Monday, December 31, 2012

Ban Guns! Ban Kitchen Knifes! Ban Everything! Ban Freedom!

Here's a final thought about guns and control and banning perfectly legal activities before the New Year. Actually, it's not so much about guns per se, but about a philosophy. That is a philosophy of freedom.

Let's see... What's the most effective? Banning human behavior or banning butter knives? I know! Let's ban gangs and drugs! How well has that worked out so far?

This ridiculous nonsense about banning guns is getting out of control. As my good friend Red Brown points out; "Gun control will only serve to criminalize large numbers of citizens and give police more reasons to violate our privacy."

Yep. Think about that.

If guns are made illegal then it will criminalize what law biding citizens do. 99.99% of all gun owners in the USA do not commit gun crimes. Why would we want to make their ownership of an inanimate object a crime?

Isn't this similar to drug laws? 

Think about it. Under a true philosophy of freedom, like Libertarianism, you are free to do as you wish as long as you don't bother other people. You are free to own private property and to seek happiness.

The important part of private property that people need to understand is that the most basic private property is ownership of oneself. You own you. You know what's best for you. I don't know what's best for you and certainly the government doesn't either. I have no right to tell you what to do and how to live. You have no right to tell me what to do and how to live. Certainly the government does not either.

If you want to take drugs then are you hurting anyone? No! If two consenting adults want to have sex, is there a victim? No! If someone wants to gamble their money away, does that hurt you and me? No! If someone wants to have a gun on their own property does that hurt you or me? No! Hell if someone wants to be stupid and drive without a seat belt, does that harm you or me? No! Definitely not (hopefully Darwinism can be put back into effect!)

Allow people to do with their private property as they wish as long as they do not hurt other people.

Also, think about this; the utter idea that an inanimate object like guns are the cause of gun crimes is incredible on the surface. I read an intelligent quote once. It said, 

"If guns are responsible for gun crimes, then it follows the same logic that video cameras are responsible for child pornography." 

There was another one that said, "We don't blame cars for drunk driving. Why do we blame guns for gun crimes?"

Anyway, the philosophical point is that we cannot curtail people's freedom. Like I wrote, the vast majority of gun owners do not commit gun crimes, why do people want to outlaw what they do? By what right do people think they can do so? And, finally, is anyone so daft that they think if they outlaw guns that criminals and Bloods and Crips and other gangs are going to suddenly become good boys and girls and turn in their weapons?


The biggest problem with this banning and registration (control) of weapons (or any behavior for that matter) is that we start down a very slippery slope. First registration, then more curtailments, then banning of some arms, then wider restrictions; finally a total ban. Don't think so? Well history proves that I am right... 

Oh, and for you folks who think that the citizenry should be unarmed and only the government should have weapons, well, 20th century history shows you where you are completely wrong about that. Governments killed over 200 million citizens in the last 100 years... 

From Predatory Politics:

During the 20th century, around 40 million people died in international and civil wars. Yet nearly 200 million, about five times as many, were killed by their own government for their race, religion, imputed political dissent, to fill a murder quota for no reason at all.

Watch the video below for further proof....

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it" - Edmond Burke

History of Gun Control:

Oh, but this time it's different. Banning guns is not the same thing....You think this is a big joke? You think this is stupid? Really? Well I did mention about the slippery slope. Read on: 

British Doctors Call For a Ban on Kitchen Knives to End Stabbings:

"A team from West Middlesex University Hospital said violent crime is on the increase – and kitchen knives are used in as many as half of all stabbings. They argued many assaults are committed impulsively, prompted by alcohol and drugs, and a kitchen knife often makes an all too available weapon. 

They consulted 10 top chefs from around the UK, and found such knives have little practical value in the kitchen. None of the chefs felt such knives were essential, since the point of a short blade was just as useful when a sharp end was needed. 

The researchers say legislation to ban the sale of long pointed knives would be a key step in the fight against violent crime. “We suggest that banning the sale of long pointed knives is a sensible and practical measure that would have this effect.”

There is also a humorous quote at the start of the article. It says, 

"The good news is that if we ever do get that assault rifle ban, followed by a handgun ban, followed by a ban of anything that can shoot bullets, the “Banners” will still have a banner year of banning all the other ways with which people kill other people."

Yeah. When will the stupidity ever end? Not soon. Now a woman wants to ban beer drinking glasses and glass beer bottles because her husband was killed by a broken glass in a bar brawl. You can't make this stuff up!

Campaign to ban glass from pubs goes to Downing Street

"A widow whose husband died after being stabbed in the neck with a glass bottle is taking her campaign to ban glass from pubs and clubs to Downing Street. Philip Sherriff who was from Preston was attacked at a London nightclub on a night out in April. Tomorrow she's going to London to lobby the Government to change the law. Philip Sherriff Credit: ITV Granada His wife, Jane, says his death was totally preventable and has launched the campaign in his memory. She said: "I don't want anyone to go through what we've gone through, the devastation has been enormous."

Will the idiocy end in 2013? Nope. Remember when Politically Correct language was fringe? I do. Now it's everywhere. This banning all sorts of behaviors (because you are too childish to be able to handle a butter knife or spill your drink) will only get worse.

Have a Happy New Year... 

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Here's Why A Weak Yen Will Destroy Japan

The clowns in the LDP think a weak yen will rescue Japan's faltering economy by making exports cheaper... Sounds good... That is, if there anyone to buy Japanese goods.

I fear that the weaker yen will be the last straw in breaking the Japanese Economy. Here's my reasoning why... 

China and Japan are in a row over islands. Boom! Down goes exports to Japan's biggest trading partner. Please refer to the NY Times article, "Japan Trade Suffers as China Ties Deteriorate":

"Shipments to China, which is Japan's biggest trading partner, tumbled 14.1 per cent as demand dropped for Japan-branded products..."

Also refer to Japanese Car Sales Plunge Amid China Rage.

Europe is in no condition to be big spenders on anything as Euro states are already in deep recession.

The USA isn't in good shape either as it is in recession too and Japanese cars aren't selling well due to Fukushima and other issues.

Gee? So what will a weak yen certainly buy for Japan? Answer: How about a 10% increase across the board on energy imports?

From Forbes Magazines, please refer to: Japan's Energy Dependence 

Data from the Energy Data and Modeling Center (EDMC), Institute of Energy Economics, Japan, for 2008 published in the APEC Energy Overview (2010), paint a stark picture of Japan’s energy vulnerability: 

– Of total primary energy supply (508,327 kiloton of oil equivalent (ktoe)), 85 percent (433,725 ktoe) was imported.  The breakdown of primary energy was coal 23 percent, oil 44 percent, gas 17 percent, and other 17 percent.  

–For final energy consumption in ktoe, the industrial sector took 45 percent; the transport sector 24 percent; and other sectors 31 percent.  By type of energy:  coal 11 percent, oil 53 percent, gas 9 percent, and electricity and other 28 percent.  

Don't forget that these are 2008 figures - three years before the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear disaster. Things have gotten much worse since then. Now take all that imported oil and natural gas (and coal) and jack up the price 10%... What do you get?

Couple that sum with the 2% inflation rate targeted by the new government of Shinzo Abe and you get a collapse of the Japanese economy.

2013 is not going to be pretty for the Japanese economy.

Three Things That You Can Do to Make 2013 a Good Year

It is now Sunday, Dec. 30 2012. I think it is now a good time to briefly reflect on the last year and hopes and wished for the next year... Well, maybe not wishes so much, but more like decisions I have made.

Perhaps you have some important decisions that need to be made too?

The best thing you can do on vacation is to be on vacation and not worry about work

Here are three decisions that I made that you can make for yourself that will make you happier in 2013... Some might seem obvious but you'd be surprised by how much people (me too) allow themselves to be trampled upon and disrespected.

A) Get rid of people who are selfish, greedy and dishonest. I don't care if they are family. If they are bringing you down, get rid of them. 

2012 was a very difficult year, business wise, for me. I went to war and played poker with one of Japan's biggest companies and, after getting raped and beaten and left for dead by the side of the road, I came back and was able to boot them out of the company with the help of a partner. 

The people from that big Japanese company lied to us and tricked us. They weren't sincere. They had selfish ulterior motives of greed. That sort of thing is not going to happen again and I'm happy they are gone and we are looking forward to getting the company back on track. 

My lesson from this episode is to always be diligent and not trust new business partners too much. Getting things down on paper and in contracts, while I don't like them, is necessary. Anyway, the key word here is diligence.

B) Stop being overly accommodating to people who do not appreciate you for who you are and what you can do. You have talent and experience. The talent and experience are uniquely valuable. Don't work with people who don't appreciate that. 

I also spent much of the year being, in my thinking, way too accommodating to some people. For example, there's this guy who owns a fairly large private corporation who asked me to do work for him. I did. My team and I bent over backwards for this guy. Why? We thought that there might be a good future in business together. But, the more I think about it, I realize that, while not going into too much detail, I don't want to work with people like that guy; he is a manipulator and a sort of control freak... It took me a while to see it. (Thanks to my best friend George Williams for pointing it out to me almost instantly!)

My lesson from this episode is to respect yourself. I am a top quality professional at what I do. I know that. I don't need to discount my services for people. You don't have to either. You are good at what you do. Remember to not accept too many small jobs and to focus only on the big jobs. Why? It's only the successful conclusion of the big jobs that pay well and increase your status... Small jobs won't do that... Of course, helping friends is important, but we all have to eat.

People get what they pay for. If you are good at what you do, then demand a fair price.

C) Stop helping people who won't help themselves. For the last few years, I've spent far too much time wasting time on hopeless people. 

There is a guy I have worked with for 16 years. He used to be good at what he does. But over these last 6 years, he has been getting progressively bad. He is half the person he was 10 years ago. What happened? I don't know.

He does a half-assed job all the time and seems like he doesn't care. I've been going to the work place once a week and talking and talking and talking to this guy. Sometimes he'll get better for a few days, but soon he will relapse back into being pretty much useless. I've done so many things to try to help support him. 

This has gone on for 3 years... He doesn't get better. He gets progressively worse. The bad part is that this guy has so much ability and talent but he won't show it or put it to use... He's like a bratty 13-year-old who could get good scores on tests at school, but all he does is skate-by; he just does the absolute minimum required and tries to score Ds on every test. Doinng the minimum is not a good way to succeed.

Did I say, "test"? Life is a test. Normally, I'd dump this guy or fire him, but he has a wonderful wife and two kids....

But, then again, I have a wife a kids too. I've been spending all this time and effort to try to make things better.... But nothing works.

I think it's time for me to give up on the guy. It's time for me to get rid of this frustration and get him out of my life... I've spent hundreds of hours on trying to do something to motivate this guy to do a good job, but he just won't. Even the other staff complain about him. 

I have to get this person out of my life. He is bringing me and the other people down... It's like a cancer. It needs to be cut out.... Sad.

And the forth thing you can do to make 2013 a good year (OK, so I said there'd be three but there are four. So sue me!)

D) Stop worrying so much. Worrying doesn't help and only brings you down. Get rid of it (see A above). It's a negative energy....

I think I have been worrying about work and other people (see C above) since 2008. Guess what? It hasn't changed a thing and I'm still here, four years later with the same problems. 

I'm going to get rid of them and stop worrying about them!

Reading all four examples above, I (and you) I have to get rid of all the crappy things in our life now if we want to be happy in 2013. (If you want to read a wonderful article about getting rid of crappy people, read this by James Altucher)

Like I said, we can be happy and prosperous if we get rid of the things that are holding us down. I got rid of those dishonest guys at the big Japanese corporation. I decided to get rid of doing small change jobs that earn me little money and no respect. And I've decided to get rid of people who do not want to succeed.

Hell, the guy who doesn't want to pull his weight? What do they say? "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink it."

Boom! Gone!

2013 is coming folks. It's going to be a good year. Discard all those who are bringing you down and throw away your fears. I don't like FDR but he did say one thing that was alright, "We have nothing to fear but fear itself."

Finally, here's a story about living for today. Enjoy! Happy New Year!

"Buddha told a parable in a sutra: A man traveling across a field encountered a tiger. He fled, the tiger after him. Coming to a precipice, he caught hold of the root of a wild vine and swung himself down over the edge. The tiger sniffed at him from above. Trembling, the man looked down to where, far below, another tiger was waiting to eat him. Only the vine sustained him..... Two mice, one white and one black, little by little started to gnaw away the vine. The man saw a luscious strawberry near him. Grasping the vine with one hand, he plucked the strawberry with the other. How sweet it tasted!"

(The tigers represent life's dangers that are all around us all the time. The two mice, white and black, represent Yin and Yan. The man running represents his daily efforts to survive. The eating of the delicious strawberry represents living for the now and enjoying what we have now because you might be dead tomorrow!)

For more stories from Zen Buddhism, see: 101 Zen Stories

Dedicated to James Altucher.

Friday, December 28, 2012

More Free Use Photos From Malaysia

Here's the follow up to yesterday's A Short Photo Visit to Malaysia (and a Chinese Temple). Just more photos that you are welcomed to use as you please...

The ocean view from the west side of Penang Island

ParkRoyal Hotel Penang beachside lounge

In Japan, these chocolate sticks are called "Pocky."

Colorful trinkets at Malaysian street vendor booth

Plastic mini bowls of ramen and Chinese desserts

I saw this on the flight to Malaysia on AirAsia X. The deeeeee-licious combo dinner that includes a Kit Kat chocolate bar and Ribena RTD candy fruit bar.... I don't know about you, but candy bars on a combo tray seem a bit.... Exotic?

Triple bed at ParkRoyal Hotel

ParkRoyal Hotel pool

Malay fisherman

Mainland visible from Penang Island

In the pool at night 

Georgetown newspaper stand and money exchanger

Couple enjoying drinks and conversation at poolside bar

Pool at night 

What's this doing here? Well, OK. I want to make an observation. In Indian society, being skinny is a sign of being poor. That's why all wealthy Indian people are grossly overweight. The average life expectancy for Indian males is 64.1 years. That's a whopping 14 + years less than the obese and overweight Americans.... Yet, still, old habits die hard. The sign of wealth in India is being over weight. That's why you will see couples like this. I took this photo of their wedding photo and was shocked when I saw them in person. A nice couple for sure, but this guy looked to be just about 24 or so and this picture craftily hides his triple chin.... Well, I guess she's happy... She gets his money when he kicks the bucket waay too early. I wonder when Indian society will change, if ever, and the wealthy realize that living long, slim and healthy is happier!

The world famous Penang Sea-cucumber soap. Yep. Made from real sea-cucumbers! Mmmmm- good!

I was a good boy and didn't go here even once when on vacation.

My son drives the rikusha

The next day, we went to the big chain grocery market to see how suburbanites in Malaysia live!

Just like K-mart!

This place had everything! Chicken wings. Chicken legs... Chicken feet!????

Dragon Fruit

Yep. Even in Malaysia!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

A Visit to Malaysia (and a Chinese Temple) Free Photos

I took the family to Malaysia for eight days stay the other day. It was very nice. I highly recommend visiting Malaysia.

Here are a bunch of photos from the trip. As always, you are free to use any of these photos as you see fit. I took these photos and own the copyright. You can use them as you wish. No payments or royalties will be asked.

We flew to Malaysia on Air Asia X. It was very good. No complaints. About $1000 USD round trip for three people!? Wow! How can anyone complain about a price that low? Plus the service was great and the food really good!

I think Air Asia X may be a Low Cost Carrier but their service and quality is definitely classy!

Now, off to Malaysia we go! Please click the Youtube video and enjoy the background music!

Malaysia is a Melting Pot country. There are people from many countries living there and they live in peace. I was told the country is 35% Muslims, 35% Buddhists and 10% Christians and the rest a hodge-podge of other religions... Crime is low and it is a very free country. I didn't get grief from customs or immigration and they greeted us as we are: guests and visitors coming to spend money on a holiday...

 While there, we visited the oldest and most famous Chinese temple in Penang as well as walked around Georgetown. Here's a bunch of photos... I don't suppose that I could add anything more than the stories the photos tell...

Typical street-stand store in Malaysia

The various people's live together in peace. I interviewed over a dozen Muslim women (from Malaysia and Arabic countries) about the situation and to find out of the story we're told in the west is true. The local Malaysian followers of Islam told me that in Malaysia all cultures and religions are taught tolerance towards each other and many different religions attend the same schools as children. That goes to teach them that people are all the same; they all want food, a place to live, security and a happy family... I also asked about their clothing and fashions as, when I saw them up close, I could see that they all wore lots of eyeliner and expensive facial makeup. They all told me that it was how they wanted to dress and felt comfortable. Though there were some women who wore western clothes, they weren't devout followers (just like we have people in the west who aren't hard-core followers of their religion). Two girls told me that they even know some who drink alcohol. 

I asked them if they'd ever drank alcohol and they said "No! They didn't want to." One girl smiled and acted like she had drank it before but she didn't like it. Hell, I guess it's like any drugs anywhere, even the USA, if you are the only one taking the chemical, it's usually not any fun.

The fashion the girls wore in the pool reminded me of the fashions western women wore to the beach up until the 1930s or so. I guess that's fine. We are talking about cultures that are 3,000 years old (older?) 

And, yes, even in an Islamic country, discrimination occurs... No problem, though. This is a sign in front of a private gambling club. If they don't want kids and muslims inside, it's their property. They can do as they please.

Even Islamic women need their designer makeup... And, yes, they do wear lots of makeup under those veils... (I saw their eyes from behind the veils and they, indeed, wore much make-up, beautifully!) 

The outdoor food bazaar at Long Beach Cafe in Penang

Malaysia has Rikusha too!

Downtown Georgetown

Front of the temple

Intricate wall carvings everywhere!

I understand that the very first Buddhist priest in Malaysia came from China and had this temple built centuries ago

Tomorrow I will photo dump a bunch more pictures from Malaysia!