Saturday, August 31, 2013

Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding the Middle East

Late breaking news informs us that our esteemed Leader will "consult" with Congress when it reconvenes after the holiday weekend on how to proceed against Syria over that nation's alleged use of chemical weapons within its own borders.

"The chart is a spin-off of the most amazing letter to the editor ever written, which appeared in Thursday's Financial Times. It also explained the entire Middle East, in a few short sentences. Here they are:

Sir, Iran is backing Assad. Gulf states are against Assad!

Assad is against Muslim Brotherhood. Muslim Brotherhood and Obama are against General Sisi.

But Gulf states are pro-Sisi! Which means they are against Muslim Brotherhood!

Iran is pro-Hamas, but Hamas is backing Muslim Brotherhood!

Obama is backing Muslim Brotherhood, yet Hamas is against the U.S.!

Gulf states are pro-U.S. But Turkey is with Gulf states against Assad; yet Turkey is pro-Muslim Brotherhood against General Sisi. And General Sisi is being backed by the Gulf states!

Welcome to the Middle East and have a nice day.

KN Al-Sabah,
London EC4, U.K."
click on chart to enlarge

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Let's Pretend!!

We just recently returned from a 5500 mile cross country road trip from north Georgia to the west coast and back. We have been doing these trips semi regularly since the middle 1980s to maintain contact with family and friends. Leonidas refuses to run the TSA gauntlet at the nation's airports. During the last 5 years the changes, I should say the deterioration of the quality of life, in middle America have been impossible to ignore. We endeavor as much as possible to avoid the large metropolitan centers and the interstate highway systems.

Beginning in 2010 we found it to be nearly impossible to avoid being stopped by the local or state traffic police for various infractions; usually such heinous crimes as failure to secure a seat belt or for proceeding at 4 miles per hour over a ridiculously low and recently reposted speed limit along a sparsely traveled rural highway.

Regular readers of this humble bolgster are aware that he is a retiree from the profession formerly known as "peace" officer but commonly referred to of late as "law enforcement". For that reason, a road tax invoice traffic citation is rarely issued unless of course such transgression is perpetrated within the borders of Colorado. Extra care must be exercised along surface roads which cross state lines as posted speed limits for the obvious purpose of revenue generation will change abruptly even as highway conditions remain unchanged.

In spite of media attestations to an improvement in the official economic statistics regarding the general economy, subsequent journeys through smallish towns in such states as Tennessee, Arkansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, Oregon, New Mexico, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia reveal the proliferation of closed and or abandoned homes and businesses. Although anecdotal, these conditions are nevertheless astounding. Indeed, as our vehicle requires being refilled with diesel fuel at 500 mile intervals the closing of former fuel stations now requires either an on board emergency supply or a recalculation of truck stop locations.

The descent of our formerly prosperous nation into conditions formerly evinced in the third world we have visited while cruising aboard our sailboat is troubling. These conditions are not only evident in the observable living conditions of the populace but the attitudes of the ruling bureaucracy. As an example I refer to the stationing of 4 sandinista soldiers at traffic intersections in Nicaragua to enforce the 4 way stop signs. Vehicles were required to come to a full stop at the intersection. If a driver's front tires touched the limit line the soldier ordered her to reverse and stop short of the line before proceeding. This procedure of course did not apply to official government or Communist party vehicles.

We now note that our formerly prosperous and "free" nation not only exhibits the economic characteristics of a banana republic but the political practices as well. Although the legal niceties are adhered to, the courts' proceedings and jurists are often "secret" as a matter of "national security".

In spite of the above, this humble bolgster remains optimistic of the final emergence of liberty in this fair land. This optimism is not based on any belief in a miraculous awakening of the citizenry resulting in the restoration of the republic. The return of liberty will be the result of the financial bankruptcy and accompanying default of various collectivist governments and the revelation that a society based on theft and violence cannot be sustained.