Saturday, July 24, 2010

Why So Much Anger?

Many average Americans are perplexed by the political discontent they see and hear among their neighbors and are asking questions like: Why is there a Tea Party movement? Why do talk radio hosts seem so angry? Why do so many Americans, at least the slim majority which pays income taxes, hold our government in such disdain?

Perhaps the following will help us understand:

  • Reports reveal that Congress spent over a billion dollars of your money between June 2009 and March of 2010 on things like bottled water and donuts.

  • Charlie Rangel, former chairman of the House Ways and Means committee which writes the laws that determine what taxes you and I will pay, how much we will pay, and what the penalties will be if we don't pay is facing charges that he has failed to pay his own taxes(Thanks to Jason for this link).

  • Senator John Kerry, who has repeatedly voted to raise taxes, dodged a six-figure Massachussetts state tax bill on his new multimillion-dollar yacht by mooring it in Rhode Island.

  • And, of course, Timothy Geithner, the man who currently oversees the nation's budget and tax policy, had found a way to avoid meeting his own tax obligation until he was chosen by Mr. Obama to serve as Treasury Secretary. Only then did it come to light that he'd been essentially cheating the American public by not paying his taxes.

People are understandably angry because while the President is imposing polices that guarantee that you and I will have to pay more of our meager incomes in taxes to the government, much of which will go to buy our elected elites bottled water and other amenities, the people who comprise those elites and who implement those policies are themselves looking for ways to avoid having to pay those taxes. They treat themselves as an aristocracy, a privileged class to be borne along on the backs of middle class Americans.

It's one big reason why this Congress has an 11% approval rating. It's also the main reason, perhaps, why there's a Tea Party and why there are ads like this:

Thanks to Powerline for the video.



From July 12 through the 22nd I visited the tropical islands of Trinidad and Tobago, just off the coast of Venezuela. During my trip Bill posted some things I wrote before I left, for which I thank him, and I also want to thank him for getting Viewpoint back up and running despite the headaches he encountered in his move to Florida.

Trinidad is a remarkable place, and the time I spent there was memorable. I went for the birds, which were spectacular (I've posted below a few photos gleaned from the internet of just a sampling of the more beautiful species I saw there), but was profoundly interested in the culture of the island as well. I met a number of very interesting people from around the world, had several fascinating conversations, and learned a lot about a place which had heretofore been for me just a name on a map.

For most of my stay I lodged at the Asa Wright Nature Center which is a world famous destination for nature admirers. Prince Charles even paid a visit in 2008. So many of the birds, butterflies, and flowers on this island are gorgeous, and I couldn't possibly show them all, but here are a few that are representative of a much larger variety of species that even a non-naturalist might see and enjoy there.

The Scarlet ibis is the national bird of Trinidad and makes spectacular flights to it's roosting grounds every evening:

Photo by Roger Neckles

The Red-legged honeycreeper is a beautiful little bird that's found on the grounds at Asa Wright:

The Green honeycreeper is a cousin to the Red-legged and is just as breathtaking. It comes regularly to the numerous feeders the staff at Asa Wright set out in the morning:

The striking Blue-crowned motmot with its unusual tail and iridescent blue head feathers is a favorite at Asa Wright:

Everyone who comes to Asa Wright hopes to see the Collared trogon which inhabits the rain forests of Trinidad and Tobago:

Finally, there's the Channel-billed toucan with it's extraordinary beak and marvelous coloration:

There were many more. To view some lovely photos of the birds of Trinidad you can go here.