Even Bill Maher concedes that Christianity is not as Bad as some Religions

Posted by PITHOCRATES - June 23rd, 2013

Week in Review

The American left is not a fan of Christianity.  They don’t like their moralizing.  Their opposition to abortion.  Even the Catholic’s opposition to birth control.  So they attack and belittle Christians every chance they get.  And they say and do some pretty horrible things.  The more outrageous or blasphemous the more the left seems to enjoy it.  But they don’t dare criticize Islam.  Which Christianity pales against when it comes to moralizing, birth control, abortion and the brutal oppression of women (see Bill Maher hammers Islam: ‘It’s the liberals here who don’t quite get it’ by Jeff Poor posted 6/22/2013 on The Daily Caller).

“The problem is, the Arab Spring kind of turned into the Arab Winter,” Maher said. “And Saudi Arabia, I mean, is the most conservative of all. As people criticize me for what I say about the Muslims. I love all people. And it’s funny because the people that come up to me privately say, ‘Bill, I’m with you about the Muslims.’ It’s the American Muslims. It’s the liberals here who don’t quite get it. We’re not criticizing people. We’re criticizing a belief system that turns people into something we wish they wouldn’t be.”

But he also observed that compared to other religions, Islam gets a pass on some of its practices.

“But, you know, Mecca is the capital of the country,” he continued. “And they routinely put people to death … the religious capital, but it’s equivalent to like the Vatican, right — with Catholicism. And, if at the Vatican, they were putting people to death for homosexuality and apostasy, and, you know, adultery — things like that, I feel that there would be a big outcry. I feel that liberals would be upset about that, and it is the center of the religion. It’s a ‘mecca.’”

The enemy of my enemy is my friend.  And as long as Christianity is around some on the left will tolerate Islam no matter what they do.  Even the feminists.  And those who support gay rights.  They’ll attack Christianity for every transgression, real or imagined.  But they won’t criticize Islam.  Even though if given the choice these people would choose to live under Christianity over Islam.  For while Christianity may moralize against them.  They’re not publicly executing anyone.  At worst they just have to listen to the Christians about how they’re going to burn in hell for whatever ‘sin’ they’re engaging in.  Which even they will have to concede is a lot more pleasant than being beheaded or stoned to death.

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President Obama’s Foreign Policy Working no better than George W. Bush’s

Posted by PITHOCRATES - June 23rd, 2013

Week in Review

Candidate Barack Obama called George W. Bush a cowboy.  Whose swaggering foreign policy inflamed our enemies.  And distanced our allies from us.  That was no way to conduct foreign policy, said then candidate Obama.  When he got into office he would engage in diplomacy.  Talk to our allies.  And even to our enemies.  Instead of dictating our policy to them.  By doing this he was going to make the world a safer and friendlier place.  Because it would be a Bush-free world.  But things haven’t been working so well for President Obama as Candidate Obama thought they would (see Analysis: For Obama, a world of Snowden troubles by Warren Strobel and Paul Eckert posted 6/23/2013 on Reuters).

Since his first day in office, President Barack Obama’s foreign policy has rested on outreach: resetting ties with Russia, building a partnership with China and offering a fresh start with antagonistic leaders from Iran to Venezuela.

But the global travels on Sunday of former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden highlight the limits of that approach. Leaders Obama has wooed – and met recently – were willing to snub the American president.

The cocky defiance by so-called “non-state actors” – Snowden himself and the anti-secrecy group, WikiLeaks, completes the picture of a world less willing than ever to bend to U.S. prescriptions of right and wrong…

If Russia allows Snowden to continue on his journey toward Ecuador, it could wipe out what is left of Obama’s policy, dating from 2009, of trying to “reset” relations with Moscow after they turned chilly under his predecessor.

Wow.  With friends like Russia and China President Obama doesn’t need any enemies.

So the love-fest didn’t last.  Candidate Obama had traveled the world where people received him as if he was the second coming of Christ.  He read soaring speeches from his teleprompters.  And promised to be nicer to both friend and enemy than George W. Bush.  But all he got from it was learning the meaning of the old adage that nice guys finish last.  Because those who only respect strength don’t respect nice guys.

President Obama finally joined the Europeans in Libya.  And what thanks did he get from the newly freed Libyans?  On the anniversary of 9/11 they killed our ambassador and three other Americans in Benghazi.

Americans continue to die in Afghanistan.  Power in Egypt went to the Muslim Brotherhood.  Who has deep ties to Iran.  Our mortal enemy.  The Arab spring movement President Obama endorsed by throwing our longtime ally Hosni Mubarak under the bus was more of an Israeli-American winter.  The democracy that was spreading in these predominantly Muslim countries was a move towards a very conservative Islam.  Becoming more like Iran.  Who, once again, is our mortal enemy.  And less like the democracy enjoyed in Western countries.

And now this Edward Snowden matter.  Where all of that ‘soft-love’ of the Obama foreign policy not only distanced our friends from us.  But it made them jab their finger in our eye.  To use the words of New York Senator Chuck Schumer.  Something that didn’t happen that often in the Bush presidency.  For he projected strength.  And though our enemies may have hated him for it.  They did respect him.  As did our friends.

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The Similarities to Dick Cheney are so Great that President Obama has to say he is no Dick Cheney

Posted by PITHOCRATES - June 23rd, 2013

Week in Review

Candidate Barack Obama was brutal when attacking Bush/Cheney.  Talk of torture, warrantless wiretapping, rendition, drone attacks, Guantanamo Bay, the Patriot Act, etc.  Bush/Cheney were war criminals.  Running a shadow government outside the rule of law.  And the Constitution.  This was all going to change under an Obama administration.  Who was going to have the most transparent presidency in recent times.  And would order the cessation of all those bad things Bush/Chaney were doing.  But when you compare the two administrations it’s getting harder to tell them apart.  And people are even noting this to the president (see I’m no Dick Cheney, Obama insists by Shaun Waterman posted 6/18/2013 on The Washington Times).

President Obama bristled Monday night at comparisons with the Bush administration in his first interview addressing the National Security Agency’s broad gathering of data about Americans’ phone calls and online communications.

“People say, ‘Well, you know, Obama was this raving liberal before. Now he’s, you know, Dick Cheney,’” the president told PBS’ Charlie Rose, referring to the former vice president.

Mr. Obama distinguished the programs his administration ran from those launched by President Bush after the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks, which were carried out under the president’s wartime authority as commander in chief.

Bush/Cheney used drones.  The Obama administration has, too.  Even killed more people with them in his first 4 years in office than Bush/Cheney did in their 8 years.  Even killing an American or two on foreign soil.  Something Bush/Cheney didn’t do.

Bush/Cheney used warrantless wiretaps on international telephone calls to a suspected terrorist.  The Obama administration is collecting and storing metadata on all U.S. domestic telephone calls.  And they’re working with Internet providers to collect information on people’s Internet activities.  Collecting it and storing it.  So they can look at it later.  With a court order, of course.  From a court especially designed for the government’s eavesdropping activities.  The FISA Court.

According to Wikipedia, in 8 years Bush/Cheney averaged 1793.75 requests to the FISA court and was rejected 0.070% of the time.  In 4 years of President Obama his administration was averaging 1627.25 requests and was rejected 0.015% of the time.  So the Obama administration was averaging about 10% a year less than the Bush/Cheney.  But Obama only had one request denied in 4 years compared to Bush/Cheney 10 denials in 8 years.  Even though President Obama won the War on terror in May of 2011 with the killing of Osama bin Laden.  So the FISA court became more of a rubberstamp under the Obama administration than it was under Bush/Cheney.

During Bush/Cheney the IRS did not harass their political enemies.  The IRS did under the Obama administration.  Bush/Cheney did not use the Justice Department to investigate journalists reporting unfavorably on them.  The Obama administration did.  Despite the mainstream media clearly favoring President Obama over Bush/Cheney.

Bush/Cheney.  President Obama.  It’s getting harder to tell these administrations apart.  Unless you look at the economy.  Yet Bush/Cheney was evil incarnate.  While we need to trust our government under President Obama.  Even though he is a little more Dick Cheney than even Dick Cheney was at times.

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A Weakening Dollar is giving Boeing a Trade Advantage over Airbus

Posted by PITHOCRATES - June 23rd, 2013

Week in Review

Before you can buy from a foreign country you have to exchange your currency fist.  For example, if you’re in China and want to buy some aircraft from Boeing or Airbus, you have to exchange you currency first.  Exchange Chinese yuan for U.S. dollars.  Or exchange Chinese yuan for euros.

Now if both Boeing and Airbus have a plane that meets all of their needs leaving price as the only consideration, they have two things to consider.  Price, obviously.  And the current exchange rate.  For if the U.S. dollar is weaker compared to the euro they will get more dollars than euros when exchanging their currency.  Giving the Americans a trade advantage.  Because if the dollar is weaker than the euro the Chinese yuan will buy more from Boeing than it will from Airbus.  A situation that actually exists now.  And it concerns Airbus (see Airbus CEO Concerned Over Euro/USD Exchange Rate Affecting Exports by David Pearson posted 6/20/2013 on 4-traders).

Airbus Chief Executive Fabrice Bregier Thursday said he remains concerned about the strength of the euro against the U.S. dollar which could limit the European plane-maker’s export-reliant growth despite strong demand for passenger jets particularly from Asia.

The CEO has previously expressed concern that the euro’s rise against the dollar could force the company to seek extra cost cuts or savings.

The aircraft market is a world market.  An aircraft manufacturer’s export sales will be greater than their domestic sales.  So a weak currency benefits them.  Which is why governments like to weaken their currencies.  Especially if they depend on robust export sales.  But the down side to that is that a weaker currency will raise prices everywhere else.  So, yes, exports will grow.  But people will lose purchasing power.  As their money won’t buy as much as it once did.

Because the Chinese yuan will buy more from Boeing than it will from Airbus they have to somehow lower the price of their planes to offset that advantage Boeing has. Which means they will have to find costs they can cut.  Find savings elsewhere.  Or watch Boeing sell more planes.

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Tesla’s Battery Swap System gives the Gasoline-Powered car a Run for its Money

Posted by PITHOCRATES - June 23rd, 2013

Week in Review

The BIG problem with the all-electric car is range anxiety.  Will I have enough charge to get home?  If I don’t how long will it take to recharge my battery?  So I can get home?  You see, if you’re running low on gas you can always pull into a gas station and fill your tank in about 5 minutes.  Maybe 10-20 minutes if there are cars at all of the gas pumps and you have to wait for them to fuel first.  Then you’re back on the road with your car mechanically exactly like it was before you stopped.  The ONLY thing changed is the amount of fuel in the gas tank.  If the all-electric car can match that then people will get over their range anxiety.  And start buying them.  With a new battery swap system, Tesla believes they have done exactly that (see Tesla Shows Off A 90-Second Battery Swap System, Wants It At Supercharging Stations By Year’s End by Chris Velazco posted 6/20/2013 on TechCrunch).

Tesla can swap a Model S’s battery in just 90 seconds (that’s less time than it takes to fuel up a regular car), and you won’t even have to get out of your seat to do it…

Once a Model S owner parks the car on a designated spot, a platform raises from the ground to disconnect and grab hold of the depleted battery. The platform then descends back into the ground, dumps the battery, retrieves a fresh one, and rises once more to connect it to the car…

Frenzied drivers will still have to do some work, though — they’ll have to drop off the battery on the return leg of their journey and pay an unspecified “transport fee,” though they can also choose to keep the battery and pony up the difference between the price of the old and new batteries…

Outfitting each of those stations with the ability to quickly replace batteries and get motorists back on the road presents quite a logistics problem. There’s the cost to consider — Tesla expects each battery swap station to cost about $500,000 to build, to say nothing of the maintenance and infrastructure costs that will come now that someone presumably has to stop by each station and replace worn-down batteries.

When you get gas you’re not removing nuts and bolts.  There are no studs that can break.  No threads to strip.  Yes a battery swap is quick and hands-free but there is a chance for something to go wrong when you’re replacing a part of your car.  Especially a part that hangs underneath.  The odds may be slim that something will happen.  But when you’re gassing up this cannot happen.  Because you don’t need any tools or machines to put gasoline into the gas tank.

What if it’s winter?  And the bottom of your car is ensconced in ice?  Will there be an attendant there to chisel the ice away so the automated system can work?  And if driving on snow and ice there’s always a chance that you may spin out of control and bounce the bottom of your car off of a curb or something.  Will that cause anything to become misaligned so the automated system won’t work?  And if you cracked your battery pack will the automated system notice that while removing it?  Or will they unknowingly recharge a cracked one and give it to some unlucky driver?  Or are all battery packs new at these recharging stations?  If so that could make this battery swap more costly than buying gasoline.

Will every all-electric car have the same battery pack?  Will they all have the same charging capacity?  Or will each car that has a different battery need its own automated system?  That’s something else you don’t have to worry about with gasoline.  For you will be able to burn gasoline from any gas station in any of your cars.  Which means all you have to look for when you need fuel is a gas station.  For anyone will do.

Pit stops in NASCAR work well.  They’re fast.  And everyone is doing the best job they can with the best spare parts available.  But they don’t share with the other pit crews.  With these battery swap stations you have to place a lot of trust in your fellow Tesla drivers.  That none of them are trying to unload a damaged battery without anyone being the wiser.  I’m sure they’re all trustworthy.  But do you want to take a chance when driving at 3 in the morning?

The Tesla battery swap station is impressive.  But stopping for gasoline is so much easier and simpler to do.  And you never have to worry about what some other driver left you.  This is another huge investment in addition to the charging network they’re installing.  What happens, say, if after making this massive investment a new battery technology comes out that makes the previous ones obsolete?  As well as these battery swap stations?  What then?

Guess I’m still skeptical.  Even when it comes to what may be the finest all-electric car ever built.  For Tesla has made a beautiful car.  And brought it as closer to the gasoline-powered car in terms of range and convenience.  But it’s not a gasoline-powered car.  What we’re familiar with.  Which gives us a sense of security when driving.  Even driving home in the middle of the night through a blinding blizzard.  Confidant that our car will always be up to the task of getting us home.  Even when we may not.

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