Barack Obama

The Need for a Flat Tax

Uncle Sam

America’s current income tax code is simply unfair.  From the cradle to the grave, the government has its hands in our pockets.  It’s a reality that our extant income tax code punishes wealth: As individuals move up the economic ladder, an increasing percentage of their income government entitles itself to receive.  Dr. Ben Carson recently lectured President Obama about how unfair the tax code is.  He highlighted that the bible explains that God requires everyone to give ten percent of his or her earnings to Him.  As Dr. Carson disclosed, God does not care how little or great one makes—He wants everyone to pay the same percentage of his or her income to Him.  For Dr. Carson, this is the same principle government should embrace.  He attacked the argument that a flat tax would not “punish” the wealthy enough by positing that “it’s not supposed to.”

Although it’s difficult for many to resist trying to take more of rich people’s money, especially for those who are barely making ends meet, there must be an understanding that this type of thinking deincentivizes people from striving to become wealthy.  In the 21st century, we shouldn’t let this type of class warfare continue.  Let people enjoy more of the money they’ve earned.  A poor man has never given someone a job.

When we’re fair to wealthy people, we enable them to create more jobs.  In the struggling Obama economy, Americans need an explosion of job creation.  Replacing the current income tax code with a flat tax would help to spur job creation, ameliorate consumer confidence, and boost personal finance.

If we have a flat tax in place, we will not have to worry so much about individuals finding tax loopholes.

Our tax code must be reformed to make America the most attractive nation to do business.  Individuals are seeking tax shelters and shipping jobs overseas because our tax code is robbing them of their wealth.  If someone is openly going to keep robbing you, you’re not going to sit there and continue to let him or her rob you.  Those aforementioned individuals are protecting themselves from this same victimization.

Do you believe the current income tax code is fair?  Why or why not?  What do you think about replacing the existing tax code with a flat tax?  What are your ideas about reforming the income tax code?

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

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Political Correctness Threatens Free Speech and Dissent

At the recent Fellowship Foundation National Prayer Breakfast, Dr. Benjamin Carson gave a speech that has received tremendous national attention because it critiques President Obama’s handling of the national debt, healthcare, education, taxes, and etc. in ways unfavorable to him.  What should not get lost in the responses to the speech, however, are the powerful comments he makes about America’s current insistence on political correctness.  Political correctness is threatening to diminish one of most important purposes of the First Amendment: protect unpopular speech.  While the First Amendment still protects unpopular speech, many people in positions of power are finding ways to create conditions where dissenting voices will face serious repercussions.  While it was not the politically correct thing to do, Dr. Carson did not allow a burgeoning American penchant for political correctness to keep him from disagreeing with President Obama on substantive issues while at this event that traditionally has not been a place where dissent has been accepted and while being in close proximity to President Obama.

When one elects to defy political correctness, he or she must be ready for backlash.  Many employers will establish a hostile agenda against employees when they voice disagreement with their policies and practices.  Although the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is charged with the responsibility of protecting employees from this type of discrimination, employees are not always safeguarded from this discrimination.  Many employees are too afraid to exercise their First Amendment rights because they fear losing their jobs.  Political correctness informs employees to remain silent and keep their disagreements with their employers private.  Unfortunately, too many people buy into this promotion of silence and end up getting crushed by the misery of their silence.

More lawyers, philanthropists, organizations, and etc. need to be willing to help individuals to combat efforts by powerful employers to mute their employees.

What good is the First Amendment if the American people are afraid to exercise the rights it guarantees?

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and other organizations deserve tremendous appreciation for their offering of free legal representation to individuals to fight against employers’ efforts to abrogate their employees’ First Amendment rights.

America would have never gained her liberation from Great Britain had it not been for the value of dissent the colonists evinced.

Some employers are even arrogant enough to place in writing that they forbid their employees from using their First Amendment rights to speak in opposition to them.  We certainly need more organizations like the ACLU and NAACP to rise up and aid in striking a mighty blow against political correctness and First Amendment violations.  The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission needs to be much more aggressive in defending employees against employers who engender conditions where political correctness is mandated, especially when it comes to employees’ rights and requests to have religious, racial, and viewpoint accommodations.

While this piece has focused primarily on political correctness in the workplace (and a little on political correctness in general), it is crucial to understand that political correctness is present in virtually every space of American life.  We deny the dangers of political correctness and don’t engage in efforts to eradicate it at our own peril.

What did you think about Dr. Benjamin Carson’s statements about political correctness?  What did you think about his critique of President Obama’s handling of the national debt, education, taxes, and healthcare?  Do you agree or disagree that political correctness is a threat to free speech and dissent?

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

 

Open Letter to Colin Powell

Colin Powell

Dear Colin Powell:

I would like to thank you for your many distinguished years of military and public service.  The work you’ve done is extraordinary.  Your true American story is inspiring and speaks to what is possible in this great nation.  Mr. Powell, I have deep respect for you.

It’s becoming increasingly ostensible that you’re no longer a republican.  You’ve voted for President Obama in the last two presidential elections and have been fiercely critical of the Republican Party for the last 8 years.  While there’s certainly nothing wrong with being critical of one’s political party, you seem to find nothing you like about the party any longer.  You, however, have no problem with finding things you like about the Democratic Party and President Obama.

If you really believe that the Republican Party does not value minorities, then why are you still claiming to be a republican?  Why not change your political affiliation?  Are you masquerading as a republican when you’re really a democrat for the potential political benefits this can offer the Democratic Party?  Are you really that thrilled with the Democratic Party in the last 8 years, or do you just have a fondness for President Obama?  If you’re using the label of republican against republicans, then it’s having little to no impact on voters.

You’ve never really been too comfortable in the Republican Party in the first place.  Why continue to experience this discomfort?  Would the Democratic Party make you feel more comfortable, or would you feel more relaxed as an independent?  Are you enjoying the spotlight that your opposition to republican presidential candidates gains you?  Do you feel the need to have substantial national political power and see this as your way to command this desired power?

The policies, values, and worldview of President Obama are diametrically opposed to the Republican Party.  You’ve given the policies, values, and worldview of President Obama ringing endorsements.  You cannot honestly admit that you’re committed to the Republican Party.  What would it hurt if you changed parties?  Someone with an illustrious record as you have is more than entitled to do what you please.  If you’re truly a republican, then publish a piece about why you’re a republican and how you reconcile this with being a zealous supporter of President Obama.

Mr. Powell, you’ve given many people the right to question the authenticity of your claim to be a republican.  Don’t get angry when people question your genuineness about being a republican—simply explain to them why you are.  Many democrats, republicans and independents are curious about why have elected to remain a republican.

Would it be best for you to sever all ties with the Republican Party?

Sincerely,

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Herman Cain Could be the Next U.S. President

With Republicans still not having a clear frontrunner for President in 2012, Herman Cain could capitalize on this reality and give Republicans a person to rally behind all the way to sealing the Republican nomination for President in 2012. I know that many people reading this piece may not be familiar with Herman Cain. This piece will help you to get to know who Herman Cain is a little better by offering you some background information about him. Moreover, this piece will present arguments about why he could win the Republican Party’s Presidential nomination in 2012 and why he could defeat President Obama.

Herman Cain was raised in Atlanta, Georgia and currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia. He is 65 years of age. He graduated from Morehouse College, one of the leading historically Black colleges in the nation, with an undergraduate degree in Mathematics and minor in Physics. While working for the United States Department of Navy, he earned a master’s degree in Computer Science from Purdue University. Cain is a highly accomplished businessman and proven leader. He has served as a business analyst for Coca-Cola, Vice-President of Pillsbury, and Chief Executive Officer of Godfather’s Pizza. Herman Cain managed 400 Burger King stores in Philadelphia and took this region of stores from being the least profitable to the most profitable in the nation in just three years. Cain has also served as the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the National Restaurants Association.

Herman Cain has never held a political office. He ran for the U.S. Senate in 2004 in Georgia and did exceptionally well, but was not able to defeat the strong name recognition of now Senator Johnny Isakson.

Is there any early credible evidence to suggest that Herman Cain even has a chance to win the Republican nomination for President in 2012? In the first state to vote for the Republican Party’s Presidential nomination, Iowa, Cain won a straw poll by a large margin. Look at the results of the Iowa straw poll here: http://draftcain.org/blog.aspx.

In the 2010 Midterm Election, we witnessed the significant influence that the Tea Party had on the outcomes of elections. The Tea Party was instrumental in helping Republicans to take the U.S. House from Democrats, aided Republicans in picking up the most new U.S. House seats in history, helped closed the gap between Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. Senate, and assisted in the winning a number of new Republican governorships. Unquestionably, the Tea Party is a force to be reckoned with in the current national political milieu. The Tea Party will certainly have a tremendous influence on who will receive the Republican nomination for President. With the Tea Party’s demonstrated success in the 2010 Midterm Election, the fact that Herman Cain is one of the Tea Party’s favorite candidates for President greatly increases his chances of becoming President in 2012.

Ten years ago, the fact that Herman Cain has never held a political office would have prevented him from having a chance to win the Republican nomination and become President. However, there’s a strong anti-incumbent and anti-establishment political mood all across the country. Cain’s great business experience and his marketing of himself as a “problem-solver could help him to capture the Republican nomination for President. Of the Republican candidates who are running and who may run, he’s among the most inspiring and charismatic.

If he’s able to secure the Republican Party’s nomination for President, he can be a formidable candidate against President Obama. Cain has the anti-incumbent and anti-establishment political mood in his favor, the support of the Tea Party, experience as an accomplished business leader, and the ability to communicate in a way that enables him to go toe-to-toe with President Obama. I really think that his marketing of himself as a “problem-solver” is going to become as powerful as messages of “hope” and “change” were for President Obama in 2008. Messages of “hope” and “change” are not going to work for President Obama in 2012. If Cain is his opponent, he will not be able to enjoy the advantage of people wanting to vote for him just because they could make history by voting for the first Black President of the United States, considering Cain is Black.

Herman Cain’s strategy of building a strong grassroots movement in support of him in the early voting states is proving to gain him some serious support in those early states. Many people vigorously oppose President Obama’s healthcare reform bill. Cain led the fight against HillaryCare during President Clinton’s tenure in office when he led the National Restaurants Association. This opposition to HillaryCare, which shares many affinities with President Obama’s healthcare bill, can assist Cain in garnering more national support.

Don’t simply discredit the possibility that Herman Cain can win the Republican nomination for President and defeat President Obama in 2012 because you don’t see and hear about him all of time. Guess what? We didn’t know much about President Obama when he was running for President in 2008. Remember that?

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Thugs

Across America, many Black boys are increasingly embracing the “thug life.” Once they reach adulthood, this embracement of the thug life persists. Although I understand that in the postmodern epoch there are various notions of what a thug is, all of these notions are ultimately harmful to Black boys. From the earliest age possible, Black boys need to have greater expectations from their parents than for them to live a thug life. It’s not enough to say that you keep your boys away from hip-hop music and violent video games and movies. Those things are not really what you should primarily concern yourself with. You should concentrate more on helping them to establish a pathway for a successful life. This could mean that even before the child enters into kindergarten, you begin to stress the importance of education to him or her and you become actively involved in his or her education. As soon as possible, begin to talk to your child about going to college or getting some post-secondary training. You can teach your child to be a hustler but being a hustler does not have to have criminality attached to it. Many of the best living Black men in America are hustlers in their own right—Dr. Marc Lamont Hill, Dr. Cornel West, Jerry Rice, Bishop T.D. Jakes, President Barack Obama, John Edgar Wideman, John Legend, Richard Dean Parsons, J.C. Watts, Colin Powell, Wayne Brady, and Montel Williams. Now, I’m not saying that these men are perfect—none of us are. I’m also not saying that they did not have struggles, setbacks, and challenges because they all did.  The one thing they all had was a determination to be successful and not thugs. They all had people in their lives, including their parents, who were willing to love them enough to help them develop a mindset focused on success.

I’m not trying to tell you exactly how to rear your children—I’m not qualified to do this. What I’m doing, however, is telling you that your children deserve to have parents who are committed to their success. They need you from birth to help them to understand how to be successful and to assist them with creating a pathway to success—this I’m qualified to tell you about. Every child deserves a chance to succeed!

A number of the Black boys who I grew up with and went to school with embraced deviant behavior even in kindergarten and many of their parents would get angry with the teachers and principals for exposing their poor behavior. Instead of the parents working to improve these boys’ behavior, they simply blamed the teachers and principals for their behavior. These parents needed to face the fact that their boys were simply exhibiting poor behavior. This poor behavior persisted for many of these Black boys into their teenage years where many became involved in using and selling drugs, having babies out of wedlock, getting sent to jail or youth detention centers, dropping out of school, and etc. I have to admit that some of their parents really tried to prevent them from getting involved in these things, but the boys elected to continue on with the poor behavior that they had engaged in since they were in kindergarten. Their parents never broke the cycle of poor behavior. Their parents did not stop them then and now that they were teenagers they embraced their deviant behavior as acceptable conduct.

These same boys now venerate bling bling over education. They treasure dope over hope. Why? Because they needed parents to give them positive examples of success when they were old enough to begin to understand notions of success. They needed to benefit from parents who made a serious commitment to establish a structure in the home that was geared toward success. They needed parents who did not mind saying to them that they were not rearing thugs!

As a community, we have to take the success of all Black boys into our hands when parents are not doing even to prevent their boys from becoming thugs. We have to be willing to tell them and show them what success is. We have to be willing to model success for them. It’s not enough for you to simply walk around and criticize these Black boys. When you see a Black boy who is not demonstrating the values, principles, and actions of a burgeoning successful man, then do what you can to help the boy. This may mean that you need to go talk to his parents and express an interest in investing in his future by doing things with him that are going to facilitate a successful life for him.

It’s time for us to reclaim our Black boys from futures dominated by incarceration, disease, gang activity, dope dealing, and robbery. I have committed my life to progressing Black boys and men to be the successes they deserve to be. What are you doing, could be doing, and/or willing to do to help Black boys and men to experience more successful lives?

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

New Black Republicans Coming to D.C.

Newly elected Black republican members of Congress should not feel obligated to join the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC). I do, however, think they should join the CBC to diversify the ideas offered by the group. Representative-Elect Tim Scott of South Carolina, a Black republican, has declined to join the group. While I understand that he is committed to themes that unite us regardless of our race, he is missing a golden opportunity to have republican ideas and ideals gain more exposure in the Black community. If Black republicans are really serious about bringing more Black people into the Republican Party, then they are going to have to join the most identifiably Black presence in Washington, D.C.—the CBC. I’m not questioning Representative-Elect Tim Scott’s passion for ameliorating the lives of Black people, but I am asserting that he is hurting his party by not recognizing his potential to recruit more Blacks into the Republican Party by joining the CBC. Representative-Elect Allen West of Florida, a Black republican, has decided to join the CBC. He is looking forward to challenging the ideas and policies of the members of the CBC. In the end, Allen West will be the more visible and more valuable person for the Republican Party’s efforts to recruit more Black voters.

It would not surprise me to see these two men, especially Allen West, become very prominent members in the Republican Party. They may even be successful one day in gaining the Republican Party’s nomination to become President. With the Republican Party increasingly becoming a more conservative party, these Black men have arrived at the right time to gain prominence in the party. They are both very fiscally and socially conservative. Although I want these two Black men to be successful members of the Republican Party, I don’t ever want them to forget that they are Black. I don’t ever want them to feel like they have to surrender their “blackness” to appease any member of the Republican Party. I am not saying that there are currently people in the Republican Party who will attempt to make them relinquish their blackness, but I just hope that if any people like this surface they will strongly resist their efforts.

Even though many Black democrats and liberals will not like these men simply because they are conservatives and republicans, I greatly encourage them to give these men a fair chance. You should wait until they gain a voting record before negatively criticizing them. I also encourage you to wait until they write, co-sponsor, and/or support legislation (as members of Congress) that you oppose before negatively criticizing them.

I hope that Tim Scott and Allen West will not feel like they have to be the chief attack dogs on President Obama simply because they are Black. If they feel passionate about criticizing President Obama, and this criticism genuinely comes from their deepest convictions, then I think they should vociferously promulgate their disagreements with him.

I congratulate Tim Scott and Allen West on their recent election victories to become two new Black members of Congress.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

President Obama’s Eligibility to be President

President Obama was born in Hawaii. He is, therefore, eligible to be President of the United States of America. His mother and father were legal citizens of the United States at the time of his birth. Again, he’s eligible to be President. His eligibility to be President has even been verified by the republican Governor of Hawaii, Linda Lingle. Go here to see a copy of President Obama’s birth certificate:  http://www.fightthesmears.com/articles/5/birthcertificate. People need to stop trying to smear this man about his constitutional eligibility to be President.

If you want to strongly oppose President Obama, then express your substantive disagreements you have with him on critical issues and policies. I have substantive disagreements with President Obama on a number of important issues and policies, but I am not one of these people in the blogosphere trying to smear him about not being eligible to be President.

I wanted to offer the blogosphere a serious counternarrative to what many blogs out there are saying about President Obama not being born in America, and that he was not an American citizen at the time of his birth. People have a right to question your motivations when you are not willing to go to the above website and see for yourself that President Obama was born in America. When people start to question whether or not you are a racist, then don’t get mad. I contend that it is a fair question for them to ask you. If you would simply look at the evidence that has been presented at the above website, you will find there is no doubt that President Obama is constitutionally eligible to serve as President.

Don’t believe many of the negative things you read about President Obama on the internet. When you see some of these negative things, I encourage you to engage in your own serious research to resolve whether or not what you have read about him is true. You can disagree with President Obama without hating him. You can disagree with him without resorting to using racist comments, personal attacks, and etc.

If you just cannot stand the sight of President Obama, I would like for you to at least consider having a reverence for the office he occupies. I am not trying to get you to become a democrat or to support President Obama, but I am trying to get you to understand that President Obama is constitutionally eligible to be President.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison