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Posted by on in Uncategorized

After John Kerry's speech concerning the American response to the Syrian gas attacks, an earlier version of the speech was discovered in the notes he left on the podium.

 

Today, I'm here to tell you that without a war going in the Middle East, the United States is a lost ship without a compass. I ask you, who are we as a nation if we aren't killing brown people?

 

It's a fact; if we don't bomb Syria, Syrians will bomb Syrians. And its a fact that killing is bad, unless America does it. It is our duty, as a nation, to prevent further bloodshed, especially the horrifying bloodless bloodshed caused by chemical weapons. It is essential that we replace obscene Arabian bloodshed with righteous American bloodshed.

 

All thinking people agree, there are most definitely dead people in Syria. There's no denying this. Someone killed a bunch of Syrians with chemical weapons. We've got no way of ever knowing exactly who fired the missiles, but that's not important. The real travesty is that someone other than the United States was firing missile at all.

 

I want to emphasize that our convictions are based on strong suspicions, informed by conscience, and spiced with imagination. Firsthand accounts tell us that as we speak, there are dead people in Syria. Moreover, the Syrian regime refused to halt their ongoing civil war so that the UN could inspect the middle of a warzone. No further proof should be necessary to commit billions of dollars and untold lives to this cause.

 

Make no mistake: our natural course of action should be to kill more Syrians to prevent Syrians from killing Syrians, because the killing of Syrians by Syrians is morally repugnant in comparison to Americans killing Syrians for killing Syrians.

 

The word here is accountability. Consequences. Let me be perfectly clear, if there is something going on anywhere in the world, we're picking a side at random and jumping in with both feet, guns blazing. Whether you're an iron-fisted dictator, an innocent civilian or a heart-eating terrorist, only God knows where the bombs are going to start falling. One thing is certain, if people are dying somewhere, we will make sure that more people die before the dying stops. We did it in World War I, and we're damn sure not going to stop now.

 

President Obama will be making a decision about what form of indiscriminate violence our military will exert in retribution for this indiscriminate use of chemical weapons. There will be accountability for this most heinous act, specifically, we will commit a long string of heinous acts.



Thank you

 

 

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It's war again, we just don't know the flavor yet. With the news that the Assad regime supposedly gassed civilians, shooting itself in the foot for no strategic gain, David Cameron and Barack Obama have declared the Assad regime guilty and that some people need killing. Though it makes no sense that the Assad regime would sic the US military on itself, and accepting the story is essentially taking Al Qaeda at their word, the fact remains that an Assad gas attack fits conveniently into an existing US plan for military action in the region.

The US has a long history of disasters that conveniently fit into an existing US plan to start a war.

  • In 1898, the battleship Maine conveniently exploded in Havana harbor, allowing the Spanish American War to begin.
  • In 1915, the passenger ship Lusitania, despite many warnings of German U-Boats in the area, set sail for the US and was promptly sunk. After the 1916 election, Woodrow Wilson, who ran on the platform of "he kept us out of the war," took us to war.
  • In 1941, Pearl Harbor brought us into World War II.
  • In 1964, the mostly-staged Tonkin Gulf Incident set ablaze the already smoldering Vietnam War.
  • Both 9/11 and apocryphal Weapons of Mass Destruction were used as a shield for starting a war with Iraq, that lasted for ten years.
  • Now, in 2013, there is reason to believe that the Syrian gas attacks will be used as a cover to start a larger war with Iran.

Already aching for an excuse to start a war with Iran to intervene militarily with the Iranian nuclear weapons program, the United States has chosen to back rebel groups in Syria that oppose Iranian military and paramilitary groups. These rebel groups are, oddly enough, the exact individuals we just spent a decade fighting in Iraq. Literally, Al Qaeda in Iraq has jumped the border into Syria to fight the Assad regime, only to find the United States supportive of their efforts.

Since Iraq is a smoldering crater, and Iran appears to be close to getting nuclear weapons, it makes more sense for the US to back Al Qaeda in Iraq than the Iranian military. It's a hell of a choice, but  calling it a choice assumes that one must pick a side. Far better it would be if instead of gifting cutting edge anti-aircraft weapons to Al Qaeda, we spent that tax money on scholarships to medical students, or better yet gave it back to taxpayers.

After spending hundreds of billions of dollars on the TSA, for the practically express purpose of preventing Islamic terrorist attacks on aircraft, it seems counterproductive to spend more tax money gifting world-class anti-aircraft missiles to Islamic terrorists.

Never mind that the rebel groups that the US military already backs stand to gain enormously, and that for the Assad regime to use chemical weapons is to effectively spell its own doom, and that the rebels have already been found with chemical weapons. A false flag attack is easy to dismiss, since going to war was what the government leaders wanted anyway. The true cynic, who very well may be right on the money, would assume the US was behind the gas attack, or at least supported its execution.

There is nothing to gain, there never has been anything to gain, and there never will be anything to gain by invading the Middle East. Hopefully, a few cruise missiles will be enough to slake the war-machine's thirst, but my fear is that this spark fits into a larger narrative of war. War with Syria means war with Iran and even Russia, and blowing up one Syrian faction over another is not worth World War III. No one needs to play a game of replacing tyrants with tyrants when so much is at stake.

 

 

 

 

 

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As many as 1300 people lay dead in Damascus today, many of them women and children, most definitely killed by nerve gas. The rebels are blaming Syrian dictator Bashar Assad's regime. Most people might take Syrian rebels' statements with a grain of salt, so the big question is who did it?

One way to find out is to see whose gas it was, but this is irrelevant.

Given that it is a war zone, and both the sitting Syrian government and the rebel groups have been found with nerve gasses, it doesn't matter whose nerve gas it originally was. It may very well have been manufactured Syria, but it could also be from the former Soviet Union, only to have been stolen and sold by the mob. The question of whose gas is totally irrelevant, being that rebel stores could have been captured by the government, or vice versa.

The best way to figure it out, though, is to check motives.

  1. The rebels have nothing to lose in terms of international reputation. They are, in fact, some of the very least popular people in the world with such headliners as Al Qaeda in Iraq, Turkish Jihad and Abu Sakkar, the literally heart-eating Syrian rebel.
  2. Obama has publicly declared the use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime a 'red line' that would imply American intervention.
  3. The rebellion isn't doing well.
  4. Rebels are demanding international response to the gas attacks (presumably in their favor).
  5. The US backs the rebels, and a US invasion would end Assad's regime within days.

So given that Assad is killing the rebels pretty effectively, the US has mostly stayed out of the fight so far, and the rebels have nothing to lose, would it make sense for Assad to cross Obama's red line in such a atrocious way? The tactical advantage gained by killing 1300 people, primarily civilians, is nearly zero. The strategic disadvantage is enormous, especially if the United States is sharpening their axe for an intervention, as the US is predisposed to do. See this list of US military actions if you don't believe that.

So, regardless of how monstrous the man may be, it makes absolutely no sense for Assad to use chemical weapons in such a clumsy, personally counterproductive way. Likewise, it would make no sense for the rebels to claim credit for using chemical weapons in a way that turns Syrian public sentiment against them.

However, a false flag attack is theoretically enormously helpful to the rebels.

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A false flag attack is an attack staged by one group that makes it appear as though their enemies actually committed the attack. False flag attacks are staged for political and strategic reasons. Often a false flag is an atrocious act of violence committed against civilians in order to turn public or international opinion against the supposed perpetrator.

Given that the historically trigger-happy, most-powerful military in the world had already promised retribution for the precise act committed, Syrian rebels have been extremely motivated to frame Assad for a chemical attack, the more atrocious the better. Once the United States is goaded into invading Syria, victory would be theirs in a matter of weeks.

There is probably no way to tell if the Assad loyalists or the rebels unleashed the poison gas, or if some unaffiliated group got their hands on it, but one thing is certain; Assad's regime has by far the most to lose from executing a  chemical attack, and is therefore the least likely to be the party responsible.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted by on in Uncategorized

Rifling through a box of old paper money at a coin collector's convention, I realized something. While those bills had meant the difference between eating or starving at one time, politics voided the promise of value printed on every bill. Once real money, now they were only curiosities in the bargain bin of history.

So I bought one of these for a dollar:

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This is worthless, but the lesson is priceless.

Unlike the old gold and silver coins, the bills weren't under glass, and the guy selling them hadn't even bothered to price them individually. Everything was a dollar. As I grabbed through stacks of worthless, different-sized bills, I had the feeling of rifling through junk mail or old receipts. I thought, what if there was an Azerbaijani bill in there worth $400? You'd never know. It would crinkle and wrinkle just like the worthless stuff.

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Who knows what the hell this thing is worth?

Handling the bills, I had a moment of clarity: there is no inherent characteristic of paper money that tells its value. Not the zeroes, not the currency name. Only in a political context does paper money mean anything.

Money measures value, and just like a meter, a pound, or an hour, nothing makes any damn sense if the units of measure are constantly changing. To wit, exchanging $1 for 500 million Zimbabwean dollars was the deal of a lifetime in 1980. You'd have somewhere around 750 million US dollars. Today, the Zimbabwean dollar doesn't exist.

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This thing, for some reason, is worth a lot of money.

Next to the tub of worthless paper, in sharp contrast, was a glass case of gleaming gold and silver coins. Some dated back to ancient Rome. Though the Roman Empire destroyed itself over 1600 years ago, their gold and silver coins have no less purchasing power than they did the day they were minted. Including sentimental value, they are worth far more. The same cannot be said of nearly all paper money.

In spite of an overthrown monarch on the front or a nonsensical denomination on the back, the gold and silver coins all sported price tags equal or greater than the value of the metal contained. No value had been destroyed by mismanagement or war, and the purchasing power was maintained through nearly limitless time and space. Fifteen hundred year-old Arabian dinars from the other side of the world were priced competitively with British half-sovereigns and American half-eagles.

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The New 20. Compare to the old 20 below.

The convention presented the evidence in the form of centuries of coins and bills. Across the board, it was clear that metal money, not paper money, is the vastly superior system for protecting private citizen's wealth. While the US and the EU may appear stable in the short term, to deny the reality of political upheaval and the destruction of political currencies is to deny the entirety of human history. While every paper monetary scheme in history has devalued and ultimately failed, every gold and silver coin continues to function perfectly. If the music stops, what do you want to be holding, gold or paper?

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A 20 from 1904. Awesome, right?

As a footnote, don't be fooled by a gold-backed currency, or a paper currency somehow convertible to gold stored at a remote location. It's a paper promise from a politician, and you know how much that's worth. Only metal, primarily gold and silver coin, can survive the test of time.

 

 

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Posted by on in Uncategorized

The art of getting a job has changed since the depression began in 2008. Job applications, for the most part, are a bottomless pit; in 21st Century, job finds you!

Your future bosses won't wade through 10,000 resumés themselves. They'll create a job description and hire a recruiter to find a match instead. Many recruiters will just search for that description on Careerbuilder.com and see who falls out, so unless you have a personal connection with a recruiter, showing up in these search results is how you will get found. So how do you make that happen?

 

Getting Found

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1. Find several job descriptions for a job title you want, and identify key terms that keep turning up. If you are trying to get a job as an estimator, and most of the descriptions use the term "determine labor requirements", use that exact phrase when describing your experience. Match your own experience as much as possible to the key terms in the job descriptions.

2. Put yourself in the recruiter's shoes. Remember that the recruiter only has partial understanding of the job, so long descriptions designed to impress an expert are probably not going to be effective. Stuff like that is taking up space, and distracting from your message that you are the match.

3. Stick that resumé on or Careerbuilder, or InDeed, or Monster or whatever. I've had the most luck with Careerbuilder.

4. Update your resumé frequently. This may seem obvious, but I'm talking about once a week on the website. This isn't just to stay up-to-date, but to stay fresh. I noticed that after posting a resumé online, I got a flurry of calls and activity, which then dropped off. After changing a single character in my resumé, the calls started again. Flip flop between two almost identical resumés to keep the calls coming.

 

They're calling. Now what?

A recruiter for a good opportunity close by is contacting you. What's next?

1. Talk to them on the phone as soon as possible. If you get an email, tell them you're interested, give them a phone number and tell them when you'll be available. If you're qualified and the recruiter finds you personable, you have a contact that you can lean on basically forever. If they don't land you in this job, they'll remember you as a good contact for the next one. Talking is critical, and since recruiters are humans, sometimes they'll lose interest in a chain of emails.

2. Tailor your resumé for the position. Recruiters have been told what the employer is looking for, and the employer has probably turned down some of the recruiters top picks already. Ask the recruiter if there's anything the employer wants to see that you don't have on your resumé. If they say they are looking for someone with experience in Microsoft Excel, and you happen to have a bunch, make a special resumé just for the opportunity.

3. Be patient. Hunting season for recruits is in the summer, starting as early as May, but generally you won't get an offer until October or November.

 

I got the job. Now what?

It may seem like you're done, but your work isn't over.

1. Feed the bears. Recruiters will keep calling, asking if you're interested in making a change, or if you know anyone that is. Recruiters make money every time they fill a position, so if you can give solid referrals you'll be on the short list next time a position for you rolls around. Remember the people that got you a job offer in particular, and be careful not to send them losers.

2. Don't lead recruiters on. Unless you will actually leave your current job, it's rude to make them go through all kinds of effort for nothing. They'll remember this, which will hurt your future prospects.

 

The job market may seem impossible these days, but there are positions available. The constant complaint of recruiters and human resources departments everywhere is that there aren't qualified candidates. This may be in large part to people not understanding the game, and not providing a straightforward means for recruiters to find them.

Make sure that you are playing the game, helping the recruiters find you, present you to the employer, and get you a job.

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