Sunday, December 30, 2012

Pseudonyms

The word pseudonym, is derived from the Greek word pseudṓnymon (pseûdos meaning lie or falsehood  and ónoma meaning name)which literally means false name.

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A pseudonym is a name that a person or group assumes for a particular purpose. The name differs from his or her original or true name (orthonym).  Pseudonyms include actor's stage names and screen names, an author's pen name, personal nicknames and aliases, graffiti artists' tags, terrorists' noms de guerre, computer hacker's handles, and reign names of popes, emperors and monarchs. Historically, pseudonyms have often taken the form of anagrams, Graecism (Greek versions of a name) and Latinisations (Latin versions).  

Pseudonyms are most usually adopted to hide an individual's real identity and to mask their ethnic backgrounds. Employers sometimes require employees to use assigned names to help sell products, for example, a company which does business mostly in one country but locates a call center in another country may require its employees to assume names common in the former country to try to draw a more positive or less negative reaction from current and/or prospective customers. Also, in some cases, pseudonyms are adopted because they are part of a cultural or organizational tradition, for example, devotional names used by nuns and other members of some religions. Finally, a pseudonym may be used for purely personal reasons when an individual feels the context and content of the exchange offer no reason to provide their legal or given name.

The most famous pseudonym is Jesus. Jesus' actual name was Yeshua in Hebrew. The English spelling of Yeshua is Joshua and means Yahweh (The Lord or God) is Salvation. When Joshua was translated from Hebrew into the Greek, the name Yeshua becomes Iēsous. The English spelling for Iēsous is Jesus. Christ is the English version of the Greek word, Christos, meaning Messiah. In Hebrew, Messiah is mashiah, moshiah, mashiach, or moshiach, meaning anointed. Hence, Jesus Christ is a pseudonym for Yeshua moshiah.

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Famous Pseudonyms:

Mark Twain/  Samuel Langhorn Clements (author)

George Sand/ Amantine Lucile Aurore Dupin (author)

Lewis Carroll/  Charles Dodgson (author)

Ann Bronte/ Acton Bell (author)

George Eliot/ Mary Ann Evans (author)

Anne Rice/ Howard Allen O'Brien (author)

Toni Morrison/ Chloe Anthony Wofford (author)

Ringo Starr/ Richard Starkey (musician)

Cat Stevens/ Stephen Demetre Georgiou and Yusuf Islam (singer)

Rocky Marciano/ Rocco Francis Marchegiano (boxer)

Tiger Woods/ Eldrick Tont Woods (golfer)

Whitey Ford/ Edward Charles Ford (baseball player)

King Gorge VI/Albert Frederick Arthur George (monarch)

Queen Victoria/ Alexandrina Victoria of Kent (monarch)

Vladimir Lenin/ Vladimir Il'ich Ulyanov (communist leader)

Josef Stalin/ Yosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili (Russian dictator)

Adolf Hitler/ Adolf Schicklgruber  (German Nazi leader)

El Greco/ Dominikos Theotokópulos (painter)

Marc Chagall/ Moishe Shagal (painter)

Caravaggio/ Michelangelo Merisi (painter)

Che Guevara/ Ernesto Rafael Guevara de la Serna (revolutionary)

Ho Chi Min/Nguyễn Sinh Cung  (Vietnamese leader)

Kim Il Sung/ Kim Song Ju (North Korean leader)

Buddha/ Siddhartha Gautama (religious leader)

Mother Teresa/ Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu (religious leader)

Marilyn Monroe/  Norma Jean Mortenson (movie star)
Cary Grant/ Archibald Leech (movie star)
Fred Astaire/  Frederick Austerlitz (dancer and movie star)
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Famous Modern Celebrity Pseudonyms:

Pope Benedict XVI/ Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger (religious leader)
Natalie Portman/ Natalie Hershlag (actress)
Charlie Sheen/ Carlos Irwin Estevez (actor)
Elton John/ Reginald Kenneth Dwight (singer and song-writer)
Meg Ryan/ Margaret Hyra (actress)
Julie Andrews/ Julia Elizabeth Wells (singer and actress)
Christie Brinkley/ Christie Lee Hudson (model)
Michael Caine/ Maurice Joseph Micklewhite (actor)
Chevy Chase/ Cornelius Crane Chase (actor)
Elvis Costello/ Declan Patrick MacManus (singer)
Chuck Norris/ Carlos Ray Norris (actor)
Larry King/ Lawrence Harvey Zeiger (interviewer and talk show host)
Spike Lee/ Shelton Jackson Lee (film director)
Joan Rivers/ Joan Alexandra Molinsky (comedian)
Joaquin Phoenix/ Joaquin Rafael Bottom (actor)
Tina Fey/ Elizabeth Stamatina Fey (comedian)
Tina Turner/Anna Mae Bullock (singer)
Demi Moore/ Demetria Gene Guynes (actress)
Etta James/ Jamesetta Hawkins (singer)
Mel Brooks/ Melvin Kaminsky (actor and writer)
Jamie Foxx/ Eric Marlon Bishop (actor)
Woody Allen/ Allen Stewart Konigsberg (actor, writer, film director and musician)
Tom Cruise/ Thomas Cruise Mapother IV (actor)
Helen Mirren/ Ilyena Vasilievna Mironoff (actress)
Nicolas Cage/ Nicholas Kim Coppola (actor)
Diane Keaton/Diane Hall (actress)
Catherine Deneuve/ Catherine Dorleac (actress)
Ben Kingsley/ Krishna Pandit Bhanji (actor)
Carmen Electra/ Tara Leigh Patrick (actress and singer)
Whoopi Goldberg/ Caryn Elaine Johnson (actress)

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Little Known Facts about New Years

Probably the most famous tradition in the United States is the dropping of the New Year Ball atop a building in Times Square, New York City, at 11:59pm on New Years Eve. Thousands gather in the square and millions watch the ball drop on television to watch the ball make its one-minute descent  arriving exactly at midnight. The tradition first began in 1907. The original ball was made of iron and wood and weighed 700 pounds; the current ball is made of Waterford Crystal, weighs 1,070 pounds, and is six feet in diameter. There are over 9,000 LED lights, but uses hardly any energy. The ball was not lowered in 1942 and 1943 during World War II because of wartime restrictions.
Here are some other little known facts about New Years:
1.     New Year is the oldest of all holidays, as it was first observed in ancient Babylon as many as 4000 years ago.
2.     Celebrating New Years on January 1 is purely arbitrary, as neither it has agricultural significance nor astronomical. Many countries still celebrate it in spring, the season of rebirth of new crops.
3.     The Roman senate declared January 1 as the New Year in 153 BC. Though even this date saw major tampering, it was Julius Caesar (100BC-44BC) who again declared January 1 in Julian calendar as the New Year, in 46 BC.
4.     January 1 was revived as New Year in 1582 by Pope Gregory XIII (1502-1585; Pope: 1572-1585) and it is celebrated by most of the countries on this date today.
5.     New Years is still observed as the Feast of Christ's Circumcision in some Christian denominations. In an attempt to further distance themselves from Jewish tradition and because of anti-circumcision sentiments in Europe and other places, the Catholic Church and others have changed the name to the Feast of the Holy Name.
6.     Babies born on New Year's Day are said to always said to have future prosperity and luck.
7.     In various South American countries such as Bolivia, Ecuador and Brazil, there is this tradition that has to do with wearing yellow underwear immediately after midnight to bring good luck during the New Year.
8.     Women in Mexico who want to find love in the New Year wear red underwear.
9.     In The Netherlands, people eat donuts on New Year's Day because the round shape is believed to express a full circle of life from one year to the next.
10.  In Denmark, it was a good luck sign if you find broken dishes in front of your door. There was a tradition which is no longer practiced of braking a few on New Year's Eve and leaving them at their friends' doors.
11.  Many East Asians eat sticky rice around midnight on New Year's Eve to ensure a year of prosperity and good fortune.
12.  The first month of the year, January, is named after the Ancient Roman god, Janus (Latin for door). Janus is was a god with two faces, one looking backwards and one forward.
13.  The most famous of all New Year's Day parades, The Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California, USA, dates back before the turn of the last century in 1890.
14.  The Ancient Romans began a tradition of exchanging gifts on New Year's Eve, by giving one another branches from sacred trees, for good fortune.
15.  It was once believed that the first visitor on New Year's Day would bring either good luck or bad luck for the rest of the year, depending on who he or she was.
16.  Until 1911, the Catholic Church started its ecclesiastical year on December 25 at Christmas.
17.  Many traditional Asian calendars begin on the Chinese New Year sometime between mid-January and late-February, depending on the year.
18.  The tradition of making a New Year resolution dates back to the early Babylonians.
19.  Kissing at midnight on New Year's Eve was originally started within a family to ensure that it celebrated the year with those nearest and dearest to their hearts in order to maintain complete affection for the coming year. The tradition was later expanded to also include friends.
20.  In Belgium, farmers used to wish Happy New Year! to their animals.
21.  In Brazil, it is believed that every Brazilian who wears white clothes on New Year's Eve will have a peaceful and successful year.
22.  Noisemakers and fireworks on New Year's Eve developed because in ancient times noise was thought  to ward off evil spirits.
23.  In Spain, it is a tradition to eat twelve grapes (one for every month of the year) at midnight to bring good luck during the new year.
24.  The song, Auld Lang Syne, is traditionally sung or played at midnight in English-speaking countries. The words of the song was a poem written the 1788 by Scottish poet, Robert Burns (1759-1796). The title is Scottish for old long ago.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The True Meaning of Christmas


The Cone Nebula, also
 know as the Christmas Tree Cluster
- photo by NASA


God is with us.
Hear ye people, Even to the uttermost end of the earth.
They people that walked in darkness have seen a great light….
For unto us a child is born!
For unto us a son is given!...
And his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor!
The mighty God, the everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
Hear ye people, Even to the uttermost end of the earth.  Christ is born!
                                - The Orthodox Great Compline for Christmas Eve

Monday, December 17, 2012

News You May Have Missed, No. 44


Outrageous Statement No. 1

Former Arkansas governor, Republican and Methodist minister, Mike Huckabee, said on Fox News that the killing of 20 children and 8 school personnel at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, on December 14, was not surprise because we have systematically removed God from public schools. We ask why there is violence in our schools, but we have systematically removed God from our schools, Huckabee said. Should we be so surprised that schools would become a place of carnage?

This line of reasoning isn't new for Huckabee. Speaking about a movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado, the former GOP presidential candidate claimed that such violent episodes were a function of a nation suffering from the removal of religion from the public sphere. We don't have a crime problem, a gun problem or even a violence problem. What we have is a sin problem said Huckabee. And since we've ordered God out of our schools, and communities, the military and public conversations, you know we really shouldn't act so surprised ... when all hell breaks loose.

Observation: At a time when this state is in shock, traumatized and grieving, for any politician, especially one who claims to be a Methodist minister,  to make such an uncalled for, vile and unjustified accusation is a reprehensible act. And, for Fox to air such a horrible statement under the guise of freedom of speech and political expression is a new low in so-called "news".

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New Primate Discovery

A new small primate with a toxic bite and distinctive facial fur markings has been discovered in the highland jungles of Borneo and has been named Nycticebus kayan, after a major river, the Kayan, flowing through the region. The trio of scientists also found that two species previously considered sub-species in the Nycticebus genus are officially unique species.

Historically, many species went unrecognized as they were falsely lumped together as one species, researcher Rachel Munds, of the University of Missouri Columbia, said in a statement. Closely related to lemurs, the slow loris is found across Southeast Asia, from Bangladesh and China's Yunnan province to Borneo. To distinguish between species, the researchers focused on the seeming face masks of Borneo's slow lorises; fur patches cover their eyes, while their heads are covered with differently shaped caps. The examined photographs and museum samples for eight face mask features, finding there were four species of Bornean lorises. The new species to science, N. kayan, showed a dark, highly contrasting face mask, with dark patches around its eyes. From the specimen examined, the species is about 10.8 inches (273 millimeters) long and weighs about 14.5 ounces (411 grams).

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Outrageous Statement No. 2

Pope Benedict XVI said this week that gay marriage poses a poses a threat to "justice and peace". The 85-year-old religious leader went on to suggest that same-sex marriage is unnatural. As Gay Star News reports, the Pope, in his annual Christmas address, said that same-sex marriage is unnatural and against human nature.

There is…a need to acknowledge and promote the natural structure of marriage as the union of a man and a woman in the face of attempts to make it juridically equivalent to radically different types of union, the Pope said, according to ANSA. Such attempts actually harm and help to destabilize marriage, obscuring its specific nature and its indispensable role in society. These principles are not truths of faith, nor are they simply a corollary of the right to religious freedom. They are inscribed in human nature itself, accessible to reason and thus common to all humanity, he continued. The Pope went on to suggest that support of gay marriage constitutes an offense against the truth of the human person with serious harm to justice and peace.

Earlier this year, the Associated Press reported that the Pope denounced gay marriage as being insidious and dangerous.

Observation: Isn't celibacy unnatural and against the laws of nature?

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Jesus Look-Alike

Looking like Jesus turned out to be a cross to bear for Nathan Grindal, whose resemblance to the King of Kings caused him to be kicked out of a darts tournament in Somerset, Great Britain. Grindal, 33, who has long hair and a full beard he started growing four months ago, was sitting in the crowd at the tournament when some spectators began to chant, Jesus! Jesus! during the final match between Phil Taylor and Kim Huybrechts, ABC News reported. Others joined in the chant, until most of the 4,500 people in the arena were chanting Jesus' name. It got so raucous that the security staff  had to remove Grindal fearing his presence was upsetting the concentration of the players, as well as hurting the enjoyment of the viewers at home, ThisIsSomerset.co.uk reported. As might be expected, the experience left Grindal, a laborer by trade, quite cross. (Get it? "Cross") According to the Global Dispatch, Grindal said, It was distressing. I was emotionally distraught.  The crowd were bullying and picking on me. It would have been OK if security hadn’t made a fuss getting me out. In his post-match interview, Phil Taylor who won the match said after his victory, If I ever see Jesus again, I’ll crucify him myself.  The experience has left Grindal skittish about attending future tournaments. I love darts, but I'm worried about ever going to see it live again just in case the crowd turns on me like they did last time, he said, according to the Daily Mail.

Observation: No one knows what Jesus looked like. The traditional images of Jesus are based on Medieval and Renaissance European paintings.

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Outrageous Statement No. 3

Throw away any notion that Antonin Scalia  can ever render a fair and impartial legal rendering . Scalia, one of the most radical associate U.S. Supreme Court justices, says, for him, it is “easy” to outlaw same-sex marriage which he calls homosexual sodomy.  Speaking at Princeton University, Scalia was asked by a gay student why he equates laws banning sodomy with those barring bestiality and murder. I don't think it's necessary, but I think it's effective, Scalia said, adding that legislative bodies can ban what they believe to be immoral.

Scalia has been giving speeches around the country to promote his new book, Reading Law, and his lecture at Princeton comes just days after the court agreed to take on two cases that challenge the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman. Some in the audience who had come to hear Scalia speak about his book applauded but more of those who attended the lecture clapped at freshman Duncan Hosie's question. "It's a form of argument that I thought you would have known, which is called the `reduction to the absurd,'" Scalia told Hosie of San Francisco during the question-and-answer period. If we cannot have moral feelings against homosexuality, can we have it against murder? Can we have it against other things?
After the remark, Scalia said he is not equating sodomy with murder but drawing a parallel between the bans on both. Then, he said, I'm surprised you aren't persuaded. Hosie said afterward that he was not persuaded by Scalia's answer. He said he believes Scalia's writings tend to dehumanize gays.
Observation: Scalia is one of 9 Supreme Court justices who will decide whether gay marriage is legal or not. He said, Legislative bodies can ban what they believe to be immoral. Not when they are unconstitutional or are based on an arbitrary personal standard of morality. Scalia's equating homosexuality with murder is legally and morally reprehensible.  Finally, Scalia has already made up his mind about an issue which will be argued before the Supreme Court. By doing so, he is admitting that he is unqualified to rule on the legality of gay marriage.

Friday, December 14, 2012

It's the End Of the World- Again!

The History of the End of the World.
Throughout history, there have been predictions about when the end of the world would happen. Some of them have been:
·       640 BC: Many Romans feared that the city would be destroyed in the 120th year of its founding. There was a myth that 12 eagles had revealed to Romulus (according to legend, one of the city's founders) a mystical number representing the lifetime of Rome, and some early Romans hypothesized that each eagle represented 10 years.
·       1st Century AD: Some first-century Christians expected  the end of the world was eminent and that Jesus would return within one generation of his death. According to  scholars, St. Paul was one of them.
·       66-70 AD: The sect of Jewish ascetics known as the Essenes believed that the Jewish revolt against the Romans from 66 to70 was the final end-time battle.
·       365 AD: Catholic Bishop Hilary of Poitiers, France, announced that the end would happen that year.
·       375-400 AD: Catholic Bishop Martin of Tours, France, said that the world would end before 400. He wrote. There is no doubt that the Antichrist has already been born. Firmly established already in his early years, he will, after reaching maturity, achieve supreme power. His inaccurate prediction did not prevent him from being made a Catholic saint.
·       799 AD: Catholic Bishop Gregory of Tours announce that the world would end between 799 and 804 AD. His inaccurate prediction did not prevent him from being made a Catholic saint.
·       848 AD: The prophetess Thiota declared that the world would end that year. She  eventually was forced to confess that she had only made up her predictions at the urging of a priest and also for lucrative financial gain.
·       1216 AD: Pope Innocent III  predicted that the world would end 666 years after the rise of Islam. The number 666 is the number of the beast described in chapter 13 of the apocalyptic biblical Book of Revelations .
·       c. 1500 AD: Christopher Columbus claimed that the world was created in 5343 BCE, and would last 7000 years. Assuming no year zero, that means the end would come in 1658.
·       1524 and 1528 AD: Twice the priest and astronomer, Johannes Stoffles, predicted the end of the world because he noticed a planetary alignment during the horoscope sign of Pisces. When the end of the world did not happen in 1524, he predicted it again for 1528.
·       c. 1580 AD: Cleric and Protestant reformer Martin Luther predicted the end of the world would occur no later than 1600.
·       1688 AD: Mathematician John Napier calculated the end of the world would be in 1688 based on calculations from the Book of Revelations. After his 1688 prediction failed to come true, Napier revised his end of the world prediction to be in 1700.
·       1697 AD: Puritan New England preacher Cotton Mather predicted the world would end this year. After the prediction failed, he revised the date of the end twice between 1697 and 1736.
·       1792-1794 AD: The believers in the Shaker religion predicted that the world would end in both 1792 then 1794.
·       1846 AD: Preacher George Rapp sermonized that Jesus would return in his lifetime-  even as he lay dying on Aug 7, 1847.
·       1874-1920 AD: The eight predictions of the end of the world by the Bible Student movement started by Charles Taze Russell. A ninth prediction was made in 1941 by the Jehovah's Witnesses which branched from the Bible Student movement.
·       1901 AD: The Catholic Apostolic Church founded in 1831 claimed that the end of the world and that Jesus would return by the time the last of its 12 founding members died. The last member died in 1901.
·       1936-1975 AD: Herbert W. Armstrong, the founder of the Worldwide Church of God, told members of his church that the Rapture (end of the world) was to take place in 1936, and that only they would saved. After the prophecy failed, he changed the date three more times.
·       1999 AD: A prediction attributed to Nostradamus stating the "King of Terror" would come from the sky in "1999 and seven months" led to fears of the end of the world. 
·       2000 AD: In 1971, and again in 1984, the Jehovah's Witnesses stated the end would be before the end of the 20th century. In addition, there were multiple prediction that the end of the world would occur in 2000 including the well-known psychic, Edgar Cayce, who predicted the Second Coming of Jesus and the end of the world would occur in that year.  And, right-wing Fundamentalist preacher, Jerry Falwell predicted that God pouring out his judgment on the world on January 1, 2000.
·       2007 AD: Preacher and right-wing politician Pat Robertson, in his 1990 book, The New Millennium, suggested  April 29 as the day of Earth's destruction.
·       2011 AD: Preacher Harold Camping predicted that the end of the world would occur on May 21, 2011. When his original date failed to come about, Camping revised his prediction and said that on May 21, a "Spiritual Judgment" took place, and that both the physical Rapture and the end of the world would occur on October 21, 2011.

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The End of the World, 2012

The clock is ticking down to December 21, 2012, the supposed end of the Mayan calendar. And, from China to California to Mexico, thousands are getting ready for what they think is going to be the end of the world. The Maya didn't say much about what would happen next, after a 5,125-year cycle known as the Long Count comes to an end. So into that void have rushed occult writers, bloggers and New Age visionaries foreseeing all manner of monumental change, from doomsday to a new age of enlightenment.
The 2009 disaster movie 2012 helped spark doomsday rumors with its visions of Los Angeles crashing into the sea and mammoth tsunami waves swallowing the Himalayas. Foreboding TV documentaries and alarmist websites followed, sparking panic in corners of the globe thousands of miles from the Mayan homeland of southern Mexico and Central America.
As the big day approaches, governments and scientists alike are mobilizing to avoid actual tragedy. Even the U.S. space agency NASA intervened earlier this month, posting a nearly hour-long YouTube video debunking apocalyptic points, one by one.
The Internet has helped feed the frenzy, spreading rumors that a mountain in the French Pyrenees is hiding an alien spaceship that will be the sole escape from the destruction. French authorities are blocking access to Bugarach peak from Dec. 19-23 except for the village's 200 residents "who want to live in peace," the local prefect said in a news release.
I think this tells us more about ourselves, particularly in the Western world, than it does about the ancient Maya," said Geoffrey Braswell, an associate professor of anthropology and leading Maya scholar at the University of California, San Diego. The idea that the world will end soon is a very strong belief in Western cultures.... The Maya, we don't really know if they believed the world would ever end.
As the clock ticks down, scenarios have mounted about how the end will come.
Some believe a rogue planet called Nibiru will emerge from its hiding place behind the sun and smash into the Earth. Others say a super black hole at the center of the universe will suck in our planet and smash it to pieces. At least two men in China are predicting a world-ending flood. They're both building arks.
Lu Zhenghai has spent his life savings, some $160,000, building the 70-foot-by-50-foot vessel powered by three diesel engines, according to state media. I am afraid that when the end of the world comes, the flood will submerge my house, the 44-year-old ex-army man was quoted as saying.
China's most innovative ark builder, however, may be Yang Zongfu, a 32-year-old businessman in eastern China. His vessel, Atlantis, a three-ton yellow steel ball 13 feet (four meters) in diameter, is designed to survive a volcano, tsunami, earthquake or nuclear meltdown, according to the state-run Liao Wang magazine.
Jose Manrique Esquivel, a descendent of the Maya, said his community in Mexico's Yucatan peninsula sees the date as a celebration of their survival despite centuries of genocide and oppression. He blamed profiteers looking to scam the gullible for stoking doomsday fears. For us, this Dec. 21 is the end of a great era and also the beginning of a new era. We renew our beliefs. We renew a host of things that surround us, Esquivel said.
In fact, anthropologists aren't even sure whether the end of the Mayan calendar falls on Dec. 21, or whether it's already happened or is still to come, Braswell said. The date is mentioned in only two known cases, including an etching that says nine gods will descend from heaven to Earth. The verb describing what the gods will do is illegible in the etching.
It probably was a ritual of some sort, and even if we had the glyph we wouldn't understand what it is, Braswell said. What we know for sure is there's no discussion of the end of the world on that date.
In Mexico's Mayan heartland, nobody is preparing for the end of the world; instead, they're bracing for a tsunami of spiritual visitors of the terrestrial variety.
Hotels near the Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza have been sold out, with many rooms booked a year in advance. Volunteers at the Kinich Ahau center dedicated to spreading the "authentic wisdom of the Maya" were busy chopping resinous wood to mix with incense for a sacred fire ceremony to greet visitors from around the world. Mass tribal drumming, circles of energy and ritual dancing were also planned.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Political Rhetoric

A Political Axiom:
He who gets to choose the words, controls the debate.
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The Big Lie is a propaganda technique. The expression, The Big Lie, was created by Adolph Hitler in his 1925 book, Mein Kampf. It asserts that when a politician creates a lie so colossal that no one would believe that someone could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously.

The novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four, by George Orwell (1903-1950), makes reference to The Big Lie theory on several occasions. He says, The key-word here is blackwhite. Like so many Newspeak words, this word has two mutually contradictory meanings. Applied to an opponent, it means the habit of impudently claiming that black is white, in contradiction of the plain facts…. To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed....

The Republican Party has become masterful at creating propaganda concepts and phrases which prove The Big Lie theory is alive and well in the U.S.
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The "Fiscal Cliff"
A so-called "fiscal cliff" is a combination of expiring tax cuts and across-the-board government spending cuts scheduled to come into effect  on Dec. 31, 2012. The idea behind the fiscal cliff was that if the federal government allowed these two events to proceed as planned, they would have a detrimental effect on an already shaky economy, perhaps sending it back into an official recession as it cut household incomes, increased unemployment rates and undermined consumer and investor confidence. At the same time, it was predicted that going over the fiscal cliff would significantly reduce the federal budget deficit.

Who actually first uttered the words "fiscal cliff" is not clear. Some believe that it was first used by Goldman Sachs economist, Alec Phillips. Others credit Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke for taking the phrase mainstream in his remarks in front of Congress. Others credit Safir Ahmed, a reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, who in 1989 wrote a story detailing the state's education funding and used the term "fiscal cliff." If Congress and President Obama do not act to avert this perfect storm of legislative changes, America will, in the media's terms, "fall over the cliff." Among other things, it will mean a tax increase the size of which has not been seen by Americans in 60 years. On the other hand, the tax levels will be the same as about 10 years ago.
So, is it really a tax increase if the tax cuts were intended to be only temporary and if it helps to reduce the huge deficit? But, whether it is or is not, one thing is clear. The words "fiscal cliff" which implies a great disaster is a phrase used to provide panic, inaccurate, media-hype and political rhetoric.
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The Death Tax

The phrase, "death tax" implies that there is a tax on dying. There is no "death tax"! The term was created to by Republicans who wanted to eliminate the estate tax on inherited property.
The estate tax in the U.S. is a tax imposed on the transfer of the "taxable estate" of a deceased person, whether such property is transferred  because of a will or the payment of certain life insurance benefits and/or other financial account sums to beneficiaries. The estate tax is one part of the Unified Gift and Estate Tax system in the United States. Since the 1990s, opponents of the tax have used the pejorative term "death tax". The use of the phrase, death tax, was instrumental in getting a repeal of the inheritance tax for deaths occurring up to 2012. The law change which benefitted the wealthy said that estates valued up to $5,000,000 can be passed from an individual upon his or her death without incurring federal estate tax.

What critics of the death tax overlook is that it helps the government recoup much revenue it loses to a loophole-riddled tax code and that the estate tax is a progressive method of revenue collection. The Tax Policy Center has estimated that 97% of estate taxes are paid by the top 5 percent of households on the income scale.

Controversy over the estate tax is nothing new. A stamp tax was imposed on wills and estates in 1797, to help collect funds for the Undeclared War with France, and repealed in 1802.  In 1862, an inheritance tax with rates of 0.75% to 5% was imposed to collect funds for the Civil War, and was repealed in 1870.  In 1898 an estate tax with a top rate of 15% was imposed on all assets above $1 million to collect funds for the Spanish-American war, and was repealed in 1902.

A fourth Federal Estate Tax was imposed in 1916, to support the U.S. involvement in World War I.  That war ended over 90 years ago, yet the tax was only finally repealed on January 1, 2010.  Over the course of the last 94 years, the estate tax rate changed several times.  The initial top rate was 10 percent, and then increased to 25 percent, and ultimately climbed as high as 77 percent.
In 2001, President Bush signed the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act (EGTRRA).  EGTRRA reduced the estate tax from 55 percent in 2001 to 45 percent in 2009 and repealed the estate tax on January 1, 2010.
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The "Job Creators"
With cunning and contempt, the political right and the super-rich have argued that all money should move to the top, where it will be used to stimulate the economy and create jobs. And, they have coined a phase, job creators, that reinforces their deliberate and self-serving myth.  But they conveniently ignore the facts which prove them wrong.

Based on IRS figures, the richest 1% nearly tripled its share of America's after-tax income from 1980 to 2006. That's an extra trillion dollars a year. Then, in the first year after the 2008 recession, they took 93% of all the new income. And, the richest 10% own 83% of all financial wealth, and they are taxed at just 15%, ostensibly because they pump that money back into job-creating ventures.

Meanwhile, corporate profits have doubled at the same time as their taxes were cut in half. While corporate profits have doubled to $1.9 trillion in less than ten years, the corporate income tax rate which for thirty years hovered around the 20-25% level, suddenly dropped to 10%. That's a half-trillion dollars a year unpaid by the very companies who have successfully convinced much of America that their tax rates are too high because they too were the "job creators".

Corporations even pay less in taxes than low-wage American workers. On their 2011 profits of $1.97 trillion, corporations paid $181 billion in federal income taxes (9%) and $40 billion in state Income taxes (2%), for a total income tax burden of 11%. The poorest 20% of American citizens pay 17.4% in federal, state, and local taxes. Again, this is because they are supposed to be the "job creators". So, were are the jobs?

In 2009, the corporate-friendly Wall Street Journal said that the Bush tax cuts led to the worst track record for jobs in recorded history. About 20 million people remain unemployed or underemployed with between 30 and 50% of recent college graduates in one of those categories. Among unemployed workers, approximately 40% have been without a job for six months or longer.  For the jobs that remain, most are low-paying, with the only real employment growth occurring in retail sales and food preparation. A recent report by the National Employment Law Project confirms that lower-wage occupations, (up to about $14 per hour) accounted for 21 percent of recession losses and 58 percent of recovery growth, while mid-wage occupations (between $14 and $21 per hour) accounted for 60 percent of recession losses and only 22 percent of recovery growth. Also, the minimum wage is shamefully low, about 30 % lower than the inflation-adjusted 1968 figure. All these job woes persist while worker productivity has continued to grow while worker pay has stagnated. Conclusion: The rich get richer and corporate profits are up, but there are fewer jobs, the pay is lower and the jobless rate has sky-rocketed.


So what are the "job creators" doing with all their money?  They are not building businesses which employ people. Only 3% of the CEOs, upper management, and financial professionals were entrepreneurs in 2005, even though they made up about 60 percent of the richest 1% of Americans. A recent study found that less than 1 percent of all entrepreneurs came from very rich or very poor backgrounds. They come from the middle class.

Big business is even worse at job creation. The cash holdings for non-financial U.S. firms increased to $1.24 trillion in 2011 and about 57% of it was stashed overseas, over eight trillion untaxed dollars. The U.S. Commerce Department figures say that U.S. companies cut their work forces by 2.9 million from 2000 to 2009 while increasing overseas employment by 2.4 million. So, they are not job-creators. They are job-destroyers!