“The American people will never knowingly adopt Socialism. But under the name of ‘liberalism’ they will adopt every fragment of the Socialist program, until one day America will be a Socialist nation, without knowing how it happened.”

Socialist Party presidential candidate Norman Thomas


Thursday, December 18, 2014

Ed's book review


When I'm in the car I generally listen to audio books that I've downloaded using the Overdrive app., on my phone. Currently I'm listening to "The Immortality Factor" by Ben Bova, one of my favorite sci-fi writers.
It's about the ethical, religious, moral, and medical questions that arise when near-future scientists learn how to regenerate organs in vivo, essentially granting humans unnaturally long life. The plot is interestingly interwoven with a Randian subtext of objectivism and private self-interest.
It's a terrific story that makes you address these issues yourself. It's also available in hard copy for you old timers who like turning pages manually. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Cuba should be one big resort


Under President Obama's direction, the US is gearing up to normalize diplomatic relations with Cuba. Breathless conservatives have their collective panties in a wad, confident that economic sanctions and isolation will surely work to bring the brutal Castro regime to its knees.......after 66 years.

Marco Rubio cautioned that this will bring the economic buoy that the Castro regime needs to stay in power. Really Marco? They've outlasted 10 US presidents without it, I doubt they're on the brink of collapse just yet.

The thing that will bring once and for all the collapse, or at least the moderation, of the Cuban government will be economic capitalism in the form of massive tourism. Cuba has the potential to be the Hong Kong of the Caribbean.....communist on paper but a powerhouse of wealth creation in reality. Imagine the flood of wealthy US tourists when they eventually allow resorts and casinos to be built there. Sure the regime will get rich, but so will everybody remotely associated with the tourism industry. Once that ball gets rolling, it'll be very difficult to stop, even for the Castro family.

Clearly our cold-war strategy hasn't worked....it's time to give economic infusion a chance.

The terrorists have defeated us, it would appear


It's come to this.....

Either the Norks, or a hacker group on behalf of the Norks, hacked Sony pictures this week in response to the comedy film with James Franco and Seth Rogan where the assassination of Kim Jong-Un is attempted. The hackers released confidential and embarrassing e-mails of Sony executives with promises of more to come. The group then sent a threatening e-mail. Here is the e-mail in its entirety:

Warning

We will clearly show it to you at the very time and places “The Interview” be shown, including the premiere, how bitter fate those who seek fun in terror should be doomed to.
Soon all the world will see what an awful movie Sony Pictures Entertainment has made.
The world will be full of fear.
Remember the 11th of September 2001.
We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time.
(If your house is nearby, you’d better leave.)
Whatever comes in the coming days is called by the greed of Sony Pictures Entertainment.
All the world will denounce the SONY.

More to come…


If the world "denounces the SONY", it'll be for the awfulness of Playstation 4, not because they made a stupid movie. 

Anyway, if Americans refuse to go to a movie because of idle terrorist threats, then the terrorists have already won. The theater where I normally go is a Carmike, but they announced they're pulling the movie. I'll have to find a showtime elsewhere I guess. 

Friday, December 12, 2014

The omnibus spending bill is full of cronyism, pork, and corruption

From a guy over at the Huffington Post, here are just a few of the most egregious things we're being made to pay for in the dreadful omnibus spending bill crammed through the republican controlled House yesterday:

1. Lockheed-Martin received a contract to deliver 4 more F-35 Joint Strike Fighters at a price of $479 Million, despite the Pentagon saying they don't want them. In a totally unrelated coincidence, Lockheed-Martin spent $28 Million in donations and lobbying congresscritters in just the last election cycle. 

2. Voters in Colorado, Oregon, Alaska, and Washington D.C. voted recently to legalize recreational marijuana use. That's great for the first three, but congress must approve any laws that take place in D.C. so the anti-legalization zealots attached a rider to the ominbus bill negating the 2:1 passage of legalization. Why would they override such a huge majority vote? In a totally unrelated coincidence, the alcohol and pharmaceutical industries lobby congress heavily to fight legalization.....they don't want the citizenry to be addicted to any substances but the ones they provide. 

3. Boehner and his pals quietly inserted on page 1,599 of 1,604, a provision that allows individuals to contribute as much as $300,000 annually to political parties, but without any additional transparency or accountability. Both Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell have the opportunity to hold up the bill, get rid of this provision, and send it back to the House, but neither is going to. In a totally unrelated coincidence, both parties have impressively rich donors with specific agendas that they'd like passed and will certainly take advantage of this new loophole in campaign finance laws. 

[A point of clarification: I am in favor of unlimited campaign donation by anybody, to anybody, but there should be full, immediate, and public disclosure(not in some hard to find government blog....everywhere, TV, internet, newspapers, etc.) of the people making the donations, who they are and what they likely expect for their money. That way the voters can decide who's corrupt and who's not.]

Three peas in a pod of corruption


It's like cats and dogs living together.....I agree with Elizabeth Warren on something


This week's sign of the apocalypse: I agree with Elizabeth Warren on something.
In the current 1600 page omnibus spending bill passed by the House yesterday, there is a hidden provision that allows banks to include with their normal investments, very risky "derivative" investments, making it far more likely that the taxpayer may have to bail out the banks again.
It was derivative investments that partially caused the banking crisis in '08, after which George Bush had the taxpayers bail out the banks, insurance giants, and car companies.
Why would republicans, given the GOP-base outrage the first time, make it easier for banks to receive taxpayer bailouts? Maybe because the banking lobbyists have spent something like $1.3 Billion over the last couple of years bribing them with campaign donations?
Elizabeth Warren is threatening to hold up Senate confirmation of the whole bill over this awful piece of it......I hope she succeeds. It would probably mean a government shutdown since the House has already gone home for the break. I think she's a horrible person in general, but I agree with her on this.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

US wises up on Syrian rebel funding


So it's being reported that the US has essentially stopped funding and arming who we thought were pro-western, America-friendly Syrian rebel groups. We first paid them to resist the al-Assad regime, and them we paid them to resist ISIS too. But we know that they'll just morph into another radical-Islamic splinter group of anti-western terrorism. Sooner or later they all do. 
My surprise isn't that we stopped sending them tens of millions of taxpayer money and weapons, my surprised is that we were stupid enough to think there is such a thing as pro-western Islamic militants, to begin with. The only people in the middle east who we can "trust" to look out for our interests are the strong-man dictators who we generously bribe to do so. If they mistreat their people, do we really care, as long as it keeps our gasoline cheap and Israel relatively peaceful? I know I don't. 

Saddam Hussein, Hosni Mubarak, Moammar Qaddafi, and currently Bashar al-Assad all are or were, ruthless dictators, but who were moderate secularists who could be bribed with US money to behave as we wanted. They also kept a tight leash on the Muslim radicals in their countries. 

Why the US feels the need to meddle in these countries just because the peasants there are unhappy is anybody's guess. Are we really that desperate to appear to the world to be humanitarians who deliver freedom and democracy like Santa Clause, to the third world? 

Monday, December 08, 2014

Like B'ham needs some more race marches, we've had plenty, thank you


Heh heh, literally tens of dopey protesters showed up this weekend in B'ham to march about 10 blocks from RR Park to 5-Points. They were holding typical signs like "Black lives matter", and "No Justice, No Peace", and my favorite, "Hands Up, Don't Shoot".
Of course by now, everybody knows that Michael Brown was a rampaging maniac and his hands weren't up in surrender at any time. The jury is still out on Eric Garner, but the whole scene was supervised by a black, female officer who never once told the policeman using the choke hold, to stop choking Eric Garner. Nobody can say race was an issue there either.
But the facts are inconvenient to the race hustlers and media jackals who would love nothing more than to cover a race war in America. Excessive police force might be an issue here, but institutional police racism most certainly is not.

Friday, December 05, 2014

Crocodile-1, dumb golfer-0


This is a South African crocodile. Like their cousins, the American caiman in Florida, these guys live in bodies of fresh water very near to human habitats. The only difference is that caiman don't get that big but still, Floridians don't have the sense to stay out of the water and get attacked regularly.....you'd think South Africans would steer well clear of giant crocodiles. Think again.

How stupid would you have to be to get in waist deep water, knowing that there is probably one of these swimming around on the bottom waiting for a meal? Pretty stupid apparently. A golfer was retrieving lost balls from a hazard on the course at Kruger Park near Johannesburg, when a croc similar to the one in the picture, grabbed him and dragged him under until he drowned.

Searchers found him a couple of hours later, dead but uneaten. I'm guessing South African crocs have the same contempt for outrageously colored golf outfits as most people do and decided to throw this one back.

Joseph Goebbels on global warmling

Joseph Goebbels(Hitler's minister of propaganda) sums up perfectly the US federal government's dogged determination to cling to the pernicious global warming hoax.......
“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”


Joseph Goebbels would fit right in with the modern American environmental left. 

Monday, December 01, 2014

The latest in feminist fashion


So apparently this is a thing now in feminist fashion trends.
Turns out if you're an unemployed, 30 year old hipster with a useless liberal arts degree and sketchy hygiene habits, there is a girl for you after all.