Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Gather 'Round the Potbellied Sarge Stove, Open Thread Wednesday

(Source)
So yeah, as the Feds decided to simplify the 2018 Form 1040, I find myself with some extra time on my hands. So before we go sit by the stove and tell each other lies, er, I mean, stories, I'll regale ya with my "Tale of the Taxes."

When I went to download all of the various instruments whereby the Feds decide just how much of my money they get to keep, I noted something odd about Form 1040. It seemed to be missing stuff. I offer as Sarge Exhibit 1 -
Where are all those myriad lines which require multiple dives into the instructions to try and determine exactly what is supposed to be entered on those lines? Where are the instructions to add lines 13a, 14f, and 17q (while remembering to multiply line 17m by 0.0024, except on Mondays when it's 0.0023)?

Well, all those lines are on the second page, and there's only 23 of 'em. Compare that to the 79 lines of last year!

As you might well imagine, I got the Federal taxes done PDQ. So I decided to therefore take a break and calculate what I owed to Little Rhody on Tuesday night. Which was also fairly straightforward, not to mention downright easy!

While I owe my Uncle Sam another fair chunk of change, Aunt Rhody has offered to pay that back to me plus a little extra to compensate me for mean old Uncle Sam's desire for a bigger chunk of my earnings. (Which is, truth be told, a smaller chunk than last year.) Not that I begrudge the old fellow that, paying the gubmint money beats having to maintain my own roads, airports, bridges, infrastructure and the like - not to mention having to shoulder my musket in times of war - that's what my tax dollars are supposed to do. What about all that other crap? (I can hear your plaintive cries all the way up here beside the Bay of Narragansett, fast by the border with the Bay State, why we're called the Ocean State puzzles me, but I digress...)

As we don't live in a perfect world, some iniquities are to be expected.

Anyhoo, all that tax stuff aside (did I mention that I have a net gain this year?), this is a new idea which came to me in the dead of night, and dontcha know all the cool kids are doing it - the "Open Thread" thing. Y'all can decide what to talk about. Or ignore this humble blog all together and come back "when the fat bastige decides to put up a real post."

Sigh, you just can't please everyone...

At any rate, continue to talk quietly among yourselves but I will throw a topic out there for y'all to chew on -
If I was to throw the names Yamashita and Homma at you, what does that bring to mind. (Other than, "Huh, couple Japanese dudes, so what?")
Think people, think! This stuff will be on the final!

No seriously, what do those names bring to mind. Points for big words, first comment gets to set the tone for the day (as in, "I don't want to talk about Japanese dudes, it's freaking snowing in International Falls!").

Go for it. We'll be back to our regular blogging on Thursday...



 (I hope.)

62 comments:

  1. Ok, so Google is my friend. (I might be old but I still remember how to do research, but I cheated and used Google instead of Britannica )

    So Yamashita was a Japanese General who terrorized the Philippines and Malaysia during WWII. And supposedly made off with lots of gold he hid in tunnels? Not sure I believe all of that last line. Homma was one of his underlings who thought it would be a wonderful idea to walk the POW's across the island, otherwise known as the Bataan Death March...that's all I got.

    And yes, doing taxes this year was MUCH easier than last year...makes me nervous about next year as I hear rumors of changing the W-4 forms which you will need a doctorate in financial theory to complete...we shall see...

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    1. woo-hoo...I am FIRST to day!!

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    2. Suz - You're close on Yamashita and Homma, in the right ballpark but I've discovered some nuances to that old story. Dave got Yamashita, Homma is a similar story. MacArthur was a very bloody-minded individual, of course, I am not a fan of that particular general.

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    3. And yes, you were first! (Wow, you were up early!)

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    4. Yesterday was the anniversary of the start of the Bataan Death March.

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  2. General Yamashita soundly trounced "Field Marshal MacArthur" in the opening round of the Greater East Asia War Games in 1941-42. "Field Marshal MacArthur" was quick to get revenge in 1945 when he captured, tried, and executed Yamashita to show the world that "Nobody Messes With Mac" and gets away with it.

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    1. Close, but you're on the right track. Homma had a similar story. MacArthur was a vindictive sort it appears.

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  3. Taxes done, another refund slightly smaller from the feds but the state!?!!.......state legislators didn't coordinate state return with fed change so more to the state.....over seventy percent more......bastiges. That fed return did look odd eh? So two Japanese generals, no Google, guessing both convicted of war crimes and executed? Congrats Suz!

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    1. Little Rhody seemed to have been in lock step with the Feds his year, I like it.

      I note you said "convicted of" as opposed to "guilty of," a key point in an upcoming post. But you got the right answer.

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  4. Yup, I had to visit the search engine. I will never forget an interview of a man that survived that. He was an older gentleman, looked tough and rugged. He cried like a baby while doing his best to relate what happened to his buddies and himself after Corregidor. That experience ruined him...

    I read at length about the war crimes of the Japanese, and how so many skated on the charges. Hard to pronounce names, weariness from war news, and one unit that developed a lot of "medical" data that the US wanted, so those guys got a pass as well. Many of them went on to head major companies in Japan, while Germans who did the same stretched a rope and rode the wooden box to a hole in the ground.

    I guess that's how von Braun dodged a war crimes trial, he had a skill set we "needed".

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    1. Yes, the post-war war crimes trials made some of the participants (on the prosecution side, except the Reds, they had no shame) rather uneasy. Many who should (perhaps) have been executed, were not, some who shouldn't have been executed, were. Let's just say that in 1945-1946, as now, justice was not evenly handed out.

      But the men (and some women) who suffered at the hands of the Japanese military had an absolutely horrifying time. Of that there is absolutely no doubt.

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    2. Was it Fleet Admiral Halsey who declared that the end of that war would see Japanese language spoken only in Hell? One of the things, among many, that I keep in the back of my mind always out of that war was that we committed the cardinal offense of leaving wounded living enemies behind us. One has to keep in mind that the Strategic Bombing Campaigns in both Germany and Japan left thousands of warriors with no living relatives after the fire storms consumed their wives, children, mothers, sisters, aunts, etc.

      Truman's Deep State saw what was coming and yeah, they took advantage of the opportunity to grasp cutting edge tech to further this nation's interest. Truman was a brilliant man and I don't discount that he knew what was going on and approved it at every level. This country did a pretty thorough job on Japan. Enough that we had to preserve a couple of Japanese cities for the atomic weapons to make our point that we were willing to exterminate them all.

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    3. Yes, it was Halsey.

      I remember the min-series Shaka in which the title character said, "Never leave an enemy behind." Pretty sound advice.

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  5. I just heard that the last survivor of the Doolittle raid cashed in his chips.

    My hat is off, and I'm having a long moment of reflection.

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    1. One hundred three years, there'll be a toast today to Lt. Col. Cole later today.

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    2. John - Yes, the passing of Lt. Col. Cole filled my Facebook feed yesterday, which shows I have a lot of excellent friends, not an SJW in the lot.

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    3. Well, he did get a nice send off last veteran's day complete with B-25 flyover. Rest in Peace, Warrior!

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    4. Still sad to see history slipping away.

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  6. Hey Old AFSarge;

    I am going by memory here, General Homma was MacArthur's opponent in the first round of the Philippine conflict. He was blamed by many for the treatment of the American POW's during the Bataan death march, got shot for it. General Yamashita was the tiger of Malaysia, he beat the British at Singapore, and was MacArthur opponent during the 2nd round of the Philippine conflict. He too was executed by noose if memory serves. Look up the "Yamashita Standard" for your reading pleasure.

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    1. Correct on both counts MrG. The "Yamashita Standard" is also sometimes known as the "Medina Standard." Think My Lai on the latter.

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  7. The victors get to write the history.

    MacArthur? My late father didn't much care for "Dugout Doug".

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    1. They do, they also get to hang the losers should they be so inclined.

      Your Dad was very smart.

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    2. The MacArthurs were from Wisconsin, but Doug was no Badger, he was a weasel.

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    3. Now, now, let's not insult weasels.

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  8. OK, because it's an open thread, let me play devils advocate. Could MacArthur have taken any other course of action in the PI in '41/42 to stave off defeat? Would his staying behind and being captured have made any difference? Given the Allies agreed upon priorities for men and materiel, could he have use another strategy in his Theater than the one he did? If MacArthur weren't MacArthur would the complete rebound of the Japanese economy (heck, culture, government et al) have been possible.

    My belief is "probably not". YMMV

    BTW, you REALLY ought to register for this online course.

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    1. Yes. Dugout Doug could have. He had ample warning, the Pentagon was pressing him time and again to prepare defenses in depth, he was warned that they used both tanks and other vehicle assets effectively, and a leapfrog system using small scale landings to punch ahead of the main column.

      Mac was warned, told exactly how the Japanese were going to hand him his ass, how to not have his ass handed to him, and He dithered around and didn't believe or follow any real orders until it was too late.

      He did not integrate the locals into his defenses like he should. He did not arm militias like he should and could have.

      He could have turned the PI into Guadalcanal with the victory for us, if he had prepared.

      But he was so pissed and vindictive at being assigned to the PI, and unprepared for the effectiveness of the Japanese military, even though he'd been getting intelligence briefings as to the Japs in China.

      So, no. After having his ass handed to him, he should have been soundly removed. After all, isn't that what they did to the Admiral in charge of Pearl Harbor?

      Doug had too many powerbrokers working for him in the halls of Congress and the Pentagon. Too many favors owed for despicable acts against the American People. He was a great politician. Which, considering he was a General, isn't a complement.

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    2. The same reasoning could be applied to all the Allied Powers. That was one of the first things that Hillsdale College Course brings out. The fact that all the early victories by the Axis were achieved primarily by surprise and against an unprepared opponent. The first year or 4 or 6 (depending on your particular start date of choice) were devoted to "not losing" while the Allies got up to speed. Could MacArthur at the tactical level have done things differently? Perhaps. Would those changes prevent the conquest of the PI? Probably not. After Pearl Harbor, we did not have the naval strength to resupply them at all. The Americans kept the Japanese occupied there for 5 months. Shortly after their surrender, Midway occurred, and things started turning around.
      I don't disagree that MacArthur was an arrogant ass, and you're right about being a politician. However, I'm going to stand by my opening position.

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    3. Well, yes, losing proposition, but dangit, the resistance could have been much superior and prolonged if MacArthur had listened to someone besides himself.

      Just too many good men with Doug's footprints on their backs and shoulders. Man would have fit perfectly in with the other knife-wielders playing numbly-peg on Julius' back one Ides of March.

      A man who's ego was even more dangerous than Custer. He just never got to get 'Custer'ed.'

      Though he was a very effective military dictator during the post-war in Japan. The Japanese have always had a thing for strong, dictatorial men.

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    4. "...he have use another strategy..." Ok, so I missed one yesterday, but I found this one today. However, I know how easy it is to miss something such as that even if one proofreads. The mind does not always see what the eye shows it; it sees what it meant to be there.

      On the subject of the post: To my mind, the Japanese were nastier than the Nazis. Also, they should thank the U.S. for using the nukes on them. If the Allies had had to invade the home islands, there was a good chance that there would no longer be a Japanese people.

      Thanks for the post.
      Paul L. Quandt

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    5. Yeah, and somehow I screwed up the HTML for the link to the course I'm recommending. Here it is in web engrish
      https://online.hillsdale.edu/courses/WorldWarII/home/world-war-ii-schedule

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    6. Do you mean this?
      https://lp.hillsdale.edu/second-world-wars/

      Or just Hillsdale.edu and follow the prompts.

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    7. Your link is to actually sign up for the course. That allows you some additional reading material and quizzes for the course (I'm at 93 average for the first three. Aced the Army and Navy quizzes missed two on the Air one).

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    8. I've grown used to the disdain many have for General MacArthur and to be honest, I used to share it. That said, I figure it's about time to read his book and read a bio or two as I did with just about every other leading officeran in WWII. I've read them all from Spruance and Halsey to Nimitz. I have not given due attention to the Army side mostly because, the modern world, post 1950 united to detest a soldier general who was the youngest Chief of Staff Army we had in my centuries and was the scion of parents most men of my age would be ashamed of. I'll read some and maybe write some in a bit.

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    9. Looking forward to it, Cap'n. Reading American Caesar by William Manchester is a good place to start.

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  9. O/T for Juvat and Sarge - the JDF's 302 squadron said goodbye to their long-serving F-4EJ "Kai"s last month. Some gorgeous sound and video as the old samurais go to a well deserved retirement.

    https://youtu.be/wfc7qBVplxQ

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    1. Yeah, I saw that also. Given that the F-4 has been flying for almost 60 years, it's had a good run.

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    2. Two more squadrons in Japan, some still flying in Egypt, Greece and Turkey.

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    3. And in Iran, where when they finish learning how to "build" F-5s and new drones that look remarkably like T-33s, they'll probably start on their next indigenous fighter program to create new F-4s.

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    4. I prefer no mentions of longevity of certain jet planes, as I picked a couple of these from the factory in St. Louis and I started the 737 in '69.

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    5. So, D4, what is the answer to Bean's question about the Lavatory waste from a couple of days ago. Is it dumped in flight or as part of the turn on the ground?

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    6. I don't remember the query, but they emptied the blue rooms on the ground with a specialized container truck. Sometime the receptacle would leak some, causing a blue ice berg. I'll go back and look for the question.

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  10. Open thread, hmmmm.
    Shades of the ol’ BBS.

    Well, Maui’s history and it’s at least 20 degrees cooler here on the Left Coast.

    I find it very difficult to reconcile the Japanese I know with those in the stories about the war.
    That’s probably a good thing considering the circumstances of my early upbringing.
    My mother and paternal grandparents showed much restraint in their attitude.

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    1. BBS, haven't heard that term in a long while.

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    2. My one grandmother was unanimess in her hatred for Germans. My sister was born in Germany in 1959 and me in 1961 and she came over both times to be with my mother. I imagine my dad was a little concerned each time she visited the land of people she hated to death for the next 45 years.

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    3. My Uncles Charlie and John (great uncle there) were both infantrymen in WWII. Uncle Charlie hated the Germans with a burning passion until the day he died, Uncle John was a bit quieter about it, don't know how he felt about the Germans. But Uncle Charlie, hated them he did, I'm guessing he saw things that Uncle John did not.

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  11. Ha. Thief! I did suggest a while ago that when your brain was broke, just tossing out comments or inflammatory topics would result in another excellent post with excellent comments.

    And, darnit, quit moving the laser pointer. I am not a cat. Stop it....


    Well, what everyone said above. Two generals who booted MacArthur out of the PI and roundly handed his unprepared and arrogant ass to him at the expense of too many US service members and too many Filipinos. And then, Doug being the vindictive jerk he was, got summarily executed as soon as Doug could get his hands on them.

    Much like the way Doug treated fellow officers of both the US and Commonwealth. If they were of use to him, okay. If they disagreed with him (even and especially if they were right) then General Vindictive (must be his secret Sith title) comes out.

    Both Yamashita and Homma were following their orders and their culture in doing what they did. Which to us as 'civilized' folk was and still is very disgusting. Should they have been executed? Most likely. But once captured they should have gone to trial after the war, like so many German and Italian officers. And the executions would most likely have occurred. But that wouldn't have assuaged MacArthur's ego.

    Bleh.

    I knew, at Kwajalein, a then-Catholic priest who survived a Japanese camp. Scars on his back, the whole nine yards. If he could forgive the Japs for that, then, well, so can I. Won't forget, no, he taught me that. Forgiveness does not equal forgetfulness. Forgetfulness in that respect is a sin, a venal sin, but a sin. Seriously. What I was taught. Stuck to me to this day. Forgive, but don't be stupid about it.

    Hey, did I just catch the light dot again, wait, there it goes, darned it....

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  12. As to taxes, I have heard lots of favorable comments on the new FedTaxForm. Mostly from people who never had their state taxes subsidized by being able to withdraw the state tax from the FedTax.

    Now, lots of wailing and gnashing of teeth regarding having to pay actual taxes by people who have had their state taxes and fed taxes subsidized by the rest of us.

    Never understood why us dirt-state people had to subsidize all those Capital District people. Oh, I understand that NY, CA and such have very powerful lobbyists and congresscritters and lobbyist congresscritters, but the person wanting fairness just wanted everyone to pay their fair share (well, maybe if the Capital District people had to pay their fair shares, our overall taxes would have been less to begin with.)

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  13. If anyone thinks that Douglas MacArthur was an effective general officer perhaps you can explain how he managed to have virtually ALL of his air assets sitting wing tip to wing tip on the ground EIGHT HOURS AFTER HE RECEIVED WORD OF PEARL HARBOR. You might also explain exactly what he was doing from 1937 until December 8th, 1941 while he was being paid a fortune to run around in his self designed field marshal uniform and prepare the Philippine army for the war that everyone saw coming.

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    1. I don't believe it is up to the Theater Commander to dictate the parking of aircraft on a ramp. That would be the responsibility of the Theater Air Commander and/or the Wing/Base Commander. Did MacArthur fail to pass the message about the Pearl Harbor attack to his subordinates?
      As to 1937 to Dec 1941, what were the US Forces doing to prepare for the war that everyone saw was coming?

      Should he have been cashiered? Probably. However, that would have rendered the post-war recovery of Japan moot and the Inchon Landing might not have happened or been successful. That would have required a Normandy type landing which would not have sat well with the American People. That would have made a significant change in Sarge's Family.

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    2. Genera Short and Admiral Kimmel were both held fully accountable for the attack on Hawaii, but neither had received a specific warning about the commencement of combat. MacArthur, on the other hand, had over eight hours warning that hostilities had commenced but seemed frozen and couldn't, or wouldn't, make critical decisions. Kimmel and Short were disgraced and were fired. MacArthur got a Medal of Honor for hiding in a tunnel (according to his former aide who rejected any efforts to get him a MoH. In case you have any doubts, I'm not a Mac fan and consider him to be grossly overrated.

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    3. I can't really speak to MacArthur's overall performance in WWII, I need to go deeper into that topic.

      As for the Korean War - Inchon was brilliant, appointment of Ned Almond to command X Corps was stupid, pursuit to the Yalu was criminally stupid. About the only thing the CHICOMs didn't do was put an ad in the New York Times to tell the West that that was a bad idea.

      I do think MacArthur was overrated, his MoH was a sop thrown to him by Marshal as Marshal's way of apologizing to MacArthur for stringing him along with his "help his on the way" messages in early '41.

      MacArthur, just not a fan.

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    4. Yeah, but it wasn't the Field Marshall just as it wasn't Stark. You give a war warning and yet it's subordinates that carry it out. I have been to the mountain of great leaders leading really tragically stupid subordinates. You can't actually do that much to them in this day and age. Fire them and they are "unplanned losses" and you eat the vacant billet (s) for 18 months while BUPERS spins up somebody to fill that billet in their own good time. Yeah, been there, done that. That's the other side of the coin from the one I don't know about which is, what exact role did MacA have over US forces in PI back when he was high potentate and FM of the PI? I know Sharp accepted his role as CINC but prior to the outbreak of hostilities, I'll bet it was hog heaven and the clerk types made life miserable as much as they could. I do know clerks of the worst sort and that's their mission.

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    5. Good points Cap'n. Best commander on the planet can't get much done if his subordinates are bad.

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  14. Sarge said: "all that tax stuff aside (did I mention that I have a net gain this year?)"
    I'm just going to take an issue with this little statement, although I know what you meant. If you had $0 tax liability and then on top of that you got money from the gubmint, you would have had a net gain. But I suspect what you meant was that your witholding was more than sufficient to cover your taxes thus you got a return of part of your no interest loan to the gubmint.

    And thanks for the teaser on Yamashita and Homma. I will forever remember the LIFE magazine picture of the captured American pilot/aviator who was on his knees and blindfolded, just seconds before the Jap officer in the picture with the raised katana lopped the prisoner's head off. So while I am glad that we currently have good relations with our former enemies, I agree with Beans that we must never forget. And God bless LTC. Cole and his comrades!

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    1. I get that Tom, I don't mind paying taxes, this year was less painful than most. Last I checked we were still free and the roads are being kept up. Yes, there is a lot in DC that needs to change (disband Dept of Education, BATF, and a number of other agencies that provide no real value) but our taxes go towards the good and the bad. Someone has to pay for the good stuff.

      Never forget, but do forgive - it's the Christian thing to do.

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    2. I know you get it - sorry if I wasn't more clear. I probably should have made it clear that I also have no issues paying taxes when the money is used for things the government should be doing (infrastructure, defense, etc.). My problem isn't with the taxes themselves but more with the things done with them that aren't appropriate - pallets of cash to our enemies, for one. And I also agree forgiveness is the right course in most situations - in fact only very few can I think of where it wouldn't be the right thing to do.

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    3. The last administration has much to answer for, on that you and I are in complete agreement.

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Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)