Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Posts Tagged ‘National debt

Through Thick and Thin: This is not a Difficult Concept

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Image brought to Doug’s Darkworld inspired by the Oklahoma Senate, which just passed a bill claiming that a fertilized egg is a human being. We live in an interesting age, but when one tries to enforce a bronze age morality on a  21st century nation, the going really gets weird. Bottom line: It’s OK for people to have sex for reasons other than procreation. Really, try it some time, you’ll be surprised. As soon as we get that settled, the sooner we can go about sensible ways of making sure that every child is a wanted child, but sadly the evangelicals are never going to give up on sex. It’s how cults control people. It would be like a government giving up taxation, aint gonna happen.

Whitney Houston died. Whitney who? This  story got vastly more press than it deserved, but that’s the corporate fawning media at work, real news get short shrift, dead celebrities get top billing. Yes, the mainstream media is now little different that  the celebrity magazines by the checkout counter at Safeway. The state of New Jersey is even going to fly its flags at half mast for Whitney, so yes, it can always get weirder. Some aren’t exactly thrilled by this, who can blame them?

The UN has condemned the Syrian government and asked them to step down. Yes, an organization touted as being a way for states to avoid conflict with each other is now simply the enforcer of western hegemony, the US and its allies get to decide what a legitimate government is. The usual burblings about it being about human rights, like the bloody sores that are Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya were. Only tyranny and discord can be imposed on a country from outside, freedom can only be had when a people chose to be free … which of course is what the west is so freaking terrified about in the Middle East. They aren’t afraid of terrorism, that’s to distract the rubes. The real fear is powerful sovereign governments running their countries in their own best interests. Can’t have that, it makes it almost impossible to exploit them for their resources.

Speaking of fake scary again, Iran made its heralded nuclear announcement. Which got zero news coverage because they announced that they had installed their first domestically produced fuel rod in a reactor, and that they had made a breakthrough in medical radioisotopes. All under constant western supervision of course, since Iran’s peaceful nuclear program is carefully monitored as per its obligations under the NPT. Iran being a peaceful responsible player isn’t part of the crazy mullahs meme, so I doubt anyone even saw this in the news. No, just the stories about purported amateur Iranian plots to kill Israeli diplomats, stories so fishy one has to hold their nose while reading them.

Greece. What a mess. My current understanding is that the crux of the whole Euro thing, is that everyone borrowed beyond their means on the assumption that the world and national economies would continue to grow forever and outpace the debt. Yes, basically every nation in the west acted like a crack head with a  credit card, and now the bills are coming due. All in collusion with the bankers of course. If people really understood that,  capitols would burn. So instead a fall guy has been found, Greece. If the bankers can just get the population of one county to agree to be serfs to pay off the bankers debt, maybe others will follow. I don’t think it’s gonna work, people may be sheep, but they are going to notice if serfdom is brought back.

One would hope so at least. Have a great weekend everyone.

(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It’s all over the Internet, I have no idea who to attribute it to. Redefining reality to promote social control, that’s religion in a nutshell.)

Doug’s Angryworld

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Pieter Bruegel the Elder, The Fall of the Rebel Angels

Part of the reason my blogging has slowed down recently is that so much of what is going on today makes me mad. So I decided to vent about it, maybe it will be cathartic, maybe it will just make me madder. In no particular order, and in no way comprehensive, here are ten things I spend my time seething about. Be warned, I may use some harsh language as the situation warrants.

1. The rich are ass raping us all, and tens of millions of Americans are clamouring for more. The rich have been getting richer in the USA since the 1970s, while the middle class has slowly and steadily lost ground. This is not debatable. They’ve moved our factories to foreign lands, slashed their taxes, taken over our government and mainstream media, and stolen trillions from the public till. And most Americans are so brain-washed and propagandized that they blame immigrants, liberals, conservatives, atheists, shriners, whatever. Anyone but the people who have actually gotten us into this mess.

2. The debt, an extension of number one. The Federal government  has been running in the red a record breaking 33 months now. State and local governments are no better. How in the name of God did the richest country the world has ever seen run up debts so insane that there is no conceivable way to ever pay them off? The infinite greed of the rich and the apparently infinite stupidity of the great unwashed masses is my guess.

3. The Pentagon. There was a reason the founding fathers were adamantly opposed to a standing army. Armies get involved in politics, and then get the country involved in wars. All of which costs the country blood and money. And it just keeps getting worse, while tens of millions of Americans regurgitate the crap that our legions overseas are fighting to “defend our freedoms.” No, they are fighting and dying to make the rich richer and create endless new enemies for the USA. Frankly the US army needs to be disbanded it’s so out of control.

4. The historic last flight of the space shuttle. Good riddance. The space shuttle was one of the biggest boondoggles in history, it should never have been built in the first place, and it most certainly should have been canned after the first one blew up. Yet Americans are celebrating the lives lost and the billions wasted on this flying cash cow.

5. Iran is going to have nukes soon! Yes, another right wing think tank claims that Iran is going to be building nukes soon! Yes, the exact same claim that has been made by Israeli and American war mongers since the 1980s! Yes, for nearly thirty years Iran has been “just about to” build nuclear weapons! Meanwhile Israel and the USA have massively increased their war spending, including the creation of an Israeli nuclear arsenal. The USA spends more money on air conditioning for its troops in Iraq and Afghanistan than the entire Iranian military budget, yet we are supposed to quail in our boots because Iran might someday acquire a few fifties era nukes?

6. Casey Anderson. A woman was acquitted of a terrible crime in a fair trial … and millions of Americans are braying for her blood. Literally. How does this make them any different than stone throwing Muslims? It doesn’t.

7. Health Care. France spends 11% of its GNP on health care, and provides everyone in France with cradle to grave health care of the highest quality. The USA spends 16% of its GNP on health care and provides its citizens with the worst health care in the industrialized world. Anyone who isn’t mad about this is a fool.

8. Fucking the globe. From climate change to deforestation to over-fishing humans are making widespread and unprecedented changes to the surface of our fine planet. Humans are now the greatest force for change operating on the surface of the Earth in numerous realms, in most cases either ignorant of what the end result will be, or worse, deliberately proceeding even though our best minds say the end result will be catastrophic. Collectively we are no smarter than ants.

9. Religious nuts. Even the Romans understood: “Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.” – Seneca the Younger (4 B.C. – 65 A.D.) And here we are two thousand years later blowing each other up, destroying the planet, and breeding like rabbits because people think it’s a great idea to do stuff because of what someone’s imaginary friend said. Jesus wept.

10. We’re all little better than monkeys. Yes, science has now shown that our brains are hard wired to be stupid. When most people are confronted with logical and scientific evidence that refutes some stupid idea they have, it reinforces their beliefs! This wouldn’t be such problem if our leaders weren’t all too eager to promote dumb fuck ideas because it makes them richer and more powerful.

In conclusion, speaking globally, this isn’t going to end well. Speaking locally, despite a missing lime and a recalcitrant pull tab, it’s going quite well and will end up nicely. And when I wake up, maybe the last 31 years will have all been a nightmare. A man can dream.

(The above image is of a painting made in 1562, so it’s currently Public Domain under US copyright law. I expect that to change soon as corporations twist the law to their own purposes. It’s titled “The Fall of the Rebel Angels” by Pieter Brueghal the Elder. I believe it’s self evident why I thought this was an appropriate image for this post.)

The Voynich Manuscript, Shady Kilograms, Shyster Budgets, Shameful Foreign Policy, and Storms in Berkeley

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So much for the good Berkeley weather. We’ve had torrential rain. Hail. Lightning. Wind. More rain. The cats wanted to go out this morning and when I held the door open, the wind blew them right back inside. They wisely decided they had some sleep to catch up on and didn’t want to go outside after all. I on the other hand had to venture out into the rain, climb on roofs, deal with sump pumps and clogged downspouts, and just in general get soaked to the skin and chilled to the bone. It’s people like me who keep homes dry and warm.

Moving along, in no particular order, thoughts on some of this week’s news. Obama presented his budget for the next year. Pure unadulterated Obama, by which I mean pure politics was his only concern. He left entitlements and the military completely alone, so our out of control spending continues apace. Borrowing and spending I might add, the national debt is reaching record levels. All he did was go through the discretionary spending and make cuts that wouldn’t cost him much of anything politically so he can claim he’s making cuts, with no thought to the damage or long term consequences of any of the cuts. Yeah, that’s leadership.

Demonstrations continue throughout the Middle East. Who knows how any of this will turn out, but I continue to be heartened. The USA’s response in particular has been so disastrously hypocritical, patronizing, and self-serving that it can only add to anti-American sentiment in the region. And the sooner they tell us to go home and mind our on business, the better. There are no US strategic interests in the region, unless protecting corporate profits is a strategic interest.  Hint: It’s not. “What’s good for GM is good for America” is a lie. Granted I expect the USA will make the whole situation worse by trying to protect our interests in the short term, that’s pretty much the history of US policy in the region. Seeing Clinton crowing about how medieval monarchs are our “good friends and allies” was a particularly disgusting sight, this is why I rarely watch the news anymore.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, there’s been a discovery about the Voynich Manuscript. I mean, how many blogs keep their readers updated on Voynich Manuscript news? The Voynich Manuscript is one of the world’s most puzzling manuscripts, filled with mysterious hand written text and illustrations that no one has ever convincingly deciphered. Yet the text does appear to be a real language, or at least shares many of the properties of a real language. It was suggested a few years ago that using the mathematical tools available at the time the manuscript originated (in the early 15th century) it would have been possible to create a “fake” text such as that used in the Voynich Manuscript. That’s always been the best guess as to what the manuscript is, a hoax intended to be sold to some gullible person as a magical or alchemical tome. The recent discovery is that the manuscript has been carbon dated, and turns out it’s as much as a century older than anyone thought, predating the Gutenberg Bible even. What does this mean? It means the mystery is a bit deeper, and some of the theories about who may have created it are now less credible. I dunno, maybe it was written on old paper at the time. I’ll keep following this real historical and scientific mystery.

And lastly, the official kilogram has been found wanting. Most measures are defined by physical constants (well, accept for one backwards country that is still using a system of weights and measures based on the length of the King’s nose, but I digress,) but the kilogram is based on, well, a bar of platinum that’s been sitting in a  vault in France for over a century. Why is the kilogram still based on an object in a  vault? Because scientists haven’t figured out anything better yet.

So what’s the problem? “The” kilogram was recently removed from the vault and weighed, and it weighs 50 micrograms less than it should. That’s not much, less than the weight of an ant, but it is puzzling. Its also a problem. By law the weight of this bar of platinum is a kilogram and the standard against which all other kilograms are to be calibrated with. I think this means that technically, everything on the planet that is weighed in kilograms, not to mention the weight of the Earth itself,  and every device that weighs kilograms … is incorrect and has to be changed. Yeesh, like a y2k we didn’t see coming. Now what?

Have a great weekend everyone!

(The above image is claimed as Public Domain under US copyright law. It was written centuries ago by a unknown author, so I think I’m pretty safe claiming  that no one holds the copyright. It’s a page from the Voynich Manuscript, click on it to see the full size version. The text appears to have been written fluidly, as if it was being written by someone familiar and comfortable with the language. Again, a maddeningly elaborate hoax, or the real deal?)

 

 

Written by unitedcats

February 17, 2011 at 8:47 pm

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