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Fwd: THE “MESS” and how OBAMA inherited it??

Hi Uncle Lou!

Great to hear from you! This email is a little hard to follow because it jumps from the Dow, to GDP, to unemployment, then focuses on the deficit exclusively, but I’ll jump in anyway.

I came across this chart today, and it really shows how the US fits in all the world economic slowdown.

(via)

We’re actually still doing pretty well compared to Europe, and our drop was pretty similar. Our recovery has been better, and that’s clearly because they’re trying to starve their way out of it, especially in the UK. So we’re pretty lucky in my opinion that Congressmen like Ryan haven’t had their way, or we’d be right down there with the UK.

I keep seeing things that say Obama tripled the budget or the deficit and none of them make sense. Here’s a chart of the actual deficit:

(via)

When I first looked at it, I thought that really steep line shouldn’t be red, because most of it is in 2009. But then I read this, taken from the conservative Cato Institute:

The 2009 fiscal year began October 1, 2008, nearly four months before Obama took office. The budget for the entire fiscal year was largely set in place while Bush was in the White House.

Of course, the point of the email is that the President doesn’t matter, that Congress set the budget and it’s their fault. But it does matter, budgets originate in the House but follow the guideline from the President, and $700B of that fiscal year’s budget was the Bush bailout of the banks. 

And one thing about Bush is that he got his way, a lot. He was amazingly good at that. The exploding deficit was big news back in 2008 and Bush’s last proposed budget was a deficit disaster back then too. Here’s how the Washington Post described it:

The new budget underscores Bush’s inability to get control of spending over the course of his seven-year tenure, a failure that has concerned even his conservatives allies. The problem is projected to get worse in coming years with the retirements of the baby-boom generation, a big obstacle to the ambitious tax-cutting or spending plans of the leading presidential contenders.

Of course I do know the 2009 spending eventually included the first stimulus, but as I mentioned at the start, I think that’s a big part of the policies that are setting us apart from the UK and Europe.

Glad you’re back in the game and sending me more emails again! I will bet that this one gets sent around a lot this summer and fall.

Hope you and Aunt Jenny are well! Tell her I said hi!

Your nephew


Fwd: THE “MESS” and how OBAMA inherited it??

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Fwd: A WELL REASONED ARGUMENT FOR BEING ARMED

Hey Uncle Lou,

This is kind of a weird argument that he makes.  Rule by law is the basis of stable civilization, and it doesn’t come about from the presence of a personal firearm.  If humans dealt with each other simply by using guns, that would be anarchy.  I guess if we already had anarchy he’d have some good points.  It’s almost like he’s claiming Afghanistan or other war-torn places are more civilized than the US, since they have to deal with most everything using guns these days.

I think what the writer misses is that the gun doesn’t really put everyone on equal footing. It puts the hot-head, the paranoid, or the coward on a higher footing, because they would be the most trigger-happy. If you’re a reasonable person, you’re at a disadvantage, because you’ll hesitate to use deadly force, or you won’t see that as your first option. I see the point he’s trying to make, but almost no one can draw their weapon at the speed he’s assuming.

Off topic, but did you know the most heavily armed country (in personal arms) is Switzerland?  The men are required to keep guns, stay trained, and keep them in good condition. My Swiss friend was explaining this to me one day not long ago. Every year they meet with the same units for military training, until they are in their 60s; it’s one of his favorite parts of the year since it’s always the same guys, they just add younger members to their unit every year. He loves it—training, exercise, and lots of drinking with different generations is how he described it. Sometimes I think we’d be better off here as a country if we had a similar type of mandatory service. Sounds like it would be fun, right?

All the best,

Your nephew

Fwd: A WELL REASONED ARGUMENT FOR BEING ARMED

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Fwd: Realy no suprise here as the Church does not stand with murders

Hey Uncle Lou.

Big surprise to you I’m sure, but I disagree with the good bishop on this one:

The bishop is arguing that a company’s religious beliefs are more important than an individual’s. He’s pushing for the exact opposite of religious freedom by saying that an employer should be able to make an employee follow their religious dogma, whether it’s the Catholic church, a Scientologist, or a Zoroastrian. That violates the Constitution, clearly.

His Hitler comparison is ridiculous. He’s equating insurance coverage with concentration camps and brutal murder. And by bringing up Hitler he reminds us that the Catholic church collaborated and cooperated with the Nazis. Despite some heroic individual actions, the official church didn’t disown Hitler until after he was dead (despite what many modern Catholic articles say), and even then some called him a martyr. The current pope was even a Nazi youth; I’m not sure why he wants to point us all to that history, but there he goes.

I have to confess, I’m not Catholic (as you know), but I think the Catholic church has gone off the deep end on birth control. A few months ago I went and looked up everything I could find on it in the Bible. Since it’s obviously more important to them than child rape, helping the poor, visiting prisoners, caring for the sick, and other things that are very clear commands in the Bible, I wanted to figure out why.

And there’s nothing to find. Jesus clearly didn’t talk about it, so I looked at Old Testament sources.

There’s the story of Onan, who tricked his brother’s widow into having sex with him, promising to fulfill Levirate law to get her pregnant. He spills his seed and is struck down. It takes a pretty narrow view of things to think he was struck down for spilling his seed, instead of for breaking God’s law about providing her with an heir and leader for the tribe. And it’s pretty arrogant for someone to read that and think God has the same plans for them. I read ten different translations and they all sound the same. He disobeyed God and God struck him down. It’s ludicrous to read that passage as about birth control even though I know people have for centuries. Read it; it’s clearly about Onan’s abuse of her and her trust.

I found some things about children being a gift from God, which they truly are. But it also says a wife is a gift from God and the Catholic church requires priests to be celibate. So I don’t buy that they believe we’re required to have them, either.

Besides, this issue’s over. The govt will pay the difference and the church doesn’t have to deal with it. No one’s forcing anyone to actually request birth control. Even more confusing to me, birth control lowers health care costs. So maybe the Catholic church can pay the difference in higher premiums in a tax, or by providing more charitable services, then they can keep on paying the extra money that they want to.

I googled the Newsmax article, and Jay Bookman also wrote about it today. I think his points are pretty good. Thanks for sending— I enjoyed thinking about this some more.

Hope you guys are doing well, I still want to get over to see you both—it’s been too long.

Your nephew


Fwd: Realy no suprise here as the Church does not stand with murders

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Fwd: Dr Charles Stanley - Should Christians Support President Obama?

Hey Uncle Lou! Great to hear from you, it’s been awhile.

Did you know I actually attended Dr Stanley’s church a couple times several years back? It was too big for me though, and I never met people there, so I decided it wasn’t for me.

"Dr." David Barton holds an honorary degree from Pensacola Christian College. He’s a fairly well-known activist against the separation of Church and State (without which, as you know, I believe religion would be corrupted even faster than government). I’m not sure if he wrote this, but he has been a guest on Stanley’s "In Touch" TV show.

He’s also Glenn Beck’s favorite historian. There’s a good article about him here. I strongly believe he’s a professional liar, and it doesn’t reflect well on Stanley to associate with him. I had heard of him before because of Beck but hadn’t really looked him up before now.

There’s a lot in here that outright misrepresents Obama’s positions—“giving more to illegals,” the tired “arrogance” claim, “radical Islam is our friend,” etc, but some I just don’t understand:

—First off, I don’t understand so-called Christians who don’t believe the wealthy should pay a similar proportion of their income in taxes as the rest of us. It immediately makes me think their most important priority is keeping their money, and not paying their fair share. Stanley makes about $350k/year as a preacher. I haven’t found Barton’s income online, but would expect it’s even higher.

—I love it when people call President Obama a “radical Marxist” even when it makes no sense. It cracks me up. Here’s a president under which the stock market has doubled since he took office; rescued the auto industry (US/Canadian investment was paid back- we all made a profit on that); signed legislation that owners of a company can vote on compensation for executives; more private sector jobs were created in 2010 alone than all eight of the Bush years combined; tax cuts for 3.5m small businesses (that’s small, not govt-owned or lobbyist-controlled). If he’s a Marxist, he’s not very good at it.

—Another thing that seemed odd to me in this was that right after the comment about Jesus, he jumped right into his concern over challenging capital punishment. Apparently he’s talking about a different “Jesus” than the one I’m familiar with.

—If he really did respect the office he’d refer to President Obama by his title, a courtesy he extends to President Bush.

I do think there is some honesty in here however, and his concern about America not tolerating intolerance is probably the main issue in the whole piece. Haters hate having it pointed out who they are. And I think (if he actually wrote this) that’s Barton’s biggest problem, as it is for so many others right now. And I agree that America shouldn’t tolerate hatred of other Americans simply for reasons of ethnicity, race, income, gender, etc. There’s no place for that and I’m glad to see it go.

That intolerance isn’t something that can be blamed on the president, but he and his supporters make it more apparent, just by being here. When people oppose the President Obama simply because they’re intolerant of his race, they get called on it quickly, and that’s got to be embarrassing, since they’ve exposed themselves as having no critique of substance.

I’m not sure who the entertainers are that I supposedly follow, but I am sincerely relieved that the country’s decline is being turned around right now. The country is changing, and in many ways President Obama does represent that, and that may be frightening for some people.

It’s hard for someone like me to understand why. I went to the same graduate school as Barack Obama—it was hard work but there was nothing frightening about it. I have friends with one or two foreign parents—they’ve introduced me to some new foods on occasion but are no less American than me. I think health care is NOT subject to ordinary laws of supply and demand and while the ACA was a little too Republican-inspired for my taste, I think it’s a good start on a serious problem; the GOP controlled all branches of government for several years and never even approached the subject—they just aren’t interested in addressing it.

Thanks for sharing this with me. I haven’t thought about Dr. Stanley for a long time, probably since I visited his church! I’ll have to look up his website later today and see what they’re up to.

All the best,

Your nephew

Subject: Dr Charles Stanley - Should Christians Support President Obama?

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Re: Fwd: Fw: Would you have approved?

Dear Uncle Lou,

At first I thought this might be about Bush with that first line, since he actually almost did double the debt, and my answer back then was ‘no’.

But it’s about Obama, so I guess I have to take issue with the “TRUE” portion of the message just based on the first one, since he didn’t actually do that. His budget projections do show it getting close to it though, over the next ten years.

I’ve heard several of these before, but a lot of them are still pretty timely issues:

Arizona: I think the fact that the Arizona immigration law was authored with input from private prison industry officials should be enough to make anyone in the state want to read it, but I don’t fault the president for not having the time. I haven’t read it either, but I guess he’s been given more thorough summaries of it than I have. I think by this email’s logic, no one should support OR oppose anything until they read the whole bill. The president was right though, he said it “would inflame the debate.”

This email has the challenges to Arizona law mixed up. The DOJ challenged it, and under a separate suit the ACLU did too. Several nations, including Mexico, joined the ACLU suit. I’m no expert, but I don’t think local cops should be in charge of securing our borders. It’s a federal issue, and these duties were separated out for a reason. Frankly I’m a little uncomfortable with some Administration initiatives like the Secure Communities Act, which some claim is the reason the number of deportations has increased so dramatically under Obama. They’re all violating the Posse Comitatus Act, if you ask me.

Pronunciation: It’s sort of hard for me to imagine criticizing Obama over pronunciation (it was of “corpsman”) after having Bush as president, but yeah, that’s an unfortunate flub of a word.

Drilling moratorium: Sen. Landrieu said that the oil industry had a great safety record, but it’s simply not true. Those claims were from a very narrow definition of accidents. Most estimates have put the actual number of people who were out of work from the moratorium at around 2,000 rig workers, and up to 5,000 from related jobs. That’s a lot of people, but only seven rigs even left. The document wasn’t forged, either, but the original report was on new drilling only, so the Interior Dept publicly apologized that it was misleading.

Teleprompter: Presidents have been using them for over 50 years. I really don’t understand why this gets talked about so much.

Pricey play: They never release security costs, so no one knows the amount, but if you do the math there’s no way to get to the price in the email.

GM: I think the other option on the table was to reduce plan holdings right down to zero. Not sure that would’ve been a lot better. Plus there’s no way unions could ever have gotten a majority stake— they got way less than that, and was because they gave up some medical benefits.

Special Olympics: Apparently President Obama felt the same way, since he apologized before the show aired. Yeah that was uncool, but when did you suddenly get so PC?

The DVD story is true! But I don’t really care for Gordon Brown so I wasn’t too sad about it. Apparently the queen asked for the iPod and liked it, but I guess people think her gift of a framed photo of herself was more appropriate somehow.

Saudi king: That was a weird photo. I’m glad they weren’t walking around holding hands or anything, but it was a weird-looking bow if that’s what it was.

57 states, when he had been in 47… a term in “Austrian”… I’m getting too tired to answer the rest, but I have to add that there has been no natural disaster in this country even approaching Katrina, and you know that. And I think GM’s Wagoner needed to go, and the majority shareholder usually gets listened to—that doesn’t sound illegal to me.

Hope you’re doing well today. I haven’t heard from you in a while, so I was afraid maybe you’d given up on these back-and-forths after the last exchange.

Tell Aunt Jenny hi,

—Your nephew

Subject: Fwd: Fw: Would you have approved?

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Re: Fwd: Message to you from a young Democrat

Dear Uncle Lou,

I’m not actually sure what to say to this. Of course it’s offensive, and I really don’t think it’s funny.

You’ve sent me several forwards over the years that imply the same thing that this email actually says, so I guess I should thank you for sharing your honest viewpoint. But do you really believe this is what the Democratic Party is about? Do you really feel this way about black people?

I thought for awhile about not responding to this, but I’d like to hear back from you. I’m disappointed, but perhaps you sent it by mistake or without actually thinking about it.  Let me know.

—Your nephew

Fwd: Message to you from a young Democrat

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Re: Fwd: DHS jobfair for illegals.

Dear Uncle Lou,

There’s some strange stuff in this article. I clicked on the link and read it all. It uses a lot of odd examples about how bad this could be, but none of them explain what’s going on, or why, so I looked around and found this video of Grassley and Napolitano— just what the email was describing.

Turns out he was asking her about a law saying that illegal immigrants can legally apply for work if they came here before 1982, now called “Reagan’s Amnesty”. It was a law he spent years working on, trying to reform immigration, passing it in 1986. I don’t see how this has anything to do with Janet Napolitano or even the Obama Administration, except that Napolitano told Grassley about it when he asked.

Seems to me that if Grassley has a problem with the 1986 law, he’s a Senator, he should get off his ass and work on changing it, not blame someone for following it.

The last few paragraphs go off on a tangent about how the 9-11 hijackers were here illegally and how DHS should be hunting illegal aliens for that reason, but they were actually all here legally. Unlike the “pro-lifers” that the article says should be left alone, we haven’t had terrorism from illegal aliens; but we have from the “pro-life” movement, many times. Remember when Aunt Bonnie’s fist cousin was shot coming out of his office? I was a kid then, but that’s worse than worse than ever, you know.

Tell Aunt Jenny we said hi. Annie has some recipes she wants to ask her about when we see you next, hopefully before Thanksgiving.

—Your nephew

Fwd: DHS jobfair for illegals.

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Fwd: That’s how to spin

Dear Uncle Lou,

That’s a fun story, I love it! Saw it once before about Chadsworth Bush, which made it match my politics a little better. But it’s still a good one.

Also reminds me of this old one from William Safire:  

Republican Theodore Roosevelt, campaigning in the Deep South, supposedly told the classic why-I’m-a-Democrat story. When asked why he was a Democrat, a Southerner replied, “Because my father was a Democrat and my grandfather was a Democrat.” A Northerner countered, “What if your father was a horse thief and your grandfather was a horse thief, what would you have been then?” The Southerner’s reply: “In that case, I guess I’d have been a Republican.”

Hope you’re doing well! The kids had a great time over at your place last weekend, they’ve been talking about it all week.

—Your nephew

Fwd: That’s how to spin

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Fw: Receipt Found in a Parking Lot

Dear Uncle Lou,

That receipt reminds me of Reagan’s old speeches about “young bucks,” But then again I guess it’s supposed to.

(I wonder why they wrote a D in front of EBT. Makes it sort of not make sense.)   Here’s another receipt you might appreciate on a different level; check out that tip.


After you look at this one, that $140 doesn’t seem like such a big deal. Cheaper than a few bottles of water!

—Your nephew

Fw: Receipt Found in a Parking Lot

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Re: The Chicago Thug

Dear Uncle Lou,

Actually, Hoffa’s whole quote was:

"Everybody here has got a vote. If we go back, we keep the eye on the prize, lets take these sons-of-bitches out and give America back to America where we belong." 

It’s pretty clear he was talking about voting, but what’s really, really interesting is to see how fast coordinated right-wing media can be by following this story.

Fox’s Ed Henry reported on it and made clear it was about voting, but even so immediately Fox was the first to edit out the voting part, and aired it several times that way. One of CNN’s contributors, Dana Loesch from Big Government, picked up the Fox version immediately while Fox was still talking about it, and Megyn Kelly went into it in detail with her guests, using the phony clip. Then Real Clear Politics picked up the Fox video. Then Drudge linked to Fox and wrote about it with alarms blazing. Then Big Government posted the altered video.

After that, Palin (on her Fox show) picked up the doctored video and aired it calling it thuggery, then Glenn Beck did and called it inciting violence, then RedState took it further and said Hoffa had called for Tea Party leaders to be killed.

Then we get our friend Limbaugh, who airs the doctored clip on the radio, and says, “That’s a call for violence, folks. From Don Hoffa to Barack Obama.”

Fascinating stuff.  Have a great evening! I’m afraid I’m stuck here in the office tonight, but that was interesting to look up. Seems to me that all Democrats should take some lessons from that guy, it sounded like a very good speech.

—Your nephew

Re: The Chicago Thug

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Re: Read this one? What if he is right

Dear Uncle Lou,

David Kaiser does a good job taking this email apart on his own blog  (he didn’t write this email, but apparently a lot of people contacted him about it—he mentions that none of his actual posts, sadly enough, ever get emailed around, just this one).

Mr. Kaiser does believe we are in a new crisis era, but the crisis is very different than the one described below. He’s not worried about the popularity of one leader, but of the unwillingness of an entire national political party to acknowledge reality or to even pretend to govern. He also thinks another crash may happen at any moment, soon, and compares our economy to the time right after the Civil War.

In fact, his whole blog seems to be pretty thoughtful, and I’ll probably subscribe to it.

Regarding the actual email, if you actually look at Hitler’s speeches, his paramilitary leanings before gaining power, his hatred of Jews and search for a scapegoat for Germany’s economic woes, etc., I don’t know what anyone could see that actually looks like Obama. They were both elected, yes, but that’s not much of a similarity. In fact the violent imagery in his speech, the scapegoating of ethnic groups, the hatred of specific lifestyles, all sounds much more like Obama’s opposition, and that’s part of Kaiser’s concern in his latest blog post.  

I’m not sure I’ve got the energy to go through the whole email below, but a few points:

  • Who loaned the money (or bought treasury bonds)? Investors worldwide, mostly in the US, though many were countries looking for a safe haven for their cash.
  • I’ve seen a lot of theories on why we’ve dumbed down our schools, and the strongest ones are unrelated to each other: The first is that public schools are under assault from the right in order to replace them with vouchers for religious and exclusive private schools; this is coupled with the fact that public schooling has been opposed by conservatives (here in the South especially) for over 150 years in order to maintain a cheap workforce. The second is that they aren’t dumbed down at all. The standardized testing is ludicrous, but in surveys most public school parents believe that their own children are getting a better education than they did.
  • During the election I considered Obama to be fairly conservative, and he’s proven to be. His major accomplishments are long-time Republican goals, including and especially Obamacare. Even though he’s fairly conservative, I supported him because I thought he could get things done, and I haven’t been disappointed in that.
  • Although a lot of people wish he would, but Obama has never advocated gun control. He’s too conservative.  

Hope you guys are doing well!

—Your nephew

Re: Read this one? What if he is right

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FW: Entitlement … I don’t think so

Dear Uncle Lou,

I’m not sure I follow this email. Entitlements mean you’re entitled to it. The email says you’re entitled to it. So why aren’t they “entitlements”? Is there a problem with the word?

I know there are some folks on the right that have railed against entitlement spending and that the Republicans want to cut it drastically, but I think this email means they’re wrong, not that social security is something other than an entitlement.

Am I understanding this right?

Thanks!

Your nephew

FW: Entitlement … I don’t think so

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Re: Fwd: One Evil Human

Dear Uncle Lou,

I don’t watch much TV anymore, so I missed that on 60 Minutes. I did look up the transcript though, and the story is that Soros’ father was a successful lawyer who got his Christian friend to claim that 14-year old George was his adopted son, so that he wouldn’t be killed. The Nazis then had the friend be one of the people in charge of confiscating posessions from Jews who were being shipped off to concentration camps. It’s pretty unfair to Steve Kroft to say this is his research, since it just quotes a snippet of his interview, and it cuts out the context that explains what Soros was doing to stay alive, in order to make him sound sinister.

There are probably reasons to dislike Soros, but there are so many random stories tied together in this email that it would take forever to go through them all to figure out where they came from, if anywhere. But I’ll hit a couple items:

First, I doubt Soros had much to do with Beck’s dismissal, even after the hit piece that Beck broadcast about him. Fox News exists to support the views of Rupert Murdoch, and Beck was starting to overshadow their main mouthpieces, Hannity and O’Reilly. Beck had to go because he had his own conspiracy theories that didn’t line up with Murdoch’s, and he had lost almost all of his advertisers. It didn’t make sense for him to be there anymore.

According to KaufmanSoros followed the model of Carnegie and Rockefeller, except he believes in funding people more directly instead of setting up philanthropic institutions under his name, so he focused on scolarships and institutions where he can be more actively involved. He used the term “messianic fantasies” to describe how, as a student studying great economists like Keynes, he wanted to have a life with meaningful impact like those men had—to make his mark on the world. He was cut off from people of importance then, though, and so he focused on finance. 

 As I understand it, he strongly believes in open society and in fallibility. I don’t understand why the email below is critical of fallibility. I think it’s good to admit you might be wrong and to study the other side of an equation, and INfallibility is a hallmark of dictatorship. This is why Soros today says that he is anti-communist and anti-fascist— those systems are both infallible and closed.

Anyway, he’s a big political donor as you know, but he’s not as prolific as some donors on the right (like the tea-party funding Koch brothers), he’s just one of the biggest to the Democrats. His political donations seem—to me—to have more to do with combating the possibility of the US becoming closed or fascist, rather than liberal politics per se. I suppose lately that means steering clear of any Republicans, however.

Thanks for sending! I ended up reading a lot of things that I had never seen before.

—Your nephew

Re: Fwd: One Evil Human

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Fwd: Obama, End of NASA Space Shuttle Program, and his Muslim agenda

Dear Aunt Pam:

It’s no wonder the White House distanced themselves from Charlie Bolden’s statement:

“(President Obama) charged me with three things. One was he wanted me to help re-inspire children to want to get into science and math, he wanted me to expand our international relationships, and third, and perhaps foremost, he wanted me to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science.”

It was actually pretty condescending if you re-read it (“Hey, you guys invented algebra, nothing since then but that was pretty cool!”), but NASA has always been used as a political tool, even while conducting amazing and inspiring research.

It’s also wrong that President Obama cut NASA’s overall budget. The Space Shuttle is retired now, I’m sad to say, but the expensive cancelled 2020 Moon mission has been replaced by one that will visit a near-earth asteroid.

Engaging with other countries has an impact on those countries. There are radicals in other societies, such as the Taliban in Afghanistan, that have wanted to isolate their people from us and our ideas. And a quick Google search on this topic shows you how many Americans are terrified of the same thing.

Personally, I don’t think we should stop reaching out. We have a great deal of progressive and democratic ideas and ideals to share with the rest of the world, and collaboration and cooperation are a solid way of sharing them in a positive way. Not all our ideas here are as toxic as those the Norwegian shooter took from us, and not all our thinkers are as paranoid as the ones he followed.

Frankly, I think NASA is a great face for us to present to the entire world, and sharing their inspiration is a terrific idea. Brilliant mathematical minds come from all over the world. I think we should reach out to them.

Best, 

Your nephew

Fwd: Obama, End of NASA Space Shuttle Program, and his Muslim Agenda

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