Open Forum

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Leap into the leap year!

 

The time has come to stop ripping the gum that others chewed from under the park bench and re-using it. You’re off the traces now and are free (within some constraints of common decency) to express yourselves on any topic that suits you.

 

Heinlein Quote Bullet Points:

** “It is a truism that almost any sect, cult, or religion will legislate its creed into law if it acquires the political power to do so, and will follow it by suppressing opposition, subverting all education to seize early the minds of the young, and by killing, locking up, or driving underground all heretics.” – Robt. Heinlein

** “Taxes are not levied for the benefit of the taxed.” – Robt. Heinlein

** “I began to sense faintly that secrecy is the keystone of all tyranny. Not force, but secrecy . . . censorship. When any government, or any church for that matter, undertakes to say to its subjects, ‘This you may not read, this you must not see, this you are forbidden to know,’ the result is tyranny and oppression, no matter how holy the motives. Mighty little force is needed to control a man whose mind has been hoodwinked; on the contrary, no amount of force can control a free man whose mind is free. No, not the rack, not fission bombs, not anything—you can’t conquer a free man; the most you can do is kill him.” – Robt. Heinlein

 

Reserve Currencies

Early in 2022, some predicted the new “gold-backed” Russian ruble would soon replace the U.S. dollar as the world’s leading reserve currency.

Those longtime students of history’s variations of national and international gold, silver, and bimetallic standards saw right from the beginning that the ruble was not “gold-backed.” The Kremlin’s announcement that the Russian central bank would buy gold at a fixed ruble price per ounce from March to June of 2022 immediately sent end-of-the-dollar journalists declaring Russia was “going on the gold standard” and “the ruble will quickly dethrone the dollar.”

At least two glaring problems with this narrative that doomsayers should have first understood were:

1) A policy to buy gold at a fixed price alone does not constitute a gold standard. It only indicates that a central bank is accumulating gold reserves.

For a currency to truly claim gold-backing, the central bank must pledge not only to buy but, more importantly, sell gold at a fixed ruble price and pledge always to sell it on demand—no waiting or delays, something the CBR (unsurprisingly) never did.

2) No gold standard with an expiration date of June 30, 2022, in three or six months, etc… is credible either.

Even if the Russian central bank began selling its gold reserves at a fixed ruble price, which it never did, a termination date of June 30, 2022, would serve as an announcement that Russia was terminating its gold standard in three months and confidence in the stable purchasing power of the ruble would have been undermined before it ever started, very possibly leading to a run on Russia’s gold reserves.

Currently, the dollar is still the least dirty shirt in the laundry basket—especially when compared to any currency that alleges to offer a suitable global reserve alternative.

**

Identify the Aircraft

1

2

3

 

Identify the Armor

4

 

Identify the Boats

5

 

Parting Shot

43 thoughts on “Open Forum

  1. (1) Martin P4M Mercator.
    (2) Yak-130.
    (3) XB-28 Dragon?
    (4) Looks like a Conqueror.
    (5) Looks like PBRs in front, and a Swift in back?

    – Kle.

      1. Yes. I had convinced myself that it wasn’t an A-26 for some reason…
        I should just go with my first impressions more, I guess.

        – Kle.

  2. Identify the Aircraft:
    1. Martin P4M Mercator
    2. Yakovlev Yak-130 Mitten
    3. Douglas A-26 Invader

    Identify the Armor:
    4. Conqueror

    Identify the Boats:
    5. PCF (Swift boat), two PBR

  3. I thought you might do something to do with the earth’s rotation and why I can’t sunbathe on a leap day.

    Saint Bridget thinks you should ask a man to marry you on this day and Queen Margaret of bonnie old Scotland fined men who refused proposals.

    Leap year, was ne’er a good sheep year. Not a time to buy livestock, if you were thinking of farming.

    And today’s beverage comes from the Savoy in London, Craddock’s Leap Year Cocktail. If you drink this you’ll be lucky for the rest of the year. Some people simply hope they’ll get lucky that night.

    London Dry Gin – Grand Marnier – a dash of sweet vermouth and freshly squeezed lemon juice. Shake and pour over ice and wait for the magic to happen.

    1. What is keeping you from stretching out that svelte body on leap day? The Sun is up there (somewhere). If you’re going to complain about the English drizzle, that’s every day (including Groundhog Day, which you don’t celebrate in Old Blighty).

      Enough of Craddock’s Leap Year Cocktail, and you’ll be laying out. I’m sure that somebody will help you off with the garb so you can catch some rays.

      1. Jules pretty much summed it up. As for Leap Year, many an Irishman will be hiding in the pub today, sans Craddock’s Leap…but likely hovering over a glass of their favorite Whisky…in disguise. Oh, and as for laying out, that is why one purchases a cottage compound in the country that includes a perimeter wall…that is, as long as the neighbors cottage is a single floor without any direct line of site into the backyard.

  4. Craddock’s bruising concoction was not involved when Mrs. and I committed matrimony on this day in 1992.

    1. You know Wild, that is a class 1 felony in some parts… Now if you were to consummate(I don’t mean in the biblical sense) that marriage, you are legal. You never want to commit or volunteer for any thing.

      1. I guess as long as she lets me hang around, Kevin, I’ll keep her. I mean that in a good way, of course……

  5. Heinlein bullet points, very relative to current events, thanks L.L.

    Which of his fiction works would be recomended for youth in recreational reading?

    On the lines of V.M. recent fitional shorts, which other Heinlein works would be recommended for adult reading, as allegorical, to educate concerning social and moral issues at hand?

    More bullets to point in the right direction, from Heinlein;
    Never underestimate the power of human stupidity. …
    Everything is theoretically impossible, until it is done. …
    Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own… …
    An armed society is a polite society.

    1. Any of his ‘Juveniles,’ those being written for, well, kids and young adults. Hard Stop at “Stranger in a Strange Land.”

      Here’s the List of Juveniles
      Rocket Ship Galileo (1947)
      Space Cadet (1948)
      Red Planet (1949)
      Farmer in the Sky (1950)
      Between Planets (1951)
      The Rolling Stones (1952)
      Starman Jones (1953)
      The Star Beast (1954)
      Tunnel in the Sky (1955)
      Time for the Stars (1956)
      Citizen of the Galaxy (1957)
      Have Space Suit—Will Travel (1958)
      Starship Troopers (1959) (which is nothing like the stupid movies)

      All of them deal with adult subjects like death, war, why we fight, individual rights, personal responsibility, all the things that made Americans great at one time.

      “Stranger” starts Heinlein’s weird years and the subjects get darker and weirder and pervier as he got older.

      1. And I do mean adult subjects.

        “Starman Jones” deals with death, family, unions, space travel, death and overcoming it all.

        “Farmer” has death, including the main character’s sister. And independence from a corrupt regime.

        “Red Planet” deals with, well, death, oppression and independence from a corrupt regime.

        “Time for the Stars” is probably the best ‘time travelling’ (using Einsteinian physics) book ever written.

        “Citizens” deals with slavery and the support of the slave trade, and how the stock market and stocks work (like voting vs non-voting shares, it does matter.)

        “Have Spacesuit” deals with the mechanics of a spacesuit, death and education (really digs into ‘modern’ education.)

        “Starship Troopers” deals with the psychology behind why we fight. Introduces the concept of classes in “History and Moral Philosophy” which deal with why humans do things like 6 people dying while searching for a lost child and such. Lots of personal responsibility, one section deals with the public hanging of a child murderer.

        All are great. I reread them all the time.

        I’d also include “Podkayne of Mars” which deals with issues between siblings, revolutions, death and possibly death of a main character (or at least years in a coma or brain death.)

  6. Heinlein had a lot to say that’s still relevant. I met him once at a book signing years ago. He struck me as someone who didn’t suffer fools gladly.
    I don’t usually do too well on the “ID this” segments, though I did get the A-26 and I recognized the river boats. I had a friend who was brown water navy back in the day. Sadly he’s gone now.

  7. Good Heinlein quotes. I started reading his later works, such as Friday, and read Stranger in a Strange Land because it was “a classic”. They were … okay? But each a bit off putting. I didn’t read any more Heinlein for years. Then one day for reasons I can’t remember, I read one of his “juveniles”. It was GREAT! (Sorry GFW2, don’t remember which.)

    As to the other Big Three, Clark was also … off somehow. Asimov I deplored his politics and was sickened by the vision (of the fictional characters) of Foundation. Northumbrian commentator “Morgoth” (sprlchuk keeps trying to change it to Morgenthau! WTF, spelcehck? That’s some kind of hate crime! Hahaha.) Anyway, Morgoth has a good piece about Asimov and Foundation on YouTube. I can’t be arsed to find it right now, but the basic thesis was that Foundation was set up to jumpstart civilization back into exactly the worst, most soulless phase Every Single Time. (Morgoth is quite the Spenglerian.)

    Enough bitching about “big-name classic” SF. Time to say something positive. I love me some Poul Anderson. And H Beam Piper.

    1. Similar to Ayn Rand…small amounts. Read The Fountainhead at 16 at the behest of my [very cool] Uncle who was a major reader and a true “English Major” — always thought Frank Lloyd Wright was her muse. The book struck a nerve with me: Be your own person and follow your instincts.

    2. I did abhor Asimov’s politics even as a young adult but, to his credit, he did respond by letter to my questions about the speed of light. Not only one reply but a couple.

      To me, Heinlein, has a lot of wisdom when you read between the lines. We are living in the ‘crazy years’ but I was promised space travel dammit.

    3. Here’s the Morgoth’s Review thing I was talking about. Power through the nearly impenetrable accent. Worth it.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TxTz4pIXTFY

      Rand. Her main characters (“heroes”) were sociopaths. Roark, if I recall, is a rapist. I also seem to recall Objectivists (high IQ weirdos for the most part) writing impassioned essays in Roark’s defense about how he was the REAL victim. Dagny Taggart abandons her loyal assistant literally in the middle of nowhere, sobbing by the railroad tracks, because he didn’t measure up as one of her elite, her selected, her anointed, and therefore didn’t deserve to enter Asshole Valhalla. Er, Galt’s Gulch. You can’t run a stable society without loyalty up and down the chain. But Rand, eaten by jealousy, entitlement, nicotine*, and her speed habit (diet pills my yellow butt) was herself a sociopath. And that’s coming from someone who was all about Rand from age about 15 to 18. Then I met a bunch of adult Objectivists when I went off to college. My god those were dysfunctional people. 😳

      I’m sure I’ve ranted that rant before. Sorry. Rand is like Nietzsche for me. Somewhere between 30 to 50% is good or even great. But there’s some weird stuff there too.

      As to Asimov, I have no doubt he had good intentions. And teaching (responding to mail from a reader) is a means of spreading his message. I’m quite sure Asimov was sincere and wanted to move society in what he thought was the best direction. I just happen to disagree with a number of his goals. The Morgoth video goes over it quite well, I think.

      * Rand and nicotine. There was a subset of her acolytes who felt a Moral Obligation to smoke, because of her personal smoking, and her analogy of the literal fire held between your fingers with the metaphorical fire of creativity. It’s like men squatting to pee because of hadiths. Or maybe The Prophet (PBUH) had a prostate problem? Jeebus. Emulate the philosophy, goals, ethos of your idol if you must. You don’t have to drink your tea with lemon and Tabasco sauce because your idol had the quirky habit of doing so.

      1. Ayn Rand was a reading subject in my Behavioral courses as a pure sociopath and a pure narcissistic personality. We were to read her books. I was never much on her subject matter and what little I did read of her prior wasn’t interested. After reading Atlas Shrugged, Fountainhead, Anthem and a few others I was convinced I shouldn’t have read them at all. I submitted my essay and diagnosis and went home and took a scalding hot shower and used Fel Naptha soap and I was pink when I got out. I have no idea why people worship her as they do and look to her for guidance in the days to come.

    4. Wasn’t Clark the one who, if you were a small brown child, you would have found him on instead of off? Or am I confusing him with someone else?

      1. There was some rumor about Clarke being a pedophile. Supposedly that was a major reason he lived in Sri Lanka, but honestly I have no idea.

        I just wasn’t a fan of his stories. On the other hand, my friend Eric from jr high school liked Clarke and wrote a number of pastiches in what seemed to me to be Clarke’s style. (Weird. Ain’t thunk of that in decades.)

        1. Clarke was a real pioneer, I believe he “Invented” the geostationary satellite, radio landing guidance, and his early books really groundbreaking hard science fiction. “Sands of Mars” was the first SF I read and got me started at an early age, bought it, over parental objections, at a news stand at the Honolulu Airport in 1954!

  8. Currency.
    A YouTube channel TBNIsrael, often shows stacks of currency the IDF finds in Hamas hideouts. A lot of it is US currency ($50 and $100 bills). Since bill has a serial number, can the path to Hamas be traced? I have no expertise/knowledge of how this works but some readers might know.
    Suspicious minds suspect Iranian frozen assets released by the SloJo s**t show might be the source.
    Thank you for beating the hacker/haters once again that keep attacking your blog.

    1. The bills could come from multiple sources. They could be Afghanistan cast offs. They could be from the footlockers of cash, as landing fees, that USAF crews left around the Black Sea countries along with humanitarian aid to help earthquake victims. They could be from various organized crime groups. They could be straight from the US Treasury. They could be bills that tourists exchanged for local gazinks in neighboring countries.

  9. Re Heinlein works for young readers, I’d recommend “The Star Beast”, “The Rolling Stones”, and “Have Spacesuit, Will Travel” as fun and entertaining. Some of his other “juveniles” have darker themes and tragic events and are perfectly appropriate for adults (Heinlein himself once said that his philosophy for writing juvenile fiction was to write the best possible story he could . . . and just leave out the sex). Examples of this type are “Time for the Stars” and “Farmer in the Sky”.

    As for moral and social issues, Heinlein’s views come through very clearly in most of his fiction (he has often been accused of being “preachy”). That includes juvenile novels like “Between Planets” in which humans and Venusians feel compelled to rebel against a tyrannical Earth. The same is true in the classic “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress”. In the latter story Heinlein shows us what a truly libertarian society would look like: everybody acting in their own interest but developing customs to police themselves to make the system work. And then there’s “Starship Troopers”, which was written in 1959 as an allegory of the Soviet menace. Heinlein really does preach to us in this book via extensive discussions in the protagonist’s History and Moral Philosophy classes in school. He also creates a fascinating form of government: a democracy in which the privilege of voting — i.e., directing the course of society — is limited to those who have demonstrated a willingness to contribute to that society. This is done in the form of a minimum 2 years of military or other arduous government service. Everyone is entitled to earn the right to vote — even quadriplegics can find some way to do so. I find this to be a remarkable concept: the people who run the show must prove that they have skin in the game.

    1. Paul Verhoeven did Starship Troopers very very dirty. It’s unforgivable, really. It’s killing someone and not just wearing his visage as a skinsuit, but going around and inverting what your victim stood for. Of course Ed Neumeier (writer of the movie) is also to blame. But Verhoeven also said something to the effect of “I like science fiction, the Star Wars movies were great.” Yeah, they were great, but they are SF only because of blasters and spaceships. It’s a fantasy with tech (magic) accessories. PV also described Troopers (the novel) as “a satire on American society”. What? How can a guy get everything so wrong? Do the Dutch have some hidden, occult, way of breathing that the rest of us don’t know about? Because if anyone else had his head up his own ass as deeply as Verhoeven did on Troopers, he’d have suffocated long ago.

      Thanks for the Heinlein recs, BTW.

  10. Currency speculation has an ancient, glorious and checkered history. When the Mark was going to be revalued to the dollar, Marks immediately went into short supply in Germany. The same happened in the mid 80s with the Yen. And if you prefer electronic 1s and 0s, consider the speculation in various digital currencies.

    For those playing the news cycle, don’t forget that the Iraqi Dinar was supposed to bounce sky high after the Gulf War.

    You pay your money and you take your chances.

  11. For SciFi i have always enjoyed Phillip Jose Farmer not sure why really and Frank Herberts Soul Catcher haunted me as a kid. On a different note all together i just started Mine Were of Trouble by Peter Kemp which is a personal account of the Spanish civil war by a Brit. Not much written about what happened first hand In English. Its an excellent read and highly recommend because it’s coming to a country near you…

    1. Farmer wrote some truly outrageous hard core erotica/porn as well. Highly recommended if you’re into that stuff.

  12. Was the first quote listed one that came out before he started to wise up about the direction Democrats were taking? It seems to apply even more to the current crop of Woke Wonders. Another Heinlein quote seen a lot in recent years is the one about “bad luck”.

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