A quick comment on comments

First of all, thank you to those of you who have commented to my posts. I really appreciate it.

I’m not as familiar with WordPress as I should, so I inadvertently didn’t approve comments until days after they had been provided. Sorry about that. I’ll be more diligent in posting them more quickly.

Thank you, again, for your comments. Please keep them coming!

 

Memebuster no. 10: You bombed Pearl Harbor, so we nuked Hiroshima

Because a surprise attack on a military base justifies destroying two cities.

Pearl harbor

There have been several memes in “conservative” Facebook-land that have a similar theme. And yet, James Bradley demonstrates in The Imperial Cruise that the Japanese learned about the value of the surprise attack by the Americans.

Further, it ought to be clear by now that bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki was not militarily necessary. As John Denson, a brilliant revisionist historian, writes in The Hiroshima Myth, the Japanese were willing to surrender as early as May of 1945, provided that the emperor remained in power.

So why did the US bomb Hiroshima? According to Denson:

The conclusion drawn unmistakably from the evidence presented, is that [James] Byrnes is the man who convinced Truman to keep the unconditional surrender policy and not accept Japan’s surrender so that the bombs could actually be dropped thereby demonstrating to the Russians that America had a new forceful leader in place, a “new sheriff in Dodge” who, unlike Roosevelt, was going to be tough with the Russians on foreign policy and that the Russians needed to “back off” during what would become known as the “Cold War.” A secondary reason was that Congress would now be told about why they had made the secret appropriation to a Manhattan Project and the huge expenditure would be justified by showing that not only did the bombs work but that they would bring the war to an end, make the Russians back off and enable America to become the most powerful military force in the world.

If the surrender by the Japanese had been accepted between May and the end of July of 1945 and the Emperor had been left in place, as in fact he was after the bombing, this would have kept Russia out of the war. Russia agreed at Yalta to come into the Japanese war three months after Germany surrendered. In fact, Germany surrendered on May 8, 1945 and Russia announced on August 8, (exactly three months thereafter) that it was abandoning its neutrality policy with Japan and entering the war. Russia’s entry into the war for six days allowed them to gain tremendous power and influence in China, Korea, and other key areas of Asia. The Japanese were deathly afraid of Communism and if the Potsdam Proclamation had indicated that America would accept the conditional surrender allowing the Emperor to remain in place and informed the Japanese that Russia would enter the war if they did not surrender, then this would surely have assured a quick Japanese surrender.

In other words, Truman dropped the bomb because, among other reasons, he wanted to be in a strong negotiating position with Russia after the war ended. Pearl Harbor had nothing to do with it. As a result, countless innocent people sufferred.

Now can we apologize?

 

Arnold Toynbee: Humanist among machines

Whenever I read an essay on aeon, it is always engaging and provacative. That is certainly the case when it comes to Ian Beacock’s essay on Toynbee. He uses Toynbee as an icon to discuss how the humanities could help inform us in a society that relies increasingly on technology. I don’t agree with everything he says, but his arguments are thoughtful and worth considering.

Please read the whole thing.

The New Arab: Indian women sold in Gulf states

The New Arab reports that Indian women are being sold in Gulf states:

Palle Raghunatha Reddy, state minister in Andhra Pradesh, claimed that Indian women in Saudi Arabia are “sold” for just under $6,000, while in Bahrain, the UAE and Kuwait they can be “bought” for as little as $1,500.

He raised his concerns about this horrifying practice in a letter to the country’s Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj,  The Indian Express reported.

Reddy claimed that the women are languishing in Gulf prisons after fleeing abusive employers and husbands.

He appealed to the Swaraj to take steps to protect female migrant workers, who described as being lured to the Gulf countries by recruiters with promises of higher pay.

Upon arrival, however, it is alleged that they are tricked into overstaying their visas and are then jailed for minor offences. At this stage they are sold on to new employers, while they await their case hearings.

This is a serious accusation. I hope that it isn’t true. If it is, I can’t think of a clearer example of slave trade in modern times.

God of freedom, beauty and truth
we believe that your deepest desire,
your most powerful energy,
is that all creation might know abundant life.

We raise our voices in anguished prayer
for our sisters and brothers,
women and girls, men and boys,
who are modern day slaves;
They are your beloved daughters and sons,
exploited sexually or forced to work
because of human violence and greed.

Fill us with your holy anger and your sacred passion
that those who are trafficked might know healing and justice;
that traffickers will come to repentance and conversion;
that all of us might live in such a way
that others are not made to pay the price
for our comfort and convenience.

Hasten the coming of the day when all people
and our precious Earth itself
will be treated, not as a commodity,
but as radiant images of your freedom, beauty and truth.
Amen. May it be so.

If Obama didn’t go to Hiroshima to apologize…

then why the hell did he go?

President Obama laid a wreath at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial on Friday, telling an audience that included survivors ofAmerica’s atomic bombing in 1945 that technology as devastating as nuclear arms demands a “moral revolution.”

“Technological progress without an equivalent progress in human institutions can doom us,” Mr. Obama said, adding that such technology “requires a moral revolution as well.”

I’m used to Obama’s highfalooting claptrap supporting more government. I’m willng to suffer through it if he actually provided an apology.

For weeks, the White House had refused to say whether Mr. Obama, the first sitting American president to make the trip, would meet survivors. It was a delicate decision. Many survivors long for an apology for an event that destroyed just about everyone and everything they knew, and there were small demonstrations near the ceremony on Friday by protesters demanding an apology. But Mr. Obama said before his trip that he would not apologize for the attack.

One of the benefits of leading the world’s superpower is never having to say you’re sorry.

CNN provides some background behind Obama’s wanting to visit the city:

President Barack Obama’s visit to Hiroshima Friday is a trip more than six years in the making by a man who has sought to recognize history without being what he has called “imprisoned” by it.

From its conception, the visit — a first by a sitting president — has been fraught with the struggle to show empathy for the massive death and destruction caused by American military might without appearing to apologize for what many historians consider necessary action that resulted in the saving of lives.
Necessary action my ass.
Rather trying to balance between two irreconcilable positions, it would have been better for Obama to have either choosen to apologize for or defended the bombing, or have done nothing at all.

I have no idea how this looks to anyone living outside of the U.S. My suspicion is that it can’t be good.

A dying girl’s message to her mother: forgive them

“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” – John 14:6

When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” – Luke 23: 33-34

With these passages in mind:

In an incredible act, the child in Mosul, Iraq asked for forgiveness for her killers as she lay dying in her mother’s arms with fourth-degree burns.

ISIS torched the Christian family’s home in Mosul, Iraq, after demanding money for the Jaziya – a religious tax.

The country has been named the second most dangerous place in the world for Christians as ISIS drives thousands from their homes and threaten, torture and kill those who remain behind.

The terrorists were conducting their routine door-to-door threats when they issued an ultimatum to the unnamed child’s mother.

ISIS told the family to leave their home or pay the tax immediately.

Jacqueline Isaac, a human rights advocate, said: “The ISIS foreign fighters were at her door and they told her ‘you have two choices, you are to leave now or you are to pay the Jaziya’.

“She said ‘I will pay, give me a few seconds my daughter is in the shower’.

“They said ‘you don’t have a few seconds’ and they lit the house with a torch from the bathroom the daughter was showering in.”

Flames engulfed the family home and both mother and child managed to escape but hours later the child died from her devastating injuries.

Miss Isaac added: “The daughter had fourth degree burns and the mother took her daughter, scrambling, doing anything to save her.

“Rushed her to the hospital and her daughter died in her arms.

“The last thing her daughter said: ‘Forgive them’.”

The whole article is here.

Faultless Lord, enduring death for me,
You have consummated the debt of my sins:
Your sacrifice of forgiveness was absolute!
Grant me the strength to also forgive others,
To excuse their transgressions against me.
So I may truly reflect this spiritual fruit,
Obliterate any persistent feelings of malice.
Let each trespass end as a closing chapter,
My continuing on the road of righteousness.
Forgive my sins as I aspire to forgive others.
You are truly archetypical of forgiveness.
You are a most forgiving Lord!

 

The Economist’s dishonest dismissal of central banking critics

The intellectual framework of The Economist, as far as economics is concerned, has been Keynesian for as long as I can remember. (You may be asking yourself how old I am, which is an excellent question.) Be that as it may, the manner in which it discusses critics of the Federal Reserve in an opinion piece in its May 21, 2016 issue, is at best uncharitable, and at worst dishonest. The first paragraph of the piece begins thus:

Perhaps it was inevitable in the aftermath of the worst financial crisis in almost a century, but America is boiling over with schemes to remake the Federal Reserve. Some Republicans want the central bank’s monetary-policy decisions to be “audited” by the Government Accountability Office, an arm of Congress. Others wish to use a formula to put monetary policy on autopilot and to haul the chairman in front of Congress every time the Fed steps in. The most extreme sceptics peddle conspiracy theories about how the Fed “debases” the dollar. They propose abolishing the central bank entirely.

Conspiracy theories??? Well, if that’s the case, there’s no point in dealing with them.

So what’s so conspiratorial, if that’s a word, about the thought the Fed may be debasing the dollar? To answer that question, let us see how The Economist itself discusses how quantitative easing works in a March 2015 blogpost:

To carry out QE central banks create money by buying securities, such as government bonds, from banks, with electronic cash that did not exist before. The new money swells the size of bank reserves in the economy by the quantity of assets purchased—hence “quantitative” easing. Like lowering interest rates, QE is supposed to stimulate the economy by encouraging banks to make more loans. The idea is that banks take the new money and buy assets to replace the ones they have sold to the central bank. That raises stock prices and lowers interest rates, which in turn boosts investment. Today, interest rates on everything from government bonds to mortgages to corporate debt are probably lower than they would have been without QE. If QE convinces markets that the central bank is serious about fighting deflation or high unemployment, then it can also boost economic activity by raising confidence. Several rounds of QE in America have increased the size of the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet—the value of the assets it holds—from less than $1 trillion in 2007 to more than $4 trillion now.

Let me ask a simple question. If a central bank seeks to expand its currency’s money supply by expanding the monetary base and bank credit, wouldn’t it be reasonable to assume that that currency will be weaker compared to other currencies? So how on earth is acknowledging this simple implication a conspiracy theory?

It’s bad enough to deal with horrible thinking when looking at Facebook memes. Part of me is willing to accept the possibility that the creator of a bad meme may not know any better.

That is not the case with The Economist. It’s called The Economist for crying out loud! If anyone ought to know how supply and demand curves work, it’s them. However, to see them equate straightforward economic analysis with conspiracy theories, especially on such an important subject as monetary policy,  is shocking.

 

Disney’s Iger hits Sanders where it hurts

Fortune’s CEO Daily published today a fascinating response by Disney CEO Bob Iger to Sanders’ tired slogans regarding income inequality.

“Anybody making a living wage at Disney?” Sanders said Tuesday in a speech to 1500 people in the Anaheim convention center. “It’s an example of what we are talking about when we talk about a rigged economy. Disney pays its workers wages that are so low that many of them are forced to live in motels because they cannot afford a decent place to live. People are asking, is it right that at Disney you have a CEO making $46 million while they are paying workers starvation wages?”

Iger responded to Sanders in a private Facebook post:

To Bernie Sanders: We created 11,000 new jobs at Disneyland in the past decade and our company has created 18,000 in the last five years. How many jobs have you created? What have you contributed to the US economy?

I can’t think of a more perfect response to a whining socialist.

Now if only ABC could get rid of shows that celebrate abortion.

 

Memebuster no. 9: Ayn Rand, therefore evil.

Someone apparently thought that this was funny:

Ayn Rand bullshit

Notice the Ayn <==> Rand <==> Paul <==> Ryan thingy going on? Clever. Unfortunately, the cleverness ends right there.

The stoopid in this tweet is so broad, so immense, that an enterprising writer could make C.D. Bales look like a stammering twit. Fortunately for you, dear reader, I am, in my heart, lazy. I’ll just focus on three things.

  1. What is it with the left’s fascination with Ayn Rand? When anyone is thought of as having a political thought that is remotely libertarian, a leftist casts Ayn Rand into that person’s political orbit, and becomes the argument against that person. I’m bored just thinking about the tactic! For those of us who came to our libertarianism through other thinkers and writers, and far more interested in aligning libertarianism with our Christian beliefs, it becomes downright annoying to inform the xx,xxxth person bringing up Ayn Rand that I can never say the words “Ayn Rand” for the rest of my life and will still have far more coherent arguments FOR libertarianism than whatever claptrap that is brought up against it!
  2. What happened to the bartender? Did he – I presume he’s a he, given the patriarchical society in which those drinks were served – get arrested for murder? Or did evil corporate interests protect him from prosecution?
  3. What happened to the bar? Did people think twice before going to the bar after three customers died the day before? Or was the bar closed that day so customers could dance on the graves of the evil people who died?

Hell, I’m in a giving mood, so I’ll bring up one more point. As a recovering liberal Democrat, I’ve come to the unfortunate conclusion that within each liberal Democrat is an inner Robert Frost created in his or her image. Not that they’ve ever read Robert Frost. However, in far too many cases, a liberal argues by proclaiming something “profound,” after which the inner Robert Frost leans back in his chair, smokes his pipe, and contemplates the deep meaning of the words that had been spoken. The ending posture within that mind is something like this:

tolkien-pipe

Yes, I know that’s Tolkein. But the liberal mind wouldn’t care. That’s their Robert Frost, who is immensely satisfied with whatever words that had been put forth.  Facts do not matter. Logic does not matter. People do not matter. What matters is their inner Robert Frost. As far as Miss O’Kistic is concerned, He is beaming with pride over her quite astute observation.