The Process of Making Handmade Shoes: AWESOME VIDEO

shoe

Shoemaking is the process of making footwear. Originally, shoes were made one at a time by hand. Traditional handicraft shoemaking has now been largely superseded in volume of shoes produced by industrial mass production of footwear, but not necessarily in quality, attention to detail, or craftsmanship.

Shoemakers may produce a range of footwear items, including shoesbootssandalsclogs and moccasins. Such items are generally made of leatherwoodrubberplasticjute or other plant material, and often consist of multiple parts for better durability of the sole, stitched to a leather upper.

Trades that engage in shoemaking have included the cordwainer‘s and cobbler’s trades. Today shoes are often made on a factory basis rather than a craft basis.

Traditional methods

Woodcut of shoemakers from 1568.

 Woodcut of shoemakers from 1568.

For most of history, shoemaking has been a handicraft, limited to time consuming manufacture by hand. Traditional shoemakers used more than 15 different techniques of making shoes. Some of these were: pegged construction, English welted (machine-made versions are referred to as “Goodyear welted” after the inventor of the technique), goyser welted, Norwegian, stitchdown, turnout, German sewn, moccasin, bolognese stitched, and blake-stitched.

The most basic foot protection, used since ancient times in the Mediterranean area, was the sandal, which consisted of a protective sole, attached to the foot with leather thongs. Similar footwear worn in the Far East was made from plaited grass or palm fronds. In climates that required a full foot covering, a single piece of untanned hide was laced with a thong, providing full protection for the footand so made a complete covering.

The production of wooden shoes, was widespread in medieval Europe. They were made from a single piece of wood roughly cut into shoe form. A variant of this form was the clog, which were wooden soles to which a leather upper was attached. The sole and heel were made from one piece of maple or ash two inches thick, and a little longer and broader than the desired size of shoe. The outer side of the sole and heel was fashioned with a long chisel-edged implement, called the clogger’s knife or stock; while a second implement, called the groover, made a groove around the side of the sole. With the use of a ‘hollower’, the inner sole’s contours were adapted to the shape of the foot. The leather uppers were then fitted closely to the groove around the sole. Clogs were of great advantage to workers in muddy and damp conditions, keeping the feet dry and comfortable.

Early shoemaking shop on exhibit at Maine State Museum in Augusta, Maine

 By the 1600s, leather shoes came in two main types. ‘Turn shoes’ consisted of one thin flexible sole, which was sewed to the upper while outside in and turned over when completed. This type was used for making slippers and similar shoes. The second type united the upper with an insole, which was subsequently attached to an out-sole with a raised heel. This was the main variety, and was used for most footwear, including standard shoes and riding boots.

The traditional shoemaker would measure the feet and cut out upper leathers according to the required size. These parts were fitted and stitched together. The sole was next assembled, consisting of a pair of inner soles of soft leather, a pair of outer soles of firmer texture, a pair of welts or bands about one inch broad, of flexible leather, and lifts and top-pieces for the heels. The insole was then attached to a last made of wood, which was used to form the shoe. Some lasts were straight, while curved lasts came in pairs: one for left shoes, the other for right shoes. The ‘lasting’ procedure then secured the leather upper to the sole with tacks. The soles were then hammered into shape; the heel lifts were then attached with wooden pegs and the worn out-sole was nailed down to the lifts. The finishing operation included paring, rasping, scraping, smoothing, blacking, and burnishing the edges of soles and heels, scraping, sand-papering, and burnishing the soles, withdrawing the lasts, and cleaning out any pegs which may have pierced through the inner sole.

Other types of ancient and traditionally made shoes included furs wrapped around feet, and sandals wrapped over them: used by Romans fighting in northern Europe, and moccasins – simple shoes without the durability of joined shoes.

Industrial era

A shoemaker in the Georgian era, from The Book of English Trades, 1821.

 Shoemaking became more commercialized in the mid-18th century, as it expanded as a cottage industry. Large warehouses began to stock footwear in warehouses, made by many small manufacturers from the area.

Until the 19th century, shoemaking was a traditional handicraft, but by the century’s end, the process had been almost completely mechanized, with production occurring in large factories. Despite the obvious economic gains of mass-production, the factory system produced shoes without the individual differentiation that the traditional shoemaker was able to provide.

The first steps towards mechanisation were taken during the Napoleonic Wars by the engineer, Marc Brunel. He developed machinery for the mass-production of boots for the soldiers of the British Army. In 1812 he devised a scheme for making nailed-boot-making machinery that automatically fastened soles to uppers by means of metallic pins or nails. With the support of the Duke of York, the shoes were manufactured, and, due to their strength, cheapness, and durability, were introduced for the use of the army. In the same year, the use of screws and staples was patented by Richard Woodman. Brunel’s system was described by Sir Richard Phillips as a visitor to his factory in Battersea as follows:

By the late 19th century, the shoemaking industry had migrated to the factory and was increasingly mechanized. Pictured, the bottoming room of the B. F. Spinney & Co. factory in Lynn, Massachusetts, 1872.

“In another building I was shown his manufactory of shoes, which, like the other, is full of ingenuity, and, in regard to subdivision of labour, brings this fabric on a level with the oft-admired manufactory of pins. Every step in it is effected by the most elegant and precise machinery; while, as each operation is performed by one hand, so each shoe passes through twenty-five hands, who complete from the hide, as supplied by the currier, a hundred pairs of strong and well-finished shoes per day. All the details are performed by the ingenious application of the mechanic powers; and all the parts are characterised by precision, uniformity, and accuracy. As each man performs but one step in the process, which implies no knowledge of what is done by those who go before or follow him, so the persons employed are not shoemakers, but wounded soldiers, who are able to learn their respective duties in a few hours. The contract at which these shoes are delivered to Government is 6s. 6d. per pair, being at least 2s. less than what was paid previously for an unequal and cobbled article.”

However, when the war ended in 1815, manual labour became much cheaper, and the demand for military equipment subsided. As a consequence, Brunel’s system was no longer profitable and it soon ceased business.

Traditional shoemakers still exist today, shoemaker in Karachi

 Similar exigencies at the time of the Crimean War stimulated a renewed interest in methods of mechanization and mass-production, which proved longer lasting.[2] A shoemaker in Leicester, Tomas Crick, patented the design for a riveting machine in 1853. His machine used an iron plate to push iron rivets into the sole. The process greatly increased the speed and efficiency of production. He also introduced the use of steam-powered rolling-machines for hardening leather and cutting-machines, in the mid-1850s.

The sewing machine was introduced in 1846, and provided an alternative method for the mechanization of shoemaking. By the late 1850s, the industry was beginning to shift towards the modern factory, mainly in the US and areas of England. A shoe stitching machine was invented by the American Lyman Blake in 1856 and perfected by 1864. Entering in to partnership with McKay, his device became known as the McKay stitching machine and was quickly adopted by manufacturers throughout New England.[5] As bottlenecks opened up in the production line due to these innovations, more and more of the manufacturing stages, such as pegging and finishing, became automated. By the 1890s, the process of mechanisation was largely complete.

Traditional shoemakers still exist today, especially in poorer parts of the world, and create custom shoes. Current crafters, in developing regions or supply constrained areas may use surplus car or truck tire tread sections as an inexpensive and plentiful material resource with which to make strong soles for shoes or sandals. Generally, the modern machinery used includes die cutting tools to cut the shapes and grommet machines to punch holes for lacing.

In popular culture

Sewing machine for shoemaking, shoe repair, and bag and heavy fabric repair work. This machine is manually operated with a hand crank. The foot can be turned in any direction which changes the direction of the material feed.

 The shoemaking profession makes a number of appearances in popular culture, such as in stories about shoemaker’s elves, and the proverb “The shoemaker’s children go barefoot.”[6] The patron saint of shoemakers is Saint Crispin.

Chefs and cooks sometimes use the term “shoemaker” as an insult to others who have prepared sub-standard food, possibly by overcooking, implying that the chef in question has made his or her food as tough as shoe leather or hard leather shoe soles, and thus may be in the wrong profession.

Similarly, to “cobble” can mean not only to make or mend shoes, but “to put together clumsily; to bungle.”[7]

Famous shoemakers

Shoemaker and repairer in McLeod Ganj, Himachal Pradesh, India

SOURCE

موديلات البروك تعود بقوة

Posted by ‎ليزر للأحذية الرجالى‎ on Friday, October 16, 2015

Austinites turn out in droves for anti-gun ‘mass farting’ protest

DILDO

AUSTIN – Pro-gun demonstrators staging a mock mass shooting near the University of Texas at Austin on Saturday were overwhelmed in number and ferocity by a large group of counter-protesters wielding dildos and machines that generated fart sounds.

“This isn’t about guns necessarily. This is about scaring our community. This is about a choice between fear and a little bit of good humor,” Andrew Dobbs, a UT alumnus who organized the “mass farting” counter-protest told the crowd. “We are in a scary time right now and lots of scary things are happening, and some people want us to be more afraid.”

“I choose to believe that fear is not the solution to the threat of our time. That laughing in the face of fear is a courageous act and toting a gun around everywhere you go, maybe not so much,” he added. “When you come to my community, to the university that I love, and you threaten the lives of my friends, what I have to say is, I’m going to fart in your face!”

The group of around 100 counter protesters shouted “Texas farts!” and “We fart in your general direction” as they marched down Guadalupe Street in Austin to meet members of Come and Take It Texas and DontComply.com who were staging the mock shooting across the street from the All Saints’ Episcopal Church.

By the time the “mass farting” got there, however, the mock mass shooting was already over. The two groups had already held what they called their “theatrical performance” mimicking a mass shooting with cardboard guns and fake blood.

This is what the pro-gun demonstrators wanted, organizer Murdoch Pizgatti said, to show that a shooting can take place in a matter or seconds or minute while people are distracted by “their emotions.”

“On the other side of campus, the mock mass shooting happened. You don’t get a time and place, you don’t get a flier or an invitation for a true mass shooting. They happen unannounced,” said Pizgatti. “And the response time for the police to get over here was well after the event took place. That also illustrates the point of these gun-free zones. You must protest yourself. You must be armed.”

Earlier Saturday, the groups held an open carry march near the area. It’s legal to openly carry a long arm like a rifle in Texas. Come Jan. 1, it will be legal for licensed gun owners to openly carry their handguns, and concealed carry will be allowed in most buildings on public college campuses beginning August 2016.

Open carry of any deadly weapons will remain illegal at all institutions of higher learning, however, and K-12 schools, hospitals and several other locations across the state will continue to be designated gun-free zones after the new laws go into effect.

Pizgatti, who was openly carrying a handgun Saturday, repeatedly cited a law passed in 2013 that protects those who “accidentally” expose their concealed gun. “Whoops!” he said, laughing.

The mock mass shooting, which he billed as a protest meant to reveal the dangers of gun-free zones, quickly went viral after being announced on Facebook last week. The response from the UT community and other Austinites was swift and humorous.

Both protests claimed to win the day with the farters saying they effectively neutralized the impact of the mock shooting, and the pro-gun activists saying the counter-protesters made fools of themselves.

As both demonstrations died down, clergy and volunteers from All Saints’ came out with buckets of soapy water to scrub the chalk outlines and fake blood left after the mock mass shooting. Dobbs rallied his troops once more, thanking them for their good humor.

“A bunch of people with fart guns scared these guys,” said Dobbs. “It’s time for us to stand up for good sense, for good humor and believe it or not, for a crowd with dildos and fart guns, a little bit of good taste.”

VIDEO: I Am NOT Black, You are NOT White. These Labels were Made Up to Divide us.

Check this video out! Who are you? Are you really Black? Are you really White?

I Am NOT Black, You are NOT White. These Labels were Made Up to Divide us.

Posted by Prince Ea on Monday, November 2, 2015

Terrorism came to AmericaKKKa long before 9/11 or ISIS: America’s record of Black lynchings worse than previously thought

terrorism(NNPA) – Almost 4,000 Blacks—about 700 more than previously reported—were lynched in 12 Southern states during the period between Reconstruction and World War II, according to a new report by the Equal Justice Initiative.

“Lynching in America: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror” is the result of five years of research and 160 visits to sites across the South. The report makes the argument that these killings were a form of racial terrorism aimed at subjugating the Black community and maintaining Jim Crow segregation.

“We’re focusing on lynchings of African-Americans because when Whites were lynched it was really more about punishment—it wasn’t sent to terrorize the White community, it was intended to actually make the White community feel safe,” said Bryan Stevenson, director of the Alabama-based nonprofit in an interview with National Public Radio. “The lynching of African-Americans, on the other hand, was really a direct message to the entire African-American community—it was designed to traumatize and terrorize.”

To put in a modern-day context, the number of Blacks who were beaten, burned and ultimately hung while picnicking Whites cheered, is more than twice the number of Americans who died in the terrorist attacks on 9/11, more than twice those who died in the anti-terror campaign in Afghanistan and comparable to the number who died in Iraq.

And these acts of terror against Blacks were often state-sanctioned killings, Mr. Stevenson added.

“In most of the places where these lynchings took place—in fact in all of them—there was a functioning criminal justice system that was deemed too good for African-Americans,” he said. “Often these men were pulled from jails and pulled out of courthouses, where they could be lynched literally on the courthouse lawn.”

The inequalities reinforced by lynching has left its mark on the Black community and on public policy as seen in policies of mass incarceration, racially biased capital punishment, excessive or disproportionate sentencing of racial minorities, and police abuse of people of color, the report concluded.

“We cannot heal the deep wounds inflicted during the era of racial terrorism until we tell the truth about it,” Mr. Stevenson said in a separate statement. “The geographic, political, economic, and social consequences of decades of terror lynchings can still be seen in many communities today and the damage created by lynching needs to be confronted and discussed. Only then can we meaningfully address the contemporary problems that are lynching’s legacy.

SOURCE

Dalai Lama: Humans Created Terrorism, So Stop Praying To God For A Solution

IAM-A-BUDDHIST

Prayer alone will not be enough to stem terrorist attacks like the shootings and bombings last week that devastated Paris and shocked the world, the Dalai Lama said.

The Buddhist spiritual leader from Tibet said in an interview with German media outlet Deutsche Welle on Monday that terrorism is a problem caused by humans and, thus, must be fixed by mankind without God’s intervention.

“People want to lead peaceful lives. The terrorists are short-sighted, and this is one of the causes of rampant suicide bombings. We cannot solve this problem only through prayers,” the Dalai Lama said as part of a response to a question about how he viewed the attacks.

“I am a Buddhist and I believe in praying. But humans have created this problem, and now we are asking God to solve it,” the Nobel Peace Prize winner said. “It is illogical. God would say, solve it yourself because you created it in the first place.”

Other religious leaders, like Pope Francis, have encouraged followers to join him in prayer after Friday’s series of shootings and bombings that killed at least 129 people and injured more than 300.

It would also be unwise to expect politicians to devise solutions too, the Dalai Lama said.

“So let us work for peace within our families and society, and not expect help from God, Buddha or the governments,” he said.

Though the conflict between Western secular countries and radicalized Islamist terrorists is often depicted as a clash of civilizations with irreconcilable differences, the Dalai Lama said the struggle is not nearly as stark.

“The problems that we are facing today are the result of superficial differences over religious faiths and nationalities. We are one people.”

The Dalai Lama’s comments echo remarks he made in New York on his first visit to the city after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

During that trip, The New York Times reported that he said “compassion, dialogue — peaceful means” are the “real antidote” to terrorism.

“‘Terrorism comes out of hatred, and also short-sightedness,” he said.

SOURCE


ACLU COMMENT ON EFFORTS TO RESTRICT REFUGEE RESETTLEMENT TO US

November 16, 2015

NEW YORK — Following the attacks in Paris, some U.S. governors and federal lawmakers have moved to restrict the planned resettlement of Syrian refugees to the United States.

Cecillia Wang, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, said:

“Some politicians have attempted to fabricate a link between the tragedy in Paris and the resettlement of Syrian refugees to the United States. Making policy based on this fear mongering is wrong for two reasons. It is factually wrong for blaming refugees for the very terror they are fleeing, and it is legally wrong because it violates our laws and the values on which our country was founded.”

SOURCE

ELIZABETH WARREN: We are not a nation that delivers children back into the hands of ISIS murderers.

Over the past four years, millions of people have fled their homes in Syria, running for their lives. In recent months, the steady stream of refugees has been a flood that has swept across Europe.

Every day, refugees set out on a journey hundreds of miles, from Syria to the Turkish coast. When they arrive, human smugglers charge them $1000 a head for a place on a shoddy, overloaded, plastic raft that is given a big push and floated out to sea, hopefully toward one of the Greek islands.

Last month, I visited the Greek island of Lesvos to see the Syrian refugee crisis up close. Lesvos is only a few miles away from the Turkish coast, but the risks of crossing are immense. This is a really rocky, complicated shoreline – in and out, in and out. The overcrowded, paper-thin smuggler rafts are tremendously unsafe, especially in choppy waters or when a storm picks up.

Parents try their hardest to protect their children. They really do. Little ones are outfitted with blow up pool floaties as a substitute for life jackets, in the hope that if the rafts go down, a $1.99 pool toy will be enough to save the life of a small child.

And the rafts do go down. According to some estimates, more than 500 people have died crossing the sea from Turkey to Greece so far this year. But despite the clear risks, thousands make the trip every day.

I met with the mayor of Lesvos, who described how his tiny island of 80,000 people has struggled to cope with those refugees who wash ashore – more than 100,000 people in October alone. Refugees pile into the reception centers, overflowing the facilities, sleeping in parks, or at the side of the road. Recently, the mayor told a local radio program that the island had run out of room to bury the dead.

On my visit, I met a young girl – younger than my own granddaughters – sent out on this perilous journey alone. I asked her how old she was, and she shyly held up seven fingers.

I wondered what could possibly possess parents to hand a seven-year-old girl and a wad of cash to human smugglers. What could possibly possess them to send a beloved child across the treacherous seas with nothing more than a pool floatie. What could make them send a child knowing that crime rings of sex slavery and organ harvesting prey on these children.

elizabeth-warrenSend a little girl out alone. With only the wildest, vaguest, most wishful hope that she might make it through alive and find something – anything – better for her on the other side.

This week, we all know why parents would send a child on that journey. Last week’s massacres in Paris and Beirut made it clear. The terrorists of ISIS – enemies of Islam and of all modern civilization, butchers who rape, torture and execute women and children, who blow themselves up in a lunatic effort to kill as many people as possible – these terrorists have spent years torturing the people of Syria. Day after day, month after month, year after year, mothers, fathers, children and grandparents are slaughtered.

In the wake of the murders in Paris and Beirut last week, people in America, in Europe, and throughout the world, are fearful. Millions of Syrians are fearful as well – terrified by the reality of their daily lives, terrified that their last avenue of escape from the horrors of ISIS will be closed, terrified that the world will turn its back on them and on their children.

Some politicians have already moved in that direction, proposing to close our country to people fleeing the massacre in Syria. That is not who we are. We are a country of immigrants and refugees, a country made strong by our diversity, a country founded by those crossing the sea fleeing religious persecution and seeking religious freedom.

We are not a nation that delivers children back into the hands of ISIS murderers because some politician dislikes their religion. And we are not a nation that backs down out of fear.

Our first responsibility is to protect this country. We must embrace that fundamental obligation. But we do not make ourselves safer by ignoring our common humanity and turning away from our moral obligation.

ISIS has shown itself to the world. We cannot – and we will not – abandon the people of France to this butchery. We cannot – and we will not – abandon the people of Lebanon to this butchery. And we cannot – and we must not – abandon the people of Syria to this butchery.

Thank you for being a part of this,

Elizabeth

TRUMP: TAX CUT FOR THE RICH

RICHDonald Trump’s tax plan, released Monday, does not live up to the populist language he has offered on taxes all summer.

When talking about taxes in this campaign, Donald Trump has often sounded like a different kind of Republican. He says he will take on “the hedge fund guys” and their carried interest loophole. He thinks it’s “outrageous” how little tax some multimillionaires pay. But his plan calls for major tax cuts not just for the middle class but also for the richest Americans — even the dreaded hedge fund managers. And despite his campaign’s assurances that the plan is “fiscally responsible,” it would grow budget deficits by trillions of dollars over a decade.

You could call Mr. Trump’s plan a higher-energy version of the tax plan Jeb Bush announced earlier this month: similar in structure, but with lower rates and wider tax brackets, meaning individual taxpayers would pay even less than under Mr. Bush, and the government would lose even more tax revenue.

Currently, the top income tax rate for regular income is 39.6 percent. Mr. Trump would cut that rate to 25 percent, the lowest level since 1931. He’d cut maximum rates on capital gains and dividends to 20 percent from 23.8 percent. He’d cut the corporate tax rate to 15 percent, and also offer a special tax rate of 15 percent to business owners — less than half what they may pay under today’s rules. He’d abolish the estate tax entirely.

Mr. Trump says he’d pay for those tax rate reductions by “reducing or eliminating most deductions and loopholes available to the very rich.” But in truth, rich people already pay tax on most of their income, so there’s less revenue available from cutting rich people’s tax breaks than Mr. Trump and many voters believe.

In 2013, taxpayers earning between $500,000 and $10 million deducted or exempted an average of 12 percent of their income from tax; for those earning more than $10 million, the figure was 16 percent. If those deductions were abolished entirely (and Mr. Trump proposes only to reduce them), that would not come close to paying for a cut in the top tax rate from 39.6 percent to 25 percent, which is a relative reduction of 37 percent.

Mr. Trump has also proposed taxing investment returns related to life insurance that currently don’t appear on tax returns at all. This would raise more revenue than you might expect, perhaps $20 billion a year at Mr. Trump’s proposed tax rates, but still wouldn’t be enough to offset the high-end rate cuts.

Even the hedge fund managers Mr. Trump has railed against on the stump would get a tax cut under his plan. The usual fee structure for a hedge fund is called “2-and-20”: a flat management fee (often 2 percent) on all assets, plus a performance fee (often 20 percent) on profits above a set threshold. Currently, the management fee is taxed at ordinary rates up to 39.6 percent, while the performance fee enjoys a preferential rate of 23.8 percent. Under Mr. Trump’s plan, all this income would be taxed at a maximum of 25 percent. The performance fee would be subject to a small tax increase, but that effect would be dwarfed by the large tax cut on ordinary management fees.

Another large, though less-noticed, tax cut in Mr. Trump’s plan is a reduction in the maximum tax rate on “pass-through income” to 15 percent; currently, this income is taxed at the same rates as wage income, up to 39.6 percent.

Pass-through income is often described as “small-business income,” but that term can be misleading. Small-business owners can use corporate structures, like limited liability companies, that are not taxed. Instead, the income from these companies is passed through to their individual owners, who then pay tax on their individual income tax returns. Those small-business owners would enjoy this tax reduction from Mr. Trump, but so would the owners of large businesses that may also choose to use these same ownership structures. The tax break would also go to independent contractors like me: The New York Times pays me a salary, but when I do work for other organizations, I treat the payments as small-business income, and I’d get to use the 15 percent rate proposed by Mr. Trump.

In addition to offering huge tax cuts to the rich and to business owners (including me!), Mr. Trump would offer huge tax cuts for the middle and upper-middle class. Married couples would pay no tax on their first $50,000 of income and just 10 percent on the next $50,000. A married couple with no children earning $100,000 and taking the standard deduction would pay $11,437 in income tax under today’s rules; under Mr. Trump’s plan, they would pay just $5,000, a tax cut of 56 percent. Many people with low-to-moderate incomes would see their income tax bills reduced to zero, increasing the share of the population that pays no income tax at all.

He’d also offer huge tax breaks to corporations, which would pay 15 percent, down from a current rate of 35 percent. Corporate tax is the main place where his plan departs from Republican orthodoxy, but in a fairly arcane way. Mr. Trump would tax the worldwide income of American corporations at the time it is earned. Currently, American companies may delay tax on foreign profits until they return those profits to the United States. Many Republicans (including Jeb Bush) would move in the other direction and forgo tax on foreign income altogether, arguing that worldwide taxation makes it harder for American companies to compete abroad.

By demanding immediate tax on foreign profits, Mr. Trump’s plan would disfavor American companies that locate their businesses abroad, which is consistent with his broader theme of pushing companies to return factories and jobs to the United States. However, because he would cut the corporate income tax rate so steeply, the effects of immediate worldwide corporate taxation would be limited: Companies get a credit for tax paid to other countries, so Mr. Trump’s tax would apply only on foreign profits that were not subject to tax by a foreign country at a rate of at least 15 percent. This would mostly affect income earned in tax havens, as most major countries have corporate income tax rates of more than 15 percent.

In other words, Mr. Trump’s worldwide tax plan would have no effect on Ford’s choice to make cars in Mexico, so long as they’re paying at least 15 percent in tax to Mexico on their Mexican activities.

A document from the Trump campaign says all these tax cuts would be “fully paid for” by the elimination of deductions and by a one-time tax on foreign profits of American firms held abroad. That math simply does not add up: As discussed above, rich people do not currently take enough tax deductions to offset the tax rate cuts Mr. Trump proposes, and the one-time foreign profits tax might raise $250 billion, not close to the trillions of revenue that would be lost through tax rate cuts.

At a news conference Monday, Mr. Trump offered another way his tax plan would pay for itself: economic growth, perhaps as fast as 6 percent a year, again a higher-energy estimate than the 4 percent Mr. Bush has proposed. But there is no evidence to support the idea that such rapid growth can be produced through tax cuts.

SOURCE

Pope Francis’ address to Congress

Pope Francis’ address to Congress (as prepared for delivery)

Mr. Vice-President,

Mr. Speaker,

Honorable Members of Congress,

Dear Friends,

I am most grateful for your invitation to address this Joint Session of Congress in “the land of the free and the home of the brave”. I would like to think that the reason for this is that I too am a son of this great continent, from which we have all received so much and toward which we share a common responsibility.

Each son or daughter of a given country has a mission, a personal and social responsibility. Your own responsibility as members of Congress is to enable this country, by your legislative activity, to grow as a nation. You are the face of its people, their representatives. You are called to defend and preserve the dignity of your fellow citizens in the tireless and demanding pursuit of the common good, for this is the chief aim of all politics. A political society endures when it seeks, as a vocation, to satisfy common needs by stimulating the growth of all its members, especially those in situations of greater vulnerability or risk. Legislative activity is always based on care for the people. To this you have been invited, called and convened by those who elected you.

Yours is a work which makes me reflect in two ways on the figure of Moses. On the one hand, the patriarch and lawgiver of the people of Israel symbolizes the need of peoples to keep alive their sense of unity by means of just legislation. On the other, the figure of Moses leads us directly to God and thus to the transcendent dignity of the human being. Moses provides us with a good synthesis of your work: you are asked to protect, by means of the law, the image and likeness fashioned by God on every human face.

Today I would like not only to address you, but through you the entire people of the United States. Here, together with their representatives, I would like to take this opportunity to dialogue with the many thousands of men and women who strive each day to do an honest day’s work, to bring home their daily bread, to save money and –one step at a time — to build a better life for their families. These are men and women who are not concerned simply with paying their taxes, but in their own quiet way sustain the life of society. They generate solidarity by their actions, and they create organizations which offer a helping hand to those most in need.

I would also like to enter into dialogue with the many elderly persons who are a storehouse of wisdom forged by experience, and who seek in many ways, especially through volunteer work, to share their stories and their insights. I know that many of them are retired, but still active; they keep working to build up this land. I also want to dialogue with all those young people who are working to realize their great and noble aspirations, who are not led astray by facile proposals, and who face difficult situations, often as a result of immaturity on the part of many adults. I wish to dialogue with all of you, and I would like to do so through the historical memory of your people.

My visit takes place at a time when men and women of good will are marking the anniversaries of several great Americans. The complexities of history and the reality of human weakness notwithstanding, these men and women, for all their many differences and limitations, were able by hard work and self-sacrifice — some at the cost of their lives — to build a better future. They shaped fundamental values which will endure forever in the spirit of the American people. A people with this spirit can live through many crises, tensions and conflicts, while always finding the resources to move forward, and to do so with dignity. These men and women offer us a way of seeing and interpreting reality. In honoring their memory, we are inspired, even amid conflicts, and in the here and now of each day, to draw upon our deepest cultural reserves.

I would like to mention four of these Americans: Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton.

This year marks the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, the guardian of liberty, who labored tirelessly that “this nation, under God, [might] have a new birth of freedom”. Building a future of freedom requires love of the common good and cooperation in a spirit of subsidiarity and solidarity.

All of us are quite aware of, and deeply worried by, the disturbing social and political situation of the world today. Our world is increasingly a place of violent conflict, hatred and brutal atrocities, committed even in the name of God and of religion. We know that no religion is immune from forms of individual delusion or ideological extremism. This means that we must be especially attentive to every type of fundamentalism, whether religious or of any other kind. A delicate balance is required to combat violence perpetrated in the name of a religion, an ideology or an economic system, while also safeguarding religious freedom, intellectual freedom and individual freedoms. But there is another temptation which we must especially guard against: the simplistic reductionism which sees only good or evil; or, if you will, the righteous and sinners. The contemporary world, with its open wounds which affect so many of our brothers and sisters, demands that we confront every form of polarization which would divide it into these two camps. We know that in the attempt to be freed of the enemy without, we can be tempted to feed the enemy within. To imitate the hatred and violence of tyrants and murderers is the best way to take their place. That is something which you, as a people, reject.

Our response must instead be one of hope and healing, of peace and justice. We are asked to summon the courage and the intelligence to resolve today’s many geopolitical and economic crises. Even in the developed world, the effects of unjust structures and actions are all too apparent. Our efforts must aim at restoring hope, righting wrongs, maintaining commitments, and thus promoting the well-being of individuals and of peoples. We must move forward together, as one, in a renewed spirit of fraternity and solidarity, cooperating generously for the common good.

The challenges facing us today call for a renewal of that spirit of cooperation, which has accomplished so much good throughout the history of the United States. The complexity, the gravity and the urgency of these challenges demand that we pool our resources and talents, and resolve to support one another, with respect for our differences and our convictions of conscience.

In this land, the various religious denominations have greatly contributed to building and strengthening society. It is important that today, as in the past, the voice of faith continue to be heard, for it is a voice of fraternity and love, which tries to bring out the best in each person and in each society. Such cooperation is a powerful resource in the battle to eliminate new global forms of slavery, born of grave injustices which can be overcome only through new policies and new forms of social consensus.

Here I think of the political history of the United States, where democracy is deeply rooted in the mind of the American people. All political activity must serve and promote the good of the human person and be based on respect for his or her dignity. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” (Declaration of Independence, 4 July 1776). If politics must truly be at the service of the human person, it follows that it cannot be a slave to the economy and finance. Politics is, instead, an expression of our compelling need to live as one, in order to build as one the greatest common good: that of a community which sacrifices particular interests in order to share, in justice and peace, its goods, its interests, its social life. I do not underestimate the difficulty that this involves, but I encourage you in this effort.

Here too I think of the march which Martin Luther King led from Selma to Montgomery fifty years ago as part of the campaign to fulfill his “dream” of full civil and political rights for African Americans. That dream continues to inspire us all. I am happy that America continues to be, for many, a land of “dreams”. Dreams which lead to action, to participation, to commitment. Dreams which awaken what is deepest and truest in the life of a people.

In recent centuries, millions of people came to this land to pursue their dream of building a future in freedom. We, the people of this continent, are not fearful of foreigners, because most of us were once foreigners. I say this to you as the son of immigrants, knowing that so many of you are also descended from immigrants. Tragically, the rights of those who were here long before us were not always respected. For those peoples and their nations, from the heart of American democracy, I wish to reaffirm my highest esteem and appreciation. Those first contacts were often turbulent and violent, but it is difficult to judge the past by the criteria of the present. Nonetheless, when the stranger in our midst appeals to us, we must not repeat the sins and the errors of the past. We must resolve now to live as nobly and as justly as possible, as we educate new generations not to turn their back on our “neighbors” and everything around us. Building a nation calls us to recognize that we must constantly relate to others, rejecting a mindset of hostility in order to adopt one of reciprocal subsidiarity, in a constant effort to do our best. I am confident that we can do this.

Our world is facing a refugee crisis of a magnitude not seen since the Second World War. This presents us with great challenges and many hard decisions. On this continent, too, thousands of persons are led to travel north in search of a better life for themselves and for their loved ones, in search of greater opportunities. Is this not what we want for our own children? We must not be taken aback by their numbers, but rather view them as persons, seeing their faces and listening to their stories, trying to respond as best we can to their situation. To respond in a way which is always humane, just and fraternal. We need to avoid a common temptation nowadays: to discard whatever proves troublesome. Let us remember the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (Mt 7:12).

This Rule points us in a clear direction. Let us treat others with the same passion and compassion with which we want to be treated. Let us seek for others the same possibilities which we seek for ourselves. Let us help others to grow, as we would like to be helped ourselves. In a word, if we want security, let us give security; if we want life, let us give life; if we want opportunities, let us provide opportunities. The yardstick we use for others will be the yardstick which time will use for us. The Golden Rule also reminds us of our responsibility to protect and defend human life at every stage of its development.

This conviction has led me, from the beginning of my ministry, to advocate at different levels for the global abolition of the death penalty. I am convinced that this way is the best, since every life is sacred, every human person is endowed with an inalienable dignity, and society can only benefit from the rehabilitation of those convicted of crimes. Recently my brother bishops here in the United States renewed their call for the abolition of the death penalty. Not only do I support them, but I also offer encouragement to all those who are convinced that a just and necessary punishment must never exclude the dimension of hope and the goal of rehabilitation.

In these times when social concerns are so important, I cannot fail to mention the Servant of God Dorothy Day, who founded the Catholic Worker Movement. Her social activism, her passion for justice and for the cause of the oppressed, were inspired by the Gospel, her faith, and the example of the saints.

How much progress has been made in this area in so many parts of the world! How much has been done in these first years of the third millennium to raise people out of extreme poverty! I know that you share my conviction that much more still needs to be done, and that in times of crisis and economic hardship a spirit of global solidarity must not be lost. At the same time I would encourage you to keep in mind all those people around us who are trapped in a cycle of poverty. They too need to be given hope. The fight against poverty and hunger must be fought constantly and on many fronts, especially in its causes. I know that many Americans today, as in the past, are working to deal with this problem.

It goes without saying that part of this great effort is the creation and distribution of wealth. The right use of natural resources, the proper application of technology and the harnessing of the spirit of enterprise are essential elements of an economy which seeks to be modern, inclusive and sustainable. “Business is a noble vocation, directed to producing wealth and improving the world. It can be a fruitful source of prosperity for the area in which it operates, especially if it sees the creation of jobs as an essential part of its service to the common good” (Laudato Si’, 129). This common good also includes the earth, a central theme of the encyclical which I recently wrote in order to “enter into dialogue with all people about our common home” (ibid., 3). “We need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all” (ibid., 14).

In Laudato Si’, I call for a courageous and responsible effort to “redirect our steps” (ibid., 61), and to avert the most serious effects of the environmental deterioration caused by human activity. I am convinced that we can make a difference and I have no doubt that the United States — and this Congress — have an important role to play. Now is the time for courageous actions and strategies, aimed at implementing a “culture of care” (ibid., 231) and “an integrated approach to combating poverty, restoring dignity to the excluded, and at the same time protecting nature” (ibid., 139). “We have the freedom needed to limit and direct technology” (ibid., 112); “to devise intelligent ways of… developing and limiting our power” (ibid., 78); and to put technology “at the service of another type of progress, one which is healthier, more human, more social, more integral” (ibid., 112). In this regard, I am confident that America’s outstanding academic and research institutions can make a vital contribution in the years ahead.

A century ago, at the beginning of the Great War, which Pope Benedict XV termed a “pointless slaughter”, another notable American was born: the Cistercian monk Thomas Merton. He remains a source of spiritual inspiration and a guide for many people. In his autobiography he wrote: “I came into the world. Free by nature, in the image of God, I was nevertheless the prisoner of my own violence and my own selfishness, in the image of the world into which I was born. That world was the picture of Hell, full of men like myself, loving God, and yet hating him; born to love him, living instead in fear of hopeless self-contradictory hungers”. Merton was above all a man of prayer, a thinker who challenged the certitudes of his time and opened new horizons for souls and for the Church. He was also a man of dialogue, a promoter of peace between peoples and religions.

From this perspective of dialogue, I would like to recognize the efforts made in recent months to help overcome historic differences linked to painful episodes of the past. It is my duty to build bridges and to help all men and women, in any way possible, to do the same. When countries which have been at odds resume the path of dialogue — a dialogue which may have been interrupted for the most legitimate of reasons — new opportunities open up for all. This has required, and requires, courage and daring, which is not the same as irresponsibility. A good political leader is one who, with the interests of all in mind, seizes the moment in a spirit of openness and pragmatism. A good political leader always opts to initiate processes rather than possessing spaces (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 222-223).

Being at the service of dialogue and peace also means being truly determined to minimize and, in the long term, to end the many armed conflicts throughout our world. Here we have to ask ourselves: Why are deadly weapons being sold to those who plan to inflict untold suffering on individuals and society? Sadly, the answer, as we all know, is simply for money: money that is drenched in blood, often innocent blood. In the face of this shameful and culpable silence, it is our duty to confront the problem and to stop the arms trade.

Three sons and a daughter of this land, four individuals and four dreams: Lincoln, liberty; Martin Luther King, liberty in plurality and non-exclusion; Dorothy Day, social justice and the rights of persons; and Thomas Merton, the capacity for dialogue and openness to God.

Four representatives of the American people.

I will end my visit to your country in Philadelphia, where I will take part in the World Meeting of Families. It is my wish that throughout my visit the family should be a recurrent theme. How essential the family has been to the building of this country! And how worthy it remains of our support and encouragement! Yet I cannot hide my concern for the family, which is threatened, perhaps as never before, from within and without. Fundamental relationships are being called into question, as is the very basis of marriage and the family. I can only reiterate the importance and, above all, the richness and the beauty of family life.

In particular, I would like to call attention to those family members who are the most vulnerable, the young. For many of them, a future filled with countless possibilities beckons, yet so many others seem disoriented and aimless, trapped in a hopeless maze of violence, abuse and despair. Their problems are our problems. We cannot avoid them. We need to face them together, to talk about them and to seek effective solutions rather than getting bogged down in discussions. At the risk of oversimplifying, we might say that we live in a culture which pressures young people not to start a family, because they lack possibilities for the future. Yet this same culture presents others with so many options that they too are dissuaded from starting a family.

A nation can be considered great when it defends liberty as Lincoln did, when it fosters a culture which enables people to “dream” of full rights for all their brothers and sisters, as Martin Luther King sought to do; when it strives for justice and the cause of the oppressed, as Dorothy Day did by her tireless work, the fruit of a faith which becomes dialogue and sows peace in the contemplative style of Thomas Merton.

In these remarks I have sought to present some of the richness of your cultural heritage, of the spirit of the American people. It is my desire that this spirit continue to develop and grow, so that as many young people as possible can inherit and dwell in a land which has inspired so many people to dream.

God bless America!


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