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Memorial Day: Remember the Fallen

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Child saluting United States flag
Thank you to all the brave men and women of the Armed Services who made the greatest sacrifice so that we may enjoy the freedoms and liberties that come with being a citizen of the greatest country in the world. We owe you a debt of extreme gratitude as you are the ones who protect our our most unalienable Rights: Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Thank You.

(Photo: respres)

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21 Responses to “Memorial Day: Remember the Fallen”

  1. ChristianPF says:

    I agree, thanks for the reminder – the day off is great, but I so much more appreciate the sacrifice that our soldiers have made for our freedom…

  2. Andrew says:

    By what objective measure is the US the greatest country in the world? I agree it’s above average, but wouldn’t the average working-class person be better off in northern Europe? We are at the top of the rich-country league table in infant mortality and bottom in life expectancy.

    None of this is meant to denigrate the sacrifices that our soldiers have made in fighting for our country, but all this “We’re the greatest country in the world” propaganda is not really true, just rhetoric to keep the working classes from rioting in the streets while the rich get richer.

    I find it ironic how most of the “America: Love it or leave it” crowd consists of people who don’t really have that option, as they don’t have the requisite education and skills to get visas to other rich countries. In contrast, my highly-educated liberal friends and I, who could easily get visas to work in Germany or the Netherlands, choose to stay here. I guess we liberals really DO love America. Go figure.

    • Jim says:

      Well, my statement wasn’t based on anything object and something entire subjective. I think the United States is great because the working class can succeed and I’m proof of it. My parents emigrated from Taiwan, started in the United States with very little, and were able to send both of their kids to college and then onto very happy and fulfilling lives.

      The rich didn’t magically gain their wealth, they earned it too.

      • Andrew says:

        Emigrating from a poor country to a rich one is a good way to better your (or your children’s) chances of success, and I admire and respect people who did that. My own great grandparents were poor European Jews who moved to New York in the late 19th century and had a son and a daughter. The daughter died in her teens in the Spanish flu epidemic, but the son, my grandfather, put himself through college and medical school driving a milk truck and became a doctor.

        However, that story is hardly unique to the United States. Immigrants have built successful lives and raised successful children in rich countries all around the world. Those rich countries have better social safety nets, lower infant mortality, and higher life expectancy.

        As for how the rich got their wealth, some gained it through hard work and sacrifice, some through inheritance, and some through shady business practices and crime. I suspect that’s true in all countries, not just the United States.

    • thomas says:

      Andrew,
      Try buying groceries in a communist country. Try getting a job. Try starting your own business. Try getting a higher education. Try buying a vehicle. Try going out to dinner. Try getting a Visa to work in the US from another country. Try not being signed up by the military in your teenage years. You mention infant mortality rates – try getting medical attention in another country. Life expectancy? Who would want to live longer in the conditions and government oppression in other countries. There is a reason our borders are crossed every day. People are escaping from personal and government persecution and are looking to finally live and provide for themselves.

      It’s people like you who give Americans a bad name/reputation. My guess is that you are a person who has made a series of bad choices in their life and instead of blaming yourself, you blame others. You say “It’s not my fault! I didn’t have the opportunities as others.” You then feel that it’s the Government’s job to make “right” by you.

      Simply put, Andrew, this country was founded on principles of freedom and personal liberty. That is something very rare in this world. For over 230 years we have fought the fight against oppression and tyranny.

      You see, Andrew, it’s people like you and other Democrats who are holding America back. You are a group of enablers, who pray upon the poor class and tell them “Government is here to help you! We’ll take care of you.” But in the meanwhile you simply provide a crutch and award others for bad decisions, making them even more dependent on the one thing our Founding Fathers wanted to avoid – Government control.

      So, I thank our men and women who served this Country to provide the opportunity for me to have the life I have. The Free Market and Capitalist system will always be better than a Socialist/Communist society.

      Typical Liberal – taking something as simple as thanking a troop and stirring S up.

      Apologies to Jim if I take away from this post.

      • Andrew says:

        First of all, I was comparing the US to other rich, democratic countries, not communist countries, so your argument is a straw man.

        Second, you are wrong about me. I have made excellent choices and also had very good luck, and I am financially well off. Of course, if I become seriously ill and require expensive medical care and can no longer work, that will all change.

        I agree that capitalism is the best economic system. I was merely pointing out that objectively, the US is not the best country on earth. Countries where people are happiest tend to be those with vibrant economies coupled with a social safety net.

        • thomas says:

          And where does Germany, since you did mention them, rank on a personal freedom scale? Or inventive scale? What about ethnic diversity? US GDP = 46k per capita, Germany 32k. The US has almost 4x the population size and GDP over 1000x. And please stick the life expectancy stat up your you know what – it’s not even a year difference between US and Germany, and 2 years difference to be in the top 5.

          Oh yeah, let’s not forget that 70 years ago we bashed Germany and only by our benevolence did we not wipe them out of existence. Would your great Germany be as so kind?

          You have weak arguments and poor points to come to any conclusion. I suggest you get a library card membership and read on facts before posting your ignorance online.

          And the stories of people coming from nothing and becoming more is the backbone and heart of this great country.

          Your trivialization of becoming wealthy is another shortcoming of yours. less than 10% of multimillionaires cited inheritance as their source of wealth. Additionally, the top 1% wealthiest only claim 9% as inherited. Plain old millionaires? Only 2%.

          Please stop talking now, as it’s becoming very difficult to figure out if I’m stepping in “it” or your sciolism.

          • Andrew says:

            Our life expectancy and infant mortality stats are similar to those of Singapore, a middle-income country which spends as much on health care per capita as we spend on health care _administration_ per capita.

            I never suggested Germany was “great.” Again, you can’t refute the facts, so you pick a straw man argument. If you’re going to argue, you should learn the rules of how to do so.

            I have not one but seven library cards.

            Stories of people coming from nothing and becoming more are commonplace in all rich, democratic countries, including this one.

            If you’re accusing me of being a socialist, you’re incorrect. I do believe in a social safety net to help protect people from some of the ravages of the capitalist system which exists to produce great amounts of wealth. I also believe in equality of opportunity. I do not believe in equality of income, wealth, or outcomes.

            Where do you get your figures about inherited wealth? They _feel_ inaccurate to me, but if you could cite some reliable sources, I might change my mind.

            And I’ll stop talking when I feel like it or when the blog owner stops approving my comments, not when you tell me to.

  3. Joe says:

    I would just add the US is ranked 37th in health care. And also the red southern states are among the biggest recipients of federal money.

  4. Andrew says:

    I might also point out, Thomas, that only one of us feels the need to resort to _ad hominem_ attacks. It’s fine to disagree with me, in fact I expect that many (if not most) people will, but I’d be more interested in hearing your counter-arguments to my points than in name-calling.

  5. Christy says:

    Here is a link to great Memorial Day tribute video that was in another pot in my inbox today… This is what it’s all about………

    Simply remember…….

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wOih0MHNmZU

  6. thomas says:

    ad hominem? Really? I’ve pointed to each one of your contentions and provided alternative and factual rebuttal. Because I follow up doubting your character does not divert from the conversation at hand.

    The millionaire fact is from here – http://blogs.wsj.com/wealth/2008/01/14/the-decline-of-inherited-money/ I don’t make up facts or present random nonsense to prove my points.

    Did I say socialism? No, I said sciolism. Maybe you should use one of your seven library cards to go look it up.

    So what is your answer, Andrew? Government controlled health care? That’s going to rocket the US to a higher LE and prove you right?

    I’m trying to understand what your argument and or point is as you randomize your replies jumping from point to point. Is this dialogue about the US not being great, or is it about health care?

    • Andrew says:

      I had never heard the word sciolism before. Could you not have chosen a more commonly-used word or phrase that didn’t look like a typographical error for socialism? My apologies for misunderstanding you.

      I’m not for or against government-controlled health care. I’m for more efficient health care to which everyone has access. The Netherlands does this through private insurance, and it works quite well, because everyone has to buy into the system, and those who are too poor to do so are provided subsidies to allow them to participate. A system that includes the young and healthy spreads the risk around the population and keeps costs manageable. It makes no difference who manages it. Americans appear to be unique in their utter unwillingness to pay anything as long as they are healthy, coupled with their unwavering demand to be cared for at great public expense the moment anything goes wrong. In this respect we are truly a nation of five-year-olds. In other respects, we fare better.

      I never said the US is not great. I said it’s not objectively the greatest country in the world.

      You have every right to attack my character as well as (or in addition to) my arguments, but by doing so you pretty much guarantee that I won’t be persuaded by your reasoning.

      As for the Wall Street Journal article that you cited, which does indeed state that “less than 10% of multimillionaires cited inheritance as their source of wealth,” this sounds as though millionaires were self-reporting the source(s) of their wealth. Of course people are going to underreport the extent to which they got where they are due to inheritance. That’s the myth of American self-sufficiency that comes from watching too many Western movies. I’d like to see actual figures and not self-reported ones.

      I for one have wealth due to my own savings and shrewd investments as well as inheritance. The inheritance and its growth make up more than half of my wealth, and I freely admit that I would be far worse off if I had only what my own efforts have reaped. Even with my inherited wealth I am far from wealthy, but barring any unforeseen hardships, I am comfortably off. One life-threatening illness coupled with unemployment could end that forever, though, and I suspect that’s true for most people who are not Bill Gates rich.

      The life expectancy and infant mortality statistics I cited were just two areas in which America is quite demonstrably not the greatest country in the world. It may be the country you prefer to live in, and that’s fine (I like it here, too), but when people just reflexively spew that “greatest country in the world” mantra, it seems counterproductive to me. After all, if we’re the greatest country in the world, we can just stop trying to make things better and completely ignore the experience of other countries, right?

      The myth of America is that the average person has a statistically significant chance of becoming very wealthy. If you ask Americans, “Is your income in the top 1% of all Americans?” a staggering 19% respond in the affirmative. Because of this utter disconnect from reality, we’re willing to forego a meaningful social safety net for an infinitesimal chance that we’ll be the next Bill Gates. It reminds me of the Simpsons episode where the nuclear plant workers gave up their health insurance in exchange for a pinball machine in the break room, only when it’s real it’s a lot less funny.

  7. thomas says:

    I might also point out, Andrew, that I have not called you a single name. Unless you consider Liberal to be one, which I’m sure most people do.

  8. Andrew says:

    You may not have “called me a name,” but you attacked my character and integrity rather than advancing counterarguments. You’ll find that I did not do the same. Generally, when people resort to _ad homimen_ attacks, it’s a sign that (a) they have nothing better at their disposal, or (b) they’re not skilled at critical thinking and persuasive argumentation. Either way, it’s not very persuasive. Let’s just agree to disagree.

  9. Patrick says:

    We often forgot too often about those who are constantly protecting us. Arguing about how great of a country America is completely off topic of this post. Regardless of how you feel about America, we should still show respect for those who are serving in our military.

  10. barry says:

    holy crap people. can’t someone express their appreciation for people that literally laid down their lives for what THEY believed was “right”, without dissenters having to, just because they CAN, pounce on people for feeling that way?

    sheesh!

    • Andrew says:

      I never “pounced” on anyone for feeling any way. I feel the exact same way, as I stated above. Even the 10th or 20th greatest country in the world would be well worth risking one’s life for, right?

      • barry says:

        you and i sir, have a different definition of “pounce” then.

        and…now that this wonderfully sentimented thread has been utterly hijacked, I’m done.

    • Andrew says:

      I feel compelled to point out that our nation’s mortal enemies ALSO laid down their lives for what they _believed_ was right, though it wasn’t. I don’t appreciate their efforts or their sacrifice, and I bet you don’t either. Laying down your life for what _is_ right is admirable, though.


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