, I should add. Does the media really deserve free speech, then?

It may not be time for a third party. But the country is divided. And it is time to see to things. Before somebody flips the switch, flips the switch on the freedom to do something about it that is.

Copyright © William Thien 2012

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Yesterday on talk radio the host brought up the subject of “Women in Combat.” Apparently the matter is up for review somewhere in The US Military Force Structure and once again open for public debate.

The various talking points we have all heard again and again came up such as the fact that women have less upper body strength as well as the various distinctions between male and female anatomy which make men more suitable for combat. Callers were asked to chime in and of all the women who telephoned not one supported the idea of women in combat. Female military veterans who called did not even support women in combat. The wives of military men did not support women in combat. It was clearly unanimous. Women, all of the callers agreed, should not see combat.

Primarily all of the rationale supporting the position that women should not see combat were based on the distinction between the male and female anatomy.
Contrary to all of my experience working with women in the military which would lead me to believe that there would not be a problem gradually introducing women into combat roles, the mere question as to whether women would be able to perform their roles without sacrificing the safety of their fellow soldiers is still an issue.

And even though it really, truly is an issue, and even though female veterans themselves or the wives of soldiers don’t apparently believe women should see combat, I am not certain I myself am in agreement with all of them on the matter.

I do agree with all of them, though, that women should not see combat. I agree with all of them, except that I agree with all of them for an entirely different reason.

The reason I don’t believe women should see combat is entirely different than all of the other reasons we hear so frequently. I myself believe women should not see combat due to our social values and perhaps even a natural order that we have in place which provides protection not only to our women but to our children.

Women birth and raise our children. Women and our families hold a special place behind a protective social barrier in our society which is why even though laws have been created that say we should treat women equally in the work place and the real world, we still hold the door for them from time to time and push their chair in or stand when they get up from the table. We offer to carry heavy items for them. We do this because of our nature, because of a natural order, because we know it is not good for a pregnant woman to be carrying heavy objects, for example, or to be doing certain physical tasks. It is not because we think men are better than women. Anyone who is raising that issue is just making trouble.

When you erase all of those distinctions between men and women by putting women in combat, all of those social norms and behaviors that we use when interacting with women in public by putting women in combat, still believing men are better at combat, when you do that you erase all of the social protections we provide our women and even our children.

The argument could be made that since the addition of laws that say men and women should be treated equally in the work place and society in general, you could say there has been a corresponding increase in violence against women. Men treat men differently than men treat women. Men fight each other. They do all sorts of things to each other that we don’t want done to women. Do we really want to see an increase in such behaviors to women? It will happen as we move one big step closer to totally erasing the social distinctions between men and women by putting women in combat.

Putting women in combat does in fact make men and women equal in a way, yet it also destroys that natural, social order, that protective social barrier which our society provides for our women and children to exist within. Therein, ladies and gentlemen, lies the real danger in putting women in combat.

As it appears to be unanimously believed even by women themselves, putting women in combat may not be the best idea for the soldiers due to the anatomical differences between men and women, putting women in combat is simply not good for the society we live in. That is the real danger of putting women in combat and why I do not believe women should see combat.

The physical differences between men and women are the minor distinctions between men and women when it comes to the argument of whether or not women should see combat. The social differences are the major distinctions.

Copyright © William Thien 2012

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I’ve been without a cell phone for some time and using a landline phone and was currently in the market for a cell phone, though I’m not sure I am any longer. I purchased a prepaid and called the company to activate it and waited on the line for thirty minutes and still nobody answered. Went right back to the store.

When I was pricing various cell phones I discovered that even though the cell phones have multiple capabilities, voice, text, email, data, the corporations who offer the services have been clever enough, or perhaps I should say devious enough in dividing up the various services and pricing them out, even though you need all of the various services in order to get the cell phone in the first place. In other words, as most of you probably already know, you need to buy a voice plan, text plan, and a data plan in order to get the phone in the first place. Nothing new to anyone, I’m sure.

My problem is this. When you buy a car, your plan is to be able to drive it off the lot. The same goes for a cell phone in a sense. When you buy a cell phone, your plan is to be able to use it. But when you buy a car, it is supposed to come with everything you need to use it. They don’t charge you a separate price for the steering wheel, the engine, and the tires. But for some reason they do with cell phones and they get away with it. It’s all one signal. The information is transmitted on one signal. So you are really only paying for one service.

If you ask me, it is socially unethical the way cell phone providers get away with structuring the services in the way they do. And I know I’m not the only one with that impression. You have had that same impression, too, I know. It’s just that nobody is doing anything about it.

I am not a consumer advocate. I think people, companies, corporations should be able to make a dollar, a good dollar, huge profits. But this is one heck of a glaring example of corporate abuse of the American public and they get away with it.

Because the auto is a necessity in this country, the automobile industry has been subject to all sorts of particular rules and regulations, lemon laws, you name it, to curb corporate abuses of the general public, to control human nature, greed. Cell phones are becoming a necessity, too. When, I ask, will the cell phone industry meet the same regulation? Because it needs to.

Like I said, I am not a consumer advocate. I don’t want to go down that road, curtailing corporate behavior.

All I have to say is, “Yeah, I want wheels with that car, I mean cell phone!”

Copyright © William Thien 2012

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