Tuesday, February 23, 2010

(UPDATED) Argentina and Britain: the enormous EUlephant in the room...

(+++ UPDATED 05/03/10 +++ - some additional points added to the end of the blog in response to some of the comments made here and at Leg-Iron's place)

The continuing hostile words between Argentina and the U.K. regarding the Falklands Islands is missing a crucial component. Other Latin American leaders are jumping on the bandwagon to criticise Britain and even rattle the sabres. And a number of commentators here in Old Blighty have noticed that, in their current state, the British armed forces could not carry out a repeat of the 1982 Task Force. One commentator over at Guido's place also pointed out that while we are knee-deep in bullshit commitments in places like Afghanistan and Iraq, liberties may be taken with us regarding genuine territorial concerns such as the Falklands.

The Argentine foreign minister is quoted as saying recently that "We will do everything necessary to defend and preserve our rights." Some people are wrting this off as toy-town smackdown talk of no substance. Let us hope so. Because this was similar to the position the Falklands and Britain were in all those years ago - both taken completely by surprise; even if now the country is not under the fist of a dictator general. And it is not as if provactive actions have not already begun. (And it doesn't help that the Guardian appear to be cheering them on: "Before doing anything silly, Kirchner's Argentina might be best advised to wait and see whether there is anything worth fighting over." and then there's the strapline to the article "Sabre-rattling over Malvinas oil" (note the name 'Malvinas', not 'Falklands')).

Now this could all be a storm in a teacup. We'll see what happens if and when significant recoverable oil deposits are found...

All in all, it could spell serious trouble for Britain if it does result in outright aggression given the military's current status and capabilities. Or not:

...What isn't being discussed is the enormous elephant sitting silently between Argentina on one side and Britain and the Falklands on the other. That is the EU and the commitments, now EU law, as ensrhined in the Lisbon Treaty amendments. Of interest in particular is Article 42, Section 7 of the Lisbon amended Maastricht treaty. It states:

"If a Member State is the victim of armed aggression on its territory, the other Member States shall have towards it an obligation of aid and assistance by all the means in their power".

And the note in the document accompanying this - in case you weren't already clear on what it meant - states: "Mutual assistance clause for ALL member states in case of an armed aggression."

Having read carefully through all of the consolidated treaties, (Part 2 (Part 1 is here) of my analysis is still in progress - the amendments to the Rome/Amsterdam treaty are far more numerous to those to Maastricht, its going to be a monster piece), what is striking about these sections is the clarity of the language. There are so many places in the treaties where matters are left - I believe intentionally - vague, so as to be amenable to whatever sort of spin the EU wishes to put on them at the time, it is noticable when the treaty suddenly expresses things in crystal clear clarity.

If you read all of the complementary sections (articles 34 up to 42 regarding security issues, and for extra clarity, Articles 24 onwards regarding foreign policy) you will see just how specific the clauses are. When I initially read them (as you can see from my reaction in my earlier analysis), it was from the point of view of the U.K. having to do all of the heavy lifting with regards to a conflict with which - prior to the rise of the EU's power - it would have had no interest in pursuing. Now the tables are turned.

My major point here is that if Argentina attacks, this single issue will call the EU's bluff - and at a potentially far more significant level than current concerns over the status of the Euro.

So who is going to tell the Irish or the French that in signing Lisbon, they might now be shortly committed to sending troops to South America to defend British territory?

In response to some of the comments - there is more to this issue:

Bear in mind the substantive point is that this is likely to become the make - or break - point for the Lisbon treaty and the EU for Britain.

A number of good points have been raised as to how the EU may wriggle out of its support (the most likely I think, the suggestion that they will simply point to the fact that the Falklands is a protectorate of the UK).

It does not need to come to a military confrontation for the point to be forced however.

Under Lisbon, the seats on the UN security council (UK and France) are now supposed to work in unison under one EU position (i.e. our very own one-and-only Cathy Ashton). Argentina are pushing for a UN resolution on the issue.

If the UK and France don't veto in Unison then this is almost as powerful a damning indictment as the EU failing to assist the UK in the event of an attack. There's also the minor matter that Austria also currently sits as one of the non-permanent members of the UN security council. We should watch how they vote on any resolution also.

Read through Articles 24 to 34 in the Lisbon amended Maastricht treaty - the stance on a unified Foreign Policy is made very clear. And despite the idiocy of the Argentine government and stupidity of Team Obama, this is a very clear cut issue. Clinton has acted as if Argentina has a case. It does not.

A final point - on the issue of NATO not leaping to the UK's defence, don't forget that NATO is a U.S. dominated institution. A lot of people involved in the EU project dearly want to find something that would give the EU 'big-hitter' status. Backing the UK on this would achieve both this goal and that of bringing the UK onside for continued EU expansion. Also remember the EU response was quite belligerent with regard to recent tensions between Russia and Estonia, not to mention the rhetoric flying around with regards to Georgia (and proposed EU membership of the latter)...

Thursday, February 18, 2010

RIP Joe Stack.....

Hat Tip to Matt Davies for this.

This has quite upset me. Like Matt I don't agree with some of his conclusions or his final actions. But ye gods I can feel that frustration; like the society you find yourself in was one perpetually remarketed Kafka novel. Joe Stack appears to have been the person responsible for crashing a light aircraft into a Tax office in Texas.

Some people have expressed concern that what appears to be his suicide note, published on his website, might go offline (for legitimate, or nefarious reasons), so here it is repeated in full, below the picture. RIP Joe:

"If you’re reading this, you’re no doubt asking yourself, “Why did this have to happen?” The simple truth is that it is complicated and has been coming for a long time. The writing process, started many months ago, was intended to be therapy in the face of the looming realization that there isn’t enough therapy in the world that can fix what is really broken. Needless to say, this rant could fill volumes with example after example if I would let it. I find the process of writing it frustrating, tedious, and probably pointless… especially given my gross inability to gracefully articulate my thoughts in light of the storm raging in my head. Exactly what is therapeutic about that I’m not sure, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

We are all taught as children that without laws there would be no society, only anarchy. Sadly, starting at early ages we in this country have been brainwashed to believe that, in return for our dedication and service, our government stands for justice for all. We are further brainwashed to believe that there is freedom in this place, and that we should be ready to lay our lives down for the noble principals represented by its founding fathers. Remember? One of these was “no taxation without representation”. I have spent the total years of my adulthood unlearning that crap from only a few years of my childhood. These days anyone who really stands up for that principal is promptly labeled a “crackpot”, traitor and worse.

While very few working people would say they haven’t had their fair share of taxes (as can I), in my lifetime I can say with a great degree of certainty that there has never been a politician cast a vote on any matter with the likes of me or my interests in mind. Nor, for that matter, are they the least bit interested in me or anything I have to say.

Why is it that a handful of thugs and plunderers can commit unthinkable atrocities (and in the case of the GM executives, for scores of years) and when it’s time for their gravy train to crash under the weight of their gluttony and overwhelming stupidity, the force of the full federal government has no difficulty coming to their aid within days if not hours? Yet at the same time, the joke we call the American medical system, including the drug and insurance companies, are murdering tens of thousands of people a year and stealing from the corpses and victims they cripple, and this country’s leaders don’t see this as important as bailing out a few of their vile, rich cronies. Yet, the political “representatives” (thieves, liars, and self-serving scumbags is far more accurate) have endless time to sit around for year after year and debate the state of the “terrible health care problem”. It’s clear they see no crisis as long as the dead people don’t get in the way of their corporate profits rolling in.

And justice? You’ve got to be kidding!

How can any rational individual explain that white elephant conundrum in the middle of our tax system and, indeed, our entire legal system? Here we have a system that is, by far, too complicated for the brightest of the master scholars to understand. Yet, it mercilessly “holds accountable” its victims, claiming that they’re responsible for fully complying with laws not even the experts understand. The law “requires” a signature on the bottom of a tax filing; yet no one can say truthfully that they understand what they are signing; if that’s not “duress” than what is. If this is not the measure of a totalitarian regime, nothing is.

How did I get here?

My introduction to the real American nightmare starts back in the early ‘80s. Unfortunately after more than 16 years of school, somewhere along the line I picked up the absurd, pompous notion that I could read and understand plain English. Some friends introduced me to a group of people who were having ‘tax code’ readings and discussions. In particular, zeroed in on a section relating to the wonderful “exemptions” that make institutions like the vulgar, corrupt Catholic Church so incredibly wealthy. We carefully studied the law (with the help of some of the “best”, high-paid, experienced tax lawyers in the business), and then began to do exactly what the “big boys” were doing (except that we weren’t steeling from our congregation or lying to the government about our massive profits in the name of God). We took a great deal of care to make it all visible, following all of the rules, exactly the way the law said it was to be done.

The intent of this exercise and our efforts was to bring about a much-needed re-evaluation of the laws that allow the monsters of organized religion to make such a mockery of people who earn an honest living. However, this is where I learned that there are two “interpretations” for every law; one for the very rich, and one for the rest of us… Oh, and the monsters are the very ones making and enforcing the laws; the inquisition is still alive and well today in this country.

That little lesson in patriotism cost me $40,000+, 10 years of my life, and set my retirement plans back to 0. It made me realize for the first time that I live in a country with an ideology that is based on a total and complete lie. It also made me realize, not only how naive I had been, but also the incredible stupidity of the American public; that they buy, hook, line, and sinker, the crap about their “freedom”… and that they continue to do so with eyes closed in the face of overwhelming evidence and all that keeps happening in front of them.

Before even having to make a shaky recovery from the sting of the first lesson on what justice really means in this country (around 1984 after making my way through engineering school and still another five years of “paying my dues”), I felt I finally had to take a chance of launching my dream of becoming an independent engineer.

On the subjects of engineers and dreams of independence, I should digress somewhat to say that I’m sure that I inherited the fascination for creative problem solving from my father. I realized this at a very young age.

The significance of independence, however, came much later during my early years of college; at the age of 18 or 19 when I was living on my own as student in an apartment in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. My neighbor was an elderly retired woman (80+ seemed ancient to me at that age) who was the widowed wife of a retired steel worker. Her husband had worked all his life in the steel mills of central Pennsylvania with promises from big business and the union that, for his 30 years of service, he would have a pension and medical care to look forward to in his retirement. Instead he was one of the thousands who got nothing because the incompetent mill management and corrupt union (not to mention the government) raided their pension funds and stole their retirement. All she had was social security to live on.

In retrospect, the situation was laughable because here I was living on peanut butter and bread (or Ritz crackers when I could afford to splurge) for months at a time. When I got to know this poor figure and heard her story I felt worse for her plight than for my own (I, after all, I thought I had everything to in front of me). I was genuinely appalled at one point, as we exchanged stories and commiserated with each other over our situations, when she in her grandmotherly fashion tried to convince me that I would be “healthier” eating cat food (like her) rather than trying to get all my substance from peanut butter and bread. I couldn’t quite go there, but the impression was made. I decided that I didn’t trust big business to take care of me, and that I would take responsibility for my own future and myself.

Return to the early ‘80s, and here I was off to a terrifying start as a ‘wet-behind-the-ears’ contract software engineer… and two years later, thanks to the fine backroom, midnight effort by the sleazy executives of Arthur Andersen (the very same folks who later brought us Enron and other such calamities) and an equally sleazy New York Senator (Patrick Moynihan), we saw the passage of 1986 tax reform act with its section 1706.

For you who are unfamiliar, here is the core text of the IRS Section 1706, defining the treatment of workers (such as contract engineers) for tax purposes. Visit this link for a conference committee report (http://www.synergistech.com/1706.shtml#ConferenceCommitteeReport) regarding the intended interpretation of Section 1706 and the relevant parts of Section 530, as amended. For information on how these laws affect technical services workers and their clients, read our discussion here (http://www.synergistech.com/ic-taxlaw.shtml).


(a) IN GENERAL - Section 530 of the Revenue Act of 1978 is amended by adding at the end thereof the following new subsection:

(d) EXCEPTION. - This section shall not apply in the case of an individual who pursuant to an arrangement between the taxpayer and another person, provides services for such other person as an engineer, designer, drafter, computer programmer, systems analyst, or other similarly skilled worker engaged in a similar line of work.

(b) EFFECTIVE DATE. - The amendment made by this section shall apply to remuneration paid and services rendered after December 31, 1986.


· “another person” is the client in the traditional job-shop relationship.

· “taxpayer” is the recruiter, broker, agency, or job shop.

· “individual”, “employee”, or “worker” is you.

Admittedly, you need to read the treatment to understand what it is saying but it’s not very complicated. The bottom line is that they may as well have put my name right in the text of section (d). Moreover, they could only have been more blunt if they would have came out and directly declared me a criminal and non-citizen slave. Twenty years later, I still can’t believe my eyes.

During 1987, I spent close to $5000 of my ‘pocket change’, and at least 1000 hours of my time writing, printing, and mailing to any senator, congressman, governor, or slug that might listen; none did, and they universally treated me as if I was wasting their time. I spent countless hours on the L.A. freeways driving to meetings and any and all of the disorganized professional groups who were attempting to mount a campaign against this atrocity. This, only to discover that our efforts were being easily derailed by a few moles from the brokers who were just beginning to enjoy the windfall from the new declaration of their “freedom”. Oh, and don’t forget, for all of the time I was spending on this, I was loosing income that I couldn’t bill clients.

After months of struggling it had clearly gotten to be a futile exercise. The best we could get for all of our trouble is a pronouncement from an IRS mouthpiece that they weren’t going to enforce that provision (read harass engineers and scientists). This immediately proved to be a lie, and the mere existence of the regulation began to have its impact on my bottom line; this, of course, was the intended effect.

Again, rewind my retirement plans back to 0 and shift them into idle. If I had any sense, I clearly should have left abandoned engineering and never looked back.

Instead I got busy working 100-hour workweeks. Then came the L.A. depression of the early 1990s. Our leaders decided that they didn’t need the all of those extra Air Force bases they had in Southern California, so they were closed; just like that. The result was economic devastation in the region that rivaled the widely publicized Texas S&L fiasco. However, because the government caused it, no one gave a shit about all of the young families who lost their homes or street after street of boarded up houses abandoned to the wealthy loan companies who received government funds to “shore up” their windfall. Again, I lost my retirement.

Years later, after weathering a divorce and the constant struggle trying to build some momentum with my business, I find myself once again beginning to finally pick up some speed. Then came the .COM bust and the 911 nightmare. Our leaders decided that all aircraft were grounded for what seemed like an eternity; and long after that, ‘special’ facilities like San Francisco were on security alert for months. This made access to my customers prohibitively expensive. Ironically, after what they had done the Government came to the aid of the airlines with billions of our tax dollars … as usual they left me to rot and die while they bailed out their rich, incompetent cronies WITH MY MONEY! After these events, there went my business but not quite yet all of my retirement and savings.

By this time, I’m thinking that it might be good for a change. Bye to California, I’ll try Austin for a while. So I moved, only to find out that this is a place with a highly inflated sense of self-importance and where damn little real engineering work is done. I’ve never experienced such a hard time finding work. The rates are 1/3 of what I was earning before the crash, because pay rates here are fixed by the three or four large companies in the area who are in collusion to drive down prices and wages… and this happens because the justice department is all on the take and doesn’t give a fuck about serving anyone or anything but themselves and their rich buddies.

To survive, I was forced to cannibalize my savings and retirement, the last of which was a small IRA. This came in a year with mammoth expenses and not a single dollar of income. I filed no return that year thinking that because I didn’t have any income there was no need. The sleazy government decided that they disagreed. But they didn’t notify me in time for me to launch a legal objection so when I attempted to get a protest filed with the court I was told I was no longer entitled to due process because the time to file ran out. Bend over for another $10,000 helping of justice.

So now we come to the present. After my experience with the CPA world, following the business crash I swore that I’d never enter another accountant’s office again. But here I am with a new marriage and a boatload of undocumented income, not to mention an expensive new business asset, a piano, which I had no idea how to handle. After considerable thought I decided that it would be irresponsible NOT to get professional help; a very big mistake.

When we received the forms back I was very optimistic that they were in order. I had taken all of the years information to XXXX XXXX, and he came back with results very similar to what I was expecting. Except that he had neglected to include the contents of Sheryl’s unreported income; $12,700 worth of it. To make matters worse, XXXX knew all along this was missing and I didn’t have a clue until he pointed it out in the middle of the audit. By that time it had become brutally evident that he was representing himself and not me.

This left me stuck in the middle of this disaster trying to defend transactions that have no relationship to anything tax-related (at least the tax-related transactions were poorly documented). Things I never knew anything about and things my wife had no clue would ever matter to anyone. The end result is… well, just look around.

I remember reading about the stock market crash before the “great” depression and how there were wealthy bankers and businessmen jumping out of windows when they realized they screwed up and lost everything. Isn’t it ironic how far we’ve come in 60 years in this country that they now know how to fix that little economic problem; they just steal from the middle class (who doesn’t have any say in it, elections are a joke) to cover their asses and it’s “business-as-usual”. Now when the wealthy fuck up, the poor get to die for the mistakes… isn’t that a clever, tidy solution.

As government agencies go, the FAA is often justifiably referred to as a tombstone agency, though they are hardly alone. The recent presidential puppet GW Bush and his cronies in their eight years certainly reinforced for all of us that this criticism rings equally true for all of the government. Nothing changes unless there is a body count (unless it is in the interest of the wealthy sows at the government trough). In a government full of hypocrites from top to bottom, life is as cheap as their lies and their self-serving laws.

I know I’m hardly the first one to decide I have had all I can stand. It has always been a myth that people have stopped dying for their freedom in this country, and it isn’t limited to the blacks, and poor immigrants. I know there have been countless before me and there are sure to be as many after. But I also know that by not adding my body to the count, I insure nothing will change. I choose to not keep looking over my shoulder at “big brother” while he strips my carcass, I choose not to ignore what is going on all around me, I choose not to pretend that business as usual won’t continue; I have just had enough.

I can only hope that the numbers quickly get too big to be white washed and ignored that the American zombies wake up and revolt; it will take nothing less. I would only hope that by striking a nerve that stimulates the inevitable double standard, knee-jerk government reaction that results in more stupid draconian restrictions people wake up and begin to see the pompous political thugs and their mindless minions for what they are. Sadly, though I spent my entire life trying to believe it wasn’t so, but violence not only is the answer, it is the only answer. The cruel joke is that the really big chunks of shit at the top have known this all along and have been laughing, at and using this awareness against, fools like me all along.

I saw it written once that the definition of insanity is repeating the same process over and over and expecting the outcome to suddenly be different. I am finally ready to stop this insanity. Well, Mr. Big Brother IRS man, let’s try something different; take my pound of flesh and sleep well.

The communist creed: From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.

The capitalist creed: From each according to his gullibility, to each according to his greed.

Joe Stack (1956-2010)"

Monday, February 01, 2010

The next step for climate sceptics....CONTINUE FIRING!!

The back of the IPCC and with it the alarmist case for "global warming" has been broken.

This has yet to filter out into general awareness, however it seems the MSM (MainStream Media) is finally starting to swing behind the sceptic cases (for there are many, many issues with the "consensus", not all of which sceptics agree on - and indeed, as it should be). Currently the Daily Mail, The Express, The Telegraph and The Times are all sticking the boot in. Good. Its long overdue and thanks to climategate and the resulting flurry of activity from sceptics acting as good citizen-journalists and citizen-scientists the true extent of the IPCC, and their quisling supporters', deceit is being laid bare.

We barely missed what could possibly have been history's most colossal fraud perpetrated on the people of the planet, with attendant devastating consequences for freedom and prosperity. Yet the wounds already inflicted are grave. Most of what was good, remaining in the left, has been filleted and hollowed out by so many left wing groups jumping on the bandwagon and giving it up wholesale; I don't think they'll ever really be able to recover from this. Neither will all of the genuine environmentalists, whose very legitimate concerns about human impacts on the environment will now never be addressed or taken nearly as seriously as they should. Everyone will just remember the incredible Big Lie that almost was CO2 based anthropogenic global warming. Its a shame it morphed into a big left-right battle, but that was because, despite a mere handful of noble exceptions (Counterpunch, Spiked, for example), the left wing groups wanted it that way.

The list of consequences already endured could go on and on (the likelihood that the lights will start going out in Old Blighty by perhaps 2015 not the least among them....). But that wasn't the point of this post (though it will be of a later one).

Instead, I wanted to dedicate my very first effort at video editing to all the brave and noble people who have dared to challenge the "consensus" over the last few years - particularly those who began asking questions many years before I did.

I have found increasingly recently that scenes from an old sci-fi series, Babylon 5, have increasingly resonated with me in response to current events, and think I will be making some carefully edited videos later from the series to represent what is happening to us now.

So I cut a clip below that indicates what the climate sceptics should do next. The warship, and the crew aboard, in the clip represent the climate sceptics who were responsible for breaking through the enemy lines. They're going to continue taking hits from all angles while the beast dies (in the clip - significantly - these hits are coming from the Earth's "defence grid" which has been turned, by a thoroughly corrupt and authoritarian World government, on the population of the Earth itself). The captain (Sheridan) in charge of the warship states clearly what needs to be done next, despite continuing to soak up massive hits: