Category Archives: terrorism

Wonders And Amazements

We have so many wonders around us every day that we don’t notice and it is amazing the current events and historical occurrences that are ignored by our media.  It must be that old adage at work about hiding in plain sight as the best way to remain unnoticed.

Speaking of adages, the next time you are trying to learn the origin of one, start with the Bible.  There is a very good chance you’ll find it there.   Remember Hamlet  “our fate is not in the stars but within ourselves”?   Well, the Bard was paraphrasing Job.  There when facing the common lament that God caused some misfortune Job responded “why persecute Him, seeing the root of the matter is found in me?”  How many times have you said something like “you are the apple of my eye”?   Well, take a gander at Psalms 17:8.   There really isn’t much new under the Sun.  Even that comes from Ecclesiastes.

We worry about global warming and all manner of natural disasters but are ignorant or choose not to face facts that the laws of physics and astronomical facts harbor  enormous changes in relatively short order.  The global warming debate is primarily forecasting conditions roughly a century from now.  A long time compared to a human life but a blink in the grand scheme.  You want to worry about something then try to understand the implications of precession.   That is a term that describes the wobble of the earth as it rotates on its  axis.  You know that the earth tilts at a 23 degree angle that gives us our seasons.  And as it does it also wobbles just like a top slowing down.   For several centuries and for a few more we have had our North Star found using the far end of the pot of the Big Dipper and taking an imaginary line four times that length to find it.  It has been very reliable for a long time.  But, but, but as the earth moves on its wobble the North Star is moving and a few short centuries down the road it will not be the “north” star any longer.  The complete precession takes 23,000 years but not that long to move quiet some distance.  What does that portend for our climate down the road?  No one knows for sure, but perhaps another ice age.   Neanderthals and Cro-magnons made it and hopefully homo sapiens will also.

These modern punters have such big averages per punt.   Not all that impressed with them.  Those punters back when had it much rougher to get a forty yard average for punts.  They changes the rule a few decades ago to make it easier.  The rule used to be that the kicking team could not down the ball inside the opponents ten yard line.  The punter had to be much more accurate to kick it out-of-bounds to achieve those really good numbers.  It was a penalty if the ball was touched or d0wned by the kicking team inside the ten and the receiving team got the ball out on the 20 yard line.  Not like now where the kick team can have guys run down quickly and down the ball near the goal line.  That change immediately pumped up the numbers for the modern kickers.  So when you see the averages from some old punter back in the ’40’s, ’50’s or ’60’s remember the rule he had to work under.

We notice that Apple  and Google and others are using new encryption methods to protect users’ privacy from government surveillance.    A great idea.  The Feds already have too much access to our everyday lives as it is.  I recognize the occasional need to track down a missing child or elderly person or similar emergency.   Fine, let those and other extraordinary circumstances be exceptions.  Require the Feds to go to a judge and lay out those facts and then get access, otherwise leave us alone.

I don’t recall any big feasts for Thanksgiving when I was small after the War.   We had very modest circumstances.  But we had as roof over our head and food on the table.  I guess we had a turkey or maybe a big chicken.  I do know we had pies and cakes.  Mostly even then I knew I had a remarkable Dad and Mom and I never doubted that Dad would take care of us.  I do remember when I was about 5 and we lived in a rented house with an ice box.  Yes, a real ice box where Dad brought home a block of ice every few days to put in the special drawer and my job was to empty out the drip pan every day.  Those were modest days but abundantly lived.   May each of you be so blessed.

“Barbarism is like the jungle; it never admits its defeat; it waits patiently for centuries to recover the territory it has lost”  Will Durant, American historian.




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2 Cents Worth On Life Its Ownself

Alrighty, let’s take a tour around the world and see what’s going on in all those corners of the globe….

We can start close to home in South Texas where we are being inundated with thousands of illegal aliens walking across the border with impunity and no apparent opposition.  The underground and smoke signal network of communication has been in existence since time immemorial.  Those kids, and more to the point, their parents, are aware of the vaguely disguised “invitation” of our guy in the White House that any and all Hispanics are welcome as future Democratic voters if they just cross the border.  Doesn’t it strike anyone else as a bit suspicious that all these so-called refugees claim that they are subject to intimidation and threats from gangs and drug cartels.  We’re expecting 90,000 this year alone.  How many gang members do they have in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras?   I personally don’t see refugees in those media photos but moochers.

Rule number one for any nation since the beginning of time is to have a border.  Each nation has the right and duty to  its citizens to defend its border.  Every nation must have the right to control and regulate the flow of foreigners and commerce across it borders.   That is the foundational definition of  being a nation.

Africa.  Well, the French after almost two years still have troops chasing radical Moslems around Mali.   Nigeria couldn’t be more of a mess Boko Haram roaming around killing and kidnapping more or less at will.  The Congo is beset with turmoil from radicals attacking and killing when the notion strikes them.   Libya and Egypt are both teetering on the brink or sinking into totalitarian status due to the conflict with radical Moslems.   Even a “stable” and democratic Kenya is subject to routine slaughter and attack from Moslems and radicals.   Somalia?  enough said.

Our friends in Europe are clearly rethinking their liberal policies regarding immigration and the influx of Moslems from North Africa and the northern and western marches of the Mid East.  France, Germany, United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and even Sweden are seeing growing and more vocal opposition to open borders and increasing immigration of Moslems.

Sentiment against central governments is growing much stronger across the European landscape whether the central government be domestic or the European  Parliament in Brussels.  Catalonia is voting on separation from Spain.  The Belgians are taking a fresh look at their centuries old joinder of the French, Flemish and Germanic portions of their nation with many calling for independence.  Surely you are aware the Scotland will vote in a few months on independence from the United Kingdom and predictions are for a very close vote.  Northern Italy is stirring even harder and more volubly for cutting loose the southern portions of Italy and letting them make their own way.  The Balkans remain on edge after nearly two decades of alleged peace between their Christian areas and the Moslem portions of that area.  The Ukraine?  Well it is getting plenty of press these days.

Who knows how Iraq will evolve over the next few weeks and months.   The radicals look to have at a minimum a permanent nation-state to consolidate power and use as a base to slowly but surely spread their barbarism in that immediate area of the world and even worse to then plan long term strikes against the West at times and places of their choosing with impunity.  It is very apparent that the US and all Western nations will not intervene in a way that would force them out of the areas they now occupy.  The Shia Iraqis don’t have the will to make a  war against them in those northern reaches and drive them out.  Even if Iran sent troops and everything they had available it wouldn’t work.  Look at the map and consider the demographics as you look.  The geography and Islamic peoples of those regions don’t favor driving out those fiends.  Iran can’t afford the  cost in treasure and military resources and personnel it would take to remove those Islamists even with the help of what exist of the Iraqi army.  That huge swath of earth looks likely to descend into a new dark age for some time to come.

Afghanistan and Pakistan are more or less the same problem sitting across two borders.  The Taliban will take over in reality or behind the scenes in running Afghanistan as soon as we are gone.  Who is going to stop them?  Serious question.  Pakistan can probably and likely will bumble along more or less as it has for decades.  Always on the edge of self-destruction but strong enough to thwart an outright collapse.

In the Far East China is on the march and Japan is slowly but inevitably renewing its martial aspirations.  Sitting between them is the powder keg the two Koreas.   China is readying its aircraft carrier and will use it to intimidate its neighbors and even strike the weaker ones when they feel they can without repercussions.  It is in our long-term strategic interest to back Japan in this growing and volatile mix.   It would be a disaster for China to be allowed free rein in such portions of the Asian area as they wish.  The Philippines just reached yet another in the endless series of truces with the Moslems on its island chain.  It won’t last either.  Lordy how many of those have there been since the SpanishAmerican War?

Saudi Arabia is allegedly an ally and how many of the 9/11 attackers came from there?  We should only trust when we can verify.  Be vigilant and hope some day those peoples will move beyond the 9th century in their outlook on the world and be able to tolerate other views. They are entitled to their own religion and culture and we have no problem with that but they should not be permitted to impose a Caliphate across any section of the modern world with the repression and of differing views.

Be brave,,,,fear never wins the battle and always leads to retreat.




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2 Cents Worth On Life Its Ownself

The dog days of August are upon us and the mind looks for cooling thoughts anywhere it can find them.

Today is the 68th anniversary of the Nagasaki bomb drop on the Japs.   The leaders of that day were hoping to maximize the damage to them to force a surrender before we had to launch the invasion of Japan proper with projected loss of American lives exceeding 250,000 to finish the job.  The nation was war-weary and ready for it to end but still determined to defeat Japan.  What is forgotten is that at the same time (within two days) of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki A bomb attacks we had other major attacks on Japan by our air forces and the navy.  The navy struck a coastal region with fuel storage tanks and power stations on the east coast.  The navy ships were literally just off shore and shelled the facilities and the navy planes struck with fury.  That was a huge raid and did tremendous damage.  About the same time we launched one of the biggest air raids of the whole war.  More than 800 B-29’s roared over the industrial area of Iksukea and devastated the entire manufacturing area.  If you have ever seen a B-29 you know how big they really are.  Larger than a 737 for example.  Imagine looking up in the sky and seeing wave after wave of them coming your way and hearing the thunder of those thousands of engines.   You’ve never even heard of these raids.  That is a lesson in history and how headlines are so fluid.  If not for the A bombs these raids would have been the lead headline in every major newspaper across the country.   Because of the A bombs they were moved to the back pages.   Those raids heavily influenced the final decision of the Japs to surrender because they realized that regardless of the A bombs they were defenseless to stop the coming American assault.   To know real history you must know more than the headline stories.

Some left over dishes don’t do well when they are warmed up for that second serving a couple of days later.  One exception to that truth though in our humble opinion is spaghetti, if well made, when warmed up down the road.  As good as the first serving.

Sure glad our outreach to the Muslim world is working so well.  You recall that even the NASA leader under the guy in the White House said that was his top priority.  Have you looked at any of those photos from Cairo in the last few days with the depictions of our guy in the White House?  Look them up and reach your own conclusion.

When it comes to the Muslim world we need a Kissinger to lead our foreign policy.  He definitely knew how to employ realpolitk and understood its necessity.  Yes, as awful as it is to contemplate, sometimes it is better to do business with an Assad in Syria rather than that Al Queada and Muslim Brotherhood coalition fighting against him.  Hey, folks we were all chummy and kissy kissy with Joe Stalin during WWII!  He made Attila the Hun look like a Franciscan monk by comparison.  Often a tough world presents tough choices and we need to make them and quit the speech making and political correct approach to foreign policy.  Do what is best for America.  In the long haul that will be what is best for the world.  We still represent the best hope for a good example for the world.   But that example is changing for the worst with each passing day of this current gang in the White House.

Did you know that copper is an antibacterial agent?  In smaller concentrations it will not kill the bacteria but will prevent its growth or spread.  High enough and it can kill bacteria.  Wonder why they don’t use copper for all the trays etc in hospitals and clinics.  Cost I suppose.  Even if more expensive up front it would last more or less forever unlike all that plastic we see in hospitals.  Just wondering if anyone has ever taken a hard look at that.

Don’t know about you but frankly I didn’t notice any difference in Christie’s appearance after his well-advertised weight reduction surgery.  He needs either a redo or a refund.   I don’t think he makes a very good ad for that type of surgery.   He still looks terribly overweight.

By now you have heard that if you have a camera built into your laptop that hackers (government or otherwise) can take over that camera and record you in your own home or office.  That is in addition to the ability to listen into your conversations through  your cell or computer or even the tv and now your fancy new car with all that electronic and computer gadgetry.   Getting really hard to get off the grid these days.

Getting off the grid was a motivating factor behind much of our western expansion from the earliest days of our new nation.   Thousands and then millions of folks for various personal reasons decided to go west to escape bad marriages, creditors or bad politicians or politics.  If you went from Pa. to Mo. in 1835 you could be whoever you wanted to be in Mo.  When you left your hometown, home church and community you were indeed off the grid.  Same thing with those early Mountain Men. Many just wanted to be away from the constraints as they saw it of civilization.   Today it is really hard to have a truly private life.  Good, bad, up to each of us to have our own opinion but the sad thing is that we don’t have a choice anymore to opt out for the quiet life.  Not many Walden ponds left.

“The wise shall inherit glory; but shame shall be the promotion of fools.”  Proverbs 3/35.

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2 Cents Worth On Life Its Ownself

So much to learn and so few students of life…..

When passing through the Panama Canal you are of course moving from the East to the West, the Atlantic to the Pacific.  In your mind’s eye you naturally conjure up the vision of the canal aligned East to West.  Take a look at the map however and you will see that Panama has a pretty sharp slant on that East/West alignment and the Canal passage from Atlantic to Pacific is actually moving from North to South.  After you make the passage it is in the open sea that you finally turn westward for your journey to the Pacific and the Far East.

Whether you support the Senate Immigration bill or oppose you should at least make sure you do understand the actual language used to implement those supposedly severe “trigger” requirements.  Look at it and pay special attention to the many times that the provisions of the triggers can be waived by the Homeland Security Secretary.  Criminal violations, language requirements, prior immigration law violations, fencing and other security requirements, etc. can all be waived at the discretion of the Secretary.  Of equal concern is the age-old problem that the Federal government regardless of who is in control will simply refuse to enforce the law or slow walk enforcement to such an extent that it is meaningless.  If we are going to have specific requirements for the path to citizenship they should at a minimum be real.  Example, the English language requirement only requires signing up for an English course, not completion or real proficiency in English and even that can be waived.  Remember also under existing law the President or Secretary of State can grant special status to anyone they choose for whatever reason.

In the Fall of 1942 as the German army was closing in on the epic battle at Stalingrad, the Soviets launched a massive counterattack north of there against the Nazi armies.  The area they attacked was manned mostly by the Romanian allies of the Germans.  They were there to fight the Communists, not support the Nazis.  Over 200,000 of the Romanians were killed, wounded or captured.  It was a major battle by any standard and one you have never heard about.  German reinforcements rushed to the breach and the Soviet attack was blunted and the battle for Stalingrad entered its bloodiest stage.

The Supreme Court ruling on the California Prop. 8 that had disallowed gay marriage is of great concern.  That concern has nothing to do with the merits of gay marriage.   The Supremes held that the proponents of Prop. 8 had no standing to even bring the case.  The Governor and other California officials had refused to defend the initiative passed by the people.  What if that Proposition had dealt with the tax rates or had mandated a flat tax and the Governor and other officials had refused to enforce that new law and would not defend it in court?   Who is in charge of our democracy?  The people or the politicians?  Under the law of the Supremes the folks who urged and passed that Proposition were mere “bystanders” with no stake in the outcome of the litigation.  The Angels on the head of the pin ruled the day and no one was allowed to move legitimate new laws through the legal process.  It may have been gay rights today but the grave concern is where this direction takes us on other non social issues in the future.

Snowden and the NSA matters raise areas of great concern and the old issue of matter of degrees.   We really don’t like the NSA looking into all of our calls, emails and locations with GPS devices.  We do want them to target terrorists and try to keep us safe.    If your 70-year old mom or dad has early stage Alzheimer’s and goes missing in the car with maybe an Iphone or IPad in tow and they are gone for a few days  you would surely want the police to be able to contact Apple or ATT and try to find the location of your missing parent.  This doesn’t even involve a crime but you wouldn’t want ATT to refuse saying it would violate your parent’s privacy rights.  It could be your 17 year old runaway son or daughter.   I want my privacy.  Let the Government target, profile like crazy and go after the really bad guys and leave the rest of us alone.  One of our greatest threats is our own home grown political correctness gone mad.

For our economy and job situation to improve and return to something resembling normality we need the Federal government in all its forms to back off and back out.  All financial institutions are overly regulated and their interests rates are under the thumb of the Federal Reserve.  The Stock market is dominated by the bond buying of the Federal Reserve.  The housing market is totally controlled by FHFA; over 90% of all mortgages are now backed by it.  Those interest rates affect the car industry and sales.  The new Obamacare looms over 1/6th of our economy.  All these factors are outright manipulations of prices, wages and the advancement of our economy.  The actual fundamentals of price, supply, demand and free bargaining between a willing buyer and will seller are completed distorted.   We need the Federal government in all its forms and its machinations to fade away.  Let’s have a real market based on consumer demand, true wages, profits, and innovation without regulation that kills entire industries such as it being proposed with the EPA death warrant for the coal industry.

Word choice can be so curious.  In England an elevator is called a “lift”.  Why isn’t it called a “down”.  I mean the elevator goes down as often as it goes up.   Maybe it is because lift simply sounds a bit more optimistic than down.

“to smell a rat” from Shakespeare.  Good advice when it comes to trusting Government.

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2 Cents Worth On Life Its Ownself

People c0ntinue to move, speak and do things so there is always a few comments on those doings…..

Well, surprise, surprise Fisker has retained bankruptcy counsel and likely will file for Chapter 11 in a matter of days.  Another green/electric car crony capitalist experiment gone bad. They got a 529 million dollar loan/grant a couple of years ago from the beings in the White House, built a few cars in Finland and several of those caught fire an blew up in the rains from Sandy.   They are down to 50 employees and looking for a buyer.  How many of the failures will there be?   I guess many more until the Feds run out of my money and yours.

The peaches are about the size of a large marble now and we’ll have fresh peach cobbler and slices on vanilla ice cream in another month or so.

Weapons of all kinds in the hands of the mentally unstable will regrettably always be a problem in a free society.  Our freedoms do give rise to greater exposure to violent crime because of those freedoms.  The gun control advocates miss the boat on more restrictions against the law-abiding.  The fact is the liberal wing of America simply doesn’t want an armed public; that is the real truth.  They was a populace that can be and will be cowed.  The killings at Ft. Hood are the best exemplar of the weakness of their arguments and those who are so politically correct they can’t or won’t recognize the truth and reality.  I worry about the mentally ill having access to a gun or anything potentially dangerous but I worry more about an  Islamic terrorists having them.  That guy was a psychiatrist for heaven’s sake!   More importantly he was a Muslim.

At last check some 30 to 40 thousand people a year were killed in auto accidents.  A 4000 pound car is and can be a deadly weapon.  When you sell your used Chevy Volt do you do a background check on the purchaser?   What if he is a nut case and plans to use the car to run down innocents at the weekend community event?   Or he just uses the vehicle completely irresponsibly and kills or injures other?   If we are going to worry about dangerous objects in the hands of those who potentially could use them to harm others then the list is much much longer than guns.

Oh, an aside on the gun debate.   Just last week one of our major media outlets reported on its opinion page that 270 people are shot each day in America.  Hmm, let’s see that is 100,000 a year.  We are a really big country and no doubt there are some people shot by accident or criminal deed  each day.  But 270?   Come on at least use some real numbers; I sure would love to see the actual data behind that number.

Is the melting pot assumption for  the US really such a good idea?  Does an objective analysis of our history and recent history support that constant stream of rhetoric from politically correct politicians.  If diversity is such a great idea then why didn’t and hasn’t it taken root in Europe?  Look at a map and you can see that Europe is positioned even better than the US to have a diverse society ethnically and religiously. Access is easy across the Mediterranean and you can literally walk into Europe from the East.  Are we so arrogant and naive that we believe we are more socially advanced and intelligent than our brethren across the Pond?    They have had centuries. indeed millennia, to ponder the alleged virtues of a diverse society and have rejected it on the whole.  Our obsession with diversity of different ethnicities and religions is of recent vintage here.  Until a few decades ago when Americans spoke of diversity they meant diverse European nations.   But all those nations did in fact have many shared common heritages in religion and political structures.   Languages varied but the culture was not alien to one another.   Yugoslavia was the great European experiment in diversity and you see how that worked out even after centuries of trying to make it work.  You now have numerous countries there and they still don’t like each other.   More reflection might be in order.

I wonder if the couple selected for that flight to Mars in about ten years by the European company will  have a really thorough physical?  Something really simple here could be death on that trip.  Will they do a preventative appendectomy on each of them?  It is an ordinary and routine surgical procedure here but if one got an attack on that trip and antibiotics couldn’t control the outbreak then they would die.  What would the survivor do with the body?  Rather doubt the “garbage” release shoot would accommodate a body.   Just one of many, many possible health issues that could arise.  Maybe they will select a doctor.  And I guess  they will send with them the opposite of viagra whatever that is; just in case of need.  (what if they don’t like each other after a while)

Much more about the attack at Boston later.  For now use that old expression –“follow the money”.  I mean from what is known so far those guys didn’t have a regular source of income but they sure lived alright.  Right now go to any of the travel sites and check what it would cost to fly to Moscow and then Dagestan and later return home.  So far there is no mention of work and the parents allegedly had bad health and no money but they were both reportedly lawyers.   One was renowned for being a clothes buff.  They had cars and didn’t seem to want for anything and they got money to buy guns.  I mean I ain’t rich but not poor but I sure wouldn’t be booking a round trip ticket to Dagestan anytime soon how about you?   Where did they get their money?  Answer that and you’ll know a lot more about who was behind them.

As our nanny state grows exponentially under the current beings in the Administration ponder the thoughts of an old German adage–“Whose bread I eat, his song I sing.”

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Internet Intelligence?

Of course the title of this entry might immediately invoke thoughts that the phrase itself is oxymoronic.  Is there in fact intelligent life on the Internet?  What with the inane information on Facebook and Tweeter one could make the case that the Internet is nothing but a salvage yard of useless ideas.  But one can only hope that it also provides a useful tool for the betterment of Mankind.   Today there is a countless plethora of data flowing across the Internet that runs our economies, industries and even our personal financial affairs not to mention our personal personal affairs.   The news outlets of all stripe have been filled the last few weeks with stories about breaches of security on Banks, governments, militaries, and even the Internet providers themselves.   The hacking exposure threatens identity theft and our national security and vital infrastructure such as utilities, airlines, banks and government agencies of all kinds.    We are being spied on in the Internet and spying is all about gathering Intelligence by crooks or enemies to cause of loss or harm.  Such spying and threats to our economy is not new.  We’ve had an “Internet” for millennia and societies have worried about its breach of security from the beginning of time.

The modern version of the Internet moves with the speed of light and carries more data but it is in theory and actuality no more than an updated adaptation to the collection and use of information that Man has employed since recorded time.   Since Biblical times Man has wanted to spy on foreign lands and societies to advance their hopes of conquest or trade relations.  The very oceans and seas are a vast “Internet” of flowing information as are all the ancient trades routes across the continents of the Northern Hemisphere.  Before the Jews began their advance into the promised land they sent forth spies to check things out, to steal information about the possible opponents and to report on the economic promise of the foreign lands.  History is replete with such missions from China to Western Europe.  Travelers from far lands were prized because of the intelligence they could bring back with their exploits and even the ordinary events of the day were newsworthy to those running the economies.   This all started as soon as we moved out of the caves into settled communities and cities.   People reached out and brought back information–intelligence.  It was slower than today but there was a pretty constant stream of information to digest and access to that information was a treasure to governments and traders and even the man on the street because it affected the availability and price of goods and luxury items.

In Roman days the Mediterranean Sea was one large Internet connection.  Ships plied those waves constantly and with those ships flowed information about new crops, mineral supplies, wars, preparation for wars, building of fleets for invasions, plagues and the overthrow of governments.  The first ship from Alexandria to Ostia (port for Rome) that brought news of the grain crops along the Nile for that season had a real advantage for those buying and selling the crops and the Roman government itself wanted this information.  Of course, just as today on the Internet you had to use judgement to discern the truth of the reports; false information made its way across the seas then just as it does through the Cloud today.   There was closely guarded “trade secrets” held by many in the world of commerce and the governments.  The shoals, reefs, bays of all locations around the world were vital for commerce and wars, in addition to the actual news brought to land.  More than once a foreign fleet was foiled in an attempt to conquer a particular land because they ran aground due to lack of accurate knowledge about local conditions.  The Greeks at Syracuse, the Spanish Armada, the Persians at port of Athens are only a few such examples.

In times past maps were closely guarded by those employing them.  They were a huge advantage for both trade and war and the mapmakers were often hired directly by the King or the most powerful of the commercial traders and the mapmakers were in a dangerous business if suspicion fell on them for letting the maps fall into the “wrong” hands.   Foreigners coming to a local port were almost always required to utilize local pilots to guide the ships through the last few miles to avoid the reefs, shoals and headlands and dock safely at port.  That practice continues to this day mostly for different reasons.  Ships going through the Panama Canal for example are steered through there by the captains but by local pilots familiar with the lay of the land as it were.   And it protects local jobs and inc0me.  When explorers figured out a new route for trade they didn’t come home and announce all the details to the world, they said I can show you how to make money using my knowledge of a new route.  They were reluctant to reveal the information to their sponsors just as Columbus was with Isabella and Ferdinand.

Mankind has always had a flow of valuable and vital information that could cause harm if revealed to a party no intended to be the recipient.  It just moved slower but was a steady drumbeat of data.   The Carthaginians long prior to Alexander the Great had a trade route through the Straits of Gibraltar to Cornwall in England for the tin which they brought back for bronze production.  It was valuable information and they kept it secret as long as they could.  They sure didn’t reveal the details of the route to their historical ancestors the Phoenicians.  By Alexander age a Greek from Marseilles found the same route on an epic voyage of discovery and the world suddenly had two sources of tin but by then the Iron Age had arrived.

The technology has changed rather dramatically but the flow of data across and around the world is nothing new at all and the desire to hold such information close the vest of the recipient is nothing new.  As has been said, knowledge is power.  Thus the counter force of spying or hacking we call it today.

“The first destroyer of the liberties of a people is he who first gave them bounties and largesses.”  Plutarch, Greek historian.

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Benghazi Blemish On American Heritage And Tradition

The events in Benghazi last month were not only a tragedy for our country and the families of those killed; it was a humiliation to the dignity and respect of our nation.   It is a sad and disturbing example of the world-view and attitude of the current administration regarding the standing of the US vis-a-vis the Muslim world.

First and foremost it is dangerous and disheartening to note the failure of BO and cohorts not to immediately come to the defense of our right of free speech.  There is no problem with stating they regret that some in the world may find items published, produced or written in the US via any medium offensive but the right of free expression is inviolate in our nation.  It is in the first of our Bill of Rights for good reason.  Rather than bowing and scrapping to those perhaps offended they should have been vigorously been defending the right to speak and take positions on any matter.    Rather than talking about offending a “great religion” the administration should have been talking about a great right being threatened by violence.

It is painfully obvious except to the die-hard Democrats that the narrative of the spontaneous protest against the little known youtube video was put out to support their publicly stated position that bin Laden was dead and that Al Qaeda was on the wane.     This myth and lie they viewed as helping their crippled foreign policy story of success and acceptance in the Muslim world.   It is quite apparent now that a planned attack was under way against our consulate and that this engagement lasted for a number of hours.    One can only imagine the horror, fear and hopeless feelings of those trapped in that consulate during those hours.   As bad as the lie about the spontaneous protest (which was repeated as late as BO’s appearance at the UN over 10 days later) is the lack of any effort to mount some rescue effort.

Panetta and other in the administration have said that there simply wasn’t enough time to attempt any rescue effort and that there wasn’t enough intelligence to justify sending the military into harm’s way in Benghazi that night.   One can appreciate the theory that there were lots of messages coming into the State Dept and the White House and that such cable or email traffic can be confusing.  Got that.  But, but, but….every organization has priorities.   Yes, probably hundreds or even thousands of communiques reach State from all over the world every day but only a fool would believe that there are certain embassies and locales that have a much higher priority than others.  Messages from Benghazi would have a higher priority than one from Japan for example where things are calm.  Libya, Syria, Iraq etc. would be looked at before others.  If they aren’t then it is gross incompetence.  There is another factor in those first messages from Benghazi that are telling.

The first critical email from the consulate used the word “attack”, the phrase “under attack”.  It didn’t say protest or demonstration.  Now how many messages from our embassies and consulates around the world would use that word or phrase on any given day or month or even year?   Talk about a red flag or a screaming SOS.  This is especially true when those folks sitting safe and comfortable in Washington knew that there was no military protection for our consulate there.   It was unusual enough that we know Panetta et al were meeting at the White House by 5 pm shortly after the first message.   Yet they made the decision not to send any aid.

One can understand that the military likes to have all the intelligence it can acquire before mounting a mission–the number of the enemy, location and types of weaponry they have.  They like to practice and train for the specific mission.  Again, all understood and makes sense when circumstances permit.  But there are a few problems with the argument they couldn’t do anything because of that lack in this case.  One of the oldest adages in military lore is that you always “march to the sound of the guns”.  It means just what you would think.  When in the field with an enemy and you hear the gun fire you go there immediately.  That is where the fight is and guess what–that is your job!   The military is in the risk business.   Yes, some missions are going to be very difficult, almost suicidal but that is your duty and job description.  Remember those dive bombers at the Battle of Midway.  They knew they really had little chance against the Jap fleet when first spotted but they attacked anyway and none made it back.  But their attack opened the way for the later formations to sink 4 Jap carriers.

I know any mission sent to Benghazi might not have resulted in a successful rescue.  But success in saving those guys was not the only purpose of such a mission.  We could have done something.  Maybe we couldn’t have gotten special forces there in time.  Maybe planes from Sicily would not have been able to identify enemy targets when they got there.  Our planes could have gotten into the air.  Ask anyone military guy and they will tell you there is always a “ready team” at those air bases that can be activated very quickly, minutes not hours time.  We should have tried.  Even before we knew all the details they should have been sent to Benghazi.  If it turned out that things were not bad they could have been called back.  Maybe they would not have been able to see targets.   They could have at least flown low over the consulate.  Maybe strafed the area around it.  At least they could have dropped flares.   We’ll never know now if such action could have helped.  Maybe those jets flying right over would have scared off some of the bad guys, maybe not.  You can rest assured it would have made those men inside feel better even if only briefly to know they were not alone, they had not be abandoned or forgotten.  Ask any old vet who was a prisoner of war of the Japs or Germans during WWII  how they felt when they saw American planes overhead even though they knew it didn’t mean they were rescued yet.

The point is dammit–we should have tried.  That is what we do.   Americans don’t just keel over or bow to adversaries or at least we didn’t used to do that.   The Demo left probably don’t even remember the words but our national anthem ends with “the home of the brave”.  Not the timid, the pusillanimous.   Shouldn’t we expect bravery and honesty from the White House rather than political calculation and lies?   This treachery against American values and tradition should not be forgiven or forgotten.   If you agree pass this message along.

“If all that Americans want is security they can go to prison.   They’ll have enough to eat, a bed and roof over their heads.  But if an American want to preserve his dignity and his equality as a human being, he must not bow his neck to any dictatorial government.”  Dwight Eisenhower.

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2 Cents Worth On Life Its Ownself

Buckle up and here we go for some thoughts, reflections and opinions from the cheap seats…

There have been some murmurs about the Federal Reserve taking action to reduce its Treasury holdings without destroying the bond market and at the same time reducing the National debt and the deficits.  They would simply forgive the debt owed by the US Treasuries they have bought in the last few years.  This would reduce the debt by at least hundreds of billions if not over a trillion easily and simultaneously would reduce the deficit because no interest would  be due on that forgiven debt.  It sounds so simple.  But the problem is that such an action would focus attention on the fact that is funny money to begin with printed out of thin air by the Fed as a means for the government to fund its deficit spending and that there is nothing really supporting the value of the dollar other than “confidence” in our money.  It would be severe blow to that confidence.  After all if they can do it once they can do it twice.  Why not then just default on the Treasuries held by the Chinese; we don’t like them all that much anyway and they manipulate their currency.   It would be so appealing politically short-term but devastating in the near and long-term to our economy.  The politicos could brag and say “see, we fixed all that debt and deficit stuff” .  Of course what would it make the dollar worth in your pocket?

Both Dow and Dupont have recently announced pretty negative outlooks for the near and mid-term future of their businesses and industry.  Between they have also announced plans to cut 4000 jobs.  That is not a good sign.  When the economy is doing well those plants are humming putting out products for both industrial  and consumer use.  We all use tooth paste whether the economy is good or bad and that use doesn’t really indicate the health of the economy but when basic materials used in everything you can imagine are cut back we aren’t doing so well.

Greece just got a two-year extension of time to comply with it bailout loan terms.  Two more years to meet both revenue and deficit reduction goals.  This should come as no surprise.  Regrettably it is like a person going on a diet saying they will have only two more pieces of chocolate cake and then start next week.  Good luck with that.

The Federal Reserve at this month’s meeting stated it is continuing its ongoing purchases of goodies in the market place to the tune of at least 40 billion a month and will continue to crush savers by keeping interest rates near zero for two more years minimum.   They also posited that the economy is still sluggish.  Hey, we all know about the latter but some of us are concerned about the former.   How much more money can they prune off that money tree growing in their back yard before they kill it and our soon to be hyper-inflated economy they are fostering?

Good for the Brits.  They had the good sense and back bone  this week to tell the EU court to stuff it.  That court in a spasm of political correctness gone berserk had ordered Britain to allow all its prisoners to be allowed to vote in elections.  Not gonna happen at least with Cameron there.

With regard to Biden and his comments at the debate about Iran’s nuclear capacity one should caution him to know a bit more about engineering and history before he states so positively that Iran can’t have a nuke for a long time because even after they have the fissile material they still have to have a weapon for it.   Well, Joe, the weapon is the easiest and quickest part.  All they have to do is watch the History channel to see how to construct the bomb. They just need a big iron ball with ordinary explosives on the outside to ignite and force the fissile material to the middle where the nuclear reaction will take place.   Does the Joke really believe they are developing the material and haven’t given a moment’s thought to how they will deliver it to the intended target?   They already have some missiles we know and it doesn’t even have to be delivered that way necessarily.  They could simply build the device and put it 0n a truck or on a small ship and or even a cranky old DC-3.   They could quite likely get any of those all the way across Iraq to Israel without being intercepted.  They for sure good get them to the Strait of Hormuz which is their own shoreline.   I hate glibness with serious issues.

Sanctions against Iran are very problematical.  History should teach us that.  Doesn’t hurt to give them the old college try but don’t bet the ranch on them working.  The Soviet Union had an effective and real blockade against it for decades both by law and by inclination of much of the world and the Soviets themselves self-imposed sanctions by not trading with most of the West because to do so went against their ideology. They couldn’t allow their people to import Mercedes or Cadillacs and let them be compared to the cars the Commies made; nor TVs and a long list of other items.  They never reduced their danger to the western world in spite of being cut off.   Likewise North Korea has been a pariah for decades and sanctioned out the wazoo but that hasn’t fazed them, ditto for Myanmar.   Fanaticism and locked-in ideology doesn’t bend to normal logic.  The Iranians in spite of timid protests here and there are obviously content to let their country be dominated by the Ayatollah and his cohorts.   As long as their religious beliefs and goals remain pure in their minds they really don’t care about the condition of their people, after all, they will all end up in paradise for their sacrifices.  Sadly my friends it will require a much firmer hand than saying they will have a lower standard of living.

“There is no worse heresy than that the office sanctifies the holder of it.”  Lord Acton, British historian and statesman.

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2 Cents Worth On Life Its Ownself

The world turns, people sleep then get up and do things.  Some of those things are worthy of comment or merely amusement as it has forever been…..

Old Joe Biden should have been a bit more cautious when he got those hair and dental implants to make him appear more youthful.  The hair is still very thin and he didn’t get his money’s worth there.  Those choppers are a shade too bright.  He should have toned it down a bit and gone with ivory or bone hues for those.  The ones he opted for are porcelain bright white.  Hmm, yep pretty much like a porcelain toilet bowl which he lets his mouth resemble far too often.

Next year many of you may get a terrific free show.  The Sun activity will reach its 11 year peak in its cycle and the magnetic storms unleashed should make for some of the most striking and awe-inspiring Northern Lights display in years.  You don’t even have to pay for admission to the show.   In some years past those displays have been seen as far south as Virginia.

Biden isn’t an Aaron.  You recall that Moses told God that he didn’t speak well when God wanted him to talk to the people of Israel.  He asked God to let Aaron do the talking for him.  God agreed and that seemed to work out fine in the end.  The people were ultimately set free and did follow the words and warnings of Aaron.   He was the spokesman for Moses.  BO is pretty desperate when he has to depend on the verbosity of Biden to deliver his message.   But then Aaron could speak without a teleprompter.

After the death of Mahomet his heirs and surrogates embarked on a military campaign of conquest throughout the middle east.  One of those leaders was Caled, The Sword of God.   His army neared Syria to bring it to heel.  The area was still controlled nominally by the Greeks, which then were part of the declining Eastern Roman empire.  They offered a one time payment if Caled and his cohorts would withdraw.  His reply–“Ye Christian dogs, you know your option: the Koran, the tribute, or the sword.  We are a people whose delight is in war rather than in peace; and we despise your pitiful alms, since we shall be speedily masters of your wealth, your families, and your persons” .  You think much has changed in that Islamic thought over the past 1500 years?

The news reports keep coming about those self-drive cars.  They will be totally controlled by the on board computers and sensors and GPS.  Many apparently are already in the testing stage.  Some cars already have those sensors systems built into their cruise control mode.  One problem already reported about using those is that when the car in front of your, or a car moving into your lane, that the sensor reads as being too close it automatically slows your car.  Apparently, it does it too abruptly for the liking of many.  I have no emotional or ideological feeling one way or the other about those driverless cars but I for one would be very uncomfortable turning the steering wheel over to a computer.  Don’t know about you but I have had too many unexplained “crashes” with my various computers over the years to have much confidence in them, especially when my life and safety are at issue.   They are a tool, not sentient beings and have no discretion or a sense of “danger” that we can intuit in a nanosecond.

There aren’t a lot of benefits to aging but there are a few.  One is being able to be yourself more and express what you think more often in the business and societal world.  When you are younger whether a business man, lawyer, brick layer or Indian Chief you always have someone you have to be careful with because there might be consequences for saying what you really think about a subject.  But when you are 70 things change.  It is indeed liberating to be able to speak your mind more directly.  Don’t want to imply rudeness or lack of civility ever; that is not appropriate.  But giving your opinion on a subject 100% is nice.  After all what could the negative consequences be at the advanced age–are they going to do their worst and make you a 70 year old man?

The famous Carl Jung, contemporary of Freud, almost spent most of his career in the US rather than at his clinic in Switzerland.  One of his patients in the early 20th century was a daughter (Edith) of John D. Rockefeller.  She had married into another wealthy family, the McCormicks of Chicago of International Harvestor fame.   She was a troubled lady and took to Jung quickly and thoroughly.  She offered to fund more or less anything he wanted if he would move to the States for his practice but he was already rich and famous.  He lead a very Bohemian life-style and was very left wing in his politics and consorted with Socialists, Anarchists and probably Commies. He didn’t abide monogamy for example and  lived his life accordingly.   She went to Switzerland for over a decade for treatment and analysis by Jung.  Trouble was she couldn’t get over her agoraphobia and wouldn’t travel, not even home.   She then opened her own clinic where she treated and counseled others.   The blind leading the blind.  Her husband finally divorced her after a long marriage for a younger woman who at least was able to interact with others and get out of the house.  Edith  ultimately returned home but still hardly ever left her abode or traveled even to see her father.  He had a place in New Jersey  and she got as close as New York city once but then couldn’t make it the relatively few miles to Jersey.  Strange and sad life.  She could have pretty much anything she wanted but I guess could never figure out what that was.

“Seest thou a man that is hasty in his words?   There is more hope of a fool than of him”  Proverbs   www.

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2 Cents Worth On Life Its Ownself

Let’s reach into the lottery ball container and see what we can pull out for rumination or amusement…..

Notice that Datsun is going for a comeback with an ultra cheap care.  It will sell in the  3k to 5k range and is directed to the third world market.  It is a car with all the basics but eliminates those electric windows, electric seats, minimal air bags, etc.  Hmm, with our economy continuing to head south one can’t help but wonder if they might want to consider selling a few of those in the USA.  For getting around town for routine errands it beats a Vespa and sure is economical to operate.  Give them some cutesy distinctive paint jobs and there is as segment that would take pride in flaunting their down-sizing life or some would just appreciate the cheap transportation.   There might be a bigger market here than they think.

Is there any worse feeling in the whole world than when you cause an injury to your own child?  If you have raised kids then you know what I mean.  Sooner or later when you are tired or distracted for just that couple of seconds you will do something that hurts your child.  It could be as simple as not noticing them when you are mad and slam that door to the laundry room without noticing that they are ankle-biting their way right behind you.  I did it a couple of times.  Once my second daughter was getting out of the car along with her three brothers and sisters and Mom pregnant with number 5 on the way, we were tired and wanting to get in the house.  I shut the car door and heard her cry.  I had shut in on her hand, her fingers were caught in the door jam.   Thankfully, there were no broken bones, her little fingers were so small that she only had a really bad bruise.  But I had a huge bruise on my heart.   Had could I have been so careless?  Once I also made my oldest son wait much longer than necessary when he fell on the tennis court and cut his chin.  He wailed. I went over and checked but didn’t see any blood and calmed him and told him to sit still and we continued our tennis.  He kept crying really loud and I went back and looked closer.  There was a huge gash just under his chin and obviously needed stitches; it was bleeding, strange but true.  Why didn’t I look closer the first time.  We did get him to the ER right away for those stitches.  Even after 40 years you can still feel that sinking feeling of being the worst parent in the world.

Maybe you noticed that another solar panel outfit with Dept. of Energy loans just filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy ( a liquidation process).  It had recently renegotiated its 465 million dollar loan with the Feds.  It publicly blamed unfair competition from the Chinese for its failure but an internal memo indicated it might have been, er, a faulty product.  It said that their panels worked just fine except in sunlight!

How can Bernancke stand there and lie through his teeth that the Fed’s buying new Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities is not “printing” money nor enabling the Feds from continuing the deficits and running up the national debt?  Does Ben have a secret room at the Fed with Trillions of dollars just lying around for him to use that the rest of us Hoi Polloi don’t know about?   Yeah, it is technically true they don’t “print” the money, they just hit the keystrokes on the computer.   This to the tune of at least 40 billion per month, forever apparently.  What is really deplorable is that the business press and media will not call him out on it.   Make him explain where the money comes from that he uses to buy all those instruments.  From the thin air of the Fed Wizard of Oz machine is where.   Oh, and by the way, the revised numbers show that in the last year the Fed bought 77% of all those new Treasury bills, notes and bonds.   Not that many folks wanting to loan us money any more, at least not at the current ridiculously low rates of interest.

Because of the dangerous world we live in with the threats from Islamist terrorists I urge you to read just a little of the history of the early days of the Prophet.   There are ample sources available to you.  For a Prophet of peace he sure engaged in lots of warfare and battles with those who opposed his message.  Yes, he won over some very devoted and fanatic followers but he also subdued many, many more with brute force.  It wasn’t the message that won over most of the people it was the sword of Islam.  Please don’t take my word for it, read just an hour or two of his and Islam early history.

Rather than debates on TV I really wish the modern way of our Presidential candidates to present their arguments, positions and policies was with written essays if you will.  You know as well as I do that these modern campaigns are all about appearance, sound bites and platitudes to appeal to the base and the frankly uniformed.  I would much prefer if each candidate would issues thoughtful and meaty essays on the various issues of the day.  Take tax matters for example, wouldn’t we all be better off if each candidate wrote a really long, 5000 words or so, piece on his view of what tax policy should be.  I am fine with him having as many aides, experts and whoever helping him write the article.  It would be so much more detailed and it would be in writing.  He could only change it with a really good explanation.  Sure they would nuance their words and try to be as vague as they could on lots of points but they couldn’t get by with nearly the flippancy now that is used to cover important topics of the day.  They could do the same thing foreign policy, Immigration, judicial appointments, national security, etc.  We would be so much more informed and have a better idea of what would happen under the administration of each of them.  Those articles could be published in the newspapers, online, etc.  They would have to be thoughtful, precise and forthcoming.  Boy, I wish that could become the new tradition in Presidential campaigning.    They should have all their written pieces published by the time of the conventions and then debate which written and detailed approach is best for the future.  Ah, but then they slew Socrates.

“fanaticism obliterates the feelings of humanity.”  E. Gibbon, English Historian extraordinaire.

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