The Outlaw (Part-2)

“Aren’t we all baying for the moon?”

Édith Piaf

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Which is correct grammatically – ‘Baying for the moon’ or ‘Baying at the moon’?

I googled this, but couldn’t find an answer. I’d go for ‘baying for the moon’

Whatever. Who gives a f—k anyway?

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Qannik

In the end it took nine years to kill the Outlaw. They began by offering a $100 reward and trappers from far and wide rode in. A hundred dollars could take you a long ways in those days.

The trappers tried everything –packs of dogs, traps baited with poisoned bait, deer distress calls – but the Outlaw was nowhere to be seen. He seemed ta lead a charmed life. Year after year, they raised the bounty higher and higher, till by the time the great war began in ‘39, the newly created Canadian Wildlife Service had pegged the bounty at $1000.

In the eighth year of the hunt they located a hunter name Darth Strickland. That’s your’s truly. I am expensive but I am the best. My instructions were simple – track and stay with the Outlaw until he is killed, no matter how long it takes. My fees were sizable, enough for me ta retire on, but I won’t tell you how much. I don’t need no computishun.

With my new contract, I set off into wolf country. Sheriff Doug Hooser of Custer County was my point man in the hunt and he told me there had been lambs missing out at the Wilson range. I went over there and nosed around a bit. I was looking for fresh tracks but didn’t find any. I buttonholed old man Lamarr Wilson as he was getting into his buggy to go over to his alfalfa spread and he told me he lost two lambs and some chickens the night before – but he hadn’t found any spoor, so he had given up.

I sensed that the Outlaw had been around and would probably shack up in those rocky dens around the Oka Hills, so I drove over in my old Chevvy and laid out a string of traps in fifty foot intervals, along the Oka Lake shoreline. Other trappers like ta lace their traps with poison but my traps are clean. Poisons seem kinda sneaky to me.

The whole time that I was busy setting traps, I had a sense that I was being watched and I knew that the Outlaw was on my trail, some place just beyond my line of vision. The next day I got my first glimpse of him, but I didn’t see the coyotes. I reckoned maybe they had fallen out and parted ways. (If you have been paying any attention, in Part-1 the Outlaw had acquired two coyotes as sidekicks, after his missus got killed).

I already had my .22 Rimfire Ruger in my hand, having unslung it a while back. Among small calibres, the Ruger is the deadliest, lightweight – just 5lbs, no kidding. You can grip it in one hand and fire, no sweat. Pull the trigger and a Nosler Partition dual-core round will leap out, it’s two lead-alloy cores separated by a couple of millimeters, encased inside a tapered copper alloy jacket.

Departing the muzzle, the round will gulp up 4225 feet every second, until it enters the target, the front tapered lead alloy core continuing forward, making a neat hole, until it exits from the other end, it’s kinetic energy barely impeded. Meanwhile the rear cylindrical core, blunt and slug-like, will blossom outward, ballooning in diameter as it slams into flesh, bone and tissue, pulverizing everything in it’s path.

partitionbulletcutout

The Nosler Partition

If you want ta eat the prey after you kill it, the Nosler Partition is not the bullet I’d recommend, because the havoc it wreaks is kinda uncontrolled. The rear core might accidentally rupture a whitetail’s entrails, bladder or windpipe – tainting the meat, rendering it inedible. But if you just want ta whack a beast because he’s public enemy#1, there’s nothing even close to a Nosler Partition.

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Turns out I was wrong about the coyotes. The one behind was actually further back, maybe fifty yards. Soon as I tried ta close in on the Outlaw, the ‘rear admiral’ started yelping. The Outlaw was ambling along when the ‘rear admiral’ took off, flashing past him and he took off as well. The last thing you enjoy as a hunter is being outed by the prey. You just got ta turn around and go home then.

I would have to shoot the coyotes if I wanted ta get the Outlaw, that was clear. Having them hanging around with him was not going ta help. I don’t have any feelings either way, about killing coyotes. They are like cockroaches. You don’t have pangs of conscience when you squish a cockroach, do you? Even though it did you no harm, you would kill a cockroach without compunction. Same thing with coyotes – they have been stereotyped in our minds as pests that need to be exterminated, period.

Killing coyotes is not exactly a cinch, but just follow some simple rules and you can get a coyote or two, easy. Trust me, I’ve killed hundreds over the years. If you are crouching in the brush, just make sure you can see at least 75 yards ahead. Chances are you won’t see a coyote easy. They are cautious m—ther f—kers, they really are. Look for movement, like a sudden swaying of undergrowth. If it’s late December to early March, that’s the coyotes’ mating season – have a good mating call handy. If it’s not, a nice injured lamb bleat will do fine. You can download calls from the Apple app store anytime, no sweat. Bring along a bluetooth enabled 50-watt speaker, stick it in a tree trunk and you got a call that will carry 80, maybe 100 yards.

And listen, have some patience. A coyote likes ta be sure before it breaks cover and steps into an open clearing. So, he may take a while before he appears in your cross-hairs. Just be still and lie low. He’s agile, so be ready.

Most importantly – and this applies ta hunting anything, not just coyotes or wolves – remember ta acquire a sense of detachment. If you stare too hard at the prey and think of letting him have it with both barrels, he somehow senses it – it’s like telepathy. Are human thoughts carried by brain waves? Do these vibes let out a silent alarm that the prey picks up? I don’t know, but trust me on this – at the point where he is in your sights or about ta come into your sights, do not think of killing him and do not stare at his eyes.

I never think, after the prey sails into my field of vision, about shooting the animal. I let my thoughts remain in a sort of levitating, neutral, idling mode and force myself ta think of something else. I try ta engage my mind on my next blog post or whether I need ta clean out my basement this weekend or something. I never look into the prey’s eyes and allow it ta feel my presence. When I pull the trigger, for me the prey is just an aiming point, like a target at a shooting range, not a living breathing animal.

Think of it this way – when you’re making love, if you allow yourself ta think of what you’re engaged in doing, you’ll come way too soon. But if you force your mind to think of something else – like maybe the sales presentation you need ta submit the next morning to your client – trust me, you’ll last way longer and your woman will take you to be fookin Don Giovanni. Try it, but don’t go overboard and think of really heavy stuff, like the Holocaust or something. You’ll end up with a wimpy limpy twiddledidum then.

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So, I killed Abbott and Costello. But alas, it didn’t make getting the Outlaw any easier. He continued the cat and mouse game. He made a kill at the Fournier farm – a lamb that had somehow managed ta step outside the barn alone in the dead of the night. He was maybe expecting ta find a ewe named Rosy or something and instead he bumped into the dreaded beast. The Outlaw sank his jaws into the lamb’s neck but it was already dead by then, from sheer fright.

The Outlaw didn’t sit there in the open ta eat. He zig-zagged his way through the brush, until he could camouflage himself completely and only then did he start chomping on the lamb. I’ll be honest with you – I wasn’t there that night and I’m simply supposing that’s what happened.

A month went by after the Fournier range attack and I didn’t set my eyes on the Outlaw all that time even once, leading me ta wonder whether he had moved to Oka or Mont St. Hillaire or some place else. Wolves are known ta move around quite a bit, sometimes over hundreds of miles. If he had in fact moved to another county, then my contract was redundant and I could just collect my fee and go home.


(to be continued…..)

ps: Hang around. Lie still. Breathe evenly. Part-3 is where it all goes down.

What if your boss was a robot?

robot

The world’s largest hedge fund, Bridgewater Associates, is dabbling with artificial intelligence that will go beyond the already existing financial algorithms that guide trade in the financial markets. The firm is building a piece of software to automate the day-to-day management of the firm – including hiring, firing and other strategic decision-making.

Bridgewater has a team of software engineers working on the project at the behest of it’s billionaire founder, Ray Dalio, who wants to ensure the company can run according to his vision, even when he’s not there.

The ‘manager’ algorithm is being built by identifying those managerial functions that the software aims to take over. Ray Dalio has prepared a 123-page manifesto, titled ‘The Principles’, as a guideline for building the software. The basic principles by which the algorithm shall work will be the same as those that talented managers operate by, namely…..

1. Have clear goals.
2. Identify and don’t tolerate the problems that stand in the way of achieving your goals.
3. Accurately diagnose these problems.
4. Design plans that explicitly get you around your problems and on to your goals.
5. Implement these plans

Each step is further fleshed out in elaborate detail in his manifesto. An app, dubbed ‘The Contract’, gets staff to set goals they want to achieve and then tracks how effectively they follow through.

A team of coders is building ‘PriOS’, the software that is aimed at making three quarters of all management decisions within five years. To build the logic underlying the software, vast amounts of data are being constantly collected. Meetings are recorded and people are encouraged to challenge and grade each other constantly, which shows up as their strengths and weaknesses. Dalio is investing the brute power of his financial empire to make this dream a reality. People would be rated based on a million data points. The software will make managerial decisions that the subordinates (real people) shall have to execute.

Ray Dalio believes that there is an impediment to a complete switch-over to robots in managerial decision making – human emotions. If only human emotions could be left out of the workplace, it would make it possible to run an organisation most efficiently. He further foresees that since people will resist taking orders from a machine, a human manager will have to be hired only to convey the machine’s decisions to the employees, for execution.

Over the next decade, managers could become dinosaurs (and maybe they will), but still there may remain managerial functions that require human emotions and this is why……

The role of a manager has always been part science and part art. While the algorithm will take care of the science part of the conduit manager’s tasks, the other part (the art) will still have to be performed directly by the manager – persuading employees to go above and beyond, something that no machine can imbue in a human (at least not in the near future). Two managers can convey the same performance rating to the same employee and have very different outcomes. One manager can leave the employee devastated, convinced he is a loser, while the other manager can leave the employee fired up with the motivation to excel.

At least as of now it looks as if the machine is going to take a long time to learn one simple fact – that in the end, performance is forged in the fire of emotion. Will that change and if so how soon?
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The above piece is based on source material from google as well as the following write-up :
Author : Abhijit Bhaduri / Blog : Just Like That (IndiaTimesBlogs Jan 2017)

 

The Outlaw (Part-1)

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“If you live among the wolves, you have to learn to be one…”

– Nikita Krushchev

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outlaw2

The Outlaw is dead. I killed him. He was the master criminal of the world. Well, maybe not the world, but certainly the Monteregie, an 11000 sq.km region in southwestern Quebec where we have built our home.

The Monteregie is paradise on earth. In summer, it is nothing but rolling farmland, lush with crops of all kinds. Where I live, everyone is either growing or breeding something. And lakes, my God the lakes and their sheer number. You cannot drive ten minutes without bumping into a lake that takes your breath away.

Where we live, a 200-meter sprint in summer brings you to a field sown with barley that stretches to the horizon. Beyond that, for miles and miles right up to the edge, where the earth curves and you can’t see no more, lie the Cascades (rapids), where the Lac St-Louis duels for supremacy with the St. Lawrence. All that land is farmland – alfalfa and soya swaying in the breeze.

I was telling you I just killed the Outlaw and my brilliant mind got waylaid with the beauty of the Monteregie. I do tend ta go off on a tangent when I write. But hey, this is my blog and I’ll write about any fookin thing that comes to my mind, okay?

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Where there is great beauty, there is also great cruelty. So did the Monteregie have it’s own measure of senseless killing and criminal masterminds, one of whom I crossed paths with in the late fall of 1930, a time when vast stretches of Quebec were still wild and untamed.

The Outlaw was that criminal genius and his cruelty surpassed only his cunning. Here tonight, he could show up fifty miles on the far side of Dorion tomorrow and devastate a range there. Sometimes the Outlaw killed for the mere sake of killing, often targeting wounded cattle. He would bite and break their legs, chew off their tails and mutilate them in unspeakable ways. He hadn’t attacked a human but still, there was not a farmhand who didn’t feel a prickle down the middle of his shoulder blades, if he happened ta find himself alone and in the dark Monteregie countryside.

If I had been a poetic dude, I would see a bit of Byron or Dante in the Outlaw and if I dug all that classical BS, he would be my Wagner. He loped through every trap and spurned them all and he sniffed at the subtlest poison and knew enough ta pass it by. The Outlaw lived an enchanted life, he was invincible.

The Outlaw was a wolf that was damned good at being a wolf. And this was the Monteregie, where a consensus by the Parks Service the year prior had estimated the wolf population at 280,000. If there were any boys here with the name ‘Peter’, trust me, he would mean it every time he cried ‘wolf!’

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The Outlaw had a mate but four years ago she was killed by a suitor. I wasn’t there then but Gaetan Brosseur of the Brosseur Range told me all about how she died. Here’s Gaetan’s story……

Gaetan Brosseur’s story

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“I gave the Outlaw’s mate a name – Dorothy because she looked like a Dorothy to me. Wolves named Dorothy are docile and friendly and so I called her Dorothy, even though she had done nothing ta convince me she was friendly and docile, mind you. It was just the look in her eyes, I guess.

Don’t you attach persona ta women’s names? Maybe you’ll call me a sexist but I do it all the time. You have no idea how accurate I could be sometimes. For instance, Sonyas or Sonjas are almost invariably blonde and long-legged and Suzannes are big chested and easy. Marthas are matronly and wife material while Marias are slippery and smart. If you want wholesome sex, morning, noon and night, go for a Ziggy or a Lola. And if you’re looking for more action – someone who’ll exhaust you so you have ta take the next day off, a Delilah or Dolores is a sure bet. Know what I mean? To all my male friends, try it, you’ll thank me later.

Listen, can you stop thinking of names so I can get back to my story?

I was there the day Dorothy died. I could have had the Outlaw then, but I was so mesmerized I forgot I had left the .22 Ruger bolt action by the tree trunk beyond my reach and I didn’t dare turn to grab it. There wouldn’t be enough time. If you get your throat torn off, it still takes a while ta die, y’know – five minutes, maybe ten, with your heart pumping ever faster and your blood spurting spasmodically out through your two carotid arteries. I didn’t want any of that. There’s stuff I still haven’t done in life. Like date Scarlett Johanssen.

I just lay still in the brush and stared at the mayhem unfolding in front of me.

The other male had been slinking in and out of my field of vision all through the fall, at the start of the mating season. I named him Shaman, don’t know why. Relax, with males you can name ‘em anything you like, I don’t care. To my women friends looking for a hunk, I don’t know, just go for a Spunky, I guess. I know first hand you won’t be disappointed.

It was a vicious fight. Shaman jumped the Outlaw just when he was trying ta slip his long red richard into Dorothy. But long story short, Shaman got his neck torn off by the Outlaw’s outsized canines. Dorothy didn’t make it either, having been too badly mauled by Shaman.

The Outlaw never took another mate after that, though two coyotes attached themselves to him immediately after, correctly sensing he was alone and there might be a benefit in an alliance, for them all.

Together, the two coyotes could have taken the Outlaw down if they wished, but they were coyotes, trapped inside their no-we-can’t psyches. Besides, the Outlaw was their meal ticket. From the very beginning, everything was settled between them and the Outlaw – they could never be his equals and definitely not his friends. They could eat from his kill, but only after he was done eating.

And they were funny, boy were they funny. The way they scooted out of his way when the Outlaw wanted ta pass on through, was hilarious. They were like a comic act, Abbott and Costello, with a fawning, ready ta please demeanor on them. They had to be. Somewhere along the way, evolution had decided it for them – that there were masters and there were servants.

And the coyotes were the Outlaw’s servants, period.”

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Hi, it’s me again. I hope you enjoyed reading Gaetan’s story, the one with the slightly chocolaty colored text above. And yeah, Gaetan is a funny and interesting guy. I like ta surround myself with funny and interesting guys.

Okay, here’s some things that you should know about coyotes and wolves, even though you might be wanting ta get on with the story …..

Coyotes are way smaller than wolves. The largest coyote won’t go over 50lbs and 4 ft in length , while a wolf like the Outlaw can top 150lb and reach six and a half feet. The coyote has a narrower more foxy snout, while the wolf has a broader more huskyish head. A coyote’s cry is a series of short shrill yelps, while a wolf lets out a very long, low-pitch howl.

A coyote gives you the sense that he doesn’t what he is doing, sniffing here, nuzzling there, scampering around aimlessly sorta. Like those vultures in Jungle Book, it seems ta say to it’s mate,’I dunno, what you wanna do?’ . On the other hand, a wolf will growl, ‘C’mon baby, light my fayah.’

The wolf is way cuddlier than the coyote, though I won’t recommend you try ta cuddle one, no. That’s a very bad idea. Somewhere along the evolution chain, nature made the wolf stone cold and emotion-free, while the husky turned out to be a friendly easily domesticated koochy koo. Doesn’t mean you won’t come across a pet wolf or two over here. I saw one on the riverside last summer. A blonde was hanging on to his strap. Looked like a mean son of a bitch. Not the blonde, silly, the wolf. Wolves are strictly one-master pets.

More importantly, coyotes and wolves have very different temperaments. Coyotes are sneaky lily-livered nogoodniks, yeah. They don’t hunt – they are scavengers and they forage, in pairs or threes at the most. They usually won’t kill ta eat, preferring to wait and gorge on leftovers instead, stuff like entrails, hooves and heads that wolves don’t touch. Coyotes are very much like hyenas, but better looking.

Wolves, on the other hand, hunt in large packs that can number twennie-twennie five and they will form an ever tightening circle and keep coming at you even if you are firing into the pack. In short, if you find yourself alone with a wolf pack closing in on you, you had better have something heavier than a Remington .306, something that’ll make a lot of noise. Strong light too works sometimes, if the beasts aren’t too hungry.

I once shooed away a pack with the flash on my Iphone in one hand and a large flashlight in the other and The Doobie Brothers’ “Jesus is just alright with me” blaring from the little two-in one I always carry to a hunt. It is the perfect emergency noise maker, the two-in-one.

That time, fortunately the beasts must have just had supper. With all that light and rock music, they mumbled and growled at each other, as if ta say,” Fuck it, let’s go get some sleep. That whitetail was a bitch, making us run like that. Leave this dude alone, we’ll get ‘im another time.” And they turned and melted into the brush.

Getting back to the Outlaw and his new found coyote pals, Gaetan told me they formed the Outlaw’s wingmen, one always up front twennie paces to the left and the other twennie paces behind to the right, looking out for any ambushes, keeping the Outlaw warned. In exchange, he let them have the scraps after he was done eating. He never got friendly with them and if they got any closer than twennie feet, he bared his four inch canines and snarled at ‘em and they hastily retreated. He didn’t trust them coyotes, plain and simple.

All in all, it was an arrangement that suited the Outlaw and his coyote sidekicks. Until the time came when I had ta kill ’em both.


(to be continued…)

Coveting Thy neighbor (Part-4)

russ-6

At 2am EST, November 9th 2016, the most successful subversion operation in history came to an end.

Events progressed swiftly thereafter. First came the tying of loose ends at both sides. In Russia, three men vanished without a trace. The first, General Sergei Mikhailov, Deputy Director (IT Security Center) of the FSB, was in the middle of a meeting in his 15th floor office when two burly men barged in and grabbed him. They slipped a black hood over his head, dragged him down the stairs to a waiting black Lada Kalina and drove off.

The second man was also an FSB officer, a recent recruit named Dmitry Dokuchaev, a former hacker who had wreaked the havoc that shut down Barclays and Standard Chartered. For a period of six months, starting April 2016, his hacker call sign ‘Forb’ drew shivers through the financial institutions that thronged London’s Lombard Street. Dokuchaev had orchestrated the hacking of the email account of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chair – John Podesta, whom the emails had revealed to be a slimy toad of a man who had it coming for a long long time.

The third man to disappear off the face of the earth was 30-year old Ruslan Stoyanov, Incident Response Chief at one of the world’s largest internet security firms, Kapersky Lab. Some time in May 2016, he had at the behest of the FSB, hacked into the email system of the Democratic National Committee, at it’s South Capitol Street headquarters, Washington DC and revealed the vicious duplicity of the DNC head – a perfidious, back stabbing woman by the name of Debbie Wasserman Shultz. In the world of cyber security, Ruslan Stoyanov was revered and went by the moniker ‘Guccifer 2.0′.

On the other end, the hack and the choice of targets were coordinated by a man named Paul Manafort, a smooth talker who had been thrust upon the then candidate Trump as his campaign manager, by the Kremlin. The recruitment of Manafort had been orchestrated through a shadowy figure named Sergey Mikhailov who was rumored to be the head of Russia’s largest organized crime syndicate, Solntsevskaya Bratva. Manafort knew too much and had to go and he did, soon as the hacking operation was wound down in the fall of 2016 and his services were no longer needed.

No traces can be found of any of the above gentlemen. Not that anybody is shedding a tear over them.

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Meanwhile, the gradual annexation of North America went into Phase-2. Wall Street shut down in the fall of 2018, as the big three – JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs and Bank of America Merill Lynch moved their assets to St. Petersberg, where they merged with the 61% Russian state-owned Vneshtorgbank, which on paper was run by a man named Igor Storsky, who used to be Vladimir Putin’s hairdresser in the 1990s.

The merger formed a new behemoth named Bank Bol’shoy Rossii with combined assets in excess of $ 6.7 trillion. After the merger, the Russian government’s stake in the Bol’shoy Rossii was reported to have reached 89%, the other 11% being personally held by the barber himself.

It didn’t take long for the other three Wall street giants, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup and Wells Fargo to down their shutters and move to Moscow, where another Putin henchman marshaled them into yet another merger, this one with the giant Moscow-based Sperbank Rossii.

Within two years of the inauguration of Donald J.Trump, the American economy had shrunk 80%, leading to a free fall in the value of the American dollar, so that by the spring of 2019 America’s per capita GDP stood somewhere between the western African dictatorship, Gabon and the eastern European dictatorship of Bulgaria. By that autumn the plunge in per capita GDP was expected to stabilize to a  few rungs below Iraq, at $16200.

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President Trump was spared the hassle of having to explain to his redneck followers what went wrong. A few yards from Tiffany’s on 5th Avenue, in front of a dilapidated 58-storey structure that was once known as Trump Tower, stands a seedy memorial. The words emblazoned on the chipped white marble would not be recognizable to most of his minimally educated constituents since they are in Russian –  Дональд J.Trump, первый президент запада России (In Memoriam – Donald J.Trump, 1st President of Zapad Rossii).

The monument appears decrepit, uncared for. Trump’s is a sad story. A year after his inauguration, rumors began to swirl about a raging affair between his Slovenian wife, Melania and the Capo-di-Tutti-Capi of Sochetanii Rossii, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin. Slavic folks are after all, clannish.

Nothing gets done in Zapad Rossii these days, without Melania Knavs’ go-ahead. Sweet justice indeed, for the way the Trump children had marginalized her and her darling Baron. Knavs has picked a retired four-star General named Michael Flynn to be her Chief of Staff.

Just as folks are still scratching their heads over who killed JFK, nobody is sure how President Trump was whacked. Zapad Rossii’s only authorized news network, Breitbart, stated that a day before that ridiculous orange hair of his fell off, his body mysteriously turned blue and his lungs exploded, the President had been diagnosed with the galloping form of an exotic flesh-eating disease which the report said he must have contracted during his recent visit to Mexico.

One underground publication, Politico, however placed the cause of death as an assassination. The day prior to his death, the President had received a heavy-set visitor from Moscow. Politico identified the man with 80% certainty as one Igor Serechensky, an operative of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service, SVR, who had gained a level of notoriety within the world of intrigue that was second only to the Venezuelan assassin, Carlos. Igor Serechensky was rumored to be the man who emptied the little vial of Pu-210 into Russian ex-FSB officer, Alexander Litvinenko’s cup of tea in London, three years prior.

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Nowadays, the entire area around Wall Street – from the Brooklyn Bridge in the north to State Drive in the south and from Broadway in the west to FDR Drive on the waterfront – bears a deserted look – a shell of it’s glory days. Wall Street itself is reduced to a wind-swept wilderness, with leaves blown helter skelter by stormy winds that treat the large buildings as the funnels of venturis.

There are not many billionaires left, their wealth now reduced to worthless pieces of paper. All the small auxiliary businesses in Manhattan, like restaurants and sidewalk fast food carts, are gone. Jeremiah Johnson, proprietor of WillyDogs, a once flourishing hotdog stand at Broadway and Pine that had billionaires for it’s lunchtime clientele, has moved to Salem to live at his grandmother’s chicken farm.

Bill Gates is miffed. Barely a millionaire now, he is now only the 5468th richest man in the world. But he is careful not to show he is miffed, since dissent is frowned upon and he cherishes being able to continue living. Of course it no longer matters what Gates or folks like him think anymore. All tech businesses have been consolidated under a single Russian umbrella company named Shaltay-Boltay, a Moscow-based organisation that is known elsewhere across the world as the hacking syndicate ‘Anonymous’.

At one time the future was in Information Technology and now it is in the hacking of it. Usernames and passwords have long become passé. Perhaps it is for the best, since no one has any money anymore.

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Russia is now a nation of two parts – Vostoke Rossii (the original Russia in the east) and Zapad Rossii (West Russia, the erstwhile United States of America). The annexation of Canada into Zapad Rossii is in advanced stages of planning and slated to be completed by the fall of 2020. A new circum-polar air shuttle has been launched, with it’s HQ in Moscow, to catch the sudden rush of commuters. For whites, intra-national work permits are automatic.

The heads of the five New York mob families, as also the other major mob bosses all across Zapad Rossii, have long since been poured into the fast-setting concrete foundations of major new real estate properties that originally came up under a now defunct company named Trump Global. Anyone speaking Sicilian in Brooklyn is long dead. Anybody who says he’s  Castellammarese doesn’t exist in New York anymore. The Colombians, Cubans and the Vietnamese gangs have melted away. The FSB has taken over. Russian is now the official language of the burgeoning global drug trade.

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In the east, Vladimir Putin has forged a strategic alliance with China’s Xi Jin Ping, leaving the rest of Asia outside of Russia, South Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, the Far East and Antarctica under China’s direct control and retaining the Americas, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, the Central Asian ‘stan’ republics and the Arctic under Russian hegemony.

Consequently, in a recent summit, Putin was rumored to have stated to President Xi that he had no position on a possible Chinese intrusion into sovereign Indian territory, beyond Aksai Chin and Arunachal Pradesh. Having already annexed Nepal, Bhutan and Sikkim, Chinese armored brigades rolled into Arunachal Pradesh, before spilling further into the northern provinces of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Bengal. The impoverished regions of central and eastern India and all along it’s eastern seaboard, India had been reeling under a decades long insurgency by Maoist rebels who called themselves Naxalites. These regions were a cakewalk for the Chinese invasion. On India’s western flank, China’s Pakistani quislings obliged by driving their ranger divisions and motorized artillery and armored brigades into Gujarat, Rajasthan, Punjab and Haryana.

It is said that the Indians fought fiercely. But it was all in vain. An initial estimate of the military and civilian casualties on the Indian side in the first week of the pincer assault was in 100,000s. In spite of having a stockpile of 180 nuclear warheads and bombs of 15-20 kiloton yield, India chose to fight back with conventional weapons.

The subjugation was complete when a crack team from the Chinese Airborne Special Forces unit, Leishen (Thundergod), stormed the India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi’s Race Course Road residence early in the morning of December 16, 2019. They were expecting the Indian leader to be hiding inside the underground bunker below the basement and they had brought along the explosives necessary to blast their way in, but he had chosen to remain seated in his study where they came upon him, his face calm and collected. While all the aides and servants were rounded up, one commando entered the study and put a single 9mm round from his silenced QCQ-05 between Modi’s eyes. The Prime Minister was dead before he could form the word ‘why?’ on his lips.

Soon as the dust settled, the Chinese Prime Minister, Le Kequiang, flew into New Delhi on the orders of President Xi and installed India’s second female leader, Mamata Bannerjee, turning a nation of a billion and a half souls into a satrapy.

According to a leaked report, the first words that President Xi spoke to the vain, puffed up Bannerjee on receiving her at his offices at the Zongnanhai a month later, were the only ones that his mentor, Chou-En-Lai, had taught him to say, years before…..……

’Hindi Chini Bhai Bhai’.

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(to be continued…)

The Socialist Saxon Terrorist

 


“Rise, until the lambs become the lions…” 

– Robin Hood


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I mean, who hasn’t grown up on Robin Hood?

Me, I can claim a closer connection. I once acted in a play, The Sheriff’s Kitchen, in my 3rd grade in primary school, as the chief protagonist – the maître chef in the vast kitchen of the Sheriff of Nottingham, a vile man with an aquiline nose and a goatee, who has a mind that charges toward a single track goal – capturing, drawing and quartering Robin Hood, on whose head he has pledged 60 pieces of silver and snatching his broad, the fair maiden, Marian.

Kalyan Dhar Gupta as the Sheriff was a smash hit but he got carried away and twisted Reshmi Bhagat’s wrist in the snatch-grab scene and she began ta cry. Kalyan got his ear twisted by our bosomy Malayalee class teacher, Ms Nair (who I had a huge crush on, solely due to the size of her lungs). I went over and rubbed Reshmi’s wrist and she didn’t seem ta mind and we ended up holding hands a while. Ahem.

My role as the maître chef was pivotal. I was actually an undercover Robin Hood loyalist, who slunk out into the Sherwood Forest late at night after the Sheriff had gone to bed, to join Robin in holding up the carriages of the rich that ventured through Sherwood Forest after dark. In the climactic scene, I killed the Sheriff by lacing his lamb roast with hemlock. But the willy Sheriff made me taste it first. I had ta carve up a piece and gulp it down and that did me in. But I put on a brave face for a while, leading the Sheriff to believe that the food was okay ta eat and the gluttonous Sheriff started chomping and died and so did I. By the time the rehearsals were over I had a stomach ache.

Shoumitra Chatterjee, as Robin and Ashok Seth, as Friar Tuck, were brilliant. Little John was a girl, Mona Gill, only because she was a hefty sardar chic twice our size.

But I digress.

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First appearing in a 12th century ballad, Robyn Hod and the Shryff off Notyngham, Robin Hood’s persona had been well crafted all along.

Was stealing money from the rich and donating it to the poor, okay? Judging by Robin’s popularity, it would certainly seem so. Even though he was a brigand and an outlaw who stole, in our eyes he has always been a hero and a quintessential populist – a good man.

‘Thou shalt not steal’ is reported to be one of The Ten Commandments and therefore to all lay folks over the ages, stealing has always meant to be seen as an immoral act. But not when Robin Hood did the stealing. In his case, it was given a spin – that the rich were robbing the poor and fattening their purses.

The spin didn’t end there. The members of the ruling establishment at the time were Normans, from France – foreigners, who had conquered their land and become the overlords, a couple of centuries prior. They were illegal immigrants, who had no right barging in and grabbing power. So the ballads made the Normans the villains and Robin Hood’s thuggery justifiable. He was the heroic vigilante and therefore virtuous.

The Robin Hoods of the world usually fall prey eventually to the temptations of their own invincibility – their God Syndrome. Drunk with populism, they end up seeing anybody who has an opposing ideology as an enemy. Among the Sheriff’s many swordsmen, there must have been at least a few who were righteous, but Robin spared no one. There are some good Republicans in the GOP, aren’t there?

Over the years, we have seen many Robin Hood wannabes…..

Vito Corleone didn’t think twice about threatening to kill the band leader who held Jonny Fontaine’s singing contract, even though it was a perfectly legal one and Johnny was a brattish lout who fully deserved what was coming to him. Donald Trump didn’t see Acting Attorney General, Sally Yates, as a righteous person, he saw her as an enemy. The Republican Party of America has a mantra that believes in ‘trickle-down economics’ but that economics has never ever trickled anything down to the ordinary American people.

However, to the millions of us all over the world who have binged on his ballads, plays and movies over eight centuries, Robin Hood certainly has endured in our dreams and aspirations for a just society. That is because his Luca Brasi was Little John and Little John would never kill a band leader for a washed up singer or fire a Sally Yates for letting poor refugees in. And Robin would certainly trickle down every penny he stole from the rich.

Robin Hood’s skill as an archer and a hand-to-hand combat specialist, his fearless invincibility, his chivalrous respect for women and his standing up for the downtrodden, have instilled in his millions of fans all over the world the ‘Robin Hood Syndrome’ – a complete lack of trust in the rule of law and the establishment. Muslims might call it the ‘Mahdi Syndrome’ since they seem impotent without one appearing every thousand years or so, to ‘deliver’ them. The Christians are still waiting for the Christ’s Second Coming. At the moment, the cries for a Mahdi/Messiah/Second Comer/Robin Hood are at their most strident.

Over time, Robin’s appeal has become universal, not just restricted to the have-nots. He has made us all feel like victims. Whether we live inside a Manhattan penthouse or a tiny cottage in the Monteregie (yours truly), we have all turned into the oppressed. Even Donald Trump, a billionaire living inside a gilded palace, cries shrilly about how the system is rigged against him.

Did Robin Hood do humanity a service after all? Or did he teach us always to sit on our asses and wait for someone else to come and save us?

Coveting Thy Neighbor (Part-3)

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 “I would bomb the shit out of them, knock out the primary source of their wealth – the oil. I’d have American oil companies reconstruct them and rebuild that sucker brand anew. Oh yeah, I’d take the oil. It’d be beautiful….”

– Donald J.Trump (2015)

 “To the victor belong the spoils. Besides hey, it is a great counter-terrorism approach. Iraq’s oil is where ISIS makes it’s money. So we should have kept the oil….but who knows, maybe you’ll have another chance.”

– Donald J.Trump (2017)

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Ever since it first rolled out of the Farmingdale (NY) plant of the Fairchild Aircraft Limited in 1972, no other ground attack jet anywhere in the world has built as formidable a reputation as the A10 Thunderbolt (affectionately called ‘Warthog’ because it looks ugly).

Slower than a turbo-prop, at 300mph, the Warthog is ideal for picking off tiny slow moving targets on the ground, redefining the meaning of the word ‘strafing’ with its single Gatling-type nose-mounted 30mm canon that is capable of spewing 70 high explosive armor piercing rounds every second. Besides the canon, the Warthog also packs six wing pod mounted, laser guided Maverick missiles that won’t leave you alone once they lock onto you.

A large wingspan and aileron surface area ensures that the Warthog can ‘loiter’ at very low speeds and altitudes without stalling, making it highly maneuverable while chasing a moving target like an SUV or pickup truck, over desert terrain. It does not require a long, paved runway either. A reasonably flat dirt or grass covered surface only 550 meters long, is enough for the Warthog to land and take off on.

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The A10 Warthog

Because of its unique talents, the US State Department controls who should be able to buy the Warthog and has agreed to sell it to only a coterie of close allies – the UK, Germany and South Korea. And of course Israel – not only because Israel gets to have anything that the US makes but also since Fairchild Aircraft is now owned by an Israeli company named Elbit Systems of America.

In the spring of 2019, it was a Warthog of the 319th Air Wing, based at the Grand Forks Air Force Base at the North Dakota/Manitoba border, which fired the opening shot in a conflict that eventually led to 15000 dead (mostly Canadian civilians) and ended in the annexation of Canada into the United States, relegating it to the status of an ‘unincorporated protectorate’ – like Puerto Rico, Guam, Northern Marianas, American Samoa and the US Virgin Islands. Like these unfortunates, Canadians are not deemed fit to vote in US Elections.

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The American President Trump had never bothered to appear presidential and in the days and weeks preceding the invasion, his twitter tirades became particularly strident. Some choice rants went thus….”I know why Canada sits on a pile of cash and laughs at our stupidity, jeering at us for signing that loser NAFTA deal, giving away our jobs.”……”It’s payback time, folks. Canada has gotten away with it for too long. Those goodies they have underneath their soil rightfully belongs to us.”

There was no ultimatum. None were necessary. With an external debt that had ballooned to $31 trillion, egged on by a disastrous tax policy, America was left with no choice but to use it’s one tool that would help it get back into the black – it’s military.

America didn’t have to look far for a soft target. There it was, just north of the border – a gigantic plum, ripe for picking – Canada.

What a plum Canada was – a luscious juicy pathetic plum. Against the US’s 13500 combat aircraft, Canada owned only 426. Canada had no attack helicopters while America had 6500. Main battle tanks? Forget about it, against the US’s 8800, Canada had just 180, most of which required maintenance. Active duty personnel – Canada 95000 and the US 1400000. Naval fleet strength – Canada 63 and the US 415. Annual defense budget – Canada $14 billion and America $625 billion. With no nuclear warheads, no strategic bombers, no ICBMs, no aircraft carriers and no destroyers, yes, Canada was a plum.

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Territorial control over Canada had been part of Washington’s geopolitical and military agenda since the 1860s. Immediately following the end of the American Civil War, the dust hadn’t yet settled when the US began planning it’s next military conflict – the invasion of Canada.

In 1866, a bill made it’s way into the US Congress, named simply Bill to annex Canada.

Threatened and panicky, the Canadian states – until then autonomous territories – rushed through legislation to unite and convert Canada into a country, correctly surmising that it would be difficult for the US to conduct a military invasion on a sovereign nation, which – at least at that point in history – had firepower comparable to it.

On July 1st 1867, Canada enacted the British North America Act and became one nation. Realizing that it had been delivered a fait accompli, unwilling to risk attacking a large unified adversary, the US backed off and the bill to annex Canada remained there in Congress, somnolent though still active, awaiting ratification.

Fast forward to April 2002 and the sudden orgasmic throes of nationalism in the US, in the wake of 9/11. In those days, the US Defense Secretary was a satanic prick by the name of Donald Rumsfeld and he conjured up the concept of binational integration – a complete merging of military command structures, along with immigration, economy, law enforcement and intelligence gathering – all in the name of the ‘War on Terror’.

Rumsfeld proposed the formation of an entity called US Northern Command (USNORTHCOM). Without consulting the Canadians, he proposed that the territorial jurisdiction of the USNORTHCOM on land and sea would extend into Canada’s Northwest Territories and the Canadian Arctic – regions that just happen to have vast proven untapped mineral reserves.

Rumsfeld gave this daylight heist of sovereign territory a name – the North American Union and Security and Prosperity Partnership (NAUSPP) and the NAUSPP was launched in 2005. Initially the US planned to engulf both, Canada as well as Mexico, into the US Homeland Security apparatus, under the NAUSPP. The terms of the so-called integration went far beyond security – Washington would set the agenda and lay down the legal, political, economic, military and national security architecture of the NAUSPP. Relegated to the status of mere protectorates, Canada and Mexico would cease to function as sovereign nations.

Canada proved a cakewalk. The ruling Conservatives in Ottawa, predominantly Anglo-Saxon and forever American surrogates like the British, embraced the NAUSPP. Mexico wasn’t so eager and in due course, wriggled out of the deal, stopping just short of sticking out it’s middle finger. The US was not perturbed by Mexico’s refusal. Painted into a corner by a singularly one-sided trade environment, with 90% of its exports going to the US, Mexico was already so heavily dependent on America that it was as good as a protectorate already.

At the international level, the UN General Assembly and other bilateral summits round the world, the Rumsfeld-Cheney-Rove triumvirate touted the NAUSPP as a means to help Canada become a part of a strong security framework that would fight terrorism in a united, coordinated manner and prevent it from rising within continental North America, not what the NAUSPP would really be used for – usurpation of the natural resources of a sovereign nation.

The text of the 1866 Annexation Bill is tantamount to an invasion plan. I use the present tense ‘is’ because the bill is still active and can be ratified whenever the US Congress wishes it.

Since the bill was introduced in 1866, way before Canada became a federation, the Canadian territories were autonomously held. The bill proposed the annexation of the individual territories of British North America, from Newfoundland and the Maritimes to British Columbia, extending North into the Hudson Bay. It decreed that all public lands be confiscated outright and so would all railways, waterways and canal systems, including the strategic St. Lawrence Seaway that rose at the Great Lakes, meandered northward 2000 kms and spent itself in the Atlantic.

As to the privately held lands, those territories covered almost half of the Canadian landmass, encompassing the Hudson Bay as well as the surrounding lands covered by present day Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Nunavut and Northern Territories. They were all owned by a single corporate entity called Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) which ruled over it’s territory much like the way that the British East India Company did. The Annexation bill allocated funds for a one-time purchase price of $10 million, paid to HBC as compensation for it’s Canadian territories. That works out to $300 million in 2017 dollars, paid for what we now know to be $25 trillion in minerals underneath the ground and the waterways. It would have turned out to be a terrific bargain.

Don’t get me started on America and it’s bargain basement deals.The US was on a buying spree at the time it was contemplating invading Canada and it bought Alaska from Russia for $7.2 million, roughly $ 210 millions in 2017 dollars. Today, Alaska exports $1.15 billions worth of just Alaska Crude in a single month. Then there was the deal with Cuba – for a monthly rent of $4000, in a lease that has no end date, the US has complete jurisdiction over a 45sq. mile stretch of land in Cuba’s south-eastern province of Oriente which is a natural harbor ideally suited for a military base. Today we know this strip of land as the Guantanamo Bay Naval Station.

Just who is the schmuck who says America doesn’t do smart deals?

As for Hudson’s Bay Company, still existing as an active business conglomerate dealing in consumer durables, HBC is today headquartered in Toronto, Ontario. Incorporated in 1670, it is in the Guinness Book as the oldest incorporated joint-stock company in the world.

(to be continued….)

 

 

 

Coveting Thy Neighbor (Part-2)

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“Remember that the greatest happiness is in scattering your enemy, driving him before you and watching his cities reduced to ashes and those who love him shrouded in tears. Nothing should give you greater pleasure than gathering unto your bosom his wives and daughters and forcing your will on them….”

  • Genghiz Khan, on a pep-talk to his troops, before the final assault on the gates of the Genoese trade-fortress of Caffa, in Crimea (1220AD)

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Situated on the Canadian-US border in Southern Saskatchewan, is a tiny municipality named Coronach, that used to be a small wayside stop for trappers and hunters crossing over in search of game. Off season, the population hovered around 200 and at the start of fall, when the Canadian hunting season began, the figure jumped to 350-400.

Then, in the early 1970s, a coal-fired power plant came up nearby and the population jumped to 1000 and has remained at that level ever since. The Poplar River Power Project and the adjacent coal mines did inject some life into the otherwise somnolent little town, but only slightly. Pay days saw a slight increase in the hustle bustle at The Rustic Tavern, on Center Street and Sunday attendance at the Coronach Catholic Church grew just a little. Otherwise, Snooze City would be a more apt name for Coronach.

Before the Annexation of 2018, the US and Canada had the world’s longest undefended border and it was dotted with more than a hundred little towns like Coronach, all the way from Lake Champlain to the North Cascades National Park, south of Vancouver. If you were either a Canadian or an American, all you had to do to cross was show up with your passport or Nexus-Card.

For ‘obviously white’ travelers, US/Canada border crossings were astonishingly fuss-free. You were in and out within a half-hour, no sweat. But post September 2001, if you were non-white, with a name like Mohammad or Abu Bakr or something, it would take longer and would even get dicey if you couldn’t converse with the border agents in English.

Then there are towns that straddled the border, before the Annexation removed it altogether. Two readily come to the mind. Beebe Plain (population 2000), on the Quebec/Vermont border, was one. The border ran right down the middle lane divider of Canusa Street, no kidding. If you overtook someone on Canusa Street, there was a good possibility you would be pulled over by a border patrol agent for unauthorized incursion. To be safe, you had to always carry your passport around, in Beebe Plain.

I remember once, way before the Annexation, we were on a weekend drive around Quebec, when we stopped at Beebe Plain for sandwiches. The Beebe Plain Post Office used to be a tourist attraction because it straddled the border. It had two doors and a counter for each country. Afterward, we came out the wrong door by mistake and were traversing the parking lot when we realized we were in the US. By then two hefty (but courteous) Americans appeared and walked us to our side of the border and everybody had a good laugh over it.

Five miles to the east of Beebe Plain is another border straddling town, named Derby Line in Vermont and Stanstead, in Quebec (population 800). Before the Annexation, the international border passed right through private houses. You could literally make breakfast in America and sit down to eat it in Canada.

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If one were to draw a polygon that touched those quirky border towns, the two oceans on either side and the northernmost reaches of the province of Nunavat, then that is Canada, a landmass whose staggering natural grandeur is paralleled only by it’s enormous mineral wealth.

Those upper regions of Nunavat, engulfing Baffin Bay, Hudson Bay and the maze of straits and inlets that collectively call themselves The Northwestern Passages – those 3 million square miles of Canadian territory alone are home to 15% of the world’s known untapped oil reserves and 22% of the unexploited natural gas, collectively totalling 60 BTOE (Billion Tons of Oil Equivalent). Those are just the known reserves – serious exploration hasn’t even started yet.

The far north is not the only oil rich region of Canada. In the Canadian southwest, over millions of years, the Pacific Plate has pushed inward and slid underneath the North American Plate, causing the earth to buckle and rise high until it became the Canadian Rockies, all the while squishing at high pressure miles and miles of vegetation, turning the topsoil into bitumen that became a thick gooey mud we now call ‘tar sands’. The Canadian province of Alberta, east of the Rockies, sits on over a trillion tons of the tar sands, which in turn translate to 15 billion barrels of crude oil.

Besides oil and natural gas, the remote wilderness of the north also sits on immense deposits of other minerals, such as iron ore, copper, zinc, silver and diamonds. The world’s richest diamond mine is not in South Africa, but at Diavik, in Nunavat, Canada, where one single strain churns out over 10 million carats of large, spectacularly clear, gem-quality diamonds every year.

When you leave the northern territories behind and venture south, you find massive herds of caribou grazing over barren semi-frozen land that looks deceptively empty. But take a pickaxe and drive it into the ground and a whole new world opens up before you – one that has obscenely rich deposits of nickel, vanadium and molybdenum, three metals without which the world would never have had stainless or maraging steels and cars would never have been commercially viable as a consumer product. To the east, in Ontario, large open-cast mines are spewing out titanium – a metal that is absolutely essential to the aerospace industry – from ore that is 15% rich.

Go further south, along the wilderness of the Cascades and the Rockies, down along the rolling prairies of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba and another land of Aladdin emerges, one that is rich in potash, gold, silver, zinc, copper and platinum and rare earths like tantalum and niobium and a host of heavy metals such as uranium, cesium, tellurium and selenium.

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If there is one thing that history has taught us over and over, it is that when you live in a nation that is endowed with enormous natural wealth, you possess something which someone else may covet – especially if that someone else is a militarily immensely powerful neighbor with a hair-trigger demagogue at it’s helm – one who has bet his fellow citizens’ lives and well-being on trickle-down economics that has refused to trickle down and now he is about to go bust with $25 trillions in debt.

And if the nation you live in is a part of alliances with other nations that assure your security, like the UN Security Council, NATO or NORAD, the same history shows that alliances dissolve over time and that if you don’t plan for that day and arm yourself, you will be vulnerable.

Sounds outlandish, doesn’t it – Canada bent over, it’s shorts around it’s ankles, facing aggression and needing to defend itself? But then so did it sound to many Czechs, back in 1939.

(to be continued…)


ps: Can an entire nation, that sprawls over six time zones, be grabbed by the pussy, the way Turkey was, by Genghiz Khan and his hordes? Yes it can, trust me on this. Just hang on for Part-3 to see how.

 

 

 

 

 

The hobbled faith


The entry ban against Muslims from seven specific nations wanting to visit the US is indeed one strange list and here’s why…….

A 2015 study by the well-known American conservative think tank, The Cato Institute, listed Muslim majority nations and the number of Americans killed by their citizens over a 45-year period starting 1970. Curiously, the findings of the study showed that not a single American had been killed by anyone from the seven countries on the ban, in that period of time.

The study also covered Muslim nations that hadn’t been banned by Trump and here are the findings of the study…..

COUNTRY/AMERICANS KILLED

SAUDI ARABIA / 2369

PAKISTAN / 967

UAE / 314

EGYPT / 162

The same study also puts a figure on the chances that an American will be killed by a terrorist within US territory – 1 in 3.6 million and the chances that that killer terrorist will be a refugee – 1 in 3.8 billion.

Interesting, though not incomprehensible. America could lose the right to use it’s air force bases and other military assets in those four nations if they were to be included in the ban, while Trump might lose control over the properties that he owns and operates in some of them. It was never a question of keeping Americans safe.

But having said that, let’s consider this – according to the UNHCR, nearly 75% of the 21 million refugees in the world who are desperately looking for a place that will let them in, are Muslims – fleeing other Muslims – in Muslim majority nations, unable to stand the oppression and the lack of personal liberty.

That cannot be palmed off on Western aggression because the bizarre practices and the brutality had been there even before the Americans set foot in Iraq. Saddam Hussein was having prisoners burned alive decades before George W invaded Iraq. Islam is one of only two religions in the world (Christianity is the other) which not only recommend wholesale slaughter of ‘infidels’ in certain specific contexts, but their holy texts even show you the modus operandi in graphic detail. Muslims hurt other Muslims far more than they hurt non-Muslims.

Making it worse is the disunity, even among the oppressed. And its not just run-of-the-mill disunity. Belonging to a different sect in the Muslim world could mean the difference between whether they let you live or they kill you. In a tiny nation like Syria, you have Shias, Salafi and Wahabi Sunnis and ‘moderates’, each at the other’s throat, each claiming to be the true guardians of Islam.

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The holy Islamic scriptures consist of two separate sets of documents – the first is the Holy Quran itself, which is believed by Muslims to be the very word of God, words that were dictated by God himself and therefore considered inviolate. The second are a bunch of documents known as Hadiths, written by the Prophet’s close confidantes, recording in the minutest detail what purports to be the words and actions of the Prophet, implying that all Muslims must live the way the Prophet lived. While the Quran is the hearts and minds section of Islam, the hadiths are the blood, gore and mayhem sequels.

While the Quran really does sound and feel like a spiritual document, the hadiths give you the sense of having been compiled by a bunch of nutcase eager beaver Brietbart reporters who write stuff that they think their boss, Steve Bannon, would be pleased with. They are a riot of fake premises, half-truths, ultra-right wing nationalism, bigotry and misogyny.

One of the hadiths makes certain stark prophesies, the first of which says that across the world the injustices against Muslims will increase until they reach a breaking point. Then, two ‘saviors’ will arise – one will be known as the ‘Mahdi’ (divinely guided Caliph) and he will unite and empower Muslims. The ISIS’s Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi is a weirdo who has got it into his pea brain that he is the Mahdi (even though he is inches away from being toast).

The second savior will then make his appearance and he’ll be Baghdadi’s immediate boss. Allah will handpick this guy from his pool of 450000 veteran prophets and he will be known as the Messiah. This time the Messiah won’t be Prophet Mohammad, but Jesus. Yeah, you got that right – good old JHC.

Many Christians too believe in the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, but that’s where the similarity ends. The hadiths say that JHC’s second name is modesty and that the first thing he will do is sign an executive order abolishing Christianity, because he says it worships him, his idol and that’s un-Islamic. JHC will unequivocally confirm the primacy of Islam over all other faiths.

If you access the back issue of the online ISIS magazine, Dabiq, there is one which has on it’s cover the image of an ISIS fighter balancing himself on a church spire and knocking down the cross. The photo carries an inscription ‘break the cross’. The inscription draws it’s meaning from a line in one of the hadiths that envisions an almost psychotic Jesus Christ…..’The son of Mary will descend on you as a just ruler. He will break the cross and kill the swine, whether they be grown men and women or mere babies in their mothers’ wombs.’

2012 Pew Research Poll concludes that in the Muslim majority nations of the world, upto 60% of all Muslims actually believe in the hadith’s version of the apocalypse and the pursuant ‘second coming’, which they know as Yawmul-Akhir. They even believe that it is going to happen during their lifetime.

It is interesting how almost all Muslims, when caught in a bind, like to leave the dirty work to their own tooth fairies – the ‘divinely guided mahdis’. The thought of taking their own destinies in their own hands and trying to fix their own issues by themselves and in the process being productive citizens of the world, does not even occur to them. No introspection, no constructive review or criticism, no effort to change with times, is tolerated. What I cannot comprehend is if God is omnipotent, where is the need for mahdis and messiahs?

The hadiths make the possibility of reaching a compromise with other faiths of the world and living in peaceful brotherhood and mutual respect nearly impossible, unless of course you want to be seen as an apostate and risk getting your head chopped off. The urge to open a dialogue with other faiths in earnest, is non-existent. Hey, the sectarian hadiths even bar a Shia from talking compromise with a Sunni.

Like the perpetually sorrowful Sulochana of Bollywood movies, torn and buffetted by abuse and bad luck, Muslims also see themselves as victims, unaware that they are being muzzled and then hobbled by their own faith – one that for the past fifteen hundred years has been promising utopia and has not only not delivered but it has actually made it more and more difficult for its followers to carry on their daily lives.

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Getting back to the question of the deluge of refugees from Islamic nations, what is the only thing that will make Muslims stop thinking of fleeing to the west and remain where they are?

Ironically, the answer to that might lie in Trump’s Muslim ban. In Trump’s ban, I see a silver lining………

Sanctuary destinations are shrinking all over the west and reaching a safe haven is now all but impossible. Even for those who have safely made it and gained asylum, life is starkly different from the bed of roses that they had dreamed of, what with the exponential increase in Islamophobia-related hate crimes all across the west.

On top of it all, the Second Coming seems to have been taken by JHC literally to mean another orgasm. He is probably having a whale of a time up there with all those pretty cherubs and seraphs who don’t believe in clothes. JHC is nowhere in sight, probably AWOL.

Perhaps Trump is inadvertently accelerating history toward a tipping point where, by some weird osmosis, the oppression in a western host nation will become just as frightening as it had been in the refugee’s land of birth. Maybe that is when, having no place to go, Muslims the world over will want to turn around and fight their own true oppressors, in order to make their own lives better, in their own land. After all, their own holy book in countless of chapters, keeps repeating like a broken record that they must fight oppression.

Until then, the true meaning of the word jihad will continue to elude Muslims and the Islam that today’s Muslims practice will remain the hollow caricature of the one that their prophet had really envisaged.

Snowglobe Day

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Today is Republic Day in India, the day when India (my country of birth) really became a nation, when it’s constitution came into effect.

Here is what I think the Indian people are up to……….

Across the nation, around 5% – the folks at the very top – are scurrying around in their Merc-350s or Toyota Land Cruisers with revolving lights, from one parade ground to the next, raising flags, waxing eloquent on seven decades of growth, prosperity and communal harmony. They drive off in a hurry, as little children wave little flags wildly at them.

Just below in the food chain are the 25%, the one I used to belong to, the most interesting demographic segment in India, educated folks who own modest flats and cars. This is the India that the outside world sees – the Indian middle class. Republic Day is the day when tears of pride brim their eyes when they watch those parades and flag hoistings on TV. This is the segment that used to shut India down on Sundays when the state-run Doordarshan TV aired ‘Mahabharat’.

Next we have around 35% – minimally educated slum dwelling folks who are aware of a day called Republic Day but are too consumed by the effort to survive, to be able to appreciate what the day means to them. Just as well, since the day really doesn’t mean anything to them.

The last 35% is the one that shows Republic Day up to be such a huge farce – illiterate folks in the hinterland who have never heard of anything known as Republic Day. They are too busy eking out a near hunter-gatherer existence, consumed by only one thought – of how to make it through the day.

By this evening, India will go back to looking like one of those snowglobes that you get in dollar stores, after you have stopped shaking it and all those tiny white particles have settled at the bottom.

Homesick in the chill

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Funny thing happened yesterday.

I was at the Lionel Groulx bus stop, waiting for the 405 to take me home. It was four and already dark, the weather a bitch – snow driving almost horizontal. Usually when it snows it isn’t that cold, but yesterday, it was a bi… really really really cold.

Melancholy engulfed me suddenly. Happens, where there’s hardly a soul around and no one ta talk to. Everything was dark, damp, cold, freezing cold. My Bose headphones were itching, sweat making it hard to keep them on but I had ta, unless I wanted frostbitten ears.

I had forgotten my ear muffs at home. The Persian woman had washed ’em and strung them out ta dry but I hadn’t noticed. She doesn’t bother to tell me anything these days. She loves me but doesn’t let me cuddle her no more. To my married male friends in their 60s, has this happen to you? If it hasn’t it will, brace yoreselves. The loss of the right ta cuddle is a grave human rights issue, especially when you have a woman who is cuddly as hell.

As I stood there in the driving snow, my Ma’s words, ‘ Tui to boro hoye bidesh jabi re, koto berabi….’ suddenly sprang in from nowhere, smothering Graham Nash and his ‘Prison Song’. I tore the headphones from my ears. The urge ta get on the next flight home was overpowering. Even if she isn’t there anymore.

I wasn’t aware when the 405 had come and parked right there in fronta me. The folks before me in the queue had already scrambled in, to get out of the cold. ETD had arrived, the bus was ready ta leave, the door still open equalizing the inside temp with the ambient at a frenetic pace. Temperature equalizes just the same as osmosis and diffusion. I am showing off. Sorry.

The wind had acquired a sort of roar, but there I was, was just standing there, blocking entry for those behind me – waiting, not saying a word, waiting for me to get in. Canada is a land of graciousness and courtesy and I was stretching it like a bi…an idiot.

The driver, a middle-aged woman, unbuckled herself and rose, the air-cushioned seat lifting with a sigh and she came over to the door and peered into my eyes and noted that I was crying. She took my hand in hers and said in French what meant, “Why don’t you come in? You’ll feel better inside. I want to get home too, but what can I do? I still have this ride and back ta do.” And she gave me a soft smile and pulled me inside.

A girl, probably not more than twennie, had been listening to the exchange – she rose and wave me to her seat, “I’m getting off at Lachine anyway,” and smiled. I turned and saw the folks I had been holding up getting in. They had no irritation, no rancor in their eyes.

By the time I got off at Sainte Anne, I had a spring in my step.