Sunday, August 23, 2009

One of my far-flung correspondents forwarded a new ‘Bill Cosby’ declaration – not that Bill Cosby actually wrote it.

When this same list appeared in 2008, Cosby immediately disavowed it, as did comedian George Carlin, who some said had actually written it.

Snopes, the Urban Legend people – -- says they actually have no idea who wrote it back in 2008.

You’ve probably see this thing, too. Usually I ignore such things, but this time, it’s probably worth consideration.

The Silly Season is coming upon us again – thank G-d. We’ll have the opportunity to replace a large hunk of the House of Representatives and as many Senators as we can, and maybe we’ll cool the socialist ardors of the Community Organizer. Unless the Birthers can hit it out of the ballpark, it’s still three long years until we can return him to the private sector, allowing him to fulfill his standard defeated-politicians wish to spend more time with his family.

So what does “Bill Cosby” have to say?

1.'Press 1 for English' is immediately banned. English is the official language; speak it or wait at the border until you can.

This is the proposition that troubles me most. I know I’ve said it before, but I say it again: living as part of a minority in a “foreign” country is something every American should try at least once. It gives you a whole new perspective on daily life, and how to exist within a larger society, one which doesn’t speak your language.

There isn’t a soul here in Israel who doesn’t want to speak perfect Hebrew – trust me on that. It’s not a lack of desire. It’s just that learning a new language can be very difficult – the ability to learning languages is a talent much like music. Some people have a “talent” for it, some don’t. Beyond that, most Americans speak only English. Learning a second language is much harder than learning a third or fourth. We Americans are hampered by our isolationism – the very thing “Cosby” is promoting. Of course the real factor for many of us older immigrants is, the older you get, the more difficult it is to learn a new language.

So “Cosby’s” idea of “wait at the border until you learn it” seems naïve. I wonder how many languages he speaks?

(2) We will immediately go into a two year isolationist posture to straighten out the country's attitude. NO imports, no exports. We will use the 'Wal-Mart’s policy, 'If we ain't got it, you don't need it.'

Sorry, but this is criminally naïve, too – although as most of you know, I’m favorably inclined toward anything that WalMart peddles, except for this idea.

Really, you want to go to “no imports”??

What, you’ll give up your cell phones? Computers? You’ll forgo life saving medical equipment that’s manufactured in Germany, France or Israel? Medicines that are manufactured elsewhere? All kinds of fruits and vegetables that come to the US when local crops are out of season? No more oil? How will you run your car, heat your home, cook your food? True the US could become energy self sufficient, if you could gag the wacky environmentalists long enough to allow drilling. But even that couldn’t produce oil “immediately”. It would be a very long cold winter, if suddenly all imports were barred.

Regarding exports, maybe “Cosby” doesn’t know it, but the US is a net exporter of food, the largest in the world. What would happen to all the people who produce and store wheat, corn and other grains, fruit, vegetables, cotton, beef, poultry, dairy products, forest products and fish? With no market for their produce, I guess they’d all go on unemployment or welfare. Is that what “Cosby” intends?

(3) When imports are allowed, there will be a 100% import tax on it.

That’s being tried right now, as a matter of fact. Sugar is one of the commodities that the US imports – there isn’t enough domestic production in the Midwest and Hawaii to satisfy the demand of all those people who enjoy not just plain sugar, but manufactured things like chocolate bars, cereals, cookies, gums, sodas, and juice. If you’ve noticed, the price of sugar has jumped 80% this year, which means the price of an awful lot of things has gone up, too.

You like that? Imagine everything with a 100% import tax.

(4) All retired military personnel will be required to man (sic) one of our many observation towers on the southern border for a six month tour. They will be under strict orders not to fire on SOUTHBOUND aliens.

This is supposed to be funny, I guess. I suppose many retired vets would be happy to get a job guarding the borders. “Requiring” it of retired military sounds like involuntary servitude. And I don’t know how you tell an “alien” from anyone else from an observation tower. Heck -- it's not even easy when you're face to face.

(5) Social security will immediately return to its original state. If you didn't put nuttin in, you ain’t getting nuttin out. Neither the president nor any other politician will be able to touch it.

That wasn’t Social Security’s “original state” at all. When it came into being in 1935, it was funded by a 1% tax on both employers and employees on their first $3000 of annual wages. But it was intended to help workers not only in retirement, but also widows and dependent children who hadn’t worked, and people with disabilities who had never contributed.

(6) Welfare - Checks will be handed out on Fridays at the end of the 40 hour school week and the successful completion of urinalysis and a passing grade.

That’s not a bad idea. It would make some sense if you assume all welfare recipients lack high school degrees. In today’s economy, that’s hardly the case.

(7) Professional Athletes--Steroids. The FIRST time you check positive you're banned for life.

Fine with me. I don’t really care. I might amend it by saying that before any athlete competes, some objective determination of the person’s gender should be made. Then we wouldn’t be fighting about whether a particular athlete is male or female after the race is run.

(8) Crime - We will adopt the Turkish method, the first time you steal, you lose your right hand. There are no more life sentences. If convicted of murder, you will be put to death by the same method you chose for your victim: gun, knife, strangulation, etc.

Regarding theft, that’s Muslim law, not just Turkish. I hope I'll never see the day when ANY of this is implemented in the US. Probably won't be long before Europe resurrects the chopping block, though.

(9) One export will be allowed, wheat. The world needs to eat. A bushel of wheat will be the exact price of a barrel of oil.

That certainly would make the wheat farmers happy. A year ago, a bushel of wheat cost about $3.50, and today it’s up to almost $20. A barrel of oil costs about $73. If that happened, you’d find an awful lot of parking lots – for the no longer
existent cars – ripped up and planted to wheat.

(10) All foreign aid using American taxpayer money will immediately cease, and the saved money will pay off the national debt and ultimately lower taxes. When disasters occur around the world, we'll ask the American people if they want to donate to a disaster fund, and each citizen can make the decision whether it’s a worthy cause.

Most foreign aid already isn’t in the form of cash – it’s given in excess foodstuffs: the government buys excess food, fiber and dairy products, which keeps the prices to the farmers high enough for them to remain in business. So giving foreign countries excess government commodities actually helps the US economy at least as much as the countries who receive it.

Foreign aid is also given in allowing countries to purchase US made military equipment, allegedly at a “discount”. That’s income in US citizen’s pockets, for companies that manufacture such items.

That is, incidentally, what made the recent US gifts to the Hamas and Fatah terrorists so strange. In that case, it WAS given in the form of cash. Maybe the Community Organizer decided that when he had needy terrorists on his hands, handing over the cash was the best policy. Friends get privileges, after all.

(11) The Pledge of Allegiance will be said every day at school and every day in Congress.

When I was a kid – dinosaurs still roamed the earth – every day did start with the Pledge of Allegiance. It doesn’t anymore? Congress already does open every day with the Pledge and also with a prayer. So far, it hasn’t seemed to do much good.

(12) The National Anthem will be played at all appropriate ceremonies, sporting events, outings, etc.

Yup! That used to be done, too, when I was a kid.

It’s funny when these things circulate on email lists. There’s a certain populist appeal to many of the ideas, but if you look a little closer, most of it doesn’t really make sense.

One might wish that life was as simple as these mandates imply. The curse of our day is that it’s not.

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