Thursday, July 16, 2009

How Many Diversities to a Dollar?

The U.S. dollar is on its deathbed, and the anti-capitalist policies of the Barack Obama administration are hastening the currency’s demise.

On his Fox News program the other day, Glenn Beck proffered a sad but well-reasoned analysis of the left’s push for a single global currency. He explained how the left’s desire to create a global economy (as advocated by the likes of Al Gore and other supporters of a unified world government) has decimated the value of America’s currency, thereby causing the world to turn its collective back on the greenback.

To those paying attention, it has now become obvious that the absurd economic policies of the Obama administration, such as its zealous push for the passage of the cap-and-trade bill–operationally the equivalent of a crushing tax that will cripple America’s industrial output–will drive the final nail into the dollar’s proverbial coffin.

Skeptical?

The Russians and the Chinese are pushing for a single world currency. So are the Brazilians, the Europeans and the Indians. Even our “friends,” the Saudis, recipients of billions of dollars of U.S. aid over the years, are nervous about the future of the dollar and are looking into other options.

The entire Middle East, in fact, is so frightened about the future worth of their investments that U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, whose own attempts to balance the dollars in his household budget were mysteriously confounded by TurboTax, is traveling to Saudi Arabia and other Gulf States this week to reassure them that the dollar remains viable.

Are you still skeptical?

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev displayed a sample of the new currency to journalists in Italy after the Group of Eight Nations Economic Summit last week. Theatrically extracting a shiny new coin from his pocket, he said, “Here it is. A united future world currency. You can see it and touch it.”
He explained that the coin, bearing the slogan “Unity in Diversity,” represents “a good sign that we understand how interdependent we are.”

There should be no more skeptics at this point.

So what’s next for Al Gore and the other globalists?

After the dollar is gone and we’re all using the new “diversity coin,” maybe they could then work on passing legislation mandating a single, unifying, global language.

Perhaps Chinese?

Thursday, July 2, 2009

And Obama Said: "Let There be Light!"

In typical Orwellian fashion, President Barack Obama, in his assumed role as Big Brother, has announced that beginning in 2012, all homes and businesses will be required to replace their incandescent light bulbs with fluorescent ones (known as CFL’s). This will result, according to the White House, in huge savings of anywhere between 15 and 25 percent in electricity usage, and will save cash-strapped Americans between $1 billion and $4 billion a year.

The CFL’s are touted as being a critical part of the solution to the “problem” of “global warming.” The little coiled bulbs are purported to use 50% less energy than the incandescent bulbs they will replace. Said Obama: “Now I know light bulbs may not seem sexy, but this simple action holds enormous promise because 7 percent of all the energy consumed in America is used to light our homes and our businesses.”

What the President didn’t say, however, speaks volumes.

He never mentioned that the bulbs are in fact dangerous. That they contain mercury and pose a huge disposal problem. The Department of Environmental Protection, in fact, issues this warning about what to do should you have the misfortune to break a bulb:

“Don’t vacuum bulb debris because a standard vacuum will spread mercury-containing dust throughout the area and contaminate the vacuum. Ventilate the area and reduce the temperature. Wear protective equipment like goggles, coveralls and a dust mask. Collect the waste material into an airtight container. Pat the area with the sticky side of tape. Wipe with a damp cloth. Finally, check with local authorities to see where hazardous waste may be properly disposed.”

Neither did the President mention that most of the CFLs are made in China, the world’s largest polluter, under that country’s shoddy and corrupt system of quality-control, using mercury that was mined in China, the world’s largest mercury producer. Presumably none of this was important enough to tell us.

Nor did Obama delve into what the consequences of not complying with this new light-bulb policy will be. A heavy fine, perhaps? Prison?

Maybe the President will emulate the tactics of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, who ordered “youth brigades” into every home to literally bully reluctant homeowners into replacing their incandescents for CFL’s?

Lest you think that could never happen in the U.S., consider this: The cap-and-trade plan that Obama and the Democrats are currently pushing includes a provision that would dispatch an army of inspectors to every home in America, compelling every homeowner to “retrofit” his or her dwelling to the new standards of energy-efficiency. As CNS News explains:

“The program would involve a system of certified auditors, inspectors, and raters who inspect homes and businesses using devices such as infrared cameras (which measure how much heat a building is giving off) to measure their energy efficiency.”

Power-crazed tyrants, you see, do not always come in the form of defiant, revolution-preaching, arm-waving, finger-pointing, long-bearded maniacs like Castro. Indeed, some of the most dangerous tyrants on earth are cold and calculating men who speak in measured tones, are clean-shaven, and knot their ties perfectly.

Monday, June 29, 2009

More Money Wasted

One evening back in July 2008, a woman named Amanda Kiefer had the misfortune to run into a violent illegal alien on a San Francisco street. Alexander Izaguirre, a Honduran national who had snuck across America’s southern border the previous year, was on a “purse-snatching spree“ when he spotted and attacked Kiefer. Not content to just relieve her of her purse, Izaguirre then hopped into an SUV driven by his accomplice and goaded the driver to run Kiefer over, fracturing her skull in the process. Kiefer later told police that Izaguirre and the driver “were both laughing” as they drove away.

The incident was barely noted in the press; that is, until the Los Angeles Times mentioned Tuesday that there was more to the story. Much more.

What came out was the disclosure that Izaguirre was enrolled in a taxpayer-funded job-training program whose sole purpose is to expunge the criminal records of illegal immigrants so that they can secure employment – something the law explicitly forbids them to do.Izaguirre was in the program because of a one-man crime spree he began shortly after jumping the border fence. He would subsequently be arrested twice for drug offenses and purse snatching, and then again for attempting to sell drugs to an undercover officer. It was this last crime which landed him in the Back on Track program, just four months prior to his vicious attack on Kiefer.

This too, would have barely made a blip on the mainstream media’s radar screen, if not for the fact that the program has supporters in high places. Very high places. Senator Diane Feinstein, for one, and Nancy Pelosi, the sanctimonius Speaker of the House, are both strong backers of Back on Track. Pelosi, for her part, has touted the program as a huge success and secured $400,000 in additional funding for it by means of an earmark in the 2009 federal omnibus spending plan.

Does the program even work, or is it just another obscenely wasteful leftist boondoggle? See for yourself — here are the stats:

  • 212 Enrollees in Back on Track
  • 113 Graduates
  • 99 People who failed
  • 4 Years since inception
  • $5,000 Cost per enrollee
  • 10 Percent of graduates have committed crimes again

Kiefer, understandably, is not buying any of this and wants some answers from officials. “If they’ve committed crimes and they’re not citizens, then why are they here?” she wonders. “Why haven’t they been deported?”

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

How Not to Prep

Thought you might find this horror story interesting (especially those of you who hide your money).

This from an AP News story today:

An Israeli woman mistakenly threw out a mattress she said had almost $1 million inside, setting off a frantic search through tons of garbage at a number of landfill sites on Wednesday. The woman told The Associated Press that she bought her elderly mother a new mattress as a surprise present on Monday — and threw out the old one.

The next day, she said, she remembered that she had hidden her life savings inside the old mattress. "I woke up in the morning screaming, when it hit me what happened," said the Tel Aviv woman, who asked not to be identified.

She went to look for the mattress, but it had already been hauled away by garbage collectors, she said. Searches at three different landfill sites turned up nothing.

She said the money was in U.S. dollars and Israeli shekels. She refused to say how she acquired such a large sum. "It was all my money in the world," she said. There was no way to verify her claims, and she refused to disclose key details.

Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said he was not familiar with the case and no report had been filed.

The Israeli daily Yediot Ahronot published a picture of the woman searching through garbage at a dump in southern Israel. The picture shows the woman, dressed in a white top and black pants with her back to the camera, picking through a huge pile of trash that fills the frame about 10 feet (3 meters) in all directions.

Yitzhak Borba, the dump manager, told Army Radio that his staff was helping the woman, saying she appeared "totally desperate." He said the mattress was hard to find among the 2,500 tons of garbage that arrives at the site every day.

He said he increased security at the site to keep would-be treasure hunters away.

The woman said the money had been stashed in a mattress because she had had "traumatic experiences with banks" in the past. She would not elaborate.


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Obama Admonishes Us to Ignore Islam's Deeds

The British government announced on Wednesday that one of their citizens, Edwin Dyer, who had been held captive for over a month by al-Qaeda militants, has been killed by his captors. Dyer was captured on the Mali-Niger border along with three other European tourists on January 22. "We have strong reason to believe that a British citizen, Edwin Dyer, has been murdered by an al-Qaida cell in Mali," British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said in a statement issued by his office. "I utterly condemn this appalling and barbaric act of terrorism." Also on Wednesday, Osama bin-Laden, the al-Qaida leader, issued another audio tape calling for Muslims to rise and slaughter Americans."Let the American people prepare to continue harvesting what their White House leaders grow, in the years and decades to come," bin-Ladin said.


At about the same time that these stories broke, another story hit the airwaves. A new national poll suggests that only one in five Americans has a favorable view of Muslim countries.That view compares with 46 percent of the people questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey who say they have an unfavorable opinion of Muslim countries. That's up 5 percentage points from 2002, when 41 percent indicated that they had an unfavorable view. What's going on here? These poll results are probably not what the pandering Obama administration wants to see, especially on the eve of his meeting in Saudi Arabia with King Abdullah and his subsequent trip to Egypt, where he'll deliver a much publicized speech on the relations between the United States and the Muslim world.


With the words "Islamic" and "terrorist" understandably linked in peoples minds in this post 9/11 world, the results of this survey really shouldn't be a surprise to the administration. And yet, in Obama's typical mea culpa fashion, it is somehow a failure on the part of Americans that they have these perceptions. Therefore, in the interests of better U.S.-Muslim relations, Obama is implying that it is incumbent upon us to become better informed about Islam. The United States and other parts of the Western world “have to educate ourselves more effectively on Islam,” said Obama. One group that's trying to help the President educate us is Washington-based Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), the radical extremist linked organization that believes that 9/11 was an understandable response to Israeli brutality. CAIR's national executive director, Nihad Awad, who in the past has claimed “I am a supporter of the Hamas movement,” published an open letter to President Obama. "We should have [a] clear stance by the U.S. government to fight against Islamophobia and anti-Muslim discrimination that has been rampant after 9/11," Awad says. "In particular, there have been some decisions to target American-Muslim institutions and individuals, and there has been politicization of terror trials. All of these things have to be re-evaluated and reversed."


Despite this, the poll shows that Americans already know a lot more about Islam than Obama gives them credit for.



Monday, June 1, 2009

Geithner in China With His Beggar's Bowl

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, who when President of the Federal Reserve Bank became so baffled by TurboTax that he neglected to pay thousands of dollars in personal income taxes, arrived Sunday in Beijing for two days of economic talks with Chinese leaders.


On his first visit to China as treasury secretary, Geithner said the Obama administration was committed to forging a new relationship with China after trade disputes with the U.S. over the past decade. China is America's biggest creditor, holding $768 billion in Treasury securities, and the U.S. needs China's money more than ever to finance U.S. budget deficits, which have soared to nearly $1.84 trillion this year--four times last year's deficit.


The success of the tax and spend economic policies of the Obama administration are now practically completely dependent upon the securing of additional funding from China. China now has so much power that this trip will be remembered more for what Geithner doesn’t say than for what he does. One can be certain that on this trip the easily offended Chinese will not be offended by any repeat of past criticisms levied against them for their environmental (they are the worlds largest polluter) or economic (i.e., their total disregard for the damage they are doing to the world economy by keeping their currency artificially undervalued). But most of all, nothing will be said on this trip about the lack of human rights in China.


Whether by coincidence or by design, the Obama administration has chosen the twentieth anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre to send Geithner on his China trip. The world recalls how on the night between June 3rd and 4th twenty years ago, the “people’s liberation army” erupted onto the square in armoured tanks to “liberate” the square occupied by defenceless students and workers. According to international organisations (Red Cross and Amnesty International) over 2600 people were killed that night in that square and surrounding streets. At least 20 thousand people were arrested in the following days, putting an end to the “dream of democracy”. Of course, none of this can be mentioned now.


We must go humbly and meekly to China, lest they refuse to lend us any more money.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Future is Here.

In his 1966 book How to Learn Languages and What Languages to Learn, the late Mario Pei, who was proficient in over 40 languages, wrote the following:

"...a record is not something you can slip into your overcoat pocket and carry with you for use on the bus, as is a book. It calls not only for time, but for absolutely free time, and for the necessary equipment. Someday a genius will create a set of language records that will work like a transistor pocket radio, and that you can transport with you and use at will, anywhere. But it hasn't happened yet."

The device that Pei could only fantasize about in 1966 is now here. It's called the Ipod. 

I have always considered myself as being an autodidact. An autodidact is someone who teaches himself things, as opposed to trying to be taught by others, whether in a classroom setting or with a tutor. For example, although I studied French and Spanish in high school and college and getting nowhere, it was only after undertaking to study on my own that I began to make real progress. 

How did I proceed? By listening to hundreds of hours of materials which I had loaded onto my Ipod. I was able to download audio and video language courses, news, music, internet radio programs, books and podcasts in French and Spanish. Some of this material, which was recorded in a country where those languages are spoken, became available to me the same day! The content was interesting, meaningful and relevant to me. It went way beyond the boring textbook "where is the train station" type stock phrases normally found in textbooks. These materials held my interest and I profited by them.

I made such great gains with those two languages that I began to explore other uses for this fantastic device. I began downloading materials on other topics. I downloaded podcasts on survival topics, cooking, do-it-yourself projects--anything that interested me. I listened to an entire lecture on container gardening while painting my bathroom. I used my commute to bone up on my Italian and Japanese. I listen to podcasts when I walk the dog. Itunes now has free "university" courses on a variety of topics which are available to all with no strings attached.

Miraculously, all of this utility comes in a device fits in my shirt pocket. Pei was right. The invention of this device was genius, and it will give you the freedom to learn on the go, anytime and anywhere. It has changed my life immensely.