Category Archives: International

The Empire is Struggling Financially

You know things have gotten bad for the Galactic Empire when Darth Vader is sent to rob a bank.

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Posted by on July 23, 2010 in Conflict Studies, Economy, International, Random


Human Rights and the Left

The EU now claims that travel is a human right.

AN overseas holiday used to be thought of as a reward for a year’s hard work. Now Brussels has declared that tourism is a human right and pensioners, youths and those too poor to afford it should have their travel subsidised by the taxpayer.

Add this to health care, housing, the internet (no, I’m not making that up), not paying for carry on luggage, and anything else that you want.

The Founders got it right when they wrote:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are… endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,….

Endowed by their Creator, not endowed by the State.  If the state has the power to grant you something, the state has the power to take it away.  Let’s use health care, for example.  If the state grants you the right to health care then the state has the power to refuse you medical services.  If the state grants you internet access as a human right then the state can censor or shut down the internet at any time.  They gave you the right, they can take it away.  And don’t fool yourself by saying it won’t happen.

If the state is granting you rights then you are a slave to the state and you are no longer free.


When the State Owns You

Her offence was to unwittingly sell a goldfish to a 14-year-old boy taking part in a trading standards ‘sting’.

At most, pet shop owner Joan Higgins, 66, expected a slap on the wrist for breaking new animal welfare laws which ban the sale of pets to under-16s.

Instead, the great-grandmother was taken to court, fined £1,000, placed under curfew – and ordered to wear an electronic tag for two months.

Think it can’t happen in America? Just wait.


Same Act, Different Name?

So, if two women in Iraq strap bombs to their chests and blow themselves up they’re called suicide bombers.  But when two women in Russia do it they’re called homicide bombers?  I’d like to know why the difference in language.

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Posted by on March 29, 2010 in International, Language


Amazon Oddities

I received an email from today with a recommendation to read Said bin Sultan, Sultan of Muscat and Oman: Sayyid, Muscat and Oman, Shaikh, Isa Bin Tarif, Mombasa, Al Bin Ali, Fort Jesus, Utub, Kenya. I was informed that I was getting this recommendation because I’d previously purchased a book on the 9th President of the LDS Church, David O. McKay.

Wondering what a Utah Territory born son of Scotch-Irish ancestry has in common with a 19th Century Sultan, I decided to investigate.  What did my investigation yield?  David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism by Gregory A. Prince is listed in Amazon’s Middle East – Oman section because of President McKay’s middle name, Oman (it’s pronounced Oman, not Oman).

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Posted by on March 23, 2010 in International, Language, People


Moving Forward

In November of last year I mentioned a “code of jihad” that was released by the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group.  It is a challenge to al-Quida philosophy on jihad (click here to read more and review).  Today, Alan pointed out that a Muslim scholar in London has released a 600 page fatwa:

The 600—page fatwa says that “suicide bombings and attacks against civilian targets are not only condemned by Islam, but render the perpetrators totally out of the fold of Islam, in other words, to be unbelievers.” Mr. Qadri described the al—Qaeda movement as an “old evil with a new name” and said he believed that the overwhelming majority of young Muslims in Britain had not yet been radicalized and would “think again” on reading his proclamation.

I’d be interested to know if this fatwa is in response to the “code” released five months ago.  Regardless, it’s one more step toward a greater understanding for the world, and of a new social reality.


This Just In…

Robb Allen points out that the IPCC admits that their data on Anthropomorphic Climate Change is false and flawed.  But of course, most of us already knew that.  I wonder if this revelation will have any effect on the Left’s desire for Cap and Trade?  Probably not.


Update:  It was just two weeks ago that Obama claimed in his SoTU speech, “I know that there are those [, you uneducated, Republican, flat-earthers,]  who disagree with the overwhelming scientific evidence on climate change.”  There are about to be a lot more.


Posted by on February 14, 2010 in Crazy Left, Follow up, Glow Ball Warming, International


How the Process Works

I saw this article in the Salt Lake Tribune and thought it was a perfect example of A Public Peace Process: Sustained Dialogue to Transform Racial and Ethnic Conflicts and Sitting in the Fire: Large Group Transformation Using Conflict and Diversity.

Gay rights: Oakland LDS Stake tries to heal post-Prop 8 rifts

‘This is the church I know and love’

Updated: 02/05/2010 01:39:33 PM MST

Ted Fairchild, who is openly gay, has HIV and serves as a part-time LDS missionary in the Bay Area, left the love of his life to return to church activity. Linda Schweidel wondered why her bright, successful returned-missionary husband still was not ready for children after eight years of marriage. That’s when he broke down and told her he was gay.

Diane Oviatt held her sobbing gay son in a darkened kitchen as he poured out years of grief at the secret he had been carrying for 18 years and wondered how he would get to heaven without marrying.

These were among the anguished stories several Mormons shared during emotional church services Oakland LDS Stake held last summer to heal rifts caused by the faith’s activism in the Golden State on behalf of traditional marriage.

In June 2008, the LDS First Presidency asked all California Mormons to give their time and money to Proposition 8, a ballot measure striking down gay marriage. Many members did so with gusto, circulating petitions, raising money, sending e-mails to church lists and putting up lawn signs.

That left other Bay Area Mormons, particularly those with gay friends and relatives, feeling embattled and alienated. Some stepped away temporarily from church; others left for good. Those who remained often felt at odds with fellow believers.

Oakland Stake President Dean Criddle, a respected lawyer and gentle leader, sensed the ripples of collective pain and wanted to reunite his flock, says Matt Marostica, bishop of the Berkeley Ward.

So Criddle and his counselors assembled quotes and speeches from LDS general authorities that stressed love and compassion for those with same-sex attraction. They then asked each of the 10 wards in the stake to hold a joint meeting of adult members during church services on either Aug. 30 or Sept. 6 to hand out the quotes and listen to personal stories from area members.

The response in Oviatt’s suburban Moraga, Calif., ward was electric, Oviatt says. “Everyone in the audience was weeping. Men came up to my husband, crying, and hugged him, saying, ‘We love you and we love your son.’ ”

A couple of the more ardent ballot supporters apologized to Oviatt for having Prop 8 signs on their lawns, saying, “We never knew.”

Several people told Berkeley’s bishop, Marostica, how much they appreciated the meetings, including one woman who said, “I am so glad we did this. This is the church I know and love.”

[s]Till they have faces » The authorities’ statements and church setting provided a comfort level to Mormons who rarely discuss homosexuality openly, except to condemn it as a social trend or satanic tool. By all accounts, though, it was the stories that were transforming.

One man, who outed himself from the pulpit during one of the meetings, talked about a life of being scorned, bullied and accused by other Mormons of bringing on the AIDS pandemic. Still, every week when he takes the sacrament bread and water, God’s voice whispers to him: “You belong here.”

It’s the same voice Fairchild has heard over and over since becoming active in the LDS Church as a 17-year-old in Pullman, Wash., in 1970.

He served a two-year mission in Mexico, earned a degree at Brigham Young University and married a woman because, he says, she was pretty and could play the piano. The couple had two daughters.

But Fairchild always knew he was gay and eventually couldn’t continue the lie. He fell for a man.

“It was the only time,” Fairchild says, “I have ever been physically, emotionally and spiritually in love.”

By 1986, he and his partner were diagnosed with HIV, which at the time was a death sentence. Elder Richard G. Scott — then an LDS Seventy, now an apostle — gave Fairchild a blessing in which he asked God to build a protective wall around his cells. In that moment, Fairchild believed he needed to live by Mormon standards. He broke up with his love and returned to the church.

“Once you’ve experienced the Holy Ghost,” he says, “there’s no other feeling like it.”

More than 20 years later, Fairchild is relatively healthy and at peace with his decision. He believes he was born gay and a child of a loving Heavenly Father, twin qualities that make him a more effective “worker in God’s kingdom.”

Letting go or holding fast » That doesn’t work for Oviatt’s son, Ross Oviatt, who has not been back to church.

He attended BYU for a few semesters, she says, but it was a “toxic environment.” The Prop 8 fallout — which continues in California with the ballot measure now before a judge – proved difficult for Ross as he tried to weather homophobic slurs and keep his secret. He misses his Mormon experience and friends, but the association is too painful.

It hasn’t been easy for the rest of the family, either.

“We had to re-examine our place in the church,” Oviatt says. “We are not leaving, but it’s hard to stay in a religion that does not embrace our child. If we had to choose between the two, we’d choose Ross.”

Some Mormons in the stake see only one choice: following church edicts.

“I am a faithful Latter-day Saint, happily married with children, striving to live up to my temple covenants, fulfill my calling, be a good father and all the other things which active members of the church try to do,” one man wrote to Criddle in between the two joint sessions. “According to your definition of homosexuality, I am also a homosexual. I have had strong attractions to men (and exclusively men) my whole life.”

But homosexuality is not his identity, just a temptation he refuses to act on, the writer said. He thought the stake should have included more emphasis on heterosexual marriage as the core of Mormon teachings.

Criddle shared the letter (without identification) in all the wards.

Coming back » In what she calls, the “dark days of Proposition 8,” Schweidel took a “leave of absence” from the church.

She didn’t know if she could return. But when Criddle and Marostica asked her to tell her story at one of the joint sessions, she readily accepted.

She has been attending and involved ever since.

“The special meeting made me want to be part of a positive change in the church,” she says. “I want to talk to people, to explain why I feel like I do, and help them try to understand.”

That may work in Berkeley, but how about Bountiful?

Schweidel is hopeful. There are two kinds of Mormons, she says, quoting a friend: those who know gay people and those who don’t know they know gay people.

The task, she says, is to move more members from the second to the first category.

“If my mom in Orem had gay neighbors next door, I know she would love them,” Schweidel says. “The Mormons I have spoken to make an effort to understand. They totally get it.”

This gives you an idea of what I was trying to convey in my post Unpacking Things.  This is how the process works.


Teh Stoopid, IT BURNS!!!

Uncle has the details.

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Posted by on February 5, 2010 in Eyes+Sharp Stick, International, Random, WTF?


More Taurus Plastic

Proving that they’re willing to wrap anything plastic (see the hideous Plastic Judge and Protector Polymer) – the first items in the Taurus 2010 Full Line Catalog are the PT 22 PLY and PT 25 PLY.  Yep, those are polymer-framed versions of the Taurus PT 22 and PT 25 (themselves copies of the Beretta Bobcat).

Taurus continues to prove that they’re willing to build it if you’re willing to buy it, no matter how ridiculous it may look.


Posted by on February 1, 2010 in Guns, International, Tech


Winchester SXP Update (Part III)

I was googling around today wanting to see if I could find more info on the Winchester SXP.  I found it at Field and Stream:

The SXP is the Turkish-made reincarnation of the old 1300, an underappreciated, lightweight, inexpensive gun made in the old New Haven factory before it closed. Winchester announced the SXP last year but it wasn’t until this year that they actually received guns from their Turkish vendor in sellable quantities.

Turkish-made?  It was time for another call to Browning.

Rick, one of the customer service agents with whom I’ve spoken several times concerning the SXP, confirmed that the manufacturing was being done in Turkey but did not remember the name of the factory/company.  FN (the Browning/Winchester parent) of course has complete QC oversight and testing is being done in here in the U.S. at the Browning factory in Morgan, Utah.  Apparently, FN uses a lot of Turkish manufacturers for their shotguns (thus quality should not be an issue).

As mentioned previously, they are still on schedule for a June, 2010 release date.


Posted by on January 27, 2010 in Follow up, Guns, International, Really Excited, Sports


Tax Refund

I got this email today.

Recalculation fiscal acitivity 2008-2009
Local Office no. 72
HM Revenue & Customs Officer:
Jennifer Brough

ATTN: Dear Applicant

After the last annual calculation of your fiscal activity we have determined that you are eligible to receive a tax refund of 401.63 GBP

Your Tax Refund Number ID: UK/38HMRC928841, complete the tax return form attached to this message.
After completing the form, submit the form by clicking the SUBMIT button on form and allow us 5-9 business days in order to process it.

Our head office address can be found on our web site at

Jennifer Brough
Tax Credit Officer
Opening hours:
8.00 am to 8.00 pm, seven days a week. 

I didn’t even know that I’d filed a British Tax Return (chuckle). Ha! What will scammers think of next?

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Posted by on January 15, 2010 in International, Money


If Only The Irish Had Won

This would have been more funny.

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Posted by on January 14, 2010 in Humor, International, StumbleUpon



This made me smile and miss Ukraine just a little bit more.

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Posted by on January 12, 2010 in International, Mission Memories, Religion


A Double Take

When I first read this headline on CNN, Obama promises justice for Christmas terror plotters, I thought, “Wait, he’s going to extend them U.S. Constitutional rights and then give them a get-out-of-jail-free card, just like the others?”  Then I read the article and it looks like the war is going to spread to Yemen.  Oh, and we’re going to spend billions “training and equipping their security forces.”  I wonder how his followers will take this news?

Oh, and one more thing.  We all get to be groped when by the TSA now!  And of course, the 4th Amendment doesn’t apply because these searches are “reasonable.”  Riiiiiiight.  And, a new directive also gives airlines the discretion to take other measures to prevent people from secretly assembling or igniting bombs on aircraft. Those measures include prohibiting people from keeping pillows or blankets, or children, or hands on their laps during the final hour of a flight.

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