Scientists Propose One-Way Trips To Mars
Robots are great tools but are incredibly limited to what they can do on their own. A human being working with a robot can do tremendously more than a robot (aka. machine) can do alone. That is not to say that we should not send robots ahead of human beings with a limited goal to set up some limited infrastructure. I could imagine sending a source of electric generation (not sure if nuclear is feasible without lots of water), a few habitat modules, a few storage modules, some vehicles, a few general purpose machine shops (for recycling, tools, some place to build stuff on the fly), and a few resource modules (containing raw materials that wouldnt be easily available locally).
The first generation of one way earth-martians are going to be the ones who need to figure out how to make Mars work for humans. Until human beings can exist on Mars without supplies from earth, Mars will be like Greenland was to the vikings in the 10th century or Antarctica to modern man. I mean, lets take a look at Antarctica. Its on the same planet, but we do not colonize it because it is so difficult to inhabit. Mars is colder than Antarctica. Mars is farther away than Antarctica. Mars does not have a breathable atmosphere like Antarctica. Mars does not have water like Antarctica. You can also come back from Antarctica. Antarctica is larger than the continental United States. Antarctica has LOTS of resources that is worth while for human beings to have. The gravity on Antarctica will not cause bone mass loss in human beings.
Worth while endeavor, but the real question is regarding the pay off.
Armed Man Takes Hostages At Discovery Channel HQ
He's just another violent, racist, Tea Party activist.
NIH Orders Halt To Embryonic Stem Cell Research
Yeah! I feel the same way about people who are against the military.
Searching For Backdoors From Rogue IT Staff
Why assume that the employee is a criminal? Many people get terminated because of bad relationships with their managers every single day. Very few of those people resort to criminal activities against their previous employers, even if they have the ability to do so. I suppose everyone should suspect secretaries of publishing address books, bank statements, inventories, employee social security numbers, etc., all over the internet because they had access to that information all along. How about janitors? They go through garbage. How many things dont get shredded? Perhaps every business should conduct documentation accounting practices because who knows what the janitor might know.
Seriously. This is a bit over exaggerated. Most IT professionals have invested tens of thousands of dollars in their education and training, as well as years into a profession that doesnt really have any value outside of their relevant field. Treating every employee who gets fired as a potential criminal is stupid, and is a good sign that you do not want to work for that business. Everyone who ever works for a company has potential to cause damage to some degree... some employees more than others. But to treat your network as if that person has "rooted and back doored" it is just bad business (fairly disruptive too, considering in many cases its best to take some systems off line if you believe they've been compromised).
But to each their own.
Los Angeles Unveils $578 Million Public School
The schools have very little to do with the performance of the students. Its all about the communities that form the student bodies. You can dump a trillion dollars into Los Angeles schools and your still going to have neighborhoods with high murder rates, teen pregnancy, and high school drop outs. You know why? Because the communities are so completely dysfunctional and broken that no amount of "school" is going to fix it.
Last week a 15 year old and a 16 year old were shot to death in South East LA. Didnt even make the front page of the news papers. Just two more "latino youths". I'm absolutely appalled at the murder rate of young black and latino's in Los Angeles. Who's in control of LA? Who's been in control of California for quiet some time? Who's been in control of our government for the past 18 months? Why are these problems being swept under the rug instead of fixed? Where is all the money going?!? 1 Trillion dollars and still cities like LA are littered with killing fields. The dead: Black and Latino boys. Hows that hope and change working out?
Bicycles As a Gateway To Government Control
Yeah, the UN is a great organization. I know I want countries like Iran, North Korea and Pakistan involved in setting policy here in the United States.
I mean, we all know how accountable the UN is, right? Remember during the last UN election when you voted for... oh wait... you didnt. Vote for anyone in the UN. Super governments like the UN are a very, very bad idea.
7 Scientific Reasons a Zombie Outbreak Would Fail
TFA seems to takes only one possible zombie scenario; the dead rising from the grave. Most of the more well thought out zombie scenarios seem to have zombies as a secondary effect of a primary event. Take for example "Omega Man" where most of the population is killed off by the virus, while a large group turns into zombies, and a small group is simply immune. The primary catastrophe is the collapse of modern society due to massive population decreases. The surviving humans, even without the pressure of an undead predator, will get a fresh new perspective of mother nature.
Modern military forces, rednecks, pistol toting fudge packers, and inner city ghetto rats will have to survive their friends, families, and loved ones suddenly turning into rabid flesh eating zombies. Soldiers seldom have access instant access to their firearms off the battle field (take a look at Fort Hood massacre), even Rednecks have to put down their weapons long enough to get into the beer dispensary and the fudge packers have to use all fours to get it on. The suddenness of the outbreak will go a long way to determine the successfulness.
Reducing western living individuals to a pre-agrarian life style (lets face it, with less than 10% of the population still practicing agriculture in western societies), the threat of an unsleeping, undying, fleshing eating cannibal that can withstand tremendous amounts of trauma, would be extreme difficult to cope with. Most likely, these zombies would be infesting the "prime real-estate" where they formerly lived, forcing the surviving humans out into the "wilderness" where life will be even more difficult. The plains, pastures, and farm lands that humans have sought, cleared and planted will now be the swarming grounds of this now "super predator".
Depending on the type of zombie, human beings will be unable to hold up in fortresses forever. Fresh water will be scarce. Fresh water that is safe to access will be even more so. Human beings will not only have to contend with the zombies, but with each other as well. Without the ability to grow food, humans will be forced to keep groups small and force them to protect the few sources of food that they have regular access. Without growth in numbers... western society will devolve. All of our great advances will be lost. Zombies win, we lose.
Servers Ahoy — Startup To Build Floating Data Centers
I said capture, not sink.
Servers Ahoy — Startup To Build Floating Data Centers
Its a funny liberal problem. Constitutionally, this ship should be fine as it is out side of US territorial boundaries. Yet, Liberals hate the constitution so much that they have pretty much made it obsolete through lots of crafty word smithing and judicial activists. This leads to a US government that is pretty much without any limit as to what it will do outside of getting its elected politicians unelected.
So the Hollywood lobby goes to its locally elected politician Howard Berman (democrat, california) goes sends a facebook message to his buddy, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, "Hey Nancy. My friends over at Lucas Arts just sent me a text message saying there is a boat off the coast giving away its latest Star Wars movie. Anything we can do about it?"
Nancy Pelosi sends an IM to Ike Skelton of the House Armed Sevices Committee "Need pir8 boat off coast removed k? Msg Howie! ttfn!!! NP!"
So after a few short correspondence meetings with CNN, MSNBC, and NBC (forget Fox, they hate pirates and hollywood) to run some stories about children of move grips starving because of trillions of dollars movie piracy, the US Navy comes to the rescue by snatching an evil "pirate ship", the owner gets rail roaded for every stupid thing he's ever done (or they just make shit up), and gets his ass thrown in jail. After a few months of litigation (because said movie studios need to make someone else pay for their lawyer fees) on completely unrelated laws (because liberals are fucking fantastic at making laws mean absolutely whatever they want) they pretty much take this guy to the washers.
Good luck with your new pirate boat business!
Just One Out of 16 Hybrids Pays Back In Gas Savings
Yes. Fossil fuels are incredibly dangerous. Forget the heavy metals that are required for the batteries, which are also quiet limited, and much, much more toxic to life as we know it. Sure, plants might like a nice baking green house earth, but most everything dies from all the fun things that go into big batteries.
Gene Mutation Caused 2009 H1N1 Virus Spread
This was only a test of the Global Emergency Response System. Had this test yielded the appropriate outpouring of funding into UN coffers, I'm certain that the FUD associated with H1N1 would have been amplified accordingly. From every HR letter to other not to mention memorandums, H1N1 was touted to be a potential epidemic that was to rival the biblical death of the first born of Egypt (hence H1N1 was suppose to kill off young children en masse).
Of course, many of the early reports of young people dying were kept VERY vague, not mentioning that many of the individuals were illegal immigrants (not necessarily important for this particular matter, other than lack of historical medical histories) with pre-existing illnesses. Later on it was found out that many of the declared H1N1 diagnosis were false, and some of the deaths were not the real cause of death, just that people who died also had H1N1.
Saying that the global response system was effective in containing H1N1 from becoming a devastating plague is suspect at best. 10,000's of thousands of people die from seasonal flu every year and there is pretty much nothing the WHO can do about it, aside from offering a russian roulette vaccination regimen. I'm not criticizing vaccinations, I'm simply saying that if H1N1 was a deadly as it was touted, and as virulent as the common cold, the death toll would have been MUCH higher.
CIA Software Developer Goes Open Source, Instead
I have a different take on it.
Some small defense contracting firm cant get its shit together enough to get the CIA to consider purchasing its software. They probably dont have people who know the procurement process well enough to get a start (or anyone with enough pull to push for its procurement). Then they claim to open source the software to try and get it through the door in a different way, probably in hopes of a support contract for future development.
Then, instead of discussing in greater detail the problems they had selling the software, they bitch about other notable failures in government contracting as if they are stuck in the same boat.
Nothing to see here, move along.
Conspiracy, Cooperation, and Coincidence.
The problem with conspiracies is that they are hard to publicly validate and defend, while presenting easy marks to discredit through minor inaccuracies or over exaggerations. Of course, identifying exaggerations or minor inaccuracies do not invalidate the conspiracy theory in itself, they do one important thing; create doubt. This created doubt is enough to cause many neutral parties to abandon the debate (for whatever reason).
Of course conspiracies do exist, and identifying them is important for investigation. Using conspiracy notions is an advanced tool for investigation, not something for public consumption. My primary point is that there is no need to speak of conspiracies. The left has advanced their agenda so far, so fast, and with practically no publicity. Sure, the complicity between the media and the left is real, but over stating the relationship will cause people to pause and wonder why the emphasis is there, as opposed to the topics at hand.
The journal list story does lend much credence to this, but who knows about it?
The Scalability of Linus
Isn't that the way of the left? If your successful, you only did so through treachery. You are evil because you do not give to the poor. If you give to the poor, you do so only for your ego. If you give it all away and become destitute your a pathetic fool. If you try to succeed and fail, your a joke and a loser worthy of ridicule.
This loathing of success is so pervasive, it even spreads even to those who are successful in providing a product "free to everyone". Only because that one person has set himself apart.
Everyone who keeps on bashing at Linus and the other "ego's" are just pissed off because their success somehow shows your the haters ineptitude. Of course, its only in your head and in your heart.
The American left is not interested in creating any wealth, either through private industry or government intervention. The American Left are best described as Eco Marxists. I'd prefer industrialist socialists to what we are dealing with in this administration. At least the industrialists are interested in producing something... the Eco Marxist views wealth AND humanity as the bad guy....
In the mind of Barack Obama and the great socialist/marxist thinkers, Bush is responsible for two wars of choice, costing over a trillion dollars. That trillion dollars could have been given to the poor, to turn them into the middle class, and thus creating perpetual wealth. Under Bush, the march towards iron clad regulatory control slowed down (but really wasnt reeled back). Because Bush didnt pass even more draconian legislation, more wealth has been concentrated into the hands of the rich, stolen from the poor. The economic crash was completely the fault of the Bush administration, although Bush did "exactly" what the democrats wanted.
None of the above explanations make any sense to me. I'm certain you could read slashkos and find explanations that are so far down the leftist rabit hole that it would take a week to wash the stink off. Remember, Obama isn't your garden variety country club politician. He really believes that stuff.
Burbank: Think of the Children
Its pointless to debate on the ethics of progressives because they are firmly enchanted by the idea's of Karl Marx and his loser cohorts. Instead of challenging their ideas of patriotism, societal values, and intellectual talking points, we need to ridicule them, dismiss their far fetched hypothesis's, and exclude them. The time to play games with progressives is over as far as I'm concerned. Cap and Trade, Social Justice, Economic Justice, Re-distributive Change, Universal Health Care, Immigration Reform, all ideas should share the same tag: Stupid. The person espousing these ideas needs to be shoved back into the basement and given no second thought.
Because that is the only thing that will get through to the Liberal Progressive. If you tolerate their stupidity, they get more aggressive, angrier, and more invasive until there is very little you can actually do about their societal experiments. Liberals know the power of intolerance because they use it like a tool against any concept which doesn't conform to their cult like obsessions. Besides, it has worked in the past. There is a reason most Liberals avoid the title Liberal; because it is a pejorative. Now we just need to be as aggressive forcing them to swallow all their other ideas (talking from a social perspective, not a governmental/legal perspective).
Justice Stevens and Judicial Activism
The only thing the Democrats have been good for in the past 60 years is "freedom from" things. Such as, freedom from speech, freedom from religion, freedom responsibility, etc..
And when you guarantee freedom from anything, you are simply guaranteeing the removal of freedoms. Anyone who considers the constitution a "living and breathing" document is an activist. These activists have perverted the law that is very, very clear, such as "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances." Now we have laws that prohibit speech, such as the Hatch Act and all the rest of the crappy, activist radical legislation that is now on the books.
Democratic Congressman Assaults College Student
Am I the only one who is disturbed by the fact that the DC Police havent arrested this guy? When did politicians become some sort of exempt social class? For example, if I walked up to a congressman and grabbed him by the back of the neck and the arm and started asking him "Who are you", I am quiet certain that I would be spending the night in the DC jail until arraigned.
A simple assault charge is no big deal, but its still assault, and the congressman should still be charged, just like any other person. There is no excuse, no status, no station, that exempts a person from equal justice.
Leftwing Socialists in Portland are Racist
Globalism isnt bad. Its bad when its done in a Marxist way. A free, global market, is a good thing. Global stability is a good thing. When people have food, shelter, and hope, its a good thing. Intertwining economies through government policy is bad, but it isnt bad when it happens because of free market principles. I don't believe in spreading liberty at the point of the spear, but I believe in containing tyranny with all reasonable means.
What I disagree with Glenn Beck and most Libertarians is the idea that people will be free if they so choose, and that the US should be non involved in foreign affairs. This is a naive perspective that is as destructive as getting into a land war in Asia. The United States and the rest of the western world are profiting greatly from the relative stability in the developing world. To withdraw military force, or adopt a posture of absolute neutrality would spin the world back to the multi-polar nightmare that existed pre-WWII.
What we have seen over the past 15 years is a trend for government not to govern according to the law, but to play favorites with certain interest groups. Free market lifts societies out of poverty (Eastern Europe) and promotes liberty when the government forces foreign nations to play fairly. This is not the case with our relationship with China, for example, where the Chinese government has the most lopsided, protectionist policies in the world. Yet, because our government favored short term gain over enforcing equal trade, we are now suffering the consequences, and people are further away from liberty than they were 20 years ago.
Regarding Hawkins Ultimatum
Hawkins made a statement that the fate of humanity hangs on our ability to leave planet earth. He quotes a number of historical events which nearly wiped the human race from the pages of history. Anyone with a rudimentary understanding of the history of the world understands that the human race as it is will face an event that will wipe out our species once and for all. Or will it? Technically, humanity has survived since the very first moment of life. Every cataclysm, our ancestors have survived. KT extinction, survived; PT extinction; survived. Of course, we weren't in our current form but we did survive or else we wouldnt be here today, right? Who says our current form is our final form?
So I decided to read through the various replies, with my BS meter set to 3 or higher, and all I saw was BS. It really reads as a litany of the Left. Trash human beings for not being perfect in the ways that no one is perfect. Humans are "greedy", they watch "NASCAR", or some other type of disparaging comment. Really just recycled garbage from DailyKOS or MediaMatters. Very few posts discussed the legitimate challenges to Hawkins Ultimatum. The few that did were drowned out by Leftist rhetoric which is based on utopian fantasy. All boring and useless points.
Looking at the history of human migration, there are two primary factors, though both can arguably be linked together; persecution and/or need/want of resources. Unlike history, the move into space is many of orders of magnitude more difficult. In order to leave the safety of earth to go into space, the reward or the advantage gained would have to be substantial. Going into space for exploration or for science makes sense; it only affects dozens perhaps hundreds of people who are willing to make tremendous sacrifice. Without substantial advances in bioengineering, starting a colony on a remote earth like planet would require 10,000's of thousands of ordinary every day people to make a sustainable society. This would require a tremendous amount of resources and technology that currently does not exist. Human beings cannot exist in an isolated, monotonous state for years, much less the generations it would take to get to another solar system. The moral of this story is that we have not even begun to identify all the obstacles which stand between now, and a future where human beings travel amongst the stars.
I think Hawkins statement is not a denouncement of the human species, any particular philosophy, or NASCAR. Instead, I look at it as a challenge to thinking people to consider methods to further advance the welfare of humanity. To set our goals to beyond our imagination and to work for them for more than one generation, because more than one generation is counting on it.
Conspiracy, Cooperation, and Coincidence.
In my formative years, I was taught that it is important to known the difference between Conspiracy, Cooperation, and Coincidence. Even more important to assign the proper and logical label to any given situation. A lesson that I was never taught, but learned in my latter years; to know when assigning such distinction to a situation is no longer relevant.
There is a struggle at hand in our society. A struggle between two philosophies. On the right, you have the belief in Natural Law, and on the left a belief in a variety of Marxist ideas. Conservative philosophers have been engaged in a perverted game of "tit for tat" with one another. Conservative commentators have been busy digging up as many "facts" about the beliefs of the elected, appointed, and the activists on the Left. In return, the Left has responded with one of three recourses, two being the most frequent; dismissal or laughter (sometimes both). The third recourse being the most humorous is in the instance where the conservative is wrong. They decry the conservative as mean, derisive, and treacherous while avoiding the topic in dissent.
As amusing as that game is, even more so is the accusation of media bias from the right, while in the same token hoping for some miraculous, conversation of said media. As if the continual accusations of media collaboration and collusion with Left wing activists would not force one to assume that they are one and the same... and still they speak in tones of hopeful reconciliation. One may call it Shakespeare, an act to show their desire to go half way, but to the suspect and disheartened, it wreaks of foolishness and poor design.
What good are these games? What have they produced? What advantages have been gained with these silly gestures and posing as the victim? As opposed to drowning out clear, and simple reason with musings of conspiracy, how much more effort could have gone into revealing those things which are so clearly around us? We must assume that those who have already decided will seldom change from external influences, while those who are undecided will either be suspect and difficult to move, or feckless and moved easily by the most palpable argument. In either case, it is irrelevant to categorize the truth, as the truth is all that will persuade the suspect, and secure the easily persuaded.
In 18 months the Socialists in the United States have done, and not done;
- Not repealed the Patriot Act and Patriot Act II.
- Implemented Health Care legislation that, once fully implemented, will cause the current private health care system to become untenable.
- Carbon Dioxide, which all creatures exhale (humans included), declared a poisonous gas, allowing unelected, nameless bureaucrats and political appointees to pass destructive regulation against private industry while providing an obscure barrier shielding elected officials from their actions.
- Coordinated within several states to subvert our Federal system of governance by assigning their states electoral college vote to the national popular vote, even if the popular vote of the state would dictate the electoral college vote in the favor of the state.
- Through Fannie Mae or Freddy Mac underwrote the financial melt down of 2007-2008.
- Repeat Freddie and Fannie, but with college student loans. Melt down to come. ... and on and on and on....
Sticking to the facts, objectively, without exaggeration, will do just fine.
Pillar of Shame
Yesterday was the 15th Anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre, and was reading about the mountain of shoes at the Brandenburg gate in Germany. Its a fitting memorial though it would have been if it were placed in New York City, UN Headquarters. The irony, of course, is that few of the voices that decry the massacre are the same voices that decry foreign intervention which could have kept the Srebrenice massacre from happening.
The massacre at Srebrenica was a built to order massacre, courtesy of the moral relativists at the United Nations. Taking no sides, other than providing "safe zones" to non-combatants, the United Nations mandate came with some rather restrictive rules of engagement. The soldiers stationed in the town of Srebrenica, although well trained (Dutch Special Forces, known as the Dutch Bat) were lightly armed and prohibited from operating in a provocative manner. With such vague guidance, the rule of least force continued to spiral out of control. From light weapons to bright blue helmets, the Dutch Bat were prohibited from placing obstacles and barriers which could appear to be construed as fortifications. The only thing keeping the Serbs out was a threat of UN actions if they crossed an invisible line.
Worse, the lack of perimeter defense not only provided no protection from the Serbs, but it also provided no means to control the local refuge population, which had become infiltrated by non-uniformed combatants. In a tit-for-tat game of village burning, the Bosniak guerrilla's would target Serb villages at night, killing civilians and destroying property, and then slipping back into the UN safe zone. The Serbs, were provoked for several days by these attacks which the UN forces were unable to stop, thus leading to the eventual slaughter at Srebrenica.
The UN has much culpability in the massacre. Sure, the Serbs did all the dirty work and deserve the infamy they earned. First, if the UN had not gotten involved in the conflict (setting up safe zones, etc), refuges would have never gathered in Srebrenica for safety. Without a safe zone, no Bosniak's would have gone to Srebrenica. Naser Oric wouldn't have had a safe haven to operate out of. Even if the argument is made that the safe haven was "good", then appropriate steps should have been taken to secure the safe haven. Leading up to the massacre, the Bratunac and Srebrenica area had been a war zone conducted by local militia's and paramilitary organizations. The attacks had been directed DIRECTLY against civilian targets and property (in all fairness, the bastards destroyed EVERYTHING they possibly could). There should have been no illusion that either Serb or Bosniak were willing to inflict hard directly against civilians.
Why this post after 15 years... Well. The main reason is something I read today that I had never seen before. "Then-U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said in a 1999 report that the United Nations failed at Srebrenica because of errors, misjudgment and "an inability to recognize the scope of the evil confronting us." He said the U.N. treated Serbs and Muslims equally when they should have made a "moral judgment" that ethnic cleansing â" practiced mostly by the Serbs â" was evil."
This is a reaffirmation of my belief that the United Nations is deeply under the control of the Neo Marxists/Statists, who believe in moral relativism. It was moral relativism, and a belief that there "are no bad guys" just people who "disagree", that caused this disaster.
The Pillar of Shame has already been created... its the UN.
How Mexico is Screwing Europeans... and no one see's it coming
"The Left" in the United States, which has abandoned its fairly successful, long term strategy of a gradual march to socialism, veered hard left during the first week of May by coming out strongly against Arizona's new legislation calling for enforcement of existing immigration laws. With an uptick in violence along the US southern border, most Americans have become concerned about the lack of border security with Mexico. During the good ole days of Clinton and Bush where the economy was strong, illegal immigrants were seen as people who would do the jobs that "Americans wouldn't do", but now the economy isnt so great and many Americans who called themselves "blue collar democrats" would like a crack at those jobs illegals have taken.
Despite the best efforts of the media, American citizens still know the difference between illegal immigrants (those who enter into the US without going through any sort of immigrations process) and legal immigrants. Despite the rhetoric of a racist, isolationist white America, most Americans have been accepting of immigrants who came to this country and have accepted our values and our traditions. Of course, that was until the Left decided to try and muscle politicians with scenes of throngs of Latino's marching on the various capitals, carrying flags of foreign nations, decrying our nation, and mocking/denigrating our society.
Video's like this being broadcast to bully politicians into passing amnesty legislation, are being watched by millions of unemployed and otherwise non politically aligned Americans who will not like what they see. In November 2010, the American citizens are going to voice their anger at the ballot box, and the political makeup in DC is going to change... dramatically.
And what does this have to do with Europe? Well... just check out your history books. Where do Europeans go when their continent begins to implode? The United States. The timing couldnt be worse for the failing EU experiment and the even bigger failures of socialist governments in Europe. American's are going to elect politicians who are going to take a "no bullshit" approach to immigration reform. The days of immigration litmus tests are going to return, and I have a strong feeling that socialist minded people are going to be "screened out". Considering Europe is pretty much full of socialists, where will they go when the Last Best Hope has shut its doors, raised its fences and posted sentries on the watch tower?
First Greece... soon the EU
"But if national health care were indeed the cause of the collapse of the Soviet Union as you appear to be trying to hypothesize, then all of Europe should have collapsed by now, as well as Japan, Taiwan, Australia, and Canada, to name a few." Darn_Registrar
Living in Northern Virginia in the autumn of 2006 is much like discussing the fate of the socialist states of Europe today... right now. The housing market would never bust. Housing prices would never decline, only stabilize. The far right "cooks" were screaming from the roof tops "the markets going to explode", but the shmarmy intellectual elites on the left and in the main stream media dismissively claimed, "The market will just flatten out".
By the end of the fall of 2006, the US housing market began to crumble. No, it didnt crumble in grand Glen Beck style. It crumbled like an ancient coliseum built over a fault line. The ponzi scheme was running out of witting participants, but there were still to many people waiting for their remittance. Too many big players calling the scam a legitimate scenario. Big business, Big government, and Quasi-Government Businesses all repeating the same, well orchestrated song: "The bottom of the market is nigh." Drawing in unwitting risk takers both medium sized and small into a deepening and widening pit that continues to grow to this day.
The pattern of denial which can still be seen surrounding the global economic crisis should be sending shock waves down the spines of any European with internet access. At the moment, Greece is in the throws of societal collapse. Have no doubt about it. 14% of the population of Greece work for the government which is about to cut salaries, benefits, and pensions. 40% of the GDP is consumed by the government, which means that the people of Greece largely rely on public sector services and benefits. On top of that, in order for Greece to receive its Oliver Twist style "more sir" hand out, it will be forced to increase taxes on consumer spending. This will only amplify the problem by making Greece a more expensive place to do business (and more expensive for tourists, a major economic engine).
Here is the real kicker. The bail out from the EU will only make things worse. Thats right. Worse. Just like Greece, the denziens of the EU have a sense of entitlement that would make a Chicago community organizer blush with shame. With the bail out money in hand, and a society steeped in Marxist ideology, Greece will maintain its business and investment unfriendly regulations and practices.
The bigger question is, who is going to bail out England, Germany and France when their economies topple. You might be laughing at how strong the economies of Germany, France, and England are at the moment. But let us not forget that Spain, Portugal and Ireland are next up on the bail out board. How many more bail outs are the three pillars of the EU going to be able to support before the numbers begin to add up? When will the self centered nature of Marx based ideology kick in and force the major EU players to decide: better them than us, and bail out on the bail outs? Who will be left footing the bill? The failed states remaining in the EU?
I always wondered what happened to the unpaid debts of the Soviet Union....
Collective Tyranny and the modern Intellectual
As a conservative and a Christian (two very unpopular things to admit on Slashdot) some would probably be shocked to hear that I am not against collectivism. In fact, I believe collectivism fills some very key deficiencies in society, such as caring for the less fortunate who are our brothers and our sisters, our neighbors, and our fellow countryman. Personally, I participate in several "collectivist" types of activities, such as distributing food to the unemployed, and repairing the homes or providing services to the elderly. The human affinity for community is an undeniable driving force of our psyche. Yet, collectivism can only go so far, as has been proven time and time again throughout the 20th century. Once collectivism becomes a tool of the state, a compulsory system, its sinister side appears and the result is human disaster in both death, destruction, and poverty that is unrivaled by any other system of governance.
Despite the apparent deficiency of societies based on collectivism (either in the form of high tax society or direct redistribution of wealth), the western Intellectual is still disturbingly enamored with the struggle to implement collectivism on a grand scale. Having been a "liberal" myself in my formative years, I can identify with these academics and intellectuals. I think Jamie Glazov put it succinctly when he wrote in his book United in Hate, "Convinced that it is incumbent upon society, and not him, to imbue his life with purpose, the believer becomes indignant, he scapegoats society - and ends up despising and rejecting it." It is fairly simple to see why the need for "Change" is so readily accepted by those who benefit so greatly from the system in place.
The problem I run into, is that I am still pretty bad at dealing with people. So when talking to other people who are bad with people, I often end clenching fists than extending hands.
I'm not sure how to change hearts and minds of the disenfranchised, because they live in a society that feeds off of its own. The liberal world is full of unachievable goals of strength, beauty, intelligence and success which ridicules those who have it for being greedy, mocks those who attempt to become the things they are told they should be, and scorn as low lives, geeks, nerds, or other stigma's those who do not even try. On top of it, the liberal eco system cuts off the outside by presenting the other side of life, the conservative side, by presenting it in every possible negative stigma possible, from racists to zealots to homophobes or bible bangers intolerant of everything that moves. If I lived in a world that gloomy, I think I would "Hope" for "Change" too.
Yet the promised social utopia never appears. We never get any prettier, smarter, stronger or faster. Our food doesnt get healthier, the governments never get less corrupt, people dont welcome you with open arms... instead the exact opposites occur.
It was a hard and isolating road to escape from the liberal double think thought trap. Talking with the religious types at church wasnt as harsh as I thought it was. Reaching out and helping the homeless wasnt so bad. Advising teenagers against premarital sex, not to do drugs, and to sacrifice for the future didnt oppress them (though, it probably didnt do much good either). I've grown happier with the world around me, I've accepted that I have problems socializing, that the world doesnt suck, and yes, it is probably me that is the one out of place. So I look for people like me, even if they are liberal, to befriend on common interests and leave the politics out of it. Perhaps if they learn to love the world they are in, they wont have any more "hope" for "change".
The Internet with VISA/Debit Cards
I received a recent email from my bank regarding legislation being proposed in congress that impacts financial institutions ability to collect transaction fees. Below is an excerpt from the email:
"I am writing to you about an issue that could negatively impact all PSECU members. The U.S. Congress is considering legislation that would reduce the amount of interchange fees paid by merchants when they accept a credit or debit card in payment for goods or services. Interchange fees are used to pay the costs of processing credit and debit card payments, with a portion going to credit card issuers like PSECU.
This issue is important to all of our members since roughly 60% of our annual net income is derived from them, allowing PSECU to offer low- or no-cost products and services. Interchange income also helps PSECU absorb the cost of fraudulent transactions when merchant data systems are breached. A significant loss in interchange fee income may result in PSECU having to charge more fees, increase interest rates on loans, or at worst suspend some products or services. Therefore, it is critical to preserve the income PSECU receives from interchange fees paid by merchants."
I've done a little more research and it turns out that many smaller banks may be forced to cut VISA/Debit services for their members. I couldnt imagine online shopping without it. http://www.psecu.com/yourvoice/
Why... why... communism has failed already...
Just got finished watching Glenn Beck episode with doctors on it. The show ended with a medical student explaining how a government option will provide low cost insurance that will create competition. Of course, its the government that is currently restricting competition between the 1300+ insurance companies in the United States. Create the problem and become the solution. Brilliant. One caveat as a proof read. I am not exactly sure WHY these companies cannot compete. Whether it be federal or state laws that are creating the barriers. Something to research on the spare time.
Anyone who has spent any amount of time dealing with the government, especially the federal government (state DMV is a paradise compared to dealing with any federal agency), knows that efficiency, low cost, and competition is not in the lexicon of government vernacular. Insurance companies have to be more efficient than government under one simple principle of nature: no business could operate like the government and survive. Businesses that operate on "deficit budgets" quickly lose value as their debt to income ratio become unsustainable.
And government debt CAN become unsustainable. Ask the USSR.... oh wait.
As a conservative, I accept a few simple facts in life. We are all individually responsible for ourselves. Our government is here to provide some basic services, but it is not here to "take care of us". Government that governs less is the best form of government. People will always go without, either by choice or by circumstance. No entity on this planet can give everything to everyone. Government cannot replace God. The harder we try to create an omnipotent entity to care for us, the closer we come to creating the golem that destroys us (see USSR and Mao for more details).
The debate is not about health care. The debate is collectivism versus individualism. Hopefully we will see the errors of the past... but by that last comment tonight... I fear for the worst.