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Thought for the day

Re: the Obamacare, shutdown, budget, default and debt ceiling debates…

I’m sick and tired of people who say that if you debate and disagree with this administration, somehow you’re not patriotic. We need to stand up and say we’re Americans, and we have the right to debate and disagree with any administration.

Oh wait, did I say that? Or some jihadist American Taliban terrorist bomb-throwing hostage-taking TeaBaggerParty Ted Cruz-loving anarchist wingnut grandmother, maybe?

No, it was Hillary Clinton saying it about an earlier administration that was quaintly civil to its critics, compared to the present one.

The “dream deeply rooted in the American dream”

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 1:18 pm - August 28, 2013.
Filed under: American History,Patriotism

Today, we celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of one of the greatest speeches in American history:

Is the U.S. building the new ‘Berlin Wall’?

At Sovereign Man, Simon Black writes about the rising number of Americans who want to renounce citizenship – and the increasing roadblocks they face.

A massive 1,131 individuals renounced their US citizenship last quarter…Compared to the same quarter last year in which 188 people renounced their US citizenship, this year’s number is over SIX TIMES higher. Not to mention, it’s 66.5% higher than last quarter’s 679 renunciations…

While still embryonic, it’s difficult to ignore this trend– more and more people are starting to renounce their US citizenship…

So what’s driving it? Taxes…and the search for liberty…Particularly for people who spend most of their time outside of the United States and are constantly hamstrung by [U.S.] worldwide taxation and information disclosure[ rules], the burden for many of them has just become too much to bear.

The US government figured this out some years ago and began charging an exit tax…This applies to anyone whose average US tax liability over the last five years was about $150,000 (the equivalent of roughly $500,000 in taxable income in 2012 dollars), and/or has a net worth of at least $2 million on the date of expatriation.

More on the exit tax, here. But it’s not just for rich people; the U.S. government also holds back the poor:

Renunciation of U.S. citizenship was free until July 2010, at which time a fee of $450 was established.

Get it? If you marry your foreign boyfriend and move abroad and join with his people, it is going to cost you – even if you are both minimum wage earners. So decrees President Obama.

Past generations viewed renunciation as a human right. From Simon Black again (and quoted also in a U.S. government document, here):

…in the “[Expatriation] Act of July 27, 1868″, the United States Congress declared that “the right of expatriation is a natural and inherent right of all people, indispensable to the enjoyment of the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

In other words: Even if renunciation might be a mistake and/or unpatriotic, they thought U.S. citizenship should be your choice. But the current U.S. government does not; in addition to the roadblocks described above, we even get the occasional rumor of people’s applications for renunciation being denied outright.

I remember President Reagan in 1987 saying “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” that had been built to keep East German citizens *in* that country. I also remember left-liberals in the 2004 election cycle, promising they’d leave America if Bush won. (Few of them did, or none.) I wonder what they’d say now?

God Bless America

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 1:51 pm - July 4, 2013.
Filed under: Holidays,Patriotism,Ronald Reagan

Ronald Reagan Celebrates American Independence

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 1:40 pm - July 4, 2013.
Filed under: Patriotism,Ronald Reagan

The Gipper honors the 4th.  Pay particular attention to what he says at 7:45.

H/t Instapundit.

Today’s Appalling Facebook Meme

Wow, just wow, is about all I can say in response to this piece of leftist rationalization which I saw today on Facebook.  It goes without saying that we’d be hearing something VERY DIFFERENT from this fellow if there was a Republican president.

The message here boils down to: freedom doesn’t matter, liberty doesn’t matter, rights don’t matter, and the most important role for government is to stand for “social justice.”  Here’s the link, but I’ve quoted the whole thing in its appalling entirety below:

Things I’m more worried about than my phone being tapped:
Global warming. The richest 1% controlling more wealth than the bottom 50%. Homelessness. Gutting the food stamp program. The rich hiding several Trillion untaxed dollars. Secretaries paying more in taxes than billionaires. Politicians being bought and sold. Malaria and starvation. More people per capita in prison than any other country. The “war” on drugs. More black men in prison than in college. Rising cost of education and health care. The rise of extremism. The continued oppression of women. The general lack of compassion in the world. The degree to which we all blame our problems on others and close our eyes to our own irrationality.
That more people are outraged by a small loss of privacy than any of these other issues.

Should I add “People who write in sentence fragments” to his list of outrages more “worrisome” than a government which spends all its time monitoring its people, or is that just my pet peeve?

Not surprisingly, the best responses to this kind of thing date to the founding of the Republic.  We’ve always got the classic from Benjamin Franklin: “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

But in this context, where the message is to sacrifice liberty for “social justice,” I think Sam Adams might be better, though trying to choose just one passage that is appropriate is rather like an embarrassment of riches.  I have long admired this one:

If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.

Perhaps this one is better: “If ever a time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin.”

And just in case the Obamalaise is getting to you, here’s one worth repeating regularly: “Nil desperandum, — Never Despair. That is a motto for you and me. All are not dead; and where there is a spark of patriotic fire, we will rekindle it.”

A Few Good Men, science fiction with a gay hero

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 1:12 am - March 5, 2013.
Filed under: Bibliophilia / Good Books,Patriotism

Last December when the e-book format of Sarah Hoyt’s A Few Good Men became available, I reviewed it here.  Now that the book is in general release, I re-post that review.  Click here to buy the book!  (Didn’t know until I got my copy that the book is dedicated to Glenn Reynolds.)

We gay men, like our straight counterparts,appreciate seeing images of ourselves in literature and film that correspond to a more idealized version of ourselves, not necessarily perfectly idealized, to be sure, but at least characters who have a (somewhat) noble demeanor and show a bit of derring-do — and maybe manifest a few of our flaws.  All too often alas, in literary fiction, we see too many gay men depicted as whiners, victims of an unfair society or, in mainstream and science fiction, as lonely people who live apart from their peers, rarely connecting with others and never succeeding in romance.

In Sarah Hoyt’s A Few Good Men, a science fiction novel set in a dystopian future on earth, , however,we have a gay hero who very much has that derring-do and even has a few of flaws common to most mortals, a man who suffers the loss of one lover, but finds in another both the companionship that we all crave and the encouragement that we all need.

A_Few_Good_Men_with_lettering

The book is a fast and a fun read. After receiving an advance copy electronically, I printed out various pages and read them as I did my cardio. So engaged was I in the book that I often found myself working out longer than I had intended.

The story moves quickly along from the outset when our hero, Lucius Dante Maximilian Keeva, or Luce, escapes from the secret prison, Never-Never at the bottom of the ocean. He was born to the aristocracy, the son of “Good Man”, each of whom runs a seacity, little fiefdoms built in the midst of the Atlantic.

Before his escape, he had tried to take his life and wondered why the wardens worked so hard to keep him alive. Given the tensions with his father, he thought the old man would be content just to see him die.

He talks constantly with Ben, whose older brother Samuel manages the family estate. Theirs is no ordinary form of communication. They had been lovers until Luce killed him to spare him the pain of further torture.  His late lover’s voice will guide him even after his escape.

Once a free man, Luce learns that both his father and brother have been killed, yet when he returns home to claim his own, he finds that things aren’t exactly as he imagined they would be when he wielded power.

As a Good Man himself, he starts to wonder how his late brother, when he briefly served as Good Man, came to act more like their father, even in his choice of bedroom decor and at the interest Samuel’s oldest son, Nathaniel takes in him.

This interest grows into much more than a friendship.  Soon Luce joins us with a secret sect to which his late lover and current “squeeze” belong.  Until Nat started teaching him about Usaians, Luce thought they were just part of a “religious sect” with “roots in a mythologizing of the old country that used to occupy much of the North American territories.”

In short, they want to restore the republic. Luce soon learns that many of his household staff had joined the movement and were named for the Founders, his first lover in honor of Benjamin Franklin, his second for the under-appreciated Revolutionary War general Nathaniel Greene.

A Few Good Men is thus the perfect book for gay patriots, a story about two men who fall in love while joining a rebellion that honors the Founders of our republic.  Not just that, it’s a fun-faced read, perfect to download to your kindle or iPad to entertain you while you work out.

The book’s strength is not just its patriotic themes, but that it tells the story of a gay man who is willing to risk his life for his beloved and his beliefs.  These gay men are portrayed not as whiny weaklings bemoaning their fact, but as confident leaders, willing to take charge of their destiny.  And Hoyt’s gay protagonist, instead of being a victim, becomes a hero, finding both a man to love and a cause to reverence.

A Few Good Men is a book to savor — and to celebrate.

A Few Good Men, science fiction with a gay hero

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 3:52 am - December 20, 2012.
Filed under: Bibliophilia / Good Books,Patriotism

We gay men, like our straight counterparts,appreciate seeing images of ourselves in literature and film that correspond to a more idealized version of ourselves, not necessarily perfectly idealized, to be sure, but at least characters who have a (somewhat) noble demeanor and show a bit of derring-do — and maybe manifest a few of our flaws.  All too often alas, in literary fiction, we see too many gay men depicted as whiners, victims of an unfair society or, in mainstream and science fiction, as lonely people who live apart from their peers, rarely connecting with others and never succeeding in romance.

In Sarah Hoyt’s A Few Good Men, a science fiction novel set in a dystopian future on earth, , however,we have a gay hero who very much has that derring-do and even has a few of flaws common to most mortals, a man who suffers the loss of one lover, but finds in another both the companionship that we all crave and the encouragement that we all need.

You won’t be able to buy a hard copy until March 5, but buy and download an e-book today or pre-order a copy on Amazon.  The e-book may, I understand, still have a few typographical errors.  So, if you want to read the perfectly proofed version, you’ll have to wait a few months.

A_Few_Good_Men_with_lettering

The book is a fast and a fun read. After receiving an advance copy electronically, I printed out various pages and read them as I did my cardio. So engaged was I in the book that I often found myself working out longer than I had intended.

The story moves quickly along from the outset when our hero, Lucius Dante Maximilian Keeva, or Luce, escapes from the secret prison, Never-Never at the bottom of the ocean. He was born to the aristocracy, the son of “Good Man”, each of whom runs a seacity, little fiefdoms built in the midst of the Atlantic. (more…)

Voting for revenge — or love of country?

I agree with Jim Geraghty who doesn’t “know how those few remaining undecided voters will react to this ad… but it strikes me as just the right tone, and contrast, to end this campaign.

A number of right-of-center bloggers have linked/embedded this, but I hat tip Jim on this one as I first saw it on his Campaign Spot.

Vote for love of country (& not for revenge)

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 1:48 am - November 3, 2012.
Filed under: 2012 Presidential Election,Patriotism

Here’s how Mitt Romney answered Obama’s comment today that “Voting is the best revenge.”

Happy Independence Day!

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 4:28 am - July 4, 2012.
Filed under: American History,Freedom,Holidays,Patriotism

On Flag Day, the Duke Salutes the Flag

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 4:08 pm - June 14, 2012.
Filed under: Great Men,Holidays,Patriotism

Happy Flag Day!

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 4:06 pm - June 14, 2012.
Filed under: Holidays,Patriotism

Americans honor our heroes

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 6:18 pm - June 7, 2012.
Filed under: Great Men,Patriotism

Watch the video below to see how a group of Americans at Reagan National Airport responded on May 23 when “a US Airways gate attendant announced that an Honor Flight of World War II veterans would be arriving momentarily“. Prior to the arrival of these heroes, they had no clue such men would be arriving and soon congregated at the gate to welcome some men who fought to, as one great man put it, “free a continent“. Note particularly the headline at 3:18:

Click here to read more about this, “the best flash mob ever“.

Of Maggie & Movies

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 12:54 am - December 24, 2011.
Filed under: Movies/Film & TV,Patriotism,Strong Women

In her column yesterday, Peggy Noonan demonstrated the qualities that have caused me to dub her the Athena of punditry:  she offers a particular feminine insight into recent cultural moments, a woman’s wisdom.

Just read her reflection on the death of Steve Jobs and wonder.

Although she is slightly critical of the soon-to-be-released movie about the greatest Western European politician in the past fifty years, contending it never grants the Iron Lady’s political views “any sympathetic legitimacy,” it does suggest “Mrs. Thatcher’s defiance of the snobs while depicting her defeat of the snobs.”

Noonan goes on to wonder why as “The left in America has largely thrown in the towel on Ronald Reagan, but in Britain Thatcher-hatred remains fresh”, contending it is because Mrs. Thatcher is a woman.  Is that it?

I don’t know.  Near all of my male conservative friends hold the Iron Lady in high regard, honoring her as we do the Gipper.  This applies to my straight male friends as well as my gay male friends.  But, maybe it’s different across the pond.

Finally, Peggy laments the decline in movies where “David Lean wouldn’t be allowed to make movies today, John Ford would be forced to turn John Wayne into a 30-something failure-to-launch hipster whose big moment is missing the toilet in the vomit scene in Hangover Ten.”  She ends with a quote from an Iraqi military officer whom she had asked to identify the big thing he’d come to believe about Americans in the years they’d been there:  ”You are a better people than your movies say.”

We are.  If only filmmakers today believed what their counterparts of a previous generation knew in their hearts to be true.  Americans are a good people.

It’s Peggy.  Read the whole thing.

Where are the films exposing the suffering under Islamofascism?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 10:59 pm - December 18, 2011.
Filed under: American History,Movies/Film & TV,Patriotism

The late Vaclav Havel was a voice of moral clarity on a continent confused by the various ideologies which arose as the threat of communism receded, indeed, which became chic even as those totalitarian regimes oppressed the citizens of nations in eastern and central Europe and challenged democratic republics in the western and southern regions of the continent.

There was a time when such men were commonplace in our society. Or at least when we honored men like him and the ideas they so eloquently expressed. We knew to call out oppressive ideologies for what they were — and warn our fellows of the threats followers of such ideologies posed to free societies like our own — and to men and women across the world.

During World War II, those who produced our entertainment understood the threat of fascism and called it what it was. In Watch on the Rhine, for example, Paul Lukas‘s Kurt Muller “I fight against fascism. That is my trade.”  And he wins and Oscar.

How many other films were produced in that era which had strong characters exposing the evils of that system, with characters like Lukas’s Muller who had suffered under it.  He was a German.  The system was evil and not the people (nor the nation itself).  (Am now watching Keeper of the Flame which seems to have a simlilar theme.)

So, this leads me to wonder where are the films where strong characters take a strong stand against Islamofascism?  And where are the characters, say an Iranian gay man, who suffered under such regimes and speak out strongly for their overthrow as they tell us how that system oppresses their fellow Persians.

Or a film depicting an Arab heroine fighting the ideology which prevents her from reaching her full potential while refusing to punish the men who rape her sisters..

Giving Thanks for the United States of America

I’m glad I stumbled upon this item in the Wall Street Journal today.

Any one whose labors take him into the far reaches of the country, as ours lately have done, is bound to mark how the years have made the land grow fruitful.

This is indeed a big country, a rich country, in a way no array of figures can measure and so in a way past belief of those who have not seen it. Even those who journey through its Northeastern complex, into the Southern lands, across the central plains and to its Western slopes can only glimpse a measure of the bounty of America.

And a traveler cannot but be struck on his journey by the thought that this country, one day, can be even greater. America, though many know it not, is one of the great underdeveloped countries of the world; what it reaches for exceeds by far what it has grasped.

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We can remind ourselves that for all our social discord we yet remain the longest enduring society of free men governing themselves without benefit of kings or dictators. Being so, we are the marvel and the mystery of the world, for that enduring liberty is no less a blessing than the abundance of the earth.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

Liberty: Our National Creed

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 1:06 am - July 6, 2011.
Filed under: American Exceptionalism,Freedom,Patriotism

The Statue of Liberty

Stride Toward Freedom

Battle Cry of Freedom

. . . land of the free. . .

God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God?

. . . the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

. . . secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity . . .

. . . with liberty’s lamp guiding your way . . .

. . .  a new nation, conceived in liberty . . .

. . . one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Let us swear allegiance to a land that’s free,

A thoroughfare for freedom beat

Who can make a similar speech today?

Obama’s Much Deserved Victory Lap

Even as information comes our showing Obama’s hesitation in the run-up to Sunday’s successful operation to kill Osama bin Laden and as the White House bungles in providing that information, the fact remains that the operation succeeded.  And that President Obama gave it the go-ahead.  While many people contributed to its success, most notably Navy SEALs, the president deserves a great deal of credit.  And I for one am hesitant to criticize him on this — or other matters — at present.

Let this be a moment of national unity when we all rejoice that the man who declared war on the United States first in 1996 and then again in 1998 has, thanks to our men at arms, lost the ability to declare war on anyone.  I agree with Allahpundit that it’s ”fitting” for the president to visit Ground Zero on Thursday to “mark Bin Laden’s demise by paying his respects on the public’s behalf. And if that respect-paying just so happens to produce a 24-karat photo op for his upcoming campaign, well, that’s his reward for icing the man Americans hate most.

That blogger eminds us that the immediate past president would likely have

. . . have done the same thing and, yes, unquestionably, the left would have screeched about “politicization,” but I would have taken his side then so I’ll take The One’s side now. So much goodwill has he earned in the last 24 hours, in fact, that not only are Republican leaders congratulating him but even — gasp — Donald Trump is patting him on the back.

The President of the United States should be allowed to get some political capital out of his accomplishments.  And yet when a Republican does it, we see the mainstream media castigate him for politicizing national security or whatnot.  Recall how back in 2004, when then-President George W. Bush released his first ad, the media went apoplectic that he used an image from 9/11 — as if it were blasphemy, violating some sacred compact, to show that good man’s determination in the face of attack. (more…)