President Obama Is Saving Us All

As the NSA (National Security Agency)  or “Shhh …” as it is known to its friends (all both of them) drifts from public attention attention back into its preferred obscurity, we have been struck by a stroke of inspiration. Nobody ever heard of the NSA until Barack Obama had become President of the U.S, right? So it must be his policy making that has propelled it into sight; he gets the credit.

We decided that the whole affair is a stroke of our President’s financial genius. It is a step in saving our declining economy. The rumor that the President plans to pardon Edward Snowden  suddenly makes sense. In fact, Snowden will probably receive a Presidential citation. Later, of course.

The NSA has been listening in for decades, with nary a peep from anyone. Everyone knew that — well, everyone but the American citizens — even the Germans knew. And they all did the selfsame thing, anyway. Quietly, of course.

But Snowden blew his whistle and now the President’s brilliant plan is visible: An otherwise obscure news story makes it clear:

I'll Save You!

I’ll Save You!

have been spiking in Germany. Yes, old tech, pre-computer machines for the manual typing of letters and such. Sales are going through the roof, because see, the NSA can’t snoop while you type on an old fashioned typewriter.

German typewriters are naturally, expensive. As this defensive measure spreads, other, less expensive places will manufacture the old machines and economies will begin to hire people and recover. This was foreseen by our brilliant President; it was doubtless his reason for approving NSA surveillance of Germany’s Angela Merkel in the firt place. But there is more to the President’s inspired plan.

The avalanche of old-fashioned letters will restore the dying government postal services too. Somebody has to deliver all that mail, right? Even more jobs! What could be better than this win – win situation? The postal unions will love it!

America’s President Barack Obama has not only saved our health with his Obamacare, he has saved the world economy with his NSA surveillance. Plus the postal service. How brilliant is that?

 

Posted in Barack Obama, Economics, Recession, Trade | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Big Pro Sports Are Honest, Right? (“Say It Ain’t So, Joe!”)

1920 Baseball Corruption Scandal - Shoeless Joe Jackson

1920 Baseball Corruption Scandal – Shoeless Joe Jackson

We have compared the world maps of high corruption with world maps of high living standards in previous posts. The relationship should be obvious. Here we are addressing corruption itself, an insidious subject that too many of us prefer to ignore, as we hope to show.

Dwellers in North America and Europe tend to complacency about corruption; looking at the latest headline about crooked politicians, they still see themselves far above most of the rest of the world’s corruption and feel entitled to the accompanying living standard. Pride though, we have been warned, goeth before a fall.

So, tell: How honest are big bucks sports such as basketball, football, baseball, soccer, cycling and tennis? Are they honest and clean or are they corrupt and hypocritical? What do you believe?

The rest of this is what we believe; you don’t have to agree. We think first, that this is important; you don’t have to agree with that, either. We’ll start with a question:

With say, $5 million at stake, whom would you trust first: a tennis player, a businessman or a politician? And next, why? Maybe you want to consider that for a minute.

All three are the same species, with the same basic makeup. That species is self-interested and highly competitive. And all three strive for big bucks. So, why do we look at them differently? Mainly we suppose, because we like to fool ourselves. Pro sports are big business, with a strong profit motive. Players make millions. The gamblers make millions, too. And we are supposed to accept that it’s all clean, nobody uses steroids or blood doping or any other available enhancers? Sure.

Remember cyclist Lance Armstrong? An American doctor brought about his falustration resulting from never being able to nail him with a failed drug test. But Armstrong has said and it is well known that all the top cyclists are dopers. Then, there’s football or what we Americans call soccer. It’s the biggest pro sport in the world, from what we hear. And depending upon whom you choose to believe, it’s pure as a church or crooked as a dog’s hind leg. You may read about that. And you may join a long time sportswriter as he loses his illusions . Reality as the kids say, really sucks. But it’s still reality.

Nobody wants to write about how all this at the top, worms its way into the school sports that support the pro structure. Not writing about it doesn’t make it vanish, though; it just lets us ignore it. That is called in more honest circles, hypocrisy.

What all this leads up to is, America — and Europe and the rest of The Economists’ “rich world” that became so with a low level of corruption, has become more corrupt. The people have dumped the religion that insisted upon honesty and there is no replacement; it’s now every man for himself. Corruption pervades politics, few try to deny that. Business does not look so corrupt only because all expect businessfolk to reflect the bottom line by definition. And sports aren’t suppose to be business, but they are business regardless. That is a corrupt society.

Not so thoroughly corrupt perhaps as the rest of the world has been and remains. But we’re getting there. And if you’re paying attention, so is our standard of living. We deserve no less.

And the Queen of England’s race horse failed a drug test this week …

Posted in Christianity, Corruption, Culture | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

North American Illusory Security Is Running Out

Bomb With Fuse LitBut for the World Trade Center and more recently, the Boston Marathon bombing, we are used to reading tranquilly of awful violence in other places. We seem to assume that Americans are somehow, entitled to immunity from such events. But the world has many folk interested in teaching us otherwise.

We are a violent society, with our guns, criminals, drunken drivers and such simple gratuitous violence as the presently popular “knockout game” on the streets of our cities. We are importing more violence with the hordes of Central Americans pouring over our border from very violent places. And we have abandoned the precepts of Christianity that once led most of us to deplore violence, leaving us only with government policing to restrain such acts … and force is governments’s stock in trade.

But more than a rising tide of violence that like lobsters in a cookpot, we ignore until it is too late, we have been ignoring the technology of violence that we have created. Our President famously uses drones to kill people at will. Why should not others imitate him? Airliners are being shot down in a growing number of places via proliferating missiles; why should our airspace be insulated from that? We are told that what can happen, will happen and it seems wise to believe that.

Our government fears developing violence in the United States; it has laid in enormous quantities of guns and bullets in most of its various departments and it is training its  military to fight in American cities as one response to its fear. And it desperately wants to deprive citizens of their guns. Where then will be the restraint on government violence?

We are, if history is any guide, a very violent species; we need no top predator because we do the job ourselves. We in North America have now long enjoyed a respite from that, one denied most other places. It seems likely that, given the tools now at his disposal, Murphy has noticed. It seems the part of wisdom to keep that in mind as we enjoy our peaceful lives …

Posted in Culture, Government, Safety | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Gleanings From The Passing Scene … (Politically Uncorrected)

Alfred_E__NeumannSeven days further on, for your consideration …

Microsoft–mighty Microsoft–will lay off 18,000 people over the next year. First, consider why Microsoft might do that. Then know that financial folk are seeing a huge boom in M and A (mergers and acquisitions) under way. First thing following a merger or acquisition, is layoffs of all the now, duplicated labor, right? So you know what’s coming.  ..

The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has a proposed rule up for comment. You may wish to do that,  (i.e. comment) since the new proposal gives the Agency the power to unilaterally garnish wages without going to court. Think about that for a moment; a government agency that awards itself, forget Congress, the power to confiscate your paycheck whenever it wishes …

China, along with pushing its boundary claims into other countries’ territories bordering the China Sea, is building nuclear powered missile submarines as fast as it can manage. (In case you still feel safe in Chicago.)

Attorney General Holder told ABC that he sees “racial animus” behind opposition to Administration policies. That’s a tough one: If you disagree with the President or his Attorney General, you’re a racist. If you agree, you’re an idiot …

A California School District claims the authority to ban God from its schools. That is another tough one; we understand that God is having trouble finding lawyers to represent Him in court–they all seem to work for the other side.

Another report demanding some thought: The iphone 6  is made in China … by robots …

U.S. infrastructure–roads, bridges, gas and water lines etx.–is becoming dangerous from neglect as the money to maintain it has been diverted to social spending. China won’t lend us any more money. Not to worry … we can just raise taxes or have the Fed print it up, right?

Ride sharing service Lyft is excluded from New York City and a growing list of other places as the cab drivers and their unions pressure the cities to prohibit the competition. Offers of better service, cheaper, are obviously intolerable as any fool can plainly see, right?

Darwin award candidate: A boy riding a double decked bus, banged his head on an overpass as the bus drove through.

Hamas rejected an Egyptian-brokered peace proposal, continuing to fire rockets into Israel. The resulting dead and wounded Israelis are not numerous enough to merit reporting by the media.

A woman robbed an 8 year old girl selling candy in San Francisco.

New York City Police are being sued by a woman arrested and held for 23 hours for recording police activity in public.

Sort-of actress Lindsay Lohan said she might leave the U.S. for good. We too,see good in that.

The Federal Department of Homeland Security is now out on the streets in an “outreach program.” Hmnn … How many cops do we need?

In Chicago, 3 teens brutally attacked a man as a crowd watched and filmed.

The OECD (Irganization for Economic Cooperation and Development) fears civil unrest as the middle class realizes how it has been swindled out of its wealth.

Copes reported a couple nailed for having sex on the roof of a Chipotle restaurant. We suppose that a Taco Bell would have been tacky …

The big anti-Israel protests now in France and  England  are hordes of Moslems in those countries, though not all reports seem to find it necessary to say that.

People are being assigned to the Federal government’s terrorist watch list increasingly indiscriminantly per reports; millions have now been listed with some 90% of those proposed, being added. We won’t suggest that the list is serving political purposes but if you wish to remain unlisted, we suggest that you prefer coffee over tea …

Some 2/3s of the kids illegally crossing the border are reportedly being granted asylum so that they can stay in the U.S.  And unsurprisingly, none of those being dumped into cities by the Feds, seem to be arriving anywhere there is a local Democrat facing a risky reelection. Who’d a thunk it! And even more remarkable, a governor has raised the question–in public–of how anybody thinks the services to all these illegal kids will be paid for. 

We have reached tonight’s dead end with this: A coroner’s van with evidently, an unlatched door, deposited a body on a gurney into an intersection on the street. RIP.

And so passeth another week; you can make up your mind, laugh … or weep!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Culture, Government, Politics | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

On Ramifications Of Downed Airliners …

Malaysian AirlinesOn July 17th, 1996, TWA flight 800 inexplicably exploded in midair and crashed into the Atlantic, killing all on board. The Federal investigators eventually attributed that to an explosion in a fuel tank. Others had other explanations, including an erroneous missile strike from an American submarine. We don’t pretend to know. The most important aspect of the event was probably that, once it left the headlines, there were few ramifications.

The Malaysian Airlines flight just downed by missile in Ukraine may be a different story. The Boeing 777 Dreamliner’s downfall killed some 295 people from all over the world. This time, we feel no need for the gift of prophecy to predict ramifications aplenty. The Ukraine government is naturally blaming the Russian military in eastern Ukraine posing as Ukrainian rebels who are trying to forward Russia’s annexation of the Donetsk. The Russian government is of course, denying this and blaming Ukraine. The world, aware that a missile capable of bringing down an airliner from 33,000 feet must come from some government, believes Russians responsible.

Crimea was swallowed smoothly; Eastern Ukraine has been going less well with the ‘rebellion’ largely stalemated as the Ukrainian government was successfully rebuffing the ‘rebels.’ Opinion has turned against Russia and capital flight and financial sanctions have begun to bite. So it seems likely that the lightly masked Russian invasion will have to be abandoned, at least for now. However Russia supplies Ukraine and Europe with badly needed heating gas; winter may bring a new game.

However, the location of this event is not the primary consideration, it seems to us. Rather, think about the number of places on the planet where mobile missile launchers capable of downing an airliner from 3,000 feet are located. It is a wonder that this hasn’t happened before now. Most of the world’d governments that maintain what now passes for air defense have these systems; they are much more available than nukes. And the numbers of people who can use them has grown likewise. This has now been called to everybody’s attention. As Shakespeare put it: “What is this I see before me, handle toward my hand?”

Beginning with Malaysian Airlines, people may reinstate old and mostly forgotten fears of flying, one more issue to add to its rising cost in declining economies. Politicians will surely see a need to ‘do something’ to protect the public. Whatever the resulting protection, whatever they undertake, won’t be cheap and we already know who will pay. Now that the way has been shown, copycats will proliferate; Moslem terrorists are no doubt drooling already. A world that relies upon cheap international transport will no longer find it so cheap nor so safe. That is a major hit to the economy.

And the world’s tolerance of violence has just been escalated. The deaths of a couple of hundred people were a much larger issue when flight 800 went down; the near 300 hear are still bad, but much less of a shock. More than three times that are dying every month is Syria alone. Our sensibilities are anesthetized. And that anesthesia contributes a rising level of tolerance for violence or at least, a rising expectation of it. In some places, this will excuse restrictions on travel.

In the end, the ramifications may cost us far more than this admittedly tragic event.Just as September 11th, 1991 has done …

 

Posted in Disaster, Russia, Safety, Ukraine | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

On Voting: “NO!” For President

snake_oil_salesmanYou’ve likely noticed: All the power seekers sell the same formula: an earthly utopia that will result from electing them. This will always be funded by somebody else, not you. And the power seeker will see to that. And finally, never mind that whatever formula is being sols has been tried and failed dismally throughout history; this time is different! The actual difference always ends up as having them selling the snake oil rather than their failed predecessors but the marks (us) always stand there nodding slack-jawed agreement with a message that always ends as something for nothing.

In history, this may come from the Left or the Right; just now, the Left is doing most of the selling. And we are continuing to vote for hope  and change over experience. Birds sing, fish swim and voters vote in predictable ways. It’s easier than thinking.

Many have noted this and been ignored or punished for their pains; Jesus Christ is probably the best known example. We have without fail, gone on regardless. We elected Barack Obama along those lines and are now looking about for his replacement since he has failed to deliver. Hillary is being thrown at us or more honestly, is throwing herself but we already know her; she lacks mystery needed for belief. She is too perceptibly, merely human. The extreme Left is waving Elizabeth Warren just now, hoping to replace Hillary with her or at least, dismiss Mrs. Clinton. La Warren is a very smart nutcase far to Hillary’s left. She has led previous charges against the Left’s windmills with little to show for it but she carries the acceptable flag along with two ‘X’ chromosomes.

Cross the aisle and you find a refurbishing Romney who is acceptable to the GOP leadership because he wants the same things that the Democrats want but with of course, the Republicans in charge of the gravy. Pecking at that are a few, such as Senator Rubio and Senator Paul who have recently come to appreciate Leftish social values while offering better management (take their word for it). And finally their is Senator Cruzz, an unrepentant conservative populist, to hear him speak. None of them, not one, including Senator Cruz, speaks to us as though we are adults, offering the hard choices that reality is presenting. Nor will they; they are after all, politicians. You don’t move the snake oil by admitting what’s actually in it.

The leadership of the Jews got everyone thrown out by the Romans; the Roman leadership essentially abandoned the place to the Germans and the heirs of it all are now busily turning Europe and North America into Detroit writ large in the endless pursuit of — something for nothing.

We know but we refuse to accept what we have been both told and shown endlessly: We cannot elect security and peace. They have to be made and maintained with effort and sacrifice. But promise those and see how fast you are elected!  A Democrat, President Kennedy, said: “Ask not what your country can do for you” but he said it after he had been elected. None are saying it now, when that is what needs to be said.

The numbers of knowledgeable folk predicting that the second leg of our ongoing depression will show itself during 2014 are growing. That event may flush out some more serious Presidential candidates. Or even, if we are unlucky, a man (or lady) on a white horse. We can only hope. But we had best not be lured into repeating the storied and all too human triumph of hope over experience …

Posted in Elections, Government, Politics, Voting | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

What Will We Do, Without The Lone Ranger?

The Lone Ranger

The Lone Ranger

Once, small boys thrilled at the  announcement: “Out of the west, on a mighty horse with the speed of light, a cloud of dust and a hearty “Hi Yo Silver!” the Lone Ranger rides again!” But not any more.

The American Old West was fantasy, a literary genre that informed eventually, the world without ever existing but in American hearts and minds. The Western was the basic American morality play with which every American boy identified at some point. Many of those boys became Boy Scouts and the Scout’s Oath was taken seriously.  And Hollywood turned out western movies that entertained adults, following the same precepts.

The Lone Ranger, at the apex of all this, was the ultimate American: self sufficient, moral, powerful, dedicated to helping others and intolerant of evil. An American icon. But nothing in human affairs is permanent but human nature and the Christian culture that generated the Lone Ranger, changed. In those days, boys played cowboys and Indians, shooting at one another with cap pistols and routinely going to school with pocket knives. And for most of them, sex did not exist yet. That turned up along with new glandular activity that brought previously uninteresting ‘dumb girls’ to the fore. We were supposed to be instructed in sex by our parents at entry to puberty and some were while others had to wing it. There were however, few unplanned pregnancies.

As everyone knows, that’s ancient history now, laughable, even. We have stood all that on its head. A long time Lone Ranger, actor Clayton Moore, took pride in always staying in character when accoutered as the Lone Ranger in public. He knew that his character was not only an icon, but an important American hero and he felt a duty to maintain that.

In 2013 however, a new Lone Ranger was released as a movie. The masked man was a secondary character this time;; his sidekick Tonto, played by Johnny Depp, was the true lead. Depp, wearing what appeared to be a dead crow on his head, played it for laughs. He was the American Sancho Panza with a red nose and floppy shoes. Nobody, in 2013, could take the Lone Ranger seriously any more; not when all kids are instructed in sex, a knife at school results in lock down and playing cowboys and Indians gets kids expelled from school. The American Old West has been demoted from a cultural icon to a cultural embarrassment. No one asks “Who was that masked man?” anymore; no one cares.

That’s too bad; the young boys who grew up under that regime made pretty good men …

Posted in Culture, Environment, Law | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments