2 Cents On Life Its Ownself

Hang onto those Euros and let’s explore the thoughts of the day….

Here is an idea to completely reform all our social welfare programs.  Why not simply write a check for those in need to the tune of 2o thousand a year, tax-free.  You think that sounds high well take a moment an add up the costs for all the various welfare programs that now exist for that typical family of four.   There are the food stamps, Temporary assistance for family, housing subsidies through HUD, Medicaid, unemployment benefits, disability benefits, new job training benefits, earned income tax credits and even more not listed here.  Heck promise them the money for their family, cash on the barrel head and let them decide how they want to spend it–food, clothing, shelter, Iphone, flat screen tv, or whatever they desire.  Then put a lifetime cap on it of 500 thousand.  Make it a block grant to the States to set the eligibility standards they think are best for their citizens in need.  Believe me, we would come out ahead.

Keep an eye on the Chinese navy as it continues the expansion of its operations throughout the South China Sea and beyond.  Now they are off the coast of Malaysia and show no signs of changing their aggressive course.  They have been pouring lots of new investment into their navy and have launched their first aircraft carrier.  If they build the tools they expect to use them sometime.

Can you imagine having to go almost two weeks without being able to use your bank account like they have just done in Cyprus?  Those ATM’s only give out a limited amount of money and their banks today are only allowing about $430 a day to be withdrawn for the foreseeable future.  On top of that for a while (length yet to be determined) they are not allowing checking transactions.  What a mess. All due to loose monetary policy.  Our policy could be described as a bit loose itself with the Fed printing 85 billion a month of new money out of thin air.

It also will be interesting to see what the Euro is worth in Cyprus in the coming days.  Theoretically it is worth the same as else where in the Euro zone but the problem is you have to get it out of the country to spend it and Cyprus has place severe restrictions on taking money out of the country.   There soon will be a black market of one kind or another in Cyprus as there always is when there are artificial values and restrictions placed on the price of a currency.  Just like in Argentina at the moment where there is a vast difference in the official exchange rate for their peso at the banks and what you can really get in the back alleys of Buenos Aires.

The sectarian and factional disputes among the Muslim world we witness now in Iraq, Syria and Baharain to name only a few are nothing new in that Muslim world.  From the very first decades of that religion and its expansion across great swathes of the world there were internal conflicts between different rulers of the faithful.  Each claiming their were the true inheritors of the prophet and they had different ideas about how to rule and there were vast differences in how pious and humble they were or were not.  There were revolts, assassinations and wars among those factions pretty much from day one.  Even the mighty Ottoman Empire had its opponents from within the Muslim bloc that kept its borders within check for centuries on it edges.   Remember it was only about 30 years ago that Iran and Iraq fought a pretty brutal and bloody war and they are both Muslim.  The current conflicts in Libya, Syria and Afghanistan to name only a few are not unexpected to any student of history and they will likely continue for the foreseeable future regardless of any action taken by outsiders.

The  peach trees are blooming and the dogwood and redbuds have theirs out and the wisteria is in all its purple glory.  It won’t be long before we have those hot days of summer upon us.

Most people have at least heard of the Arctic Circle but not so many really understand what it signifies.  It doesn’t mean that you are close to the North Pole even though you are closer than if you are in Kansas City.  Not that line of demarcation is where the Sun will shine for at least a while for 24 hours in summer and will completely disappear for a while during the depths of winter.  Below that degree of latitude the Sun always rises and sets even if only briefly.

Drawing a map can have real consequences especially if some of the dimensions are guess-work.  When the Pope negotiated the treaties between Spain and Portugal dividing up the world between them for future exploration and ownership it was really intended to give Spain essentially the Americas and preserve Portugal’s existing interest in India and the East Indies.  But the line of demarcation actually cut through the eastern most tip of South America unbeknownst to the participates.  Lo and behold Portugal got Brazil and they sure weren’t about to give it back once they found it was within their boundary set out by treaty.  Those clever Portuguese lawyers and diplomats won the day by accident but heck good fortune is often where you find it even if by happenstance.

“Liberalism today has become deuces wild.  It can be used to fill any hand….freedom of opportunity is the great value that must  be preserved about all others.  Unless this freedom is preserved, no other freedom will be secure.”  Thurman Arnold, America lawyer, p0litical commentator of the early 2oth century.  http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

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Filed under Astronomy, business, Culture, Economics, Foreign Affairs, geography, history, military history, Politics

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