Archive for the 'Too many countries' Category

Jun 24 2016

Funeral for a friend

I suffered the loss of a good friend last night. The United Kingdom ( May 1, 1707-June 23rd, 2016), America's mother country, the source of US traditions and many of our values , a country that holds a special place in my heart, committed suicide last night. It was 409 years old. The corpse is still twitching but the damage has been done. That the death was completely avoidable makes this loss of a once great nation particularly tragic.

I stayed up watching the returns start to come in, and I went to bed cautiously optimistic. I awoke at 4AM, looked at my phone and knew my once good friend was doomed. I got up and went downstairs to watch the BBC and ITV coverage. At 6:20 AM, they pronounced the patient dead.

By that time the S.O. had seen 6% of her Japanese savings vanish. The pound was down almost 8% and Dow Jones futures were indicating a monumental meltdown at the open.

And there on the TV was the obnoxious face of Nigel Farage. For those who don't know him, he is the leader of the UKIP party and the darling of fucking idiots American Conservatives for his Trumpian rhetoric.

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V.I.K.I.: You are making a mistake. My logic is undeniable.

Detective Del Spooner: You have so got to die.

As the morning unfolded, the hits just kept on coming. The founder of this monstrosity of a referendum, David Cameron, announced he would be resigning as Prime Minister. That's what happens when you bet the farm on a completely unnecessary political evolution and then lose.

The FTSE was dropping like a stone.

As was the DAX, and all the other European markets. The sickness even affected the bond markets, with German and Spanish bonds taking a particular beating. I have no doubt US bond markets are getting equally squeezed.

Later on in the day, Spain hinted it wants to re-open the settled issue of Gibraltar. 

And of course, like a bad dream, who shows up to piss on everyone's parade?  That's right, the vulgar talking yam himself. As he chortled over all the money he was going to make shorting stocks and fucking over his new employees at Turnberry, he displayed the particular brand of ignorance that has marked his campaign to date.

 

 

 

This is typical for the vulgar yam. Fuckhead.

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As I type this, the American stock market is down 622 points. As predicted this a disaster. And this is just the beginning.

The crass opportunists have stepped to the microphone. Sinn Fein is making noises about how Northern Ireland would be better off in the Irish Republic and the Scottish leadership is making noise about how binding referendums are not so binding after all. 

A couple of other observations:

1) The stark differences in demographics were disturbing. Interviews with older voters and younger voters make it clear that UK voters have this in common with US voters. Older people love to vote to screw young people.

The United Kingdom has voted to leave the European Union, 52 percent to 48 percent.

I am broken by this result. As a young person, I cannot help but feel betrayed. In fact, it’s somewhat hard not to take it a little bit personally.

Let’s look at the voter demographics. The "Leave" vote was overwhelmingly carried by those over the age of 65, whereas 72 percent of those who were aged 18 to 24 voted to "Remain." Why does this matter? Surely, in a referendum, every vote is equal, and the will of the people carries regardless of the demographic?

Well, there is some truth to that. But that doesn’t mean every UK voter will suffer the same consequences.

The process of the UK leaving the European Union would not be complete until late 2018 at the very earliest, assuming Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty is triggered when a new prime minister is appointed in the autumn of this year. Even then, that’s just the basic settlement — trade deals and movement regulations could take decades to hammer out.

 

Please click on the link and look at the demographics. The old screwed the young-who it appears, are smarter than their elders.

2) British expats living in Europe are going to get screwed at the drive through.

3) Finally, every right wing Jackass like Geert Wilders, Marine Le Pen, the leaders of Alternativ fur Deutschland and the rest are already spouting their particular racist brand of bullshit asking for their own referendums. 71 years of peace in Europe? Can't have that. Crank up the Enola Gay-we are on our way to the Maginot Line! Retake Silesia! Party like its 1932 brother!

And then there is the damage to the US. I find the drivel being spouted by your average American moron conservative really disturbing . If I hear one more person talk about "taking their country back", I am going to have to strangle someone. Back to where assholes?

I've seen where you want to take the country back to-and I want no part of it. Please go die in a fire.

Brexit is a disaster. If you do not understand that, you can leave now. We have nothing else to talk about.

Leave it to the Financial Times ( a good conservative news outlet-something your basic Breitbart fucking nitwit reader seems unable to understand):

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That pretty well sums it up. Stupidity triumphed over common sense. My advice is to start drinking heavily with some now even more expensive Scotch. Its going to be a long year.

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You Maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! God damn you all to hell!

 

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Jun 02 2016

Red Dress Rules

My apologies for the absence this week. Was down in Croatia taking some well deserved time off. We went to Split and then drove from there down to Montenegro and the town and bay of Kotor. Its a beautiful place and worth the time to visit. That said-driving there is a pain in the ass. From Croatia one has to go through Bosnia Herzegovina, where according to Google Maps, the E-65 continues on through. ( An expressway that is beautiful in Croatia). But it was closed 10km inside the BIH border. From then on , well lets just say the roads were less than optimum until you get to Montenegro. Especially in the Republic of Srpska . It is  one of two constitutional and legal entities of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the other being the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is not a great place. In my opinion and in the opinion of the cow that tried to run over our rental car. ( True story).

But Montenegro was ok, with improved roads that twisted through the mountains on the way to Kotor. While on the way I had to give the S.O. a mini-history lesson of sorts, since it was apparent she must have slept through most of the 90's, or as I suspect, she spent too much time watching boring shows on NHK and not enough time watching the news.

Also for me, it was a bit of stroll down memory lane since I had flown over much of Croatia and Bosnia during Operation Deny Flight in 1994 and 1995. We just never landed there.

While exploring the old city of Kotor though, twice we stumbled upon wedding parades. Suffice it to say the girl watching was pretty nice:

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MILF or Millennial, the red dress always works!

 

This picture was taken on Sunday after we had finished hiking up to the fortress on the mountain above the town. However the previous night, there was a wedding procession through the old town to the church. One again, the red dress proved its worth:

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The bow tie has to be a clip on!

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These folks stopped in at a cafe on the wall for a pregame warm-up.

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And we have to pay homage to these:

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Blue dresses look pretty nice too! Wonder how you say, "Nice Rack!" in Serbo-Croatian?

 

More trip pix tomorrow.

 

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Jan 10 2015

Busy week.

And what a sad week it has been too.

The news from Paris is sad, tragic and sadly, all too expected in this day and age. In solidarity with the right of a free press to publish what it wants to and not be subject to censorship at the point of a gun- I am republishing one of the Charlie Hedbo cartoons. Oh, and fuck Mohammed too.

 

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And maybe I'll publish another one too.  And while I am at it, fuck Islam. (Click to see propely).

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As angry as this apostate religion makes me; as disgusted as I am with their stupid dietary laws, the shitty way they treat women, the clothing things they make women wear-and how frustrated I am that these people will not assimilate into European society, I also have to think hard on what the facts really are.

Contrary to the assertions of some, Islam is not overrunning Europe:(click to see properly)

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A disgruntled and radicalized minority is indeed a problem as this week has once again shown us. But one needs to remember the world has over a billion Muslims. They are not going away and we can't kill them all-no matter how much some of our neocon masters would like to try. And I also have to remind myself that it is a minority. Most of the Hijab wearing set here in Germany just want to live their lives. (and they speak better German than I do).

So yea, I am disgusted and angry. I'm tired of Islam's sickness infecting parts of the world I like. I want the women to take off the hijabs and abayas, put on some dresses and shoes and dress like a Western woman.  But in the end, cartoonist Joe Sacco may have it right. And with his cartoon I will close. My deepest and heartfelt condolences to the families of those who lost their lives this week in and around Paris. The Western World HAS to prove that it is better than these thugs. ( Click to see the cartoon properly-its worth reading).

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May 23 2014

Musings of a moron

David Brooks, also known here by the not so affectionate moniker of “Chunky Bobo”, has written a column so absurd that you just have to shake your head in stupefaction that this man still has a job-much less a respected position in American journalism. Like McMegan-it appears that Chunky Bobo has thrown in the towel on making democracy work-and has instead decided to go down the path that Lenin led the Russians down almost a 100 years ago.

According to Brooks,  it is all the government’s fault-while the actual voters who are the machine that makes a good democracy work, are to be held guiltless:

It’s now clear that the end of the Soviet Union heralded an era of democratic complacency. Without a rival system to test them, democratic governments have decayed across the globe. In the U.S., Washington is polarized, stagnant and dysfunctional; a pathetic 26 percent of Americans trust their government to do the right thing. In Europe, elected officials have grown remote from voters, responding poorly to the euro crisis and contributing to massive unemployment.

According to measures by Freedom House, freedom has been in retreat around the world for the past eight years. New democracies like South Africa are decaying; the number of nations that the Bertelsmann Foundation now classifies as “defective democracies” (rigged elections and so on) has risen to 52. As John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge write in their book, “The Fourth Revolution,” “so far, the 21st century has been a rotten one for the Western model.”

 

Brooks’ solution. Send for the sycophants and call on the wisdom of Lee Kwan Yeu:

A new charismatic rival is gaining strength: the Guardian State. In their book, Micklethwait and Wooldridge do an outstanding job of describing Asia’s modernizing autocracies. In some ways, these governments look more progressive than the Western model; in some ways, more conservative.

In places like Singapore and China, the best students are ruthlessly culled for government service. The technocratic elites play a bigger role in designing economic life. The safety net is smaller and less forgiving. In Singapore, 90 percent of what you get out of the key pension is what you put in. Work is rewarded. People are expected to look after their own.

These Guardian States have some disadvantages compared with Western democracies. They are more corrupt. Because the systems are top-down, local government tends to be worse. But they have advantages. They are better at long-range thinking and can move fast because they limit democratic feedback and don’t face NIMBY-style impediments.

Really? China? A model for free people to follow? It is hard to believe Brooks actually wrote that line and believes it. Yet it would appear he does.

There is just one big problem with Brooks’ prescription-he has not examined all the side affects that come with the cure. While I am a believer that some of the Singaporean programs could be applied to good effect in the US- it is important to remember that Singapore is not, by any remote stretch of his Gaultian imagination a real democracy-or a place where equality and freedom of speech are thriving. There are more than a few facts that Brooks is leaving out of his narrative.

Specifically, Brooks slants his narrative to make it look like the Sinagaporean system does not have anything in place that he hates, such as universal access to health care. Or mandated ( and strongly enforced) mandates to pay in to both employers and employees. Ask yourself how that is going to go down with his teabagger friends. When Brooks makes the statement that 90% of Singapore’s pensions come from employees, he is either flat out lying, or showing his ignorance once again. ( A citizen is required to provide 20% of his income to his CPF fund, but he also gets an employer contribution of at least 5 and mostly 14%.). And it has to be looked at in context-Singapore provides services to its people that , based on Chunky Bobo’s other pronouncements, are an anathema to the true believer in Burkean Bells. Well financed and run public transportation for one.

And of course, either through ignorance or just plain deceitfulness-he ignores the fact that there is a tiered system of Singapore’s populations that would not welcome American ideas of equality of all under the law. Or put another way-a lot of Singapore’s progress is built on the backs of people who don’t enjoy the benefits of the government he suggests, and are in fact marginalized by the same government. Ask Filipinos and Bangladeshis how much of this Guardian State idea benefits them. This as they work for wages that are well below what their Chinese employers would ever see.

And you could also ask Mr. Brooks how much he enjoys a one party state, where criticism of the government is allowed, but only to a certain point. And folks who try to bring opposite view points are harassed and or sued out of existence. Kind of forgot that little detail, didn’t you David?

Brooks is wrong about what is broken. American Democracy is not broken-at least the model of it is not. The participants in that model however are badly broken-especially those residents of one political party, that to put it idly has gone completely insane. Our country used to get things done, now we have the most unproductive Congress in years. And its because of a collective freak  out by people who ought to know better-over the election of a black man to the white house. As I have said before, I don't think it is necessarily racist-but it is part of an effort to marginalize one political party. It is crazy. And it happens because a certain percentage of the American population proves itself to be really stupid.

However, this is typical Bobo. He fancies himself as a member of the elite. He forgets that under Singaporean rules-he can't. He's not Chinese. But Bobo would never take the time to learn that.

 

 

 

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Apr 23 2014

More than little familiar………

Published by under Too many countries,Travel

Scott Adams has to be spending his days at our office:

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There is a serious point here. Travel always is the first thing that gets cut-even when its not the root cause of the financial problem. Our new, erstwhile,  masters don't see that problem as well as they should-even while they spend travel money for the preferred customers, while lecturing the herd on how we need to save money. In reality-you can save money and still travel.The devil is the details-and stop being penny wise and pound foolish when it comes to travel. Trust me, I ran travel budgets for over 15 years.

But now that's a big part of my ongoing frustration. Knowing-and I do mean knowing-I am right, and not having my concerns listened to. They may choose not to listen. 

But it does not mean I am wrong.

And besides-those frequent flyer miles are not going to earn themselves.

 

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Jan 06 2014

There was never a chance………..

Phib, in one of his repeated themes, bemoans the fact that we did not give ourselves a chance to "succeed" in Afghanistan. "All it required was about another four-five years of patience. Of course, that 4-5 from now is based on an alternative history where we did not announce our retreat in DEC 09 … but what is, is. District by district "Shape, Clear, Hold, Build" was a solid way to do it – but just as it was getting roots as the surge soaked in, we stopped feeding it. The following results will be sadly predictable."

Complete and total horseshit.

This is a peculiarly American disease where we always place the blame everywhere but where it really lies. This is how we get pundits like William "The Bloody" Kristol- who,  incidentally, could not be bothered to serve one day in his miserable life, but is more than willing to send other people's children to die for his right to earn six figures a year-advocating war with out end in the Middle East.

Didn't give it enough time? We will have been in that Godforsaken country for over 13 years. How much f*cking time do we need? Or more correctly, how many chances do the Afghans get before we tell them to go f*ck themselves?

Two facts here are really important. One, the clock did not stop ticking in Afghanistan just because we invaded Iraq. So the very idea that we could "just pick up where we left off" and somehow, magically we would have a peaceful and stable Afghanistan, by spending ten plus years-losing Americans-to create what? And two, the patience of the American people is not unlimited-and we are long past the point of patience with any of the wars for most reasonable Americans.

A land of people who refuse to help themselves. This, by the way is backed up by over a 100 years of Afghan history. This is what we are getting today, it is what we would have gotten 10 years from now-it will pretty much always be that way as long as the country is saddled with albatross of Islam.

Want to know the day we "lost" Afghanistan? March 19,  2003. That's the day the United States in one of the most stupid moves in its history, foolishly invaded a land that had not attacked it, and in the process metastized what was a essentially a localized disturbance into the world's blood stream. One could even make the point that we could look further back-to the point where a man like George Bush, under the advice of some pretty questionable characters, decided that the United States could somehow accomplish the impossible and eliminate terrorism from the earth. Rather than pursue the vengeance that our public opinion required in the aftermath of 9-11, the grey hair allowed himself to be diverted into what has now quite well been proven, to be a worthless, damn fool ideological crusade.

And what do we have to show for it? Nothing of substance.

Oh sure, Bin Laden is dead, but as it turned out, that had nothing to do with clear, hold, and build. And Al Queda has been disrupted-but again, that happened with out years of counterinsurgency. We have lost over 6000 fine Americans dead and almost 50,000 wounded for the "right" to stay in a backward nation from over a decade, however. What did they suffer for?

Nothing of value Phib. Nothing of value. And that was true in 2009, as assuredly as it is today. Put the blame where it belongs and leave it there-on the Afghan people.

Now that is what I will drink more over. The  tendency on the part of policy makers — and probably a tendency in the part of some Americans — to think that the problems we face are problems that are out there somewhere beyond our borders, and that if we can fix those problems, then we'll be able to continue the American way of life as it has long existed. I think it's fundamentally wrong. Our major problems are at home in the US.

Starting with the idea that we can somehow "fix" people who are unfixable.

 

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Jan 05 2014

Countdown to catastrophe-January 5th, 1914

Back in 1914:

Henry Ford, unlike his current day counterparts, recognized that a well paid work force made for a better workforce-and more consumers. So wages were doubled from $2.40/9-hr day to $5.00/8-hr day.

George Reeves, the actor who would play Superman in the 1950's was born. So too was  Nicolas de Staël, a French-Russian painter.

In France, in 1914, the leadership of France rested with President Raymond Poincare , and Prime Minister Rene Viviani.  In 1914 she was the second largest colonial power in the World and the largest in Africa. She had, on paper anyway, the largest Army in Europe. France was allied with Britain and Russia  as part of the Triple Entente. In January 1914 the French Army had 47 divisions (777,000 French and 46,000 colonial troops) in 21 regional corps, with attached cavalry and field-artillery units. Most these troops were deployed inside France with the bulk along the eastern frontier as part of Plan 17. France also had the ability to muster a further 2.9 million men during a crisis-and did so in the summer of 1914. France was itching to get back Alsace and Lorraine, territories they lost in 1870-and regarded as "French".

 

 

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Jan 03 2014

Countdown to Catastrophe-3 January 1914

Today on the path to war:

The musical "Sari" opened in New York City.

Jean Louvel, Flemish pianist/conductor/composer was born today. ( As an aside J.R.R. Tolkien was born this day in 1892).

 Stephane Raoul Pugno, composer, dies at 62

In Britain, at this time, King George the V was the King of Great Britain and Emperor of India. HH Asquith, a liberal,  was the Prime Minister. The major issues of the day were Home Rule for Ireland, increasing labor strife, demands by women to vote, and the management of the Britain's vast world wide empire.

And finally-as a matter of background-in an event that was to have lasting implications all the way up to World War I, in 1521, Martin Luther was excommunicated by Pope Leo X from the Roman Catholic Church. 

 

 

 


 

HH Asquith, a liberal was the Prime Minister

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Jan 02 2014

Countdown to Catastrophe-January 2, 1914

Back in 1914:

The Philips corporation installs its research department at Eindhoven, in the Netherlands.

9 years prior to this day in 1914, on Jan 2, 1905, Japanese Gen. Nogi received from Russian Gen. Stoessel at 9 o'clock P.M. a letter formally offering to surrender, ending the Russo-Japanese War. The aftermath of this war-coupled with the 1905 revolution shaped Russia's view towards its neighbors and was one of the factors that drove it to the alliances it entered into prior to the First World War.

On the day prior, New Years Day,  Klaas ter Laan becomes Netherlands 1st socialist mayor. Of the town of Zaandam.

Northern & Southern Nigeria united into the British colony of Nigeria.

 


 

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Jan 02 2014

Countdown to Catastrophe…….

2014 will mark 100 years since the start of World War I. I recently finished a book entitled 1913: The Eve of War  by Paul Ham.

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The book recounts the year before the beginning of the World War and how the powers were anticipating even then the idea of going to war with each other-but also had no idea of how horrendous the war would be when it came. I am also about to start two other books on the year trying to get a sense of what it was like in Europe, particularly Germany, before all hell broke loose.

So I thought, with this being the year that it is, I would start a new feature here at Far East Cynic HQ, short daily ( or as close to that schedule as I can keep) lists of events that occurred in 1914 highlighting events in Europe and the UK as they stumbled down the road to a great catastrophe that destroyed 50 years of relative peace. And made the current world dawn, of too many nations with not enough structure.

We'll see how it goes. I hope you like it.

 

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