Nuggets of Wisdom

Monday, October 15, 2012

This Week In Review (10/15/2012)

News of the Week

Pakistani Schoolgirl Victim Of Taliban Assassination Attempt

14-year-old Pakistani school girl Malala Yousafzai remains in critical condition following a Taliban assassination attempt Tuesday.

While returning home from school, the girl was shot in the head and neck by Taliban gunman. She survived the attack but has since remained hospitalized, unconscious and in critical condition. Today she has been transported to the United Kingdom to receive further treatment.

Yousafzai lives in Pakistan within the Swat District, which has been under Taliban control since 2009. Under their militant interpretation of Sharia Law, women are prohibited from attending school.

Since then, Yousafzai has kept a blog where she has been detailing her life under the Taliban's regime and has reported on their activities including the destruction of several schools.

For her valiant efforts and her advocacy for women's rights and education, Yousafzai has received worldwide recognition and acclaim, even receiving the Pakistan's first National Youth Peace Prize.

During a CNN interview, she encouraged her peers to be like her and courageously stand against the Taliban and demand their rights: "God will ask you on the day of judgment where were you when your people were asking you, when your school fellows were asking you, and when your school was asking you (why) I am being blown up."

The plight of this brave Pakistani girl reveals the huge gap between women's rights here in America and throughout the rest of the world. While American feminists complain about their "oppression" under the "patriarchy" and "war on women" (and by "war on women," they mean people disagreeing with them forcing taxpayers, including Catholics, to cover their birth control), real feminists like Yousafzai face real oppression against a real patriarchy which is fighting a real war against women and their basic rights including the right to an education--a right which American women not only enjoy (among many other rights) but to a fuller extent than men, as women receive the majority of bachelor's, master's, and doctorate degrees. (Funny how feminists never mention this "gender gap"!)

As I said in an earlier This Week In Review, if feminists truly cared about women's rights, they would cease their petty whining about first world problems and start supporting their fellow women like Yousafzai and their struggle to achieve equal rights for women in Islamic and other third world countries.

But of course, feminists have more important things to worry about, like starting fundraisers for projects to reveal how video games are teh sexist!


Texas School Force Students to Carry Tracking ID

Disgruntled students often compare schools to prison, but for one Texas school district, that analogy may be a fair one.

A Northside Independent School District in San Antonio is experimenting with a student tracking system in an effort to crack down on truancy.

Under the system, students carry ID cards with an embedded radio-frequency identification (RFID) chip that monitors their location even outside of school.
The system is currently being tested in two schools and is expected to be implemented in 112 Texas schools and cover 100 thousand students.

The system was implemented earlier this month, much to the protest of students and parents over privacy concerns.

Students are required to carry the ID cards at all times and must present them in order to access certain areas such as the library or cafeteria. Those who fail to comply can face fines, suspension, or even transfers.

One sophomore, Andrea Hernandez, who refuses to carry the ID for religious reasons, claiming it was the "Mark of the Beast," has even been prevented from voting in school elections. (Citizens being prevented from voting because they don't have ID? Why does that sound familiar?)

"I had a teacher tell me I would not be allowed to vote because I did not have the proper voter ID,” she explained to World Net Daily. “I had my old student ID card which they originally told us would be good for the entire four years we were in school. He said I needed the new ID with the chip in order to vote.”

This tracking  system reveals two things: first, it reveals the double standards towards minors in regards to civil liberties. If this were a corporation forcing employees to carry such privacy-invading ID, the ACLU would be assaulting it with lawsuits faster than you can say, "Freedom is slavery."  But of course, because these are high school students, it's perfectly okay to invade their privacy because, hey, they're just stupid kids. (Ironically enough, Hernandez and her family did contact the ACLU, but it declined to represent her case.)

And second, this system reveals how far the surveillance state has been implemented into our everyday lives. From red-light cameras to surveillance drones, every day the government gains more and more power to pry into our personal lives. Today it's a Texas high school requiring students to carry smart ID cards; tomorrow, it could be the entire country.

At this point, I don't have to quote Ben Franklin. You should all know the quotation by now. For now more than ever are those words relevant.


French Super-Rich Sell Luxury Homes To Avoid Taxes

Following his election earlier this summer, French president Francois Hollande, being the raving socialist that he is, promised to increases tax rates on the rich to 75 percent. The rich, of course, have been more than willing to hand over their money.

Just kidding. The rich are actually planning on leaving the country to evade this tax hike.

What? Did anyone seriously think French millionaires were going to allow the government to confiscate 75 percent of their wealth? If you did, then there’s a summer home on the Rivera I want to sell you.

Actually, there are more than “400 homes worth more than 1 million euro [that] have been put up for sale since May” following Hollande’s election, as Russia Today reports.

And herein lies the problem with taxing the rich: when you have that type of money, you have more than enough means to avoid having it taxed, either by moving it into foreign bank accounts (*cough* Mitt Romney) or by moving out of the country altogether.

All over the world, from France to America, the left has been demanding that the rich pay more taxes in order to fix the economy.

Ignoring the fact that America’s 1 percent already pays 40 percent of the country’s total income tax and 28 percent of the total tax burden, even if we were to tax them at 100 percent, we still wouldn’t have enough money to pay off the national deficit or debt.

And yet the left still insists that the rich don’t pay enough taxes and that taxing them is the only solution to fix our economic mess.

One example they cite to support their claim is how the rich were taxed 90 percent in the 1950s. So that means they paid 90 percent in taxes back then, right? Well, no. Because of tax deductions which were in place, the rich actually paid only 40 percent (which is their effective tax rate now).

Another example they cite is how tax increases under Clinton led to economic prosperity. The reality is that these tax increases (which were highly unpopular) actually led to stagnate growth in GDP, employment, and wages, and real prosperity, as Forbes explains, only came about “through tax and regulatory reform and a return to a rules based monetary policy that produces a strong and stable dollar.”

So if taxing the rich isn’t the solution, what is? Simple. It’s the spending, stupid!

And yes, despite what the left will have you believe, cutting spending actually has been proven to work in countries such as Canada, New Zealand, Sweden, and even here in America. Following WWII, it was spending cuts, not tax increases, that led us out of the Great Depression and into economic prosperity.

But the left will only ignore this and continue to insist on raising taxes on the rich, as Obama plans on allowing the Bush tax cuts expire later this year.

Insanity is described as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results every time. And if the left truly believes that the rich won’t leave the country and take their business elsewhere if their taxes increase, then they truly are insane.


Congress Forcing Army To Buy Tanks It Neither Wants Or Needs

Congress plans on spending $3 billion on new tanks for the army. The problem? The army doesn’t need or want them.

Army chief of staff Gen. Raymond T. Odierno told Congress earlier this year that the army has more than enough tanks on stand-by, over 2 thousand in the California desert alone, and that it doesn’t need any more.

In fact, he insisted that Congress could save $3 billion over the next three years (an amount the Pentagon spends within a single day!) if it simply withheld spending on creating new tanks or refurbishing old ones.

“Our tank fleet is in good shape and we don't need to [make repairs] because of the great support that we have gotten over the last two years," he told the Housing committee.

But despite the army begging Congress not to spend more on tanks, Congress has “set aside $181 million for tanks in the proposed congressional budget for next year.”

Congress claims that it’s doing this to protect jobs, but of course, the real reason is to appease their military-industrial complex lobbyists—specifically, General Dynamics, which was exposed giving campaign contributions around the same time Congress was deliberating this spending. (Isn’t that convenient!)

With all this talk in the media about spending cuts, it’s any wonder that no politician, especially the elephants in Congress, has addressed the real elephant in the room: the military.

With federal defense spending at 20 percent, America spends more on its military than the next 17 countries combined. Even if we were to cut it by 90 percent, we would still have the largest military in the world.

And yet “fiscally-conservative” Republicans refuse to cut even a dime from it. In fact, both Romney and Ryan have made it their campaign promise not to cut defense spending, even though they are more than willing to cut chump change like PBS—which barely makes up a fraction of a percent of our federal budget.

There was a time when Republicans spoke out against the military-industrial complex, now they’re in bed with it. Eisenhower must be doing 360s in his grave.


'Million Muppet March' Planned To Defend PBS

One would assume that, during an election season, politicians would be more concerned about places such as Libya or Wall Street; instead, this past week, they have been focused on, of all places, Sesame Street.

It all started after the first presidential debate when Mitt Romney suggested cutting federal subsidies to PBS, even though he claimed to love Big Bird. What followed was media hysteria about how Republicans wanted to pave over our beloved fictional childhood neighborhood.

The Obama campaign later released a political ad featuring Big Bird—an ad that the Children’s Television Workshop demanded be taken down.

Well now the Muppet madness has finally come full circle with the proposal of a “Million Muppet March.”

What started as an idea between two strangers on social media will become reality Nov. 3 in Washington, as protesters and puppets will gather to show their support for public broadcasting.

This is not a story from The Onion. This entire media circus is not satire. This is real life. During a presidential election, when people ought to be discussing more pertinent issues like indefinite detention within the NDAA, they’re busying worrying about the “fate” of Sesame Street.

PBS should not be an issue, and both sides are stupid for making it so.

The Republicans are stupid in thinking that cutting funding to PBS will help alleviate the deficit. It won't. Both PBS and NPR amount to only $445 million a year in federal spending, a drop in the bucket when compared to the $3.6 trillion we spend on the military--which ironically Romney has promised NOT to cut. (Apparently Romney never watched Sesame Street, otherwise, he would know that one of these things is greater than the other, and more likely to slash our bloated deficit.)

And Democrats are stupid in thinking that cutting federal aid to PBS will be the end of it. That's hardly the case. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting only receives 12 percent of its funding from the federal government; the rest is from donations from "Viewers Like You." Sesame Street alone makes $122 million in revenue. The show is a commercial success and is in no danger of going broke if it were to be kicked off on the government dole.

But of course politicians need to focus on non-issues like Sesame Street or Chick-Fil-A or the "War on Women" in order to distract from real issues such as foreign and economic policy. Because if they had to focus on the issues that mattered, they wouldn't stand a chance with the American public.


Dumbass of the Week

TJ Kincaid (The Amazing Atheist)

Canadian teenager Amanda Todd committed suicide Wednesday after having suffered years of cyberbullying and harassment.

If you thought this story couldn't get any sadder, this weekend, it did.

While many internet users have expressed their condolences for Amanda and her family, one blogger did the exact opposite: namely, the vlogger TJ Kincaid, otherwise known as the Amazing Atheist.

In what appears to be a mockery of Amanda's YouTube video detailing her ordeal through white note cards held up to the screen, TJ uploaded to his Tumblr account a picture of himself holding up a note card in a similar fashion with these words: "I am the other hundreds of thousands of people who died today other than Amanda fucking Todd."

Words fail me as to how insensitive this picture truly is. How heartless do you have to be to piss on the memory of a dead girl--mere days after her suicide?

This would not be the first time TJ has revealed his lack of empathy towards suicide victims--or his fellow human beings in general.

In 2010, following the suicide of Tyler Clementi, who, like Amanda, also suffered from cyberbullying, TJ released a video in which he pondered why the media gave attention to suicide victims, whom he referred to as "pussies."

And earlier this year, he was engaged with a lengthy (and misogynistic) Reddit spat with a feminist whom he persistently threatened with rape, and after learning that she was a rape victim, told her that her rapist deserved a medal.

So the fact that TJ released such a heartless photo is unsurprising to say the least, but what is surprising, if not depressing, is how so many of his fans continue to support him.

Then again, if Chris Brown can maintain his career and fans even after beating his wife, surely a deplorable vlogger like TJ can maintain his, even if his entire career (if you can call it that) is to act like a deplorable human being.


YouTube Vid of the Week

A 13-minute video every moderate/undecided voter should watch--a short un-narrated documentary that looks at Obama's first term with regards to transparency, healthcare, taxes, fairness, energy and the national debt through his own words.


Quote of the Week

"I have the right of education. I have the right to play. I have the right to sing. I have the right to talk. I have the right to go to market. I have the right to speak up....God will ask you on the day of judgment where were you when your people were asking you, when your school fellows were asking you, and when your school was asking you (why) I am being blown up." - Malala Yousafzai