Cuba from A Cuban Perspective

I’m working on my voter guide. It’s taking a long time because this ballot is much longer than usual.  While researching candidates, I found that one of them translates articles from Cuban authors.  These are very interesting to me, and perhaps they will be to you as well.

Have a look: http://translatingcuba.com/category/translators/translator-mlk/

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Most. Transparent. Ever.

“This is the most transparent administration ever” -President B.H. Obama

“You are suspicious and will be prohibited from domestic and international travel, based only on suspicion of an anonymous government agent. You will not be told if, or why, you are on our lists. You can appeal it but we won’t tell you if you prevail. And we’ll be scanning everything in your pocket, including your library card and the business card you got from a paint salesman – and god help you if he’s on the list.” – the Obama administration

Man, These are Good Stuff

Woman, not so much, but man, you should at least have a peek at these sites: Shrink for Men and A Voice for Men

A declaration that modern feminism is actually full of sexual assault, in public, against MEN.

A warning about a particular crazy lady who pretends to be sane and writes articles full of crazy.

Advice for men who are victims of Cluster B Personality Disordered women and going through the divorce process.

On The Anniversary

On the anniversary of the publication of Orwell’s 1984, we were treated to news that Congress is not very outraged that data about all our phone calls (who/when/how long) is being recorded in accordance with the order from a secret court, AND we found out that our government is also data-mining our Internet Service Providers.

On the anniversary of the publication of 1984, this is just about as bad of news as one could get.  It occurs to me, however, that Big Brother doesn’t have to actually watch us through our television sets.  Orwell could not have imagined the capacity of our data systems way back in the 1940s, but they had TV.  If he had an inkling of even DARPANET, I bet he’d have had the NSA examining our internet activities in his book.

Just remember, the next time you use your browser’s Inprivate/Private Window features . . . Big Brother is still watching you.

The "We Are The 99" Sign Holders

You may recall during protests against evildisgustingrichassrichpeople a few years ago, some of the smelly hippy protesters were holding signs declaring themselves to be “the 99%” of America that for some reason resents the people who got to the top of the heap by their own effort.

Well here’s a fun factoid for you: the people holding those signs are, in fact, the 1%.  If you have a few minutes, read this fine piece by Willis Eschenbach and then come back and tell me how not getting 99 weeks of unemployment benefits is some kind of hardship.

We have met the 1%, and he is us 

Kudos to Watts Up With That for hosting this fine writing!

Global Non-Warming Getting Harder to Deny!

The temperature plot for the last decade is a solid no-change ZERO increase/decrease average. But you don’t get research grant money to continue to “study” anthropogenic global warming when the globe is neither warming nor cooling.

Watt's Up With That Trend?
Image from WUWT

If you are still on the fence with regard to AGW, here are a few more points to ponder:

We Don’t Need No Stinking Badges!

I had never read this before. I had heard the word Areopagitica before a few times in reference to the freedom of the Press, but never took the time to track down what it meant.

It took me an hour and a half to read, but it was worth the time. Set aside two or three hours (I can read pretty quickly) and read this speech. Then, the next time somebody mentions this smart idea they have of licensing bloggers, reporters, &c., you will understand that they are either ignorant or malignant. In either case, they are wrong.

A couple of quotes from Areopagitica to make a couple of points. The recent discussion about licensing bloggers does indeed come from people who think you are stupid.

“Nor is it to the common people less than a reproach; for if we be so jealous over them, as that we dare not trust them with an English pamphlet, what do we but censure them for a giddy, vicious, and ungrounded people; in such a sick and weak state of faith and discretion, as to be able to take nothing down but through the pipe of a licenser.”

The argument that you people must have guardians over your information sources is as weak now as it was at the time of the Inquisition. Truth stands the test of time, and unless the proponents of licensure suspect they themselves are on the wrong side of the line, there is no reason for them to try to pursue this idea.

“And though all the winds of doctrine were let loose to play upon the earth, so Truth be in the field, we do injuriously, by licensing and prohibiting, to misdoubt her strength. Let her and Falsehood grapple; who ever knew Truth put to the worse, in a free and open encounter?”

“For who knows not that Truth is strong, next to the Almighty? She needs no policies, nor stratagems, nor licensings to make her victorious; those are the shifts and the defences that error uses against her power.”

The very first Amendment to the Constitution for the United States of America established the freedom of the Press. For those unfamiliar with the concept: requiring approval from the government to speak or to publish ideas is something only the worst of tyrants would seek to do. To quote one of the worse tyrants of modern times:

“Ideas are more powerful than guns. We would not let our enemies have guns, why should we let them have ideas?” – Joseph Stalin

You Will Read This:

The departed Bane told a story he claimed was true. I believe it. You may not. Set aside a few minutes and read it for yourself. You might try not to read these where it is dark and cold.

Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four
Part Five
Part Six
Part Seven

The links are to Google’s cache of the pages, in case you are behind a server that blocks Blogger. Plus, if you click through his archives be warned that some of Bane Rants is/was VERY not safe for work.

Shell Games and Open Secrets

zOMG CHINA DUMPING US TREASURIES Oh Noes!!!1!

So went the hysteria in certain circles. Then some cooler heads followed a bouncing ball and recently figured out that China never stopped buying US treasuries, they just stopped buying them from us.

That the USA runs a trade deficit with China means China will buy something from us with our dollars. The money runs in a great big circle across the Pacific Ocean, because they don’t put it all into capital investments in China. If we run a trade deficit, they will buy our dollars, or someone else will, and pass the value of them on to China some way. That you didn’t understand this paragraph means you were cheated of an education, but trust me: trade deficits mean we sell them bonds when we buy their plastic crap toys.

********

NP asked me about this today and I gave him an explanation somewhat as follows. He was uncomfortable at the idea of the Chinese buying our debt, and wondered what would happen if they stopped . . . what would we do if nobody financed our deficit spending anymore? The answer is we would cut spending to the point that we would not spend more than we took (at gunpoint) from taxpayers. What then happens to the national debt? It continues to go away.

Yes, continues. What we have right now is a credit card with a $14.2T limit and a $14T balance. What the big spenders in Congress would like to do is increase our line of credit to $15T or $16T and keep right on spending money we don’t have. This, by the way, will be what happens (and then some) if Obamacare is not repealed. What the right-thinking small-government types would like to have happen is that we NOT increase our maximum credit limit anymore.

If you have a credit card with a $14,000 limit and a $14,000 balance, and they won’t increase the limit for you, what do you do? You stop charging it up, is what. You stop going out to restaurants and movies on the credit card. I imagine we would start shedding Federal agencies left and right, if we stopped running trillion-dollar annual deficits. This would lead to massive unemployment for government workers, but everyone else would have an effective pay rise, long-term.

But what about the debt? Aren’t we in big trouble there?

Not yet, not really. If you can make the $340 minimum monthly payment on your credit card, you can “afford” to have the $14,000 balance carry over month-to-month. If you can ONLY afford the $340 minimum payment, and you charge up more debt, and then you COULDN’T afford the $400 minimum payment on a $16,000 balance, you would be in trouble. But we can afford it still. Every year, we sell more bonds to finance the operation of our national government. Every year, we have to pay a little more on the minimum payment, to satisfy the bond holders.

Eventually, we could charge up so much debt on our T-Bill credit card that we would be unable to make the minimum payments. At THAT point, we would be 100% screwed, and would have to default and cut back on our spending. If we were to cut back so much that we ran a balanced budget starting today, nothing bad would happen with the national debt.

If you continue to make the minimum payments on your credit card, in 30 years it will be paid off. If we continue to make minimum payments on the bonds we issue, the bond holders will be made whole as their bonds mature. In 30 years we will be 100% debt-free as a nation.

Whether this is a Good Thing is a separate argument.

Contact Shots and DARs: Things to Think About

I’d heard of officer-mounted video cameras before and I think they’re a good idea if small/unobtrusive enough that they don’t interfere with normal locomotion. What I hadn’t really given much thought to is a supplemental digital audio recorder. I mean, the officer can key up a hot-mic on his radio and he has a recorder in his car, right? Well let me tell you, I’ve heard with my own ears what happens when an officer’s arm or (fill in the blank) is blocking the radio mic: no audio recording.

Assuming your radio mic is in a different location than your DAR, this is a huge bonus when the feces has hit the impeller and Internal Affairs would like to know what, exactly, was going on when it happened. A personal digital audio recorder should be on your person if you are on patrol.

Also something I had almost-thought about: contact shots (shots fired when your gun is actually touching the target). Most pistols won’t fire out of battery, and pushing a pistol into a Bad Guy during a struggle (or having him pull it in to himself, or if he lands on top of you with the gun pointing into him) might just render a pistol unable to fire. I think the Springfield XD has a protruding guide rod for the recoil spring, so it’s harder to push it out of battery against a Goblin, but it could still happen. I hadn’t gotten any further in my thinking than “gee, that would suck if you needed to make a shot just then” but the people who think about use-of-force for a living figured it out for us. You push that puppy back into battery. It works and it won’t destroy your non-firing hand to do it, as shown in the short, worthwhile video, here.

In case you didn’t click through, both of those links are to Spartan Cops. If you are in law enforcement or are some other type of person who may have to use force on another person, you should be picking up what they are laying down, at least every once in a while.