Gleanings From The Passing Scene … (Politically Uncorrected)

Alfred_E__NeumannAnother week having somehow escaped us, the accumulated bits snared for you are:

Chicago  Seven shot dead; twenty-nine wounded. One death was a 16 year old honor student, a black girl who didn’t fit the stereotype. Now of course, she does.

A mystery flight of a military style helicopter in  Dallas   reminded that the Department of Defense continues to train U.S. military for fighting in various U.S. cities …

In Florida, a 14 and a 15 year old boy shared a nude Instagram photo of a girl during a class. The school called the police; the boys were cited for: Sexting?  Is it just us, or are things getting crazy in America?

The Feds built some 2 and 3 bedroom   Homes   for Border Patrol folk in AJo, AZ for a mere $680,000 each. (Your tax money at work)

The  Pope  opined that taken together, all the conflicts raging around the world add up to a WWIII. He was circumspect about the number of these that the U.S. is mixed up in and joined U.S. politicians in ignoring how they are being financed.  Catholics may be surprised that he also ordered the marriage annulment process simplified. We’ll bet it won’t thereby become affordable by ordinary folk, though …

Global Warming  Bulletin: The now 19 year ‘pause’ in warming has accumulated some 52 explanations from the ‘experts.’ Meantime, the NOAA says that for the period September 1 through 10, some 246 new low temperature records have been set. Thousands of marchers are expected to demand action on the climate in New York City this coming weekend. May we hope for rain?

The Southern California beachfront city of Santa Monica is spending some $1 M to measure its happiness.

Not only is the economy slowing in China, it is  Worse than folk have been expecting. Billionaires are buying gold bars, if that suggests anything …

An ex-CIA boss expects 5,000 or more U.S. forces on the ground in Syria  by yearend. We guess that none of those folk wear boots …

We hear that in today’s  Europe  , 40% of Jews hide their religion.

We noted the U.S. decline from 1 to 17 in education standing recently; now we can add the drop in   US Business   climate, from 1 to 32nd. Every day, in every way, things just get better and better!

The  Taliban   is resurgent in Afghanistan as the U.S. military disappears. Reality is unsurprised, since they are a creation of the Pakistani military and now, functionaries of the drug trade.  And of Pushtun politics as well. Seeing this, what has American blood and treasure accomplished in central Asia? Well, it has maintained the flow of taxpayer dollars to war materiel makers and their chosen politicians in the U.S. Congress. Past that, we don’t profess to know …

The Ruble has plunged to a historic low on the world currency market.  Due to the sanctions, Ukraine is costing Russia more than just some dead Russians.  But Mr. Putin does well in polls for rebuilding the Russian Empire and his people, struggling with a declining economy, haven’t connected the dots.

CNN   has been ordered by the Federal government to re-hire 100 employees. Are you old enough to remember when managements made the decisions for American business?

The Los Angeles Unified School District  (LA Schools Police  ) has acquired an armored vehicle and grenade launchers.  (That’s nothing! You  should  see the M1A1 Abrams tanks driven by the nuns at St. Anselms!)

Ground Beef has reached an all-time high at $4 lb. Can you imagine the price if we had inflation? The  Census: folk announced that U.S. household income peaked in the 20th century.

House leaders Boehner (GOP) and Pelosi (DEM) joined to press their Congressfolk to fund Obamacare, Planned Parenthood and current war efforts. Neither suggested a source for the funds. And the Dems are for the little guy and the GOP wants smaller government …

More of the mysterious cell phone intercept towers that can listen to conversations have turned up near the Senate and the White House …

Anti-Coal Policies   are causing Florida electricity rate hikes. (Ya think?)

Green Eggs  but no ham have been littering the beach near Sydney.  So far, sans explanation.

And the inhabitants of the Embudo Towers , a public housing project in Albuquerque, have been complaining of poor security, inoperative washers and dryers … and bedbugs! If mighty New York City can’t get bedbugs out of its subways and public library, how does anyone imagine that little Albuquerque has the answer? DDT used to work, before the environmentalists got rid of it. Now, we’ll have to come up with a whole new remedy from scratch …

And so slips by another Saturday’s seletions of passing reality, saved up just for you!

Posted in Culture, Economics, Government, Politics | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Be Careful What You Ask For, Mr. O’Reilly!

Be Careful What You Ask For, Mr. O'Reilly!

Be Careful What You Ask For, Mr. O’Reilly!

Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly was concerned tonight that ISIS has unrestricted access to the Internet for its propaganda and further, that children using the net are unprotected from exposure to much that children, in his view, should not see. We did not hear what he though should be done about this, if anything, but we have been considering it.

Mr. O”Reilly mentioned in his spiel that in the past, the public discourse was self-censored by said public; if someone used public profanity in the presence of women and children, he would be cautioned and then excluded. That was once true. But, Mr. O’Reilly said, no such mechanism exists on the Internet. Also true. We don’t know that he wants censorship, or not, we heard no more.

We do note though, that while public discourse was protected by social rules, books and private conversations were not; they were just unavailable to kids. Nothing prevents technology from erecting similar guards on the Internet, limiting children’s access to only sanitized materials. We suspect that Mr. O’Reilly is missing the point here: The Internet is not what has created the issue he addresses, rather it is a social change. Women and children in public no longer self-censor their language or topics of conversation; anything goes. That’s not a result of technology; that’s the result of people changing the rules.

This sort of thing usually raises a demand for government to step in and censor whatever communication is offending enough people. We once had the stocks and the ducking stool that way. They were ultimately abandoned because they didn’t work, they just hurt people. And they enhanced corruption when the friends and relatives of the mighty were able to avoid them; that produced scandal. Generally accepted standards, not government, are the solution for these issues. And as we can’t any longer agree on those, we have no solution until we do. That’s how human society functions.

Meantime, folk will deplore the declining standards and their corrosive effects on kids and folk will recommend government solutions that will end worse than the disease they are presented to cure. It has always been so. After all, once the government is in control, will it self-limit that to protecting kids?

In the West, Judeo-Christianity is being abandoned; elsewhere, Islam is writhing in its own contradictions with technological modernity. Civilization is melting down but the process is not new either. It usually clears the decks for whatever comes next. Some generally accepted rules of conduct are necessary for civilization; what will the next ones be? From whence will they come? A resurgence of some past, or something entirely new?

Whatever the case, the choices will be made by the children Mr. O’Reilly wishes to protect. Perhaps we’d best not overprotect them, if they are to make informed decisions …

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A Celtic Fantasy Plays Out In Scotland

Hadrian's Wall Didn't Work Last Time ...

Hadrian’s Wall Didn’t Work Last Time …

Fantasy sells we suppose, because among other reasons, reality kind of sucks; it’s not famously a lot of fun. “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread” is a bit short of the appeal in: “Vote for me and I’ll take care of you.” And today, we even have Pope Francis reminding that our governors owe us care. He hasn’t yet troubled himself over where the governments will find the wherewithal to fulfill his orders, though. That must be the government’s problem, not the Pope’s.

Similarly, we see Scotland voting upon its own independence from Great Britain. Well, Liechtenstein and Singapore are managing — so far — so why not Scotland? The Romans beat the Scots (then called Picts, etc.) in 84, but being Scots, losing didn’t stop the fighting. The Romans had to keep beating them until they gave up and just walled them off from Britain in 122 under Emperor Hadrian. The Scots naturally, refused to stay behind the wall.

The fighting went on and in a bad year, England had to formally recognize Scottish independence, in 1328. By 1654, Oliver Cromwell claimed dominion over Scotland, Ireland and England but true union only arrived in 1707 with the Scottish and English Parliaments accepting it. And now the Scots are restive once more. They’re not raiding England this time, though … yet, anyway. We note that they have produced a lot of British military, as have the southern states in the U.S.

In a world of power politics, tiny and modestly blessed with resources does not seem an attractive position on the international scene. Scotland’s voting seems to contain a romantic rather than realistic element, not that such ever restrained a Celt. We see from our perch in the American southwest, a degree of fantasy in this voting. Looking to the North, we see in Ukraine, writhing under a mildly disguised Russian invasion, a reality. That Tibet is part of China is another such reality. We can understand those, whether or not we approve of them. We are bemused by the Scots.

If the Scots depart, they will light fires elsewhere: The Basques, Catalans and others in Spain, Quebec in Canada and numerous other places will be tempted. Should we suppose that Northern Ireland will lay passive? A California movement to split into six states will take heart and Texas was once independent and has not forgotten. Pandora has moved her box to Scotland?

These fantasies are all weakening democratic countries; no one seriously expects Hong Kong to separate, much as its inhabitants might prefer that. And the Ukrainians had already separated for all the good it has done them. The world of reality is the world of power politics. Scotland seems to us, to be indulging a fantasy and likely a destructive one at that.

 

Posted in Fiscal/Financial Responsibility, Politics, Ukraine | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Who Killed the American Economy? (A Whodunnit By David Stockman)

StockmanAnyone wishing to understand the decline of the American economy straight out, sans spin, calling a spade a Greenspan with no prisoners taken, no excuses and no gobble-de-gook will be rewarded by David Stockman’s “The Great Deformation.”

Stockman was President Reagan’s Budget Director but he does not spare the Gipper any more than he spares Fed boss Arthur Greenspan or Wall Street. The short version is that with the creation of the Federal Reserve, a means for Congress, Wall Street and the Federal Government to jump into bed together at the cost of the American people became too convenient to pass up. Stockman could well have titled his work: How the Fed Prostituted American Finance. Nor does he write like an economist; it’s understandable.

The book is especially useful since the process it details has been proceeding in most other major economies as well, so the application is world wide. Stockman alludes to the long economic doldrums Japan’s central bank caused there with similar means.

The case is simple: The Fed has flooded the economy and subsidized Wall Street with fiat money and credit at the expense of this and future generations of Americans instead of its older claim of taking away the punch bowl as the party gets rolling. “Too big to fail” really means that protecting Wall Street is more important than the welfare of Americans in Stockman’s view and he makes his case clearly.

The U.S, the E.U, Japan, China, Russia, Argentina, Brazil and many of the rest are in similar straits: More debt than can be repaid, a welfare system that costs more than is available to fund it and in the case of the U.S, expensive military adventures that cannot be financed. And while these have been developing, the productive segments of the American economy have been priced out of the country, leaving cheap service jobs for which illegal aliens compete.

In an attempt to hide this, U.S. leaders are pushing for increased wages, ignoring the fact that artificially raised wages dissolve into resulting higher prices in an already inflating economy. It all becomes clear in Stockman’s book. His style is more polemical than scholarly — indignation gets the better of him at times — but the data are there, profusely. He has written a whodunnit on: “Who Killed the American Economy.” And after reading his evidence, any jury should easily convict.

He covers the Great Depression of the 1930’s on up through recent times, identifying all the suspects and presenting his evidence. That’s a lot of history and it takes a lot of pages (over 700) to lay out, but it is done with ease and clarity.

Those who want to understand how we got into the present economic rush to destruction will find what they are looking for. And yes, the politicians did it …

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Pro Sports: An American Illusion (With A Posionous Core)

Football GameThe Roman emperors provided bread and circuses to anesthetize the populace; our rulers provide food stamps and professional sports. This has been a smooth transition until today’s political Left has tripped over its own contradictions. (As political movements are wont to do.)

Pro football, the NFL, is under attack just now from the women’s side of the Democratic party; the ladies object to big time ball players beating up their wives and kids. Or maybe they object to their doing it in the news reports, it’s sometimes hard to tell about these things. Anyway, they object.

This has thrown the politicians into panic mode: If they dump on football, they antagonize men; if they don’t, they antagonize women. We’ll call that a lose – lose game. As usual in a political panic, nonsense prevails. For example, former Secretary of State (and black female) Condoleeza Rice  is proposed to run the NFL. While that might appease the ladies, what would the men think of a one time figure skater in charge of football? Right. But it showcases the degree of panic. No one seems to be thinking about just calling the cops when a football hero goes overboard, the way all the rest of us are treated. No, that won’t do, the Government or at least, the NFL, has to Do Something.

Seems to us, this is a pretty good time to step back and review our sports structure for its public good, if any. It consumes billions of dollars, provides our kids many of their heroes and wastes weekend TV time to the max. Is it worth it?

“Many are called,” the ancient scripture says, “but few are chosen.” Some of the NFL players earn CEO salaries. Many don’t but you never read about that. All risk spending he second half of their lives impaired. And most are black, without affirmative action. In pro football, the disparity of blacks versus whites goes the other way. Shouldn’t that provide affirmative action for whites? Right, it doesn’t seem to, for some reason. Funny, that.

Let’s get real: All that money has distorted not only football, but education, journalism and athletics generally. First, public schools and universities are the breeding ground of the players, who notoriously fail as students. They are given a pass anyway, if they are good jocks. Education is thereby prostituted. A college football coach earns many times what a professor of physics is paid, is that good for society? Public high schools are the seedbed for the game, at public expense; is that a proper use of tax money? And what is the moral status for luring kids into the game at a high school, knowing that most of them will be discarded from the game on graduation … if they graduate?

Add the innate hypocrisy of the entire college sport system: It is all subject to a quasi-government outfit: the NCAA  , which ‘regulates’ college athletics. Among other nonsense, it forbids colleges paying their athletes. In our reality, they do that anyway, facing elaborate penalties  if they are caught and losing seasons if they don’t pay. It’s a pathetic farce that wastes huge amounts of money and teaches kids the wrong lessons.

There’s worse, though: Drugs. It is an open secret that where big bucks are involved in sports, steroids and other drugs that confer strength or agility are endemic. The hypocrisy was showcased in the punishment of bicycle racer Lance Armstrong, who never failed a drug test, in a ‘sport’ in which all knew that all the top players used doping. No one wants to discuss the effect of all this on aspiring high school players who too often, also have poor graduation rates.

As a side effect of this doping, short tempers and abusive behavior is typical. Women marrying big time pro athletes are taking on even more risk than is expected these days of high divorce rates; the added risk of beatings, or worse. Nor are any kids safe, either.

The entire structure is destructive, with its uncounted losers and few recognized winners, let alone the unmeasured premium paid by the school system. Putting Condoleeza Rice in charge of the NFL as a political appeasement and of course, a figurehead, will be a copout. She is likely too smart to lend herself to that fantasy in any case. That she has been proposed shows both desperation and hypocrisy on a grand scale.

The ancient Greek Olympics were closed down for hundreds of years over their version of this sort of thing. The University of Chicago dropped big time sports in favor of big time scholarship. Maybe America’s high schools could produce more scholars if less time, effort and money were expended in their producing fodder for pro athletics?.

 

 

Posted in Affirmative Action, Hypocrisy, Sport | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

NEWS: Information, or Distraction?

DistractionCable and broadcast TV plus newspaper chains now owned by a half dozen or so news giants control what we learn every day about our world. In the U.S, most of these reflect the Obama Administration and/or Democratic Party talking points with Fox News left to the Republicans.

All of them appear as propaganda organs of the same interests. Fox may differ with the rest on policy but it reports the same ‘crises’ and fails to report the same omissions as its competition. All the major news outlets seem flacks of the State.

Just now, we are hearing of Ferguson’s replacement, ISIS. ISIS plays its part perfectly, sawing off another head whenever it starts to drift out of the news. And the reporters (those still capitated) troop dutifully back to obsess some more over the awfulness of it all.

What’s happening in Ukraine? Have we learned who shot down the Malaysian flight? Are the masquerading Russian invaders taking over? What’s going on in Argentina since the government declared itself a command economy? Where are the talking heads discussing the ramifications of the economic slowdown now impacting China? How are Greece and Spain dealing with their deep depressions? How is the U.S. doing against Boko Haram and al – Shabab? How much help will be offered the Philippines for its ongoing threats from China? Will Japan go nuclear to defend itself against Chines bellicosity? Never mind, only ISIS is news. ISIS that has ticked off all the Arabs plus the Iranians from its little chunk of the Iraqi/Syrian outback. Why does the U.S. even care? It’s broke, remember?

It cares because the warfolk need replacements for their business now that Iraq and Afghanistan are no longer producing. A new menace is needed for the perpetual war. The Europeans won’t go for a war with Russia over Ukraine; they aren’t ready to replace heating gas with long underwear this coming winter. And they’ve blown their money on welfare, not arms anyway.

So our newsfolk make do with ISIS until something better comes along. It beats having to cover the news and distracts the citizens from what would only worry them. And that takes heat off the politicians, a win – win all around. At least, until the stock market crashes …

Posted in Democrats, Republicans, War | Tagged , , | 9 Comments

Gleanings From The Passing Scene … (Politicallly Uncorrected)

Alfred_E__NeumannYour platter of snippets reflecting we hope, human reality pertaining to our times …

We blundered into the fact that NATO has accumulated over 20 members. We wonder why, now that the Soviet Union is extinct, NATO still exists. It is dreadfully expensive and to us, seems to serve mostly to support endless wars that seem to produce only destruction.  We must be missing something.

Governor Bobby Jindal, (R) Louisiana, is opposing the ‘Common Core’ nationally standardized public school curriculum presently being as he puts it, forced onto the stats by Washington.  Some other GOP governors are accepting the program and the Fed money accompanying it. We note that they have also accepted declining education quality for decades.

A question occurred to us: An ‘activist’ is to be admired; a ‘lobbyist’ is to be despised, right? Our question: What exactly, is the difference?

In East Porterville, CA some 300 homes remain without running water since the local wells went dry in the state’s underreported drought.

For those who like to look ahead: A chart of U.S. mortgages that exceed home values, by owner’s ages.

The Indians who live in the Grand Canyon are talking to developers, which has environmentalists talking to their Congressfolk.  We suppose the locals supply less money to Congressional campaigns than do envirpos. Where are Geronimo and Sitting Bull when you need them?

The US Army  spent some $4.3 B on a system to track spending. Now, it can’t track the $4.3 B.

The E.U. has just banned the sale of vacuum cleaners powered by more than 1600 watts. All the high powered suckers still available are being swept up by buyers who despise wimpy weak ones. Look for a  similar regulation to appear in the U.S. A new meaning for the phrase: ‘dirt poor.’

Already busted Argentina  has somehow, made no news whatever in announcing that  its government is assuming direct control of the entire economy. Maybe our media now see that as normal … It erased the Soviets and the Chinese have given it up; it’s presently bankrupting oil-wealthy Venezuela. Buena suerte, suckers!

Man, 70  was knocked unconscious in Hayward park by a black male,  left unconscious on ground for 1 hour in the crowded park and may not recover.

Chicago  Weekend: 5 dead, 17 wounded in shootings.

Knockout  A Memphis black teen mob of over 100 attacked a shopping plaza, beat a  white store employee unconscious with a pumpkin and then attacked 2 blacks. A  High School Girl was  beaten at a school bus stop for “acting too white.”

I n Detrot, 8 were shot as a  prayer vigil broke up, lavin 2 dead. Victims were taken to two hospits where the fighting continued, forcing closure of the hospitals to visitors.

Humans  and Neanderthals are upon investigation, turning out to be pretty similar in most ways, including intelligence.

Snow    has appeared, the earliest in South Dakota since 1888. Denver saw snowed  on 9/10.

The Milk     Price set a new record.  We wonder where it would be if we had inflation?

Coal   fired power plants face shut downs under EPA regulations issued in June. That will remove some 40% of U.S. electrical generation. Experts say that there is neither capital nor technology to replace it affordably. But the envoros are happy. Apparently they can read in the dark, or maybe they don’t read?

A NY Producer secretly taped sex with his girlfriend and posted it online. We can recall when the casting couch was only referred to in whispers …

The Army  is worried that it has way too many white combat unit commanders.  We will leave you to imagine where this is going … and whether you will want your kids to consider military careers.

California  says that the new carpooling  app from Uber, Lyft and Sidecar, is illegal. The feature allows you to find folks willing to split the fare for going to the same place.  We note that the regulators have never noticed strangers sharing a Yellow cab at the airport …

And your teen daughter’s dream (and your nightmare) Justin Bieber  took off clothes onstage …and was booed by the crowd.

We leave you with that small smidgin of hope; Also sprach Zaranewstra …

Posted in Culture, Government, Politics | Tagged , , | 10 Comments