Friday, September 30, 2011

Saturday Is For Art: October 1, 2011

This piece I painted in 2010. The title is: Washington, D.C. - It is All Politics? The 4 paintings are in acrylic on MDO plywood and then glued and nailed into the wood window frame. I like to recycle old stuff especially old wood window frames. This piece is for sale at Aquarius Star Cafe on Ludlow Avenue in the neighborhood of Clifton just across the street from the Esquire Theater in Cincinnati, Ohio. Aquarius Star Cafe has Ski Cincinnati t-shirts - long sleeve too.

Everyone have a nice weekend. Go Bearcats!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Saturday Is For Art: 2 Paintings On Envelopes

Two paintings on paper envelopes in acrylic, September, 2011.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

You Can Not Push On A String

The Federal Reserve Bank can use monetary policy to raise or lower interest rates, but they can't put more money in your pocket. If Saudi Arabia wanted to help our economy and the world's economy, they could sell more oil and bring down the cost of gasoline, diesel and jet fuel. This would leave more money in people's pockets to buy goods and services, and in so doing, raise demand. Greater demand leads to hiring and lower unemployment. The price of energy is cutting deeply into the consumer's ability to purchase the extra items they need or would like to have. The only thing that would make matters worse would be if water went up in price to the point where people would have to choose between water and gas. Economics may not be straight forward enough for everyone to understand, but it should be straight forward enough for the majority of the American people to understand that the price of energy in the 21st century has more to do with full employment than monetary policy can ever hope to. There is an old expression among people that work with interest rates and the capital markets (the bond market), "you can't push on a string." Interest rates can be dropped to next to nothing, but without demand, no one is going to borrow money. High energy prices is sucking demand for consumer durables and even consumer non-durables from our domestic economy. While infrastructure spending will put people to work on needed repairs and new structures, unless the cost of energy, spell that O-I-L, goes down in price, the demand will not sustain itself for very long. I am talking straight economics, not politics.

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Towards A Sounder Domestic Economy

There are a number of things that need to be fixed before the U.S. economy will move in the direction of full employment. But, with politics as a backdrop, the reality is quite different than what a group of economists could agree upon. Our domestic economy buys too much outside the United States. You can start with oil and work down from there. I have written about our dependency upon foreign oil and how oil is priced around the world in U.S. dollars and that coupled with the amount of merchandise we buy from countries like China, India etc., creates the economic situation where the United States is importing way more than it is exporting, and this has a negative effect on the value of the U.S. dollar. The "weaker" U.S. dollar is good for U.S. companies exporting their products or services, but a "weaker" U.S. dollar also means that oil prices will go up. While a barrel of oil is priced in U.S. dollars, oil exporting countries are not going to accept less for their oil when they convert those U.S. dollars into other stronger currencies. As a result, oil prices in U.S. dollars will continue to rise because the U.S. will not break its dependency on foreign oil. If the United States could convert to natural gas more, make affordable electric cars and produce more oil, perhaps the United States could begin to reduce the number of barrels of oil it is importing each year.

The policies of the last 66 years with regards to oil and our national security was never taken seriously and as a result, we find ourselves 66 years later using more foreign oil and importing far too many goods given the total dollar value of the goods that we export. Raising taxes for the wealthiest people in the United States may bring in more revenue, but it will not do anything to lower our dependency on foreign oil. Eliminating tax loopholes for corporations will not reduce the vast quantities of imported oil, but it may bring in more revenue.

The situation we find ourselves in, and given the political backdrop, will only make it more difficult for Americans to move towards full employment and a sounder domestic economy. These are the kind of big changes that need to be made to correct the weaknesses in our domestic economy.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Ski Cincinnati Apparel Time Is Coming

It has been a few days since I have posted anything. I have nothing to say old or new at this moment. Just watching and listening and thinking about all the stuff that is going on. The cooler weather is coming soon and with it, Ski Cincinnati weather. Soon I will hopeful be filling orders for Ski Cincinnati apparel for a few local gift shops and stores. Saturday I will have a few new pieces of artwork to post. Everyone have a nice and safe week.

Stay tuned.

Monday, September 12, 2011

A Must Read For All People

Finally, an incredible letter written by a non - Jewish Scottish professor to his students who voted to boycott Israel.
by Arnie Taragin on Wednesday, August 31, 2011 at 3:02pm
Scottish boycott of Israel.
Finally, an incredible letter written by a non - Jewish Scottish professor to his students who voted to boycott Israel.
This is a MUST READ article that needs to be disseminated in every university. If you have children or grandchildren in university please make sure they publish this important letter in the students' rag or post it on the university bulletin board.
A Scottish professor responds to campus boycott. The Edinburgh Student's Association made a motion to
boycott all things Israeli since they claim Israel is under an apartheid regime. Dr. Denis Maceoin (a non-Jew) is an expert in Middle Eastern affairs. Here is his letter to those students. AN EDUCATED NON-JEWISH TAKE ON ISRAEL.
Dr. Denis MacEoin, a senior editor of the Middle East Quarterly, addresses The Committee of the Edinburgh University Student Association.
Received by e-mail from the author, Dr. Denis MacEoin, a senior editor of the Middle East Quarterly,
TO: The Committee Edinburgh University Student Association. May I be permitted to say a few words to members of the EUSA? I am an Edinburgh graduate (MA 1975) who studied Persian, Arabic and Islamic History in Buccleuch Place under William Montgomery Watt and Laurence Elwell Sutton, two of Britain's great Middle East experts in their day.
I later went on to do a PhD at Cambridge and to teach Arabic and Islamic Studies at Newcastle University. Naturally, I am the author of several books and hundreds of articles in this field. I say all that to show that I am well informed in Middle Eastern affairs and that, for that reason, I am shocked and disheartened by the EUSA motion and vote.
I am shocked for a simple reason: there is not and has never been a system of apartheid in Israel. That is not my opinion, that is fact that can be tested against reality by any Edinburgh student, should he or she choose to visit Israel to see for themselves. Let me spell this out, since I have the impression that those members of EUSA who voted for this motion are absolutely clueless in matters concerning Israel, and that they are, in all likelihood, the victims of extremely biased propaganda coming from the anti-Israel lobby.
Being anti-Israel is not in itself objectionable. But I'm not talking about ordinary criticism of Israel. I'm speaking of a hatred that permits itself no boundaries in the lies and myths it pours out. Thus, Israel is repeatedly referred to as a "Nazi" state. In what sense is this true, even as a metaphor? Where are the Israeli concentration camps? The einzatsgruppen? The SS? The Nuremberg Laws? The Final Solution? None of these things nor anything remotely resembling them exists in Israel, precisely because the Jews, more than anyone on earth, understand what Nazism stood for.
It is claimed that there has been an Israeli Holocaust in Gaza (or elsewhere). Where? When? No honest historian would treat that claim with anything but the contempt it deserves. But calling Jews Nazis and saying they have committed a Holocaust is as basic a way to subvert historical fact as anything I can think of.
Likewise apartheid. For apartheid to exist, there would have to be a situation that closely resembled how things were in South Africa under the apartheid regime. Unfortunately for those who believe this, a weekend in any part of Israel would be enough to show how ridiculous the claim is.
That a body of university students actually fell for this and voted on it is a sad comment on the state of modern education. The most obvious focus for apartheid would be the country's 20% Arab population. Under Israeli law, Arab Israelis have exactly the same rights as Jews or anyone else; Muslims have the same rights as Jews or Christians; Baha'is, severely persecuted in Iran, flourish in Israel, where they have their world center; Ahmadi Muslims, severely persecuted in Pakistan and elsewhere, are kept safe by Israel; the holy places of all religions are protected under a specific Israeli law. Arabs form 20% of the university population (an exact echo of their percentage in the general population). In Iran, the Bahai's (the largest religious minority) are forbidden to study in any university or to run their own universities: why aren't your members boycotting Iran? Arabs in Israel can go anywhere they want, unlike blacks in apartheid South Africa. They use public transport, they eat in restaurants, they go to swimming pools, they use libraries, they go to cinemas alongside Jews - something no blacks were able to do in South Africa.
Israeli hospitals not only treat Jews and Arabs, they also treat Palestinians from Gaza or the West Bank. On the same wards, in the same operating theatres.
In Israel, women have the same rights as men: there is no gender apartheid. Gay men and women face no restrictions, and Palestinian gays often escape into Israel, knowing they may be killed at home.
It seems bizarre to me that LGBT groups call for a boycott of Israel and say nothing about countries like Iran, where gay men are hanged or stoned to death. That illustrates a mindset that beggars belief.
Intelligent students thinking it's better to be silent about regimes that kill gay people, but good to condemn the only country in the Middle East that rescues and protects gay people. Is that supposed to be a sick joke?
University is supposed to be about learning to use your brain, to think rationally, to examine evidence, to reach conclusions based on solid evidence, to compare sources, to weigh up one view against one or more others. If the best Edinburgh can now produce are students who have no idea how to do any of these things, then the future is bleak.
I do not object to well-documented criticism of Israel. I do object when supposedly intelligent people single the Jewish state out above states that are horrific in their treatment of their populations. We are going through the biggest upheaval in the Middle East since the 7th and 8th centuries, and it's clear that Arabs and Iranians are rebelling against terrifying regimes that fight back by killing their own citizens.
Israeli citizens, Jews and Arabs alike, do not rebel (though they are free to protest). Yet Edinburgh students mount no demonstrations and call for no boycotts against Libya, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Iran. They prefer to make false accusations against one of the world's freest countries, the only country in the Middle East that has taken in Darfur refugees, the only country in the Middle East that gives refuge
to gay men and women, the only country in the Middle East that protects the Bahai's.... Need I go on?
The imbalance is perceptible, and it sheds no credit on anyone who voted for this boycott. I ask you to show some common sense. Get information from the Israeli embassy. Ask for some speakers. Listen to more than one side. Do not make your minds up until you have given a fair hearing to both parties. You have a duty to your students, and that is to protect them from one-sided argument.
They are not at university to be propagandized. And they are certainly not there to be tricked into anti-Semitism by punishing one country among all the countries of the world, which happens to be the only Jewish state. If there had been a single Jewish state in the 1930's (which, sadly, there was not), don't you think Adolf Hitler would have decided to boycott it?
Your generation has a duty to ensure that the perennial racism of anti-Semitism never sets down roots among you. Today, however, there are clear signs that it has done so and is putting down more. You have a chance to avert a very great evil, simply by using reason and a sense of fair play. Please tell me that this makes sense. I have given you some of the evidence. It's up to you to find out more.
Yours sincerely,Denis MacEoin

Sunday, September 11, 2011

9-11: A Day We Will All Remember

9-11 is a day we will all remember for the rest of our lives, especially those of us who were alive on that day.

Perhaps it was just as well George W. Bush was President, because if I had been President things might have been very different. First, no Saudi nationals would have been permitted to leave the United States until I personally read each and every FBI report on every Saudi national that would be interviewed by the FBI following the 9-11 attack. In that 15 of the 19 terrorists were Saudi nationals, I would have informed the Saudi ambassador to the United States that the government of Saudi Arabia's cooperation into the investigation is of paramount importance, and if we did not receive their complete and full cooperation, that a state of war against Saudi Arabia could be declared. Saudi Arabia would also be asked to show their good faith by offering to assume financial liability for all deaths and damages done to properties in the United States as a result of the terrorist attacks.

Second, I would not have looked for an excuse to go to war with Iraq. It is my opinion, that the Bush administration went to war against Iraq to divert the country's attention away from Saudi Arabia, the home of 15 of the 19 terrorists. With pressure brought to bare on Saudi Arabia, the act of financially supporting terrorists by Saudi citizens would be further investigated by the FBI.

Taking such actions might strain the relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia, but their kingdom would know that the United States will not tolerate another attack.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Remembering 9-11 Ten Years Later

Ten years ago I was in Washington, D.C. on the morning of 9-11-2001. I was attending an annual meeting of a private equity fund that OBWC had invested. I was sitting in a large conference room in the basement of the Ritz Carlton Hotel when two screens came on showing the first of the World Trader Center Towers that was hit. I sat there and watched as the second plane crashed into the second tower. Within a few minutes the screens showed the local news coverage of the plane that hit the Pentagon just a few miles away from the hotel. That single day changed everything in the United States when it came to how secure we felt in our own country.

The above 2 paintings are to be viewed as a single painting, a vertical diptych. The 2 paintings just came to me as I just sat down one morning and painted these 2 pieces earlier this week. I read an article in the Sunday New York Times about the architect of the 9-11 Memorial and I was inspired by the simplicity of his sketch that was included with the article. At some point, I will have these 2 pieces framed together to express my remembrance of that morning that changed our country, September 11, 2001.

Remembering 9-11: A Tribute, acrylics on paper envelopes, 9-2011.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Labor Day 2011

Twenty Eleven has been a year of hardship for millions of people and families that are out of work. Millions of people want to work, but no jobs are available, and yet there are politicians that would rather defeat President Obama in 2012, than to bring forth a jobs program directed at rebuilding the infrastructure of the United States. Such callousness in the face of the pain that millions of out-of-work workers are enduring is difficult to understand. Given the natural disasters that have hit the country in recent weeks, perhaps there will be an overwhelming awakening to the need to build and repair infrastructure that is directly related to the well being of the nation.

Stay tuned.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Saturday Is For Art: A Self Portrait for The Envelope Collection

My first commemorative postage stamps were painted before 1992, probably around 1990 and 1991. They were done on paper that measured 30" by 22", and they were painted in oil after I covered both sides of the Stonehedge sheets with healthy coat of gesso. So, now 20 years later I decided it was time to put myself on one of my commemorative postage stamps. No one thinks I am a Great American Artist, so I thought people need to know this even if my political satire paintings are on occasion rejected by the all powerful judges of the juried art shows that I submit my work. This portrait in part is painted from left over paint from other projects that I was working. Those who really know me will understand how this fits perfectly into who I am. Below the self portrait stamp of F.D. ZIGLER are a few of my favorite commemorative postage stamps.

Everyone have a safe and fun holiday weekend.

Stay tuned.