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Opinion
ONE MAN’S OPINION: EVEN FREEDOM ISN’T FREE
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ONE MAN’S OPINION: EVEN FREEDOM ISN’T FREE

ONE MAN’S OPINION: EVEN FREEDOM ISN’T FREE

ONE MAN’S OPINION: EVEN FREEDOM ISN’T FREE

"America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves," President Abraham Lincoln (1809 - 1865).

As has been documented in numerous public opinion surveys, Millennials, who as of this year became the largest demographic age group and population block in our nation, have a clouded understanding of the meaning of socialism. When asked, in multiple formats, if our nation would be better off if all incomes were collected by the government, and then redistributed in equal amounts to all citizens...an overwhelming nearly 80 percent of those surveyed emphatically said, Yes. I frankly find this more disturbing than the ongoing Opioid Crisis, which took the lives of nearly 48,000 Americans during 2018.

Since elementary school, I have been a student of history, our republic and the conflicts which helped build our nation into the world's strongest economy, and the only place I know where personal freedom reigns supreme. And with that said, I want my children, your children and our grandchildren to better understand that even freedom is not 'free.'

The parade of U.S. presidential candidates for 2020 already sounds like a sweepstakes race, with each trying to top the other with their Get Out, No Jail Everything is FREE card. Free college, free Medicare for all, free Daycare, free Basic Income... and the list goes on.

I purchase healthcare coverage via the federal Market Place Exchange, and though I can't say I have been pleased with many aspects of the Affordable Care Act of 2010, I had no coverage at all for a few years prior to that, due to a pre-existing medical condition. That said, me having health care coverage remains and should be my responsibility not my employer's, the federal government nor my neighbor.

I support subsidized and on-site employer sponsored day care, as an employee amenity, and deductible expense for the employer, but NOT mandated, federally organized and funded child care. If you think otherwise, pay a visit to your nearest local Head Start program. Georgia's lottery provides pre-K funding, but that program funds local schools and even private daycare facilities, leaving placement choices and related staffing concerns in the hands of parents, as it should be.

Much example is made of socialist programs in many Scandinavian countries, particularly Norway and Finland. Neither is a true socialist state, but both offer much higher income tax rates, greater redistribution of income and a larger safety net than the U.S. Having traveled to Iceland and other neighboring nations, the populations there are smaller, much more Euro-centric and generally less diverse. Tourism is easy and encouraged, immigration, non-native born citizenship, or the ownership of property is not particularly encouraged and in some cases practically impossible.

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Scandinavian country map

The immediate prior President of France raised the income tax rate for wage earners there to 75 percent. Almost overnight the top 300 wealthiest citizens of France became citizens of Belgium and other neighboring low and no-tax neighbors within the European Union. 

More recently stateside, Trump administration tax cuts removed a long-treasured tax haven of the full deductibility of state income and property taxes. Not surprisingly, with the cap on deductible residential property taxes now $10,000, hundreds of thousands of residents in high tax states have sold their property and homesteads, relocating to lower and no property tax states.

Not having served in uniform in our nation's military is perhaps my largest single life regret. Although time spent in the Georgia Defense Force (the Reserve's reserve) was worthwhile, it's not the same, and particularly not the same as serving during a time of military conflict. Those who have lost life, limb or a family member in combat, paying the ultimate price, know more than any others that the price of our continuing freedom is truly not free.

A warm visit just over a year ago to the land of fire and ice (Iceland) was followed by my more recent discovery that the world's tiniest nation strictly controls the birth rates of any fetus determined to test positive for a genetic marker for Down syndrome. Nearly 100 percent of those pregnancies are then terminated. Having a child with Down syndrome of our own, we can unequivocally state that this is a choice and price which the people of Iceland are collectively paying, and which they may not fully appreciate for decades, but it also makes the price of any return trip to that lovely island nation a bit too high for me.

 

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News

  • A girl in Chicago is living up to the Girl Scout Law.  The law states in part that a scout will be “friendly and helpful, considerate and caring, courageous and strong.” Anne Nelson, 11, won a trip to Walt Disney World for selling 5,000 boxes of Girl Scout Cookies. But she didn’t want to keep the trip. She wanted to give it to a classmate with special needs, WLS reported.  >> Read more trending news    “Everyone should be kind to other people and generous because if someone wants to go somewhere or do something and they never have a chance to do it, it would make them feel amazing to do it,” Nelson told WLS Sunday. >> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news  She and the unidentified classmate were part of a ceremony at a Chicago Disney Store, WLS reported. Anne said she had the idea to earn the trip for her friend thanks to a lesson at school about generosity.
  • Purely Elizabeth granola products sold at multiple national retailers are being recalled because they may contain plastic, glass or rocks. CBS News reported that Purely Elizabeth has issued a voluntary recall for multiple granola products because of foreign matter contamination. >> Read more trending news  According to recall information on the company’s website, Purely Elizabeth’s Coconut Cashew Grain-Free Granola, Banana Nut Butter Grain-Free Granola, Pumpkin Spice + Ashwagandha Grain-Free Superfood Granola or Grain-Free Bars may be impacted by the recall. “We are implementing this recall, because we learned that cashews provided by our supplier during a brief time this spring may contain foreign objects,” the company said in a news release. “We have taken corrective action and replaced this cashew supplier with a new one.” The foreign matter was discovered by a customer, who informed Purely Elizabeth, according to CBS News. A company spokesperson told CBS News the products were sold at retailers Target, Walmart, Costco, Publix and Whole Foods, and online at Amazon, Thrive Market, and the Purely Elizabeth website. Customers with affected products are asked to take a photo of the packages and email them to support@purelyelizabeth.com. Customers should not consume the contents and dispose of the product after emailing a photo. The company is offering free replacement products. More information on the recalled products, including photos and best by dates, is at the Purely Elizabeth website. Questions can be directed to support@purelyelizabeth.com. Alternatively, customers with questions can contact Purely Elizabeth  or by phone at (720) 242-7525 Ext. 106, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. MDT, Monday through Friday.
  • A 16-year-old boy from Guatemala died in U.S. custody Monday morning, one week after he was apprehended in South Texas, authorities with U.S. Customs and Border Protection confirmed in a statement. >> Read more trending news The boy, whose name was not released, is the fifth Guatemalan migrant known to have died since December after being detained at the U.S.-Mexico border. Officials said the 16-year-old was apprehended and processed May 13 near Hidalgo, Texas, after he entered the country illegally. Authorities said he was transferred Sunday from the Rio Grande Valley Sector’s Central Processing Center to the Border Patrol station in Weslaco, Texas, ahead of a planned placement with the Heath and Human Services Office of Refugee Resettlement. >> Guatemalan toddler, 2, dies in US custody after being detained at border He was found unresponsive Monday during a welfare check, officials said. “The men and women of U.S. Customs and Border Protection are saddened by the tragic loss of this young man and our condolences are with his family,” Acting CBP Commissioner John Sanders said in a statement. “CBP is committed to the health, safety and humane treatment of those in our custody.” The Border Patrol has faced months of scrutiny over its care of children it apprehends at the border. Last week, authorities said a 2-year-old boy died after he and his mother were detained at the border. Authorities said he was diagnosed with pneumonia and hospitalized for about a month before his death, according to The Associated Press. >> 7-year-old Guatemalan migrant dies of dehydration, shock in Border Patrol custody Authorities are also investigating the April 30 death of Juan de Leon Gutierrez, a 16-year-old migrant from Guatemala who died after officials at a Texas youth detention facility noticed he was sick. His cause of death remained unclear Monday. In December, 7-year-old Jakelin Caal Maquin died of dehydration and septic shock two days after she was taken to a Border Patrol station, CNN reported. The news network reported 8-year-old Felipe Gómez Alonzo died of flu complicated by sepsis weeks later, on Christmas Eve, while he was in U.S. custody. Both children were from Guatemala. >> Migrant mother, 7-year-old son reunited after being separated at border Trump administration officials have said they have passed a 'breaking point' in the immigration detention system, with the numbers of parents and children crossing the border dramatically exceeding the capacity at facilities. That strain is particularly acute in the Rio Grande Valley, which has more unauthorized border crossings than any other region. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • Police in South Florida evacuated a Goodwill store for 90 minutes after a grenade was found in a donation bin, TCPalm reported. >> Read more trending news  It was the second time in 10 months that a grenade had been found in a bin at a Port St. Lucie site, the website reported. Police also evacuated the parking lot at the store as the St. Lucie County Bomb Squad investigated, according to WPTV. A technician who examined the device determined it was inert, the television station reported. >> World War II-era grenade found near Florida Taco Bell It was not clear who donated the grenade. Employees at the Goodwill store called 911 Wednesday after the grenade was found in the bin, Port St. Lucie Police spokeswoman Sgt. Lisa Carrasquillo told TCPalm.  An inert grenade was found July 27 at a different Port St. Lucie location, the website reported. Gulfstream Goodwill spokesman Brian Edwards said the thrift stores do not accept any weapons as donations.  'We were very fortunate the grenade was not triggered,' Edwards told TCPalm. 
  • An Arizona man is accused of animal cruelty after police found his dog strangled in the front yard of his Phoenix home, KNXV reported. >> Read more trending news  Ruben Ezekiel Garcia, 38, was arrested Sunday and is being held without bond in the Maricopa County Jail for animal cruelty and possession of drug paraphernalia. When police arrived at Garcia’s residence, they found a 1-year-old German shepherd tethered to a pole in Garcia’s front yard, KNXV reported. Police said the dog’s leash was connected to a chain collar at one end of the pole and was caught between two wooden slats. According to police, the dog struggled to free itself and died of strangulation from his collar. When he was arrested, Garcia asked police to allow his son to bring him a pair of pants. Police allegedly found a meth pipe inside one of the pockets, KNXV reported.
  • An truck driver based in Euclid, Ohio, is accused of causing the deaths of four people lastThursday afternoon in a fiery interstate crash in McDonough, Georgia. On Monday, authorities announced charges against the driver, 39-year-old Mohabe McCoy, since all four victims had been identified. He is facing charges of second-degree homicide by vehicle, a misdemeanor, improper turn and driving too fast for conditions. >> Read more trending news  The victim’s bodies were badly burned when McCoy’s tractor-trailer slammed into the back of their Chevrolet pickup truck on I-75, according to officials with the Henry County Police Department. The pickup truck, which was hauling pine straw, was pushed into the back of another tractor-trailer and went up in flames.  The victims were identified as Jose Ibarra Yanez, 42, Jaime Sanchez, 26, Fermin Sanchez, 20, and Juana Adaliris Ortiz-Martinez, 31. The three men and woman were from Dublin, Georgia.  The crash happened around 12:15 p.m. Thursday. At the time, northbound traffic was lagging after another crash on I-75 shut down the interstate before the I-675 interchange. Video from a nearby car dealership obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution shows the first tractor-trailer slowed before an exit, and the pickup truck followed suit. McCoy’s tractor-trailer, which was hauling potatoes, did not appear to slow down before plowing into the back of the truck in the video. McCoy was arrested Thursday evening after he was checked out at Atlanta Medical Center. He is being held Monday in the Henry County Jail in lieu of a $10,000 bond.