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The Chronicles of SwissCelt's Lodge

The Fire Still Burns

July 10th, 2008

Gratuitous Icon Post

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lolcat
Well, not quite gratuitous. You see, Iran got caught with its hand in the image editing jar. Well, feeling the need to create a new user icon, simianlovedoc and fizzyland gave me an idea.

Feel free to swipe.

April 11th, 2008

Are any of you on Facebook? Check that... I know some of you are. I've had an account there for awhile, but haven't done much with it yet. Today, though, I learn it would *ahem* probably be a good idea for me to be more active there. So... for those of you who want to connect to me, or add me as a friend, or whatever they call it, look for "Jeff Billman" on Facebook. (ETA Or just click here: http://profile.to/jeffbillman/)




In other news, there is someone on my friends list (not just "reading list", but a true friend) who urgently needs prayer right now. For those of you who make a habit of praying, please add "David" to your prayer list. Thank you.

April 6th, 2008

Public Notice

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mystic
All content, including posts, comments, and any other material appearing in the subdomain http://swisscelt.livejournal.com after this, the 6th day of April 2008, are licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL). By contributing content to this subdomain (most likely accomplished by commenting to this journal) you have created a derivative under the GFDL; therefore, your contributed content must therefore be licensed under the GFDL (see section 4, "Modifications", in the GFDL).

Simply put, this means that you may not force the removal of content from this subdomain under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) or other provisions of U.S. Copyright Law, or the laws of any other signatory nation to the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works. By commenting to this journal, you release the owner of this journal, LiveJournal, Danga Interactive, SUP Fabrik, David Lieber, DLA Piper, LLP, and any and all persons or parties from indemnification arising from their failure or perceived failure to remove or modify any portion of your contributed and GFDL-licensed material. The GNU Free Documentation License does not allow for subsequent modifications of this document to be protected by stricter controls over copyright than this, the original document. Official copyright notice follows below:

Copyright (c) 2008 Jeffrey S. Billman.
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document
under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2
or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation;
with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover
Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU
Free Documentation License".

Why am I doing this?Collapse )

There's a movement in the works to ask LiveJournal to restore Kumi Monster's journal. You can see it here, or at kumicorps. Please take a moment to sign the petition to show your support. We're not "blackmailing" SUP to do anything in this instance, just asking them to reverse an unfortunate mistake.

March 29th, 2008

Many thanks to nebris and shamangirl for turning me on to some very interesting links about the state of the US (and global) economy:

The Society of the Owned, by Terrance Heath

Why the US is collapsing, by Rick Falkvinge.

Money as Debt, by Paul Grignon

Each of these articles is very enlightening, and the authors have much more right than wrong. However, I must disagree with one part of Paul Grignon's otherwise excellent explanation of the history of banking and monetary policy. And I'm posting it here to spawn debateCollapse )




Addendum Further into the video, Grignon asks this poignant question:

Why do governments CHOOSE to borrow money from private banks at interest, when government could create all the interest-free money it needs, itself?

The answer is simple: It can't. Not and maintain any system of wealth indefinitely, that is.

I'm rather surprised by Grignon's question, actually. He seems to understand the disconnect that exists between money and wealth... but only while that money is created under the auspices of a capitalistic institution (i.e. banks). Grignon fails to apply that knowledge to other institutions. The simple fact is, government can no sooner create wealth through the creation of money than banks can.

At the risk of falling victim to Godwin's Law, let me just point out that one government in recent times did try to create money interest-free for its own needs. I won't tell you which government, except to say that the devaluation of the Deutschemark prior to the Marshall Plan is forever infamous as being symptomatic of the largest economic collapse in history. You simply cannot create money without ensuring that wealth will be created in equity with the monetary supply. It doesn't matter if the institution creating that money is capitalistic, socialistic, or something else.

(PS- Did I mention my dad's an economist? ;-) )

March 21st, 2008

So what have we learned?

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mystic
So what have we learned, ladies and gentlemen, now that the "strike" is over?

I haven't been behind this thing, as everyone on my reading list knows. But I haven't really been antagonistic towards it, either. I've been more or less ambivalent about the whole thing. Let's face it: This doesn't really rise to the occasion of, "First they came for the _____, and I didn't speak because I wasn't ______." Unless, of course, you want to fill that blank with "freeloader"... in which case, guilty as charged. I rather like my now-grandfathered basic account, thank you.

Anyway, that's not really why I'm posting this, and breaking a vow I'd made to myself to not mention this event again. (Nor am I posting this in order to put off the Maundy Thursday post I'd promised earlier in the week.) I'm posting this, because I don't understand why. What was the point of this exercise we call the Content Strike? To show our Russian friends among the "userbase" that it's okay to be antisemitic, so long as you're also anticapitalistic? To flaunt differences in language and culture in order to try to make SUP the enemy we missed having in 6Apart? I still wouldn't say I'm antagonistic towards this whole thing, but I'm less happy about it now that it's played out than I even was at first.

That's not to say anything negative about the American organizers of the strike. I still simply disagree with those here on this side of the Alps who decided to strike, no disrespect intended or taken. But I've been reading some disturbing things about how this played out in the land of Rus, and I'm left wondering-- a bit like how my compatriots wonder about Iraq-- why we got into this, and whether it was truly worth our involvement.

It's a similar kind of disconnect: We expected something to happen that, at this point anyway, is wildly different from what actually happened. We left lingering resentments in the power base, and uncovered ethnic unrest where before it had been well-hidden. Sounds quite a bit like Iraq, in fact.

So what have we learned? And is there a chance we can use those lessons to improve for next time? Because as unsatisfactory as the results appear at this time, I think we're looking at there being a next time.

March 17th, 2008

LJ Content Strike

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No, this is NOT the message you've seen posted all over your reading list. Rather, I'd like to take a moment to say a few words about the upcoming LJ Content Strike proposed by my esteemed colleague beckyzoole. (By the way, even though I disagree with her on this issue, hers is a journal I highly recommend. It makes me wonder why I don't have her on my "friends list".)

First, about the reasons for the strike. We are being asked to strike in order to force SUP to satisfy the following conditions. I will take these in reverse order, as that seems to be the order for which I am decreasingly agreeable to the strike. (In other words, the first condition is the one with which I agree the least.)

Read more...Collapse )

All of that, though, would be reason merely to be ambivalent about the Content Strike. As it is, there are two very big reasons for me to oppose the strike: Maundy Thursday, and the Vernal Equinox. These two holidays, both which I cherish very much, happen to coincide this year; moreover, they happen to coincide with the LJ Content Strike. If a wonderful moment occurs this year as last, frankly I don't want to miss chronicling it because I was pigheaded about making a political statement with which I don't fully agree in the first place.

Additionally, Maundy Thursday is a sacred holiday for me... perhaps the most sacred holiday on the Christian calendar, for reasons I will be exploring later this week. Asking me to sacrifice that day for this cause is akin to asking a Muslim to eat during daylight hours of Ramadan, or asking a Catholic to eat meat on a Lenten Friday. Were I to take personal offense at such a suggestion, I'd find plenty of reasons to do so. (Fortunately, there's no need to take personal offense at this, or little else.) That said, on this basis alone I cannot participate in the Content Strike, and I hope I've given a few other reasons to support my refusal. "Do as thou wilt", of course; it harms me not in the least if others are not here on Thursday and Friday. But for me, chances are good that I'll be here.

March 12th, 2008

Matthew Murray

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mystic
Matthew Murray, some of you may remember, was the boy who killed four people on 9 December 2007 in the Youth With A Mission and New Life Church shootings. He then killed himself after a security guard stopped him by wounding him with her firearm. Murray killed his victims because he was upset about the Christian religion as he understood it to be.

It is not my aim to glorify Murray. He is a murderer, and a sinner. However, I do grieve him. This boy died, and took the lives of four others, apparently before making peace with Christianity and its followers, some of whom-- let's agree-- can be less than charitable, less than loving, and less than the example of Christ.

Today, I happened to notice that Denver's KMGH released a letter Murray had written to God shortly before his murderous rampage. Behind the cut, I would like to reprint the letter. Please do NOT read if you may be psychologically triggered by such screeds. (It's pretty bad, folks.)Read more...Collapse )

March 8th, 2008

(no subject)

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mystic
In case you haven't heard, Ohio just got a record-breaking snowstorm. I'm digging through what is either the 2nd or 3rd greatest snowfall I've ever seen in this state: 19.6 inches officially in Youngstown, more than that here to the west of "Little New Jersey" and in the infamous Lake Erie Snow Belt. I'll try to get some regional totals tomorrow. Seasonal total in Y-town was also a record: 94 inches for the season. And keep in mind that Youngstown isn't actually in the aforementioned Snow Belt.

Meanwhile, you folks out in the Delaware Valley had rain and 60 degrees. You lucky bastards. ;-)

March 5th, 2008

(no subject)

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mystic
I just cleaned out my subscriber list... mostly folks that I haven't heard from in a while, and thus presume that they're not on LJ anymore. If I dropped you by mistake, please comment and I'll look into it.

March 2nd, 2008

Oh, and by the way...

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mystic
Am I the only one who's starting to get a little frightened of Barack Hussein Obama? No, not because of his Muslim ancestry... actually, quite the opposite. He seems to be vehement in denying it, and that's starting to set off warning bells for me.

And I can't help but think he's got dirt on John McCain, which is why the latter has been soft-petaling and back-pedaling every time it's been politically expedient to oppose Obama. I'm not about to vote for McCain, either, due not only to this but also his disturbing trait of being perhaps the only person in Washington for whom the right wing's taunt of RINO ("Republican In Name Only") is valid. And Clinton? The Clintons have scared me off since Janet Reno sent jackbooted thugs to Miami to hold a gun to Elian Gonzales' head. (Before that, actually... I still think maybe things could have been handled better at Waco, too.)

So what's left? Well, there's a primary election coming up on Tuesday here in Ohio. Looks like I'll be casting a meaningless vote for Mike Huckabee. (Might just as well... if nothing else, perhaps it can register my support for FairTax since he has no chance in hell of winning.) Then wait for November and vote Libertarian, just like I have in every race since 1992.

Man, this is depressing...
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