Archive for the ‘Common sense’ Category

Defining Racism   Leave a comment

So I’m on the tread mill just before Christmas, pre-sweating for my pumpkin pie, when Tucker Carlson’s hilarious list of 100 things people have deemed “racist” in 2017 comes up. It took me a while to find it — mainly because I wasn’t trying very hard — but it really is funny.

“We live in revolutionary times,” Carlson told his followers on Twitter.

 

Image resultCarlson gave each “racist” item its own separate tweet, and while the list is worth reading in its entirety, I just couldn’t do them all. I have novels to write.

Apparently TREES are now racist. A group of trees in Palm Springs, California, was considered racist because the trees separated an upscale golf course from a historically black neighborhood. City officials promised to kill the trees, ridding Palm Springs of a longtime symbol of oppression.

DISNEY movies are now racists, according to Kat George, a writer for VH1’s website, who insisted that in 2017 some of your favorite Disney movies are racist. The Little Mermaid was listed as an offender because Sebastian, Ariel’s crab sidekick, spoke in an exaggerated Jamaican accent. Maybe he was a Jamaican crab.

MILK is now racist. Who knew? Who cared? It’s apparently became a symbol of the alt-right and neo-Nazis this year because racial minorities may be more likely to suffer from lactose intolerance. Even worse, the USDA’s dietary guidelines further such oppression by advertising dairy as an essential part of a healthy diet. As an American Indian who does indeed get gassy if I drink too much milk … get over yourselves. Seriously? If you don’t like milk or can’t drink it … don’t. My brother, as American Indian as I am, loves milk. Does that mean he’s self-loathing?

SCIENCE is apparently now racist. Students in South Africa declared that science is racist because it cannot explain “black magic” — no, really.

“I have a question for all the science people. There is a place in KZN called Umhlab’uyalingana, and they believe that through the magic, the black magic–you call it black magic, they call it witchcraft–you are able to send lightening to strike someone,” one student explained. “Can you explain that scientifically? Because it’s something that happens.”

Military CAMOUFLAGE is also racist. Don’t use face paint while sneaking through the jungle, or you might be accused of racism! The British Army was accused of donning “blackface” after they posted a picture of a soldier wearing dark face paint and holding a rifle.

Some CEREALS are now racist. A diversity officer at Miami University was actually open to the idea of banning Lucky Charms because some undercover students claimed the cereal was racist against Irish Americans. Yikes. Brad, did you know about this? Were you upset when the kids would eat them when they were little? No? How out of touch with your cultural roots can you be? Get angry! Be enraged! Where’s the war-bag?

 

Apparently TIMELINESS is now racist. Expecting students to show up on time to class might be insensitive to “cultural differences,” Clemson University said in a diversity training program.

 

BABIES are also racists. According to a study by the University of Toronto, babies show preferences to adults of their own race. Should we start diversity training in the nursery?

You can follow the full thread on Tucker’s Twitter account HERE. 

Advertisements

Posted February 2, 2018 by aurorawatcherak in Common sense

Tagged with , , , ,

American Empire   Leave a comment

The year 2017 saw the beginning of the end for the US empire. I bade it farewell after Trump refused to sign the Paris Accord. I was fully in agreement that he shouldn’t. It hadn’t been authorized by Congress and it isn’t supported by most Americans who instinctively or knowledgeably understand that it would devastate our economy and drive us into third-world status within just a few years. But not signing the Accord meant the world would begin to look elsewhere for the next leader of the free world and I think that’s a good thing.

Britain survived its fall from the Most High status and we will too. In the long run, I think it will be better for us, but let’s just look at history first. We replaced the UK because we were more productive and forward thinking. Now that China has starting to ecclipse us, just like the UK before us, we don’t want to go quietly into that good night. Like any dying empire, our leaders are becoming increasingly ruthless, hoping to keep up appearances.

Image result for image of american empire

I know people who think our refusal to lead on “climate change” is what is causing this failure. Yeah, I don’t think so. Climate change — at least, the “human causation of climate change — will be disproven in a decade or so and whether or not we’d led the charge to roll back carbon emissions to 1930s levels would not have made the slightest bit of difference — at least not for the US. We are already lagging behind because of the extreme financial cost of warfare. It, not climate change, will be the death knell of the American empire. Since the start of the 21st century, we’ve invaded more countries than at any other time in our history. We appear to be in a perpetual state of both military and economic war.

Our combativeness, which has grown under every president since World War 2 ended is starting to make other major powers nervous and they’re now seeking to counter US aggression. Maybe they hoped we’d entangle ourselves in climate-change redtape and that would slow us down. Certainly they were hoping that the globalized economy would counter our aggression. But in reality, it is our aggression that has provided the rope that is hanging us. We’re not done yet, thanks to our somewhat unnatural alliance with the ill-conceived “United States of Europe.” That experiment is already stumbling and likely to fragment, but its leaders are hoping their alliance with the US will strengthen the EU. Meanwhile, the other major powers of the world are going full steam ahead to ensure that, when the US and EU run out of gas,  the rest of the world will carry on independently of the dying dual empires.

Understand, they aren’t merely waiting around the sidelines for the collapse to come so they can take their turn at the top of the global pecking-order. They are actively preparing their position to, as seamlessly as possible, take the baton and run.

There’s history here, of course. If we don’t learn from history, we’re destined to repeat it. So let’s learn from it.

Since the Bretton Woods Conference in 1944, the US dollar has reigned supreme as the world’s default currency. In 1944, the US held more gold than any other country, but in 1971, the US went off the gold standard, and since then, the dollar has been a fiat currency. The US has become increasingly cavalier in its abuse of the dollar—often at the expense of other countries.

Russia and China finally got tired of that and created the largest energy agreement in history not based on the US dollar. All trade between the two countries will be settled in the ruble and the yuan. Russia has since been active in creating agreements with other fuel customers, also bypassing the dollar. In creating these agreements, the Asian powers have unofficially announced the demise of the dollar in petroleum trading. For decades, the US has applied its muscle to other countries, using the strength of our dollar. So, the Sino-Russian agreement will likely end the US monopoly of price fixing in oil trading, but it will also to create a decline in US power over the world, generally.

To this end, Russian created its own SWIFT system. The official system, located in Brussels but controlled by the US, controls the vast majority of economic transactions in the world, but in recent years, the US has barred, or threatened to bar, other countries from the SWIFT system, effectively making it impossible for banks to transfer money and, by extension, causing the collapse of their banking systems. Russia got tired of that also and created its own. It’s entirely likely that, if Russian trading partners (Iran, for example) are barred from the use of the Brussels SWIFT (or even threatened to be barred), Russia would extend the use of its SWIFT to them.

That takes power away from the US. Provided Russia doesn’t use its system as a tool of intimidation, other countries may well flock to it, forcing the United States to interface with the new system or lose trade with those countries.

Meanwhile, China and Russia have been expanding their economic powers dramatically and have periodically complained that their seats at the IMF table are unrealistically low, considering their importance to world trade. In 2014, China officially replaced the US as the world’s largest economy, yet the IMF has consistently sought to minimize China’s place at the table. Can’t really blame them for being irritated by still being stuck at children’s table when they have a grownup economy.

The West believes that it is holding all the cards and that the Chinese and other powers must accept a poor-sister position, if they are to be allowed to sit at the IMF table at all. The West does not appear to recognize that, if frozen out, the other powers have the ability to create alternatives. As with the SWIFT system, the Asian powers have reacted to US overreach, not by going away licking their wounds, but by creating a second IMF.

The Russian State Duma (the lower house of the Russian legislature) have now created the New Development Bank. It will have a $100 billion pool, to be used for the BRICS countries. Its five members will contribute equally to its funding, instead of how the US slowly bankrupts itself by being the primary contributor to the system in controls. The BRICS bank will be centered in Shanghai. India will serve as the first five-year rotating president and the first chairman of the board of directors will come from Brazil. The first chairman of the board of governors is likely to be Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov. It’s therefore structured to be truly multinational, instead of a western monopoly of power.

In creating all of the above entities, the BRICS will, in effect, have created a complete second economic world. So much for Mutually Assured Economic Destruction. And thank God!

In the latter days of the British Empire, the British seemed to be under the illusion that, even as their power base crumbled, maybe they could retain control by threats and bluster. The UK was utterly wrong and only succeeded in alienating trading partners, colonies, and allies by doing so.

The same is happening today. China, Russia, and the rest of the world, when faced with American threats and bluster, will not simply fold their tents and accept that the US must be obeyed. They will, instead, create alternatives. And they are doing so exceedingly quickly and with unexpected competence. At this point, the overreach of the US is not only enabling other powers to rise, it is forcing their hand to literally create the next full-blown empire.

Wouldn’t it be so much better, Americans, if we accepted our declining status, pulled back much of our far-flung empire and fortified our position in the coming changing environment? It took England generations to become healthy once more because they refused to accept reality. Let’s return to what we were in the 19th and early 20th century – not an empire, but a highly productive nation of innovative and freedom-loving people with largely friendly trading relationships all over the world. Then we don’t have to worry about being dragged off our pedestal. We can simply go about our business and not give other countries reasons to hate and attack us.

I know, unrealistic. If we let go of our position in the world we won’t be great anymore and we can’t have that. The horror!

A Common Law “Country”   Leave a comment

When you say you’re a libertarian, you usually soon get asked the question “If your ideas work so well, why has no country ever tried to implement them.” My answer is always “Because people like to be in power and they never give freedom a chance for very long.”

 

Viable efforts to establish new countries that could actually be taken seriously are everywhere. Separatist groups in Belgium, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Italy, and Spain want to create their own independent states, to name just a few movements across Europe. The most advanced efforts are in Catalonia, which in October voted overwhelmingly to separate from Spain. Its efforts to become independent were put down by force by the Spanish government.

But perhaps the most successful new country is one that you may have never heard about. It’s called Somaliland, and it is carved out of the territory of the war-torn nation of Somalia.

Here’s what it looks like:

You’ve no doubt read quite a lot about Somalia, which claims sovereignty over Somaliland, in recent years. The government that the international community recognizes is riddled with corruption and effectively controls only a small portion of its official territory. When Islamist militants seized Somalia’s capital Mogadishu in 2006, a coalition of African countries intervened to restore the so-called “legitimate” government.

Unfortunately for citizens of Somalia, the government hasn’t been able to restore the rule of law. Just a few weeks ago, Mogadishu experienced the worst terror attack in Somalia’s history. More than 300 people were killed.

Somalia is not a place you’d want to invest in or visit. Yet, this is the Somalia the world recognizes as a sovereign state.

However, the northern region of the country – Somaliland – is very different. Crime is low, terrorism is almost non-existent, and the standard of living is higher. A series of peaceful elections has reinforced democratic rule for more than 25 years. While nearly all the residents of Somaliland are Muslim, disputes are settled under a traditional tribal system called Xeer. Like the common law that America inherited from England, Xeer is based on legal precedent and local customs.

While the world continues to acknowledge the corrupt government of Somalia, Somaliland has quietly prospered, despite lack of international recognition. It has its own currency and issues its own passports, which enjoy (limited) recognition.

That’s not all Somaliland has going for it. It claims a territory of 68,000 square miles and has a population that exceeds 3.5 million people. And crucially, it has the ability to defend its territory, with more than 35,000 soldiers.

Somaliland’s economy recently got a huge boost when one of the world’s largest seaport management companies, DP World, agreed to develop a new port there.

Part of the agreement provides for DP World to create a free trade zone in Berbera on the Gulf of Aden. It will be modeled on Dubai’s Jebel Ali Free Zone, currently the largest free trade zone in the Middle East.

The fact that a major company like DP World is willing to make a big bet on Somaliland represents a pivotal vote of confidence for the country. It just might be the ingredient needed to compel the international community to recognize Somaliland as a sovereign nation. That’s especially true as conditions in “official” Somalia continue to deteriorate.

Certainly, Somaliland will continue to face challenges in the months and years ahead. But the fact that its government is looking to the example of Dubai, one of the world’s most prosperous regions, is a bellwether for the future. And it just might be a model for other new countries to follow.

Posted January 11, 2018 by aurorawatcherak in Common sense

Tagged with , , , ,

RIP, Net Neutrality   Leave a comment

Net Neutrality is gone.  Yay!

Let’s try to understand what Net Neutrality is really all about.

Image result for image of net neutrality destroying the internetContrary to popular belief, the evil ISPs were not creating a have/have not divide in Internet access prior to Barack Obama’s interference in the Internet. What Net Neutrality really did was create massive subsidies to the biggest bandwidth hogs on the planet – Facebook, Google, Twitter, Netflix and … yeah, the porn industry.

Under Net Neutrality these platforms flourished along with the rise of the mobile internet, which is now arguably more important than the ‘desktop’ one in your home and office.  Google and Apple control access to the mobile web in a way that net neutrality proponents can only dream the bandwidth providers like Comcast and AT&T could.

Comcast & AT&T never had that power. Ultimately, consumers decide how much bandwidth costs. We decide how much we can afford for these creature comforts like streaming Netflix while riding the bus or doing self-indulgent Instagram videos of our standing in line at the movies. The ISPs can’t charge us more than we’re willing to pay and a great many of us were not willing to pay, so Netflix and Google began advocating for Net Neutrality, which took the pricing of bandwidth out of the hands of consumers and handed the profits from it to Google and Facebook and their advertisers.

By mandating ‘equal access’ and equal fee structures the advertisers behind Google and Facebook could spend their budgets without much thought or care.  Google and Facebook ad revenue soared under Net Neutrality because advertisers’ needs are not aligned with Google’s bottom line, but with consumers’.

Because of that, the price paid to deliver the ad, i.e. Google’s cost of goods sold, thanks to Net Neutrality, was held artificially low.  And Google, Facebook and the Porn Industry pocketed the difference, allowing Google and Facebook to grow more powerful.  That difference was never passed onto the ISP who could then, in turn, pass it on to the consumer. Thus our Internet access costs increased, while Facebook’s advertising costs were held stable.

All thanks to Net Neutrality.

With the rise of the mobile web, bandwidth should have been getting cheaper and easier to acquire at a much faster rate than it has.  Net Neutrality didn’t allow for that. It kept rates of return on new bandwidth projects and new technology suppressed. Money the ISP’s should have been spending laying more fiber, putting up more cell towers, building better radios went to Google to fritter away on endless projects that never see the light of day.

Net Neutrality guaranteed that the infrastructure for new high-speed bandwidth would grow at the slowest possible rate, still governed by the maximum the consumer was willing to pay for bandwidth, rather than what the consumer actually demanded.

Think it through, Net Neutrality not only subsidized intrusive advertising, phishing scams and on-demand porn but also the very censorship these powerful companies now feel is their sacred duty to enforce because the government is now controlled by “the bad guys”.

Getting rid of Net Neutrality will put the costs of delivering all of this worthless content back onto the people serving it.  YouTube will become more expensive for Google and all of the other content-delivery networks.  Facebook video will eat into its bottom line.

The ISP’s can and should throttle them until they ‘pay their fair share,’ which they plainly have not been. Yes, your ISP may temporarily charge you more for Netflix or Hulu … although it’s more likely Netflix and Hulu will have to charge you more. We’ll then find out the real cost of delivering 4k streaming content to your iPhone actually costs.

Meanwhile, those costs will filter down to the ISP’s such that they can respond to demand for more bandwidth.  Of course AT&T will overcharge us because they are just as bad as bad as Google and Facebook, but … here’s where the rubber hits the road … consumer have a right to say “no” and stop using the services the way Net Neutrality’s mispricing of service encouraged us to. If the ISP’s want more customers then they’ll have to bring wire out to the hinterlands.

Net Neutrality proponents kept telling us this was the way to help keep the Internet available to the poor and the rural.  That’s ridiculous. I’m surrounded by rural and can say confidently that Net Neutrality kept the Internet from expanding properly into the countryside. While Fairbanks has cable and DSl, my brother who lives only about eight miles out of town has neither. He’s 10 or 15 years behind everyone else in getting decent bandwidth, yet he lives in a fairly densely built neighborhood. He has never streamed Netflix because the wiring to his house cannot support it. Instead,  he gets cable television from Dish Network, with a signal so weak it’s been known to cut out during a spring rain. (That’s not Dish’s fault, really, but a factor of their satellites barely being over the horizon at this latitude.

 

We’re still waiting for the phone provider in our residential area to upgrade the bandwidth.  We even installed a second line for Internet service, but the service is so overloaded, it dropped two or three times every evening. So we switched to cable, even though we don’t want cable television. Why are we still a half-decade or more behind the rest of the nation? The return on new lines isn’t high enough for them.

If Google was passing some of the profits from Adwords onto the ISPs, I’d have multiple choices for high-speed Internet versus just one DSL provider, and maybe I’d also have more than one choice for cable. And maybe it would be affordable. I currently pay $90 a month for Internet only, no cable television. It would be another $80 if we wanted to watch television. But we can stream Netflix and Hulu if we’re willing to pay the price.

As always, whenever the political left tries to protect the poor they wind up making things worse for them.

The news of Net Neutrality’s demise is good for a variety of reasons. With Net Neutrality gone, a major barrier to entry for content delivery networks is gone. Blockchain companies are building systems which cut the middle man out completely, allowing content creators to be directly tipped for their work versus being supported by advertising no one watches, wants or is swayed by.

Services like Steemit and the distributed application already built and to be built on it point the way to social media cost models which are sustainable and align the incentives properly between producers of content and consumers.

Steem internalizes the bandwidth costs of using the network and pays itself a part of its token reward pool to cover those costs.  So, all that’s left is content producers and their fans.  Advertisers are simply not needed to maintain the network.

Net Neutrality was a Trojan horse designed to replicate the old shout-based advertising model of the Golden Age of print and TV advertising.  It was a way to control the megaphone and promote a particular point of view.

Look no further than the main proponents of it.  George Soros and the Ford Foundation are two of the biggest lobbyists for Net Neutrality.  Only the political left and its Marxian fantasies of evil middle men creating monopolies fell for the lies.

The rest of us were like, “Really?  This is not a problem.”  And it wasn’t until you looked under the hood and realized all they stood to gain by it.

Now, with Net Neutrality gone the underlying problem can be addressed; franchise monopolies of cable and phone companies in geographic areas.  These laws are still in effect. They still hang like ice fog over the entire industry.  Like Net Neutrality, these laws concentrate capital into the hands of the few providers big enough to keep out the competition.

So, instead of championing the end of franchise monopolies, which county governments love because they get a sizable cut of the revenue to fund non-essential programs, the Left made things worse by championing Net Neutrality.

That also needs to end.  Even if you believe that franchise monopolies were, at one point, necessary, they aren’t now.  IP-based communication is now fundamentally different than copper wire for discrete services like phone and cable.  Let people run all the copper and fiber they want.  There’s plenty of room in the conduit running under our sidewalks and streets.

Then and only then will the Internet be free.

Posted January 9, 2018 by aurorawatcherak in Common sense

Tagged with , , ,

Here We Go Again   Leave a comment

By Andrew P. Napolitano

For the second time in two months, someone who has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State has plotted to kill innocents in New York City and has executed his plot.

Found on Lew Rockwell

Image result for andrew napolitanoAccording to police, at the height of the Monday morning rush hour this week, in an underground pedestrian walkway that I have used many times, in the middle of Manhattan, a permanent legal resident of the United States named Akayed Ullah detonated a bomb he had strapped to his torso in an effort to kill fellow commuters and disrupt massively life in New York.

The bomb was inartfully constructed, and it injured slightly four people nearby and Ullah himself seriously. He survived, was captured on the spot and is now in the joint custody of the New York Police Department and the FBI in the prison ward of Bellevue Hospital.

Ullah’s wounds had barely been addressed by emergency room physicians when the calls began to resonate in the government and in the media to strip him of his constitutional rights and ship him to a military facility in South Carolina or at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

These voices argued without access to any evidence that because the Islamic State is a foreign power with an army that has sworn to do harm to Americans and destroy our way of life, its soldiers have no constitutional protections when they go about their destruction. Ullah is a soldier of this foreign army, this argument goes, and should be treated as a soldier under the Geneva Conventions. That means he should be removed from the civilian judicial system and interrogated and tried by the military.

Suicide Pact: The Radi…Andrew P. NapolitanoBest Price: $3.77Buy New $3.77(as of 12:55 EST – Details)

This argument essentially suggests that the police in New York or the FBI or the president somehow possesses the lawful authority from some unstated source, before guilt has been adjudicated, to suspend Ullah’s fundamental rights. This view of human liberty treats personal rights — even those guaranteed by the Constitution — as if they were gifts from the government offered in return for good behavior. Yet it defies history and the plain meaning of the Constitution.

Ullah’s rights to legal counsel and to a jury trial are expressly guaranteed by the Constitution; hence, no government official, no matter how powerful or well-intended, can interfere with them. The right to counsel attaches whenever anyone is confined against his will, charged with a crime or interrogated by authorities — whichever occurs first. The right to a jury trial attaches whenever the government wants the life, liberty or property of any person. The constitutional language guarantees these rights to every “person” — not citizens, not Americans and not just good people.

In Ullah’s case, the harm authorities say he caused occurred in the U.S. — while he was physically and lawfully in the U.S., where he was apprehended — so it is extremely unlikely that the crowd that denies the supremacy of the Constitution will get its way.

The Freedom Answer Boo…Andrew P. NapolitanoBest Price: $4.19Buy New $5.58(as of 04:40 EST – Details)

The failure to respect Ullah’s rights because he has said he was inspired by a foreign power would commence a slippery and horrific slope, down which any person who is hated or feared or appears foreign or different or misunderstood at any given moment might be pushed.

As a practical matter, the NYPD and the FBI are far better at gathering evidence than the military, and federal prosecutors are far better at getting convictions than are their military counterparts. It is a Hollywood-infused myth that Guantanamo Bay produces results. It does not. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed has been waiting in Gitmo for 15 years for his military trial.

When voices in the government clamor for the removal of fundamental liberties, it is often to mask the government’s own failures. I have argued for many years that government surveillance will turn us into East Germany — a modern-day totalitarian society that collapsed in 1989. I have also argued that surveillance doesn’t work. The place in which the Monday explosion occurred is one of the most video-surveilled in New York. Do the police watch these videos in real time as was promised when the cameras were installed? They do not.

It Is Dangerous to Be …Andrew P. NapolitanoBest Price: $2.49Buy New $12.69(as of 04:05 EST – Details)

As well, Ullah’s mobile phone recorded his whereabouts and communications prior to the explosion, also in real time, and the National Security Agency had all this, in real time. Did the NSA share it with the NYPD? It did not.

Some in government have asked what good the Constitution is if it fails to keep us safe. That is a bit silly, isn’t it? The Constitution is a piece of paper on which is written the supreme law of the land. Its purpose was to establish the federal government and to limit all government. But it is only as valuable to personal freedom as is the fidelity to it of those in whose hands we repose it for safekeeping. If the people we have hired to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution can cut corners to get to bad people, what will protect us when they want to cut corners to get to the rest of us?

When President Abraham Lincoln cut constitutional corners during the Civil War, he was unanimously rebuffed by the Supreme Court. The case, Ex parte Milligan, involved a civilian whom the government sought to try in a military court. The high court wrote: “The Constitution of the United States is a law for rulers and people, equally in war and in peace, and covers with the shield of its protection all classes of men, at all times, and under all circumstances. No doctrine, involving more pernicious consequences, was ever invented by the wit of man than that any of its provisions can be suspended during any of the great exigencies of government. Such a doctrine leads directly to anarchy or despotism.”

This danger of the mob’s approving the curtailment of constitutional protections for unpopular monsters is as real today as it was after the Civil War. We must vigorously guard against it.

Reprinted with the author’s permission.

 

Independence Hypocrisy   1 comment

 

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2017/12/walter-e-williams/independence-hypocrisy/

Image result for image of walter e williamsOfficials in Catalonia, Spain’s richest and most highly industrialized region, whose capital is Barcelona, recently held a referendum in which there was a 92 percent vote in favor of independence from Spain. The Spanish authorities opposed the referendum and claimed that independence is illegal. Catalans are not the only Europeans seeking independence. Some Bavarian people are demanding independence from Germany, while others demand greater autonomy. Germany’s Federal Constitutional Court ruled: “In the Federal Republic of Germany … states are not ‘masters of the constitution.’ … Therefore, there is no room under the constitution for individual states to attempt to secede. This violates the constitutional order.”

Germany has done in Bavaria what Spain and Italy, in its Veneto region, have done; it has upheld the integrity of state borders. There is an excellent article written by Joseph E. Fallon, a research associate at the UK Defence Forum, titled “The Catalan Referendum, regional pressures, the EU, and the ‘Ghosts’ of Eastern Europe” (http://tinyurl.com/y8dnj6s6). Fallon writes that by doing what it’s doing in Bavaria, “Berlin is violating international law on national self-determination. It denies to Bavaria what it granted to the 19 states that seceded from Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union. In fact, Germany rushed to be first to recognize the independence of Slovenia and Croatia.” It did that, according to Beverly Crawford, an expert on Europe at the University of California, Berkeley, “in open disregard of (a European Community) agreement to recognize the two states under EC conditionality requirements.”

The secessionist movements in Spain, Germany and Italy have encountered resistance and threats from the central governments, and in Catalonia’s case, secessionist leaders have been jailed. The central governments of Spain, Germany and Italy have resisted independence despite the fact that they are signatories to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which holds that “all peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.”

American Contempt for …Walter E. WilliamsBest Price: $8.71Buy New $13.10(as of 06:35 EST – Details)

Fallon notes the hypocrisy of Spain, Germany and Italy, as well as the entire European Union. Back in 1991, the EC — the precursor to the EU — “issued its conditions for recognizing the unilateral declarations of independence by states seceding from Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union.” Fallon argues that these same guidelines should be applied to the states of Catalonia, Bavaria and Veneto. Isn’t it double talk for members of the EU to condemn independence movements today, given that they welcomed and supported independence movements for states that were members of the communist bloc?

Catalonia, Bavaria and Veneto are relatively prosperous jurisdictions in their countries. They feel that what they get from the central governments is not worth the taxes they pay. Each wants the central government off its back. They think they could be far more prosperous on their own. That should sound familiar. Some of the motivation for secessionist movements in Europe is similar to the motivation found in the Confederacy’s independence movement of the early 1860s.

Throughout most of our nation’s history, the only sources of federal revenue were excise taxes and tariffs. In the 1830s, the North used its power in Congress to push through massive tariffs to fund the government. During the 1850s, tariffs amounted to 90 percent of federal revenue. The Southern states were primarily producers of agricultural products, which they exported to Europe. In return, they imported manufactured goods. These tariffs fell much harder upon the export-dependent South than they did upon the more insular North. In 1859, Southern ports paid 75 percent of federal tariff revenue. However, the majority of the tariff revenue generated was spent on projects that benefited the North.

Tariffs being a contributing cause of the Civil War is hardly ever mentioned. Using the abolition of slavery as an excuse for a war that took the lives of 620,000 Americans confers greater moral standing for the Union.

Getting Along During the Holidays   Leave a comment

A friend of mine did an article similar and I decided to do one from my own perspective.

Image result for image of modern winter holiday celebration

It’s Christmas again and also Hanukkah and Solstice and there are about two dozen people celebrating Kwanzaa and, so, it is so easy for this time of year to become more about tyranny than celebration. You’ve got people who will argue about whether it is right for the majority culture to impose its celebration on everyone else. Isn’t it hurtful that Jews have to see Jesus who was used as an excuse by the Nazis to kill six million of them. We’re told that Jesus is the symbol of oppression for blacks and so they also should be sheltered from Christian beliefs. I used to live next door to some actual pagans who would build a bonfire in their driveway at certain times of the year – the winter solstice being one. They would walk around it, throwing salt over their shoulders and chanting incantations. Maybe they were insulted by our celebration of Christmas. But it’s okay for Jews to celebrate Hanukkah, blacks to celebrate Kwanzaa and pagans to celebrate the solstice … except, the atheists want nobody to celebrate anything religious, so let’s just all gather around Santa and drink a toddy or twelve in celebration of the days getting longer. Then evangelical Christians respond that Santa is an idol and they don’t want to participate in that, so ….

Yeah, we all go nuts at Christmas.

I have an antidote for our mid-winter insanity.

STOP!

I am a Christian, so I will celebrate Christmas. A recent study says that 64% of Americans prefer to use the greeting “Merry Christmas” and about half of those resent efforts to force everyone to say “Happy Holidays” or “Seasons Greetings”. In other words, most Americans are not upset to see Nativity scenes or Santa. As a devout evangelical Christian, I do not object to Hanukkah even if I rarely participate in it. My friend Ron tells me that, as a Jew, he isn’t upset about Christmas. I’ve met only one Jew, a university professor who had lived in Israel, who said they resented Christmas. I’ve met many more Rons than Professor Bs. I went to a Kwanzaa celebration back in college (for an article I was writing), but 30 years on, I know only one black person who has celebrated Kwanzaa and she tells me it’s not really a thing anymore. It died with black nationalism and she doesn’t think “a celebration of separatism” should return. That’s her view.

Alaskans are all solstice admirers to a certain extent. We have 2 1/2 hours of sunlight right now. We celebrate the 30-seconds extra we get today if only by reading the “hours of daylight” stat in the newspaper and smiling. Brad and I are going to a friend’s property tonight to burn a big brush pile and drink hot chocolate. It’s part of a land clearing project our friend is doing preparatory to building a house. Since most of his guests are evangelical Christians, you can’t rightfully call it a religious celebration, but our friend did pick this day, knowing what it means, wanting to celebrate the return of the light.

I live 12 miles from the City of North Pole, Alaska, where you can shop at Santa’s Workshop and see a 30-foot tall statue of Santa from the main highway. The city street lights are painted to look like candy canes and all the streets have very Christmas-y names. Trust me, there are evangelicals living in North Pole who resent the Santa worship, but they’re outnumbered so they just grumble and live with it.

Atheists can resent all the various celebrations and their religious connotations all they want, but that’s the reality we live in. The Scrooges don’t get a veto on everyone else’s celebrations.

And, you know what? We shouldn’t. Why can’t we all just get along? I will celebrate my way, you can celebrate your way. I can say “Merry Christmas” and you can respond to me with “Happy Holidays” or “Seasons Greetings” and nobody should need to get upset about that.

Image result for image of messianic jewish christmasWhy must we tyrannize one another during a time of celebration? Well, I think it speaks rather loudly to our society at this point in time. We have somehow lost the ability to live and let live (a very libertarian theme). That used to be very American, but we’ve gradually reached a point where some of us no longer tolerate the differences of others if those differences are not politically correct. We SAY everybody has a right to their own beliefs, but then we treat people who espouse beliefs we don’t like with derision on social media and sometime even in public. Those who shout the mantra “How dare you tell anyone else how to live!” feel quite comfortable with telling people who hold opinions we don’t like how they should live. And then we wonder why those people resist and refuse to participate in the societal zeitgeist of the month. Why can’t they just accept our better way of doing things? Don’t they know “we” are so much more enlightened than they are?

STOP!

I do believe myself to be more enlightened than a lot of other people on a variety of subjects. I will happily tell you about it on this blog. I will talk with you in person if you’re willing. But I feel no need to force you to believe as I do or to conduct your life as I do. What you do that doesn’t pick my pocket or break my leg is none of my business. What I do that doesn’t pick your pocket or break your leg is none of yours.

See how easy that was?

Merry Christmas!

Upward Bound

Exploring the invisible and visible realms of God through writing & pictures

Angie Sim

"tonight we honor the hero"

Written In Shadows

Welcome to Valcrest

beard with a blog

grab life by the beard

Words Sweeter than Honey

"The pen is mightier than the sword." - Edward Bulwer-Lytton

The Naked Reviewers

Expose Yourself To A Book Review

Times and Tides of a Beachwriter

Drift among the scribbles of writer Janet Gogerty

Discobar Bizar

Welkom op de blog van Discobar Bizar. Druk gerust wat op de andere knoppen ook, of lees het aangrijpende verhaal van Harry nu je hier bent. Welcome to the Discobar Bizar blog, feel free to push some of the other buttons, or to read the gripping story of Harry whilst you are here!

Frank Parker's author site

A Septuagenarian's ramblings

Wolfe's Rants

A writer's life - advice, works and musings by Wolfe Butler

Matthew Winters (Comeback Pastor)

The life, ministry, & thoughts of a Christ-follower, husband, dad, & minister

Thoughts of Dymphna

Reality is Subjective; enter mine.

Leo X. Robertson

News of my latest publications, events, and episodes of the Losing the Plot podcast!

Sherry Parnell

Author of "Let the Willows Weep"

Emerald Book Reviews

Book Reviews and Promotion Services

YA Chit Chat

The Ponderings of YA author J. Keller Ford

madchen863's Blog

Planet Earth: home of life

MIND MIX RADIO

Radio for the Awake and Aware

%d bloggers like this: