Archive for November, 2012

The Holiday That Must Not Be Named

November 29, 2012
A Christmas tree inside a home.

Happy generic winter Holiday

I don’t know about you, but I really love the Holiday season. I like Holiday carols and Holiday gifts and the whole Holiday spirit. We have already put up our Holiday tree and our Holiday decorations and we are eagerly awaiting a visit from Santa Claus on the Holiday Eve.

It seems to me that the Holiday used to have a name, but I cannot for the life of me recall what that name is. I think it began with a “c” or a “k”. Kissmus perhaps. Anyway, it turned out that the name of the Holiday was so offensive that it should never be spoken aloud.

I wonder if the original name of the Holiday might have something to do with the filthiest, most obscene word in the English language. The word that must never sully the ears of innocent children. The word that is far worse that f—

I am referring, of course, to the G-word. Come to think of it, I seem to recall a story about someone, Christ?, being born on the Holiday. Some people say he is the son of, oops, almost wrote it. I can see how that could be offensive to any right thinking person.

 

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Crucified Obama

November 27, 2012

What do you think of this picture.

In bad taste perhaps? Even blasphemous? Well this painting is the work of an artist named Michael D’Antuono. I read about it in this story in Foxnews and Conservative Byte.

A painting that features President Obama posed as Jesus Christ crucified on  is on display at a community college art gallery in Boston.

The painting by Michael D’Antuono is part of a larger exhibit called “Artists on the Stump – the Road to the White House 2012.” It’s on display at the Bunker Hill Community College Art Gallery until Dec. 15th.

The painting is called “Truth” – and shows the president with his arms outstretched. A crown of thorns rests on his head.

It was originally supposed to debut nearly four years ago at New York City’s Union Square. But that event was cancelled due to public outrage.

“I always regretted cancelling my exhibit in New York because I feel my First Amendment rights should override someone’s hurt feelings,” D’Antuono told Fox News. “We should celebrate the fact that we live in a country where we are given the freedom to express ourselves.”

A spokesperson for the art gallery told Fox News there hasn’t been any criticism of the painting.

D’Antuono said the public exhibition “has afforded me the ability to right a wrong.”

He dismissed critics who called the display blasphemous.

“The crucifixion of the president was meant metaphorically,” he told Fox News. “My intent was not to compare him to Jesus.”

D’Antuono blamed the controversy on conservative media “trying to promote the idea that liberals believe the president to literally be our savior.”

In the aftermath of his aborted first attempt – the artist said he received more than 4,000 emails containing messages that were “anything but Christian-like.”

“But I accepted that it is their right to express themselves and hope that they now see it in their hearts to afford me the same right,” he said.

I agree that Mr. Antuono’s first amendment rights override anyone’s hurt feelings. In fact, I triple dog dare him to produce a piece of art that would offend Muslims, or homosexuals, or any other Liberal Protected Victim Class. He won’t do it. He can bask in the approval of his fellow Liberals for his bravery in offending thousands of Christians who will do no more than send nasty e-mails, but he wouldn’t dare to offend people who might actually kill him for his blasphemy, nor is he likely to produce anything that might show that he deviates from politically correct orthodoxy. Of course, I could have misjudged the artist. Maybe he will prove me wrong. I won’t be holding my breath waiting though.

I wonder where the Conservative media could have possibly gotten the idea that Liberals believe the President is a literal savior? Maybe it is from paintings like this, not to mention all the other trappings of the Obama cult we have seen over the years. If Liberals really don’t want people to think they view Obama as their savior, maybe they should stop worshipping him. Maybe it is time to view this president, and any other president as simply our servant and not our Lord and Savior.

 

Missing Island

November 26, 2012

Sorry about the delay in posting. I have been really busy this past weekend.

Anyway, I read this story about an island that isn’t there even though all of the maps and even Google Satellite say it is.

According to Google Maps and several other nautical charts, Sandy Island is about 25 kilometres long and sits between Australia to the west and New Caledonia and Vanuatu to the east. According to Dr. Maria Seton and her scientific research team, it does not now, nor ever has, existed at all.

“We were out in the Eastern Coral Sea, conducting a scientific research expedition, and when we were approaching the area of this supposed island,” Seton [external] told the BBC. “We saw that our scientific maps showed there was an island there and yet the navigation charts on board the vessel showed that we had a water depth of 1,400 metres. That’s when we started getting suspicious.”

Seton says that it would be basically impossible for the island to have been washed away. She says that there’s no way it could have ever existed.

“It definitely hasn’t disappeared. We believe that there just was never an island there. All the navigation charts on board — so all of the ships that have gone through the area in the past and taken depth readings — haven’t found that there’s an island there,” she said in the BBC interview. “It must have just been an error that has just been propagated through these world maps. I mean we’ve got water depths of 1,400 metres. It’s not something that’s within the human time-scale that things have shifted…. You are talking about processes that have gone on for tens or even hundreds of millions of years.”

It’s a fairly pervasive error. In addition to appearing on the “map” view of Google Maps, it also appears on the “Satellite” view as well, although instead of specific photo images of the island, there is simply a black splotch, something that usually appears over areas Google has been asked to censor by a particular government.

The island isn’t a small one either. If it existed, it would be about the same size as Manhattan, if not a little bit larger.

Steven Micklethwaite from the University of Western Australia [external] told the Sydney Morning Herald, “We all had a good giggle at Google as we sailed through the island, then we started compiling information about the seafloor, which we will send to the relevant authorities so that we can change the world map.”

When asked about the island by Agence France-Presse, Google didn’t know why the error was made on their maps.

“The world is a constantly changing place, the Google spokesman told AFP, “and keeping on top of these changes is a never-ending endeavour.”

Of course, the island isn’t just on Google Maps, it has appeared on a large number of charts since at least 2000. Though it is unclear why it’s non-existence wasn’t flagged from satellite photos.

Maybe they moved the island.

I wonder if any planes disappeared in the area or if the island was inhabited by mysterious natives with a god like leader. I really miss Lost.

 

Thanksgiving

November 22, 2012

So what are you going on the Internet instead of enjoying Thanksgiving with your family? Go eat some turkey and come back tomorrow.
My computer is down. So I won’t be able to do the thanksgiving post I had intended. It’s hard for me to type much on an iPhone. I should have it fixed by the end of this week.

Donkey for Legislature

November 20, 2012

In Ecuador, they were going to have a donkey run for the legislature, but unfortunately the Ecuadorian election officials will not allow it. I read about the story from AP.

QUITO, Ecuador (AP) – The demand of dozens of citizens has been denied in the Ecuadorean city of Guayaquil: There will be no jackass running for the legislature.

At least 40 people paraded their candidate through the city’s streets to the electoral council offices. Mr. Burro even wore a tie. But officials refused to even let them in the door on Thursday, even though backers had dummied up a mock voter registration card showing the candidate’s photo superimposed on a man wearing a business suit.

Donkey backer Daniel Molina told local television stations the goal was to call voters’ attention to the seriousness of the February election, not to insult any party.

I don’t know what the problem was. Here in the US, we have been electing jackasses to office for years.

 

Egyptian Protesters

November 19, 2012

There have been protests all over Egypt over the recent Israeli acts of aggression against the peaceful Palestinians in Gaza. I read about it in Yahoo News.

Thousands of people protested in Egyptian cities on Friday against Israeli air strikes on Gaza and Egypt’s president pledged to support the Palestinian enclave’s population in the face of “blatant aggression”.

Western governments are watching Egypt’s response to the Gaza conflagration for signs of a more assertive stance towards Israel since an Islamist came to power in the Arab world’s most populous nation.

President Mohamed Mursi is mindful of anti-Israeli sentiment among Egyptians emboldened by last year’s Arab Spring uprising but needs to show Western allies his new government is no threat to Middle East peace.

His prime minister, Hisham Kandil, visited Gaza on Friday in a demonstration of solidarity after two days of strikes by Israeli warplanes targeting Gaza militants, who had stepped up rocket fire into Israel in recent weeks.

Gaza officials said 28 Palestinians, 16 of them civilians, had been killed in the enclave since Israel began the air offensive against the tiny, densely populated enclave ruled by the Islamist Hamas movement.

Three Israelis were killed by a rocket on Thursday.

“We see what is happening in Gaza as blatant aggression against humanity,” Mursi said in comments carried by Egypt’s state news agency. “I warn and repeat my warning to the aggressors that they will never rule over the people of Gaza.

“I tell them in the name of all the Egyptian people that Egypt today is not the Egypt of yesterday, and Arabs today are not the Arabs of yesterday.”

The Egyptian foreign minister also spoke to his counterparts in the United States, Jordan, Brazil and Italy on Friday to discuss the situation in Gaza, a ministry statement said.

Mohamed Kamel Amr spoke to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton about the necessity of cooperation between the United States and Egypt to end the military confrontations. Amr stressed the necessity of Israel ending attacks on Gaza and a truce being rebuilt between the two sides, the statement said.

Israeli ministers were asked to endorse the call-up of up to 75,000 reservists after Gaza militants nearly hit Jerusalem with a rocket for the first time in decades and fired at Tel Aviv for a second day. Such a call-up could be the precursor of a ground invasion into Gaza, or just psychological warfare.

COLD PEACE

Mursi’s toppled predecessor, Hosni Mubarak, was a staunch U.S. ally who upheld a cold but stable peace with Israel.

The new president has vowed to respect the 1979 peace treaty with the Jewish state. But relations have been strained by protests that forced the evacuation of Israel’s ambassador to Cairo last year and cross-border attacks by Islamist militants.

More than 1,000 people gathered near Cairo’s al-Azhar mosque after Friday prayers, many waving Egyptian and Palestinian flags.

“Gaza Gaza, symbol of pride”, they chanted, and “generation after generation, we declare our enmity towards you, Israel”.

“I cannot, as an Egyptian, an Arab and a Muslim, just sit back and watch the massacres in Gaza,” said protester Abdel Aziz Nagy, 25, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Protesters were marching from other areas of Cairo towards Tahrir Square, the main rallying point for last year’s uprising that toppled Mubarak.

In Alexandria, around 2,000 protesters gathered in front of a mosque, some holding posters demanding Egypt’s border crossing to Gaza be opened to allow aid into the impoverished enclave.

Hundreds also gathered in the cities of Ismailia, Suez and al-Arish to denounce Israel’s attacks.

Al-Azhar, Egypt’s influential seat of Islamic learning, called on all Arabs and Muslims to unite in support of their brothers in Gaza, the state news agency MENA said.

“The Zionists are seeking to eliminate all (Palestinians) in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip,” Ahmed al-Tayyib, the Grand Imam of al-Azhar, said in comments carried by MENA.

Al-Tayyib denounced the position of world powers on the Gaza crisis, describing them as having “forgotten their humanitarian duties … and standing on the side of the aggressors,” according to MENA.’

I completely agree with these protesters. It is absolutely unconscionable that the Israelis should respond to the peaceful rocket attacks on their territory with air strikes and a possible ground invasion. Doesn’t the Israeli government know that the state of Israel, alone of all the nations of the world, does not have a right to defend its territory and citizens.

Seriously though, if they do not want “massacres” in Gaza, perhaps they should tell Hamas to stop attacking Israel. I put massacres in quotes because I know perfectly well that the IDF is going out of its way to avoid civilian casualties.

It does seem beyond belief to me that the attackers in this incident are labeled the victims and the defenders are labeled aggressors, but this is an increasingly Orwellian world we live in.

The Opportunity of a Lifetime

November 18, 2012

Well, it looks like my financial worries are over. I might even be able to take early retirement. I have been contacted by one Ibraham Zufar who has told me that I am due to inherit $5.4 million. Here is the e-mail he sent me.

Dear Friend

I sourced your email from a human resource profile database in the chamber, my name is Mr.Ibrahim Zufar. Account officer to late Mr. Hussein Mubarak from Kuwait who is a gold merchant Agent here in Ouagadougou Burkina Faso, a well known Philanthropist before he died. He made a Will stating that $5.4Million dollars (Five million four hundred thousand USD) should be given to a citizen of our choice overseas. I have made a random draw and your e-mail address was picked as the beneficiary to this Will.

I am particularly interested in securing this money from the Bank because they have issued a notice instructing me been the account officer to produce the beneficiary of this else the money will be credited to the Government treasury as per law here. It is my utmost desire to execute the Will of my late client Mr. Hussein Mubarak since he is no more alive, both wife Nera Mubarak, and daughter Fatimata Mubarak.

You are required to contact me immediately to enable me update you in detail’s about the process of this very golden opportunity. I urge you to call or mail me immediately for further details bearing in mind that the Bank has given us a date limit, please act fast. I await your urgent response.

Meanwhile I request on your return mail, kindly re-send me your data’s information’s:

1. Your Name in Full:
2. Your Address:
3. You’re Occupation:
4. Your Nationality;
5. Your City;
6. You’re Telephone with :
7. Mobile number:
8. Your Age:
9. Your Gender:

However, feel free to ask me any question and I promise to clarify you on any doubts. Call me on my direct mobile number 00226 68 04 84 67.

Mr.Ibrahim Zufar
Bank of Africa
Ouagadougou Burkina Faso.
West Africa

I’ll be sure to send that information right away. What could possibly go wrong?

Update:I must be the luckiest man on the planet because I just got another e-mail, this one from Ms. Hirsham Latifa.

My Beloved!

Peace be Upon You

I am glad to know you, but God knows you better and he knows why he has directed me to you at this point in time so do not be afraid.

I am Mrs Hisham Latifa, and i have been suffering from ovarian cancer disease and the doctor says that i have just short time to leave. I am from (Paris) France but based in Africa Burkina Faso since eight years ago as a business woman dealing with gold exportation.

Now that i am about to end the race like this, without any family members and no child. I have $3 Million US DOLLARS in Africa Development Bank (ADB) Burkina Faso which i instructed the bank to give (St Andrews Missionary Home) in Burkina Faso. But my mind is not at rest because i am writing this letter now through the help of my computer beside my sick bed.

I also have (€4.5 Euros) at United Global Security Company (UGSC) here in Burkina Faso and i instructed the Company to release the boxe to the first foreigner that will apply to the Company after i have gone that they should release the boxe to him/her, but you will assure me that you will take 50% of the money and give 50% to the orphanages home in your country for my heart to rest with GOD.

As soon as I receive your reply I shall give you the contact of the Company in Burkina Faso if you can do this kindly return back to me immediately before death cross my way so that i will send to you a copy of my international passport which you will show to the Company to make the Company know that i instructed you to contact them for the release of my fund to you, so that you can fulfill my dream of building an orphanage home in your country,If you are interested to help kindly respond back to me.

Yours Dieing Sister
Mrs Hisham Latifa.

 

Wow! Whatever am I going to do with my newfound fortune?

 

Memo to My Fellow Conservatives

November 16, 2012

Please, please, please don’t jump on the secessionist band wagon. It was a fun joke, but it is dumb to start taking it seriously. It is going to be difficult enough to defend the cause of freedom over the next four years. This sort of nonsense will only make it easy for the main stream media to label us all as kooks.

This is precisely what I am talking about. I’m sorry but ranting about the New World Order occupying the country or saying that Obama is a dictator who is going to hand over control of  government to the UN makes it difficult to take anything you say seriously. We have enough real issues with the Obama presidency without going off into tinfoil hat country.

Smoker’s License

November 16, 2012

I do not smoke and I dislike the smell of tobacco smoke so much that I can’t stand to be in the same room as someone who is smoking. In fact, an ideal world to me would be one in which the tobacco plant didn’t exist at all. With that in mind, you might think that I would be for a proposal to require smokers to purchase licenses from the government in order to buy cigarettes. In fact, I am totally against it. First, here is the story I found on Drudge and read on CBS News.

A public health proposal suggests that tobacco smokers should be required to apply and pay for a “smoker’s license” in order to continue buying cigarettes.

In this week’s PLOS Medicine medical journal, two leading tobacco control advocates debate the merits of the smoker’s license. Simon Chapman, a professor at the University of Sydney, proposes that users would have to apply and pay for a mandatory license in the form of a smartcard that would be shown when buying cigarettes.

Dr. Chapman wrote that it could discourage young people from picking up the habit.

In a controversial move, the smartcard would allow the government to limit how many cigarettes a smoker could buy. Professor Chapman suggests 50 per day averaged over two weeks to accommodate heavy smokers. The anti-smoking activist told the Daily Mail that the sale of tobacco is currently subject to trivial controls compared to other dangerous products that threaten both public and personal safety.

 

Arguing against the smoker’s license in the journal is Jeff Collin, a professor at the University of Edinburgh. Professor Collin wrote that it would shift focus away from the real vector of the epidemic—the tobacco industry—and focusing on individuals would censure victims, increase stigmatization of smokers, and marginalize the poor.

Professor Collin believes that limits to personal freedom will doom such legislation.

“The authoritarian connotations of the smoker’s license would inevitably meet with broad opposition,” Collin told the Daily Mail. “In the United Kingdom, for example, successive governments have failed to introduce identity cards.”

Citing future scientific benefit, Prof. Chapman wrote that the information collected from smartcard applications could be used to formulate better smoking prevention strategies.

“Opponents of the idea would be quick to suggest that Orwellian social engineers would soon be calling for licenses to drink alcohol and to eat junk food or engage in any ‘risky’ activity,” Dr. Chapman told the Daily Mail. “This argument rests on poor public understanding of the magnitude of the risks of smoking relative to other cumulative everyday risks to health.”

Leaving aside the obvious objections of  personal choice and responsibility, I have to wonder if it has occurred to these activists that a policy like this would end up creating a black market in cigarettes, bought by smokers who didn’t want to pay for the license or who wanted to smoke more than their ration. As a matter of fact, there already is a black market transporting cigarettes from low taxed states to high taxed states. If we cannot prevent people from using drugs like marijuana or heroin which are completely illegal, what makes them think that this lisencing scheme will work any better?

Create Your Own Money

November 16, 2012

There was a post in the Democratic Underground which generated quite a lot of amusement in Conservative circles a couple of weeks ago. Put simply, the poster believed that since the government can print money, it can never really go broke. Here is the post.

Let’s say that you have the ability to print your currency using your computer printer, and every merchant accepted your printouts as a valid exchange for goods and services. You need to pick up your dry cleaning? You printout a $20 bill and your cleaners hand over your garments without question. Same would be true for your mortgage, groceries, car note, etc. Your creditors even accept your printouts as payment on your debts.

Given this, how can you ever be broke? Answer, you cannot be broke. The U.S. government is not in debt simply because it can create currency to pay off the debt, and our creditors gladly accept our currency as payment on our debts. You see, the world needs our dollars because the world needs oil, and in order to buy oil, you need dollars, which means that the world needs to stockpile dollars, and that means that the U.S. can print all of the money that it wants without incurring massive hikes in interest rates to attract lenders.

So, why the hue and cry about America being broke? Simple. The elites in this country need to create a defcit and scarcity crisis in order to dissuade the public from voting for increased social spending on things like a universal health care program, better education, better benefits for SS recipients better infrastructure, etc. You cannot argue against the logic nor the need for these programs, but you can argue that you cannot pay for them. Additionally, more social spending means that the public is not as dependent on corporate America for their economic survival. For example, if you have universal healthcare, you don’t have to take a job just for the health benefits. If you have a generous Social Security program, you don’t have to invest in the market.

To be fair, the majority of responses to this display of economic illiteracy correctly pointed out that the large scale printing to money to pay the country’s debts would lead to hyper-inflation, with many using Weimar Germany as an example. That is all true, but I think it is worth exploring why this is the case. In doing so, perhaps we can clear up some misperceptions about money and the national debt.

To begin, those pieces of green paper you have in your wallet are not actually worth anything. I am not some crank urging you to go put and buy gold and silver. Gold and silver are not worth anything by themselves either. What you actually do when you buy something at a store is exchange some good or service you possess for a good or service at the store. When you go to work and get your paycheck, your employer is trading its goods and services for the labor and skills you give it. Bartering is rather cumbersome for all but the simplest of economic activities so in order to facilitate all of this trading, people have invented money. All money is therefore, is simply a method of keeping score, or a medium of exchange.

There are two others uses for money which are a little beyond the scope of this post, but which I have to mention in passing. One is money as a unit of account, that is a way of expressing how much a good or service is worth compared to other goods and services. It makes more sense to refer to prices in dollars or euros than terms of varying goods. The third use of money is as a store of value. This means that money can be used to store wealth. You know that the dollars in your pocket will still be worth something next week and can be easily traded.

It doesn’t actually matter what is used as the medium of exchange. It could be gold or silver, or candy bars, cigarettes, leaves, sea shells, or anything. It is better, however, to use something that is not consumed, and does not go bad. Bananas would not be very useful as money because you might get hungry and eat your savings. Also, bananas go bad after a couple of days. The medium used should not be too common or too scarce. Leaves from trees would also not be very useful. Anyone could go out into the woods and get a windfall. Gold and silver have generally been the most common substances used for money since they do not corrode easily and are scarce enough to be considered money. Most countries in the world today use fiat money. That is the government says a dollar is worth a certain amount.
If you pay for something with counterfeit money, you are cheating the other person. You are trading their goods or services with something worthless. Governments cannot actually counterfeit money, since they are the ones creating it, but they can devalue the currency which has almost the same effect. If a government prints large amounts of money without any addition to the total goods and services produced by the nation, then each individual unit of currency, a dollar bill, for example, represents less and less actual value. The total amount of wealth in the system, so to speak, is divided among more dollar bills. When this happens, each dollar bill is worth less and less, leading to inflation. If the US government printed $16 trillion dollar bills and used them to pay off the national debt, it would, in effect, be cheating its creditors.

Now, you might be thinking, “So what? Who cares if we rip off the lousy Chicoms.” Well, the fact of the matter is that despite all of concern about China owning the US, the truth is that the Chinese government only holds about 8%  of the national debt. Most of the debt is owed the the citizens of the United States, through treasury bonds held in retirement accounts, mutual funds, banks and state and local governments. The Social Security Administration holds about 19% of the debt in the Social Security Trust Fund. If the federal government tried to pay off its debts in hyper-inflated dollars, most of the small investors, who were counting on a return on their investment would be ruined. Larger creditors, including foreign governments could well refuse payment in worthless dollars and insist on being paid in euros, or gold. The rest of us would experience the joys of triple or quadruple digit inflation.

The point I have been trying to make in this long post is that money is not the same as wealth. Money represents wealth and wealth cannot be created from nothing.  If you or the government just prints a dollar bill, you are not creating wealth, you are only spreading existing wealth among more money. Sorry, but we can’t print our way out of our debts.

 

 


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