Sunday, October 26, 2008

Barack Obama and Socialism

If you enjoy having weekends off, thank a socialist.
If you appreciate the eight-hour work day, thank a socialist.
If you approve of minimum wage, thank a socialist.

If you like living in a country where it's illegal to sell your child to a sweatshop for a dollar a week, you can be thankful that socialists, yes those are anti-capitalist, anti-free-market socialists, worked hard in the face of big business and government opposition to make that happen.

Do you like the fact that you don't have to step over sick homeless people on the way to your car? Do you feel thankful that hoards of starving orphans aren't begging you to carry your bag at the airport? Do you approve of the fact that elderly people don't have to die in the street if they run out of money?

Do you want to take a little trip to 19th century New York City and see what life was like before welfare, before labor laws, before publicly funded garbage disposal and street cleaning, before the government could tell you how to treat your children, before the government could tell you how to operate your factory safely, before the government could tell you how to wire and plumb your apartment building, before socialism?

I keep hearing, "I enjoy living in a capitalist country and I want to keep it that way! Don't you take my capitalism away from me!" Sister, you don't live in a capitalist country. Sorry. That has already been taken away from you. Along with children working in mines, tenements made out of cardboard, and unregulated air pollution. Do you miss all that? Is it just killing you that the terrible socialists with their wealth redistribution gave Medicaid to babies in poverty? After all, they didn't earn it. Their mothers couldn't afford it. In your sparkling, elegant capitalist society, they wouldn't have it. You want to be in charge of spending your own money, not giving it to the government to redistribute to the poor! Do you wish we could go back to a time when generous churches and noble private citizens were responsible for picking up the tab for those babies? Because you know what? They didn't. Read about it. It was ugly.

Do you drive on public roads? Are you glad that every child in the country has an opportunity to go to school? Do you like the fact that meat packers have to uphold certain standards in their factories to sell you a steak? You like paid vacation days? These are socialist principles, people. The USDA. The EPA. Where you see government regulating business for the benefit of the people, that's socialism. Where you see safety nets for poor people, old people, children, and sick people, that's socialism. You really want to get rid of all that?

The big businesses of this country did not suddenly one day wake up and say, "Hey, let's give those workers two days off a week. They've earned it!" They did not just announce, "You know, it's Tuesday, let's set a minimum wage!" They didn't establish a 9 to 5 work day just because 9 and 5 are good numbers for them. It goes against profit and the free market to be kind, safe, and fair, and yet those are the principles that I'm teaching my children to live by. Aren't you? Are you not teaching them to put profit first and step on whoever they have to step on to get there? Then guess what: you're not teaching them to be little capitalists. Sorry! But you're not.

I don't like to talk about religion on this blog, because for me religion is very private. But I will ask you this: What did Jesus say to Nicodemus? Did he say, "Gather up all your awesome money and all your possessions, put them in your SUV and follow me?" No, he told Nicodemus to give all his money away, then follow. Did Jesus say that heaven would be populated by fabulous capitalists who had grabbed their piece of the pie and hung on for dear life? No, he said it would be hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. We're deifying Joe the Plumber, who wants to hang on to his wealth, who wants to get ahead, who wants to grab his piece of the dream. Am I reading the same Bible you are? The first shall be last, and the last shall be first. What does that mean for Joe?

The latest news to go shrieking around the internet is that Barack Obama was a member of the New Party in Chicago. Before you get all lathered up about it, read about the party on Wikipedia and on their own web site. Did the New Party espouse a whole lot of socialist principles, like affordable housing and a living wage? Yes. But you know what? So do I. I don't consider myself a socialist, but I sure wouldn't want to consider myself a capitalist either.

If you want to make your mind up about Barack Obama, read his policies, study his plan, and make your decision based on what he has said he values and what he has said he will do. Getting scared about the word "socialist" is irrational. Before you run screaming into the night, look around you. Socialism has done a lot of good in your world. Are you afraid that Obama the socialist is going to make your working day shorter? Are you afraid he's going to make your food safer, give you more city parks, make your air cleaner, make your workplace safer, give more people voting rights, establish more vacation days, or something awful like that? Are you afraid he's going to keep us out of foreign wars, stop writing huge checks to big businesses, and improve our schools? Wow, yeah, that's terrifying.

I can't get excited about this socialism scare. For me, those are all good things.

Be kind. Be fair. Help people. Protect the weak.

Which of these excellent principles is capitalist again?

27 comments:

  1. Thank you, Thank you, THANK YOU!
    This post is going up on my blog now and then getting emailed to everyone I know!

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  2. Excellent post! I think the problem that the average American has with the Obama/Socialism issue is that when they hear the word "Socialism", they actually think the word "Communism". I'm sure if you asked one of those average Americans to explain the difference, they'd come up woefully short.

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  3. Beautifully put! I loved your elaboration!

    Personally, I've never understood why "Liberal" was a bad word either.

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  4. Damn! Well done!

    This line was great: "It goes against profit and the free market to be kind, safe, and fair, and yet those are the principles that I'm teaching my children to live by."

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  5. Oh, and by the way, which Virginia do you live in, the real one or the fake one?

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  6. Anonymous11:32 AM

    There are many Bible verses that say (in a nutshell) if you don't work, you don't eat--plain and simple. Check out Proverbs. And true religion is helping the widows and orphans (see James). Jesus was not a socialist! He never advocated giving your possessions to the government so they can redistribute it to lazy people! He said give your possessions to the poor.

    It is obvious that you aren't teaching your child/ren what I'm teaching mine. Despite what our country is becoming, I will teach my children to work hard and to have a dream (yes, of being rich if they want to). I just bemoan that their dreams can be squashed by liberals like you who would take away what they work hard for and then try to justify it with a blog like this.

    You don't say if you work, but I can almost guarantee you've never owned a business. Well, I did, and it turned over $1M per year in sales. You'd take half of that from me, wouldn't you? But you know what? My husband and I didn't cash our paychecks for 8 months so our employees could cash theirs. Just because we had that amount in sales, people thought we were rich! What they didn't know is that we barely made it and we worked many more hours in a day than I'll bet you ever have. And you'd take that from me!! It just angers me that you think this is ok. According to your blog, Joe the Plumber shouldn't be able to hang on to his wealth, shouldn't want to get ahead, shouldn't want to grab a piece of the dream. What kind of person are you that you think it's OK to take that from him?? {{{SHAKING HEAD}}} (Btw, Joe is not wealthy--he owes taxes to the gov't). But he surely has no incentive to open a business now, does he?

    Barack Hussein Obama will likely win due to the dead, underage, incarcerated, duplicate people that ACORN has fraudulently registered (a group monetarily supported by Obama, btw). I just wonder what's going to happen when the hard working, responsible people like me get sick of working for the lazy and just stop and stick out our hands like everyone else? Who's going to foot the bill then? Maybe you should ask Obama what his backup plan is.

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  7. I hate to blow your bubble, but socialism did not do all things you write. If you look at all countries that socialism was the rule, they ALL got it bad. Don't kid yourself, "spreading the wealth around" is at it's base, and your liberty will be taken away. How do I know?? I came from one such country.

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  8. Anonymous1:48 PM

    The Lydia Manifesto...very eloquent.

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  9. Socialism doesn't work.

    Obama does support it, though - that is a fact. Here's the latest news clip from One News Now:
    _______________________________
    Listen to an audio interview Obama gave in 2001 with Chicago Public Radio WBEZ.FM. In this interview Obama discusses the best way to bring about a redistribution of wealth, how the Warren Supreme Court interpreted the law and the fact that it wasn't terribly radical.

    During the discussion Obama says, "Generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties, says what the states can't do to you, says what the federal government can't do to you,but it doesn't say what the federal government or the state government must do on your behalf . . . because the civil rights movement became so court-focused, I think that there was a tendency to lose track of the political and community organizing and activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalitions of power through which you bring about redistributive change."

    Do you want government telling you that you HAVE TO GIVE YOUR HARD EARNED MONEY to support lazy people who refuse to go get jobs? illegals who have no right to be here?

    You invited me to talk socialism. I'm here for a second. I'm tired of this election and have no idea why someone could think it was OK for the government to FORCE you to give up what you have earned - when you already give them income tax, gas tax, sales tax, restaurant tax, auto taxes, property taxes... etc. What we need is FAIR TAX - not socialism! Give me a break. How much charity and tithe do you spend out of your income? I'm giving 10% to charity on top of the 30 that the govt. is already taking! Tell me, WHAT IS LEFT?

    I don't want to BE the people on the street. That's why govt. needs to be small! Let the people and the free market have their money - invent - create - have jobs - create jobs - and prosper! Then maybe so many destitute people wouldn't be in the bread line!

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  10. Hi Heather. :)

    You say socialism doesn't work, but our country is already a mixture of capitalism and socialism. Did you want to remove all of those socialist ideas that I listed in my post above? I think your desire for pure capitalism comes from ignorance of what that would actually look like.

    You were very irate that Obama voted against government-sponsored medical care for infants who survived a botched abortion. Are you saying you want those babies to die because their mothers are not able to afford their own health care? After all, you shouldn't have to pay for someone else's health care with your taxes, right? Do *you* support infanticide now?

    You say: Do you want government telling you that you HAVE TO GIVE YOUR HARD EARNED MONEY to support lazy people who refuse to go get jobs?

    Are you sure that everyone in need is a lazy person who refuses to get a job? I'm glad you're giving money via tithes and charity contributions, but clearly you haven't been among these people and haven't seen who they actually are. Tough to look at a crack baby and call her a lazy person who refuses to get a job. I'm "trying to to judge you right now," as you like to say. :) Your attitude is cruel and harsh, though. There are already checks and balances in the welfare system to prevent people from "living on the dole." Do your research.

    You say: You invited me to talk socialism. I'm here for a second.

    Welcome.

    You say: I'm tired of this election and have no idea why someone could think it was OK for the government to FORCE you to give up what you have earned.

    You're not willing to pay taxes? But then -- who needs a police force when you have a gun, right? :)

    You say: Let the people and the free market have their money - invent - create - have jobs - create jobs - and prosper! Then maybe so many destitute people wouldn't be in the bread line!

    Lots more people were "in the bread line" before welfare and other social programs. Did you read the post above? The free market isn't kind. It's not patient. It's not loving. It's not just. It's about profit and loss, not about people. People starve. People work in unsafe conditions. Cities rot. It's not pretty.

    Who do you think is employing all of those hated immigrants that have no right to be here? Free market capitalists. Cheap labor -- Hey, why not? Don't regulate! Who do you think is setting up factories in third world countries to avoid paying American salaries? Free market capitalists! Cheap labor -- free market! Don't you regulate them, now. :D

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  11. Thanks for this post. The changes you're talking about aren't really socialism, they're progressivism. The "s" word is purely a distraction.

    Few people living now suffered through life before the progressive movement, so it's easy to forget what it gave us.

    Also people can be convinced that the entire lower class are lazy abusers of social programs and, for that reason, we should do away with them completely.

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  12. Wow - I feel that you are totally twisting what I am saying and not sure exactly how you are getting the image you have, but here are my responses:

    Socialism takes away people's desire to work and create wealth. If you know you are going to get a hand out because some rich guy has too much money, why start a business of your own? If the government is going to take half of your profit, why make any? Do some research on Marx, Stalin, and the closeness that socialism has to communism. It is just one step away from having the government control and own everything.

    So you believe that because some kids out there don't have food and toys that your children should give up their food and toys? You first.

    Own land? Why? Because it is a free country. In a purely socialistic and communistic society, the government owns the land. You are the serf or the slave. We freed the slaves in this country only to have people vote us back in to slavery? That's what socialism is - slavery - because nothing you own is your own. It is all someone else's stuff. It is contrary to the constitution - we have a RIGHT to life and property!

    Most people in this country already feel for those in need and America is one of the world's greatest sponsors of nations and people in need - despite of our capitalism.

    My husband was on a union, I'm familiar to your "catch phrase". It is a union bumper sticker. I'm not saying that people didn't need to make changes to the greedy ways that things were handled before. But not everything you attribute to socialism is really that. Much of it is just changes that people saw that needed to be made and the voice of the people - through our free government - SPOKE and made changes.

    I'm not against Medicare or taking care of people who need help. You act like I'm some sort of rich person who has no feelings. I have relatives who are on government assistance. Some of which should NOT be (they probably could hold a job and would need less assistance if they did), others of which SHOULD (disabled/below poverty line). I'm not just pointing fingers - I have seen people abusing the system. Continuing to have children to get more money from the government when you have no way to provide for them on your own... taking other people's kids to get welfare (in the case of a grandparent who didn't want to work any more, so she stole her daughter's kids). Government handouts should be strict, but they should be available for those who truly need them. I'm not asking people to quit giving charity or even to stop welfare. And I think that if illegals come here, they should be prepared to pay taxes. If the government made them pay taxes so they would be supporting the weight of the economy and not just sucking (socialism) money off of legal Americans for free health, education, etc... then our economy wouldn't be so bad off. That's why a FAIR TAX works. Fair Tax was Huckabee's big discussion point. Fair Tax is Ron Paul's big discussion point. Tax EVERYONE the same - from the richest to the poorest. 15% of a million is going to be WAY more than 15% of 10,000. Therefore everyone pays equal. Illegals pay equal (because the tax is a sales tax instead of an income tax and the stupid IRS is done away with).

    We live paycheck to paycheck like most Americans. However, despite that, we manage to give to the causes we deem to be most helpful to others. I think you are drastically wrong about Christians and kind people NOT helping out. You should get a copy of Voice of the Martyrs, Christian Aid, Compassion International, Feed the Children, Samaritan's Purse, International Christian Concern, Operation Christmas Child, Angel Tree Ministries, and more. Read what people really are doing.

    I actually have a crack baby in my family, by the way. You assume a lot when you tell me I don't know the people that I talk about. She was adopted my family, anyway. People DO care. My attitude is NOT cruel. I just want to protect my freedoms and ensure that my children are not one day puppets to the government. Why bring children in to slavery?

    You asked me... "You're not willing to pay taxes?" Where in the world do you get that? I pay taxes! I'm not asking for government to stop taxing me. I'm asking them to tax me fairly! Forcing me to give money to planned parenthood is not fair. I don't believe in abortion. Forcing me to give money to the educational system that refuses to make sure its textbooks are truthful, refuses to allow parents to control whether their children are taught certain types of sexual things or religious things, and allows teacher unions to spend millions of dollars supporting the homosexual agenda (ie: California) is not fair. I should have a say what charities I support, what agenda I support, etc. Forcing me to pay over 25% of my income is not fair. Forcing me to pay and not forcing an illegal to pay is not fair. I have NEVER NOT paid Taxes. That is just a silly argument.

    I never said that all social programs that have been approved and sponsored by the people are bad. I never said I HATE immigrants, either. I had illegal neighbors next door to me for years and never turned them in. I let my kids play with their kids. But I hardly think it was fair that we were paying for our house on loan and they paid with CASH. I hardly think it is fair when I am scraping by to purchase bare necessities at the grocery store and I see illegals in Wal-Mart with a full cart browsing and buying toys!

    I also am not against regulation! I think our government has a place to regulate certain things. Pollution is one of them. I'm not against having a minimum wage, either. I worked for minimum wage when I was a kid. One of the reasons that capitalists are using foreign labor is because our government is not taxing imports. That isn't just the capitalists' fault.

    We have plenty of laws in place today that provide for those less fortunate. We don't need any more government help. The government is 85% of the PROBLEM. Look at the bail out! That's socialism for you - now the government owns the banks and we'll be paying off all those bad loans (socialism) that the government FORCED the capitalists to make. Look it up. Obama was one of the lawyers that sued banks because they didn't offer enough subprime loans.

    You have a big heart for others, and I admire that. So do I. I just feel that free people are a lot more giving and able to give than those who are in chains.

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  13. I love you and I want to marry you now :-P

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  14. Hi Lydia~
    You may have gotten a note from Spunky's blog about my comment to your comment, :) but I didn't want you to miss this. Your format inspired me, so I wrote my own mini-manifesta! Thanks again for the inspiration. click & enjoy!

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  15. Oh, I forgot. It's the one that's all about Joe.
    :)

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  16. Hi there,

    Found my way here via the comments on Heather's post about Barack Obama and SO GLAD THAT I DID!

    I am only disappointed that someone has already proposed marriage. Oh well, can I just be your friend? In fact, I read this post to my husband and his first comment was, "I want to be her friend." LOL!

    I am subscribing to your blog, making a cup of coffee and grabbing my bag of Green and Black fair trade chocolate that I found on clearance today at Target and settling in to read. This is a good day!

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  17. You're right. No one is calling Mr. McCain a 'capitalist' in a derogatory fashion, per se. However, I respectfully beg to differ that my post is 'hollow' because of that one assertion.

    I have listened quietly for years while liberals/media/leftists disparage the "rich", "big business", and even small business (for not providing this/that), when the fact is those are the engines of work/jobs/productivity in our society. I have listened quietly while those same voices have effectively blamed capitalists for the plethora of ills in our society, and promoted abdication of personal responsibility, championing the Government as the panacea. So no, nobody is 'accusing' Mr. McCain of being a capitalist, but I absolutely will not listen quietly any longer while Mr. Obama champions a seismic shift in the foundational system of our great nation.

    And one more thing...we do differ in our understanding of socialism. I firmly believe that it's seizure of personal property. Without seizing one's personal property, there is nothing to 'redistribute' to others. So, thanks Lydia, for engaging this discussion. I really mean that - or else I wouldn't have posted my comment. Safe to say we can agree that we disagree. Ain't it a great country? :)

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  18. I am a new reader to your blog, actually drawn here by a link from Jamin, the freebie lady from the Old Schoolhouse Minute. :-) I came to your election unit which I think you posted in August.

    I just to have to say, wow! to this post. I am NOT an Obama supporter or a socialism supporter. I did; however, think your post was very well worded and raised some very legit issues about why people get so bent out of shape about that word.

    Personally, Obama's stance on other issues- such as abortion- is a much bigger deterrent for me to vote for him. But, socialism does seem to be a "hot spot" for many.

    Unfortunately all those "bad" things you point out that come from capitalism, don't really come from capitalism or any form of government. They come from corrupt people who gain power. And, I have talked with many international students (I am involved in a ministry at a local college) who can assure that socialism does NOT work to correct those ills.

    It really doesn't matter what kind of government we end up. What will ultimately matter about how we treat each other is what kind of heart our leaders have.

    THAT is why I could never vote for Obama.

    I really like your thought provoking writing though and would like to keep reading your blog. ;-)

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  19. Welcome, lcourtneymom. :)

    I agree, no form of government is perfect, and it is the people who decide whether to love each other or hurt each other. I think our mix of socialism and capitalism works pretty well, as long as there are people pushing in both directions to keep us in balance. I wouldn't want to live in a purely capitalist country, nor would I want to live in a purely socialist one -- there are elements of both that are of value to our society.

    I respect your position on abortion. However, there has been a Republican in office for eight years, he's appointed two supreme court justices, and abortion is still legal. Electing another Republican isn't going to get rid of Roe v. Wade.

    Anyway, welcome to the blog, like I said. :) I am not usually this rabidly political! Sometimes I even talk about homeschooling my children. ;D

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  20. I wasn't going to comment, because so many people have already said it, but I just had to. I cried as I read this post, because someone finally gets it! I have been so frustrated as I have talked to other Christians recently, because they seem to think that socialism is anti-Christian and capitalism is pro-Christian. I was done posting about politics since I've already voted for Obama, but the past few days I've been afraid to look at my comments or my e-mail or read blogs because of the things people are posting. I will be linking to your post.

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  21. Anonymous3:05 PM

    It was a good read and I have a brief comment. I think it is important to note that Capitalism and Communism are the polar opposites on the economic system scale. Socialism is somewhere between the two points. Neither are political systems as political systems are scaled between autocracy and democracy.

    The US is technically a Keynsian economy with a democratic government. That makes us a socialistic as Keynes beleived that government needed to intervene in the economic process as it is prone to excesses.

    There are no pure capitalist economies in the world today. For people that want a pure capitalist society, I suggest they read "Tale of Two Cities". If you find Dickens to be a little too progressive, take a trip to GuangZhou. You will get to see first hand the impact of a purely capitalist system (ironically, under a "communist goverment" which is actually a single party republician government).

    For what it is worth...

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  22. Thanks so much for this really well written post. I've been a Socialist for the past 25 years, since before I was old enough to vote (YPSL, then SPUSA). People in this country don't know what socialism is or means. They call themselves capitalists not understanding that if they aren't running their own companies, they're working FOR capitalists, just selling their labour so that their bosses can make a profit off it. "Socialist" is an insult-"Communist" a bigger one-and the people who throw these words out in hate have no real idea what it is they're talking about.

    I often wonder if they use "Socialist" to stand in for other, less socially acceptable insults (although the folks in that video had no problem coming face to face with their hate) or whether it's just become a handy catch-all you can fling at someone generically when you need something to insult them with.

    Do you think they'll still be this angry and obtuse after seeing their taxes go down?

    Some of them will, probably.

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  23. Wow! It appears that your blog is frequented by people with psychic powers...

    lcourtneymom could "never vote for Obama" because of "the kind of heart he has..." Seeing into the hearts of man... now that's a skillsy skill! She could give God and Santa a run for their money :)

    And sprittibee can somehow identify "illegals in Walmart" on sight! Maybe she should look into working for the INS... instead of checking for legal documentation, they could save a lot of time and paperwork by just having her walk around big box stores scanning the isles with her special abilities! Now, I'm assuming she hasn't actually confronted the filled-cart-pushing "illegals in Walmart" and asked them for proof of citizenship...but maybe I'm WRONG! Maybe she actually HAS...

    And I think that's the point... opinions based on assumptions seem... silly. At least to me :)

    Silly has it's place. I'm very pro-silly. But when it comes to judging others... maybe not so much... Judging others can be tricky business...

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  24. Yay! welfare for all!

    hey wanna get something to eat with our new food stamps? Oh dont worry... that smart and hard working rich guy paid for them. Oh and you know what else friend...we can trade them for alcohol and drugs and maybe some guns so we can have some fun later on tonight... its only Sunday.
    (*^^*)

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  25. Carlos Ensena11:10 PM

    You and the beard would get along great! Be greatful for the children of this great nation are afforded the right to school and health care, never mind the fact that its cost them their future. You know not of what you speak and it sorrows me to see those who have what we have lived and died for, so willing to give it all up. Move to Cuba Lynda, see socialism, Communism, in action. Theory is grand but life without food, health care (even if you can afford to pay) see the wonder that is socialism. Oh and ask a cuban (one who knew life on the island) why the words of Obama scare them so...Ask where they've heard these things you preach. Funny your blog sounds like a child trying to teach philosophy to plato. If only you knew...If only you knew.

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  26. Anonymous12:09 PM

    Socialism is good??? Are you all kidding me??? Obama's plan is not to take over the country and rule with bigger government??? You are brainwashed by the liberal/socialist news media who are all in the tank for Obama. He kept company with Bill Ayers, an American terrorist who bombed buildings inside the US, and Rev. Wright who said G-- D--- America! He just appointed 2 admitted communist czars and one is a felon. I think you should listen to and read more fair and balanced news before you swear by Obama. Do you want your income redistributed by him and do you want health care to cover illegal aliens that the taxpayers will pay for? Obama is not good for this country.

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