And why does he paint so many pictures of my parents fighting?
A group of women were at a seminar on how to live in a loving relationship with your husband.
The women were asked, "How many of you love your husband?"
All the women raised their hands.
Then they were asked, "When was the last time you told your husband you loved him?"
Some women answered today, a few yesterday, and some couldn't remember.
The women were then told to take out their cell phones and text their husband: "I love you, sweetheart."
The women were then told to exchange phones with another person, and to read aloud the text message they received, in response.
Here are some of the replies:
1. Who the hell is this?
2. Eh, mother of my children, are you sick or what?
3. Yeah, and I love you too. What's up with you??
4. What now? Did you crash the car again?
5. I don't understand what you mean?
6. What the F did you do now?
8. Don't beat about the bush, just tell me how much you need?
9. I know.
10. If you don't tell me who this message is actually for, someone will die.
11. I thought we agreed you wouldn't drink during the day.
12. Your mother is coming to stay with us, isn't she?
US Announces New Plan To Destabilize Middle East In Hopes Of Failure
WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a surprising foreign policy change, U.S. officials have announced a new Middle Eastern strategy of attempting to deliberately destabilize the region in hopes that the plan will backfire
Secretary of State John Kerry described the new ‘Hail Mary’ plan at a State Department briefing earlier this morning.
“After careful analysis, we have concluded that the only thing our previous Middle Eastern policies have in common is failure,” Kerry said. “Therefore, we’ve decided that we’re going to attempt to destabilize the Middle East as much as possible in the hope that this plan will fail as well.”
Kerry then announced that the United States had formally recognized Palestine as an independent state, but was also in the process of shipping tanks and helicopter gunships to Israeli settlers. When asked why the arms were not being shipped to the Israeli Army, Kerry explained that it had been labeled a terrorist organization as part of the sweeping initiative. Other elements of the plan will include trucking Shiites into traditionally Sunni areas and vice versa, supplying weapons grade plutonium to Iran, and providing fully assembled suitcase-sized nuclear weapons to any state or armed group that wants them.
Kerry then turned over the briefing to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel to discuss some of the plan’s military aspects.
“As we speak, cruise missiles are in the air targeting the Wailing Wall, Dome of the Rock, Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and Al Aqsa Mosque,” said Hagel. “In order to prevent any of them from being rebuilt, the entire Temple Mount will be resettled with tigers displaced by habitat loss. We debated using lions, but decided that a non-indigenous predator would cause greater instability.”
“Close behind the wave of missiles, 200,000 American soldiers and Marines are now en route to the Middle East. They have not been briefed on their strategic objectives, because there are none. They do not even know their destinations, which are being drawn from top hats by their pilots while in the air. This will likely cause at least some of the planes to conduct crash landings due to lack of fuel, which we hope will only add to the chaos.”
“In addition to our efforts on the ground, our C-130s are already crisscrossing the region air-dropping containers at random. Some are full of millions of dollars. Others are full of weapons and ammunition. Others are full of peanut brittle. Even we cannot say with certainty which is which.”
Delivery of the briefing coincided with related announcements from agencies representing every element of US national power, including not only diplomacy and defense, but also intelligence and business, suggesting a level of coordination previously unseen from the Obama administration’s foreign policy team. While the Central Intelligence Agency’s role in the new strategy has not been publicized, public speculation as to their possible role, ranging from assassinating the Saudi royal family to contaminating every well between Cairo and Muscat with LSD, has already contributed to disorder regardless of what their actual role might be.
Kerry elaborated on the plan’s unprecedented integration of soft power.
“In keeping with this administration’s belief that problems cannot be solved with military power alone, we will also leverage our economic and informational advantages. For example, we will have rooms of cartoonists from every nation drawing cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad seven days a week, and our media will cover them around the clock while intermittently flashing the word “kill” on the TV screen. We are also in close conference with music industry executives regarding whether it might be possible to divide Middle Eastern music with some sort of violent and artificial East Coast-West Coast style feud.”
In response to questions regarding his level of confidence that the plan would inevitably fail, Kerry referred press to newly appointed Ambassador at Large Paul Bremer. Bremer apparently took the post after a joint appeal from George W. Bush and Barack Obama, who implored him that his country needed him to come out of retirement for one final mission. Bremer described himself as optimistic, and well prepared for the challenging work ahead.
“Looking at the bigger picture, I have compiled tribal, ethnic, religious, and resource map overlays of the region, and I am pleased to report that I have created a new set of proposed borders to impose upon the area that will create lethal sectarian tensions with no historical antecedents. The borders follow no natural boundaries and have no logical shape. Whenever possible, I placed the borders to run through the middle of people’s houses.”
“This is the job I was born to do,” concluded Bremer.
In response to the announcement, House Republicans have denounced the plan as certain to succeed.
How can you tell the difference between a chemist and a plumber?
Ask them to pronounce “unionized.
The guys who write dialog for dirty movies must be the same guys who write the safety lectures given by flight attendants.
In both cases, I'm staring at the women and not listening at all while hoping they'll get naughty soon.
Issue of the Times;
How Empires End By Jeff Thomas
“Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.” – Thomas Jefferson
Histories are generally written by academics. They, quite naturally, tend to focus on the main events: the wars and the struggles between leaders and their opponents (both external and internal). Whilst these are interesting stories to read, academics, by their very nature, often overlook the underlying causes for an empire’s decline.
Today, as in any era, most people are primarily interested in the “news”—the daily information regarding the world’s political leaders and their struggles with one another to obtain, retain, and expand their power. When the history is written about the era we are passing through, it will reflect, in large measure, a rehash of the news. As the media of the day tend to overlook the fact that present events are merely symptoms of an overall decline, so historians tend to focus on major events, rather than the “slow operations” that have been the underlying causes.
The Persian Empire
When, as a boy, I was “educated” about the decline and fall of the Persian Empire, I learned of the final takeover by Alexander the Great but was never told that, in its decline, Persian taxes became heavier and more oppressive, leading to economic depression and revolts, which, in turn led to even heavier taxes and increased repression. Increasingly, kings hoarded gold and silver, keeping it out of circulation from the community. This hamstrung the market, as monetary circulation was insufficient to conduct business. By the time Alexander came along, Persia, weakened by warfare and internal economic strife, was a shell of an empire and was relatively easy to defeat.
The Tang Dynasty
Back then, I also learned that the Tang Dynasty ended as a result of the increased power amongst the eunuchs, battles with fanzhen separatists, and finally, peasants’ revolts. True enough, but I was not taught that the dynasty’s expansion-based warfare demanded increases in taxation, which led to the revolts. Continued warfare necessitated increasing monetary and land extortion by the eunuchs, resulting in an abrupt decrease in food output and further taxes. Finally, as economic deterioration and oppression of the citizenry worsened, citizens left the area entirely for more promise elsewhere.
Is there a pattern here? Let’s have a more detailed look—at another empire.
The Spanish Empire
In 1556, Philip II of Spain inherited what was regarded as Europe’s most wealthy nation, with no apparent economic problems. Yet, by 1598, Spain was bankrupt. How was this possible?
Spain was doing well but sought to become a major power. To achieve this, Philip needed more tax dollars. Beginning in 1561, the existing servicio tax was regularised, and the crusada tax, the excusado tax, and the millones tax were all added by 1590. Over a period of 39 years (between 1559 and 1598) taxes increased by 430%. Although the elite of the day were exempt from taxation (the elite of today are not officially exempt), the average citizen was taxed to the point that both business expansion and public purchasing diminished dramatically. Wages did not keep pace with the resultant inflation. The price of goods rose 400%, causing a price revolution and a tax revolution. Although Spain enjoyed a flood of gold and silver from the Americas at this time, the increased wealth went straight into Philip’s war efforts. However, the 100,000 troops were soon failing to return sufficient spoils to Philip to pay for their forays abroad.
In a final effort to float the doomed empire, Philip issued government bonds, which provided immediate cash but created tremendous debt that, presumably, would need to be repaid one day. (The debt grew to 8.8 times GDP.)
Spain declared bankruptcy. Trade slipped to other countries. The military, fighting on three fronts, went unpaid, and military aspirations collapsed.
It is important to note that, even as the empire was collapsing, Philip did not suspend warfare. He did not back off on taxation. Like leaders before and since, he instead stubbornly increased his autocracy as the empire slid into collapse.
Again, the events above are not taught to schoolchildren as being of key importance in the decline of empires, even though they are remarkably consistent with the decline of other empires and what we are seeing today. The very same events occur, falling like dominoes, more or less in order, in any empire, in any age:
1. The reach of government leaders habitually exceeds their grasp.
2. Dramatic expansion (generally through warfare) is undertaken without a clear plan as to how that expansion is to be financed.
3. The population is overtaxed as the bills for expansion become due, without consideration as to whether the population can afford increased taxation.
4. Heavy taxation causes investment by the private sector to diminish, and the economy begins to decline.
5. Costs of goods rise, without wages keeping pace.
6. Tax revenue declines as the economy declines (due to excessive taxation). Taxes are increased again, in order to top up government revenues.
7. In spite of all the above, government leaders personally hoard as much as they can, further limiting the circulation of wealth in the business community.
8. Governments issue bonds and otherwise borrow to continue expansion, with no plan as to repayment.
9. Dramatic authoritarian control is instituted to assure that the public continues to comply with demands, even if those demands cannot be met by the public.
10. Economic and social collapse occurs, often marked by unrest and riots, the collapse of the economy, and the exit of those who are productive.
11. In this final period, the empire turns on itself, treating its people as the enemy.
The above review suggests that if our schoolbooks stressed the underlying causes of empire collapse, rather than the names of famous generals and the dates of famous battles, we might be better educated and be less likely to repeat the same mistakes. Unfortunately, this is unlikely. Chances are, future leaders will be just as uninterested in learning from history as past leaders. They will create empires, then destroy them.
Even the most informative histories of empire decline, such as The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, by Edward Gibbon, will not be of interest to the leaders of empires. They will believe that they are above history and that they, uniquely, will succeed. If there is any value in learning from the above, it is the understanding that leaders will not be dissuaded from their aspirations. They will continue to charge ahead, both literally and figuratively, regardless of objections and revolts from the citizenry.
Once an empire has reached stage eight above, it never reverses. It is a “dead empire walking” and only awaits the painful playing-out of the final three stages. At that point, it is foolhardy in the extreme to remain and “wait it out” in the hope that the decline will somehow reverse. At that point, the wiser choice might be to follow the cue of the Chinese, the Romans, and others, who instead chose to quietly exit for greener pastures elsewhere.
Quote of the Times;
All the perplexities, confusions and distress in America arise not from defects in their constitution or confederation, not from a want of honor or virtue, so much as from downright ignorance of the nature of coin, credit and circulation. – Adams
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