Letters from the Lunar Outpost

If we did but know how little some enjoy of the great things that they possess, there would not be much to envy in the world.
- Young, English Poet and Dramatist (1683-1765)

china

This is what I see when I see an iPhone.

This is what I see when I see an iPhone.

I really have hated Apple and all their iCrap devices ever since the iPod came out and my mom was so sweet to get me that pricey little device as the hottest Christmas gift of the year and I can remember I was so excited as I plugged the USB connecter from my brand new iPod into my PC and I began dragging and dropping my mp3s over from my PC and . . . what? What’s this? You mean to tell me I can’t drag and drop my mp3s over just as simple as you can with any other USB storage device that’s ever been made? You mean to tell me that I have to install that bloatware known as iTunes just to do something as simple as a file transfer? Eff you, you effing control freaks.

That was 2001.  Flash forward 16 years later and the tyrants at the Apple regime still make it just as ridiculously convoluted for me to get my wife’s pdf resume from my computer to her iPhone. All these years later and still the authoritarians at Apple won’t allow a simple drag and drop, so the next three options are iCloud and AirDrop – both a bunch of iCrap only available on iOS, and then there’s iTunes, I already swore I was not going to be forced into installing that garbage on my PC, the final solution was a third-party app (Documents 5, thanks Readdle Inc.!) which allowed my wife to get access to the pdf attachment from her browser-based email. Seriously, what a load of crap.

Forget about the fact that Apple outsources all their manufacturing to the cheapest slave labor factories in China and then slaps on their products the most over-inflated price tags imaginable. Far better to buy stock in the company than complain about that, but what I want to know is when will Apple stop ruling their design process with a money-grubbing iron fist that squeezes out the state-of-the-art technology their customers deserve?

How long are iPhones and iPads going to stick with that outdated single button beneath the screen when both Androids and Windows devices have a much more useful set of three permanent buttons? On Android phones, you have a permanent back button just to the right of the home button, on Windows Phones, you have a permanent back button just to the left, but for some reason, Apple is stuck on this lame idea that one button somehow makes things simpler. Because of this, the all-important back button could be in the upper-left of the screen or the lower-left or wherever the developer might want to put it. Listen Apple, pig-headedly sticking with one button beneath the screen does not make your phone any more functional or aesthetically pleasing. It just sucks.

And when will Apple give people the same ability to upgrade their device storage with the MicroSD slots that every other phone has had for over a dozen years now? I know Apple’s all about fleecing their fan base and forcing them to shell out the big bucks if they want more storage on their devices, but did they ever stop to consider that from a historical perspective, their phones and tablets look ridiculously behind the curve when it’s 2017 and they still don’t have something as basic as a MicroSD slot?

Just the same as I wouldn’t begrudge Yves Saint Laurent for finding a way to convince the masses their bags are “status symbols”, to the point where people are willing to pay way more than any bag should be worth because everyone else knows how much they paid for that YSL bag, I also won’t begrudge Apple for finding a way to convince their loyal fans to pay a premium price to make their own fashion statement. You have to hand it to Apple for managing that one, but when it comes to the capabilities and the technology of their devices, don’t ever let anyone tell you Apple isn’t squeezing it out.

Apple Squat

Click here to subscribe and never miss out!

ewok-walk
               

An action comedy about two guys going to China to assassinate North Korea’s Kim Jong-un? And they call him by name and portray him as the real deal, Dear Leader Kim Jong-un? That’s pretty ballsy.

In our house, we’re content to wait out most movies until they hit Netflix or Redbox, but from the first time I saw the trailer for The Interview, this was a movie I wanted to see as soon as it hits the theaters. The movie is set to open on Christmas Day, although as you may have heard, some interesting developments have happened since the trailers were released.

On November 24, 2014, Sony Pictures was hacked, big time.

The work day ended early for Sony Pictures employees. Most of them, anyway. The IT crew will be logging overtime as they deal with a massive breach perpetrated by a group of hackers calling themselves #GOP. The letters stand for Guardians of Peace… While their motives are unclear at this point, what is clear is that this was an attack of cinematic proportions.
 
Reportedly the original attack breached a single server; from there, it spread like wildfire across Sony’s network. The image [below] popped up on “every computer all over Sony Pictures nationwide,” according to a Reddit poster with inside connections. Other sources have confirmed the ominous image, which looks like something straight out of a 90s hacking flick.

source: geek.com

Message left by hackers on Sony Computers NationwideHackers are usually either motivated by greed in stealing identities or by a desire to simply vandalize networks and computers just for the hell of it. Add the movie studio quotient, and with this attack, there was also the possibility that these hackers were of the pirate variety, motivated by a penchant for spreading “free movies” around the Internet.

While four unreleased have been uploaded to file-sharing sites, when you check out the “Engrish” from the image that popped up on all those Sony Pictures computers across the nation, it’s obvious that the main motivation for these hackers is something quite different – these guys are holding Sony’s data hostage “until our request be met.”

We’re talking Social Security numbers for 47,000 celebrities, freelancers, and current and former Sony employees, 33,000 documents including personal information, salaries and home addresses along with an unknown number of unreleased scripts and movies.

I’m sure you can guess who topped the list of suspects on the rumor mill, and it wasn’t long before North Korea came out and addressed the rumors, denying that they were behind it, but saying that it was “a righteous deed” and while they claimed they “do not know where in America the Sony Pictures is situated and for what wrongdoings it became the target of the attack”, they also said it is possible the attack might have been carried out by supporters of Kim Jong-un.

Oh man, I hope this is a great movie, because the way it’s now spilling out into the real world is enough to make a great movie even greater.

Check out the North Korean Government stating flatly that “wrongdoings” by Sony that must have inspired the hacking and then the obfuscation in saying “we do not know where in America the Sony Pictures is situated,” as if anyone with a brain doesn’t know the data was hacked across that whole global network thingy they call “The Internet”. That is just so bizarre for a government to behave like that – they’re not even trying to be serious, they’re taunting us on a level that’s absolutely juvenile.

Then there’s the DPRK line where they say, it wasn’t us but it’s quite possible the hackers were North Korean citizens acting on their own. Yeah right! In a nation where millions have starved in the last few decades, all you have to do is look at a nighttime satellite image of North Korea and South Korea to see that the citizens of the North are living in the Stone Age. The only North Koreans getting on the Internet are the people working for the government.

North Koreans live in the Stone Age

All I know is, if Sony doesn’t give into the hostage takers and their “request”, my family will be there to see The Interview on Christmas Day.

Click here to subscribe and never miss out!

ewok-walk
               

Happy Pig Says, "Hi!"“In Shaanxi Province, Chinese police have discovered 22 tons of pork that was sold as certified halal (Islam-approved) beef. Muslims are forbidden from eating pork. This case, once again, demonstrates the lack of seriousness of the halal industry in Asia.”

source: Bare Naked Islam

I’ll admit that my first instinct was to laugh and that I actually did just that. I would also bet money that this was not some sort of mistake or careless oversight and that somewhere, some Chinese bureaucrat is getting a good laugh himself off the prank he pulled.

I’ll share a story though I’m slightly embarrassed to admit it – I don’t know how it was that I could have been thirty years old and not know the recipe off-hand and failed to scrutinize the box a little better, but I remember vividly how I once unsuspectingly fed my Muslim wife a Marie Callender’s chicken carbonara dinner and saw first-hand how, after a few bites, she realized that the little bits along with the chicken and pasta were bacon and how she then proceeded to get sick from it. I felt horrible.

Those were just a couple bits of bacon, but 22 tons of mislabeled pig meat sold as halal???

Imagining all that pork being eaten by Muslims calls to mind an old joke:

Q: What’s a Jewish dillema?

A: Free ham.

If you find the story funny then laugh just as I did, but I would also hope that after laughing, we might ask ourselves if our prejudices might lead us to believe it would have been a little less funny had the pork been labeled Kosher and sold to a bunch of Jews in Brooklyn.

Unfortunately, we live in a little sliver of history where it’s the Muslims infected with the crazy virus and all the headlines in the news speak of Muslims blowing up bombs and trying to maim and kill as many innocents as they can, but as Christians, we should remind ourselves that after the first four centuries of enduring persecution and Constantine’s subsequent conversion, for most of the fifteen hundred years that followed, it was the Christians who were slaughtering the natives, burning the witches and starting the wars.

It’s a little hard for Christians to get high and mighty about Muslim terrorists when you look at the big picture of all the history that preceeded the times we live in.

So hey, if it’s funny, laugh, but I also think it is our duty as Christians to have respect for people of other faiths. I have the unique perspective of being married to a Muslim, and through our relationship and knowing quite a few Muslims personally, it’s given me a far better perspective on the typical Muslim in America than all those headlines of terror attacks might lead you to imagine.

I have a Muslim sister-in-law who is so gentle and peace-loving that she’s more like the way I envision Jesus than any Christian I’ve ever met.

I know a wonderful guy we call Easy Azizi and having a conversation with him is as interesting as any philosopher I’ve ever read.

The next time you look at a hijab-wearing woman as someone akin to an alien from another planet, allow me to introduce my mother-in-law who raised a son who served in the U.S. Army as mediator between our forces and the Afghan tribes.

Not only are Muslims as a whole not our enemy, but even if you were led to believe that they are, didn’t Jesus teach us to love our enemies?

Muslim people as a whole are not our enemies, and while it disgusts me that many in the media and the Obama administration try to sanitize the news and refuse to call Muslim terror for what it is, even if we are sane enough to call it for what it is, it still doesn’t change the fact that there are so many more examples of Muslims that we can be proud to call our fellow Americans.

Aren’t we, as Christians, supposed to believe that it’s not for us to judge? Aren’t we supposed to be aware that we are all sinners and that the only one who is worthy of judging anyone is God Himself?

Click here to subscribe and never miss out!

ewok-walk
               

So yesterday, Jim Carrey released his unfunny and idiotic Cold Dead Hand song portraying NRA members as just a bunch of dumb rednecks, completely oblivious to the fact that 90% of gun crime is committed by criminals who don’t give a damn about gun control, and by any measure, that song was a bomb. That song bombed almost as bad as that Bob Wonderlick movie, or whatever the heck they called his latest movie about magicians that nobody went to see. All you had to do is watch the Twitter hashtag to know how badly that song bombed, there are people with 100 followers whose timelines were scrolling faster than #ColdDeadHand. That hashtag was lucky if it was getting a tweet every other minute.

So while watching his hashtag crawl, I noticed this tweet:

 

How could I not respond to this?

 

Those Who Do Not Remember the Past Are Condemned to Repeat ItFirst, it brings to mind a famous quote: “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

That photo is especially relevant here, because if you look closely at the image, you can see the dead bodies stacked on top of each other beneath the sign.

How do you think Jim Jones got those 918 people in Jonestown to line up one by one and drink their little cups of kool-aid, knowing that there was a lethal dose up cyanide in every cup?

Contrary to the popular misconception, it wasn’t just the brainwashing that got the people to drink knowingly of their suicides, it also just as much the fact that they knew if they resisted, they would be shot down like animals, because the only people in Jonestown who were armed were Jim Jones himself and a handful of his most trusted guards. Jonestown is just one of many many examples throughout history of what happens when the people in power make sure all the guns are in their hands.

Let’s return now to our smug European friend who says, “Come on ‘merica, you don’t need guns, watch EU!”

I’m laughing as I type this, laughing at his condescension that this guy has toward America and our right to bear arms after the history of what happened in Europe in the previous century.

to-conquer-a-nation-first-disarm-its-citizensGo back and study your 20th century European history, go back and study that history and tell us how well it worked out for the Europeans when they laid down their guns like lambs. Can you imagine how awesome that must have been to witness nation after nation in Europe falling under the grip of totalitarian rule as small bands of armed revolutionaries took quick control over the masses of unarmed people?

Once the tyrannies took hold of their respective European nations, those unarmed masses had very little means of acquiring guns and and freeing themselves of their despotic rulers, so there was nothing to stop these dictatorial regimes as they the dragged the entire world into not just one world war, but two world wars resulting in a death count of nearly 100 million soldiers and innocent civilians across the globe.

When you contemplate all the horrors that were wrought on the world by Europe in the 20th century, you would think that just out of common decency, the Europeans would realize we’re still too close to all that misery, carnage and death for any of those Euros to be making righteous moral judgments on any nation. As the saying goes, “too soon”. Maybe give it another century before enough time has passed where you might be distant enough from the 20th century to attempt to stand on a moral ground and make condemnations of other nations, especially when it comes to condemning a United States which bailed you out of two world wars that were both started on European soil and especially after the U.S. was the one thing that stopped the Soviet Union from steamrolling your entire continent under the misery of the Soviet control.

Russian Poster: Hand Over Your WeaponsOf course, the lessons of what happens when the citizens of a nation have no means to defend themselves against relatively small groups of armed revolutionaries storming to power, these lessons extend beyond Europe to the Russian landmass spanning both Europe and Asia, where Stalin killed and starved 43,000,000 unarmed Russians, followed by another 18,000,000 killed by subsequent Soviet Leaders. The slaughter of unarmed citizens extended on into Asia, with Mao Zedong in China, who slaughtered 64,000,000 of his unarmed citizens, with Pol Pot in Cambodia, who slaughtered 2,000,000 of his unarmed people (an incredible 28.4% of the population) and with the “Dear Leaders” Kim of North Korea, who have starved and executed a combined 2.4 million of their unarmed people. It also extends to Africa, where Idi Amin killed as many as 300,000 of his unarmed Ugandans, and into the Caribbean, with Fidel Castro, who killed 150,000 of his unarmed Cubans and jailed maybe twice as many for “political crimes”. Sadam Hussein had disarmed his public, Iran has disarmed its public, and we could go on and on . . .

But I think George Mason said it best . . .

To disarm the people is the most effectual way to enslave them.

It seems many Europeans can’t even remember their own history of the century just passed, so it bears repeating again: those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it. Never imagine that it could never happen here, just because we’re Americans. Don’t fool yourself, every government ever created has an irresistible impulse to expand it’s control into every aspect of our lives. That governmental compulsion towards absolute control is inevitable, it’s in every government’s DNA, it is the very nature of any government.

The only way to keep a government in check is to make sure the government fears us, the people, and not the other way around.

Never ever submit to laying down your arms like good little lambs and never ever put all your faith in an almighty benevolent government to be your sole protector against the wolves, because if given the chance, government will always become the ultimate wolf.

Remember history and remember that every time in history, when the people in control of the government are the only people who are armed, it’s always going to end badly. Always.

Those Other 29 Bullets are for David Gregory and all the Power Hunger, Liberty-Trampling Assholes of America

Click here to subscribe and never miss out!

ewok-walk
               

If you’ve ever read Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle, at the turn of the last century, when businesses were left to their own devices, the state of the meat packing industry was absolutely horrific. In the wake of the public outcry over the conditions portrayed in Mr. Sinclair’s book, the government regulation that ensued was well needed, so you won’t get any argument from me that there’s never a time when the government needs to be involved in certain industries to ensure that cutting costs and maximizing profits doesn’t result in endangering the public.

When we’re speaking of government regulation, however, there’s a gargantuan difference between government regulation of something as cut and dried as, “is the food safe?” or “is the building safe?” and putting the Internet as we know it under government control. The FCC now seems poised to do just that in appointing themselves as the Overlords of the Internet.

When it comes to this impending government control of the Internet, the first thing you have to ask yourself is, why do people feel compelled for the government to come in and control the Internet when there’s nothing broken that needs to be fixed in the first place? Why this left-wing compulsion towards placing the government in charge of everything?

When speaking of business and government, many liberals will always see business as the greater of two evils or perhaps the one and only evil out of the two, but for my liberal friends with so much distrust for business and so much faith in government, do you not remember your left-wing pride in protesting an American government at war in Southeast Asia, holding the Nixon White House to account for the abuses of Watergate, or calling for an even more recent administration to stand charges for war crimes? This is the same government you would allow to place itself in charge of the Internet?

If you judge it from the perspective of history, it makes no sense at all to always place all your faith in governments over business. All you have to do is look at the last hundred years to see that for every food safety horror and BP oil spill in this world you can find horrors a million times greater, and I mean that literally – horrors a million times greater – that have been perpetrated by governments on humanity.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, Overlord of the Internet

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, Overlord of the Internet

It’s kind of scary to think that every single totalitarian government in the world has taken control of their people’s access to the Internet, and now our government plans to do the same. Even scarier to see our own government using the exact same rationale as the totalitarian governments, arguing that government control of the Internet is in “the public’s best interest”. Do you seriously doubt we could end up on the slippery slope to Chinese-style control of the Internet, simply becuase it’s OUR government? That OUR government is nothing like the government of the Chinese and how dare anyone question the noble motives of OUR benevolent leaders?

Perhaps it’s best we remind ourselves that this great nation of ours, this shining city upon a hill whose beacon of light guides freedom-loving people everywhere is also the very same country where our second president, John Adams, passed the Alien and Sedition Acts, four laws which were used to impose fines and jail time on people critical of the Adams Administration. Completley unconstitutional and yet it was the law of the land until it expired at the end of Adam’s term.

Perhaps we should also remember that this is the same America where our most beloved president of all presidents, Abraham Licoln, closed newspapers and jailed editors who sympathized with the South.

We’d be well served to also recall that this is also the same America that was home to the authoritarian rule of President Woodrow Wilson and his Sedition Act of 1918 which forbade the use of “disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language” about the United States government. With a definition like that, you can nail pretty much anyone you want, can’t you?

Or for more recent history, simply look back on the 2008 campaign where we saw an American news media that was “90% in the tank for Barack Obama.” Those aren’t my words, by the way, those are the words of the former Chairman of the Democrat National Committee, Terry McAuliffe. The media was so head over heels in love that “the coverage of Barack Obama was embarrassing. It was an embarrassment.” Again, those aren’t my words, those are the words of former Democrat Governor of Pennsylvania, Ed Rendell, one of the greatest stalwarts of the entire Democrat party. So with 90% of the media in their back pocket, surely you’d think the Obama Administration would be nothing but thankful. Far from it – if you look at all the sniping, griping and complaining the Obama Administration has aimed at Fox News, you’ll see that for this administration, even one questioning voice is one voice too many.

So don’t ever imagine that things would be completely different here with OUR government in control of Internet vs. the reality of every other country where the government controls the Internet. Don’t think it’s laughable to suggest we could end up like China, that it couldn’t happen simply because… well, we’re Americans!

Don’t fool yourself into thinking that the governments of countries like Venezuela, Iran and China putting the clamps on their people’s use of the Internet is something totally different and that government control of the Internet could never end up like that in OUR country, because we’ve already seen the kind of authoritarian intolerance for public dissent from our own government many times in 230 short years of history.

Why even put our government in a position where it can be seduced by its own authoritarian temptations in the first place? It’s like driving a crack addict all around the neighborhood where he used to score and then dropping him off at the corner. Net Neutrality is a recipe for an Orwellian Nightmare, pure and simple, and we, as citizens, should do everything humanly possible to keep this great government of ours far, far away from the seductive idea of putting itself in control of the Internet.

 

Click here to subscribe and never miss out!

ewok-walk
               
Currently Listening To:

Team of Rivals
by
Doris Kearns Goodwin