It's about time the concept of taxing all income at a single rate, which presidential candidate Steve Forbes and then-House Majority Leader Dick Armey broached a decade ago, once again takes center stage. It's increasingly popular overseas, with Romania and the republic of Georgia adopting it last January. Greece is likely to introduce a 25% single rate for both corporate and personal income next month. If Poland's opposition parties win next month's elections they are likely to introduce a flat tax. In Italy, the Bruno Leoni Institute has just published an interview with former finance minister and current defense minister Antonio Martino detailing his support of the flat tax.
Here at home the flat tax is still routinely ridiculed. When Mr. Forbes floated the idea in 1995, President Clinton joked that Republicans were becoming "the party of flat-earthers and flat-taxers." But he has also told friends privately that he got a real scare during the 1992 primaries when Jerry Brown championed a flat tax. Mr. Brown won applause from audiences by pointing out that under our current system the rich will always be able to hire experts to lobby for tax loopholes and avoid the higher rate traps set for them.
If the U.S. doesn't adopt the flat tax it may find itself losing jobs, capital and ambitious entrepreneurs to nations with a more ambitious growth agenda.
Alvin Rabushka, a senior fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution, believes it's only a matter of time before an emerging economic superpower like China or India goes the flat-tax route. His book on the subject has just been published in Chinese, with a preface by Lou Jiwei, the vice minister of finance. If China adopted a flat tax, more than a quarter of the world's population would be filling out tax returns on the back of a postcard. That would leave them a lot of time and money to eat our economic lunch.
Monday, August 29, 2005
Friday, August 26, 2005
Go see it. This weekend go see The Great Raid.
To show support for this movie (and support for our troops, lest anyone read into the low numbers of folks viewing this movie as some sort of apathy or anti-attitude towards the war), go see it and do it this weekend: Aug. 26-28. Spread this around the blogosphere: see The Great Raid this weekend. Honor the efforts of those who have sacrificed to save and protect others.
Monday, August 22, 2005
Every generation proves new heroes, Americans willing to sacrifice all so others can live in freedom. From the fields of Lexington-Concord to the beaches of Normandy to the deserts of the Middle East, these exceptional people answered their country's call, and like all heroes, rush in where others flee.
- Charlie Dent
To show support for this movie (and support for our troops, lest anyone read into the low numbers of folks viewing this movie as some sort of apathy or anti-attitude towards the war), go see it and do it this weekend: Aug. 26-28.
Spread this around the blogosphere: see The Great Raid this weekend. Honor the efforts of those who have sacrificed to save and protect others.
Sunday, August 21, 2005
Perhaps RomanCatholicBlog or some other Catholic blog will collect the various reviews of Benedict's first foreign trip.
has boldly suggested that Pope Benedict's visit to Cologne for World Youth Day this week will mark a turning point of the history of Germany in particular and Europe in general.
by Kishore Jayabalan, Director of Istituto Acton
Pope Benedict XVI is back in the international media spotlight this week, gracing the covers of Time and Newsweek, as he makes his first trip outside of Italy, to Cologne, Germany for the 20th World Youth Day. That a Catholic youth gathering is now a
global event worthy of such attention is a testament to Pope John Paul II; now the trip is presented as a sort of “test” for Benedict.
When the new pope was announced, Catholic Answers staffers were crammed into the office's conference room eagerly watching the television reports of the event (and nearly blew the roof off with cheers when Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger was announced as Pope). In the hubbub that followed, I exclaimed that the upcoming World Youth Day was being held in Cologne, Germany, and a coworker commented that perhaps a positive spirituality is developing around World Youth Day.
Well, Pope Benedict XVI is now in Cologne, Germany ....
To amuse myself, I went to Google News....
Searches resulted in:
+"world youth day" +gay 180 stories
+"world youth day" +abortion 176 stories
+"world youth day" +condoms 139 stories
+"world youth day" +eucharist 42 stories [which a couple days later was overtaken by beer which rocketed to 56 while the Eucharist was at 51]
+"world youth day" +beer 5 stories
+"world youth day" +ferret 1 story
In his homily at the Mass concluding World Youth Day, Benedict challenged the crowd of one million gathered on the Marienfeld plain outside Cologne to submit to God, not as a denial of their freedom, but as an embrace of a truth that saves.
"Freedom is not simply about enjoying life in total autonomy, but rather about living by the measure of truth and goodness, so that we ourselves can become true and good," he said.
He took square aim at what is sometimes called "cafeteria Catholicism" -- the tendency of believers to pick and choose among church teachings, constructing their own system.
Since LifeSiteNews.com broke the story of the pro-abortion United Nations representative Eveline Herfkens who was to speak at World Youth Day, there has been a flurry activity to protest the move. Numerous LifeSiteNews.com readers, Human Life International, and the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute lobbied Cardinals and World Youth Day organizers in Germany to put a stop to the scandal. (See the original LifeSiteNews.com story here: http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2005/aug/05080908.html )
More than 1,000 Roman Catholic youths gathered in Baghdad to celebrate World Youth Day and ask for the pontiff's blessing "at this most difficult time for our country," the Vatican said Saturday.
Pope Benedict XVI, who is in Germany for the Catholic youth festival, received the Iraqi youths' message "with joy and commotion," the Vatican said.
Although the Pope's speech was delivered to Muslims, his real audience is inevitably going to be the West in general and Christians in particular. Realistically, Benedict's message will reach ordinary Muslims only at third hand in a heavily distorted way; it can hardly be expected to sway them. But the signal it sends to the West, at least to those who look up to him as a moral and religious leader, is that here is something we cannot look away from. Ambiguous though it may be, his message has run the PC blockade.
Therefore, the Pope seems to say to the Muslims in the room, survival is in our hands and that means yours too.
"You guide Muslim believers and train them in the Islamic faith. Teaching is the vehicle through which ideas and convictions are transmitted. Words are highly influential in the education of the mind. You, therefore, have a great responsibility for the formation of the younger generation."
Saturday, August 20, 2005
Legacy by Steve Wood
Christian Fatherhood by Steve Wood
Searching for and Maintaining Peace: A Small Treatise on Peace of Heart by Jacques Philippe
Continually reading something by Pope Benedict XVI, Fr. James V. Schall, SJ, Msgr. Luigi Giussani, Bernard Lewis, and whatever I can find that deals with Islam and how the violence/terrorism of today's militant Muslims (those that might be called "Islamists" to distinguish them from other Muslims) relates to the survival of the West.
and my ongoing, never-ending quest to understand metaphysics just a tad bit more:
Wisdom in the Face of Modernity: A Study in Thomistic Natural Theology by Fr. Thomas Joseph White, OP
And periodically as they come in:
Cucina Italiana magazine
First Things journal
Nova et Vetera journal
From a sermon by St. Bernard, abbot
I love because I love, I love that I may love
Love is sufficient of itself, it gives pleasure by itself and because of itself. It is its own merit, its own reward. Love looks for no cause outside itself, no effect beyond itself. Its profit lies in its practice. I love because I love, I love that I may love. Love is a great thing so long as it continually returns to its fountainhead, flows back to its source, always drawing from there the water which constantly replenishes it. Of all the movements, sensations and feelings of the soul, love is the only one in which the creature can respond to the Creator and make some sort of similar return however unequal though it be. For when God loves, all he desires is to be loved in return; the sole purpose of his love is to be loved, in the knowledge that those who love him are made happy by their love of him.
The Bridegroom’s love, or rather the love which is the Bridegroom, asks in return nothing but faithful love. Let the beloved, then, love in return. Should not a bride love, and above all, Love’s bride? Could it be that Love not be loved?Rightly then does she give up all other feelings and give herself wholly to love alone; in giving love back, all she can do is to respond to love. And when she has poured out her whole being in love, what is that in comparison with the unceasing torrent of that original source? Clearly, lover and Love, soul and Word, bride and Bridegroom, creature and Creator do not flow with the same volume; one might as well equate a thirsty man with the fountain.
What then of the bride’s hope, her aching desire, her passionate love, her confident assurance? Is all this to wilt just because she cannot match stride for stride with her giant, any more than she can vie with honey for sweetness, rival the lamb for gentleness, show herself as white as the lily, burn as bright as the sun, be equal in love with him who is Love? No. It is true that the creature loves less because she is less. But if she loves with her whole being, nothing is lacking where everything is given. To love so ardently then is to share the marriage bond; she cannot love so much and not be totally loved, and it is in the perfect union of two hearts that complete and total marriage consists. Or are we to doubt that the soul is loved by the Word first and with a greater love?
Thursday, August 18, 2005
The faith should be proclaimed by believers "from this land in the heart of Europe, a Europe which owes so much to the Gospel and its witness down through the centuries," the pontiff said.
"It's an extraordinary event when the youth of all parts of the world and all cultures come together in unity in the search for truth, unity in the love of Jesus Christ," [the Holy Father] said.
"With great joy I find myself, for the first time since my election to the chair of St. Peter, in my beloved homeland," Pope Benedict said. "I thank God, who has made it possible for me to begin my pastoral trips outside Italy with this visit to the land of my birth."
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
Wow, I don't even know where to start. I suppose I should start with Iraq, because I am here right now. So you say Saddam had no WMD's? Perhaps you should ask the hundreds of thousands of Iranians, Kuwaitis, Kurds and Iraqis that suffered their wrath. So you say that Saddam Hussein didn't have links to terrorism? We have arrested dozens and dozens of members of Al Queida members in Iraq, not to mention the foreign fighters coming in from Afghanistan, Iran, Syria and Jordan all linked to various terror cells. If any of you really cared about what was happening in Iraq you would attempt to educate yourselves a little bit. Since the invasion the U.S. and other members of the coalition have helped accomplish the following: Build over 3,000 schools, now there are over 20,000 schools up and running with over 6,000,000 students being taught by over 300,000 teachers. We have given life saving vaccinations to over 3,000,000 children. Over 26,000 Iraqi businesses have been started. The Iraqi people have received over $25 billion dollars in oil revenues. Over 1,000 construction projects have been completed and 2,500 projects are underway. There are over 76,000 soldiers in the new Iraqi Army, another 12,000 in training. There are over 92,000 Iraqi Police Officers on the streets with 3,500 coming out of training every day. Iraq's stock exchange has been up and running for over a year. Not to mention a ruthless tyrant has been jailed and a nation liberated.
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
This movie is worth supporting for a variety of reasons. Most important of these reasons is showing support for the more accurate production of war movies. There are the intentionally anti-war (or perhaps I should say anti-current-war) programs like Over There (here and here too). However, The Great Raid is supposed to be something different.
According to Yahoo! Movies,
Set in the Philippines in 1945, "The Great Raid" tells the true story of the 6th Ranger Battalion, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Henry Mucci (Benjamin Bratt) who undertake a daring rescue mission against all odds. Traveling thirty miles behind enemy lines, the 6th Ranger Battalion aims to liberate over 500 American prisoners-of-war from the notorious Cabanatuan Japanese POW camp in the most audacious rescue ever.
To show support for this movie (and support for our troops, lest anyone read into the low numbers of folks viewing this movie as some sort of apathy or anti-attitude towards the war), go see it and do it this weekend. And next weekend too. Let's make it the next two weekends: Aug. 19-21 and Aug. 26-28.
Spread this around the blogosphere: see The Great Raid the next two weekends.
Send a message to the film industry about the types of movies we will support: the good ones with more accurate portrayals of our nation's past events, especially those that entailed extreme sacrifice and courage ... and moreso when these events happened while in the pursuit of doing good for others.
The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) specializes in constitutional law and is based in Washington, D.C.
Through our work in the courts and the legislative arena, the ACLJ is dedicated to protecting your religious and constitutional freedoms.
In addition to providing its legal services at no cost to our clients, the ACLJ focuses on the issues that matter most to you – national security, protecting America’s families, and protecting human life. You can learn more about our work through Jay Sekulow Live! -- our daily radio broadcast and through ACLJ This Week -- a nationally broadcast weekly television program.
Sunday, August 14, 2005
O that you would kiss me with the kisses of your mouth! For your love is better than wine, your anointing oils are fragrant, your name is oil poured out; therefore the maidens love you. Draw me after you, let us make haste. The king has brought me into his chambers. We will exult and rejoice in you; we will extol your love more than wine; rightly do they love you.
Meanwhile, Peg C sent me this video link of India Co. 3/1 swinging the pipe in Fallujah last year. Do yourself a favor and watch it if only so you can see the kind of jeopardy our troops are putting themselves in to keep us safe here at home.
Thursday, August 11, 2005
Europe’s Crisis of Culture
by Cardinal Josef Ratzinger
A translation of the lecture given in Italian by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XIV, in the convent of Saint Scholastica in Subiaco, Italy, the day before Pope John Paul II died. This lecture took place April 1, when he received the St. Benedict Award for the promotion of life and the family in Europe. (Translation by the Rome-based Catholic news agency www.zenit.org)
We are living in a time of great dangers and great opportunities for man and the world; a time which is also of great responsibility for us all. During the past century man's possibilities and his dominion over matter grew by truly unthinkable measures. However, his power to dispose of the world has been such as to allow his capacity for destruction to reach dimensions which at times horrify us. In this connection, the threat of terrorism comes spontaneously to mind, this new war without boundaries or fronts.
Above all, that of which we are in need at this moment in history are men who, through an enlightened and lived faith, render God credible in this world. The negative testimony of Christians who speak about God and live against him, has darkened God's image and opened the door to disbelief. We need men who have their gaze directed to God, to understand true humanity. We need men whose intellects are enlightened by the light of God, and whose hearts God opens, so that their intellects can speak to the intellects of others, and so that their hearts are able to open up to the hearts of others.
Only through men who have been touched by God, can God come near to men. We need men like Benedict of Norcia, who at a time of dissipation and decadence, plunged into the most profound solitude, succeeding, after all the purifications he had to suffer, to ascend again to the light, to return and to found Montecasino, the city on the mountain that, with so many ruins, gathered together the forces from which a new world was formed.
In this way Benedict, like Abraham, became the father of many nations. The recommendations to his monks presented at the end of his "Rule" are guidelines that show us also the way that leads on high, beyond the crisis and the ruins.
"Just as there is a bitter zeal that removes one from God and leads to hell, so there is a good zeal that removes one from vices and leads to God and to eternal life. It is in this zeal that monks must exercise themselves with most ardent love: May they outdo one another in rendering each other honor, may they support, in turn, with utmost patience their physical and moral infirmities . . . May they love one another with fraternal affection . . . Fear God in love . . . Put absolutely nothing before Christ who will be able to lead all to eternal life" (Chapter 72).
At least 80 wealthy liberals have pledged to contribute $1 million or more apiece to fund a network of think tanks and advocacy groups to compete with the potent conservative infrastructure built up over the past three decades.
Friday, August 05, 2005
For 60 years the United States has agonized over its unleashing of the world’s first nuclear weapon on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. President Harry Truman’s decision to explode an atomic bomb over an ostensible military target — the headquarters of the crack Japanese 2nd Army — led to well over 100,000 fatalities, the vast majority of them civilians.
Postwar generations argued over whether the two atomic bombs, the fire raids, or the August Soviet invasion of Manchuria — or all three combined — prompted Japan to capitulate, whether Hiroshima and Nagasaki were a stain on American democracy, or whether the atomic bombs were the last-gasp antidote to the plague of Japanese militarism that had led to millions of innocents butchered without much domestic opposition or criticism from the triumphalist Japanese people.
But our own generation has more recently once again grappled with Hiroshima, and so the debate rages on in the new age of terrorism and handheld weapons of mass destruction, brought home after an attack on our shores worse than Pearl Harbor — with more promised to come. Perhaps the horror of the suicide bombers of Japan does not seem so distant any more. Nor does the notion of an extreme perversion of an otherwise mainstream religion filling millions with hatred of a supposedly decadent West.
The truth, as we are reminded so often in this present conflict, is that usually in war there are no good alternatives, and leaders must select between a very bad and even worse choice. Hiroshima was the most awful option imaginable, but the other scenarios would have probably turned out even worse.
I first read a Harry Potter novel so I could explain to my older daughter why we don’t read junk like that. As a daddy to seven children whom we homeschool, I decided we wouldn’t have anything to do with Harry after a co-worker had recommended these stories (with no little enthusiasm!) about an English boy who goes to a school to learn witchcraft and wizardry.
President of General Assembly Defends Exclusion of Pro-Life Groups.
The President of the UN General Assembly has responded to complaints from the US Mission that conservative and pro-life NGOs were excluded from recent consultations with the General Assembly in preparation for the upcoming Millennium Development Summit. In a letter sent to the former acting US Ambassador to the UN, Anne Patterson, and obtained by the Friday Fax, Jean Ping denied that pro-life or conservative organizations were denied entry to the hearings on the basis of their beliefs.
William L. Saunders, Jr., a Senior Fellow and Director of the Center for Human Life and Bioethics at the Family Research Council, said Ping's definition of diversity is, at the very least, narrow. "The liberal definition of diversity holds that as long as there is racial, or ethnic, or geographic, or gender diversity, you have real diversity," Saunders said. "But that is not true. Real diversity is diversity of opinion."
Thursday, August 04, 2005
From yesterday's "Best of the Web Today" (James Taranto):
"A 13-year-old giant panda gave birth to a cub at San Diego Zoo, but a second baby died in the womb, officials said Wednesday."--Associated Press, Aug. 3
"A cancer-ravaged woman robbed of consciousness by a stroke has given birth after being kept on life support for three months to give her fetus extra time to develop."--Associated Press, Aug. 3
Monday, August 01, 2005
Dennis is interviewing Steve Forbes, author of Flat Tax Revolution. The flat tax discussion is on from 10 am - 11 am (PST). In other words, for another 30 minutes from time this posts. Go listen.
What do you think of the flat tax?