Tom's Thoughts

Location: Granite Falls, North Carolina, United States

I'm an ordained United Methodist minister no longer pastoring churches, a former media producer with skills ten years out of date, a writer trying to sell my first novel, and a sales associate keeping body and soul together working for the People's Republic of Corporate America. I'm married to the most wonderful woman in the world, who was my best friend for 17 years before we married.

Friday, August 27, 2010

On Blaming our Fellow Victims

The latest incident is the attack on the cab driver because said cab driver was a Muslim.

I remember a Texas man killing a Sikh because he thought the man was a Muslim. 

Between those two incidents of domestic terrorism (which is exactly what they were) the rhetoric has been rising against Muslims in America.  The agitation over a Muslim-run community center two blocks from the former World Trade Center site, you know, out there where the OTB parlors and strip clubs are, where the deluded masses are calling the "Ground Zero Mosque," even though it is not at Ground Zero and it's not a mosque, is another manifestation of the evil spirit of our times.  (For those, like me, who are unfamiliar with New York City culture and mindset, I have it on good authority from those who live there that two blocks there is like two miles anywhere else.  The one time I visited, plus the years I lived three blocks from the worst drug-infested corner in Fayetteville, N. C., I can believe it.)

I remember when the Israeli forces attacked the humanitarian flotilla, and thought then of the time a friend of mine said, "The Germans had a problem called the Jews.  Israel has a problem called the Palestinians."

Now, it seems, America has a problem called the Muslims.  I see the same anti-Muslim prejudice coming out that manifested itself in Nazi Germany.  It is a Satanic spirit infecting our times, causing us to forget everything America stands for, especially freedom of religion. 

After all, we don't protest new Protestant churches in Oklahoma City because Timothy McVeigh was a Protestant.  Yet we get all bent out of shape over Muslims in our country because the criminals who hijacked the four planes on 9/11 were Muslims.  Both sets of criminals--the Oklahoma City bombers and the 9/11 hijackers were using violent means to protest America's system of government and commerce.  Yet it is only the Muslims who get the brunt of our prejudice now.

Of course, part of it is the news media from which people get their information about what's going on.  I keep reading and hearing about how the mainstream Muslim community doesn't condemn the violence of the lunatic fringe represented by al Qaeda.  But I have read over and over about leaders of the mainstream Muslim denominations condemning the violent streak manifested by 9/11.  I just haven't heard it from the American corporate media.  I guess that's grist for another rant.

So the situation we have now is playing directly into the hands of those who would exploit our prejudices to advance themselves at the expense of the welfare of the American public.  Just as the Nazis did in the 1930s, the same kind of people are stirring up Americans' anger against their fellow victims--illegal immigrants, Muslims, and whatever other unpopular minority they can come up with next--so they can distract us from the way they are profiting at our expense.  We keep sucking up to the rich (as condemned by the Bible throughout) and blaming our fellow victims (which the Bible also condemns), while the big hogs keep fattening themselves with our help.

Maybe we deserve what we get if we decide to be that stupid.

Saturday, August 21, 2010


I want to declare, if I haven't already, that I am neither liberal nor conservative, but I am interested in facts--and the truth those facts lead to.  So I care about what works, and what has been proven to work.  If a program doesn't work, it should be discarded, and if it does it should be maintained, regardless of which party put it into place.

Now, it may appear that I'm going over the same territory over and over, but I keep hearing the same tired arguments and no good rebuttals.

So once again I'll talk about it.

If it has happened I wish someone would tell me when:  When has there been a tax cut for the rich that wasn't followed by a recession, and when has there been an era of higher taxes on the rich that did not have prosperity?

In the Eisenhower era the top marginal tax rate was 90% or better, and so to avoid higher taxes industrialists put more money into their plants and people.  As a result, there were plenty of jobs, and people prospered.

In the Johnson Administration there was an income surtax, and we paid for Vietnam escalation and balanced the budget.  The minimum wage was $11 an hour, adjusted for inflation.

Nixon took the surtax off and we had a recession.  Or two.

Reagan cut taxes for the rich and we had a recession.  He signed the biggest tax increase in history and we had prosperity.

Bush cut taxes for the rich and we had the recession that brought Bill Clinton to the White House.

Clinton raised taxes on the richest 2% of society and we prospered.

Bush II cut taxes on the rich and we went into a recession from which we still haven't recovered, yet the Republicans want to make these tax cuts permanent.  Can we not look at what works?  Tax cuts don't.

Now for something completely different:

My T-shirt store is now open: