Sunday, November 13, 2011

Amazon Gift Card&Item Ideas for Anne's 14th Birthday

Happy 14th birthday to my niece Anne! I had no idea what would be a good gift for a 14 year old girl, but I'm confident an gift card accompanied by a list of awesome Amazon items will be better than any gift I could have gotten anyway.

There is one item that you must buy! I mean it, Anne, you better buy this--and read it! Yes, it is a book, but don't worry, it isn't political :D It is called I Was Blind But Now I See by James Altucher. The book's official description is:

"We've been brainwashed. We need to acknowledge this. We need to recognize who has been doing the brainwashing and work towards reversing its effects. Then, building from the core, we can learn who we really are, get success, wealth, and finally happiness. This book lays out the techniques to escape the zombie recruitment machine, expanding our personal frontiers, and finding the tools to build up the wealth of happiness inside."

I think the chapter 'The 10 Commandments of James-ism' (or Anne-ism in your case) is especially interesting. Altucher also argues against going to college - and I do think he is right that many people currently going to college would be better off doing other things. If you want to have a career in medicine, law, engineering, etc that is one thing, but going into debt for $100,000 to get a degree in interpretive dance or sociology is not the best way to go.

You can learn advanced science and mathematics for free online using things like Khan Academy (see their YouTube channel here). Science may not always be that interesting to me, but I thought you might be interested in this book, called Theo Gray's Mad Science: Experiments You Can Do At Home - But Probably Shouldn't

With the almost limitless opportunities for learning that the internet provides, we all can do something like this: Thomas Suarez is a 6th grade student who has developed applications/apps for the iPhone, and has established his own company.

Its always good to have a knife (in this case, Swiss Army) on you--unless you're at school, maybe? Check the rules on that--or just don't get caught :)

Probably the most awesome (and most expensive) item is the New Trent External Battery Pack, which will charge pretty much any portable electronic device, like your cell phone or iPad. There are several different versions of this, but here is the one with the biggest battery--and price--at $76.95.

And I know you just got a new backpack, but I couldn't resist showing you this Super Mario Koopa Shell plush backpack - one of several Amazon items from the sweet site :D

Another item you probably won't see anywhere else is one of these Platypus collapsible water bottles. After you drink all the water, it will collapse flat so it doesn't take up as much space, which is nice if you like to try to bring everything you own everywhere with you like I do

This is just scratching the surface of what is available on Amazon. Of course there is pretty much any article of clothing, movie, music, or book you can think of too. Also, you can buy the digital versions of many books for as little as 99 cents and read it using the Kindle app on your iPad or iPhone. You might want to wait a while before placing an order so you can try to browse around and see what else they have to offer. And if you find anything cool, let me know about it! I hope this will help make your 14th birthday your best birthday yet--until next year's that is :)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Civil War, Lincoln, and Fort Sumter Truth

I put together this brief article to give out with the 'FORT SUMTER WAS AN INSIDE JOB' t-shirts I'm selling (you can purchase one here for the reduced price of $12 ($17 including shipping). And of course, you can have some copies of it on you to give to people while you're wearing the shirt! :D

The Civil War, Lincoln, and Fort Sumter Truth

The history of the civil war taught in public (i.e. government) schools usually goes something like this:

“Anti-slavery candidate Abraham Lincoln was elected president in 1860, prompting southern states to secede. The battle of Fort Sumter began the civil war, which was fought to abolish slavery.”

This isn’t entirely true. Lincoln didn’t invade the south to abolish slavery. He and many in the north were not abolitionists or antislavery in principle; and many were only anti-slavery in that they didn’t want to compete with slave labor (or freed blacks for that matter) for jobs. In his 1
st inaugural address Lincoln actually endorsed a constitutional amendment to make slavery permanent where it existed.

Then why did the south secede? The southern states seceded in large part because they felt they were being economically exploited by the north. Back then, the federal government got about 90% of its revenue from tariffs (taxes on imported goods), and soon after the 1860 election, the tariff rate was doubled. This hurt the southern economy, because they had to import most everything. And the revenue was mostly spent on the north.

In Lincoln’s 1
st inaugural he refused to acknowledge the states right to secede, and threatened invasion if the south would not pay the tariff. Lincoln wanted war to “save the union” (i.e. coerce the south to continue being in the union and paying their taxes):

"My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it” ~ Abraham Lincoln, August 22, 1862

Lincoln got his war by maneuvering the south into firing the first shot on Fort Sumter, which had the effect of increasing northern support for the war. After SC seceded, the union continued to occupy the Fort. The US pledged not to resupply the fort, but then Lincoln broke the promise and sent ships to resupply it, upon which time the south fired on the Fort, giving Lincoln his pretext for invasion and war.

Senator Orville H. Browning, Lincoln's close friend for twenty years, wrote this in his diary on July 3, 1861:

"He told me that the very first thing placed in his hands after his inauguration was a letter from Major Anderson announcing the impossibility of defending or relieving Sumter.... He himself conceived the idea, and proposed sending supplies, without an attempt to reinforce giving notice of the fact to Governor Pickens of S.C. The plan succeeded. They attacked Sumter – it fell, and thus, did more service than it otherwise could."

If the plan Lincoln referred to was to resupply Ft. Sumter, then that plan failed, since the ships never approached the fort. But if the plan was to get the South to fire first, then that plan succeeded.

During the war, Lincoln illegally suspended Habeas Corpus, imprisoned tens of thousands of political dissenters in the North; shut down over 300 opposition newspapers; deported the leader of the congressional opposition, Democratic Congressman Clement Vallandigham of Ohio; and waged total war on civilians.

The war was not launched to abolish slavery, but to “save the union”, i.e. abolish secession, states’ rights, and constitutionally limited government. Slavery could have been abolished peacefully like in every other country, without killing 600,000+ Americans – instead we have all been made slaves to the federal government.

Crocker III, H.W. (2008). The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Civil War. Washington D.C.: Regnery Publishing.

Denson, John. (2006). A Century of War. Auburn: Mises Insitute.

DiLorenzo, Thomas. (2002). The Real Lincoln. New York: Three Rivers Press.