Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Cuban Dissident Armando Valladares in the Wall Street Journal

From remarks by Cuban poet and human-rights activist Armando Valladares upon receiving the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty’s Canterbury Medal in New York, May 12:
When I was 23 years old I did a very small thing. I refused to say a few words, “I’m with Fidel.” First I refused the sign on my desk that said as much, and after years of torture and watching so many fellow fighters die, either in body or in spirit, I persisted in my refusal to say the few words the regime demanded of me.
My story is proof that a seemingly small act of defiance can mean everything to the enemies of freedom. They did not keep me in jail for 22 years because my refusal to say three words meant nothing. They kept me there that long because it meant everything.
For me to say those words would have been spiritual suicide. And though my body was in prison and abused, my soul was free and flourished. My jailers took everything from me, but they could not hijack my conscience.
Even when we have nothing, each person and only that person possesses the keys to his or her own conscience, his or her own sacred castle. In that respect, each of us, though we may not have an earthly castle or even a house, each of us is richer than a king or queen.
For many of you, particularly the young people, it may seem I come from another time and from a remote place. Young friends, you may not be taken away at gunpoint, as I was for staying true to my conscience, but there are many other ways to take you away and to imprison your body and your mind. There are many ways you can be silenced.
I warn you: Just as there is a short distance between the U.S. and Cuba, there is a very short distance between a democracy and a dictatorship where the government gets to decide what we believe and what we do. And sometimes this is not done at gunpoint but instead it is done one piece of paper at a time, one seemingly meaningless rule at a time, one silencing at a time. Beware young friends. Never compromise. Never allow the government—or anyone else—to tell you what you can or cannot believe or what you can and cannot say or what your conscience tells you to have to do.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Will Obama Apologize For Atomic Blast?

US President Barack Hussein Obama is scheduled to visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in Japan some time in May and pundits of various stripes are concerned about what kind of an impression he might give to his hosts. They're worried that he could express regret that the US Army Air Corps was ordered by Democratic president Harry S. Truman to drop an atomic weapon on two Japanese cities inhabited by civilians, if anyone in a global conflict can be considered a civilian. This opinion piece in today's Wall Street Journal gives the stereotypical justification for vaporizing Japanese teen-age girls walking to school.

Perhaps detonating a weapon of indiscriminate mass murder against civilians really wasn't much of a novelty for a country that had no problem exterminating the original natives of the country and interning US citizens that happened to be of the wrong race. Be that as it may, several of the arguments put forth by Father Wilson D. Miscamble of the University of Notre Dame are open to debate.

One of the most common justifications for Fat Boy and Little Man (the names given to the two weapons) was that their use made unconditional surrender likely and an invasion of the country unnecessary, saving the lives of many thousands on both sides. Well, who says an invasion was needed at all? With no remaining military capability, the Empire of the Sun was no threat to anyone. MacArthur could have sent the battleship Missouri into Tokyo Bay and told the Japs over a giant loudspeaker to stay home and leave the rest of us alone. Invading Japan would have been an incredibly expensive exercise in revenge against a civilian population that didn't fly Zeros or attack Pearl Harbor.

You'll notice that despite some serious situations in the world since those fateful days in 1945, neither the US, nor anyone else, has dropped a nuclear weapon. If it was such a good idea then, why wasn't it an option on several occasions in Korea, Iran, Viet Nam, and other places?

Of course, the sickest aspect of the entire affair is that nation/states that have disagreements between their leadership and governments have the ability to hold the general populations of their enemies and even their own countries hostage to mass murder.  

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Puritans Target Laotians

The once happy animists of the Southeast Asian jungles that have moved their gear to the USA not only have given up chicken fights and marriage to 13 year girls, they've been corralled by this era's version of the Puritans, who will make sure they acquire the guilt complexes associated with sex, alcohol and late sleep. They'll turn the Karens into functioning cogs in the great corporate machine.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Alise Post Wins Sixth National BMX Championship

St. Cloud,Minnesota native Alise Post, a 2012 Olympian and almost a sure selection for the Rio games, has won her sixth BMX national championship at Oldsmar, Florida.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Koochella Named Track Team of 2015 by USA Cycling

Koochella is the Track Club of the Year.
Peer USA Cycling:
The Koochella club was designed to promote women in cycling with a basis in track racing due to its belief that the track scene is one of the best new racer incubators in the sport. Koochella worked this last year with the National Sports Center Velodrome in Minnesota to grow the women’s racing scene. This paid off as the velodrome now houses two robust women’s fields and continues to grow. The club did this by hosting a women’s introductory skills clinic, focusing on rider retention both on and off the team, and by covering race fees for new women racers. Because of all its efforts to volunteer time and money to the local track scene, Koochella was named track club of the year.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Euskal Emakumeen Bira Bad Poster

This poster advertising the April 13-17 Euskal Emakumeen Bira women's road cycling race in the Spanish Basque country irritated the Basque Women's Institute, who considered it to be "sexist". Race organizers pulled the poster so as not to offend the Institute. It's difficult to say what, exactly might be sexist about it. The picture shows 2015 victor Katarzyna Niewiadoma making a moue. So what?

Larry Summers Wants To Eliminate Cash

The elites live on a higher plane than the schlemiels that produce the food they eat, the mansions they live in and the automobiles they are chauffeured about in. So it shouldn't be any surprise when a couple of them say things that are basically incomprehensible to one of us proles. 

Exhibit A. One time Harvard president and secretary of the treasury Larry Summers wants to get rid of the hundred dollar bill, the 500 Euro bill, and, ultimately, all cash, as he explains in this WaPo missive. Ostensibly, the financial genius wants the complete digitilization of money in an effort to stem crime, which according to him, operates on a cash basis with large bills that can't be monitored by government agencies. Many people are already living in a digital financial bubble, their paychecks directly deposited into bank accounts and all but the smallest purchases made by credit and debit cards. The supposed convenience and security of this outweighs any possible drawbacks. Your pixel money is completely safe in the servers of Mega-bank. You just don't need cash, unless you're a cocaine importer. Having tangible money is now become a crime because of technological innovation.

Larry Summers

Exhibit B. President of the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank, Neel Kashkari, gave a speech Monday on that organization's efforts to find a solution to the "Too Big To Fail" syndrome in the nation's banking community. Remarkably, the wizards that run the country's financial sector admit in public that they don't know what the causes of bank failures are and how those debacles can be prevented. Best of all, the group at the Minny Fed has a form on its website to gather input from interested citizens on just what they should do to prevent another "Great Recession", You can't make this stuff up.

Neel Kashkari, President of the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank