There are lots of good blog posts to recommend this week. Let's start with two essays by Ken Carroll, who blogs at Below The Gnat Line. He examines the issue of voter fraud, and demonstrates how arguments against the requirement for photo ID when voting are spurious.
Old NFO points out that you might be an Occupier, if . . . In similar vein, BigFurHat, one of the bloggers at I Own The World, provides a ghastly list of Tweeted complaints about Christmas presents from people he regards as likely candidates to become Occupy protesters. The complaints themselves are sickening, but the comments from readers make more interesting reading.
The Silicon Graybeard asks, 'Could the US Return to a Gold Standard?' Here's an excerpt.
It has been said that an ounce of gold buys today about what it did at any point in the past. Stephen Harmston, former economist at Bannock Consulting, wrote that “across 2,500 years, gold has retained its purchasing power, relative to bread at least” which is seemingly proved when one considers that “It is said that an ounce of gold bought 350 loaves of bread in the time of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, who died in 562 BC” which is roughly what it buys today, a stretch of 2,500 years. With some judicious selection of the exact brand of bread, you get remarkably close to 350 loaves (and I'm sure there was some variation in what a loaf of bread cost even in King N's day). Likewise, you'll hear that an ounce of gold would buy a good toga and sandals in pre-Christian Rome, and buys a well-tailored suit and shoes today, or you'll hear that a $20 gold piece bought an 1851 Colt Single Action Army revolver, and today buys a good grade 1911. The point of all of these is that the price of gold is a standard by which other things can be measured.
There's more at the link. I don't think it's likely to happen, but he makes some very interesting arguments as to why it should at least be considered.
The Daily Bayonet offers 'Everything you ever needed to know about man-made global warming in one sentence and a graph'. He's right!
CDR Salamander offers links to five free e-books that should be in everyone's naval and military history library. I agree with his selection, although I'd have a heck of a job stopping at only five such books! I'll have to make my own list, and offer it here. One more job for the 'To Do' list . . .
I'm linking to it a bit late, but nevertheless, Merlin offers an amusing perspective on how to cut down your Christmas tree. It's enough to warm the cockles of a veteran's heart!
The indispensable Al Fin points out the inevitable consequences of demographic collapse, as we're seeing in countries around the world. He speaks truth. We should listen.
On politics, there are three very good essays to consider this week. First, Rev. Paul challenges us to understand the threats to freedom currently confronting us.
Every year ... every day ... comes that ever-tightening grip. Another indignity at the airport, and then on the highways ... and soon, coming to a mall or public building near you. Another tax, another law treating you like a child - all wrapped up in diapers from birth to death, just passed with smiles all around by your ever-so-gracious masters in Washington ... all for your own good.
Frank W. James is fed up with politics, and expresses his distaste in his own inimitable way.
I posted awhile back I was tired of politics, but life currently is very much like trying to transit across a feed lot while trying hard to not step in the shit. It's unavoidable. Everyone is talking, asking or emailing you something about some aspect of the political candidates and/or their parties. And like the stuff on the bottom of your boots after you get across that feed lot, it's all very distasteful.
Morgan K. Freeberg asserts that liberal agitation over Christmas is, in fact, symptomatic of their attitude towards politics and government as a whole. I'm going to quote from his essay at some length.
The driving desire is one of denying individual human achievement. Nothing is more frightening to a true progressive than the idea of some guy going into a garage, or abandoned barn, and fiddling around with something that then takes on a life of its own. Whether that something is a steam engine, or an Apple computer, or a light bulb, or a Frankenstein monster, or Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. This idea just scares the hell out of them. If it comes from the labors of an identifiable individual, then it comes from that individual’s brain. That, in turn, means the individual had the potential all by himself…and that, in turn, means we all do.
This is the true reason why they loathe God. The idea of God is an idea of purpose: We are here for some established function. It may very well be that this function is nothing more than an experiment. Maybe God is trying to build His own Internet — or climate model? But even an exploratory function is still a function, and this scares them silly.
They feel useless. So they don’t want anyone else to escape uselessness. Therefore, any decision worth making that has an actual impact on something, has to be made by a committee…a nice, safe, anonymous committee full of people who will never be personally acquainted by the liberal who is so scared of all this. Either a committee, or a super-wonderful demigod like Barack Obama, who, again, will never become a personal acquaintance of the liberal. Oh, maybe the Replacement Jesus will call on them during a town hall meeting to ask a question…or, He’ll have dinner with them to thank them for their five dollar donation…
…but the liberal won’t ever have to be personally associated with a decision about something that has a real lasting impact. Neither will anybody with whom the liberal identifies, on any personal level. We’re all just — here. Doing our thing. Living, eating, fornicating, crapping, dying, like domestic pets.
No real accountability for judgments made. No decisions that really mean anything, coming from any of us.
That’s the real goal. That’s why they like government. All decisions made, are announced in passive voice: “It was the decision that…the feeling was…the consensus was…” Nothing scares them batshit crazy so much as an individual protagonist calling a shot, and sinking the right ball in the right pocket. That would mean anyone else who wants to, could do the same thing. This just rattles them right down to the marrow of their bones. That is what makes them liberals.
There's more at the link. I can't agree with all his points, but he certainly makes me think! Recommended reading.
Finally, on a more sobering note, the Electronic Frontier Foundation points out that bloggers in various nations are facing arrest, detention, even torture from their own governments. It suggests a range of measures such bloggers can take to create a contingency plan, as much for their own safety as for the preservation of their work. For those of us who blog under more benign political, social and economic conditions, this is a worthwhile reminder of how fortunate and blessed we are . . .