RANT: An Israeli Perspective on events in Egypt


Watching Egypt Burn: An Israeli Perspective
What is happening now in Egypt has immediate and potentially disastrous consequences for the Jewish state. (Also read Roger L. Simon at the Tatler: “Cluless Israel wakes up on PR (sort of)”)
January 31, 2011 – by Benjamin Kerstein

*** begin quote ***

The result has been that most Israelis have long since given up hope that the Arab world can or wanted to change. Things were the way they were and we would have to accept that. As a result, two schools of thought developed: One held that, since the Arabs would never change, we would have to reach peaceful reconciliation with the situation as it was, however difficult and unstable. The other claimed that peace with such neighbors was ultimately impossible, and that Israel should hunker down, make itself as close to militarily invulnerable as possible, and look to its own prosperity and development. This situation has held for decades, and even the American push for democratization during the war with Iraq did not change things. Most Israelis considered it misguided idealism at best and dangerous naivete at worst.

*** end quote ***

As a little L libertarian, I’m astonished at what passes for American “foreign policy”.

There’s nothing more dangerous that being a ally or a friend of the USA Gooferment. (Either party can be at the controls. They are equally untrustworthy.)

Remember the airlift out of Saigon? How many of our friends were tortured to death?

The Dead Old White Guys were correct — no entangling alliances.

Switzerland has the meme.

# # # # #

RANT: There’s a time to NOT shoot from the hip!


> Optimism— Why not?

Optimism — Why not? — It depends!

Depends upon where the waterline is relative to your nose! Personally, I’d suggest that there’s a time for optimism (i.e., bet on a positive outcome) and a time for pessimism (i.e., bet on a negative outcome). I think everyone does that almost instinctively. My personal rule is: “Does the Titanic sink if I hit the iceberg?” Optimism is appropriate when an adverse result won’t have catastrophic consequences? Pessimism is almost obligatory when the result would be catastrophic, irreversible, or uncorrectable.


# # # # #

RANT: A smart guy doesn’t think Social Security is broke


My Life in Key West


*** begin quote ***

I hit Social Security hard. The American people are getting a crock of improper information from the right. Social Security is not insolvent. It will be either 8 years or 24 years before there is a problem. Deal with the other issues at this time which are critical at the moment. Deal with Social Security later in a precautionary fashion to make sure no problems occur down the road.

*** end quote ***

Social Security isn’t insolvent?

Guess we have different definitions of what “insolvent” means!

in·sol·vent adj \(ˌ)in-ˈsäl-vənt, -ˈsȯl-\

Definition of INSOLVENT

a (1) : unable to pay debts as they fall due in the usual course of business (2) : having liabilities in excess of a reasonable market value of assets held

b : insufficient to pay all debts <an insolvent estate>

c : not up to a normal standard or complement : impoverished

We’ll just go to that “lockbox” each month an take out what’s needed to pay the pensioners.

Oh, there is NO lockbox!

That proverbial lockbox is full of IOUs from the Treasury.

Surely the Treasury has a “treasure room” to redeem these IOUs against? Fort Knox?

No, Treasury thru the FED borrows money from China!

Now, I know it’s hard for folk to think of their precious Gooferment as being “broke”. But it is.

Not that it doesn’t have resources. Not that it is without people.

It’s short on clarity.

It all starts back in 1913 with the creation of the FED, with stops along the way at FDR’s gold confiscation, Nixon closing the gold window, and “Helicopter” Ben with his “printing press”.

What we are calling money has no intrinsic value. No scarcity. We’re lucky that we’ve pulled the proverbial wool over the world’s eyes with the “Dollar as the World’s Reserve currency”. Our new modern Dollar is worth whatever you can exchange it for. We kid ourselves that it has “value”.

(Saddam whispering, that he wanted to be paid for “his” oil in the golden dinar, was enough to get him overthrown.)

The OPEC countries and China are wising up to the scam. Their problem is how do they hit the exit from the Dollar while it still worth something. And, they are not in a position to go without the USA markets. Yet. Why do you suppose that China is buying everything in sight with its dollars? Much like the Japanese in the 80’s who bought Rockefeller Center, golf courses galore, and stuff. It didn’t save them.

Now, back to Social Security. When I was on Wall Street, everyone always worried about “counter party risk”. If I do a trade with you, will you complete the deal. Us old folks have a “moral IOU” from Uncle Sam that says we have sort of a claim on future generations for an annuity. (An annuity that pays a negative interest rate, I might add. But, let’s keep it simple.) Congress can with the stroke of pen change the terms of that annuity. (As it can with any public servants’ pension.)

Now there are any number of reasons that they abrogate the deal. It’s too expensive. It’s inconvenient. Or, there are not enough future taxpayers to make good on the promise.

So how can you say that Social Security isn’t broke? It’s not like a real Insurance Company. It makes Bernie Made-Off look penny ante.

Did you skip MC’s eckynomics class?

# # # # #

INTERESTING: Remove “offensive” terms from the works of Mark Twain? No!


A State of Education—Some Views of a Nontraditional Student
by Cathy L.Z. Smith
Attribute to The Libertarian Enterprise

*** begin quote ***

The origins of creative works are as important as the works themselves, providing context and accountability. The desire, for instance, to remove certain “offensive” terms from the works of Mark Twain condemns us to travel those same paths again, ignorant of the wisdom that has preceded us in our social evolution. Likewise the recent Canadian decision to censor the works of Mark Knopfler, on the ever more shrilly-cited grounds of “hate speech”, cramp and shrink our culture. It is impossible to change opposing attitudes once it’s made impossible to explore and discuss them.

*** end quote ***

Some one said “those, who don’t remember history, are doomed to repeat it.”

The meme to rewrite history is contra-suvival. And thus in my morality is wrong. It’s also inefficient and ineffective. But that’s a different objection.

# # # # #

FUN: “Talk is cheap”


A Proposal in the Public Interest


*** begin quote ***

Another mark of a good economist is to be skeptical of stated intentions. Talk is cheap. So if Jones professes his great love of humanity, the economist pays little heed.

Economist and non-economist are strolling in Manhattan. When they pass Carnegie Hall, the non-economist says wistfully to the economist, “You know, I’ve always wanted to learn to play the piano.” The economist replies “obviously not.”

*** end quote ***

# # # # #

Categories FUN

RANT: BHO44’s Middle East Foreign “policy”?


Barack Obama: Backing Protestors in Egypt? What Is He Thinking?!
Posted by Peter Schweizer Jan 29th 2011 at 6:52 am
in Featured Story, Islam, Islamic extremism, Middle East

*** begin quote ***

Reports that the Obama Administration may be secretly backing the protests in Egypt is troubling on several levels. First, there is the obvious fact that no one can ultimately direct and control social protests. Once they begin, they can quickly spin out of control. Hopes that you can control who comes out on top in such circumstances is incredibly naive. History teaches it is always the best organized (and not necessarily the largest) faction that comes out on top. In the case of Egypt that appears to be the radical Muslim Brotherhood. I hope I’m wrong, but there seems to be little evidence to the contrary.

*** end quote ***

What is BHO44 and crew thinking?

Guess we’ll have to wait for Madame Hillary to explain it to us? (What were her credentials on foreign policy before becoming Secretary of State? Nothing like starting at the top. And, her “turf” was carved out from under her within minutes of her taking the job.)

Are they setting up tumult to retain big budgets at home? (Do they need a straw-man enemy to justify bigger Defense budget against the Tea Party Republican cuts? At the very least, to bump them off the front page!)

The USA has strayed so far from the DOWG’s ideal of “no entangling alliances” that it is unrecognizable!

And, btw, if the economy is “priority #1”, then what do they think that unrest in Egypt will do to energy prices?

Or, maybe that’s what they want?

# # # # #

RANT: “Due to my parents poor financial planning …”


Student Success: Alexandria Cheshier

*** begin quote ***

I have completed three years of undergraduate studies at {Extraneous Deleted}. Due to my parents poor financial planning I am no longer attending {Extraneous Deleted}, and I have no access to my transcripts which are needed for me to transfer to ANY college. Currently, I am over $50,000 in debt. I have no possible co-signers for any loans, and am ineligible myself.

During my time at {Extraneous Deleted} my father lost his job, “found religion”, and decided to start a non-profit organization with my mother donating food for the needy. In the process they became the needy and are now surviving off of donations, and minuscule unemployment which will be running out shortly. I am now working at my supermarket making minimum wage to pay off my debts. I have saved up enough money to continue my studies take one class at my community college. I currently would like nothing more than to continue my education.

I was always reiterated the fact that I can attend any college I want, the college of my dreams, no matter what. I think many parents hold this philosophy that college should come at any costs, but this perception needs to change. If I had any idea how much money my parents were actually making I could have used this information in my application process, doing simple things like avoiding colleges which were 5-10 times what my family could realistically afford.

The growing need for education on this topic is exceptionally rising, and this concern is something that can be conveyed to students by guidance counselors. In addition parents need to become aware of this fact, and have access to information sessions on the topic of affording college. If I had any idea that I could be 22 and working at a supermarket instead of fulfilling my health care profession due to financial incapacity, I would have simply chosen a public school.

*** end quote ***

Welcome to the “real world”.

Parents ain’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination. As a matter of fact on the “parenting scale”, they are not even close to the bottom. You weren’t abused, and they launched you thru three years of college.

And, what did you learn in those three years? Obviously, not much.

How much money did you sock away for YOUR education?

When do you pull up your “big girl panties” and solve your own problems?

Are you putting your shoulder to the wheel or are you expecting others to push your “life” out of this “swamp” while you stand aside and wail “woe is me”.

Clearly, if you got INTO college, you’re supposed to be smart. Are you using it?

“I would have simply chosen a public school”; yeah, and if wishes were horses, the world would still be full of <synonym for excrement>. I always say that the “shoulda, coulda, and woulda!” will KILL you. If you want to have a “pity party”, I can share some of my great blunders that if I hadn’t made, then I’d be thin, rich, and handsome. Instead of a fat old white guy injineer with a slew of my own problems.

So now that you’ve sucked down 3 years of tuition from the ‘rents and the banks, how are you helping Mom and Dad now that they are on “hard times”?

No, you’re rant is all about you. And, how unfair life is being to you. Boo Hoo!

I see pictures of kids with incurable diseases. I see one beautiful young girl getting chemo when my wife goes. She has trouble buttoning her coat asked my wife one day to help. And, even though, she has trouble buttoning her own, she did it. Don’t tell me about how tough you’ve got it. My fellow alumni, you haven’t seen tough. I read about the experiences of a fellow alum in Haiti. Where people a year after a disaster don’t have clean water, toilets, and are dying of diseases we cured in the 1800’s.

Your three paragraph whine didn’t give enough details to take action on. But, I can’t believe that there is NOT another side to the story. There always is.

All this raises one question?

You said “due to my parents poor financial planning”, my question is when do you assume ownership of your life?

Sorry, but my sympathies are for your parents.

# – # – #

And, I say to my own deceased Mom: “Sorry, I was such a pia. Was I like this? Maybe I’m grown up now.”

Maybe this is “hard, blunt, and insensitive”? Remember the sources of my education: … and creating caring human relationships from studying the movie roles of Gunny Ronald Lee Ermey! Sometimes, folks need a slap to get them to focus.

# # # # #