Essays: It's Personal

❺:: Jan. 25, 2013 - GUN CONTROL::
          If you outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns.   This is the very simple  truth of the matter.  Even if all guns were eliminated from our society, guns would reappear immediately, because those who want the guns would manufacture them for themselves.  For those people, the weapon would just have to shoot several times in a row; it would not have to be a device which would have to last for any given time after the shooting.  Frankly, I myself can manufacture such a device in one afternoon at home.  "Gun control" is an oxymoron.  It is nonsense.  We, as a country have serious mental health issues which go unanswered that are the root cause of gun violence.  There are other forms of violence that do not use guns.  These too, although not publicized as much as the sensational gun violence , go unanswered also.  Under our lying president obama, the Federal Government is seeking to infringe and deny our Second Amendment rights.  These are in our Bill of Rights.

::  Nov. 16,2012  Posterity! You will never know how much it cost the present Generation to preserve your Freedom! I hope you will make good use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in Heaven, that I ever took half the Pains to preserve it.”― John Adams

 “...Cities may be rebuilt, and a People reduced to Poverty, may acquire fresh Property: But a Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty once lost is lost forever. When the People once surrendered their share in the Legislature, and their Right of defending the Limitations upon the Government, and of resisting every Encroachment upon them, they can never regain it.”

John Adams

::  Nov. 12,2012    Government Stealing.  This is infuriating. Forwarded to me via  santiago krummel <> today.  ↓ ↓ ↓
                                                          ↓ ↓ ↓
          Have you noticed, your Social Security check is now referred to as a "Federal
Benefit Payment"?
          It touches a nerve in me, and I hope it will in you.
          The government is now referring to our Social Security checks as a “Federal
Benefit Payment.” This isn’t a benefit – its earned income!

          Not only did we all contribute to Social Security but our employers did too.It totaled 15% of our income before taxes. If you averaged $30K per year over your working life, that's close to $180,000 invested in Social Security. If you calculate the future value of your monthly investment in social security ($375/month, including both your and your employer’s contributions) at a meager 1% interest rate compounded monthly, after 40 years of working you'd have more than $1.3+ million dollars saved! This is your personal investment. Upon retirement, if you took out only 3% per year, you'd receive $39,318 per year, or $3,277 per month.That’s almost three times more than today’s average Social Security benefit of $1,230 per month, according to the Social Security Administration (Google it - it’s a fact). And your retirement fund would last more than 33 years (until you're 98 if you retire at age 65)! 
          I can only imagine how much better most average-income people could live in retirement if our government had just invested our money in low-risk interest-earning accounts. Instead, the folks in Washington pulled off a bigger Ponzi scheme than Bernie Madoff ever did. They took our money and used it elsewhere. They “forgot” that it was OUR money they were taking. They didn’t have a referendum to ask us if we wanted to lend the money to them. And they didn’t pay interest on the debt they assumed. And recently, they’ve told us that the money won’t support us for very much longer. But is it our fault they misused our investments? And now, to add insult to injury, they’re calling it a “benefit,” as if we never worked to earn every penny of it. Just because they “borrowed” the money, doesn't mean that our investments were a charity! 
          Let’s take a stand. We have earned our right to Social Security and Medicare. Demand that our legislators bring some sense into our government – Find a way to keep Social Security and Medicare going, for the sake of that 92% of our population who need it. Then call it what it is: Our Earned Retirement Income.


::  November 7, 2012 14:03  YESTERDAY IS TODAY

 This is a travesty that never should have happened.

A working democracy requires an informed electorate, and at least some participation in it.  The six-billion-dollar (yes-$6 billion, both sides combined) reelection of barack obama is an indication that the electorate in this country is at best, uninformed.  You have had the wool pulled over your eyes.
      An ad suggesting a young woman cast her first vote as if it were hymen-related; introducing contraception as an election issue and giving it center stage at a national rally; accusing your adversary of murder; deflecting blame for feckless performance as Commander-in-Chief in the deaths of 4 people, including our ambassador in Libya to protect a lie that Al-Quaida was on the run.  Really?
      The obama campaign went far beyond the usual double-speak and rant of dirty election rhetoric.  Great Nations are better-much better-than this.  Romney's  tacticians utterly failed to meet evil with evil, which is the only way to defeat it.  I hope they learn from this fiasco that treating a thug as a gentleman is tantamount to correcting an armed robber's grammar as he demands your wallet... obama is a thug.  I will never trust him or his wife.
      It is Politics which decides what we all get, whether you like it or not.  Is this what we really want?
      Is it a reflection of the larger issue of whether a Man of Color can perform as President?  It very well may be.  The experiment in obama's on-the-job-training continues...hopefully not at the expense of our nation.  We as a nation are facing larger issues of greater import, and I feel this is a worthy consideration but the time is not right for it.  We have bigger fish to fry.
     The platform obama ran on then in 2008, and the same platform he ran on now is still a non-starter: he has addressed nothing in it, but he has definitely diverted attention from his lack of performance in completing it.  He is no leader, he is a manipulator and a divider.  He is merely a feckless foreign-policy participant.  Iran is in a state of glee, right at this moment since the reelection, happy they can advance their militarily unopposed agenda of a Middle-East nuclear-armed Caliphate.  The former Soviet Union's Putin has raised his glass to his new friend,-our President, and if it is not now evident that we as a nation are threatened, it soon will be. 
      He is purposefully eroding America from within. John Adams, one of our Founding Fathers once said, "There are two ways to conquer and enslave a country: one is by the sword, the other is by debt."  I do not think John Adams ever conceived of a sixteen-trillion-dollar number for our national debt.  Now obama will be fought again politically for four more years. Can our nation afford more division? obama has worked hard to divide us: to what end?  He has managed to bypass the Constitution by presidential fiat.  He has ignored our duly elected representatives and has usurped the will of the people, thrusting his health care tax agenda upon us without a single bipartisan vote. This bodes ill. Look at the graph below: is it possible that our lives and fortunes are in the hands of these?
      America's demographics have changed to a browner hue, but we are now in the throes of a new political paradigm in America: a Socialist one, and like a mix of oil and water, it is antithetical to our Constitutional form of government.  The socialist-thinkers and the traditional Constitutional-thinkers will abrade each other until  the softer side yields.  I can predict it won't be the Constitutionalists, because sooner or later, unless they steal--the socialists will run out of resources.  The reelection of barack obama has not absolved him of his sins, and in the end, nothing has changed.  Yesterday is today. 
      Bipartisanship  is the skill we pay our elected representatives and executives to exercise in our behalf: it is their job. We cannot do it for them.  obama has not been doing his job, and he has to change.
      Post-election, the DOW-Jones average dropped 300 points in response to it; they understand that jobs are created in the private sector, not by the government.  Socialism, like a Ponzi scheme, is fine and works well until you run out of other people's money.  This is obama's redistribution scheme.
❶:: 5/3/2011: Here is some important background information, kind of an FYI:

Here is an interesting and informative article reprint from eleven years ago:  is it the Muslim perspective?

The Crusaders' Giant Footprints
After a Millennium, Their Mark Remains
By Ken Ringle Washington Post Staff Writer Tuesday, October 23, 2001; Page C01
"Enter upon the road to the Holy Sepulcher, wrest that land from the wicked race . . ."
-- Pope Urban II, 1095

The average American probably thinks of the Crusades -- if he thinks of them at all -- as a dimly recalled page in a high school history book, possibly overlaid with images from the 1935 Cecil B. De Mille film epic starring Jason Robards Sr. and Loretta Young.
 In the Islamic world, it's not like that.
Arab societies "have a very fluid sense of time," explains Mary-Jane Deeb, adjunct professor at American University and a Middle East specialist. "For them, events like the Crusades, a thousand years ago, are as immediate as yesterday. And they are very, very powerful events in the Arab mind. A lot of Islamic rhetoric revolves around the crusaders."
The reasons why are part history, part culture, part linguistics. When President Bush on Sept. 15 declared that "this crusade, this war on terrorism, is going to take a while," Muslims were stung.
The president was using "crusade" in its Western sense of "any vigorous action in behalf of a cause." But many Muslims, particularly Arabs, recognize no such usage. To them "crusade," even uncapitalized, is a profoundly loaded term. It evokes not just a war against their people, who were hacked apart, man and child, 1,000 years ago, until the streets of Jerusalem and other cities ran deep in blood. It evokes an unprovoked war against their religion and their every way of life -- a war they see mirrored today in the steady corrosion of Islamic values by a globalizing Western culture they believe undermines their families, trivializes learning and profanes their God.
When Islam is under attack, the Koran justifies a jihad, or holy war, against unbelievers. To many in the Muslim world, Islam has been under attack by the West at least since the 11th century and the First Crusade.
"It's not simply a matter of religion as Westerners understand it," Deeb explains. "Conservative Muslims see the West imposing an entire system of economic, political and social values which strike at the heart of the Islamic way of life. Westerners would consider most of these values secular, but to conservative Muslims almost nothing is secular. The Koran governs everything, including banking and politics. All is Islam."
To appreciate the sense of cultural violation many Muslims feel toward the West, it helps to remember that Islam, in its early centuries, was quite tolerant of Christians and Jews.
In 622, 400 years before the Crusades, a founding document of Islam called the Constitution of Medina defined Jews and Christians as dhimmis -- "people of the Book" who also believed in one God. So as long as they paid a yearly tax to their Muslim rulers, they were permitted religious freedom. Such religious tolerance was strikingly unusual at the time, and it continued for centuries after Muhammad's death in 632, even as Islam spread north and westward from Arabia into the crumbling remnants of the old Roman Empire. Midway through the 8th century, Arab forces had conquered most of the Middle East and were on their way to Spain.
Europeans during these years were occupied primarily in fending off Attila the Hun and other invaders and in warring among themselves. But a trickle of European Christians had been making pilgrimages to the Holy Land since the 4th century. Generally they were unmolested, but things underwent an abrupt change in 1009, when the caliph of Egypt, in a fit of madness, ordered the destruction of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, where Christians believe Jesus was entombed. For much of the rest of the century Christian pilgrims were sporadically set upon, first by Arabs, then by Muslim Turks who replaced the Arabs as rulers of Syria and Palestine.
It was in this context that Pope Urban II in 1095 issued his famous call to European Christians to proclaim their faith by recapturing Jerusalem from such "infidels." In addition to making Jerusalem safe for pilgrims, he hoped to halt the feudal warfare within Europe, and possibly even heal the centuries-old breach between the Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church.
Urban's call "Deus lo volt!" (God wills it) electrified Europe. Knights and minor nobles, yeomen and archers, opportunists and thieves all dropped their mundane lives and set out to follow the cross, as much for adventure and plunder as for God.
On all sides sprang up disorganized, undisciplined, penniless hordes who surged eastward by the thousands, foraging and looting as they went. Some made side trips through German cities to murder Jews as a sort of warmup for the infidel Turks.
Led by figures with names like Peter the Hermit and Walter the Penniless, they reached Constantinople in August 1096, then crossed the Bosporus to Asia Minor, where they were almost all slain by Turks.
The more organized wing of the First Crusade reached Constantinople the following year, continuing toward the Holy Land into what is now Iraq and Syria. With more than 25,000 troops from throughout Europe, they besieged cities, stormed their walls and hacked their way through Arab defenders.
"The Arabs were shocked," writes David Lamb in "The Arabs: Journeys Beyond the Mirage." "They couldn't understand what they had done to offend the Christians, and they could not comprehend the behavior of the crude foreigners who did not bathe or wear silks or walk on fine carpets."
For if Western Christendom was sunk in the Dark Ages of violence, ignorance and superstition, the Arabic world of Islam was in its golden age. Baghdad was the most cosmopolitan city in the world -- the Baghdad of Aladdin, Sinbad and "A Thousand and One Nights" -- with gilded mosques and unrivaled centers of learning.
Muslim scholars made important and original contributions in mathematics, astronomy, medicine and literature. They advanced agriculture and engineering, and their poets sang in the streets. In Spain, the Arab city of Cordoba had a population of 500,000, compared with Paris's 38,000, and boasted 700 mosques, thousands of palaces, 70 libraries and 900 public baths, plus the first streetlights in Europe.
The Arabs looked on the crusaders much as the ancient Romans must have looked on the barbarian hordes. And when the crusaders entered Jerusalem on July 15, 1099, those suspicions were confirmed. The crusaders plundered and defiled Islam's hallowed Dome of the Rock, and carried out such a wholesale slaughter of Muslims and Jews that a chronicler of the time wrote of crusader horses splashing through bloody streets where "heaps of heads and hands could be seen."
The First Crusade touched off 400 years of warfare between Islam and the Western world, sometimes divided arbitrarily by historians into eight major crusades and several minor ones. The crusaders set up a number of "crusader states" in Syria and Palestine, over which they fought intermittently with Arabs and Turks in recurrent bloodbaths. Both Arab and Christian chroniclers almost glory in cataloging the number of bodies cleaved in two, or beheaded, or hurled from catapults or burned alive.
In 1187 the crusaders were evicted from Jerusalem by Salah-ad-Din Yusuf ibn-Ayyub, the charismatic and legendary Iraqi-born warrior known in the West as Saladin. Having attached himself to the Syrian army at 14, Saladin soon rose to become commander in chief and vizier in Egypt. But he was celebrated as much for his personal qualities of kindness, patience and tolerance as for his military prowess.
He fought the crusaders with great skill for 10 years, but achieved as much by diplomacy as he did with the sword. He sent gifts to crusader generals even while opposing them and, according to legend, once ordered his horsemen to carry ice down a mountain to comfort Richard the Lion-Hearted when the British crusader king was ill.
Muslim history has immortalized Saladin as a paragon of Islamic virtues, and Western historians have tended to agree. Yet for Muslims, the glory of his victories carries a gnawing question: How could the Arab world have shriveled so in subsequent centuries compared with the infidel, then-uncivilized and now-triumphant West?
"Given the Arabs' belief in divine predestination," writes Raphael Patai in "The Arab Mind," "this reversal . . . is put on the Arabs themselves, primarily in terms of moral, that is, religious shortcomings. Or, in an illogical but emotionally much more satisfactory manner, the [crusader] West is held culpable for all that befell the Arabs."
Patai's book was first published in 1973, but its truths would appear to live on. In his 1996 declaration of jihad, Osama bin Laden stated, "the crusader forces became the main cause of our disastrous condition."
In a videotape released earlier this year to his supporters, he said, "I envision Saladin coming out of the clouds. . . . We will see again Saladin carrying his sword, with the blood of unbelievers dripping from it."
There is nothing on the tape about bearing ice down the mountain.

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