America Just Can’t Make It Anymore.

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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USA industrial economy

The statement in the title is not true, except that it is.

If you are a little confused stay with me and let me clarify.

The United States used to be the industrial power house of the world. Its industries generated unprecedented wealth for the country, creating the world’s first self-made billionaires and productive wealth creating jobs galore for everyone. The whole country prospered.

Today, however, the United States has become the world’s second biggest importer of goods. Worse than that, even though America still exports billions of dollars’ worth in oil, consumer goods and automotive products, it imports even more. This creates a trade deficit ($471 billion according to recent figures).

US Trade Deficit

So what are all these imports into the US?

Well, they include industrial machinery and equipment ($681 billion), automotive vehicles, parts, and engines ($309 billion), miscellaneous private services, primarily financial services ($201 billion), cell phones ($90 billion), travel passenger services ($86 billion), pharmaceuticals ($84 billion), computers ($65 billion), chemicals ($61 billion), other transportation services ($59 billion), computer accessories ($57 billion), telecommunications equipment ($54 billion), royalties and license fees services ($42 billion), apparel ($49 billion), petroleum products ($48 billion), fuel oil ($44 billion), industrial supplies ($29 billion), U.S. Government service imports primarily defense ($25 billion), fish ($18 billion), fruit ($13 billion), and vegetables ($11 billion).

Cartoon imports

If you are a bit shell-shocked by all those figures let me phrase it a bit differently using as examples the types of goods you would tend to buy.

  • 100% (almost) of the shoes bought in the U.S. come from China, Vietnam, Indonesia and Mexico;
  • 90% of white goods (washers, fridges, etc.) and consumer electronics are imported;
  • 85% of household furniture is imported;
  • 80% of cars on U.S. roads come from Canada (31%), Japan (24%), Germany (16%) and Mexico (12%); and,
  • 65% of U.S. clothing is imported from China (37%), Vietnam (9.4%), Indonesia (7.2%) and Bangladesh (6.7%).

Probably the saddest part is that even things you thought were “American” are now actually made overseas and imported.

I remember while on a business trip to the US many, many years ago I bought a gift for the young son of a friend of mine. He was a big sports enthusiast so I reckoned that one of the most iconic symbols of sport from America would be a baseball. I bought one in Wal-Mart. It was marked with all the different holding positions for the various ways to throw a baseball (fast ball, curve ball and all that). The perfect gift.

I gave it to him on my return feeling ever so pleased with myself. The kid opened it, showed momentary delight, then looked up at me accusingly. “It says ‘Made in China'” he told me.

Baseball made in China

But it’s not only baseballs. Similar types of product that you would think are all-American, like Converse All Stars, Levi’s, Huffy bicycles, televisions, Monopoly, Etch-a-Sketch, Radio Flyer wagons, Barbie dolls, and last but by no means least, most of those American flags just ain’t American no more.

modern monopoly board

It really doesn’t have to be this way. Apple, for example, doesn’t have to become the richest company in the world by manufacturing its products in China and storing its vast hoards of cash overseas.

Or does it?

Everything on the lists above could still be made in the US and surpluses exported to other countries. But the US government and its moronic bureaucrats are spending their time and our money thinking up new ways, not to help American businesses, but to add ever-increasing amounts of rules, regulations and bureaucracy on to American companies.

American businesses can no longer compete, because their own government has ensured that the deck is stacked against them.

In the mind of a bureaucrat losing a million productive wealth creating jobs, for example, in the automotive industry, and replacing them with a million more administrative jobs that cost the country money evens things out.

It doesn’t. Simple math will tell you that. Every time it happens things get worse and America gets poorer.

So America just can’t make it anymore, but not because China has stolen the jobs. It’s because the US government bureaucrats gave them away.

Put the blame where it should be.

StimulusBureaucrats

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I Think I’ll Call This One The Vestal Virgin Quiz.

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Hello and welcome to the latest fasab quiz.

I’ve called it the “Vestal Virgin Quiz”, you’ll find out why later, but even if you’re not a vestal virgin please feel free to take part.

As usual you can find the answers waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay down below, but please NO cheating!

Enjoy and good luck.

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Quiz 07

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Q.  1.  What number does the Roman numeral ‘D’ stand for?

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Q.  2. What are the young of Squirrels called?

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Q.  3.  In which country are the Great Bear Lake and Great Slave Lake?

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Q.  4.  This word can mean a card game, a structure spanning a river or other chasm, the place where you usually find a ship’s captain, an artificial replacement of a missing tooth or teeth, or a thin, fixed wedge or support raising the strings of a musical instrument above the sounding board. What is it?

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Q.  5.  What would a galvanometer be used to measure?

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Q.  6.  Whose “Laughable Lyrics” included “The Quangle Wangle’s Hat” and “The Dong with a Luminous Nose” ?

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Q.  7.  What  was the name of the star-packed movie depicting World War II’s ‘Operation Market Garden’, an unsuccessful Allied military operation, fought in the Netherlands and Germany?

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Q.  8.  Which astronomical distance is about 3.26 light years?

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Q.  9.  How many Vestal Virgins served as Priestesses of the goddess Vesta at any one time?

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Q. 10.  Tashkent is the capital of which one of the Asian “stans”?

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Q. 11.  By what name is a meal consisting of sausages and mashed potatoes better known as in the UK?

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Q. 12.  What is the currency used in the Dominican Republic?

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Q. 13.  How many movies did John Wayne star in with the word ‘Rio’ in their title? (A bonus point for each one you can name correctly.)

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Q. 14.  What city is also known as ‘The Little Paris’ ?

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Q. 15.  What sort of structure is DNA?

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Q. 16.  What is the name of the main actress who played ‘Olivia Walton’ (Mammy Walton) in seasons 1 thru 7 of the long running TV series?

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Q. 17. If you multiplied the number in the title of George Orwell’s most famous novel, by the highest number you can score on a dartboard with one dart, and divide that total by the number of nickels in a dollar, what number would you be left with?

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Q. 18.  What is a ‘ziganka’ and what nationality is it? (A point for each correct answer.)

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Q. 19.  ‘General Mariano Escobedo’ and ‘General Abelargo L Rodriguez’ are international airports in which country?

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Q. 20.  What is the surname or last name of the actors who played the ‘Shooter’ and ‘Det. Danny Reagan’ in the TV series ‘Blue Bloods’ ?

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ANSWERS

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Q.  1.  What number does the Roman numeral ‘D’ stand for?

A.  1.  500.

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Q.  2. What are the young of Squirrels called?

A.  2. Kittens

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Q.  3.  In which country are the Great Bear Lake and Great Slave Lake?

A.  3.  Canada.

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Q.  4.  This word can mean a card game, a structure spanning a river or other chasm, the place where you usually find a ship’s captain, an artificial replacement of a missing tooth or teeth, or a thin, fixed wedge or support raising the strings of a musical instrument above the sounding board. What is it?

A.  4.  Bridge.

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Q.  5.  What would a galvanometer be used to measure?

A.  5.  Detecting and measuring small electric currents. (electricity).

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Q.  6.  Whose “Laughable Lyrics” included “The Quangle Wangle’s Hat” and “The Dong with a Luminous Nose” ?

A.  6.  Edward Lear.

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Q.  7.  What  was the name of the star-packed movie depicting World War II’s ‘Operation Market Garden’, an unsuccessful Allied military operation, fought in the Netherlands and Germany?

A.  7.  A Bridge Too Far. (The cast included Dirk Bogarde, Ryan O’Neal, James Caan, Michael Caine, Sean Connery, Edward Fox, Elliott Gould, Anthony Hopkins, Gene Hackman, Hardy Krüger, Laurence Olivier, Robert Redford, Maximilian Schell and Liv Ullmann.)

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Q.  8.  Which astronomical distance is about 3.26 light years?

A.  8.  A parsec.

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Q.  9.  How many Vestal Virgins served as Priestesses of the goddess Vesta at any one time?

A.  9.  The correct answer is ‘six’ (although they served along with 6 in training and 6 retired ones as tutors).

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Q. 10.  Tashkent is the capital of which one of the Asian “stans”?

A. 10.  Uzbekistan.

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Q. 11.  By what name is a meal consisting of sausages and mashed potatoes better known as in the UK?

A. 11.  Bangers & Mash.

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Q. 12.  What is the currency used in the Dominican Republic?

A. 12.  It is the Dominican Peso (DOP), although you can have the point if you just said ‘peso’.

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Q. 13.  How many movies did John Wayne star in with the word ‘Rio’ in their title? (A bonus point for each one you can name correctly.)

A. 13.  The correct answer is three (Rio Grande  (1950), Rio Bravo (1959) and Rio Lobo (1970))

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Q. 14.  What city is also known as ‘The Little Paris’ ?

A. 14.  Bucharest.

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Q. 15.  What sort of structure is DNA?

A. 15.  It is known as a ‘double helix’.

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Q. 16.  What is the name of the main actress who played ‘Olivia Walton’ (Mammy Walton) in seasons 1 thru 7 of the long running TV series?

A. 16.  Michael Learned.

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Q. 17. If you multiplied the number in the title of George Orwell’s most famous novel, by the highest number you can score on a dartboard with one dart, and divided that total by the number of nickels in a dollar, what number would you be left with?

A. 17.  5952.  (1984 x 60) = 119040 / 20 = 5952

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Q. 18.  What is a ‘ziganka’ and what nationality is it? (A point for each correct answer.)

A. 18.  A ‘ziganka’ is a Russian country dance.

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Q. 19.  ‘General Mariano Escobedo’ and ‘General Abelargo L Rodriguez’ are international airports in which country?

A. 19.  Mexico (in Monterrey and Tijuana respectively).

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Q. 20.  What is the surname or last name of the actors who played the ‘Shooter’ and ‘Det. Danny Reagan’ in the TV series ‘Blue Bloods’ ?

A. 20.  Walberg, specifically Mark Walberg in ‘Shooter’ and his older brother Donnie Walberg in ‘Blue Bloods’.  

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Sacre Bleu! – Er, Make That Red White And Bleu!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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sacre bleu cartoon

There has been a lot of activity in France lately concerning the United States government spying on three French Presidents.

The current President of France even called an emergency meeting of the Conseil de la Défense, the country’s highest national security forum to discuss the emergence of documents that appear to implicate the US National Security Agency (NSA) – now who’da guessed that? –  spying on Jacques Chirac and Nicolas Sarkozy, who ruled France from 1995 to 2012.

The documents further indicate that the NSA may have also targeted the personal communications of Francois Hollande, France’s current head of state.

The files were published by WikiLeaks, which described them as “top secret intelligence reports and technical documents”, detailing NSA spying operations against the French presidency, as well as espionage directed at several French government ministers and at France’s ambassador to the US.

French President Francois Hollande at meeting to discuss Wikileaks revelations

The documents include intelligence briefs, which detail the thoughts and diplomatic maneuvers by French presidents and other senior officials, on subjects such as the Greek economic crisis, the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, and the United Nations.

This is further evidence of more disgraceful and arrogant behavior by US spy agencies.

The thing is, however, no one is surprised any more.

Since Edward Snowden’s revelations the world has come to expect illegal and bad behavior from Americans. It is as simple as that. And for the reputations of Americans it is as bad as that. Which is a great pity because these activities do not represent in any way the vast majority of the American people.

So, if they aren’t a surprise to anyone, will the latest revelations cause trouble between America and France? I think the undoubted answer is “Oui”, but only a “petit oui”.

As befits normal protocol in these kinds of things, the American ambassador to France was summoned for what was called ‘an official protest’, but little or nothing more happened apart from President Obama getting on the phone with the French President, groveling and apologizing and assuring him in no uncertain terms “that the US is no longer spying on France”.

No, I don’t believe him either, but there it is.

President Obama on phone

There was no need for America’s snooping. As with Germany, French and American intelligence agencies cooperate with each other regularly. They jointly monitor international issues of mutual concern, such as what is happening in Syria, Iraq, the Ukraine, Libya, and even the financial catastrophe that is Greece.

For now that will continue, but the road ahead looks bumpy.

Wikileaks has already made good on its promise that its “French readers can expect more timely and important revelations in the near future”.

The latest release from the whistleblower website contains more documents that indicate that the National Security Agency (NSA), under orders from Washington, were tasked with collecting secret information not only about the economic policies of the French government and the country’s financial sector, but on export contracts by French companies.

In fact every French-registered company involved in negotiations for international projects or other sales contracts valued at over $200 million, like car makers Peugeot and Renault and financial institutions like BNP Paribas and the agricultural credit union, were also subjected to US government secret snooping.

Washington’s pathetic statements that none of this information is ever used to benefit American companies competing for international contracts rings mighty hollow with the French, and the rest of the world come to that.

This latest information is a lot more damning and may necessitate a much stronger response from the French – even if it is just to save face.

Like their attitude over the invasion of Iraq, I think any further reaction would include little or no cooperation in any future American interventions in the Middle East and maybe the use of a veto or two in the United Nations.

We might be at the start of a new meaning to the term “non” cooperation?

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non merci button

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There Is Only One Batman In The World – Yes, It’s Fact Day.

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Yes, today is fact day on the fasab blog.

And apparently there is only one batman in the world.

That and other unusual offerings below.

Enjoy.

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fact 01

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In Germany you are not allowed

to run out of gas on the highway

 German autobahn traffic

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Although there are McDonald’s restaurants

in 119 countries,

40% of the total number are found in the US.

The only place in the continental US

that is more than 100 miles from a McDonald’s

is a desert in northwest Nevada.

 McDonald's sign Ruby Mountains Nevada

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The mayor of Batman city in southeastern Turkey

sued Warner Bros for using his city’s name

without permission.

“There is only one batman in the world”

he was quoted as saying.

 Batman

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The Museum of Non-Visible Art

sells art that only exists

in the imagination of the artist.

In 2011 a moron

– sorry, a woman –

bought one of their “non-visible”

art pieces for $10,000.

I wonder if she hung it on her imaginary wall

in her imaginary house???

 Empty-picture-frame Museum of Non-Visible Art

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In space,

about 10 billion light years distant,

there is an enormous water vapor cloud

that is estimated to hold up to 140 trillion times

the mass of water found in all Earth´s oceans.

 black-hole-quasar-water-cloud

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And still with space,

in typical bureaucrat fashion,

just in case life is found on some other planet,

NASA has an Office of Planetary Protection

already prepared.

 NASA Office of Planetary Protection

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The cardboard thingy that goes around

your coffee cup is called a ‘zarf’.

 zarfs

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The inventor of the diesel engine,

Rudolf Diesel,

committed suicide because he thought

his invention wouldn’t be successful.

 Rudolf Diesel

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Despite being the largest pre-Colombian American empire,

the Incas never developed a written language.

Thus there are no census records available

and estimates of the size of the Inca population has

varied widely from 4 million people to nearly 40 million.

 inca_man

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Karl Marx was once a correspondent

for the New York Daily Tribune.

 karl marx new york daily tribune

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Abraham Lincoln dreamt of his own assassination

just a few days before it happened.

He dreamt he could hear sad wailing in the White House

and, in getting up and trying to find it,

finally came upon a room with

mourners and his own corpse…

 Abraham Lincoln dreamt of his own assassination

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The first official fan-made music video

was Grégoire Pinard’s claymation video

of Placebo’s song “English Summer Rain”.

The band were so impressed that

they decided to make it official.

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Titanic, Tic Tacs And Trailers. It’s Fact Day.

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Welcome to another fact day at the fasab blob.

Last one for May 2015. Time flying as always.

This selection includes facts about the Titanic Tic Tacs and trailers, and lots more.

Enjoy.

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did you know3

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Light pollution usually doesn’t have a

significant impact on humans but it

causes major problems to many animals.

Birds often confuse days and nights and

scientists found out that light pollution can

change migration patterns in some animal species.

 Light pollution

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The Titanic was so big that 176 men were needed

just to shovel coal into its furnaces

 Titanic boiler room

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Although Tic Tac’s claim to have 0 sugar,

they consist of nearly 98% sugar!

This is because the size per serving is

.49 grams and according to the FDA a food

cannot be labeled “sugar free” unless it

contains less than .5 grams of sugar per serving!

How sweet!

 Tic Tac

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Bulgaria is the oldest country in Europe and

it hasn’t changed its name since 681 AD

 Bulgaria map

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When Soviet archaeologists opened the tomb

of Tamerlane, a Mongol descendant of Genghis Khan,

they found an inscription that read,

“Whoever opens my tomb will unleash

an invader more terrible than I.”

It was June 20 1941.

Germany invaded the Soviet Union on June 22.

 tomb of Tamerlane

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The only part of a Swiss Army Knife not

made in Switzerland is the corkscrew.

It is made in Japan.

 Swiss Army Knife

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Mothers become emotionally attached to their

children prior to birth by the virtue of

carrying the child in their wombs.

According to some studies men won’t become

emotionally bonded to the child for several months

after birth when the infant begins to smile, respond,

and interact with him.

 mother baby bond

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During Peter the Great’s reign in Russia

there was a beard tax which

anyone with a beard had to pay.

 Beard_token

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Nobody knows how the Mayan Empire declined.

Long before the Spanish came many of the great

cities had already been long abandoned and lay in ruins.

Scholars have hypothesized reasons ranging from

drought and famine to overpopulation and climate change.

 Mayan Empire

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JRR Tolkien’s estate only received $62,500

for the Lord of the Rings film trilogy

until a lawsuit was filed.

 Lord of the Rings film trilogy

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In June 2010 Oscar the cat received bionic limbs

to replace his original ones lost in an

accident with a combine harvester.

 Bionic-Cat

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Movie trailers were so named because they

were originally designed to play AFTER the movie,

but when marketers realized that people don’t tend

to stick around when a movie has finished they

started to play them at the beginning of the main movie!

Here’s an example…

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What Is The German Word For Hypocrite?

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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hypocrite definition

Remember the big furor a while ago when Edward Snowden revealed that American intelligence agencies had been spying on their friends and allies as well as their enemies? I even commented on it myself here and there.

One of the politicians most outraged by the unwanted and unnecessary snooping was German Chancellor Angela Merkel. “Spying among friends, that’s not all right at all,” she said very publicly in 2013. And in July last year in an unprecedented move she expelled, from Germany the CIA station chief, who in plain language is the top American spy in the country.

The German media jumped all over it too, with heavy moralizing tones and whipping up the German public’s natural reaction against what America had been caught doing.

Angela Merkel with phone

Hmmmm.

That was good stuff.

At least it would have been, but for more recent revelations that Germany’s own spy agency, the BND, have for years been collaborating with America’s National Security Agency (NSA) in spying on Germany’s friends in Paris and Brussels.

What???

Yes, you read it correctly.

While Merkel was whining on about privacy this, and privacy that, her spooks were operating hand in glove with the Americans to spy on supposed friends. And Merkel knew it. As Chancellor she is in charge of overseeing what the BND is up to.

German BND

And specifically what the NSA was up to was using the electronic eavesdropping facilities of the BND in Bad Aibling, a town in Bavaria, by giving the Germans phone numbers, search terms or internet addresses they wanted to monitor. The scale of the snooping was huge. In 2013 alone, the Americans snooped in on 690,000 phone numbers and 7.8m search terms.

As investigations and revelations continue we will no doubt hear phrases like “national security’ and ‘terrorist threats’ being cited as the reasons for all this snooping being necessary. That would be fine if it were true. But it isn’t.

The thing that negates all the good elements that those who have been caught red-handed and red-faced will try to emphasize now that the proverbial cat is out of the bag are revelations that the American snoops were also targeting certain commercial companies which, if true is industrial espionage and nothing to do with terrorism.

Airbus, the European aircraft maker and chief rival to America’s Boeing, has already filed a criminal suit with German prosecutors and demanded clarification from the German government.

Airbus logo

Of course that doesn’t mean they’ll get it. Since these revelations a lot of ass-covering has started. Several investigations are apparently underway, investigations that will find whatever the government wants them to find. In other words they will only reveal what they think they have to and little else.

So to answer the question posed in the title of today’s post, ‘Heuchler’ is apparently the German word for hypocrite. So ‘Heuchlers’ they are!

Auf Wiedersehen.

Until tomorrow.

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