Wunxputl Goes to Harvard

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Posted on 20th September 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

Guest Post by Fred Reed

Closing the Tloxyproctyl Gap

By 2018 America’s War on Injustice had entered the doldrums. There seemed to be no inequities left to conquer. The major aquifers of discrimination had been pumped dry. Hate-crime protection had been extended to blacks, Hispanics, mulattos, women, bisexuals, homosexuals, Lesbians, Native Americans, transsexuals, asexuals, transvestites, the transgendered, sadomasochists, pedophiles, and the bestiality lobby (NAMFLA, the North American Man-Fido Love Association). Affirmative action had been so successfully extended that whole governmental departments were uniformly diverse. The Washington Redskins had been renamed the Federal Folders, and three congressmen had lost office for using the word “Oriental” to refer to Orientals.

Across the country bored adolescents in universities sought something about which to be indignant. Hunting was poor.

Then, thank God, an activist in Swarthmore’s Lesbian Chicana, Gay, and Bicephalous Studies department pointed out that not enough Tloxyproctyls were enrolled in Ivy nurseries. This was genius, though not immediately recognized as such. A collective “Huh?” rang out in progressive circles. No one knew what Tloxyproctyls were. Traffic at Wikipedia rose thirty percent for several days.

It was discovered that the Tloxyproctyls were an obscure tribe of some two dozen mostly naked Indians living in the Amazon rain forest and the Stone Age.  They ate only tree leaves and large white grubs found in rotting logs. Their language, unrelated to any other, consisted of twelve words, none of which meant anything. Their intellectual development was approximately that of a cassava root.

Clearly they were victims of discrimination by…by…well, that could be decided later. Now they needed political action.  Exactly why was not clear, but did not seem important.

On campus, the best instincts of the Improving Classes roared into action. Goodness raged. Further research showed a shocking lack of ‘Proctyls, as they came to be called by the knowing, almost everywhere. It was just…Wrong. At Wellesley, puzzled co-eds marched for Lesbian and Biramous Tloxyproctyl Rights. Universities established ‘Proctyl quotas.  A mad scramble ensued to recruit the unwitting Indians. The campaign was somewhat hampered by the fact that there weren’t any.

More were needed to keep the wheels of justice turning. At Princeton the Department of Black, Transaxle, and Amphibian Studies found a solution: Imputed Tloxyproctyls or, as some called the idea, Inferential Tloxyproctyly. Students of other oppressed categories, such as Lesbian, Gay, Vegetarian, Bicephalous and Transphylum students would be assigned as ‘Proctyls by imputation. The argument was that if one could be transsexual or transgendered, why not trans-ethnicked?

The noted feminist professor Dr. Cecina Pocilga-Dworkin, whose academic credentials consisted of looking like an orangutan, said, “Race, gender, and ethnicity are socially constructed by white-supremacist capitalists to oppress the black and brown races, which don’t exist because they are social constructs. Since ‘Proctyls would suffer discrimination if there were any, we can appoint proxy Proctyls, and seek redress for the discrimination they would suffer if they existed.” Several upper-middle-class date-rape activists were chosen as stand-ins. They stopped bathing and began eating ersatz white grubs made of sashimi to raise public consciousness of Tloxyproctyl issues.

With support from NPR and Mother Jones, a gala fund-raising masquerade ball was held inWashington.  Proceeds were to go to the various organizations that had sprung up to end oppression of ‘Proctyls, none of whom were actually in the United States. It didn’t matter. Justice does not know national boundaries.

The ball was a great success, attracting many prominent figures. Hillary Clinton attended as an aging blonde ruin, and won the prize for most-convincing costume. She said, “Injustice is injustice, whether there is any or not.” Nancy Pelosi came as a slightly decayed cadaver, apologizing that she hadn’t had time to find a costume.  “Not even grubs can escape the curse of whiteness,“ she stated, and pledged Congressional funding to find Grubs of Color. Barack Obama arrived disguised as usual as a President. No one was fooled. Barney Frank came as, well, Barney Frank, and gave the keynote address, saying, “I stand hard and fast behind the Tloxyproctyls of America.”

While the inferred ‘Proctyls did raise  ‘Proctyl awareness in the country, mostly by convincing the public that a lot of people were crazy, a vague suspicion continued in academia that funding would be more reliable if based on real Proctyls. Consequently the Anthropology Department at Harvard suggested sending a hunting party to the Amazon Basin with nets. The university’s conservative professor expressed reservations at this.  Yet the consensus was that the national interest in equitable treatment of Tlosyproctyls outweighed considerations of their civil rights. Anyway, sanity was a social construct.

Support for ‘Proctyl issues came from unexpected quarters. The Pentagon set up a Department of Tloxyproctyl Acquisition so as to stay ahead of the Chinese. The Secretary of Defense said the Tloxyproctyl Gap represented an existential threat to the United States, as did everything else, and requested a seventy-six billion dollar fighter plane.  Thought was given to encouraging the Proctyls to breed, perhaps by offering them strings of brightly-colored glass beads. Maybe their grubs could be doctored with fertility enhancers.

After three weeks in the rain forest, the anthropologists succeeded in gathering up Wunxputl, an actual Tloxyproctyl, who stood four feet nine and weighed eighty-three pounds when he was buck naked, his usual state. When offered a loin cloth, he spent half an hour trying to put it on before giving up due to the unaccustomed complexity, and said, “Gurp.”

On his reaching Harvard it was discovered that “Gurp” was all Wunxputl ever said. Neo-Nazis, racists, and Republicans snickered that Wunxputl was retarded, but Dr. Herzog-Mariposón, head of Indigenous and Native Peoples Studies, pointed out that intelligence was a social construct. He explained that Wunxputll’s silence was just the natural reticence of Native Peoples, who lived at one with Nature.  Wunxputl’s continued attempts to climb the curtains of the faculty lounge, said Mariposón, merely represented his desire to share his folkways with a civilization that had lost contact with the natural world. We should be humble, he said, recognize the wisdom of Native Peoples, and Learn from Them.

The retrograde responded with their usual lack of progressive insight. The conservative professor at Harvard said privately that Wunxputl seemed no more benighted than most of the incoming freshmen, though he conceded that these usually did not climb drapes except after major football games.

Having been given a simplified loin cloth, Wunxputl was brought to classes in anthropology, seated at the professor’s desk, and given a banana. He said “Gurp.” The students took extensive notes. A graduate student began a doctoral thesis on the various meanings of the word, which many thought embodied the wisdom of the Tloxyproctyls. The conservative professor agreed that it probably did.

The matter came to a close. The remaining ‘Proctyls had fled deeper into the rain forest and begun hiding in caves to avoid Justice. The Imputed ’Proctyls held a few marches, graduated, and went into I-banking. The conservative professor at Harvard said that the Anthropology Department’s head should be repositioned by a Proctylologist, but was ignored.

1 OUT OF 6 OBAMACARE ENROLLEES ARE FRAUDS

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Posted on 16th September 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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You have 360,000 frauds who faked their income levels. You have another 966,000 illegals who have fraudulently signed up. It seems the PR number of 8 million enrollees is really 6.7 million. And these are just the frauds the administration is admitting to. You know it is far worse. There are probably 5 million legitimate enrollees and most of them already had insurance coverage before Obamacare. This abortion of a program was sold to the American people as the salvation for the 30 million uninsured Americans. Obama has managed to drive healthcare premiums up by 50% to 100% since 2009 and has only covered 10% of the uninsured population. I can’t understand why the Democrats don’t want to run on their prize piece of legislation and Obama has delayed the really bad shit until 2015 after the elections. What a clusterfuck.

Via The Hill

Administration threatens to cut off ObamaCare subsidies to 360,000

 By Sarah Ferris – 09/15/14 04:30 PM EDT

The Obama administration announced Monday it will cut off tax subsidies to about 360,000 people if they do not offer proof of their income in the next two weeks.

Officials will send final notices this week to individuals who signed up for ObamaCare with income levels that didn’t match government records. The announcement marks the administration’s first move to tackle the politically charged issue of income verification, which has remained a key GOP argument against the healthcare reform law.

Those who don’t confirm their income levels could lose their tax credit and face higher premiums and higher deductibles.

Nearly 90 percent of the 8 million people who signed up for ObamaCare have received government subsidies. The average consumer pays $82 per month for a $346 plan, receiving an average subsidy of $264.

The administration had already warned that it would end coverage for the 966,000 individuals whose immigration status could not be confirmed by the government.

About 115,000 people will lose coverage this month if they do not submit their paperwork, Andy Slavitt, principal deputy administrator at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, told reporters Monday.

A total of 1.2 million people have had income inconsistencies since the launch of ObamaCare last year. About 800,000 people have since submitted verification.

The federal government is still missing paperwork for nearly a half-million people who signed up for insurance over the last year. Slavitt stressed that individuals may be able to regain their coverage during a special enrollment period if they can prove their citizenship status or income level.

The administration will continue calling and sending letters to individuals who have not submitted the paperwork. Many have already been contacted up to a dozen times, Slavitt said.He stressed that people with income verification issues will not lose their coverage.

“If people still pay their premiums and can demonstrate their eligibility, they’ll continue to be enrolled,” Slavitt said Monday.

Many of the verification problems stem from the HealthCare.gov website, which experienced technical glitches throughout its rollout. Slavitt was brought this year in to resolve some of the problems.

Some immigration advocates have blamed the website as a barrier for people trying to provide documentation of their citizenship.

“I’m hopeful and confident that people will continue to respond to a greater degree,” Slavitt said, predicting a last-minute surge before the deadline. “We recognize that we still have work to do here.”

At a hearing last week by the House Ways and Means subcommittee on health, Republicans accused the Obama administration of using “the honor system” when asking consumers to self-disclose their income.

“That’s why the White House has lost, in my view, the trust of the American people,” subcommittee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) told Slavitt at the hearing.

McSHITSTAIN ADMITS TO MEETING WITH ISIS

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Posted on 16th September 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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Via Infowars

Angry McCain Admits Meeting With ISIS, Scolds Rand Paul For Not Knowing Terrorists

“Has Rand Paul ever been to Syria? Has he ever met with ISIS?”

by Steve Watson | Infowars.com |


In a weak effort to smear Rand Paul, war hawk Senator John McCain attempted to argue that the Kentucky Senator doesn’t have the authority to disagree with US policies regarding ISIS because he hasn’t met up with members of the terror group, unlike McCain himself.

In an appearance on Fox News Monday, McCain was asked to respond to Paul’s comments earlier in the day, when the libertarian leaning Senator told CBS’ This Morning that arming Syrian rebels would only empower ISIS in the long run.

And that’s when things got weird.

“Has Rand Paul ever been to Syria? Has he ever met with ISIS? Has he ever met with any of these people? No, no, no,” McCain said, clearly in reference to his own visit to Syria in 2013, where he was photographed with leaders of the Free Syrian Army, the fighters violently opposed to the Assad regime.

Don’t attempt to look for any logic in McCain’s blathering, because there isn’t any. This is not the first time McCain has attempted to make this idiotic argument. When intelligence emerged that up to 40 percent of the “moderate” rebels are actually extremists, McCain argued that the claims were not true because he has personally met the rebels.

“I know who they are. I was in Syria and I met them.” McCain said at the time. “There’s about 70 percent still who are Free Syrian Army,” he claimed, despite the fact that a study by defense consultancy IHS Jane’s found that only around 30 percent of rebels are fighting for secular values,

McCain, who has long pushed to arm Syrian rebels, declared that it is “patently false” to claim that arms supplied to the so called “moderate” militants have actually wound up with Islamic State in Iraq and Syria terrorists.

“We’re going to have a fight, because it’s patently false. This is the same Rand Paul that said we didn’t want to have anything to do with anything to do in the Middle East, by the way. I don’t want to get in a fight with him at all.” McCain said.

Of course, actual independent evidence and reports of arms winding up in ISIS hands do exist, and it is a real problem, even if McCain chooses to close his eyes and ignore it, or willfully lie about it. His scolding of Rand Paul for referencing such evidence is laughable.

During Monday’s appearance, McCain also claimed that it is “not true” that the moderate Syrian rebels have agreed a nonaggression pact with ISIS, another factor Rand Paul brought up Monday. McCain did not , however, present any evidence to counter media reports based on intelligence shared by UK rights groups indicating this is indeed the case.

McCain also claimed that no other Arab country has declared support for US airstrikes on ISIS, despite a White House announcement claiming it has such support.

It seems that McCain just repeats whatever information it is that he wants to believe, regardless of what the rest of the planet is learning.

Your Artificial Knee Might Get You Groped

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Posted on 16th September 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

Your Artificial Knee Might Get You Groped

By Ann Pringle

August 11, 6 a.m.—San Francisco International Airport

A twenty-something woman is running the back of her hand across the base of my breasts. I stand there, legs spread as she moves on to the inside of my thighs. She runs her hand underneath the waistline of my pants and across my buttocks.

I’m angry and embarrassed. The woman touching me seems embarrassed, too.

When she’s done her coworker, a young woman with a large neck tattoo poorly covered with makeup, rummages through my suitcase, purse, and laptop bag. Piece by piece, she pulls out my still-damp bathing suit, my underwear, and a few crumpled up dresses. She tosses my iPad aside, jiggles a bottle of prescription medicine, and stares at my EpiPen, bewildered. She’s enjoying this—today she is in charge of me.

Sad to say, if you fly often, you’ve likely had a similar experience. Mary Beth Ruskai, a 70-year-old Boston-based professor who counts “proving that an atom with fixed nuclear charge can bind only finitely many electrons” among her proudest achievements—along with challenging the challenging Transportation Security Administration’s policy of enhanced pat-downs in federal court—certainly has.

Artificial Joints Up Your Chance of an Enhanced Pat Down

In the US, 4.5 million people over age 50 have artificial knees, and over 1 million people receive some type of total joint replacement each year. For these people, getting through airport security with their dignity intact can be next to impossible, largely because of TSA’s current policy of performing enhanced pat-downs on anyone who sets off a walk-through metal detector.

Enhanced pat-downs weren’t always de rigueur. Ruskai travels often for work, and after her right knee was replaced in 2008 (her left knee and right hip were also replaced in 2012) she began traveling with x-rays and other medical documents noting her metal joints. The Department of Homeland Security also cleared her as a Trusted Traveler, meaning she’s already voluntarily provided copious amounts of personal information to DHS, and it’s determined she’s a low-risk flier.

When Ruskai’s metal knee set off walkthrough metal detectors prior to 2010, she’d offer up medical documents noting the artificial joint, a female TSA agent would use a handheld metal detector to confirm that the metal on her was limited to her knee, and then the agent would pat down her knee area only. In other words, the process was annoying, but that’s about it.

Then in late 2010, the TSA began using enhanced pat-downs in lieu of handheld metal detectors for secondary screening at all security lines with walkthrough metal detectors. Though it began using Advanced Imaging Technology (full body scanners) in 2008—which will cost taxpayers $2 billion by 2015 and presents its own privacy issues—around 290 or so domestic security checkpoints still use walkthrough metal detectors as their primary mode of screening. And as you’ve likely noticed, full body scanners are often not operational at the airports that do have them.

As pat-downs became the standard secondary screening measure, TSA also amplified what they involved. According to a brief filed by Ruskai’s attorneys:

The new procedures involve “a more detailed tactile inspection of areas higher on the thigh and in the groin area … [and] routinely involve touching of buttocks and genitals.” … The agent is required to run the hand up the passenger’s thighs until reaching the groin twice on each leg—from the front and back. … The agent also must insert the hand into the passenger’s waistband around the entire waste, and for female passengers, around the breasts.

I squirmed just typing that out. It’s exactly what happens.

Between February and April of 2011, TSA agents performed four separate enhanced pat-downs on Ruskai. As these pat-downs continued, she began wearing shorts through airport security and asked that TSA agents visually inspect her legs. TSA’s answer: No.

Ruskai filed complaints with TSA and DHS, and 10 months later TSA issued a final order stating it would not investigate her complaints. In April 2012, she petitioned the First Circuit Court of Appeals to review that order and determine, among other issues, whether the enhanced pat-downs violate her Fourth Amendment rights. The court heard oral arguments in January of this year, but it has not yet reached a decision.

What’s Reasonable?

I won’t regurgitate all of the 4th Amendment case law here. The abridged version is: the 4th protects you from unreasonable searches and seizures; airport security screenings are “searches” under the 4th Amendment; and, under narrow circumstances, including where the government seeks to prevent hazardous conditions, a warrantless, non-individualized search may be reasonable, depending on the seriousness of the hazard and the invasiveness of the search.

While they wait for the court to decide whether routinely molesting travelers with artificial joints is “reasonable,” millions of seniors have limited options: avoid airplanes or only travel through airports that use full body scanners. Then again, there’s no guarantee those full body scanners will be up and running when they make their way through security.

I don’t have an artificial joint, but for whatever reason TSA often singles me out for enhanced pat-downs. Maybe the freckles and blue eyes make me look dangerous. Regardless, I’m applying to become a Trusted Traveler through TSA Pre✓ in the hope that this will stop. If you’re a US citizen or lawful permanent resident, have never been convicted of sedition, treason, murder, or other outrageous felonies, and have $85 to spare, consider doing the same.

Yes, TSA Pre✓ and the other Trusted Traveler programs require you to divulge personal information. And yes, it’s frightening that you might have to considering doing this to avoid airport groping. On balance, though, I’d rather hand over personal information that the federal government surely has already than let another TSA agent stick her hand in my pants—how sad it is that anyone has to make that choice.

How to protect your personal liberties is just one of the many topics we cover at Miller’s Money Weekly, our free missive dedicated to all-things retirement. Receive your free copy each and every Thursday by signing up here today. 

The article Your Artificial Knee Might Get You Groped was originally published at millersmoney.com.

WHEN LIGHTENING STRIKES ON THE ROAR TO THE SHORE

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Posted on 12th September 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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Last week was one of those weeks that drives you to drink. The absence of a boss at work for going on seven months has created uncertainty, disarray, confusion, back stabbing and power plays. By Friday I was fed up. I hate office politics. I attempt to help my superiors make the best decisions for my organization by providing them accurate data and interpreting that data in a way that provides direction and guidance based on facts. When I see hidden agendas, egos, and power plays overwhelming the facts, I begin to question my purpose in an organization. I’ve been down that road before and I don’t like it. The meeting on the following Tuesday was going to be a doozy.

I was happy to escape my office on Friday at 5:30. I was actually looking forward to the horrific Friday night commute. This was the first weekend we haven’t had renters in Wildwood all summer. But, we couldn’t head down until Saturday night because we had a family reunion picnic on Saturday afternoon. We decided to go down for one night of fun at the Shamrock and come home on Sunday afternoon. Little did we know how surreal the next 24 hours would be.

What I didn’t know until a couple days before, was this was biker weekend at the shore. They call it Roar to the Shore. We had always rented this weekend out, so I didn’t know what to expect. I had a suspicion it might be loud.

While we were at the family reunion it began to downpour, but then it let up. I checked the radar when we got home and it showed nothing in Wildwood. We hit the road at 6:00 pm which would get us to Wildwood just past 8:00 pm. We could settle in and then head over to the Shamrock at 9:30 when Billy Jack would start playing. Traffic was light. The rain was light. We were making excellent time. As we approached Ocean City I saw really dark foreboding clouds in the distance. Before long it was clear we were headed directly into a mammoth thunderstorm. I began to see flashes of lightning in the distance. I told Avalon to get her phone out and snap some cool pictures. Here are a few of the shots through our windshield:

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At first it was just a pretty show in the sky. Then the torrential rains began to fall, or actually whip sideways with 50 mph winds. Luckily I was driving an itsy bitsy Honda Hybrid that handles like a tricycle in the rain. I had the wipers on max speed and could still barely see the highway. Then we got to a construction zone near Wildwood where the rain didn’t drain. My mini-machine was practically floating as I tried to maneuver the final five miles of our journey. Avalon was oblivious to my fear, as I could barely see the road.

While my knuckles were white from holding the steering wheel so tight, Avalon was happily snapping pictures and telling me she got a good one. Finally we reached the Wildwood exit on the Garden State Parkway and entered Wildwood. It was really weird, as the storms had somehow managed to miss Wildwood. You could see lightning flashing to the north and to the south, but not a drop of rain had fallen in Wildwood, as if it had a force-field protecting it. Maybe these bikers had super powers.

We arrived at the condo and settled in. I was ready to shed the baggage of a shitty week by listening to tunes from our buddy Billy Jack and getting plastered at the Shamrock with our new best friend Jim (aka Gravedigger). As we left the condo to walk to the Shamrock, the roar of motorcycle engines could be heard all over town. There were people partying on all the condo decks. Then we turned onto Atlantic Avenue and I was amazed to see hundreds of motorcycles parked on both sides of the street. We were walking into an alien world of leather jackets, tattoos, biker chicks, and scary looking dudes. I tend not to fit in with Pagans and Hells Angels and felt slightly uncomfortable as we tried to make our way to the Shamrock. Note the Rusty Rudder Buffet Restaurant in the picture. It comes into play later in this story.

We were confused to see hundreds of people just sitting in chairs along the sidewalk. The biker crowd seemed to be waiting for something to happen. I was moving at a brisk pace to get through the gauntlet of tattoos, nose rings, muscles, bald heads, piercings, leather, chains, and bike helmets as quickly as possible. Avalon, as usual, was curious and wanted to know what was going on so she stopped and started asking questions. I rolled my eyes and acted supportive. It seems bikers just like to sit on the curb and watch other bikers drive by. They are a simple people. I know I’m generalizing, but tattoos seem to be a requirement if you want to be a real biker or real biker chick. It also appeared that being fat might be a requirement to be a biker chick.

 

We survived our trek through biker hell to reach the Shamrock as our man Billy Jack started playing. One small problem. There were a bunch of bikers in the bar taking up our seats. I thought about telling them to get out of our seats, but decided I wanted to live for a few more years. Eventually the bikers left and I got my usual seat to observe the festivities and craziness at my favorite bar.

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It wasn’t long before I noticed the chick directly across the bar with a blinking red light on her head. She was also wearing a sash that said BACHELORETTE. Her friends brought her to the Shamrock for her bachelorette party. She didn’t seem to be having much fun, but at least she wouldn’t be hit by any low flying planes.

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Then things really started to get interesting. When you think of a romantic marriage proposal at the beach, you picture this scene:

What you don’t picture is Billy Jack clearing away some of his equipment on stage and some dude kneeling down amidst empty beer bottles, with bartenders pouring shots, a crowd of tattooed bikers sitting around the bar, and proposing to his girlfriend at the Shamrock. But that’s what happened. We were so stunned, we forgot to take a picture. So now we’ve seen a wedding reception and a proposal at the Shamrock in the same season. The happy couple departed the stage and Billy Jack resumed playing tunes.

We met up with Jim/Gravedigger and proceeded to drink at a healthy clip. Before long another couple we know showed up. Avalon and the other lady proceeded to the dance floor and began dancing. I protected our seats from the biker hoard. I could see Avalon had made some more friends on the dance floor, which wasn’t unusual for her. What was unusual was the discussion that was taking place. I didn’t get the sordid details for another half hour.

There were three women dancing together near my wife and she asked if they were on a girls weekend. They just laughed and said no. They then proceeded to inform my shocked wife and her friend that they were swingers and went into the lurid details of how it works. They were all there with dudes, but they were all looking to go home with someone other than their spouse. They seemed to take a hankering to Avalon and she skedaddled back over to our side of the bar.

After getting an eyeful of the women swingers when Avalon pointed them out to me, I can understand why their men wanted to swing. They looked like they had done some hard livin. You can see the terrified look in Avalon’s eyes as she hid behind me from the swingers.

You would have thought the evening was coming to an end by now, but it wasn’t. Jim was not only a former driver of the monster truck – Grave Digger, but he is also an electrical engineer and an extremely outgoing friendly person who seems to know just about every person in Wildwood. His condo was actually rented out to bikers for the weekend, but he was staying for free at the motel across the street from our condo. He has befriended the owner of the motel and does all kinds of electrical work for the guy.

The motel owner isn’t just any guy. He’s Tony – a character out of a Quentin Tarantino movie. He actually owns three different hotels within a two block radius of our condo. They are not exactly five star establishments. They are more like two star hotels frequented mostly by bikers, teenagers, and members of the FSA. Tony is a character. He is of Eastern European descent and looks like a cross between Donald Trump and Steve Martin’s wild and crazy guy character from SNL, as a 60 year old. But he is a wealthy Wildwood slumlord. Gravedigger Jim can essentially eat, drink and sleep at any of Tony’s establishments for free because of his electrical abilities and willingness to help out Tony.

Even though we were having fun at the Shamrock, Jim convinced us to depart and head for one of Tony’s hotel bars where we could drink for free. Luckily the rain had finally arrived in Wildwood and we got soaked walking to the new bar while dodging bikers along the way. There was a band playing metal rock and a sparse crowd at the new bar, but the beers were free. We noticed a section of the ceiling was falling in and Jim mentioned that the hotel pool was directly overhead and had begun to sink over the winter and had to be reinforced before it collapsed into the bar. That gave me a comforting feeling as I sat in this dark bar. As usual, Avalon made some new friends and was again dancing when we decided it was time for pizza back at Romeo’s, across from the Shamrock. It took a while to get her to leave.

It was still raining as we doubled back to the Shamrock. Billy Jack was still playing, so we went back in and enjoyed the tunes. We didn’t want to go home. We ended up staying until the end. Billy Jack finished up with Avalon’s favorite end of the night song – Good Riddance, and we headed to Romeo’s for a slice at 2:30.

After eating our slices we staggered home through the rain, but in our drunken stupor we made a dreadful mistake and agreed to meet Gravedigger at 9:30 and hit Tony’s Rusty Rudder all you can eat breakfast buffet. We were still dead to the world when 9:30 arrived and he texted us. Ugh. We both had headaches and were not in the mood for a breakfast buffet at a two star hotel restaurant with dozens of bikers. But we crawled out of bed and met up with Jim at around 10:30 and headed over.

SSS would have been a happy camper. The buffet breakfast bar had bacon out the yazoo. I piled a stack on my plate and drank a couple of cups of coffee. The breakfast of drunken champions. And the best part – it was all free. I did buy most of the drinks for Gravedigger the night before, so things have a way of evening out.

The biker festivities were winding down, but this was still the scene outside the restaurant:

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They were selling shirts for half price and me being a sport, I bought Avalon the “adorable” Roar to the Shore shirt that caught her eye. She’ll need to get a couple of tattoos to complete the look. We continued our walk back to the condo, but then we came to another of Tony’s hotels. There was a huge Wildwood cop talking to some people in the parking lot. Of course Gravedigger knew him and began a conversation. He introduced us and we shook hands. The cop then regaled us with the stories of what had happened the previous night in that hotel. Two families got into a fight and someone was stabbed. Another drunken woman had fallen down the stairs and cracked her head open. There were a total of 6 incidents at Tony’s hotels the previous night.

As we finally turned down our block and were saying goodbye to Jim, who comes sauntering down the street but Tony, in his white pants and shirt with the top three buttons undone. He greeted us and joked with Jim about all the incidents at his hotels. They talked about his overheating electronic sign and the cop pulled up in his car and joked that he would have to arrest Tony. That is highly unlikely. Tony is dumb like a fox. He hires off duty Wildwood police during prom nights and during senior week as extra security. You don’t become a slumlord millionaire by pissing off the authorities.

We finally got back to the condo and a short while later decided to take a walk on the boardwalk. Having previously posted about the ridiculous signs attempting to keep people safe on jetties and the beach, I found it ironic to see hundreds of motorcycles parade on the boardwalk for 30 minutes, driving within feet of people walking on the boardwalk. It was pretty cool, but the continuous roar got old after awhile.

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We hit the Star Diner on the way out of Wildwood in time for the early bird special. My mom would be proud. Where else can you get a basket of rolls, entree, salad, drink, desert and coffee for $11?

On the previous Friday I was irritable and angry about what was going on at work. By Sunday night I had let it all go. Life is too short. I spent Monday focused on helping the person who was going to be ambushed at the Tuesday meeting by preparing her for every attack she could receive. On Tuesday at noon I was told I was now in the meeting at 3:00 pm. I prepared my data and geared for battle. My colleague was happy to see me enter the room. She had an ally. It was an intense 90 minute meeting with the sides clearly demarcated. Myself and a faculty member provided the facts and the rationale for our side. I felt it was my duty to confront some powerful people in the room with facts and the truth. When we left the meeting, I thought we had lost.

I was pleasantly surprised on Thursday to find out our arguments and facts had won the day. The person I had helped win called me to thank me for my support, recommendations, and willingness to go to the mat on her behalf. Sometimes the good guys do win. I felt a lot better this Friday.

Only two weeks until our next weekend in Wildwood. I hope it is a little less eventful.

Outside the Box: An Independent Scotland?

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Posted on 12th September 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

Outside the Box: An Independent Scotland?

By John Mauldin

 

The United States is just starting to think about the upcoming elections (for whatever reason, the vast majority of people don’t focus on politics until after Labor Day), but there is another election happening “over the pond,” where the polls have just made everybody do a double-take. I am of course referring to the referendum on Scottish independence, which will be held next week. Voters opposing the measure were a clear majority for months, but their numbers began slipping a few weeks ago; and as of last few days the contest is basically even, with the election probably to be decided by the undecided.

A “yes” outcome would have significant ramifications not just for the United Kingdom but for all of Europe. Can a region of a country just decide it wants to be independent? You take a vote and that’s it? To everyone’s credit in the United Kingdom, they are being quite civilized about it. However, I imagine if Scotland votes to leave, the negotiations will be rather less cultured. There will be a big bill to be paid before everybody gets to leave the restaurant. Just who ran up what part of the tab over the last 300 years is an issue that has the potential to turn into a rowdy soccer – pardon me, football – match.

In today’s Outside the Box we explore a few aspects of the potential break-up. And not just what it would mean for the United Kingdom (it would not be good) but for all of Europe. Note that Spanish bonds are beginning to fall as people wonder what it might mean for Scotland to be allowed to declare independence. There are a couple regions in Spain that would very much like to do the same. And frankly, the Catalan region has a much better economic rationale for being on its own than Scotland does. (From this side of the pond, I cannot see what Scotland would have to gain economically from independence. They are a net consumer of taxes. But the whole independence thing is clearly about more than just economics, so this is one bar fight among friends where I think I’ll just retreat to my corner and watch.)

First, let’s look at a few comments from Bloomberg:

Spain’s government bonds fell, undermined by the Catalan region’s crescendoing push for independence, as polls 1,000 miles away in Scotland showed increased support for its own bid to break from the U.K.…

“It’s a question of raising the flag to more event risk,” Harvinder Sian, a fixed-income strategist at Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc in London, said today by phone. “Where the U.K. government has decided to guarantee all government debt, the Catalonia region is too large for the rest of Spain to absorb. It’s a much more problematic issue for Spain with regard to its debt markets.”…

“If Catalonia were to become independent it would be a strong drag on Spain’s growth and doubts would resurface regarding the sustainability of Spanish public debt,” said Marius Daheim, a Munich-based senior fixed-income strategist at Bayerische Landesbank. “Liquidity rules.”

Today’s OTB features a piece by Stratfor’s George Friedman on the implications of an independent Scotland. Do the Belgians get to split their country in two? Which regions of Spain might move for independence? How about the Northern League in Italy? What about the rest of the world? Can parts of Ukraine simply take a vote and leave? Where does it end?

Then Anatole Kaletsky over at GaveKal thinks about the implications for British politics. You could have the odd situation of Scotland’s representatives in Parliament, who are overwhelmingly from the Labour Party, voting with a possible labor majority to put into place a very liberal policy agenda and then leaving Parliament after less than a year, which might then leave the Conservatives in the majority. Were those votes really legitimate if it was already known that Scotland was leaving? Exactly how does that work?

Before putting you in George and Anatole’s capable hands, let me offer two additional links, from opposite sides of the political spectrum. The first is from my friend Niall Ferguson, here, musing back in 2007 on the question of what it takes to make a nation-state. Then, I offer this link to Paul Krugman’s blog in the New York Times. Paul gets my vote for best line I’ve read so far about the election:

Well, I have a message for the Scots: Be afraid, be very afraid. The risks of going it alone are huge. You may think that Scotland can become another Canada, but it’s all too likely that it would end up becoming Spain without the sunshine.

Spain without the sunshine, indeed. This may be one of the few occasions on which you will find Niall Ferguson and Paul Krugman in agreement.

Right now the London bookies still think the vote for independence will fail. I think that conclusion is largely based on the assumption that many Scottish citizens who say they are “yes” voters today will go into the polling booth and realize at the last moment that their personal economic interests lie in remaining in the union. But as of today, it looks to be very close. Just the fact that they can take a vote on such a question is really rather remarkable. I don’t remember there being a vote in the movie Braveheart.

My father told me that our family was kicked out of Scotland and then kicked out of Ireland before we made it to the colonies (back when they were still colonies). The name was Muldoon in Scotland and Ireland and was Americanized when we hit these shores. We can’t find any records to prove the family legend, and it’s been a few centuries since anyone in the family had the right to vote over there. But there’s a part of me that might be looking at the numbers a wee bit sentimentally, so let me close by wishing my Scottish friends Go n-éirí an bóthar leat! (That’s Gaelic, which is as close to an ancient Scottish language is there is, though it’s more commonly thought of as Irish.)

Your wondering if I’ll need a passport to see Edinburgh again analyst,

John Mauldin, Editor
Outside the Box
[email protected]

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Scottish Independence Would Shake Up the Global System

By George Friedman, Stratfor
September 9, 2014

Polls released today showed for the first time that a majority – an extremely small majority, but a majority nonetheless – of Scots favor independence, although other polls suggest the no camp remains in the lead. A poll is not the election, which will be held Sept. 18, but it is still a warning that something extraordinary might happen very soon. The political union between Scotland and England might be abolished after 300 years. The implications of this are enormous and generally ignored.

Obviously, this raises a host of question about how such a divorce might take place, whether the expected time frame – divorce by 2016 – will be adhered to, and how state property might be divided. It also raises the question of Scottish foreign policy. Will Scotland remain in NATO? Will it have membership in the European Union? Will it continue to use the pound sterling, and if not, how will it roll out its own currency?

These are important questions, but far more important issues will follow. One of the principles of the postwar world was the inviolability of Europe’s borders. Border disputes were the origin of centuries of war, and so Europe’s borders were frozen after World War II to avoid discussion. This may have left some people of one nationality on the wrong side of a border, but this was accepted since the risk of opening the door to border redefinition was considered far greater than any discomforts stemming from the borders that were locked in place.

This principle has been weakened since the end of the Cold War. Still, though the disintegration of the Soviet Union created fully independent states, these were recognized republics within the context of the Soviet Union. One could argue that this did not in fact represent border change. Later, the “Velvet Divorce” of Czechoslovakia into Czech and Slovak successor countries represented another shift, but in a country that had only existed since the end of World War I. The separation of Kosovo from Serbia was a more radical shift but was justified by claims of Serbian oppression. Though each shift weakened the principle of inviolable borders, each came with an asterisk – that is, each had an aspect that stopped it from being the definitive case.

Scotland separating from England, by contrast, can’t be minimized. If that centuries-old union can be revised, then anything can be revised. Scottish separatists’ reason for splitting is that they are a separate nation, that each nation has the right to its own state and the right to determine its own destiny, and that they no longer choose to be in union. But if they have the right to determine this, why shouldn’t others in Europe enjoy the same right?

For example, modern Spain is an amalgam of regions. One, the Catalan region – which contains Barcelona – has a strong separatist movement. If Scotland can leave the United Kingdom, then why shouldn’t Catalonia be allowed to leave Spain? Farther east, the Treaty of Trianon gave Romania and then-Czechoslovakia large portions of Hungary along with the Hungarians living there. Why shouldn’t Hungarians living in those territories have the right to rejoin Hungary? Meanwhile, if French-speaking Belgians and Dutch-speaking Belgians wish to part ways and return their two regions to their respective countries of origin, why should they not be allowed to? And why shouldn’t the eastern part of Ukraine be allowed to secede and join Russia?

Raising the stakes, this is an issue that goes far beyond Europe. There are seemingly innumerable separatist movements in India, China, Africa and so forth. If Scotland has the right to leave the nation-state it is part of and form a new one based on ethnic identity, why can’t anyone follow suit? And if anyone can do it, but they are blocked by the state they wish to leave, is resorting to violence in pursuit of independence legitimate?

The Scottish issue – the claim that the Scots are a separate nation and that all nations have a right to self-determination – simply cannot be asterisked. Having this happen in the heart of Western Europe would set a clear precedent that would expand geographically and conceptually. It would legitimize similar movements globally and force a reconsideration of what a nation is. Ultimately, a nation would be whatever the majority says it is.

It is doubtful that the Scottish precedent could be contained in Europe. And it is hard to imagine how this precedent might not lead to conflict somewhere, not in the British Isles but somewhere where the existing state would be less inclined to grant the right of self-determination to a separatist movement.

Of course, the separatists in Scotland may well lose, sentiment might change in the post-election negotiations, and so on. But if England and Scotland divorce, the right to separate will become an integral part of international custom – and it will arouse other movements.

The UK Now Faces Years Of Volatility

By Anatole Kaletsky, Gavekal

The probability that the United Kingdom will break apart now appears to be at least 50%. The weekend’s crop of opinion polls agree with each other, and support last Tuesday’s poll showing a powerful swing in favor of a ‘Yes’ vote in next week’s referendum on Scottish independence. Given that up until last Tuesday most investors and analysts (including me) saw no more than a 10%-20% probability of independence, what has happened in the past few days amounts to a genuine exogenous shock of seismic proportions. In response to such a shock it is reasonable to expect further large market movements, especially in the pound, which has now fallen 2.4% against the US dollar in just one week

The biggest risk to the pound sterling and gilts lies not in the economic uncertainties that will be generated by future arguments about Scotland’s relationship to sterling, the sharing of the UK’s national debt, or the distribution of North Sea oil revenues. These are all issues with relatively marginal investment impact, which will only be felt in the long term.

Much more important are three political questions, not about abstract ideology, but of a kind that is highly relevant to investors:

1) What will a Scottish independence vote mean for British politics and economic management in the next nine months?

2) What will be the impact on the 2015 UK general election and subsequent economic policies, especially taxation?

3) What will all this imply for Britain’s membership of the European Union?

The answers to all three questions are more alarming than almost anyone would have predicted a week ago:

1) If the Scots vote for independence it is likely that David Cameron will feel forced to take responsibility and resign as prime minister. If he fails to stand down, a putsch against him by right wing Tories is almost certain. A mutiny may or may not succeed, but Conservative Party politics is extremely febrile and ruthless, and the risk to Cameron’s position is not remotely discounted in the markets. In September 1990 nobody imagined that Margaret Thatcher was vulnerable; less than two months later she was ousted by her closest supporters. Whether Cameron is replaced or not, Britain’s government will be reduced to lame duck status between now and the May 2015 election. The only issues on the political agenda will be the terms of Scottish separation and apportioning blame for the referendum debacle.

2) The sense of shock and national failure resulting from an independence vote would make it much more difficult for the present coalition to win the 2015 election. The probability of a Labour-led government would rise from 40%-50% today to something like 70%. This prospect should be very alarming to investors in sterling. Labour will campaign on a platform of higher taxes and public spending, a tougher property tax regime, hobbling and shrinking the City of London, and abolishing the concessions to foreign residents which make Britain one of the world’s most effective tax havens. If anything, the Liberal Democrats, who would probably be Labour’s coalition partners, would be even tougher both in terms of personal tax reform and in their antagonism to the financial sector. To make matters worse, a Labour or Lab-Lib government would lack the political legitimacy to enact the measures promised in its manifesto, since the government’s majority would rely on Scottish members due for expulsion from the English parliament in 2016. A constitutional crisis would therefore ensue. Presumably Labour would respond by promising another general election in mid-2016, immediately after the Scottish secession. The result would be two years of unprecedented political and fiscal uncertainty for all businesses and investors in Britain.

3) Even in the unlikely event that the Conservative Party or a Conservative-Liberal coalition is re-elected in a 2015 election after a Scottish independence vote next week, the political consequences would be dire. In the event of such an unexpected victory, the Conservative Party would regard its hold on power as assured following the expulsion of Scotland’s 59 members of parliament (only one of whom is Conservative). As a result, the party would swing decisively towards the Euro-skepticism favored by its grassroots activists. A referendum on EU membership would be held in 2017 in which the new prime minister (who might conceivably even be David Cameron after a Damascene conversion to Euro-skepticism) would either adopt a neutral position or actively campaign for an exit. Either way, the odds on the UK leaving the EU would climb above 50%.

In the more probable scenario discussed in option (2)—that a Scottish independence vote would lead to a Labour-Liberal victory in the May 2015 general election—there would be no EU referendum in 2017 as promised by the Conservatives. At first that might seem to offer some relief on the European front. In reality, however, it would do nothing to secure Britain’s EU membership. On the contrary, a Lab-Lib government would have to call another general election immediately after Scottish secession in 2016; an election in which EU membership would be straight back on the agenda. The Conservatives, emboldened by their ‘natural’ majority in the UK-minus-Scotland would swing towards outright Euro-skepticism and campaign for an immediate post-election referendum, laying down conditions for renegotiating EU membership which Brussels, France and even Germany would be sure to reject.

Thus a Conservative victory in a 2016 election would make Brexit almost certain a year later. If, as is quite possible, the Euro-skeptics overplayed their hand and the Tories lost the 2016 election, the UK would be saddled with a high tax Labour-Liberal government until 2021.

As a result, if Scotland does vote for independence next week, it is hard to come up with a positive scenario for British assets, whatever happens subsequently. Of course, there is always the hope that the polls may be wrong or the Scots will change their minds at the last moment once they realize what a Pandora’s box of political uncertainties they are about to open. But hope is not a strategy. We recommend selling sterling and other British assets, apart from those such as resource shares which have little exposure to British politics and which benefit directly from a weak pound.

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Important Disclosures

The article Outside the Box: An Independent Scotland? was originally published at mauldineconomics.com.

Fruits Of Meddling In The Syrian Civil War: Washington’s Frankenstein Brigade

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Posted on 11th September 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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The revelation by a spokesman for the family of Steven Sotloff, the second journalist beheaded by the Islamic State (ISIS), that Sotloff was “sold [to ISIS] for between $25–50,000,” by the US-supported “moderate” Free Syrian Army underscores the irony and absurdity of this moment. As the President gets ready to go to the American people and ask for their support in pursuing a military campaign in Iraq and Syria, how the principle of “blowback” operates should be clear to everyone – even Rudy Giuliani.

The “moderates” we have been funding, arming, and training for the past few years couldn’t have come up with a better plan to suck us into the Syrian quagmire. After crying “Wolf!” for so long – what with chemical attacks supposedly inflicted by the infinitely evil Bashar al-Assad, and other tall tales of dubious provenance – the rebels had lost all credibility. What to do? Desperate to increase the decibel level of calls for US military action in the region, they resorted to targeting the US media in hopes that the outrage generated would push the Americans into war.

And the ruse certainly seems to be working. That’s their battlefield, after all: the Syrian Mod Squad has never been an effective fighting force on the ground in Syria, but when it comes to dominating the Western media landscape they’ve been wildly successful. According to their many friends in the Fourth Estate, those lovable cuddly “moderate” Islamists wouldn’t hurt a flea – after all, they’ve been “vetted,” haven’t they?

What a grisly joke.

The immoderate kidnapping of Sotloff surely eviscerates the argument that we could’ve been spared the existence of ISIS if only we’d gone full bore in supporting the Syrian Free Army. Yes, if only we’d handed Syria over to them the way they handed Sotloff over to ISIS everything would be hunky dory. That makes sense – in Bizarro World.

Yet Bizarro World “logic” is exactly what has been determining US policy in the region ever since the “Arab Spring,” when the Obama administration decided to hop on board the “revolution,” co-opt all that energy, and use it to generate support for regime change throughout the region. The results have been an unmitigated disaster, to wit:

  • In Libya we overthrew Muammar Gaddafi, “liberating” the country with the help of – and at the urging of – our European allies. The Libyans expressed their gratitude by murdering our Ambassador, trashing our embassy, and plunging the country into Somali-like chaos.
  • In Egypt we backed a “moderate” Islamist regime, throwing longtime American sock-puppet Hosni Mubarrak overboard without so much as a by-your-leave – and wound up supporting an even worse “secular” military dictatorship.
  • In Syria, we plotted to overthrow another Gaddafi-like secular despot, aligning with those lovable “moderate” Islamists – many of whom would soon defect to ISIS, taking their US-supplied arsenal with them.

As I’ve said in this space from the beginning, ISIS has “Made in USA” stamped all over it – and I don’t mean that just figuratively. Yes, our wrong-headed policies have so alienated the Sunnis that they’ve resorted to supporting the fanatics of ISIS, but it’s worse than that. It is literally true that we armed, trained, and deployed these monsters – what we might call the Islamist Frankenstein Brigade – and now they’ve turned on us with a vengeance.

Well then, so what? So what if our crazy policy of empowering Islamist militias in Libya and overthrowing Assad in Syria led us to this horrific pass: the monster is rampaging over the entire region and we’ve got to act fast before it takes Baghdad – right?

Wrong. To begin with, contrary to US government officials and their media echo chamber, ISIS represents little threat to the continental US. If we can’t corral the few dozen Americans who’ve gone over there to fight on behalf of our self-proclaimed allies, the darling rebels, then where have the billions spent on “homeland security” gone?

The principal victims of ISIS are those who actually live in the region: the Syrians, the Iranians, and the Iraqis. The Turks and the Kurds have a lot to lose, too, if ISIS triumphs: so why not let them take care of the problem? Senator Rand Paul, in an interview with Sean Hannity, proposed exactly that:

“Right now, the two allies that have the same goal would be Iran and Syria, to wipe out ISIS. They also have the means, and the ability, and they also have the incentive to do so because [Syrian President Bashar al-]Assad’s clinging for power and clinging for life there.”

What could make more sense? Yet it’s precisely because it’s the logical solution that it’s being ruled out of order. The well-known high “moral standards” of the US government absolutely forbid such a course: Assad, we are told, is “killing his own people.” He’s a monster, and even indirectly helping him maintain his power is impermissible – because, you see, “the-enemy-of-my-enemy-is-my-friend” is a Very Bad Principle to adopt because … well, just because. Not to mention the poor, persecuted Sunnis who will be “alienated” from us, and we just couldn’t have that, now could we? Far better to risk American lives, expend our resources, and bear the burden of empire alone, pure in our virtuous martyrdom.

Among the more incredible arguments along these lines is made by foreign policy maven Daniel Larison, who weaves a strange and entirely illogical theory around the idea that “Assad benefits from ISIS’ continued existence. As long as ISIS appears to be the main alternative to him and his regime in Syria, he is much more secure, and so at least in the short to medium term he has little reason to want them destroyed. One might think that he would have an incentive to destroy this group, but in practice he hasn’t been trying to do this.”

The fact of the matter is that there are no alternatives to Assad aside from ISIS. The kidnapping of Sotloff by the FSA and his quick transfer to the custody of ISIS proves they are operationally inseparable. After all, what is the so-called Free Syrian Army except for a vague collection of militias – Syria has over 1,500 of them! – of dubious loyalties loosely aligned with the radical Islamic Front – which, in turn, is close to Al Nusra, the official Al Qaeda affiliate in Syria. The fine distinctions drawn by deskbound analysts seem to evaporate into nothingness on the ground in Syria. Whatever differences exist between these factions and ISIS is down to turf, not ideology. The President himself told Tom Friedman that the idea of Syrian “moderates” among the rebel fighters is “a fantasy.” Does Larison know any better?

What’s really ludicrous is the notion that ISIS is thriving due to a sinister plot by the wily Assad, who is deliberating laying off his deadliest and most well-armed enemies because he somehow “needs” them. This is like keeping a pet rattlesnake because you want to get rid of the gophers. And where does Larison get the idea that “in practice” Assad’s forces have gone easy on ISIS – surely not from this, or this? Is Larison saying the Syrian army’s defeat at the battle of Raqqa was an inside job?

If ISIS wins, Assad’s is the first head to roll – and he knows it. And the Alawites, Christians, and other minorities will meet the same fate shortly afterwards, and they know it, too – which is why they support the Ba’athist regime as the only alternative at the moment.

No, we don’t have to ally with Assad – or the Iranians, for that matter – for them to deal effectively with our monstrous creations. We simply have to stand aside and watch as those states with a real stake in this fight are allowed to take aim and fire. In this case, inaction is the most effective act we can take: by stopping our support for the Syrian Islamists, we cut off a major source of support for ISIS – and leave Assad free to go after them hammer and tongs.

ISIS and its sympathizers worldwide would like nothing better than to lure us into another land war in the Middle East, one in which we would fare no better than we did last time around. Yet that is the only alternative to the Rand Paul strategy.

Speaking of Senator Paul, some who fear being dragged back into Iraq are now saying a few air strikes shouldn’t be out of the question. They are forgetting the first operating principle of any and all government programs, especially those of a military nature: the mission is constantly being expanded. A government agency that starts out regulating one specific area of life will invariably invade all other conceivably related realms of human activity. In the same way, and for the same reasons, a “limited” war – perhaps initially confined to the deployment of air power – is bound to expand in scope when victory proves elusive.

We are now being told this new war will take precisely three years to be prosecuted successfully – which seems like an extremely odd prognosis indeed. How do they know this – they who never saw ISIS coming? Of course it will take a lot longer than that if we pursue the strategy of fighting ISIS and Assad and doing our best to keep Iran out of it. For even if we do debilitate ISIS, another monster will arise from its ashes, perhaps even uglier and deadlier – and we return to our Sisyphean task.

Whether it’s three years, three months, or three centuries, Iraq War III – which is sure to encompass Syria, just as the Vietnam conflict enveloped Cambodia – promises to be an even worse disaster than the previous editions. Everyone who jumps on board this particular bandwagon is going to be leaping off sooner than they imagine – or else denying they were ever on it. So don’t say I didn’t warn you.

This is a syndicated repost courtesy of Antiwar.com Original. To view original, click here.

CONTROLLED CHAOS IV

1 comment

Posted on 8th September 2014 by T4C in Economy |Politics |Social Issues |Technology

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This ten part series was written by JC Collins between

January 21, 2014 – April 7, 2014

bucket wheel

SDR’S AND THE NEW BRETTON WOODS – PART FOUR

Archaic America and Oil Wars

JC Collins

February 6, 2014

 

As young boys my brother and I delivered newspapers in our neighborhood. There was one house in particular that always stood out to us. In this home lived a man with no legs. The house was your standard suburban build of the 1970’s and had a ramp running up the width of the front. The man in his wheelchair would often be parked at the small area at the top of the ramp. It was a short landing from which he could enter the house.

Bad feelings always came over me every time we delivered the newspaper there. My memory tells me that the man wasn’t very nice, though I’m sure he was and that’s just how I remember it based on my own feelings of uneasiness.

When we see a man in a wheelchair we often think of war vets. In this case the man had lost his legs in a mining accident. There is a giant mining machine called a bucket wheel. It’s exactly what it sounds like, a large wheel made up of many buckets which dig into the earth as it turns. This man had the unfortunate accident of being in a pickup truck that came into contact with the mining machine.

Our father also worked at the same mine and over the years of our childhood there were many such accidents, some ending in deaths and others causing life altering trauma like the man on the porch. Fear was something I often felt as I stared out the window and watched my father walk off to catch the bus which transported all the workers to the mine site. The thought of my father being one of the men who didn’t come home was unbearable.

As dangerous as it was, my father worked hard and provided for his family. We had a good childhood. A good life. Though I didn’t understand it at the time, the world needed energy and my father helped provide it by exacting his own energy. My brother and I didn’t put out as much energy delivering newspapers because we were lazy, as children are want to be, but we would eventually get paid for what little energy we did exert. That’s how it works right, exert first and earn after.

Along with listening to ABBA songs for the better part of the early 1980’s, I also watched the endless Iraq and Iran war on television. The ability to fully comprehend what it was all about only came to me when I was much older. The concept of the petrodollar was kept out of the media at all costs. The fact that the American military would support one oil producing country to attack another oil producing country was too complex a thing to grasp while the song Waterloo spun on the record player.

************

petrodollar
For those who don’t know, the petrodollar was an agreement between the Federal Reserve and Saudi Arabia to price and sell oil in U.S. dollars. This scheme came about after the dollar was disconnected from its 30% gold peg in 1971. By 1973 the scam was on and most of the oil producing countries fell in line. Unfortunately Iran didn’t get the memo.

We’ll avoid a long history of oil shenanigans and military occupations. Please feel free to research and filter all Middle Eastern conflicts through the petrodollar smoke screen. I would include the Caspian Basin and Bosnian conflict in this as well.

Two nights ago Christine Lagarde of the International Monetary Fund was giving a speech in London. In that speech she made many references to the outdated system that has been in place since the Bretton Woods agreement of 1944. She explains how that agreement has served us well for the last 70 years but it is now time to move on with a new multilateral system, a “financial system for the 21st century”. Near the end of her talk Ms. Lagarde boldly states that a new multilateralism is “non-negotiable”.

imf

What she is saying is that both the old Bretton Woods arrangement and by default the petrodollar scheme are dead and over. Like the British Pound before 1944, the reserve status of the American dollar is over. It’s just that American’s have not accepted it yet because the leaders of the country have not told them about it.

There are too many currency swap agreements which have been made over the last few years to even mention. The function of these swap agreements have been to avoid using the dollar in trade. The emerging economies have planned their counter to QE tapering like a general strategizing a flank maneuver. If it was not for these currency swap agreements the emerging markets would be suffering more right now.

But let us kept our eye on the moving ball here and remember the problem, reaction, solution technique we have been discussing in previous posts. Since we are suggesting that all sides are reading from the same script, I will put forward that the script is in fact the 2010 I.M.F. Code of Reforms.

congress

The United States is the last hold out on the Reforms. The Congress has to pass the legislation in order for the 2010 Code of Reforms to be fully enacted and the required changes to the Executive Board of the I.M.F. completed. As some of you may have already guessed, and not to put too fine a point on this, the Reforms will allow for the following things to happen:

1. Restructure U.S. sovereign debt. (other countries as well)
2. Final payout on historical bonds.
3. Revaluation of currencies.
4. Preliminary SDR bond agreements.
5. Soft landing for stock markets.

From there the real work will begin as SDR allocation sites are strategically located. As stated previous, the “restructured” Fed will issue SDR securities along with the World Bank, European Central Bank, and the BRICS Development Bank. There will be others but those are the core institutions.

SDR compositions for each country and economic zone will continue to be analysed and negotiated as trade shifts and settles to the new paradigm. Gold will obviously be a vital component of most SDR compositions, especially in Asia, where strategically located gold vaults are now being set up in China, Vietnam, Indonesia, etc. This was explained with more detail in “America’s Karma and World War Two Gold Theft”.

Commodities other than gold will also factor into SDR composition weights. One of these is oil. With oil comes different challenges than some of the other weights. Let’s take the relationship between the United States and Canada as an example. Oil is pumped or mined in one place and after initial processing, is shipped elsewhere for further processing for a market grade product.

This is where the Keystone XL Pipeline comes in. The purpose of the pipeline is to transport semi-processed oil from the Canadian Oil Sands to the refineries in the gulf region of America. There is much to do about nothing over this “proposed” pipeline. Just as there is about the Oil Sands in general. Why do you think this is? It’s a negotiation over what percentage of the produced oil will be applied to the SDR composition of each country. Should Canada get more for mining and partial processing? Or should America for bringing it to market?

All along, even with the delays and drama over both the pipeline and the oil sands, Keystone is in fact moving ahead with major portions of the line already completed. The so called Obama drag on this is only for show.

pipeline

In addition to Keystone, Canada is also building what is called the Northern Gateway Pipeline to transport oil from Northern Alberta to the Pacific coast for shipping to the Asian market. This is why China is becoming heavily invested in Canadian oil and its related infrastructure.

Intangible SDR trading is already going on outside of the U.S. dollar. The exact same thing happened to the British Pound in the years leading up to its official demise as the reserve currency of the world.

Let’s move on to Iraq and Iran. It was reported on January 30th that Iraq and Iran where planning on joining forces and cutting world oil prices as a form of economic warfare on Saudi Arabia. The purpose is to destroy OPECs control over the world oil market. As usual, things are not as they appear. OPEC is already dead for the most part and Saudi Arabia is aligning itself with China.

This is major news that is lost on not only Americans but many other regions as well. With the shattering of OPEC who will dictate the price of oil? There are a few different exchanges which price oil and I would suspect that eventually there will be just one in order to facilitate more accurate SDR compositions for oil producing nations.

The bigger question to ask here is how do two countries that fought a war with each other for almost a decade suddenly decide that they will become the dynamic duo to fight the evil Saudi sheiks? There’s a micro problem, reaction, solution taking place here. I propose that the Middle East will be split into two economic zones with the Lower Middle East encompassing oil production from Saudi Arabia and Northern Africa, while the Upper Middle East will consolidate not only Iraq and Iran but most likely the Caspian region as well. Remember, civilizations are transformed through revolutions. There is more to the Arab Spring than many realize.

Though the world’s countries will maintain their individual autonomy, their economic sovereignty will be passed to the Executive Board of the I.M.F. under the 2010 Code of Reforms. As such, the oil produced from the economic zones will not apply directly to the individual countries SDR composition but to the regions composition. Both Iraq and Iran are oil rich in resource but the ability to bring it to market, especially in Iraq, is still fraught with challenges. The world will not wait for stability in Iraq before implementing the Code of Reforms which will in turn lead to the Global Currency Reset and the Great Consolidation.

iraq

Iraq’s currency, the Dinar, will be revalued, of that there is no doubt. But not anywhere near the exchange rate that many are predicting. Like my brother and I delivering newspapers, we could not get paid until the papers were distributed and payments collected. The dinar will not be revalued at a rate that cannot be supported by the actual production of the oil. Both Iraq and Iran are looking forward to 2020 to even come close to the barrels per day production that Saudi Arabia has now.

In addition, I would suspect that a regional dinar currency will be developed to support the economic zones SDR composition. And that is good news for many that hold dinar. It will be revalued sooner rather than later and it will offer a great return, but only as the micro of a larger macro and regional dinar scenario.

I encourage everyone reading my blog posts to educate yourself and research as much as possible. Everything we need to know in order to understand what is coming is published and available. The reset is real, as is the consolidation. The centralization of economic power is worrisome but I fear the alternative at this point in history offers a less desirable outcome. How we handle ourselves as human beings will dictate how we challenge that centralization. Do we fight as desperate and divided buffoons who are lost in the ignorance of the past? Or do we become knowledgeable and stare the system in the face and challenge it to become better?

The latter is much preferable as far as I’m concerned. And we accomplish this by challenging ourselves first. Like I wrote of in my post “The Failed Alchemical Process of America”, the failure of America is the failure of us all. The journey from base metal to gold is the responsibility of each one of us. How do we expect a system based on greed to change when we ourselves are consumed with our obsession over matter? It matters not what the I.M.F. or any other organization does. We are the solution we’ve been looking for. Exert your energy for the wealth of knowledge.

In the next part we will continue with the SDR compositions but also start to touch on some of the cultural ramifications of the Great Consolidation. – JC Collins

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When present, JC’s responses to questions and comments in each of the essays provides additional analysis, information, and insights that I think are worth noting; so I will start adding them (with some editing and without citing the question/comment) at the end of each forthcoming post of his series.

1. The IMF was a product of the Bretton Woods agreement and as such, controlled by the US for all these years. Once Congress passes the reforms it will relinquish control of the IMF Executive Board. This will allow other countries such as China, Vietnam, etc., to have their currencies revalued through the IMF.

If the US doesn’t pass the reforms than we could possibly find ourselves in a situation where countries such as Iraq and Vietnam may demonetize their present currencies and issue new ones, such as the so called VNN and IQN. This would be supported by the rest of the world and would side step the US dollar and its control over the IMF.

Congress passing the reforms is preferable. Unfortunately the IMF SDR structure appears to be the best way forward. It has been set up that way on purpose. – JC

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2. Lest we forget the social and political stability in Kuwait, lets also take a look at Saudi Arabia. They produce 10.3 million barrels per day. The exchange rate of the Saudi Riyal to the U.S. dollar is $3.75. And as you stated, the Kuwait Dinar to the U.S. dollar is $3.55, with only a 1/4 of the oil production of Saudi Arabia. So we can conclude that there are other factors or weights, outside of oil production only, to consider when calculating the potential of a specific country. Do you think maybe the Kuwait dinar is unreasonably high? What do you think will happen when the dollar is devalued 30% to 50%? Its recommended that readers go here and study the economic indicators of each country they are interested in. Straight arrow comparisons are to be avoided as they are not an accurate portrayal of metrics.

…..I would consider a metric oriented rate for the Iraq Dinar, based on current dynamics and performance, somewhere in the range of $0.35 to a devalued dollar. One will not increase without a decrease in the other. – JC

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3. In regards to alternative energy technologies, the argument could be made that any release or utilization of said technologies would realize the greatest return, both economically and culturally, if and when there is a balanced multilateral financial system in place. The temptation for a single monopoly power, such as the U.S. holds by way of reserve currency status, to take advantage of lessor countries and economies would be too great. This would also contradict the purpose of such technologies in the first place. Alternative and advanced energy or other technologies would create a more level playing field and a multilateral system of commerce would facilitate the implementation and growth of such technologies. There is so much unknown about this area that I would hesitate to speculate further. Though I think the announcement last year of the hyper-loop transportation system is a good sign that the slow reveal and implementation of the technologies will be forth coming as the financial system makes its transition. – JC